Preface: The Assassin who went rogue to ensnare a Disgraced.
The Mutus once saved my life many years ago, and the agent who saved me was Assassin Hroda Fenstermacher, a German hitman who never listened to advice or followed rules, but that one day he listened to one Detective who could not come to my rescue in time, and he went in to check on me in the nick of time, although he called me a voos for my troubles. I had no idea back then that I was under the Mutus’ watch, or that I would eventually join their ranks.
But the greatest surprise was that Hroda and I would become allies once I made a fateful decision to become an Assassin.
I never thought I was the type, but somehow, Hroda’s ways made sense to me.
Yet we could not be more different. He is a white, blonde, blue-eyed German who terrorizes his neighborhood in Offenbach who all know what he does for a living. I am an African-American newspaper crime reporter living in Washington, DC, and my neighbours like me, and have no idea of my double-life.
Hroda and I socialize off hours, and we are both part of an Assassin’s club, but there was one case we all did off the books in the 1990s that would come to haunt us: one of the Assassin’s in our club was an Aussie named Rolland “Roho” Holloman who betrayed the Mutus as well as our group, and disappeared. He outfoxed himself and was killed by Assassin Bingham who did not know the extent of Disgraced Holloman’s treachery.
But what the Mutus did not tell us was that there was a black ops arm of the organization and they placed the duplicitous Roho in charge of it. We discovered many other dark secrets about him, but thought the matter was laid to rest.
But then came September 11, 2001 when Assassin Boadicea Hollingberry was dispatched to assassinate a Dreadful in the Twin Towers in New York City before a slated terrorist attack to ensure he and his secrets never saw the light of day.
But he had an accomplice who survived and was one of our own.
Disgraced Jessica Malloy was once a Messenger in the Mutus whose parents were well-regarded members in the Australian parcel of the group. She willfully used the Dreadful, but was apprehended alive and the Mutus dealt with her, but would not say how, save tell her parents their daughter died in the tragedy, meaning she would not be sent to the Arcana, the place where wayward agents were taken to be punished and executed.
The problem was Roho had intelligence on the entire Assassin’s club, and if Disgraced Malloy was his devout agent; it would mean she was continuing Roho’s work, and deliberately wanted to be caught to be sent to the secret and unconfirmed other arm: the black ops where certain Mutus renegades were forced to conduct dangerous and degrading long term assignments as their penance.
Roho had deliberately gone into the arm, took over, and had access to nuclear power he had planned to use to blackmail the Mutus into submission.
And now Disgraced Malloy was tunnelling the same path.
But unlike Roho, the Assassin’s club was prepared, and I had monitored her from afar.
The Mutus has not been aware that I was keeping a quiet watch on her, and knew what they had decided she were to do.
In the regular arm of the Mutus, we are guided by our goddess Una et Dilectos.
The One and Our Beloved.
But in the black ops, they are forced to be guided by the Seven.
Those seven schizophrenic brothers who were saved by Una et Dilectos, but had failed to save her life, and did their penance by any dark means possible.
In Disgraced Malloy’s case, she was forced to work as an escort in the Hollywood Underground to gather dirt on all the wealthy and powerful male patrons.
I discovered it by hacking into various servers until I hit pay dirt of her whereabouts.
It was her plan all along to be sent there, but why had been a mystery for the last few years.
Today I stumbled upon something crucial. One of the secret regular patrons of the Underground was Piers Adderley, the US Deputy Secretary of Defense. He was also a high-ranking member of the international Illuminati group La Nuit du bas, who also held the Underground.
The Underground was the secret place where the film and entertainment industry’s real deals were hammered out. Secret loans for desperate directors were negotiated here. Actresses who were disgraced sold themselves to powerful billionaires to resurrect their in-limbo careers. Television executives in a slump had to part with their prized secrets and talent in order to find a lifeline.
But that one of the Beltway was coming here for secret rendezvouses was out of place. The Underground’s overlord Kenny Kopp usually kept politics out of his netherworld.
