Dark AgentPrologue Redemption
Denver International Airport- Denver, Colorado December 15th 2021
Darik looked at the small briefcase that he was holding. He was gripping it tightly. By looking at his own hand, he could tell that he was tense. Of course, if most people were carrying what he was, they would be tense too. What he carried was essential to the survival of the Carrington Institute. If he failed, then dataDyne would move to crush the Institute without a single thought. He was waiting in the line to get scanned when he noticed them; several of dataDyne's operators. They wore civilian clothes, but his training taught him how to tell the difference. He could tell they were scanning the area, searching for him. He had about 4 people in front of him. An elderly couple, a tall women who was dressed in a business dress, and a young redhead no more than 18, were all directly in front of him. He looked down at the briefcase once again, then thought about how tense he looked again.
Could anyone else tell? Was it visible to others, he thought to himself, over and over in his head. Then he picked his head up and sighed, relieving the stress, blowing out the air that he had held in. He then tried to look normal, which he did. But as he looked up on the balcony that was across the airport terminal, fear struck him. He saw two men on the balcony pointing at him. "Shit!" he muttered.
They had identified him. By now the elderly couple was through. Then he noticed another team moving in; they were closer, but only slightly. Even being spotted was enough–it didn't matter how close they were. He began to run the numbers through his head: his odds of not being captured: his chances of surviving this encounter: and, more importantly, how many more people were in front of him. If he could make it past the scanners, he could have a chance of escape. Two, he counted in his mind. They were getting closer, and more teams moved in. Within the minute the businesswomen was checked, and the redhead was next. One. They were now almost to the stairs leading down to the scanner area. He felt like she was taking forever, but she looked back him and flashed a smile and saw that he needed to get going.
So she started rushing the process. They were close now, too close for comfort; the first team was at the bottom of the stairs. Before he knew it, the redhead was through. He sighed again and rushed for the scanner checkers. He quickly placed the briefcase on the x-ray belt; before he did, he switched something on the briefcase handle; then he calmly walked though the metal detector.
They handed him his briefcase and continued down some stairs to the area with the trams that brought people to their designated terminal. Just then, his stomach knotted. He saw it–a team at the bottom of the stairs. He had to think on his feet; they hadn't noticed him yet, so he quickly walked down the stairs.
As he brushed by the two members of the team he sighed. Then something grabbed his arm. He looked behind him; it was one of the members of the team. "Excuse me sir–you're going to need to come with me," the agent told him calmly.
He knew this was it. It was all or nothing. He quickly brought his hand up and formed it into a fist. He then sent it flying into the man's face, knocking him to the floor instantly. He then ran for the tram doors as they were closing. Then he noticed the redhead in front of him. He saw the businesswoman; she was a part of a team as well, blocking the door. "Damn," he thought to himself. "dataDyne is everywhere."
He then decided that he wasn't going to get out of this. Instead, his focus came solely to his mission; to him it was redemption for all the bad stuff he had done in his life. He knew that, although he might not actually fight dataDyne himself, he could fight it in his own way. Then that's when he noticed the redhead trying to rush to the tram. He then knew what had to be done. "I'm sorry kid." He muttered under his breath.
He opened his briefcase and tore out the lining to reveal a small metal device that was a data-pad. But the data it held was priceless. Just before reaching the doors of the tram, he saw the redhead with her back turned. He noticed her carry-on bag was slightly opened. He rushed forward and slipped the data-pad into her carry-on.
And that was it–he knew it was over. He hoped that at least one day this girl might understand why he did it. But on the other hand, he didn't want her to know why, because it would lead down a dark path–one that truly showed an underground world and a secret war that was being waged. A large man then tackled him from behind, and sent the briefcase slamming shut on the ground. They hadn't seen him open the briefcase, or at least he hoped. But as Darik went down he pushed the redhead into the tram. "Be safe." He muttered as he went down.
He then felt a sharp pain. They got him. They had gotten him with a tranq. round. As the world went dark, he looked at the redhead. She was saying something like, "grab my hand," but to him it sounded like "I'll save you." He knew it probably wasn't true, but at this point it didn't matter. The world around him went black. But before he passed out he muttered something.
"This...this is my redemption…"Chapter I
Above Tokyo- December 16th 2021
Aria slowly woke up from her sleep, to the sound of roaring engines and a beeping noise overhead.
"This is your captain speaking, we are about to arrive Narita International, and we should be on the ground in about 10 minutes. Once again we would like to thank you for flying with us here at Japan Air." The captain said over the intercom.
