The Reports of My Death...
For a moment, maybe just a moment, I lost consciousness when Alex reached me lying flat on the stage. I remember him being there next to me, talking to me, and the next minute he was gone. My vision swam, my face, chest, and leg felt like I had been hit by a train. I groaned and rolled over on one elbow.
"Holy shit, you're alive," shouted Carrie, like a ghost had just sprung out my body.
"Yeah, well," I mumbled. I felt around the bullet holes. Both were clean, passing right through my body. That meant they only hit soft tissue, nothing that couldn't be fixed, as long as I got treatment in time.
I looked at the pool of blood beneath me, trying to judge how much I had lost. Enough to make my heart race trying to keep up with my dwindling blood supply.
"I can help you," said Carrie. "I have people. You don't have to die here."
I shook my head. "This place is as good a place to die as any other." Blackness crept along the periphery of my vision. My feet felt cold and leaden.
"Listen," Carrie insisted, an urgency in her voice. "We're up against something huge. Bigger than what I can handle. I've been trying to get inside. Maybe together we can do it. This is something bigger than the Singularity Matrix. People are involved at all levels. Elena, listen to me. I can get you inside. If you get me out of here, we can crack this thing together."
I sighed. "More of your conspiracy theories? Park, you've played that one too many times." I laid down, staring up at the chandeliers on the ceiling.
"Elena! Listen! This ship, who do you think built this ship? It wasn't me! It wasn't the Chinese! They have more of them, and not just converted freighters. Not just seagoing vessels. They're building an army of these things. This was just a test, don't you see? They didn't care if I lived or died. Why do you think I got stuck with such an incompetent crew? Why do you think they supplied me with the twin singularity? So I could destroy this thing when it was all over, and hide all the evidence. Ellie, these people are moving quickly, and we can't hesitate. By now Alex has armed the Matrix, and we've got ten, fifteen minutes tops."
I found the conversation hard to follow, but certain things didn't quite add up. After a moment, I struggled to sit up. "If you're lying, your next torture session will be far beyond anything I've done before."
"Okay, fine, just get me out of here. Ellie, you're my only hope to get out of this mess. I'm serious about what I told Alex: I want to change. Just give me a chance, please."
I didn't believe her, not for one second. I needed answers. Maybe everything she said was a complete 100% fiction. I had to know. None of this makes sense. I dragged myself along the stage, and hit the button to raise the cage. Carrie limped out, and picked up my gun.
She aimed it at me, and I closed my eyes. "Let's go, Galistina," she said, putting the gun in her waistband.
We helped carry each other to a door which led to a room with a large powerboat. We painfully flopped into the boat and Carrie hit some switches. A door burst open, propelled by explosive bolts. The boat roar to life and catapulted out on to the river. Above me I saw a helicopter leap off the deck and fly off to the northwest. I assume that was Alex and his friends. We raced East down the River, and in a few minutes the sky lit up behind us with the detonation. Fortunately we had covered enough distance to avoid the radiation and blast.
I'm now resting comfortably, essentially a prisoner of Carrie's, but not completely. More of a detained guest. She's still filling in some details, and so far it checks out.
I'm going to have to go far undercover now. Forget Elena Galistina. She doesn't exist anymore. My facial reconstruction will change my look a bit. I think I'll try to look a little more Southern European, if I can.
I've sent the bulk of my estate over to Alex as an "inheritance." My official estate will probably be held in court for years, but my private untraceable assets will become immediately available. I've also set up a trust for Julia, which she'll find out about in due time. I owe that kid my life.
Well it's been fun. I hope Carrie's "change" is real. We're more alike sometimes than I like to admit. Stay safe, and I hope we can talk again sometime.
Elena Galistina (soon to be...)
Posted: Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 11:59 PM
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Beware. I'm Coming.
Don't come looking for me. You'll never find me. But I know where you are. I know where you sleep. I know where you eat. You are the ones who should be hiding.
Carrie Park: your day of reckoning is coming. Your great plans of world domination are crumbling all around you. Your assets are being seized, and your network is being dismantled. You can sail that ship to the ends of the Earth but I will hunt you down. Pray that your ship explodes before I find you.
Alex Ross: your trickery and betrayal have doomed you. Once I thought I had your trust, even your love. Now you give your love to another, and your trust to a woman who is planning your death as we speak. I had saved a special torture for Park, but now it's clear who will receive the ultimate in pain and suffering. You might survive but your nerves will scream pain for the rest of your life, which you will have no choice but to end with your own hand.
So beware. I am watching you. I will strike when the moment is right. I am coming.
Posted: Thursday, November day, 2008 @ 6:22 PM
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Planning our Assault
"It looks like I'm going to have to trust you. Here's where we think the other forces are stationed. This is the freighter. We've tried scanning it with imaging radar but the interior is well shielded. We've pulled up the original blueprints but we suspect the ship has been gutted and repurposed. Over here we've compiled a set of transmissions we've received from the boat. Most are encrypted. Apparently she has a network of people operating out there. We've been tracing them, but no progress yet."
I scanned through all the intelligence he provided me. It wasn't anything I hadn't already been aware of. Carrie making threats and warnings to not approach the ship, and a bit of bragging about her mighty power.
"Getting onto the boat isn't going to be a problem," I began. "Sabotaging the Singularity Matrix, a little harder, especially without destroying the planet.. Escaping with our lives, well, we'll do our best. We're going to have to give them an offer, though. We need something they can't refuse. Something big. I'm sure a lot of countries are negotiating with her."
"We don't respond to terrorism, but in this case, England is prepared to sacrifice whatever we can to end this threat," he responded. "We've seen what she can do and we're understand the threat."
"Oh really?" I sat down and bit my lip a little bit. "We're talking billions of dollars here. How is the Bank of England doing nowadays? I don't really think that's enough. Think about what England could do with this power. You need to be prepared to offer something of real value. Say...I think if you offered Carrie Park the Queenship that might make a difference."
The man jumped to his feet, practically spitting out the words. "What? Preposterous! Make her the Queen of England? Over my bloody dead body. Unacceptable."
I raised my hand for emphasis. "Imagine how powerful England would be controlling the Matrix. Your economy would thrive with all the free energy. No enemy would dare attack you. Think about how you could use this out on the battlefield. One zap and your enemy is defeated. The British Empire rises once again. You could control your own destiny. You get me on that ship, and I can make it all happen."
