Chapter 15: A Chance Meeting

Carolina looked at the bustling city down below. It was yet another active night both for her and the city. She studied the map on her HUD and eyed the route to her target. HQ managed to get another one pretty quick in comparison to last time. Maybe they are starting to take this seriously now. She stood up and stretched her legs. Church appeared beside her and pointed in the way they needed to go. "Let's make sure to get there as soon as possible and nab this one. We don't want any surprises like last time."

"Right," she jumped off from the building and onto the opposite rooftop. As she jumped through the air, she could only imagine what the air would feel like against her dancing hair. Church took this opportunity to get a few things out of the way with her. "Hey sis, I have been wondering. Why are you so interested in figuring this thing out, why not just let the government handle it?"

"You are kidding right? The government isn't going to do anything at this rate," she berated the suggestion. "You know that, you have listened to our previous conversations at work and with the UNSC. Politics are a nasty thing, at this rate they will just end up biting their own tail off."

"That still doesn't answer why you want to do this."

"If I have the power to make a difference, then the least I can do is make it happen," she lowered her head as if to pay her respects. "Even if the living may not appreciate it, at least those affected by these tragic events can rest easy."

She landed firmly across from the building she needed to infiltrate and took out her binoculars. "I also owe the people of this city for granting me so many wonderful experiences. To turn my back on them now would be nothing but cowardly of me. I can change things for the better, I know it."

She scanned the building, and Epsilon took the data to construct a map layout alongside general enemy placements. Carolina sat down to study the enemy movements and planned out a general tactic for handling them. I will need to do this quietly, or else he may become alert. In that case going in from the roof maybe the better idea. She looked at the map data and calculated the distance from the roof to the target's office. "Church, is there any way for me to get down from the roof to the office without using the stair case?"

"You could always fly I guess," he joked, yet there was complete silence in reaction. Church looked around and even the city became quiet at the terrible joke. "Man tough crowd."

"How about some serious suggestions?"

"If we can find a good point, you can always repel down and enter his office through the glass window. But won't he see us coming that way?"

"Probably, but if we play our cards right, then this is possible," Carolina brought up the list of modules and suddenly eyed a recently acquired good. "Get ready, we are commencing mission."


She landed on the target building rooftop safely and stealthily. Adjusting her force on the floor, to minimize the footstep noises, she moved slowly towards the edge of the roof. In a quiet whisper she asked of her partner in crime. "Do you think this spot will do?"

Church studied the railings and agreed. "But how do you plan to go down unnoticed?"

"It will be a one-time use but remember that invisibility cloak we got as part of the mission equipment selection?" She asked and Church nodded. "We will go with that. I want you to keep an eye on the power level for the unit as we descend. Also prepare the glass cutting tools with adequate power levels. Let's do this nice and clean."

Going down the window slowly, she did her best to remain as quiet as possible. While she did attract some attention because of the rope, it was nothing the guards fretted over. She quickly reached the targeted office and took out the glass cutter. She made a clean hole when the target wasn't looking and landed safely into the office. In quick response, the target turned around with his pistol drawn. He took note of the hole and slowly moved towards it. His heart beat began to run wild with anxiety. "Who's there?"

Carolina jumped him from the back just as soon as her invisibility unit ran dry. She ducked under his wide swing and bent his elbow against his will prompting him to release his weapon. Carolina kicked him in the crotch which sent him down onto the ground and forced away his gun. She drew her pistol and rested the barrel against his head. She held up a finger against her helmet's mouth piece and a restless finger on the trigger. It sent a clear message to the target. "Here is how this will work, I ask the questions and you give a simple answer. If you try to dodge the question, you get busted nose. If you don't answer, you get a broken finger. Call out for help, and you win the grand prize of them all, a bullet to the forehead. Understood?"

The target nodded his head prompting Carolina to pat him. "Good man, now tell me, you wouldn't happen to be related to any terrorist organizations would you? This organization has been notorious for targeting supply trucks and space centers."

The target looked at the gun barrel, but gritted his teeth to affirm his position of silence. Carolina let out a restless sigh and stored away her gun. She held up his one finger and placed her other hand over his mouth. "You guys always make this so difficult. Just talk and you can go home happy. But I guess this is also a somewhat interesting aspect of my job."

Slowly twisting his finger around, she took his pinky and bent it ninety degrees backwards. His eyes became bloodshot with pain. He moaned and growled behind her palm. His struggle began to irritate her. She held up another finger as leverage and a threat. "If you don't shut up and get answering, your other finger may have the same problem."

Hearing a few muffled words, she slowly removed her palm to allow the man some breathing room. "I- I will talk. Just don't hurt me anymore, please."

He took in a deep breath recovering from the pain. "I- I belong to a large terrorist organization. It engages in the activities you mentioned."

Bingo, she pondered now holding her free hand over the hostage finger. "What is this organization called?"

"We are called the 'Cradle of Hope'."

Sounds pretentious already, Carolina pondered studying her target's eyes. But he seemed serious about the answer. There was no wavering in his confidence as he answered her question. "Then tell me, what does this organization plan to do exactly?"

"We plan to do what should have been done ages ago. We are the protectors of the cosmos."

"Protectors you say? More like deviants looking to disturb established order."

"To an ignorant mind like yours, it would seem to be the case," the man replied snarky only to quickly cower in fear as she again threatened his finger. "We will bring back humanity to its true cradle."

"Speak in clear language you little…," she again applied more pressure, this time he could feel the bone stretching and struggling to survive the breakage. "What I mean is to bring humans from all over the universe back to Earth. We also want to keep people from leaving!"

