Crystal Secret Service

Crystal Secret Service

OWL

Table of contents

  1. The Heist
  2. Origins
  3. CSS

The Heist

"These Idiots" he thought. "Just because something triggered the motion alarm. Could be anything really, a mole, a rat, anything!" He steadily grew angrier as he thought about his incompetent staff. To calm himself he fidgeted with his engagement ring. He looked back at the screen and saw, as expected, nothing. It was always nothing. 20 Alarms in about half a year and none were real. But still he had to sit in the command centre and look at screens, while only a floor below him the party happened. New Years Eve was only hours ago and he wasn't with his new girlfriend. But if something was stolen, anything, he would never be with her again. He wouldn't be again at all. And besides, if it didn't work out with her, there would be enough willing to take her spot. He looked at his watch. 1:33. 7 Minutes until his henchmen would have sweeped the entire compound, and if anyone would hide there, they would find him, and he could go back to his guests. At least that was his hope. And it was shattered as soon as he observed a screen in his corner of the eye turn to black. He checked. It was a wired camera so there was no simple explanation. With trembling fingers he nestled the radio out of his suit. He called in a check of all units. Their trackers showed an entire squad in close proximity to the dead camera. But no one responded. He felt the rush of adrenaline flow through his body, and with a fading voice commanded every available guard to their help. He bobbed nervously with his feet. A clump of red dots converged on the spot he told them. Then the map disappeared. Not just the map though. Everything went black. He heard surprised screams from below. The first thing he thought of was that he would have to find a new girlfriend after this. Only after he realised that this was the work of an EMP he understood in which mess he found himself. He almost fainted. This was a real attack. And he just told every guard to leave their post and now the comms went dead.


He took a deep breath to calm his nerves. He turned around and went to the emergency generator. This wouldn't restore everything, but he should be able to restart the cameras and comms. Right when he went out the door he ran literally into his new girlfriend. As he pulled himself together he saw no signs of fear or surprise on her face, but a grim dedication. He had just opened his mouth to talk when she hugged him. A faint crackling resonated through the hallway, then a thud as he dropped to the floor. The girl he thought he truly loved strode over his body and to the door he just came through.

A faint voice asked "Are you in the security room?"
Melissa touched her ear. "Yes, but i ran into my "boyfriend"."
"Did you take care of him?"
She brushed a strand of her long, brown hair out of her face. »Yes, of course, but he will wake up in a few. Hurry up. I'm almost finished here, meet you in 3 mikes.« She went to the security system and took her lipstick from her purse. She set it down, turned the cap and went out of the room the way she came. When she closed the door behind her she heard a slight groan, coming from the sixty year old banker lying on the floor. With two, energetic steps she was with him, and held a cloth to his face. He fainted the second he breathed in the chloroform. Continuing on her way, she smiled. She never liked that guy. He was sweaty, old, and always bragging about his affairs. Worst of all, he got himself in some shady business after he lost all his money in Vegas. Not just his money, but every dollar he could misappropriate from his countless companies. But some rich benefactor gave him enough money to not only pay his debts but expand his schemes to a global level. Every dollar he got was built on illegal activities. Smuggling was the least bad. Human trafficking probably not the worst. But he was safe from the police because no one could prove anything. Not without the bank records he kept safely guarded in his villa. This villa. And as it just so happened, these records just mysteriously vanished. And he couldn't even accuse her, because she never was meant to be there. If he told anyone that he brought her here, his "benefactor" would become his demise. And if the documents her friends just took would be released, his house of cards would come crumbling down and crush him. That should give Interpol ample opportunity to crack down on multiple international drug and slave rings. Maybe she couldn't undo what had been done to these people, but at least she would stop it from happening to anyone else.

She was down the stairs faster than a dog hunting a cat. She left through the staff lobby and slipped out the door before anyone could see her. Outside a hooded person awaited her return. "Did you get it?", she asked. With a nod he turned around and led her to a black sedan with running motor and a driver ready to take of. She got in and turned around. She loved what would happen next. Her acquaintance touched a button on his watch. She saw a bright flash in the windows of the command centre. Then like a thunder crackle a loud bang sounded through the dark night. If anyone heard it he would think someone just found his last rocket and decided waiting for the next New Years Eve would take to long. A perfect plan. Executed with total precision by her two new coworkers. Well, one of them was technically also her boss, but that wasn't the point. Just one month ago her life was synonymous with eternal pain, and now she found meaning, a Job and people she could actually trust.

