THE SHAMROCK COUNCIL, THE PEAK
Julia O’Hielder put down the phone. She was at the head of a table with the rest of the members of the Shamrock Council – minus their agents – seated around the table. All eyes were on her, waiting for her to speak, to explain what the meeting was all about. The Emperor had called her earlier and instructed her to call a meeting of the Shamrock Council and afterwards he would call to say what the meeting was all about. She had spent a nervous forty minutes waiting for Noland to call. Now he had, and she was starting to think she should retire soon.
She cleared her throat, pushed back her chair and stood up, drawing herself up to her full height to bring more authority to the instructions as she hated being told what to do all the time. “His Imperial Majesty, the global Emperor, Noland Collins, wants six of his best agents to go on a mission. Now, a similar meeting was conducted a short time ago in the Court of Scarlet. The Court of Scarlet has provided three of the agents. We are allowed to choose the other three agents that are to go along,” Julia began.
One of the judges in the Shamrock Council raised his hand. His name was Fritjof Andreasen. “What is the mission?” he enquired.
O’Hielder pressed a button on the table and a holographic map appeared infront of her. It was a map of Africa. “Zion has been discovered,” O’Hielder announced. There was a murmur of surprise at that announcement. A few people looked quite over-joyed and O’Hielder understood entirely how they felt. With one of her fingers, she traced a red circle over a particular area of Africa. Then she touched the centre, then withdrew her hand back, enlarging the circled portion with a tiny microchip surgically implanted in that fingertip. Everyone else just frowned in confusion. “This is where Zion has been hiding. In the area where we dumped those failed Bigfoot experiments and the dinosaur-human/other animals and the genetically modified dinosaurs. I am not sure how this was discovered,” O’Hielder said, raising her voice over the rising clamour of the others and they calmed down when she spoke, “as it was some classified operation. But, Noland has assured me that there is some strong evidence that convinces him that Zion is there.”
“How do we know that the Emperor isn’t just getting so desperate to find them that he isn’t just clutching at straws?” Bellah Kingsley questioned. He pointed at O’Hielder. “Did he tell you what ‘evidence’ there supposedly is that proves that blasted Zion is there?”
O’Hielder shook her head.
“There! You see? There is none! He is just trying to get rid of us by sending us there amongst those creatures because of O’Hielder’s…accident! We should tell that so-called Emperor to stick it where it belongs!” Kingsley ranted.
Suddenly, the big double doors to the room burst open and in strode Charles, Petrus and a Super Cyborg. Everyone stood up in honour of Charles. But Charles and Petrus looked grim. Charles pointed his pudgy finger at Kingsley and the Super Cyborg began loading a gun while Fritjof and Agnes held Kingsley, who was trying to escape in terror, but was hindered by Agnes and Fritjof. The Super Cyborg finished loading, cocked the gun, pointed it at Bellah’s chest and fired. A dart pierced his chest. Kingsley was frightened at first, then, feeling nothing immediately dangerous, smirked. Charles indicated that Fritjof and Agnes should let him go. They did and Charles smiled sadistically.
“Breathe,” he ordered. Kingsley looked confused but tried to breathe in anyway. His eyes went wide in panic because he could not breathe. His hands went to his throat as he tried to draw in air, but he could not. Kingsley collapsed to the floor. The Super Cyborg knelt down beside him and used the heart-beat detector that was built into his helmet to see if Kingsley was alive or dead. It could pick up a heart beat from seven miles away.
“Bellah Kingsley is deceased,” the Cyborg announced.
“Very good, D407,” Charles said. He then began addressing the Shamrock Council. “Once the dart pierces flesh, it ejects a poison that travels very quickly through the body, shutting it down. It instantaneously soaks into the lungs, blocks up the air passage, choking the person. In addition to that, it also instantaneously causes immense pressure on the heart, causing it to explode. This new killing weapon is able to do it very quickly – it kills in thirty seconds. If anyone else wants to speak ill of the Emperor, it’s a quick demise,” Charles threatened.
