The Last Spy: Chapter 1
When the Park, or Xandoria, as it was now known, had closed its borders to the outside world, that had been the final straw, as far as the Mayor was concerned. When there was an open line of communication, she’d considered the inhabitants little more than a nuisance. But then one day, for reasons only she and a select few others know, she sent in the Blood Red Dogs to take care of it. The residents disappeared for a time, but soon enough came back in force, backed by, as far as anyone could tell, the Albino Tribe from New Albion’s urban myths, and some sort of strange fairy creatures. They’d quickly repelled the Dogs, and proceeded to declare the park closed for all intents and purposes.
This, is where we come in. As a collective, you can refer to us as Firren, but otherwise, call us Frank, Lisa, and Neon; you’ll know who’s who. Our mother vanished when we were young, she’d been in Victoria at the time, so when the city disappeared into parts unknown, she went with it. Our father barely took care of us, descending quickly via the greasy pole of alcohol to dull the pain. The Tanzan didn’t help either. When he was high he was… manageable. But when he wasn’t, when he got the shakes, craved and needed another hit, he’d get irrational. It was only a matter of time before he’d start using me to get what he wanted. He had a silver tongue in his mouth, a talent he’d passed on to us, but he had his ways of worming into our head and getting us to do what he wanted. At first he’d make us go on drug runs for him. Then, it was information gathering based on some old pamphlets from the civil war. After that, we were stealing from the pockets of dealers, with the fingers our mother gave us, long, slender, and highly dexterous.
Given time, his habits caught up to him. We aren’t quite sure who did it, but one day we came home from an errand on his behalf, he was gone, blood on the air, as if the cramped apartment had much room for anything else in terms of scent, and a note on the table. On it, a location and a time. What were we to do, but go there? It had turned out to be a basement, even more cramped than our apartment, our father hogtied on the floor, a person with a gun standing beside him. The gun was an archaic model from the looks of it, far more bulky than the slick weaponry the military used. We were given a choice. Work off our father’s debts as they kept him alive, or, kill him ourselves and get the opportunity to work in a network of people who’d actually care for us.
I, Frank, had come back to consciousness a few minutes later, our father dead on the floor, blood oozing from a clean wound in his head, the apparent gang member gently placing a hand on our shoulder as I realised with growing horror that Neon had shot our father. They’d always been cold, but Lisa and I had never thought they’d be this cold.
I blinked as I stopped zoning out, hearing my name being called. The Mayor’s secretary repeating my name.
“The Mayor will see you now” She said, smiling not unkindly, but more like she didn’t quite trust me. Well, I didn’t trust her either.
“She doesn’t look half bad” Lisa said, compelling our left eye to wink at the secretary as we walked past. I shook my head a little, making sure the coloured contact was still in place. An annoying habit of my alters, if one of them ‘takes over’, so to speak, our eyes change colour. Mine were blue, Lisa’s were a deep brown, and Neon’s were a glittering grey, as only fae eyes could be. Beyond that, our body doesn’t change much when one of the others takes over. Our mother’s side of the family, apparently our great-grandmother on our mother’s side, had slept her way around, and ended up having a child with a changeling during a sabbatical to Victoria. Or maybe she was just blasted on Tanzan, we don’t know.
“Firren, or is it Frank? Please, take a seat” Said the mayor, as we stepped over the threshold of her office.
“it’s Frank, at the moment” I said, crossing my legs as I sat.
“Very well, Frank, what do you know of Xandoria?” She asked, pulling a few papers from her desk. I raised an eyebrow,
“Hippies, punks, little less than legal. Something about albinos last year?” I said.
“Don’t forget about the-“ Neon started,
“Right, right, closed borders” I added hurriedly.
“Quite” the Mayor said, placing a dossier in front of us. “I’ve sent four people in there, and no word. I want you to go in there and find out what’s happening. Just a single report will suffice, I need information” she explained. We sat up a little straighter,
“What do you mean no word? They’re dead?” I asked. She shrugged,
“Can’t say. Like I said, I haven’t heard a thing, beyond some… creative, recommendations on what to do with my body” she added. She looked solemn.
“This is about more than spies, isn’t it ma’am” I asked, going out on a limb. She gave a hollow laugh, tossing a pill down her throat.
“Ulcer meds. But yes, I need to know about… My son’s gone in there. He-“ she took a calming breath. Her voice had become shaky with repressed emotions. “Any word on what they’re doing in there will get you a handsome reward. Word on my son will also be appreciated but… do what you have to” she said, I could hear the dismissal in her voice. I sighed as I stood and left.
”So. We have no clear means of egress, no cover story, and we’re going somewhere with no current intel on the goings on… great” Neon listed in the back of our head as we headed home.
“That’s about it” I grumbled. “Honestly… They wouldn’t run an op like that in the Rumba days”
”We don’t know that” Lisa reminded me.
“yeah yeah, I know” I sighed as I turned the key in our lock, supremely unsurprised to find an email on our monitor detailing the time we were supposed to report in. I frowned a little as I read it, something about the format…
“I say we go there now” Neon said, interrupting my train of thought. I looked around our small apartment, sparsely decorated, more of a hideout than a home.
“All in favour?” I sighed. A pair of ‘aye’s echoed in my head with an existential finality. On the rare occasions that we all agreed, we could get things done pretty well.
One packed bag, one last stiff drink, and one last locked door later, we headed toward the park, little more than the clothes on our back and the backpack with a couple pieces of tech in it with us. When we approached the tree line, Neon immediately piped up
“Something’s watching”. They tended to have the best awareness of the three of us, but I didn’t let it show in my gait, slow and casual enough to look like I had a purpose, but not stiff enough to look nervous.
“Frank? Maybe you should let Neon take the reigns. I can take over if we need to talk to someone” Lisa suggested gently. I sighed, giving the strap of my bag a gentle squeeze before allowing Neon to take over.