But the Disgraced Malloy knew something. The Mutus must have known part of the equation to ship her there without her parents’ knowledge as they were told she was killed in the terrorist attack.
But the Disgraced knew one piece more than the Mutus and deliberately set herself up to be brought to their horrific hedonistic torture chamber.
Adderley was a loftily educated Ivy Leaguer who had been a mechanical engineering researcher whose work was used by the military.
But his younger brother Ivo was an A-list actor.
And he also a frequent member of the Underground who liked to indulge in his various twisted fantasies in private where no one would know his clean-cut image was a sham.
Ivo was the debauched pervert who his brilliant older brother used as a ticket to get into the Underground.
And my best guess was not to partake in vile romps, but to make specific contact with the Disgraced.
As the Disgraced reviled the Mutus, she would do nothing on their behest.
It also meant that the elder Adderley sibling knew about the Mutus, and the Assassin’s club.
There was a plot brewing, and now was the time to ensure neither the Disgraced nor her contact had a chance to see their plot come to fruition.
This isn’t a sanctioned Assignment, but I am not taking any chances.
With Una et Dilectos guiding me, I am going to put an end to the games of the Disgraced as I know the extent of her rage and cunning.
Even if I risk being thrown into the firepits of the Seven myself.
Part One: The Assassin makes his plans without Control and without Scouts.
The Mutus was an organization that has been in existence for centuries and is global in its reach with technology a century ahead of the rest of the world and has unparalleled surveillance.
Yet there are boundaries within the Mutus. We are not chipped. We do not use drones to draw attention to our field operatives. There is also an agreement when an agent is on a Furlough, surveillance is lessened, and it was the reason the Assassin’s club always met during our down time.
But still, we did not socialize at our homes, save once in a while at the Doyenne Assassin’s basement in Ravenglass when we wished for absolute privacy. But today, I was meeting with a single operative, Assassin Fenstermacher. I flew to Offenbach, Germany as Hroda rarely left his home when not on Assignment. He was usually smoking and drinking beer while re-reading the science fiction novels of Hammond Hughes, usually in the buff in his backyard. Although he was smoking and drinking as he was reading, at least he had the rare courtesy of wearing boxers and a t-shirt when I came to see him, and told him of my intentions in his living room.
“You are certain now is the time to strike?” he asked me.
“I don’t have much time.”
“The Mutus doesn’t suspect?”
“I told them I had intel about a potential Dreadful you might be interested in whacking.” I pointed to the briefcase. “It’s legit, and the Messengers were relieved I volunteered to give it to you instead of them, and so was Control.”
Hroda raised his eyebrow, then snatched the briefcase and opened it, reading it carefully as he chortled and beamed. “Ah, you did not tell me you would bring me a present, Shawn. This looks like a quick and gloriously messy affair that I can do in less than a day. So, what is your plan while I castrate this worthless Dreadful?”
I threw him another file. “That’s my plan and the specifics, which I trust you will burn in that fireplace of yours immediately after reading it.”
“The Disgraced Malloy is in cahoots with Pier Adderley who is in the US government. This is serious business. I have to dispatch of them, and possibly his actor brother Ivo.”
Assassin Fenstermacher grunted. “You can dispatch the Disgraced, but if you were also to go after Adderley, the Mutus would know and punish you. I will see to it that swine is made to suffer a thousand horrible deaths, clearing the way for you to dispatch the Disgraced without arousing suspicion right after I have my fun with this pathetic Dreadful. Una et Dilectos has shown me the way.”
Before I could say another word, the Assassin got up and left his living room, without a trace or a sound as I immediately left to get back home to get everything started.
Part Two: The Assassin sets the stage from behind his curtain.
An unsanctioned Assignment was a dangerous game within the Mutus, and it was the reason I had to move quickly and without hesitation. Usually, I would have Scouts at my disposal and Control feeding me intel and providing me with whatever tools, technology, or information I required. None of that was available. I could not stalk my targets or question anyone. A single out of the ordinary move, and the Mutus would immediately put a stop to my plans as I was supposed to believe there was no longer a black ops version within the Silent.
