"What the hell is taking so long?" Xavier states. "This is a like the line of a park porta potty at a six year old's birthday party."

"There are literally millions of data points on this database. It's gonna take some time, nimrod," I roll my eyes.

Skye sighs. "Is there anything else distinctive? There are countless people with those features."

The Director winces. "Let's just hope for something interesting soon. In the meanwhile, let me show you guys some new technology."


The doors open to the briefing room that I've somewhat gotten used to. One by one, some people in lab coats file into the training facility carrying briefcases. A scientist opens up a large briefcase containing a single pen. I raise an eyebrow.

The scientist pushes up large rimmed glasses. A smile tugs on her lips. "A laser pen."

"Now we can distract Xavier with something," Daniel smirks.

Xavier smacks him. The scientist grins at us. "It's an actual laser pen. It can cut through steel."

Chase raises his eyebrows. "James Bond shit."

Next up, a man brings up a briefcase. "This is a highly sensitive bomb. No aroma, no sound, and it goes off silently and then releases an ear blasting sound at some 170 decibels."

"Great," Ace smirks. "Now we have something for when Octavia opens her mouth."

My eyes roll on their own at this point. "That was uncalled for you prepubescent disney prince."

The spy cocks his head towards me with an amused expression. "So you think I'm a prince?"

My face turns unwittingly red. "No no. You're just... creepy and uncool," I finish lamely.

"You're the type of person that would get hit by a parked car."

"Alright. Shut up, you polyester my little pony doll piece of sh—"

"—What else?" Skye interrupts.

A third scientist in a sleek turtleneck walks up with the third briefcase. It opens to a tiny white pill that looked tiny in comparison to the grandiose briefcase. "This is a cyanide packet. It causes unconsciousness within seconds," she affirms.

"By unconsciousness it means death right?" I whisper to Chase.

"By unconscious she means death," the Director says while staring in my direction. The criminals all look at each other, unfazed. Only Daniel and I make frantic eye contact.

The Director suddenly gets a call on his bluetooth. His eyes turn hard as he beckons for the projector to be lowered. Well shit.

He turns on the projector to CNN and slowly turns on the sound. An anchorman is reporting as breaking news flashes on the bottom. From the corner of my eyes, I see both Ace and the Director tense up at the mention of the CIA.

"...Breaking news," the man states. "We have just received information from a confidential source that there was an attack at the 2018 Hong Kong Phillips Technology Expo on two philanthropists."

My heart drops. No. No. No. Not this. The only people who knew about the incident should have been the people in this room. We couldn't risk this information being released out into the public. Not now. Not when we were so close to finding the Queen.

"—The attack was made by an international crime syndicate titled the Thorned Kings. They were also the same group that poisoned the countless world leaders at the Paris Gala earlier this year—" he continues.

Xavier slams his hands against the table, his chest heaving and Daniel places his hand against Xavier's chest. Skye toys around with the dagger. It makes cuts in the air and creates a soft swooshing sound silently, and it's the only sound permeating through the sound of the news report.

"—Even more surprisingly," the news anchor says. "The identity of the leader has been identified. His name is Ace Atlas Blackwell, a CIA agent who has been working within the agency—"

An audible gasp escapes the room. A blurry image of Ace is projected onto the news report for everyone in the world to see. His golden gaze permeates the screen, taking the air out from my lungs. My gaze flickers to Ace, who is staring at his own profile on tv. His knuckles turn white as his grip tightens against the chair. His jawline is tense.

His eyes meet mine in the midst of the news report that disappears into the background. I can't tell what's behind them. There was no surprise, really, but rather a sense of unmistakable anger. "What do we do now?" I ask. "Ace... he's a wanted fugitive."

"There's nothing we can do," the Director winces.

Ace gives him a curt nod. "I should have known Ian would do something like this. We're close. And he's scared."

The Director turns off the projector. A scientist pulls him aside. The Director's face turns pale.

"Dubrovnik, Croatia. His Queen... we found her..."

Octavia: "I think this is a good time to announce that I have absolutely no faith in us. Vote to motivate me to not drive straight off a cliff. #ScrewYouThirteen, #HowDareKatrinaHurtChase, #That'sRoughBananaBread."

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