Author's Note 1: My muse decided she wanted to expand a bit and clarify things as far as Myka and Pete are concerned, so she had me write this.
Federal Government Warehouse 13
"And both of you are *sure* that you didn't touch anything else that could have been an artifact, while you were searching for Robert Louis Stevenson's bookends?" Artie asked, his bushy eyebrows furrowing his forehead as he frowned with concern as he questioned his top team of retrieval agents.
"As sure as we can be without having had any detection equipment on hand, Artie," Myka replied with what sounded like more than a touch of mixed worry and annoyance.
"So, let me get this straight," Claudia Donovan interjected from her spot at Artie's computer, where she was busy trying to determine which, if any, of the artifacts listed in their database might be responsible for the changes Myka and Pete had undergone while recovering the Stevenson bookends.
"After the artifact made you guys switch bodies, Pete realized that he - I mean, your body, Myka - was superhumanly strong, when he accidentally crushed the TV remote," she recounted how Pete had first discovered the alterations in Myka's abilities, while staring at the ex-ATF agent.
"So," Claudia went on, now turning to focus her attention to the brunette former Secret Service agent, "did you notice anything different while you were in Pete's body?"
"EVERYTHING was different while I was in Pete's body!" Myka answered, giving Claudia an exasperated look.
"I didn't notice anything significantly different from what I expected, though," she went on, a thoughtful expression appearing on her face as she began sorting through her memories of occupying her partner's body.
"Except, maybe, for the fact that I always seemed to be wanting to munch on a candy bar, or some sort of junk food," Myka noted thoughtfully.
"I'm astonished you don't weigh twice what you do already, you hog," she added as an aside, as she gave her partner a mischievous grin.
"Hey, I've just a very rapid metabolism, woman," Pete replied with an indignant expression.
"You're just jealous, that's all!" he declared, affecting a superior expression as he theatrically lifted his chin with a faux disdainful look.
"While learning about your daily metabolic requirements is unquestionably quite fascinating, Pete," Artie said, the sarcasm in his tone clearly evident to everyone present, "it really doesn't help us to explain why Myka is now approximately ten times stronger, and her reflexes five times faster, than a normal person.
"Or why it is that, after the two of you finally returned to your own bodies, you apparently now possess an intuitive expertise with every type of weapon you've picked up," the Warehouse's Director pointed out with an even more intense frown.
"Yeah. I mean, I didn't believe that anyone could move that fast while doing a two sword kata, and manage to not cut off parts of their body, Pete," Claudia commented with a wide-eyed look of disbelief. "You looked like you were acting in one of those Saturday afternoon Kung Fu videos, but in fast-forward mode!"
"I believe I might possibly have an explanation for Miss Bering's and Mr. Lattimer's newly-gained capabilities," a new voice joined the group's discussion – one belonging to one of the Regents.
"Mrs. Frederic!" Myka exclaimed an instant in recognition, after seeming to explode off her chair and land on the floor between the newcomer and her friends, her pistol out and leveled faster than humanly possible.
Pete had also reacted much faster than the other members of their group, snatching up a gladius he'd somehow managed to acquire and reflexively assuming a defensive stance next to Myka, his sword pointed unwaveringly at the mysteriously-appearing black woman. Someone who was now staring at the pair with what looked like a mixture of both approval and regret.
"Yes, it’s me," the matriarchal Warehouse executive nodded, apparently to herself, as if in reluctant confirmation.
"And after seeing your reactions, I am now quite certain that I can explain how your new abilities originated, Miss Bering, Mr. Lattimer," Mrs. Frederic stated, an enigmatic expression on her face.
"And that would be what?" Pete asked, his curiosity evident on his face. "Mrs. Frederic," he added politely, an instant later, as he remembered just whom it was he was addressing.
"Artie, do you remember a series of incidents reported in California, approximately five years ago? Incidents you wished to have one of the teams investigate, and which I ordered you to ignore?" the woman who was a member of the Warehouse's Board of Directors asked, looking over at the short, bearded man.
"The ones involving a young woman who was allegedly attacking random people at night with some sort of wooden stick, and which supposedly turned the victims to dust?" Artie replied with a thoughtful and bemused expression.
"Yes, those incidents," Mrs. Frederic confirmed with a nod of her head.
"I declined to explain the reasons for my directive at that time for a variety of reasons," the Regent stated as she strode forward to Artie's desk, "but it now appears that the need for secrecy regarding those incidents no longer applies.
"At least, as far as this group is now concerned, that is," she added with a small sigh.
"Please load these files and then display them on the main monitor, Miss Donovan," Mrs. Frederic directed as she offered Claudia a small flash drive. "They'll provide additional proof regarding the secrets of what I'm about to tell you.
"And I am quite certain that you'll want to independently verify as much of what you're about to hear as you can," she said with the barest hint of a smile. "I know that I did, when I first learned what I'm about to tell you."
Turning to face the Warehouse 13 team, the stately black woman began her explanation to her now very attentively listening audience.
"Contrary to what the vast majority of people in America believe, this world did not begin as a paradise..." Mrs. Frederic said.