Early in the morning, Merlin took the tube to the Tavern. It was so early that London could be almost described as dead; not that a bustling city such as London ever slept, but how it looked like now was as probably as close as one could get. When he got off his station, Merlin straightened his red scarf and tucked his hands in his woollen coat before stepping out of the train to brave the London chill.
The Tavern was found right across the station and had the appearance of a rundown pub. So rundown and unkempt with its lichen speckled roof, grimy windows, flaking paint and bad drainage pipes which left trails of mould and algae in its wake, it dissuaded most possible customers from it. The average person wouldn't have even thought of drinking at The Tavern for fear of their life from alcohol poisoning (in all sense of the word). However, Merlin was not the average person. No, he was Agent Warlock of the MI0 and he knew The Tavern was just a cover for a secret, sophisticated weapons development laboratory.
Merlin walked up to door in the gloomy, dawn light beneath the flickering static of the light posts. There was a bronze dragon's head knocker and with it he knocked three times, paused for exactly three and a half seconds, and performed double knock.
In one second the dragon's head became animated and yawned widely before speaking, "Who's this disturbing me?"
"It is Agent Warlock - Merlin Emrys reporting for duty," replied Merlin in a whisper.
"Really? Cause you don't seem like Agent Warlock to me. Where's the beard or stubble?" The dragon then 'peered' at him. Merlin could've sworn that its little bronze eyes were squinting.
Merlin rolled his blue eyes. Firstly, he felt stupid talking to an animated dragon which was only a door knocker that was enchanted to be alive, and secondly with an archaic name such as his, everyone expected him to have a beard or at least be unshaven.
"I am Merlin Emrys, also known as Agent Warlock of the MI0. I request entry into The Tavern," he asked the dragon knocker.
"I don't believe you. The Black Knight said Agent Warlock was coming, not this scrawny fellow who claims to be Agent Warlock." The dragon gave him another once over.
"Oh screw this," muttered Merlin. He raised his hand to the door knob and said, "Tospringe."
The door after several moments of clicking noises emanating from the moving gears and locks, it swung open much to the dragon knocker's dismay, who started yelling out, "Intruder! Intruder!" until the door was fully open and it returned to an inanimate state.
Merlin walked into the building and stepped into the wooden floor boarded room which is meant to be the bar room. It was full of tables and chairs at the moment, and had several flat screen televisions on the wall to play the various sports when there were patrons, if there were patrons.
Three darts fly straight at him. Merlin raises his hands and with a flash of his golden eyes they freeze mid-air, stopping a few mere inches from his outstretched palms. But then he sees a red laser light running right across the outstretched limbs. It triggers another booby trap. Three more darts come flying toward him. Merlin quickly releases the magic holding the previous darts in its frozen states and slows down time to dodge the new missiles.
However, he ends up stepping onto another floorboard and it sinks into the ground. He hears a creak from above, and a large net comes falling from a hole in the ceiling. Merlin pushes against a chair to give him the momentum to perform a commando roll. He rolls out of the path of the net and where he was is now the chair which he used to push off from. It was slightly singed because the net was imbued with magic designed to electrocute as well as immobilise.
Merlin grins with amusement.
He feels the end of metallic object nudging at the back of his head, brushing against his thick, raven hair.
"Got you now, Warlock," said a gruff voice rather smugly.
Merlin grinned harder, knowing exactly who held the gun to the back of his head. "The Green Knight wants to think that way, but I am sorry that I will have to prove you wrong."
His eyes flash gold and the net entangled chair flies toward the Green Knight, who was holding him captive. The Green Knight had fast reflexes and a faster mind. He knew that physically touching the net would electrocute him, so he reached out for a chair, and with his brute strength, flings it out to knock the contraption off course. Yet, by the time he performs the manoeuvre he realised that his gun has been twisted out of his hand and is held at point blank range to his face by a grinning Merlin.
"Hello Gwaine," greeted Merlin calmly.
"Hi, Merlin, you going to shoot me Magic Boy?" replied Gwaine. Gwaine had his trademark charming smile on spread across his face (accentuated by his trademark designer stubble and swishy, brown hair).
"I think I will."
Merlin pulls the trigger.
Gwaine continues grinning because all that comes out at the end of the barrel is a smiley face on a spring accompanied by a farting sound.
The two men look at each other for a moment before bursting into fits of laughter and embracing each other.
"It's been a long time Gwaine. I hope you're not coming in here for a morning drink, are you?"
