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K21 - Deceit and Disloyalty

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This article is a part of the K21 Squared timeline.

This article belongs to Lither. Please do not edit this article without their permission.

DeceitanddisloyaltyCOVER
WARNING
CONTAINS COARSE LANGUAGE, VIOLENCE AND GORE.


An account of the closest Vamana Uldericks came to death at the hands of military forces.

Cast
K21LOGOV2.2

Chapter I

Location: Bordeaux

Date: 03 JUN 2114

Local time: 0720


The alarm blared rousing Vamana from a dream of chickens in police uniforms chasing him with fire powers in revenge for all those dinners. He made a mental note to work on achieving lucidity in his dreams - they remained an area he could think of plans in. If he could control them.

Pulling the blanket off himself, he swung his legs out of bed and stood up in a spartan bedroom - Vamana pinching every penny to put into the group, shivering a bit as he stood in the brisk morning air in only his underwear. Wearing pyjamas always felt odd for some reason. Though he probably would after the embarrassment of having to flee from his house in the night if the police find out where he lives. It wasn't likely, though. Thanks to a good double most agencies still thought he was doing a few deeds in one of the African zones.

Pssht. Those imbeciles should know that a person who survives when probably every government and most companies around the world are trying to kill them only survives by moving around enough as to be impossible to pin down.

Without getting dressed, he strode into the bathroom for the most important duty of the day - the application of UV-blocking cream. It had a similar consistency to hair gel (which was quite useful when it dried) and was clear, another plus. Thanks to his albinism, Vamana couldn't stand unprotected in the sun for very long at all without suffering painful burns. Hence the gel over every part of his skin. The gel made it possible for him to perform daily tasks even in the deserts of Africa. It felt like icing on his skin though.

Vamana had a feeling it would be a long day today.

Chapter II

Location: Bordeaux

Date: 03 JUN 2114

Local time: 0803

Wearing his typical nondescript grey button-up jacket over an equally nondescript grey shirt (his pants were somewhat more interesting - they were a slightly darker shade of grey), Vamana made his way to his automobile. Driving off, he noted every street, every location of law enforcement officials, everything. He was trying to map out the usual patrol routes of the police, just to ensure he knew the best location in a getaway. Nothing interesting happened though and he made his way to his base quietly and inconspicuously. The place looked like one of the run-down skyscrapers left by a failed business whose owner asked too much for other businesses to buy, but it held a secret within it's walls.

Two eye readers stared out at him from his Vamana-only entrance, a double door disguised as an elevator. Pressing the right part of the wall would cause the eye readers to pop out of the wall. When he looked into them, they scanned his eyes for a bit before retracting. If there was any pigment in his eyes they would have refused him entry. That was the genius of them - only someone with a complete lack of pigment in their eyes could enter and those people were rather rare.

A metallic click sounded in the door and they slid back, revealing a whitewashed and brightly lit corridor leading to the high offices of a great complex beneath the earth. He knew what must be done.

Striding calmly into the corridor towards the second set of doors at the other end, his ears picked up faint whispers of the propaganda music being played 24/7 in the rooms where the ordinary Workers performed their daily duties, including live fire exercises. Vamana tried to keep it away from his personal area; he felt it was too much of a distraction.

This door required him to play Mozart's Requiem on a keyboard that jutted out as he approached, and it was something he was proud of. Even as the most popular of his songs, few people knew of it's existence, much less how to play it. And without any indication of what the song was, it was nearly impossible to know how to open it.

Finishing the last note, the door slowly slid open to reveal a modest control room. A high-powered computer connected wirelessly to every other computer in the base and sitting on a desk with a chair was the only adornment on a bare concrete floor. Another door linking the room to the rest of the base, one made so Workers with the clearance could enter and so he could efficiently travel around the base. However, there was one irregularity. One Worker stood inside watching the sharply-dressed Claude, who was seated at the computer, looking at the password screen intently.

Vamana just stopped dead in his tracks. The only reason he was here because he'd scheduled a meeting with Claude, that was true. However, the meeting was to take place tomorrow.

"Claude..." was all Vamana managed to say in shock.

Claude swung around casually in the chair.

"Hey, 'Agent 01'." he said, "Hope I'm not too late. You never did give me your password, what is it?"

"Too... Too late," Vamana repeated dumbly before he realised where he was and turned to the Worker, "Get out. Now. I'll be having a word with you about letting him into my office."

"Hope I'm not too late," he repeated as he watched the Worker leave, repeating it again as the doors slid shut behind the Worker, "Hope I'm not too late... Do you have any fucking idea when you were supposed to be here?"

"Er..." Claude replied, "I take it I'm too late?"

Vamana strode over to the desk.

"Tomorrow!" he exclaimed, banging his fist on it, "You show up no less than twenty-four hours early and ask if you're late? Of all the..."

Vamana managed to curb his anger after that outburst, but it still burnt brightly. He turned away from Claude and flung his hands up in the air.

"And of course," he continued, "I'm still assembling everything to make this a working base. I've got three or so hours before the BWEG shows up, the rest of my personal guards are not here yet and I still don't know how you found this base. God fucking damnit, Claude! Is it too much to ask that I make one shitty plan, one appointment, and have you actually get here on time? Merde, and let's not even begin to describe what happens when you set the appointment times. Last time that happened, I chased you around half the goddamn world, you bloody twat."

He sighed and at that point his rage left him, purged from his system and replaced with his usual calm exterior. He turned around and looked again at Claude.

"Mon aéroglisseur est rempli d'anguilles. You done?" Claude asked, "Or are you just going to rant at me until the cows come home?"

"I'm done," Vamana replied, knowing that despite his theatrics Claude would never change, "Now to business. I need, for reasons that don't concern you, the most powerful wireless device to hack into other wireless devices and take control of them that you have. I need it quickly."

"Ah," Claude responded, "I think that will cost you a pretty sum."

"Name your price." Vamana stated bleakly. He knew Claude only did this when he thought Vamana wouldn't be willing to pay whatever he named, and would therefore be willing to do him a favour.

Claude named a figure and Vamana's eyebrow shot up. He wasn't expecting that much. He didn't think anyone had that kind of money. It outstripped the GDP of the North American Zone by several increments.

"Although," Claude added, "If that's more than you have, we could always work out a... Different arrangement."

Vamana knew he was beat there. His plan in the Central American Zone couldn't run without that device.

Claude you sneaky bastard, Vamana thought, For someone so whimsical you do have your moments. This better not be another mission to find a rare flower in the Himalayas though. If it is, I'm hitting your head against the desk.

"I need someone... How shall we say," Claude continued, "Removed from the picture. Permanently. He's a Central American cop and he's very good at getting rid of my business opportunities. I've been meaning to do it myself, but why when I have such an eager volunteer in front of me? I give you the device, you go out and whack the cop. Deal?"

Vamana smiled, a genuine one for once.

"Deal," He said, "But what I'm buying better not explode when you turn it on again."

"Tch," Claude tutted, "That was once. And nobody important was killed or crippled."

Claude extended his hand and Vamana shook it firmly.

"We have a deal," He said, I'll see what I can do about shipping it to you."

Chapter III

Location: San Salvador

Date: 04 JUN 2114

Local time: 1945

"Poor bastards," Somoron muttered as he surveyed the site.

The area, illuminated by flashing lights, had been cleared of all cars except the police cars, ambulance and all that remained of a family car. Bullet holes tore right through it in it's entirety. They had to be at least 12.7 x 99mm rounds. Pieces of metal had been torn up all over the bonnet and boot. He'd had a quick look inside the car and regretted it already. Vaguely human blobs of flesh and blood were sitting in the seats, one in a booster seat. It had to have been four machine guns firing those rounds at once into the car to achieve that. Someone had made a powerful enemy.

"Hey, Somoron," one other policeman said, "Who do you think this was?"

"I have no damn idea," Somoron replied, "I just hope we find him."

Chapter Four

Location: Soyapango

Date: 14 JUN 2114

Local time: 1221

Vamana looked at his latest electronic report. He was in a room identical to his workplace in Bordeaux, which was his favourite working area. It informed him that they'd managed to get the device working now. Claude, true to his word, did not ship something that exploded when you turned it on. It was perfectly safe, too. It didn't do anything whether it was on or off. This had understandably caused a severe delay in his plans, requiring his own engineers to open it up and see why it wasn't doing anything at all. According to the report, not only were the wires not connected to the power source, they weren't there at all. Fortunately, it was fairly minor else he'd be working on getting it working for possibly months.

"Claude..." Vamana muttered disapprovingly. Most of his stuff was good and worked. The rest, on the other hand... "I suppose we're all set to go." Vamana said to nobody in particular. As he was about to get up, another report flashed up on his screen. Curious, he opened it.

"LOOK OUTSIDE." All it said. Vamana found it rather curious, and he got out of his seat and made his way outside. What greeted him was something from one of his nightmares. A blimp with multiple megaphones was floating a short bit away blasting a speech across the entire area.

"AGENT 01 OF THE GLOBAL WORKER'S UNION! WE HAVE FOUND THE PLACE YOU COWER IN. GIVE YOURSELF UP WITHIN TWELVE HOURS FROM NOW AND WE WILL NOT RESORT TO VIOLENCE. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE."

Vamana sat down in shock. Other members were filtering out now and listening to the message as it repeated itself again. This was not to plan. This was entirely out of the blue. How could this have happened without him knowing?

One of his fellow Workers moved over to him.

"Glorious Leader," he said, "We will not fail you. Surrender and a return to slavery? We'd rather die."

Vamana smiled at this, realising he now had a good chance of surviving this. Devotion was so useful.

"Excellent," Vamana said, standing up, "We may only have an hour before they make their attack here, so we must make the best of our hour. While I begin to assign orders I want every piece of heavy equipment we have, every round in storage, every gun, everything that can be of use brought out of storage here."

Turning now to the commander of this base, he addressed him personally,

"Worker 430219, I want you to organise teams to scout out where the enemy units are currently at and send all the information back to me."

At this, he turned around and re-entered the building to stare at maps and plan some more.

Chapter Five

Location: Soyapango

Date: 15 JUN 2114

Local time: 1503

It had been a surprisingly long time, Vamana mused as the first few reports of contacts reached him. Though just over a day of preparation seemed like a heartbeat, and was certainly much less than Vamana wanted, every minute had been golden. From what he guessed now, they'd surrounded the area with a light guard while they built up their forces and sent an airship to blast propaganda messages at the IWU. At least, they did until a SAM placed on the rooftop sent it down in flames.

The area had been turned into a virtual fortress. Though there was no time to do any more than the most basic shoring up of walls and foundations, a ring of anti-tank guns stared out down the streets. Moving almost any armoured vehicle down at the area would end badly, and the guns with HE rounds could serve as anti-infantry weapons in a pinch. Anti-air batteries, sometimes guns when rocket batteries ran out, lined the tops of the skyscrapers. Down in the substructure machine gun nests and hastily-welded waist-high walls made threat of attack from below negligible. Vamana was confident that they could stand for some time here. If, of course, the air support managed to supply enough of his planes and the SAM sites didn't get overrun ensuring the enemy couldn't achieve complete air superiority.

That said, there was one super-heavy tank that could easily roll over everything Vamana had set for the exterior defences. But the Central American Zone only had a handful of them and the recent war breaking out with the upper South American Zone should have pulled all of them to break the Line in the Sand. Hopefully.

Chapter 6

Location: +0° 54' 7.05", -60° 27' 11.74

Date: 15 JUN 2114

Local time: 1508

"Commander Antúnez," a uniformed young man spoke, before bringing his left fist to his chest and pounding it once. Upon his jacket was a number. 189203.

Another, older, looking gentleman who was resplendent in a brown and gold jacket turned around and reciprocated the gesture, "Worker 189203."

He also had a number sewn into his breast pocket. 87.

"We have picked up a leaked report from the Sector XI military that Soyapango Outpost has been discovered by local authorities and that it is currently under siege," the young man spoke with haste.

"Damnation," the old man sighed, "gather the details of all men stationed at the base. I shall begin Protocol Delta 07."

"87! That is the problem!" Worker 189203 exclaimed, "the bourgeois scum claim to have located the Glorious Leader and it appears that he is currently stationed within the facility!"

Antúnez wandered over to his desk, walked behind it and leaned on it. He then gave the young soldier a rather blank stare that suggested that he was rather shocked.

"We must follow our duties," he stated, "gather all of the names and arrange for them to be repatriated with medals. We do as we always do in this situation, and wipe away all evidence of our existence. There can't be anything left for the authorities to gather."

"87, our prime directive is to safeguard the future of the International Worker's Union. We can not do that without our Glorious Leader!" the young man proclaimed, as if he was reciting a piece of propaganda from memory.

"Yes, we bloody well can," Commander 87 snapped, "if he's trapped then it's his own damn fault. We are all equal. We are all brothers. There is to be no special treatment for when one of us screws up! Make those arrangements and I'll discuss the predicament of assigning a new leader with High Command."

The Commander opened up a drawer in his desk and withdrew a data-slate. He switched it on and brought up the a remote detonations app. He found the Soyapango Outpost and started to input a series of codes.

Worker 189203 stared open mouthed.

Worker 87 then looked up and yelled at the worker, "Dismissed Worker 189203!"

The young man suddenly withdrew his IWU issue handgun.

"You are hereby to be executed for violation of Article-12-A, the act of planned treason," said the young man, shaking slightly, "under Article-57 you have no right to a fair hearing nor a trial by your peers."

As soon as he finished his pronouncement he fired off a shot. It impacted the old man in his chest.

Antúnez spluttered, "Damn it boy... "

The man slumped over his desk and Worker 189203 retrieved the data slate from the table and turned it off.

At that moment, two other soldiers burst through the door and aimed their guns at him. Having heard the gunshot, the quickly assessed the situation before barking at the young man they had found.

"Worker 189203," one of them shouted, "you are to be terminated for the violation of Article-12-B, the implimentation of planned treason. Article-57 states that you have no right to a fair hearing nor a trial by your peers."

They opened fire with their machine guns before he could offer a chance to defend himself.

Chapter Seven

Location: Soyapango

Date: 15 JUN 2114

Local time: 1843

"Has there been a reply from High Command?" Vamana mewled, distressed by the current situation that besieged him. The act of his current location being attacked did not likely do much to much to ease this feeling.

"Negative, Agent 01," a young female worker replied.

"Fuck, " the albino man sighed, "how is the combat situation fairing?"

"Personnel losses at 18% so far," a man in a headset rapidly spoke, "estimated time until all units are extinguished is sixty-seven hours should losses continue at this rate. Provided, of course, that enemy forces do not deploy gaseous nerve agents or level the building first."

Vamana silently swore. It seemed that this may have been great cosmic joke at the red eyed gentleman's expense. For years he had laughed at the concept of Central American Superweapons, now they were penning him into a rut from which he could not escape.

"Radio intercepts indicate more forces are moving into deployment," yet another nameless worker with a full headset said, "possible deployment of Aerial Fortresses en-route."

Vamana just looked completely deflated. Options were running out and, while they could potentially last four more days, chances were slim. Especially with food reserves now running low.

"It seems that desperate times call for desperate measures," Vamana announced, "if we can't have this place then neither can they."

He smiled ever so slightly.

"What do you mean, Agent 01?" one of the soldiers queried.

"It is time to make use of Protocol Delta 07-B."

There were gasps of shock as the albino gentleman's features took on a wolfish grin.

Chapter Ate

Location: Alexandra Listening Post (Brazil)

Date: 15 JUN 2114

Local time: 1904

"Insurrection within the ranks," muttered a well dressed individual adorned in brown and gold. Several medals swung from his chest while a two digit number decorated his breast pocket. 37.

He looked down with contempt at the four dead bodies. Two guards. A worker. And, the pièce de résistance, a bloody Commander.

Apparently the guards had committed treason and gunned down the worker and his guard. However, the finely suited man only had the testimonial of the one who had executed the guards to go on.

"It's a right bloody shame," remarked another man in a brown and gold uniform, who was designated as Worker 1293, before turning towards a junior female worker, "I just don't understand why they'd turn on us like that."

"Neither do I, comrade," the girl, barely sixteen, replied, "all I heard was shouting before the guards just went mad. If it hadn't been for my weapons training I fear they could have massacred us all."

There was a nodding look of agreement from a young man who was standing to attention beside her in the doorway of Commander Antúnez's office.

Putting on a pair of white gloves, the first man withdrew the data slate from the desk of the table. He turned it on. As it flicked to life it displayed the last details it had been programmed to respond to. Protocol Delta 07.

The suited man tutted, "this whole damn affair just gets stranger at every bloody turn. We'll need to gather information on all of the men involved here. Furthermore, something just doesn't seem right. Apparent treason followed by the loss of contact with the very outpost this commander seemed intent to destroy and the next."

"Yes, I concur, this whole thing looks like a massively treasonous fuck up and we need to see those responsible brought to justice," the second individual slammed his hands on the desk, "we'll need to head up an investigation to get to the very core of this problem."

At that, the high ranked member of the IWU with the number 37 on his chest nodded his head.

"Group Leader Herrero, I expect you to conduct research into the significance of Soyapango Outpost and unearth all you can about the four victims before us."

The man with the number 1293 on his chest saluted.

"I'll return to High Command and contact Agent 01. It is paramount that he is aware of a possible treasonous plot within our ranks."

Chapter Nine

Location: Soyapango

Date: 15 JUN 2114

Local time: 2114

"Just stack those crates over there," an albino gentleman said as he pointed at the structural supports, "and be careful not to drop any of them."

A sickening smile was resplendent across his face, one of the most perverted design. Everything would be prepared in order to welcome his uninvited guests in a manner befitting of the International Worker's Union.

"Agent 01," a young woman said.

"Worker 1091023," Vamana pivoted quickly, "what business do you have with me?"

"The senior staff wish to enquire what you intend to do with such large quantities of explosives," she asked, shaking slightly.

Vamana scanned her body with his piercing red eyes and formulated a response upon noticing that she was nervous, "What is it, 1091023? Do I frighten you?"

At that his grin widened further, revealing his bone white teeth. It was a facial expression that could only be properly described as "shark like". To those outside his trusted contacts, his demeanor was relatively frightening to behold. All the young lady could do was respond meekly, "N-no... of course not."

"Well, little lady, you really should be," Vamana said as he withdrew his gun and aimed it at her head. The other workers in the room continued placing the explosives into the strategic locations that their leader had marked earlier with a substance that appeared to be red paint.

"I-A... I mean... " a look of abject terror came over her face as she realised that none of her comrades had even batted an eyelid at their leader raising a weapon to a fellow operative.

"If you pretend not to be afraid of me, then you are a fool," Vamana changed to a more serious expression, "I don't suffer fools gladly."

