The Truce and The Monster
The stretched feeling faded almost the instant it had come leaving both Boris and Vivian dazed; it had been roughly like seeing a new colour.
“What the fuck was that?” Boris muttered groggily.
“That was me leveling the playing field, mister Gant,” replied Mrs. Vole. At the sound of his name Boris jumped, or would have, if something weren’t keeping everything below his neck from moving. This woman, whoever she was, had far superior resources and intelligence than the dossier had lead Boris to believe.
He swiveled field of vision, hoping to find that Vivian had gotten free and was about to make confetti out the old bird; unfortunately, his partner was in much the same state as him. He wondered how much of a liability she would be, now that she knew his last name. “Also, mister Gant,” Mrs. Vole continued, “please do watch your language. There are children scuttling about everywhere.” The look she gave Boris was comically stern, especially when he remembered he was in an orphanage.
“And how,” asked Vivian, “have you leveled this field?”
Mrs. Vole grinned widely, revealing gums and teeth too healthy for her age. “I have discovered that I do not need to — necessarily — kill you like the last few.” Tiny things began connecting in Boris’s mind with her words, giving him the sensation - then the realization - that something had eluded him. Something was not right with this assignment, something that didn’t quite sync. But that all depended on what the old bird meant by ‘last few.’
He needed to be sure.
“The last few?” Boris said.
“Yes, you are the fifth team that has been sent after me,” answered the old woman, “but I think I won’t have to dispense with you just yet or maybe ever, if you act sensibly.” The way she said think made Boris’s momentarily relief run out.
“And why might that be?” said Vivian.
“Ah, miss Bracht! You’ll have to thank your friend, mister Gant, for this good turn.” Boris memorized the name, in case he needed to use it. Gant for Bracht: he could make a trade of secrecy, maybe not have to kill her.
“Sorry, what I do?”
“You, unlike your predecessors, have knowledge which will allow us to converse on a,” she thought, “more reasonable and common ground.”
“And where does the path of this ‘common ground’ lead?” demanded Vivian, which made Boris worry that she would go into hysterics and get them both killed.
“That will be for you each to decide on your own — once you’ve gotten the gist of things of course.”
As a rule, Boris hated circling around the point; he wanted to charge in and get things done — or set them on fire. “Alright, transmit the gist.”
“Most equitable of you. Let us begin by understanding that we have mutual knowledge,” said Mrs. Vole in a lecturing tone that she might have to explain something trivial to a child. “I know that you and your predecessors are employed by the Goruiren corporation.” Vivian laughed. “What’s all this dear?”
“Then your information is wrong,” she said. “We are never told who employs us; it’s part of the contract!” Boris wanted to slap her. The ‘common ground’ may be they stood on to keep themselves alive. Spoiling it did no one any favors.
Then, he registered what the old bird had just said. The connections in his mind completed, moving faster and toward an inevitable conclusion.
“Ah, but look at your comrade’s face there, miss Bracht.” She did, becoming confused by Boris’s look of frowning concentration.
“What about it?”
“He,” replied Mrs. Vole, “knows that I am correct.” She dipped her chin to indicate Boris’s direction; Vivian looked again, studying her partner’s features more carefully, perhaps looking for denial somewhere inside them, but finding nothing but his stony face guarding his thoughts.
“Is this true, Boris?” Vivian asked hesitantly. There was silence for a stretch of time where everyone watched Boris expectantly. Finally, he snapped out of his thoughts, having reached the logical destination and felt he’d adequately considered the options.
“Yes, that is the truth,” Boris said. Something about his thoughts made his tone go very grave. He felt like all all of him wasn’t quite there. Could he even go back to the Crematorium after this?
“So, mister Gant, do I sense that you have a grasp on the implications?” asked Mrs. Vole.
“Yes,” he answered breathily. Sweat creased his thick brow, but he didn’t feel hot.
Vivian, feeling left out of life-or-death parts of the conversation, became insistent. “What implications? What is everyone talking about?” she asked in diffident tones.
“Alright,” said Boris patiently. Vivian alive might be slow to the uptake, but they’d need each other soon. This was reason enough to keep her abreast of things, though part of him wanted to cut a deal with Vole then and there, leaving Vivian out. She was, after all, also a liability.
Mrs. Vole sat quietly, looking not a little amused.
Boris sighed. “Alright, so four other groups were sent here, right?” The harshness of this fact — his closeness then to death — made him reflexively shut his eyes as he spoke.
