Black's Magic

by MJ & Cephalgia

For disclaimers see Part 1.

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Part 4

Chapter 13

"What in the hell could you have been thinking?" General Mark Blithe stood behind his desk and continued the tirade he had started over an hour ago. The Special Operations Headquarters in London was teeming with people trying to fly low under the radar of Blithe's ire.

"I sent an experienced agent on a mission and I got a novice's mistakes in return! I can't believe you took a civilian into that situation!" The general looked at her intently, his eyes searching for an explanation.

Addison had stood silently up until that point knowing there was nothing Mark could say to her that she hadn't already said to herself on the trip back from the Isle of Skye. Now, however, she had thought about it and decided to defend her actions.

"It seemed the right thing to do at the time. It was a judgment call," she said.

Mark was silent for a moment. "I've given you your head on missions, Addison, and you've given me no reason to question your judgment… until now. I'm going to need an explanation of your actions or you'll leave me no choice but to remove you from the field and place you on desk duty until an inquiry is concluded in this matter."

Addison knew there was no way she could allow herself to be removed from the mission. Her fists clenched at her sides with the very thought of it. It was going to be a calculated risk. She knew that somewhere in Special Ops there was a traitor. Someone had been feeding Agnes Brodie information; she had been too well prepared for Addison's arrival. Addison suspected everyone, but the question was: could she trust anyone? She decided to take the risk.

"Look, Mark, I'm going to be honest with you here. The reason I took Sky…Miss Tidwell with me was my hunch that we've got a leak here at HQ. I don't know that for sure, but it is a strong enough idea that I wasn't sure she'd be safe here."

Whatever reaction the general might have to her statement, she wasn't prepared for the one she got. Mark blew out a breath and slumped down into his large leather chair. "Thank God."

"Thank God for what?" Addison was perplexed.

"Depending on what you said, I bloody well would have pulled you from the field. I suspected the same thing as you ever since Marlene Tidwell disappeared from a supposedly secure area. I admit I even doubted you, but it seems to me you'd try to turn me from that thinking if you were the traitor."

Addison relaxed a little and felt better being able to confide in someone. "There's too many coincidences, too many unexplained happenings."

"Any ideas who it might be?" the general asked.

"There are a few people who are more likely than others, but at this point it's all conjecture. I've got nothing concrete right now."

"Well, I'll work on it from this end and see if I can come up with something. Meanwhile, what happened on the Isle of Skye, Addison?"

The agent frowned. "It was a cluster fuck. We got in just fine and I got to the professor, but after that it was as if we had no luck at all. Brodie slipped away from me by sending Marlene in the opposite direction. Then Brodie runs into Skyler who I had left in hiding and to top it all off, my shotgun jams at a crucial moment."

"Jams? What do you mean by 'jams'?"

Addison elaborated. "Just that. I pulled the trigger and nothing happened."

"That's odd. You're usually so thorough with your weapons check."

"Always, but this was a replacement weapon I got in Scotland."

"Hmm. One of those things I suppose. How are the hands?" Addison looked at her bandaged palms. The shards of glass had done damage and there was a shadowing of blood under the top layer of gauze from when she had clenched her fists.

"They're not bad," she said almost off-handedly.

"I'll bet," Mark scoffed. "Your leg would need to be nearly severed by a rusty chainsaw with an artery spurting litres of blood for you to even say the situation 'might' be serious." Addison knew the statement was close to the truth. She had grown up in a tough area and to admit a weakness was a little like letting sharks smell blood. There could be no confessing that you were in pain, that you cared or that you might need another person.

"I'll be fine," Addison commented in a slightly irritated tone. "I'm not bothered."

"You never are," the general observed. "Nonetheless, you will see Samuel for some protection for those hands. My father was a carpenter you know. His first rule was that you must take care of your tools so don't argue with me. It's futile."

Addison grumbled, but was able to acknowledge to herself that some type of cover would be advantageous. She healed remarkably fast, but while that was happening she couldn't afford to have her hands become slick with blood. "Fine," she acquiesced, "I'll see Samuel when we're done here."

"Right. Now, where are you in the process of finding and retrieving Skyler Tidwell?"

"The papers we found in the office on the Isle of Skye showed an area I believed to be in Israel. I've had Logistics check my conclusions against satellite mapping and rechecked those with terrain charts. There's no doubt about it, the territory shown is in Israel. It's basically in the same area I worked in two years ago. You remember that mission?" Addison asked.

"Very well. Your performance was exemplary and there has been no further trouble from those individuals, from those who survived at least. Do you have any contacts in that area?"

"A few," Addison shrugged, "but I'm not sure they can help me in this instance. I won't count on any outside assistance."

"So what you are saying is that we are back to where we were at the start of this entire episode. We have Marlene Tidwell, but Agnes Brodie has her daughter," the general summarized.

"I would say that's accurate, Mark," Addison admitted.

"It would be accurate except for one small detail." Marlene Tidwell spoke as she entered the office. She was dressed in dark sweats that Addison recognized as Special Operations standard issue. "Please forgive me, Miss Bakersfield said you were expecting me and that I could come in."

Leaping to his feet, Mark Blithe moved around his desk and over to the American. "How are you feeling? Please, sit down." He escorted Marlene to a chair placed opposite his desk. He made no move to return behind his desk, opting to perch on the corner of the desk near her.

"The doctor in the Infirmary says I'm fine. Thank you for insisting he examine me though, it was very kind of you. Thank you also for my two escorts, they never left my side."

The general waved her off. "It was nothing, the least we could do. I just wanted to be positive you were safe."

Addison watched the interplay between her superior and the American. She knew Mark Blithe had been a self-proclaimed confirmed bachelor and his obvious interest in the attractive woman amused her. She knew better than to let that amusement show externally though. Instead she returned the conversation to Marlene's first comment.

"Professor Tidwell, you said we were back to the beginning except for 'one small detail'. Would you care to share that detail?"

Marlene looked uncomfortable. To her credit though, she brought her gaze up and looked them in the eye. "Project Gemini has been compromised."


Skyler blinked her eyes open. Her brain felt fuzzy and her tongue felt thick. It was taking her some time to get her bearings. Only two things were clear to her foggy mind. It was clear she was on a plane to a destination that was anybody's guess. It was also apparent that though she still wore her jacket, the gun Addison had given her was gone.

Damn, Brodie, she thought. Just say 'no' to drugs. She remembered Agnes coming at her with a syringe as two muscular thugs held her. It was easy to predict the coming period of unconsciousness. She wasn't wrong.

Squeezing her eyes shut against a brief wave of nausea, Skyler's thoughts flew back and forth between her own situation and concern for her mother. She was able to take some comfort from the fact that when she saw her mother last, she was in the company of Addison Black.

Addison. The last look she saw on the agent's face as she was whisked away in the helicopter was a mixture of rage and concern. The rage was under control, like everything about the agent, but it was the concern that occupied Skyler's thoughts. Skyler couldn't forget locking eyes with the agent as the helicopter lifted off. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but she could have sworn she saw something like an apology there.

Addison had nothing to apologize for though. She has kept her promise and liberated Skyler's mother. Skyler's current predicament was her own fault and she was well aware of it. If duct tape hadn't been binding her ankles together, Skyler would have kicked herself.

Snakes? I was worried about snakes? I run from imaginary serpents and run right into the deadliest viper there is. As if on cue, the door to the cockpit of the small jet opened and Brodie walked into the main cabin.

"Welcome back, Skyler. I'm sorry for the need to use the drugs on you again, but I couldn't have you alerting the authorities at the airport. Well-placed bribes can buy silence, but not even well paid allies can cover up a woman screaming for help," Agnes explained. "Airport security doesn't look at private aircraft as close as public ones, but I didn't have time to deal with it. Thanks to your friend, Addison Black, I needed to make a hasty exit from this part of the world."

Skyler picked up on Brodie's implication that their destination was a long way from where they started. She decided to try to reason with the mercenary.