"Agent 01, I... please... " she said, utterly dumbfounded by the reaction her commanding officer had given her. Her Glorious Leader had shown her nothing but cold disregard.

"Now, let us try this again, and perhaps this time you can be honest," Uldericks carefully pronounced as he cocked his modified six chamber pistol, "Do I frighten you?"

"Yes!" she exclaimed, desperately holding back any visible signs of distress. It would have been unprofessional to cry. Vamana coldly scanned her body again and relaxed as he saw a small patch of liquid now stained the brown fabric of her uniform. His firearm swinging gently down to his side.

"Don't you ever lie to me again," he said.

"Understood," Worker 1091023 replied.

"Now, please remind the senior staff that I am their commanding officer and that the intricate nature of my plans are on a need to know basis." Vamana gritted his teeth as he spoke these words.

"Yes, comrade."

"And, that this time they do not need to know," he restrained himself from shouting.

"Yes, comrade."

"And... that if they wish to inquire into the nature of my operational directives, then they can bloody well come here and do so themselves," Vamana's anger was audible in the venomous manner he spat out these words.

"Yes, comrade."

"Now, get out of my sight, 1091023. You are dismissed," his voice mellowed, "and for the love of gods, get yourself cleaned up after you have delivered the message. Things won't be getting any easier from here on in."

The petrified young woman did a quick heel turn before removing herself from the room post haste.

At that, the white haired man turned back to watching his more reliable subordinates continue the task at hand. It wouldn't be long until all of the explosives would be exactly where they were required to be. Then the fun would begin, as the plan moved into phase two.

Chapter Ten

Location: Soyapango

Date: 16 JUN 2114

Local time: 0415

"Balls, stuck on the morning shift again," was the distinctly disgruntled noise that emanated from a large, well built gentleman. Well, he would have been well built if it hadn't been for his rather ungainly girth.

"I just knew we'd be the ones picked for the job... "muttered a grizzled, tired looking man, "knew only we'd be this unlucky... staying in a place like this... "

"Oh for... Look, just because you keep having a bloody bad feeling about this, doesn't mean you're a balls Time Elemental," the large man said as they exited their police car, "I was sort of hoping you'd have dropped this crap by now. Especially after the time I had to haul your ass back to headquarters when you went AWOL."

"Hiding Time Elementals is part of the global conspiracy... they brainwash 'em to think they're normal folks you know... " he kept muttering, "they track 'em too, in case they figure it out. Then the next minute you're at the bottom of a river... Scary when you think it could happen to any of us... "

"Are you even balls damn listening to me!?" the man shouted.

"Huh, what!?" was the garbled response he received, "Did you say something, Somoron?"

Somoron just sighed deeply, "Just get your ass to the Int Corps and be sure to return to the car by the time our shift is over."

"We need to uncover the conspiracy and free more people who can control time... you know for the betterment of mankind... " the deluded man trailed off as he wandered away from the police car.

"Oh for the love of... " Somoron stormed off towards his own department. He could already tell it was going to be a long day as the fortified police blockade came in to full view.

Chapter Eleven

Location: Brasilia

Date: 16 JUN 2114

Local time: 0748

"Worker 19," a short, rotund young boy no older than fourteen spoke, "the veteran staff have been called for a Exceptional Circumstances Emergency Meeting. Your presence in the War Cabinet has been requested by High Command."

A gaunt black haired man, with reflective glasses and pasty white skin, lowered his data slate slightly as he kept his legs firmly stretched out over his mahogany desk.

"Very funny," he plaintively dismissed the comment, "there's a fucking war on and Agent 01's trust for me does not extend beyond this desk. Just tell me who put you up to this and you can have the rest of the day off, lad. I have work to do."

"But, Comrade, I'm serious," Worker 19 ignored him as he went back to playing with his data slate. Today he wasn't in a very good mood. Then again, Sasha Vlahovic hadn't been in a discernible good mood in an extremely long time. Four years by his estimate. Not that he'd been counting nor had he set up a precise chronometer on his data slate to track the exact time down to the nearest nanosecond. That would have just been ridiculous, the sort of thing only someone with too much time on their hands would end up doing.

"Comrade."

For Sasha that was every day he had spent in the employ of Agent 01. An entire four years, two months, nineteen days, ten hours, fifteen minutes, twenty three seconds and two hundred milliseconds. He was former soldier in the Euro Zone Armed Forces. He'd endured thirty eight weeks of rigorous training. He was prepared for deployment on the front lines. Of course that had to be the same day his Sector's armed forces were forcibly dissolved by the Vallarie Administration for diplomatic reasons. When he was selected by a mysterious Albino man to serve in an elite military faction, he had expected action and adventure in Europe. Indeed, that is what he experienced in the beginning. False flag missions against Russian Forces. Striking against the illegitimate occupiers of his Finnish homeland. Fight the good fight. Bring an end to Fascism. That was until the move to South America and being forced to learn another language he had no particular interest in ever even listening to let alone speaking.

"Comrade."

Of course, now that he was completely stuck in the middle of a political sector that had severed all ties with the rest of the world due being embroiled in a war of defense against two fascist states, he thought that would mean even more action. However, by that point, he'd ended up a little too high in the chain of command. So he'd been given a desk to look after instead.

"Comrade."

This hadn't dampened his spirits completely, as he kept petitioning to join the snipers and rejoin the fight on the front lines, but the middle aged man was denied at every opportunity. In part due to his poor eyesight but mostly because of the inescapable fact he was a terrible shot. Agent 01, understanding how valuable one of his older workers was to the cause, put him in charge of a small department that he could run on his own while keeping out of trouble. Sadly, for Sasha, that was the same time that the endless tedium had started.

"Comrade."

His recent tact was attempting to join the Blessed Worker's Elemental Group. An organisation of Agent 01's invention that was designed to be "a special operative division tasked with the employment of elemental powers for strategic purposes". Unfortunately for Sasha, while he had discovered he was a plant elemental long ago. It just wasn't strong enough to have been of any use to the organisation while they had a more proficient worker operating at the current time.

"Comrade."

Thus, he was pretty much bitter all of the time. Jokes made by other members of staff relating to his name, elemental power or current position had become commonplace to the extent they didn't even annoy him anymore. All it elicited was a mild bemusement before he returned to killing time. This usually consisted of devising extremely intricate and detailed military plans that would be hypothetically infallible even if the enemy had prior knowledge of his strategies.

"Comrade," the young soldier said, his voice still having a slight squeak to it, "Worker 28 has requested you personally."

Worker 19 sighed. The large diagram he had been drawing for the best part of two days was almost half finished. There was one point in particular, upon the Line in the Sand, that he was just about done with annotating. The fact that this young man had not just left him in peace was beginning to diminish his normal, moderate, persona. Clearly, this recruit was rather new to the whole game. He had probably been salvaged from the Sector XI military after it was discovered he was too young to have even been conscripted by the People's South American Republic. Sasha didn't like the idea of yet another poor sod being put in a safe place. Actually, what he hated even more, was the idea of the International Worker's Union using child soldiers. They were far too poorly trained and undisciplined for his liking.

"Comrade?"

Worker 19 wiped his hand with his face. The little kid just wouldn't stop his constant pestering. Clearly, by Sasha's reasoning, the worker lacked the mental capacity necessary to realise when he was being ignored and that he should just return to his post.

"Comrade, this is an official order signed by the Worker Commander, himself."

Sasha turned back to reading his data-slate before speaking in a dramatic voice, "well, I really should appreciate your persistent nature. Most impressive. Usually I don't get annoyed by these kinds of practical jokes, but I just have to commend your ability to successfully irritate me. So, please, tell Worker 28 that it was a nicely played joke. Then tell him that if a certain..."

Worker 19 looked at the teenager's breast pocket.

" ...Worker 2130203 ever shows up again," he continued, "that very same Worker two-one-whatever-the-fuck-you-are will be sent on a one way errand to a firing squad."

"Worker Group Leader Sasha Mile Ivan Bratislav Vlahovic, Worker 19, Executive Overseer of Interdepartmental Internal Affairs Operations, is requested by Worker Commander Mikhail Ferdinand Angelo, Worker 28, Overseer of Oversees Military Operations, to be in attendance in the War Cabinet, for the Exceptional Circumstances Emergency Meeting, no later than eight hundred hours," was what 2130203 read out from an official looking letter while shaking violently.

"Oh for fuck's sake," Sasha leapt out of his seat, "and just when I was getting comfy."

"Comrade?"

"Dismissed. Have the day off," Worker 19 said, checking his watch briefly, "and now you're off duty, I can speak my mind. First of all, you are, with out a doubt, the most annoying piece of aborted matter I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. Secondly, when you have a fucking official message to deliver, do it straight away and don't spend the time leading up to reading out the message incessantly trying to get the person's attention by saying the same fucking word over and over again. Lastly, I hope you are violently desiccated by the enemy forces when you finally find yourself on the front lines."

At that, Worker 2130303 made a prompt exit. Running quite fast in the opposite direction of the superior officer he had successfully managed to enrage.

"What on earth do they want me for," Sasha muttered as he hastily buttoned up his brown shirt and walked off towards the War Cabinet.

Chapter Twelve

Location: Soyapango

Date: 16 JUN 2114

Local time: 0602

"Give yourself up Agent 01, and you will be given a fair trial," a message blared out from a large megaphone that was, unfortunately, located out of range from any of the IWU's weapons systems.

Vamana was starting to get mildly annoyed at them. During the disjointed sleep he had managed to snatch, his latest dream had been filled with fantasies of him violently disemboweling people who had megaphones for heads. It wasn't quite the lucid dreaming he had been hoping for, but the concept of brutally murdering these people, who made all of his attempts at concentrating incredibly difficult, was intensely satisfying.

The loud explosion that had resulted from low flying Vallarian Mk.III Dacshund Interceptor being shot down by a SAM during the middle of the night had done nothing to make rest any easier. Intellegence reports had indicated that two Azúcar Atómico 922 fighter-bombers had been spotted conducting night flying exercises, which worried Vamana to some degree. While relatively ineffective in their role as a bomber, Uldericks was reluctant to force these unstable nuclear powered aircraft to detonate. As flying dirty bombs, Vamana strongly hoped that these flying wings were just a show of force that would be soon be deployed to the South American front. Radiation poisoning was not something Agent 01 wanted to deal with at this time. It would just be another problem to add to his list.

Meanwhile, intercepted reports had continued to reach his ears that a single Transporteaéreocosa Mobile Air Transport had supposedly been rerouted from the front lines to El Salvador. It would have been an extremely prominent threat even if it stayed on the outskirts of the city. Vamana was well aware of the exploits these aircraft had been involved in when dealing with uprisings and protests, as well as the distressingly high number of Vallarian Mk.III Dachshund Interceptors they were reputed to carry. There was also the distinct possibility that they could be carrying more dangerous aircraft, such as the Salvadorian Superfighter. A more heavily armed variant of the Dachshund that had been produced under license by the Central American Zone.

Regardless of Vamana's growing sense of paranoia, development of phase two was still going according to plan. Every worker that he could spare was currently working on the tunnel project. The others bravely maintained the strategically essential locations that were vital to the final plan that Vamana had devised. If they failed, the compound would be overrun and it would be game over. The tunnel had to reach the desired point that Vamana had already secretly decided as the end point.

For, Agent 01 was well aware they didn't have the time nor resources to dig a tunnel long enough to avoid the police blockades, let alone the official military cordon. All that mattered was that it was heading in the opposite direction of the gargantuan tank that was parked an uncomfortable distance away from his location. The rest of his plan would be revealed when the time was right.

Agent 01 was now convinced that that the main reason the building hadn't been leveled by the super heavy tank, was because the authorities desperately wanted to have solid confirmation that he had in fact been apprehended or killed. Destroying the central warehouse would have been an option, but in the confusion there was always the remote chance that Agent 01 could escape. Vamana considered such an idea and was highly doubtful he, even with his natural talents, could manage a daring escape in midst of rubble that was surrounded by a militarised perimeter.

Nerve gas would have been plausible, but that would have required mass deployment of gas masks for the Central Americans, as well as a much wider evacuation of civilians due to possible changes in wind conditions. Vamana was, of course, already prepared for that. All workers were required to maintain a gas mask. Added to that, any attempts to deploy it from the air would result in the aircraft being destroyed over the militarised area and nowhere near the compound.

Tactical nuclear strikes had been suggested as a possibility to Vamana, but he knew that the Central Americans were reluctant to divert any resources away from their experimental research and development programs. Added to that, was the fact that it would sacrifice a large portion of the city for little tangible gain while not leaving behind any evidence that Vamana had actually been killed.

The current plan seemed to be based around weakening the resolve of the terrorists and starving them out before sending in a strike force to storm the compound. Which, so far, was working much better than Vamana would ever be willing to admit.

Still, according to the estimates of strategic analysts, there was forty-five hours left before that would be a realistic possibility.

Of course, much still had to be done in order for Protocol Delta 07-B to commence effectively. I order for phase three to be viable, there was someone else who Vamana would require.

Chapter XIII

Location: Brasilia

Date: 16 JUN 2114

Local time: 0800

"Comrades, we have a serious situation here," Worker 28 said.

The man was located within a lavishly decorated room that was designed to house government officials in the time of crisis. It had previously been operated by the Republic of South America, thus it openly flaunted their former wealth and power. When the People's Party for the Defence of South America overthrew the former leaders in the superstate's first civil war, it had been largely abandoned as the communist regime insisted on the construction of a more egalitarian governmental assembly. When the International Worker's Union relocated large swathes of their organisation to the sympathetic People's South American Republic, it was given to the terrorist group (along with the rest of the former parliament buildings) as their centre of operations. Agent 01 had never fully taken kindly to using it, but it was in a convenient location that allowed him to maintain an influence on the PPDSA and it saved him the construction costs of designing his own headquarters at vast expense.

Within this particularly lavish room sat a large map of South America that featured the entirety if its geographical reliefs in three dimensional detail. Around it sat eight individuals, the last remenants of the founding members of the International Worker's Union. Normally Agent 01 himself would be in attendance at these meetings, with only five of his worker commanders with him to be delegated tasks. Of course, Agent 01 was currently missing and the acting Commander-in-Chief, on this occasion Worker 28, had decided that the full compliment of veteran staff was required to be present as all of their insight would be invaluable in the attempt to locate their leader.

Sitting at the head of the table was a Finnish national, Worker 19, Sasha Vlahovic, who was notable for being both the lowest ranked and lowest numbered of the surviving members. Unlike many other members of a similar vintage, he just did not have the raw ambition or steadfast dedication required to see him promoted in to the highest tiers of command. Instead he truly believed in the cause, held steadfast loyalty to his leader and embraced the egalitarian ideals of communism. Thus, it had taken him a lot of actual hard work and determination to slowly crawl up the ranks, until eventually Agent 01 decided to put someone as level-headed and loyal as Worker 19 in a safe place. As Executive Overseer of Interdepartmental Internal Affairs Operations, so that he was as far from harm as possible. By mere virtue of his regiment being vetted by Agent 01 first, he was considered the oldest surviving member of the IWU, save for the Glorious Leader himself. Many of his comrades had not been so lucky, with several captured or killed alongside the Russian border. In that case, a sane man would have chosen death over being taken alive by the autocratic regime.

One of these people that Worker 19 wished hadn't survived so long was a man of Swedish descent whom he had known for a very long time, Worker 28 or Mikhail Ferdinand Angelo (who had recieved no end to the string of jokes relating to his first and last names). While of a similar seniority, where Sasha had failed completely to advance through the ranks of the IWU, Mikhail had taken to it like a duck to water. By the time the Great American War was in full swing, the man had been appointed as the first Worker Commander. Mikhail was noted as being quite egotistical and retained a lot of his imperialist mindset from when he had been serving within a totalitarian military. Thus, he had never quite managed to get to grips with the concept of "egalitarianism". Of course, Worker 28 had insisted on sitting next to Worker 19. Mostly so that he could keep an eye on the representative he had summoned to the meeting. As he knew, if Worker 19 acted out in any way, the other officers would put the blame on himself as well. Personally, Mikhail quite liked Sasha and respected his opinion. Professionally, most of his actions gained the ire of Worker 19 due to a regular conflict of interests as he was far more concerned with directing resources towards Foreign Affairs.

Worker 37, Richard Lawrence Headson, was notably still absent, despite being summoned to the Exceptional Circumstances Emergency Meeting. Thus his seat had remained unfilled thus far. Worker 37 was a self absorbed narcissist at the best of times who was infamous for displaying favouritism within the ranks towards those who licked his boots more regularly than others. His dislike of Worker's 19 and 28 was well known as he seemed to always wish he was the longest surviving member. Despite being of an equal rank to Worker 28, that of a Worker Commander, he never seemed to manage to command the same amount of respect or authority of his rival. The hatred for Worker 19 was even more deep seeded, due to his apparent constant disregard for his authority and "I think I know better" attitude. This particularly annoyed Richard whenever Sasha happened to be right. A paranoid man as well, this lead him to suspect that Worker 28 insisted on inviting Worker 19 to important events just to irritate him further.

One along from the empty seat was the position of Worker 46, Lissandre Sassetti, an incredibly gaunt, tired looking older woman with frazzled red hair and sullen blue eyes. She was generally regarded to be a rather dour individual who didn't take jokes well and instead focused mindlessly on furthering the goals of the International Worker's Union. When Agent 01 had found her, she had been recalled from Antartica by the Euro Zone Military in the wake of the collapse of the Ildano Corporation. Due to her no nonsense attitude and dependable loyalty, she quickly found her way to the position of Worker Commander.

To the right of her sat Worker 63, Dardan Afrim Baris, an Albanian national. Fanatically devoted to Agent 01 and the greater cause of the International Worker's Union, he was a loyal soldier who would fight on to the bitter end. As a result of his preference for duty on the front lines as well as being incredibly proficient at what he did, he had forever remained a Worker Group Leader. This fact alone served to irritate Sasha, as it was the kind of job that the plant elemental coveted dearly.

At the opposite end of the table from Worker 19 was the Ecuadorian Worker 98, Enric Sergi Sandro, who sat rather uncomfortably as he struggled to fit in to the chair. The chair was normally occupied by Worker 87, but since he had now expired, it had been given to the man promoted to replace him. Worker 98 fitted the bill nicely, as the chief liaison officer between the PPDSA and the IWU. Due to getting very far as a military diplomat, the effects of the extravagant lifestyle he afforded while stationed in the Euro Zone caught up with him over the years. Agent 01 had selected him due to his desire to have a liaison with the Sector IX government. Enric had fitted the role perfectly and had ever since been a loyal member of the IWU. At heart, the reason he had stayed, was because of his nationalistic duty to protecting his homeland. In Agent 01 he had seen a man capable of doing just that.

