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Animabus Tenebris Brotherhood

posted Oct 18, 2017, 5:08 AM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Katherine Alder, Staff Writer

Posted October 18th, 2017

The wind rushed by my face as I fell.  I felt like I was falling in slow motion I could almost count the floors as they went by. I could hear my heart beating and the blood rushing through my limb I couldn't hear the horrified pedestrians who watched  me falling. Every logical thought in my body screamed that I wasn't going to survive this, but I knew at the very bottom was a safety net and the entrance to headquarters. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… I fell through the hole in the ground and I hit the net. I bounced up and down on a few time then back flipped off if and onto the ground. My landing was sloppy and I had to do a somersault and then jump to my feet. Damn, I normally land on  my feet.

¨If you are quite done with your acrobatics agent, you have been called in for a legitimate reason,” said a voice from the dark hallway ahead.

¨What reason would that be Sir?” I replied walking toward him. ¨I do hope it is about a new mission.¨

¨If you would follow me I’m sure high command would be happy to tell you.” Quirin Kästner responded, but there was something in his voice that made me uneasy. I had a very very bad feeling about this and I had learned it was best to trust those feelings. I only nodded in response and followed him into the darkness, which seemed more ominous now somehow. I clicked a hidden button on the side of my hipster framed glasses to activate night vision. The green that highlighted everything made things creepier. Bugs crawled along the mold covered walls, a rat scurried along the side of the tunnel.  Its shadow on the wall was of a beast far larger. The tunnel seemed to stretch out for miles as though it grew longer with every step I took.

We reached a door. The door was styled like a submarine hatch. An oval with a locking wheel in the center.  I touched the button in my glasses again as Quirin spun the wheel and held the door for me like a gentleman in an old movie. I walked into the next room blinking at the harsh transition for darkness to a brightly lit room with blindingly white walls. We must have taken a different path through the tunnels because I had never been in this room before. When my eyes finally adjusted to the light, I checked the room for exits possible weapons and for enemies. I noticed that the door had been shut and locked behind me. The second exit was a door behind a dark wooden desk. There was a pistol hidden in the potted plant beside the desk, a knife in a vase that was poorly hidden by fake flowers, at least to my eyes. There was a woman waiting by the door, she had a bullet proof vest on under her suit, she probably had a gun or knife in her knee high boots and a gun on her thigh under her skirt. She was probably trained in martial arts like myself. There was a man at the desk, he was slightly overweight and he didn't have the same confidence as the woman at the door. He looked like he was acting, where as she looked powerful. Their farce could fool most people but I spent years training and learning how to read a situation. The hatch only unlocks from the other side and from a switch on the other side of the room. Which leaves one exit. The one guarded by the woman. The man posed no threat real threat to me but the woman and I were probably equally skilled fighters she may have been more powerful than me.  

“If you could relinquish  your weapons please agent and have a seat,” said the man behind the desk.

“Of course sir.” I said setting my gun on the floor, while discreetly  watching the woman, a look crossed her face then returned to her normal stone faced calm. She knew that wasn’t all my weapons. I smiled, stood up and walked toward the chair in front of the desk. Then, I “accidentally” knocked the cushion off, to check for traps under the cushion and to see if it was a pressure sensitive Hera trap.

“I meant to hand the weapons to me but that will be fine agent.” The man spoke again.

“Only one gun agent?” The woman spoke up finally.

“Traveling light.” I replied

“Anyway I’m sure you are wondering why I called you here.” he said.

“Actually, I was wondering why there is a knife in the vase you know that water is bad for knives right, it will get rusty.” I replied without even looking up from the nail I was picking at. I don’t know why I bother painting my nails because I always scratch the polish off.  

“What knife? Agent are you quite well?” The man tried to lie, but I saw right through it.

“You insult me Sir a child could see through your lie. Don’t even try, in fact don’t even speak, it is obvious that she is the true leader you are just a puppet behind a desk.” I said the sir is a disgusted and mocking way. I was truly insulted by what he thought would confuse me. He could not lie to a child much less a highly trained agent.

“Very good agent. Very good. You are the first agent that we called in here to see the fact that he wasn’t the leader. Nikolaev get out of my chair!” The woman commanded. Once Nikolaev had vacated her space she walked over to her chair and sat down putting her combat boots up on the desk. I saw my own stride mirrored in her. “Now, let's get down to business.” she added removing the knife from the vase and drying it off on the corner of her shirt.

“I’d love to, but I do have one quick question.” I paused for dramatic effect and then said, “Have plants evolved? Because last I checked, plants don’t grow pistols.”

She sighed and snactched the gun out of the pot and spun it around her finger once and set it in the middle of the desk, “Will that be all Agent.”

“My name is Anastasia Altoviti not agent.” I said letting a hint of my accent creeping into my voice.

“Well then Agent Altoviti, can we discuss business now.” She asked clearly exasperated with me. I knew I had pushed things far enough and it was time to capitulate.

“Yes, ma’am what do we need to discuss.” I replied without my usual flippancy.

“I have a mission for you, I needed our best agent and you were the first to pass most all of my tests-”

“Most! What did I miss?” I interrupted.

“One you set your gun behind you you should have kicked it forward so that you could get it without having to move further from your end goal.” she began. At this I stood up on the back of my chair and back flipped off of it causing the chair to crash to the floor, I snatched my gun a rolled forward. In a few seconds I had my weapon and had avoided any potential crossfire. She continued speaking as though nothing happened, “Very good agent but if you had kicked it forward you could have the gun in your hand without anyone knowing you had it.”  I sighed seeing the truth in her words. I returned my gun to its holster and picked the chair up.  “Furthermore you missed two knives and a gun in the desk and your excuse of traveling light is awful.”

