It’s a rainy night in Oregon. I find myself in a dark alleyway as I try to find my destination. All I can see is lights of businesses in the distance and raindrops no farther than arms-length through the darkness.
My mind is constantly racing through three words, constantly recalling adjectives that have been thrown at me over the past few days.
Killer, destructive, nuisance
Killer. This is a term so rough, so cold, so…. Aimless. To me being called a killer is an insult. It’s the lowest description on the totem pole. Deer hunters are killers, those weirdos who use magnifying glasses on ants in 90-degree heat are killers. Me? I’m an assassin. Well, I will be whenever the hell I get to where I’m going. For four years, four long, pain ridden years, I’ve been waiting for this moment. Ever since I was taken away on the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Nanking hotel, where I was told to come to by my corporation leader, Davey Anderson. Anderson is the leader of the U.S secret (depleted) assassin organization, Termitismos, the Greek word for termination. Matter of fact this organization is so secret that our own government doesn’t even know about it, nor can they or everyone involved dies.
I enter the lobby and immediately see the fat ******* sitting at the center table of the room, can’t miss him despite how crowded of a night it was inside the building, he always has two broads less than half his age by his side. You would think with this being an important occasion he would leave them at home right? Nope. If you have it, flaunt it I guess.
“Chase Gordon.” He says as he lets out a big puff of smoke from his cigar picking up an envelope off the table and reaching it out to me, “Welcome.”
“My first suicide attempt, I’m flattered”, I let out trying to use sarcasm as a barrier to protect my fear of what I just read.
“I think the term realist would be more accurate given the situation,” I retort as Anderson throws me a look that gives the impression that he’s half studying me and half trying to calculate a response. Apparently, whatever came to mind for him was good enough to put his cigar down and give full concentration to the matter at hand.
“Your first mission was previously going to be a proxy of sorts… then the matters which caused our little problem intensified and the result is your team having to destroy the real thing”
“Wouldn’t a more experienced squadron be appropriate for a mission with implications as this?” My efforts to hide my true emotions obviously starting not to work.
“As you should know by now what’s left of our organization is already battling on too many fronts as is, your squad honestly has the most experience compared to the alternative which would be to pull the next group out of training early”
“And maybe **** like this is the reason termatismos is in the shape it’s in.” his stare reaching into my own shows him reading me like a book that’s been read time and time over.
“That very well might be the case but it’s the hand we’re dealt and it’s what must be played.” He responds as his stare turns into an emotionless calculated glare that almost surely is what made him our leader in the first place, “Besides, given our current status the wisest decisions must be made and this is it, your intellect, precision and destructive capabilities are exactly what will be necessary to get this done along with the chemistry your squad has as a unit.”
Destructive. The least of the three evils. I spent many years of my childhood running and weak, using everything i could to get around a feeling of lack of power that I never could get away from. When I started here I was surprised by the power that I actually had inside me, in part because of the positions I was put in, constantly having my back against the wall around here showed what I really had inside to get through and stay alive along with make it through to the next stage of training. My problem with this word is that destruction rarely knows true merit and there seems to always be casualties that didn’t need to exist. My whole purpose has been to protect the innocent from real truth and kill those who want to shove it in their faces. One of my greatest fears is to allow the latter to get in the way of my motives towards the former.
Inside the envelope was a passport, a prepay debit card, cell phone with a charger, and two fake ID’s that until now I never thought were of much more use than giving misguided and easily entertained youth the ability to illegally drink.
“I assume the money on this card covers our funeral costs.” I uttered with a feeling of shock that this was actually happening as if four years of training wasn’t a stark enough daily reminder.
“It’s always amused me how the nuisance of your youth is also the mild source of my entertainment,” he retorted with the first hint of a smirk since his goons escorted me to his car to start this nightmare. “Nevertheless, you’re completely ignoring the best part, you’re a superhero now” his smirk now growing to a sarcastic grin.
“Shadowknight… is this a racial reference?” with that one remark it looked as if the old gremlin had seen a ghost until he realized I was speaking purely out of satire rather than insinuating an accusation of racial prejudice.
“Like I said, the nuisance of your youth…”
Nuisance. I’ve always had two very different views on this word. On the negative side is the cliché image of your high school crush walking away because you had just spent the past two months being entirely too nice to her and she’s finally had enough. On the other side is the opportunity of being the more passive idea of the previous adjective destructive. When used with this definition in mind there’s no term in the English language that gives me as warm of a feeling inside as this one simply because it means I can have an effect without even touching you. In this “career field” so much emphasis is placed on the physical, is the target incapacitated? Wounded? Deceased? But this one tiny compliment means I can put my hands on the foundation of the targets mission without being in the room, the building, or even the country and with the volatility of this occupation any slither of security that I can get my hands on is welcomed.
“One more thing,” he says as he clasps his hands together as a way of cementing this as the final, yet most important, part of our brief encounter, I want you to understand with this being the final step to your graduation of this program that your ties to your previous life are officially cut, and that while you were in training the ways you kept in contact with your loved ones were tolerated, but now that you’re In the field those exact tactics have a strong possibility of putting the same people in danger that you are motivated to protect and must cease. You’ve been warned.”
With that, the Hugh Hefner wanna-be gave a final stern glance in my direction to give me a second to formulate a response that in the moment I just didn’t have, then he and his expensive side pieces got up and started to walk away. As I glanced at the items he left before putting them back in the envelope I noticed the backside of the paper with my codename written on it had a message.
“Wear your emotions on your sleeve, but never do anything within your power to cause that same sleeve to be too heavy to bear.”
And that was the end of my innocence.