Life was good, Ames White thought while he entered the lobby of the Seattle NSA office. His cheerful greeting even surprised the receptionist, but for the first time in a long time he had a reason to be happy.
Not only had retrieving his son been easier than he’d thought, but with the boy safe in his new home he was free to fully commit to the destruction of 452, and Eyes Only of course. But for now apprehending the cyberterrorist was no longer a high priority. Oh, that bitch who had been his late wife’s sister had talked a great deal about how the man would get Ray again. But then, he smiled again, while her words had been annoying, actually snapping that weak neck of hers had been fun.
Or as much fun as it could be to kill a normal human, all that he was really interested in at the time was taking Ray back home. And while the boy had still been a bit difficult, he was now coming to terms with the new situation. Despite all the weaknesses that his wife and her family had inflicted on the boy, Ames knew that he’d taught him well.
But, as he’d said before, the most important thing that he’d need to do, now that Ray was where he belonged, was to kill 452. How could Sandeman have even thought of creating her? She was a danger to everything he and his kind were, but still the man had created her. First all the other freaks, who while annoying weren’t nearly the threat 452 was, and then hidden among them he had placed the most dangerous of all. And that man was supposed to be his father?
No, aside from the good genetics he’d been born with, he was in no way like his father. It had already been years ago that he’d formally had his name changed, but once he’d destroyed 452 his family would once again be a proud one. A family that Ray would be proud to continue, once humanity was destroyed after the Coming.
Stepping into the elevator, Ames didn’t even pay attention to the way the other people remained outside, opting to wait a bit longer if that meant they didn’t have to share the small space with someone wearing a maniacal grin like that. The whole trip up to his office was spent thinking up imaginative ways to get rid of 452. Dropping a nuclear bomb in that wasteland would have been so good, in fact he could already imagine the look on her face when she realized what was happening.
First there would be the sudden flash of light, that would likely blind her in its intensity. Maybe it wouldn’t do so permanently, but by then that would hardly matter, now would it? But before the sound of the explosion had reached her the oxygen would be sucked away, leaving her without air to breath. Once again that was only temporary, as the air would return soon accompanied by the raging inferno that would strip the flesh of her bones, before disintegrating those as well. It was a shame though that the initial shock wave would have already killed her by then, or the radiation would have taken care of that.
Oh, how many ways to die from just one single explosion. Shaking his head in the regret that he’d never get the authorization to carry out a mission like that, he stepped out of the elevator. But if not a nuke, maybe something lighter? Like a thermobaric bomb? That would still ensure that she’d suffer for the brief time it would take her to die. Unfortunately, with a sigh of regret he had to admit that it was unlikely that the use of one of those would be authorized either.
Of course, that didn’t mean he couldn’t simply do it anyway. After all, his job wasn’t something that really mattered to him. Sure, the position had its positive points, but it wouldn’t last long once humanity had become extinct.
“Sir. You’re back,” Otto said in a surprised voice when Ames was finally spotted by his assistant.
“Everything went smoother than I’d expected Otto, and so I decided to come in earlier.” Even Otto was obviously surprised by his good mood, but now that he was paying more attention to the man he could see that something was bothering him. Something had happened, he was sure of it. But it wasn’t the death of 452, he had checked the news on a daily basis but that fortunate event hadn’t happened. Not that he’d expected it to, even something as supposedly good as the Order of Teraka wouldn’t have much luck in killing his nemesis.
But as they’d had served their purpose in keeping everyone distracted from Ray, he wouldn’t complain about the fact that he might now get to snap 452’s neck as well. Although, if the bombs didn’t pan out he might be satisfied with shooting her. Repeatedly, for hours, in non-lethal places. “That’s good to hear sir, but I’m afraid we have a bit of a problem.”
What was it this time? Asking that question didn’t earn him anything like a reply he’d expected though. “Noir is in Seattle? Are you certain? Why would she come here?”
“We presume that she’s here to kill the leader of the transgenics, 452.” No, impossible. The damned woman had turned down his offer, despite the generous fee and the knowledge that the Order would be there to help her if it became necessary.
“Why haven’t I heard anything on the news about this? That woman is usually one of the top stories while she’s working.”
“We managed to keep the reporters distracted with information on the transgenics. They were so involved with running stories about that they must have missed Noir.”
“Unlikely, but it doesn’t matter anyway,” White said before switching to more important matters. “Are there any ideas on who hired her, or how we can stop her?”
“None sir. Both local law-enforcement and the National Guard have been redeployed to increase the possibility of catching her, but the likelihood of that happening is rather small.”
