Oracle was laughing. Almost the entire group was.
“That’s awesome! You have someone infiltrating the Specials, pretending to be infiltrating us.” Deadshot was loving this.
“And then, when they have the Empire’s ear, having them think that they’re ahead, we destroy them all. Brilliant!” Deathstroke was impressed too.
“Exactly!” Wolf replied. “We lure the Empire out into the open, by making them think they have an edge.”
Riddler looked skeptical. “So, who is this person you have spying on us for the Empire?”
Ghost gave him a sour look. “Way to kill the mood, asshole. They’re working for us, not spying on us, so why this attitude?”
Wolf held up her hand. “It is someone in Oracle’s employ. I am going to have the agent working directly for him, so they will believe that they were working for me. They will be feeding the Empire loads of information. Very, very false information. I mean to get their facts so backed-up that they can’t see up from down anymore.”
That got the mood back. People were laughing, things were jovial. It was a very good day for Winter’s Shadow.
“So, what’s the next order of business?” It was Merc, on the same channel Oracle was using.
“I had our infiltrator get some information out of the Colonel who runs the Specials’ base. You’re gonna like this.”
She keyed it up on their display table.
“You all know the new Viceroy who took over in the previous one’s absence?”
“Guy’s a piece of shit!” Gabby snarled in reply.
“He most certainly is. The military hates him as much as we do. His tactics are driving the people into our arms, which is making their foothold here worse. As a ‘gift’ to get this spy into our midst, he gave up this man’s location. We’re going to kill him.”
Everyone in the room was speechless. It sounded too good to be true. That was when Deathstroke sat forward.
“Wait, how do we know that this isn’t a trap? This sounds WAY too easy.”
Under the mask, Wolf smiled. “I mean to have our Runners look into that very problem. That fine with you, Merc?”
“You bet your ass it is! I want this piece of shit dead! How much do you want them to do?”
“No infiltration. Not directly. Just get the lay of the place. Everything you can tell me. I’ll have our infiltrator let them know that we think it’s a trap. A pretty obvious assumption. I’ll make sure that the military leaves us the fucking red carpet.”
“Hell yeah!” Deadshot shouted. “I wanna be the one to put a bullet in his head!”
Wolf held up her hand. “I’m afraid not, but I like the initiative.”
Deathstroke gave her a quizzical look. “So then, how do you want to handle this?”
The display on the table changed. It showed something like an auditorium. “I mean to have this bastard die on live TV. We have an in with a reporter we recently made friends with. This man is a monster, and I want his destruction to be a curtain-call for us. We’re small, but the public opinion is growing. It’s time we started increasing our numbers. It’s time we made an army.”
Everyone was wide-eyed, but looked excited. Everyone had the same thought. This is it!
“Alright, you all have your assignments. I’ll get with Oracle and the infiltrator to get them talking to the military about making this easier. You all get to it. I want this location to be as thoroughly investigated as a actress’ life!”
Everyone nodded, getting up. Now it was time to get to her other job.
Doppelganger got back to the lab. It had all gone according to plan. They might as well put a bull’s-eye on his back. The man was dead, and it would make their organization bigger than it’s ever been. The public will have their back in such a large way that the military won’t even be able to track them anymore. It was everything that she could have asked for, and then some. Now it was time to see Emily again. She wanted to build on the friendship she established. Knowing that lying to her had hurt her, it made it easier. Not much, but it was enough, for now.
He got into the lab and saw Emily and Inferno sitting there. Their body language said it all.
“Well, glad to see that everyone is getting along here.”
Inferno got up. “Fuck you!” He stomped out of the room, wishing he could slam the door behind him.
“I take it that you two had it out, about him telling me about you and Quinn.”
Emily sat back, rubbing her temples. “Yup. What a dick.”
“No argument, but a useful one, in his way. He and the rest of you probably won’t be here much longer. Once things are sorted out with Area 7, they will probably transfer you to Area 4, to help in the war effort.”
Emily smiled at him. “Not me!”
He cocked an eyebrow at her. “What do you mean?”
