Kowalski's head lulled and rolled, the bones in his neck felt like rubber incapable of keeping his head up and his eyes rolled like marbles in his head. It took him minutes to regain his focus, but even then his vision was fuzzy and the little light that entered the room stun his eyes like tiny pinpricks. After half an hour his vision and head cleared, and Kowalski managed to accept the fact they had lost.
They had been unprepared, they should have had longer to prepare. His assumption of Zero and the others coming to the rescue was foolish, just because she had left him that sheet of paper did not mean she was in fact in the country. So why would she leave it there in the fire?
Unless she had double-crossed him. Unless this was her plan from the beginning, what if while undercover Tia had managed to corrupt her and in turn Zero had managed to turn the others? The notion was ridiculous, his love would never betray him. But then again, he was no longer the man she knew. He and the others had changed so much in a few years, what if the sudden change in them had made them realize that perhaps all that waiting was in vain and that there was more to life?
He didn't want to believe it, he didn't want to believe that Zero would betray him, but his plan was flawless. How could he have failed? How could Axel have known that Kowalski would suddenly realize where Trinity's base was and set up precautions to an attack that was made up on the spot? Axel was smart, but there was no way he could have known of the peng-umans plans when each move was made up on the spot and each move made without a second thought.
They must have been betrayed, it was the only explanation. Or maybe there was more to it. Director Hodgson had always had unconvential methods, what if she had planned to have Zero act as a double-agent so they could draw Axel out by having the peng-umans travel to Spain? With them on his home turf Axel would have been foolish to pass up such an opportunity, he would have had to take advantage of the situation given and perhaps Zero and the others were strategizing a plan at that very moment.
Kowalski's thoughts were drawn from Zero and his situations to a creak of a door, he looked up to find Axel entering the dank room. The room was small and square, damp with a single light hanging from a rusty shade. He realized his wrists were tied to the arms of the chair and the rope was causing hideous burns, his balaclava and weapons were tossed aside to a dark corner of the room.
Axel ordered his men away and they locked the door, Axel grabbed a chair and sat in front of Kowalski, a huge smug grin on his face. Kowalski ignored the victorious look in Axel's face; instead he merely glared and decided to figure a way out of the room. He could always shoot his way out, but first he would have to get out of the rope -
"Don't even think about running away," Axel smiled. "Even if you could kill me and get out of this room, those assassins that took care of you earlier are on stand-by ready."
Kowalski said nothing.
Axel's smile grew, "Of course you won't say anything," he said. "It's obvious why - you've come to realize that this might be the end. But don't worry; I'm not going to kill you - yet. I believe a little gloating and information gathering is in order."
Axel pulled a small handgun from a holster inside his jacket; he grabbed Kowalski by the hair and tugged his head back hard, digging the barrel of the gun into his chin. Kowalski grunted in pain as Axel pulled hard on his silvery locks, but he would not break his silence. Doing so would only cause grief for his comrades and for S.W.O.R.D, Kowalski would not betray them - even to the bloody end.
Axel would want to know why the peng-umans disappeared, why they had to go into hiding for so long. Kowalski himself had some questions, such as why Axel would go through the trouble of following them through de-evolution and become such low-intelligent mammals. Axel could have easily taken control of the world if he had stayed, Trinity could have prospered greatly, so why follow them?
"Tell me, Kowalski," Axel began, "why did you run off to become a penguin?"
Kowalski held his tongue, remembering the vow he had made hours earlier. "But I promise, I won't tell Axel or Tia even if they capture and torture me." Axel waited a moment, when there was no reply he sighed and pulled his gun back and released Kowalski's hair. Kowalski watched Axel get up from his seat and go to the door, he called someone and a huge man entered the room, carrying a strange device in his hand.
Kowalski eyed the man as he sat down in the chair opposite; he was in fact quite intimidating and Kowalski was not so easily intimidated. His face was mean and seemed incapable of expressing any emotion other than hate and contempt, he was a bulking mass of a man with a scarred face and hard hands, a permament scowl to his face and slanted teeth covered in the blood.
