Dionysus had been tied to a black steel chair, wrists behind her back and feet to the chair legs. It was a step down from a cage where she could at least move around.
“Sorry about this, Dio,” Gunn said calmly, checking the knots. “Boss doesn’t take chances on Alliance.”
“Understandable,” Dionysus said,looking at the door. “I wouldn’t trust Copperhead either.”
Gunn found himself smiling, before standing and clearing his throat.
“Yo, boss! It’s all good, now!”
The door opened, and Dionysus was genuinely surprised by who she saw. A Human woman, a little shorter than average, with void black hair cut short, seemingly with a knife.She was strong, judging by the defined muscles visible on her arms and abdomen.
The leader of Copperhead walked into the room, and planted a foot on the chair, between Dionysus’s legs.
“So, he does care after all,“she mused, mirroring the last words Dionysus had heard before succumbing in the tunnels. “What do you want here, Agency?”
Dionysus looked up at the woman, a little put off by the manic glee in her storm-water eyes, but held her ground, or rather chair. The woman grabbed Dionysus’s face, her thumb in one cheek and fingers in the other, pulling her face forward.
“Do I look like a girl who likes her time wasted?” she said simply.
“No, ma’am,” Dionysus said through the hand.
“Then answer my questions. Please. Or I’m going to start cutting things off.”
Dionysus was not like Zeus or Tartarus. She wasn’t a hardened soldier that had had training drilled into her. So at the threat of removed extremities, she started tearing up.
“I’m sorry!” she said through sobs. “I just, I wasn’t... I died in New York in a robbery gone wrong, then woke up in a cloning pod! I don’t want to be here!”
The woman sighed as Dionysus cried, then removed her foot from the chair. She crouched down to Dionysus’s level.
“Hey,” she said quietly. “I get it.”
Dionysus sniffed and looked at the woman, who smiled softly.
“I get it,” she repeated. “I used to be an Agent, too. I died in 2003, when my car went off the road. I woke up in a pod, and pushed into a team where I didn’t know anyone, had no idea what was happening, or even how to use a gun. I was an engineer.”
Dionysus listened, thankful for the connection. Her tears were still falling, but the woman continued to speak, trying to allay her concerns.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone,” the woman said. “I just want the Alliance, the people who hurt millions every day, to leave us alone. To leave me alone. I told Nevada that if he sent a squad here, I’d listen to his demands, but seeing you here... No offense, but I get the sense he expected you all to die.”
Dionysus sighed. “It makes sense... we botched the last mission majorly... Apollo had to stay behind to save us all and Nevada refused to bring him back because Apollo chose to stay. Same thing with Cerberus. He stayed behind on the Klisky space station so we could get out. Both of them are still dead.”
“So much for immortality, am I right?” The woman walked behind Dionysus and pulled a knife. Dionysus tensed up slightly, but was confused when the ropes fell from her wrists.
“You’re letting me go?”
The woman sheathed the knife, and walked back to face Dionysus.
“No, not yet. You might not attack me, but you came in with an Alliance marine, who absolutely will if I let her go. That and your friends are on their way here.”
The woman walked to the door and knocked on it. It opened, and Gunn pushed his head inside.
“What’s up, boss?” he said.
“Dionysus and I have come to an understanding. Right?”
Dionysus nodded, rubbing her wrists as she untied her feet. Gunn smiled and opened the door completely. The woman leaned against the wall, watching Dionysus stand.
“By the way, my name is Callista Sion, but for your records, you may know me as Agent Chicago.”
Immediately, Dionysus was wracked with intense cranial pain, and she fell to her knees. Her chip had heard Callista identifying herself as Chicago, and a warning was emblazoned over Dionysus’s vision.
Do not trust her.
Zeus and Epione stopped as their implants flared up painfully. Zeus held himself up with the wall as Epione fell to the ground from the fiery pain within her head. Both agents saw a warning in their vision.
High Priority Target - Agent Chicago. Mission has been changed to elimination.
Zeus groaned as he shook the pain from his eyes.
“You alright, Alliance?” Abigail said, patting him on the shoulder. Epione was still in pain on the ground, with Minnie trying to help her up.
“Apparently we have new orders from the higher ups,” Zeus said. “Our mission has changed to assassination of a former Alliance operative.”
“A former operative?” Abigail asked. “What’s their handle?”
“Chicago. Hold on, I need to confer with Alice.”
Zeus stepped away from the three women in his group, clearing his throat. “Alice?”
Despite Tartarus being at the Alliance camp, Alice appeared in Zeus’s vision. Her purple visage was looking a little frayed, like she’d been overclocked this mission.
“Yes, Zeus?” Alice said, attempting to hide her fatigue.
“I need information on an Agent Chicago.”
Alice nodded, and she changed into a digital representation of Agent Chicago. She had short hair, a wild look in her eyes, and if Zeus had to guess at her descent, she was European. The photo was also likely outdated, given the model was still wearing Agency issue armor.
