Cloak & Dagger
By Toni Walker
|Alison Corday and Ethan Fairchild in Cloak & Dagger, a Legacy mission.|
As Ethan moved forward taking the lead, the tunnel swirled before him and switched between one tunnel and two. He could feel an unexpected drain on his energy as if someone was sucking it straight out of his body. His head swum and he dizzily reached for what he thought was the wall but came in contact with Alison's arm. Alison regarded him warily, her eyes taking in his actions.
He let her energy steady him. And suddenly his vision snapped back into focus. He shook his head as if trying to erase what had just happened but Alison wasn't letting him off that easily.
Ethan pulled Alison aside before they reached the end of the tunnel. His mind was on Michela. How could somebody do this to her?
"Exactly who was on this mission with Michela when her mind went sideways? Are they trustworthy? Could they have triggered it?"
"Always thinking like a spy aren't you?"
Ethan gave her a look that said he didn't think any other way.
"Simon Falconer was her partner on the op. He was halfway across the courtyard when she started displaying symptoms. I was their eyes and ears from HQ playing the role of controller. No one was near her according to my surveillance when the incident happened."
"Falconer's loyalties were a little iffy a few years back." Ethan mulled around theories in his head. "After that helicopter incident everyone thought he was dead. He may have been compromised. He may have given her some time delayed concoction."
Alison stopped him. "Hey, you're making too much of this. This could have happened for any number of medical reasons that are not nefarious at all."
"Nefarious complications are easier to cure than medical ones," Ethan pointed out.
Kevin appeared at the junction with Mila in tow. Her face was wrapped in Kevin's handkerchief. Ethan gestured toward the girl's face. Kevin recognized the gesture. It was his, what in the hell are you doing gesture.
"What?" he said. "It's a secret tunnel. I'm keeping it secret."
Alison punched in her code on the non-descript phone at the end of the tunnel. There was no beep, no acknowledgment. She waved at the hidden camera hoping it was a friendly face on the other side.
The door opened soundlessly and the four of them crossed the threshold. Boswell was there to meet them, but he wasn't the only one. Kain Newcastle, aka Echo, was doing his technological magic on the computer. He was pounding so hard on the keyboard they wondered if it would break apart from the pressure.
"What's with him?" Ethan glanced toward Echo.
"We had a bit of a security breach. That new director, Liz Hunter, brought some of her people in. We've been coordinating with sections all over HQ," Boswell said.
Echo didn't look up but he continued on where Boswell left off. "This has to be more than Echelon. they don't have the expertise for this. That Liz girl is just a pawn they've placed in the game.
"So, what's your theory," Ethan asked.
"Could be Black Council. They have their fingers everywhere. But whomever is doing this is good. Damn good."
"Echo is a genius with code and he's having a challenge getting around them." Boswell approached Mila and removed the blindfold. Her eyes connected with Echo's and she wobbled a bit on her feet. She glanced up with apologetic eyes.
"Who's this lovely lady?" Echo asked.
"Mila Ferguson. Her father works for Chandelor Knight." Ethan said.
"Worked," Boswell said. "Somehow Liz got her hooks in Daddy Warbucks and had half the staff replaced including Fergus."
Kevin cursed under his breath. "They really are targeting the entire organization. Whomever 'they' are."
"What about Michela?" Mila asked. "Where is she? Is she safe?" MIla could think of nothing but her friend. Everyone she trusted had betrayed her, even her own father.
"We might be able to bypass the new troops Liz brought in. The infirmary is only one level down from here," Echo said.
Ethan held up his hands for silence. Footsteps pounded in sync down the hallway. He motioned for everyone to hide and they all scattered to various corners of the Delta entrance just as armed men dressed in black cammo and black boots marched around the corner. An emblem tattooed on one soldier's wrist caught Ethan's eye. It was two letters: BC.
The Black Council definitely had a hand in this, at least, a far as ground cover and troops were concerned. They needed to get everyone of their people together to fight this new enemy.
Bette Marsden woke up the next morning in her bed, stretched and walked into the shower. Her phone beeped on the floor with a new text message. The text showed the screen. It was from Jacques DuPre.
Bette came out of the bathroom to another beep on her phone fifteen minutes later. The sedative Alison gave her had knocked out the last forty-eight hours of her memory. In that time period, she'd met the notorious Jacques DuPre.
Today she just looked at the phone in confusion. "Who is Jacques DuPre?"
Bette pushed the ignore button on the small cell not realizing making such a gesture would send a unit of men to her doorstep. But she had at least ten minutes before that option occurred.
Photos and correspondence littered the surface of the kitchen table. She fingered one and her hand moved to a note that had her hand moved to a note that had her handwriting on it. In the background was a buzzing noise. Bette recognized as her fax machine. But that didn't concern her.
Huh, transportation cipher. She brought the note closer. "I don't remember doing this."
She picked up a photo, but noticed a fax lying on the floor next to her computer. She grabbed it. Another transposition cipher. When she completed it minutes later, her eyes widened in horror.
It said: JACQUES DUPRE IS ONTO US. GET OUT NOW!
Echo returned to his desk and put blocks on doors in the security system so the BC troops couldn't get back into this area or the Infirmary one level down. He motioned for Boswell to start moving toward the elevators. He turned on elevator three for them.
"Text me if you want to come back up." Echo said. "Tell me I look hot. I'll get the message."
"Yeah, I get the message too. She's too young for you, Echo. Stay away from her." Ethan put his arm around Mila.
Once inside the elevator there was no need for hiding. Boswell took Ethan and Mila down one level to Michela's room. She looked at them with blank eyes. She sat cross-legged on the bed writing in a pink notebook with a purple gel pen.
"They've been parading people in here all day," Boswell said. "I don't think she's quite in the mood for company."
"How many times do I have to say, 'I don't remember any of you?'" Michela lamented dramatically then focused back on her notebook.
Mila nudged Ethan. "I thought you knew her a long time ago."
"I met her a year after she was in high school. Alison says she believes she's justin her junior year. So, she shouldn't remember me."
"But, she should remember her dad," Mila said.
"My dad? You know my dad?" Michela bounced off the bed and grabbed Mila with both arms.
"Of course. My mother has worked for him for years." Mila wriggled against Michela's insistent grasp.
"Your mother? The only person who works for my parents is... Sophia! Your mother is Sophia."
Michela hugged Mila. "I don't know you but you're the closest thing I've got to family." Then she eyed Ethan. She gave him a scorching once over. "Who's the hottie?"
"The hottie does have a name," he said. Before he could say more his eyes rolled up into the back of his head and he collapsed onto the floor.
"Oh, my God! I so did NOT do that!" Michela spoke in her best valley girl voice.
Mila ran down the hallway and yelled for help. Kevin was chatting with one of the techs and heard her cries. He ran to assist. As he checked Ethan's pulse, he realized it was barely there.
Kevin threw his cell phone at Mila. "Call Lee Myers. Name's in the directory. Tell him we'll meet him at the lab."
"What's happened?" Mila asked.
"Ethan's body crashed. His nanites are killing him."