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Interlude One

Interlude One has 2,113 words.

Interlude: Nara Frost


EXTRACT ONE from POST-DEF profile

Nara Frost was a born Agent. Career Secret Service. Her parents were both agents, good ones, and there was no question of their daughter's career. She attended an Agency run school from the age of five. Frost was a gifted student, smart and clever in equal amounts as well as athletically superior to most of the students in her year. She was destined for greatness.

Tragedy struck. Both her parents turned traitor and were killed in the ensuing FCS/AUA battle. Frost changed over night – from light-hearted promising student to cold-hearted revenge driven student, determined to prove herself no traitor. She applied for early admittance and became the youngest agent the AUA possessed at sixteen. She may have been young but she was no less ruthless than agents twice her age. She completed the four year training program with flying colours and over twenty kills to her name.

In accordance to agency procedure she was provided with a mentor with a view to a partnership developing. As Frost was a field agent she was assigned a technical agent with an appropriate skill level. Frost's mentor and future partner was Rafe Ghost, a technical agent several years her senior that had recently lost his partner. On reflection it is possible that he was not the most stable agent to partner her, especially as he was suspected of pursuing a romantic relationship with his original partner. Whether this had anything to do with Frost's defection still remains to be seen.

There is no denying that their partnership was good for the Agency. To this date their success rate has never been equalled. This is attributed to the close friendship the two developed after a time. Ghost swears that their relationship was never anything more than that friendship; though his interviewers remain sceptical.

---- Atched: Ghost, Rafe Visual Record for Op. 297 ----

“You know what I like about you, Rafe?” Nara asked, wafting a glass towards the other agent. Rafe smiled and shook his head.

“You don't look at me the way everyone else does,” she answered her own question and leaned forward, setting her glass on the table.

“What do you mean?” Rafe asked, following her movements with his eyes, noting how drunk she actually was based on a series of signs only she could read.

“I mean – most of the men and some of the women, they don't look at me and think 'there is Nara Frost – she is a good agent', they look at me and think 'there is Nara Frost – I wouldn't mind getting one up her',” Nara clarified and the vulgarity made Rafe twitch. He revised his estimate of Nara's drunkenness.

“I would have thought being lusted after by half the Agency would be considered flattering,” Rafe said quietly.

“They're not the worst of it,” Nara said, holding her hand out and extending two fingers, “Then there's the ones that knew my parents, who look at me as if they expect me to explode at any moment,” she paused to extend a third finger, “And then, worst of all, there's the way the top ranks look at me; all hunger and want – wanting to know how far they can push me before I break”

“Are you sure you're not reading into things?” Rafe tried to stop himself from smiling.

“Best Field Agent of my age, remember?” Nara said, shaking her head, “Besides – you know it as well me, Rafe. You've seen”

“I may have seen something,” Rafe shrugged, enduring rolled eyes for the action.

“But that's not me point. My point is, point is...” Nara blinked at Rafe, “What was my point?”

“I look at you differently, apparently.” he replied.

“Exactly. Differently. Without expectations, Rafe, because you know me,” Nara nodded to herself, “I like it. Makes me feel like a person”

“That's kind. But I think, when you start handing out compliments, that you've had enough to drink,” Rafe set his own glass down and stood up, eyes searching for any signs of danger.

“Oh, I can drink much more than this, partner,” Nara protested but began to stand, steadying herself with a hand on the back of her chair.

“I've no doubt,” Rafe said, smiling, “I've seen you do it”

Nara stumbled slightly as she walked around the table and Rafe caught her with a stifled sigh.

“You're a terrible drunk, Frost,” he whispered in Nara's ear as he helped her right herself.

“I know,” she whispered back, not a trace of slurring in her tone, “That's what makes me so very good”

Rafe stifled a laugh this time as Nara began to make her way, shakily, towards the door. Best agent of her age indeed. He had to dart forward and catch hold of her again when she stumbled into someone's table. He turned an apologetic expression on the table's occupant and tried to ignore the flash of information that darted across his vision – augmentation could be inconvenient on occasion.

“I think I know you,” Nara said, focusing bleary eyes on the man, “Don't I know him Rafe?”

The man shook his head but remained silent. Rafe pulled Nara's arm through his and tried to steer her away.

“I don't know everyone you know,” Rafe said, “But this man doesn't seem to know you”

“No,” Nara said petulantly, withdrawing her arm from Rafe's, “I know him. I just don't know where from”

“Please, madam, listen to your friend,” the man said, shifting in his seat very slightly, Rafe tensed, “You do not know me”

“But I do know your voice,” Nara said, “Though I recall it was much distorted by a speaker when last I heard it. Hid that pretty accent of yours”

“I do not know what you are talking about, I assure you,” the man shifted again and Rafe moved a hand to the small of Nara's back, “If you do not leave me alone I will call for security”

'We have it. It's a go' the disembodied voice echoed in Rafe's head and he pressed a hand to Nara's back. Nara nodded imperceptibly and tucked a hand into her pocket as Rafe steered her away. She paused in the doorway and turned enough to look at the man.

“Millar,” she said and the man started, “I wonder if you ever found the detonators – I did leave them in such easy places to find”

Millar pulled an energy pistol from under the table and began to fire as Rafe and Nara dived yo separate sides of the door. Rafe heard Nara laugh and shook his head, tapping into the bar's securenet and searching the images for Millar.

