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No clue what’s going on in the story so far? We got you.
Chapter One by Lucy
Current chapters claimed:
Chapter 11 by PatBunny
Note: I will be re-posting this to attract different readers and writers of different time zones internationally. If you reblog this and I re-publish the post, the link will lead to an error message. The way to fix this would be to update the link on your end.
Chapter Seven by Lucy
A/N: Well my Google Search history is just… yikes from writing this chapter.
The foghorn dissipated in my ears.
When I awoke, we had docked and I was led carefully to a separate room, the color of bismuth, icily awaiting for a visitor. Before I went in, I had to sign a wavier of my decision to participate (as I was finally level-headed enough to consent) in these… global affairs in the abduction and wiping of MC’s and IC’s.
Fucking corruption at its finest. What I did in my past line of work was on the shadows of illegality. I knew that. I knew what I was getting into from there, but I didn’t expect that the death of a high top shoe in to be the death of my old self to what they wanted me to become. Who they were was debatable in its entirety. I no longer could trust the ones I knew.
The door eventually opened, and I met with Venus face to face.
“Hello Viper. We have a lot to discuss now that you’ve been cleared.”
I had to meet with Z later on in the day after my flight to London.
Though as I studied from afar the passerby’s and patrons at the cafe tables, my gaze was set on the fucked-up buildings, and then soon a young man by the river-view table; panel glassed windows reflected the floret clouds. I reach for my drink, set my eyes on his accessories on his wrist—a Cartier interestingly, I think. It’s a warm day, and I settle away from the framed sunlight. I grab my umbrella, continually eyeing this man against the light filled view.
In any sense, perhaps it was his demeanor, but as I started toward his table, the man was leaving. The chilled air swallows me whole, and I force myself to run to catch up with the man.
“Excuse me! Excuse me!” He ignores me, continuing his trek. I grab him from the back of his suit, wrinkle my nose, and twist his body around to my line of sight. He looks terrified, nearly ready to convulse; hands buzzing with shock, sweat, among other things.
“What do you want?” He shouts.
“Where did you get that watch?”
He lowers his voice, still slightly trembling. “…What?”
“Your watch. It’s really nice.” I lean in closer. “Is that real gold?”
“Uh… Um, yes, yes, it is real gold.”
“Where’d you get it?”
“I—I don’t know. My wife got it for me. A—a gift.”
“Oh. What’s your wife’s name?”
A pause. “Excuse me?” I stare at him, waiting, not withdrawing my hands from his broad shoulders. “L—Lana. Listen, please, I don’t know what you want? You want the watch? Take it, but please—”
“Oh, I’m not going to hurt you! I just wanted to know the brand. Cartier, right?”
“Huh. I never heard of that brand.”
He clears his throat, turning to leave. I grab my umbrella as the darkening clouds started to form. The shade covers me, and throughout the empty streets, I walk in the direction of the man.
My grip loosens on the umbrella, now angled downward; it slices easily into his thigh and he starts to bleed, the red now burdened, padding his brown layered pants. He slips a tad on the concrete, whirring slightly deeper into the dark dawn tip of the knife.
I wiggle it out and run off.
“So, how did your first mizzon go, Viper?”
“It went as expected, Z.”
“The ricin was in the umbrella syringe?”
“Yep, he’ll be having a shit-load on the can from both ends. He’ll be dead in two to three days.”
“Hmm, and how, Viper, did you prevent him from going to the hozpital?”
“He didn’t know right away what happened. I ran off to the side of the cafe before he could understand what went on. I traced him back to his house, and from then on, he was just treating it as a little wound. Bandages and rubbing alcohol.”
“This iz good news. Eazy money then it iz for both of us.” He pours himself a drink from his lounging chair. He gestures toward me with another glass; I shake my head. “No?”
“I’m not too big on alcohol.”
Z starts to guffaw. “And how would you know that, Ch—Viper? You don’t know until you try some.”
“I said no.”
“Alright. So then, how do you feel? Your first mission?”
“Did what I had to do.”
“Ryker Volkov will be dead, his blood on your handz. No feelingz?”
“I… I just followed Venus’s orders for this operation. I met up with her after the load-off point on the ship where I awoke. She gave me a file, some background information on the target along with Stephen Richards’s information about his death the day we interacted; and she also gave me enough money to book a hotel and flight tickets.”
He looked away from me. “There is a change. You no longer listen to her. You listen to me now on. Venus iz bitch anyway.”
“Viper, you muzt know that. She iz angry all the time, has something wrong,” he gesticulates with his hands to his head, “with her head. She iz not equipped to be running the operation anymore.”
What the fuck? He’s the one who had Venus listen in on the original meeting and then run the fucking Shakespeare fest.
Everyone stabbed me in the god damn back because of what I know. Because they can’t trust me? Who knows anymore? Franz thought I would be wiped from it all in my memory, but what a shame that the people recruited botched the wipe. I doubt they were real engineers. If anything, they were denser than Richards’s skull in the warehouse.