"And what about China? What's your angle here? I'm sure you're not saying this out of any love for England."
"Let me worry about China," I answered. "Our main concern right now is to get this madwomen as far away from our mainland as possible. We're not in a position to negotiate right now. We have too much internal turmoil once this plot was revealed. We'll deal with her in our own time. I feel since you have the people most familiar with the project, you have the best opportunity here."
The Commander rubbed his chin for a moment. "I need to contact Command for authorization. I don't think they're willing to abdicate the crown, no matter what the benefit. Meanwhile, I suggest you begin organizing your assault. We can provide you any resources you need."
"I only require Officers Nguyen and Portman. Oh, and Alex of course. The only material I require is a boat and some rope, and I'll provide you a list of other supplies. Do you have a way to contact Park? We need to set this up properly."
I left to debrief Alex and type all this up. We've got a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in. It seems to me that Park will be making a move at any moment.
Posted: Saturday, November 15, 2008 @ 2:11 PM
Friday, November 14, 2008
The British Royal Marines
It was pretty incredible seeing Alex again. I've lost a lot of sleep over his predicament. I've known for a few months of the grave danger he faced. I've tried to contact him...tried to get him relocated, but the organization running that camp would only allow the contact if I worked for them. Something gave me a bad feeling. It seemed like many of the bad elements from China's military, political, and intelligence communities had migrated to this "Clan of the Wise." Then they brought Carrie Park aboard which provided them with the technical and financial capability to carry out this scheme.
It's been a pretty long journey to get here and I'm pretty exhausted. I don't know how much I believe of Alex's story. He seems pretty on-the-level, but so much has happened that I really don't know at this point. I thought I had finally freed myself from all this crap, from all this running around and putting out fires. But I can't help being who I am. I need to be in the action. I need to be involved. I just can't turn my back on my country and my comrades. Not in their most desperate hour of need. This Clan of the Wise has got to be stopped.
I haven't had many run-ins with British Marines in the past. I've been on a couple assignments that included one, but nothing really impressed me. They occupied a strip of land along a harbor that houses this boat which could destroy the world. My friend Alex has somehow become entrenched with them. I've studied the situation, and I feel this is the only way I'm going to get anything done here. The alternatives seem to be too harsh to contemplate.
We approached their checkpoint with our hands up in a sign of surrender. As soon as we came into view the Marines leveled their weapons at us and shouted. I nodded at Alex and we did as commanded. We got down on our knees with our hands held behind our heads. The Marines grabbed Alex and pulled him away from me. I stared into the barrel of half a dozen rifles. I knelt there for a moment while the soldiers radioed back to their control center.
In a loud, clear voice I announced, "I am a Senior Officer of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. I am here to parley with your commanding officer on behalf of the People's Republic of China. As trespassers on Chinese sovereign territory, I demand that you cease this unlawful occupation of our land and immediately begin preparations to leave. I demand to speak to someone in authority." I stared at the men in as commanding a look as I could muster. I hoped they would be cowed long enough to at least let me talk to an officer. I ran a huge gamble, but I need to talk to one of their commanders.
In a moment an officer walked up and motioned me to rise. He seemed barely twenty, probably straight out of Sandhurst Military Academy.
"I am Lt. Johnson. You're hear to parley are you? I'm going to need some kind of authentication."
I pointed over to Alex. "He'll vouch for me. Any other information is reserved for your commander."
The man appraised me for a second, and then glanced at Alex. "Wait here." He walked over to Alex and conferred with him for a second. "OK," he said, returning to me. "we're going to have to search you. We don't allow any unauthorized weapons or communication equipment on the base."
I inwardly sighed. I held up my hands and the Marines frisked me. They removed my guns and knives and started poking though my vest.
"Here," I said, removing my vest, leaving only my halter top on. I then removed my cargo pants, with only my pink panties remaining. The Marines gawked at me while they pored through my belongings, finally returning my clothes emptied, my back and inner thigh holsters removed, and my dignity a little damaged. A small crowd of soldiers wandered over to witness the proceedings.
"Anything else we should know about," asked the Sergeant in charge of my inspection.
"I have a pack back there in the woods," I pointed. "I need it. If you open it you'll trigger an explosive device. You have about thirty seconds to disarm it, just type 9241."
"Search these woods," ordered the Sergeant, "and bring me back anything you find."
The men scattered around while we stood around in the clearing. "You OK," I asked Alex. He nodded. He hadn't slept much lately, and still had some after effects from his concussion. I've got a few drugs to keep me awake and alert in these cases.
They returned with my backpack, disarmed. Lt. Johnson ordered a guard to watch me and lead me into the camp. I could hear the whispers of the men as we marched through the clearing surrounded by tents and military equipment. They led me over to a tent where I was placed by myself, with a couple guards standing outside. Nothing I couldn't overcome, but I had a mission here.
The tent contained a few monitors and a long table. The corporal offered me a chair and then departed. The guards watched me carefully. I could see by their look that they'd rather shoot me then tolerate a foreigner in their presence. I studied the room, examining possible exits and objects I could use as a weapon.
In walked two people, a medium-height Asian-looking woman and a taller dark-haired man of slight build. They obviously weren't soldiers. I started to rise but the soldiers shouted at me to stay down. The two of them stood on the opposite side of the table from where I sat. I leaned back a bit looking back and forth at the two of them. The man spoke first.
"I am First Officer Portman, this is Officer Nguyen. We're from British Secret Intelligence and we're authorized to debrief you in this matter and report back to Vauxhall. Any information you give us will be kept in the strictest of confidence."
As a field agent most of my career, I never stood much for process or formalities. I needed to talk to their commander as soon as possible, but I wanted information from these two if I could. I raised my eyebrows and appraised the girl for a moment. "You're Misty, aren't you? You were imprisoned with Alex Ross. I don't know how much I believe from Alex, but he seems to care for you."
Misty stared at me icily, and then spoke in her thick British accent. "Let's stick to the matters at hand, shall we?"
I opened my mouth to respond, but I was taken aback by her brushoff. "OK. Anyone got a mayonnaise sandwich? With Grey Poupon?"
"Ms. Galistina," said Ofc. Portman. "Please state the nature of your business here."
