This story is for entertainment purposes only, I do not claim the characters as my own. Parents, it is your responsibility to monitor your children's internet use, not mine.
1. Deja Vu
"It's not obvious but there is a change in his behavior."
"Really? Are you sure? This isn't a romanticized fantasy knocking around in your pretty head, is it?"
Amanda gave him a cold look. Dressed in his expensive three piece suit and silk tie, he looked more like a CEO or an investment banker than the leader of a highly secretive black ops organization. "Flattery, Percy? Fantasy? That seems a bit juvenile, even for you."
He didn't bother turning toward her, he knew the look on her face was condescending and from the way her arms were folded in front of her, she wasn't in the mood for any friendly banter.
"It's subtle, but you can see it in his posture, the way he holds his head." Amanda tapped the toe of her suede platform heels and her long manicured nails kept time. "There's something in his eyes… we shouldn't ignore it... this could be a problem."
Percy raised his eyebrows. "Are you questioning his ability or his loyalty?"
"I'm not questioning either, I'm just pointing out his Achilles heel." She gave him a smoldering look. "We all have one and his is Nikita."
Percy followed Amanda's gaze from their vantage point in Operations to the floor where two recruits were honing their hand-to-hand combat skills. They circled each other, deflecting blows with their fore arms and using their legs to throw kicks at each other. The guttural martial arts sounds they made echoed in the room while a group of young men and women sat on the floor against the wall, waiting for their turn.
Michael observed them with a critical eye but his concentration was interrupted for a split second, he turned his head ever so slightly toward the glass window that separated them from Operations. His eyes narrowed and the dark aura around him grew murkier before he turned back to the roomful of trainees.
This was Division, a clandestine government entity tasked with assignments that involved destruction, deception and death. The recruits were young, some still in their teens, they were chosen for their ghostly pasts, given new identities and offered a second chance to serve their country. What they didn't know was the truth that Nikita had learned and Michael had never questioned, that serving their country was secondary to serving Percy and his own private agenda. His autonomy and utter disregard for human life had driven Nikita to go rogue and she was determined to put an end to the organization.
"Are you still considering sending him out in the field to find your Achilles heel, you know, your missing black box?" This time a look of amused curiosity crossed Amanda face.
He chose to ignore the dig. Behind her sophisticated dress and coy feminine demeanor Amanda was an expert manipulator and he had learned not to go there. "I believe I will, I don't doubt his ability to find it and Nikita too."
"Then what? He's had contact with her recently, twice that we know about and she's still alive. I don't think he could bring himself to cancel her, do you? "
Percy shrugged. "I'm not giving him a choice. Either he completes the mission or he suffers the consequences. I can't have him questioning our work…"
"You mean your work." Amanda interrupted him with a smirk.
He glared at her. "As I was saying, anyone who questions our work is a liability. The priority is finding the black box, and when he does, I'm quite sure he'll find Nikita. Once I know the box is back where it belongs, he will complete his mission, full containment, including canceling her."
Percy rolled his shoulders, the conversation made him tense. "Roan will confirm the kill, he has strict orders. If Michael is successful, we're all happy and he gets a little R and R, however if he fails, he won't be returning. It would be a shame, but necessary."
"I see." Amanda turned and walked to the door, her high heels clicked as she crossed the floor. She looked over her shoulder. "Care to join me for lunch?"
Percy smiled. "I'd be delighted." He followed Amanda out of the command center and the door shut behind them.
Michael gestured to his assistant, the man blew his whistle and the two recruits stopped and bowed to each other before taking a seat on the sidelines.
"Jaden, Alex, you're up." Michael's voice was a well toned growl, deep and masculine. He stood in front of the recruits like a commanding officer reviewing his troops. His tall well built frame exuded confidence, his feet were planted slightly apart, anchored to the floor and his arms were crossed behind his back.
The young women assumed their stance. "Begin." he nodded and watched them as they began to spar. He discreetly touched the spot behind his earlobe where the tiny transmitter was affixed. Nothing he overheard between Percy and Amanda surprised him. He made a note to himself to thank Birkhoff for unintentionally providing him with the bugging device. It had proven to be most useful.
Nikita's night's were filled with strange dreams and when she awoke, she knew they had infiltrated her psyche. She thought they were a result of the anxiety she felt putting Alex in harm's way. The question lingered, did she have the right to ask her to put her life on the line? The thought all but vanished when she remembered Percy's arrogance and his orders to kill innocents like Alex and Daniel. The thought of Daniel made her ache. He had been there for her, cared for her, showed her what loving someone meant, and he died for it. Division had him killed, but she might as well have pulled the trigger. Percy was power hungry, greedy, and completely without a conscious, and she vowed to destroy him and Division.
She gathered her black hair up and pulled it into a ponytail. She wore no make up and was dressed in a tank top and leggings. On the surface she looked much younger than her 27 years, but in reality she felt much older. Her safe house, was a ballroom inside of an abandoned hotel. She had transformed an island of carpeting into a work and living space. Nikita needed very little, she had been on the run for over three years and with the exception of her laptop computer and glock, she was willing to leave it all behind in a moment's notice.
Her computer chimed and she sat down in front of her monitor watching the words appear on the screen. The computer's text to speech program read them back to her in Alex's voice.
"Hello Sensei, something is up, but I'm not sure what. I heard Birkhoff say it was black box time. Does that mean anything to you?"
