Operation: Gamma Raid

OPERATION: GAMMA RAID

 

Author unknown

08:00 GMT +1
Ganymede Towers,
Geneva, Switzerland.
 
      What am I doing here? I’m no spy, Michael thought to himself as the bored looking guard returned his papers. Well at least the Agency forges good documents. Putting the stolen cleaning van into drive he passed through the main gate and parked out of sight at the rear entrance away from the main loading docks.
 
      “Well this should be the right door.”
 
      This was a job for professionals, at least five or more professionals. Again he thought to himself, I am no spy. Why did they send him in alone, an inexperienced rookie, on a suicide mission, with no back up? Maybe that was it; he was not supposed to come out of this alive at all. Drop the bomb off, and get eliminated. Would solve their problem of the money he was going to ask for, for doing this little operation.
 
      Having been given blueprints of the building earlier at the briefing Michael navigated his way through the deserted Ganymede Towers building. His destination, a door leading directly into the labs. Unfortunately the door was locked, and he was no skilled locksmith. Flipping the blade open to his pocket knife Michael jammed it in between the door and its frame. Jimmying the blade a bit he broke the door of its frame.
 
      “Cake walk.”
 
      Opening the broken door Michael’s face went pale. This was the right place, millions of dollars of glass lab equipment and strange tanks of hideous green fluid lined the walls. However, it was not the science equipment that made his blood drain away. It was the three guards pointing Ingram MAC-10 submachine guns at him.
 
      If Michael had ever wondered what it was like to be in that kind of slow motion you always saw in movies, he knew now. Slamming the door just in time the hail of bullets splintered the door, the 9mm rounds failing to pierce the door. A metal sheet in the door itself perhaps?
 
      “Why oh why can’t we all just get along?”
 
      Pulling the Walther P99 from its shoulder holster Michael kicked the door back open and returned fire. He was considered an above average shooter on the range back at the Agency. Attributing this to his many hours of playing Duck Hunt in his youth.
 
      The central guard, as the three of them had stood shoulder to shoulder when they opened fire, went down, two 9mm rounds in his chest. In a sweeping motion Michael brought his instrument of death to bear on the right guard.  Both guards had stopped to reload their MAC-10s, having unloaded an entire thirty-two round clip into the door. As the second guard realized, to his horror, his error his head was thrown back a bullet spraying skull fragments and grey matter behind him. The remaining guard was lucky enough to work his action and fire a single shot, which nicked only cloth, as Michael put him down with two more rounds to the chest.
 
      Scanning his perimeter he took in the sight of the three men he had just killed. He guessed it was true. In a moment of emergency one’s training did kick in and save lives.
 
      Holstering his weapon he pulled out the gamma-buster from duffel bag he had dropped in the hall.
 
      “Now where are those instructions?
 
      “Oh, yes.” he said to himself noticing the red stenciled letters “arm“, above a switch. Flipping it he was rewarded by an increasingly loud beeping alerting him that something big was about to happen.
 
      “I do believe that is my cue to leave.”
 
      Michael turned and ran for the exit as more weapons fire erupted behind him. Dr. Friedrich Kholera and his henchman Jason Hellman had arrived, having answered the sound of gun fire in the lab.
 
      Dr. Kholera screamed as his life’s work began to bubble like soup in a microwave. The air in the room grew increasingly hotter and the smell of smoldering metal and scorched plastic made everyone cough and choke.
 
      Mr. Hellman grabbed the shrieking Doctor and dragged him from the room as biohazard quarantine seals began to slide down from the ceiling. All of this oblivious to Michael as he took the stairs, three at a time, down to the parking garage. Ripping his coverall cleaner’s uniform from his body as he ran.
 
      Michael climbed into the driver’s seat of an unknown employee’s 1963 Pontiac Bonneville CV. Slipping his M frame Oakley sunglasses on he put the car in drive. He pulled through the checkpoint Michael smiling and waving at the scrambling guards while sirens and red flashing lights filled the compound.
 
      “I could get use to this.”
 
      Looking at his watch he depressed the knob and was rewarded with the sound of an explosion. A huge fireball filled the air where he had left the cleaning van. The five pounds of C-4 explosive removing any evidence he may have left behind. If they tried to trace the C-4’s chemical signature they would only learn that the C-4 had come from Switzerland’s own military stockpile. Stolen a mere week before, by an unknown assailant.
 
      Maybe being a spy wasn’t so bad after all.
 
UNSEEN SCARS
 
11:00 A.M.
Paris Market,
Paris, France.
 
“Cela sera cinq monsieur de cents.”
 