I sighed a bit. All business, these Brits. That's fine. "I am a duly appointed representative of the People
s Republic of China. Any intelligence I may have to offer I will only present to your commanding officer."
Ofc Portman consulted a monitor. "According to this report, you have had involvement with Carrie Park in the past. Are you in contact with her now?"
I smiled. "No. I don't associate with criminals."
"But you've associated with Alex Ross in the past," said Ofc Nguyen.
This was a bit of a surprise. Questioning me about Alex? "Uhh..., Alex isn't a criminal. Is that what you think?"
"We don't know," said the man.
I stared at the two of them. I didn't know if they were testing my loyalty or my intelligence. "You've been with him. Heck, you guys have grown close. You're telling me he's still under suspicion?"
She stared back at me. "My relationship with Mr. Ross is none of your business," she stated bluntly.
I began to have a great dislike for her. Something about her rubbed me the wrong way. Growing up Chinese, I had a natural dislike for Koreans. I still felt a bit protective of Alex, and perhaps a little jealous of his fondness for her. Frankly I didn't see the attraction.
"Listen," I stated, laying my hands on the table. "Have you made any progress here? I understand that you worked with Carrie, over in the labor camp. Maybe you're still in league with her. Are you in communication with Park?"
"We're asking the questions," yelled Nguyen. Portman waved his hand at her to get her to settle down.
"No, I am asking," I insisted. "You are the trespassers here. I want to know what the hell you intend to do here. You're putting my country at risk, and I think the Chinese people deserve some answers."
They had no immediate answers for me. I could sense they had no real authority here, but I need to know what they were made of. I might need them for the plan i have rolling around in my head. I think it might work better if they didn't like me that much.
Ofc. Portman talked while Nguyen fumed. "Ms. Galistina, we're simply trying to establish some basics. Your cooperation will greatly ease this process."
I smirked at the two of them. "Listen, you two have done your country a great service. Alex tells me of the bravery you demonstrated during the assault. Time is critical here. Let's just cut to the chase here. I'm here to get to that boat, and I'm going to need the two of you and Alex to help me. I need whatever intelligence you've gathered on that freighter, and I need it now. This interrogation is a waste of valuable time. Now bring me the commander or I'm not saying another word."
Nguyen prepared a retort but Ofc. Portman waved her down. "Ok, Ms. Galistina. We'll do it your way. I'll see what I can do." He spoke to the guards for a moment and headed out of the room.
For a moment I was left alone with the woman. I needed to reach her, somehow remove that cloak she's thrown around herself. "Misty," I said to her. "Misty, I can see you've been through a lot. Alex thinks the world of you. We've got a huge task ahead of us. Do you think you're capable of going up against Park?"
Nguyen ignored me for a moment. "Please do not talk to me," she responded, looking a bit fidgety. She crossed her arms and tried to avoid eye contact but I continued to stare at her.
"If you want a chance at getting back at Park for what she's done, you need to listen to me. There's only one way onto that boat. We can't assault it, we can't destroy it. My specialty is infiltration. We have to get aboard. And I'm going to need you and Alex. Please. I know you've sacrificed a great deal for your country. The entire world is in jeopardy. If you love your country, and you're still willing to fight, get yourself ready."
She shook her head for a moment. "I don't know. I just want to get away, to go home."
Ahh. I sensed some kind of disconnect. "I need to know something," I said softly. "I need to know if you love Alex. I need to know that what he says is true."
Her mouth gaped open. "What...what does he say?"
A tall, sturdy man walked in before I could reply. I could see from his grizzled face he was a man of authority.
"I'm Commander James Jeffries," he announced.
"Major General Elena Galistina, of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Intelligence Service," I said, standing to face him. The man waved the guards off and shook my hand with a firm but not overpowering grip. I could see the fatigue and concern written on his face.
"Ahh. Yes. We've heard about you. You've been high on our radar for a long time, General. If you've got any ideas on this shit hole we're stuck in, I'd love to hear them." He extended his hand and bade me to be seated. He walked around the table to face me.
"Good, I'm here to help," I said, hoping he would listen. "China is extremely distressed at these events. I'm here to offer our services. Well, specifically, my services. My connections go all the way to the top."
He looked at me with disbelief. "So with all the vast resources of China, the millions of soldiers and machinery, all we get is one agent? We've done our homework. There isn't a single Chinese soldier within a hundred klicks of here. There's Americans, there's Russians, there's French, and even some South Koreans."
"Make no mistake about it, Commander, I'm all you need. China is not in a position to respond at the moment. Heck, we even let a foreign commando task force deep into our territory. Let me state for the record that the Chinese government considers the intrusion as a blatant Act of War and we will take all measures to protect the sovereignty of China and all her possessions."
I held up a hand before he could respond. "But let me say off the record that it was a brilliantly designed and executed operation. I owe you a debt of gratitude for rescuing Alex Ross alive and fairly unharmed. China is tentatively delaying her response pending the outcome of this campaign. If we succeed in destroying the Singularity Matrix and Carrie Park, then I believe we can reach some amicable agreement. We'll let the pencil pushers figure that one out."
The Commander tapped a pencil on the table for a moment. "So what do you bring to the table? How do I know you're for real? Although we've compiled a huge dossier on you, we only have your claims that you represent China. All of other records have you operating in countries around the world, with no mention of China in any of them."
Hmm, I'd love to see that dossier. "I assure you that what I say is true. Do you want a demonstration? Hand me a satellite phone and I'll call in an airstrike. I'll have a special headline show up in The Beijing Daily News. Do you want a call from the Premier?"
The commander grinned at me. "Who do I look like? Do I look like a green recruit right off the farm? It seems like you've had a pretty storied career, but come on. You're just some low level special agent trying to make a name for yourself."
I held out my hand. "You name it. You tell me exactly what you want to see, and I'll arrange it I am not some low level agent, I can assure you."
He chuckled at me. "Fine. I want to see the J-10. No, I want to see a squadron of J-10's. Don't let them approach the freighter, or we'll all pay the price. I want them to come in slow over our position so I can see them, execute a ninety degree right-hand turn, then climb out of here full power. Can you make that happen?"
I scratched my nose for a second. "Hand me the phone, and give me some privacy." The J-10 is China's newest and most sophisticated fighter jet. Not many people in the West have seen it, especially in action. And the ones I have standing by have had some special upgrades installed.