Nikita felt a pang of discomfort. She had known Percy would never give up pursuing the missing black box or the flash drive that accompanied it. It was one of six, hidden around the world and if exposed, would create a ripple effect of destruction. She typed in her reply.
"Black Box is what keeps Percy in power. We find it first and we can start bringing him down. Who are they sending?"
"Michael, he left with two other operatives. An hour later I saw Roan talking to Percy, he's really creepy."
"That's generous, what he is, is very dangerous, so steer clear. Let me know if you find anything else."
"Okay, got to go, class is in session."
The monitor showed she had logged off and the cursor that denoted Alex's presence stopped blinking. Nikita leaned back in her chair to contemplate her next move.
She could still feel his eyes boring into her and his low sensuous voice and brooding expression flashed through her head. She realized they would face each other again. She thought of the times he had protected her and wondered when they would stop owing each other? She knew he cared, because she cared too, but everything had changed when she met Daniel. She closed her eyes and shook her head because she knew that wasn't quite true. Everything had changed when he turned his back on her and pushed her into Daniel's arms.
Nikita picked up her gun and released the clip into her hand before shoving it back in with a quick motion. Now, they were after the same thing, Percy's black box of secrets.
Alex sat at her computer terminal and twisted a lock of hair around her finger pulling at it absentmindedly. She had been a training recruit for exactly seven weeks and four days and not a day had gone by where she hadn't learned something useful. She constantly looked for opportunities and morsels of information. Listening, reading over people's shoulders, watching and formulating clever questions that might lead to information that Nikita could use. For the first time in her young life, she felt she had a purpose. She felt empowered, leaving her heroin addiction behind was easy because taking Division down was her new drug of choice.
There were ten other recruits sitting in front of state of the art computers taking insults from Birkhoff, Division's Tech Wizard. He berated them while instructing them on how to get around a firewall. The exercise on hacking into a computer's server was actually enjoyable but Alex continued her charade of incompetence because it allowed her extra time in the lab. After an hour of recognizing standard coding, the class was over.
"Okay, kiddies, it's recess in the 'hood. Wash your hands before touching anything." Birkhoff's tone dripped with sarcasm. He picked up his computer panel and made a note on it. When he looked up Alex was standing in front of him.
"Birkhoff?" Alex tried her best to sound sincere. "I wondered if you could tell me something."
He looked at her suspiciously. "Not likely." He saw the fallen look on her face and it made him feel guilty. "Okay, what is it?"
Alex's face lit up. "The other day, I was working with Amanda and she said I reminded her of Nikita. Who is she?"
He looked amused. "Consider that a big compliment. She's what legends are made of."
"What's that supposed to mean?" The longer she had been at Division, the more she wanted to know about her mentor.
"Nikita was a recruit like you. She showed up here and started training with Michael. They had some sort of symbiotic relationship going, you know, a mutual connection. Anyway, she did the Rebel Yell three years ago and all but disappeared. Then about six weeks ago, she turned up on our radar."
"You mean she left? You can do that?" She feigned naivete.
Birkhoff laughed out loud. "Hell no!"
He sized the young woman up. Alex was pretty, strong and although weak on her computer skills, she had a spark. He knew Michael saw something in her, and so did Percy and Amanda. "Don't get any wise ideas, especially if you want to stay alive."
The warning was a threat she already understood.
"So this Nikita, she's run off? Why? What's her story?"
Birkhoff shrugged his shoulders. "It doesn't pay to fall in love, especially in here." He looked at her sideways and snarled. "Now scram."
She pulled the fur collar on her parka close around her neck. The weather didn't phase her, in fact she welcomed the bite on her face and the frigid air in her lungs. She took the GPS device out of her pocket and tossed it into a trash can on the street as she walked by.
The last time Nikita had seen Owen Elliot, he was bruised and battered with two bullet wounds. She had told him the truth about removing the tracking device that all Division personnel had implanted in their hip, but what she didn't tell Owen was she had replaced it with a tracking device of her own.
She knew Owen had Percy's black box. It had been two weeks since he became a renegade and had taken off. She had held out hope, that with time, he would come around to her side. But time had run out. Division was actively pursuing the box and it was time for her to find it before they did. Her GPS sent her back to Montreal and the final stop was the Monte Royal Cemetery, where she found a fresh grave and new headstone. It belonged to Emily Robinson, Owen's love. The woman had given him back his humanity and had paid the price for that gift with her life. Nikita had found the tracking device, embedded in a small bible, left in an empty flower urn.
She flagged a cab and instructed the driver to take her to her hotel. It wasn't often she felt the need to drink, but tonight she felt melancholy and alone. Death was something she had become accustomed to, but it was usually in a context of kill or be killed. This was different. Emily had been an innocent, it felt tragic and senseless. She had been down this road far too many times, wondering what if, and trying to accept there are no do overs, only a hopeless sense of deja vu.
The hotel lobby was busy with guests checking in. Piles of luggage surrounded the bell hop's station and the Concierge desk was busy helping guests and making phone calls. Nikita sensed that something was off as she maneuvered her way through the crowded lobby. She entered the elevator alone and extracted her glock from the holster in the small of her back. When she arrived on her floor, she carefully and silently made her way down the hall to her room. The door was slightly ajar and she took a step back. With her weapon pointed straight ahead and her finger on the trigger, she kicked the door and it flew open.
A figure standing next to the window slowly turned around.
She pointed her weapon at him and smirked.