You had already been assigned to a mission with other, non-Red Hive, CIA agents. It was considered both dangerous and high priority – just the way you like them.
Close to completion after a month or more of solid work, you received an urgent mission override message. This had never happened before.
Curious, you broke off your mission and immediately travelled to your safehouse to login and review the full update…..
The metal-skinned, assassin’s trap arrowed through the cold blue sky at over 600mph, its 200+ passengers oblivious to the wolves in their midst.
Despite only being a little over one hour into the Paris to LA flight, the molded plastic trays holding the last crumbs of breakfast were even now being collected by the unobtrusive uniformed staff, their simple and practised efficiency mocking Piotr and Dimitry’s efforts to uncover the deadly assassin they knew was onboard. Strained beads of sweat stood nervously upon Dimitry’s brow as his mind swept the rows of Business Class, their jumbled mass of thoughts an ocean of chaos and emotion that hid the assassin as surely as a dark alley’s shadows.
“Shit, this is taking too long!”, Piotr spat out in whispered Russian, his impatient snarl not quite as distracting to Dimitry as the sudden flare of bestial rage at his side.
“Calm yourself, my friend. With the mental noise of this many people in such a small space, it is not so easy to find who we are looking for. It is like trying to catch only one particular fish in a school – it will take time. Just remember: we are here to protect the Frenchman, not kill a group of unaware innocents”, Dimitry reassured the big Russian soldier in what he hoped was a calming tone. At 6’3" of solid, scarred muscle and a soldier’s mind, Piotr’s barely contained fury was an awesome sight to behold in much the same way that a hurricane was a carnage-infused wonder, so Dimitry was not in a hurry to unleash his friend on the unsuspecting plane-load of people.
Piotr cast a quick, anger-filled sideways glance at Dimitry, then nodded and let out a long breath of nominally placated frustration. Piotr’s dark, predatory eyes shifted two rows forward to where Dr Channard LuTrec’s blanket-covered form lay in a blissful, sedatory-induced sleep, all the while his mind prowling over the memory of the mission file. The haematologist worked for a large biotech firm in Nice, had published several highly regarded papers and despite being one of the world’s foremost haematological researchers, did not fit the image of what Piotr thought of when he considered scientists. Dr LuTrec had the tall, lean muscularity and handsome looks of a Parisian fashion model, his relaxed, open smile, long dreadlocks and dark, caramel skin betraying his mixed French-Caribbean ancestory, all a far cry from the stark white labcoats, grey hair and intense immoral indifference of the German scientists Piotr had known in his formative years. The Hive, the ultra-secretive organisation that had sent the team to protect LuTrec, must have needed something from him, Piotr thought to himself, because he had never known them to be entirely altruistic in its motives. Why did his handlers at The Hive care about this curiously contradictory scientist?
Shaking his head as if to release the memories of the Germans, the iron corded muscles of Piotr’s shoulders and neck bunched beneath his grey, coarse woollen jumper as if they meant to tear free of his clothing. Piotr was not comfortable with scientists, so he had not been happy when given this assignment. He was even less happy that they were told to stop an unknown assassin who was reportedly aiming to kill Dr LuTrec on this very flight. Piotr did not fear the hunt – revelled in it, in fact – but the confines of the plane made him nervous, for he was a predator of open spaces. In this hunt, it was Dimitry who would lead the pack.
As his mind turned to Dimitry, Piotr was reminded of how easy it was to hide a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Dimitry’s plain face was slightly pinched, his build wiry with short dirty-blonde hair and an ever-present stain of cheap cigarettes on his finger tips. Dimitry looked the part of a small-time Russian hustler who had travelled to the US to reimagine himself as a real gangster.
Piotr knew better. Dimitry was the best telepath that The Hive had in its employ, his specialities being the manipulation of memories and reading of thoughts. His mind was a sharp, terrifying scalpel that excised memory as easily as his steely will could impose itself on lesser minds.
It was at that moment that Piotr involuntarily jumped as a horrifying child’s voice slithered into his sub-cranial ear piece.
