Element (Book 3)

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Ch 13 - Storm the Tasmanian Demon and Best Friend

“...not to forget just how stupid your decision was. Seriously! What were you thinking?”

“Dearest brother, if you do not shut up, I will shoot you,” I barely managed to say since my fiancé was holding me back.

“I’d like to see you try. Now, would the two of you stop acting like mad women so that we can have a civilized conversation?” he asked.

“I’m not going to do anything to her for as long as she does nothing to me,” she commented.

“What did you do to my cousin?” I asked her.

“I keep telling you. I did nothing wrong and if you would stop trying to kill me and wait for him to come back, you would know,” she responded.

I was about to attempt to launch myself at her again when they returned. “Ellie, she didn’t do anything. She actually saved my life.”

“Dray!” I said in relief before Xander let me go so that I could go over to hug him.

“Ow,” he said laughing, but hugged me back.

“What stupid thing have you gotten yourself into now?” I asked, smacking his arm.

“How are you going to be violent to someone who almost died though? You should be planning a party in honour of my survival,” he replied enthusiastically.

“How are you still this much of a moron?” Nick asked what I was silently thinking.

Drayfus beamed at the sight of my brother. “Santa my brother!”

“Call me that again, I dare you,” Nick said, glaring at him.

“What does he mean you saved his life?” Xander asked the snake in the room.

“Really? This is how you’re going to be after not talking to me for so long?” she instead asked.

“You tried to kill my fiancée and I in the name of something I keep telling you I had nothing to do with, and let’s not forget how you almost ended my brotherhood with one of the closest people to me. Do share what warrants you any sympathy or kindness from me?” he asked, fuming.

It was visibly my turn to calm him down.

“When did she try to kill us?”

“You’re engaged to that thing?”

Xander had to hold me back once more.

“She tried to kill us a few weeks before prom,” he replied to me, ignoring her.

She scoffed. “Prom. Listen to yourself! I don’t know what my parents ever saw in you.”

“He went to prom yes, but that doesn’t make him any less of a good agent idiot,” Nick told her.

I mentally high-fived him.

“Right! So you’re a very unwanted person right now, so do share how you ended up here with him of all people,” Thales told her, indicating to my cousin.

“We both happened to be at the same place at the same time, except I found out that they planned to kill him. Drayfus is a pain in the ass, but he’s a smart pain in the ass. Intelligence like his can’t be wasted through a simple death, so I risked my life and rescued him. We barely made it out alive, and I’d read somewhere that Coren, or Six rather, attends Harvard, so I came here with Drayfus, only to be attacked just before we got here. I still don’t know who attacked us, or why they did, but I’m pretty sure it has to do with the devil over there,” she said, pointing to me.

“Somebody please tell me this bitch did not just call me the devil,” I said, barely keeping it together.

She smirked. “What are you going to do about it?”

You don’t even have to guess that Xander’s hold on me had to tighten.

“Storm, cool it. She’s got the serum in her. She will actually kill you this time,” Drayfus told her.

“You gave herthe serum?” she asked in disbelief.

“It’s complicated, but it landed in the right hands the way I see it,” he said, shrugging.

Iwas supposed to get the serum!” she snapped.

“What do you mean it landed in the right hands?” Jayme asked my cousin.

“When I gave the serum to Vladimir, it was for safe keeping. I believe he was killed for it. I planned to go back for it a week after he was killed, but instead I followed it through the tracking system. When I realized that Zuri was in communication with you guys, and that my cousin had once again had her memory tampered with, I hoped that things would play out the way that they did. I’d never intended to give The Dragons, Black or anyone else the serum for that matter. I made it for her because I tweaked it from the serum in the twins,” he replied.

“What exactly are you saying Dray?” I asked him.

