The major had ordered them all to find and kill a target, so it was pretty much the same as always, the only difference this time was it was real, not a drill. The other problem was that their target was always a few steps ahead of them, so they always got there too late.
This time however, as Number 4 looked through the crack in the door, he saw the silhouette of a figure sitting cross-legged in front of a few monitors; this was him. He took a deep breath and slowly made his way inside, trying not to make any noise. There were bonus points awarded for stealth. Carefully making his way in the room silently, he was halfway across the room when his target turned around, meeting his eyes with a look of surprise.
Neither of them moved for a few seconds, surprised at what was happening, and then the target made a dive for his stunner. Number 4 kicked the stunner away, and then pulled out his own weapon, a standard issued blaster, ready to get this mission over with. It hadn’t even been a challenge, and with the speed he had completed it in, he’d probably rank up as well.
Aiming the weapon at the target’s head, he was about to pull the trigger when they looked up and he got a clear view of their face. It was a woman, or rather a young girl. She looked to be about eighteen or nineteen with long dark brown hair and a set of mysterious purple eyes. Her face was distorted by a look of complete fear, and Number 4 found it harder to pull the trigger than he thought it would have been. She looked oddly familiar, but he couldn’t remember where he’d seen her.
He lowered his weapon a little and stared at her through his cyber-visor, nicknamed a Saiver. A minute passed where neither moved, she was too afraid of what was about to happen, and he was lost in her face and the memories that it brought up. Finally she spoke in a soft voice.
Then it hit him, he realized why she looked so familiar. There was a child a One of Number 4’s first missions that had the same expression as her, however this one was a boy. The boy hadn’t been any older than sixteen, but they were ordered to kill him all the same. It was Number 4 who found him, but he wasn’t able to pull the trigger. The boy sobbed and pleaded not to kill him, and he wasn’t going to; there was no real threat here, the military just wanted someone to blame for the events of the revolution. He was about to let him go, when Number 31 delivered a shot to the boy’s head that killed him instantly. Number 4’s Saiver was splattered with blood and whatnot, and the memory was forever etched into his brain as a reminder of why they fought.
As he looked into her eyes, he made the decision; there wasn’t any need to kill her. And if he didn’t let her go now, someone else would. So, he placed his blaster back into its holster, and sighed loudly.
“Just…just go”. He said, taking her by surprise.
For a moment she looked stunned, then without saying a word, turned around and grabbed something from the cluttered desk behind her. “Thank you”, she said. “If we meet again, I promise I’ll repay you back.” Then she slipped out the door behind him silently, and vanished from sight.
Number 4 sat for a while and thought about what he’d just done. He was lost in thought somewhere between her beautiful face and the consequences he’d pay if someone found out when a whistle caught his attention. Looking up, he found himself looking at Number 31’s cyber-suit. Although he couldn’t see his face through his Saiver, he could tell he was wearing a smug expression.
“What?” Number 4 asked irritably. He never liked Number 31.
“I was just wondering…”he began to pace around the room, pretending to be interested in stuff he didn’t know about.
“Wondering what?” Number 4 asked, not really caring what the answer was.
“Oh nothing. Just thinking about what the Commander is coming to say when he finds out you let a target slip right out of here.”
Number 4’s heart skipped a beat. How had he known? “I don’t know what you’re talking about” he said. Number 4 was used to lying; it was a very valuable skill in the army and he was good at it. “Are you just jealous that you didn’t get to her first?”
“Oh, so it was a she then?” said a voice everyone knew only too well. The form of Commander Gan emerged from the shadows of the door, taking Number 4 by surprise. The fact that Number 31 hadn’t jumped meant that he was in on the whole thing.
Cursing himself and his slip-up, Number 4 stood up slowly and began eying the room for a way out. There was absolutely no way this would end well. Commander Gan had given out death sentences for small, trivial things. A betrayal would probably earn him a good torture session, and then he’d be killed. Before he could say anything however, the commander had already strode behind him and pressed the manual deactivation button on his suit.
It was painful being deactivated, but it didn’t bother Number 4 at the moment. He realized that they’d just kill him here and avoid a trial, say he was killed on a mission. So as he lowered his head and Number 31 walked up behind him with his blaster out, his Saiver suddenly came back on. And It had four words on it: Ten Seconds, Close Eyes.
He understood it perfectly and as the timer began to count down, he readied himself to run for his life, because turning back surely meant death.