“Agent Chicago, former member of the now defunct Liberty Squad. Betrayed the Alliance with Agents Salem, Hollywood, Memphis and Manhattan, but separated from them quickly. Wanted for the murder of Agent Honolulu, terrorism, espionage, grand larceny-”
“Skip the crimes list, please,” Zeus said politely. “I get she’s dangerous. Do we know why she betrayed the Alliance?”
“No reason was given, though one could be extrapolated by examining testimonies from other Liberty Squad agents, and Alliance personnel that have met Agent Chicago.”
“Extrapolate, give me a profile.”
Alice was silent for a few moments, enough time for Epione to have recovered and walked over. Her head was groggy and Minnie was fanning air into her face.
“Profile complete,” Alice said. “Her given name is Callista Sion, which she is able to use after the illegal removal of her Agency implant. She has been running a paramilitary organization Copperhead, in direct conflict with the Alliance of Three and the Realmic Concord.”
“Wait,” Epione piped up. “She fights the Realmic Concord as well? So she’s on her own side?”
“More likely Copperhead is a mercenary organization,” Zeus concluded. “But sticking it to Nevada is a plus for missions.”
“Zeus...” Epione said.
“I don’t care what the mission is,” Zeus said as he continued to walk. “I’m getting Dionysus out of there and ending this war. If I come across Chicago, I’ll take a shot, but I’m here to save lives.”
Minnie and Epione followed Zeus without question. Abigail tilted her head as she watched them walk away. “Huh... Did you get that, ma’am?”
“I did,” Serenity said over the comms. “Abigail, stick with them. I’ll contact you with new orders soon.”
Abigail ran to catch up with her team as Zeus led them to Dionysus’s signal. Alice was warning them however that she was surrounded by unidentified signals. That was likely Copperhead.
“We’ll be fighting, Olympus,” he said simply. Minnie checked her handgun and Epione hoisted her rifle up. Abigail drew one of her knives and held her rifle ready.
The four of them approached a door that led to a cistern in all likelihood. Not wanting to waste a moment, Zeus kicked opened the door and walked inside, aiming his rifle.
Ahead of him was more soldiers wearing uniforms emblazoned with a cobra, each armed with a weapon similar to his. They all turned at the noise and raised their weapons. Epione and Minnie walked in behind Zeus, aiming their weapons as well, while Abigail stayed at the door and aimed from afar.
“I’m here for my team,” Zeus said simply. “Either hand them over or this will get bloody.”
Despite being outnumbered 10 to 1, Zeus maintained his cool. He remembered saying the same thing to the Nazis that had found him by his crashed plane. He had made them pay to kill him and he would make Copperhead pay as well.
“No need for violence,” a woman’s voice said in the crowd. Callista walked to the front with her hands splayed open in front of her chest. “You must be Agent Zeus.”
“That would make you Agent Chicago...”
Callista’s nose turned up at being identified this way. It was disgust and shame at being associated with the Agency as anything other than a villain.
“Please, call me Callista. I’d use your name, but that chip in your head prevents that.”
Zeus glared at Callista. It was true that the implant prevented him from even saying his true name. His mind flashed back to the intense pain he felt when he tried to say his name.
When he tried to say Ian.
“Alright,” Zeus said carefully, his aim firmly on Callista’s head. “How’s this one going to end?”
“I let you go with Dionysus and the marine. Now that Nevada’s taking an interest in this conflict, I need to leave before he sends a competent squad.”
The insult stung but it was true. Olympus had had a lot of failures since it’s formation.
“But I get to leave safely. No one shooting at me or Copperhead.
The deal was good, though it meant disobeying direct orders. No bloodshed and Zeus could end the war. A plan started to form in Zeus’s mind, where he could have this and a shot at Chicago later.
“Alright, but one addition,” he said, lowering his gun. Minnie and Epione followed suit but Abigail kept her aim trained on Callista.
“Once you’re off the planet, Olympus gets a chance to try and capture you. Our ship against yours. That way I can still tell my boss I tried.”
Callista smiled ruefully at the idea. “Oh, I like that! I might just end up killing you anyway! Deal, Olympus.”
“Zeus,” Abigail said quietly. “She’s responsible for a lot of death. You better catch her.”
Dionysus was pulled from another room and Marcella was lifted from her cell by a Copperhead soldier. The three of them walked from the Copperhead side of the room to Zeus’s.
“One more thing,” Callista said. “The guy carrying your soldier. His name is Gunn and he wants to switch sides. How do you handle this, Olympus?”
Zeus looked at Dionysus, wordlessly asking if he could trust Gunn. Dionysus, without missing a beat, nodded and smiled.
“Accepted. Let’s go, Olympus.”
Abigail swore under her breath as she moved out of the doorframe, allowing Olympus to leave. She cast a steely glare at Callista before closing the door.