“It took me a while to figure out that the organization you really work for was using you as a puppet. As I’m sure we all know, those people are like ghosts, but every time you saw me, it’s like you had a different memory of the last time we’d seen each other. I met up with Nick and he confirmed that your memory was in fact being tampered with. I managed to get some of my dad’s old records of the serum he created for Tyler and Tyson, and I had Nick get me the progress reports on them from Cypher. I basically found a way to make the same serum that allows you to be as strong and quick as the twins, but I also added a different feature. I know that they took you again, but I’m going to guess that your memories are coming back at a quicker rate, right?” he asked.

I nodded. “That’s the serum working. It took me three years to get that bit right, but I managed to get the nanotech to be able to undo and counter their memory technology.”

“How did you do that?” Jayme asked, looking fascinated.

“We had to obtain Ellie’s brain scan, which was almost impossible, but a friend of mine was able to help. She’s got something akin to a chip implanted in her brain, and that’s what allows them to manipulate her so easily. I managed to take it apart and managed to then code the nanotech to respond to and counter its coding,” Drayfus explained.

“Remarkable,” Jayme said, visibly awed.

“Wrong family member that you’re getting googly eyed over,” Nick commented, making Jayme roll his eyes while Thales and I laughed a little.

“So what you’re saying is that as we speak, the nanotech is working on fixing all the damage done to blossom’s memories?” Xander asked.

“Not exactly, but yes, you could say so. It won’t be able to reverse the whole thing, but she can at least get some of her memories back,” Drayfus replied.

“Which friend helped you to obtain my brain scan?” I asked curiously.

“Hugo,” he replied.

“Isn’t that the guy who gave you that flash drive? It means he’s an ally right?” Thales asked.

“What flash drive?” Drayfus asked.

“Hugo handed me a flash drive a couple of days back. He said it had my project name on it,” I informed.

His eyes widened. “He got it?”

“Wait, you know?” Xander, Jayme, Nick and I asked him.

“I sent him for it,” my cousin replied.

“What?” all of us except Storm shouted.

“Hugo is a double agent. He’s BNK, which means he risked his life to get that flash drive to you,” Drayfus explained.

“If he gave it to you, it can only mean that he knows that you’re working against the organization,” Xander said to me.

“You people don’t know loyalty,” Storm commented.

“No one asked for your useless opinion, and we don’t know why you’re loyal to people who want to destroy the world in the first place,” I told her.

“My parents don’t want to destroy the world,” she denied.

“You are a crucial member of The Dragons. It honestly baffles me why you’re still so oblivious to what your parents are doing. The whole world hates you people for the same reason, and yet you stay defending a cause you clearly know nothing about,” Nick told her.

“You have the most serious denial game I’ve ever witnessed,” I added. She glared at us, but didn’t say anything.

“What were you doing in the place you conveniently managed to rescue Drayfus from?” Thales asked her.

“I will not answer to you. I don’t even know who you are,” she told him.

“He’s Six’s brother,” Jayme bothered to inform.

“Coren doesn’t have siblings,” she denied.

“The fact that you think his name is Coren shows just how much you think you know about him,” Nick commented.

“Your name is Coren right?” she asked Xander.

“No, it isn’t. That’s the undercover name your brother gave me,” he told her.

I saw something akin to hurt flash in her eyes.

“You never did tell me how you and Ira know each other,” she told him.

“Nigel and I work for the same agency. Going to Cuba was an undercover mission on his behalf, but we all know how that ended,” he said, sounding a little malicious.

She scowled. “I didn’t mean to do what I did, and you know that. I don’t understand why you hate me so much for it.”

“See, I would’ve believed you if I wasn’t told all about how the demon only acts out on the dark thoughts you have. You wanted to do what you did Storm, whether or not you want to believe it. You’re the queen of denial and I refuse to be sucked back into any space that has you in it,” he said before heading to the dining room table where his mission bag was.

“Where are you going?” Thales asked him.

“I have a mission to complete,” is all he said.

“I’ll come with you,” Nick said.

“I’ll work comms for you,” Jayme added.

Xander nodded at both of them before turning to me. “You’re staying behind.”

“I thought you needed me?” I said in confusion.

“I need you to not kill herin my absence. I’ll be back soon,” he said before kissing me.

