Briefing: Set to the challenge Theresa on the site /born.for.war/ Posted on fanfiction dot net first. Go to wwwDbleeding-heartDnet/bfw/ammain1Dhtml to see the challenge. Replace all the capital D's with a period. K? Enjoy. Remember to read and review please.

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Part One-Act One…

Hired

Fogle Towers1200 Hours

The big cat stalked silently across the hardwood floor. She gracefully weaved her way around the furniture, careful to disturb nothing. The door-the only true protection from the outside world-was a flimsy and easy obstacle to overcome. Once past the threshold she'd entered the prey's territory, a predator roaming freely-unchallenged.

With her enhanced hearing and smell, she pinpointed the mouse's location, treading past another doorway. There-the prey was spotted. Aligning her senses and twitching her hips slightly, the big cat pounced.

" Hey Logan!"

Said mouse-I mean man-yelped and fell out of his chair. Thankfully he took none of the expensive surrounding equipment down with him. Still, Max cringed and gave the man picking himself up off the floor a slightly sheepish look.

" Sorry?"

Logan, it should be said, was very forgiving. You had to be with Max. Much like the cat her DNA was joined with, beating and intimidation never won out. Patience, love, and understanding though went a long way.

" Ah, it's okay. I uh, needed the stretch anyway."

Max smiled and moved to perch on the edge of a desk. " So, what did you want me for?"

Shifting in his seat, Logan turned back to the computer and adopted his "business" tone. " Max, so far you've only helped me with some Recon and quite a few B and E's. Now don't get me wrong here, those missions have helped a lot. But I was wondering if you'd be up to a mission a bit more…challenging?"

Raising a sculpted brow, she carefully echoed him. " Challenging?"

" Well it's more than Recon or a break-in. For one thing, the mission itself could last anywhere from a few days to a month or more. So not so much a cat burglar thing and more secret agents gig."

Cocking her head, she let her full lips fall into a confused pout. " So you want me to go undercover. What's so important about it? Any why would it take so long?"

Logan sighed, knowing the whole truth would be best. " Max, an old friend contacted me a few days ago. Someone close to him is in danger…it's Manticore Max. They're after him."

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Manticore-Seattle Branch1400 Hours

The door to the Director's office opened and a soldier stepped in. Walking the short distance from the door to the front to the Director's desk, he stopped and straightened his body with a salute. " Sir, X5-494 reporting for duty Sir."

Slowly another man walked over, circling 494 before leaning against the desk and pinning him with a look screaming of authority and danger. When he spoke his words were void of emotion and yet chilling all the same.

" Have you been briefed on your target, X5-494?"

"Yes, sir. Robert Berrisford, fifty-eight years old. Widower. CEO of Mercidyne and one of Manticore's subcontractors."

" Good. As you must know, our intelligence indicates that Berrisford's been curious lately about the work we do here--asking questions he shouldn't be. Close surveillance has become a necessity. If he knows too much about us he may have to be eliminated. If it comes to that you will be ready to fulfill that mission objective."

" Yes, sir."

" We've established a cover for you. Initially your primary contact will be with his daughter. Do you know enough about her?"

"Yes, sir. According to the file, her name is Rachel. She's seventeen. Only child. Mother died when she was ten. She's a good student--excels in history and communications."

" Excellent. Now, you'll be going under the guise of her piano teacher. Of course the real man for the job can't be allowed to make it, understood?"

Squaring his shoulders slightly, the soldier replied. "Yes sir. At 0800 tomorrow I will move out to locate and neutralize the access-target and acquire his identity. From there I will make my way to the Berrisford home and infiltrate the estate. I will report back to base at 1800 hours to report on the mission status."

" Good, good. Before you go soldier, are there any questions?"

" Yes sir, one."

" Ask."

" There is no picture of Berrisford, Rachel in the file, only her father. May I have a physical description?"

" Of course, here." He handed 494 another file. " Look over this file and memorize the other. We can't afford any screw ups, is that understood soldier?"

" Sir, yes sir!"

" Dismissed."

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Space Needle2200 Hours

The view the Space Needle provided never failed to amaze her. The Pulse had really hurt this city, but when she was up there at night, feeling the breeze and seeing all those people down there…she almost felt like one of them. Like her worries were the same as theirs. An empty feeling of kinship to be sure, but separated from her own for so long, Max didn't mind searching for companionship, however vague the actual connection was.

She thought about what Logan had told her that afternoon. Robert Berrisford, a fifty-eight year old widower and one of Manticore's sub-contractors, was afraid for his life. Apparently one assassin had already tried and failed to kill him, and he had word that another was coming for him. Max usually made it a point not to go running around with Manticore's old pals, but this time she'd reconsider. After all, with Berrisford now on their list it was unlikely he could betray her to them. But still, Max had her doubts.

Further, even if the old man was legit, how did he or Logan think she could go about protecting him? Granted she was an X5, but if Manticore really wanted him dead, they'd send out an X5 too. Which was another thing that worried her. How exactly was Manticore going to creep into a mansion for a man that was as heavily guarded as any high-up politician? It wouldn't be too hard for a Manticore trained soldier, but it would definitely bring up some red flags that the facility was prone to avoiding.

Either way though, she knew she'd go through with this thing. If Manticore was up to something it was her job to put a stop to it. And if she played her cards right she could get some information on their current plans, maybe even bully a cure for her seizures out of this would-be hit man. 'Piece of cake…' she thought.

Right.

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Okay, that's the first chapter. Hope everyone likes it, and the next one should be coming up shortly. Tell me what you think kk? Seriously, I need to know these things…