All it took was just a single spark. That's all it ever takes. The beauty of all of this was that they might not even know what they were doing, the person who lighted the spark. So, in other words, a spark can be ignited at any time by anyone. It can be done subtly, like someone tapping a cigarette on an ashtray and one spark going onto the sofa. Or someone could be striking rocks together in a desperate attempt to start a fire.
The world wasn't picky really. It didn't care about intentions or plans. The world had its own agenda and it was going to get it done in any way possible. With it in charge this spark would eventually find some kind of tinder and catch. Then, before you knew it- whoosh! Everything would go up in a sea of flames.
.05 lit a cigarette. That basically summed up his entire life, the idea of a spark. It had done so for so very long. He felt so old now. In truth he was old, despite the fact that he wasn't aging anymore. Preferably he would've had his aging process stopped when he was twenty-five, not sixty. Twenty-five had been a good look for him. Even as he'd worked out his sums on the walls of the decaying city he'd known that he was good looking.
In any case, he was getting off track. That was rare for him these days. He was so focused in his new job. How could he not be? It was like being able to have complete control over everything for as long as he wanted. Wonderful really. He'd gone from having no control to almost all in a matter of a few short months. All it had taken was just a single spark.
Once again he'd managed to get off track. It must be the hydrogen doing that to him. Someone from work named Cha-Cha said the stuff went right to your head. .05 snorted to himself. Maybe that was why Cha-Cha looked like a stupid cartoon character. He wasn't odd; he'd just been snorting too much hydrogen. He hoped the freak managed to poison himself one day.
Looking over at the landing grounds he saw the reporters lining up, ready with cameras and notepads. It would land in about ten minutes. Good thing he'd jumped ship already and zoomed ahead. Seeing that it was running low .05 put his cigarette out on the wall. Normally he'd just go back to the base, but he wanted to watch this. He wanted some time to think as well, about sparks in particular.
It was a good idea, or theory, or whatever the hell they called it nowadays. Regrettably he hadn't thought of it. No, it had been Joy. This had surprised him because he'd always taken her for an airhead. Perhaps she still was. Idiots had been known to have good ideas on occasion anyways.
Joy was a co-worker, if you could call it that. Unlike him she'd had her aging process stopped when she was seventeen. He'd seen her without the skull mask once, and he'd known she was lucky. It appeared that Joy was one of the few teenagers who actually looked like Hollywood would like you to believe teenagers looked like. What else could you expect? She was a cheerleader.
A cheerleader with a skull mask. Go figure. She had pom-poms and everything. He'd once heard her talking to another co-worker, saying that she'd been changing for a Halloween party. If he'd been interested then he would've listened in. He hadn't though, so he didn't know much else about her. After all, she was a low-level corrector of the Temps. She didn't do much and wasn't good for much.
He probably wouldn't even have heard about her idea if they hadn't had to work together once. It had been an interesting plan, one that Carmichael hadn't wanted to allow any mess-ups on. .05 hadn't understood it back then, the sheer genius of it all. In truth,he hadn't understood it until last week. The plan was that Joy would be doing some sort of delivery while .05 was supposed to do the real work. Still, they'd had to do the briefing together.
At first it had started off like any other brief. They'd been told where it was; Greece in the year 1920. Then they'd been told that a package would be delivered, a.k.a Joy's job, but .05 would be acquiring it. This had been when the plan went to pot in his opinion. He was supposed to capture two monkeys and turn them rabid.
Him, the great assassin, capture monkeys? There had been an awful amount of indignation in him upon hearing that. To this day he wasn't sure how Joy had realized that he was irritated. Maybe because she would've been too, if someone had asked her to do that. There wouldn't be any reason why though. It was just about right for her pay-grade. In any case, out of nowhere she'd said brightly;
"Think of it as a spark."
"Excuse me?" he'd asked, surprised and slightly irritated that she had thought herself worthy of talking to him.
"Sparks are small, stupid, and kind of irritating because they don't give any warmth," she'd said dreamily and glassy-eyed, "But they start really huge fires, don't they? Isn't that weird? Well, think about what you're doing as a spark."
She'd given him a glassy smile. Joy was probably an addict of something or another. Most people at the base were. They said that they couldn't take it, what they did every day. To his knowledge only Carmichael, Hazel, Cha-Cha, and him weren't doing something or other. .05 had grimaced and turned away in disgust.
Still he'd completed the mission, feeling bitter. It had been last week when he'd realized the mission's effect. He'd been in 2012 New York then, killing some hot-dog seller. On his way back to the base he'd passed by a library. He wasn't sure why he'd decided to go in, or why he'd typed into Google: 1920, Greece, Monkeys.
The results had been…interesting. Apparently, in the year 1920, the Greek King Alexander I had been invading, and had come close to conquering, the Ottoman Empire. He was able to do this with the help of his allies France and Britain. While strolling in his garden he had been bitten by one of two monkeys who had randomly attacked him.
The bite had become infected and he had been killed from sepsis. Under the new King, France and Britain withdrew their support because the new King had been a German ally in World War I. Without their support the new King hadn't been able to fight the Ottomans as effectively. In the end he had lost.
While .05 wasn't far enough in the future to determine the exact reason why that was a correction, it was important. Monkeys…hm. They were small, stupid, and sort of irritating. Yet, they had changed the course of history. Or rather, he had changed the course of history by getting them in the first place. Wonderful.
That incident had gotten him thinking. The spark for his life being like this was, as much as he hated to admit it, Hargreeves. If he had been a good father then .05 wouldn't have wanted to run away. As it was Hargreeves was a bastard and it was .05's most cherished dream to run away since he turned four. So there was the spark.
The tinder had probably been the idea that he was supposed to be a superhero. No, not a superhero, a crony. Hargreeves's crony to be precise. He was supposed to go out there and do stuff that would make Hargreeves look good. Over his dead body would he do anything that would make that asshole look like some sort of hero.
So the spark had ignited the tinder and then- whoosh! Now there was the fire of assassin glory burning in him. Oh yes, it had worked out very well for him indeed. It probably hadn't worked so well for the brothers and sisters he had left behind though. Then again, who gave a shit about them? They probably didn't even give a shit about themselves. Otherwise they would've run away too.
Everything was about the cause and the effect, the spark and the fire. It was brilliant. That actually reminded him why he was there in the first place. He'd been there to see the theory in action, the theory that had inspired him on how to do this particular job. Otherwise it would've been messy. .05 didn't like messy. Not when he had put so much work into being subtle.
Looking backwards he saw the giant blimp start to land. He smiled, knowing exactly what was about to happen.
"3…" he murmured to himself, "…2…1."
The blimp was swallowed in an explosion of gas and flames. People screamed from the ground as they fought to get out of the way. He could hear the screams of the passengers as their flesh melted from their bones. After a few minutes it started to sink slowly to the ground.
Turning away from the wreck of the Hindenburg .05 lit another cigarette. The giant floating palace had been destroyed in only minutes. Thirty-six people had just died. The whole deal hadn't taken much brainpower or strength to orchestrate. All it had taken was just a single spark.