Summary: After dealing with cultists, Muslim terrorists and communist rebels, Wolfe Heinkel and Yumiko Tagaki were sent to Argentina to carry out a new mission: find and escort a bishop who has important information for Iscariot. Set after Crossfire Three; manga-based.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, except several secondary characters that no one will bother to steal. All belongs to Kouta Hirano, even the bishop.
Special Thanks: To Lilliam Dashwood who gave me nitpicks of
Heinkel's accent and DrTristessa, my beta reader.
Sister Yumiko Takagi rubbed her cheek a little after swatting a very annoying mosquito. Her hand had left a red mark there. The nun normally wouldn't hurt a fly - with her glasses on, that is - but an hour and a half of buzzing could really try one's patience.
"How far is this diocese, again?" Yumiko asked with a sigh.
Wolfe Heinkel was just as tired as her partner; the high temperatures and humidity of the tropics didn't mix well with her trenchcoat. She tried to console herself with the idea of Maxwell paying for their services for a change. "Vell…" she started, pulling out a piece of paper from her coat pocket and reading it silently. "According to Father Maxvell, it must be close."
Yumiko sighed again, resigned to the unpleasant conditions. 'Hopefully Yumie can remain asleep,' she thought. Their mission was mostly to search for Father Vecchio and escort him to the Vatican, Yumiko reasoned; Yumie would only scare him away.
Heinkel glanced at Yumiko, amused by her partner's brooding. "Here ve are, Yumiko," she announced, gesturing towards a modern-looking construction. "Guatambu 184, Puerto Iguazu Diocese."
"It's about time. My feet hurt and the mosquitoes are killing me! Father Maxwell should have warned us about the weather."
Instead of listening to her companion's complaints, Heinkel lowered her shades to inspect the building. There were holes in the façade, wood covering broken windows, and two police officers on the doorstep: all traces of a recent attack, which made things a whole lot more interesting. Cracking her neck, the priestess advanced towards the diocese. "Come along, Yumiko."
Yumiko snapped to attention and nodded a few times. "Wait for me, Heinkel!" She rushed over, careful not to drop her covered katana.
The policemen, meanwhile, looked at the duo oddly, especially at Heinkel, trying to figure out if she was a man or a woman. The nuns stopped.
"Err… hi?" Yumiko bowed nervously before the officers.
"Good afternoon," Heinkel said. "Ve vere called to investigate the attacks."
The policemen neither responded nor moved out of the way; they only talked between themselves in their own language.
Yumiko leaned towards Heinkel and whispered, "Do you understand what they are talking about?"
"Of course not. I don't speak Spanish."
"Me neither! Maxwell sent us here and we don't even know how to communicate! He could at least pay for quick lessons for us. Iscariot needs to hire translators for our travels; it would solve many problems. With the budget the Vatican gives him…"
Heinkel sweatdropped and patted Yumiko's back. "There, there. Everything vill be fine."
"Está bien oficiales," a female voice called from inside the building. A plump sister soon emerged. "Son las que estábamos esperando."
The police officers moved out of the Iscariot agents' way, muttering apologies. Heinkel and Yumiko stepped forward when the other nun gestured for them to come in. Traces of battle were visible inside as well; there were bloodstains covering the walls.
"We are so glad you have come at last," she said in accented English. "I am Sister Mabel Blanco, the Chancellor's secretary. And you are Sister Takagi and Heinkel, aren't you? Father Maxwell told us that you will help in our current situation." Before either of them could answer, Mabel continued, "I might add, we were expecting someone… older."
Heinkel smirked, and said, "Appearances can be deceiving, Sister Blanco." Yumiko nodded in agreement.
"You have a point. Forgive me," the older nun apologized. "The Bishop is currently busy, but our vicar, Father Pablo Bacilieri, will greet you." She stopped before a door and knocked.
"Las agentes del Vaticano han llegado, Padre."
"Hágalas pasar, hermana."
Mabel opened the door and moved aside so Heinkel and Yumiko could pass. The office of the vicar was quite colorful in its humble way. It had no finely crafted furniture like Maxwell's, but it had typical native crafts made of exotic birds' feathers and butterflies' wings.
The priest stood and smiled at them. "Welcome sisters. Take a seat. Mabel, that will be enough. Thank you."
"It has been a pleasure," Sister Blanco said to them. "May God be with you." She stepped out of the room, closing the door after her.
Heinkel and Yumiko glanced at each other before sitting down; the priest did the same and cleared his throat. "You'll have to forgive my English."