"Look, Brodie, first of all Addison Black isn't my friend. I never met her before she showed up in Scotland. Second, you know now that I'm not my mother. I can't help you and you got away cleanly. There's no need to make this any worse for either of us. When we land, why don't you just let me go? I'm no threat to you."

Brodie laughed. "Of course you aren't, but Addison is. A very big threat and despite your protestations to the contrary, I have an idea that keeping you will give me a distinct advantage in dealing with the beautiful but lethal Agent Black. I also have an idea that the relationship between you and Addison is more than you're willing to say right now. Addison doesn't hesitate to take attractive women to her bed. Make no mistake; we will see Addison again. She will not take this setback lightly."

"I don't know why we would see her again. I'm not anybody. I'm certainly not worth some big British agent's time," Skyler tried.

Brodie continued to be amused by Skyler's attempts to talk her way out of the situation. "Well, one thing is a certainty. You didn't lie when you said you hadn't known Addison Black long. Addison is an agent for Special Operations, a highly secret division of MI-5, and only the best of the best work for Special Ops. These agents are deadly and determined. Addison won't let this go. I took you right from under her nose and that's going to piss her off. Add that to the fact that she's attracted to you and we have the makings of an agent soon to be hot on our trail. That's good."

"You think she's attracted to me?" Skyler couldn't keep the pleased note from her voice and she would have preened a little had her forearms not been duct taped to the arms of the seat she was in. "I mean, if she did come after us and she is so skilled, why would that be a good thing?"

Brodie turned to return to the cockpit. "Because, my sweet Skyler, caring about someone gives you a weakness. Addison has never had a weakness before and it's going to lead to her long overdue destruction." Agnes pulled open the door to the cockpit, but was stopped when Skyler called out to her.

"Brodie! I can't do anything to stop it, so will you satisfy my curiosity? Where are we going?"

Agnes studied her immobilized captive and decided she could be generous. "Ever been to the Holy Land, Skyler?" She laughed and disappeared into the cockpit.

Shit, the American thought. We're going to the Middle East.


"So I told them everything about Project Gemini. I didn't want to, but they convinced me that they still had Skyler and I couldn't stand the thought of what they would do to her. After I met Brodie I knew Skyler's life would mean nothing to that woman," Marlene concluded. She had just spent the last several minutes describing her abduction and captivity to Addison and Mark Blithe.

"I didn't think anyone knew where I was and I had no choice when Brodie threatened Skyler. She's my daughter and my only family. There's nothing I wouldn't do to keep her safe." Her voice broke then and tears appeared in her eyes.

"That's perfectly understandable, Marlene," the general soothed. "No one could expect you to be able to withstand that kind of pressure." During her account, Mark had moved to a chair next to her and had placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. The American looked up at him in gratitude.

Addison had remained standing during this time, but now she moved to sit on the spot on the desk that the general had vacated. "I know you're tired and upset, Professor, but I need to know about Project Gemini. It wasn't so important before, but if I'm to get your daughter back I need to have all the information that Agnes Brodie has."

Marlene nodded. "I understand and I'll be more than glad to do anything I can to help."

"Just put it in layman's terms, if you will," Addison requested. "Not all of us are as smart as Skyler."

Marlene smiled. "Not many people are, it can be a little daunting."

"Just a little," Addison agreed. "Now, about Project Gemini?"

"Yes, well I suppose you know some of the basics. My work was using the tuberculosis bacterium as a vehicle to deliver chemotherapy to cancer victims. We found that by removing the virulent part of the cell that we could replace it with something beneficial. We turned something deadly into something potentially lifesaving. That was the two sided nature of the work." Marlene looked down and wrung her hands together. Taking a deep breath, she continued.

"One day I was visited at the college by a representative from the federal government. He said they were impressed with my work, but did I realize that the research could be used for purposes other than which it was intended? The very aspect that made the bacilli so useful, its high transmissibility, was what could make it potentially the greatest delivery agent for all kinds of chemical or biological weapons. Just imagine a new type of suicide bomber. He allows himself to be infected or carries the bacilli that have been loaded with some kind of bacterial agent. Anthrax, Ebola, smallpox…the list is potentially endless. The tuberculosis bacillus is highly transmissible, especially effective in a crowded area. That's the reason you see so much tuberculosis in prisons and slums. So lets say this guy walks into a subway or a sporting event or a meeting of Congress. One pass and he infects dozens who infect dozens more. It's a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions in no time. I couldn't let that happen to my work."

"How did you come to England to work?" Addison questioned. "It seems like the United States would want you where they could supervise you in this work."

"That's just it, it wasn't only the US that was interested. Britain and the US both wanted to make sure that the research wouldn't fall into the wrong hands and wanted us to come up with a way to deactivate the bacilli should that very thing happen. We wanted to turn what might be a deadly bacillus into a benign one again. That was the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde work we were involved in and that's why the project was called Gemini, after the Greek twins. I was offered complete use of the facilities at the University here to pursue my work and I took it."

"And now Agnes Brodie and whoever she is working for or with has it too." Addison's voice was grim.

"I'm afraid so," Marlene said apologetically. "The only bright spot is that the technology is very advanced. Even with the information I gave them, it will take weeks to get to the point where they will be able to extract the tuberculosis from the bacillus. The process can't be shortened or the risk of not neutralizing the bacillus is too great. They might just end up causing their own demise."

Mark Blithe interjected, "So, you're saying we have some time, just not a great deal of it."

"Right," Marlene agreed. "Even with the most modern laboratory facilities I would say they would need three weeks at a minimum."

Addison stood. "I'll prepare to leave right away. I have several things to take care of, but I should be on my way by morning. Professor, I… I think your daughter and I became friends of a sort during our brief time together. As determined as I was before to get her back, I am even more determined to bring her back now." Addison said no more but her expression spoke volumes to the other two people in the room. She nodded at them and left the office.

In the next office, Antonia Bakersfield was busy working at her computer's keyboard. Addison sauntered over to her and flashed the same saucy grin she always used to charm the general's secretary. "How's the woman with the best fingers in HQ?"

Antonia blushed. "And how would you know? You've never given me the chance to show you."

"I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle you, Antonia. Besides, I'm just a humble public servant. I'm not allowed to provide you with fringe benefits."

Antonia laughed at Addison's harmless flirting. "Well, if you ever change your mind, I'll be happy to provide you with excellent service."

"I'll keep that in mind, Miss Bakersfield. In the meantime, can you book me a flight? Tomorrow, commercial or military, it doesn't matter. Final destination is Tel Aviv."

"No problem, Agent Black. Any special needs?" She used the Special Ops code for weapons.

"No thanks, I can handle the rest of the details. When you have the arrangements completed, could you contact me down in Samuel's lab? I need to see him and have some quality time with Spike before I leave."

"No problem, Addison. I'll call you when everything is set."

"You're a dream, Miss Bakersfield," the agent said as she headed out the door.


"Spike, I missed your furry little arse!" Addison whispered as the scruffy little dog bathed her face with short licks from a pink tongue. The dog was finally calming down after greeting Addison with unabashed excitement.

Samuel walked into the lab then with a flat box. "The size should be about right."

Addison tucked Spike under one arm as she approached the scientist. "Leather, right?"

"Would you wear anything else?" Samuel asked as he opened the box to reveal exquisitely crafted black leather driving gloves.

"Nice," Addison commented. She set Spike onto a nearby table and pulled the gloves from the box. "They're strong enough to protect the palms but not heavy enough to get in my way. Hmm, they just need a minor adjustment." She pulled open a drawer on Samuel's desks and extracted a large pair of scissors.

"Oh, Addison, you wouldn't! I worked hard on making these special gloves and there's no…" Samuel trailed off in dismay as the agent neatly snipped off all the fingers. Setting the scissors down, she slipped the gloves on and flexed her hands.

"Perfect, I'll take them. Come on, Spike, there's sausages with our names on them. Then we have to talk about how badly you've treated Samuel while I was gone and how I'm sure you won't act like that again while I'm out of the country…starting tomorrow." She heard a wail of pain from Samuel as she closed the door to the lab. "Gee, Spike, you'd think Uncle Samuel isn't looking forward to being your roommate again."