The Commander grinned and waved over a corporal. In a moment I had my phone and he stepped outside. I dialed the number and talked into the phone for a minute in Chinese. I doubt that they recorded my conversation but even if they did through the satellite, I invalidated my pass code.
I called Cmdr. Jeffries back in.
"Everything go OK," he asked. "What's the ETA?"
"A few minutes," I responded. I studied his face but I didn't see any deception in it. I think he truly wanted to see the fighters, but he doubted my ability to deliver.
He flopped down on the chair again and removed his helmet to wipe his brow. A patch of grey hair touched his temples, his blonde close-cropped cut fading and thinning with age. "War is meant for young men," he said, then quickly added, "and women."
I smiled at him. "You seem to be handling this well, Commander. It's not every day that you're put in a position where you can prevent Armageddon."
He pointed out towards the water, towards the freighter. "We've tried everything. Direct assaults, drones, frogmen, para gliders. We get close and then ZAP! It's bedtime. Some of the men closer to the boat go crazy. They can knock down any electronics no matter how shielded."
I shook my head. "You can't attack them. There's a black hole on that boat. If containment is lost, there's no telling what would happen. It would make the Great Tsunami look like a shimmer in a cup of tea. Either that or blow Asia into outer space. We're dealing with an unimaginably dangerous object here."
The Commander leaned in towards me. "If you are who you say you are, then how the hell did China allow this to happen? This is not something concocted overnight. Something like this requires billions of dollars of funding, and years of development."
"It's more like a couple trillion dollars and over fifty years of research. In fact, I believe we started just after World War II. Why do you think China's been so secretive all these years? And more importantly, where do you think all the money in the world has been going? Until Carrie Park came along, we had these singularities but we didn't know how to exploit them. She took over the project, and basically has been raping the world's economy to provide herself with the resources to pull this off. If you start tracing all the banknotes and default credit swaps and commercial paper, you'll see it all leads to her. She's single handedly broken the back of the world economy. And now that she's stolen the Matrix, it looks like China won't benefit from any of it."
A siren wailed from outside the tent, and we heard some officers shouting out orders.
"Incoming bogies! Coming in low and slow, directly at us!"
"Prepare missile defense! Launch Rapiers on my mark! 5! 4!"
"Belay that order," thundered Cmdr Jeffries, charging out of the tent. Low over the water hovered 6 dots. We could barely make out the whine of the engines.
"Sir! We're losing missile lock! Sir!"
The dots grew and grew until we could make out wings and weapons. 2 klicks out...1 klick...then as one they turned on their sides and we could clearly see the insignia of the Chinese Army on the side, and well as a peek at the pilot of each craft. They turned, straightened, then roared up into the sky at maximum thrust. The ground shook with the power of their engines, and even I cringed a little bit at the thunderous sound. In a moment they had climbed out and away from the danger zone.
The Commander looked at me with wide eyes. "Who are you? I apologize, General. You're obviously no low-level flunky. No one in command would risk six state-of-the-art fighters to prove a point for some underling. Unless...exactly how high up are you in the Army?"
I looked up at the white contrails in the clear blue sky. "You don't understand, Commander. I'm not in the Chinese People's Liberation Army. I am the Chinese People's Liberation Army. I don't have an official rank, 'Major General' is just something I use when asked. I don't have even an official position of any kind. I don't run the day-to-day operations of the Army, we have plenty of career administrators for that. I simply...well...I run China. If I wanted to, I could order the Premier to walk out on the street and dance in his underwear. I could have the Politburo go trick-or-treating. I could make Christmas an official holiday."
The Commander sat down while I continued, pacing a bit in front of him for emphasis. "You see, I'm what you'd call 'The Angel of Death'. I can make anyone die at any time. I've killed more people in more ways than I can remember. I've been the hot potato no one wanted to touch so they kept promoting me. Now I don't generally exercise this authority I have. I simply monitor situations from a distance, and make modifications when necessary. But you can tell from my presence here that I'm the kind of person that will get personally involved when the situation demands it.
"So...let's sit down and talk about how we're going to attack that boat and save humanity from total annihilation."
Posted: Friday, November 14, 2008 @ 10:38 PM
Sunday, November 9, 2008
This time I didn't put on a $50 slutty red dress. I went out a did a bit of shopping...after long hot bath of course. Can never get rid of blood fast enough. I strolled along the city streets doing some window shopping. I finally wandered into a small shop. I found them a bit uppity at first since I had on no makeup and my hair in a simple bun but when I explained that I had a last-minute invitation to a ball with my boss who gave me his credit card they suddenly felt interested. Of course it was my own credit card, but I like to keep a few with different names on them.
I didn't even bother to look at the price of the long flowing dress. I figured it may be a little over the top for what seemed like a professional business meeting, but in my line of work it always helps if people think of me as a dumb piece of arm candy for some wealthy executive.
I arrived looking a bit like the picture above, except I had transferred the money from the blood-stained sack it was in to a large messenger-type bag. My client spotted me and waved me over to a private room.
"Do you have it? Is this everything?"
I nodded and handed him the bag. I looked around for any sign of trickery. He dumped out the contents on a table and he and an associate rifled through it. Finally they stacked it all up and placed it with some other bags, apparently their whole stash.
"I hope you know what you're doing with all that money," I commented. "Tell you what, looks like your muscle is a little weak. Let me hang with you tonight in case anything goes down."
The biggest guy in the room erupted. "Boss! You hear what that bitch just said? You want that I take her out?"
"Shut the fuck up," ordered my client. "Don't you hear anything? She just eliminated this Death Storm character and wiped out a whole room of men by herself. Why Miss Galistina, we'd be thrilled to have you."
"But I want a cut," I continued. "Nothing big. I keep your heads up above water for the night, protect those assets back there, and you cut me in for say, 2 points."
My client glared at me and then at the pile of money in the back. "We lose anything, will you insure our loss?"
I know my net worth. If most of it wasn't ill-gotten gains, I'd be somewhere in the top 1000 richest women on the planet. I could have brought the $100 million myself given enough time to liquidate it. Although with this financial crisis, I'm not quite as wealthy as I once was, especially after my government seized some of my assets after I resigned. Yes I could live out my life in comfort on some desert island, but I'm still young, I'm still looking for Mr. Right...or at least Mr. This Week, and I still look out for my country, like I'm doing right now. Maybe deep inside of me I hope that I can back in their good graces, and do the work I really want to do. But I digress.