That meant that I could account for every movement I made. I hacked into Germany’s military files after hacking into the European Union’s servers right after I hack into Interpol’s servers. I had to establish a natural flow of provenance as to why I would fly to Germany to see Assassin Fenstermacher. Nor was this the first time I used a dominoes strategy to have legitimate reasons to see other agents. It was my other job with the Mutus as I was one without peer. I had been playing the game since the day we realized that Disgraced Malloy was going to become a threat to us and the rest of the Silent.
Establishing a pattern early lulled even the most omnipresent and omniscient of organizations. They saw the rote of your behaviour, and assumed you were predictable and a beholden to your routines, never thinking that you saw the future and began long before it became the present.
I had wished my family had been given such a gift. We were an impoverished, but close-knit African American family who bought a single lottery ticket and won a multi-million-dollar jackpot. My parents had been careful and determined to use the money wisely as they ensured we would never become corrupted by an instant windfall. They had anticipated almost everything except the safety of their four sons.
Two of my brothers were kidnapped and held for ransom, but were shortly killed after they tried to escape their captors. My family was never the same, and my surviving brother and I lost our devastated parents, and were sent to live with relatives who quickly squandered the last penny of the blessing that became our curse.
When I was saved by the Mutus years later, I was working at a gas station during the graveyard shift to try to get an education and my life back in order, but was nearly killed for my trouble. Again, the family curse of being partially-prepared had nearly taken me down, and when I joined the Mutus in gratitude, I ensured I would finally break that curse.
It was the reason I excelled at hacking and mastering technology. The more the walls turned into grains of sands that fell, the more of the world I could see.
And I had already seen my destination. I returned to my job in Washington, DC, and was working on a genuine story that would soon enough bring me to where I needed to go.
While one of my targets lived in the Beltway, I would not make any move toward him here. His path would not cross mine, and as long as I had control, the Mutus and the Disgraced would be none the wiser.
As I sat at my desk, my cell phone rang. I looked at the phone number and sighed in relief. It was my mob source to call me with a tip that I already knew as I quietly prompted my proxy to nudge my unwitting source into leaking information I needed in order to make my next move with no hint or traced of the Disgraced for the Mutus to sense and then follow.
Part Three: The Assassin moves on his own chess board.
My flight to Hollywood was a mundane affair. There were no Scouts on the plane, meaning no one in the Mutus had been the wiser. I used my regular commercial flight, cleared my assignment with my editor, and had done nothing to orchestrate the murder of a young starlet who vanished. She was a native to Washington, DC, and was trying to make her way in Tinsel town. It was no different than any of the other murders I covered. My only concerned was that the Mutus would intervene by means of giving me one of their own sanctioned Assignments that would ruin my plans.
The Disgraced, however, had been even more cunning in her plans with the Mutus. She had been very young when Disgraced Roho indoctrinated her and used her to further his own plans. She formulated her own complicated scheme of working as a Mutus Messenger, and then beguiling a man into using the cover of the Nine-Eleven attacks to commit a heinous crime of their own – all knowing full well the Mutus would send their top Assassin to stop the plot without the Mutus realizing Malloy was in on the plot, but knowing the Doyenne would figure it out and nab her.
She knew about the black ops arm of the Mutus and banked on them throwing her into a horrific assignment for them, but somehow nudging them to place her in the Hollywood Underground in order to set up regular meets with her target for a far larger game. She knew how to manipulate the Underground’s sadistic overlord. She had already set up contact with the high-powered federal official and his famous brother.
The Mutus were wily, but the Disgraced outclassed them all by herself. It was almost a shame to dispatch of her, yet her plans would be more terrifying than Roho’s. She had to be cut off at the pass, and I had a day at the most.
