Kyle woke up before Jessie. He knew this because they were sleeping in the same bed in the room the Children of Atlantis had given them in their secret hide out. That was uncomfortable, and Kyle hadn’t been prepared for it before Alison had said, “This is where you’ll sleep,” and pointed them to a slightly undersized, and under furnished room. He’d almost babbled some excuse along the lines of, “but we’re not living together.” Fortunately, Jessie had kicked his ankle and said something gracious and accepting instead. Their cover probably would have been alright either way, but it was more credible with the cohabitation in place.
Jessie might have been prepared to room with him. At least her luggage had produced an almost comical assortment of pajamas. All of them were full length top and bottom meaning that what she wore to bed was generally less revealing than what she wore during the day. Somehow that didn’t help as much as it should have.
He made his way out of bed as quietly as he could. Kyle wasn’t certain yet if Jessie was a sound sleeper or not yet, but it seemed polite to keep things down. Being quiet was more difficult than it should have been. The “secret hideout” was in an old rented house in a fairly lousy part of town and its floor squeaked. Not an attribute one really associated with lairs.
Of course, the house put Kyle less in mind of a “lair” then it did a frat house. It wasn’t, he would have admitted, a very well informed opinion. Kyle had never spent time in a frat house. He had obtained a sort of near substitute for cool in college by finding a large enough group of nerds in his classes that it was easy to make friends, but that hadn’t extended to getting him invitations to big fraternity parties and he’d certainly never pledged one.
Still, the house matched his mental image by being large, potentially once grand, and now a little down at the heels. There were scuffs, and dingy paint, on the walls. The carpets were all faded, and they were visibly worn in high traffic areas. Most importantly, the place was filled with college students, or at least ex college students. That meant he went about his morning routine in peace and quiet with plenty of hot water for a long shower; everyone else was still asleep.
Kyle’s first sight of anyone else who lived in the house came when he walked into the living room with a bowl of cereal intent on breakfast and the morning news. Lynn was there. Lynn had been with the Children since their earliest days. If Kyle remembered the DHS briefing correctly he was considered a low threat, low value target. His phyic profile, which was apparently a real thing and not something that just showed up on TV, said he was something of a follower. He had a history of weak connections and social isolation, and his family ties were nearly non-existent. He’d never shown any inclination to react to this situation with violence. Instead, he was a known user of soft recreational drugs, and it was the opinion of whoever came up with the profiles that he was mostly looking to the Children for a sense of meaning and belonging.
Since, he’d only been with the children for a little over a day, Kyle’s interactions with Lynn had been brief, but he’d noticed that Lynn looked to Alison with big puppy dog eyes. That was probably a big part of why he was still with the Children. She didn’t look back the same way.
That morning, Lynn was hovering in a cloud of light about four feet off the floor. His legs were folded into the lotus position. His hands arms were at his side, elbows folded such that his hands were just in front of his chest. He had them in a relaxed position with his thumbs touching his index and forefinger. It was probably all some yoga position, but Kyle didn’t know the name of it. The room smelled vaguely of incense, and there were a couple of burnt sticks in a glass bowl on one of the end tables, but they had long ago smoldered out.
Kyle stood for a long moment while his cereal got soggy wondering what he should do. It seemed most polite to eat in the kitchen, but Lynn had mentioned this situation when he’d first introduced himself and he hadn’t seemed to expect that. His exact words had been something along the lines of, “Like, I do a lot of floatin’. If you find me like that don’t worry; I’m chill. Just pretend I’m not there.” At the time, Kyle had assumed that referred to the “soft recreational drugs”. It seemed the statement had been more literal.
After a bit more consideration, Kyle decided to take Lynn at his word. The other man could have avoided interruption by “floatin’” in a more out of the way place. Moreover, if Kyle did attract his attention it would be a good opportunity for a conversation. Lynn’s phyc profile had also suggested he’d be a good source of information. Or, rather, it had said he was, “unlikely to have a solid command of OpSec,” and, “probably highly conversant in organizational data due to the tenure of his involvement with the Children of Atlantis and their earlier proto groups.” That probably came down to the same thing, so Kyle found the television remote under an old pizza box, settled into a convenient recliner, and flipped on the morning news.
Lynn didn’t distract easily. Kyle had made his way through the weather (reasonably pleasant), traffic (reasonably congested), and banal morning headlines before the light around Lynn dimmed and he floated back to the living room carpet. Kyle watched as Lynn blinked a couple of times and then focused on the world around him.