Worker 112, Eliisabet Kaisa, a muscular female specimen who originated from Estonia, was seated opposite Worker 63. With steel grey eyes and short blonde hair, she was well known for having a violent temperament as well as a capability for extreme cruelty. The "Baltic Bear", as she came to be known was a terrible site to behold on the battlefield as she furiously lead her comrades on to victory. Unlike Worker 63, she had prioritised her career over mindless slaughter on the front lines. She had made Worker Group Coordinater earlier in the year, after coordinating a counter-offensive attack on Central American forces in Colombia. These days she was confined to being a desk general and had not seen proper action on the field since January.

Worker 149, Aelx "The Giant" Janus, sat to the left of the female Worker Group Coordinator. He was a rather short gentleman with a fairly diminutive stature. Worker 149 was renowned for being one of the more egalitarian and fair Worker Commanders. In spite of the many cruel jokes made about his stature, he had never abused his power for personal gain nor even been tempted to utilise it for petty revenge. He always maintained a calm demeanor and demonstrated an exceedingly high degree of humility. Worker 149 was also notably one of the few people in the IWU that Sasha genuinely enjoyed spending time with due to his steadfastly professional nature.

The Dutch national, Worker 182, Maria Felicia Schermer, was the youngest of those considered to be a surviving "Founding Member" of the IWU. She was a brazen young woman with auburn hair, hazel eyes and a well toned body. She had become known as the "Careless Lion" when she was a cadet, as while she was fierce she was infamous for needlessly taking extra risks. She was also notorious for her off-duty exploits involving both the senior staff and the recruits. Of course, as she was of a significant enough rank, the Worker Commanders tended to look the other way. As a Worker Group Leader she had lead several operations and excised an acceptable degree of restraint. However, her unprofessional behaviour is what many have flagged as being the reason for her lack of further promotion.

"Damn right we have a serious situation on our hands. My superiors in the PPDSA are getting damn well suspicious of you "incompetent gringos" after failing to receive their daily report from Agent 01," a short bloated man, with a large bulbous nose, exclaimed. It seemed as though his nose was a living being in its own right as the red blood vessels that mapped out the entire surface of the beast seemed to pulsate ever so slightly. Despite his apparently egalitarian beliefs, Worker 98 had come to live the life of an imperialist officer. His recent promotion to Worker Commander in the IWU, and Major General within his home nation's military, had done much to improve his standard of living. In particular, it had given him access to heinous amounts of alcohol and cocaine. Both of which hadn't been very good for his physical health, particularly his nasal apparatus had suffered greatly as a result. The man continued to bluster on, after catching his breath, "the government is extremely worried about a loss of vital logistical support at such a critical moment during the war. They want his bloody counsel on what the next course of action should be. Preferably before the tanks roll in to Brazil."

"Then we shall ensure he is able to give it," a more sharply dressed individual, who appeared to be quite a lot more physically capable than his fellow comrade, spoke as he entered into the Cabinet Chambers. Everyone saluted him as he made his way to the table, "I do apologise for being slightly late."

"By no means, Worker 37," Worker 28 said, "particularly in light of the work you have been doing to sort out that fiasco at the Alexandra Listening Post."

"Indeed," replied Worker 19, who decided he may as well contribute, "but please, elaborate on why you have gathered us all here."

"I believe I can answer that one," Worker 37 said, before clearing his throat and opening his mouth once more, "at approximately fifteen hundred hours local time, Alexandra Listening Post intercepted a high priority official Central American Military report. At fifteen hundred hours, three minutes, it was successfully decoded by Worker 189203, and the contents discovered to have been pertaining to vital information regarding the current whereabouts of Agent 01."

"So Agent 01 is currently missing-in-action?" Worker 19 asked.

"There is more," Worker 37 snapped, a hint of annoyance in his voice, "At fifteen hundred hours, eight minutes, Worker 189203 was observed entering Worker 87's office. At fifteen hundred hours, ten minutes a gunshot was heard. At fifteen hundred hours, twelve minutes two guards were seen entering the room. Thirty seconds later, further gunshots were noted as having been detected. At fifteen hundred hours, thirteen minutes, Worker 1294051 dispatched two guards who appeared to have slaughtered Worker 189203. Her testimony was that she executed them for treason, she was promoted to the position of Leading Worker for her bravery in the face of treasonous acts."

"What kind of incompetent bullshit is this?" Worker 19 suddenly objected. Something within his very being couldn't tolerate being told this story. In all his years of working for the IWU, he had been careful to ensure that operations ran smoothly. Internal affairs was his specific department because he could be trusted to plan an infallible system. Of course, it may have been hypothetically infallible but it did not seem to be idiot proof.

"I am sorry, Group Leader?" Worker 37 seethed, stressing that Worker 19 was not of any significant rank compared to the others gathered at the meeting, "would you like to let me finish my report or do you like jumping to conclusions!?"

"I don't need to jump to any conclusions here, mate," Worker 19 responded, "it's pretty bloody obvious that the key issues here are: Agent 01 is currently missing, thus needs to be found and that he was clearly the target of attempted murder."

"WORKER NINETEEN!" Mikhail Ferdinand Angelo, Worker 28, bellowed, "enough of this contempt for superior officers. Agent 01's life is of little concern compared to the investigation that needs to be conducted into the mental state of Worker 87."

"I'm sorry for doing my job. Interdepartmental internal affairs is what I manage for you fuckers, or you'd never even be able to administrate yourselves out of a wet paper bag," Worker 19 countered, "so get your heads out of the fucking sand and realise what the urgently pressing matter is. Agent 01 is missing. We need to amend that. Since all of you would be nothing without him and everything seems to have gone to shit in his absence."

"Sasha, you are dismissed," Worker 37 struggled to remain composed, that was until he just decided to have a rant, "I have a report to deliver. One that both I and my own, more agreeable, Group Leader have spent a long time compiling. If you are not concerned by my proposals to tighten up mental health checks on International Worker's Union candidates, then you are not required to be in attendance. These are serious matters that seem to indicate that Worker 87 almost destroyed an operational base through the accidental use of Protocol Delta 07. No sane man would ever utilise the protocol if they knew Agent 01 was at risk. Therefore, he must have been mentally incompetent."

"There's no fucking way that was the case," Worker 19 said, "He was clearly a fucking traitor!"

"Dismissed, Worker 19," Richard shouted at the man sitting opposite him.

"Countermanded, Worker 37. I request the continued presence of Worker 19," Worker 149 spoke up, standing himself up on to the table in the process, "I value his counsel and care not for the mindless machinations of bloody Richard Head."

"WORKER 149!" shouted Worker 37, "I will not stand for this."

"I do believe we are of an equal rank, Dick," Aelx said, "so I say he stays."

"I agree with Worker 149," Worker 46 stood up, "While Worker 19 is quite a detestable creature, I do believe he may have a point. I'm more concerned with the safe return of Agent 01 and elimination of rogue elements within our organisation than tightening up mental health checks."

At that point she sighed, before sitting back down.

"OUTRAGEOUS!" shouted Worker 37, as he became frustrated at the fact that his fellow Worker Commanders would not take his side, "Worker 19 is fucking dismissed! Get him out of my site."

"Do I not get a say in this?" questioned Sasha, hoping to wind up Worker 37 even more.

"FUCKING INSURRECTION IN THE RANKS!" roared Richard, his temper flaring wildly as he withdrew his firearm and pointed it at Worker 19.

"Well, I think Worker 37 is the one who should be dismissed," Worker 98 scoffed, "threatening his comrades with a firearm. I say this whole blasted thing was his conspiracy to destabilise our glorious organisation and the authority of Agent 01."

"OH FUCK OFF! YOU MORBIDLY OBESE WASTE OF OXYGEN!" Worker 37 shouted even louder than before, "CLEARLY WORKER 19 IS TRYING TO TURN US AGAINST EACH OTHER! LET ME DELIVER MY FUCKING REPORT!"

"Bloody unprofessional conduct as well," Worker 28 said, "Seriously, Dick, nobody wants to hear a pointless report that details suggestions that are likely of no significance to the fact Agent 01 is missing."

"B-b-b-but... " Worker 37 just couldn't accept that his little kingdom had been torn down in front of his eyes. That his fellow Worker Commanders had taken the side of a man they outranked instead of him.

At that, he decided to leave with what ever shred of dignity he had left.

Satisfied that his primary rival had been forced out of the room, Worker 19 then decided to open his mouth, "I will do everything in my power to help discern any possible leaks in our command structure and help ensure the safe return of Agent 01."

Chapter XVI

Location: Soyapango

Date: 16 JUN 2114

Local time: 1310

A gunshot split the air, pellets whizzing past a lucky bird.

"Balls," Somoron cursed, reloading.

Another shot split the sky, turning the bird into a tangled lump of feathers that plummet towards the ground.

"Fucking seagulls," Somoron continued, "No balls on them."

A Central American Dachshund was flying through the streets low behind a flock of the feathered shit-filled demons. The Dachshund was obviously seeking death, flying low and in urban terrain.

Somoron aimed another one at the flock, hoping to score some more kills when a coughing fit struck him, accidental making his aim drift as he fired. No birds went down, however the Dachshund burst into flames and began plummeting towards the ground.

"Balls." Somoron cursed as the Dachshund exploded. He'd have to find someone else to pin this on.

Chapter XV

Location: Soyapango

Date: 16 JUN 2114

Local time: 1311

"Worker 110901, I require you to assume a different persona and hereby take full control of all operations for the remainder of the foreseeable future," Vamana said.

"Understood, Agent 01," the albino saluted, "whom do you require to be?"

"Agent 01," said Vamana.

"Understood, Agent 01," Worker 110901 said, "I am now Agent 01 and shall act as such."

"And I am now Worker 110901," Vamana stated, "thank you, for gracing me with your presence, Glorious Leader."

"Of course, comrade."

"Agent 01," a voice piped up from behind Uldericks, "a low flying Dachshund appears to have exploded while conducting an exercises over the edge of the enemy blockade."

"Comrade, I'm not even surprised anymore," Vamana glibly stated.

"Yes, but Agent 01, the confusion may allow for an opportunistic strike against their artillery emplacements."

"Send in Zeta Detachment to sabotage the larger weapons," Vamana sighed as he realised the chances of success were marginal. However, the tank was the biggest thorn in the side of his plans at this current moment. As he was reluctant to try his own luck against the beast if it ever decided to just open fire with the primary weapons system. The capability of the turret was not something Vamana was keen to experience directly.

"Yes, Glorious Leader, right away, comrade," the soldier ran back through the doors of the impromptu office he had burst in to.

Vamana decided to close the door again before resuming his conversation.

"I do hope you understand the full extent of your role will entail," Vamana said, "for it will encompass a wide field of duties."

"Yes, comrade, " Worker 110901 responded, "I would like to think I am prepared to conduct the task at hand, Worker 110901."

"Of course, Glorious Leader, I should not doubt your abilities nor your steadfast devotion to the cause," Vamana spoke carefully, picking each word with precision.

The door was opened once more as another worker appeared.

"Agent 01," she said slowly, "it has been confirmed that the Dachshund originated from a Transporteaéreocosa Mobile Air Transport. Estimates place the aircraft's location at fifty kilometers from our location. From the specifications our analysts procured, we are assuming a full compliment of fifty rail launched Vallarian Mk.III Dachshund Interceptors."

Vamana cursed under his breath, before Worker 110901 took the initiative and started to act on his leader's behalf, "Very well, see to it that eight workers from the excavation team are redirected to guarding the SAM sites. If these aircraft are deployed, we will need to ensure that they are wiped clean from the skies."

"That is a wise decision, Glorious Leader," Vamana said, turning his body towards the direction of Worker 110901.

"Oh, I do apologise for getting my fellow worker confused with you, Agent 01," the young man who had entered the office spoke as his cheeks gained a slightly pink hue.

"Do not worry, for we are all comrades. It is an easy mistake to make," Worker 110901 continued on in his newly assumed persona.

Vamana smiled as he realised that if his own men couldn't tell which one was the real Agent 01, the authorities would not have much luck either. Phase three was now completed. All that was left now was to ensure phase four would be entered on his terms, and not that of the enemy.

Chapter Sixteen

Location: Soyapango

Date: 16 JUN 2114

Local time: 2120

"Bloody hell, Bruce!" a sharp feminine voice grated the ears of the portly gentleman who usually went by the name of Bruce Somoron, "bringing down a fucking Dachshund Interceptor is a serious matter when our arses are on the line!"

"I swear it wasn't my fault," he retorted with a slight look of embarrassment on his face, "It was those bloody ballsless crap-filled sky demons."

"By that you are referring to the low flying flock of seagulls that were spotted in the vicinity of where the Dachshund Interceptor crashed?" the slender female individual queried, a tone of bemused annoyance in her voice as she could already tell she had pinpointed the correct answer.

"Balls! Yes! It was the same goddamn ones!" Somoron exclaimed.

"Strange, because one of the junior officers reports that he was having to fill in for your post while you apparently took pot shots at the same flock of seagulls with a shotgun," the woman forcibly retrained her anger. This wasn't the first time her colleague had been involved in an incident involving seagulls and shotguns.

"Officially, I was still at my post. Since it was a quiet posting of field observation as we had to watch the occasional International Worker's Union sod get lit up by one of our balls damned missile launching rail rifles! It's not my fault if the seagulls were getting to balls close."

"Officer Rodrigo has stated that you abandoned your position several times to 'deal with those bloody squawking balls damn bastards' and that you disappeared not too long before the Dachshund fell out of the sky. The officer also has a clear memory of hearing gunshots seconds before he heard the sound of an engine failing."

"I'm pretty sure the aircraft hit the sky demons and that my shotgun pellets had nothing to do with the crash. Besides, the pilot safely ejected and those balls flying coffins are a dime a dozen these days," Somoron said.

"That's not the fucking point," the young woman seethed as her green eyes remained fixated upon those of the man who constantly found new ways to put a strain on their working relationship. She batted a few strands of her short blonde hair out of her eyes and continued with her rant, "are you fucking trying to get yourself killed?"

"No! I'm trying to stop myself from dying of balls boredom when sod all is balls damn well happening," Bruce tried a different tactic of glib honesty.

"This isn't a fucking game! You know what this fucking terrorist has done! You know what this fucking place is like! It's fucked up enough without you fucking it up some more!" the composed young woman was now close to throttling Somoron, "I didn't risk my fucking life finding this bastard's hideout only for you to endanger the whole fucking mission!"

"Are you done?" Somoron queried in an innocent manner as he refrained from letting his eyes fall toward's the woman's chest. He was well aware of the fact that she was married and more than willing to strike him if he ever gave her a passing glance.

"Am I fucking done... ?" she exhaled slowly, "Yes... as a matter of fact I am. Get your fucking stuff. You're dismissed. Morning shift again. This time don't start shooting at any fucking seagulls!"

"So Dachshunds are still viable targets?" Bruce joked as he turned around before breaking out into a light trot.

Chapter Seventeen

Location: Soyapango

Date: 16 JUN 2114

Local time: 2350

"The tunnel is proceeding slower than anticipated, Glorious Leader," Worker 2810391, spoke to the one currently dressed as Agent 01, "the team was not keen to report that we by their estimates we won't breach past the edge of the blockade for at least another forty-eight hours."

Meanwhile the real Agent 01 now stood outfitted in a brown uniform, instead of the grey clothes that his doppelganger wore. He checked his watch briefly before a slight crease appeared on the edge of his lips as he restrained a grin. He only had twenty-eight hours left to work with, but he had no plans to use the escape route himself. It merely had to look convincing enough to seem like it was a legitimate attempt at escape.

Another worked entered the room that Vamana was standing in, "Glorious Leader, contact with Zeta Detachment has been lost and the their artillery emplacements remain intact."

Vamana tried to refrain a sigh. It was infuriating that the lumbering super heavy tank that the Central Americans had stationed perpendicular to his location refused to be placated. The repeated reports of Dachshund Mk.IIIs being observed conducting strafing exercises just outside of the range of the SAM platforms was also starting to wear on Vamana’s sanity. He could feel it in his bones that they may invade before his optimistic window of opportunity was up. The predictions made by his analysts were based on the Central Americans risking minimum casualties while they slowly depleted the IWU forces of both personnel and resources. Losses of soldiers protecting the front lines and, more importantly, the SAM sites had already reached forty-five percent.

The worries always stemmed from the fact that Uldericks was well aware of the fact that the Central Americans were not always ones to utilise the most sensible options. Thus, a premature strike by them while their enemy still maintained a reasonable presence seemed like exactly the kind of thing they would do. Vamana had experienced fighting alongside their forces in the past and had not exactly been impressed by neither their strategic decisions nor the tactical weapons they had employed. In fact, the reason for his deployment had been down to the fact that his previous employers, the Vallarie Administration, did not have much faith in the Central Americans adequately protecting the Panama Canal from the insurgents of Project Earth Reborn while they aimed to discourage them from resorting to weapons of mass destruction to protect the canal. Vamana tried not to think of his past experiences, for they only served to worry him more about what kind of the idiocy the Central American Zone was capable of.

Worker 110901 responded to the report as Vamana maintained his position as a standard worker on guard duty. As he stood to attention, his eyes traced over every single person who came to seek an audience with their Glorious Leader.

Each one looked tired and worn out. While he did not doubt their blind loyalty, their fundamental human weaknesses remained a problem that were yet to be placated. Eventually, his men and women would burn themselves out as the pressure upon them was increased. The thought of replacing his staff with androids had crossed Uldericks' mind several times, but memories of watching Central American Supersuits wiped out by a single electromagnetic pulse made him reluctant to invest so heavily in electronics. Much to his dismay, the robots he had acquired for testing lacked the both the intuition and initiative to be used effectively out on the field. In mass deployment, he could see they had some potential worth. However, the operations he regularly conducted required the higher cognitive abilities that only humans possessed. Tales of some of these higher class androids going rogue and massacring innocent civillians only heightened Vamana's concerns. Not because of the high cost of human life, but because such incidents would be highly detrimental to the success covert operations.

As the time drew closer to midnight, Agent 01 truly wished for a miracle. For even his own best laid plans did not seem like they were likely to see the dawn of the next day.

Chapter Eighteen

Location: Brasilia

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 0304

"Worker 19," a hoarse voice croaked, "your services to us today have been admirable."

The aging, bloated, man wheezed slightly as he paused for breath.

"But you need to get some rest. You're no good to us like this," the rotund individual panted.

