Somewhere off the Western Coast of Africa
Scene – The Glass Swan, Nighttime, Zoom into window, Vargas’ comm room, Vargas sits at a nice table looking at large TV screens, a teleconference with Kadin, Giselle, Colonel Grace, and Alexander
“Status Updates Everyone”
Kadin: “We lost 40 more operatives to Chimera today probably on their way to becoming zombies (brainwashed, heartless servants of Chimera) and our IS teams have uncovered and secured another dozen leaks in the network."
Giselle: “Your financials are still strong and the training cadre is busy, Erebus will be able to receive the items you requested Colonel, ARROWHEAD continues to elude us, dropping off the map after the call he made to you.”
Alexander: “All R&D projects are back on schedule, WICKER is nearly complete all it needs is the key and rest of the databases, Chimera encryption is strong and Solomon’s computers are multi-tasked with our own traffic so it will take some time”
Solomon: “I’ve been forced to slow our advance due to personnel shortage and incidents of sabotage by hostile factions, we will break through as soon as we are able, Chimera’s fighters are unaffected by our superior firepower and are cunning. Amanda and Brigette are busy handling the more mundane opposition and securing our position.”
Vargas: “All right continue pursuing your objectives and keep in touch, good night everyone” “Affirmative” as the video conference ends.
Vargas was exhausted today had been one of the worst ones yet, 40 operatives turned to zombies by Chimera was a devastating blow, morale was waning for everyone. Right now was the worst position Static has ever been in since the beginning, she was running out of people she could trust, the conflict with Phoenix and Chimera was starting to erode Static’s foundation and her own soul. Fortunately none of her advisers saw the half-empty bottle of Tequila that was just out of frame, she couldn’t fall asleep anymore, nightmares haunted her and she was starting to jump at shadows.
She took her rings out of her desk drawer, she was having to break them out more now trying mostly in vain to eek out some of Javier’s resolve in the face of overwhelming odds. Two years was to long but she could still see TEMPEST’s eyes after he murdered ODIN and his family in cold blood. Suddenly she woke with a start not realizing she had been dreaming, picking up the phone Vargas: “Hello”
Jamal: “V. this is Jamal, Amy has been critically injured by Santos and one of my men is down, we are en route to the trauma team but I think Celestia has been compromised”
Vargas: “Dammit Jamal you should have killed Santos right there but you did the right thing, the primary objective as always is to look out for our own first.” Stricken with worry she waited for the call, Jamal wouldn’t have left Celestia without a lookout,
Allison: “Miss V., Santos has taken Celestia hostage, RCA (Recommended Course of Action)”
Vargas: “Observe and Report Allison, I don’t want to take the chance that Celestia will come to harm.”
An hour later, she got the call she had been dreading “Maria, I need your help, Santos has taken my wife hostage and wants you in return for her safety.” Taken aback, she knew the two of them were close but she didn’t think they were married.
Vargas: “Sebastian what do you mean your wife, I had no idea, how did he find out about her.”
Sebastian: “Maria, you told me this man might attempt to use her as a pawn in a revenge scheme so I found him and talked with him mono a mono, I might have given out to much, I was angry, I’m sorry.”
Vargas: “Sebastian, don’t worry I won’t let Celestia suffer for either of our mistakes, please calm down I will talk to him.” After a few more minutes of calming, Sebastian came back to his senses and they ended their conversation. This just didn’t make sense “Did I push him to far?” was all she could think about, two years of trying to keep him under control must must have caused him to lash out but all it had done for me is grind me down. Exhausted she actually managed to sleep for the first time in weeks, thinking of happy times that were never meant to be, in the morning she knew what needed to be done, the right thing.
Picking up the phone she called Celestia’s number, “Ignazio this is Vargas, I surrender, don’t harm Celestia, meet me in the old Obsidian Security Solutions complex 60 miles north of Corpus Cristi, TX in four days at dawn.” Relieved and praying that he keeps his word once in his life she set about her resignation and the future of Static. She got up and dressed calling for another meeting this morning, Kadin, Giselle, Solomon, and Alexander all appeared in their respective video feeds once more.
Kadin: “Why did you call this meeting we talked last night, (seeing her face) something’s wrong”
Vargas: “I am sorry to say this but I am resigning from this position, Ignazio has finally forced my hand, he has captured someone close to me and has threatened to kill her if I don’t surrender.”
Solomon: “Maria I must caution you to this, we can plan an extraction and rescue mission to retrieve her but don’t surrender yet, we have more enemies to fight”
Alexander: “I must concur with the Colonel, I don’t trust Santos he is just as likely to shoot both of you at the meet point as he is to surrender his hostage in exchange for you.”
Vargas: “Colonel I can’t risk the 60% failure rate that we have for our other rescue missions and we have been unable to infiltrate Phoenix’s networks due to Chimera’s constant meddling, we can barely keep out own network secure, we have to use the your Defense Grade Comm Systems with Alexander’s codes in order to communicate for fear that we would be overheard. You can give me advice but I expect you to follow my wishes.”
Solomon then Alexander: “Very Well V. what do you want us to do.”
Vargas: “Alexander I want you to be certain that the FAIRY is operating with a full signal, whatever happens this conflict between me and Santos is going to end four days from now and I want to be certain everything is in place to continue our mission without me.”
Alexander: “One moment, yes FAIRY seems to be transmitting load and clear, we will be able to follow you wherever Santos takes you and listen in.”
Vargas: “Good, Colonel I need a platoon of your regulars to fly to Texas, Kadin can you arrange this on such short notice.”
Solomon: “Yes, you can have my personal squad I am secure within The Citadel”
Kadin: “I will make the necessary arrangements and fly the plane myself, wheres the landing point”
Vargas: “Make a quick pass to Veracruz and bring Sebastian and Rodrigo with you, I want you to head to Corpus Cristi, TX at the old Obsidian Security Solutions complex, that way Santos can see that no one lies in wait for him and we can be sure that he keeps his word. Giselle I want you to take over the Board Position at Verdachi and assist the others in any way you can.”
Giselle: “Certainly Maria, I will do what I can to make sure Erebus is successful and protect the world from people like TEMPEST and Santos.”
Vargas: “Good Girl, I hope you make better decisions than I did, you are in good hands with this group but don’t forget that you are still human, don’t push your luck to far.”
Solomon: “So you are resigned to this course of action V?”
Vargas (more to herself than the virtual presences in the room): “I am, it is the easiest decision I think I will ever make, Good Luck to you all”
All: “Same to you Maria, I hope you made the right choice for all of us.”
After that the screens went dark, Vargas was alone again and needed to be alone for a while.
A while later Bryce went to check in on her and found her asleep again, carrying her to her cabin he put her on her bed,
Vargas: “Thank You Bryce, you are a true friend, will you see this as a failure in your duty when I go with Santos”
Bryce: “No Ma’am, even I can’t protect you from everything in the world.”
Vargas: “I’m sure you will try”
Bryce: “Sleep Well Ma’am”