Origins

1 Month ago

Lars hated schools. He hated the smell. Ha hated the teachers. He hated the other students. Yet, he forced himself to put up with it, at least he tried. Sitting in front of the headmasters office forced up memories he wished to forget forever. He looked at his watch. He heard a harsh voice through the speakers throughout the school. He adjusted his tie and rehearsed his speech one final time. He looked straight forward at a big, old gate. Another thing he disliked about this school. A boarding school. In a centuries old building. It would light like tinder. Under the bold letters spelling out Brightwings the doors flung open and a figure appeared. A girl appeared, not much younger than him, and stomped up the stairs to the headmasters office.

"Miss Moore?"
"Who wants to know that?", she snapped back.
"Your headmaster arranged a meeting for me. I want to talk with you. About your... time here."

Disgruntled she led him to the visitors room. Calling it a visitors room was a big euphemism. It bore so much similarity to an interrogation room you almost forgot you still were in a school. Almost in the instance the door closed she retorted "Who snitched? Nobody knew except Monica and Cassie! I bet it was Cassie that backstabbing bitch."

"Neither", he stated, smiling about the accidental alliteration, "I'm here to talk about your future—"

"My future?", she interrupted him, "thanks to these Idiots I have none", nodding at the camera in the corner, "and no matter how much they paid you to get me talking, I will never tell you!"

Not surprised he sat down, unbuttoned his suit and removed his watch. "Sit down" he said, leaving no room for discussion. He turned his watch to face her, then pressed a button. To her surprise all hands moved upright and the numbers turned to a bright green. "3 Minutes. Then your friends will again be able to hear us. In the meantime I would strongly recommend you to listen to me. You wouldn't really want them to know about you nightly explorations." She opened her mouth but he silenced her with a mere movement of the hand, "Or any of your explorations, really. Am I clear?" Unable to speak she nodded. "Good. You didn't exactly adhere to Christian standards. But that doesn't concern us. Now answer these questions. Your parents are both dead?" In a last attempt to recover her honour she said "None of your business." - "You aren't attached to your stepmother?" - "H...How? I told no one..." - "Any friends or family who will miss you?"
She remained silent. "Please cooperate. You will certainly regret it if you do not."
She shook her head.
He then explained to her that any of her previous exploits and disagreements with the laws and rules would have to stop if she joined him. He could tell by the look in her face that this was extremely unlikely but carried on anyway. He knew that if she came around she wouldn't even think about breaking rules. Next he stated that she would have to undergo training harsher than everything she encountered before. All that, he told her, and she would join a group of like-minded individuals without pay, vacation or privacy until she would be to old to continue working. "If you make it that far. You're more likely to die before then. But at least you will die doing something you love." The glimmer in her eyes faded somewhat but was promptly replaced by a grim resolution- He knew she would join him. But one last warning he issued her: "If you for any reason drop out, we will leave you in the wilderness in a foreign country with no hope of getting back to your old life.

He looked at his watch. 30 Seconds. "If you leave this room before me, you are part of my team, if not you will return to your old live." She got up in a flash. "After this conversation you will leave the building in a hurry. Don't stop until you are in the parking lot. There will be a black van with a white hood. The right passenger door is unlocked. Wait there for me. Do not move. The guard at the entrance is taken care of. I will distract the headmaster. We already took care of your possessions." His watch blinked red two times and then looked as ordinary again.

"And although we cannot prove it now, we know you are guilty! As soon as we find it, you're coming with us!" He literally screamed at her.

Without a word Melissa stormed to the door. The headmaster was waiting for her but she just pushed him aside. Behind her she heard a scream and a demanding voice asking what she did. Her new acquaintance said something about a stolen car. In that instance she stepped outside the building and couldn't hear them anymore. Hopefully, if what he said was true, she would never have to hear their voices anymore. Only seconds later she was on the parking lot and in the car. She took in her new surroundings. Rented car, probably. Just to clean. A packet sitting to her left. Nothing in front of her. But that was not strictly true. "Jackpot", she thought. The keys were lying in the front seat. He must have lost them while exiting. She hesitated shortly, but it wasn't ever a question. She slid in the drivers seat and started the engine. To her surprise it worked. She turned to the gate, and like he promised, it was open. She got a sick feeling in her stomach, but it was too late to turn back now. She drove straight out the front gate, took a right and almost crashed in a tractor. Now completely controlled by adrenaline she shot through the city. But then the car slowed down. From the radio Lars Face smiled at her. "I would have expected nothing less from you. I'm Lars Bergström, but call me LB please. You are Melissa Moore, 19, and until a few seconds ago at the Brightwings Boarding School for Problematic Children. And Problematic you are indeed. You broke out almost every night and exhausted every possibility there is to misbehave. And if you want I can start with the substances you have been, well, "indulging in". Did I get anything wrong?"
After a few seconds of silence she answered "20. I'm twenty today. I lied on the application form."
"That is right!", he answered with a bright smile.
"You knew?" Instead of an answer he typed something in a keyboard, with the result that her car started up again and drove autonomously. He then pointed on the Box behind her, motioning her to open it. "A little present we got you. Sorry for all these Test, but we have to know if we can trust you. Stealing the car was the expected answer, but, you know... Lets talk about everything else as soon as we're in the air!"
She didn't realise what he said until the screen went dark. She asked nobody in particular, but a little scared nonetheless "In the air?"

