I really hope to get back into writing this year, so lately I've been re-reading the little progress I had on all of my stories, figuring out a way to bring them back from the land of dead stories, which means most of them will be reposted.

Starting with this one.


The Cale Agenda

I


It seemed there was no sound other than that of the rain, falling softly on the roof above him, and that was such an overwhelming feeling. Carrying out a mission in circumstances like that always made him believe that the world consisted in only him and his target, a miserable human being who would, inevitably, die.

There was no joy on working in some sort of autopilot mode, but it was much better to do the things for which he had been created without much of a second thought, rather than let his mind wonder about such atrocities. That was the reason why, ever since the Berrisford incident, 494 had insisted himself to ignore any kind of external stimuli. It had been a decisive moment, the time when his light bulb went on and started doing the thing Manticore hated the most: to question authority. Maybe that wouldn't have been the big problem it turned out to, if weren't because 494 did actually started living: he devoured every single detail of the world with his eyes, taking in the magnificence that lay behind the disaster, he replied any received word with one born in his very core and, last but not least, he savored all of Rachel's kisses, that were rightfully his and what he wanted the most. He had known what it was like to live outside the box and, in Manticore's conspicuous style, remembered there were things he was not made for.

Rachel Berrisford died, and so Simon Lehane did. However, even after the long weeks in Psy-Ops, there was still that seed within him, one that eventually grew in the remorse that filled his mind every time he pulled the trigger. Watching Rafael Guevara, though, caused more sorrow than expected, since the man did not have many hopes to live much longer anyway. He was already dying.

The hand that held the gun rested on his hip, fearful, still unable to shoot, the sound of galloping rain louder in his ears. He could do this... and he had to if he wanted to be cleared of any sequel the Berrisford assignment could have provoked on him.

The man's low chuckle brought him back from his reverie, frowning as he spoke, "you were always so forgetful. What did you return for, honey?" asked the man gently, turning his aching body toward him, a faint smile on his lips that vanished as quickly as it showed up when their eyes met.

He took it as a sign. How was it possible that the ill doctor had noticed his presence, he did not know, but there was no other choice but to kill, and the animal that lived inherently within him raised his arm and pulled the trigger. The bullet penetrated the depths of his skull and rain, now unleashed in all its intensity, drowned out any sound.

Except for the scream.

The distorted sound of her mouth was not high-pitched enough, but the front door was open, the soaked female figure standing in the doorway. Dark brown strands of hair were plastered all over her face as horrified grimace ruined what otherwise were full, certainly seductive lips, and he imagined a similar gesture on his own face. He could swear he'd seen her go less than five minutes ago, his own judgment pleading him, above all, not to risk the life of someone else, much less that of the doctor's daughter. Not another daughter.

In just a second, mere instinct drove both of their bodies. Her feet made a great effort to carry her out, to the safety that the wet street offered to her, but he was much faster. Soon he had crossed the short distance separating them, the door now violently closed, and it seemed that the world got smaller again, leaving just the two of them alone.

It was not a difficult task to hold the fragile and frightened woman with his arms, even if she was determined to shake and kick, fighting for a freedom that would never come. Another daughter, he thought, somewhat hurt and defeated, another innocent girl, but he was not sure he could let her go without exposing the whole operation behind them. And letting go also meant an awful lot of stuff he was certain did not want to deal with anymore.

"Please, calm down," he muttered to the desperate creature, not releasing the pressure in her mouth. He couldn't afford someone else to listen to this disaster of a mission, but then he committed the mistake that could have cost him everything. Sometime during their struggle, her wet curls abandoned her features and, as he looked down at her, he clearly saw the face of his most dedicated partner in crime.

Obviously, he knew that many of them were based on someone else. Hell, he was well aware that Rafael Guevara's daughter was, genetically, the original version of X5-452, X5-453 and perhaps another dozen soldiers of many kinds, but still found it horrifying to consider the course his actions would take. He had to kill her, there was no doubt about it, and such thing was like reliving the fateful explosion that ended with his sweet Rachel's life; on the other hand, her resemblance to his fellow soldiers made him feel like he was killing one of his own. Unstable as he was right then, there was only a single way he could proceed, suddenly forgetting about any disturbing consequence back in Manticore.

He let her go.

Shaking, Maxine Guevara stumbled across the hall until her feet reached the exit, both of her hands occupied in equally important tasks. One tried nervously to open the door, while the other buried itself in the depths of her jacket's right pocket. Eventually, the door gave up, but the girl never gave the last step she needed to run.

As a leaf blowing away, her body fell slowly, lifeless, bright red blood staining the whiteness elegance of the floor.

When he lifted up his gaze, 494 felt himself close to something he identified as hysteria. A soaked female figure stood in the doorway, but the déjà vu feeling faded as soon as he saw the face. There was none of the horror of just a minute earlier, but that gesture of annoyance that, he had come to believe, was often caused by him. 452 glared at him, hand on hip, the gun still smoking. "Do I always have to clean up your mess?"


TBC


It really took me a while to find a proper way to start over again. Yeah, Max is holding a pistol, Alec is a bit unsteady and Logan is not even here, yet. I will not give the story that ambiguous touch that was slowly growing in the first version of TCA, since it has never been my intention to have MA of any kind in my works.

Well, I don't know what you think, but I'm actually proud of this one. There are still a few details to check before posting (and, then, posting more frequently) any more chapters, but this is what I have so far. However, I do really hope you enjoy it, and whether you do or not, if you read, I'd love to receive some feedback.