They all stood in various places around Artie’s Office. Jack had perched himself on a table; Maddicks at the side of him, while on the other side, near the computer system, stood Pete, Myka, Artie, Steve and William. Claudia cleared her throat, “We have a problem.”
“What’s new?” Pete asked, sarcastically. He was ignored.
“Over the last sixty-plus years we have had strange people following us around…”
Maddicks interrupted, “I saw them a few times. You said they were Regents monitoring us?”
Claudia shifted her weight uncomfortably, “I, er, lied a bit. They are people from a business called Darkblood Enterprises…”
Artie fixed his glasses, “I’ve heard of them. They first surfaced about five years after the incident with Paracelsus. They were selling perfect replicas of antiques.” He paused, “And when I say perfect, I mean perfect.”
“Yes.” Claudia nodded for him to continue.
“They replicated many artefacts, such as Louis XIV’s silverware forks,” He turned to Pete and Myka, “You investigated and they all turned out to be very, very good replicas.
He continued, “But the Warehouse kept a close eye on them, as more and more artefacts, even ones that had been in the Dark Vault for many years, appeared on the site. Always replicas.”
“Yes,” Claudia continued, “Then we started seeing strange people following agents around. Then we realised they had essentially been racing us to artefacts, getting close enough to them to make a perfect replica. But they actually got the artefacts a few times and, funnily enough, those artefacts appeared on the site. This time claiming to be the real thing, not perfect copies. We went to their business headquarters and found the artefacts, the real ones. Some we stole back, others the Regents had to buy.”
“Ok,” Jack slithered off the table, “Why’s this important?”
“Because William’s little doppelganger has been stealing them for Darkblood Enterprises.”
“Ah. How do we know?”
“Artefacts have been disappearing for weeks in a flash of golden light, just like when William teleports. I asked him about it, he confirmed it wasn’t him. Which is why I was very mad at him when he didn’t notify me he met his counterpart!”
“I get the feeling that was directed at me.” William smiled sheepishly. More sheepishly than, say, a sheep.
“I checked their site. Sure enough, the missing artefacts were on there. This is a very, very big problem, guys, we need to fix this as soon as possible.”
William and Claudia walked out on to the balcony and gazed out at Warehouse 13. William turned to her, “You know I can’t help the Warehouse while connected to Warehouse 13b. The power is too immense.”
“You can’t disconnect yourself. If you do and your doppelganger connects himself up, it’s game over.”
“I have to, ok. I can’t help you otherwise, not with what I have to do.”
“But what you have to do will be no use if he takes over Warehouse 13b. He’ll be unstoppable!”
“That’s a risk I have to take.” He disappeared.
Claudia sighed and walked back into the office.
William’s counterpart appeared, removing John A. Macready’s Sunglasses.
“My god.” He said, “They might make me invisible well, but I can’t cope with the side effects. I’m gonna be blind for twenty minutes!” he blinked repeatedly, then steadies himself, “Anyway, at least now I know what to do.” He smiled.