"No. Just to make sure that our friendly neighbourhood sorcerer isn't incapacitated. Elyan is going to be pissed that you made it through the latest course and destroying half the bar while you were at it. But I must say he needs to reprogram or re-enchant, I'm not sure, that knocker again. It's a total bastard. Anyway, I suppose you're here for the Project BLUE Mission?"
"Yeah. And I wasn't the only one throwing chairs around."
Gwaine shrugged and walked towards a giant, stuffed grizzly bear mounted on a pedestal in the corner of the room. It was standing on its two hind legs and its forearms were held out with sharp claws ready to swipe out. The mouth of the beast was wide open forever more prepared to give a killer bite. Gwaine reached out and put his hand in the beast's mouth and tugged one of its sharp canines. He took a step back and the bear on the pedestal moved sidewards, revealing a stairway that lead underneath the Tavern.
"Ready to go Merlin?" he asked.
"Give me a second," replied Merlin. Merlin took one more glance at the room. He was repairing and cleaning as much as the room he could. He spotted the chair the Gwaine threw. He had a shattered leg, shards of it sprayed across the room.
"Gebétung stól." The bits chair scattered across the room came to the main body of the chair and pieced itself back together. It then floated back to the original dining room set it belonged to.
"Good job, Merlin. Maybe Elyan won't kill us now," grinned Gwaine.
"I hope not."
They then went down the passage way to Elyan's lab.
"I can't believe you got yourself out of that one again Warlock," exclaimed the exasperated dark-skinned man, whom was wearing a pair of oil covered overalls.
This was Elyan – the Black Knight. His code name was not only because of his skin (which he never took offense to), but because he spent most of his time in the dark with his projects. He was the MI0's lead weapons inventor, spending most of his time alone creating various gadgets. Currently, he was working on the new getaway vehicle that would be used for the retrieval mission of Project BLUE. The vehicle looked like a standard van which had the words Mario's Internet Operations printed on the side—but, being created from the Black Knights mind, there was bound to be a lot of nifty things embedded into it.
"It'll be fine to deter and capture your average enemy, but you are going to have to work a little harder to deter me," chuckled Merlin.
"Well, it's good that you could evade most of those. The layout of the Saint Corporation's safe where Project BLUE is kept under locks is very similar to that," replied Elyan whilst he wiped his oil covered hands on a rag before bringing up the layout of the Saint Corporation.
"Don't get too cocky, Merlin. It doesn't look good on you," commented a deep voice.
The three of them turn around to see Percival—the Grey Knight. He was tall giant of a man who is built like a bull and his arms looked like they could crush you, but no. He was a gentle giant and preferred dealing with electrical wires and the knick-knacks of technology. He was holding onto a tablet which was connected to the screen that had the layout of the Saint Corporation. With the tablet, Percival zoomed into one of rooms, showing a 3D projection of it.
"This is the safe room for Project BLUE which Prince wants us to break into," Percival states.
Merlin looks at the specs of the safe room. "So it's covered by some super thick walls of steel, some many metres below their laboratory in rural England. Where was it again?"
"In Dartmoor, a bleak, boring and completely isolated place. That just adds to the suspiciousness of a pharmaceuticals company." A Hispanic man stated as he entered the room with a tray of take away coffees. "I brought drinks by the way."
"Aw-w, no ale Lancelot?" whined Gwaine.
"Definitely not, Gwaine. It's too early for you to be your cups," Lancelot replied before placing the tray onto the table where the screen protruded from and then took a seat. He was the White Knight; the second in charge of the MI0's elite - the Knights. Second only to the Yellow Knight who wasn't here yet, which was unusual for the usually punctual man.
"Where's Leon?" asked Merlin.
"Him and Mithian are on their first year anniversary and the Princess gave him time off. Lucky guy," answered Gwaine.
"Oh-h, then I suppose you are in charge Lancelot?" Merlin seats himself around the table where the computer screen sat before him, joining the other men. He reaches out for his coffee on the take away tray and takes a gulp. It was hot and strong, just the way he liked it.
"Correct; and since all the Knights are assembled, excluding Leon," Lancelot looked at Elyan, Gwaine and Percival, "with its partnering sorcerer for this assignment, Retrieval Mission of Project BLUE." He looked at Merlin. "I think we can begin discussing the strategy that Arthur has given us to start off with."
The plan that Arthur had concocted was quite simple—only the first half though.
This was because the elite of the MI0 – the Knights had impeccable team work, even with one of their own not on duty. They were a single, cohesive unit. They were able to pull things off simply with no fuss and hassle, altogether they were ruthlessly efficient. Added, to them was their accompanying sorcerer, Merlin, like that in all units of MI0.