"Worker 98," Sasha responded, his eyes sullen and his head heavy, "I cannot rest until the ones responsible for causing Agent 01's predicament are found. There must be some trace of whoever leaked his whereabouts to the enemy. I feel like I should already have this stuff on file. I handle bloody internal affairs. But, it's just not there. I've searched through every piece of paperwork from the last week and the only thing that could possibly be related to any potential plot to eliminate our Glorious Leader is the Protocol Delta 07 that was issued for Soyapango. However, since both the man who issued it and the worker he conversed with are both dead, I have no idea why it was issued. It's supposed to be reserved for when a position has been overrun beyond reclamation, but I didn't even know we had an outpost within the city, let alone that Agent 01 was currently deployed there."

"Yes, that's why this is all so bloody unnerving. I mean, I'd hate to think that blustering idiot was right about a conspiracy to kill Agent 01..." the Hispanic man mused.

"While I also fear that there are sinister forces at work, I think the key is finding out what exactly our mission in El Salvador entails," Worker 19 wondered aloud.

"Well I'm in the dark there as well. None of the higher ups knows a blasted thing about what we're doing there either. Although, I have been aware of a slow burn operation bubbling under in Mexico City for the last twenty-four months. A similar project could have been in operation within Soyapango and it could be related to our efforts in encouraging the Central Americans to withdraw from the war," Worker 98 considered, "Unfortunately, that was supposed to be Agent 87's pet project. So I'm affraid I don't know much about what the mission entailed. However, I should be getting his files shipped to me in the morning, so perhaps we'll have better luck tomorrow, old chap?"

"There is always the remote possibility that they could provide the key to solving this whole blasted mystery," Sasha sighed, this time in a far more relaxed manner, "what time are they due in?"

"1000 hours," was the astute response given, "so please do try to get some rest. Dismissed, Worker Group Leader."

The gaunt black haired man took this is his cue to shut off his portable data-slate. As he raised his head from the relief map of South America, he realised that the War Cabinet Room was in a far more disorganised state that it had been when he had first arrived. Screeds of paper littered the unique piece of hand carved piece of furniture that constituted the table and the small marker pieces that had been used to signify the advancement of Central American and Monarchist South American forces within the continent had been knocked all over the place.

By Sasha's own estimate, he had been working almost non-stop for twenty-one hours since the emergency meeting that had been called in the morning. Immediately he had taken charge of the investigation and set his comrades to work on unearthing everything they could find that might lead back to the source of an intelligence leak. Sadly, missing both a living and a dead Worker Commander from the proceedings had come to severely hinder the efforts of the team. It also did not serve to help matters when the majority of the staff called to the meeting were forced to oversee other areas of the organisation. Annoyingly, the great beast of the International Worker's Union had chugged onwards while their allies of the People's South American Republic continued to fight for the freedom of their homeland. War simply had no courtesy for the gears of bureaucracy.

As he finally left the grand old room, the young man exhaled deeply. Today he had felt utterly defeated. Yet, hope still remained for the dawn, as his old comrade came to pat him on the shoulder.

"Chin up, lad," the Colombian man joked, "It could be worse."

Sasha's sardonic laugh echoed throughout the cavernous halls of the former Republic of South America's Governmental Assembly building. The only way it could possibly worse would be for Agent 01 to already be dead, and that thought shook Worker 19 right to the core.

Chapter Nineteen

Location: Soyapango

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 0700

"Officer Bruce Somoron!" a shrill voice permeated the air in an ear splitting manner, "You're supposed to be out on patrol duty with the army!"

The substantial behemoth of a man refused to move from where he was sitting as all of the other uniformed patrons of the small cafe were shocked to silence as they turned around to see what the source of the previous outburst was. Much to Somoron's dismay, it was an all too familiar brash blonde haired woman with judgemental jade eyes.

"Yes, but I decided to get breakfast," he calmly stated as he danced on the edge of oblivion, for his fellow police officer was still in a sore mood after the previous day's Dachshund incident.

"For God's sake, are you trying to get yourself fired!?" she furiously questioned.

At that, Somoron checked his watch and took a sip from his cup of coffee, "I'm quite confident that would never happen, besides the army dismissed me early."

"Exactly why would they do that!?" she exclaimed, more confused and irate than before as she attempted to restrain her already growing temper as her face developed a more crimson tinge to it.

"I got the feeling that my old sergeant was nervous to have me serving alongside him again," Somoron continued, completely unphased as he moved to take another bite out of his bacon sandwich.

"So he just let you free from your posting?" Alice exhaled.

"He recommended it and told me to return when they were finished in order to await further instruction. So I decided I could do with a nice breakfast," he continued to state in an infuriatingly calm manner.

The distressed young woman walked slowly towards the seat that lay opposite to Bruce Somoron and carefully slid into the cushioned fabric, "Bruce, I'm starting to worry that you aren't taking this job seriously anymore."

"That's an awfully ballsy thing to say," he snorted, "I always take this job seriously. It's just that sometimes the job fails to be serious. Like whenever those bloody seagulls are involved or when my old commanding officer proves to have a long memory for an avian Semtex incident."

"There's a bloody war on and you just keep acting like it's business as fucking usual... You're goddamn impossible. I truly do not understand how you can sleep at night," the blonde haired woman snapped.

"On my side, with a comfortable vest on," was the literal response given. At that, the young woman finally lost control of her facade and slapped him with an incredulous force. The blow transferred the pain from one cheek to the other as Somoron found his head knocked back against the plush red cushions of the cafe's booth.

"Fucking hell woman!" he winced angrily, "I know I've had that coming a long time but balls that was sore."

Whispers started to fly around the room from the other patrons and there was slight periods of mirth. The young woman's ear's pricked up when she heard something about being the man's wife, which made her anger turn to embarrassment as she started to realise just how much of scene she had caused.

"So anyway," Bruce composed himself, "I've heard the bloody Americans are planning on entering the war."

"What!?" the green eyed woman exclaimed, "Since when!?"

"It's only rumours mind. Just got wind of it from the old geezer before he went off on his patrol. Apparently things aren't going as well in South America as the government wants us to believe. Like I've always been saying, it's all a bloody conspiracy to keep us scared. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the entire war was just a ruse to bring this nation further into the mud," Somoron spoke in a far more hushed tone before he took another bite of his large bacon sarnie.

As he chewed it, his cohort formulated a response, "I thought the tanks were rolling into Brazil as we speak? There was that whole report last week showing the attack!"

"Those tanks were moving into Ecuador." Bruce whispered over the table, "the whole bloody place has apparently been consumed by a revolution. One that appears to have been started by those very same IWU wankers we're supposed to have surrounded."

"Just how the fuck do you know this?" the young woman spoke back to him in a quiet tone, the anger from her voice depleted as it was replace by fear.

"I have my sources. All I can say is that while you did us a great service in tracking down that Agent 01 bastard, it won't matter one bit if he merely turns out to be the head of a balls damn hydra!"

That notion sent a chill down the young woman's spine. She had hoped that the apprehension of Agent 01 would bring an end to the activities of the International Worker's Union, but that seemed very far from the reality of the situation. Even without their leader they seemed to have this unnatural determination to seed chaos and discord while each hour they did not siege the building was another that the rats could utilise.

"If. If that is the case, then what the hell are we supposed to do!?"

"Why do you think those gringo bastards seem so keen to become involved? Think about it. We're the buffer between them and the communist menace. Those South American Monarchist Fascists might be America's allies, but they'd sooner let them fall than let the canal end up in the hands of the Bolsheviks."

"This is all just more of your conspiracy nonsense, isn't it, Somoron? Just like your claims of the Restored White Armies attempting to gain a foothold in Central America? Yes?" the woman queried with an almost childish hope for vindication, "You're just pulling my leg again, aren't you?"

"Frankly," he spoke with a mouthful of food, "I wish that was the case."

As he finished it, he motioned to his accomplice to get up.

"Wait, why are you so keen to leave all of a sudden?" the woman asked, quite distressed by the fact Bruce Somoron was indicating signs of urgency.

"I was told our boys were finally going to move in en masse, I don't want to miss the fireworks," Bruce said as he grabbed his coat.

"That would explain the increased number of Dachshunds." the young woman mused as she forced her self out of the constricting booth.

"I'm not sure what good those flying coffins will do against the SAM sites. Except providing an overwhelming number of tragets for the ones on the roof," Somoron spoke before pausing to at the sudden realisation that was probably what the Central Americans were relying on, "Then the troops would be free to march on them and secure the perimitter outside the IWU warehouse while there is absolute carnage in the skies."

"That sounds like it's going to be pretty costly for both sides," Bruce's compatriot lamented.

"Of course it will be, but our balls military is getting too damn impatient to just starve these rats out. They seem convinced that Agent 01 is tunneling his way out as we speak. Regardless, it's going to be an absolute cracker to watch," the robust Hispanic police officer replied as the duo walked up to the counter of the small cafe. Bruce put down a very large denomination of money upon the piece of furniture and wolf whistled at the waitress, "That should be all love. Don't bother with the receipt, I'm in a hurry."

He winked at her and she giggled slightly at his eccentricity. The young woman who was accompanying Somoron merely sighed at his overtly sexist actions before making a sharp but reticent comment, "For Christ's sake man, you have a wife."

"Well, I don't at the moment," he stung back with an unusual tenacity, "For some reason Mayra didn't take very kindly to waking up tied to a bed with two other women and our gardener."

The blonde haired woman had to do a double take as she tried to process the information she had just been given, "What in the... how in the world did you... seriously... what the fuck is wrong with you?"

"Oh come on, there's a war on," was Somoron's spry response, "I might as well make the most of my time on this balls planet before time catches up with me."

"I pity your children, I really do," his partner sighed as she was still racking her brains around Bruce's actions.

"Oh, don't worry. They're all perfectly safe in the custody of their biological mothers," was the conceited reply given.

"I really should remember not to ask about your personal life," the flustered police officer sighed as each new sentence spoken by Bruce Somoron eroded her sanity just a little bit more.

"My personal life is as stable as this country," Somoron interjected as they exited the small building that housed the cafe. Fresh rubble was visible by the foot of the door while the sandbags that had been positioned around the door were peppered with fragments of rock and metal. As the morning sun broke through the clouds the newly wrecked remains of a Dachshund Interceptor impacted upon the side of a skyscraper came into view. Somoron jumped slightly as nine airborne Americano Mk.V Dachshund Interceptors sped by overhead.

"Oh terrific," the young woman groaned as they begun the short walk to the police perimeter as the sound of gunfire permeated the air.

Chapter XX

Location: Brasilia

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 1000

"Ah excellent, you'll be glad to know everything has arrived from the Alexandra Listening Post. That ruckus we caused back in Ecuador really saved our backsides there, or it would have been overrun yesterday evening," Worker 98 stated officiously as he lead his fellow worker into his office.

"That sure was a lucky break," Worker 19 responded, "now the pressure will be off the Colombian border."

What lay inside was a treasure trove of ancient artifacts that had originated from all four corners of the globe. An archaic hunting rifle, that looked like it had been manufactured during the nineteenth century, was mounted proudly behind the luxurious red leather chair that provided a distinct focal point to the extravagant room. Sasha was slightly in awe of the grandeur it possessed while at the same time utterly repulsed by its extreme decadence. An entire stuffed polar bear loomed over a small collection of cardboard boxes that Worker 19 assumed to be his quarry.

The desk itself appeared to have been carved from the base of a mahogany tree of immense size, with the vibrant red lacquer contributing to the intimidating atmosphere of the room. An ornate vase of what appeared to be oriental origin flanked the left side of the desk while to the right of the large piece of furniture lay a casual ebony grand piano. Despite the many objects that adorned it, the cavernous room still managed to be largely unfilled. Even the glass chandelier did not seem out of place in what was clearly an over sized venue for a mere office.

Of course, in the days before the relatively recent socialist revolution, such decadent architecture had been commonplace amongst the Republic of South America.

"Apparently the Baltic Bear had something to do with it," the large man continued, "but what'd I know? I'm just in charge of intercepting enemy communications and keeping on good terms with the government."

He laughed deeply at the thought as his comrade brought a stanley knife to the cardboard packing crates that had been dumped in the large office. He merely uttered a brief acknowledgement as he started to surgically open the containers, "Indeed."

"Now, I'd like to stay and chat but the PPDSA have demanded I provide an update on this whole Agent 01 fiasco," Enric Sergi Sandro breathed out deeply at the thought, "So good luck with your mission. I'll be able to sleep a lot sounder in the knowledge that the exact location of our Glorious Leader has been found."

"Be seeing you, Worker 98," was the distant response given by Sasha as he started laying out pages of radio transcripts.

The Executive Overseer of Interdepartmental Internal Affairs Operations immediately ruled out any high priority documents, as he was certain that they would have been brought up by now. The next thing he ruled out was official International Worker's Union communications as they would have also been already been picked up. Sasha had a bad feeling that it was likely some low level operation that had lead to the location of Agent 01 being given to the Central American authorities. Unfortunately, intense censorship on news networks in neighboring sectors had made them an unreliable source for discerning the status of foreign affairs. It was a time old strategy in a time of war as the best way to dampen enemy morale was to make it seem as though their actions had no effect upon daily life.

Broadcasters in Sector XI hadn't mentioned anything about the revolution that was occurring in Ecuador, for that would show a sign of weakness to their allies and their enemies. It did not help matters that the IWU had become increasingly good at staying out of the limelight and in many regards were too efficient at keeping their actions under wraps to the extent that a lot of their operations were regarded to have been work of other organisations. However, Sasha was convinced that the Central American Zone wouldn't have had the clairvoyance to suppress any news related to Agent 01, as the man was wanted in five different sectors for a multitude of terrorist related charges.

It seemed likely that the Glorious Leader was indeed tied up in Soyapango being scheduled for remote demolition if the Central American Zone weren't celebrating his capture, as they were likely playing it safe. You don't want to reveal you have the enemy's leader before you are quite confident he was secured. Even if Agent 01 was somehow routed, he was a slippery eel well known for eluding capture from both GHOST and the Vallarie Administration in the past. Even if Central American Marines were sent in to storm his position or had tracked him down, there was always that distinct risk of him escaping.

That was when an ideas struck the Executive Overseer of Interdepartmental Internal Affairs Operations. It would be a lot easier to look for any communications that may have originated from organisations that were typically unregulated and merely recorded. The main one that came to mind was the Blessed Worker's Elemental Group, that regularly only ever answered to Agent 01. Thus, he would be able to refine his search by looking for anything that cross referenced with the BWEG. Ready and raring to go he set to work on unearthing the box that had been reserved for the Blessed Worker's Elemental Group.

However, just as he had brought his knife across the brown taped seal, he found his attention drawn to the flecks of plaster that had fallen on his head. As he looked up he saw a sight that made his heart sink. The chandelier was swinging in a rather precarious manner as the ornaments on the wall started to shake.

"Worker Group Leader!" a voice called out before taking form as a bedraggled female worker who looked like she had run a fair distance, "Protocol Alpha 01!"

"Oh for fuck's sake, why do we need to evacuate!?" Sasha restrained himself from shouting as he stepped away from the freshly opened box.

Seconds later the entire room shook and Sasha's knife went forwards into the chest of the young woman who had come to retrieve him as he stumbled forwards.

"Fucking hell!" she winced, immediately dropping her officious persona, "why the fuck do you have a knife?"

"I was trying to unpack these fucking crates," he shouted as he gracelessly pulled the weapon out of his subordinate's left breast in a short yanking motion. He quickly retracted the blade before the room shook again, this time being followed by a very loud bang before a of decorative sword fell of the wall.

"Jesus Christ, it stings," the woman complained as red fluid started to seep into the fabric of her brown shirt, "so let's get a fucking move on."

"Not before you help me get this box out of here," Sasha protested as he dragged over the large container that was labeled Blessed Worker's Elemental Group.

"You must be fucking joking, comrade," the young woman, with the blood stained numbers 28910 on her chest retorted bitterly, "it's a bloody evacuation. If you don't come now then I do so look forward to your funeral."

Ignoring her insistence on following protocol, Sasha grabbed the box and made a light sprint for the exit.

"Oh for fuck's sake, will you at least warn me if you are going to do that," were the words he heard following him as he started running for his life. Right now nothing was more important than the contents of that box. It was the only hope he had of finding Agent 01 and he wasn't going to quit now. Unfortunately fate had other ideas as he ended up being knocked off balance before going crashing to the floor. The resulting caused the opened cardboard receptacle to fling the papers all over the place just as Sasha started cursing loudly.

Much to his disdain he was helped to his feet by the same woman that he had previously stabbed as a ringing noise started in his ears. Like a lost lamb separated from the flock he followed his shepherd blindly to wherever she was leading them as the building seemed intent to collapse around them. Another explosion seemed to dislodge a piece of roof as a wooden beam came crashing to the floor behind his position. In the cacophonous atmosphere he could not hear a word of what his associate was shouting at him but her mouth was opening frequently as more blood continued to leak from her wound.

A sharp tug on his arm dragged him into a tight corridor that so far seemed largely unscathed from the shelling campaign. From the many practice drills that had been conducted in the past, Sasha began to discern the path they were taking was towards a nearby subterranean hatchway that would lead to the depths of the nuclear bomb shelter that housed the old War Cabinet Room. Despairing at the loss of key information, all that was left on the poor man's mind was survival. Another explosion shook the building once more as they reached the reinforced titanium door. Sasha hurriedly tapped into an adjacent keyboard the correct code as the young woman who had rescued him still appeared to be shouting at him furiously.

It was only after the door had opened and they had managed to enter the bunker did Worker 19 finally catch a word of what the female soldier had been saying as she started applying pressure to her fresh wound. It was but a venomous mutter, "it's just my luck to be stuck with a fucking knife wielding lunatic when my life's on the line."

Chapter Twenty-One

Location: Soyapango

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 0812

The ground was choked with a thick musk of scarlet tinted fumes as vaporised nitric acid seeped free from an explosive device that had become embedded within the front wall of a skyscraper that some International Worker's Union forcers had been holed up in.

Of course, this was a minor concern compared to the countless other rockets that had been peppering the fortified location for the best part of an hour. In theory, these missiles were designed to be launched from shoulder mounted rocket launchers. In practice, these weapons were so massively unwieldy that it was taking four enemy personnel to improvise a firing location. Well, that was what the latest scout reports were indicating as they dribbled in over the course of the morning.

Vamana looked on with a mix of disgust and contempt as five Dachshund Interceptors came screaming in overhead. It was probably reckless to be near the front line, but his doppelganger was currently handling his usual duties as Agent 01, so it would have been suspicious for an able bodied worker not to have been deployed with the the remaining personnel. The fighting had not been pleasant by any means. The tactics that the enemy now seemed to be relying upon was akin to detonating a molehill as opposed to their previous strategy of smoking out rats.