“According to her,” Vivian replied almost instantly, spitting her words at the old woman. “She could be lying, trying to get more information before killing us.” Boris resented that, though mostly because she was wrong.
“You’re the idiot, love. She’s already got at least as much, if not more, info than I do. If there weren’t other teams she’d just kill us here and now, then go about her day.”
“Oh,” Vivian acquiesced.
“So?” Boris prompted.
“So they sent four inferior teams? What difference does this make?”
“They all died, Viv.” Something in her face told Boris she’d gotten it.
“They didn’t expect us to live.” She considered this. “But why send us in the first place then?”
Mrs. Vole interjected, “Miss Bracht, it’s terribly obvious, though. You were never meant to finish this alive.” Boris found a superior mind in Mrs. Vole and traced her conclusion.
“Shit,” he cursed. He’d found the flaw in the assignment, the oddity that had nagged at the back of his mind the whole time. “Even if we’d succeeded we’d have questioned you and then killed you. Shit.” He didn’t understand how he could have missed something that obvious — maybe if that stupid german girl hadn’t distracted him.
Boris groaned. He wouldn’t be going back to the Crematorium. They’d been double crossed. “If they knew the last four teams died they must have known that the old bird knew too much, or at least enough. If we’d questioned her there would be no way of telling what kind of information she’d have given us.”
“So what,” Vivian shouted back. “the other teams died!”
“That means worst case we die, best case we know too much. We’re risks. Risks get fucking killed, get it?”
Mrs. Vole slammed her hand on the table so loudly that it shocked the assassins into silence. “Mister Gant, I do not wish to do nasty things to you, but I must insist for the final time that you watch your language with children about.” The room was so quiet it seemed empty. Boris wanted to burn it all.
“We’re going to die,” Vivian said quietly. Something about the way she said it took the conclusion floating around Boris’s mind and made it finally sink in. Now, death felt all too real, too soon. He felt sick. Everything seemed queazy and slow, like the world was trying to jump up his stomach and escape through his mouth.
“Actually,” said Mrs. Vole, “you do have less fatal options.” To Boris, the words were a light at the end of a shortening tunnel or a pure ring in the midst of a metallic clamor. He grasped them tightly, and hoped.
“Tell me,” demanded Vivian, beating her partner to the punch.
“I’m afraid all these murder attempts won’t do anymore, especially with the children about. I’m going to have to leave the orphanage.” Something wet sped down along the ancient wrinkles of the old woman’s cheek. “I’ve known for a while now, you understand. I’m forced to look at everything and choose — forced to leave this,” she gestured to the room around her, “my life’s work.” She produced a small white handkerchief from a pocket and batted at her cheek.
Boris waited until she was finished before asking, “Nice that you didn’t have to kill us and all, but where exactly does matters?”
Mrs. Vole’s face took on stonier features, perhaps resolve, and she peered down the desk at the man and woman who’d come there to kill her. “By now, you must have realized that I am not all that I seem.”
Vivian rolled her eyes. “You’ve got incredible information on a secretive company and have somehow used poison darts to paralyze us,” she said. “I think I’ve got the picture.” Boris blinked; he hadn’t thought of poison darts, but now that he did, it made sense.
Maybe Vivian wasn’t entirely useless.
Mrs. Vole tinkled another of her rusty-bell laughs. “Delightful, you young people are creative, just like my boys and girls.” At the mention of the children, she sobered and cleared her throat. “Yes, in any case, there are greater goings on than you perceive. Though, I dare suspect in time you’ll discover more than you’d ever want to.”
“Assuming we don’t die,” said Vivian.
“Quite,” answered the old woman. “In any case, I propose that we all leave this together and begin work on something much grander.” Boris wondered — had he not already decided to bolt for the door the second he could— whether he would still get to burn things if he went along with ‘much grander’ things.
“Done,” said Vivian.
“Right, as we don’t have choices, yeah,” assented Boris.
Mrs. Vole clapped her hands in the way that happy old women tend to. “Oh, that is lovely of you both!” she exclaimed. “Just one more small matter to attend to. Will that be alright?”
“Since we don’t have any real say, why not?” said Boris. The old woman ignored him. Vivian said nothing.