But it was the simple device in the giant's hands that Kowalski was most wary of.
He had seen it before in a report, a torture device used to drawl out punishment. Some people preferred to have pain come at a victim quick and fast, with the pain stinging for only a short amount of time, others preferred to have the pain lasting and so the torture was drawn out. Whichever one someone preferred really told you a lot about that person's character, for example those who liked to drawl out the punishment were those who enjoyed the suffering of others, the ones who enjoyed feeling as though they were an almighty god punishing his followers.
The device screwed down onto a slab of wood, with a small clamp that an average sized finger could fit into, that was connected to a switch very similar to a simple button and a leather strap. Kowalski tried to pull away as the man grabbed his wrist, but he was still physically drained and the rope was not helping at all. His hand was placed on the slab; the leather ensured he was tied to it and his one finger was placed in the clamp so it pinched the very tip of his fingernail.
"Now I'm going to ask you nicely, Kowalski," Axel went to stand beside the silver-haired genius and placed a hand on his shoulder, lowering his head so it rested on Kowalski's shoulder. "Tell me what I need to know; how did you find me, why did you run away and what do you know concerning the circumstances of Diz and James McManus's death."
Kowalski gritted his teeth and clamped his eyes shut, preparing himself for the pain. Axel sighed and straightened, patting Kowalski's shoulder a few times. He nodded to the man, who placed his finger down onto the button, applying some pressure. The gears of the clamp groaned, Kowalski could already feel it pulling at his nail, threatening to tear it from his flesh. He had endured pain before, he only prayed this was nothing in comparison to the other pains he had endured over the years.
"It's a shame really," Axel said. "I think you and I could have been great friends if either one of us had been on the opposite side of the coin."
He nodded again to the man. He pushed down hard onto the button. The clamp pulled back, tearing Kowalski's nail from his finger in one wrenching tug. Kowalski threw his head back and howled between gritted teeth, feeling blood ooze from the damaged flesh that screamed out in pain as the raw flesh wept crimson tears. His finger began to tremble like a drug addict craving his fix.
"... even if they capture and torture me."
"Do you have anything to say now?" Axel inquired.
Kowalski turned to Axel, and for a second there flashed a look across the pale man's face - the look of defeat. But Kowalski managed to swallow the pain, realizing he had been through worse and the fire grew anew within his hardened blue eyes.
"Go to hell," he hissed.
Axel sighed, though there was a comical expression on his face which indicated he was actually enjoying the situation. Clearly Axel was the type who liked to feel like a god, and to do that he had to make others feel closer to death. He nodded to the man once more, who removed Kowalski's finger from the clamp and prepared his thumb for the clamp. Kowalski took a deep, steadying breath and gritted his teeth against the pain.
It was Kowalski's screaming that woke them, a horrible drawn out howl that sent a shudder throughout them. Each of them awoke to find themselves tied down to the floor; metal clamps tightly cuffed their hands and necks, weighing them down into a position similar to that of a prayer. They too were in some dank room, weapons and balaclava removed and set aside. Burly guards stood outside the doors, inclining their heads towards the door at even the first hint of a whisper.
"What are we going to do?" Private hissed. "We can't just let them hurt Kowalski, any second now and they'll kill him."
Rico nodded vigorously, all the more eager to help rescue their silver-haired comrade.
"What do you expect me to do?" Skipper snarled. "Break out of these bonds through fucking magic? I don't know how we're going to get out of this! So stop fucking asking!"
Private and Rico shied away from the tone, they had never seen Skipper so mad before, so pissed off. But they took solace in the fact that he too was as worried about Kowalski as they were, Skipper wanted to get Kowalski, end his suffering and put a bullet in Axel's head.