Aria pushed herself away from her position in the corner of her seat and looked out her window. Below her she could see coastline with a large city directly behind it. The seat-belt sign above her then turned on, followed by a beep. Aria looked down and realized that she had taken her seat belt off because it was uncomfortable. Fourteen hours on the plane hadn't helped either; she was more than ready to get off the plane. Plus, the incident at the airport made her feel uneasy. Aria then dismissed it and grabbed the straps and buckled herself in.
She waited several more minutes and before she knew it they were on the ground. Aria once again turned her attention to the window. The once small buildings from when they were in the air were now gigantic skyscrapers. Just outside of the fence that marked where the airport ended there was a sprawling Metropolis. Aria didn't know if she would feel ok being nearly smothered by buildings as tall as the ones she had seen. The worst part was that these buildings were nearly everywhere. The plane then taxied to the gate and the plane finally stopped moving. Aria got up, let out long sigh, and stretched. She looked down and grabbed her carry-on bag from underneath her seat. She then shuffled out into the isle and got in a line to leave the plane. She was very anxious, not only because she had been on a plane for fourteen hours, but also because of her dad.
It had been a while since she had last seen him. Her dad had taken a job at dataDyne. He was a higher level executive and dealt with international trading; unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before he had to go to other countries to deal with the clients directly. Usually he was only gone for a few days but this time he actually had to stay in Japan. Her dad was staying in Japan for about five months, so her stepmother got the "wise" idea to send her there for the year to see her father. Aria really didn't want to leave her home back in Colorado, even if it meant visiting another country. To say the least, she was most displeased by her stepmother's decision. It wasn't like she didn't love her father, but she didn't mind being away from him either. She was 17 now she could make her own decisions and she wanted to prove that.
At least for the most not part everything was going downhill. Her friend Sarah also happened to be in Japan as well. However, she permanently lived there when her father, who also worked for dataDyne, was transferred from the Untied States. Aria \at least was versatile in Japanese–not fluent, but knowledgeable, so at least she could get along with the locals and such. As she thought about all these things, she had sub-consciously moved in line to the front of the airplane. As she got off the plane she noticed a major climate change that was very different from that of the plane. It was hotter and the moisture level was much higher.
"Wonderful…" she muttered under her breath. She dragged her carry-on off the plane then proceeded to head for the gate entrance. Sure enough, right at the entrance, was her father.
Aria entered a noisy area. It was busy with people talking, the intercom blaring arrivals, gate numbers, and departures. Aria was starting to get fed up with everything. Not only had she been stuck on a plane for eighteen hours, but she also had a headache from being in the cramped conditions of the plane. The noise of the area only served to amplify it. Aria grudgingly started for her father when she noticed a younger girl standing next to him. With her small, slender frame, her brown hair that went down to her shoulder and then curled, she could easily recognize that it was Sarah. Aria didn't look all that different from her; some could say that they could pass for sisters, although Aria couldn't see how. Aria's hair curled at the shoulder-line but was longer then Sarah's; her hair stretched down her back towards her shoulder blade. Also Aria's hair was fiery red, not brown, this is why she had difficulty seeing how other people thought they could pass for sisters. Maybe because they way that we thought alike? She thought. Before Aria realized anything, Sarah was standing in front of her.
"How was your flight?" she asked. Aria hesitated for a moment; she had not seen Sarah in such a long time. After several moments passed, she answered.
"It was good for the most part," she answered.
"Well, that's glad to hear," Sarah said as she smiled.
"What, no 'Hi! It's great to see you again'?" Aria said to her.
Just then Sarah leaped forward and hugged Aria.
"Its great to see you!" Sarah said as she hugged Aria. She then pulled away. "Is that better?" Sarah said with a smirk on her face.
Aria chuckled for a moment and then realized her dad approaching was them. Aria's father was a tall man with black hair that always looked as if he had bed-head; he was reasonably built as well.
"How is my little girl?" her father asked her.
"Great! Its so good to see you again!" Aria said as she jumped up and kissed her father on the cheek.
"How was your flight?" her father asked.
"It was as good as it could have been…" Aria replied.
"Yeah, it was a long flight–I know," he replied as he chuckled.
"Ok. Well, I think we should head out and go get your bags."
Aria, Sarah, and Aria's father, Harry, then continued from the gate through the crowded airport to the baggage claim. At the baggage claim was a crowd of people from the plane Aria was on. Aria and Sarah picked out a spot to wait and stood there. Minutes ticked by and soon the bags started coming down the conveyer belt. More minutes ticked by as the two girls patiently waited. The crowd then slowly diminished as people got their bags and walked away. Harry was off to the side taking a business call on his cell-phone. More and more left, and still Aria did not see her bags.
"Where are they?" Aria said impatiently.
"Maybe they're lost?" Sarah suggested.
"Don't even say that!" Aria answered back. Aria then walked over to her father.
"Dad…" Before she said anything more, her father cut her off. He raised his hand, and pointed his index finger upward, as he re-occupied himself with the call.