Yumiko smiled sweetly and said, "It's fine. Your English is better than our Spanish, Father." Heinkel nodded in agreement; neither of them knew a word of the language besides 'hola' and 'adiós.'
"I can lend you a dictionary if you want one," Father Baciliari offered. "You might need it." He paused, and his expression darkened. "Did Father Maxwell explain our current situation?"
Yumiko glanced at Heinkel, who knew more about the orders and the mission. Heinkel tilted her head and said, "The basics. Your diocese suffered an attack yesterday morning by an unknown group who vere searching for Bishop Pedro Vecchio."
The priest sighed, looking quite stressed. "That is correct. The group itself has been identified as Brazilian drug dealers, but it makes no sense. Why did they attack us? Thank God Monsignor Vecchio was in the Cathedral during the attack. There was a change in his schedule."
"Vhere is Monsignor Vecchio currently?" Heinkel inquired, almost lounging in her chair. "Ve have orders to escort him to the Vatican."
"He disappeared after hearing of the attack," the priest said. "We don't know if he was taken by force, or if he is hiding. The last news of his location arrived this morning. Apparently, he has been spotted near the Falls. I gather he's trying to cross the border into Brazil using the rain forest path. If he wasn't captured, he is either on his way to Foz do Iguazú or Ciudad del Este."
"I see," Heinkel said. "Do you have a car ve can borrow? That vay ve vill be faster."
"I don't, but I believe the Bishop has one," the vicar said, and opened the drawers to search for something. "Aha, here it is." He took out a key and handed it to Heinkel. "I don't believe he will be angry if you borrow it."
"We promise we will try not to ruin it…" Yumiko said, "…much." It wouldn't be their fault if some stray bullet hit the vehicle, after all.
"I am sure you will do your best." He smiled at the Japanese nun. "It's the car that is parked on the other side of the street, just in front of this building."
Heinkel stood, and Yumiko followed suit. "Ve have to take our leave now, Father. It has been a pleasure, but ve need to hurry up."
"Oh by all means, don't apologize. I understand."
"We won't allow them to harm the bishop, don't worry," Yumiko promised.
"I have faith in you, Sister. Good-bye, and may God be with you."
"And vith you," Heinkel said, and exited the room, with Yumiko in tow. Soon, they were outside the building, and Yumiko waved shyly at the cops before rushing towards her partner. Her face fell when she saw the car.
"We are supposed to travel in that?"
The car itself was an old-model FIAT 600. The paint was gone, and the car's condition was quite deplorable. Several windows were broken, and one of the door handles was missing. The wheels didn't look good, either.
Heinkel sighed. "Ve have no other choice, Yumiko." She carefully opened the door, afraid it might break on contact. The priestess tossed her small suitcase of weapons and clothes onto the backseat before getting inside. Yumiko waited patiently for her partner to open her door, and then she climbed in as well.
The sun had heated up the leather seats so much that they burned at the touch. Yumiko jumped as soon as she sat down, and hit her head on the roof.
Heinkel chuckled. "Careful, you may destroy the car and ve vill have to valk again."
Yumiko blushed and sat down again. "This is so frustrating."
"I agree, but it is all for the service of Our Lord." Wolfe started the car and drove in the direction of what she assumed was the path to the Falls.
"I know," Yumiko sighed. "Why are those people after this bishop, Heinkel? Does the chief know about it?"
"Apparently, Monsignor Vecchio vas a firm supporter of the de facto military government in this country during the seventies," Heinkel explained. "Perhaps rebel groups vant some payback. But the chief didn't think so…"
Yumiko blinked and tilted her head. "Why is that?"
"Because Monsignor Primatesta of Cordoba vas a more loyal supporter," Heinkel said as she paused to gaze at the street signs. "And he vasn't attacked."
"Then why? Why must they insist upon threatening the Catholic Church? They oblige me to awake Yumie." Yumiko's eyes lowered in shame. Heinkel cast a pitying glance at her partner.
"Vell… there are rumors that Monsignor Vecchio vas involved in Pope Pius XI's main administration before fleeing to Argentina."
Yumiko's eyes flashed in recognition. "Oh… the rumors of surviving Nazis I heard from Father Renaldo are true, then?"
"Ve don't know yet. Vhich is vhy the chief asked us to bring Vecchio to the Vatican. He suspects the Nazis, if they are still around, vant to silence him."
