Armstrong had left when he first heard the alarms. Esme had tried to stand, but there was a certain force holding her in place - not so much like glue or a compressive energy, but a comforting radiance - a warm hug from a relative. She looked to the Contessa, but her amber eyes were trailing the agent on the move - when he vanished from sight into the garage, she fixed her eyes onto her descendant's.
"What has he told you?" she asked.
"Besides what just happened? That he was mortal, that you gave him a few bits and pieces - a neodymium magnet in his brain, infrared sensors. The guy sounds like a bona fide cyborg. Plus, he showed me the black pills-"
"Did you take any?" The reply was terse - almost tense. It was odd to hear these words coming from a woman who, in Paris, had engaged in a month long orgy of fine wines and young lovers locked in some chateau. This was new - this was almost fearful.
"Just the one. Some kind of stimulant, I'm guessing - stronger stuff than cocaine." The Contessa smiled, and nodded.
"A miracle drug, if you will. Supercharges one's mental capabilities, tones muscles, heightens intellect, speeds reflexes and prevents any psychic disturbance along with slowing the ageing process. He has no mechanical additions to his body whatsoever - that was the little white lie. The drug is the key - it's what makes Armstrong... well, Armstrong."
The Silver Shadow stormed down the eastern tunnels, engine roaring as the bandages over his hand gripped tighter and began to secrete the healing solution. The coolness of the cure counteracted the mind numbing heat of the pain - not only of the wounds, but of the knowledge that Wen was still out there.
But this time, he would get it right.
This time, he would make sure that Everett Wen met his end.
"So Armstrong is basically a drugged up mortal?" Esme asked. "I didn't expect the best agent of N.E.M.E.S.I.S. to be some junkie living in Tibet."
"Worse than a junkie," the Contessa chuckled. "The drug isn't synthetic - it is an organic source, but he must never know. Otherwise, the man would kill himself." She leaned conspiratorially over to Esme, who responded in kind, and whispered softly.
"I don't think he could live with the fact that his blood is not his own - especially if he knew who had it before..."