"Forget this." Aria said as she began to walk away.
"Does that bug you?" Sarah asked.
"Yes, it does, it's going to be one of those relationships where the job comes before family…" Aria replied.
The two girls then walked over to the baggage claim service. The glass doors slid open revealing a room with a desk in the center. She then proceeded over to the desk where there was a woman behind the desk, she was checking through the computer. Aria stood in front of the desk for several seconds before being noticed.
"How may I help you?" the woman behind the counter asked in Japanese.
"Yes, I'm having a problem. My bags didn't come through the conveyer belt." Aria replied, also in Japanese.
"Oh, well let me see where you're bags are. Hold on please." The woman typed on the keyboard and checked through files and then looked back up at her.
"What?" Aria asked.
"You're bags are still at the airport in Denver, I'm sorry."
"Great…" Aria said sarcastically.
The woman then tapped some more on the keyboard. "Ok, we can have your bags to you in about 2-3 days." She then grabbed at a piece of paper and handed to Aria. "And you'll need to fill out these forms."
Aria grabbed a pen and started writing in the difficult calligraphy of the Japanese written language all the information on how to contact her when her bags arrived. She then handed them back, completely filled out. The woman took the papers from her and then went back to what ever she was previously doing. Aria walked away over to the door where Sarah was standing.
"My bags won't be in for another 2-3 days."
"That sucks, what was all in them?" Sarah asked.
"Pretty much everything; my clothes are more important than anything," Aria said grimly.
"Oh well, at least that means we get to go shopping."
"I'll be alright for now." Aria replied
"Oh, come on, it'll be fun!" Sarah said excitedly.
"Fine…" Aria said, caving in to the suggestion. They both then walked back over to where Harry was, he was now off the phone.
"So, what's going on?" He asked.
"Well, if you weren't so busy with your phone call, you'd know that my bags didn't make it through the airline. They're back in Denver," Aria told him, the aggravation apparent in her voice.
He gave her a stern look; Aria could obviously tell that she had annoyed him by her comment about the phone call. Sarah then broke the odd silence.
"Umm, Mr. Khaosa, me and Aria are going to go shopping is that ok?" She asked.
He was hesitant for a few moments, and then he replied.
"Sure, why not? You two girls have some fun." He then motioned for them to get going. "Alright, I'll drop you guys off in the shopping district, downtown."
The three then continued out to the parking lot, there was a brand new Grav-car. dataDyne made it, of course; probably a new experimental model they needed to be tested. They all got into the Grav-car, and took off towards the shopping district. On the way there Aria stared out at the sprawling metropolis that was before her, completely unaware of what was in her bag…Chapter 2
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Denver International Airport- Denver, Colorado December 16th 2021
Alexia looked at the place where they had caught the man trying to get away. There was some markings on the wall where tranq rounds had passed by him before hitting the wall. She stared blankly at the spot on the floor and then brought her eyes up and scanned the area.
"Where did he drop it at?" She thought to herself. A man dressed in black, standing next to her, suddenly broke her trance.
"We can't find anything…the drop wasn't here," the man told her.
"I don't think it's supposed to be a drop here in the airport," she replied.
"Apparently. We've searched the entire place, and our sensors haven't picked up anything," the man replied as he shook his head.
"Is the captive talking?" she asked.
"No… they just got him awake back at HQ."
"How… disappointing," Alexia said as she started to walk away. A woman's voice then came from earpiece in her ear.
"You better come look at this, I'm up in the surveillance room," the voice said.
"I'm on my way up." Alexia replied.
She started from tram area up several flights of steps, through the lobby and up one last flight of steps. She approached a hall with blue lights lining the edgings of the lower wall. Alexia walked until she came to a door on her left that was marked "Surveillance." She entered; inside were several armed guards, along with the woman that was talking to her over the earpiece comm. Behind her was a wall of camera screens; all had shots of different parts of the area where they had taken down the agent.
"You'll want to take a look at this." She said, calmly.
Alexia approached the console. She bent over the woman's shoulder and looked at one of the screens. "What is it?" Alexia asked.
The woman clicked several things on the console and brought up a shot of the tram area, just prior to the to when the agent ran. The woman tapped several more things on the console and played the video recording. On it was a group of people boarding the tram. Suddenly the agent bursted onto the screen. The video played by in an instant. The woman then reversed the footage and zoomed in on the agent's hand.
"Right there." The woman said as she pointed at the screen.
At first Alexia didn't know what she was seeing, and then she spotted it. A small metal device protruding from the agent's hand. His hand was right over a bag in front of him. The camera operator zoomed in closer, this time on the redhead in front of him.
"Was it a drop?" the camera operator asked.