But the cause was lost, there was no way out of the bonds and they too had creeping doubts. Had their lovers screwed them over? They all refused to believe it, but there was just no other explanation for how Axel had known where exactly to place his men, what to use as a diversion, where to be at the exact moment to help set his plans into motion. It was just too much of a coincidence.
"Then... what do we do?" Private wailed helplessly.
Private fell onto his front, his forehead hitting the floor hard. Skipper looked at him, noticing how Private's eyes scrunched into hard lines and he gritted his teeth in order to not cry out in despair. Skipper didn't want to admit it, but it seemed that the end was nigh. How were they going to get out of Axel's grip? Perhaps if Kowalski was with them then maybe they had a chance, he could have thought of a way to get out of the cuffs.
But Kowalski was not with them, Kowalski was being tortured and there was nothing they could about it.
There was a noise at the door, Private did not look up and Skipper could not draw his eyes away from the young man who looked so vulnerable and conceded to defeat. Rico looked up, the door was a old and made from rusted metal, but there was a thick slot of glass where the dark images of the guards could be seen. Rico wondered why there was a sheet of glass in a metal door, then he remembered he had once heard of a certain crime lord who once used the technique, a way of allowing the prisoners to see a chance of freedom and know that they had no hope of reaching it.
The two guards were speaking rather loudly to someone; they had to tilt their heads downwards to speak to someone who was speaking in a loud and croaky tone. Whoever they were speaking too, she sounded mad. Rico's forehead cut into a frown, recognizing the voice he wondered what Tia Halibel could possibly want with them. Had she come to gloat too? Or had she come to end them finally?
After a moment the heavy door was hurled open and the woman - who appeared so tiny in comparison to the guards - entered the room. The brawny man hovered by the doorway, she turned to glare at them and they quickly closed the door shut behind her. The door closed with a dull, but chilling, sound. For moment she merely stood there in the silence, hands on her sides and a smirk on her face.
She looked each of them over, looking carefully at each bleak and dismal expression. Rico stared back, observing a change in Tia's usual expression. Normally her smile was cruel and deceptive, as unfeeling and indifferent as a bitter wasteland. But her smile was... kind, or as close to kindness as she force upon her face. Her eyes were different also, there was no malice or spite, they were just sad and renounced to some fate.
"Come to gloat, have you?" Skipper growled. "If you have, then I'd rather you kill me first."
Tia pulled out a gun, a simple pistol with a bone white-handle and her name written up the side in soft gold. She aimed it at Rico's head, her finger went to the trigger and her smile broadened. She pulled her gun away from his face and grabbed the stock of the gun's handle, squeezing the corners of it she pulled the bottom of the stock away. It came away with ease; the small bottom was a wired into some kind of a device, a rectangular piece of white metal riddled with blue and red wires. Atop the device was a small red bottom, upon pulling the device away from the inside of the stock Tia pushed down on the button and it began to blink.
"What... what is that?" Skipper asked curiously.
Private looked up, the grievous expression cleared from his face. Tia crouched in front of them, putting a finger to her lips and raised her other hand, three fingers held up as she began to count down. They stared at her, mouths agape at the strange behaviour. What was she doing? Was this part of some kind of plan? Or had Axel planned this, had he a greater scheme and design for them to fit into his plan?
"Tia, what the hell are you playing at?" Skipper was loosing his temper again. "If you've come to screw with us then fine, do it! At least tell us what they're doing to Kowalski!"
Tia said nothing; she kept one finger to her lips and continued to count down. Rico's attention was drawn to the dark shapes beyond the tinted glass, the frown cut deeper into his forehead and he wondered why she was counting down. What was she planning and why didn't she want the guards, the ones hired to protect her, inside the room with three men who would have loved to rip out her throat?
There was a muffled bang and something wet splattered across the glass, Skipper and Private turned to the glass and looked at the sticky liquid that dripped down the glass. Even if the glass was tinted, they knew what the liquid was. Blood. The two guards staggered for a moment, then fell back into the door, leaving a large patch of blood against the glass before collapsing to the ground.
