A Council of ShadowsMature


Chapter Five
Word Count: 795

'Give me nothing but the facts, I don't appreciate having smoke blown up my ass.' said one of the thirteen suited figures that were seated around their oblong table. All of them half hidden in a cloak of shadow, but enough ambient light floated around the room for Solomon to see small details about their persons.

He didn't know who any of them were; he knew nothing about them, not even their names. But at this level such secrecy was a given, in a world as dangerous as theirs animosity was more valuable than any weapon or army.

Solomon stood, revealing his aged face to the light. 'He is codenamed Subject Zero. He is the finest genmodded soldier the Titan Program has ever produced. Approximately seventy-two hours ago he broke out of the Facility, murdering three guards on his way, before slipping off the grid and storing himself on the first shuttle off world.'

'Why?' asked a prim female voice from down the table.

'His reasons are, as of yet, unknown.' continued Solomon, giving the shadowed woman a fierce stare. He did so hate being interrupted. 'It transpires that the shuttle he boarded was heading to a transport station in orbit around Pluto. From there it is unclear where he went,'

'Jesus, from that station he could be anywhere in the God damned galaxy.' interrupted another hidden voice.

'Quite,' smiled Solomon easily.

'What's the big deal?' asked a voice that Solomon did recognise. The body he pictured with the voice was from half a lifetime ago, a young colonel on a distant battlefield. So confident in his own power his arrogance was almost overpowering. 'He's one man. Send an assault team after him.'

Solomon turned to the shadowed old fool. It seemed age had not made him wiser, but, every toolbox needed a hammer. 'It is far from that simple,' he purred. 'Do the honoured members of his council remember the hostage situation on Mars?' Few could claim to not remember that, a small army of terrorists took hold of one of Mars's largest firearms factories and held the workers hostage. Solomon and the others kept it quiet of course, and the council ordered a full assault on the factory by Omega Battalion. Earth's finest military soldiers. It was a complete success, all terrorists were executed on sight and only a single hostage was killed in the process.

Several heads nodded in the darkness. 'I lied to you when I said Omega was sent into the factory,' murmurs of discord split the darkness but Solomon continued. 'I ordered them to quarantine the area. I sent in two of my Subjects.'

He let the comment hang. The silence that followed was electric; he could almost feel their disbelief.

'I think now you can see why this is such a large threat.' he finished with a smug smile.

'Can't you send one of your other lab rats after him?' one female councilmember asked.

'Those, lab rats, cost this government seventeen billion credits each.' he said to her faceless torso. 'You can surely see my reluctance.'

'Who is he? This, Subject Zero.' asked another member of the council.

'That information is not needed councilman, he is a dangerous fugitive. That is all you need to know.' snarled Solomon.

'What if your plan doesn't work?' asked the powerful figure seated at the very end of the table. The Taskmaster sat forward, leaning onto his elbows, his fingers no doubt laced together somewhere in front of his shadowed face. 'What if your army of criminals and mercenaries can't secure him?'

'Then Taskmaster I will have no choice but to deploy Omega Battalion as well as several of my more successful Subjects.' said Solomon, unknowingly standing a little straighter and placing his hands behind his back.

'And if he finds...them.' That word hung in the air longer than Solomon could imagine. The very implication that it was even possible...everything we be undone.

'He won't.' nodded Solomon.

'Make sure he doesn't councilman. I do not care if you must cull an entire world, kill him. Because if you don't,' he didn't need to finish his sentence. The Taskmasters threat was clear enough to everyone.

'Of course, Taskmaster,' bowed Solomon.

'Good. We will convene again in twenty four hours.' with that the hologram of the massive figure blink clicked out and the room was plunged into darkness. Metal chairs scraped away from the table as the council members stood and left the room via their private doors, when the last one clicked closed Solomon fell back into his chair. Sitting in the darkness he swore he could hear the thunderous beating of his heart. Everything was at stake...as much as it pained him to see his greatest accomplishment be killed on some god forsaken rock of a world, it had to be done.

Zero had to die. At any cost.

Such a waste.

The End

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