“The moment that we’re done here, I’m turning in my resignation! I’m done with all this shit. I’m going to go to Quinn, tell her everything, beg for her forgiveness and then leave the Empire and all it’s shit behind. I don’t care about any of this anymore. I just want to be with her. It doesn’t matter where.”
He sat down at the table, looking at her critically. “What about your parents? You’re still an Aristocrat’s daughter. You still have to be open to marriage with another Aristocrat. To strength family alliances and all that.”
“Fuck that!” She didn’t miss a beat. “Fuck all of that! I’m not going to be some trophy-wife to some rich prick!”
“It’s all for show, anyway. You could still be with Quinn after getting married.”
She shook her head hard. “No! I’m not going to be with her in secret, having to always be careful what I do or say around her. I fucking hate the Aristocracy! Ever since Quinn and I got together, and I saw what has become of this nation and what the Empire does, I care less and less about them. The moment I’m out, I’m throwing my claim to my title in the trash and ditching. Quinn and I can go somewhere far away, where the Empire cannot follow.
Doppelganger smiled. Excellent! While she is being a little rash in throwing away her title, her dedication to this was admirable. Plus, she is dedicated to staying with me. This is good. It confirms that Emily will not be my enemy much longer. This, I can work with.
“Well, it sounds like you have thought this through. Good for you. Quinn is lucky to have you.”
Her smile came back. “Thanks. Say, wanna grab some chow? Missed breakfast this morning for early classes. I’m starving!”
“I’m down with that!”
The Mess Hall was abuzz. Everyone was talking. The death of the new Viceroy. There almost seemed to be a party atmosphere. This man was so much more trouble than he was worth, to the public and the military. It was him who wanted the sledgehammer approach that was dragging their efforts down. Now, he would be gone. Doppelganger heard it, but internalized it all. I am playing into their hands, but no matter. They are expecting my killing of him to be a quiet affair, to reassure the people. Presentation is everything. They got some food and sat down. Emily seemed unnerved by this.
“They’re willing to kill this man off, like he is a dog that needs to be put down.”
“That is exactly what he is.”
She looked up in shock. “You can’t mean that!”
“I do. Viceroy Adrian Moses is a monster, who has used his power to crush the people and ravage the city. He has more dead women to his name than anything else. The man is a morally-bankrupt piece of shit.”
That’s when a soldier chimed in. “Man, why the fuck do we care if some Numbers are dead?! It’s the fact that he’s been a pain in the ass to US that we are celebrating for.”
Emily looked revolted. “So that’s it? Don’t care what happens to the people. It’s only when your ass is personally inconvenienced that you start to care?!”
The soldier laughed. “Naturally! I mean, what are these Numbers good for if not to serve us? They’re about as useful as dogs, so why not look at them as such?!”
Just then, a young woman got up. She walked over, glaring down at him. She raised her hand back, back-handing him on the face. “I will not tolerate more of that, you thug! You’re nothing but a dog, who cares nothing but who he can kill next!”
“The fuck did you say?!” He stood up fast, his fists balled. “Who the fuck do you think you are?!”
Doppelganger looked at her hard. She looked familiar. Red hair, icy blue eyes. His eyes went wide. “You’re standing in the presence of Princess Amelia Luminous Beckett. 7th in line to the Imperial throne.”
Every single person was in shock. The soldiers all stood and bowed, including the one in front of her. “Your highness, I was unaware that I was speaking to a daughter of the Emperor. Please, forgive my outburst, m’lady.”
She glared down at him. “You are a worthless slave to your desires. Get out of my sight!” She look around the room at everyone by Emily and Doppelganger. “All of you, leave!” She looked at the two of them. “You two, please remain.”
“Of course, m’lady,” they said in unison.
The soldiers cleared out, and the Princess had a smile come to her face.
“Forgive all that drama. I do hate dealing with thuggish soldiers. Don’t you?”
The two looked very confused.
“I guess, m’lady.”
“Please, dispense with the titles. Just call me Amelie.”
The two looked at each other, shrugging. “Whatever you say.”