"Father Maxwell wants this man alive?" Yumiko asked hopefully, clearly not thrilled with the idea of murdering a fellow religious man.
"For the time being." Heinkel said as she stopped to pay the entrance to the Falls. "He must not suspect ve know of his possible criminal past, Yumiko." Her voice was firm, and she eyed the Japanese's reaction.
Heinkel grinned and parked the car. As Yumiko got out, Heinkel took a pair of automatics out of the trunk and hid them inside her long coat. Both started to walk the path towards the Falls.
"Wow." Yumiko's eyes widened at the marvelous sight. Heinkel was speechless as well.
The landscape more than made up for the horribly high temperatures and mosquitoes they both had to endure. The Iguazú river became multiple falls that produced an amazing show. The falling water formed white spray and mist, and an ever-present rainbow could be spotted above the infamous 'La Garganta del Diablo.' Whoever fell there, the two nuns supposed, never came back. The emerald jungle that surrounded the falls added to their charm. Butterflies of all colors fluttered among the many flowers.
The illusion of paradise was
shattered soon, though; for instead of the typical sounds of waterfalls and
tropical forests, gunshots and screams in a language they couldn't understand
filled the air.
"It's coming from the other side!"
Heinkel took the initiative, leading the way to the old-looking, wooden bridge that connected both riverbanks. Beneath it, the white nothingness of La Garganta del Diablo opened its watery jaws to devour whatever fell into it. Paying no attention to the peril under her feet, the priestess pulled out her automatic and prepared to charge. "Yumiko! Avaken Yumie! Hurry!"
Yumiko lacked the enthusiasm of her partner, lowering her eyelids as she started her way towards the edge. "Could I just let her sleep a little more?" she asked softly.
Yumiko winced. "All right, all right."
At that precise moment, a man ran in their direction. He was old, with gray hair and a mustache, dressed in black and sporting the white collar of a priest. His shoulder was bleeding, and his face covered with sweat. In his desperation, the man, obviously Monsignor Vecchio, bumped into Heinkel. A group of about twenty men armed with rifles pursued him. They were wearing military green and covered their faces with red handkerchiefs.
"¡Ayúdenme!" the Bishop begged, his hands clawing at Heinkel's coat. The priestess smirked down at him and lowered her sunglasses.
"Behind me," Heinkel ordered, and shoved him out of her way. She then set her sights on Vecchio's persuers, smirking at them. "Grace be all vith you. AMEN!" Heinkel said before starting to open fire and advanced towards the charging troops with feline grace, as emptied rounds of ammunition fell to her feet.
"¡Dios mío!" the Bishop gasped, when he saw the bodies of his persecutors start to fall with holes in their heads and chests. Frightened, he clung to Yumiko's habit. She looked down at him with an aghast expression.
"Stay down, Bishop. Whatever you do, don't watch us," the nun suggested to him in a soft voice. She paused in a moment of short-lived, inner struggle. "Please look after these for me," she said, and handed him her glasses.
The bishop took them without knowing what was happening, and then glanced at Yumiko again. His eyes widened in shock. The innocent look was gone, replaced by crazed eyes and a maniacal grin. She had lost her veil, allowing her long, dark hair to swirl in the wind. When she pulled her sword out of its cover, the monsignor cowered and covered his head with his arms, refusing to watch the impending carnage. Yumiko was sleeping; Yumie had awakened in her place.
"YOU PATETHIC WRETCHES!" Yumie shouted. "THINKING YOUR POWER CAN COMPETE WITH THE VATICAN'S JUDGMENT THAT IS GOD'S WILL IN THIS WORLD!"
The men stared at the formerly shy nun, stunned in place. "Who… who the fuck are those bitches?" one of them muttered.
"Whoever they are, it doesn't matter. They will be dead soon," another answered, and attempted to fire his M-4 Carbine at Yumie.
With precise, quick movements, Yumie was soon on him, using the legendary Autumn Water Kata. She cut his arm before slicing his body in two, from his cranium to his pelvis.
The rest panicked at the sight and turned to escape. "Not so fast," Heinkel said. "You shouldn't have crossed the Vatican's path. Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen!" For each 'Amen' she exclaimed, one of them fell, mortally wounded by her Magnum's bullets, to the water beneath.
Meanwhile, with a feral smile, Yumie charged the rest of them. Before they could even shoot, she chopped four of their heads off, all of which rolled over the edges of the bridge, lost in 'La Garganta Del Diablo.' The water was acquiring a suspicious crimson tint. Then, one man tried to surprise Yumie from behind; Heinkel shot him three times in the head.
