Strings of Retaliation – 19b – Escape

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My relationship with the FBI taught me one valuable thing: no matter how hard both party tried, a double agent never completely trusted the organizations he worked for. Too many secrets were built into the relationship. It didn’t take much to tip a working alliance over to paranoia, and turn presumed allies into weapons of their own demises.
Much like Edouardo Delgada’s security system killed him, way back when.
Scaling up my assassination methods demanded more interdependencies and long-term planning then I liked. I had to accept I couldn’t do everything myself and stop fidgeting.
I said. Stop. Fidgeting!
“Vincent is here to see you, Miss Beyer,” Gail’s voice startled my pen out of my hand.
I dropped the report I couldn’t decipher anyway and pressed the intercom’s button — another oddity that made me the talk of the office. “Let him in.”
The door cracked open and Vexx, wearing his Vincent face and an impeccable suit, strutted in with a resounding “Hello, love!” before shutting the door behind him. He cradled a massive bouquet of roses, complete with a self-sustaining vase.
“So?” I moved from my desk to my little lounge.
Vexx placed the flowers on the coffee table and sat in one of the couches. “Gabriel called with the time and key points of the route. It’s happening tonight. Djeb is mobilizing his team.”
Though the tricky part was still ahead, I breathed easier. I knew Djeb would do what I paid him for, even if it wasn’t his core business. I didn’t trust Gabriel that much. He had yet to come to terms with what we would have to do to solve this case.
“Nailing this on us would put us back on death row,” Vexx said, following my trail of thoughts in his usual uncanny way.
“We’ve toed that line a bunch of times already.” I couldn’t even reassure myself. One way or the other, we would step beyond the limit. I only hoped it would be too late for them to stop this. My clock struck 2 o’clock. “I have training.”
“Will you be able to call Gabriel at 7?”
Gail rapped at my door to remind me of my appointment.
“Coming!” I said to her attention before turning my voice down to answer Vexx. “Sure. I’ll see you at Djeb’s asap.”
I grabbed my purse while Vexx opened the door for me. “Isn’t he the sweetest?”
“Only for my queen!” Vexx answered.
“You too are so perfect together!” Gail giggled. She chirped about our outfits for the tour’s opening night. “You two belong on the red carpet.”
As a result of Gail’s excitement, Vexx and I didn’t have to say a thing until we parted in the garage. We kissed, Gail ah-ed, then we went our merry way.
“Someone’s going to pop the question soon,” Gail singsonged once we sat in the limo.
I chuckled. “Yeah, sure.”
“I’m serious. Flowers in the middle of the day for no particular reason! Come on!”
I couldn’t tell her the reason for Vexx’s visit so I decided to go with her current daydream. Blushing on command was an art, but anything less would make her question my fake couple.
The ride to the studio was short as Merrilyn had the training facility set up as close as possible to limit my time in transit. It wasn’t within our head office was because the aerial choreography for the show required a very high ceiling.
After I changed and warmed up, my choreograph strapped me into a safety harness and made me rehearse the first half of the third act in one go. He brought me down, gave me a few pointers and showed me the next couple of moves. He pushed me real hard, harder than he thought he could given that I was doing this without an implant.
I enjoyed it.
Sitting along the far wall, Gail split her time between watching me and closing her eyes to focus on her work. Through her remote connection to the MerriTech system, she could do exactly what she would do at her desk. When the choreographer unhooked me for a break, Gail monopolized my attention with a thousand questions.
At least I didn’t have time to worry about Saskia.
We headed back to the office at five. Freshly showered and energized by the workout, I dug into some work stuff, finding it easier to concentrate now. When the clock struck seven, I closed all the surveillance in my office and picked up my FBI-issued cellphone.
The fake limo service patched me through to Gabriel in no time.
“Hey, I couldn’t get away earlier. I overheard two special project employees talking,” I murmured with all the urgency and conspiracy I could muster. “I think they’re going to try to stop Saskia’s transfer.”
“Look,” I switched my voice to pure annoyance, “I’m taking a big risk calling you from the office. You need to warn your bosses now.”
He knew I was lying of course, just as I knew that even if he made the call right now, the reinforcement would be too late. What mattered was that there would be a trail proving that I did call Gabriel from MerriTech, presumably to warn him of the attack. It would be the only trail hinting at the origin of the unmarked van that stopped the FBI convoy.
“I’ll let them know,” Gabriel confirmed after a deep breath.
“Thanks. Please don’t lose her.”
I hung up the phone and made a show of hurrying out of the office. Gail would remember this. Tomorrow, when I would ask her to call Kim, the head of Special Project, in my office, the edge in my tone would lead her to the first logical conclusion: I stormed out of the office after being informed that a certain somebody screwed something up.
Let the chaos begin!

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

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