It was the reason I gave Assassin Fenstermacher that Assignment. It would bring him just close enough to me in order to finish the job as there would be an additional Dreadful he would have to dispatch in order to complete his Assignment – and one not mentioned in the Briefcase as it would not be obvious to most.
But it was to me, and I knew would soon be obvious to the other Assassin who I knew as well I knew my own thoughts.
Time was running out, and yet I could still manage to control this fragile and complicated game.
Part Four: The Assassin sets the trap.
Interviewing my source and finding leads was not difficult in Hollywood – a place that lived and died by gossip, and I had used several unsavoury sources, including reviled and powerful gossip columnist, Ms Spencer Greenlee who knew many dark secrets and expected more dirt from me in exchange for it. She smoked cigars, and cackled to reveal the extent of her vicious nature, but gave me enough information for me to write about in my next article, though she lamented about losing “her dibs” on a secret detective who also used the cover of journalist to keep the world from knowing her own dangerous, if benevolent plans. The cryptic comments were meant to provoke me into asking about her, but I expressed my rush as my deadline for filing my story was approaching, and perhaps another time we could discuss it.
I was in my motel room filing my story when my phone rang.
I answered it. “Hroda?”
“I have Adderley here at our agreed upon safehouse, but it is an ironic term as he is not safe here in the least…”
“I am coming to interrogate him right now,” I said as I hung up and walked outside to my rental car to get there.
Part Five: The Assassins put the clues together.
I arrived at the safehouse where Assassin Fenstermacher was sitting in the living room, smoking a cigarette.
I made a face. “You always smell up a room with that smoke.”
“I always enjoy smoking, although its odor unnerves those who are being put in their place by a righteous Assassin. However, I am contemplating what other stenches strike more fear in those vile beasts, and may employ other psychological torments to add to their terror.”
“You said you had nabbed Adderley.”
“Yes, it was a simple affair as my devotion and passion for The One and Our Beloved brings me the cunning to capture such dung-hearted beasts.”
“Where is he? I need to speak with him now.”
“He is marinating in his own filth.”
“What? I told you I wanted to interrogate him.”
“I am not a babysitter, Shawn. I do not have any dollies for the Dreadful to play with.”
“This is serious.”
“As am I.”
“Hroda, what did you do to Adderley?”
Assassin Fenstermacher dragged on his cigarette as his eyes darted to a door on the left. “Open it only if you will not behave like a voos.”
I shook my head, dreading to see the state of the body of the man. I ran to the door and opened it, seeing a mangled, bloodied and castrated Ivo Adderley still breathing with duct tape on his mouth.
“That’s the wrong Adderley!”
“No, that is one half of the Adderley filth. This one was in it just as deep as his older brother who I executed an hour ago.”
“Where he is?”
“In his bed in his house where his stupid wife found him and assumed he died of a heart attack.”
“But you usually…”
“As I could not dispatch of both, I told Assassin Ho to deal with that vile swine who was about to blackmail the lot of us to be his personal army to settle political scores with us as his little voosy maids.”
“He told you this?”
“No, this one sang to me, and knew as much as his brother, but as I could not slaughter a public official in such a dramatic manner, I chose baby brother instead. After he bleeds his last, he will be placed on a plane to Washington to explode, and everyone will think the two were dealt with by an enraged La Nuit renegade. La Nuit will send one of their in-house detectives to solve it, and I have already framed the appropriate voos for it; so, no one will be the wiser. Now, you are clear to dispatch die liederliche Schlampe before the Mutus becomes wise to our work. She is expecting this little boy to come to set up the next meeting.”
I nodded as I left Assassin Fenstermacher to finish off the job. As I closed the door, I heard him barking obscenities to the dying man as I left for the Hollywood Underground.
Part Six: The Assassin dispatches a devastated Disgraced.
