“Are you offering me a job?”
“I’d like to think of it as an adventure and a family and I have a few vacancies.”
“How can I trust you?”
“Oh you absolutely shouldn’t. Trust yourself. See that key on the desk,” he pointed at an antique looking key. The heads up display on her suit said it held an electronic signature.
“That’s a key to the Maiden’s vault. Rumoured to have the solar system’s greatest treasures and enough information to take down governments. It also has the only known supplies of Antichthon metal.”
“How did you? Never mind. You want us to break into the Maiden’s vault?”
“Give me a few minutes to freshen up and we’ll head out,” he started to push himself up. He was trying to act tough but she could see that he was weak, maybe even sick.
Sheathing her sword, she moved towards him and offered him her gloved hand. When he grasped it, she let enough electricity flow from her hand to shock him into unconsciousness.
“You’re cute but I need to do this on my own,” she said to his unconscious form.
Taking the key, she went to the bridge. The ship wasn’t large but had enough space for three to six people to live comfortably. At the bridge she disabled the AI and took out the ship’s auto navigating computer. He wouldn’t be able to move safely anywhere but the closest planet. She hoped that by the time he woke up, she’d be done at the vault and back to kill him.
Heading back to her ship, she knew what she was doing was treason to the Maidens and if they found out they’d try to kill her. She smiled a toothy smile, they would try. This could be the challenge she’d been looking forward to.
It was traditional for her to return the ship to one of the satellite cover branches and be debriefed by the manager there. She wanted into that vault and knew the only way to do it was to visit the Antichthon base. The home of the Maidens.
The base was situated in the same orbit as Earth but it was always on the other side of the sun. This was the same location as the mythical planet Antichthon which gave its name to the Maidens and the special metal they used.
The base was shielded with the same technology that was in her suit and in her ship. It was nearly impossible to find unless you knew the secret sub-quantum frequency to contact the base with.
As she exited the ship, one of the heads of the Maidens was waiting for her, “You’re breaking protocol. You’d better have a good reason.”
“Hello to you too, and yes. The target had information that I thought would be important.”
“What kind of information?”
“Information that I will give in my official debriefing that isn’t in a public airlock,” Helena growled.
The woman blanched and said, “Of course. Come with me.”
As they got deeper into the compound she knew she’d only have one chance and grabbed her escort in a headlock. It took four seconds for the woman to fall unconscious onto the ground. By the time her body hit the carpeted hallway floor Helena had her helmet on and gone into stealth mode.
There were five separate locked doors before she reached the vaults. The key opened each one for her until she stood in a room that looked like a cavern. The walls looked like rough-hewn stone. Her suit told her it wasn’t, but that it was Antichthon. “It’s real,” she thought. This must have been the last remnants of the planet. It wasn’t a myth as everyone had told her.
Inside the stone in the center of the room was an impressive door. Her suit read out the security on the door and it blocked her view. She dismissed the information and put the key in the hole. She turned the key and the door opened.
She was not prepared for what was inside. It was less like an archive and more like a museum. Weapons and artifacts from history and some that had fallen out of history. What she was most interested was the non-networked computer terminal. She needed the key again to activate it, but once she was inside she had full access.
The first thing she looked into was her current job. It had the same file she’d received and a secondary one that had more information. The Sun Speaker had healed two children on the Venusian ship and the explosion hadn’t killed anyone, only wounded another.
The file clearly stated that he then took the Martian heir from the Venusians, just as he’d said. She looked into his file and he’d been categorised as a dangerous element. “Uncontrollable and obsessed with doing the right thing” Those didn’t sound like dangerous qualities to her.
From the moment she read the original mission, she’d assumed the Venusians were the clients. Looking now it said the client was the Church of Sol. The next thing she read made her gasp and she could have sworn she heard her world view shatter.
The file on the Church of Sol stated that the Maidens were the assassination arm of the church. She wasn’t raised and working for a group of assassins that killed for the greater good. She worked as part of a shadow group run by the church.
She heard footsteps and knew she’d been discovered, but she couldn’t stop looking at the files. She looked at her own file. The first part read, “Parents killed during operation Clean Slate.” The operation had meant to clear the Martian parliament of supporters to the crown. Her parents were collateral damage.
“I wish you wouldn’t have done this,” sighed Samantha next to her.
The last thing she read on the screen before turning to her mentor was, “Agent’s skills are dulled by compassion and honour. Not recommended for essential operations.”