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Chapter 9

Posted by PURPLEYHAN STORIES on Saturday, July 23, 2016

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"Where are they?" I whispered as we carefully marched in the dark.
"Around the corner of that street," Jett said, pointing at the nearest street to the house.
"The outer part of the house had been burned. Luckily, they do not know the existence of the underground facility," Cliff added.

We concealed our presence as both Cliff and I approached their hiding place from different directions while Jett stayed near the house since his animus could help him see them even though it was dark.

'There are two guys. One has bombs and the other has guns,' Jett alerted.
'Are they Blacks?' I asked.
'Maybe. I have no way to confirm. Can't see any tattoo.'

Cliff closed into them on the right side. One of them suddenly looked at my direction so I immediately hid behind the wall. Luckily, I saw his face. I swiftly ran toward their blind spot and climbed on the roof where Cliff was waiting.

'Let's start,' sabi ni Cliff.

Inobserbahan muna namin ang dalawa habang nasa magkabilang gilid lang kami ng lugar na pinagtataguan nila. Nagsimula naman silang mag-usap kaya agad kaming nakinig.

"That goddamn guy! Siguro naman hindi pa siya patay?"
"We need to confirm it later. Lagot tayo kay Dim kapag hindi natin naibalik nang buhay ang Nigel na 'yon."
"He must be injured after that series of explosion. We can search for his body after the smoke and debris settled down."
"Okay, but wait a minute. I need to pee."
"What the hell?"

Pagkarinig ko no'n ay alam kong 'yon na ang tamang oras para sumugod.

'Cliff, do it.'
'Roger.'

Without making any noise, Cliff tackled the guy on the right and immediately sealed his eyes and lips. Using my animus, I disguised as him and jumped off the roof, landing just beside the other guy. He turned around, surprised, and aimed his gun at my head but when he saw me, he immediately withdrew it.

"What the hell?! Ano bang ginagawa mo?"

Bago ako magsalita ay hinawakan ko muna ang tenga ko at nandoon pa ang hikaw. In-alert ko kaagad si Cliff para makapagsimula na kami.

'I'm done. Chineck ko lang ang itaas dahil pakiramdam ko may nakatingin kanina,' I said using my patheia while Cliff used his animus to mimic the voice of the guy. The sound was perceived through my earring and I lip-synced it. Napatingin naman siya sa itaas pagkasabi ko no'n.

"May nakita ka ba ro'n?"
"Nothing. Anyway, ano na ang gagawin natin? Mukhang tumigil na ang pagguho."
"Let's go, then. We need to retrieve his body and the things that might be useful to us."

Nauna siyang maglakad habang nakamasid sa paligid habang nakasunod naman ako sa kanya. Lumingon ako sa direksyon ni Cliff at mukhang wala nang malay ang lalaking kasama niya. He tossed him to his shoulder and followed us.

"Paano kung namatay pala siya dahil sa pagsabog?" tanong ko. "Do you think Dim would kill us?"
"Drittes are known for being assassins. Do you think he will let us live if we failed this mission?" he replied irritably.
"But he's just a dritte, right? Buti sana kung isa siyang zweite . . . or a zuerst." Pagkasabi ko no'n ay bigla siyang tumigil at naging seryoso ang mukha niya. He pressed his gun to my temple.
"I told you not to mention them," he whispered as he anxiously checked the surroundings. "They are on another level. We're just viertes. You might lose your life just by saying those words so I advise you to keep your goddamn mouth shut. Are we clear?"
"Y-yes."

So these two are viertes, the fourth circle. I guess zweites and zuersts are really hidden in shadows since even the outer circles are tight-lipped about them. And Dim, huh? So that guy is also a dritte, the same level as that Olive. Damn it, I need more information!

'Calm down,’ biglang sabi ni Cliff.
'Yeah. I know. I know.'

I checked Jett coordinate and he had already changed his position since we were approaching the house. The guy kept watching his surrounding and his guns were all ready in case something happens. When we reached the front of the collapsed house, he turned to me.

"Search for him. I'll keep watch."
"Okay."

Nagsimula akong maghanap mula sa debris at nanghinayang ako sa mga gamit na nadamay sa pagsabog kanina. Several spying gadgets were destroyed and Nigel's laptops, phones and other devices were also buried under the rubble. For a second, I was tempted to kill this guy because of what they did but I managed to calm down.