The remaining seven were heading towards the other side of the bridge, scared witless. Yumie saw this and jumped, flipping through the air and landing in front of them, blocking their exit.
"IT'S NOT SO EASY TO ESCAPE GOD'S WRATH!"
"Oh fu--" They didn't finish their obscenities, for Yumie slashed their torsos and limbs without caring that the blood was ruining her clothes; she was enjoying this immensely. The nun could taste their fear, their fear of God's messengers. Only one dodged her attack. He lied trembling, sitting on the bridge.
"Oh God… mercy," he pled, glancing at Heinkel, who was walking towards him.
"Don't vorry," the priestess assured him, "God vill be merciful." Her smirk deepened when the culprit visibly relaxed. "If you regret your crimes, he vill velcome you to His Glory. Amen!" she said, before emptying a clip into his head with her Magnum. After that, she kicked his body off the bridge and lit a cigarette.
Yumie looked disappointed that it was over; nonetheless, she walked towards the shaking form of the bishop. "It's over, monsignor. You are safe." He didn't reply, but just glanced at her in fear. "Oh, damn! The chief will yell at us for this," she growled.
Heinkel tapped her shoulder. "Indeed he vill. Look!"
Yumie gazed in the direction
her partner was pointing and cringed.
There was another bridge, made of brick, and on it a group of tourists
watched them, wide-eyed, awed by the slaughter. The children were crying and hugging their parents' legs.
"Eheheh," Yumie laughed nervously. "This is not what it seems…"
"Ja, ve are doing a movie," Heinkel added quickly. "Crossfire!"
"About… a secret group in the Vatican! A Modern Inquisition that--" Yumie was cut off as Wolfe began to drag her away. The priestess also grabbed Monsignor Vecchio's collar, forcing him to tag along with them.
"Desist, Yumie," Heinkel sighed. "It's futile. I can almost hear Maxwell saying…"
"INCOMPETENT IDIOTS!" Father Enrico Maxwell roared inside his office in Rome, two days after the incident in Argentina. He was holding several international newspapers, glaring at Heinkel and Yumiko.
"But… but…" Yumiko tried to defend herself.
"NO BUTS!" Maxwell barked at Yumiko, who winced and cowered in her chair "I come out of the hospital, having barely recovered from the cross that fell on my head, and I find THIS!"
"Is it that bad, chief?" Heinkel asked in an almost casual voice. Her mind was half-absent, as was usually the case when Maxwell started to complain about their missions.
"That bad? THAT BAD?!" Maxwell showed them an Argentinian newspaper with a picture of the Falls. The water was red. "I ordered you to find Father Vecchio and bring him to us. An easy task. What did you do? Slaughter the dealers in front of tourists, in your holy clothes, no less! Children were watching this! And the bishop is too traumatized to talk now! We will have to waste precious time to find out what he knows!" He paused dramatically and added, infuriated, "What do you two morons have to say for yourselves?! Speak!"
Yumiko gulped. "Yumie did it all…"
"They attacked us first," Heinkel tried to reason. "Vhat would you have done in our place? Turn the other cheek and let yourself be killed?"
"ENOUGH!" Maxwell exclaimed. "No more excuses. You are out of service for a month. The Pope almost had a heart attack between this and the latest attempt on his life. He wants you both to keep a low profile for a while."
"Ah, that's not that bad," Heinkel said.
"Yes, at least Yumie will remain sleeping." Yumiko sighed in relief.
"And also," Maxwell added, gripping the newspaper even tighter, "the cost of travel, cleanup and ammunition will be garnished from your wages!"
"Vhat?! Ve von't get paid?!"
"But that's not fair! It wasn't me!"
"Life isn't fair! Now get out; you are dismissed! Pray for God to forgive your failure!" Maxwell ordered, and the two women quickly left the office. They cringed as they heard the violent slam of the door behind them.
And so concluded another 'successful' mission of the agents of the XVIII Order Iscariot, Yumiko Takagi and Wolfe Heinkel.
My intention was to make the bishop Vecchio the one who informed Maxwell of the Vatican's contacts with Millennium in vol. 4. The drug dealers were working for Millennium, who wanted Vecchio alive first to see if they could count on him as an important ally in Argentina; if he refused, they would kill him, of course. Why drug dealers? In 'Angel Dust' (a hentai manga featuring young Anderson) Kouta explained that the Sans Millennium got their financing over the years by running several drug operations.