Five Planeswalkers open a school to train summoners.
Briefing room 42 did not officially exist, according to the blueprints stored at the Pentagon. Located several stories below ground at the US Air Force Base codename, Area 51, located in Lincoln County, Nevada. The room was seldom visited, save by a janitor once a month for a quick clean. The room itself was very simple: unfinished grey concrete walls formed a ten by ten foot elongated cube. The metal door opened inwards into the room. To the left, coming in, was a small pulpit with a carousel slide projector. The military had decided that the room was not of enough use to require a digital projector and so, the dusty antique had remained there since its installation. Opposite from the pulpit was a long table that ran almost the entire width of the room and had four folding metal chairs behind it. A single 100-watt bulb that hung from a chain overhead provided lighting.
The room usually sat in darkness, the distant rumble of elevators occasionally disrupting the deafening silence that usually filled the room. Today, however, was different. After so many years of disuse and abandonment, briefing room 42 was going to be put back into action for one of the most intriguing affairs the military had ever seen.
Captain Frederick H. Sullivan of the 34th Airborne Division glanced nervously at his watch; he was late, and the generals did not like to be kept waiting. The fault was not entirely his. The Pentagon had failed to notify the base of his arrival and many phone calls had to be made until he was allowed to enter.
A 37-year old man, Capt. Sullivan was born in Newport, Rhode Island. His father had been a war hero in Vietnam, so it was only natural that the young Sullivan had enlisted as soon as he was of age. He'd quickly risen in the ranks, mostly because of his father's influence. It was this that had prevented him from being shipped to Iraq where his fellow soldiers were currently being slaughtered by the boatload.
He was brought out of his reverie by the elevator slowing to a stop, the doors opening in a metallic clank. Stepping out of the small cabin, he found himself in a low concrete tunnel. An armed GI was on guard by a plain grey door. He saluted smartly when he saw Sullivan. The captain returned the salute.
"They're waiting for you, sir," said the private.
Nodding, Sullivan opened the door and entered the room.
"You're late, Captain," said one of the four men seated at the table.
"My apologies, sirs," said Sullivan, saluting "There was some confusion about my clearance."
"Save us the excuses," said the general "Get on with whatever it is you're going to show us."
"Yes, sir!" said the captain, Flicking off the light, he turned on the slide projector; the dull hum of the cooling fan filling the small room. The bulb of the projector came to life, projecting a pale white square on the screen. Seizing the remote, Sullivan began his presentation.
"Several weeks ago," he said, "Our satellites encountered a strange energy reading in Southern Canada." He pressed the 'forward' button on the remote to bring up the first slide, but nothing happened. Pressing the button again yielded no further result. Giving the carousel a good smack, the Captain managed to un-jam it. With a clank, the first slide came onscreen, showing a map of Southern Ontario.
The image was a grayscale satellite image and showed the basic outlines of the US/Canada border with the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. The map had been colour-enhanced to show heat levels, raging from deep purple, the coolest, and passing through various colours, depending on the heat of the area. However, there were two white blobs on the map, sign of extremely high infra-red radiation. The picture had been taken in late March and the highest heat reader was red, around 90ÂºF, which came from industrialized zones. However, a white reading meant infra-red radiation of over 150ÂºF.
"As you can see," said Sullivan "We have two abnormally high heat signals. The oddest thing, gentlemen, is that these signals are mobile." He clicked to the next slide that showed the same image, but with the two white blobs at a different emplacement. "This puzzled us for the longest time, until we realized what was going on: these signals come from two humans."
"That's impossible!" said one of the men "A normal human could never have such high IR levels."
"I assure you, sir," said Sullivan "These two are humans. We did some research and managed to pinpoint their exact location. We also managed to identify the individuals." He clicked to the next slide. A picture of a snowy city street came up. In the crown of people bustling about, a single individual was highlighted in red. Clicking to the next slide, Sullivan brought a close-up a young man in his early 20's.
"Arrathir Quinn," said Sullivan, bringing up the man's profile "Born October 2nd, 1984. Second-year student in university, majoring in general arts. Arrested two years ago for the murder of his mother, but despite overwhelming DNA evidence found at the scene, he was released on probation. Father unknown and no other known relatives."
"He's just a kid," scoffed one of the generals.
"Sir, with all due respect, this 'kid' is no normal human," said Sullivan, bringing up an infra-red picture of Quinn "His IR levels are off the charts and we've detected a powerful energy field around him which we have yet to identify. Our next bogey," he said, bringing up a picture of a young woman "Eva Pezrokov. Mother and father murdered two years ago, killer never found. Now, here's the interesting part: both she and Quinn disappeared over two years ago for several months. They were reported missing and when they returned, they could offer no explanation for their absence. Miss Pezrokov is currently dating Mr. Quinn and has been arrested for assault. She is currently serving community service."
"Gentlemen," said Sullivan "I hardly believe it is a coincidence that these two unique individuals would be at the same place at the same time and involved with each other."
"So what is your point, Captain?" asked one of the men "Why the interest in these two lovebirds?"
"Gentlemen," said Sullivan, taking a deep breath "You all know the purpose of Briefing Room 42: to investigate paranormal occurrences recognized by the Pentagon. What we are dealing with is precisely this: these two are paranormal beings." Clicking to the next slide, he brought up another IR image, this time with both individuals on it. "Observe this," he said, pointing right behind the two "You can see a faint heat signal behind them which seems to be part of their body, like an extension of the spinal cord. As hard as it is to believe, these two have tails."
An outburst of protests followed Sullivan's comment."Preposterous!" said the general.
"Impossible!" said another man.
"Gentlemen!" interrupted Sullivan, trying to make himself heard over the hubbub that had erupted "I assure you, these images are genuine. These two are either aliens or mutants."
"Does anybody else know about this?" asked one of the men.
"No," said Sullivan "This file has been classified Top Secret by the Pentagon. We have established a 24-hr surveillance on these two. Wiretaps, email tracking, the whole works."
"Are the Canadians aware of this?" asked another man.
"The Pentagon has judged this to be a covert operation," said Sullivan "Which is why we cannot do anything until they decide to ask the Canadian government for their cooperation. If we move against them now, it will have adverse effect on US/Canada relationships. As you are well aware, we are trying to close a lumber deal with the Canadians and any move on our part against two of their citizens would end negotiations very quickly."
"So we\'re just supposed to do nothing?" asked the general.
"These two didn't just appear out of nowhere," said Sullivan "We have birth certificates, medical records, and so on. Nothing unusual up to the point at which we detected the IR levels. This leads us to believe they somehow acquired this energy field that is generating these high IR levels. How this happened, we do not know, but we intend to find out."
To be continued...
Author's Note: All right, here we have it: the first book of the Academy of Magic! Those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, the Academy of Magic is a forum-based RPG that is based on my earlier works, The Awakening and Twilight, which are posted on FF.net. If you want to join AoM, check my profile for the link.