Tia stood, shoving the item back into the gun and winked at the trio's confused expressions. The door creaked open and two figures came forwards, the same assailants in the heavy black clothing that made all means of identification impossible to work out and the very same ones who had so expertly taken down agents of S.W.O.R.D. They approached Tia and removed their balaclava, the peng-umans gasped in shock simultaneously and would have staggered back if they could have.
Five and Wedy smirked at their reactions, Tia went to the cuffs and released the trio from the heavy bonds. Freed, they slowly got to their feet and cautiously went to the guns on the floor.
"Now, is there any need for such distrust?" Tia teased as she got to her feet to join them. "I'm helping you."
"Yes, we can see that," Private replied. "But... why?"
"Oh, you'll have to forgive us," Wedy cried suddenly. "We had to lead you on, make you think that we had betrayed you."
"Why?" Skipper questioned. "Why couldn't you let us on in your plan?"
"You had your own plan," Five pointed out. "We tried to deter you from you plans, but no matter what we tried Kowalski refused to listen. All of you did. This was the only way."
"So you did tell Axel that we were coming!" Skipper screeched. "Do you know what they're doing to Kowalski? Does Zero know?"
"I was the one who told Axel!" Tia snapped. "When your comrades arrived in Spain I told Axel that you was in the area and would soon make a move, it was I who told him. As for what is happening to Kowalski, that was not part of the plan - but Axel was going to kill him in front of you, I had to convince him otherwise."
"I know what's happening is... well, its shit really," Five said. "But wouldn't you rather him alive and injured then dead and buried?"
The peng-umans didn't answer, but the answer was obvious; yes, it was much better that Kowalski was only suffering, it was cruel but at least he wasn't dead. Tia informed them that Zero and One were in fact waiting for Tia's signal before going to retrieve Kowalski, now that the signal had been given via the device in her gun Kowalski would soon be safe and the rest of the plan could be completed.
"So what's the plan from here on?" Skipper asked.
Tia turned to him and grinned, "We raise some hell."
Each of the nails of Kowalski's right hand lay in a blooded pile on the floor beside him, his head lowered he stared at his right hand as it trembled. The tips of each his fingers were raw and blooded, a harsh tone of red. He had hoped by now that he had numbed to the pain, but each time hurt more than the last. He knew of people who claimed to have the ability to numb themselves from the pain, but he knew deep down they had never endured such pain, they tended to stick to needles in the soles of their feet.
Axel could at least admire Kowalski, he would have to be pushed very far before he broke and Axel could admire that quality in any man and woman. Perhaps Axel was taking the wrong approach, maybe instead of physical pain Kowalski needed to suffer some psychological trauma? Axel smiled and ordered the large man away, he took his device with him and soon it was just Kowalski and Axel.
Axel sat back down onto the chair, he leaned back casually and crossed his legs. He expected Kowalski to raise his head and look at him, but Kowalski's eyes remained fixated on his hand and the blooded fingernails on the floor. Axel sighed and swung his head back, leaning on the chair's curved head.
"Do you remember when Zero was working undercover at Tia's headquarters?" Axel said in a blasé tone. "When she was late to inform you of her recent discoveries?"
Kowalski looked up to him, his face ashen and cold. He didn't know what Axel was doing, or what he was hoping to achieve, but he knew he had to tread carefully. Axel knew how to twist words and turn them on you, the best thing to do would be to not give him an opening to stick the knife in you. Once Axel had the opening he would stick the knife right into your gut, once he had you where he wanted you, he would twist the knife until you bled to death.
"I had the chance to kill Zero," Axel continued, "but she escaped. Of course, not before the damage had already been done."
Worry flashed across Kowalski's eyes and Axel had him within his grasp.
