"So we need another one! We're low on operatives as it is!" "Yes, sir, I know. But we have another coming in soon, fresh out of Ireland. Used to be in the SAS, but left to join the Irish Liberation Front. Then he heard about us, and decided to join." Two people walked down the main hallway at Executive Operations headquarters in Sydney, Australia. The floor was polished to such a sheen that Fiona Taylor, an Agent Runner of only 1 year seniority at ExOps., could distinctly see her reflection in the granite tile. Her boss, an insanely rich man without a name or face (hidden by a full head mask), walked beside her, listening to yet another hitch in the North Korean job.

"Well could you at least tell me why we need another man in there?" his voice, though hidden by a voice masking device in his lapel pin (at least that's where she thought it was, the device itself was hidden as well,) could still show emotion. Right now, it conveyed a sense of fury and anger, one that could unseat Fiona from her ludicrous job at ExOps."Sir, the team is embedded in downtown Pyongyang. They tried to set up a job with the Chinese, but they double crossed them and are now trying, unsuccessfully, to break into the building." "Well Jesus Christ, why don't the Chinese just bomb them to hell?" "Our team has with them intel on the location of the Ace of Clubs. They also have a high ranking Chinese officer in custody. The Chinese want both intact. So far our team is holding them off, thanks to some air strikes and interventions by the Russian Mafia. But they can't stay there forever." "How long can they hold out?" "At least a few more days. Then the fatigue will set in, and they won't be able to handle it."

Her boss covered his eyes with his hand and sighed, plopping down into the leather chair of his massive office as they walked in. Fiona stood in front of his polished walnut desk, strangely devoid of the usual legal hogwash and other paperwork that cluttered other offices in the spacious building. "Listen, just send the kid in." "But sir, he's-" "Just send him in!" Fiona stammered a short reply, then muttered indistinguishably to herself as she left the room, to fetch the newcomer.

Just keep your eyes on the prize, you can pull this off. Just think: 100 million dollars, 100 million!the masked manbegan to smile and lean back in his chair at the thought of the bounty on General Song. And that's only for that one bounty! Think of what his underlings will all fetch..."Sir?" Fiona had returned, and was now poking her head through the doorway. "Yeah?" "He's here." Fiona entered, followed by a tall, well dressed man in a blue suit and matching tie. He was in his 30's, still young, and with him he possessed an aurora of coldness. Indeed, the room itself seemed to be chilled simply due to his presence. But it was not just his demeanor that brought on this change of atmosphere, but his appearance as well. His skin was death white, as was his hair, and his eyes hid behind a pair of carefully constructed Italian sunglasses, with a platinum frame. An albino.

"Sir, this is Jonathan Hayes, our newest recruit from Ireland. He passed the physical and vehicular tests with high marks, and the strategic and intelligence tests with fling colors. Served for 7 years with the Irish Catholic Liberation Front, 6 with the British SAS, and most recently 5 years on his own as a bounty hunter and soldier for hire in America. He was recommended to us by Gregory Smith, our most recent retiree." The boss rubbed his chin with thought. "So, you're the new recruit, eh? Seems that you started a career in combat at a young age." Jonathan spoke with a light Irish accent, not as heavily influenced as the boss would've thought. "I joined the Catholic army at 15." "So you have a lot of combat experience besides your work here?" "Yes sir." "Do you know of the situation taking place in North Korea?"

So that's where I'm headed. But aren't there already agents in there? "Yes sir. Will I be going there to support the other operatives in the region?" "Yes, in a way. I need a man with your talents to assist the other three agents we have in there. They are embedded in Pyongyang, and the building they have taken is under siege. We need a man on the outside to assist them. Miss Taylor here," He motioned to Fiona, standing beside Jonathan and awaiting orders, "will brief you on the way to the plane." "When do I leave?" "Immediately. But first, I need to speak with Miss Taylor privately on some small matters. Please, ready your gear, get dressed for combat and make your way to the runway." Jonathan, somewhat surprised by his immediate assignment, stammered a quick "Yessir"and left for his office.

"Fiona," the boss said after the door had closed, "we need to talk. Is this man qualified enough to make the cut?" Fiona sat down in one of the chairs perpendicular to the desk. "Yes, definitely. I told you of his test scores, are you-" But the boss cut her off. "What were the results of his mental examination?" Fiona began to sweat and stammer. "E-excuse me, what did you say?" "His mental exams, Fiona. Is he stable?" Fiona fell silent. She was afraid he would ask that. "Well," she took a deep breath.

"Jonathan Hayes suffers from a form of chronic depression caused by extreme loneliness. He can become inattentive, irritable, and sometimes seems to close out the world around him and enter a coma-like state of deep thought. This was brought around by the slaughter of his family by Protestants in Ireland, and deepened by the deaths of his entire "platoon", as I will call it, during the Catholic-Protestant conflict. That was when he realized what a worthless conflict it was, and left to join the SAS. After leaving it 6 years later, he almost committed suicide by jumping off London Bridge, but was revived by the Paramedics. He then delved into alcohol and drugs, especially heroin, until put into drug rehab. At one of his AA meetings, he met Gregory Smith who referred him to us."

The boss thought over this strange and terrible series of events, trying to decide whether or not Jonathan was safe. "Will this be a liability?" "No, probably not. Nillson is psychotic, and yet he seems at least sane enough to tell friend from foe. Jonathan is stable enough." "Good, get a jet ready on Runway 2. Oh, and Fiona?" he said just as she was opening the door to leave. "If you don't fix this problem, I'll have your head on a pike."

"Ah...yes sir, i'll do my best." She silently cursed as she closed the door.