Sergeant Mahlbacher figured he'd seen it all working the desk for the Angelus police department. Borgs, clades (in all shapes and sizes), espers (who could literally kill you with their mind), punks hyped-up on drugs of all sorts, cybered street samurai, and even some supposed would-be magicians. So he didn't really bat an eye at the most recent arrival to the station.

She was short, standing maybe five-six, and he was positive that three of those inches were due to the way her dark reddish-black hair was piled up on top of her head. And probably weighed no more than, oh... one hundred, one-ten dripping wet, which he had to admit, would be an interesting sight to see, if the hints of her figure through the thick XSWAT jacket were any indication.

Wait a minute.

Mahlbacher looked again, summing up the new arrival the way he might a suspicious perp. Short, maybe five-three. Slim, maybe one-ten. Warm light-brown skin. Not African, more... Indian or maybe southeast Asia. Reddish-black hair, a lot of it, wound up into a ponytail that still hung far down her back and dangled long strands in front of her large, apparently green, eyes. A black streak was drawn under each eye, and there some sort of odd Chinese-looking character tattooed onto her forehead. XSWAT uniform: bodysuit, jacket, belt, pistol, armored-plated boots, the works. The ID clipped to her breast said "RENUKA."

Keeping his peace, Mahlbacher watched the woman make her way through the lobby, noticing her wide-eyed expression, reminding him of a deer in the headlights. She finally stopped at his desk and after glancing in all directions turned her gaze to him.

The hell?

Mahlbacher blinked and flicked his eyes to the center of the woman's forehead. He swore there'd been some sort of complex squiggle there, like what you saw on Chinese menus. Now there were two wavy lines in parallel.

"Excuse me?" The voice was accented, and sounded faintly... British?

Right, pay attention. That's what they pay your for.

"Yes? How can I help you?"

The woman smiled and looked pleased to have found someone to talk to. "Hello, my name is Jamadagni Renuka. I'm supposed to be starting today with XSWAT...." Jamadagni looked around with a worried expression, "But I don't know where I'm supposed to go."

"Ahhh..." Mahlbacher smiled and then paused. First of all that quick left-right-left scan of the lobby had revealed a pair of apparently pointed ears. Probably a cosmetic mod. No big deal, "elvan" ears had been the rage for a while now. No, what had given him pause was the tattoo on her forehead, which now was some sort of cross... except it had two upper bars (one longer than the other), and a short one set at an angle near the bottom. Holographic implant? Was that even possible?

"XSWAT you say?" Mahlbacher recovered quickly. If there was one thing working the desk did for you, it inured you to the strange and unusual. "Take that hallway all the way till it ends. On your right. Can't miss it. Oh, and good luck."

"Thank you," Jamadagni's smile was infectious, and Mahlbacher found himself grinning back, at least until he noticed the mark was no longer a cross, and now a yin-yang symbol. "You're welcome," he managed.

Watching her leave, Mahlbacher breathed a sigh of relief. Sure she was cute and all, but there was also something odd about her. Really odd. On a whim he typed her last name into the database and checked her assignment. 9th Squad. Ahh... that explained everything.