“When did she arrive?” There had to be a way of figuring out why the assassin had come after all, and he intended to do so.
“The rumors started the same day you left.” And nobody had seen the connection? White had to admit that he wasn’t really surprised by the lack of capabilities displayed by his people, but he would have expected at least some comment. Otto continued though, and he mentally rewound the conversation so he could comment on it.
“You’re telling me that you know the time frame during which she arrived, but you still don’t know who it is?”
His subordinate wasn’t quite able to hide the wince at the harsh tone, but rallied himself pretty well. “Sorry sir, but there is a team here that’s hunting for her as well.”
“What kind of team?”
“I’m not sure. I think they’re a task force that has been assigned to Noir.”
“Are they just as useful as you were?” White knew that he was starting to lose his temper, but he really didn’t want a situation like this immediately after arriving at his office.
Otto just remained stoic though, either used to his outbursts or not noticing they weren’t really fair. But no, that thought wasn’t really fair to Otto either, the man was far from stupid after all. “They haven’t been very willing to share information, sir.”
White furrowed his brow in surprise. Cooperation between special units wasn’t always very good, but he hadn’t expected this kind of resistance in a situation like this. “Why not?”
“They didn’t tell me sir. All I’ve managed to get out of the men is that their boss decided on that, and they don’t really like him.”
“Well, it isn’t the leader’s job to be popular,” White huffed, confident in the knowledge that he was just as popular with his own people.
“No sir, but it looks as if there’s more to this. Apparently the man leading them now is the same that led them years ago.”
“So?” What was so strange about that? After all, incompetence wasn’t usually awarded with promotions.
“Sir, they believed he’d died. They thought Noir had killed him.” Now that was indeed interesting. A former target of Noir hunting her? That might still become interesting.
* * *
Walking into his office, White was still considering the information provided by Otto. It wasn’t as much as he’d hoped, neither on Noir nor on the freaks, but it was all he had to work with. The entire situation was far too complex for his liking. At the moment there were simply too many things that might go wrong, and if any of those things did blow up in his face…
“Hello special agent White.”
Spinning around, White had his gun aimed at the man before he’d even managed to finish his sentence. “Who are you?”
“My name is Mansfield, special agent Mansfield actually.”
“And when did you start working here?” Something was off, the man didn’t act like one of his subordinates should.
A slight smile appeared on the man’s face. “I think you’re acting under the wrong impression here. I’m not one of your people, in fact I’m here for a completely different reason.”
“And what reason might that be?” White bit out.
“I’m here to hunt Noir of course.”
Finally he understood who the man had to be, and he lowered his gun. “You’re the leader of the group Otto spoke off.”
“Otto? Ah of course, agent Gottlieb.” The man nodded to himself in realization, but didn’t let that distract him for long. “And yes, I’ve been sent here to clean up your mess.”
“My mess? What are you talking about?” Even as he said the words, White could feel his heart speed up.
“Please, don’t try to fool me. You didn’t really believe that the Conclave was unaware of your attempt to hire Noir, did you brother White?”
Brother White? Before answering, White walked to the door in order to assure himself there was no chance of anyone listening in. “The Conclave sent you?”
“I believe that’s what I just said.”
Damn. But the man hadn’t said anything about Ray, so that part of his actions might still be hidden from their prying eyes. “And your job is to kill Noir?”
“If no other option presents itself, yes.”
“Other option?” What was this?
Mansfield didn’t seem disturbed by the question though. “Yes, Noir has taken care of several annoying factors for us in the past, although she hasn’t been that easy to manipulate since she left the States.”
“She worked for the Conclave?”
“Not voluntarily, and there are reasons to suspect she knows about us now.”
The assassin knew about them? Then why would she be allowed to live? He asked that question, and it proved that the man before him didn’t follow all the Conclave’s orders to the letter. That might prove useful in the future.
“There is more to Noir than meets the eye. And she has become exceedingly proficient in cleaning up some of the messes that had been left behind in the past. In fact, we’ve even used her name to perform missions once in a while.”
Now that came as a surprise. “Why? And wouldn’t that be dangerous? She might try to come after us.”
Mansfield waved that concern away. “Bah, she’s only human. Some of those sent on the missions were killed by her, but others survived. And as an added benefit this has ensured that the authorities never realized her other identity.”
“But you know,” White breathed.
“Yes, I know. Your call on her service was useful in that regard as it allowed us to identify her out of the three people we suspected.”
“And now that you know, what are you planning to do?”
“My plans aren’t completely formed yet, although like I said, I’d prefer to keep her alive. But I think it should be possible to set up a trap now that she’ll be coming after you.”