I had little time to finish this business as I did not want to rouse Mutus suspicions. As far as everyone was concerned; I was here in my capacity of crime reporter working on a mob hit with connections to the Beltway. I had no Scouts to tail me, and now it was time to use my own technology to bypass both the Hollywood Underground’s surveillance – as well as the Mutus. I could create my own versions of Mutus’ superior technology, all while modifying it not to send feedback to headquarters. I rarely used it, and it was the reason I could use it without setting off alarm bells.
My tracking device found me my target as she was in the northwest corner of the Underground. I quickly used my jammers to disrupt surveillance and went inside as my electronic key opened any door, and I went inside.
I placed my sensor glasses on and walked as I could see through walls. Some Assassins never bothered with equipment, and yet it always served my purposes well. Nothing was ever a surprise to me. I knew where bombs and booby traps were hidden, the combination of safes, who was hiding in safe rooms and priest’s holes, and the passwords that gained entry to secret tunnels and computers. I could disintegrate weapons and people with ease as well as anticipate an opponent’s next move by the muscular and ocular movements.
I could create holograms and transform my voice to mimic others. There was never any need to worry of being made. Often, during sanctioned assignments, Control would add in flourishes or take over more than one of my devices to aid me in my Assignment. This time, I would keep it simple and rely on my own wits.
I reached the prearranged assignation room and unlocked the door as I went inside and silently went to the corner where I would not be easily seen behind an armoire. It was a bedroom for clients to abuse the escorts and the vile photographs on the walls were a trophy room of where Hollywood’s once most promising starlets had to toil for a less stellar comeback.
I waited in silence for several minutes until the door opened and a familiar Australian accent broke the silence, “Ivo? Stop playing games, you figjam; I haven’t got all day and Kopp wants his filthy hands on me in an hour.”
I turned on the device that made my voice mimic Ivo’s as I used my hologram to make the decoy seem as if he were hiding behind a wall with his shadow on the floor on the opposite side of where I was standing. “I keeping low, Jessie. There’s trouble. My dealer’s in here, and I owe him.”
“I don’t like talking to shadows.”
“Neither do I. Why didn’t you tell me Thilo was here tonight?”
“That ocker? I told ya; there’s nothing to be worried about. One more night, and we’re in the clear. I kill Kopp; we get the money, and the files, and we…we…”
I emerged from the shadows, and before the Disgraced could make a move, I used my device to paralyze her with a single zap and watched as she crumpled to the ground.
She breathed heavily as I walked over. “Jessie, what I am about to do isn’t sanctioned by the Mutus, but the Assassin’s club know. The Adderley Brothers have been dispatched, and now you’re the last loose end. Any last words before you get sent to the Place Below Hell?”
She glowered at me for only a moment before she looked defeated and began to cry as she spoke with difficulty. “All this torture for nothing. How did you know?”
“I have been keeping tabs on you since the Doyenne Assassin told us about your duplicity.”
“They didn’t wipe her memory clean of me?”
“And she blabbed to her besties? Is that it?”
“They always wipe the apprehending agent’s memories clean when they send a Disgraced to the place where they all speak Latin. Roho told me that. I am not telling you another word. Kopp has tortured me worse than you could ever think of and I didn’t break; so just get it over with. I’m just grateful it’s you, and not Hroda or Nelly. All this abuse and torture and degradation for nothing…I love you, Roho! I’m so sorry I failed you…” she began to convulse as I sighed, and flicked another switch that send a fatal charge to her heart, ensuring no one would know she was murdered. I then crouched down to see if there was anything on the body or in her clothing to reveal a clue: from a key to a chip. There was nothing.
Just as I turned her over, I saw a red tattoo on her shoulder left blade.
It was the word “Summa” written in cursive.
I left the building in the darkness and made my way to the helicopter waiting for me.
Epilogue: The Assassin realizes the story has ended abruptly with more questions than answers.