Sorcerers were a necessary part of unit since the MI0 dealt with magical problems and often magical problems needed a magical solution. However, reliable and trustworthy sorcerers were hard to come by with, especially when it came to nation-threatening issues. So as a result, sorcerers don't have a team they pair with permanently, unlike the members of the Knights who obviously knew each other very well (which is rare in the world of espionage). Instead, they often flit between groups and missions. Thankfully, Merlin had worked with the Knights quite a few times before. Often he was a solo agent, a lone wolf. This was because he was the most powerful sorcerer in the MI0. He was a Warlock. A being born of magic.
After discussing the proposed plan and just before they left to go the Saint Corporation Laboratories, Elyan gave each of the member of the unit there gadgets and weapons. He himself was never much as a field agent, preferring to be involved in the mission through the use of his technology.
"Okay, guys, look after you weapons and bits of technology since Elyan would kill us if we would help you blend in and get your way through the doors of the Saint Corporation guys, according the Elyan here," stated Lancelot whilst they were in the back of 'Mario's Internet Operations' van parked in the employee parking lot of the Saint Corporation.
"Yeah, can do, I've got a nifty tool kit for hacking into the security system," mentioned Percival who was still going through a seemingly mundane tool kit. Except that it has a built computer that had a processor that could almost rival at least a third of Google's servers.
"Lucky you Percy," commented Gwaine, "Whilst you just pretend to be a Mario to fix their internet connection and Lancelot is in this awesome van to be our unnecessary fast and furious driver. All I get is my usual gun. I want something bit more explosive."
"What are you complaining about Gwaine? At least you get a gun. I get a bag to carry the blue ball. Something about weight sensitive pressure tiles." Merlin strapped the bag onto his back before putting a black suit jacket over the top. He didn't really mind not having a weapon since he himself was one. But he would like the weight of a gun strapped onto him.
"Well that's enough complaining. Let's get this task over and done with. Make sure that you stay connect all the time." Lancelot was referring to the communications device that was disguised as one of those ribbon pins a person would buy for charity. "Gwaine, I'll buy you a drink if this succeeds, alright?" the White Knight offered.
"Can do," affirmed the Green Knight.
"Okay, let's begin."
Lancelot planted himself in the driver's seat and Percival in the passenger seat. Gwaine and Merlin eased themselves out of the back door while Lancelot makes a smooth turn, making it look like from any other angle that the two men had just parked their cars in the parking lot.
Merlin and Gwaine had business suits on. Gwaine had folders in one arm while, Merlin had a lanyard on his neck with an identification code on it. They confidently made their way to the front office and presented themselves to the secretary who was busy typing something on her computer with a scrunched up face. Her internet wasn't working and she was hoping that the rest of the network was ok.
"You'll get wrinkles on your pretty face if you keep looking like that," commented Gwaine.
The lady wearing glasses looked up at the two men with an irritated expression. "May I help you gentlemen?"
"I'm here from the research department in London to introduce our new internship to work on the new project," he emphasised. Merlin leaned against the desk and smiled charmingly at the woman, pretending to be a cocky, newly graduated scientist.
The woman looked at them sceptically. The newly graduated scientist looked a little too old to have finished now. But then again, a there has been an increase of mature age students. "I didn't receive any notification from head office that new scientist was coming in today. I would like to see some ID please."
"Well obviously my secretary has been slack," complained Gwaine, "I didn't take this guy down from London for absolutely no reason and just to end up here to be refused." He continued blathering on about his non-existent secretary, forcing the secretary to pay attention to him.
Gwaine was actually buying time for Merlin who was looking over the computer screen and onto her desk. His eyes were flashing gold at a furious pace until he found some ID's. Merlin with his hand covered the ID on his lanyard and with another gold flash he copied some random scientist's ID. He then did the same to another lanyard in his pocket with another ID before discreetly slipping it into Gwaine's pocket. That was the signal.
"Why am I telling you all this?" questioned Gwaine in a frustrated manner.
"I have absolutely no clue," she annoyingly replied, "But, I'm going to need to see your ID, Sir, or else I have to call security to escort you out."
"Of course, of course. You got your's Junior?" Gwaine looked at Merlin.
"Yes, Sir." Merlin took off the lanyard and passed it to the woman. Gwaine does the same and gives it to her.