The situation with the SAM sites did not currently look good either. This was not because they were being overrun as the soldiers at the forefront of the fighting were bravely defending them from the encroaching enemy forces and for the most part successfully keeping them at bay. The issue that had now arisen was that the entire cache of missiles had been used to clear the skies of the increasing number of Dachshund Interceptors that stalked the the skies like flocks of seagulls.

For the most part, Vamana was still glad that the Central American Zone hadn't had the clairvoyance to dedicate more resources or experienced personnel towards the sustained campaign within Soyapango. Well, he still wasn't entirely sure whether it was down to lack of foresight, outright incompetence, bureaucratic meddling or a result of his planned Ecuadorian Revolution finally taking hold. Due to being completely cut off from any valid forms of communication he just decided to put it in an educated guess of that all four probably played a part. Since it seemed less likely for Ecuador to have remained stable for so long when it had been prepared to fall apart in the days leading up to his departure for El Salvador. IWU agents within the nation had been working to buy more time for their Bolshevik South American allies with the hopes of preventing a two pronged offensive into Brazil. So far the Monarchists had seemed poised to take Brasilia as Rio had already been seized by Argentinian forces only a month prior to his trip to Central America. However, Vamana's most recent efforts were currently concerned with completely removing the Unitary Constitutional Hegemonic Empire of Central America from the conflict while hoping to place them in a position to negotiate a forced treaty with the People's South American Republic.

Well, that had been the plan until the bastards had discovered the location of Agent 01 and his current location. Now all he was able to manage was a mere fraction of what he had aimed. Playing the role of a small thorn in the side of a massive regime was in no capacity anywhere near as effective as the devastation that had been planned for the constituent parts of the United Central American Republic. A mass bombing campaign of strategically vital locations followed up with the seizing of land between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts with the aim of shutting down the infrastructure that was feeding their campaign in South America. Of course, that plan had now been utterly ruined as the vast quantities of explosives that had been earmarked for use upon military installations were now currently buried underground in an incredibly concentrated capacity.

Vamana was forced to take cover behind a makeshift corrugated steel barricade as a tirade of air-to-ground missiles struck the slabs of concrete that marked the entrance to the warehouse he had been holed up in for the last few days. Ulderick's forced himself up as the dust cleared as he knew this would be met by another attempt by the Central Americans to breach the defences. Two of his comrades joined him as they opened fire upon suspected advancing enemy soldiers. Agent 01 felt the recoil of the submachine gun course through his shoulder as he let loose a precise burst against black armoured foes. Every bullet counted when the odds were against him.

Uldericks swore loudly the moment he started to hear his gun clicking incessantly. A full hour of perpetual skirmishes had not done the ammunition supplies much good as they tried to keep the enemy at a reasonable distance. Vamana had actually become thankful of the airstrikes and the occasional lull in enemy troop movements as it gave time to restock. Unfortunately the windows of opportunity had become a lot tighter as the number of aircraft removed from the skies lessened with each passing strike. Now that the SAM sites had been completely depleted, the Central Americans would have uncontested air superiority. This, of course, was put to great use in leveling several skyscrapers and other fortified buildings that the IWU had fromerly used as refuge. Without the covering sniper fire from the now demolished skyscrapers and with the gun emplacements on the ground destroyed, the direct route to the warehouse was completely open. It would only be a matter of time before tanks and armoured personnel carriers rolled in. 

While the disguised Agent 01 refused to admit it to his men, they had been gradually retreating back towards the reinforced primary compound since the Central Americans had initiated their latest major offensive. Even by his most generous estimates, Vamana did not predict the siege to last more than another hour before they were forced to dig in within the subterranean depths of the International Worker's Union frontier outpost. The mole hill would finally be reduced to  ruin and the tunnels would become exposed. As he ducked down to reload his weapon a thunderous roar saturated the air. A wave of dust swept over him as he realised that the source of the bedlam was to the rear of his position. As he turned around, with his back to the sandbag barricade he beheld the sheer devastation that had befallen his out post. Steel was perversely mangled as the very ground itself seemed to have been spat out from within the depths of hell. Smoke was bellowing from within the corrupted ruin as twisted figures were faintly visible amongst the rubble.

Vamana no longer considered holding of his plan for another hour. It was already over. The primary warehouse of the compound hadn't just been breached, it had been completely obliterated with the interior now exposed to the elements.

"Withdraw!" he called out as his lungs ached, "Regroup in the bunker!"

The man couldn't even hear his own words as he issued the order. Horror struck him as he saw his subordinates continue to fight the enemy and hold them off from breaching the perimeter, completely oblivious to the order that had been given. Black suited soldiers rushed towards the IWU's position as the dust began to settle. They wouldn't have been able to hear it coming as their position was overrun by a numerically superior force.

The young albino seethed as he saw his eyes met the centre of an elongated barrel. He knew fine well what it belonged to. The gargantuan cannon had unleashed its full fury. However, Vamana did not falter in his resolve. Knowing the origins of this carnage lay with the beast, he redoubled his efforts to escape. If he could make it to the bunker. If he could detonate the explosives. Then the infernal device would be blown sky high.

With fire in his crimson eyes he ran towards the exposed entrance of the bunker. Dodging wreckage and avoiding charred limbs, Vamana leaped like a gazelle in a mad dash to survive. The end was in sight with but a small stairwell separating him from safety. Yet he was cut short as he felt two sharp impacts on his back.

Chapter Twenty-two

Location: 15.7989° S, 47.8667° W

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Depth: 200m (Below Sea Level)

"I need access to our Emergency Communications Channel in order to contact the Alexandra Listening Post," a very worn and tired man of Scandinavian descent spoke with a sense of urgency in his voice.

"I am sorry to report that it is currently in use by our Worker Commander at this time, Comrade," a stony faced younger International Worker's Union recruit responded in monotone to the dispossessed Finnish national.

"Seriously!? Still. How much longer is that pompous wanker going to take!?" Worker 19 seethed.

"Comrade, I don't think it is very professional to refer to Worker 37 by those terms," was the politically correct response given by the enlisted systems analyst.

The Worker Group leader did everything in his power to refrain from responding aggressively as the confines of the bunker would not only echo but likely amplify the sound of his words due to the acoustic nature of the building. Any loud noises would be particularly deafening as the room was secured by an airtight seal as to better protect the communications equipment that lay inside, as well as any personnel that may also happen to be present.

While lost in his train of thought Worker 19 failed to hear the hatchway open. That was until the ten inch thick lead lined stainless steel door shut with a distinctive thud. At that point, the disgruntled man came to understand that someone else had entered the room.

"Took bloody ages to find you down here!" were the irate words that came to sting Sasha's ears, "I was starting to think that you must have been running from a court martial."

What the young woman had been referring to was the interlocked network of tunnels that spanned a multitude of floors below the former government offices of the Republic of South America. At a depth of two hundred meters below sea level and encased in reinforced concrete. In theory it could survive a one hundred megaton blast but thus far that had never been tested. Colossal one ton doors separated off the core of the base from the vertical and horizontal entrances to the complex.

Within the bunker itself, each room was in turn hermetically sealed off in order to theoretically increase the chance of survival in the event of core elements of the building being ruptured. After the IWU had inherited it, the place had been largely abandoned and manned by a skeleton crew due to the vast amount of expenditure required to run the facility at its full capacity. That was until recent events had lead to it being swarmed with members of the political activist group due to the sustained bombing campaign of the monarchist armies of Sector X.

Responding to the disturbance that had entered into his current environment, Worker 19 did a very quick turn to meet the sky blue eyes of his subordinate and former victim of a knifing incident earlier in the day, "Oh yes, good to see you've been cleared for active duty in spite of injury, Worker 28910... "

"Not even a 'thank you' or a 'well done comrade' for the goddamn woman who saved your miserable little life. I mean, I'd already given up hope on expecting an apology from the chauvinistic likes of you," she spat very aggressively as she cleared a couple of strands of long chestnut hair from obstructing her vision, "but at the very least you could have the common decency to show some courtesy."

Sasha suddenly looked very sheepish and was starting to consider pulling rank in order to get the enraged young woman off his back.

"Thank you for saving me and sorry for stabbing you," he eked out a response, "Miss, uh, Worker 28910."

"I have a name for fuck's sake. I'm starting to think the only reason you have any bloody rank is because you've been here longer than anyone else in this blasted organisation!" she almost shouted as the other officer that was present in the room turned back to his monitoring duties.

"Well I'm sorry I don't know that either, but there's a reason we have all personnel assigned numbers. They are a lot easier to remember and keep a hold of," Sasha replied in a fairly conceited manner.

"Well here's a name you can fucking well remember, Cerise Clemente," Worker 28910 shouted as the third person present in the room pressed his hands against his headset.

"Is that all?" Worker 19 sighed, rather deflated by the sudden verbal attack he had received while his repeated failures in finding a way to continue his investigation had done nothing to lift his spirits beyond dejected.

"No... actually... I didn't just come here to berate you... " the young woman reluctantly admitted, "I decided to chase up those missing documents you were willing to risk our lives over."

"Exactly how is that possible?" the Finnish man suddenly queried in a moment of disbelief before flying off the handle, "those files were single copy official documents. There are no other hard copies in existence and any electronic ones would still be in that fucking Alexandria Listening Post. So I'm sorry to rain on your parade if I have to call bullshit on that one!"

"Oh will you stop being such a fucking pig headed exclusionary wanker," Cerise yelled, "and maybe let my finish before you go off on one!"

"Can the pair of you keep it down, I'm trying to write up a transcript here and all you're doing is arguing like an old married couple," the communications officer hissed as he readjusted his headset.

"Okay, could you just give me the files if you have them," Sasha just bluntly stated.

"Fine!" Worker 28910 snapped as she withdrew what appeared to be a miniature data slate from between her breasts.

"What in the world?" Worker 19 responded, utterly flabbergasted, "why did you keep it in there."

"Well if you had let me finish, I'd have told you about how I had to acquire it from the Worker Commander after finding out that he had been withholding information from you in order to further his own investigation while discrediting yourse," Clemente replied with a playful venom in her voice, "That of course only served to direct my anger over the circumstances I was forced to endure towards him. Since I realised that I would have never been forced to escort a bloody lunatic during the evacuation if Worker 37 had just given you this fucking thing in the first place."

"Thank you for your dedication, Miss Clemente," Sasha spoke amicably as he tried to restrain his own evident frustration at Worker Commander Richard, "I'll be recommending you for a promotion."

At that she brought her right hand to his wrist and forced his palm onto her breast. She then kicked the chair of the communications officer and quickly removed her arm off to the side before loudly squealing then exclaiming, "oh, you beast!" in an extremely melodramatic fashion.

A look of shock spread across the face of the other man present in the room before he remembered he had vital work to do and that his ass was on the line if he made any errors in the transcription of the details he was being given. Thus, he quickly turned around again and muttered under his breath about the odd couple in the room being a pair of melodramatic psychopaths. Realising that he was already screwed, Sasha decided to give a sly squeeze before slowly bringing his arm down to his side.

Cerise then moved closer into Sasha and brought her mouth to his ear, "Now I better be a Worker Group Leader by tomorrow or I'm making a complaint against you on the grounds of sexual harassment. Internal affairs has never taken anti-egalitarianism lightly."

"What the fuck is your problem, lady?" Sasha nearly squealed as he strongly wished that this was all just one of those fantastical day dreams he used to have while he was actually still back at his desk doing his same boring routine back when adventure had absolutely no chance of ever reaching him. Unfortunately he realised that couldn't be the case, as his usual dreams didn't usually turn out to be this wearing.

"Now, Worker 37 will probably have already realised his files are gone and is likely to have sent people out looking for the chief suspects. Namely you. So I suggest you come with me to a more remote location in order to decode them," Cerise suggested in a peculiarly lighter tone.

"Right..." Worker 19 slowly spoke, "and we can't just stay here because?"

"Well it's not as private as I'd like it to be. Considering we'll be examining some very sensitive areas," Clemente teased in a malicious manner.

As Sasha turned the handle on the hatchway a distinct sense of dread came over him as he realised he was now completely at her mercy.

Chapter Twenty-tree

Location: Soyapango

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 1543

"Seal the secondary doors!" a voice exploded above the cacophonous racket of panicked screams, gunfire and local detonations.

A white haired man struggled to open his eyes as he lay upon the ground. Flanking him were two other bodies. Both were motionless.

As he forced his arms to move he brushed aside his fellow stricken comrades. The one on his right was no longer warm. Their weight shifted slowly as he accidentally pushed upon the young man as he attempted to get his body upright. Yet, as his left arm hit the person on the other side a distinctive yelping noise was given off.

"This one's awake!" a female Worker shouted in a shrill high pitched voice. She approached the source of the outburst and exclaimed aloud, "This one as well! Can I get some assistance!"

The albino's scarlet irises contracted as they met the unnaturally bright ultraviolet lights that illuminated the area of ground he had been lying upon. He sighed disdainfully as he saw that his brown uniform was torn in multiple places. The jacket in particular had taken a severe beating.

"Comrade," was the next word he heard spoken in a concise manner that had each syllable carefully pronounced, "Can you hear me, Comrade?"

"Yes," the pallid skinned man barely coughed as he started to pat down upon the sleeves of his jacket while his eyes were drawn to the female specimen that had walked over to check on him. He recoiled slightly as he felt his face being grabbed by two effeminate latex covered hands as the young woman began conducting what was presumably some sort of an examination.

"Are you able to see me?" she queried as the man's eyes scanned her face. A slight feeling of annoyance grabbed him as he realised that he recognised her facial structure and bright blue eyes. His pupils darted towards her auburn hair and he instantly knew who it was that was man handling him. Worker 1091023.

"Yes, I can fucking well see you," he seethed.

"Worker one-one-zero-nine-zero-one," she slowly read from his breast pocket, "you may be in quite a state of shock. The wounds you took were rather severe and we did the best to remove the bullets with the equipment available."

"Then why the fuck am I on the floor and not in the medical centre?" the young man furiously roared before wincing in pain as a sharp sensation struck his back at two distinct points.

"It was overrun by the Central Americans two hours ago," was the dejected utterance that left her lips.

"What time is it!" the white haired man suddenly barked.

"Fifteen forty-three," she responded immediately.

"Fuck!" the albino swore, "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! I've been out for more than seven fucking hours"

"Comrade," a tone of concern emerged from the young woman's voice, "please remain calm. You are probably still in a state of shock after the trauma you suffered."

The albino was not listening. His calculating eyes were darting all over the area as he saw his subordinates moving around the low roofed room in a hurried manner. Grey concrete walls marked the edges of the enclosed bunker and it finally occurred to him that the room he was located within was his own private office. The command centre at the heart of the complex that was supposed to be for only the Glorious Leader himself. He cursed under his breath again when he realised that the doors would have been blasted in order to access it. To his left lay more wounded soldiers of varied rank. The bodies stopped where a series of monitors began. In his seat sat a gentleman he was finally happy to see. The real Worker 110901. The duplicate was resplendent in the light grey attire that Vamana normally wore himself as he continued to fulfill his role as acting leader of the detatchment.

"That isn't the issue!" Uldericks hissed, "I need to return to active duty straight away. I have vital information for the Glorious Leader."

"Comrade, you need to rest. We weren't even sure if you were going to survive after the surgery," Worker 1091023 interjected with a solemn tone distinctly present within her voice, "Medical supplies have been limited in lieu of the increased numbers of wounded. We haven't had enough time to treat everyone. In fact you were merely operated upon because Glorious Leader personally requested that you were seen to. We had to move you from the bed you were brought in on as it is currently being used for improvised field surgery. So please, comrade, get some rest."

"I've been resting for long enough," Vamana was close on shouting again, "So you can get on with looking after the other wounded. I've survived much worse than this."

Agent 01 was not just aiming for dramatic effect. Previous assignments had lead him to being subjected to brutal torture at the hands of a foreign insurgent agency that operated from within the Democratic Republic of Africa. Vamana still intended to take revenge upon those who had endangered his life so severely that day and the memory had lead him to now wishing the same upon the person who had given his location over to the Central Americans.

"Could you please remain calm," the young woman snapped back at him, "You are in no state to rejoin the conflict."

"I need a full status report on the situation. Right now," Vamana ordered as he forced himself to stand up. As he did so he noticed that the man he had caused to cry out in pain was currently being treated by another worker who wore latex gloves. From his elevated position he was able to take a full count of the wounded. Seven. In one corner of the room he saw what looked like a bed with more medical staff surrounding it while in the other there was a gaggle of staff carrying firearms. It dawned on him that this could be the last part of the complex that hadn't been overrun and that his plan would be void without access to the tunnels. He quickly patted himself down out of paranoia but relaxed when he felt a reassuring protrusion beneath the fabric of his trousers in the form of his remote detonator.

"Comrade! Sit back down!" the auburn haired woman retorted with a command of her own as she adopted a more officious manner.

"The Glorious Leader will not be pleased if he discovers this vital information was delayed by a certain Worker 1091023. As far as I am aware this very same worker still needs to learn a lot about the nature fear and discipline!" Vamana spat with the utmost vitriol in his voice.

At that moment the worker shuddered slightly as she recognised a very familiar malicious fury in the albino's fiery red eyes. Through the guise of a lowly worker she saw her Glorious Leader ablaze with fury.

"S-s-sorry..." she stuttered quietly, "I-I-I didn't..."

Uldericks quickly checked his surroundings, none of the other staff present had noticed his presence. A broad grin came to beam across his face as he took three very uneasy steps towards the young woman who had knelt down to check on him.

His mouth opened in a calculated manner as he slowly whispered into her ear, "If you tell a living soul of who I actually am you shall not live to see the morning sun."

Fear wracked the young woman's body once more as she started shaking more violently. To her it was if the Glorious Leader was an omniscient demon that could spring from the nether at the slightest whim or be anyone he desired.

Vamana recoiled himself from Worker 1091023's person and regained his composure before lightly stepping towards the command desk. From the look of the place, things were clearly not going well for the IWU. At least ninety percent of the compound would have been overrun by now, with the tunnels exposed to advancing Central American forces.

He glanced back quickly to see the young woman still frozen in place. Paralysed by fear.

"She looks like she's just seen a ghost!" Vamana chuckled to himself as he wandered towards his impostor.

The noise was finally starting to get to the albino as he realised just how busy and overcrowded the place was. The gunfire was almost perpetual and the explosions occurred at near regular intervals. It was likely that the Central Americans were attempting to blast their way through the compound while checking each area systematically as they searched for their target of Agent 01. Vamana was just rather glad that he had been recovered from the surface by his comrades and not just left for dead. However, this also lead him to debating the result of being found wounded by the Central Americans. They would have likely captured him as an enemy soldier and interrogated him in order to discern the location of Agent 01. Perhaps it would have been the preferable option to continuing to survive within the compound as an escape attempt could have been made while they continued their search for a red herring.

