A man sat looking out at a city, it could have been any city but it was one of particular value to most citizens. Cities were irrelevant to the man who watched the city below, they were simply environments that needed turned into simulations so his team could train to achieve their goal. Standing next to his desk a smartly dressed, disarmingly beautiful yet highly intelligent blonde haired woman adjusted her glasses while holding an iPad. Standing smoothly the man poured himself a glass of an aged scotch smelling it while he spun it in its tumbler inhaling the aroma that brought hints of pleasure to his mind. After a few more moments the door to his office opened and another individual entered followed by another female who had the skin of caramel and smelled of cinnamon even from a distance.
Without turning the man looking at the city waved the new arrivals over in his general direction pouring them both a drink before saying a word. “I understand that things are progressing?”
“Yes sir,’ the cinnamon scented woman replied. “We have hit all our milestones so far without issue.”
“Are the cities we have chosen ready for our arrival?” Sipping the drink again the man made it sound as if he were talking about a yearly harvest of corn.
“Yes sir,’ this time the man spoke his voice carrying with it a cajun accent, creole to be more precise though the difference was negligible to most of the world. “We have four cities that are scanning as acceptable to enter, one has already shown the ability to be ready for us to execute the liquidation process.”
Raising an eyebrow at this the man showed his genuine surprise willingly though held back from saying anything regarding the comment. “Which cities have shown positive responses?”
“Gotham, Star City, Platinum Flats, New York, Washington D.C. and Houston.” The cinnamon woman knew the list would need explaining and the man waited for her to do just that. “We removed two from this list because they seemed too risky. New York and Gotham sir. New York because of the multitude of possible targets and Gotham because of the harvest that is there.”
Setting his glass down the man looked at both individuals with a calculated demeanor. “You think we are not ready to handle what Gotham may have in store for us even though it is ready for our entry?”
“Yes sir.’ The woman spoke again without hesitation which brought an approving nod out of the man.
“I agree, the environment is still too full of unknowns.” Sitting the man offered two seats opposite his own in front of his desk and his two guests took them before settling in for negotiations.
“You are both here representing various clients. You both know that the bidding for most of these cities is going to be quite steep. There has already been negotiating going on and I understand that their is an issue with only a handful of cities and one particular group of individuals?” Looking over a folder handed to him the man flipped through the various pages inside the document and then closed it looking at both individuals
“The cities in question are in regards to our international projects correct?” Nodding the male visitor glanced toward his counterpart and then handed a folder of his own to the man conducting the negotiations.
“We are hoping,’ the male visitor stated, ‘that by offering a share of our holdings in both Beijing and Paris that my colleague and her constituents can accept our offer for London. If not we would have to call upon the ‘Majority Crop Holders’ section of our standing contract in this accord. We have the ability and willingness to do so and will not hesitate to enact our powers.”
Frowning for a moment the woman seemed resigned to give in before solidifying her posture. “What he is saying is true but under the standing contract signed by each person in this agreement I have the responsibility to say that I am not only entitled to but also hold the right to refuse you and challenge your claims of not only Paris but all Hong Kong. Under the previous agreements these two cities were traded without notice and without proper compensation for harvesting that was done afterwards.”
Moving to speak the cajun man was stopped as the man behind the desk held up a hand stopping all debate. “Enough, we will negotiate who controls which lands when the time comes. For now I want to know which city is ripe enough to begin our infiltration process.”
“Platinum Flats.’ The bronzed woman said confidently. “It’s ready.”
Her opposite said nothing confirming her choice because of it. Handing the man behind the desk another folder the woman waited while he browsed the file. “It says here there are no known obstacles and no benefits beyond being highly ‘electronically and technologically’ concentrated and ahead of its time. Hardly a target requiring the assets you’ve listed.”
“That intelligence is old.” The woman handed him a printed sheet with two profiles dated for earlier that day.
“This profile was updated less than three days ago how is this possible?” The man’s voice rose ever so slightly in volume causing everyone in the room to flinch.
“One of our operatives, Jeremiah Ford, has found two subjects requiring our attention.” Reciting the information from memory the woman began to brief her superior on the changes. “The first woman we know little about because she shouldn’t exist. We do have a name though, Dot, she is a hacker of some renown and is responsible for nearly all of our security breaches and database wipes. She has been traced to Platinum Flats through considerable resources and we now have a general location within the city itself.”
“A hacker does not concern me, who is the other woman?” Tossing the sheet of paper on his desk the man leaned forward. “Who is she?”
“Miranda Moore.’ the woman stated. “She has taken it upon herself to act as a vigilante of some kind in Platinum Flats. We know she is both well trained and highly connected according to our database.”
“The database this ‘Dot’ has laid waste to on many occasions how do we know this woman is who we think she is?” Anger boiled inside the man at the ineptitude of those standing before him. “I want a target that will make a point and this is not it.”
“It can be.” The woman steeled herself and then continued talking regardless of the opposition she might face. “This woman should concern you and she can be made an example of. She has been posing as the assistant to one Brendan Knight, CEO of Knight Weapons and Development. If we hold her accountable for her transgressions she can be used as leverage.”
“She’s been hiding, from what?” The man looked back through the file and the woman placed a third file on his desk.
“Her father was former special forces, the kind that no one spoke of even if they were S.H.I.E.L.D. or A.R.G.U.S. before the invasion.” Pointing toward the documents she stayed in her seat. “Her father is responsible for the death of Brendan Knight’s fiance and child. This is highly volatile information and she should be brought to justice.”
Placing his hands together the man thought for a moment until his assistant showed him something from her iPad. Smiling the man nodded. “Yes, she should be. As should her friend, Dot, better known as Svitlana Anastasiya Belova.”
"Echo.." Nodding for a moment the woman sitting across the desk suddenly understood the pseudonym. “Quite the ruse.”
“Indeed.’ The man in charge said. “As for Mrs. Moore, she has her own secrets she must pay for as well.”
“Yes sir,’ the woman stated as the man in charges assistant took the iPad back. “What shall we do sir?”
“Kill them both then begin readying New York. I will not wait another moment.” Standing both individuals left the room leaving the man in charge to pour another drink and watch the city as he stood gazing out the window. His assistant approached him and stood silently next to him for a few moments. “What is it Mrs. Dandridge.”
“The teams for New York and Star City will be leaving shortly sir are you certain you wish to move forward with the process?” The woman was his conscious and he kept her around for that very reason but today was a day where his conscious needed to stay where it was and not where it should have been.
“Yes,’ the man said. “The time for heroes has come and gone Mrs. Dandridge. The world survived and even began to thrive without them around. It is time they disappear back into the mythos they once were. Nature abhors heroes even if humans adore them. History is written by the victors, it is time that history show that when we needed them most they failed to even save themselves. It is only then that we can move on with our lives and stop being so full of hope and learn to live with the fact we are all destined for something and that something is determined by those who were born to decide our fate for us.”
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