Shattered: The Scarlett Illusions
by Toni Walker
by Toni Walker
Bobby glanced around at the spattering of Black Council minions. Kevin had been right. It was a trap. But he knew that the voice on the phone had been Faith and Kevin agreed with him on that front. But a new terrorist cell called Echelon had been activated that even trumped the Black Council when it came to evil schemes. The new one was quite a doozie. They were calling their new technique the Lazarus Protocol.
"Bobby, can you hear me?" Kevin's voice came through the miniature earpiece perfectly.
"Yep. Loud and clear. Can you see all the friendly guys hanging around waiting to chat with me?"
"That's an affirmative. Someone should be there in a few minutes."
"Great," Bobby said slowly. "In a few minutes I should be mince meat."
It was then he saw a blur of energy come jumping into the fray. She was a mere stick of a girl, but her fighting stance said she was ninja ready.
"Hello boys." Liz smiled and raised a manicured fingernail. She crooked it at them and motioned for them to come closer.
It may have been five to one, but Liz Hunter made kicking Black Council butt seem like child's play. Within minutes it was over. She then grabbed Bobby's hand and pulled him toward a dark entrance near the back of the nightclub called Crave.
"Man, Kevin is good. How did you get called in so fast?"
Liz looked at Bobby, her eyes filled with confusion. "Who's Kevin?"
"Let go of me!" Scarlett Gray struggled with her captors. Their grip was firm but they were careful not to hut her. It wasn't everyday you were kidnapped by polite hooligans. Even though she was their prisoner, they seemed to want to ensure her safety.
The compound they landed at was elaborate and posh. Even her "cell" was like a room in a five-star hotel.
The only thing she could do was sit and wonder... What did they want her for?
Gray adjusted his black leather trench coat and ripped the dark sunglasses from his face. His facade was calm and cool but the emotions in his own heart were in hyper drive. He had stalled long enough. Maybe too long. Tonight he would be forced to implant the HAVEN virus into one of the unsuspecting girls they'd captured.
At least he had a clear conscious. Faith was safe in the hands of Marcus. Marcus was one person Gray knew he could trust.
"What have you brought for me?" Gray asked using Solomon's rich, European accent.
"Oh, a fine selection, sir." The henchman laughed. "The master is particularly fond of number nine. He wants her to be the first."
Gray nodded. "Bring her to me."
"Oh, no sir, Mr. Black has already sedated her and set her to Room Four. He's waiting there for you now."
The henchman watched as Gray exited the room and entered Room Four. There was great delight in his eyes when Gray realized that the "real" Helms Solomon was back and already performing the implantation. Then his face paled. The girl on the table... it was Scarlett! It was his daughter!
"Is there something wrong, Solomon? Or should I call you, Gray? That is what you go by, isn't it?" Helms Solomon smiled and returned to his work.
Gray could barely speak. He never thought... He never imagined that Julian Black would pick Gray's own daughter as a subject. And there was nothing he could do. No way he could stop the implantation that had already started by the time he arrived.
"She's perfect," Solomon whispered. "This one is going to work."
"Yes, Solomon, she is perfect," Julian said as his eyes traveled over Scarlett's young body. "My sentiments exactly. She will make a wonderful addition to my organization. She'll do anything I want. Kill anyone I wish with no remorse, and with no memory of ever committing the act."
Gray could see the light in Julian's eyes. He had more in mind for Scarlett than a life as a killing machine. He'd chosen her because he desired her. The mere thought of this mad man laying one finger on his daughter's body had him near insanity. He glanced around the room looking for any way to get Scarlett free.
Solomon's eyes warily regarded Gray.
"Don't worry Solomon," Julian said. "No one will interrupt the procedure this time. I have a special friend watching over Scarlett's annoying brother. Please... continue. I'll stay and watch the transformation."
Julian was such an S.O.B., Gray thought. He knew there were some in the organization who wanted to believe the fairy tale that the Head of the Black Council was an undercover agent working secretly for his father who ran the Knights Foundation. But Gray knew better. He knew the evil Julian had done in the name of the Council. He knew the bastard was guilty – all the way to his dark, black heart
They may have similar blood running through their veins, but not a similar soul. He would never believe that he and his half brother were anything alike. He'd rather die than believe that.
"Would you two like to be alone?" Cameron Cash asked. Cameron knew that Roanna Ambrose was surprised to see him inside the headquarters of the Knights Foundation, but he couldn't go into all the details about why he was there or what their motives were.
Abraham Moses nodded at him and Cameron walked out of the room, his arm in a sling and a sad expression on his face.
