Her eyes are like lasers. I can feel the heat from them watching my every move. Yet, I wait. Wait for her to speak. Still, she says nothing and I’m growing impatient. I’m feeling very uncomfortable under the scrutiny of her watchful eye. Not very much makes me uncomfortable, but being gawked at makes me want to put my fist through a wall. Trying to stay busy, I move onto sharpening her knife, but I can no longer hold my tongue.
“Can you do this operation, Shy? Because if you can’t I will call in Laci.”
I’m matter of fact with my question. This is not the time to be emotional. I need to be able to count on her in the field. On any other day it wouldn’t be a question. But right now, on this day, in this moment, I’m not so sure.
“I’m fine, Michael. I can do the job. What I can’t do is sit here and watch as you go about your business like you didn’t fuck a woman and have her executed all within an eight-hour window.”
She’s angry, and I can’t help but smirk. If she only knew.
“You really want to do this?” I ask, setting down the knife.
She nods once.
“Fine. Let’s do it, then. I did what I did because I’m a soldier and those were my orders. We don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing what we do. This is the nature of the beast. She was no innocent, Shy. She was a traitor, and if I had it to do all over again, I’d do it the exact same way.”
“I guess that’s my problem. You act like it was no big deal,” she says with disgust, marring her delicate features.
“We almost died because of her. You almost died. Do you not get that?”
“I get it, Michael, but did you have to sleep with her to do it?”
“Yes.” Truth is my only recourse.
“I needed her to trust me. That was the quickest route. Lives are on the line the longer Red Sky is out there.”
The van hits a bump, making everything shake. The guns and knives hit the floor with a loud thud.
“Watch the fucking road!” I yell.
“I don’t think I can do that, Michael. I can’t have a mass murderer’s hands on me,” she confesses.
“You don’t have to like it, but you will do it. You’re a soldier just like the rest of us, and you will follow orders.”
“Soldier. You keep throwing that word around like it means something to me. I didn’t take an oath, nor did I sign up for this job.”
“No, you didn’t, but guess what? Neither did the rest of us. You think Laci would be here given the choice? Beck or Delaney? We all had normal lives, albeit fucked up, but they were normal to us.”
“No. I’m sure they wouldn’t, but you must also understand when I think of a soldier I think of someone who has great pride for what they are fighting for,” she says, softly.
“Shy,” I breathe her name. “Have pride. It may be dirty work, but the intent is clean.”
I pause, trying to choose my words carefully. “I use the word soldier, so you can fully grasp what we do here. We fight for the freedoms of many countries, and their people. We may not get to enjoy the same freedoms we fight for, but without us, think of the fear people would live in. We are the last hope of many different countries. We go after the people the CIA, Mossad or any other clandestine organization won’t touch. We have no boundaries because we do not exist. We are ghosts. That’s why it’s so easy for the Collective to kill us because we’re already dead.”
I try my damnedest not to get frustrated with her while explaining stuff, I feel, she should already know. I trained her for fuck’s sake.
“So, all that to say: you will do what you’re told like a good little soldier. Whether you want to or not, for the good of millions,” I command.
I pick up Shy’s knife and start sharpening it again. As far as I’m concerned, this conversation is over.