"Fuck," he silently cursed. After a thorough analysis of the possible outcomes of his injuries, this was one of the less preferable options. Down in the tunnels he was a trapped rat in maze. Out there he could have slipped out of detainment like a dexterous eel.

"Worker 110901!" the man dressed as Agent 01 exclaimed, "It's good to see that you are recovering!"

"Glorious Leader!" Vamana exhibited the gesture of a closed fist being smacked against his chest, "Could I have a status report."

"Outer buildings have been completely leveled, the entrance to the tunnels is exposed to aerial bombardments and artillery attacks. The escape tunnel, the quarternary corridor and the central command centre have remained within IWU control. Constant firefights within the secondary and tertiary corridors. Primary corridor has been lost along with the medical wing and armoury. Losses are currently at ninety-one percent of staff originally posted in Soyapango," was the information that was bequeathed to Vamana by his loyal body double.

"That is worrying. So all contact with the surface sites has been lost?" Uldericks queried, wishing to be certain of his predicament.

"The last one went dead six hours ago, not long after you were recovered from the entrance to the basement system," Worker 110901 replied concisely.

"What are the current estimates from the excavation teams?" was the next question.

"Twenty hours until they will be free of the cordon. Unfortunately the analysts have placed our survival time at being only two hours should the siege continue at this rate. It could take as long as nine if they slack off to the level of activity they were demonstrating before the big push or it could be over instantly if the ground above us gives way. At this shallow depth, it's only a matter of time before our cover is eroded by the near constant bombings. In which case the entire thing becomes exposed to the open air and we're stuck like fish in barrel. At least that is what the analysts have kept telling me," the one disguised as Agent 01 continued with a slight hint of worry to his voice.

"Seems like we're stuck between a rock and a hard place. We could be blown to hell, overrun by strike teams or have the roof collapse on us before we'd have any chance of even reaching the escape tunnel," Vamana tried a dry attempt at humour that only served to cause a slight look of worry to crop up upon his body double's face.

"Yes, that is what has been evoking a sense of doubt in our chances of survival, comrade," Worker 110901 spoke more quietly, "It also serves to make me wonder exactly why you have insisted on observing the situation from the front lines in the guise of a mere soldier... "

"It's quite simple, the only way we can hope to win against them is for me to know the exact nature of their strategy so that we can divine a perfect means of countering it," Vamana blatantly lied to his subordinate, "Otherwise, if I was sat back here, I wouldn't properly know what we were up against!"

Chapter Twenty-for

Location: Soyapango

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 1551

Bodies lay strewn across a war torn landscape as a plethora of fires burned gently amongst the ruins of the city. Bruce Somoron had known right from the start that the push was going to be costly and couldn't help but to feel that it had been a large oversight on the part of the armed forces to engage before the outer perimeter had been completely cleared.

Moving in directly had only lead the rats to retreat into the relative safety of their tunnels. The man had noted that rroding them gradually would have been more effective as it would have been like slowly boiling a frog in water. By the time the forces of the International Worker's Union would have realised that their positions had been overrun, it would have been too late to retreat. Trying to hit the nail with a sledgehammer had merely resulted in massive collateral damage that had made the defenders realise that they had been routed. Thus, the logical conclusion they had reached was that the best course of action they could take was a careful retreat into a more secure location.

Even with their primary warehouse remaining as little more than a twisted wreck of warped steel and shattered glass, it had been a strategic nightmare to move forces into the area. Proximity mines and improvised explosive devices had been left behind by the retreating forces as a means of slowing down the attackers as much as possible. What annoyed Somoron further was the fact that it had taken multiple casualties before the military decided to send in bomb disposal crews to deal with the issue, with countless lives thrown away by a tremendous tactical oversight.

Somoron had chuckled slightly after realising that not a single Dachshund Interceptor had been lost to enemy fire during this stage of the operation but quickly stopped as his eyes were drawn towards a pilot that seemingly did not have an aircraft anymore. It was a rather sorry sight to see the poor sod drifting slowly into the wrecked remains of the city. Bruce had just been glad that his current location had been a safe distance from the resultant explosion that was produced when the very same Dachshund proceeded to plow into the side of a burning building.

While the position he had been entrenched in did not provide a complete view of the proceedings, he had been able to see a great deal of events unfold through the lenses of his binoculars. Somoron's blonde haired female associate had been largely displeased with his morbid fascination with the massacre was taking place, even though he was actually wholeheartedly interested in noting down all of the tactical failures that the Central American Military had made.

"Well they've really buggered this up," Somoron decided to vocally announce as his young female compatriot nodded slowly after he finished each word, "it's going to be a right pain in the balls to snuff the rats out now."

"I never cease to be amazed at the sheer variety of technical terms you use to evaluate serious combat situations," she playfully retorted.

"I'm merely saying what everyone else is bloody well thinking," Somoron scoffed, "since it'd be bloody hard to put into professional terms just how ballsed up this whole bloody situation is."

"Sadly," the young woman breathed out heavily as she readjusted the positioning of her shirt, "I can't help but agree with you. I would have thought that providing intelligence on the location of Agent 01 would have been enough to have had him seized by the end of the day. I had even started planning a simple black lit operation that could have been used to capture the slippery devil. Instead my superiors take my report and decide the best course of action is to besiege his location while demonstrating a completely indecisive plan of attack!"

"That's bureaucracy for you! Always gets in the way of an honest day's work," Somoron spoke in a slightly dejected manner, "Unfortunately, I could tell your idea was doomed the moment you tried passing it through the Department of Internal Security. Bloody place is a barbed wire net that enmeshes you within its jagged confines while hindering anything useful that is trying to get through."

"Honestly, I've been regretting the outcome of our investigation ever since this evidence came to light. An investigation into the routine assassination of a police officer on the streets of San Salvador should never have lead us to an international terrorist..." Bruce's fellow officer sighed deeply, "Cartels and serial killers I can deal with... That's what our job has always been about... But this has been something else entirely..."

"Agent 01 shouldn't have been any balls damn different!" the portly Hispanic gentleman exclaimed, "a crook is a bloody crook!"

"Exactly! But instead we've had a circus of red tape and arrest warrants! Emergency conferences and off the books meetings! I seriously wish I'd never found the bastard," his associate fumed, "for then we'd have never had to deal with any of this uttely incompetent idiocy!"

"Now, now," Bruce suddenly became rather defensive, "you should never regret fingering a perpetrator. No matter how much trouble has been caused, our duty is to protect the people. Specifically, we are supposed to protect them from the very likes of Agent 01. What you did was a great service for our nation. I'm sure one day you will be remembered for it! You'll be immortalized in history alongside the likes of David Kelly and Admint Toll!"

"Well I don't want to be remembered for it! I don't want to spend my life living in fear of overzealous terrorists coming to hunt me down for the part I played in capturing their Glorious Leader! Even if that man is six feet under, I doubt there will ever be an end to this," the young woman started to become erratic, "If Ecuador is anything to go by, then it seems like the International Worker's Union can still function pretty damn well even without Agent 01 giving the orders!"

"That's why we have trained bodyguards and private militia to look after our national heroes!" Somoron made an attempt at sounding encouraging, "If worse comes to worst I'll ceaselessly watch you day and night as your balls damn protector!"

"That almost sounds like a sly attempt to have a valid excuse to ogle me while I'm in the shower," she sharply responded with a wry smile on her lips.

"Balls!" Somoron laughed aloud, "On to... "

At that moment a loud explosion filled the air, drowning out the words that the Mexican man had been speaking.

He turned around in a moment of panic as he attempted to discern where the sound had originated from. With his ears ringing constantly, he realised that he couldn't actually hear anything else. Yet, he didn't need to be able to hear the cries of horror that permeated the atmosphere, as the portly gentleman looked upon the devastation that had been unleashed in the wake of an air launched cruise missile impacting upon the remains of the compound that the IWU had been holed up in.

The tactics that the Central Americans were now resorting to seemed both unregulated and contradictory to their supposed objectives, as the missile strike would have endangered the lives of the soldiers storming the tunnels after the ground exploded spectacularly. The shockwaves created by the blast would have also likely compromised the structural integrity of the fortified basements.

"...in the Hell was... " were the first muffled disjointed words that Bruce Somoron heard uttered by his accomplice as his hearing made an attempt at recovering.

Bruce cursed under his breath at the impatient stupidity of the Central American Aerial Contingent in their use of high yield explosives in a precision strike that likely wounded Central American Army personnel.

"What in the balls are they playing at!?" the infuriated Mexican roared at the sheer idiocy he had watched unfold as he brushed the dust off of his black clothed officer uniform, "All that'll do is make retrieving Agent 01 even more hazardous!"

"I... can't... " his accomplice mouthed at him with a fearful look in her eyes, her words barely audible, as the sound of gunfire came to pollute the air even more vigorously than before, "Somoron, I can't hear you!"

"I mean those idiots have really done it now!?" he continued his furious tirade, unaware of his partner's auditory difficulties, "all our work will have been for a bloody ballsess cause. The whole Goddamn place will have collapsed in on itself! Bloody imbeciles, the lot of them! Just who on earth would authorize a strike like that!?"

"Bruce! Thank God! I don't think I've ever been so happy to hear your ranting before," the young blonde haired woman burst into nervous laughter as she caught the end of his question.

"Never thought the day would come," Somoron's temper eased and he couldn't help himself from cracking a small smile at the sentiment.

For a moment the pair stood in pseudo-silence amongst the cacophony of chaos before they turned around to observe the battle zone once more. Even without binoculars, the duo stood open mouthed as they saw a squad of marines descending into the breach created by detonation of the missile's payload. That was their latest insane plan. If they couldn't push through the defenders in the tunnels, they'd just break the back of the fortifications and strike from a brand new angle. This time with a more elite taskforce.

Until now it had been a shambolic exercise in bureaucratic tactical stupidity, with regular infantry being tasked with eliminating the seemingly better trained IWU forces. For days on end this had continued as a costly siege. Finally the Central Americans had realised the inefficient nature of this plan had resulted in a recent stalemate developing in the tunnels. Thus, for some reason, they actually attempted to think outside the box. Bruce couldn't help but to be both repulsed and impressed in equal measure at the risks caused by changing tactics. On the one hand it was an innovative and cunning means of breaking through, while on the other it endangered the lives of regular soldiers and servicemen that were currently situated underground. Needless to say, they would have merely been written off as acceptable losses.

"I'll just be glad when this is over with," the uniformed female police officer lamented as she gazed upon the burning streets, "so we can finally get away from this cursed place."

Chapter Twenty-five

Location: El Salvador

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 1558

Vamana was knocked off of his feet as the shockwave coursed through his very being. His body flew through the air for a fraction of a second before it impacted onto the ground elbows first as his arms flew around in what could have only been described as a rather pointless attempt at flight. The limbs contorted violently as they rapidly came to terms with their recent predicament. Agent 01 did not take this very well, as a loud yelping noise was emitted a mere second later.

As he brought his attention to the sky, the young man was overcome with a sense of abject bewilderment at the distinct lack of ceiling. This then just lead to more questions forming in his mind. Ones primarily concerned with the fate of the missing pieces of ceiling and the exposed nature of his current location. Of course, lying injured on the ground was not exactly going to help his predicament so Vamana elected to make an attempt at forcing himself off of the floor. As his biceps became mildly pronounced and his arms strenuously forced themselves upwards against the weight of his body, Vamana's positioning was mildly improved over what seemed to be an extremely long period of time.

However, relief was not what overcame Uldericks as his head found itself raised off of the ground. Instead, it was something more akin to dread as he noticed several ropes descending towards his location. The view that he now had did not exactly paint an encouraging picture either, as he saw several of his loyal workers had been crushed beneath chunks of rubble. All that he had as confirmation of this were their protruding arms and legs that splayed out from under the fallen pieces of ceiling. Between the piles of debris, the floor was stained with patches of blood. It was as if the subterranean chamber had sunken into the depths of Hell.

As he made another attempt to move his body, anticipating the arrival of soldiers rappelling down the ropes, a hand found his. It was not a particularly strong one but it served the purpose it had intended as Vamana forced himself to pull against it so that his body could rise off of the ground. Uldericks couldn't help but to crack a smile as he realised that it was his most loyal worker that was aiding him. Worker 110901.

"That was a close one," he muttered in a panicked tone, "we need to get out of here."

Agent 01 nodded in agreement to his decoy as the pair motioned to make a hasty exit from the area they had previously been encamped in. From his new vantage point over the area, Vamana could see that the entire place had been wrecked. The monitors were severely damaged and personnel lay scattered across the floor like ragdolls. The wounded soldiers that had been lined up along the rear wall were squirming in agony as they attempted to drag themselves out of the area, crawling on their hands and knees amongst the dead bodies of their comrades. Some of the more fortunate ones had already taken to limping over the corpses of the fallen as the threat of a strike team entering from above became apparent.

Vamana indicated for his comrade to move towards the quarternary corridor. It was the only one that had not been contested thus far. More importantly it lead towards the tunneling team. At the very least it could buy Vamana more time. As they ran towards their destination, Uldericks noticed the lifeless body of a young woman. One that he recognised. Worker 1091023. Uldericks stopped to kneel down and examine her. She was most certainly dead. Another needless waste of human life. Agent 01 realised that he didn't even know her name. To him she had just been a cog within a gargantuan machine. The International Worker's Union was a sea of faceless drones. Yet each one was still a unique individual. Uldericks was brought back to the attentions of reality when his comrade forcefully dragged him upwards by the shoulder.

"We don't have time for this," Worker 110901 coldly muttered, "this room will be their grave."

Realising that it had been silly to be so caught up in such feelings of abject sentimentality, Vamana glibly quipped back, "They knew what they were in for the day they signed up. For we are all mere revolutionaries who may one day die off in some forgotten land all for the sake of our righteous cause."

Worker 110901 grunted in agreement as the duo reached the doorway that lead to the quarternary corridor. To their relief, they were met by a team of bedraggled soldiers who were lying in wait to cover the entrance.

"Glorious Leader," one of them saluted, "What are your orders?"

"The central command centre is compromised. All other corridors are to be assumed lost. Ensure the maximum number of personnel can get through these doors before falling back to a more defensible position when hostile forces become visible," were the improvised lines that Worker 110901 spoke. The manner in which they had been said indicated a tone of utter dejection.

As Vamana looked forward, he saw four other workers limping down the corridor. The destruction of the ceiling had completely devastated the IWU forces. With only seven survivors from the main site and only four armed soldiers from a Worker Team covering the retreat, a normal human would have been resigned to despair. Instead, this merely served to further fuel Uldericks' will to survive. Every sacrifice that had been made was yet another justification for his continued existence.

Suddenly the air became perforated with the sound of gunfire as the members of the Worker Team simultaneously pulled back on the trigger on their submachine guns. Vamana turned around briefly to see what they were firing at. Half a dozen silhouettes descending from the ropes that had been lowered into the crater. Instinctively, both Agent 01 and his body double broke off into a sprint down the ceramic tiled corridor. Worker 110901 caught a young female soldier in his right arm as he ran, indicating for her to increase the pace of her retreat. The other injured personnel that had been slowly wandering down the corridor finally realised what was happening and rapidly increased their speed as well. It would have been too late for the soldiers covering them to retreat to the end of the corridor. They were now destined to die by those doors.

As the lighting flickered and the bursts of fire increased, the sprinting hastened until the handful of workers had reached the end of the corridor. From there they carefully entered the storeroom. It had been days since Vamana had last stepped forth into this space and it had changed dramatically. Crates of explosives now lined the walls and the length of the tunnel had grown exponentially. Another worker team greeted the survivors and they moved their hands to their chest in a salute to the man dressed as their Glorious Leader.

"We're all that's left," were the words muttered by one of the brown suited individuals, "they've got us cornered for sure."

Sensing the unease in his comrades, Vamana responded in soft tone, "The tunnel will lead us to salvation. Do not despair so readily when we may still escape with our lives yet! I have faith in our Glorious Leader's plan."

Worker 110901 immediately realised that he had a part to play, "The courage and loyalty displayed by this worker here is to be expected from all of you! We must be brave in these times of hardship! No matter the odds!"

A wave of camaraderie swept over the dejected souls as their sense of duty was reinvigorated.

"You heard them!" one of the workers exclaimed, "Ready your weapons. We will not allow any enemy soldiers to breach our position!"

Vamana was bemused by the dedication that had been inspired by the mere presence of a man claiming to be their Glorious Leader. He decided to make a mental note on the possibility of utilising body doubles to increase worker efficiency. His attention then shifted back to the main issues at hand.

Personnel was now stretched very thin with the loss of the central headquarters. Ten survivors now inhabited the storeroom. Vamana could see another worker team of four soldiers busy with tunneling equipment further down the line. Out of the hundreds that had been successfully operating out of a discreet warehouse complex, only fourteen remained.

"We need every able bodied worker armed," Worker 110901 bellowed, "We must hold off our attackers in order to give the excavation team the time needed to burrow to the surface!"

Almost immediately the other four survivors from the command centre forced themselves towards the open boxes of firearms and ammunition that had been lined up alongside the wall that was bisected by the doorway they had recently come through. Each worker grabbed a submachine gun and a plentiful supply of ammunition before joining the members of the worker team that had been covering the entrance way.

It was only a matter of time before the Central American Marines overran the workers that had been defending the entrance to the corridor. Vamana motioned to help another worker drag a large steel table towards the doorway before he turned it onto its side. Large bags of sand were then dragged over to fill the space between the legs of the table.

This was the first time that Vamana truly felt trapped. Up until this moment he had been relatively mobile and free to roam his surroundings. He had overseen the fortifications, inspected the complex and even fought on the front lines. Yet here, his freedom had been completely curtailed. All he had to work with was a flimsy plan he had concocted that he hoped would ensure his survival while seeding chaos amongst the Central Americans.

Everything would need to be timed perfectly in order for him to escape. And that included the detonation of the very room he was still standing in.

The sound of gunfire that had for so long provided the chorus to the symphony of battle finally ceased. The explosions that had served as a light accompaniment to this song found a rest a mere moment later. Vamana's face twitched slightly as he reacted to the new found silence that greeted him like an old friend. The grip upon his machine gun grew tighter as his muscles tensed in anticipation.

Realising that he was in an exposed position, he crouched down before quickly moving towards the barricade. From the corner of his eye he noticed that his body double had followed suit. His hand briefly tapped against his thigh before he smiled briefly, content in the knowledge that he still had his trump card. This relief was shattered hastily by the sound of boots striking against the hard concrete flooring as they broke the silence that had only recently come to pass.

Vamana's heart beat faster as each step drew nearer until he saw the silhouette of a person by the end of the small passageway. His right index finger squeezed gently upon the trigger as the weapon sprung to life. Once more the tempo of an automatic weapon discharging permeated the air as the International Worker's Union soldiers opened fire upon their advancing foes.