“I love you Bond. Please be safe,” I told him.

“I love you too blossom. I’m always safe,” he said with a small smile before he and Nick headed out after Nick kissed Jayme.

“So what now?” Drayfus asked.

“I don’t trust this situation one bit, but I guess you can stay here until we figure out an action plan. The people who attacked you, what were they dressed in?” I asked.

“Oh, they’re definitely from the organization if that’s what you’re asking,” he replied.

“But why would the organization try to keep the two of you away from here? I mean, we’ve already figured out that they’re keeping tabs on Elle and my brother, but what exactly is it that they’re afraid the two of you will do here?” Thales asked curiously.

He had a good point, and I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes at the Tasmanian demon before me. “What? You think I’m the reason they attacked us?”

“Who knows with you?” I responded.

“If you must know, they probably attacked us because they’re the same people trying to kill your beloved cousin,” she snapped.

“What?” both Drayfus and I asked.

“You said you don’t know why they attacked you,” Thales said, looking just as suspicious of her.

“I lied. I’m an agent. It’s kinda what we do,” she said sarcastically.

I was getting sick of her attitude.

I moved quicker than she anticipated, and managed to get the dagger to her throat. “Start speaking or else I will not hesitate to drive this in deeper.”

“You can put the dagger down. I actually need your help to stay alive, so I’ll tell you,” she said, deadpan.

I put the dagger away as she wiped off the little bit of blood that escaped. “Well, don’t hesitate.”

“I was undercover at the BNK. There’s something going on there, and it involves one of the new agencies to recently surface, so my father sent me there except I found out that I was sent in alone. Normally they send me in with reinforcements, but this time they sent me alone. I didn’t manage to get far. I only heard three agents from the organization, who I assume were also sent on undercover missions, talk about how they were going to kidnap Drayfus that night. One of them reminded the other two that he had to be alive when they make it back to the organization, but the other two didn’t seem to care about that detail. Anyway, I went looking for Drayfus, and when I found him, I explained to him what I’d heard. He didn’t trust me because I’m a Dragon, but I earned his trust by saving him from the agents. We managed to slip into one of the cargo planes that were coming here, before catching a bus here. The organization must’ve known, hence attacking us,” she explained.

“Why do they want me dead?” Drayfus asked.

The four of us shot him a look. “Aside from the fact that you’re you?”

“Oh gee, thanks guys. I feel so confident in myself now,” he said sarcastically.

“While we all know you’re a pain in the ass, you’re one of the greatest minds to ever exist,” I told him.

He rolled his eyes. “You’re seriously rolling in with the compliments cuz.”

“You know I love you,” I told him.

“Yeah, yeah, but I’m asking for real guys. People generally want to kill me for a specific reason, and now that Storm here just hinted at the fact that the organization didn’t want me to get here, I genuinely think there’s a specific reason why I’m not wanted here,” he explained.

I shared a look with Jayme, and we seemed to be thinking the same thing. “The drive.”

“The drive?” he asked.

“There’s one of two options here. Either they know that we have the drive, or the attack was Hugo’s way of ensuring that you know to check the flash drive. Either way, we are checking that flash drive as soon as possible,” Thales said what I was thinking.

“I don’t get what any of you are talking about,” Storm commented.

“It’s ok. It’s none of your business anyway,” I told her patronizingly.

She spared me a most lovingglance.

Before anyone else could say anything, my organization phone went off. “Element.”

“Code,” was the response.

“EL68NX3#T2PK,” I replied.

“You have a new mission. The target is SyDiTech. The mission; retrieve the prototype of the exoskeleton they’re working on. All information has been sent to your device. Report back as soon as you have the device,” I was informed before the line went dead.

“Uh Jay?” I called.

“Yeah?” he replied.

“We have a bit of a problem,” I told him.

“How bit is bit?” Thales was the one to ask.

“I’ve just received a new mission,” I replied.

“And?” the two of them prompted.

“And my mission counters Six’s mission,” I responded.