The agent bent over and scooped up the little dog in her gloved hands. "Maybe later we can talk about an unusual woman I met recently. I think you'd like her." Spike tilted her head, hearing a tone of voice from her mistress that she hadn't heard before. It was going to be an interesting evening.

Chapter 14

Addison had to hand it to Miss Bakersfield. If there was one thing she could rely upon it was her ability to deliver. The flight to Tel-Aviv had been a smooth, luxurious crossing. First class was the only way to travel and at the government's expense just sweetened the deal. She made a mental note to thank the general's secretary, not, however, in the way she had often insinuated in the past.

Although Addison came to meet Antonia Bakersfield when they were drafted into Special Operations, Addison had been aware of her, in name, almost a year before. Antonia had served in the armed forces herself. She was injured in an incident of friendly fire and had lost the hearing in her right ear. Miss Bakersfield had never wanted to leave the military and when General Mark Blithe approached her with a job proposition, she readily accepted. She and Addison were some of the first to arrive at Special Operations H.Q. They connected immediately as friends, though their flirtatious banter remained.

Winters in Israel did pretty much resemble a British summer. As Addison stepped out into the Middle Eastern sun, she pushed a pair of dark shades over her eyes. The atmosphere was warm and the scent of recent rainfall clung to the air. A clear blue sky stretched above the land. Addison felt warm solar rays bathe her skin, the heat enhanced by her dark attire. Black combat boots and trousers were hardly summer wear. Her white tank top would have been moderately acceptable if not for the black shirt hanging loose and undone over the top. That was unavoidable and the only way to conceal the weapons attached to the back of her belt. Although Addison held identification and credentials to carry such weapons, to the average civilian they would appear suspicious, especially on an international aircraft.

Slinging a small rucksack over her shoulder, Addison stepped further into the sunshine. People busied themselves about, anxious to get from point A to point B. She heard both Hebrew and English spoken around her. Across the road, Addison saw a rugged, black cat, one of many feral felines she would expect to encounter in Israel.

Turning to her right, Addison left Sde Dev airport. She scanned the road ahead, searching for available transportation. Finding a taxi wasn't difficult, as public transportation was always readily obtainable by any airport. Spotting a white car, Addison adjusted her shades and jogged over to the vehicle. She leaned into the passenger side window finding an aging gentleman with a white beard behind the wheel. He looked to her, anxious for a fare.

"Where can I take you?"

"My Place," Addison said and slid into the passenger seat.

Her driver nodded wordlessly and pulled out onto the road. Though Tel-Aviv itself was a hub of modernization, Addison's required destination was just outside the main city, near the beautiful and historical port called Jaffa. My Place was a bar situated in a lesser-populated part of the city. It wasn't an area visited by tourists or holidaymakers. In fact, if you hadn't have been previously introduced, you probably wouldn't even know it existed. Its name had confused Addison on first encounter but she soon discovered that many bars in Israel often had English names.

Addison gazed silently out the cab window. Coming to Israel was a leap, some would say a guess, but to Addison it was an educated guess. Not only did she consider the evidence she found on the Isle of Skye, but also, it was known that Brodie did have contacts in Israel. That and the fact that she had spent several years living in Bethlehem and her activity during that time had been little known. Addison was confident in her beliefs and a planned meeting with an old friend would help secure those points.

Her drive took almost half an hour but as the cab pulled up outside My Place, Addison handed over thirty-five shekels and stepped out into the narrow street. She stood to the side as several people on bicycles rode past her. Addison approached a set of stone steps and descended down to a small door. She pulled it open and stepped inside.

My Place was large and dimly lit. It had no windows so natural lighting wasn't available. Low powered lighting illuminated the bar and several tables held candles wedged into liquor bottles. Conversation was limited to a low hum; men at small tables discussed work or played card games for small amounts of money. The aroma of years of stale cigarette smoke hung in the atmosphere. It clung to furniture and walls like it was indeed part of the establishment's character. Fresh filtering smoke left a steamy glaze in the room, distorting vision like the misty grip of an early morning fog.

Approaching the bar, Addison sat on an empty stool. A young man with slicked back brown hair and holding a towel while drying a shot glass leaned against the counter. He smiled as his eyes gave her a brief inspection.

"Vema ani yachol la'ashot bishvilech?"

"Jack Daniels, toda," then added, "kafull," as an after thought. If she was going for the good stuff, she might as well get her money's worth.

The bartender nodded and disappeared momentarily, returning with a double shot of whiskey. He placed it on the bar-top. "Fifty-five shekels."

Addison slid payment across the counter, leaving a tip as she took her drink. She strolled over to a vacant table in the corner of the bar and sat down. Placing down the glass, Addison pulled a candle towards her and ran her fingers through the orange flame. The flesh of her fingertips turned black as the warmth increased.

"You ought to be more careful," a strong accented voice said. "You could burn more than the leather fingertips of your gloves."

Holding back a smirk, Addison pulled her hand away and looked up and to her left. A familiar face stood above her, his expression neutral. Brown eyes gazed upon her with caution. Rising to her feet, the agent stood eye level with her old acquaintance. The pair studied each other silently. An air of tension expanded between them, but it was Addison who made the first move. Holding out her hand she supplied a small smile.

"Alon, it's been a while." Alon hadn't changed, Addison noted. His hair was still cropped in a short, convenient style. It was the kind of look that needed no maintenance when he rose from a night's sleep. A deep scar around his left eye looked a little more faded in colour, but was still highly noticeable.

Her hand was accepted and Alon shook the appendage firmly. "Addison Black, I was surprised to know it was you I would meet."

"You should know never to underestimate me, Alon." Addison offered a chair to Alon as she sat. He followed suit, taking a chair opposite her. Addison picked up her Jack Daniels.

"I learned that lesson after you slept with my sister, Agent Black."

The agent sighed, placing down her glass. "It was two years ago... Agent Yamburg... and I told you back then I didn't know Shiri was your sister. I thought we went over this." Addison took a drink of whiskey. "I'm not here to dredge up the past, Alon. I have important business."

As much as Addison would have argued her point, she didn't have the time. Every second that passed was added time Skyler spent alone and in the hands of Agnes Brodie. Arguing events that transpired over two years ago were of no consequence or interest to her.

The brief night Addison spent with Alon's sister was nothing more than the result of too much drink and the rush of a winner's high. She had been playing poker with Alon and three of his friends in this very bar. It had been going for a while and the drinks had been constant. Thinking he had a good hand, and not having enough money to back him, a drunken Alon had placed Shiri, who was serving behind the bar, in the pot. He lost. Fortunately, he acknowledged in relief, Addison had won the hand and his sister. What possible outcome would that have? He thought! It didn't turn out to be the best way to discover his sister's sexual preference.

Alon leaned back in his chair. "Right... well I understand you are tracking down a known criminal who you believe has entered this country." Alon placed a black briefcase upon the table separating them. He pulled out several sheets of paper. "We ran a check on everybody who entered the country in the time span you gave us." He pushed the papers over to Addison. "We didn't find the name Agnes Brodie listed anywhere. In fact, apart from basic evidence detailing her living in Bethlehem, we have nothing on her at all."

The agent frowned and scanned the documents. There had to be something. "What about monitored activity you guys have been running?"

Alon Yamburg was an agent for the Mossad, Israel's CIA and otherwise known as the Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks. Addison knew with their help she would be able to find Brodie if she were in this country. Like the United States' CIA, the Mossad was responsible for all human intelligence collection, covert action and counter-terrorism. They had eyes and ears everywhere.

Nodding, Alon opened a black folder. "We have many organisations under surveillance. I ran data links and found something that could be useful to you."

The agent's interest was piqued. Drinking down the remainder of her Jack Daniels, Addison dragged her chair around to sit beside Alon. "Tell me."

Alon opened a map. "There is a research plant here." Alon pointed to an area of desert in the southern area of Israel, close to Eilat. "It is owned by a Dr. Kleein; this is a name we have no information on."

