I listened, with growing anxiety, to the conversation. I didn’t doubt that the plan Katherine was making was sensible, if not a little shaky, but I didn’t like the fact that our little group of three would already be reduced to two.
Is it right to put another’s life in danger? I pondered to myself, trying to fight the annoyingly angelic, and ethical, side of me. Then again, as agents of Dominion, we already put the lives of everybody we know in danger.I couldn’t let the other agents know my doubts though; I didn’t want to start a rift in the team. Anyway, Katherine and Theodore may have argued, but I had the feeling that they would be good friends by the end of all this. I plastered the comforted, and slightly vague, smile back onto my face so they wouldn’t see past the barrier.
“Who will go?” Katherine suddenly said, startling me out of my controversial thoughts.
“Certainly not me.” I replied, “I’m too susceptible to anyone who knows the…the codewords. If they had me on their side…”
Theodore almost snorted with laughter. Did he still have doubts about my abilities? I would show him, perhaps give him a nice black eye for all his trouble, but I couldn’t control when I ‘went under’ myself. It took someone with our specially decided codewords to do it, thinking intentionally of changing me. For that reason, I was wary what I said about the disease.
“I’ll do it.” He finally said.
Yes, that would be right. The newbie would be up for the task. In my opinion, Theodore seemed a nice enough man, but he was a little too eager for missions all the time. If he knew what it was really like out there, maybe he wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about getting assigned.
“No,” Katherine said, as she pointed commandingly towards me, “Arianna, you’ll do it.”
“What?” Theodore and I both spluttered.
“He can go ahead and have it. I’m too much of a security risk.”
“No, arguing, Arianna. This is Teddy’s first mission and we can’t send someone without experience in on a mission like this.”
Theodore flinched slightly as though she had struck him. “The more reason for you to send me: to prove I can do this. I’m not incompetent, you know.”
“Katherine, you don’t want a fight before the mission’s even got off its feet, do you?” I challenged her.
“Yeah,” Theodore piped up, “Just give me a chance, will you? I may have never been on a mission before, but I know enough about our work to fill a computer!”
Katherine sighed. She beckoned to me.
“Arianna, if you would just come with me, we need to sort a couple of things out,” she said, and then walked away to the side of the room. Reluctantly, but whilst keeping my quiet smile on my face, so Theodore wouldn’t see my worry, I got up out of my seat and followed her. We weren’t far away from the table, but managed to position ourselves sideways so that it would be hard for Theodore to hear. I knew what Katherine was trying to do.
“Katherine, what are you doing? If he knows that we’re here talking about him… And yes, I know you’re annoyed, but I’d give him a chance.”
Katherine didn’t reply. She simply pursued her lips and glared at the cracked white ceiling.
Then the world went black. Someone had muttered the codeword.