The decades spent traveling from one side of the world to the other granted Mike the necessary knowledge to understand and respond to people in just about every language no matter what culture they are from. He placed the five cents of Euro currency into the shop owners hand as he nodded his thanks. As he bit into the juicy apple he took in the sights of the Puces de St Ouen market.
 
The movies and novels never truly portray a spy’s life. They make the public believe that spies and other black op agents are always running around saving the world from unseen foes. Oh, but did Mike know the truth. Granted there were times when he found himself in the field for a year or more without a day off, his line of work was no nine to five job with weekends and holidays off. However, when he was not in the field or behind a desk doing paperwork Michael was free to wander the world on holiday.
 
This holiday he had chosen France, Paris to be exact. He had come for the food, the culture, and architecture. He remembered wandering these streets as a child. His father had been a photographer for National Geographic, and he brought his family with him on all of his adventures. Taking another bite of the apple he walked on through the crowd, reminiscing of old times. Totally oblivious to any thought of a pick pocket trying to get his wallet. Mike knew he did not look like a tourist, he had been taught long before joining the Agency how to blend into a culture.
 
“Aide! Arrêter le voleur!”
 
His ears caught those words among the crowds chatter and haggling. Words his mind was attuned to respond to. “Help, stop thief.” Scanning the crowd he saw a young woman holding her side as a man shoved his way through the crowd. In mere seconds he gave chase. He knew he could not catch the purse snatcher if he had to push through the crowd. Running to a lamp post he climbed up. With his view of the street greatly enhanced he caught sight of the thief.
 
As from a scene in Cracodile Dundee Michael threw his half eaten apple at the thief’s head. His throw would have done a major league baseball pitcher proud. The apple sailed through the air, and struck the thief squarely in the back of the neck, just at the base of the skull. The apple exploded on impact, and the thief kissed hard French cobblestone.
 
As onlookers realized what had happen they began to applaud while chanting “Bravo, bravo.”
 
Michael slowly made his way through the crowd, nodding to people as they patted him on the shoulders and back. Even shaking a few hands. So much for blending into the crowd, and not being noticed by anyone who may be following him. That was the problem with being a spy. You spent ever waking moment in fear of an assassin’s bullet. One makes many enemies in his line of work.
 
Kicking the moaning thief in the stomach he rolled him over onto his back. Just a small fish, a petty thief, nothing worth bothering with. He reached down and picked up the purse, noting it’s fine make. He did not doubt that there was probably a small fortune inside. Walking back through the crowd he handed the purse back to its owner.
 
“I believe this belongs to you madam”
 
“Oh, why thank you. You speak English. Are you American?”
 
Silently he cursed himself. How could he be so stupid. He had let his guard drop, and revealed that he wasn’t a Frenchman. What could have made him slip up so. Maybe it was those fawn brown eyes. The kind he could feel himself getting lost in. Shaking his head he realized that he had been staring at her while he had not released his grip on the purse. Which he quickly did.
 
“No madam. Aussie” His Aussie accent finally coming out.
 
“Australian, how wonderful. A real Crocodile Dundee.”
 
His face began to blush. “Jesus” he thought to himself. What was wrong with him. He was acting like a ninth grade juvenile asking a girl for the first time to the Prom. Catching his mind wandering once again he snapped it back to the present.
 
“No, just your average Joe as the Americans say.”
 
“I wish there was some way I could repay you. Mr.?”
 
“Frost, Michael Frost.” He smiled showing his pure white teeth. The teeth of a predator. “Actually there is a way you could repay me.”
 
“How?” she smiled.
 
For a few moments time stood still. The whole world was revolving around these two strangers, who stood in the middle of a crowded market in Paris. Everything else had been forgotten.
 
“Join me for a cup of coffee?”
 
What was with these butterflies in his stomach? He had never had problems talking to a woman before, even one this beautiful. What was it? Those eyes, her voice, the grace she seemed to portray with every little movement of her hands.
 
“Oui. I would love to.”
 
That smile touched his lips once again. Offering his arm, which she took with a surprised smile, they walked arm in arm to a near by café introducing themselves further. They took seats opposite of each other. They ordered coffee and small pastry treats, Michael being the gentleman and making sure she ordered first.
 
Hours passed as they talked over untouched coffee and treats. In the beginning they spoke about the weather, and the coffee. As time rolled on, and they became more comfortable with each others company, the conversation turned to more personal matters. Personal beliefs, politics, dreams, hopes, fears. All of the little things that makes up a person’s character. The kind of things that one keeps closely guarded, revealing only to select few. But here was Michael, telling a complete stranger his personal feelings.
 