"Okay?" Addison asked in confusion.

"But it is run by a woman called Sadie Bregon." Agent Yamburg took the top sheet of names of people who had entered the country in the past twenty-four hours. His finger tapped the fourteenth name upon the sheet. "She touched down in Eilat early this morning."

"Sadie Bregon?" Addison read the name over and again. Her fingers drummed upon the table as she studied Alon's information.

"She entered the country with fifteen assistants and cargo. The laboratory she runs is said to test cosmetics made by minerals obtained from the Dead Sea."

Addison pulled a pen from Agent Yamburg's case. She twirled it around her fingers in thought.

"What is it?" Alon asked as Addison began striking a line through the letters of Sadie Bregon's name.

"It's just occurred to me that if you rearrange the letters of Sadie Bregon…"

"Yes?" Alon asked.

Addison grinned. "You get Agnes Brodie!"

"You do?" Alon rechecked the letters. "This is a very interesting development. But we still don't know about Dr. Kleein or who he is."

"Hmm." Addison rechecked the map. "But at least I have a destination." She rose from her chair. "I know where I'm heading."

"Where we are heading!" Alon piled the documents back in his case and stood beside Addison. "You know I have to accompany you on this, Addison. Besides, I can get us on a flight to Eilat within the hour."

Addison folded her arms. She knew the Mossad would demand one of their agents work with her but she had one condition. "Fine, but I call the shots. This is my mission and I have much riding on this, Alon. I know Brodie. We have to do this my way."

"You know the guidelines I have to follow, Addison, but we can work together. We did once before, remember? This time though, we will stay away from celebrating a successful mission."

Addison smirked and shook Alon's hand. "You have a deal, Agent Yamburg."


Deep breath, keep your eyes open. Skyler repeated those words like a mantra and slowly she started to feel better. She didn't know if it was the sound advice she remembered from her first aid class or the fact that it had been several hours since Brodie had given her the vile tasting liquid.

Skyler wasn't sure of exactly what comprised the noxious cocktail but she knew for certain it contained Ipecac elixir. She knew that by the almost immediate vomiting she'd done. The fact that she was given the liquid on the way into the airport from the plane gave her an idea of what Brodie had planned. The cramping, nausea and dizziness that accompanied the frank vomiting were as unpleasant a side effect as Skyler ever hoped to suffer from.

Two "associates" of Brodie's helped her walk into the airport while Brodie took charge of getting her past Immigration and Passport Control. She handed over a British passport to the waiting Israeli official.

"I warned her not to eat the steak and kidney pie at that pub, but would she listen to me? I'm afraid Dr. Simpson is an independent woman with a mind of her own. Of course, it might have been the several pints of Guinness that she consumed along with the pie, eh?" Agnes winked at the official as she handed over her own passport as well. Skyler could see Brodie was traveling under an Israeli passport and wished she had the strength to yell out to the official or alert airport security.

The official was solicitous of her condition and offered to summon an ambulance, but Brodie assured him that it would not be necessary and that she would be taken to her private doctor as soon as they entered Eilat. If there was one thing Skyler understood about Brodie, it was that they would be nowhere near Eilat. Unfortunately for Skyler's stomach, she had been correct.

Skyler, Brodie, several helpers and a small mountain of packing crates had been loaded into waiting trucks and they had headed out into the countryside. Though Skyler was wedged between a large henchman at the wheel of a truck and Brodie on the passenger side, the fresh air blowing in the window was very welcome. It was warm but not oppressively hot and they went through several checkpoints without incident. A gun to Skyler's ribs assured her continued silence. For the time they were on the paved highway the journey wasn't so bad, but the moment they turned off onto a dirt and gravel track, Skyler knew her tenuous control over the residual nausea was lost.

The sour taste of stomach acid in her mouth was a small price to pay for the outraged look on Brodie's face when Skyler expelled the liquid remnants of her gut directly on the Irishwoman's shoes. The convoy of trucks ground to a momentary halt as Brodie leaped out and cleaned her shoes on the sparse vegetation in the area they were passing through.

The group of trucks continued on its trek in a southerly direction and headed into a bleak area, mountainous and unwelcoming. The road deteriorated to a wide, winding trail and steep hills shot up on either side. The perfect place for an ambush Skyler thought as there would be little cover for anyone foolish enough to follow Brodie's trail through there.

After what seemed like a lifetime, the convoy broke free of the mountainous terrain and emerged into a relatively flat valley. Being in the lead truck afforded Skyler a view of what lay ahead. A group of obviously new buildings was situated in the middle of the valley, well away from the steep slopes present on all sides. It's like a box canyon in the western States Skyler thought, very secure, very safe and virtually impregnable. It was not a comforting thought.

As they moved nearer the compound, Skyler noted that they were headed for the largest building. She wondered at how such a large base had been built so far from the general populace. That question was answered when she spied a helipad to the side of the group of buildings. A wall circled the compound and at regular intervals there were elevated guard towers manned by serious looking men and women with automatic weapons. Patrolling the grounds were teams with dogs. Skyler had been to two previous establishments that Brodie had been connected with, but this third one was obviously the most heavily fortified of them all.

The American's spirits sank as she viewed the compound. The possibilities for escape would be very slim. Slim, hell… face it, Skyler, they're nonexistent.

Their truck pulled to a stop in front of the largest building. It was boxlike and painted a tan color that would make it difficult to pick out individual edifices from the sky. They disembarked and Agnes pulled Skyler along by the sleeve of Addison's jacket that she still wore. Weakness from the episode of vomiting and a sense of futility prevented her from putting up any resistance as she stumbled along behind the redhead.

They entered the building and Skyler was roughly directed into an office and onto a plush sofa. Her relief at sitting and not being jostled was a balm for her unsettled stomach and spirit. Her head lolled to the side and she drifted in and out of sleep as Brodie worked over various maps and papers. They had been at the compound possibly thirty minutes by Skyler's estimation when the phone in the office rang.

"Bregon," the redhead said into the phone. "Yes, one moment." Brodie picked up an electronic device and attached it to the mouthpiece of the telephone. She flipped a switch on the device and a small button glowed red.

Scrambler, thought Skyler, now more awake.

"Secure here," Agnes spoke into the phone. "We arrived about half an hour ago. No, no incidents." Agnes looked down at her shoes and grimaced slightly as she listened to the person on the other end of the phone. "Yes, I still have her. Look, you just pay me the money as promised and I'll take care of the 'how'. I know what I'm doing here. Doctor Tidwell will be my insurance policy against any further problems from our troublesome friend, not that I expect any. God, it was sweet! The expression on her face as we took off was priceless! Why is there never a camera when you need one?" Agnes chuckled while reliving the moment.

Her laughter was suddenly cut short and she sat straight up in her chair. "What? You're bloody well joking! When?" Brodie consulted her watch. "Probably in country by now. You're sure of the information? Yes, of course it is. I'm sorry; your information has always been good. No, there will be no mistakes this time. I understand. Will you be joining us here?" Agnes listened again. "Very well then, I'll deal with any problems that may arise from that quarter. Thank you for calling, Dr. Kleein." The redhead flipped the switch on the scrambler and hung the phone up.

"Well, Doctor, it appears I may have a little more entertainment than this remote location usually allows. I must give Addison Black credit; she somehow manages to always make her presence felt. It appears she has headed for Israel also. Well, being in the same country and having you freed are two very different things."

"Brodie, I can understand why you kept me when you thought I was my mother. I can even understand why you needed me for your escape from the Isle of Skye, but why did you bring me here? You must know I can give you no information on my mother's project."

Agnes snorted. "I don't need you for anything like that now, Doctor, your mother was quite cooperative in that matter. It should only be a matter of time before we will be ready to use that information to our advantage. No, your passage has been bought for less financial and more personal reasons. Tell me, are you and Addison lovers yet?"

Skyler opened her mouth to deny it, but common sense prevailed and she surmised her usefulness to Brodie would be enhanced if the Irishwoman thought that she and the British agent were involved.