"Some of Tia's men had some... fun... with her when they had captured her," Axel went on. "I don't know if Tia was aware of what transpired, but Zero suffered. And from what I was told, you've been acting very inconsiderate. She's hurting and you don't seem to give a damn."
"No," Kowalski croaked in protest. "I... she never told me... if I had known..."
Kowalski stopped himself, realizing that he was playing Axel's game, playing right into his greedy little hands. He bit down on his tongue. Axel scowled, he saw that Kowalski had caught onto him and he decided to change tactics. At least he could take pleasure over the fact his nemesis was now aware of what his fiancée endured and that was enough for him - for now. Maybe later he would find Zero and take her on the floor, forcing Kowalski to watch as he devoured the fox-woman.
Axel called back in the brute with the torture device. In the meantime before he could do anything else, he wanted to see how long Kowalski could endure the punishment handed out to him. There came no reply from the man. Axel turned to the door, eyes widening slightly in concern. All of his men had been trained to come when called upon, those who didn't had to face the consequences.
So where was he?
"Trouble?" Kowalski smirked. "Where's your lapdog?"
Axel whirled to face him, a venomous remark ready, when the sound of a multiple barrage of bullets sounded and cut him short. There came the sounds of screams and cries, bones breaking, blood hitting wet surfaces and glass smashing. His men prayed to any god willing to listen as their brains splattered against the floor, drugs that were being pruned were destroyed and from years to come, no one would be able to believe such a small squad and crime mistress had caused so much damage.
"It seems the tide has turned," Kowalski continued and he finally looked like himself again. "How did my friends get out? Have you been betrayed?"
Axel jumped to his feet and headed towards the door, to check the situation and see what exactly was happening. A thick crimson liquid splattered against the glass, Axel stumbled back and fell onto his backside. Kowalski laughed. The office door creaked open and two of the masked assailants entered, relief washed through Axel. He got to his feet and tried to look composed, straightening the lapels of his jacket.
Axel pointed at Kowalski, in a rather dramatic fashion, "Finish him!" he ordered.
They didn't move, didn't even twitch. Axel turned to them, confusion clear across his face. He pointed to Kowalski and again ordered for his execution. Again, neither of them moved. Axel backed off, his gaze turning to the emergency exit hidden behind Kowalski's chair. If he moved quick enough he could get away, take the exit down to alley and loose them in the crooked maze of the Spanish streets.
"Who are you people?" Axel growled. "You're not my men, who are you?"
They finally moved, pulling the balaclava from their heads and tossing them aside. The screams and cries continued in the background, but inside the room was silent. Zero and One smiled at the dumbstruck Axel and beaming Kowalski, Axel didn't hesitate. He saw he had lost, he bolted for the secret exit and Zero whipped out her gun, as quick as lightning and twice as deadly as mercury, and fired a single shot.
Axel was struck in the knee and he hit the ground, smashing his head on the hard wooden floor. Moaning he clutched his blooded knee and swore into the dirty panels. Zero went to Kowalski, freeing him of his shackles and pulled him up into her arms. One pulled out one of her own guns and kept it focused on Axel, who glowered at Kowalski and Zero.
"I'm so sorry," she said into his neck. "I wanted to tell you, but we couldn't compromise our mission. I would have come sooner, but we were waiting for our cue."
She looked to his injured hand and gently clutched it, caressing the damaged flesh. Kowalski hissed in pain at her soft touch, but didn't want to have her out of his arms ever again. Even if she was hurting him, she was only trying to comfort him and that was all he really cared about.
"What should we do with him?" One spoke up and nodded her head in Axel's direction. "Should we tell him how his plan failed? Or should we have a long drawn out death?"
"No," Kowalski answered. "We give him what he has never been able to give anyone else - dignity in death."
He walked away from Zero's arms and took the gun from One's hand, Axel by now had managed to sit up and was now facing Kowalski with a puzzling expression. He didn't believe that Kowalski would deliver what he had promised, where was the satisfaction of revenge? Surely Axel deserved a horrible death, one only suitable for the crimes he had commited and helped to commit.