Thales sighed. “You have got to be kidding me. They want you to get the prototype too?”

“The prototype? You’re going to SyDiTech?” Drayfus asked, looking more panicked than usual.

“Yes, why?” I asked.

“Is that where Six and Zero have gone?” Storm asked, sounding just as panicked.

“Would the two of you just spill what you know?”

“You know Zero’s identity?”

I said the former and Jayme the latter.

“Yes, I know what Zero looks like. I’ve encountered him before. In terms of what we know, the SyDiTech mission is a set up by one of the new agencies. They know that SyDiTech is tough to crack into, so obviously all the agencies will be sending in their best to retrieve the non-existent prototype. As soon as they arrive, they’ll be taken out, thus leaving the agencies that much weaker. You have to stop them if you want them to live,” Storm replied.

“I’ve lost comms on them and their trackers are out,” Jayme informed as he continued to type.

“Somebody try their cell phones,” Drayfus suggested. Thales and I tried, only for the damn devices to ring in the apartment.

“Well that’s not good,” Drayfus commented.

Thales and I shot him a look. “You don’t say.”

“How is it that they’ve already been intercepted when they haven’t even been gone all that long?” Jayme asked.

“Someone’s got a tail on Six,” I realized.

“They knew Cypher would send him on this mission for sure,” Thales added.

“What do we do now?” Jayme asked.

“We wait,” my cousin replied.

We waited for three days, and I was borderline ready to go out there and kill someone. We couldn’t track them anywhere, and it finally dawned on us that we’d been stuck in the real world for too long. Things were moving rapidly in our world, and we needed to get back to saving the world.

“This is madness! I say we go out there and find them ourselves,” Storm said.

“For someone who claims to not care about Six, you’re mighty worried about him,” Thales commented.

“We have a history,” is all she said.

Like I needed one more thing to think about.

“It literally pains me to have to, but I agree with Storm. Sitting here and doing nothing isn’t helping us,” I pointed out.

“Even if you do go out there, where are you going to start to look?” Jayme asked.

“What were their last pinpointed coordinates?” Storm asked.

“This apartment building,” Jayme informed.

Drayfus scowled. “Someone’s been watching Six way too closely.”

“Who could it possibly be though? I mean Nick already mentioned that the organization was keeping tabs on me, so I had to be careful about what I say and do especially in public with him, but this doesn’t seem like their style,” I noted.

“It’s both tacky and skilful, and I agree that it can’t be the organization. We can’t forget that we have three new players to the game,” my cousin pointed out.

“What if we don’t?” Thales asked.

“What do you mean?” we asked.

“Think about it. When, in the history of our world, has there ever been two, let alone three agents, to get into the game at the same time? I mean, the one thing we all know for sure about the different founders of the agencies is that they love to show off. Coming into the scene with two other agencies doesn’t necessarily give you much of a platform to stand out,” he explained.

Jayme looked thoughtful. “It could be one massive agency split into three?”

“I was suspicious of the whole thing too, so instead I looked into agencies that have shut their doors in the past five years. As an agent, having to adjust to a civilian life couldn’t possibly be easy,” Storm hinted.

“So this one big agency may have recruited a whole lot of agents from old agencies, hence the mystery,” I finished off, to which she nodded.

“That would mean they have the numbers, but not necessarily the skills,” Drayfus commented.

“That’s not necessarily true. The group of people that attacked Cypher had fighting skills we’d never encountered before,” Jayme argued.

“One of the agencies to shut its doors last year specialized solely in fighting. They were rumoured to be the future of this world, but they just never got the backing that they needed. I’ve personally encountered them, and since they hadn’t really gotten around, not many know of them. There’s a possibility that the new agency is using their fighting techniques,” Storm pointed out.

“So we need to look into infiltrating the new agency,” Drayfus stated.

“After we find my brother and my fiancée ,” I added.

“I don’t think that you should be going out to find them,” Thales commented.

“The mission wasn’t even supposed to take one full day. It’s been three days,” I reminded.