She quickly scanned them and analysed the pages that came up. She frowns and then almost sneers, she was obviously very pissed off. "Your ID's are real. Though with the professionalism of the London office, I highly doubt Mr. O'Leary and Mr. McCormack."
"Well, it's just my secretary that lacks professionalism. You on the other hand, Miss, could definitely replace her any time though," Gwaine flirted.
She wrinkles her nose. "I rather not Mr. O'Leary. You and Mr. McCormack may now pass." The woman was attempting to get rid of them (specifically Gwaine) as fast as possible.
They passed through the automatic sliding doors and headed towards the basement and below where Project BLUE was kept.
"Now that was a piece of cake," comment Merlin.
"It sure was, Magic Boy. You're next Grey Knight."
In the van Lancelot looked at Percival. He picked up his tool kit and went toward the office to see the same glasses wearing secretary.
"Excuse me, Miss."
She looked up from her dead internet to see the big, burly man, giving him a quick once over and gave a small smile. She apparently liked what she saw. "May I help you, Sir?"
"I'm Mario Rosetti from Mario's Internet Operations. I was called in earlier to help with the connection issues."
"I don't remember calling for help," she mused quietly and evidently out loud.
"No, the security department did. A good chunk of the system is down and the head officer called my business for help. We often work at the London branch when the IT department is flat out." Percival flashed her a small smile.
"Of course, of course," she replied rather breathlessly, "I shall call Henry straight away."
"No need, Miss. I'm pretty sure I can work out the problems from the circuitry boards that are connected to your computer her."
"Of course, Mr. Rosetti," she agreed and looked rather appreciatively to Percival's big arms.
"Please call me Mario, Miss...?"
"Ellen. My name is Ellen."
"Ellen, then. Well, Ellen I'll just be behind your desk where the boards are and start my work then. I hope I won't be disturbing you too much."
"None at all," she replied rather quickly and little flushed.
As soon as Percival hooked himself to the small circuit through her computer he immediately hacked his way into the security systems. "Hm-m, I think this might take a while. Sorry about this Ellen, it may actually take a while to fix, it appears."
"Don't be sorry! You're the second handiest person to fix this silly backwards technology pharmaceuticals company today. Just a half an hour ago we had a ventilation problem in our vents and we had to call someone down to fix it. Working vents are really important to the labs since vaccines need to be kept in a stable temperature to grow. The system is controlled electronically, but nothing was wrong with it—but now I doubt since you are here. The woman, if you can believe, a woman that came to fix the air conditioning had to climb through the vents to see if there is a blockage. Now, that I think about it. She hasn't come back yet."
Percival looked up Ellen with a worried face. Climbing through air vents was a basic tactic for sneaking in. A child could figure that out.
"God, I hate Trojan viruses." That was code for 'we have an intruder, mission has been breached.'
But Merlin and Gwaine had easily got themselves to the safe room. Just a little magic, some colourless and odourless 'forget me' gas (according to Elyan) all the legitimate employees didn't even recognise them. Then they just loitered near the door of the room to break into for a while until they heard the code.
"It actually may take a while to fix it appears," they heard Percival speak out.
At this stage the security was at disarray and security guards already abandoned their post to go the other end of the building to fight a non-existent threat.
Both of them smiled and went to the door.
Merlin held out his at the lock and sensor pad and whispered, "Oncluce þe." His eyes glowed and the first barrier unlocked.
Gwaine pushed through, followed by Merlin.
Merlin had to repeat this four more times until they were at the last door.
"Are you ready for this Warlock?" asked Gwaine. This was second half of the mission – the difficult half. From opening the door one has only seven minutes to grab the object before the door automatically shuts, whilst preventing booby traps being set off. Even if the object is removed normally, room temperatures immediately drops to minus forty centigrade due to the lack of weight that is on the pedestal is sits on. Then, it is the quick getaway out of the damn place and back to the Tavern where Lancelot owes Gwaine a drink.
"Whenever you are, Green Knight," replied Merlin.
Just as Merlin finished the spell and they enter the room, both of them hear the code – the mission is in jeopardy.
But it is too late.
Merlin looks in the pure white room and where the pedestal is, there isn't the Project BLUE. Instead he see's a slim, woman in black clutching it. Her face is a pale like alabaster and her hair is tied into a tight pony tail except for a few strands that escaped it and frame her face. But it's her eyes that catch Merlin's attention. Her amazingly bright green eyes that connect to his surprised blue eyes.
And yes I just did that. But we will deal with the Merlin-Morgana confrontation next time. Did you guys spot the Sherlock reference?