It's been a year since Humanity rose up against their alien oppressors and took back Earth from the Sorracchi. The war left Earth devastated, crippled, but not beaten. Under the leadership of President Nick Tanner and in collaboration with their new Areth and Umani allies, the Earth seeks stable ground again.
John Smith of the Areth was a soldier before his queen asked him to serve as ambassador to Earth, and he is out of his element. Restricted in his position from carrying a weapon, he has no way of defensing himself or his adopted son when the Xenos -- a group of humans wishing to purge the Earth of all alien enfluence -- decide they want him dead.
Jenifer is a soldier for hire, and answers to no one but her own common sense. She first refused the "job" of serving as John's bodyguard, but a glimpse at the heart of the man convinces her to accept the job.
John has two faces: a soldier and an ambassador of peace. Jenifer has two faces: the soldier and the forgotten person she once was. Too many people hide behind masks, and it's those hiding who want John dead.
Silence settled in the room, and John shifted his attention from Nick to Jenifer, waiting to see who would break the silence. Finally, Nick took a step forward.
"Do you have any idea how hard it is to get stuff?" he demanded with a boom.
To her credit, Jenifer just smiled wider. "Then I suggest we discuss security, so we can protect your black market contraband candy, Mr. President."
Very slowly, and very deliberately, Nick turned to face John and Captain Phelps, his smoldering gaze on the captain. "Go get Vice President Surimoto and Colonel Ebben. Apparently, she's he-ere." He dragged the last word out with a singsong tone did little to disguise his annoyance.
"Y-yes, sir." Phelps made a speedy departure, practically running back down the hall.
As if she'd decided her point was made, Jenifer came out of the chair and walked around to the front, sitting on the edge with her arms over her body and her ankles crossed. She watched him as she moved, her gaze never wavering from him. And he watched back. Nick rounded the desk in several long strides, swiping the empty jar up from where Jenifer had left it. He mumbled under his breath, but all John caught was something about Caitlin and how she was going to kill him.
John took a step toward Jenifer, extending his hand. "John Smith."
The fact he still had no sense of this woman both fascinated and frustrated John. Usually, if he concentrated on the person he spoke to, he could get a clear sense of them from the emotions they projected. The skill had proven useful as a soldier and especially in the first few months he lived in Chicago before the attacks, and had doubled in usefulness since taking on the title of ambassador. In all time, he hadn't met a Human he could not get some type of sense from, even if to only some minor degree. Even those without any Talent could be sensed if he reached out far enough.
She looked down at his hand, and very purposefully unfolded her arms, leaning back a few degrees further to rest her palms on the desk top. Long, seeking fingers found a pen near her left hand and her fingers curled around it.
Sensory perception, or not, John understood body language as well as any properly trained soldier would. He didn't divert his gaze, but lowered his hand back to his side, sliding it into his pocket.
"I know who you are, Ambassador Smith." Her tone held a sardonic edge, and he could practically hear the unsaid scoff. Do you think I'm an idiot? "Need to know whose ass I'm protecting."
"Fair 'nough," he said with a nod. "Jenifer."
She said nothing, just stared back at him.
"Just Jenifer " he said, leaving the question open.
"Just Jenifer," she reiterated with the slightest nod.