"Of course. For a 2% fee I'll definitely cover your losses. But only if the loss occurs through my incompetence, not yours."
My client nodded and smiled at me. "Good. I've always wanted to escort a beautiful lady to one of these events. Someone not my wife of course." We shook hands, and then he held out his arm for me. He outwardly seemed like a kindly old man, perhaps someones grandfather. I'm sure if he had grand kids they must love him.
We walked out of the room and his associates wheeled the cases of money behind us. I looked all around the stately reception area but spotted no immediate threats. I did notice plenty of stares at me, and a few cameras. I didn't mind if they discovered my identity. I had so many that I couldn't even keep track. I just looked like a hired escort, so hopefully they wouldn't pay me much attention.
We rode the elevator up to the penthouse. As we exited I appreciated the great view of the city while still keeping an eye out for threats. A team of security people whisked us. I didn't carry any weapons detectable by such devices, but my client's people had to "check" some of their devices. No phones or cameras or recording devices were allowed.
We were led into a long wide ball room that contained a ring of tables around the periphery in a big 'U' shape. Some men led us to our designated spot, and some women even more scantily clad than I took our drink orders. I looked more like the wait staff than the couple of older well-appointed women seated around the room. I scanned all the participants of the room. I recognized business leaders, politicians, bankers, military men, and leaders of crime families, like my client. We sat with the money between us. I whispered in his ear as I recognized people, and he filled in some of the blanks for me.
The women served us drinks and a few appetizers like chicken satay, tea, beef broquettes, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and leek soup. It all was delicious and I felt half starved from my ordeal today. My client looked at me a little funny but I'm not one to turn away a good meal. Heck it could have been poisoned or compromised but you gotta live. And I figured this payment was only the first, so they'd want us to come back alive.
Right before the start time, all the hired help and security people exited the room. Apparently this was to be a remote presentation since one of the wall lit up with a standby message. At precisely 10PM local time, the wall lit up.
"Welcome, my friends," said a women whose face dominated the entire two screens. She looked vaguely familiar. "My name is Carrie Park. I'd like to introduce someone."
Damn! I could see it now. She's had a lot of work done. I clutched my handbag tightly, feeling like ripping down the wall. She cost me my position with the government, as well as my boyfriend. She ruined my life and forced me to work with scumbags like Death Storm. No government would take me, although I could never see working for any of them.
"This is Xyllan Daijiro. Here's the spelling." A dark-skinned man looked into the camera. My quick assessment noted his shaved head, body art, goatee, faint scarring, muscular body, and deep piercing eyes. He placed an arm around Carrie and kissed her cheek. I couldn't place him, but his features suggested he hailed from somewhere in Indonesia.
"Mr. Daijiro is the mastermind behind the operation, while I've provided most of the financial backing to date. I'm so sorry to have crushed the world's economy in order to finance this project but I hope you'll see the results are worth it. We have asked you all here today in order to invite you into our group. We're calling it the Clan of the Wise. We have come into possession of the greatest power the Earth has ever known. Completely indestructable, and capable of utter destruction. It's the perfect weapon. We're offering you a limited time offer to join our clan. You'll be part of the new World Order, one that together we can claim. But first, a demonstration."
The second screen filled with a video while Carrie narrated. "This morning, a number of attacks were attempted on our stronghold. Behold, see those jets? Noisy aren't they? Here they come circling around for an attack when...Oops! Guess they should have set their auto-pilots."
I watch in fascination and horror as I saw the jets veer off course, crashing into the harbor and surrounding lands.
"Maybe they try some more coffee next time," said Xyllan. "Hard to keep awake during attacks I guess."
"That's not all. Cruise missiles? No problem." We witnessed some grainy shots of missiles plunging into the ocean harmlessly. I couldn't tell if the footage was real until the camera pulled back to show some of the burning wreckage of the jets. "We can disable any attack. Of course, on the other hand, we can also turn our defensive system to a more offensive setup. Watch this footage taken in Shizuishan China a couple of weeks ago while still testing this weapon."
A scene unfolded before me the likes of which I've never seen before. I saw a brightly colored stadium with people walking around outside, perhaps waiting for a match or event of some kind. From the periphery of the picture I could see that the camera was mounted on some kind of vehicle. In a moment, everyone collapsed onto the ground. The camera panned around. Carrie spoke up and mentioned it was a remote-controlled camera. Cars and busses smashed into each other. For a minute we saw no movement whatsoever. A buzzing sound crept onto the video and the camera began searching it out. A small plane flew down over the stadium and crashed into a nearby building. For another few minutes nothing stirred. The camera caught various columns of smoke from around the city.
After about five minutes, while we all talked in hushed whispers, a couple people began standing back up, looking dazed. More and more of them woke up. A lot of them covered their heads with their arms as if they were in extreme pain. The camera zoomed in on one fellow who faced the camera. At first he seemed dazed. Then his eyes began to focus, and his face grew contorted in rage. He hands flexed and his breathing increased. His eyes grew wide and he bared his teeth. He screamed and launched himself at another person.
We all gasped as the people in the town began attacking each other. They beat and bit and pounded away, mostly using their bare hands. As the camera scanned around I saw people ripping each other's throats with their teeth, women beating on each other with obviously broken arms, oblivious to the pain, and I don't even want to mention what happened to the small ones.
"Turn it off, turn it off," screamed one of the women in the room. "It's horrible!"
"This will be all of you if you do not join us," Carrie practically screamed. She thankfully ended the video.
Even I felt shaken up. I mean, I've never seen anything like that before, except in movies, but not really. I'd heard rumors about Shizuishan having some kind of quarantine but I thought that was SARS or some kind of virus.
Carrie continued. "The best part is that the effect is only temporary. After an hour or so the survivors come out of their rage...only to find everyone around them dead!" She laughed like a little girl and hugged this Xyllan fellow.
I felt like jumping through that video screen and strangling her. How could she destroy my countrymen like that? Who the fuck does she think she is? And what the fuck have I been doing wasting my time on petty assassinations when people like her are allowed to exist? I know what my mission is. I am going to kill Carrie Park and end this threat forever.