Bigla ko namang narinig ang pagkasa ng baril kaya napalingon ako pero nagulat ako nang nakatutok na sa akin 'yon at mas naging seryoso ang mukha ng lalaki.

"Who are you?" tanong niya at lalo akong kinabahan. Did I blow my cover? Shit.
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Show me your tattoo, then. Prove yourself."

After hearing that, I cursed myself for being so careless. Yes, I could copy someone's body but I didn't have any idea where the hell their body marks were! Mukhang wala na akong magagawa.

"Here," I said as I showed him my arms but before he could inspect it, my hand was already kissing his jaw. He yelped in pain and he was about to shoot me but I swiftly jumped on his shoulders and choked him using my legs. Shifting my weight on my back, I leaned downwards and somersaulted, forcing his body to fall on the ground with a loud thud. I flipped the gun from his hand using my foot and caught it. His face hardened when I aimed it at him.
"Y-you . . ." he muttered as I reverted back to my real appearance and I flashed a smile when I saw his stupefied expression.
"You're asking who am I, right? Well, I'm a Red, as what you call us."

Agad niyang kinuha ang dalawa pang baril na nasa gilid niya  pero bago niya pa iyon maitutok sa akin ay napasigaw siya sa sakit. Blood trickled down his hands and both guns fell from his hands.

"You're not the only one who can use guns to threaten people," I said and gestured my head at the back. "I have a sniper several meters away from us and he can shoot your head, more accurate than I could, from any position so if you want to live, don't move."
"I'd rather die—!" Before he could finish his sentence, I punched him in the face and immediately lost consciousness.
"Nope. I won't allow that, too."

Napabuntong-hininga na lang ako at saktong pag-upo ko ay dumating si Cliff habang buhat ang isa pang lalaki. He placed his body next to the guy I just punched and Jett appeared beside us.

"What's our plan?" Jett asked.
"Well, I think we all have the same idea."

***

"What? Are you serious about that?" tanong ni Nigel.

Dinala namin ang katawan ng dalawang lalaki sa basement niya at kaagad silang inilagay ni Kiyoko sa kakaibang upuan. It was like a dentist chair but there was an armrest where several wires were coiled together and a headgear above which she put on them.

"Yes. We need information and that's the only way to do that," sagot ko naman sa kanya.
"But that's dangerous. I've told you about my experience and even I, couldn't do anything about it."
"I know the risks, Nigel, and I'm still going to do it."

He sighed in frustration. I thought he was going to say something again but instead, he went to the control area and pushed the big blue button. I was waiting for some alarm or any active notice but nothing happened. Confused, I looked at him and he slowly walked toward my direction.

"If you're really persistent about that, then consult your own Keeper," he said. "Your lives are not in my hands so you should tell her what you want to do."
"But signals are intercepted here, right?" tanong ni Cliff.
"I deactivated the barrier so contact her immediately."

Umalis si Nigel at agad namang kinuha ni Jett ang laptop niya. Pumunta kami ni Cliff sa kanya at nang nakita kong nabubuksan na ang software ay napangiti ako pero agad 'yong nawala nang nakita namin ang call logs ni Naia. We looked at each other, certain that Naia would kill us.

"We're dead, right?" tanong ko.
"Probably," sabi ni Jett at mas kinabahan pa ako rito kaysa kanina.

We messaged Naia and after a few seconds, we received an incoming call from her. Jett answered it and the three of us went still when Naia's face came into view.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GUYS DOING?" Her voice reverberated across the room, making us flinch in fear. "I can't contact nor locate you! Are you even listening to me?"
"Naia, calm down—"
"Shut up, Jett!" she exclaimed. "You still haven't send your data so we're going to talk later."

'Yup. I'm definitely dead. Don't leave me, you two.' If Naia wasn't in front of us, I would've laughed at Jett's reaction. He's usually calm but right now, I could see the panic in his eyes.

"Naia, we found Nigel," I chimed in.
"You can't even—what?" I guess hearing that stopped his rampage. "You mean, the Nigel Grand? You found him?"
"Yes, and we're currently in his hideout."
"We couldn't contact you because communication signals are interrupted within this area. Same reason as why you couldn't locate us," dagdag naman ni Cliff.

