Mace's Gilded Forge

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Chapter 8

Jefferson’s agent was the one Davia met in Venice. That was prior to the business in Costa Rica being finished up. She’d hired the Bejeweled Master to take care of that affair. But as for the agent, Davia played her part to keep the young buck in the dark.

‘I think one of Jeffy’s men just received a promotion,’ she told Sully.

Of course, she knew the truth. That didn’t matter. It was displaying her metaphoric fangs that truly was the artistic reasoning behind her sleight and perverse diction.

‘What a relief,’ he said.

Sully and her toasted with champagne. They had returned to Davia’s estate in the French Alps. The cold winter flaunted its feathers by burying the beautiful chateau in fairytale-like snow. A helicopter was waiting for them outside.

‘I’ll see you soon, my dear!’ Davia yelled at Sully as he departed.

The celebration would have to wait. There was still work to be done.

In Siberia, 77 was surprised to find the secret underground facility void of human life. Stinking corpses lay decaying on the floor in puddles of dried blood—-their bodies riddled with bullet wounds.

77 overlooked none of this. He was certain that whoever committed this genocide was still in the facility. And that bothered him. It was a rare occurrence.

As he made his way into the data center, he discovered the 1960s Soviet supercomputer. It was a work of art, a true masterpiece of transistor engineering. The Russians had designed and assembled the Domino-X1000 before the Americans could finish their project. Cosmonauts used it to train in early flight simulations, until it became obsolete in that function. Later it was allocated by an oligarch who supported Nikita Krushchev. This oligarch was essentially the master agent of the KGB at the time. The underground facility was his brainchild.

77 dug through the archives in St. Petersburg to gather the documents detailing these events pertaining to the Domino-X1000. Now, he was searching the backlogs of the supercomputer's punch card system (essentially a ripoff of an earlier IBM system). It took him a few minutes, but he was able to locate the log he was searching for.

It told him the dates and the locations, printing them off in Cyrilic on nice cream colored ticket paper the Soviets purchased from an Indian company in 1962. 77 had all he needed. It was time to leave.

Something was wrong. He could sense it with his heightened kinetic responses (the desired result of the cybernetic implants). As he turned around, he saw that he was surrounded.

Troopers—-the same ones that assisted in killing Stoess in the Japanese hinterland. There were a dozen at least. With ninja-like skills, the troopers had successfully managed to surround 77 in virtual silence.

One trooper stepped forward. He studied 77 carefully from a distance of around 10 feet.

‘Soldier 77,’ the trooper said. ‘You have performed admirably. But your services are no longer required. We have the information we need.’

‘Nothing on those tapes could have possibly led you this far,’ protested 77.

'The information you obtained from EDA following the assassination of Stoess: you compromised OD. The teams are in danger of full breach worldwide. You will now be executed. This judgment is just, says the One Who Brings the Light.’

77 watched as the troopers raised their weapons to kill positions. They zeroed their sights on lethal points between the armor and sinew of 77’s body.

Before the first trigger could be pulled, 77 activated a laser splitter via the button under his left pinky. The button had to be pressed in a delicate sequence to activate. But 77 rehearsed the scenario many times prior.

A series of blinding green lasers magnified by sophisticated mirrors on laces in the armor emitted from 77’s body. It permanently burned the retinas of everyone in the room.

The troopers fired randomly—-screaming wildly as the flashes continued. 77 pulled the pins out of two semtex grenades hidden in his belt pockets. Throwing them outward from his sides, he lunged and somersaulted into the elevator. The firing continued. Time was limited. This was when 77 used Jackie Chan style moves to clear the top of the elevator. Once on the roof of the car, he used his super MP-2 loaded with thermite rounds to melt the thick cable. Up, up, and away Soldier 77 flew on the cable—-clearing over one mile in record time as the supercomputer room exploded underneath him.

Once he hit the snow at the top, there was someone pointing a bow at his face. And across this someone's back was a mysterious pale blade.

‘The Marshall….’ said 77, standing.

‘Toss the gun!’ screamed the soldier before him. He too was wearing a stealth suit outfitted for the north, but had magic gizmos and a grappling gun mounted on his wrist. His voice sounded older and deep; his face concealed beneath a stylish armored mask.

77 tossed his MP-2 into the snow.

‘I don’t work for them anymore!’ said 77.

There was a pause. The blizzard blew around them.

‘Come with me!’ said The Marshall.

They were enemies—-enemies because both understood so little about the other—-journeying across the Siberian wasteland.

A submarine was waiting for them ten miles to the east. There they joined the Americans aboard the Navy’s USS Ravenwolf.
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