CSS

Lars drove up the cargo ramp whilst Viktor Kostenko gave him directions. He was the first one he recruited, and remarkable in almost every way. With his bald head and gigantic muscles he looked frightening. Which he enjoyed. Some much so he tried everything possible to consolidate it. He rarely spoke. And if, only in short bursts of information-packed, concise, and harsh sentences. But it was what this machine of a man was made of what interested Lars. He had a condition of Chromosome 6p deletion, which meant he felt no pain, no tiredness, and no hunger. He could go for days without sleeping until his body revolted. Lars found him after a particularly bad session, which ended in the hospital. With no Job, no parents or known relatives, he certainly appreciated that he didn't had to pay for his medical bills. Today, even after 2 years, he never opened up except for worthless details about his young life. But he didn't have to. Lars trusted him, and he trusted him. One »quality« of Viktor was that he always spoke frankly and openly what he thought.
Now he only indicated to him he could drive justa bit more. He turned of the motor and opened the door. "Did everything go to plan?", Viktor asked. Lars nodded and stepped to the entrance of the cargo bay. "But that isn't what you wanted to ask.", he reciprocated. Viktor didn't even flinch. Lars always knew what a person was thinking about. "No. I wanted to ask if you really think Melissa fits the bill. She's a compulsive liar and rule breaker. She switches sides in a blink of an eye. Does she really fit in a secret service?", he stated. Lars thought for a while: "She could be an asset, but she was corrupted by years of abuse. Everyone deserves a second chances, some even a third. She definitely does. She would have been a perfectly fine girl, she would have made it far in politics. But she was forced to stop dreaming. That is the worst you can do to a human. Kill him, torture him, and you will never destroy him. But make him stop dreaming, kill his imagination and you converted a man to a sheep, happily walking towards the slaughterhouse. If we can make her believe once again, we will have done more good than this entire organisation could ever do." He heard a engine roaring in the distance. "Here she comes. If you have any other concerns, please address them to her directly." 

Melissa still couldn't believe it. But it slowly started to feel real again. She opened the packet. After the first tear she saw a light blue cloth peeking through. 30 seconds later she held a beautiful long dress in her hands, the likes she's never seen before. After she marvelled at it for a minute she became sceptical. No one ever gave her things for free, and now she got her life completely turned around, and by a man she never met before. After turning it over in her head, she came to the conclusion that she had nothing to loose, but still should stay alert. And if something seemed fishy, or more fishy to be exact, she would just run away again. Most importantly, she would not get her hopes up. That she learned by many examples. »You can't get your hopes shattered if you have none«, she thought. The car took a few turns and left the city area. »Didn't he say anything about flying? The airport is completely the other direction!« In a slight panic she looked at the GPS, but there was no way-point set. Unnerved, she waited. A few minutes later, she looked in awe at this impetuosity, that reminded her of a plane, but also of a helicopter. She thought it was too large to fly, but, after all Lars wasn't from here. On the cargo-ramp stood two persons, one almost hiding in the background, the other, Lars, standing right in the middle. The car slowed down, coming to a stop right next to him. She got out and waited. Lars looked at her with a slight grin. "You have many questions. Now is the time to ask them!". Her scepticism only hardened. "So tell me, why? And how? And most importantly, why me?" - "Alright, let's talk", he laughed.