Chapter Twenty-six

Location: Brasilia

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 1800

"That was highly unprofessional of you," Sasha's voice dripped with venom as he glared with iron menace, "If this ever happens again I'll be sure to have you sent to the firing squad."

"I think what I did was entirely in keeping with our policy on egalitarianism," Cerise Clement teased as she passed him a roll of bandages, "You got to experience exactly how I felt."

"It diverted precious time and resources away from my investigation," Sasha said as he wrapped the gauze around his left wrist, "And you went much further than my innocent little mistake ever did."

"Well I don't regret anything. Chances are that we're going to die down here and I got to have my fun while it lasted," was the response given.

"I can't help but to disagree," the Worker Group Leader shot back, "Since that time could have been used to save Agent 01's life."

"Is that all you ever cared about? Is that the only reason you went through with this?" Cerise barked as her brow fell into an aggressive position, "You were only doing this for that bloody man?"

"Of course," was the glib reply Sasha spouted as he started to apply the dressing to his right arm, "I always put business before pleasure."

"How could I have been stuck with someone so incredibly dull?" Cerise pined.

"My work is my life. The International Worker's Union is what I live for. Everything I did with you was a mere formality that I performed in order to ease your cooperation. I will make no apology for my conduct," he replied with no emotion in his voice, "For while the frivolous find fancy to fiddle as Rome falls to fire, I am the man with the bucket of water who is intent on dousing the flames."

"You're bloody inhuman!" she protested, "That's what you are!"

"I'm merely loyal," Sasha quipped as he finished the process of sealing his wounds, "I performed my duties. You can now uphold your end of the bargain. Give me the data slate."

"You're not even going to make an attempt at retrieving it?" Cerise tried to playfully query.

Sasha merely placed out his right hand and moves his fingers from an outstretched position to his palm several times while he glared at his accomplice.

"You're unbelievable!" the woman shouted as she withdrew the data slate from under her shirt.

"You threatened me the last time I had my hands anywhere near there," Sasha said, "I fail to understand why you would delude yourself to honestly believe that I would make an attempt after our last confrontation."

Cerise handed Sasha the object of his desire before turning to face the steel plated hatchway that separated the storage room from the rest of the bunker complex. Sasha noted that the lock had been sealed from the inside in order to allow the pair to remain undisturbed in their affairs. Up until this point, he had strongly hoped that it hadn't actually been sealed and that someone could have intervened earlier. Regardless, Sasha was finally content in his endeavours as he fired up the data slate.

However, this newly found state of peace was hastily shattered as he started to paw through the files that had been kept from him. From what he had read, it seemed as though Worker 37 had found exactly what Sasha was looking yet he and had never once realised the significance of the find. This only served to worsen Sasha's temperament as it became clear that Worker 37's pettiness had put several lives at risk while delaying the possibility of a rescue attempt being made upon Soyapango. The pieces were finally clicking into place in Sasha's head as he worked out what had resulted in an attempt being made upon Agent 01's life.

"Fuck! Fuck! Sjutton! Saatana!!" Sasha snapped, smacking his fist against the metal door.

"That was fast," Cerise said with a wry grin.

"I AM THIS FUCKING CLOSE TO HAVING YOU SHOT FOR TREASON!" Sasha bellowed as he brought his firearm to Cerise's temple and forced her against the wall.

"Worker 19... " she squeaked, "Please try to be reasonable. I always had your best interests at heart."

"IF I HAD BEEN GIVEN THIS INFORMATION FUCKING SOONER THAN THIS! THEN! THEN! I COULD HAVE MADE A FUCKING DIFFERENCE! IT IS THAT FUCKING SIMPLE!" Sasha continued to rant as he clicked the safety off of his handgun.

"I-I didn't think it was that important. I-if I'd known I-I'd have given it to you sooner. Please. Please don't kill me." Cerise's calm, calculated demeanor had been shattered in an instant as she saw a new side to the man she had attempted to blackmail.

"AGENT 01 ISN'T JUST IN SOYAPANGO! HIS POSITION HASN'T JUST BEEN COMPROMISED! HE WAS ALMOST KILLED BY HIS OWN MEN! THAT'S WHAT THIS FUCKING MESSAGE MEANS! FUCKING RICHARD HEADSON COULDN'T EVEN FUCKING WORK THAT OUT! AND YOU! YOU! YOU FUCKING STALLED ME AS WELL YOU WORTHLESS HUORA!"

Cerise suddenly broke down into tears and slumped down towards the ground as she couldn't find the strength to keep standing, "I-I-I... "

"YOU SEE! You see," Sasha lowered his voice as Cerise continued to sob, "It was quite simple to draw together the information when I was finally presented with the whole picture. Soyapango was the heart of a black lit project that was known to a very select few individuals. In fact, none of the inner circle nor any of the Worker Commanders seemed to have any idea that we even had an operation running there. Now, I believe even Richard will have worked that much out. However, he will have no idea of the significance of this minute detail. Are you following this?"

Cerise nodded slowly as she sobbed into the palms of her hands. Sasha refused to loosen his grip on the weapon that was still aimed at her head.

"Now, I would have overlooked this as well had Worker 98 not told me that one other person knew of what the operation entailed and who else was involved: Commander Antúnez aka Worker 87. The very same Worker 87 who was recently found dead in the same room with a data slate primed to detonate the Soyapango complex."

Sasha paused briefly to fire a warning shot at Cerise. She screamed loudly before huddling into the fetal position as the madman started to laugh at his predicament.

"But you see, this document shows that the Blessed Worker's Elemental Group also knew of the existence of the Soyapango complex and that they had been scheduled to join Agent 01 on the day that the Alexandra Listening Post intercepted communications from the Central Americans that detailed the apparent capture of Agent 01. Which has lead me to the conclusion that as the BWEG recently returned to Brazil and never seemed to have made it to Soyapango, that they sold out his location to Alice Valentina, the police officer that apparently busted Agent 01's location."

Cerise continued to cower as Sasha resumed his lecture.

"Like all members of the IWU, the BWEG would have known the details of Protocol Delta 07. I believe that they were aiming to use it to commit the perfect assassination. No trace. No clear motive. It would have just been written off as a tragic accident. Now. Most sane IWU members would never authorise a Protocol Delta 07 if Agent 01 was at risk, but I believe that Worker 87 had been compromised by the BWEG and that had conspired to commit a coup d'état in order to assume leadership of the International Worker's Union. However, it would appear that the actions of Worker 189203 put a spanner in the works of that plan, as he seems to have been the one who killed Worker 87."

The young woman nodded her head in agreement as Sasha finished his tirade.

"I hope this has all been made a lot clearer for you," he snarled, "because I really wish for you to fully comprehend why I am so monumentally angry with you."

Sasha pondered for a moment as he gazed upon upon his captor turned prisoner.

"So what does this all mean in the end? It means that I now have some urgent business to attend to with the Blessed Worker's Elemental Group," he proudly stated before unloading the entire clip into Cerise's stomach.

She screamed briefly before the noise was replaced with a ghastly gargling sound as red liquid spilled from her mouth. Sasha knelt down to make eye contact with the young woman, her body propped up against the wall. He brought his hand to her cheek and stroked it softlty.

"My dear, I must apologise for my own conduct there," he spoke with false lament as he brought his fingers to her fluttering eyelids, "for that was highly unprofessional of me."

Chapter Twenty-seven

Location: Soyapango

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 1602

It had been little under five minutes since the bullets had started flying and Vamana was starting to doubt the validity of his own escape plan. There was no feasible way to retreat into the relative safety of the tunnels without running the risk of being shot dead in his tracks.

Of course, one avenue still remained open. It was a huge gambit. Likely the greatest one Vamana had ever considered throughout his brief existence. There was merely eight little problems he would have to deal with first in order to pull of his masterstroke.

The first target presented itself in the form of a young man who was providing him with support fire from their position of cover. As soon as he motioned to reload, Vamana brought his weapon towards the soldier's body in a single fluid motion before unloading it into their stomach.

From his improvised barricade, Vamana observed another pair of workers defending a position parallel to his own as they aimed their fire towards the doorway. Either side of the doorway, stood a single soldier. One of those was Worker 110901, who had reasoned it was best to be seen to be leading from the front in his current persona. Vamana was planning of saving him for last. As the two at the doorway were of a minimal concern due to vulnerable nature of their current positioning.

It was the team currently engaged in the tunneling operation that remained at the fore of Vamana's mind as they alone posed a dire threat to his plan should they react fast enough. For if he was to open fire upon them, they had a clear territorial and numerical advantage.

Vamana checked the ammunition in his submachine gun and was satisfied that he had enough rounds for a controlled burst against the two other survivors from the command centre. Once again he patiently waited for an opening as the bullets continued to fire, timing his shots against the doorway to be few and far between.

Once one of them motioned to reload, Vamana seized his chance and unloaded his entire clip into them. The life exited them violently as hollow point bullets that ripped into the very fabric of their being. Blood exploded from the fragile bodies of the IWU soldiers as they shrieked with pain in a macabre chorus before their dying breaths were drowned out by the cacophony of the battlefield.

Vamana rested his back against the makeshift barricade as he removed the spent cartridge and replaced it with a fresh one. He noticed his heart had started to beat faster as he committed himself fully to the last act of his plan and opened fire upon the two workers covering the door. Everything had been leading up to this moment since the day Worker 110901 had donned the guise of Agent 01. His entire purpose had been to die by Vamana's hand.

With his objective complete, Vamana ducked back down behind the barricade and considered his options. It would only be a matter of time before the enemy realised that they were now firing at an undefended room. Vamana patted the detonator that he kept in his pocket and removed it before pulling his pants back so that he could insert it comfortably up his anus. With the detonator secured, he smiled at the knowledge that he was extremely close to finally completing his contingency plan.

A decoy had been left behind and he was about to enact his revenge against those who had cornered him. All that remained was for Vamana to find a way of incapacitating himself so that he would be rescued by the very same people that had ruined his plans. Vamana turned his gun upon himself and fired into the side of his abdomen. He clenched his teeth as he felt the bullet graze into the side of his flesh. The angle of the bullet would be seen as the result of hostile fire to a medical team but Vamana realised that it wasn't severe enough to have him taken in for serious medical attention.

Even with his life on the line, Vamana was reluctant to inflict more pain upon himself. He lamented that he had not been captured when retreating from the battlefield and cursed the loyalty of his own subordinates. The only benefit that his current situation brought was that he was fully in control of the situation so long as he remained conscious. That was the other factor he considered in perfecting his self inflicted injuries.

He clenched his teeth once more and repeated the action with the gun angled at a slightly deeper incline into his body. This time he took three shots at the abdominal wall. He failed to restrain himself from shouting out of distress and he dropped the weapon as he lost focus. The pain was far more real now as the bullets dug into his flesh. It hadn't been a light graze this time.

Vamana silently resigned himself to feigning unconsciousness as blood seeped from his fresh wounds. To Vamana, it seemed like an eternity before the firing finally ceased. The Central American Marines had committed so much ammunition that it had taken them a relatively long time to notice that they were shooting at an empty room.

"Clear!" one of the men shouted, "Area secure."

The small team of five overly equipped special operations soldiers cautiously entered the remains of the basement storeroom.

"Mother of God... " their leader said as he laid eyes upon the cavernous tunnel that had been roughly hewn from the rock, "The rat bastards had been tunneling out this whole time."

Vamana restrained a smirk as he forced himself to remain deathly still. It was exactly as he had hoped, the tunnel had successfully served as a focal point that diverted attention away from the numerous unmarked boxes of high yield explosives that had been placed around the room.

"Resume hostile formation, enemy tangos spotted at one o'clock!" the commander of the small unit shouted as he calibrated his infrared goggles, "Approximately five hundred metres."

The tunnel had progressed much further than Vamana had originally anticipated. He relaxed his breath as the team walked by his position towards the gaping hole that had been cut in the side of the wall.

"Prepare rockets!" the commander shouted as one of the team members approached the makeshift barricade parallel to Vamana armed with a heavy duty rocket launcher, "Take aim!"

The woman holding the large piece of military hardware knelt down into a firing position that allowed a clean shot directly down the tunnel.

"Lock on!"

She adjusted the targeting computer and it identified four heat signatures at the end of the long tunnel.

"Fire!"

The rocket screeched out of the device towards the target before the inevitable explosion ensued.

"Clear!"

The tunnel caved in and thus the hope of the International Worker's Union appeared to have been dashed.

"Radio HQ. Inform them that the area is secure. Agent 01 is missing presumed dead," the leader of the unit barked to one of his subordinates.

"Yes, sir," he replied, "Transmitting information."

As the soldier contacted his higher ups, the other marines started to comb the dead for survivors.

"Captain!" one of them shouted, "It appears to be Agent 01!"

"Sergeant, review transmission, inform HQ that target has been eliminated and that we request the presence of the identifying officer to provide a visual confirmation."

The repressed urge to smile was almost overwhelming for Vamana as he relished at the success of his plan. Yet, he knew it was too early to count his chickens as his own success had not been guaranteed. All that was saving him from identification was blonde hair dye and blue contact lenses as a believable body double lay dead in the room. The entire plan had been centered around misdirection. The plan all along had been to make the Central Americans think that they had won.

"We've got a live one over here," one of the soldiers exclaimed, "Orders, Captain?"

"Apprehend the suspect for questioning. Sergeant, request a medical team with a stretcher to retrieve the survivor."

Vamana could not work out who they were referring to. He had been sure that he had been careful to ensure all of his shots were lethal. Perhaps in the heat of the moment he had miscalculated an angle. He fought the natural urge to tense up as he felt the presence of one of the soldiers.

"This one's breathing," a female voice called out.

"Sergeant, request a second stretcher."

"Yes, sir."

Vamana could feel the touch of gloved fingers upon his face as he struggled to maintain his act. As his eyelid was forced open he suppressed the prerogative to struggle and remained resolutely still when his assailant shone a torch directly into the pupil. As she moved her hands to investigate the entry wound of the bullet, his jaw tensed slightly.

"Restrain the prisoners," the commander said as he looked down at Vamana's body, "They're too valuable to lose."

"Yes, sir."

The soldier that had been attending Vamana withdrew a set of zip ties before affixing them to his wrists and ankles. His arms were laid back and the soldier emptied out the contents of her charge's pockets. Vamana had been careful to remove any incriminating information from his person before he entered the final phase of his plan. His loyal decoy had been given the parts that hadn't been incinerated for safe keeping.

Satisfied that the unconscious soldier was secured, the Central American Marine that had been attending Vamana relaxed slightly and moved back to join the ranks of her comrades. The leader of the International Worker's Union resigned himself to another long wait for the medical team to arrive.

Yet, they were surprisingly more efficient than the armed forces that had stormed the room and arrived far sooner than expected. As Vamana's eyelids were assaulted by the bright summer sun, he smiled slightly as he realised he had escaped. In his head he counted the minutes. By his own estimations it would take five by foot to escape the blast radius.

Vamana decided to make it six before he fondled the detonator out from within the safety of his anus and flicked the switch.

Chapter Twenty-eight

Location: Soyapango

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 1614

Somoron took a long drag out of his cigar.

"Sometimes", he said, smoke billowing from his mouth, "A cigar is just balls."

"I really wish you wouldn't smoke so much," Valentina coughed as the obese man stubbed it out against a porcelain ashtray.

"I really wish you would lighten up for once, Alice," Somoron responded, "We've won. You should be celebrating with me, not moping around like it's the end of the world."

"Agent One is dead," she said, "That's what they say. I don't think it will make a difference."

"Of course it bloody will!" Somoron shouted, "Just look what happened to the Secessionists after Adresta bought it! The rats ran and drowned! We kicked them out of our country!"

"We won the war. That that didn't stop them," Valentina replied, "I don't think I need to remind you about what happened in Panama."

She stared at Somoron intently as he lit another cigar. It was a gaze that made him uneasy, "I know Alice, I know. Today we cut the head off of the hydra. Tomorrow two more will grow back in its place. But that is why it is important to savour these small victories. They are few and far between. Without them I'd have given up a long time ago."

"It just doesn't feel real," Valentina lamented, "It's as if the world has shifted but I barely moved an inch. I never expected to be the one to find him. I never wanted to be the one to find him."

"What have I told you before, Alice?" Somoron responded, "You should never regret fingering a perp. Agent One was the bastard who killed a man and his family in cold blood. In broad daylight. Yes, he was also the leader of the International Worker's Union, but that point is moot."

"That doesn't mean it had to be done like this!" Valentina shouted as she loomed over Somoron, "We could have taken him in peacefully and taken him by surprise. I was tracking him. If we had only been patient."

"Of course we could have!" Somoron laughed, "But our government wanted to set an example. To that end they succeeded. They sent an exceedingly good example on how not to apprehend terrorists."

"Will you stop treating this like it's all just one big fucking joke to you!" Alice snapped.

Somoron forced himself out of his chair, "It's not a joke. It's the truth. Everything's ballsed up and always will be. If you try to fight against the tide then you'll drown. If you swim with the current then you will have a much easier time of it and last a hell of a lot longer. Even if it is trying very hard to take you off the side of a cliff. Face it Alice. We can't change anything. In the end this is all immaterial. We beat a balls damn terrorist and crushed his forces! That's all that matters at this point in time. So for balls sake, live a little!"

"I. I don't know what to say." Valentina said.

The gargantuan police officer slapped his comrade on the back, "That I'm right?"

Before Alice could respond another police officer entered the tent.

"Officer Valentina, ma'am," he saluted, "Your presence upon the battlefield has been requested by the Marine Corps. They want you to come and help them identify the body-"

"Oh for God's sake, they aren't even sure if it's him!?" Valentina nearly screamed.

"Please don't take this the wrong way ma'am, but we have to be certain. Agent One has proven to be an elusive target in the past," the young officer said.

"Oh terrific! Just fucking terrific! Here we are celebrating and the corpse we found might not even be his!" Valentina shouted, "The rat bastard could be consolidating his forces as we speak for all we know!"

"Alice, with the telling blow we dealt the IWU we have more to fear from a rabbit than some communist rebels," Somoron said as he forced himself out of his chair, "we just need to go out there, identify Agent One's body and bring it back to show the world."

"I'll escort you to the forward base where you can remain until the army gives the all clear," said the police officer as he tried to usher them out from the canvas tent.

Somoron took Alice by the arm as he walked out into the sunlight with her before she broke free and attempted to slap him. This time, Somoron was expecting it and deflected the blow with his palm before pulling her in closer so that her face was pressed against his chest, "Looks like I've still got it, eh?"

Valentina promptly used her free hand to nut him in the balls, "That's for manhandling me."

