Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The sun had begun to set when Megan drove a black McLaren up a long driveway to join the long line of prestigious vehicles already queued up there.
Her heart thundered in her chest. This isn’t going to work, Megan, she thought to herself, terrified. They’re going to find you out.
She tried to calm herself though, directing her thoughts instead to the events that had led to where she was.
“I still think a tact team’s better suited for this, Director,” Megan recalled her conversation with Dennis after their meeting was over and they were riding an elevator down to where the latter described as Olympus’s underground airfield- she still couldn’t bring herself to understand how he had thought to put those two words together, or how something had made it even possible for him to do so to begin with.
“And like I said, Miss Months,” he replied, “I want you on this.” He turned to face her squarely, very serious. “You can do this, Megan. I believe in you.”
Belief was never synonymous with results in Megan’s books, but as he was her boss and she didn’t have a choice in the matter- regardless of how democratic Dennis was presenting the issue- she decided to accept it anyway.
The elevator came to a stop with a silent hiss as usual and its doors slid open to reveal an expanse of space that took Megan’s breath away not for the first time since her arrival at Olympus. Turns out, when Dennis says airfield, he means airfield, she thought, wowed.
The underground area was everything an airfield should be: fleets of airplane lined in a row, multiple runways crisscrossing from one end of the area to the other as far a person could squint to see it on both sides, an actual terminal standing proudly at the edge where the ground opened to the blue sky, and over a hundred men and women working in droves to maintain the order of everything around.
What Megan was looking at, as she herself realized immediately, wasn’t just some put-together airfield but a fully functioning, well-equipped airport. In fact, it would probably be one of the best airports in the world if it was above ground and opened to the general public.
But “open to the general public” isn’t Olympus’s way, she reminded herself.
“This is incredible, Director,” she remarked anyway.
“It is, isn’t it?” He smiled.
It had become obvious to Megan that Dennis loved showing off what a wonder Olympus was. She suspected strongly that he might even derive some sort of gratification from it.
Just then, an airplane easily the size of a Boeing 747 rode onto the runway. Jay and Adolf were on board and the latter waved to Megan and Dennis when the door opened enough and he came out to greet them.
“Wait, we’re going in that?” it suddenly dawned on Megan. “But isn’t it a little conspicuous?” Well, more than a little, actually, she added in her head but didn’t mention it.
“The Chariot is a fully functioning Olympus station,” Dennis explained. “It houses every facility and resource present here in the building, which, as you already may have guessed, won’t fit into anything smaller.” He chuckled at his own attempt at a comic relief. “But don’t worry, it’s stealthy.”
Megan found it hard to believe that anything that large could ever be stealthy but she didn’t argue it. Plus that was the moment Kei showed up.
The teenager was dressed in her trademark leather jacket and jeans, but this time, she had two katanas hanging from scabbards on her back, three daggers from her belt, and one dagger protruding from the top of her boot. Overkill much? Megan quirked an eyebrow
Kei made a face the moment she saw Megan standing next to the plane alongside Dennis. “She’s going with us then, Director?” she said and scoffed. “This should be fun.”
“She is in charge of this mission, Kei,” he corrected her, deliberately adding a stern glare at the end of the statement to fortify his point. “You do everything she says and how she says it.”
“Whatever.” Kei rolled her eyes before brushing past Megan to make her way onto the plane, pushing the boys still standing at the door inside as she did.
Yep, this should be fun. Megan felt a migraine coming on at the thought of spending the entire trip and even more time with the teenage speedster.
“Are you sure about this, Director?” She turned back to face Dennis.
“Very sure, Miss Months,” he replied. “Very.”
He gave her a quick smile just before his watch beeped and he turned to take his leave. It didn’t take powers to know that he had left the matter to her to handle as she wished; and so, she did.
The Chariot, as Dennis had called to it, was exactly what it was described as: a station. Three levels high, it housed everything from a battlestation, to an armoury, a medical lab, and even a garage with more than twenty cars in storage- it was where Megan had found the McLaren she drove to the party.
In short, the Chariot was a piece of incredible machinery designed to ensure an Olympus team’s efficiency and success on a mission; and Megan really hoped it helped hers too.
“So, what’s the plan, Meg?” Kei asked as soon as they had left Olympus firmly behind.
“Our goal is to gather as much information as we can on this man, Ricardo Di Santo.” She tapped on an interactive glass table the team was standing in front of in the plane’s battlestation and a picture of Ricardo- same one Dennis had shown her earlier- popped up. “Specifically, we’re to obtain intel on if and where he has Item 13 stored, list of those who may be in collaboration with him on the theft, and if possible, what their plan is with it.”
Megan swiped the portrait to the left and the map of an area popped up in its stead. “Not much is known about DiSanto’s residence in Rio,” she continued on, “but the open house party happening there tonight will guarantee that we have the cover of many people to get in and learn as much as we can on both it and its owner.
“So, here’s how we’ll be positioned for the operation…”
Megan designated herself as lead of the operation. She was the adult on the team so logically, her presence at the party would raise no question at all; and, despite Kei’s protest, she was also the only person among them who actually understood people enough to blend into the atmosphere.
Kei was Megan’s beta, which meant she would carry on with the mission should the latter be unable for some reason to complete the task. Megan designated her so because her speed was a guarantee that she would be able to follow her and reach where she couldn’t in record time before the mission got completely shut down.
Jay was to provide technical support. His energy manipulation power was the surest way to handle the techs in the house without causing a ruckus should the need arrive; and with a few tips from Megan, he got himself into the party as a last-minute replacement for a server whom Kei persuaded to cancel- a euphemistic way of saying that she threatened to hang him by his intestines if he didn’t leave the city before nightfall.
Adolf’s role was to stay back on the Chariot as backup. He would help coordinate the positions from the plane and also be ready to fly to the party at a moment’s notice should any of the others run into trouble to help and provide added support for an exfiltration.
Now, for the real work, Megan snapped back to the present just as she reached the head of the queue at front of the house.
She got out and a valet- a young man who looked to be in his early twenties- came to take the car key from her. “Thank you.” She smiled at him, using the opportunity to straighten her body-fitted black chiffon gown before she moved again.
Megan looked up and stopped in her tracks. This can’t be real! she gasped.
Thing is, while she had seen a picture before, her mind was still completely blown when she saw the building that was Ricardo DiSanto’s place of residence in real life.
Astrodomo de DiSanto, the locals called it; and an apt name too because the building was actually a large glass dome in the sky, vividly reflecting the red hue of the setting sun on the ground like something out of a sci-fi movie.
A very long steel tower- at least two thousand feet tall and ten feet wide, if what Megan heard about it was correct- provided the stand for the "astrodome"; and if an article by a reporter Ricardo supposedly allowed into the house once before was to believed, it was built just enough to accommodate two elevators that rode its length to and from the dome and nothing else.
Well, there’s a man with a god complex, Megan shook her head and smiled.
Thing is, she didn’t care one bit for Ricardo DiSanto’s obvious megalomania, but she had to admit that she was intrigued by his creative way of showing it. He was someone who strove to be beyond the mundane and that fascinated her.
But there's still work to be done, Megan, she snapped herself out of her thoughts again- something she realised she seemed to be doing very often since she arrived in Rio- and proceeded towards the guards stationed at the entrance to the tower.
“Hello, I’m here for the party,” she said.
“Of course, ma’am.” They waved her through a metal detector to an open elevator.
Megan entered and was joined by four other guests before the elevator began a steady ascent into the clouds. Phase one complete, she thought to herself as she looked up to see the dome approach. Time for phase two.