"And why would you want to do th-," Carolina looked towards the door as they heard combat noises outside. Many gunshots went off only to go completely silent the next moment. There were no more noises. What is going on? Carolina told the target to remain quiet and in his spot. She stood up and drew her pistol. As she neared the door, it suddenly burst open and caused her to jump in surprise. As she was about to shoot, she was disarmed by the new entrant who took the liberty of dismantling and destroying the pistol.

She got a good look at the man in front of her. Judging from the clothes, it was the same man she encountered at her previous target. "You…"

"My, my, what a small world we live in," the man replied with a smile. "No hard feelings about the last time yeah?"

"Oi, just what is going on here?! Is he with you?!" the target demanded upon seeing his two bodyguards at the door on the floor and completely out of it. "Guards! Guards!"

"Don't bother," the assassin dulled the screams for help with a clarification. "I took care of everyone in this building that posed a threat. Namely speaking, all of your henchmen are busy taking naps right now. So no one will be coming to help you."

"Gah, impossible…how can you, one man handle so many guards?!" the target felt as if he was about to wet himself right this very moment. Even Carolina was astonished at such a feat. Even for me that would be impossible to do in such a small time frame. Is he human or a monster? The assassin stepped away from her and began to walk towards the target. "If you put your mind to it, I guess anything is possible or some other inspirational crap like that."

The target ran for his desk where he hid a backup pistol. But before he could do anything, the assassin drew out a laser pistol from his trench coat and shot the target clean in the legs. The criminal screamed out in agony as he saw the holes in his legs with blood shot eyes. "Fuck man! Don't think you can get away with this!"

Carolina ran for the assassin as he reached the target. She jumped for him but was bounced back by the bubble shield unit placed between the target and the assassin. The young assassin looked towards her with a playful smile. "Wait there like a good soldier would you, Ms. UNSC?"

He bent down towards the target and brandished the pistol around the target's legs. "So Mr. Target, I have a very important question for you that I would appreciate you answering. If you answer, you can escape with just those two holes. If you fail to comply then I give you more holes. Worst case scenario, you die. Are we clear?"


"Good man, so let's see if you are actually competent or not. Give me the names of the high ranking individuals in the terrorist organization you belong to."

The target remained quiet. He looked from side to side and fidgeted in one spot. The assassin shook his head telling the man that he was only making this difficult. "Are you afraid of telling me because of what might happen to you?"

"I can't answer any questions about the organization to you! They will kill me if I do!"

"Come now, surely you don't mean to say that death is a more attractive offer now do you?" the assassin crawled the gun up from the leg to the target's neck. The target remained quiet for yet another few minutes. With a sigh the assassin stood up, and without a second thought he pulled the trigger making a clean shot through the target's brain. Blood splattered out the window as the bullet shot right through it. "What a waste of my precious time. If you don't want to answer at all then just say so at the start for crying out loud."

"You bastard! That was my only lead!" Carolina screamed in anger, but quickly prompted to calm down as she raised her fists. The moment you come out, I will apprehend you and get every little bit of information from you. I can't let you go after what you did. Carolina however looked at the happenings within the shield rather confused. What is he doing?

The assassin held up a canister, no it was a grenade! Carolina backed off but stood at a loss for words when she saw the assassin activate it and drop it to the ground with the shield still up. Does he want to kill himself? But that wasn't the case at all. The grenade was a smoke grenade! Smoke enveloped the whole area within the field and soon spread throughout the room just as the field disappeared.

With the smoke covering the whole room, the assassin made his speedy escape. But this time Carolina was determined to not lose sight of him. She gave chase up to the rooftop and began to follow him from various rooftops to rooftops. Unlike the last time, she held her own against his various parkouring tricks. She chased him down until he finally stopped to catch his breath. "Stop right now, stop running!"

"Quite the persistent one aren't you?" the assassin asked gazing back towards her. Carolina placed a hand on her hip and struck a confident pose. "Thanks, it's one of my good points."

"That's questionable," he whispered much to her irritation. "But since you are so interested in me, maybe you will be interested in the organization I belong to as well. We know you are investigating for the UNSC into the terrorist organization simply known through its nickname as 'Cradle of Hope'."

"What about it?"

"You should get a taste of what reality really is like. Knowledge differs from experience after all. Experience is the real thing that gives you the motivation and a reason. In our case, it will give us a reason to survive and fight. I wonder if the same will hold true for you."

"Stop dodging the subject and spit it out already!"

"Tomorrow, at 6:00 PM, go to Mayfair Street. There will be something interesting happening near Hailey's Café. If you are patient enough, you should encounter this event no problem. It will help unfold the blindfold around your eyes. You know some things about the terrorist organization, but what you really need to know is still missing."

"And what's that?"

"That would be telling and completely disqualify the need for experience. Just go there and see for yourself. Think for yourself and deduce your answers from it," the assassin threw down another smoke screen causing Carolina to activate her thermal sensors and chase him through the smoke. He was soon gone, having jumped down a slope on the building. Carolina peered over the edge and clenched her hands in anger. She gritted her teeth and sat down with her head in her hands. "Yet another opportunity gone."

Mayfair street...I guess I will ask them to a drink tomorrow. Carolina sat back and stared at the bright moon. Epsilon appeared beside her and made sure to log their conversation into the data banks as well as create a copy for the UNSC. "Let's hope that guy was telling the truth."

"Me too," she whispered gently closing her eyes and feeling the night fatigue catch onto her.

"Oi, sis, don't sleep out here. You will catch a cold."

"Meh, I know," she lazily got back up and began to jump her way home and straight into her comfy bed.

A/N: And thus the plot and mystery thickens!

Hope you are all enjoying this so far and look forward to the next chapter!

Catch you all next time!

~ Monty