No-one said a word.
He turned to D407. “D407, go get a couple of those mutes to take Bellah away,” Charles ordered. D407 nodded and departed. After D407 left, Charles looked at Petrus and nodded in O’Hielder’s direction. Petrus walked calmly towards O’Hielder, who was shooting him venomous glares. He held out a folded piece of paper. O’Hielder snatched it from him, and when she did, their fingers briefly brushed against the others. She frowned at him. Not again, she kept silently repeating to herself as she unfolded the paper. She quickly read what was written on it:
O’Hielder frowned again. These were all the code names of three of her best agents. “What’s this for?” was her acerbic question.
“Charles decided that it would be better if he chose your agents for you,” Petrus explained.
“But, the Emperor had told ME to choose my own agents,” O’Hielder rebuked.
“He changed his mind,” was Charles’s patronising response, which bristled O’Hielder. “You are to send Tumnus, Jadis and Miraz, along with my three agents – Black Widow, Nikabrik and Spock – to kidnap Anne, Edward X’s widow,” Charles added. “They will leave tomorrow morning.”
O’Hielder really did not want to do what Charles said, but she knew she had no choice. She was tempted to call the Emperor and check to see if he really had changed his mind, but she was worried that it might be classed as some act against the Emperor and she did not want to end up like Kingsley. So she conceded. “Very well,” she submitted. Charles and Petrus then left the room. “This meeting is adjourned,” O’Hielder announced. She stood up and went for the exit. She stopped before leaving. “Andreasen,” O’Hielder called, turning around.
Fritjof looked at her. “Yes, Ms. O’Hielder?”
“Please ring Jadis, Tumnus and Miraz and tell them to be prepared to leave in the morning,” she ordered. Fritjof nodded and O’Hielder left. Fritjof, to save time, just sent off a text message to the three agents. As everyone else was leaving, Fritjof heard the little communicator on his ear beep!, meaning that someone was calling him.
“Joker?” Charles whispered through the communicator. ‘Joker’ was Fritjof’s code name.
“Tonight,” and then Charles severed the connection. Fritjof knew what that meant. He had been secretly recruited as part of the Emperor’s Eyes and he had to move swiftly to eliminate Hitler’s great-great-great niece.
FOUR HOURS LATER
Charles was pacing in his house that night, waiting for Fritjof “Joker” to call him He had wanted O’Hielder to die quickly and quietly tonight and it had been four hours since he had ordered Fritjof Andreasen to kill O’Hielder. He tried to calm himself by telling himself that Fritjof was simply cleaning up everything, making sure there was no trace back to him as this murder was not ordered by Noland and Nora, not even Kyen. Noland had ordered that O’Hielder was not to be disposed of until the agents had taken Anne, but Charles had ordered O’Hielder to be killed now, as she stood in the way of his plans.
He could not understand why the Emperor did not just destroy Zion. The Emperor had ordered the agents to just kidnap Anne, and not to harm her. Noland would not tell Charles, or anyone else, why. Charles hated that Noland was acting on his own without telling anyone. It meant that he, Charles, could not control the Emperor. His phone rang and he answered it without checking who was calling. “Yes?”
“This is the Joker.”
“She’s dead. Took a little while, but the overdose worked. I dumped the body in a bag and then, discreetly, threw it all in that river outside of the Peak.” Charles sighed in relief. She was gone. Fritjof had told him from his surveillance of O’Hielder that she had taken to having alcohol with a very small amount of some drug to calm her nerves lately. So, Fritjof had told Charles that he would use that to his advantage, by slipping in extra of the drug in her alcohol bottle before she arrived home. Any investigation made by the Emperor would simply rule that she had died of drug overdose. Nothing suspicious. They hung up and Charles smiled. If he played his cards right, he would soon be able to merge the Court of Scarlet and the Shamrock Council into one with him as the head.
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