The Doyenne Assassin frowned as the Scout stood in front of her door at her Ravenglass home wearing a stunning black cocktail dress. “I just came back from an Assignment and I absolutely must replace the closet flange in the loo, darling. Just because I am glamorous by nature, it doesn’t mean I can get away with not knowing how to do basic home repairs.”
The young Scout looked serious as she stood straight, “The Mutus requires you to take care of a very delicate situation in New York City immediately. I am here to babysit your son Percy while you dispatch a Dreadful.”
“But the closet flange is making such a dreadful problem. Perhaps Assassin Fenstermacher or Brigham need some spiritual reconnection with a good old-fashioned whacking.”
“This is not the usual Assignment, Doyenne.”
“The Mutus has decided to let the terrorist attack befall the United States as the date is a symbolic one that works in the Mutus’ interests.”
“Which date is that?”
“September eleventh. Nine-one-one. One of the targets is the World Trade Center, and that poses a problem.”
“Again, how so?”
“The Dreadful works there and plans his own campaign of economic terror that will be set off there, and may come to fruition before the airplanes are to hit their targets.”
“They are crashing planes into buildings?”
“The Towers, the Pentagon, and the White House. We will divert the other attacks, but as it will look suspicious if we thwart them all, the Mutus has decided to let the one in New York go as planned, mostly because of the Dreadful. You need to dispatch of him, take anything incriminating, and get out before the planes hit. There will be one of our stealth planes waiting for you to take you out of the country immediately. You must remove absolutely everything because even in rubble, evidence can be stumbled upon.”
“But if the towers are to be razed to the ground…”
“The Mutus cannot take the risk.”
“Who is the Dreadful?”
“Ethan Mason, an executive with Heisley Hunter Risk Management Corporation, which is on the hundred and fourth floor of the South Tower, the top floor.”
“An interesting area in a place in critical risk. Does he know?”
“Yes, he is aware because he is planning to swindle clients and run out of the building, hoping he will be counted as one of the dead, and the destruction cover his tracks. You can save no one, Doyenne. You won’t have the time. Go in, dispatch of him, grab the files, and get out before the planes hit.”
“Is he in cahoots with the terrorists?”
“No, as his job is risk management, he has means of finding out with his own scouts.”
“And he has decided to take advantage of it.”
“Yes, here is your suitcase with everything you need to know. You will have to read it on the plane on your way to New York.”
“I will personally look after Percy.”
“That prat is a mangy menace. I do not like to be rushed, but if time is of the essence, then let’s go.”
This was not the usual assignment, thought the Doyenne as she finished reading the particulars in the briefcase. The Mason wanker kept his cards close to his chest, and was not in one of the glamour industries, meaning her half-sister Mina Bloomsbury would have no insider gossip to share with her.
Nevertheless, she would call her all the same.
“Bo! How are you?”
“Under a tight deadline, unfortunately, but decided to ring you up all the same. You are not headed for New York City today by any chance, gorgeous?”
“No, I am staying in Los Angeles to put on the finishing touches.”
“Good, I cannot wait to hear it. I am en route to New York myself, but it is just a stopover for some minor business, and I will fly over right after to see you.”
Mina squealed. “Bo! That is the best surprise of all! I’ll make reservations for dinner for the two of us.”
“That’s just cracking sweetheart. I will see you then. Cherrio!”
Mina’s voice was always reassuring, and the Doyenne Assassin needed to reassure herself that her sister wouldn’t be on any flight that could very well be her last.
With that out of the way, she took out her compact, used some Sassy Goddess Night Cream as her assignment would most likely require some strenuous facial movements, and there was no need to get wrinkle and crease damage on the account of some Dreadful wanker she was about to whack.
When the Doyenne arrived in front of the South Twin Tower, a Scout was anxiously waiting for her.
“You have arrived, Doyenne. What should I do?”
“I want you to do a single thing.”
“Not get into that building at all…”
“You will stand at a respectable distance where we agree, and you will help as many people without getting inside when the darkness strikes. I am forbidden from helping innocents, but you can shepherd as many people as you can to safety. That is the burden you are taking off my shoulders, love.”
The young man nodded. “If that is your command, then I will follow it, Doyenne.”
“And I want you to stay alive because if something were to happen to you, I would be very sad. I have an earpiece and Control to guide me. Everything else is timing. Now, we will meet one block east where our plane will come to rescue us. Understood.”
“Yes, Doyenne, and may Una et Dilectos show you the way.”
