Two years ago.
Agent Becky Clarkson had a bad feeling about her mission. She’d had a bad feeling about it ever since the manager of the emergency response team had woken her up in the middle of the night. Without giving her a chance to gather her thoughts, he gave her the details of the next crisis only she could deal with.
Here’s the address. Our intel says they’ve got the doctor. You’ll need to move fast.
Trying to put the unease to the back of her mind, she gripped the accelerator and dodged her high-powered Kawasaki motorbike around the traffic that dotted the freeway. The rain had stopped falling but the road was still wet and her back tyre sprayed water behind her like a shark’s fin cutting through the ocean.
She loved riding her bike before a mission. High speed got her adrenaline pumping, which gave her the edge she needed to get the job done.
To get the job done and stay alive.
She saw her exit coming up and slowed down. As her bike drifted down the off-ramp, she heard a fizzing in her ear.
‘Agent Clarkson, come in.’
Becky recognised the voice. It belonged to Will, the young guy who worked for the team that provided support for World Health Organisation agents in the field.
They had never met but Becky was pretty sure that Will had a thing for her. She found it odd that he could be attracted to someone just by the sound of their voice but that didn’t matter. She made the most of it and used their relationship to get him to do things and find out information that was far outside his job description.
A bit of digging had revealed that he was twenty-five years old, only four years younger than her, and was pretty good-looking. Maybe they could have met for a drink if things had been different, but as it stood, Becky’s life didn’t have any room for a man.
Well, it did once but never again. I learned that lesson the hard way, she thought.
‘Yes Will, I’m here,’ Becky said into the tiny microphone in her helmet.
‘Are you there yet?’
‘Nearly. I’ve just gone off the freeway and I’m heading out of the city.’
‘What’s your ETA?’
‘Okay, I can see you on my screen now. The truck is heading towards the warehouse as well. You should be there a few minutes before it. The truck’s coming from the north so make sure you get in position first.’
‘Understood. Any hostiles on site?’
‘I’ve checked the satellite feed and I can only find two. They’re real movers though, so watch your back.’
‘Thanks, Will. I’ll let you know when I’m ready to intercept.’
The road leading Becky from the freeway into the countryside was endlessly winding and dark but when she was within a mile of her destination she turned off the headlights.
I can’t alert them to my presence.
The horizon opened up and half way up a hill ahead of her, hidden among the thick trees that filled the landscape, she spotted an old abandoned warehouse. At the bottom of the hill, Becky stopped her bike and hid the heavy machine in the bushes that lined the road. She was always amazed how easily it moved at a hundred miles an hour but when she needed to quickly stash it out of sight, it became an albatross round her neck.
By the light of the moon she caught a glimpse of herself in the rear-view mirror as she removed her helmet. Clad in a black Kevlar combat suit with cropped hair, she realised it was a far cry from the floral dress and long flowing blonde locks in her graduation picture. Every morning her parents looked at that picture and wept. They wept for the passing of their only child.
For eight months they had lived under the impression she was dead. Every Black Ops agent had to disappear when they took the job. The safety of the agents and their families depended on them cutting all ties to the outside world. Agent Clarkson knew she would have to live outside real life as long as the vampire threat remained and not a day went by that she didn’t question her decision to take this direction.
There’s no turning back. Get the job done and stay alive.
She hopped over the bushes into an empty field and started to run towards the warehouse as fast as she could while keeping her head down.
‘Will, come in,’ she said.
‘Go ahead, Agent Clarkson,’ he replied.
‘I’m almost there, what’s the latest?’
‘Still just two of them on site as far as I can see. The truck is almost there. You should be able to see it.’
Becky looked up the hill and saw a pair of bright headlights rise over the summit.
‘Affirmative. How many on board?’
‘Two. Driver and passenger seat.’
‘No one in the back of the truck?’
‘So either they haven’t got the doctor with them or the driver is holding him at gunpoint. I thought you said he was taken by them in this truck an hour ago?’
‘That’s the information we got from The Brotherhood.’
The Brotherhood. I can’t remember the last time they provided us with any useful information, she thought to herself as she jumped over the last hedge and hid behind a tree.
All she cared about was tracking down Doctor Forrest. He had gone missing again. He had a habit of disappearing without notice and strolling back into his lab as if nothing had happened a few days later, but now no one had seen him for over a week. If they couldn’t find him then all of their work would be in jeopardy. He held all the knowledge, all the secrets that gave the human race a fighting chance against the vampires.
Investigations had led them to believe he was in the vampires’ custody and he might be at this location. Becky had never met the doctor but she had a nagging suspicion that there was something odd about the way he conducted himself.
She peeked round her hiding place and saw the truck stop outside the warehouse. The doors opened and two men in black stepped out onto the tarmac. The blanket of soggy leaves squelched beneath their feet. They walked round to the back of the truck and opened the doors. Two more figures dressed in black appeared from the large open doorway in the warehouse and joined them.
‘The doctor’s not here,’ Becky said.
‘What’s the call, Agent Clarkson?’ Will asked.
Becky was about to tell him she was aborting the mission when the four figures on the other side of the trees started to unload wooden boxes from the truck. Wooden boxes that looked familiar to her but felt terribly out of place in this setting.
‘Agent Clarkson, are you going to abort?’ Will asked again.
‘Negative. There’s something else going on here.’
‘Becky,’ he said, trying a personal approach to get through to her, ‘the primary objective is to recover Doctor Forrest. He is not on site. I strongly urge you to abort the mission.’
‘No, Will. I can’t tell you what’s going on here yet but I have to investigate it. I’m going in.’
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