"No, I don't think it was." Alexia replied. "But at least we got a lead on where the package is." Alexia commented.
Alexia leaned back, and pulled a cell phone from her pocket. She pulled it out and speed-dialed.
"Hey, it's Alexia, I need an ID on someone."
"Sure, just send in a photo shot and I'll do it." The voice on the other line said.
"Can you transfer that image file?' Alexia asked the camera operator.
"Yes, I'll do it now." She replied.
"How long?" Alexia asked the man on the cell phone.
"An hour at the max," he replied.
"Ok, talk to you then." Alexia then closed the phone and tucked it away into a holster.
Finally! They had a lead. Searching the airport was turning up no results, and to her, it was rather boring. But this redhead, who was she? She didn't look like part of a drop or anything. Hell, she was probably lucky if she knew what she had with her. She couldn't wait to start the hunt for her, but not for the bloodshed part. Alexia wasn't the "Ruthlessly efficient" type, the type of people who enjoyed the kill as well as the hunt. She was different–she liked tracking. That sense of getting closer to a goal, and then finally obtaining that objective, was a satisfying feeling for her. But on the other hand, she felt bad. She knew that dataDyne would go to a lot of lengths to obtain the info on that data-pad, and it may even kill the young girl. But she had a job to do and she couldn't do anything about it anyways.
"Sorry kid, in the wrong place at the wrong time." She muttered, as she left the room.Chapter 3
Tokyo Shopping District- Tokyo, Japan December 16th 2021
The Grav-car landed in a parking space next a shopping boutique. Aria was abruptly awoken from her nap, when they stopped. Aria vision was blurred for a moment, but she quickly recovered. Next to her was Sarah, looking at her.
"Have a nice nap?" She asked.
"Yeah, I did actually." Aria replied.
Her dad, who was in the driver's seat looked back at her. "Didn't you sleep on the plane?" He asked.
"Yes, but it wasn't comfortable, and plus I had a headache even after I got off the plane." She said as she stretched her arms up.
"Alright well were here." He told her.
Sarah then got out of the Grav-car pulling her purse along with her. Aria got out of the car as well, and closed the door behind her. Around her was the actual metropolis, now she wasn't looking at it, she was apart of it. She stood there, tranced for a few moments, suddenly Sarah tapped her shoulder.
"Alright, ready to go?" She asked.
"Yeah." She said as she looked at her.
" Ok, well I'll be at my house, call me on your cell when your ready to for me to come get you." Harry told Aria.
"Alright." Aria said as she nodded.
He then reached over the car and handed Aria some money. "I don't understand how you girls could so easily go through this money just from buying clothes." Harry said as he chuckled. "Have fun girls."
He got back into the vehicle and took off heading for his house.
"Alright where do you want to go?" Sarah asked with a smile on her face.
"You're the one who lives here, you lead the way." Aria answered back.
"I know a great place to get clothes!"
"Lead the way then."
Sarah then grabbed her hand and pulled her away, Aria almost tripping as a result. They walked through the crowded streets for several minutes, before coming to a boutique.
"Were shopping here?" Aria asked.
"Yep!" Sarah replied.
They both headed for the entrance, Sarah walked ahead of Aria and entered the building. Aria entered next, the glass doors sliding horizontally when she entered. Inside was a building filled with clothing racks. There was so much, the place even had two levels. Aria looked ahead and headed for Sarah who was already checking out clothes. She pulled out several outfits, and held them against herself.
"Already found something?" Aria asked.
"Yep!" She said she smiled.
"That was fast." Aria said as she chuckled.
"Yeah, well I like cloths."
"I can see that."
Aria then wandered off into the massive store, looking for some clothing to at least hold her over until her bags arrived. She looked for several minutes, grabbing several things and holding them to herself, just as Sarah had did. She looked for a while; suddenly someone grabbed her shoulder from behind her. It was Sarah.
"Try this on!" Sarah said she practically shoving the outfit in her face.
"Ok, ok." Aria said as she pushed Sarah's hand down from her face.
They both walked into the back of the main floor, at the back were the changing rooms. Sarah rushed forward once again and locked herself into one of the stalls. Aria took the stall next to Sarah's. She walked into the boxed room and put her clothes that she had picked out and her bag, on the bench that was inside. She then turned around and latched the door shut. She pulled out the first set that she had picked, a black tank top and blue jeans. She pulled her clothes off, revealing her slender frame, and tried on the new outfit. She paused for a moment, she looked in the mirror, looking at herself, she thought the outfit looked great. It went well with her sapphire blue eyes.