The Doyenne Assassin smirked as she waved goodbye and entered the building.
She had exactly one hour to do her work. This would be simple enough, though there was a tight timeframe, it was an anticlimactic Assignment. For one, she just had to whack a Dreadful with no fun subtext. His corpse couldn’t be found in some scandalous position with a note about how he was a vile munter who deflowered barnyard animals. He would be ashes as his body would never be found. That wrinkle was very boring.
Getting all of the documents he had would also be a bureaucratic drag. The Mutus did not know what he had or his exact plans, only that he got wind of the attack and was about to profit from them in his job in risk management.
How he got wind of this terrorist plot intrigued the Doyenne. If he knew about the plot, could he know about the Mutus?
She signalled to Control.
“Doyenne?” Control spoke through her earpiece.
“Gorgeous, do me one favour?”
“Call the Dreadful on the phone and ask him if Una et Dilectos showed him the way.”
“Just ask, and then tell me the results. I do not want to go to the top floor only for there to be an ambush.”
“Won’t it tip him off?”
“I want him to be tipped off. Just do it.”
“Stay on the line.” Control was off for less than a minutes before returning, sounding agitated, “He swore and screamed, ‘How did you know?’ We’ve been made! Now what?”
“Don’t worry,” the Doyenne said cheerfully, “I have a plan.”
The elevator reached the top floor as she got off and strutted toward the offices of Heisley Hunter Risk Management Corporation.
Just as the receptionist was about to speak, Bo took a gun and shot her in the head, as she began shooting everyone on the floor who tried to run.
They would all be dead in a matter of minutes, anyway. This way, there would be no terrifying last moments of seeing a plane crash into them.
Just as she shot the last person, the Dreadful was running out of his office carrying a suitcase, saw the Doyenne, but before he could pull out his own gun, the Doyenne slapped it out of his hand and injected him with a paralyzing serum.
“You, on the other hand, are going to be awake to watch the grand finale,” she cooed as she dragged his body, and propped in up in front of the window.
She grabbed his briefcase and merrily whistled a jaunty tune as she headed for his office to retrieve all his files and personal affects. Control could follow the paper trails. Right now, she had a job to do and very little time to do it.
As she used her various gadgets and gizmos to extract everything from the hard drives and servers, the Doyenne, remembered to erase everything as well, lest there be some small chance of anything being left behind and discovered. There would be malware to infest his home computers. Everything would be wiped clean.
Just as she finished ransacking his office, Control buzzed in.
“What is it?” asked the Doyenne.
“I have been going over some of the files you recovered, and it is more serious than we thought.”
“What do you mean?”
“He has deep access into Mutus affairs. You have to interrogate him.”
“Now? After I just paralyzed the minger and there is an airplane making a beeline toward me? He’ll be dead in less than an hour…”
“We have to know who’s his source.”
The Doyenne groaned. “I’ll do my best, but if I survive all of this, this Furlough better be filled with perks galore, and I mean it.”
“Do what you have to do.”
The Doyenne rolled her eyes and then jauntily strutted toward the Dreadful as he was sweating and convulsing as he drooled on the glass in front of him.
There was no time to waste, and she wasn’t in the mood for a fight. She grabbed the Dreadful threw him in an office chair, and then took a cord from her purse and tied his hands to the arm rests.
She rummaged through her designer handbag before she squealed with glee, took out two syringes and stabbed him with both in the arm.
“A serum to undo the paralysation and a truth serum. I haven’t got all day. Now, Mr. Mason, you know all about the Mutus, but the Mutus doesn’t know who has been blabbing our secrets to you or why. Which scrubber have you been shagging to find out all about us?”
The Dreadful gasped and thought he could fight the effects of the truth serum, but as he stared into the Assassin’s eyes, it was more than obvious she had some sort of hypnotic glance that triggered the serum to work, and he could not compel himself to look away.
The Doyenne snapped her head back before she signalled to Control. “Did you hear that?”
There was a long pause. “She has been reclassified as Disgraced. We will find her immediately.”
The Doyenne turned to the Dreadful. “Why did she open her munter’s mouth to you?”
“We had a scheme going. She’d feed me the stuff the Mutus was planning, and then I’d buy the stocks that would benefit from it, and she’d get a cut.”
“I see. So, what were you two planning to do?”
“I embezzled money from clients because we didn’t have that kind of cash to make the investments pay off, but she was worried someone would catch on. We agreed to sell everything today, and use the bombing to cover up everything.”