“I hear you Elle, I do, but I truly believe that if there are two people who will be able to survive this, it’s the two of them,” he argued.

I couldn’t take being here if we weren’t going to be doing anything.

“I need to get some air,” I said.

“I’ll come with you,” Storm offered.

“Why?” Drayfus and I asked.

She shrugged. “I want ice-cream.”

“Please avoid killing each other,” Jayme commented, his eyes fixed onto the screen.

“I’ll try,” I said, grabbing my car keys.

The two of us walked out of the apartment in silence as we headed towards my car. I wasn’t sure what she was thinking, or why she really wanted to come with me, but I was on high alert alright. We got into the car and I didn’t start it, expectantly waiting for her to say something.

“I know about Phoenix,” she said.

“What do you know about Phoenix?” I asked.

“I know the most important feature of Phoenix. Does Six know about Phoenix?” she asked.

“Not that I know of. If he does, he hasn’t hinted at it. What else do you know?” I questioned.

She sighed. “Not much, but I caught wind of something called Sigma. Do you know what it is?”

“All I know is that it’s the one thing the organization has in connection with Cypher. There’s a Cypher division that’s gone dark, and I’m pretty sure they’re the ones working on Sigma. It’s elusive, and it’s in connection to Infinity,” I replied.

Her eyes widened. “Infinity? Elle that’s the end of the world!”

“You think I don’t know that? The organization keeps messing with my memories, and I have this feeling that they always manage to recapture me when I get close enough to finding some answers,” I responded. Silence filled the car after I said that.

“I’m sorry,” she said after a while.

“What are you sorry for Storm? There’s such a long list,” I reminded.

“I know, and I probably deserve to be dead right now, and there’s no excuse in the world that I could give that would justify my actions, so I won’t bother. Just know that I’m sorry and I can only hope that you one day forgive me,” she said sincerely.

“It’s going to take me a really long time, but I’ll see,” I said lowly.

“Does he know?” she asked.

I shook my head. “No one knows. Reeba spelled that part of his brain,” I replied.

She smiled, holding my hand. “You still found your way to him.”

“By accident, I think. My memory was wiped, so I didn’t really know it was him,” I argued.

“If that part of his brain has been spelled, then he also didn’t know you, and yet the two of you found each other once more,” she countered.

“He hosts Raganor,” I told her.

Her eyes widened once more. “You’re bound?”

I nodded. “We found out a couple of days back.”

“I always knew that a love like yours was one for the books,” she teased, nudging me.

“Shut up! Why would you want to kill us?” I asked her.

She sighed. “I was angry Elle. I lost everything in Cuba. Right now, my parents barely trust me, and Blayze has stopped communicating with me.”

“You still have Ira,” I pointed out.

“Ira will never forgive me. He can’t possibly forgive me after everything,” she denied.

“I think that should be his decision to make. Anyway, enough sappy talk. I think I’d like to have that ice-cream with my best friend,” I said, poking her.

She poked me back. “Your best friend huh?”

We laughed and I drove us to an ice-cream parlour. We sat in one of the booths and just caught up with each other’s lives. She and I go way back, and being an agent means there are times when you’ll probably literally want to kill your best friend.

It’s our twisted kind of normal.

We made it back to the apartment and my eyes found Xander. He was laying on the couch, bleeding from his abdominal area. I ran to him and inspected his face, and he seemed fine, except for the fact that his eyes were closed.

“What happened?” I asked, tears rushing to my eyes.

“He saved my life,” my brother commented.

“He’s going to be fine Ellie. We’ve already stitched him up,” Drayfus informed. I lifted his t-shirt to find that the statement was true.

“When did you get back?” I asked Nick.

“An hour ago. It was a hell of a journey getting back considering we were being tailed,” he replied.

“I’ve managed to retrieve some data from the tablet, but it’s going to take some time to decrypt the files,” Nigel commented as he walked into the room.

“I’ll help,” Nick said, while Storm was frozen.

“Ira?”

His head shot up and his eyes widened. “Storm?”

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