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Chapter 16

Just as Megan thought that she and Ricardo were home free, one of the assailants suddenly turned and spotted them. “Target acquired!” he shouted to his comrades and they turned; their guns immediately on the ready.

They pulled the trigger but a glass panel slid up in front of the platform just in time to deflect the bullets away before they found home in Megan and Ricardo's bodies.

“Down,” Ricardo commanded and a tube extended down from the astrodome towards the ground; the platform descending speedily through it.

Megan caught a glimpse of Adolf flying up to one of the assailants to give him an uppercut before the the party disappeared from sight and she forced herself to relax. He’ll be okay, she assured herself and then remembered, I, on the other hand, still have some things to attend to.

“Jay, retrieve the car and bring it to my location on the ground,” she said over the comms.

“Already on it, Megan,” he replied and a smile crossed her face despite everything. He's very intuitive, she thought.

Truth is, all the kids were- even Kei, Megan had to admit to herself- In fact, their intuition was a major reason why she had been to carry the mission as far as she had and she knew it; and they would have helped her carried much further if not for the intrusion.

If only those guys didn’t show up, Megan groaned in her head; and then it dawned on her to ask the question,Why did they?

Thing is, the operation made no sense at all. There was no coordination of a robbery or the subtlety of an assassination. The men had just landed in the astrodome and began to shoot sporadically.

Except maybe it wasn’t sporadic, she reconsidered.

Thing is, as Megan remembered, the original entrant had actually picked out Ricardo to be shot; and would gotten him too if she hadn’t risked her neck for him; and the next shots at them had seemed more intended for him than her.

His house, his party, his attackers.

He's the target, she realised, which led her again to the same query. Why?

Just then, the platform slowed its speed as it approached the ground and Megan snapped out of her thoughts to see the residence's lawn part way and admit them into the building's underground parking lot. The platform came to a stop on a marked circular spot on the ground and the tube receded immediately back to the sky.

“Wow! That was really-” Whatever Megan wanted to say died in her throat as she turned to see Ricardo aim a pistol at her head. “Rick,” a confused expression appeared on her face, "what are you doing?"

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Look, I don't mean any harm,” she tried with her hands up to show her cooperation, “I'm just-”

“I asked, who the hell are you?!” He pulled the safety off on the gun.

Megan stopped, her heart in her mouth. What the hell am I supposed to say? she began to contemplate. Blurting out “Olympus” doesn't sound like what a seasoned agent would do.

Unfortunately, there was the fact that she wasn’t a seasoned agent. A seasoned agent would definitely not have gotten themselves in the bind that she was.

She read Ricardo's aura and saw that he was really on edge about the situation. Anything less than convincing from her would be very dire.

You really dug yourself in this one, didn't you, Megan? she thought.

Truth be told, Megan knew the exact moment when Ricardo began to suspect her: the "third elevator" query. She had been so overcome by the excitement of the situation then that she had opened herself to his scrutiny in order to make a point; and now, she was going to regret it.

Unless of course I find a way to take the gun out of the equation, the thought suddenly occurred to her.

Megan's mind began to work on a plan. “Okay, Ricardo, I’ll tell you the truth,” she said and his grip immediately relaxed on the trigger. “The truth is that I’m really a psychologist; and like I told you before, I just started a new job. The people I work for are-”

Whoosh! Ricardo slammed the wall to fall on the ground so fast that it took Megan a couple of seconds to convince herself that it happened. Oh my God, he's not moving, was the first thought that popped into her head when she did and she ran to check on him, sighing in relief when she saw him groan.

She turned back to see Kei resting nonchalantly against the wall, dusting her palms like she just took out the trash.

“What the hell, Kei?!” Megan screamed. "I was handling it."

"Handling it?" Kei scoffed. "Looks like he was handling you. God, Meg, I can't believe you would give up Olympus just because of a little gun threat."

“Ricardo wasn't threatening me." She looked down again to see if he had broken anything but he seemed fine. "You know, I would have gotten him to cooperate if you hadn’t gone on all body slam on him.”

"Whatever floats your boat, puppy love," Kei returned with an eye-roll and Megan would have hit her if Jay hadn't pulled the McLaren to a stop beside them just then.

“This is interesting.” He quirked an eyebrow at the sight of Ricardo on the floor. “What now?”

Megan came to an abrupt stop at the question. What now? she found herself asking again.

Thing is, since the first assailant dropped in through the glass ceiling and fired off his first shot- since she met Ricardo actually, if she was being honest- the mission had faded from her mind. It was like nothing mattered but getting to the next moment; and now that that next moment had arrived, she realized that she still couldn't form a coherent thought.

The mission is to get proof that Ricardo has Item 13 in custody, Megan reminded herself, which was a bust at that point, obviously. She was no closer to that proof any more than the time she walked into Astrodomo de DiSanto earlier that evening; and worse, it didn't take powers to know that she wouldn't be having another chance to have a go at it after the way the evening had spiraled out of control.

And that includes Kei knocking Ricardo unconscious without any respect for me, she added in her head, surprising finding herself pissed off by it than she considered she should.

Probably has to do with the fact that that girl just can’t help getting on my nerves, she reasoned, but that felt unsatisfactory deep down and she just let it drop altogether.

Megan brought herself out of her thoughts and looked around for what could be a semblance of a plan moving forward. Her eyes settled on Ricardo on the floor and she sighed. “Get him in the trunk,” she instructed.

Kei appeared taken aback by the statement and she looked to Jay to see a mirror of her own expression on his. “Meg, are you sure?” she asked.

“Stop questioning everything I do, Kei, and just get him in the goddamn trunk,” she returned and got into the car, banging the door shut to forestall any further queries.

Jay prompted Kei and they did as instructed after some seconds; he getting in the driver seat to drive the McLaren out of the parking lot just as Adolf flew out of the astrodome amidst screaming crowd still trapped inside. It didn't need saying that the Rio mission was one that wouldn't be forgotten too quickly by the team.

“Oh, the director is going to be very displeased when he hears of what happened here tonight,” Kei said from the front but Megan ignored her.

Truth be told though, she agreed with the statement. In fact, "displeased" will be an understatement when Dennis hears of this, she thought; and as always with her feelings, she wasn't wrong.

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