“Free. It feels free, like there’s nothing that can stop me, nothing can hold me down. It feels as if I can do anything because of love and I’m free of the fear of failure because, even if I can’t do everything, at least at the end of the day, there’s still me and him. When all else fails, love won’t.”
The mission had been simple: get in, get info, get out. Somewhere between the first two objectives, however, something went wrong. The target was not supposed to be awake. Further more, the target was not supposed to be armed with a full-loaded hand gun and on the brink of a mental breakdown. Up until that moment, the mission was going along smoothly.
The team had approached the location from five different angles, silent and undetectable. They spread out in an attempt to find the missing information needed to complete their mission. However, during inspection of one of the buildings, the target had been discovered. The target had been pacing in the dark room by themselves, muttering, waving the gun around without a care for themselves should it accidentally go off.
"Wind?" A voice buzzed in the agent's ear, "Did I just hear you say gun?"
"That's what she said," another voice came through the earpiece,
"It must be the target," a third voice concluded.
The fourth voice and final member of their five-person team didn't add anything of value. Instead, he just swore.
The agent, code-name Wind, ignored her team mates. She didn't want to let the target know there were other agents and she needed to concentrate on the situation at hand. She held just one small gun in her hand as she kept her gaze on the target, a young woman whose face was lined with worry and, now that she was discovered, hostility.
"Who are you?" The target questioned, her voice pitching high with panic as she swung the gun to aim at Wind.
"Put down the gun and we'll talk," Wind repeated, her voice firm yet soft, trying to reach the woman on an empathetic level. As she spoke, she slowly reached with her free hand to the knife holstered at her hip.
"Why are you here? Why do you have a gun?" The target demanded, the gun shaking even though she had both hands wrapped around it.
"Wood, Fire, go assist," their team leader's voice rang in her ear, the command indisputable, "Water and I will keep looking."
Wind bit the inside of her cheek in an effort to remain silent. She was the only female on the team and had proved herself an equal to the males over and over again. The fact that they believed she needed help disarming a single target chafed at her ego. She knew that if any of the other agents had been in her situation, the rest of the team would have been instructed to continue the mission as planned as the agent dealt with the hostile target.
"I have a gun because you're pointing one at me," Wind answered, aware that her heartbeat steadied as her freehand wrapped around the hilt of her knife, "I know you have a reason for having a gun, but I won't know that reason and your side of the story unless you tell me."
"It was so easy at first," she began rambling, as if the agent's words released a vice on her innermost thoughts, "It was easy. Set up the pick-up location, transfer the goods and bring it back to town. It was easy."
"What was easy?" Wind asked, casual curiosity purposefully slipping into her tone as she slipped the knife from its holster,
In the glow of the moonlight streaming into the room, the target's gaze flashed angrily, "It was easy," she repeated stubbornly and the agent knew she would not elaborate further than that.
"What went wrong?" Wind prompted,
"Wrong?" The target asked, suspicion saturating that single word,
"Well, something must have gone wrong since you're standing here with a gun," Wind explained, although she had known something was wrong before finding the target. The reason for the current mission to just find information had been because those town deliveries had become few and far in between to the point where their boss wasn't sure if they were still happening.
"The kids," the target's voice had dropped in volume then, "I would look at them and they would have this light... this hope in their eyes... I couldn't... I couldn't..."
For weeks there had been whispers that a child slave trade was occurring in the black market. The National Intelligence Bureau had begun to investigate but, when signs of transfers almost disappeared, the bureau got worried. Either the slave trade had ceased, or they had learned how to hide from the NIB. So, their secret branch, referred to only as The Sector, had sent a team to investigate the last lead on the trail.
The team had found themselves in what was guised as a summer camp, but, they knew it was just a holding ground for the children before transfer and dispersal into the black market. They were there to find the children, find their target and to report back to headquarters. They didn't want to bring down just the target. They wanted to bring down the entire slave trade.
Wind ruthlessly pushed away the feeling of her heart clenching. She needed to be emotionless while on missions. She couldn't allow any feelings to distract her, to influence her. She felt the slight sway in her knife signaling that it was completely free from the holster. The situation had always been in her favour but, now, her success was absolute all because of that knife.
"I'll have to kill you now."
Those words shut down her emotions faster than anything else could. Wind remained calm and steady as she tightened her grip on her knife, all the while, she considered where to aim.
"And, why is that?" She asked, her tone as casual as ever,
"You know now. That's why you're here right? To learn what I've been doing? And, I told you, too. So, now I have to kill you," the woman stated, her voice no longer a hysterical pitch nor the tortured whisper it had been.
"I'm in position," Wood's words spoke into her ear, steady and sure as the codename he used.
"Give me two more minutes," Fire's usually raspy voice came even raspier, indicating that he was still running, perhaps even running up the stairs to the room in which Wind and the target were.
"You don't have to do that at all," Wind stated calmly, "We can return the children to the orphanages and this can stop. You don't have to deliver them."
"But, I have to," the target insisted, "They're waiting for them. They're waiting for me."
"And, can you do it? Can you live with the knowledge that you did one more delivery? That you brought more children to such a fate? How many are in this delivery?" Wind asked,
"Just a dozen," the target replied as if she spoke of eggs rather than children,
"No wonder we couldn't find them. If there's just twelve kids, then they don't need to fill all these cabins," their leader's voice said, confirming to Wind that the target's words had been heard over the radio, "We'll start to move the sweep inwards to find the kids."
"No... I can't do it," the target muttered, suddenly swinging the gun to her temple,
"I can't disarm the target," Wood stated, "Give me the signal if you want me to shoot."
Wind quickly changed her aim. She needed to disarm the target and do it before she could blow her brains out. The team lived by a code and one of the parts of the code was that they never took life without a just cause. They had to get the target out of there and alive.
"I'm in position," Fire's words came softly and she knew that the other agent was just feet away, hidden beside the open doorway.
With the speed and accuracy she was known for, Wind whipped the knife towards the target, catching her cuff and pinning her towards the wall as the gun fell to the ground. A shot went off and Fire was immediately in the doorway, two guns trained on the target. Wind was striding towards the target, ignoring the sudden burn in her thigh which increased as she moved. She stood just inches away when light suddenly filled the dark sky outside and the silent night was disrupted by a loud explosion.
"I'm sorry," the target's words were weepy and whispered.
Wind looked away from the window and back at the target just in time to realize she had freed herself from the knife and had picked up the gun once more. The agent lounged for her just as the trigger was pulled and the gun went off a second time, the bullet lodging itself into the target's brain.