It was already after eleven at night when a stranger approached the couple. A college student, who had been having coffee with friends at a table close by. She seemed to ignore Mike as she looked directly into his companion. When she spoke it was in French, but those words stopped Michael dead in his tracks. Another smile appeared, this one smaller and consciously hidden.
 
“Isabelle Pouchain may I have your autograph?”
 
Isabelle smiled and nodded as she reached for the pad of paper and pen. She scribbled her name across the pad and returned it with a few kind words. As the college girl ran back to her friends, Michael had crossed his arms to stare at Isabelle while revealing more of his smile.
 
“Isabella Pouchain. As in Isabella the French Opera singer?”
 
“Guilty” she smiled, a hint of fear and doubt in her voice.
 
“You’ve a wonderful voice. I could tell when we first met. Though I must admit I had not placed it to your work.”
 
Isabella smiled. Michael wasn’t one of these obsessed fans, or one of these guys who hated opera. Then Australia did have one of the most famous and widely recognizable opera houses in the world. As thoughts of this kind gentleman who had been her superman earlier in the day filled her mind, she gasped as the moon reflected its in a shop’s window.
 
“Oh my, it is late.”
 
Looking at his watch he signed. “Yes, it is almost midnight. Will your coach be arriving soon, or will it turn into a pumpkin before it reaches you?” Her laugh was like clean water to his soul.
 
“No, I am afraid I must be up in a few hours. I have rehearsal for a new opera being opened in a few weeks.
 
“A good exhuse,” he joked. “May I walk you home? I hear the streets of Paris can be dangerous at night. Jack the Ripper having not been caught and all.”
 
“My knight in shining armor? I would be honored Sir Knight.”
 
This time it was Michael’s time to laugh. He was no knight, no saint, nor gentleman he thought to himself. He was nothing more then a killer, a murderer. Though she did not need to know that; not now, not ever. Pulling a money clip from his pocket he dropped more then four times the cost of the drinks for tip. Then offering his hand this time, the walked hand in hand through the streets of Paris to Isabella’s home.
 
12:45 A.M.
Isabella Pourchain’s Apartment.
#1144 Avenue Victoria,
75001 Paris, France.
 
Michael and Isabella stood outside the apartment building looking at each other. Their hands still clasped in the others. Michael smiled, not knowing where the night would lead next. Not caring either. Just so long as he was able to see this angel again. The silence was broken by Isabella first.
 
“Would you like to come up? For some coffee.”
 
“I’d love to.”
 
Michael followed her into the building, her hand gripping his a bit more tightly. Inside the elevator that lead to her apartment he pulled her close in an embrace and kissed her gently on the lips. His kiss met a woman who’s body went limp in his arms, then as only a woman can do she returned his kiss ten fold. The moment was broken when the elevator dinged as they reached their floor. Both smiling they walked hand in hand, giving each other little squeezes, to the door.
 
Isabella’s apartment was a museum of art. The walls were decorated with famous pieces of artwork, many Michael could name and even give a history of. Like any French person the kitchen contained fresh bread, fruit, and bottles of wine. Comfortable and practical furniture filled the rooms.
 
“Now this is my kind of place.”
 
“I am glad you like it.”
 
Pulling from his grasp Isabella spun around in a circle to give him a smile that would have done the Devil in. She beckoned him with a finger as she slowly walked backwards toward a door.
 
“Care to see the master bedroom?”
 
That was it. With those words he knew he was not going back to his rented loft that night. He followed her, eyes aflame with desire, and his nerves shaking. God, his body had digressed to that of a teenager who was about to lose his virginity for the first time. Michael no longer cared. He gave in long ago to these strange feelings.
 
Hours later they lay in bed together., their bodies entwined. The sheets had been tossed to the floor. Isabella stared out the window to the new days sun, while Michael gently ran his fingers through her auburn hair.
 
“What is this?” Michael asked rubbing a pendant hanging around her throat.
 
“St. Christopher. He is the…”
 
“…patron saint of travelers.”
 
“Exactly.”
 
Mike smiled as he looked closer to the engraving of the Catholic saint walking through a storm with a child on his shoulders. The protector of travelers, lost souls, and vagabonds. That was something Michael Frost could understand well.
 
“Merde! The rehearsal”
 
Even her cursing was beautiful, Mike thought. Releasing his embrace about her Isabella bolted upright. She jumped out of bed, her naked body glinting with beads of sweat. “I’m late,” she cried as she began throwing clothes on. Michael simple laid in bed, leaning up on his elbow.
 
“May I give you a lift? The subway will be filled at this hour, and the streets will be faster.”
 
“You are an Angel.” She kissed him on the lips.
 