"Well, uh, she's a difficult woman to resist, don't you find?" Skyler said diplomatically.

Brodie's face darkened. "No, I've never had the pleasure."

But you wanted to, didn't you? Skyler thought, knowing she had just gotten an insight into Brodie's motivation for bringing her along. Maybe I can use that. "Well, that's a shame because Addison is a fantastic lover. The things she can do with her hands and mouth are incredible." Skyler didn't have to feign the blush that crossed her features. "The only thing is, Addison tends to be a little possessive. I mean… we weren't together that long, but she said she would kill anyone who touched me."

Brodie brightened at that thought. "Oh, she did, did she? Well I think that maybe I have a way to just ruin her whole day then. I was going to have your body at my leisure very soon, but I think Addison may be about to pay us a little visit and she's going to walk right into my trap if she does. I'm going to save you for that time. She's going to hate seeing me enjoy you and I will enjoy that! It's almost a pity that I'll have to put a bullet in both your heads afterwards. I might have really loved a threesome with you both."

Skyler's settled stomach threatened to revolt again at the picture in her mind of what Brodie was suggesting. She pushed those thoughts aside to more positive ones. Addison Black was on their trail and Skyler had been a firsthand witness to the British agent's determination. She knew she would see Addison again; she felt it and never questioned it. Skyler only had to stay alive long enough to make that meeting possible.

Chapter 15

Dust from two blue and red quad bikes rose from Israel's desert plains. The growl of high-powered engines echoed over the barren land Following Alon, Addison steered her bike skilfully, trailing her friend as they rode over the sandy, desert ground. They had flown to Eilat and had arrived early evening but to be sure of enough light, Alon suggested they leave early in the morning. It had been a tough decision. Addison wanted to leave as soon as possible, not wanting Skyler alone with Brodie any longer than necessary but she trusted Alon, and she trusted his knowledge of the desert.

Leaving at first light though had one draw back. It was still relatively cold. Addison had not dressed for the cool weather. She knew it wasn't worth it and she did have a higher than normal internal body temperature but zooming across the desert on the 170CC bike caused a cool air to thrust against her skin. Addison released one hand from the handlebar and adjusted the red bandanna covering her nose and mouth. She didn't want to breathe in any grains of sand. Getting those into awkward places was the last thing she wanted bothering her. For that reason, she wore her dark sunglasses, keeping her vision safe from wheel-generated dust.

Before they had left, Alon and Addison went over supplies they would need for their mission. Addison did have a plan but she was keeping it to herself. She already knew Alon would protest and he would have less ground to stand on when they were at the laboratory site. Alon had packed his backpack with necessary aids; Addison hadn't bothered. For what she had in mind she knew it would be futile. All she packed was a bottle of water, and two grenades. Apart from her Berettas, extra clips and boot knife, the soldier was lightly armed.

Addison realised Alon was beginning to slow down so she followed suit until they came to a complete stop. Pulling the bandanna from her face and placing the glasses upon her head, Addison dismounted her bike. She looked upon Alon with questioning eyes.

"Why have we stopped?"

Shrugging off his backpack, Alon leaned against his bike. "I need a drink." He unzipped the black carrier and pulled out a clear bottle of mineral water. "We still have a way to go, Addison, But we should be there by between ten and eleven o'clock." Taking a long drink, Alon sat upon the sand in front of Addison. "So tell me. We both know it's not good to make a case personal but I feel that is what is happening with you right now. What have you not told me?"

Addison sat down beside Alon. "Agnes Brodie is a long time pain in my arse. She has crossed the line one too many times, Alon, but this time she went too far. I am putting a stop to her once and for all."

"But you are not telling me what she has done. It is something. I can tell."

Picking up a stone from the sand, Addison drew lines in the grainy surface. "She took the woman I was protecting out from under my nose. I don't know how she did it. I thought I had kept her safe. I had only just rescued her from Brodie. I know that woman enough to know she is not going to make life easy for Skyler. This is a highly organised situation. Sky is nothing more than a fly in the ointment."

Alon seemed perplexed. "A fly in what?"

The agent smiled. "An annoyance that can be easily exterminated, especially once she has served her purpose. I just fear what that purpose will be."

Pulling one leg up, Alon balanced his arm over his knee. "You like this woman, this Skyler?"

Addison smirked, as her thoughts turned to her brief time spent with the American. "She isn't like any woman I have met before. She has a lot of strength and intelligence but at the same time, she seems so naïve, like she has substituted a lot of the more exciting parts of life for study and further education. But… she has spunk!"

Alon blinked in bewilderment. In his knowledge of the English language he knew of only one meaning for the word spunk. "She has…" he motioned his hand in a questioning manner that pointed to his manhood.

Releasing a laugh, Addison shook her head. "She has a spark, an inner fire, je ne se qoi, a… she has a life loving attitude that takes no crap."

He smiled, his eyes shining with boyish mischief. "So you do like this Skyler!"

Addison shrugged but remained silent. It didn't matter whether she liked Skyler or not. She knew better than to let personal feelings interfere with a mission. She had to rise above them if she was to succeed. Not only Skyler, but also the lives of many people depended on her. Addison wouldn't fail; she would not fail them. Rule one, and the most important rule for completion of a successful mission was to never allow your own feelings to interfere with said mission. Every life taken, heart broken or bridge burned, it was all for the bigger picture, the greater purpose.

Closing her eyes, Addison pulled her glasses back down and directed her face towards the sun. Its heat was rapidly increasing and already Addison could feel beads of sweat form upon her back and brow. She wiped the moisture away from her hairline and turned to Alon. The Israeli Mossad agent was busy checking their communication equipment. He rifled through his backpack checking and re-checking their supplies. Addison's gaze wandered to the area around his eye and above his eyebrow. Scaring was evident, the result of a bomb blast that had showered him with shards of shrapnel as he patrolled Israeli borders while in the army. He was only eighteen at the time. Fifteen years later and those scars were as noticeable as ever.

Alon rose to his feet. "I need a pee, back in a moment."

The English agent grimaced. "Thanks for the details, Alon!" She waited as Alon disappeared behind a rock and stood, shouldering her backpack. With very little inside, it was unusually light. She wandered back to her quad bike and waited. As Alon returned, Addison mounted the vehicle and pulled the red bandanna back over her nose and mouth.

"You ready?" he asked

Addison replied by offering a thumb up.

Alon gave a swift nod. "Then lets get going."


Marlene Tidwell stood beside General Mark Blithe in the very nerve centre of MI-5, Special Operations. It was a high tech, state of the art monitoring compound, half a mile below the surface of Head Quarters. Marlene noted that it looked very much like a smaller version of Flight Control at NASA in Houston. Large screens covered the far and sidewall. Each one displayed different information from satellite positions, world breaking news, operative whereabouts, weapons activity, communications and links to world organisations. Lights flashed, equipment beeped and over thirty voices conversed on classified information.

"This is the heart of the operation!" Marlene commented. "I understand that my being with you allowed access, but should I be in here?"

Blithe surveyed the room. "You already have a high security clearance with your work, and I can act at my own discretion. I have no doubts about your trustworthiness. Besides, I want you safe and there is no safer a place to be than here. In fact, if a war were to break, this would be the safest and most secure place around."

"For us yes… but we aren't the ones in danger." Marlene's lip quivered and she attempted to take hold of her emotions. "I saw that woman drag my daughter off at gun point. I saw how scared Skyler was. I can't get that image out of my mind, Mark."

"I do understand." Blithe placed his hand upon Marlene's shoulder. "But I do still insist I have the best agent on the job. Whatever Agent Black does, I guarantee she will move heaven and earth to secure Skyler's release and safe journey home."

Folding her arms, Marlene leaned back against a desk. "I don't question that at all. What I don't understand, however, is why you don't send an army in there. Why use just one operative? Surely a group would be better?"