As they gradually walked inside the plane the ramp started closing up. Lars gave a wink to Viktor: "Bring us back home, and fast, please!" He turned to Melissa. "I see you already opened the packet. Do you like it?" Melissa held her hand up to her face. A silver ring, simple but elegant with a green crystal in the middle embellished her finger. Above and below the crystal were stylised "M". She asked him, how long they planned to get her on board, but he just laughed. He knew that the answer was going to alarm her, so he remained silent. He turned to her: "Why: well, we need some new faces in our top secret, super cool, amazing, i've run out of adjectives, Secret Service. As for how, long planning and meticulous execution. Why you?" He paused. "Everyone deserves a second chance. You didn't even get to realise your first. Before you lost your parents, you had the universe ahead of you. Perfect grades in every subject, record breaking speeds in learning new skills, many friends. But then, everything changed. Now I'm giving you a chance to use what you have for good, but if you fail to, and I'm going to be frank with you, you'll get right back into your old, miserable life." They walked in silence. After a few seconds they got to the middle of the plane's belly. He gestured her to go into a room, well knowing that room may be an overstatement, if applied to this walled of mattress, having the sole purpose of stabilising the occupant during "advanced manoeuvres". Glancing at his watch, he told her: "Viktor will bring us back to base, in... about four hours. Try to get some sleep, training will commence at 0800 UTC. Water Closet is over there, as is our clother. Armory and Cafeteria are in the upper levels, but you don't have clearance yet. Doors are always locked and can be unlocked with your key, which in this case is your ring. Stay away from the reactor powering this monster, it is still in testing.

One last thing. I take it you left your cellphone at the school?" She nodded. "Great, your new one is already in your bunk, as well as everything else you'll need. Before we arrive we'll eat, but I will call you then. Have a good night." She opened her mouth to ask him her many questions, but he was gone before she took in the magnitude of the vehicle.

She turned the handle and opened the door. Less than impressed she threw her jacket on the bed and looked around. A big TV, no windows, a small cupboard, all bolted to the floor. All in all a normal, if small, bedroom. With one exception: the parachute next to the door, not really a household appliance. Not feeling sleepy, actually still feeling the adrenaline, she decided not to follow blindly but to look around the plane. She turned around and closed the door. Walking around her room she found that similar cabins were stacked next to hers. With seemingly no way to pass behind them, even if she wanted, she turned around and looked were the two men disappeared. She then saw a ladder and promptly climbed it. Disappointed she just saw another row of three cabins. Then she looked behind her and saw a second ladder. She let out an audible sigh and, with less conviction than the first, she got climbing.

Already expecting another layer of cabins she gripped the first rung. The look she got at the top, however, made up for any inconvenience. Behind a pane of glass she saw a cafeteria, decked out for 10, maybe 12 people, but filled to the brim with delicacies and connecting to a kitchen more appropriate for a five star restaurant than a plane. Then, with decidedly less enthusiasm she saw that, separated by a small corridor, there was a gym with large sparring area. The training LB mentioned popped back into her head. She thought about having to go up against the giant awaiting her at the ramp made her gulp.

Taking the small corridor she came to a dead end. To either of her sides were doors, with their differences seemingly impossible to exaggerate- One being invitingly decorated with signs and text promising the "holy" "Chill Zone". To her other side was a blank door made out of steel, locked with multiple locks. One unifying detail existed however. Neither of them had handles.

Remembering what LB told her he held her Ring up to the door, which silently opened, as she stepped inwards. She almost fell out again by the look presented to her. A Screen, bigger than most cars, multiple Arcade machines, a popcorn machine, rows of PCs, multiple couches, armchairs and other furniture practically screaming comfortable scattered among them. As she absorbed everything she saw something perplexing her. A bookcase, next to a music player, stood innocently in a corner. Full with books. On a plane. It didn't add up- unless... She came closer and saw a panel of glass preventing any books from falling out. It was too clean for anyone having touched it in the past.

After she rummaged the room for another few minutes, she went back in the corridor and back to the ladder. She realised that there were even more rooms behind it which she missed the first time around. She walked in the direction of the room closest to her as she suddenly picked up voices. Being unable to find out what they were saying she closed in on them until she was practically touching the door with her ear.

"the target today?" - "Just bring us back home, we'll have to wake the others and maybe, with a bit of luck, we can start training tomorrow. Speaking of,... Come in Melissa, join us." Melissa almost had a heart attack, but pulled herself together in record time. She opened the door and saw Lars and the giant standing inside looking at a screen of a map with a Plane blinking red on it. LB turned to her and simply answered to her stammered question that her Ring registered, even though this was an analogue door. "I see you have chosen to ignore me and roam around. That" he turned to Viktor "means our friend here will have to do the dishes tonight. Anyhow, please come here, maybe you want answers more than sleep now." Not possibly knowing how true that was, she came to them.