“Who were you planning to kill to take the wrap for all of this?”
“I don’t know his name. It was Jessica who said she’d send him up here, and then I’d drug him, and take off.”
The Doyenne took out one more syringe with a suggestibility serum, and stabbed him with it. “You will call the trollop right now and tell her to bring your mark right now.”
The Doyenne grabbed the Dreadful’s phone from his breast pocket, and used one of her devices to automatically place the call to the Disgraced.
The Dreadful complied against his will as his face reddened and contorted. When he was done, the Doyenne signalled Control once more.
“What is it, Doyenne?”
“Tell my Scout to intercept the Disgraced and her target, and separate the target from her. When that happens, give me the signal.”
The Doyenne rummaged through her purse once more. “It is a good thing I keep a few extra paralyzing syringes in here for emergencies.” She took one out and stabbed the Dreadful in the thigh one more time before pushing his chair to the front window. “This is your final view from the top. Thank your trollop for this breathtaking scene.”
She then took the briefcases and walked out of the offices, and sadly looked around at the people walking the halls. Soon, most of them would be dispatched to the afterlife, and there was nothing that could be done about it.
She took the elevator to the twentieth floor, before getting off. It was safer to walk down the stairs in case the terrorists were ahead of schedule. She reached the main floor when Control spoke through her piece, “The Scout has managed to secure the Guarded’s safety.”
“Excellent. And where is the Disgraced?”
“She believes she lost him in the crowd…”
Suddenly, the Doyenne heard a loud crash and looked up into the sky and whistled.
It was beginning ahead of schedule, and her job was not quite done.
When the Doyenne met up with the Scout, she looked around. “Where’s the Guarded?”
“In the melee, he ran away.”
“What about the Disgraced?”
“I managed to place a tracking device on her.”
“Brilliant, my sharp striving Scout. I will just zap my tracker to yours, and I will be able to hunt the trollop down.”
“And what will you do? Assassinate her?”
“There is a place where naughty little trolls like her are kept in the Mutus – just be certain you never get yourself in there. Go to the plane, and I will meet you there in a few minutes. Toodles.”
The Doyenne looked at the tracker and sighed. One would think a Messenger whose own parents were high-ranking members would be more cunning: Spy Malloy and Detective Malloy were cherished members whose own parents were members of the Mutus as well. What possessed the trollop to go rogue was anyone’s guess as the Dreadful wasn’t all that attractive, and there had to be more to it than her losing her head bedding a lazy louse that had to have his prey brought to him.
The Doyenne stopped walking and waited patiently at a street corner that was a few blocks from Ground Zero. The crowds were screaming and it was an awful din, but she wasn’t going to fall for a trap with a Messenger, either. She leaned against the wall, and noticed that the Disgraced stopped moving.
She was hoping the Doyenne would run straight into a trap, knowing the Scout had placed a device on her, and Bo was in no mood to play games. She took the now-deceased Dreadful’s cell phone and used the same device to call the Disgraced.
“Now, darling,” the Doyenne cooed, “I am not going to run head first into your mangy little trap, and as you have already surmised, the Mutus is on to you and have reclassified you as Disgraced. I have all of the Dreadful papers. I have evidence of your sins. You know I have to take you in to get your licks, and you know how awfully psychotic they get with wayward children of Mutus agents, and they aren’t going to spare you…”
She suddenly heard a loud “bang”, and sighed as she shook her head and continued to speak, “Stop playing games with me, Jessica, you didn’t shoot yourself, and I am not going over there to check. You either come to me across the street willingly, or the Mutus assumes your parents and siblings are conspirators, and…”
Suddenly, a lithe blonde marched furiously across the street. “Fine,” take me,” she spat in her Australian accent, “Leave my brothers and sisters out of this.”
“So this was to tweak mummy and daddy’s nose?”
“I should have been made an Assassin! Not some lowly Messenger! Screw them!”
The Doyenne rolled her eyes as she grabbed the Disgraced by the hair and dragged her to the waiting airplane. This meant vile paperwork, and worse, a trip to the Mentor’s office to be debriefed as she would have to postponed tonight's dinner with Mina.
The Mentor looked grim, but seemed impressed all the same. “It was an elegant resolution, Assassin.”
“And boring as hell,” she groused.
“Yes, it is always disappointing to have to bring one back alive.”
“Bollocks, that Dreadful got off easy. He is seen as a casualty who is as worthy as all the others on that wretchedly long list of fallen. He should have had his filthy reputation exposed for what it truly was.”