"You would think so, and in some instances that is the case. However, there are times, we have discovered, when sending a single, skilled operative into combat can actually be a lot more beneficial. Our operatives are the best, Marlene, and we deal with these one-man missions. That is what Special Operations is about. If you need a task force of highly trained men you send in the Special Air Services; if you plan a one man mission, we are the team you contact." The General leaned upon the desk beside Marlene. "Exact knowledge of our operative's whereabouts can be monitored." He pointed to a small screen on a long table of ten visual display units. "The screen that reads SO2 in the corner, that is Agent Black. Although we've had no communication we know she flew from Tel-Aviv to Eilat yesterday afternoon and at this moment is travelling northwest across the desert in Biqa'at Timna."

Marlene squinted. She leaned forwards to gain a clearer inspection of the screen. A green dot moved slowly across an electronic, touch screen map. "How are you able to keep such an accurate positioning?"

"As you can understand, we work in highly precarious situations. Knowledge of your operative's whereabouts and well-being is sometimes essential, especially if they are out of the country and unable to make voice contact. Each agent has an implant in their shoulder, their left shoulder. It keeps constant track during operations and supervises vital signs. This isn't something we use all the time though, mainly when an agent is undercover, working internationally or in any situation where they are unable to keep vocal contact." Mark picked up a small, narrow object that looked almost like a television remote control. "We activate the implant with one of these. The agent must be present at the time." Mark demonstrated by holding the gadget up to his shoulder. "And you simply switch it on with this green button." He pressed the button and instantly another screen was activated within the nerve centre. The code name SO0 blinked at the bottom of its screen and his position flashed into the display. "And that is how it works." He turned it off and the screen went black.

"Marlene took the remote from Mark's hand. "An ingenious device."

"Well, not really," Mark replied. "Samuel got the idea after Agent Black got Spike, her dog, electronically tagged. Addison wasn't too happy about being tagged like Spike. I told her that at least if either of them got lost it would be easier to find or identify them."

Marlene smiled. "And what was her reply?"

"My dear, Marlene." Mark placed his hand upon the professor's back as they began to leave the lively room. "Obscene finger gestures and foul language must never be repeated in the presence of a lady!"


It took another hour and a half for Addison and Alon to near 'Sadie Bregon's' 'cosmetic laboratory'. They abandoned their bikes and travelled the remaining distance by foot so as not to alert anybody to unwelcome engine sounds. The sun was now high in the sky. It shone down upon the agents with a searing heat. Addison walked beside Alon, her eyes scanning the terrain. Rocks and sand, that was all there appeared to be; it was all there had been for miles.

Alon stopped. He looked around and then pointed to the mountainous rise to the right. "Over there," he said. "There is a valley."

They approached the rise together, crouching as they neared its peak and eventually crawling onto their stomachs. Addison looked down into the valley below.

"Fuck me!" Her eyes scanned the area. There were several new buildings, the middle of which was the largest. What surprised Addison was the armed manpower guarding the site. She approximated thirty men and woman. There were two watchtowers, patrolling guards and dogs.

Accepting the binoculars Alon offered her, Addison took a closer look at the situation. "Oh yeah," she mumbled as she zoomed in on the highly secured compound. A high wall topped with electric wire bordered the area. "These guys definitely look like they are protecting the secrets of the 'all day' lipstick!"

"My thoughts exactly... sort of." Alon turned to Addison. "Now that we have a visual, I think we are going to need back up, right?"

"No," replied Addison. "I have a plan to infiltrate the place. I know you are not going to like it but you must trust me, Alon. It may sound risky but it will work. I know Brodie well enough to know that."

"Why did I have this bad feeling you would pull something like this?" Alon sighed and readied himself for Addison's 'plan'.


Skyler winced as Brodie jerked her up hard by her arm.

"Lets move, Blondie. I have work to do and you need to be put in a place for safekeeping before I do it." The American fought down the urge to struggle with Agnes. Remembering the beating she had taken in Scotland made her cautious about pushing the mercenary too far.

Be careful walking this line, Skyler. She needs to be angry but not out of control. If she is, maybe she won't stop to consider what an exciting woman like Addison Black would want with me. That might keep me alive. The American flashed a charming smile in Agnes' direction.

"So, Addison is on her way. Somehow that doesn't surprise me. She tends to be a bit focused. So have you and Addison done much…uh…business together?" Brodie directed her out of the office and down a long pristine white hallway. As they passed several doors with glass windows, Skyler could see people in full laboratory gear. Dressed in blue cover gowns, masks and face shields, the personnel appeared to be busy setting up equipment being removed from boxes that Skyler recognized as being part of the ones they had brought with them in the convoy.

"We've had our encounters in the past," Brodie sneered. "Even more than Addison knows! Oh, she's tried to take me out, but she could never quite make that happen. I've got nine lives, Doctor, and Addison Black hasn't come close to running me through them all!"

Skyler thought back to the conversation she was privy to in the office. "As long as you're going to kill me anyway, do you mind if I ask you something?"

Brodie cut her eyes at the scientist. "You can ask," she said in a tone that clearly implied there might not be an answer.

"It's just that I've wondered how you managed to do it. Addison is one of most lethal people I've run across and yet you've come through unscathed. I would think there's not many people who have gotten the best of her and it's rather impressive that you've managed it."

Agnes puffed up a little at Skyler's words. "Not many is right!" The mercenary appeared thoughtful. "Let's see, there's been me…and me!" She chuckled at her own joke. "I am the thorn in Addison Black's side, I am the fish that got away. I am also going to be the one to end the career of SO2."

"But how did you do it? I'm sure there are a lot of people in your profession who would be envious of the success you've had in matching wits with the Special Operations agent."

Brodie stopped before a thick metal door. She fished a key from the pocket of the khaki trousers she wore and inserted it into the lock. Turning the key she pulled the door open to reveal an even more Spartan cell than Skyler had inhabited in Scotland. It appeared to be a converted lab. There were mattresses on the floor next to metal cabinets and a deep sink in the corner of the room.

"Sorry for the poor accommodations, Doctor," Brodie said with feigned solicitousness as she guided Skyler inside. "We never really expected unwelcome guests at this rather remote location. I'm sure you'll be able to make do though. There is a bathroom through there." She indicated a small door in one wall. "No lock though, I'm sure you understand. You are something of a resourceful woman in your own right and I won't underestimate you again." Agnes unconsciously brought her hand up to her head, touching the area injured by Skyler's booby trap in Scotland.

"No hard feelings on that one, right?" Skyler asked.

"Of course not. I would have done the same thing you did except for one detail. I would have been ready to terminate you as soon as you were vulnerable. You were soft, Doctor. Softness gets you nowhere. Ask Addison. Up until now I never found the tiniest shred of softness or weakness in her." Agnes reached out and ran the back of her hand along Skyler's cheek. "How does it feel to know you are going to be the cause of the demise of the infamous Addison Black?"

Skyler jerked her head away from Agnes' touch. "She isn't dead yet, Brodie!"

Instead of becoming angry as the scientist expected, the Irishwoman just laughed. "Oh, yes, I can certainly see what attracts Addison. You have a very interesting spark. It's going to be a shame when I have to extinguish it."

A cold chill passed down Skyler's spine. Though they were tinged with amusement, Brodie's words were deadly serious.

"Oh, by the way. Just so you don't get lonely, I've assigned you a guard all of your own." From the hallway behind her a huge man loomed over Brodie. He was less a man than a small mountain of humanity. Standing at least six and a half feet tall and weighing what Skyler estimated to be well over three hundred pounds, the man stared at her with what was almost disinterest. A shock of short, spiky brown hair topped a ruddy complexion.

"Skyler, this is Shamus. He's been with me a long time and has remained a good and faithful employee throughout. She reached up and patted the huge man's cheek as if he were little more than a pet pit bull. "Shamus, meet Doctor Skyler Tidwell. You will be interested to know she is a particularly good friend of Addison Black. You remember Addison, don't you?"

The man's eyes narrowed and he literally snarled, revealing a gap where his front two teeth should have been. "Addithun!" he said with a heavy lisp. The disinterest in his eyes was replaced by open and frank hatred.