"Jesus fuck, woman," Somoron yelped as he exhaled suddenly, his hands subconsciously moving towards his crotch, "I hardly deserved that."

"You really are a piece of work, Bruce," Valentina said.

"Would you have it any other way?" Somoron winked as he guarded his nether regions.

The young officer that was supposed to be escorting them glared at the duo and cleared his throat, "I don't even want to have to think about how many workplace codes that violated."

"I must apologise for my friend's behaviour," Valetina said as she started walking alongside her male escort.

"Why are you apologising for my behaviour? You're the one that assaulted me," Somoron protested as he made a beleagured attempt to catch up.

Valentina elected to ignore Somoron and she increased her pace to ensure that there was a significant distance between the two of them. They passed by stretcher bearers that were carrying the dead and wounded away from the battlefield. The stench of blood permeating the air. Eventually Valentina arrived at the prefabricated construct that had been used as the forward command post and was ushered inside by her escort.

"Officer Valentina!" a lithe man dressed in an exquisitely decorated police uniform exclaimed as he offered a hand towards the young woman, "The pride of the department."

She smiled as she reciprocated the gesture, "You're far too kind, Commissioner."

"Nonsense! We've been long overdue a good catch like this," he said, "It'll be a great boost for moral-"

The commissioner suddenly stopped as his eyes were cast upon the gargantuan frame of the man who had just entered the building. Bruce Somoron.

"How's the goats?" he asked with a broad toothy smile as a thunderous boom flooded the air and drowned out the cries of protest from his peers.

Chapter XXIX

Location: Mexico City

Date: 17 JUN 2114

Local time: 1400

The familiar clack-clack-clack of steel-soled boots smacking on marble pavement reverberated around the hall as a man ran towards a soldier taking a brief nap.

"Achtung!" the man bellowed in a tone that would win a screaming contest, "Aus der traum!"

At this, the soldier jerked awake and, encouraged by a drill cane held by the man, began to groggily get to his feet.

"Hinaus!" the man continued, grabbing him and pushing him bodily towards the barracks, "Verdammte Schweinehund!"

With the vigorous enthusiasm imparted upon him by the man, the soldier moved with great haste towards the barracks. The man stood tall, puffed his chest out and glared at the departing soldier.

The man was relatively tall, yet his height did not attract the most attention. What drew people's eyes the most was a combination of a terrific mustache, impeccable discipline and the uniform he wore so often as to nearly be an extension of his skin. His name was Klaus von Austerlitz, Generaloberst, Chief of the Central American National Army, and a force of nature.

Simply ensuring discipline amongst the woefully under-trained guards was not his purpose here. His sights were set upon the Presidente, Admint Toll himself. Storming up the marble staircases in the palace, he must have sounded like a small army. von Austerlitz liked that thought.

It was not long before he reached Toll's personal bedroom, which he kicked open with a thunderous crash. Inside was an uncomfortable sight. Twenty naked or half-naked women and four goats surrounded Toll on his bed.

"Heraus!" he screamed so loud that the windows cracked. They took the hint, though it was unlikely any of them understood, and the room quickly emptied, leaving only Toll and von Austerlitz inside.

"You better be paying for this hour," Toll said angrily behind his marginally more fabulous mustache, "Or I'll have your rank."

"Schon gut," von Austerlitz continued with his lack of indoor voice, "mein Herr! We have other issues at hand!"

At this, von Austerlitz moved forwards and slammed his hand on the end of Toll's bed before continuing.

"Der Vernichtunggesamtkunstwerk aus Gewerkschaftinternationalenarbeiter is progressing at a far too slow rate!"

"You are aware," Toll replied, slightly snappily, "That I can only understand half of the American English you're using?"

"Verzeihung, mein Herr, I am forgetting the language barrier. Our excellent and well-trained Heer are facing much resistance from the enemy and cannot complete objectives as quickly as we hoped. I recommend allocating extra units as backup support so that we are not forced to retreat and hand them a propaganda victory."

"Whatever, just get out before my hour's up. You have a blank cheque to annihlate the Husless communists. If you use the Missiledesedébarrasserdeceschiens, it will also be a greater victory than ever thought!"

"Regretfully, deploying the Missiledesedébarrasserdeceschiens would invalidate any victory we receive, mein Herr."

Before Toll could justify his nonsense, von Austerlitz saluted, whirled around and goose-stepped out of the room. Some days he really loved his job.

Chapter 30

Location: El Salvador

Date: 18 JUN 2114

Temperature: 26°C

"You have been most helpful, comrade," Vamana spoke into his earpiece as he walked down the moonlit pavement, "Truly I am in your debt."

For a moment he paused to check the GPS he was holding in his right hand.

"You may ask a single favour of me," he said as he tapped on the screen of the device, "should it be within my power I shall grant it."

"If that is all you so desire, it shall be yours," Vamana said as he turned left into another street.

"Oh of course. I want you to make an example of them," were the words that left his lips as he brought his hand up to his ear, "once the assets have been liquidated you are to assume command."

The dialogue ceased and Vamana allowed himself a wry smile as he continued towards his objective. He briefly looked up at the full moon that hung in the sky and contemplated the significance of the lunar cycle. Even the artificial light from the city could not dull the presence of the silver orb.

Across a cracked road, Vamana walked ever closer to reaching his intended destination. The GPS put it at being four blocks away. The movements of the terrorist were notably strained as he struggled against the pain of the bullet wound he had inflicted upon himself. The bandages were still fresh and he had not yet had time to seek proper medical help. Acquiring the target was more important to him. Rudimentary field surgery had been enough to stabilize his condition.

Vamana paused briefly in front of a shop window to examine his attire. The brown and gold uniform of Worker 110901. Dark red patches stained the uniform close to the waist, but the colour blended into the soft brown of the jacket to the extent that it was hardly noticeable in the dark. The terrorist straightened his uniform and fixed it so that everything was neatly tucked it.

As he resumed his journey his hair glinted silver in the pale moonlight, the blonde dye all but faded. While he had been unable to acquire a new uniform since his escape, Vamana had been sure to wash out his hair at the first convenience. His blue tinted contact lenses had been ditched at soon after his loyal servant had contacted him.

Vamana was still not entirely sure how Sasha had managed to reach his personal high security channel, but he was glad that his subordinate had gone above and beyond the call of duty to do so. Sasha had promised him that several low profile cells were to be deployed to help with cleanup and deal with the mounting pressure of the Restored White Armies upon the region. Perhaps the situation was still salvageable. The chaos created in the wake of detonating the Soyapango Outpost had been particularly gratifying. While Vamana had only intended it as a means of facilitating his escape during the panic, damage from the blast had rendered a significant portion of the city uninhabitable. Apparently the Central Americans had suffered large casualties in the area as well. Although Vamana had not had sufficient time to confirm this.

The terrorist looked down at his GPS. It marked up precisely with the coordinates he had previously input into the device. He had found the residency of his target. A five-storey apartment block inset from the road with a front porch and gate. The window to the left of the door was illuminated and the doorway indicated a presence of light from within.

Vamana silently moved towards the door and reached for his suppressed handgun. He looked at the buzzer and scrolled down the names printed below it. One set piqued his interest.

Mr & Mrs Valentina

This was certainly the place he had been looking for. Vamana had been particularly grateful for Sasha's digging into the source of the troubles in Central America. In the end it all lead back to a persistent police officer by the name of Alice Valentina who had managed to trace Vamana back from the scene of the San Salvador Murders to the Soyapango Outpost. In hindsight, the terrorist reflected upon how careless he had been in carrying out Claude's orders. However, he wasn't going to let such a petty thing as a lack of foresight get in the way of his desire for some good old fashioned revenge.

Vamana pushed the button on the buzzer and waited.

Eighteen seconds went by until he heard a response over the intercom.

"Valentina residence, speaking," was the drab masculine voice that Vamana's ears.

"Got a package for ah, uh, a Missus Alice Valentina here," he improvised, emphasizing the pronunciation of the name, "Just need a signature."

"At this hour?" the voice exclaimed, slightly exacerbated.

"Well it's courier service sir," Vamana continued the charade, "Someone's paid good money to send this here."

There was no immediate response and Vamana pointed his gun at the lock on the door. If his bluff didn't work, there was an alternative route that he was willing to take.

The door suddenly buzzed and the lock clicked.

"I'll sign for it," were the strained words that left the intercom.

Vamana slunk into the hallway and made his way towards the stairwell.

He made his way up as silently as he could until he reached the fourth floor. The corridor had four alabaster white doors on it. The second one on the left was the one the terrorist was aiming for.

Vamana pressed his back against the left wall and slid along it until he reached the door. Flat 635 D/C.

The terrorist knocked it three times and aimed his handgun across the doorway.

Vamana's pulse elevated slightly as the door cricked open slowly and the homeowner appeared, "Well I guess we should get this over with-"

The terrorist pounced and shot the man in the right knee. A hand forced it's way onto the victim's mouth before he could scream as Vamana forced him inside. The hallway inside the flat was brightly illuminated.

Vamana winced as pain shot through his hand and he struck his prey with the handle of his gun, for the man he had taken hostage had sunk his teeth into the thenar tissue.

The terrorist aimed for the left knee with his spare hand but the bullet only grazed the flesh. He fired wildly in an attempt to injure his prey. Each shot leaving the gun with a strike of the firing pin. The sound of each small detonation reverberating throughout the room until it clicked empty. With its primary use invalidated, Vamana resolved to use the weapon as a club. The first blow hit the temple and forced Mr. Valentina backwards. Vamana lunged forwards and made another strike against the the forehead with the momentum adding extra force to the attack. Mr. Valentina stopped struggling.

Vamana panted slightly as he forced himself off of his victim's body, propelling himself into a crouched position. He withdrew a zip tie from his pocket and forced it around Mr. Valentina's legs. After pulling, Vamana applied another zip tie to the man's arms before he moved to shut the door to the apartment. Taking a set of keys from a nearby rack he tested them until he found one that fitted and he locked the door.

Reluctant to leave his intended victim lying in a position that could facilitate an escape attempt, Vamana moved to drag the gaunt young man into the lounge room that lay at the other end of the corridor.

Vamana found a small plastic chair and slumped the unconscious body into a vaguely upright position by affixing its legs to those of the chair. Forcing the arms over the back of the chair prevented Mr. Valentina from falling onto the floor. With his charge secure, Vamana elected to take a stroll around the house in order to find a more effective means of restraining his prisoner.

His first stop was the modest kitchen that the flat possessed. All of the drawers were opened and examined in meticulous detail. Vamana found a length of rope in the airing cupboard and slung it over his shoulder. He then darted to a cabinet that housed a large metal tray and put it down next to the duct tape. Vamana's lips contorted into a smile as he gathered up a bottle of bleach, a salt shaker, a cooking blowtorch, a carving knife, a two-pronged fork, a set of tweezers and a teaspoon; each one neatly positioned on the tray.

Satisfied with his inventory, Vamana walked through into the lounge and placed his tray down upon a coffee table that sat in the middle of the modest room. Taking the rope off of his shoulder, he took to carefully binding the man's legs further, in order to make the chance of escape negligible. Once he had done so to a satisfactory degree, he cut the rope and repeated the procedure with Mr. Valentina's wrists. Finally, Vamana withdrew a small length of cloth from his pocket and forced it across his victim's mouth, tightening it around his head.

Vamana slapped Mr. Valentina across the face, "It's time we had a little chat."

Epilogue

File: 5729476
Subject: Industrial Animal Grinder Incident
Date of Entry: June 21st 2114
Record: Worker 19

This document is authorised solely for reference by operatives of the Blessed Worker's Elemental Group (BWEG) in regard to the aftermath of the 2114 Coup Attempt 1 to serve as an educational tool upon the consequences of deceit and disloyalty amongst the ranks of the International Worker's Union. Any unauthorised personnel will be severely punished if caught with this document in their possession. For more detailed accounts of the events leading up to the Industrial Animal Grinder Incident seek acquisition of appropriate records 2.

At 1004h the BWEG were apprehended in Brasilia by three armed Worker Group Death Squads assembled into a Disciplinarian Reaction Team. The Blessed Worker of Plant 3 (Worker 839; Agent 02) was summarily executed for treason (Under Article 12-A; Article-57) by the presiding arresting officer (Worker 19; Agent 09) after an attempt to resist the Death Squads resulted in the detonation of a stockpiled weapons cache. Two casualties were sustained and extracted from the area to be given immediate medical attention 4. The body of Worker 839 was butchered by the presiding arresting officer and placed into a meat packing crate. The Blessed Worker of Fire 5(Worker 1589; Agent 04) vomited as the body was hacked into sixteen indiscriminate pieces. Worker 1589 was promptly shot in the leg, bound, gagged and subjected to an emergency amputation conducted by the presiding arresting officer 6.

At 1033h the BWEG were blindfolded, bound, gagged, electrodes punctured into their wrists (Type 32 Standard Elemental Suppression Equipment) and restrained in the back of an APC. At 1103h the Disciplinarian Reaction Team arrived at the Brasilia Meat Packaging Facility 7 and the prisoners brought to the largest industrial animal grinder available for IWU requisition. At 1108h the BWEG members were handcuffed to a large metal railing that overlooked the input slot of the industrial animal grinder and their blindfolds removed soon after. The Blessed Worker of Ice (Worker 1829; Agent 03) expressed several discomforting noises as they struggled more profusely than their fellow BWEG members. At 1110h the industrial animal grinder was powered up. At 1111h the contents of the packaging crate containing the remains of Worker 839 were dumped in to the machine. The remaining BWEG became notably more distressed after witnessing the event and two of them had to be attended to by the field doctor after choking on their vomit 9.

At 1115h the camcorder was switched on and Worker 182930 began filming the prisoners. 20 seconds later he presiding officer entered into the shot and gave my address 10. Transcript is as follows (between 1115h and 1116h).

Worker 19: "You have been arrested under Article 12-X for the crime of Grand High Treason. Under Article 57 you do not have a right to trial by your peers. Under Article 129 you are to be executed by industrial animal grinder by order of the Glorious Leader."

Note: The subjects became noticeably more agitated after this statement was given.

The first condemned was selected from the group, the Blessed Worker of Ice 8. Two workers dragged the woman from the railing. En route to the waiting meat grinder, the target attempted to escape, assaulting the accompanying guards. Four Death Squad members opened fire on the condemned. The accompanying guards suffered minor injuries sustained from friendly fire 11. The presiding officer entered into the field of view of the camcorder and preceded to finish the job by dragging the twitching body of Agent 03 towards the edge of the ledge and throwing the carcass into the industrial animal grinder. The processed remains of the victim were subsequently collected and suitably packaged 9.

In order to ensure there were no repeat attempts at escape, the presiding officer ordered for all prisoners to be shot in the kneecap. The presiding officer also sliced the Achilles tendons of the prisoners as a precautionary measure 12. At 1120h the Blessed Worker of Fire 5 was selected and his gag was removed at the suggestion of the presiding officer. The elbows of the prisoner were also fired upon by the presiding officer with a shotgun before he was dragged screaming into the industrial animal grinder along with his amputated leg. The processed remains of the victim were subsequently collected and suitably packaged 9.

Two soldiers (Worker 123372 and Worker 223813) cleaned the short (130cm) path between the railing and the meat grinder before the prisoners were attended to do in order to prevent them from succumbing to their wounds 13. The Blessed Worker of Water 14 (Worker 2381; Agent 05) was stripped naked and beaten in front of the surviving BWEG members by the presiding officer. She received ten lashes across each breast before the presiding officer started work with the flaying knife as four Death Squad members restrained her. After fifty grams of skin had been taken from the abdomen, the young woman had her gag removed and she was ordered to crawl into the industrial animal grinder by the presiding officer. After initially refusing, the victim was restrained once more and fifty grams of skin was removed from the buttocks. The screams had the desired effect of unsettling the surviving prisoners 15. The victim was once more ordered to crawl into the industrial animal grinder with the threat of follow up torture should she refuse. At 1145h, reduced to tears and slobbering like an animal, she eventually complied. The processed remains of the victim were subsequently collected and suitably packaged 9.

At 1150h, the Blessed Worker of Air 16 (Worker 45362; Agent 06) was selected for execution. One Death Squad member (Worker 212349) voiced his concern over the execution of children but the presiding officer persisted that an example had to be made in order to dissuade future dissenters as the child had been a key conspirator amongst the plot to assassinate Agent 01. The Death Squad member was instructed to decapitate and butcher the child first in order to ensure a quick death 17. At 1153h the child was beheaded by Worker 212349. The dissected remains were processed and subsequently collected and suitably packaged 9. Worker 212349 was dismissed from the scene and sent back to Brasilia 17 as the final prisoner was prepared for execution.

At 1200h, the Blessed Worker of Earth 18 (Worker 125428; Agent 07) was restrained and the process of flaying her alive began. This punishment was chosen by the presiding officer to serve as a lasting reminder of the consequences for plotting Grand High Treason against the Glorious Leader. The execution process took approximately six hours to complete with the subject remaining conscious throughout. The prisoner voided her bowels several times throughout the process. At 1804h the gag was removed and the bloodied carcass was dumped into the industrial meat grinder. The flesh was collected for ceremonial purposes and the remains subsequently retrieved for future study 9.

After the execution was completed the owner of the facility was reimbursed for his time and the Death Squads dismissed. The names of those involved have been compiled into another list for future processing 19.

1. See File 54234: "2114 Coup Attempt".
2. See Files 54231; 54233; 54237; 54242; 54319; 54389 for more conclusive data.
3. See File 01394"Agent 02 Profile".
4. See File 54229 "BWEG Arrest Casualties".
5. See File 01938 "Agent 04 Profile"
6. See File 54404 "Worker 19 Psychological Profile".
7. See File 07404 "2111 Orphan Meat Scandal".
8. See File 01405 "Agent 03 Profile".
9. See File 61404 "BWEG Post-Mortem".
10. See File 56147 "BWEG Promotional Video Script" 
11. See File 54454 "Animal Grinder Incident Casualties"
12. See File 61405 "List of BWEG Injuries"
13. See File 61408 "Death Squad Medical Team Report"
14. See File 12304 "Agent 05 Profile"
15. See File 72391 "Proposed Psychological Torture Protocols"
16. See File 15328 "Agent 06 Profile"
17. See File 61455 "Worker 212349 Psychological Report"
18. See File 37831 "Agent 07 Profile"
19. See File 5729478 "List of Industrial Meat Grinding Incident Personnel"


VallarieCrest
Chronology
K21 - Subterfuge Chronicles · K21 - Deceit and Disloyalty · K21 - Forgiveness and Mercy · K21 - Aces High · K21 - Tarnished Perceptions · K21 - Shattered Endeavours · K21 - Decayed Moralities

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