She decided it was a going to be a keeper so she took the clothing off, folded it, and placed it neatly on the bench. She only needed enough to last until her bags arrived so she dismissed most of the clothing. She tried on two more outfits; one was a white t-shirt with a blue-jean skirt. The other, one she really liked, was an army green tank top with a star in the center, and some camouflage battle fatigues. She had seen a lot of people wear this outfit, so she decided she couldn't go wrong with it.
"Three, that would be enough to last until her bags arrived", she thought. She gathered all of the stuff and put the stuff she was keeping in her right hand and the stuff she wasn't, in her left hand. She threw her bag over her shoulder and put the clothing she didn't want into a return bin and parked herself in front of Sarah's door. Moments later Sarah came out dressed in a blue Kimono type outfit, except the dress part had cut off in favor of a skirt.
"Like it?" She asked.
"Looks great." Aria said as she smiled.
Sarah grabbed her stuff and they both headed for the checkout desk.
"Wearing the new cloths out the door, huh?" Sarah said as she looked at Aria.
Without even realizing it, Aria had left her camo outfit on.
"Yeah, I guess I am now." Aria answered.
They got to the checkout desk and rung everything up. Aria paid cash, but had to have Sarah help because she didn't understand yen all that well. Aria let Sarah handle it, until they had to ring up the clothing Aria was wearing. Aria leaned herself back up against the desk and let the lady behind the counter scan the tags on her pants and shirt. The lady behind the counter bagged their stuff and the two girls walked away back outside. Aria pulled out her cell-phone and dialed her dad.
"Alright, I'll be there in about five minutes." He told her.
"Ok, see you then." Aria said as she put the cell phone away.
They waited for several minutes watching the cars and Grav-cars go by. Finally Aria spotted her fathers Grav-car. He parked and got out as he motioned his hand to tell them come over, Aria heard a loud shot wring out behind her. Suddenly everybody scattered, Aria couldn't tell what was happening. There was too much going on all at once. Before Aria even knew it she was on the ground, a result of instinct more than anything. As she looked to her left she could see a group of men, dressed in black armor, firing automatic weapons to her right. She looked to her right and saw another group of people, dressed in blue armor firing automatics in the other direction.
Aria didn't know what was going on, her friend Sarah laid on the ground next to her. She wasn't moving; Aria feared the worst, that's when she saw it. Dark red blood poured from Sarah's shoulder. Aria crawled over to her and saw that she was unconscious, alive, but unconscious. Aria then looked out into the street, her stomach knotted, she saw her father lying on the ground, where he had once been standing.
"I'll be right back, Sarah I promise." She said to her unconscious body.
She rushed over to him, even through the crossfire, she didn't care. She kneeled down next to him, while trying to keep low to avoid the crossfire. She turned him over; she looked down at the gaping hole that was in her father's stomach. Acting on instinct she pressed her hands against her father's wound, but he wouldn't stop bleeding. She threw her bag full of cloths down on the ground, and pulled out one of the t-shirts and ripped it to make a bandage. But still the bleeding continued. "Come closer," he said as he pulled Aria towards his face.
"I'm sorry." He told her, as he struggled to breath
"You don't have to be sorry for anything," Aria said as she shook.
"Yes, I do." He said as he reached for something in his pocket.
He pulled out a disk.
"This will contain, everything you need to know." He continued "I'm sorry to do this, especially now, but you… are… not… my… real daughter, but I loved you all the same." He said as he struggled to breath once more.
She paused for a moment, trying to take in what had happened in just a few seconds. Tears started to pour down Aria's cheeks, sending a line of massacre with it that she had been wearing. Her father then took his last breaths to say his last words.
"Aria, I'm sorry, I hoped that you never would have to see this world, this world that I'm a part of, but it looks as if fate wants to be cruel, just remember, that I love you, never forget that."
Those were Harry's last words, the world went dark for him and he closed his eyes, never to re-open again. Aria started to cry even more than she had in all of her life. She felt so lost and alone. She felt as if she was the only witness to the chaos the reigned around her. She then noticed something metal protruding from her father jacket. Inside, was a holster, inside that was a gun. A Magsec to be exact, Aria had been familiar with the gun; her father had it as long as she could remember and he taught her how to use it.
She pulled the gun out of the holster and flicked off the safety. Then she felt weird, the world around her began to dilate, and everything seemed to slow. It was if she had all the time in the world. She put her gun up and pointed it at the soldiers wearing black armor, the ones who had shot her father. There was three of them, all standing firing their guns over her. Aria pinpointed the sight on the head of the furthest one to the right. She was aware of what she was doing, but she couldn't stop her hands. She pulled the trigger sending the bullet flying into the man's head, dropping him instantly. The other two continued to fire not realizing what had just happened, their attention drawn away from her by the other soldiers behind her.