He wondered how long the poison would last before he’d be able to get up. Could this cause permanent damage or something? Hopefully not. Mrs. Vole continued, “I need you both to take an oath of binding fealty to me and those to whom I am, myself, obligated.” Boris checked that he had heard right, realized he had, and concluded that the old bird might be more insane than he already believed.
“Sure, yes, whatever you’d like,” said Vivian.
“And you, mister Gant?” asked the old woman. Boris gave a nod.
“Excellent,” said Mrs. Vole. “Please repeat after me, in unison if you would: I do swear by Avalos and Fate and Free Will to serve the fiefdom of Aberdeen Vole, and all to whom she swears allegiance, that I do this of my own volition and consent to the unbreakable pact which binds us in chivalrous servitude to the One True King.”
Both Vivian and Boris did as Vole asked, Boris growing more nervous by the minute that the old woman would kill them anyway after making them do all this rubbish.
A few seconds after they had finished, to the sound of many cries of surprise — except from Mrs. Vole — Boris and Vivian’s sleeves began to shine with warm, golden light. The skin under the sleeves lustered out, to the horror of the assassins.
“What is this!” yelled Vivian, frantically staring from arm to arm, still unable to move. Boris couldn’t words and just shook slightly in fearful shock.
“Those are your marks of allegiance,” answered Mrs. Vole matter-of-factly. While speaking, she pulled a colourful, flowery handbag out from under the desk and began packing it with various contents. “Here, this is a big moment after all, Plen’astria! There, the use of your arms should be returned to you.”
Just as she said, Boris watched as he twitched and lifted his arm; the light had stopped.
Suddenly, three razor-sharp knives hissed through the air at Mrs. Vole, aimed perfectly at her head. Then, a half meter from the old woman’s serene face they simply stopped and clattered onto the desk. Mrs. Vole promptly scooped them up and put them in her bag, giving Vivian a small smirk.
“Ow!” shouted Vivian. Boris watched her arms start glowing again, but this time with an angry, red light.
Mrs. Vole tutted. “Dear, I should have mentioned — I just thought the oath was so straight forward you understand. Anyway, you tried to betray your oath. I’m afraid twice more and you will die, and that,” she tutted, “will be your own fault miss Bracht.” Vivian moaned slightly, rubbing her arms through her sleeves in circular motions. “There should be a single black strike on your wrist to serve as your first reminder.”
Boris grinned. He ignored the two woman’s discussion, pulling his sleeves tightly over his burly arms to examine his skin; it came as s shock when a set of twin, amber-coloured tattoos came up to greet him. He didn’t understand.
No technology he’d ever heard of could do this.
He studied the pattern of the twin doves encircling one another, making two helixes around each of his wrists. Then, he noticed words among the pictures and colors. Inside the first loop read: Sir Boris Gant. He discovered more in the second loop which read: Champion of Dame Aberdeen Vole.
Things had officially gone beyond him, and he gave up trying to reason.
He glanced over at Vivian, to see if she had experienced something similar but found she’d already looked and replaced her sleeves. Boris looked back at Mrs. Vole who seemed to be having a rough time deciding between a roll of white and yellow yarn.
“Mrs. Vole,” he said, trying to be polite. Part of him was deathly afraid of all…all this..but at the same time oddly glad about there being an alternative to death.
“Yes, mister Gant?”
“I notice that you can paralyze our body parts at will and have tattooed my arms with very specific information and, well, doves,” he said in a tone unlike his own yet all he could come up with for addressing the situation.
“Yes, I do love doves. They’re my fiefdom’s raiment.” The old woman decided on both the yellow and white yarn, forcing them into her already overstuffed bag.
“Yes, it appears that’s the case,” said Boris, “But what I was wondering was how you’re doing all this.”
Vivian burst out laughing.
Boris glared at her. “Oh, and I suppose you’ve nailed it out, eh?”
“As a matter of fact I do,” Vivian replied concisely.
“Oh, do share, darling, do share.”
Vivian smiled, “This old woman is using magic.” Boris didn’t even try to formulate a response and just let the statement pass.
Mrs. Vole hefted her flowery bag over her shoulder and muttered something under her breath. “You can move now,” she said. Boris was way ahead of her. He lurched up and made a run for the door.
Then, he was stopped. His arms glowed red and nauseous pain climbed up his midriff. The old woman sighed audibly. “You swore fealty, mister Gant. There are no special exceptions for you. Attempting to forsake your duty is dreadful.” Boris lifted up his sleeve, thinking about a few dreadful things he’d like to do to her, and saw a new, blackened strike on his upper forearm.