It wasn't right for Axel to die so quickly, so simply, in fact it was almost an insult. Axel didn't want a quick death, he prayed for a death that would help him go down in the history books. Even if S.W.O.R.D hid his existence from the rest of the world, Axel had hoped a dramatic death would be enough to have people remember his name.
"You'll really kill me so easily?" Axel smirked. "A bullet in the head and that's it? Where's that glorious revenge you and Skipper spoke of often?"
"I won't torture you as you did me," Kowalski answered. "For one good reason, if I did so then I would be just as bad as you. I won't lower myself to your levels. You die quickly and without honour, Tia meanwhile will be honoured with funeral rites."
Axel's eyes widened and he went to protest, when Kowalski fired. The bullet hit him in the forehead, puncturing his marvellous mind and the remnants of everything he was staining the floor. For a second Axel stared at Kowalski, trying to comprehend the fact he had in fact been shot, and then came the steady stream of blood trickling down his forehead and the chunks of brain that wobbled like jelly on the floor, his head slumped and that was the end of Axel Halibel.
And the end of Trinity.
8 Months Later
All those within that Spanish warehouse had been slaughtered, none had been spared, if only to ensure no information concerning the situation would be leaked and become public knowledge. Trinity had always been a fabled myth, an organization lower than hell itself, a crime syndicate no one dare speak of in fear of death. Now that Trinity truly were gone they were nothing more than a legend, all thanks to how the whole truth of the situation had been blown out of proportion.
Rumours spread of course, those linked to Trinity were punished once their ties were known, but the absence of the powerful organization had worried the whole of the underworld and once Trinity's demise had been made known people speculated as to how the members of Trinity met their deaths.
People talked of how Diz sold all of his information to a terrorist syndicate, thereby causing a recent attack on a Tokyo subway and killing thousands. They spoke of how someone discovered his identity through that attack and how he spent months running across the globe in an effort to evade his captures, when he was cornered he blew himself and his pursuers up in a fiery blaze.
Kaien himself had an interesting tale also, rumours spread of how he himself had trained himself as an assassin in case his men ever turned against him. There were some tales of how Kaien had been a samurai, or some other bullshit like that. Lies told of how one of his men betrayed him and slaughtered his family, in an effort to avenge his fallen loved ones he picked up his own blade and battled the man to the death.
The stories of Tia and Axel were a little vague, people had never heard of Axel and knew little about him, but once his existence became known many wondered if he was in fact the brains behind the operations and had run away when his dynasty began to crumble around him. Months later the only thing Kowalski truly regretted about Axel's death was that he never found out the things he wanted to know. The reasons for Axel's liking to the form of a dolphin would remain a mystery.
As for Tia, no one spoke of what happened to her. Before anyone even knew of Trinity's downfall all of Tia's and Trinity's bank accounts had been cleared out, not even a nickel remained, and she had vanished from the face of Earth. People thought - to themselves only - that she had killed the others and taken all of the money, escaping to a remote tropical island and living out the rest of her days in luxury with a handsome male suitor.
The truth was far stranger.
Before the warehouse slaughter S.W.O.R.D managed to attain each of Trinity's bank accounts, emptying each account and transferring the money to various charities and funding research in hopes of curing various diseases. Tia only became made aware of that after she had lost every penny Trinity had earned over the years. After that Tia ran, trying to maintain a dignity she said, before she was captured and given a firing squad death.
After that her remains were burned, as she had indicated in a letter she had written for Zero's eyes only, and Zero had been carrying those very remains for the past eight months, searching for the best place to release them through the list of places Tia had once held dear to her heart. Finally she found the perfect spot; a simple bridge in a simple German park. The sky had begun to set, staining the sky a rich shade of autumn orange.