Aria brought up the gun once more and fired another shot, through the head of another soldier. The last one then noticed what was going on, he tried to run for an alleyway. Aria aimed the Magsec right at the head of the soldier as he ran; she led the target and fired a single round. The round passed through the man's head effortlessly. She let out of her breath that she had held in. She could remember going to the shooting with her father when she was younger, although she never understood why. The shooting was as it was then, flawless, no that could not even describe it, the shooting was…perfect.
Something then grabbed Aria from behind; the gun leaped from her hand and fell to the ground. Someone was dragging her away, away from the chaos, away from her father's body. Away from Sarah, who she didn't even know if she was all right. She didn't even bother to fight back; she just let the person drag her away. She then looked back; behind her was a man in blue armor dragging her towards what looked to be some kind of drop-ship. They pulled her inside, and the soldier pushed her into a seat located on the wall. The doors closed and the drop-ship took off, the bullets from outside pinging against the hull. She sat back against the wall and leaned her head back. She was so stunned; what was this non-sense talk about Harry not being her real father? She felt so sad, but then she felt a fire start within her. It was a strong fire, one of hate, one of sorrow, she wanted to see those responsible for her father's death dead, she wanted to get revenge…Chapter 4
Something Lost is Something Gained
Above Japan- December 16th 2021
Leon looked at the girl he had just pulled on to the drop-ship. She sat on the benches against the wall, still crying. He had no idea what was going on, but somehow he knew that she had just lost someone. She wasn't crying out of fear, well maybe she was, but not fear of them.
Suddenly his comm. link buzzed to life.
"Are you there Leon?" a woman said over the device.
"Yeah, package is secure." He replied.
"Status?" She asked.
"No casualties, collateral damage is high however…" He reported.
"And the girl?"
"Unharmed, not even a scratch, it's amazing." He said, the amazement apparent in his voice.
"Minus three, elite dataDyne security officers." He replied.
"Really, that's pretty good, considering no casualties."
"Those casualties weren't from us."
"But how?" She inquired.
"The target was armed, she…"
Before he could say any more he was cut off by a man with a Scottish accent.
"Alright you two, cut the chatter, you can talk once your back at Base…" He continued "Carrington out."
Leon shut down the comm. link and reached for his neck. He flicked the latches that held is helmet on up and proceeded to take his helmet off.
Aria looked over as the man who had grabbed her took off his helmet. Underneath was a handsome man, his brown hair flowed perfectly as he took off the helmet, falling in front of his face, his face was stern, and he had some stubble that went around his chin. He bent over and looked at the ground, stared for a moment and then brought himself back up and rested his head against the wall. She didn't know where she was at; she was a little scared, "Who were these people?" She asked herself.
Once again her emotions came back and she started to cry. She tried to wipe the mascara away but she left a trail after she did so. She cried on and off for the next hour or so, the entire time nobody said anything. Nobody asked if she was all right, nothing, the four soldiers just sat there, all of them with their heads leaned against the wall, resting. She looked down at herself. Blood stained her shirt, the one she had just bought. It didn't stop there, her camouflage pants were stained too. Everything had blood on it, everything except her bag, which she still had with her. She was surprised that she hadn't dropped it. Not even after all that had transpired.
She tore the bag off and threw it against the bench next to her. After she did this she sifted through her pocket and pulled out the data disk her father had given her. She looked at the circular silver piece of plastic and muttered something.
"I'll find out what this is all about, and then I'll piece everything together, one piece at a time."
She put the data disc back in her pocket, and took a lead from the soldiers. She leaned her down against the bench, using her bag as a pillow. She wasn't sure where she was going, but it didn't seem to matter much, she couldn't do anything about it. As she slowly closed her eyes she noted the small emblem on the sleeve of the armor the soldiers wore. The letters read "CI". She didn't know what it meant but she was sure that she would find out soon enough. And with that she closed her eyes, the stress of the day finally began to overtake her.
She drifted off, hardly even thinking of that fact that she had killed three men. She felt bad about it, but revenge at this point was the highest on her list. In just one day her life had been flipped upside down, in one day the love in her heart had seemingly left, and been replaced by hatred…
Aria awoke several hours later. However, she was not in the drop-ship anymore. She lay on a bed, light slowly seeped in from a window in front of the bed. From what she could tell the sun was about to set. She felt sleepy still, so she rolled over and looked to her right. There was a computer on a desk backed against the wall. She rolled onto her and stared at the ceiling.
She still had a headache, hours of sleep failed to cure it. Suddenly memories flowed back into her. She remembered what had happened, her father's death, her friend being shot, and being dragged away from it all. At first she dismissed it as a bad dream. But then she fished through her pocket and found the round piece of plastic that was the data disc. She closed her eyes and rolled onto her side. However this time she did not cry, she had done enough of that. She laid in bed for a few more minutes, fondling the disc with her fingertips.