Magic, why the fuck not?
He was just about to say as much when Mrs. Vole made a hushing gesture accompanied by a hiss. She stood motionless. Vivian straightened from her seat and waited. “Oh, dear. Oh, oh, dear,” the old woman crooned.
“What?” asked Boris.
“Your old employers sent something to catch up with us,” the old woman whispered. “Of course, you two were the distraction. Oh, oh, dear. With me focused on you it could get close.” Mrs. Vole tightened her grip on the bag straps.
“Let what get close?” asked Vivian, backing off from the old woman.
“We must flee, now.” Her voice was urgent. “There is a monster here, close, too close.”
Boris grinned and then frowned, “A monster?” He noticed Vivian’s gaze had shifted. Then, Mrs. Vole’s gaze shifted in just the same direction. Boris turned, facing the door behind him.
It swung inward.
Standing in the frame was a tall man wearing an ink-black suit. The light from the window reflected red off of blotchy stains which peppered his clothes. Boris could tell, having enough similarly ruined clothes of his own, that it was blood; it looked fresh — wet. The man grinned, chuckled, opened his mouth to just a slit, and said “I am the Rock, and I cannot feel.”
Boris raised his fists. There was something rabid in the newcomer’s voice. That made him instinctively defensive.
“Come to burn your bridges to make me real,” the intruder whispered softly, and with the words the many shadows cast within the tiny office quivered and elongated sinuously outward until each shadow caressed the man, weaving together to consume the monster within the dark.
Boris Gant Hunts
Boris Gant, Vivian
Vole’s Foster Care
That little old bird took us in through the front, just when Viv and I were getting to know one another, twittering on and off about “the children.” Made me sick, specially given what I knew about this unholy scum of an operation. This mother saint’s a sin, and this is not a house call, though it’s made to look it. We passed through halls where she pointed this and that out, like play rooms, studies, nonsense that didn’t have anything to it. I watched for the stuff that matters: hallways, exits, windows, and points of egress. See, I know a fancy word or four myself.
Eventually, our little parade headed through the trip’s final door, Ms. Vole’s office, labeled all pretty with a title plaque.
I had expected getting to the Mrs. Vole would take more doing, but — clear as you like — not so much as it turned out. She twaddled around, coming to a rest behind her big desk. Then she spoke to us in the most rickety voice to ever grace my ears.
“Why don’t you take a seat?” She motioned to two cushiony chairs in front of her. I, not being one to throw away a good sit, went down. “ Don’t mind if I do!” I said. Viv followed, but in a more…delicate…way. She’s a queer one.
“Danke,” said Viv.
“Oh, don’t worry your heads off my dearies, least I could do. Now, what are your names?” I smiled.
This would be fun.
“Oh, you should know our names very well by now, Mrs. Vole.” She lifted a brow and gave us a closer look. Didn’t help her one bit.
“I’m sorry, at my age you forget some things, who are you again?”
“Dennis and Mary,” Viv said. I had to stop my smile from splitting my face open. What’s excellent is the old bat in front of us didn’t even blink. A long quiet followed.
“Dennis and Mary what?” Ah, now that is the question, isn’t it?
“Vernor,” I whispered in my coldest tone. I saw the old girl going for a drawer under her desk. “I wouldn’t, if I were you.” I nodded toward Viv, who already had three knives out in her gloved hands. “Mary here is dead shot with a stitch, and you look the quilt.” Viv gave a glare at me and rolled her eyes.
I am allowed to have fun, but I let her look go.
“Alright,” said Vole, leaning her venerable self back in the chair, “What do you want?”
“I want to know where a brother and sister among the thirty-nine children, which court records mark adopted by Dennis and Mary Vernor, have gone.” I stared her down. “Specifically, Lance and Cathleen Armstrong in eighty-eight.” Her eyes shifted and became hard.
“I see you’ve done work none have bothered with in a long time,” said Vole, a bare hissing under her breath, which stank of age. She glanced about, as if looking for an escape, but there would be none. Then, she closed her eyes. “If you knew why I have done what I have done, you would not be so hasty to undo it.”
“Don’t care,” I replied.
“I’ll die first, before I tell you ruffians anything,” she shot back.
“Then you will.” It was Viv who spoke, and something about her tone gave me pleasant chills.
In my head, I saw the office, Vole’s little seat of useless power, burning, and I loved it.