Brodie smiled with sympathy at the large man then turned back to address Skyler. "As you can tell, Shamus has an unfortunate history with Addison Black. About three years ago he was assisting me with a project in Portugal. We were providing necessary supplies to a group in Eastern Europe that MI-5 didn't like. Addison Black of Special Operations was dispatched to interfere with our business. Somewhere along the way Shamus and Addison crossed paths. Show Skyler what her girlfriend can do when she doesn't like you, Shamus." The huge man raised a meaty hand up to show Skyler four thick fingers and a tiny stump where his right thumb would have been.

"Didn't know Addison took trophies, did you? Shamus hasn't been happy with the loss of his thumb; he had been quite attached to it. Since that time he has vowed that one day he will have his revenge on your friend. I think if I were you, I would try not to upset Shamus. Addison or Addison's friend…I'm fairly certain it's all the same to him."

Skyler looked at the menacing hulk and decided that at this point, cooperation would be her best option. She raised her hands in a gesture of surrender. "You'll have no problems with me." She turned and moved further into the room muttering, "For now" under her breath.

"Good," Brodie said to her back. "It wouldn't do for Addison to find her lover already dead when we finally get her in our hands." The Irishwoman turned to leave but stopped as Skyler called out to her.

"Brodie! You never answered my question. How did you manage to get the best of Addison all this time?"

Agnes paused only momentarily on her way out of the room. "I've beaten her so far by using something you as a Yank can understand. Let's just call it 'insider trading'!" Brodie chuckled and passed through the door. Shamus glared at her, almost daring Skyler to become a problem. Then he pulled the door closed, leaving Skyler alone in the room.

The American expelled a breath she hadn't realized she was holding. She dropped to one of the mattresses haphazardly thrown on the floor. She lay back on the mattress and looked up toward the ceiling, her eyes on an iron bar covered skylight.

Okay, you're alive. That's what counts right now. All you have to do now is wait for that one woman wrecking crew named Addison Black to get here. Skyler knew she was trying to keep her own spirits up and turned her mind to more productive matters.

Insider trading? What did Brodie mean by that? A traitor? God, please just let this be Agnes spouting off. Mom, where are you? Are they keeping you safe? Addison, I hope you left her in good hands. Worrying about her mother took Skyler's mind off her own desperate circumstances, but not by much.

Chapter 16

"ARE YOU," Alon lowered his voice, conscious of their surroundings. "Crazy?"

Addison moved backwards, assuring she was out of view. "No. I know exactly what I am doing. This may well be the best way I can gain access into that place."


"Alon," Addison reached out and pulled the man down away from the ledge of the valley. "Don't you think I have thought about this? I asked you to trust me, now please do so."

Shaking his head, Alon rose to his knees. "What you are planning is…"

"The best way to infiltrate that place. Brodie is going to know I am on my way. She will expect me to make a mistake." Addison moved to her knees, mirroring Alon's position. "She thinks taking Skyler is going to have an effect on me, force me to panic or drop my guard. I know her, I wrote her psychological profile for God's sake. I'm going to give her exactly what she is expecting. She'll be too busy congratulating herself to even realise."

"And you expect me to stand by while this takes place?" Alon shook his head. "You are crazy."

"If you want to live you will keep out of sight. Don't watch if that is the case. I need you as my man on the outside. You will be able to contact General Blithe back in London and assure him all will be okay."

"You cannot be sure of that."

"Blithe trusts me, Alon. In his own words he gives me my head on missions because he knows my judgement is always a sound calling. I understand you may not think this is an intelligent move... I might even have to agree with you, but the fact is that I have given this much consideration. If I have to let her think she has won in order to allow her caution to lower then so be it. I know the way Brodie thinks and what's more, I know the arrogance which lies behind that mind." Addison pulled the backpack from her back. Alon opened his mouth to speak but the raising of a hand silenced him. "Look, Alon, this is not a suicide mission. This is not a case of me finally losing my marbles or going off the deep end with some dodgy, half-cocked idea. I mean… fuck… grant me with some presence of sense. I sure as hell am not going to like it, that I can guarantee, but I endured worse while training with the Special Forces." Maybe, Addison added to herself in thought.

When the agent finally paused for breath, Alon jumped into the momentary silence. "But she could kill you and then where will Skyler Tidwell be?" This was his last hope for an argument. Although the Mossad could easily stop her from taking such a risk in a country that was their 'jurisdiction' so to speak, Alon knew he was powerless against Addison alone. She had a will of iron and no effort of pulling rank would work with her once her mind was set. Alon had learned that lesson the hard way.

"I doubt very much she would kill me, but if she did H.Q. would be aware and a counter plan would be brought into play. Opening her backpack, Addison pulled out the half empty bottle of mineral water. She drank down the remainder of the container. "Believe me, Alon, I have thought this through."

The Mossad agent looked on helplessly as Addison took the Colt survival knife from her boot and strapped it inside her footwear, hidden from view. He realised Addison had intended this the whole time. She really had given this plan serious consideration. With a sigh of resignation, Alon asked, "What do you want me to do?"

Fastening her bootlace, Addison smiled sincerely. "Just get in contact with General Blithe. Tell him what is going on. Assure him of my motives and confidence in this. Placate him when he blows an artery basically." Addison reached inside her carrier and pulled out the two grenades. She looked over at Alon, registering his sombre expression.

"I don't like this, Addison."

"I know."

"It's very dangerous."

"It will work." Addison looked around the desert grounds. "Listen, Alon, you don't have to watch when this goes down. In fact it's probably best you don't."

"I'll watch," Alon said adamantly. "I'll need to make sure you get inside there alive. I will watch and I promise not to intervene."

Addison nodded. "No matter what happens."

"No matter what happens," Alon echoed.

"Thank you." Taking a deep breath, Addison held a grenade in both hands. "Let's get this started shall we?"

Alon looked away. He couldn't believe he was actually allowing this to happen. Granted, when faced with the stubborn will of Addison Black it was hard to win, but that didn't lessen the fact that what she was doing was so terribly dangerous. He believed many other ways of infiltrating the compound could be determined but at such short notice and with Addison adamant on her plan, he knew he was out of time and outnumbered. With Addison plus her determination that was practically two against one.

"I'll need you to keep monitoring their movements from this position." Addison patted down her body. "Do you have a pen?"

Alon produced a black ballpoint. He handed it to Addison and the British Agent took his hand, holding it palm down. She began scrawling a set of numbers upon his skin.

"This is a secured frequency you can use to contact H.Q. It goes straight to the General so only he will answer."

"Right." Agent Yamburg studied the frequency, memorising each digit and then proceeded to remove the ink from his hand. "I'll remember."

"Okay." Pushing a grenade into each pocket, Addison held out her hand and Alon shook it firmly. "See you later, mate."

"Try to remain in one piece, Agent Black."

"Will do." Addison took a deep breath. She turned back to the valley and crawled towards the ledge. She looked back down to the buildings below. Addison knew her best point of entrance would be by the front, steel gates without breeching the site's defences. Three armed guards stood by the gate, one beside an electric lock and holding a dog, the other two patrolling the vicinity of the barrier as they conversed quietly.

"It's now or never, Addy," the agent mumbled and rose to her feet. She was suddenly in clear view of the guards below. Addison estimated the ledge down into the valley was a thirty-foot slant of sand and rubble. She braced herself for what she was about to do.

Strolling slowly across the peak of the ledge, Addison waited to be spotted. When she was certain at least one pair of eyes had registered her presence she stopped walking and looked towards them. "Here we go," she said and raised her hand, waving as she began to move down the slope.

"Hello?" she called and purposely tripped on a stray rock. The agent braced herself as she went down. She hit the ground with a thud, careful not to cause any undue harm as her body began a dramatic fall of which any Hollywood stunt man would be envious.

Rolling down with the appropriate and well-placed yelps and curses, Addison travelled into the valley with a swift descent. She came to a halt, eight feet away from the guards, landing on her back with a thud and scattering of sand and dust. Groaning, Addison stood and looked at the men, two of whom trained guns upon her, the other restrained a large Alsatian.

