Chocolate and Betrayal

From the Story Arc: The Enemy Within.

Previous Story in the Arc: Awakenings by Komrad Vex (Friday, September 02, 2005)

(posted Saturday, April 08, 2006)

It was the boy, how could he have been so careless? He had endeared himself to Vexton almost from the day he had arrived in Zahony, the little waif who had a shoeshine booth at the bus station. It had been nice to have someone who could give him directions and information in this strange place without having to worry about answering too many questions. During the month Vexton spent in the small town they had grown to be almost friends, him and the boy named Pavel. They had even worked out a little payment system. In exchange for little bits of information, Vexton would give Pavel ten American dollars inside the wrapper of a chocolate bar.

From the first day, Pavel had always been so keen to help in any way he could, in retrospect, maybe too keen. The betrayal came on a lazy Sunday afternoon, Vexton was enjoying a strong cup of coffee at a café while reading the paper. Suddenly out of an alley Pavel burst out, running at full tilt. One look at the boy and Vexton knew something was wrong, tears stained his face and his eyes were red and puffy. Between gasps for air Pavel managed to tell Vexton that his mother had fallen down the stairs while carrying laundry. His Father was at work in the factory at the edge of town and was unreachable. Pavel told him that he was the only person that he could think of to ask for help.

After racing through the twisted alleys and side streets of the village, they reached the door to a rundown tenement. Bursting through the front door and vaulting up numerous stairs he and the boy reached his family's apartment. Vexton was about to ask why they had not seen the boy's mother on the way up the stairs, but Pavel had already opened the door. Pavel had not lied, his mother was in danger, only the kind that comes from a loaded gun at the temple. Vexton recognized the uniforms immediately, the Hungarian secret police.

“ Did you hear what I said?”

“Peter! Are you listening?”

Vex was jolted out of deep memory once again by the voice of John Singleton.

“ Yes, I heard you.” Vex said letting out a low chuckle.

“ What is so funny?” Singleton demanded.

“ You are.” Vex said still smiling. “ What makes you think you can show up after all these years and start asking me to do things for you?”

“ Get off your high horse Peter, you know that nobody ever really leaves the firm until they die.” Singleton said smiling himself.

“ That is all well and good, but I do not answer to you anymore. What makes you think I will help you?”

Singleton reached into his pocket and produced a key chain. On it was what looked like a remote for a car, various keys, and a clear chunk of resin with a tiny black speck in the middle.

“ Recognize this?” Singleton asked pointing to the small chunk of resin.

“ Unless I am mistaken, it is a standard C.S.I.S. sub-dermal tracking chip.” Vex said flatly.

Singleton's smile spread across his face. “ Yes it is. Only it's not just a tracking device. These little beauties have a couple added features that we do not tell the average agent.”

Vex felt the back of his neck where he had received his chip implant. “ And what other features might those be?”

“Well I don't want to give away all my secrets.” Singleton said. “ I will tell you about the most impressive feature though. It's actually quite amazing. This little baby operates using hypersonics to disrupt the brains cognitive and reasoning capability. Essentially, once activated it has the affect of rendering the subject very open to suggestion.”

Vex was in the air before Singleton had closed his mouth, his hands around his skinny throat. “ Bastard! What do you want!? I should kill you where you stand!”

“Easy Peter!” Singleton choked out.

Vex loosened his grip, what a pleasant humming sound that was. It was all that he could concentrate on, his arms falling to his side.

“ That's better.” Singleton blurted as he straightened his shirt and tie.

“ Yes…better….” Vex repeated.

Singleton leaned in close. “ Now listen very carefully Peter.”

“ The U.S. government is very unhappy with you and your playmates in the C.C.C.P. They don't like the fact that you have gained so much popularity with the public. It is interfering with their efforts to position their own government controlled hero service.
As a gesture of goodwill, I offered your services in bringing down the C.C.C.P. in exchange for material and data to create our own revenant hero program.”

“ C.C.C.P…..bad for people….must fall….” Vex muttered.

“ Yes, that's right. You won't remember this conversation...until its time.” Singleton leaned in to whisper in Vex's ear. “ This is what we want you to do……”