"Now, all of you here have graciously bought in to the first round of my organization. We'll be collecting the money as you leave. Now for the next round. All of you have some special areas you wouldn't want to see destroyed. Maybe your parents live there. Maybe your children. Well I've done the research, and I've assigned an area to each one of you." A list scrolled down the screen and my client grabbed my arm.
"My grandchildren live there," he said, his voice trembling a bit from the shock of the video.
"Here's the deal. For the next round, whoever has the lowest bid will have their assigned place destroyed. That means you don't have to have the highest bid, just better than the next guy. Fair, right? At the next meeting on the 16th, we will all meet again, and whoever brings the least amount of money will pay the consequences. If I feel like you've been colluding or fixing the price, everything on that list is forfeit. And even if your bid is too low, say less than what you brought tonight, I'll destroy you too."
Carrie stared down at her monitor and her eyes grew wide. "What the...wait a minute." On the second screen I saw a shot of our room, and the camera began zooming in on me.
"Who the fuck brought her to this party? Ellie, you bitch, you get the fuck out of here!"
I rose and pointed a finger at a camera. "You'll never get away with this, Carrie! I'll hunt you down and kill you!" A couple of men grabbed me from behind but I kept up a torrent of invective against the figure on the screen. "I will fucking cut your throat! I'll rip out your guts and gag you with them!" I said some more things in Russian as the men dragged me out.
The jumped on top of me in the elevator and pinned my arms behind my back. They practically carried me through the lobby and threw me out on the street. And to top it all off, I think I broke a nail!
I may be offline for a day or so. Next time you hear from me I'll be on the other side of the world, trying to save it from this madwoman.
Posted: Sunday, November 9, 2008 @ 11:48 PM
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I do it for the challenge and the thrill. I enjoy the danger. Sure, most of the times things go off without a hitch, like a well-oiled machine. I take very few unnecessary risks. I thoroughly vet my clients and my subjects. I don't kill people who I think wronged a potential client for a good reason. If a woman dumps a guy because he cheats and is an all around loser, then I'm not likely to take him as a client. But if instead, she's a lying, cheating whore who stole his money and threw his love for her back in his face, then the pleasure is all mine. I need to feel like I'm doing the world some modicum of justice, although in very few cases do the people I kill truly deserve to die. I'm OK with that, I gotta make a living too you know. It's what I'm good at.
This particular job seems to have taken a turn for the worse. I felt it my duty to inform my client of my partner's treachery. My reputation is on the line here. I've never swindled a client although I've killed a few who tried to double cross me. They ranted and raved and accused me of double crossing them, but I stayed patient and quietly convinced them that I would return them their money. They seemed insistent that I hurry because of some kind of deadline. They even offered me an additional payoff if I returned the money soon, but I declined as I didn't want to appear as if I were extorting them.
Before I began hunting down Death Storm, I did a little more research on my client, wondering what the urgency was. I have access to government servers that record and decrypt all cellular and Internet communications in this country. I gleaned something about a meeting tonight in a downtown high-rise. Each participant in the meeting need to bring cash funds on the order of $100 million. I knew our bag didn't contain that much, but without the contents of the bag, they might fall short. It also might contain other securities like bearer bonds and corporate paper. I could not ascertain the purpose of the meeting. However my lifetime of espionage training told me I needed to be there at all costs, because that kind of money meant some evil was afoot. I may not be working for my government anymore, but I still keep an eye out for her interests.
Tracking down Death Storm proved a little more difficult. I doubted he would do the smart thing and lay low or leave the country or even stash the cash somewhere safe. He liked his women, he liked his drinking, and he especially liked his gambling. By crossing me he obviously didn't respect my abilities and therefore he probably didn't feel much of a threat from me. I spent most of the day wandering from joint to joint, from underground poker rooms to clandestine brothels to heroine dens. I knew he used the junk and it wouldn't surprise me to find him shooting up somewhere. That would make my job so much easier but it wasn't to be.
I finally spotted an associate of his smoking on the street outside an off track betting parlor. I made a quick equipment check before I left my car: guns, knives, garrote, needles, quick ties, blindfold, gag, blow darts, smoke bombs, throwing stars all hidden in a specially designed corset that also served as a bullet-proof vest. It ran down to my knees, concealing everything while maintaining my figure. I don't want to look like a SWAT guy while I'm undercover. A girl still needs to look good when she is out on the town. Over all this I threw on a slutty red dress and slapped on extra makeup. I let my hair down and threw on a pair of high heels with razor sharp points covered by a pad.
I got plenty of stares walking down the street towards the parlor. A car stopped and the guy rolled down the window.
"Hey, looking for a party," the man asked.
I walked over and leaned in the window, giving the guy a great look down my dress. "Maybe. You see anything you like?"
The guy whistled. "I sure don't see girls like you around here. How much for a party?"
"Well I ain't cheap. See that guy down the street? You give him $300 bucks to start with. We'll see where it goes from there."
"Three hundred? For you?"
I pulled my dress back a bit exposing my breast. "It's all real baby, and it's all for you. What do you say? We'll have so much fun. And I'm willing to do anything."
The man gulped. "You'd better. Stay there, I'll be right back." He zoomed down the street towards the parlor. He stopped in front of the man and started talking. I threw off my heels and raced down the street towards them, not a moment to spare. The men had begun a heated argument. I crept up behind my distracted target and held a knife to his throat.
"Get the fuck out of here," I screamed at the man in the car, brandishing a gun in my free hand. He slammed the gas and peeled out down the street. "Come on."
I dragged the man into a nearby alley. "Where the fuck is my money," I yelled at him, carving a notch into his neck with the knife while holding the gun in his kidney. I had pushed him up against the brick facade of the betting parlor.
"Death Storm has it," he mumbled. "And you'll never get it."
"How many," I asked, "how many men in there?" He didn't answer so I cut him deeper. In a bold but not unexpected move he lurched back into me, causing me to drop my gun. He whipped around and leveled his own gun at me but before he could squeeze the trigger I threw my knife right at his head, splitting him right between the eyes. He dropped face first into the street, knocking my knife back out.
I quickly gathered up all the weapons and stashed them, then dragged the corpse behind a dumpster. If I hadn't been pressed for time I could have done a better job. I extracted a compact from my corset and cleaned up my face. Fortunately the color of my dress concealed any blood splatters. I retrieved my heels and then entered the parlor.