She decided to finally find out what her father was talking about. She moved her legs over and put her feet on the floor. She looked down at herself; she was still wearing the blood-smeared clothing that she was earlier. She went ahead and got up and walked over to the computer. She looked at the computer and began searching for the disc-drive. After looking for several moments she found it. As she opened it she heard something outside of the door of the room. She immediately grabbed the disc and shoved it back in her pocket. She turned around just in time to see the man who had dragged her off.
"I'm glad to see you're awake." He said as he smiled.
Aria was evasive towards him; she didn't say anything back to him. She didn't even know who he or they were.
"Oh, sorry, I guess you're probably wondering where you're at?" He asked her.
"Yes, who are you people?" She asked.
"I'll explain it all later, right now my boss wants to see you." He said as he smiled motioned her towards the door.
"Your boss?" She said as she walked over to him.
He didn't say anything, he just gestured for her to move out into the hall. Aria did so. As she exited the room she walked right onto a balcony. The building was well kept; marble and steel plastered nearly everything. The place was so clean and clear.
"Uh, right this way." He told her, as he walked in front of her.
They walked through the halls for several minutes. After they walked through four or so corridors they came a conference room. The man opened the door and showed her in. Aria walked forward, inside was an older man, maybe in his early to mid sixties, sitting on the opposite end of the table. There was one other person in the room as well. He was a well-built man, tall; from the looks of it he was in his twenties. The older man leaned back in his seat and looked kind of surprised. She didn't know what was going on, all she knew is that she was going to get some answers…
Beads of sweat trickled down Joanna Dark's face. She looked steadily ahead at the punching bag ahead of her. She had been working out for hours now, she stopped, finally starting to feel the fatigue from the workout. She brought her hands down and tore off the boxing gloves and threw them in the corner. She grabbed a towel from a bench near her and threw it up against her face. She wiped the sweat from her face and threw the towel in the corner just as she had done with the gloves. As she looked across the sprawling gym she say two off-duty guards near a weight-lifting machine.
She grabbed her bag with her various items in it and started for the exit. As she walked by the off-duty guards she overheard them.
"Really? Is that so?" The first guard said as he pushed the weights above his head.
"Yeah, she looks just like her, its not even funny how close the resemblance is." The other guard replied.
"Wow, I gotta go see for myself after this." The guard lifting the weights said as he lifted the weight once more. "Are they related?" The guard said as he put the weight back on the rack.
Before the other guard could reply he saw Joanna, he immediately fell silent. Jo looked puzzled for a second as she walked by. She immediately dismissed it and continued for the door. Something was up however, so she decided that she was going to see what was going on.
"What has Carrington done now?" Jo muttered as she walked out the door.
Aria sat in the chair at the end of the table, staring at the man on the opposite end. The other man who was there then grabbed some papers off a desk next to him. He handed them to the man at the table. He thumbed through the papers for seconds and looked intrigued by what he saw. Suddenly he broke the silence in the room.
"Sorry for me to be so rude, Miss Khaosa, but I'm sure you're probably wondering what is going on?" The man said.
Aria jumped from her seat.
"You're damn right I want to know what the hell is going on!" Aria yelled.
The man leaned back in his seat.
"Please calm down, you'll get all the answers you need." The man said to her.
Aria sat back down, if only briefly to see if the conversation led anywhere.
"First let me tell you where you are, you're at the Carrington Institute, in England." He leaned back further and continued. "And I am Mr. Carrington, the owner of this Institute."
"Ok, but that still doesn't explain what…"
Before she could finish, Carrington interrupted her.
"…Happened? You were caught in between a incident involving dataDyne security forces and my agents."
Aria looked at him tensely, he could tell that simply wasn't enough for her.
"Unfortunately there were some casualties involved…" Carrington said as he lowered his head.
"You're damn straight there were casualties, one of them was my father!" Aria said as she started to get up once more.
Carrington hesitated for a moment. He had seen this all too familiar path; the unfortunate thing was that he still wasn't completely sure how to handle it. He looked at the young girl, she reminded him so much of Joanna, the fiery red hair, the deep sapphire blue eyes. They looked so much alike; it was almost like going through a memory. He could tell she was enraged. Carrington gritted his teeth and spoke again.
"I'm sorry about your father, but if we hadn't pulled you out of there you would be dead as well." He told her.
"Well you know what, now I feel like being dead, why didn't you even bother?" Aria said as she collapsed back into her seat.
"Because we needed something from you." Carrington said in a low voice. "Tell me how much do you remember from the airport back in Colorado?"
Aria looked surprised, how did these people know where she came from?
"Not much…" She replied.
"Do you remember the man at the airport?" Carrington asked.