Intermission Part Two: The True Department
Goruiren Corporate Offices
The cuffs of his tailored pants cut swaths as the CEO moved across the carpet, a thick and overly plush piece of decor which he had chosen himself. If one could lay down on the floor and be comfortable, the CEO had theorized, then it sets a standard for the other furniture to follow. After all, what chair is less comfortable than the floor? This type of thinking - amongst other, darker lubricants of industry - is the philosophy with which he lead the entire company. The result had been a disturbing level of growth.
The sixth lift loomed large before him, rising higher than his head by a little more than a meter. This lift’s panel was different from the other five in two ways. While it did feature the standard single button inscribed with a down arrow, it lacked any form of security card reader or camera. However, the absence of these objects failed to suppress the unremarkable effect made by placing six similar structures right next to each other.
As far as the CEO knew, no one save his secretaries had ever noticed its presence. If anyone did ask, he had rehearsed a speech about how it was just a facsimile, ‘put in to improve the symmetry, you understand.’ From a man as powerful and successful as the CEO, no one would question that answer.
The appointed time came: 12:15 a.m.
Without provocation or action the panel with the dummy down button opened with a snick, revealing a rectangular divot embedded in the wall. Inside of it there was a human ear.
It looked so real it might have once belonged to a living, breathing person, a pink, fleshy color associated with the flow of blood beneath skin. In fact, the CEO thought it was a great deal more lively than it had any right to be. When it had all began, he had been unsettled by the wall-ear, but time had given them the chance to grow accustomed to one another. He closed his eyes and leaned down, his lips and the lobe so close that the act could have been mistaken for a caress. “For my dark honor, to your light ends, until they do meet,” he murmured. Quickly, he stood up again, waiting.
A second later, the ear twitched and the panel shut at an anxious pace. The CEO heard a locking mechanism somewhere rattle back into place, not to activate again for another twenty-four hours. A growling sound came from behind the lift and the doors opened.
What he saw inside was familiar but so foreign that it stood out even against the bland plaster it was built into. The lift’s ceiling, floor, and surrounding walls appeared chiseled out of a single great stone, colored bluish gray with the consistency of a sponge, riddled with holes and marred by indentations. Strangely, it seemed to be lit by an overhead light, but there was no hint of a source. The CEO stepped across the threshold of the carpet into the cold stone, the heels of his shoes clicking against the hard surface. He turned around to face his office, mentally waving goodbye for the night.
As the lift doors closed, he admired the breath-taking strangeness of events. The silvery steel doors shut. He blinked, and in that span of time the steel had vanished, replaced by a solid wall of the same rock that seamlessly flowed into the rest of the whole. The CEO wondered if this was what a person would see if they were unfortunate enough to be entombed alive. He shuddered slightly, but then thought about it again and allowed a slight smile to play across his lips. No sense in getting upset now; the best part was yet to come.
The lights went out, and he was left with the sensation of standing in nowhere.
With a sound like the crunching of dozens of eggshells, cracks formed in the air around the CEO where the stone had been moments ago, now imperceptible. The cracks grew, their neon, sanguine light haunting across wherever his naked skin showed. The cracking continued from every direction - even from places that didn’t quite seem to be directions - until the CEO felt like it was all happening in his own psyche.
After a while, an absurd, toothy smile rent his face in two, the darkness of his mouth a great scythe that split the twin halos of his perfect teeth, the light giving the illusion that they were stained in blood. He thought he could hear his own laughter but wasn’t sure.
He watched the cracks take on order and form, developing into symbols, circles, engravings, and thought he could even make out some ancient letters or runes. His world rushed in, flexing inward at him until he could feel it pressing against his perspiring hands and forehead. Then, the cracks became lost in even larger cracks.
Existence seemed to lose him, and he felt like he was suspended in an ocean of sanguine opaqueness; it made him think of life. He rested in it, breathed it, bled it, loved it, hated it, and needed it. It was everything and nothing, wonderful. Then, it was gone.
He found himself leaning against a beige wall, his world now lit by normal halogen lights. He took in the surrounding office area. The space was roughly the size of a football field and hundreds of brown doors lined the walls. His ears registered the ambience of clicking, typing, printing, copying, and working.