We told her what happened after we chased Olive and she noted the codenames we encountered along the way. I'm sure she's going to research them and hopefully, she could find something about them. We also told her about Kiyoko and the hierarchy of Nox Organization.

"Modified Erityians? Is that even possible?"
"Unbelievable, but yes, it's possible. Kiyoko is the proof," Cliff replied.
"Okay, so what's your plan now?"

Pagkatanong niya no'n ay nagkatinginan kaming tatlo. It was hard to tell Nigel and I think it would thrice as hard to convince Naia about this plan but I needed to.

"We managed to capture two viertes and right now, Kiyoko's doing something to them, though I don't know about it," I said and nudged Cliff to help me explain.
"Since we still don't have enough information, we decided to come up with this plan," sabi ni Cliff.
"What plan?"

Sasabihin ko na sana pero biglang may nag-flash sa malaking screen. Pagtingin ko, nakaharap na sa amin si Kiyoko at tumingin siya sa dalawang lalaking nakasuot ng head gear. Inikot ni Jett ang laptop para makita rin ni Naia ang nangyayari.

"This is a prototype of Senshin's visual gear and I got this from someone I know," she started. "It can show the recent thoughts and memories of a person wearing it in visual form. You can also adjust the frequency to match the person's brain waves but since this is just the prototype, only the superficial thoughts can be shown."

Pagkasabi niya no'n ay may nag-play sa gitnang screen at napanganga ako sa nakita ko.

"Are there any viertes available for an urgent mission tonight?" sabi ng isang lalaki at lumapit ang dalawang lalaki, the same guys who were sitting unconscious on those chairs. "Only the two of you? Follow me."

They followed him inside a small room and the guy handed them the letter.

"Olive is dead," he announced. "He was killed by Reds so now, I will be the one in-charge of viertes' activities, along with Spider and Ink. Your mission is to bring Nigel Grand alive. I don't care if he's gravely injured or in the brink of death, as long as he's breathing. Olive managed to put a tracker on his clothes before he was killed and his location is written on that letter. Now go and bring him to me."

The succeeding scene were already familiar. The two of them found this house and they threw a grenade, destroying it. I was shown on the screen as I subdued one of them and it turned pitch black after I punched his face.

"Nel," biglang sabi ni Naia kaya napatingin kami sa laptop ni Jett. "I think I know what you're planning to do and that's too dangerous."
"But Naia, that's the only way! Do you think we still have time to think of other methods? This opportunity is knocking on our doors right now, so why don't we grab this chance?"

She closed her eyes and that scene was also familiar. She was calculating the risks and the possible outcome of all the strategies she could think of. Among the four of us, her plans were always the most efficient and effective. That's why she's the Keeper.

Sakto namang dumating si Nigel at pinanood niya kaming apat. As a Keeper himself, I know that unconsciously, he was also thinking of strategies.

"Fine."

Just that word from Naia made me jump in joy. Cliff and Jett smiled like idiots, too, but Nigel took that differently. He marched at our direction and faced Naia with a serious expression.

"You're a Keeper yet you're allowing them to do this dangerous plan?" tanong ni Nigel at maging ako ay natakot sa tono niya. On the other hand, Naia remained unintimidated.
"That's why I'm allowing it," Naia retorted and I could see the confusion on Nigel's face. "As a Keeper, you should weigh the probabilities of success and failure, as well as the lives of your agents. But if you're always wary about their lives, always choosing the safest way, that means you're just running away."
"Running away?" In a span of a second, Nigel's expression turned from confusion to rage.
"Yes. Running away. I value their lives but so as their pride. If they want to do something they think they can, then who am I to stop them? As a Keeper, it's my job to find ways and strategies so that they can live through the dangerous situations they will be facing. I know that you're worried as a fellow Keeper, but they are my team. So please, allow me to show you my ability, Mr. Nigel Grand."

And that was one of the reasons why I admire this woman.

After that speech, Naia faced us and smiled. "You idiots. Now, listen to me."

But I didn't hear anything after that. I was happy and excited because our plan had been approved by Naia and she'd still be our Keeper.

We're going to infiltrate the Nox.



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