Then it hit her, she remembered it all. The man pushing her into the train. The people that were behind him pinning him to the ground.
"Yes, I remember now." Aria nodded her head.
"He was carrying a package for me, he was spotted at the airport, by dataDyne security enforcers." He leaned forward a little." He didn't have time to get away so he hid the package on you, dataDyne then reviewed the surveillance cameras and tracked you down."
Aria was shocked it was their entire fault. This all wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the Carrington Institute. Aria felt bitter and cold, she got up out of her seat and stormed out of the room.
Jo walked down the corridor, leading to Carrington's office when she saw the doors of the conference room fly open. A girl about her height tore past her. The first thing that caught her eye was the red-hair. As she walked by they made eye contact. Then she saw it, like looking through a mirror she saw those sapphire blue eyes everyone had usually identified or complimented her on. She turned around just long enough to see the girl head for and elevator that lead downstairs.
Aria was furious and lost. She didn't know what to do, her father was dead, she hated her stepmother and now she was surrounded by people she didn't even know. Aria walked toward the elevator, she pressed the button to call it up. She waited impatiently and decided it was taking too long, so she headed for the stairs. She walked down several flights, and bursted out into a lobby. She immediately headed across the lobby and headed for the door that led outside. She walked outside, it was now night, the stars glittered above her, she looked up at them. She stared for several moments, then the tears came. She had thought she was done crying, she told herself over and over, "Don't cry, don't cry.".
Tears once again streaked down her face, she had thought she was done crying, but apparently not. She walked away from the building heading down a dirt path that weaved into the darkness of the night.
Jo was confused, she didn't know what the hell was going on, but the image of the girl seared into her memory caused her a peculiar interest. So Jo continued on to the conference room, content on doing what she had left the gym to do, find out what was going on. Jo approached the conference room; she reached for the door handle when the doors suddenly flew open. Leon stepped out. He was new to working at the Institute but he was good, but also a bit cocky at time, which kind of annoyed Jo. Jonathon had picked him personally, apparently Leon was an ex-CIA operative.
"Excuse me!" He said as rushed by her.
Jo took several steps back allowing him to pass. She then proceeded to open the door. Inside the conference room was Carrington and Jonathan. They were talking to each other, but immediately fell silent when Jo entered.
"What all the commotion about?" Joanna asked Carrington.
"Sit down Jo, I'll tell you all about it." He replied.
Aria didn't know where she was, but she continued down the dirt path anyways. She wanted to be alone; she didn't want anyone to bother her. She walked for several minutes, the path ahead of her lightened by the moonlight. She walked until she came to a lake. The lake was tranquil and calm; nothing disturbed it, not even the wind. She calmly walked over to the edge of the lake and looked down. She peered into the reflection of herself, she was a wreck, she could still see the marks left by her mascara from earlier and she still had her bloodstained cloths on.
She stared for several moments, so much had happened in the last few hours. Aria was still trying to catch up with it all. She then reached out and cupped some of the water into her hands. She splashed it into her face, wiping away the mascara trail in the process. She repeated it several more times. As she did it a fifth time she jumped. Someone had grabbed her arm from behind. The person pulled her up.
"Hey, you alright?" The woman asked.
A redhead stood in front of her, not much older than she was. She tugged away from her.
"I'm fine!" Aria replied.
"Doesn't look that way…" The woman said blankly.
"Yeah, well what do you know?" Aria said as she pulled further away.
"Well you'd be surprised." The woman backed away as well. "My name is Joanna, but a lot of people call me Jo."
Aria paused for a moment and then answered.
"Aria" She replied calmly.
"Ok, well, Aria, what's bugging you so much?" Jo asked.
"Nothing that concerns you! Just leave me alone!" Aria shouted.
"Very Well." She said as she walked away.
Joanna walked away, away from the girl; back towards the Institute. Of course she knew what was bothering her. Carrington had told her what had transpired in the last few hours. She just had to see for herself, the girl that everyone was talking about. The one that apparently they were calling "Little Joanna". Of course Joanna dismissed the thought, what did disturb her however, was how even this girl had lost her dad. Although not in the exact same way, nonetheless dataDyne was involved.
For a moment Joanna contemplated walking back and trying to help, but she was held back. She had no help when her father got killed, why should this girl get help when she didn't. However, Joanna still had her reservations, she stopped for a moment, turned around and saw the girl crying next to the lake. She looked on for several moments.
"Forget it, even if I tried to help, what could I do?" She said to herself.
Either way, she figured it was best to leave her be for now. Besides it didn't seem like she was in a very talkative mood. Joanna faced back towards the Institute and walked away, leaving the girl in the darkness of the night.Chapter 5
Vengeance is a Dish Best Served with a Bullet
Carrington Institute's Firing Range, December 17th 2021