“You are looking for a woman”, stated the innocently monstrous voice of the child-thing that called itself Boggs. Dimitry’s look of concentration finally broke as he turned to share a look with Piotr. Both men were hardened in their own way, but Boggs’ mere appearance had broken hardened men in the past. No one knew exactly who or what Boggs was, but its knowing eyes, unnatural affinity with the dark and amazing ability with technology were in stark contrast to the angelically demonic boy who appeared to be no more than 10 years of age. No one in their team, not even the face-changing Everett Graves, could stare into that thing’s eyes for more than a few moments, mainly for fear of peering overly long into the promise of eternal madness implicit in the inky abyss of Boggs’ eyes.
When neither Piotr nor Dimitry responded immediately, Boggs spoke again.
“Did you hear me?”, came the whisper, a crystalline and maddeningly fragile sound of boundless darkness sheathed in a boy’s skin.
“Yes, Boggs. Yes! We heard you”, Dimitry sub-vocalised in response, quick to cut off any further communication with the boy.
“I can go and help, if you like. I can be there soon and we can all look together”, Boggs offered, though it made Dimitry involuntarily shiver. Dimitry did not know how Boggs could get from their ground base in LA to the plane moving at hundreds of miles per hour while several thousand feet in the air, but he had seen Boggs do stranger and more seemingly impossible feats without any apparent effort. The way that Boggs had ended his offer, “…we can all look together”, carried with it an ominous promise of hunger that Dimitry was less than eager to see fulfilled.
“No thank you, Boggs. Unless you can find a picture, no we do not need your help”.
“Shame. I could have helped you find her”, and with that, the spectral voice of Boggs was gone as suddenly as it had appeared.
Dimitry turned to Piotr. “If we are only looking for women, there are 62 to go”, Dimitry stated softly in Russian as his eyes narrowed and he got back to the work of tracking the assassin.
Dimitry knew that it was only a matter of time before he found the assassin. It was very much like the fishing analogy that he’d used earlier, searching the mental currents and eddies for the stray thought that would betray the assassin’s presence and identity.
The lights flickered in the dim cabin and Dimitry would have ignored them if they hadn’t flickered a second time, followed shortly thereafter by a low but distinct growl from Piotr.
Something was wrong and, for once, it was not a member of The Hive’s supernatural Omega team.
“I can smell smoke. Something burnt or burning, but I can’t see anything”, Piotr said as his eyes darted about the cabin and he sniffed at the air. Dimitry could not smell what his friend had, but he knew well enough to trust in Piotr and his senses. It was then that they both noticed a faint glow coming from behind the curtain that separated the Economy Class from the Business Class section of the plane.
Moving in the harmony of years of working together, Dimitry and Piotr both reacted at the same time. Piotr leapt from his seat towards the curtain to tear it away with his thick paw-like hand, while Dimitry sucked in a breath and turned to fully face the curtain, ready to unleash the full force of his will upon the unknown assailant.
What they did not expect was the tall, beautiful Nordic woman who’s eyes glowed as red coals against a porcelain face and layers of white-lace dress. Everything about her seemed out of place with the scene as though she had stepped out of a commercial advertising beauty soap or the placid countryside of some idyllic holiday destination. Her face was serene, almost angelic in its beauty and proportions, though her eyes promised nothing but violence and death. Wisps of smoke and the occasional flame were licking off her hands and hair as though caught in a fiery breeze that only affected her. Dimitry would have laughed at the Hollywood-like absurdity of the moment were they not in mortal danger.
A rush of blue flame burst outwards in front of the assassin as though propelled by an unseen flamethrower and it was all Dimitry could do to duck out of the way behind his seat, his forehead slamming into the back of the chair. Dimitry was dazed by the momentary shock of the flame roaring over his back and scorching several people behind him, not to mention the vicious welt was already raising across his forehead. It was the horrible stench of burnt flesh and hair that shook Dimitry back to his senses and it was then that he remembered the last thing that he saw before he ducked: Piotr had been standing in the galley-way between Business and Economy.
The anguished roar that shook the plane awake was louder than the flames that had scorched the rows of seats, louder even than the unforgettable screams from people who had been almost instantly incinerated. Piotr was changing.