Z noticed my sluggish mood. “You, Viper, get into your head too much. I thought you had no feelingz about what happened?”
“Zhare them with me? C’mon,” he laughed heartily. “Who am I going to tell?”
“Why did I have to off Ryker? What happened to putting Richards on the Discard list?”
Z titled his head, rubbing his grey beard in thought. “Ryker had to be exterminated, because of his connection to Richards. He was digging into zome stuff, the dipshit. We had to neutralize him, since he’s the one who pulled the strings in getting that dick in the warehouse. He works all sides, we believe.”
“What, he might have connections to the FSB?”
“Not exactly. We believe he had connection to the Delano 618.”
It took me a moment to process this. It became sudden upon me. “Why do you feel so free to tell me this?”
“Your predisposition, Viper. It will make you forget. When we recruited you, we control you. We own you. I trust you.”
A chill stabbed me, but I repressed its shudders on my skin. “So, they’re killing one of their own now?”
“Not what I said, Viper. The D-618 was going to terminate him, but he proved himzelf useful into looking in Richards’s death. Of course, he didn’t know that. Oh, how thin on the line of death he was,” he reflects wistfully. “Putting his noze to the dog shit that Richards plowed himself in. We had to off him becauze the D-618 will start believing it was uz who offed Richards.”
Z avoids my question. “They will believe some other government killed Ryker, some type of shitty operative who didn’t know better; a ztupid rookie who didn’t know when to stop. With Angelica’s connections as we speak, in the next two to three days, the news broadcasts into the memory chips will have those believe that Ryker was an operative rookie who didn’t know to quit, so he got killed. By who? Don’t know. Perhaps Putin. This is not a trademark of ours. We don’t uze poison—off the record of course.”
“So, they’re going to trail the Russians. For what?”
“Viper, if I answer anything more, thiz will not be good for both of us, see? We’re already in a pickle, and it will not be good. Listen,” he opens up his navy coat to take out a manila file. He slides it over on the table. When I open it, I shut it immediately.
“Why? I can’t do this—No.”
“What you mean, ‘No’? You are under Air Proxy; you are contracted for five more years. If you quit, or do not do a job, you will expozed to different pressures. You will be blacklisted. You may be put to death for treason of your motherland. Who knows? You may be the one taking the fall for Richards’s death.”
“No,” I whispered. “You wouldn’t.”
“Viper. Let us not. You will do your job, won’t you?”
“But, this doesn’t seem right.”
“None of it is. You live with it to the grave. You live with it everyday. People die. So what? They could jump head first into the ocean and be split like a knife. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you listen to me. I am real boss to you, V. You follow my orders.”
I look at the target profile to see the haunting, soulless eyes of Venus.
“But, why kill her? What did she do?” Z looks away, his eyes brutally somber shifted to the black roses on the table. He takes one, brushing the petals into the white-blue vase. He decides an answer. “She iz expendable, ultimately. She needs to die so that the Delano 618 can go after a European Central government. If one of our own die, then they will not target us.”
He leaves the room without a second glance. I pick up the file again, opening it, reading the details of the next target. Some key information about them as well that will have a role in their untimely death.
I sit back, fold my hands, and sigh. What the fuck? What the fuck is going on? I have to be focused and calm—no looking back. They have to believe I don’t remember my former life as their intelligence gatherer. I have to convince myself in a direct manipulation of mental gymnastics that I am their new assassin.
It can be expected that I would remember somethings. But, not all. I can’t ask questions that I would like to know the answer to. For instance, why was Cracker killed? Why did he help turn me in? Was he a watch-man for this department, overseeing my potential skills?
It doesn’t matter anymore. His death was in Angelica’s hands. And her death will be in mine.
Live or die. Those are our choices. I made choices everyday when I worked in the intelligence database, scoping out operatives that would be taken down for their corruption. When it all changed, I will never know. Then again, maybe it was always there, and I just couldn’t be let known about it until the right time. What was the end-game here? Was it entirely world power? Was the root of it down to a chase of power and money?
I know that Venus has her hands in so many different pies, she probably can’t tell the flavor of them apart anymore. If she controls so many subversive organizations, it wouldn’t be that far off to believe that Z does too.
I feel constrained near my forehead. I imagined there was blood pooling, but nothing was there. When I look back up, Z is back in his seat, looking me over carefully.
“Isn’t Venus the one in control? The projects, the cases…”
“Doesn’t matter. None of your business if I am concerned. We have our own procedures that we follow.”
“You have someone to shoe in then.”
Z stares at me.
“It’s you, isn’t it?” I ask.
“No more questions.”
“You pretty much answered it, Z. You pretty much did. But, I have one last question.”
“What?” He rolled his eyes, exasperated. “You want some more money? You have to move up in rank—kill some more people. You know good money when you neutralize all threatz. You move up. You be like me. I’ll be retiring soon. I need money to fall back on, and this is our chance, Viper. Now…” A pause. “What is your question?”
“How would you like her to die?”
A smile eased on his face.