“Let’s start again. My name is Amelie. I’m going to be taking over the Viceroy’s position once he is brought down by Winter’s Shadow.”
In her mind, Doppelganger was overjoyed. This is too good to be true! I’ve finally got one of the Emperor’s children here, right now! I can destroy her, bring this all down around me! By killing a child of the Emperor, the power of Winter’s Shadow would be known to the entire world. We would have everything we ever wanted, and then some. This is the best day of my life!
“That’s amazing!” Emily replied. “Though you have to still deal with the same crap that has been going on here for months. Winter’s Shadow is still out there, raising hell for us.”
The girl winked at her. “I’ve got a plan for that! One that will stop Wolf in her tracks!”
Doppelganger looked impressed. “And what plan would that be?”
She winked at him as well. “It’s a secret! I’m waiting for them to take the Viceroy out. After that, I’ll show you what I want to do. Trust me, I won’t have to fire a single shot. Wolf and the rest of Area 7 will come to me willingly. I’m going to give them their nation back.”
The two Specials were in shock, legitimate shock.
Emily felt like her heart was going to burst. I can be with Quinn here, right here! We can be together and not have to go anywhere! This is the best day of my life!
Doppelganger feigned surprise, but the truth was that rage was infecting her heart. I can already see where she’s going with this. That bitch! She will break my order of battle! I planned to raise an army, but if she gives some of the Canadians back their land, even if it isn’t an especially large amount, my plans will die on the vine. Dammit! I can’t let it end like this!
“I think I can see where you’re going, your highness, and I think it’s amazing. If my theory is right, you will beat Wolf at her own game.”
Amelie looked over, giving him a mock-sour face. “I told you to call me Amelie! I won’t have my first friends here in Area 7 always worrying about saying the wrong thing. Got it?”
He stuck out his tongue at her. “Yes ma’am!” The three shared a laugh.
“So hey, I’m planning on being incognito until I take up my post, so would you two accompany as I tour the city? I bet that the Puppeteer knows all the best spots!”
Emily blushed. “Please, just call me Emily.”
“And you?” She tilted her head, winking at him.
“You can call me Gabe.”
“Great! I have to take care of some stuff, so I’ll see you later? Meet me here tomorrow night, 1800 hours!”
“You got it!” Emily almost shouted. She was so happy that she could burst.
Doppelganger got up after she left. “Hey, I gotta get back and keep my cover going with Winter’s Shadow. I’ll report in tomorrow morning.”
“Alright, see ya!” Tonight, I’m going to surprise Quinn with something great! Tonight, I’m going to enjoy every single second I can with her. Tonight will be the first night of the rest of our lives.
She got back to the dorms after evading her watchers as a Special. The apartment she rented had dozens of secret entrances and exits. She knew them all. When she got to her room, she closed the door and pounded the table.
God-fucking-dammit! It can’t end like this! I can’t lose this war to that little bitch! I’m going to kill her. I’m going to tear her apart! I’m going to rip her head off and put it on my desk!
Her rage stopped as there was a knock on the door. She let out a breath, walking to it. She opened it to see Emily standing there.
“Quinn.” There was a look in her eyes. It was passionate, powerful.
“Hey Em. What’s up?”
She grabbed her, throwing her against the wall. She slammed the door and kissed Quinn passionately. She pinned Quinn’s arms above her, kissing her hard. The passion inside was unlike anything she had had before. Quinn felt her eyes get heavy. These soft lips, the desire for her. It was all she ever wanted. All she ever would. But she couldn’t leave it all behind. As they got to the bed, with Emily on top of her, holding her tight, the ugliness of her situation finally hit her, and she started to cry. Heaving sobs that broke their passion. Emily looked scared.
“Baby, what’s wrong?!”
She didn’t answer her. She just held her tight and cried into her. She just cried into the chest of the one she loved, desperate for the world to go away.
Why did this have to happen?! Why now?!
Why couldn’t it all be simpler?
Until next time, a quote,
“Just tell me the truth, okay? I think I deserve that.” -Holland Jaeger, Keeping You A Secret