Since the defeat of Trinity things had managed to return to the normalacy Kowalski had craved, after some short therapy sessions the peng-umans were back to their selves and each relationship had been repaired. It took some time and effort, but finally things returned to how they had once been. As well as that, Zero and Kowalski even managed to get married during those hectic months.
Standing on the arc-shaped bridge, Zero held the grey urn in her hands, the ashes of Tia and James mixed together into one as she knew Tia would have wanted. Kowalski stood by her side, starring down at the clear water below and gazing at the silver fishes beneath the cool surface. His hand had healed, though the flesh was still a little delicate and the nerves shot. Doctors said it could years before his nerves finally healed.
After years of waiting and neither of them in any mood to have to pick a date, book a place, invite guests and everything else, Kowalski had quite literally said, "Screw this!" and whisked her off to a registration office in Manhattan. Zero had not the patience for extravagant events as it was, and Kowalski himself hated to have to attend a long event - even if it was his own wedding - so signing a form in a dusty old office was good enough for her.
She glanced down to the silver ring on her finger, a simple one with an incription on the inside and a small sapphire diamond. She smiled at the fact she had been Zero Ostrowski for four months now. Kowalski looked to her, placing his one and over hers and squeezed tightly. Kowalski had questioned the location at first, but then Zero told him how that location was one mentioned in the letter Tia had left for Zero.
It was the very first place James had called Tia 'mom' and the first time in her whole existence she felt undying and unconditional love for another being.
"Ready to finally put Tia Halibel to rest?" he asked her.
Zero nodded, then looked to the urn. "I still hate her," she told him, "despite the fact she helped us. She ordered the slaughtered of thousands, ruined people's lives with her drugs and allowed her men to do such brutal things to women - but she deserves this, if only to ensure she and Axel don't end up in the same place."
"He goes to the fire and she stays along the air," Kowalski commented.
Zero opened the lid of the urn, peering down at the grey specks inside. She held it with both hands, clutching it as if it was a child, then threw the dust into the air. They danced and rippled along the heavy breeze, rising up before falling in a curved arc. The breeze settled and the dust was carried away, Tia and James were taken far away and Zero was glad to see the end of them.
"Well then," Kowalski began, "shall we be off? I feel like having staying in bed today."
Zero took his hand and they headed deep into the shrubbery of the park, the leaves leaving patterns dancing across their faces. She leaned her head against his shoulder, listening to the caws of the birds and the rustling of autumn leaves. They enjoyed the harmony and wished that every day could be like that one, so simple and carefree without having to worry about anything or anyone.
There came a vibration from Kowalski's coat pocket, Zero grabbed the phone from his pocket and answered it cheerfully with a local greeting of 'Guten tag.' She listened carefully to the voice on the other end, after ten minutes she sighed and pocketed his phone. He looked to her and she gave him an exasperated look, he had a feeling the extended honeymoon was now finally over.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Some new group are trying to take over from where Trinity left off," Zero answered. "Some wannabe organization known as Legion."
"Legion?" Kowalski repeated. "How creative."
"Indeed," she agreed with a smirk. "Anyway, while they aren't a problem at the moment Commander Bradley doesn't want them to become a problem in the future. We have to stop them now."
"Oh Goody," Kowalski said sarcastically. "That's just how I want to end my vacation - with news of a new criminal empire."
"Don't worry," she assured him. "You have me now and this time I'm going to make sure you don't run off to that bloody zoo."
He stopped and pulled her into his arms and chest, delivering a kiss to her soft lips. Zero smiled and melted in his arms like an icecube on the sun, his arms constricted around her like vice and in that moment of absolute calm and hush Zero Ostrowski felt as though nothing in that world or the next could harm either of them. Not drug lord, not terrorists, not evil dolphins and not one single crime organization.
Because they were of S.W.O.R.D and they were the finest agents around, protecting the innocent and seeking revenge amongst those who dare do others harm. For as long as there is evil, S.W.O.R.D will be there to stop it.