A Hypothetical Exchange

Assuming We Survive: A Call to James

The following is non-canon, as it’s pretty much just how I imagine the conversation could go

Kendra Trace stares down at her cellphone, contemplating whether or not calling James would be a good idea. She had mentioned to him before that she would try and call if she survived her last mission (though she may not have called it a mission), but who knows what he thinks of the whole situation now?

She owes him, though. For all the help he’s given her without knowing what’s going on, she owes him something, if not exactly an explanation. She holds the phone to her ear.

It rings once, twice, three times. Just as it occurs to her that she could just end this before it starts, there’s a click on the other end of the line.

“Where are you calling me from?”

Kendra’s shoulders sink. “And hello to you too, James.”

“No, no, no, don’t try and do that!” James cuts in. “Not after what’s been going on!”

Kendra pinches the bridge of her nose. “Look, I can’t tell you exactly where or what—”

“Last week, you call me, asking all these questions about some Alexander Lovecroft.” James’ voice is high-pitched, but paced as if he wants every word to come out as clear as possible. “I comply, finding out what I can on the guy and giving it all to you. You make some jokes about not making it back, and I’m not sure if you’re serious. But I mostly leave it alone.”

Damn. Kendra leans on the wall behind her.

“But then,” he continues, “I turn on the news this week, and what do I see?”

Her throat goes dry. “I know what you saw.”

“Terrorists, Kendra. Fucking terrorists.”

Kendra grips the silent phone to her face, flexing her other fist open and closed. She probably shouldn’t have called. “I know it looks bad…”

James’ next sentence comes out through an exasperated sigh. “What the hell have you been doing?”

Head hanging low, Kendra gathers a few words. “I’m sorry, I really can’t say. I’ve probably involved you too much at this point, anyway. And I’m also sorry for that. I can really only explain things properly if certain people got involved and—”

“What people?”

“I’m not stupid, James!” she snaps. “I’m not just going to- huh…” She takes a second, resting a hand over her chest. “I really just called to apologize, and to say that probably can’t get together for that catch-up coffee anytime soon. In fact, I’m not sure if it’s a good idea for me to contact you anymore. At least for a while. For the safety of both of us.”

There’s a few seconds of silence. “You’re not making me any less concerned for you, Kendra.”

She leans her head on the wall. “Have you told anyone you’ve been talking to me?”

James’ tone is stiff. “What?”

That can’t be good. Kendra pushes herself from the wall. “Have you mentioned to anyone- anyone at work or otherwise- that we’ve been communicating and sharing information?”

She can hear him gulping something down. “Well, I’ve kept the content of the conversations out of it, but—”

Kendra almost crushes the phone. “Damn it, James!”

“You dropped off the face of the earth!” he spews out in self defense. “After you left work here, we had no idea what had happened to you! So when you called about that school thing a while ago, I just mentioned to the guys that you seemed okay. I’d have to change that assessment now, of course…”

Shaking her head, Kendra raises a finger, as if to point at James. “You have to promise me that you’re not going to say anything more about anything we’ve talked about, or even that we’ve spoken, okay? If anyone asks, the last time you spoke to me was that last call you just mentioned.”

There are about four full seconds of dead air. Kendra lowers her hand and manages a short statement:

“Promise me. For both of our sakes.”

James groans, following it with a, “Fine, okay. But I’m—”

“I’ve got to go now. Good luck with everything.” Kendra moves to end the call.

“Wait! You too, I guess, but-”


James lowers the phone, placing it back down. He stares at the receiver. At least she’s still alive. And maybe this would help her.

“Did you get enough?” he asks the FBI agent behind him.

The agent shrugs. “We got as much as we could, sir, which is always better than nothing. Thank you for your co-operation.” He clicks his briefcase closed and makes his way to the door.

As the agent left the room, James wonders if he made the right call.

A Hypothetical Exchange

Agency 116 listenheed