White shook his head in a futile attempt to clear up the confusion those words created, but was still forced to ask the question. “Why would she come after me?”
“Because you broke her primary rule of course.”
“What primary rule?”
“She hates, no hate is the wrong worth. She absolutely loathes the Order of Teraka, and you told her she’d be working with them.”
“I guess that wasn’t a really good thing to say then was it?” White answered, still not truly concerned about this.
“No it wasn’t, and to be honest I’m rather surprised that you tried to hire her anyway.”
“Why is that?”
This finally seemed to surprise the other. “You mean to tell me that you don’t know?”
Mansfield didn’t immediately answer though, instead he started pacing around the office. “I can’t believe they never told you. Why wouldn’t they have told you? It doesn’t make any sense.”
The muttering started to get on White’s nerves, and so he demanded an answer. “What didn’t they tell me?”
“Calm down, I’ll tell you,” Mansfield told him, “I doubt the Conclave would want to hide this information from you now. It’s very simple actually. Noir became famous by killing those people who made up the Committee during the time between 2005 and 2009. However, she did not restrict herself to the leaders.
“In fact, a number of scientists and the likes ended up on the wrong side of her guns as well. The thing that concerns you however is one particular genetic scientist who became a victim during her purges as well.” White couldn’t help feeling surprised as he figured out which scientist that would have been, and Mansfield was quick to confirm it. “Yes, you understand correctly. Noir is the one that killed your father.”
Hundreds of thoughts sped through his mind at hearing those words. He hated his father for his cowardly betrayal, but he also couldn’t stand the fact that the man had been killed by something as common as a human assassin.
“Easy brother White. Vengeance has its place, but there is no need for it yet.”
He wanted to deny that statement, but before he got the chance a knock on his door directed his attention elsewhere. “Yes?”
Otto entered then, but froze when he noticed Mansfield. “I’m sorry sir, I didn’t know you had company.”
“It’s alright Otto, I take it you know agent Mansfield?”
“We’ve spoken briefly, however I wasn’t aware that he had arrived here.”
“Don’t bother yourself with it. I take it that you have something for me?” White asked, pointing at the letter his subordinate was carrying.
“Yes sir.” With a couple of steps Otto had reached him and handed over the letter. “It was delivered by messenger, and is addressed to both you and agent Mansfield.”
“What?” Mansfield asked while walking over to look at the letter. “Any indication from who it might be?”
“No sir, but considering they used a messenger service to have it delivered we can find out.”
“Well what are you waiting for boy? Do it,” Mansfield growled, making White understand immediately why his people weren’t fond of the man. However, it did have its intended effect as Otto left after looking at him for confirmation.
As the door closed behind the man, both Familiars turned their attention to the letter. “Well? Open it already.”
“I will,” White said but first took a look at the envelope. It was exactly as Otto had said, both of their names were on it. “Your first name is Jonas?”
“Yes, although there aren’t many who use it. Even less when you count those who know that I’m here. Not to mention the fact that they wouldn’t use a letter to communicate with us.”
Nodding to himself, White took a letter opener and slit the envelope open. Calmly he then put the opener back on his desk, before taking out the piece of paper. But when he opened the letter itself and read the two words written on it, he couldn’t help but drop it on the ground in shock.
Mansfield quickly picked it up, and he too let out a hiss of surprise. “She can’t be serious can she?”
“You’re the one that’s been hunting her for all this time. Something that she apparently knows about. What makes you think she can’t be serious?”
“But this,” the man waved the letter in his direction. “She can’t possibly think that she’ll succeed, can she?”
“I don’t know, but I think it might be best if we took her down before she can.”
“For once brother White, we are in agreement. Target: Conclave.
The temerity of it.”She will be created to live as a Slayer’s sister.
She will be created to govern worlds.
She will be created to govern death.A lady from the New World will she be.The Green Lady, where it concerns the seers.
The Black Lady, where it concerns her victims.
The New Lady, where it concerns her subjects.Through death will her name become known.
Through death will she be shaped.
Through death will she conquer.Life will she bring forth.
Life is what she’ll protect.
Life is the thing that matters most.The maiden with the black hands will come and clean her heritage.
The maiden with the black hands will be hunted by all.
The maiden with the black hands will be found by those worthy.The darkness will start a new dynasty.
The darkness will start the hidden wars.
The darkness will start a new world.Light will live on.
Light will end the wars.
Light will be the end of all.- The first prophecy of light and darkness.
Victoire, last priestess of the Soldats, 1123
Post-fic comments: The end. No more. Until the sequel at least. Which will come faster if I recieve more feedback.