By: Nidheesh Samant | RedPaper.in
Mahebourg, Mauritius. 2018
Ice sipped his steaming hot coffee as he adjusted himself on the sofa. It was late evening and he was sitting in the living room of Owl’s house. Zeus Agents had the liberty to spend their time away from missions in any way possible, as long as the activity was no threat to their identity or The Agency. Ice had left for Mauritius the very next day after discovering the oddity in the records. Opposite Ice sat his mentor- the now retired – Owl. Ice had just finished narrating everything that had taken place since the night of his mission in Dharavi to his finding of the suspicious data to Owl. Owl was rubbing his chin with one hand while the other held his own cup of coffee. Ice knew that Owl did this when he was contemplating something. He sipped his coffee slowly and waited patiently for Owl to say something. After about five minutes, Owl put down his coffee cup.
“Viper was my closest friend, Ice. I am sad that it came to this. But, after Tokyo I had a feeling that this would happen. Tokyo was an assassination mission. This was a very difficult target. We were told that the heat would be heavy, but we soon realized that the intelligence report had underestimated the target. The mission turned out to be a death trap. However, we had our mission and we could only do our best to accomplish it. Along the way, I got shot in my leg, and was rendered useless for the mission. Viper saved my life back then. He decided to complete the objective on his own, and I tried to dissuade him. He did not listen. He left me in the safe house and went solo. Next day, the extraction team from The Agency came at the safe house. They said their orders were to retrieve me and get me to The Agency’s Medical Center. I asked them to assist Viper or at the very least wait until he got back. However, they refused stating that Viper had gone rogue and had sided with the target. I could not believe it. I was taken to the Medical Center where they treated my leg, but warned me not to use it for any strenuous activity. This meant that field work was out of the question for me. I decided to retire. I thought that this was the right decision because I would never have been able to find out the truth about Viper from within The Agency.”
Ice stood up from the sofa.
“So, you did find out what the deal with Viper was.”
Owl motioned for Ice to sit down.
“Yes and no. Well, I did find out about Viper’s activities and associates. But, I could never find out the reason he went rogue. I’m sorry, Ice. This is all I know about Viper’s activities. Now, about Dublin, Viper’s conversation with you and Zero’s question, I don’t know quite what to make of it. I will need some time to think.”
“Very well. I would still want to know all the information you had dug up on Viper. Also, if I could talk to someone you trust in the field, someone who had been in touch with Viper. Could you arrange that?”
“I may be able to arrange that. But Ice, you need to answer a question. Who are you really loyal to? The Agency, The men behind the Agency, or the ideals of The Agency. Think about it. I will need some time to dig out information anyway. Oh, and while you are thinking, here is a list of groceries I need for dinner. You can go buy them from the market in this town.”
Owl handed Ice a list of groceries and a cloth bag. Ice stepped out of the house. Ice gazed at the setting sun and muttered to himself.
“From an elite agent to an unpaid servant. I hate this.”
Ice walked into the sunset, towards the market, thinking about the question that Owl had posed to him.