I was just supposed to be meeting Jake.
That was IT.
I was supposed to roll into town, hang around, and play catch-up. Then Jake finds some hookup (fine, no worries, doesn’t bother me) and I find these three lunatics. Apparently we’ve been recruited by Zero, international man of mystery (or something). He found us and put us in a room together, gave us a couple of shiny phones and a very, VERY fuzzy objective: find out what was exploding and killing people before it exploded again and killed more. Alpha called it an “event”.
Why the hell not, I said. It couldn’t have been worse than the thing that wrecked my back.
It wasn’t, thankfully, but in a way it was. Turns out the “event” was a man. A man trying to live a new life in America, a former KGB agent gone native. Damyn Olseianko was a normal man but for the ticking time bomb in his head. He was just… he was just some guy. A nice guy. When we showed up at his door for no reason at all, he invited us in and made us coffee. Seemed like an upstanding human being (aside from the ex-KGB thing, but who’s counting?). Then things got interesting— he burnt himself, and there was a wave of something that hit everybody but me. We booked it out of there at top speed, but Regan had to go and get himself tripped or something— I ran back in to grab him. I leave for half a second and Sunny fires a gun through the wall.
We got to the stairwell when Mr. Olseianko went off. We blacked out, ears bleeding and piled in a heap; when we came to and headed downstairs, there was a ruckus in the lobby. People milling around, asking questions. We ditched the place quick and told Alpha what we’d found out— that it was a person. She sounded confused when I told her that. We headed for the ER to patch Regan up and Sunny decided to self-medicate at the bar across the street. I hauled his drunk ass back to my hotel for the night (why the hell am I the responsible one?!) and we met up again in the morning. Zero wanted us to go back to the scene.
He provided us with an in— he set Sunny up with a badge marking him as a Fed. (Sunny, of all people. Jesus H. The man is batshit crazy.) We got in all right, got the information we needed from the investigation crew that was already there and got out (though not before Demarion blew our cover). Real sharp bunch I seem to have fallen in with.
Alpha pointed out that if we wanted to find out anything else we’d have to talk to Mikhail Potrakoff while he was in town. I drove out that way as fast as possible, but when Alpha told us we’d have to get rid of the badge, our merry ray of sunshine decided he’d take care of it.
With a shotgun.
In the back of the van.
Which is bulletproof.
The ricochet nearly grazed Regan, hit Demarion and nearly killed Sunny. How I managed to dodge that bullet (yeah, lousy pun, I know), I have no idea. Sheer luck maybe. Anyway, I pulled the fastest detour I’ve ever done and hauled them to the ER— left Regan in charge and headed down to talk to Potrakoff. (By myself. Real bright, I know, but what was I supposed to do?) I talked my way in, lying through my teeth (I’m a real upstanding citizen lately), telling the guy at the door I’d forgotten my purse inside, and telling the guys outside Potrakoff’s dressing room that I was there for a… personal visit… and for some reason, they believed me. I waltzed right in.
Potrakoff told me that Mr. Olseianko had been part of an experiment, that the KGB had put something in his head. He also said that if Mr. Olseianko was losing control, we’d need to move fast (and we’d need to put a bullet in his head, in just the right place). Just what I wanted to hear— we’d have to find this nice, polite man and put him down like a dog.
I bounced after that, swung back by the ER to pick up Regan and Demarion. I might’ve spoken a little harshly to Alpha, trying to get things straight. (She’s a real sweet thing, reminds me of a foster sister I had once. I feel bad about being a little snippy.) She didn’t have anything else to help us, just told us that the GPS would get us to where we needed to go. We pulled up outside the warehouse where Mr. Olseianko was, and as soon as we found him we saw that he was about to lose it.
There was a blue glow around him, like you’d see radiation in the movies. It was solid, though— trying to walk through it… it was like a wall. Demarion waded in, though. I have to give him credit there, he pushed through and walked right up to Mr. Olseianko. The poor man was on his knees in pain, trying to keep whatever was in his head under control. He’d resigned himself to it, at least, but that’s almost as bad as if he’d fought. He deserved to live, he wasn’t hurting anybody but for that thing the KGB put in his head. But we— no, Demarion— put him down. It was a mercy, I guess. I’d have liked to have given him a funeral, at least a proper burial, but we had to split before the cops showed up. We did just hunt down a man and kill him, after all.
What am I getting myself into?
I’ve driven like a madwoman, broken into buildings, lied to people, hunted down a man and helped kill him.
I was in hiding anyway, but damn.
Anyway, when it was all over we finally met Alpha and “met” Zero. I’m still not sure how I feel about this, but at least I’m helping people. We’ll see where this goes, I guess.