The cold hard facts

From the Story Arc: The Enemy Within.

Next Story in the Arc: Reciprocity by Komrad Vex (Friday, August 26, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, August 09, 2005)

The rain lashed at his face in angry torrents. It always seemed as if the weather in this country was trying to punish the people who lived here. Although, today, Komrad Vex felt the punishment was deserved. As he stood waiting on the banks of the Red river he reflected on the past month. It had been a whirlwind of great things for him, the most important being his induction into the CCCP. The chance to fight along side a group of dedicated heroes was one chance in a million. More importantly he cherished the unity of purpose.

When he had first received Singleton's summons Vex had not known what to do. In the end the prospect of finally getting some answers beat out his reservations. What bothered him the most was his decision to lie to his comrades. Why could he not tell them about where he was going? He finally concluded that his team-mates might not approve of his meeting with former colleagues, especially ones who were western intelligence agents. So he had concocted the story of a communist indoctrination seminar, of course he did not need it. His convictions had never wavered since the moment he disembarked from the train at Paragon central terminal. Ultimately, he felt that he had no other choice but to mislead them this one time.

“ You should have brought an umbrella Peter.”

The sound of John Singleton's voice jolted Vex out of his reverie, he should have been paying more attention to his surroundings.

“ That name has no meaning for me anymore.” He spat bitterly.

“ Oh come now, it's who you are. That must mean something.”

“ It is not who I am anymore! Not since I was abandoned by you and the Firm.” It had been some time since Vex had thought about his past life.

“ We never forgot about you Peter. We were simply waiting.”

Singleton had always had a knack for beating around the bush, it was something Vex had hated from the day he met him.

“ Waiting!? What do you mean waiting?” The agitation was beginning to show in Vex's voice.

“ Come on Peter, you're a smart guy, certainly smart enough to connect the dots on this one.” Singleton said with a smirk.

Vex was really starting to lose his patience with this double talk. Since his “stay” in the U.S.S.R., which ended 15 years ago, he had lost many things one of which was his tolerance for idle chatter.

“ I have no interest in playing your games Singleton! Either tell me what is going on or leave me in peace.”

The disappointment washed over Singleton's face, “Fine”, he said flatly as he shifted his umbrella to his right hand in preparation to fill in the blanks.

“ As you know Peter, C.S.I.S. has never had a foreign intelligence mandate.”

“ Yes, but it was rescinded for my mission.” Vex added hastily.

“ Well that's what we told you.”

“What do you mean? I saw the orders signed by the Prime Minister himself.”

“You were always so naive.” Singleton shot back with more than a little satisfaction in his voice.

He went on, “ We decided it was time we changed our mandate. The Firm was falling behind, we needed intelligence from the east. Sending you was the perfect move. By taking the authority on ourselves the government was assured deniability.”

Vex felt the blood drain out of his face. Of all the things that he had been through since his capture he had never expected this.

Singleton stated talking again but it his voice was drowned out by the loud thumbing in Vex's ears, his heart was pounding.

“Of course, when we found out you had been captured we planned to extract you. Although, when we discovered what the G.R.U. was planning to do with you the boss decided to wait.”

“ I can't believe this…” Vex muttered.

“ Believe it buddy. You knew that the Firm had wanted to get into meta-humans for a long time. The only problem was the stuff shirts on the hill wouldn't pony up the cash. We figured this was our chance, we donate the man and the Soviets supply the tech without even knowing it.”

“ Why are you telling me this? Why now? Why didn't you retrieve me when they sent me back? Rage building inside him, Vex began to clench his fists.

Singleton looked uneasy for the first time since the meeting began. “ Well things changeover 15 years, and you got lost in the shuffle buddy. The important thing is that we are both in unique positions now. The bottom line is we have something we need you to do…”