"So, they still exist then?" Richard Barrett swirled the whisky round in his glass thoughtfully. "After all this time?"
"Sir?" The young woman, sitting on the sofa across the coffee table from him with her own drink in her hand, looked confused.
"Now, come on," Richard said genially. "You must know why you were sent to see me. I left very specific instructions when I retired as head of Nemesis." Tremayne's old job – he'd never quite seen himself as ever sitting at Tremayne's desk, but that was, indeed, where he had ended up when he retired as a field agent. They had all retired together – him, Craig, and Sharon – all agreed that it was time to go on to do other things.
The young woman, (Jeanette was it?), was still looking confused. And stubborn. She had a secret she didn't want to tell him, and was not being very subtle about hiding it.
"You were in Tibet," Richard said, re-capping what he already knew, or guessed. "On a mission. Your plane crashed very close to a map reference I left in a Top Security file. A paper file. Some things shouldn't be transferred to computers, however secure they may appear. You and your colleagues survived the crash, and made your way down to Nepal. Incredible you ever made it. And Madame la Directrice of Nemesis sent you to me. Because I knew that one day, what happened to us would happen to someone else." He paused to take a sip of whisky. "I didn't expect it to take this long."
There was a short silence.
"Miss – Ng, was it? I am one of only three people in the world, apart from your colleagues in the crash, that you can talk to honestly about this. Not even my successor as head of Nemisis knows the full truth."
But we know, don't we? He asked, silently.
The girl jumped, and stared at him.
He smiled. He hadn't been totally sure it would work, and he was out of practice, what with Craig being back in the States, and Sharon in Geneva.
"The plane crashed," Jeanette admitted. "When I came round, it was – I thought I was in a hospital. I was on a trolley, being wheeled along a corridor, looking up at the lights in the ceiling – and that's all I can remember. When I woke up again, we were all beside the crashed plane, and our injuries – there was this silver stuff that faded away, and we were healed of our injuries. We knew something very strange had happened, and Paul had seen some lights beneath us when we were flying over, so we thought there must be a town close by, but we couldn't find it...."
"I wonder how they hide it from satellites," Richard mused. "That wasn't a problem back when it happened to us. Did you meet any of them?"
"Paul did. He said there was an old man, in Buddhist robes."
"I'd like to meet Paul," Richard said. "I met someone like that, too. He explained a little about the powers we'd been given, and swore us to secrecy. We had to figure out a lot ourselves – you've got the advantage of being able to come to us for advice, whenever you need it. I hope," he added, "that you'll use those powers wisely."