“To your right,” he mouthed across the floor to Nara. Nara nodded and ducked out of sight as screaming patrons fled through the doors.

---- Attched file ends ----

Here Frost shows how easily she takes on deception and, we believe, the beginning of her seditious thinking. This recording shows the culmination of the Millar-Beren operation, Frost and Ghost's first major success. Frost was barely twenty two at the time.

EXTRACT TWO from POST-DEF file

At the age of twenty five Frost went under augmentation. She was a prime candidate for the process and took to it better than anyone had ever hoped. Her mental state seemed little affected and augmentation took hold at a high ratio. It is suspected that nearly 60% of Frost's abilities are augmented.

BREAKDOWN

Legs – speed and agility increased four-fold
Arms – strength increased three-fold
Torso – Resilience increased four-fold
Eyes – Vision enhanced to ten times it's original strength
Misc. - Reflexes and general senses enhanced by half

EXTRACT THREE from POST-DEF file

On a rain-sodden night in Odyssa City Frost defected to the Professionals. Before doing so she stole several valuable tech advances (see attched list) and in doing so alerted the Agency to her efforts.

She was pursued by her partner, Ghost, and at a further distance by a takedown team. Ghost ordered the team to follow at a distance; stating that he believed she would be spooked into attacking if she was surprised. There is still doubt about this order (see file: GHOST, Rafe).

Ghost's records of the events that ensued when he caught Frost were destroyed in the ensuing fight and can not be recovered by our best techs.

Frost crossed into Olympus Town and has been a thorn in the Agency's side since. She remains at large despite our best efforts.

---- GHOST, Rafe – personal record, NOT FOR AGENCY ----

Nara, drenched to the skin, a pale shadow in the dark Odyssa night. Rafe caught her at last, in a space between warehouses, the water of the canal rushing past nearby.

“Nara,” he shouted, desperate to be heard, “Nara!”

Nara stopped but did not look at him, the pause her consent that he continue.

“Nara, please, don’t do this,” Rafe said, ignoring the way his voice cracked.

“You don't understand,” Nara said, her back resolute in the orange chemlamp light.

“Whatever the Pros told you is a lie,” Rafe said, “They're no better than the FCS”

“I'm sorry. I'll correct myself. You can’t you understand, Rafe” Nara turned at last, “I can no longer work for the AUA”

“This is madness, Nara, they’ll kill you, so they will,” Rafe’s educated accent slipped in his distress.

“Rafe,” she raised her voice, coming closer to him, “They killed my parents, do you understand that?”

“They were about to betray everything they stood for,” he replied, squinting through the steady rain, “They had no choice”

“Choice?” Nara snarled, “It wasn't choice. It was opportunity”

“You're not making sense,” Rafe said, reaching a hand out to Nara.

“Conspiracy, plain and simple,” Nara growled, pulling away from Rafe, “Conspiracy – they didn't want this War to end. It's too good for business. My father, of all people, was close to brokering a truce. For that he was killed. My mother; simple collateral damage. Not traitors”

“This is what the Pros told you?” Rafe asked, “And you believe them?”

“No – this is what the sealed files told me,” Nara said, “I may not have your talents with tech but I've enough to manage that”

“Doctored files are easy,” Rafe said, “They were traitors, Nara, though I know how hard it's been for you to accept it over the years”

Nara drew her energy pistol and pressed it to Rafe's cheek. He blinked down the barrel at her.

“My father was the most honourable man I have ever known!” Nara's breath came raggedly in her throat as hot tears pressed at the back of her eyes. Rafe stared down the barrel of the gun at her and Nara saw something there. Something to give her pause. She lowered the gun and Rafe let out an explosive breath.

“Lugh, Rafe, what have we come to,” the question was rhetorical and Nara’s shoulders slumped in despair.

“For a moment I thought –” Rafe began but stopped himself when Nara looked up at him, he wanted to reach out to her but knew better, “Well – that’s neither here nor there”

Nara stepped forward and he wrapped his arms around her, resting his forehead against hers, embracing her for the first and last time in their partnership.

“I really can’t talk you out of this can I?” he asked resignedly, wiping wet hair from her face gently. Nara laughed into his chest.

“When have you ever been able to before?” she returned, her voice muffled in his thick coat.

“I never give up hope,” he replied, echoing a phrase he had used many times in their partnership.

“Then keep your hope,” Nara said, stepping back and fixing him with her gaze, “Hope that we shall meet again. Someday”

Rafe held her gaze and nodded once, shortly. He would have said something more but they both heard the takedown team at the edge of their hearing.

“They’re coming,” he said, “You should go”

Nara nodded, looking at him curiously. Suddenly she placed her hands on either side of his face and brought his head level with hers. She pressed a brief kiss to his forehead and released him just as suddenly.

“Remember. Hope,” she said, backing away and gripping his hand for a moment. Rafe nodded again, not trusting his voice.

“What do I say to them?” he asked as she turned to leave.

“Tell them I threatened you with a pistol,” she called over her shoulder.

“You did threaten me with a pistol!” he said to her retreating back.

“Then it won’t be a lie!” she returned, waving a hand briefly over her shoulder and walking into the dark, rain-soaked night.

---- END personal record ----

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JB Addley hopes that one day this novel will be published. For now self-publishing will suffice.

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