Last time on Jane Crow, Jane met with the Witch Queen and discovered that she had an unusual gift for a witch… a complete lack of any magical aura. This mystical undetectability made Jane perfect for the Witch Queen’s secret plan: to infiltrate the FBI’s witch-hunting division!
Getting hired by the FBI isn’t as easy as it sounds. And really, I thought it sounded kind of hard to begin with. Still, when the Witch Queen gives you a super secret mission to protect your world, you kind of have to do it.
The first thing I did was to give up cigarettes. There’s a fitness exam required, like, five times in the recruitment process, and I figured it would help if I could run up three flights of stairs without being annoyed enough to want to light up afterwards.
I switched my major to criminology with a minor in folklore studies. The academics didn’t come hard for me and I found that I actually enjoyed both subjects. There’s a surprising amount of overlap too. In fact, senior year, I wrote a thesis entitled “Urban Folklore and the Criminal Mindset: How the Stories We Grow Up With Affect Our Perception of Lawbreaking.” I got an A.
I don’t know how much of my recruitment was arranged or affected by Eleanor or the witching community. The spring of my junior year, I “casually” swung by the Bureau’s booth at the career fair and asked enough insightful questions to get noticed. The next year, I applied online at fbi.gov to get the process started. That spring, I was invited to meet with a recruiter at the Newark field office and take a series of multiple choice tests. The tests themselves were pretty easy (and obviously weighted towards testing my psychological fitness at least as much as my qualifications) but the testing procedure itself was almost draconian. They actually made me sign a nondisclosure agreement for looking at the test and I consider it lucky I got my phone back from the proctor afterwards.
About a month later, I got a letter telling me I had passed and a nine page form requiring me to give every detail of my life since the age of eighteen. It took me two weeks to fill out form SF-86, and I realized doing it why Eleanor had approached me as early as she had. Not only did they want to know about my financial status and my criminal record (the former of which was broke but honest and the latter of which was nonexistant) but they also required records of every group I was a member of (“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Princeton Triangle Club?”) and releases giving them full access to credit, medical and employment records.
I can just imagine what my boss at the Alchemist & Barrister had to say about my qualifications as a g-man. My encyclopedic knowledge of obscure fraternity cocktails would probably take me far.
Then I waited. And waited.
After graduation, I took a job at a local insurance firm in their investigations department and worked for six months trying to prove poor people undeserving of the money they were owed by corporate plutocrats. By the time I received the call from the Baltimore FBI branch office, I was ready to change jobs to pretty much anything else. I was contacted by an Agent Caniff, asking if I was still interested in joining the Bureau. I told him in no uncertain terms that I was his girl.
I made it through training at Quantico with flying colors and only one murder mystery (I told you it was a long story). Whether it was planned or not, my actions there caught the attention of Director Ian Hills, and upon graduation from the academy, I was assigned to the Yellow Center, back up in Baltimore.
Exactly where I was supposed to be.
Anyway, I guess that brings us to the point at which this whole particular mess started. It was about three months ago, and Director Hills had called me and my partner in for a briefing.
My partner is a guy named Andrew Chivas. He’s been with the Yellow Center longer than anyone. I asked him once, and he said he was “older than the Hills.” See, he thinks that’s funny. He’s black, unmarried (though I think he’s probably divorced) and the last kind of guy you’d think would be involved in anything supernatural or weird in any way. Calm, by the book, and smarter than anyone I’ve ever met. Probably smarter than me.
I had mostly been doing desk work since being picked up by the Bureau before they assigned me to Chivas. Once we were partnered, it was the end of that. It was like the old man had decided I was his going to be his last legacy or something and he was going to make damn certain that I was everything an agent could be.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was just there to undermine and spy on the department.
Anyway, I told you all this so I could tell you a story. Well, a story other than the b.s. secret origin of Jane Crow. No, this is a story of prophecy and murder and where the war to come really began.
© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.