I looked over the desk again quickly and realized what I had missed, “Do you mean the 45 in the keyboard tray and the stiletto in the pencil cup…” I looked around again, “.Annnd the switchblade in the lamp?”

“Very good Altoviti. As I was saying you are the first agent to pass my tests and we don’t have time to test anyone else so you are going to have to be good enough.”

“Good enough, good enough, I am one of the best in the business maybe the best and all I get is good enough.” I stressed the in the best. To say I was insulted would be the understatement of the century.

“Yes agent, good enough. In this mission the arrogance you just displayed will get you killed. This isn’t some lost bag you’re returning to some dignitary. This mission will probably get you killed. Painfully. In this mission the best isn’t good enough. Just because you are the first out of 27 agents to pass my tests doesn’t make you the best, it doesn’t make you infallible, and it sure as hell doesn’t make you immortal.” She admonished.

“If you are going to send me to my death the least you could do is introduce yourself.” I replied.

“Markov, Commandant Markov.” She replied icily. The commandant! The commandant herself was giving me a mission? She was in control of the entire Animabus Tenebris Brotherhood that I worked for, no one very saw her or even knew her name but here she was personally giving me a mission, this actually was serious…

“What is the mission, Ma’am?” I responded for once deadly serious.

A fact that she noticed immediately, “Do you speak to all your superiors with such levity?”

“I have a problem with authority and I am very independent, and the easiest way to maintain that is to never act like someone is above you no matter what authority they hold. So, to answer your question yes, I speak to everyone like that regardless of rank.” I replied. She merely hummed in response, pulling a thick file out of the left bottom door of the desk and dropped it on the table. It hit with a loud bang which rattled everything on the surface of the desk. I pen fell from the edge. My hand shot out and snatched it out of the air.

“This file contains information on nearly every member in s86, as well as and a detailed description of what your role in the plan is. In short I want you to infiltrate s86 and destroy them from the inside out.” she said and then spun the file around to face me and pushed it across the desk. Then she yanked the pen out of my hand, I had been flipping it between all four of my fingers instead of just the first two. “STOP, I just gave you the most important and dangerous mission of your life one that could very possibly end it and the lives of many others and YOU’RE DOING PEN TRICKS!”she admonished shouting the last part in my face.

I hadn’t even realized I was doing it but I couldn’t resist the chance to push her buttons one more time, “Honestly there is no need to shout Markov, I am not auditorily impaired, and I didn’t realize you were that old, you might want to invest in some hearing aids if you can’t hear yourself.” I picked up the file and walked toward the door. I shot the lock off and walked through, and said “Cheerio boss lady.” before slamming the door behind me. I could hear Markov scream in frustration and throw things at the door. If they didn’t need me as much as they did I would probably be dead or fired. Whichever comes first. I barely contained my laughter until I was out of earshot.  I lost control and the laughter exploded out of me like lava from a volcano. Once I regained my composure I shoved the file into my backpack and I followed the path back to where I first entered the compound. I climbed up a ladder that led to a back alley way in between the building I had previously jumped from and its neighbor.

I punched in my code and scanned my fingerprint and retina in order to open what from the outside appeared to be a normal manhole cover. I crept quietly out of the ally and joined the thralls of people on the busy city sidewalks and walked back to my house. I paused about a block away and checked my security cameras from my phone to see if anyone suspicious had passed by or attempted to enter. There was a pizza delivery guy that tried to deliver pizza to the wrong house but he looked normal enough not like an agent pretending to be a pizza deliver guy. I continued walking until I got within visual range of my house. I slowed down and checked over everything with a caution that has kept me alive. There was a person hiding behind the dumpster that my neighbors had put exactly on our property line. They didn’t like me very much or my violin playing I’m not really sure. I suppose normal people would be sleeping at three in the morning not playing Bach but I work late on some cases and playing helps me think. The fact that I played the same song for four hours with my window open does not justify placing a dumpster on my property line. I walked as quietly as humanly possible toward the dumpster wrapping my fingers around the grip of my hand gun. Their shoes did not match any my neighbors owned. They only purchased shoes that looked similar to the ones they already had. They had a very specific routine and anything that would interrupt that was met with major opposition. “Hey you, yeah you the one skulking behind the dumpster. State your intentions.” I called out.

A strange kid jumped up and said, “Sorry ma’am my tarantula got out and-”

“Find it now.” I shrieked. I am one of the best spies in the Animabus Tenebris Brotherhood and I have faced some of the most deadly foes on this planet and I would rather fight a hundred more than deal with a spider.

“I already did ma’am.” He said calmly raising his hand so I could see and sure enough there was an enormous tarantula sitting on his hand.

I resisted the urge to scream, and stumbled backwards a few feet. “Get it away from me.” I said my voice raising in pitch as I spoke.

“Of course ma’am, we were just leaving,” he said slightly confused at my reaction.  He started walking away but after a moment or two he began skipping. I sighed in relief that the spider was gone and jogged up my sidewalk and climbed the stairs to get to my porch. I scanned my retina and left thumb print in the scanner to the right of my door that was disguised as a mail box. Then I put in the combination in the keypad that was hidden on the bottom of the door handle, and then I pulled my keys out of my pocket and unlocked the door, walking in. I closed the door behind me checking the room to see if anything was out of place and then I turned around a locked the door. I dropped the file on my coffee table and started reading. After a few hours I picked up my violin and started to play. This mission might never be over, and I started in the morning.

To Be Continued...