“Well yes,” said the Mentor, as his computer screen behind him showed a newspaper’s headline, “When the shock this event settles, we will run with this story how he was a vile serial killer who was disembowelled by one of his enraged potential victims.”
The Doyenne looked shocked. “So he won’t be on the list of the dead?”
“No, that we decided to expunge. You said you wanted perks, and there’s one for you.”
“Oh, that is absolutely marvellous. What about the Disgraced?”
“We can no longer talk about her, or her plans. The problem has been cleaned up and elegantly so.”
“What about her family?”
The Mentor paused before he looked at Doyenne with uncharacteristic candor. “Bo,” he said shocking her as Mentors never mentioned anyone by name, “They don’t know she has been Disgraced, and they will never find out. The Scout’s memory of her has been expunged, and I do not wish to do any of that to you. They think she went into the Twin Towers on business, and perished.”
“I am absolutely shocked.”
“I know you will not speak a word of this to anyone, but we have assessed the situation, and it is best that no one knows of her reclassification.”
“What about Control?”
“She is the only other one besides you who knows the truth. I cannot say any more than that.”
The Doyenne nodded, but was not pleased by the turn of events. It meant the Disgraced was alive, but Bo had a nagging feeling that the young girl was about to do her penance in a black ops part of the Mutus that no one could ever confirm existed, but was no doubt still in operation. She merely thanked the Mentor as she wished to rush home to Percy to see him as she missed him as much as he missed her.
The Assassin’s Club usually met informally in the regular haunts, but this time, they were sitting in Bo’s basement in Ravenglass. Assassins Kimmy Ho, Shawn James, Nelly Baker, Harvey Honeyborne, and Hroda Fenstermacher were all listening to what Bo revealed to them as Spy Mungo Dunbar poured the whiskey and sat down with them as Bo’s next door neighbour Spy Joseph Weavers brought a tray of hors d’oeuvres for them.
“So, it is back in operation,” said Hroda flatly as he lit a cigarette, “I am not surprised. The last time we had dealings with it, it was Assassin Rolland Holloman who was the one in charge of it, and he paid for his duplicity with his life.”
Shawn shook his head, “I don’t like this turn, gang.” Joseph nodded, “Neither do I.”
“So what do we do?” asked Nelly as her husband Harvey wrapped his arm around her.
“Nothing,” replied Hroda, “This is dangerous knowledge that must not go past this room. The Disgraced was like Roho: both were from Australia, and both used intelligence from the Mutus in their schemes.”
“Do you think their nationality is just a coincidence?” asked Kimmy.
“I believe that Roho was an influence on Jessica,” said Harvey, “He knew her parents, and he was an influence on her. She wanted to be an Assassin and not a Detective. She was picking up where Roho left off.”
“And set herself up to be thrown into the black ops to finish the job,” replied Mungo.
“You save the day, and she betrays the Mutus, and she gets a promotion,” sighed Kimmy.
“We have to be very careful,” said Bo, “Because this little game of hers is going to take a few years.”
“I can hack into the systems and keep an eye on things,” said Shawn, “And when it is time to strike back, Jessica won’t know what hit her.”
After her guests left her secret room, she opened a small box that had a porcelain figurine of a pair of lithe twins standing side by side.
She carried the figurine to her display case where all the previous statuettes representing previous successful hits.
“Ah, Ethan Mason, welcome to the club,” the Doyenne said as she showed the figurine what fate awaited it, “You will be there to chatter with your kind how it was that you all ended up in the Place Below Hell, but in the meantime, I have a book to write with your divided and comelier form as my muse.”
She took the figurine to her desk where she booted up her computer before leaning over to continue speaking. “Since your partner in crime is somewhere making trouble, you will have to take both roles of two fabulously gorgeous and ambitious twins who seek fame and fortunes as models in the Big Apple, but are forced to work as au pairs to a tyrannical banker who blackmails the both of you into bedding him and escorting him to all sorts of debauched nightclubs, until two a young, hot singing duo who come from money perform there one night, and are immediately taken by the both of you and rescue you from that banking bastard. Isn’t that fun, and what life is all about for wankers like you? Of course, it is, and now you’ll have twice the fun in a far more feminine and rewarding manner than what you managed to do for your own miserable self. Aren’t you just lucky to have met me? I am always filled with ideas, and you are latest benefactor of my latest scintillating inspiration…”