Amidst the chaotic orchestra of screams, flame and the flickering emergency lights that had only now decided to react, Dimitry spared a furtive look to see what had become of Piotr. The big Russian’s legs were buried amid seats, ash and corpses where the concussive force of the flame had sent him flying against the aft emergency exit door, the superstructure of the plane having been damaged by the sheer force of the big man ramming into it. It was then that Dimitry’s view was suddenly obstructed by the woman in white as she eased past his seat towards her target, Dr LuTrec. The sedative seemed to have worn off as the doctor was now standing in the half-stupor of a man who couldn’t make sense of the world he’d awoken into, singed blanket falling to his feet.
Dimitry couldn’t help but accept that the doctor was about to die painfully and started to give thought to his own escape. The assassin raised her hand in the doctor’s direction and his death was inevitable.
When the doctor’s look of stupor changed to a triumphant grin, however, the assassin hesitated uncertainly. Dimitry was also stunned at the mad man’s apparent acceptance of impending incineration, but when the doctor’s face started to melt and shift, he knew the truth: Dimitry and Piotr had been protecting an impostor.
Everett Graves, The Hive agent known as Switcher, was now standing where the “doctor” had been only moments ago.
“Didn’t think that it would be that easy, did you?”, the laughing face-changer revelling at the assassin’s surprise, the stiletto blade in his hand glowing red against the fire light as though drenched in anticipation of blood.
Betrayed by her surprise, the assassin’s fate appeared sealed when Piotr’s bestial roar again shook the cabin. Afforded precious moments to drink in his fury, Piotr had used the pain of his burnt flesh and anger to fuel his own transformation into a hulking fusion of man and wolf, his twelve foot form now crowding the cabin behind the assassin. Dimitry almost felt sorry for the assassin who was caught between Piotr’s rage and Everett’s needle-like precision.
But the assassin had one last trick to play. The hellish glow of her eyes cascaded down her face, then washed down over her entire body in ever-quickening pulses, turning her into a living inferno. The panicked screams from other sections were drowned out by the combination of crackling heat, warping plane and the acrid stench of burning flesh. The pulses emanating from the assassin seemed to be increasing in pace and size and Dimitry was certain that whatever she was working towards would happen in the next few seconds.
The man-wolf that was Piotr did not care. He wrenched seats out of his way, ripping them from their moorings in the plane’s superstructure as though they were mere toys. Sensing the danger, the assassin turned towards Piotr, but it was Dimitry who struck first. With a wickedly curved stab of his mind, Dimitry sunk his mental venom deep into the mind of the unsuspecting assassin.
The results were immediate.
While almost doubling over, the assassin’s hands pressed to the sides of her head as though attempting to prevent it from pulling itself apart. A split second later, Everett tossed his knife underhand where it buried itself three inches into the white woman’s chest.The pulsing flames slowed for a moment, then sped up. It was clear that whatever she was going to do was happening now and Dimitry did not like the thought of what that meant for the plane’s remaining passengers.
Pulse racing, Dimitry attempted to climb over the crumpled remains of a seat to get away from the assassin, but the flames had done their work well and gave way beneath him, causing his ankle to twist cruelly. Everett saw Dimitry fall towards a pile of dripping, molten metal and leapt towards him to catch him before he went face first into his death. The fire roared around them in unison with the passengers’ agony and the smoke was now choking the life out of them.
It was then that Piotr’s massively clawed paws scooped both Everett and Dimitry into his arms and barrelled towards the exit door, an exit that lead to a 35000 foot drop. The pulsing behind them was flashing so quickly that it was almost a constant source of light and the woman in white began to yell pained, high-pitched threats at the trio.
Dimitry and Everett, however, were more fearful of what came next when Piotr smashed them all through the damaged emergency exit door just as a massive concussive explosion from behind them blew them clear of the plane.
Piotr’s massive bulk mostly shielded Dimitry and Everett from the blast as the assassin’s wrath was spent in a final suicidal triumph.
Now, for the fall…..
This is where Session One begins