The Assassin’s club were sitting in the Doyenne Assassin’s secret room in her Ravenglass home as we did whenever we wanted to ensure no one outside our circle, particularly our superiors could hear what we were saying. Assassins Hroda Fenstermacher, Kimmy Ho, Nelly Baker, and Harvey Honeyborne were in attendance as well Spy Joseph Weavers and Spy Mungo Dunbar. Harvey and Nelly’s adopted daughter Detective Tulip Honeyborne and Kimmy’s mother Detective Ming Ho were both on Assignments, and could not attend.
“The trollop has been dispatched,” sighed the Doyenne as she leaned back in her chair, “And all her shagging repulsive men was for naught.”
Assassin Baker smiled. “Una et Dilectos showed you the way, Shawn, and she kicked that dung-hearted little tart straight to the Place Below Hell.”
Assassin Fenstermacher dragged on a cigarette, grunted, downed his beer before nodding in approval. “And she is being greeted by Roho as they feel the eternal lashes of Una et Dilectos’ rage for betraying her. However, it is only a small victory as we know nothing more about the secret arm of the Mutus.”
“Not quite,” I whispered, “We have confirmed of its existence. We now know that in the event an Assassin, Spy, or Detective capture a Disgraced, they usually wipe their memories clean; so, for all we know, we may have been in that position ourselves.”
Nelly looked grim. “One of us may have captured Roho the first or second time, and have no clue.”
“They didn’t wipe my memory of taking down the Disgraced Malloy, but the Mentor did say something to the effect they could have if they wanted to do so, but wouldn’t to their senior-most Assassin.”
“They didn’t think you’d divulge it, or could risk it, given it happened on Nine-Eleven. And I know one other thing.”
“Yes?” asked Assassin Honeyborne.
“They speak Latin.”
Assassin Ho frowned. “That isn’t much to go on.”
The Doyenne shook her head. “Perhaps, but knowing even that much may get one or more of us out of a scrape later on.”
Spy Dunbar downed his whiskey and looked intensely at the group. “You said she had a tattoo of the word ‘summa’?”
“Yes, it’s Latin for greatest.”
“That has to be a clue to something significant,” said Spy Weavers. “The use of a superlative in Latin. You may have executed the lass, but I doubt this game is over, Shawn. Roho may have other sleeper agents. Or the Disgraced has her own. She knew where he was all that time he had vanished. How did that get past the Mutus – or perhaps they knew all along.”
The Doyenne looked at everyone with unusual seriousness. “How far does it go? Where does it end? How deep is this thing?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know. We stopped Roho, and we thought it was over. I stopped Malloy, and I can’t help thinking this is only the beginning. I am shaken by the whole thing. Roho tried to create an army and get nukes. Malloy was in deep with nine-eleven. If this isn’t the Mutus, they are going to be shaken by what is coming.”
Mungo looked grim. “And yet you can never tell them a thing about it, or they’ll throw you into a black hole.”
Hroda become alert. “Beloved Heloise Steele met with that same fate many years ago. An earthquake struck, the ground shook open, and she fell into the crevice as it closed. I do believe the Mutus has secret ways of ridding themselves of inconvenient Beloved and agents. Do not tell a soul, Shawn. Our only advantage is we know things that they do not.”
“But we don’t know what any of it means.”
“We know wisps,” Hroda said intensely, “And sometimes victory comes from having the one wisp your opponent does not, and as of now, the Mutus is our opponent.”
We all sat in silence almost frozen. For whatever reasons, the Assassin’s club had been a target to rogue forces, not once, but twice. Both times, we were forced to go rogue ourselves to stop the problem.
But the last time, we divulged all to the Mentor.
This time, our silence within the Silent would serve as a shield until we could make sense of this maddening maze as we all groped in the dark and prayed that Una et Dilectos would show us the way, even if those at the top were playing a more sinister game. Even the best plans that are executed flawlessly never can prepare for everything that can unfold. Though I had outwitted a brilliant Disgraced and dodged the Mutus, nothing was resolved as I thought wistfully of my lost family and wondered if they could have ever been saved and I could have been spared the pain of the Seven that drove me into the infinite arms of the Mutus.