The only thing of note was the stream of men and women who kept appearing into existence wherever the walls weren’t interrupted by a door. The CEO soaked it all in and breathed a sigh. The real work had began: subterfuge, mayhem, murder. In other words, the intelligent design of fate. He observed the orderly area, a sea of whisky-brown cubicles and personnel burgeoning inward from all around, moving to their desks. Some of them, the better dressed, exited this main space through the doors, proceeding to their places of work.
Wherever the CEO’s gaze went, eyes dropped away or seemed to suddenly have a need to look elsewhere - like over his shoulder at the wall. He knew they were staring at him though. They always did. He liked to promote the ones that didn’t look away when he stared back. He clapped his hands loudly together.
“Let’s get to work!” he shouted, raising his palms high, like a drunken fan at a sporting event. The room paused for a moment while those who hadn’t yet noticed their great superior’s arrival did so. The True Department erupted into cheers. The CEO reveled.
Intermission Part One: Goruiren
Goruiren Corporate Offices
In the heart of London there is a building shaped like an egg. It shrieks into the traditionally grayish sky for one-hundred-thirty floors until it completes itself along an oblong crescendo. It looms across all the streets and buildings nearby. The outside is an organized flurry of diamond-shaped support beams and darkened windows, collectively bulging at the center, an almost aphonic message, announcing to the world around to pray and pay attention, or at the very least resemble in nature such a structure as itself. In the lamp-lit, London night, like the one in which we find ourselves, where the cars are silent save for a sporadic, rare, and foreign cab, the huge building’s lights are brightened with a purpose. They generate a pattern, dancing high and circling about, leading the gaze of a midnight gawker up and up, until it crests the top, finding there four red signal beacons, like massive frightful eyes, which keep watch over their city - the building’s city - and announces themselves as warnings to low-flying planes - from their perspective, creatures foolish enough to enter the august proximity.
This is the epicenter of a great financial mass, its gravity pulling and intruding upon nations and their industries. It is the headquarters of the Goruiren company, the most efficiently and cleverly run business in the world. No one is certain how it came to prominence. They do know who rose with it.
Executives, managers, and employees were known leaders in their industries. They succeeded everywhere - even where others had failed - tactically crushing their competition with ease and generating new sources of cash and influence faster than their taxation management departments could keep up.
Like the building that housed its senior-most management, the company opened like a fist behind the world and closed in around it, slowly claiming it. Yet at night, from their offices in Beijing to London, the multinational was as quiet and somnambulant as an obsidian monolith.
The building leads the gawker’s eyes up, the Goruiren stock prices climb, the management gets promoted, the televised advertisements all feature their logo, the sky, but this is all a clever instrument, a mere phantasmagorical slight-of-hand on the part of Goruiren’s owners. This is because the real goals and aims of the company’s leaders lie down beneath the sky, beneath the surface of the world, where the darkest intentions could harvest and feed while everyone stared, mesmerized by the show put on above.
In through the doors of Goruiren’s headquarters, past the three burly guards at each entrance, a line of elevators sits on the ground floor. There are five in total, but a strange, empty spot exists for a sixth, as if it had been intended to be put in and merely forgotten by the builders.
If one passed those guards and the security check points that followed and got to the elevators, one would present their identification card to a scanner, embedded with the personnel name, function, social security number, eye color, finger prints - every form of verification that the small rectangle of plastic could have stored within it. Then they would enter the elevator and announce their destination.
Kimberly Mill, CFO, would say “Global Financial Administration” each morning. Joseph Connely says “Mail Room.” Fredrick Domingez says “Department of Accounting.” The elevator operators, for there was always at least one working, would listen to the requests and verify that the individual had business where they claimed and direct the elevator to drop them off in the appropriate place. There is only a handful of people that don’t need a card, and they are those who are going to the top floor, where the events of this night begin as they do every night, but will end somewhat differently than the status quo.
It is at his office in the top floor that the company’s CEO stands, having kissed all four of his secretaries good night, though the last one somewhat more aggressively than the others. He looks out his window over London and waits for his watch to tell him that it is 12:15 a.m. It is then, and only then, that he can take the sixth elevator - whose entrance only exists above ground on his floor - down to The True Department. Under his direction, it is poised and geared to destroy the empire of the once and future king, Arthur Pendragon. He will do this by any means necessary, and, should he fail, he will lose his life.
“The kingdom of Mordred must prevail,” he whispered under his breath, patting and straightening his thirty-six thousand-dollar, custom italian suit. After checking his watch, he began heading toward the elevator. It was time.