Volume 4, Postlude: Crossroads Special Investigations Unit

“We’re getting reports of what now?” the caption of the investigation squad questioned, staring at the officer.

“People in strange masks have been seen in the abnormality fringes of the Crossroads. They haven’t taken any actions deemed harmful to us yet,” his subordinate reported, handing his boss the report.

In the Crossroads, there was a special unit tasked with investigating interdimensional matters. These matters ranged from territory disputes to any strange occurrences deemed to cause harm to all the various dimensions. Currently, a new link connected to an unknown area appeared, prompting authorities to request an in-depth analysis.

“Has anyone made contact with these strange masked visitors?” the captain asked, flipping through the report.

“No, but they are aware of our surveillance of them. Yet, they haven’t taken any threatening actions towards our stakeout team,” the officer answered, showing his superior a video.

The captain paused the video, counting the number of people present. Three masked individuals were in the foreground while another had their back to the camera. They stared up at the sky, focusing on something. The view then shifted upward, revealing a pulsating sparkle of light.

“Has anyone inspected that light yet?” the captain questioned.

“No, that light continues shifting positions. The dimensional travel team suspects that these people are responsible for controlling its location,” the officer answered.

“Hmm, I’ll check out the area myself. Is everyone out?” the captain asked, grabbing his suit from the coat rack.

“Yes, they’re on assignment. Would you like me to join you as backup?” the officer inquired.

“No, I can handle it myself. Actually, why don’t you trail me and watch me from a distance? Just in case anything does happen,” the captain changed his mind.

Unknown Link, Sector Prime ε

The captain exited his vehicle, inspecting his surroundings. In the past, his current location contained portals which fizzled out after multiple tests on them. As such, the development of a link didn’t surprise the man. The masked group, however, caught his eye.

He arrived at the spot of the filmed location and sat on the ground. The man searched for the light seen in the video but came up empty-handed. The captain then shut his eyes, listening for any abnormal disturbances. Once he determined its direction, the captain stood up, rushing over to the source.

The investigator unhooked a device from his belt, running it over a patch of dirt. He examined the readings and then dug. After three minutes, he uncovered an ornate box. There was no physical lock, but the man suspected a magical element involved. Walking back to his car, he paused and turned around.

“Please return that box. It belongs to me,” a female voice commanded.

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A woman, wearing a frilly mask, confronted the captain. She wore an evening dress that ended at her knees and wore three beaded necklaces. The captain tapped his belt and then reached toward his suit pocket. The woman flicked her orange hair and a bead struck the man’s hand. He sighed, revealing a business card.

“No need for that. I’m a captain, part of Crossroads special forces,” he revealed, sending his card over to the woman with a flick of his wrist.

“Please, that box is very important to me. Someone stole it from me and I finally tracked it down,” the woman pleaded, catching the card with her left hand.

The captain wasn’t swayed by her words. The box’s magical reading didn’t match that of the woman in front of him. He remained still, awaiting her next move.

“Oh, how about this? I have a certificate proving that I’m the rightful owner of this box. Once you take a look, you’ll understand,” the woman bargained, reaching toward her back pocket.

The captain reached for his firearm right away, anticipating an attack. With one swipe, the woman removed several beads from her first necklace, hurling it at him. The captain fired off three shots, rolling away from her projectiles. One of the beads struck him in the left shoulder, melting his suit sleeve immediately, causing a skin burn.

The masked woman attempted another attack, but her beads fell out of her hands this time. The captain hurled the ornate box over to the officer from before and then charged the woman. She finally realized what stopped her beads and clapped her hands. His bullets, wedged into the ground, disappeared, allowing her to attack once more.

“Not a bad trick,” she complimented and then tore off her three necklaces.

Flinging them to the ground, a layer of smoke hid her from the man’s view. The captain pulled on a pair of gloves, swiping at the smoke. It disintegrated, but the woman was nowhere in sight. She appeared behind him, tossing the man into the ground. The captain reacted right away, yanking her down by the leg. The woman stared at him in surprise, backing away.

“Don’t think that I’m not prepared for a fight with someone using magic,” he said.

The woman smirked and clapped once more. A helix shaped light bounded the man, trapping him. He struggled but not even his gloves could break through it. She walked away from him, intending to chase after the officer. Once her back was turned, a sharp shot rang out. The bullet pierced through the left side of her mask, breaking a piece off and revealed a brown colored eye. Another shot followed, freeing the captain from his imprisonment.

“Fine, you win for today because I’m outnumbered right now. Still, it doesn’t matter. Things are already in motion,” the woman declared and then vanished.

“Are you okay?” a female voice came through his earpiece.

“Yeah, thanks for the save. Tell everyone to get back to the office as soon as possible. Looks like we have more to worry about than I originally thought,” the captain replied.

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He bent down, picking up the broken mask piece. This woman wasn’t part of the masked group from the video. But, these masked individuals were part of something bigger and he intended to arrive at an answer.

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