Bargain of Sorts

From the Story Arc: Bear It Alone

Previous Story in the Arc: Bullet for the Bear by Soviet Bear (Sunday, April 30, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Silence by Soviet Bear (Sunday, July 23, 2006)

(posted Saturday, July 22, 2006)

Than Ha's note was brief but honest: Bear ban, you have been repeatedly injected with a cyber-neural poison that has weakend the circuitry linking your plasma generators to your brain stem. You are very fortunate that we discovered it when we did; it may have proven fatal if left untreated. The damage is mechanical; I am unable to proceed any further. Perhaps Petrograd can be of assistance. - Than Ha

Bear rubbed the back of his neck and winced. He had picked up the note from Commissar Bella while he was there for his vitamin drop refill; there has not been much good news in this household form many weeks. Bejouled was gone again. Since her injury during the Council assassination attempt, she had since found a job as a flight attendant on U.S. Skyways, with stops in New York, Boston, Cleveland, and St. Martial.

Bear sighed and sat down in his recliner, and put a stuffed rabbit that Sveta had given him behind his neck for support. He slowly picked up the remote and turned on his television, wishing that Sveta was not working so far away.

***

"St. Martial!" yelled the Wolf Spider as he climbed into the airplane. U.S. Skyways flight 295 had touched down with its usual compliment of retirees waiting impatiently to give their money slowly to the Golden Giza. The obvious exception on this flight was a pretty girl with glasses and a dark bob cut trying her best to look inconspicuous.

"St. Martial!" the Wolf Spider repeated, "Please have your guest passes and passports ready for inspection before leaving the plane. Passengers without proper papers will be detained."

Passengers began filing out of the plane. The girl stood up and took her place as last in line. "Umm. Yes Mrs. Epstein, you have an excellent time in St. Martial," the Wolf Spider ushered the last blue haired sucker out of the door. "You," he said pointing at the girl, "Where do you think you're going?"

He leaned in very close close to the girl's face, slightly sneering with crooked teeth. "A pretty girl like you isn't like the rest. Either you're here to ply illegally or you're some snoop hero goin' covert. If it's the former, I'll send you to Jezebel Jones. If it's the latter, I'll smash your face in here. Tell me which it is."

The girl calmly placed her hand flat on his chest. The Wolf Spider's body lifted off the ground and became rigid, thousands of volts of current flowing through him. He began to audibly buzz.

"I am here on Arachnos business, worm." she said in a subdued Russian drawl. The Wolf Spider began to spasm violently. "Never question me again, or you will suffer a worse fate than you are having now."

Flecks of foam starting flying from the soldier's mouth and urine began running out of his pant leg, pooling on the carpet. The girl stopped the voltage, and the Spider fell to the ground in a heap, wheezing and twitching. The girl had a meeting to attend, one that could change her life forever.

***

A young Arachnos operative waited at the Golden Giza bar, nursing a glass of warm gin. He turned his head when he heard the sound of high heels on tiles. "Agent Bejouled?" he asked impatiently.

"Da, Operative Werther. One of your associates interrupted me at the airport, so I apologize for my delay."

"Well, I wasn't too inconvenienced." Werther sighed heavily. "I suppose you would like to begin working for Arachnos full time? We have such a hard time retaining operatives anymore. They're always getting intercepted, interrogated, sent to the Zig... We have a full team of inmates on payroll just to dispatch former operatives. I wonder when my turn will be..."

"Spare me your sorrows, Werther," Bejouled cooly hissed. "Review the terms of my deal."

Werther suddenly looked agitated. "Well," he sputtered, "it is a standard deal. Five-hundred thousand U.S. dollars for each successful hit, and twenty-five thousand for a monthly stipend. You will be given a housing stipend to spend as you see fit. You will wear your Arachnos uniform at all times. Our agents have replaced your genetic information in the Paragon City hospital network; should you become injured, you will be teleported to an Arachnos medical facility. Also, if you should leave DNA at a crime scene, it will not provide a match to you, but instead to a random Rogue Isles citizen."

"That sounds good," said Bejouled, stirring her ice with a straw.

"There's more," Werther said hastily, "If you can provide detailed files on any member of the CCCP, we will provide an additional thirty-five thousand per dossier."

"NYET!" Bejouled said, anger rising in her throat like a low growl. She grabbed Werther by the collar and pulled him close. His hair was standing on end from the low electrical current now running through his flesh.

"Werther, listen closely because I will only say this once," said Bejouled, exerting more current. "Arachnos is only purchasing my services. I will not provide any additional information about the CCCP or the Rebuild Paragon Congress. I consider my information to be a trade secret. I hope you understand."

Bejouled released her grip on Operative Werther. Shaking slightly, he nodded his head in agreement.

Bejouled tossed five hundred-dollar bills onto the bar. "I have one unfilled contract, Operative Werther. Once it is fulfilled, I will return to St. Martial as a full agent. I will contact you in a week when I am back in the Isles."

Bejouled walked out the door and back to the St. Martial airport, leaving a stunned Operative Werther gasping on the teak of a casino bar, hoping that Arachnos will be thanking him for this bargain.