Monday, November 4, 2013

Recruitment #11 : Lacuna

10/05/2013
Recruitment #11
Lacuna, Part I. The Birth of Mystery and the Girl from Blue City

"Welcome to Recruitment.  I am the Receptionist.  You are currently to be referred to as Applicant A and Applicant B.  Do not be alarmed.  You are here in the Company.  Memory loss is common."

Agent Taylor is promoted to Senior Agent status and given Team Leader status for the two new recruits.  Agent Tiller is a Mystery Agent who trained under Snyder.  He is a Reader.   Agent Falconer on the other hand trained under Senior Agent Chambers.  He is a Caller.   The group is excited about their upcoming mission, showing an unexpected familiarity.  They even celebrate their first drink together.

Agent Taylor is the first to recover from Insertion.  His eyes adjust to the darkness and he quickly realizes he is sitting on a bench at the street.  There is darkness all around, save for the light shining from the second floor of a nearby building.  A silhouette of a man watches him from above.  He reaches for his pockets and feels a brief moment of panic when he realizes he does NOT have a Lacuna device with him.

Agent Falconer opens his eyes and finds himself in a dark, cramped place.  He seems to be lying down in some place with barely any leg room, nor enough purchase to allow him to sit up.  He feels his heart beat faster when he realizes he is in a coffin!

Agent Tiller wakes up to find himself in a white room. A massive eye is painted on the wall across from him.  There is a chair he is sitting on.  The door opens where the eye's pupil should be and a SMOKING MAN steps into view.  He calmly identifies Tiller as a Mystery Agent, and asks him if he would be willing to undergo a test, "To check for Infection."  Tiller refuses to participate, but when the SMOKING MAN offers to let Tiller check him, Tiller uses the device and sees the purple light the device shines makes the SMOKING MAN's face become translucent.  He can see all the bones, veins and inner structure of his head.  "Nothing in there that shouldn't be there," the man mumbles, "Now, can I check you?" Tiller refuses.

Agent Taylor runs forward, then kicks off the ground to leap all the way to the second floor.  As he lands in the darkened room near the lit one with the silhouette, he finds himself in a chamber filled with coffins. One of the coffins starts to sway and rock and when it falls, it shatters to reveal Agent Falconer.  Taylor immediately orders Falconer to search for a hard line they can use to get the mission parameters.  There are markings on the wall, but neither of them can read it.  Falconer closes his eyes and Calls for Control instead of looking for a phone.  Control's security measures have been raised ever since Senior Agent Miner defected to the Opposition.

"Who was it who suggested the Agents have a drink before the mission?"

Falconer responds, "I did."

"What is the age of Agent Tillman?"

Falconer responds, "I do not know."

Control approves identity match and identifies that he is at the Entry Zone: Morgue.  Falconer asks for Intel on Tiller and Control informs him Tiller is 120 feet from current position.   He requests for Intel on a safe route to Tiller, and Control shares the route.

The mission parameters are as follows:
1) Locate Hostile Personality Fraulein.
2) Confirm identity of Fraulein based on Rose tattoo in inner thigh.
3) Eliminate Fraulein.
4) Eject from Blue City.
Taylor checks the lit edge of the doorway leading to the other room.  He senses someone standing guard.  He sees a glimpse of someone there with guns.   He considers other pathways and sees the stairwells at the opposite edges of the building.  And the fire exit outside the building on the North Side.

Falconer Calls Tiller.  He warns Tiller of the situation and quickly shares the mission parameters.  Taylor reminds him to requisition for arms.

They get :
Two handguns.
1 Flash bang grenade.
He considers asking for smoke grenades, but changes his mind at the last moment.

He heads to the fire exit, intent on finding his way to Tiller.  Neither of them realize Tiller is at the opposite end of the circular building.  Taylor decides to bite the bullet and swings the door open.  A woman is sitting on a tall cushioned chair starting straight at him with a dour expression.  She lights the cigarette on the end of her extended pipe and asks if he is the Mystery Agent who has been tasked to kill her.

"I am Fraulein.  So don't lie to me if you're here to kill me."

Tiller watches the SMOKING MAN head out the door and quickly maneuvers to slide his foot to keep the door from closing.  Listening in, he overhears the SMOKING MAN talking to someone on the hard line on the wall about "Mystery Agents" and about "Missing Lacuna devices."  When the SMOKING MAN heads off, Tiller steps into the hallway and considers using the phone.  He notices the windows along the hallway's walls and looks out to see a lit area in the second floor across from his side of the building.   He sees a woman in a fur-lined coat smoking a pipe while talking to Agent Taylor.  He notices a figure training a gun in that location and uses his own gun to silently shoot the man down.  He also notices the four figures with clothing resembling old Soviet military garb in the shadows, out of Taylor's line of sight, maneuvering into position to ambush him!   With a leap, he throws himself across the gap and crashes through the window at the second floor.  The crash forces the four figures to emerge from the shadows, warning Taylor of what would have been a deadly ambush.

Taylor shoots Fraulein on the forehead.  As the woman slumps to the ground, Tiller throws a punch at the nearest Soviet soldier, only to see the spider head on the man's shoulders! Taylor grabs the nearby couch and throws it at the two other spiders.  The fourth tries to grab Tiller, but the spider leaps headlong into another gunshot instead.

Satisfied to have fulfilled the first mission parameter, Taylor checks and finds the rose tattoo.  "Time to go," he tells Tiller who is looking out of the window and sees two more jeeps driving into the scene.    Taylor looks at Tiller and admits he does not have a Lacuna device.

Further away, Falconer is running down the hallway to find a woman coming into view with her arms outstretched.  "My name is Kira and I you have to come with me," she calls out but Falconer responds with a punch instead.  As Kira drops unconscious, Falconer sees the windows light up and peers out to see the spiders scurrying out of the jeeps that just arrived.    He hears footfalls and turns to see Tiller and Taylor emerging from the room he had come from, both running at full tilt.

"Here," a voice calls out and Falconer looks up to see the SMOKING MAN coming from the opposite direction (where Tiller was supposed to come from).  A pair of Lacuna devices flies from his hands.  Taylor catches one.  Falconer catches the other.  And Tiller sees the spiders pouring into the hallway behind them.

"Out! Now!" Taylor calls out, but he does not depress his device.   Falconer tries to but fails.  Tiller on the other hand counts to three and is gone.

The spiders close in.

*

Tiller awakens to the sound of screeching devices and doctors holding him down.  He sees the bluish tube in the distance with the figure lying inside and loses consciousness once more before he can ask any questions.

*

His eyes open to find himself back in Reception.  The Receptionist asks him questions about the mission after congratulating him on successfully accomplishing it.  But one too many questions forces the Receptionist to inform Control.  They walk in, drug him back to sleep, and take him away.  Tiller is never seen again.

*

Three figures look around, dazed, as they wake from a long sleep.
A woman smiles at them in the air-conditioned room bathed in white lights.

"Welcome to Recruitment.  I am the Receptionist.  You are currently to be referred to as Applicant A, Applicant B, and Applicant C.  Do not be alarmed.  You are here in the Company.  Memory loss is common."

The three uneasily smile.
They feel they've been here before.
But somehow they sense it would be better NOT to say a word.
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