I walked through the shadows like a ninja trying to avoid attention while sported a bright red blood-stained dress, which now also featured some sweat stains as well from my recent battle in the street. Dead men don't crawl behind dumpsters by themselves. At least I got my make-up fixed up. I didn't see Death Storm or his friends anywhere but over on one side of the hi-def-monitor bedecked room a couple of men stood in front of a door. All around me the screens glared with horse racing, payoff statistics, boxing matches, and football games (the European kind).
A waitress with a tray of drinks approached the men. Before entering, they patted her down, searching for weapons. "Damn it," I breathed. I slinked over to the ladies room to check my look and try to stash some of my weapons.
Inside the lavatory, another women, also scantily clad, applied some makeup. She stopped to look at me for a moment. "I haven't seen you here before. You new? This place can be a tough place to work, especially with the financial crash. Not a lot of business guys in here lately. Jeez, what happened you?" She noticed some of blood droplets on my arm.
I thought quickly. "Some jackoff tried to jump me in the alley. Right outside here! Wanted a freebie or something. So I got him right in the nose." I held up my fist in a mock punch. "Asshole chased me in here but they wouldn't let the guy in thank god. Too many fucking drunks out there nowadays."
"Wow, sorry. Well welcome to the 'hood. My name's Candy. What brings you to this shithole of a town?"
I shrugged as I shook hands with the tall leggy blond. "Hi, I'm Ellie. I got man troubles. You know. Didn't want to stick around so I hit the road. Say, what's the deal with the private rooms here? Is that for high rollers? Any chance for action in there?"
Candy blew out. "More than one girl can handle. But maybe with the two of us...and since you're new they might take an interest. But it's an all day thing you know. They'll be riding you like a horse. And the payout ain't great for the effort."
"Hmm. I really need the cash. Can you set it up? I think I saw some high rollers in the room in the back. Let me get myself ready. When it's set up, bring me the cash and maybe something to take the edge off. We good?"
After the women left I turned into a fury of activity. I taped various weapons to my legs and arms, as well as the small of my back. The tape covered the edges in case of a pat down. I stashed the guns above the ceiling tiles. I threw my hair forward to cover my face a bit. Candy returned with the money and I frowned at the small amount.
"That's all I could get, girl," she sighed. I felt insulted. I had my pride. I felt like sending Candy back for more but I was running short on time.
"Fine. Let's do this." I downed the bourbon Candy handed me and felt the warmth penetrate my bones.
The men at the door patted me down, if you count a quick grab of my breasts and ass a pat-down. The room we entered was much like the main floor, filled with screens but on a much smaller scale. I spotted Death Storm in the corner talking to some friends. More importantly, I spotted the money bag between his legs.
I turned around and grabbed Candy's arm. "Shit! That's the guy! He's the guy who...who beat me," I whispered to her. "Oh god, what if he sees me? Him and his sick friends...he never liked me turning tricks. Now we're in this locked room...he'll beat me to death!"
I cringed in the corner. Candy lay an arm around my waist. "Hey, girl. We can get out of this. We've been through worse, haven't we? Listen, I've dealt with creeps like this before. Let me distract them and maybe you can slip out unnoticed. Just hide over here for a minute. "
Candy sauntered in the middle of the room while I ducked behind a wet bar. We had entered quietly so no one had noticed us until now. She began taking off her clothes and dancing in the middle of the room. A couple of the guys started dancing with her, rubbing their hands on her naked body. I shivered as the though of those filthy hands on my body creeped me out. I could play hooker, but I don't think I could ever be a hooker.
Death Storm didn't budge. In fact, he yelled at them because they blocked his view of the screens. Candy peeked over towards me and I pointed at the man. She slid over to him and sat in his lap, gyrating and grinding at him, placing his hands on her ass. She finally succeeded in getting him up off the couch. I could see from the amount of empty glasses that he had to be pretty ripped by now. I crept out from the bar and around the couch. Just as I grasped the bag, someone spotted me.
"Who the fuck is she? Shit! She's grabbing your shit!"
I jumped up and threw the bag behind me, a wry grin on my face. Death Storm threw Candy aside and faced me.
"Jesus, Ellie, you're just a glutton for punishment. Boys? Get her."
Two guys approached me and two guys fell to the ground with knives in their throats. Candy screamed. Storm went for his gun but I knocked it away. I rolled and grabbed a knife out of one guys throat sending his blood spurting everywhere. A man threw a chair at me but I ducked as it sailed into a monitor, smashing it off the way. He jumped me but I plunged my now unsheathed stiletto heels into his heart. I kicked off the other shoe.
Candy screamed and screamed, clutching her naked breasts, spurting blood covering her body. The other men retreated, and I faced Death Storm alone. We had sparred a lot in the last few weeks, but I never revealed to him the true nature of my abilities. We locked arms and he threw me across the room. He charged me but I ducked at the last moment and pushed him into some monitors that crashed and sparked. The floor grew slippery from the pooling blood from the writhing men but I had fought in worse. He came at me like a tiger, trying to throw me off balance with a series of punches and kicks. He slipped just a tiny bit on the blood and I pounced, swinging under his arm and up onto his back where I plunged my teeth into his neck, seeking that warm carotid that would mean his death.
I must have nicked it because after he threw me off, I saw a small spurt of blood pulse out of his neck.
He clamped an hand down on it but nothing except immediate surgery could save him now.
"Ahh, you bitch! What the fuck have you done?" He screamed and charged me like a bull. Once again I ducked and threw him over me into the bar, sending the bottles of booze flying. I heard pounding on the door as the men outside tried to gain entrance. In the distance sirens wailed. Death Storm tried to pull himself up but the blood loss grew critical. I kneeled down next to him and looked into his dying eyes.
"You should never have crossed me," I told him quietly. "You were a pretty decent fighter."
"Ellie," he rattled. "I had to take it. Those people who hired us, they're not who we thought they were. I had to make sure they never got the money." He clutched my dress. "If you take that money then run. Do not get involved." He coughed and then stared at the ceiling, dead.
"Give us the bag or she dies," said the men, grabbing Candy and holding a gun to her head. I whirled around to face them then laughed.
"Go ahead, kill her. The moment you pull that trigger, you'll be dead men. You've got 5 seconds to let her go and get out of my way. Drop it! Now." I pointed knives at them, holding my arms out straight.
