xxv. imposter agents

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"Fuck me," Ace lets out in a low snarl.

The guard looked at us with widened eyes at Ace's anger. He had become entangled in a conspiracy, and he had endangered the very people assigned to protect. The guard tried to fight back. He winces, reaching for his holster, and Ace intercepts the attempt by twisting his arm.

"The blonde woman is not with the CIA, we are," Ace demands in a deathly tone. "If you want these people to survive, you're going to take us to the security room and call off the guards."

I take out my badge as evidence. The guard, trembling in fear, leads us to the room with the security cameras. He probably didn't believe that we were the actual CIA, Ace's intimidation didn't help, but it didn't matter. He was afraid to defy us.

Ace and I follow the guards past several ivory carved hallways. Ace held a gun with a suppressor cocked against the guard's back as reassurance the guard would follow through.

Once we rounded the last corner, Ace stops cold in his tracks, and I ram into his back.

"What the hell Blackwell?" I spit.

I step out from him to look at the scene. The room the guard led us to was a horrifying sight.

Red swept over the four walls like paint. Four men laid, disarmed and unconscious, slump against the hallway. Countless bullet marks left their marks in the corridor in the form of soot. Blood splattered against the walls and gunshots evidenced the conflict.

Ace presses two fingers against the wrist of a harmed person. "He's dead." Someone got here before we did.

"Christ," I whisper.

The guard fell to his knees. He now saw with his own eyes that were the good guys.

"Listen to me," Ace says objectively to the guard. "Go back, and tell security to prepare for any attacks in case we can't stop the assailants."

"I—I will," the guard utters.

"Let us know if someone is coming."

Ace was now desensitized to this violence. Quickly, he grabbed my hand and yanked me into the room with all the cameras. Monitors flashed onto the screen that detailed every aspect of the ballroom.

All the cameras seemed normal, but the woman was nowhere to be found on the monitors. My eyes took in all the information I could. It was then I noticed a loop in the events being shown on the screen.

Immediately, my fingers fly pass the keys to reveal compromised internal software. I quickly fix the juvenile attempt. The screen flickers to show what is actually happening on the monitor; the blonde woman and several other people dressed in all black were loading their guns in a room filled with shelves of books.

Now that we were closer, the woman seemed eerily familiar.

A stunned scream pierced the other side of the door. Instinctively, I yank at the door, but it wouldn't budge. Someone had locked the door from the outside. Ace swears; he slams his full weight against the door but it still wouldn't open.

"There's going to be an attack. Fifteen in all black and one blonde woman. Looks like there's a total of twenty guns," Ace grimaces into his earpiece.

No response.

"Transmission's not going through," I groan.

"Since we're stuck here, why don't you tell me about that guy you were dancing with?"

"Seriously? Right now?"

"You're not supposed to draw attention to yourself on a mission. So many people were watching you guys dance," Ace objectively states.

I give him a pointed look. "His name was Daniel, and he was an angel investor. It would have been more weird if I was the only one not dancing."

"You didn't have to dance with him," Ace narrows his eyes.

I start sputtering in frustration. Instead of answering him, I don't validate his line of questioning. "We should probably talk about this after we save the fucking day."

"He probably inherited his wealth or something instead of working hard."

I roll my eyes. "Daniel had a face for radio. Are you happy now?"

"Fuck the bourgeoisie."

My head tilts back in annoyance. Right above me, a vent was stationed on the wall. "Wait," I say. "The vents—we can get out through the vents!"

Ace takes off his jacket then rolls up his sleeves. He takes out a thin piece of metal from his watch, gets on top of a chair, and begins to unscrew the vent. Once the vents are unsealed, he looks at me, expectantly.

"I don't need to be hoisted up," I state, still a little mad.

"You have no upper body strength."

Rolling my eyes, I get on the chair that we are using as a step stool. Even with my heels, I wasn't tall enough to reach it.

"Alright fine. Maybe I do need some help," I state.

Ace gives me a smirk. Swiftly, he hoists me up by my waist and pushes me up into the vents. After I'm successfully in, he pulls himself up.

"Everyone, come in," Ace says after we're away from the rooms. "There's a group of people about to attack."

"Shit. Who are they?" Chase's voice transmits.

"No idea. I don't recognize them." Ace continues to give us our orders. "Xavier, protect Deschamps at all costs. Skye, Chase, get into the West Wing library immediately. We have to stop this attack without disturbing the awards dinner."

"No fair, I want to join in on the fun," Xavier groans.

"Most kills win," Ace grins.

We were outnumbered, outgunned, and outprepared. Despite this fact, Ace looked like he was a toddler at the carnival. Ace and I met Skye and Chase in the hallway outside the library where over a dozen assailants prepared with two dozen guns.

"What's the plan?" Skye asks while rolling on her suppressor.

"We take out three right through the windows before we go in. Then try not to die. Especially you, Cupcake," Ace states.

I could not believe Ace was still making jokes when we were about to go into the lion's den. Now that I realize it, the two criminals and spy before me all looked pretty excited.

"I'm about to get the highest death count and whoop your asses," Chase grins.

I shakily take out the pistol in my purse.

"Ready?" Skye asks.

"Do we have to?" I whine. "We don't want to fight in a library. Imagine all the books that will be damaged!"

Ace aims his gun through the window. "Just stay behind me."

Welp. Guess I'm gonna die tonight.

Octavia: "Vote if you don't want me to get shot (again)." 

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