Team Omega
quickly as possible.  There was no more information.”
    “Fuck me,” Chester muttered.  A summons in the middle of the night was never good news.  “Are they sending a car?”
    “Yes, sir,” his assistant said.  “It should be with you shortly.”
    Chester pulled himself out of bed, dressed quickly and walked downstairs to pick up his emergency bag.  There should have been time to have a cup of strong coffee, but the car pulled up outside the house just as the kettle started to boil.  Chester cursed under his breath, took a can of cold coffee out of the fridge and walked to the car.  His wife would wake up to discover him gone.  As soon as he was inside the car, he flipped open his palmtop and wrote her a quick email.  She knew very little about what he did for a living, but she would know that if he was called, he had to respond.
    Washington never really slept, but thankfully there was little traffic on the roads as the federal car raced towards the White House.  Chester still remembered one emergency call when he’d been trapped in traffic and a helicopter had been sent to pick him up.  At least the Washington Press Corps hadn't managed to work out who he was, not really.  Team Omega’s security could have been compromised if they’d asked why a lowly paper-pusher such as him had been summoned so urgently to meet with President MacDougal.  He finished swilling his coffee as the car entered the underground garage below the White House. Two Secret Service agents met him and hustled him inside.
    The White House was the most secure building in the world that wasn't an outright fortress.  Chester had been in government service long enough to remember the debate about moving the seat of government to Cheyenne Mountain or somewhere else that might be able to resist a Level 5 superhuman for more than a few seconds, but the sitting President—Dole, if he recalled correctly—had vetoed it.  The President could not give the impression of cowering in a bunker while the rest of the world was exposed to superhuman threats.  Instead, they’d built new layers of security around the White House, including a force field, a handful of augmented agents—and a sensory.  Chester felt the slight touch as the sensory checked that he was who he claimed to be—an imposter was a very real threat in a world where some superhumans could shape-shift—and then withdraw.  Most people didn't realise that a sensory was part of the White House’s security, which wasn't a bad thing.  It would only have upset and alienated them.
    “Mr. Harrison,” a voice said.  Monica, the President’s personal assistant, had been waiting for him on the other side of the security station.  “They’re meeting in the Situation Room; I’m to escort you there.”
    Chester nodded.  Monica was old enough to be his mother and had been in government service since before there were any superhumans.  What she didn't know about getting things done wasn’t important—and she knew enough about the Washington denizens to give a handful of them sleepless nights.  Most people liked young and sexy assistants; the President was smart enough to know better.  But then, the First Lady was also a very tough woman.
    The White House was linked to an underground network that very few people outside government even suspected existed, let alone the extent of the chambers under the city.  It had originally been devised as a defence against nuclear bombs and had naturally turned into a defence against superhumans when they first came into existence.  The President and his Cabinet had the private use of a number of chambers, including a Situation Room that was TEMPEST-level secure, immune to physical, electronic and mental probes.  Or so they all hoped.  One problem that had bedevilled security officers long before the first superhuman had appeared was that as security technology advanced, the technology to fool and

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