It's not my imagination
I've got a gun on my back!
Promises you made
Never become fact
We're gonna get revenge
You won't know what hit you
We're tired of being screwed
Don't tell me about tomorrow
Don't tell me what I'll get
I can't think have progress when
Just around the corner
There's a bed of cold pavement
Waiting for me
I'll watch you bleed
That's all I'll need
I won't cry if you die! Die!
We're gonna get revenge
You won't know what hit you
We're tired of being screwed

- "Revenge", Black Flag

The freezing wind was merciless in tearing across the Mongolian wastelands, causing some of the snowflakes that fell almost every day to lift and drift around, then settle once more on the frozen ground.

Dotted around the area were some huts, part of villages whose inhabitants were gone; the people who had lived here had been forced into labor by the infamous James Moriarty years ago. Now, these villages were totally empty, and not even a dog remained; every thing was gone, mainly because they had moved far away from this site. Even if they had told anyone what had transpired, no one would believe them.

The huts aren't the most important thing of the landscape, though; it is the great heap of black rubble. What is left standing looks that the structure might have been a fort of some kind. What seems to be machinery — albeit, damaged and unusable machinery — is littered around the rubble, and some of the metal has fused with the stone?

Some of the rooms of this fort are still intact; these are decorated with Persian carpets, tapestries, and furniture dating back to fourteenth century.

Some time ago, this large building had been the headquarters and factory of one James Moriarty, the infamous "Napoleon of Crime". Here he had set his plan for an arms race into action; it was here that his advanced weapons were developed and made. The final phase of his plan to make an unstoppable army was to gather the unique abilities of a certain six, but that turned out to be his doom.

What's left of the legacy he hoped to leave behind are these ruins, a requiem of a lost dream.

But, even as the frozen wind tore across the ice, there was movement.

A mere crunch of ice under bare feet, and the sound of naked skin brushing against frozen stone.

There was nobody to see a some blood floating in mid-air, as if suspended by some invisible force. If one listened closer, though, the sounds of someone panting could be heard.

Sanderson Reed cursed the wind, the snow, and the ice. Even as he made his way through the frozen land, past rubble, he shivered. He should've found a coat of some kind before he set off looking for survivors of the blast, that tore M's factory apart.

Up in the tower, where he'd held that damned Yankee hostage, Allan Quatermain had shot him in the head, or so they all thought. In reality, Reed had just been playing dead while nursing a hurt shoulder, while he waited or the opportune moment to strike.

Inwardly he'd rejoiced as his boss, M, managed to escape from the pesky American and old Englishman. But then the American had took up Quatermain's gun, and fired from the window...

When he yelled in triumph, Reed knew it was all over. The dream that M had had...of world destruction, of advanced weaponry the world had never seen before. Of riches that no one had ever thought of before...and of a world where every nation would be at each other's throats.

When the American — "Sawyer", as Skinner had called him — had finally carted out Quatermain's dead body from the frozen remnants of the tower, Reed had followed. As the Nautilus, large and beautiful in the snowy light, pulled away, Reed had begun his search.

He was careful to miss shards of glass; it was difficult to differentiate the ice from the glass, and he had nearly stepped on a few pieces of the stuff.

Reed was near a very large mound of stone. It had once been a turret of the fortress, but now it was unrecognizable. Reed was passing by it...when the unthinkable happened.

A hand shot out from a gap in the ruins. It groped around, trying to get a hold on something so the owner could pull himself out. Reed was quick in running up to the hand and grabbing it. Bracing his feet against the frozen stone, Reed pulled with all his might.

It wasn't long until the owner of the hand came out from the wreckage of the chimney he had been buried under. Reed nearly fell over as Dante finally came loose.

"Dante!" Reed said, "You're alive!"

M's right-hand man was half-dressed; he only had his pants on, and even they were tattered at the edges. There were scratches all over exposed parts of his body, and Reed noticed the nasty cuts that Dante had gotten on his left hand. They were deep, and his fist was all bloody.

"Yes, I'm alive," Dante said, hoarsely. "Reed? Is that you?"

"It's me, yes," Reed said. He could hardly believe Dante had survived the explosion that had brought down this part of the fortress. "I took the serum the scientist's made."

"So did I," Dante groaned, pushing himself to sit up straight. "Where's James?"

Reed paused. So Dante didn't know that their mentor had died...he didn't expect the other man to take it well.

Dante and James Moriarty had grown up together. It was believed that Dante's parents were German, although Dante had lived in England most of his life. Reed had only known Dante for about two years, but from what he knew Dante and M had been very close, both as friends and as colleagues. M had been the one to come up with the idea of advanced weaponry, using the money from his pre-"death" criminal activities to fund the research and to hire the armies that kidnapped the scientists.

If M was the brains of the operation, then Dante was the field commander. The two worked very well; there was a chemistry between them that spoke of a close friendship, even though M was always the unspoken leader.

"Where's James?" Dante repeated, watching the unmoving snowy outline of Reed.

"Dante, James...he was shot," Reed said carefully, picking his words with care, "By that American boy."

Dante didn't move, nor did he speak; but Reed could sense the change in his mood and demeanor immediately. "Do you know where his body is?" Dante asked quietly. Reed nodded sadly.

Standing up, he offered Dante — who had been sitting on the stone — a hand. Dante accepted it, and pulled himself up.

A few moments later they found themselves standing in front of M's body. The criminal genius was lying on his belly, his mask some ways in front of him. Reed was still standing, but Dante fell to his knees as the horrible truth had finally sunk in. Reed had seen the body earlier on, and had paid his last respects to the man who had dreamed the impossible, before going to look for survivors.

There was silence between Dante and Reed. Reed felt for his friend; Dante was trying to cope with the loss of a man he considered his brother.

All was still as Reed let Dante mourn. The now-invisible man looked down at the snow, contemplating the cycle of generations...soon, a new breed of geniuses like M would rise up and bring the war that M had dreamt of.

"They will pay."

The whisper floated through the wind, which almost snatched it away before Reed could hear it. Nonetheless, Reed did hear it, and he looked up at his friend.

"They will pay..." Dante repeated, "They will all pay."

"The seven of them?" Reed asked quietly. Dante stood up, looking down at their mentor.

"No..." he whispered, "The whole world will pay."