No I am not, he thought to himself. Shaking his head to clear such thoughts he began getting dressed. After they had eaten a quick breakfast of bread and cheese, washing it down with orange juice. Michael had called for a taxi to be outside waiting for them, when they were ready to go.
 
09:46 A.M.
Opera House,
Paris France.
 
Isabella was assaulted by a short man. His accent was heavy French, and he spoke faster then any human should. Michael wondered if the man was on speed. As the man rambled he led them through the Opera house, ignoring Michael all together, to the stage where other actors and actresses were rehearsing.
 
Michael took a seat out in the empty audience. Smiling to Isabella he prepared to witness was so few got to see. The behind the scenes look of an opera in the making. He was impressed and moved beyond words. Isabella’s voice was like a choir of angels, though he thought even that voice would make an angel jealous if at least not cry.
 
7:06 P.M.
Opening Night.
Opera House,
Paris France.
 
That is how it began, their courtship. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. Isabella and Michael were inseparable. Their casual dates turned into something more serious. Their names and pictures made the French papers, and the opera community as a whole wondered who this stranger Michael Frost was that was courting their beloved singer.
 
After months of rehearsals, and seeing Isabella, Michael hade made up his mind. He had come to understand why he always got butterflies when he looked at her. Why his body shook at her touch. He loved her. It was the only answer. He loved this woman with every part of his being.
 
His fingers fiddled with the small black box in his blazer’s pocket. This would be the night, the night that he life began anew. No more killing, no more blood, no more faces chasing him in his dreams. He would contact the Agency and resign. Surely he could find a real job, maybe working at the Louvre Museum.
 
“Michael! Oh Michael I’m glad I found you.”
 
“What’s wrong Lily?” A pet name he had given her for her love of water lilies.
 
“It’s Pierre, he’s lost his voice and cannot perform.”
 
“What about his understudy?”
 
“There is no understudy. We…I need your help Michael.”
 
“Anything, you know that.”
 
“I need you to play his part.”
 
“What! I can’t sing.”
 
“Nonsense. I’ve heard you in the shower. Your voice is amazing, you just hide it from the world. Set it free Michael.”
 
“As you wish, my Angel of Music.”
 
“You do realize you just combined two lines from two different books right?”
 
Michael smiled and laughed. Before he could pop the question to Isabella he was dragged away by a worker to get into costume. He gave Isabella a fleeting look, his eyes begging to be saved. Isabella’s showed only a mischievous grin.
 
It was time. The current was ready to rise, and on the other side were hundreds of people waiting to watch an opera with two major French singers. Instead they were in for a surprise of their lives. For the first, and last time, they were going to get what they had been reading in the papers; Michael Frost and Isabella Pouchain.
 
“Lily. Before we go on I have something to ask you.”
 
“Mike. I have something I need to tell you to. Please you first though. I’m not sure I have the heart to say what I need to say.”
 
Michael’s heart skipped a beat. Did she not love him? Falling to one knee he pulled the black box from his pocket and held it open facing her. He smiled at the shock seen in her eyes as a tear began to fall. “Isabella Pouchain, we have known each other for only a short time. But in that time I have learned more about myself and the world then if I had lived two life times. I know in the deepest regions of my being that you are the one for me. Will you marry me?”
 
“Yes, yes of course I’ll marry you Michael.”
 
He stood and slipped the ring onto her finger and kissed.
 
“What is it you need to tell me?”
 
“I’m pregnant Mike. We’re going to have a child.”
 
If Michael had thought his heart skipped a beat earlier. It had all but stopped this time. Staring at her his face held the stupidest expression that only a father to be could have. He hugged her and covered her in kisses. All he could say was, “Me a father?”
 
The curtain rose.
 
As in the days of Queens and Kings, of Shakespeare, a narrator stepped before the audience. “Ladies and Gentleman, there has been a change in today’s performance. We are sad to say Pierre Gaston is sick and will not be singing tonight. In his place we have the exquisite voice of Michael Frost in his début .”
 
The audience exploded in applause. They would finally get to see this mysterious Michael Frost. A man nobody knew could singer, or ever having sang.
 
The opera began. The audience was hushed by the Michael’s voice a rich baritone fill the air as he sang. Then without a moments notice his voice dropped to a tenor, a feat very few musicians could accomplish. At that moment the opera world was hooked. Not since Andre Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera has there been such chemistry and obvious love between two people. Men and women cried together as their stars sung and danced across the stage.
 
The final song of the night had come. Michael was tired, he had never done such hard work in his life compared to this. He would not fail his love. His angel Lily.
 