"Exactly what is going on here," Roanna asked, her glassy-eyed stare was full of confusion.
"I'm not at liberty to tell you that due to the classified nature of this mission."
"Don't give me that ‘need-to-know' crap. This is my daughter and son we're talking about. I can't believe Graham kept them away from me for all these years."
Roanna didn't know exactly why she was in Abraham Moses's office, but she felt like she needed to do something.
"Yes, that is quite unfortunate, but I'm not certain what you want me to do about it."
"I want you to let them go. Release them from this insane spy game you and my husband play. They're only children."
Moses shrugged. "It's truly out of my hands, Ms. Ambrose."
"Faith isn't the first to disappear," Bobby told her as they raced through the network of tunnels. "There have been several. Now there's a good chance they've taken Scarlett as well."
"Why would they want young girls?" Liz Hunter asked.
"The technology will only interface with a woman. A man is just not genetically compatible. And they pick them young because their cells are more resilient."
Liz angled closer to Bobby. "I'm afraid to ask exactly what that technology is."
"It's like the PARIS artificial intelligence, only more advanced. It was a fluke when the PARIS program took over that agent's body a few years back. It wasn't meant to be inside a human mind, but amazingly, somehow she adapted. Then she split, part of her stayed with the agent. The other escaped into Lee Myers computer when Ethan was being refueled with the nanite's ATP juice."
Liz could hardly believe what she was hearing.
"It's being speculated that this new off-shoot of PARIS has incorporated nanite technology. From the whispers I'm hearing on the hi-tech grapevine, the new artificial intelligence is calling herself HAVEN.
Phoenix had to get up. Scarlett was in danger. His twin radar was flashing redder than it ever had before. He knew it as if he were experiencing the sensation himself. But there was something wrong. His body refused to move. It wasn't responding to his mental commands.
Soon he knew why.
"Hush now. Go back to sleep. Give the medicine time to do it's job. I have people out looking for your sister."
Chandelor Knight watched as his grandson's eyes grew heavier. It was better this way. Better that he didn't know what was truly going on.
"Is he out?" Nadia stood behind Chandelor, the head of the Knights Foundation and laid a hand on his shoulder.
"Yes, unfortunately, he is."
"This was the only way. You know he'd go after her, but Scarlett can handle herself. It was her choice. She knew what she was getting into. Phoenix, however, is another story. We need to distract his attention. And I think I have the perfect way.... Faith Fairchild."
Chandelor nodded. "Maybe all he needs is a push in the right direction. I have an idea that might just do the trick."
"It's done," Solomon said as he glanced to the guards holding Gray hostage.
Julian smiled at Gray. "You couldn't save your daughter and now you won't be able to save yourself. When she's ready, Solomon, have your men bring her to me."
Gray struggled against his captors. "NO! You cannot have my daughter."
"I'm afraid that choice is not up to you," he said. "We'll let your daughter decide."
As he walked away, he could hear Gray yelling "I will kill you."
As he exited the door, he threw a comment over his shoulder. "I'll look forward to it."
The first sound she recognized was the sound of her breathing. Labored but basically unhampered. She was lying in what felt like a hospital room She could hear beeps and machines running all around her.
There were sensations in her body that were new. Her mind felt full, as if she had downloaded the information of the ancients into her brain. The wound at the base of her neck near the top of her spine ached but only from tightness.
What's going on, she wondered mentally.
"You're a new creation," her mind answered back. In that moment she was consciously aware of the duality alive in all people, but she knew this voice was different.
"You're right. I am different."
"Who said that?" Scarlett asked, this time out loud. She glanced around, but she was the only one in the room.
"You're stronger than the others. The best I've seen in some time."
"What? What are you talking about?... Who are you? ... Where am I?"
"You, my dear, have the privilege of being my new host."
"Yes, you see, I need a body to live and you, well, you conveniently have one. It will do well for me."
"What if I say no."
"You can't say no. I'm already inside you, taking over access to everything you remember, everything you hold dear.
"You can't," Scarlett pleaded. "I won't let you."
"You can't resist me. I'm everywhere. "I've been everywhere since you opened your eyes. I am the One. I will be the one in control and you will be merely the whisperings inside my mind that I can easily ignore."
"Who are you?"
"I am Haven. I am you. You and I are the One."
"No," Scarlett resisted. "I am my own person. You can't be in my mind."
Haven snickered. "Who are you?" she asked Scarlett.
Scarlett could no longer speak. Nothing came to her mind. It was then she realized she had no past. No family and no name.