They dropped it and let her go.
I hoisted the money sack on my back. "Get dressed," I said to Candy, who stood there quivering. "Get dressed! If you want to live, you need to move! Now!"
She quickly donned her dress with shaking hands. I collected my weapons then watched as Death Storm's life drained out of his body. What a waste of talent. If he stayed disciplined he could have made far more than what lay in the bag. I found a street exit and dragged Candy out. We walked out past the undiscovered dead body that Candy did actually notice. She cringed at the sight. Fortunately my car was close by and we got in unnoticed.
"Here." I passed her some moist wipes that had an added chemical that neutralized the color of blood. I helped her wipe off her face and arms so we wouldn't arouse suspicion.
"What...are...you..." she muttered as I cleaned her up.
"I'm no streetwalker," I said matter-of-factly. "Those men stole money from me. I got it back."
"Are you going to...kill me?"
I laughed. "What? No, you were great in there. You played your part perfectly."
"Why...why did you let those men live? They tell everything."
"Good. I have a reputation to uphold. No one crosses me and lives to tell about it. They've learned a valuable lesson today." I gunned the car down the street and we rode in silence for a minute.
A little color returned to her face. "Well...well...then I'm out a little bit here. Do you think you could...I wouldn't talk."
I saw her eyeing the money bag. I pulled over the car and she shrunk away from me.
"Now you want my money," I scolded her, then smiled. I though she was about to die from fright. "Relax! I'm just kidding. When I said you played your part well, I mean it. Here, what do you need? Is 10 enough? Twenty?" I think she might have thought $10 until I pulled out a large stack of bills. "Here's twenty grand. Spend it wisely." I plopped the bills in her lap and found a supermarket bag in the back for her to carry it in.
Her mouth dropped open. "I'll never tell, I promise. I swear. I never saw anything, I wasn't there."
"Tell 'em whatever you want, they'll never find me," I said. "Now tell me where I can drop you off because I've got an important meeting to get to."
After I sent her on her way I made my preparations. I'll let you know what happens if I make it through.
Posted: Saturday, November 8, 2008 @ 2:41 PM
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Let me explain what happened.
We contract our first job as a team, a very lucrative yet seemingly simple proposition. Apparently someone had stolen a lot of money from a wealthy family. Our job was to interrogate the man, find the money, kill him and dispose of the evidence, and then return the money, minus our commission of course. Even if we didn't find the money, our client would repay us our minimum fee just for killing the man. That fee went well into the six-figure range.
Everything started out well. We discovered the thief hanging out in a seedy hotel after only half a day of searching. Death Storm claimed to be a master interrogator, but he turned out to be just another thug from the streets. I guess I need to check more references next time. Pulling out people's teeth with pliers is cruel and messy. Besides, all that blood causes the subject to choke and stumble with his words. Interrogation is a fine art, creating the desire in the subject to share his secrets and to feel good about it. You don't just duct tape a guy down to a chair and raid the nearest tool shed.
Once we extracted the location of the money, Death Storm taped the guys face completely shut and we watched him choke to death on his own blood. DS taunted and ridiculed the poor man as he died, laughing like a hyena, which is fairly classless in my book. I would have at least given the guy a smoke or something, but DS was in a huge hurry, like the world would end if he didn't retrieve the money. I'd rather savor the moment. It's not everyday you see someone die (well for me it can be but every death is different).
We easily found the bus locker containing the bag of money. I knew that I was looking at a 7-figure payout easily. Not my best haul but far above average for this kind of operation. We're driving away when DS takes an exit far from our client's base of operations.
"Where I we going," I ask, instantly suspicious.
"Finding a place to count the money," he mumbled, not sounding convincing. We drive into an old warehouse district full of abandoned buildings. The car stutters over potholes and rails. On a particularly large bounce, I pull out my knife and jab it towards his throat. The blow would have killed him instantly but he had been trained. He must have sensed me tensing because he grabbed my arm and banged it on the steering wheel, knocking the knife loose.
"What the fuck you stupid bitch," he cried. I tried to elbow his jaw and he blocked that too. What ensued was a couple of seconds of punching, scratching, and clawing until the vehicle turned hard left and slammed into the corner of a warehouse. Death Storm's head impacted the steering wheel and I jumped out of my side of the car, bruised but nothing broken. I whipped out my gun and put a couple slugs into the wall outside the driver's door.
"Now get out slowly, Storm, and let me see your hands!" I shouted at the daze man. He pushed open his damaged door with his legs and emerged with a trickle of blood coming out of his nose.
"Hey! Hey, E-Gal!" He calls me E-Gal for short. So cute sometimes. "C'mon, I'm on the level here! We just need a place to sort the money. Put that damn thing away."
"Over here and down on the ground! NOW!" He smiled at me but I smelled a rat. He took a step towards the spot I indicated then stopped, his eyes peering behind me and a chuckle coming from his throat. I didn't want to fall for that trick, but the subtle sound of steps behind me convinced me he wasn't fooling.
In an instant I ducked and rolled while gunfire erupted all around me. I sprang up and zigzagged towards the nearest doorway, hearing the snap of bullets passing within inches of my head. Fortunately I'm not the largest of targets, and the adrenaline coursing through my veins gave me an extra step or two. I dove through the doorway and hustled myself over to some cover. My breath came ragged and deep.
"Come out here, bitch!" he yelled at me. "And we'll show you some good fun."
I heard snickering from outside and twinged at a couple gunshots.
"Go fuck yourselves," I yelled. "And you'd better leave me my share of the fucking money!"
"Hey, I got a car to pay for!" Bullshit, that car was stolen. "You and your fuckhead client will never see a dime of this money! Bitch!"
Ooo...I was pretty mad. Nothing worse than getting swindled on the deal. I heard a car approach and stop.
"You take my money and you're a dead man," I yelled out but I just heard some expletives and gunshots aimed in my general direction. The car doors slammed shut and the car gunned off. Carefully I approached the door, wary of any tricks or traps, but they simply had driven off with all the money. My entire reputation as an assassin lay at stake. I have to do something to get that money back and exact my revenge.
Death Storm, if you're out there, then you'd better start running because I'm coming to get you. You have no idea what you're up against. You'll never see me coming, and by the time you realize I've arrived it will be too late.
Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2008 @ 11:55 PM