A whistle began softly in the background, rising in tone. Followed by the orchestra. Then Michael’s voice began singing in English, his voice a baritone. He was walking slowly across the stage to Isabella who was wearing an elegant red dress of the Victorian era. She looked lost and sad. Michael reached down and clasped his hand under her chin and raised her face to his as he sang. His words cutting through to her soul as he lifted her to her feet.
 
“Lonely
The path you have chosen
A restless road
No turning back
One day you
Will find your light again
Don't you know
Don't let go
Be strong”
 
Michael’s voice changed to a tenor. He began to circle her singing, his eyes never leaving hers.
 
“Follow you heart
Let you love lead through the darkness
Back to a place you once knew
I believe, I believe, I believe
In you”
 
Follow your dreams
Be yourself, an angel of kindness
There's nothing that you can not do
I believe, I believe, I believe
In you.
 
Then Isabella’s voice broke out. She snag in French, a mixing the two languages together in song that seemed to appeal to the audience as they cleared tears away from their eyes.
 
“Tout seul
Tu t'en iras tout seul
Coeur ouvert
A L'univers
Poursuis ta quete
Sans regarder derriere
N'attends pas
Que le jour
Se leve
 
Grasping Isabella’s hands in his own he pulled her body close to him. Inwardly smiling at the diamond ring she wore. As she sang he joined her. Their voices mixing. Creating a sense of intimacy as vocals danced through the air.
 
Suis ton etoile
Va jusqu'ou ton reve t'emporte
Un jour tu le toucheras
Si tu crois si tu crois si tu crois
En toi
Suis la lumiere
N'eteins pas la flamme que tu portes
Au fonds de toi souviens-toi
Que je crois que je crois que je crois
Que je crois
En toi”
 
Isabella’s voice fell away and Michael’s was alone for just a moment. The baritone had returned. He held Isabella in his arms, her back to his chest. They faced the audience, the appearance generated that he was singing only to her. Words that were meant for no other ear, but hers and hers alone. As he sang, her voice returned to dance with his.
 
“Someday I'll find you
Someday you'll find me too
And when I hold you close
I'll know that is true
 
Follow your heart
Let you love lead through the darkness
Back to a place you once knew
I believe, I believe, I believe in you
 
Follow your dreams
Be yourself, an angel of kindness
There's nothing that you can not do
I believe, I believe, I believe
In you.”
 
As the last word fell over the audience, men and woman climbed to their feet. The sound of their applause drowning out every other. Isabella turned in his arms and looked deeply into his eyes, the eyes she would lose herself in every night for the rest of their lives. Reaching behind her she undid her St. Christopher’s necklace and put it around his neck. “I love you with all my heart. May this pendant guide you and guard you through life when I am not by your side my love.”
 
Leaning down he kissed her. Her body jumped as they kissed. A long breath escaped Isabella’s lips, passing in between his own. He could feel her body go suddenly limp. “Isabella? Are you okay?” He whispered into her ear. Then he could feel it, and he knew she wasn’t. The wetness, the kind he knew all to well. He could feel it now on his chest, spreading.
 
Michael fell to his knees taking Isabella with him. He held her close, rocking her. For the first time since he could remember, Michael Frost wept.
 
8:00 AM
Isabella Pouchain’s Funeral
Père Lachaise Cemetery,
Paris, France.
 
The preacher’s sermon had been short and sweet. Michael stood among a group of strangers and familiar faces. Many of those he recognized were people Lily had worked with. Those he did not recognize were members of her family. Her mother and Father were among those. Did they know?
 
Walking up to Mr. and Mrs. Pouchain Michael looked at them in self pity. He had no words for these strangers. These people who were suppose to be his family. The mother and father-in-law that were to replace his own lost parents.
 
Seeing the sorrow and trouble in Michael’s eyes Mr.s Pouchain embraced him and kissed him. “My son.” was all she said before walking away. Her husband’s arm about her neck. He gave Michael one sorrowful look and a nod before giving his grieving wife all his attention and love.
 
For the second time in his life Michael knew he had lost his parents.
 
Kneeling down by the head stones, the bodies having been laid to rest, Michael placed a bouquet of water lily’s on Isabella’s stone. Along with her engagement ring. He turned to the smaller grave next to hers and placed a teddy bear on his unborn daughter’s grave. He ran his fingers over the engraved name as he read it to himself, “Anastasia Lily Frost.” Named after his mother, and Isabella’s pet name.
 
Standing he turned his back on his wife and daughter and walked away, just as it began to snow. He would find the man who had shot his wife in the back. He would find him, and he would kill him. There was no hiding place that would keep their killer from Michael Frost. Not in this world or the next.
 
“I will have my revenge.”