Addison held out her hands. "Hey! I'm sorry but I just fell down that hill and you are aiming a gun at me? Look, I'm lost and was hoping you could help me. I'm not sure where I am." Addison noted these guards were dressed differently to how Brodie's other men had been dressed. They wore lighter weight clothes, a colour similar to military desert stripe in a light sand camouflage.

"This is a highly sensitive government site, Ma'am," a guard lied. "I suggest you turn around and head the other way."

"Okay… I can do that but I'm lost. You couldn't just tell me where to go… you know, kind of point me in the right direction?" Addison delivered her most innocent expression. "Please? I don't want to be lost in the desert. You hear so many stories of people disappearing in the desert and never being found."

The guards looked between each other and lowered their weapons with a nod. "Where is it you want to go?" the first guard asked.

"It's called … um… damn it, I can't remember… they have such peculiar names!" Addison patted her breast pockets. "I have it written down somewhere" She continued to search her body, pushing her hands in each front trouser pocket. Addison clasped a hand around each grenade tightly, making sure her thumbs held the pins out ready. She pulled them out of her pocket, keeping the backs of her hands concealing the explosives as she chattered away.

"I can't remember how to pronounce it but I know it begins with a 'Y'." As calmly as placing a piece of gum in her mouth, Addison grasped both pins in-between her teeth and pulled. They disengaged from the explosives. Grinning with pins still between white teeth, Addison turned her hands around to display the grenades to the guards.

Shock registered on the men's faces and they dived to the ground for cover. As they did so, Addison threw both grenades over the wall and into the middle of the compound's courtyard. Before the explosives even had time to erupt, Addison spat out the pins and pulled both pistols from behind her back. She fired instantly, taking out each guard before a combined blast echoed over the mountains and shook the very foundations of which she stood. Addison ducked, allowing rocks and sand to fall around her.

Not even waiting for the dust to settle, Addison took a run up, lunging towards the gate. She jumped high, placing her feet upon the steel rods of the gate and swiftly climbing up to boost herself over the barrier. She jumped down, landing on the other side of the wall and surveyed her surroundings. People were still rising from the ground in bewilderment. She took a mental calculation of only seven guards severely hurt by the explosion and figured she still had around twenty to brace herself for.

Berettas ready, Addison began running, firing at the people around her. Several bullets hit their target before her shots were answered by enemy fire. The agent dodged bullets but cursed as the painful burn of a bullet slicing across her side cut into her flesh. She stumbled, dropping one gun and clasping her waist. Suddenly the sting of sharp teeth around her leg made Addison trip and fall. The remaining pistol fell from her right hand as she struggled to free herself from the growling hound clamped around her leg.

Swinging out her left foot, Addison kicked the dog hard. It whimpered and released her. Addison quickly rolled to her feet. She turned to find her weapons only to be confronted by five guards. The agent blocked the first couple of punches but allowed the rest to hit their mark, barraging her stomach, chest and chin with a series of hard knocks. Each one felt more painful than the last. She accepted each blow attempting only to remain upright and throw out the odd punch to at least make a show of trying to fight back. In fact, this was her intention from the very beginning.

Not wanting to appear too easy, Addison increased her attack, releasing a few more punches and series of kicks for good measure. Suddenly and completely unexpected, Addison's eyes were exposed to an assault of mace. Then she did cry out, thrusting both hands over her eyes as she fell to her knees. Violent kicks and the odd punch continued until Addison lay upon the ground, willingly showing defeat. She was smart enough to know when she had put up enough of a fight but knew it had to have looked convincing. Every part of her body protested at the pain of each assault. She felt searing jolts of agony rock her frame. Blood pooled in several places from her body including her lip, gum and eyebrow.

Without warning the attack stopped and an eerie silence fell over the courtyard. Addison panted heavily, her hands still clutched over her watering eyes. The sound of approaching footsteps forced Addison to move to her knees. Unable to see through eyes blinded by tears, Addison waited. She knew who it was.

"Addison Black… forever a pain in my backside."

"Agnes," Addison seethed with contempt.

Brodie remained two feet away from the British Agent. She stood, arms folded, glaring down with a superior air. The Irish woman's men remained silent, holding their weapons directed towards Addison. The soldier was surrounded, temporarily blinded and physically injured and yet so far everything had gone to plan.

"I knew you would fuck up, Agent Black, but I never thought it would feel so good to have you on your knees before me like this."

Ignoring Brodie's obvious taunting, Addison remained calm. "Where's Skyler Tidwell?"

"Ah… the girl. Well, she's alive if that's what you're asking. Currently enjoying my hospitality."

"If you've hurt her I'll…"

"What?" Agnes laughed. "I hardly think you are in any position to make threats, Black." Stepping closer, Agnes Brodie knelt upon one knee in front of Addison. She lowered her voice, leaning closer to speak into the agent's ear. "You're mine, Black, and you know what they say... 'Revenge is sweet'."

A flash of anger prickled Addison's spine and she lashed out, delivering a blind punch at Brodie. Honed sense of distance and judgement connected her fist solidly with the redheads chin and she fell backwards as Addison felt the butt of a pistol hit the back of her head. She too went down, landing face first on the sandy ground. Addison spat bloody grains of sand from her mouth but remained upon the ground as Brodie stood back up.

"Bind her hands together," she said and wiped the droplet of blood from her lip. She sucked the metallic tasting essence from her skin.

Addison felt her hands clasped from behind as she was hauled to her feet. Her wrists were tied together with a strong, nylon rope. The fibres dug tight into her flesh, chafing and sore. Her eyes stung and tears blurred her vision. Addison kept her head fairly lowered. This may have been her plan but she was beginning to feel vulnerable. The British agent tried to remain focussed upon her objectives. Find Skyler and destroy Project Gemini."

Brodie began issuing orders. "Clear the bodies. Post new guards by the gate." She turned to Addison and two large women standing either side of her, armed and waiting for orders. "As for Miss Black, bring her with me."

Addison felt a hand on either shoulder as Brodie began to walk towards the main building. She was pushed behind her. They walked in silence, Brodie leading the way as they entered a clinical scented hallway and walked down towards a room at the end of the passage. Addison tried to look around her, attempting to gain some insight as to the lay out of the facility but her blurred vision made that impossible.

Guided into a room, Addison was pulled to a halt. Her vision had begun to clear slightly and she was able to make out dull edges. The urge to protect her eyes and ease the irritation was strong but with her hands bound together from behind, that was impossible. Addison stood silently allowing her senses to assess the situation. She heard movement behind and suddenly found herself being pushed backwards and down. Addison landed upon an uncomfortable wooden chair. She felt her ankles bound to the chair's front legs by more nylon rope.

"Okay, you can leave us for the moment."

Nodding, both women replied as they left the room, closing the door behind them.

Unable to contain her smile of delight, Agnes turned to the British secret agent and perched herself on the edge of her desk. She folded her arms, her eyes wondering over Addison's bound form. "I have to say, Black… this is a moment I have waited for."

"I bet," Addison replied.

"Oh please, let's not get bitter now, you have to admit my time would come."

Addison remained poised upon the chair although she was very uncomfortable. "Oh believe me, Agnes, your time will come soon. That I guarantee."

Brodie shook her head. "Always like to have the last word don't you? No matter…" rising from the desk, Brodie stepped towards Addison. "Now excuse my hands for a moment but I do have to check you for any concealed weapons, you understand." The redhead didn't wait for an answer as she began sliding her hands up Addison's right leg.

Addison fought against the shiver of repulsion she felt when Brodie's hands slid along her inner thighs. "Why would I conceal weapons? You have more than enough for me right here."

Laughing at Addison frankness, Brodie continued her search. She pulled many pistol clips from the side leg pockets of Addison's combat trousers. "I'm sure you were thinking of getting in here and using my power against me." Agnes stepped behind Addison, continuing her search. She ran her hands up Addison's arms. "Unfortunately your stupidity finally shone through a weakness for the good doctor." Brodie's hand found the bullet wound on the agents side and she pressed her fingers into the injury.

Addison grimaced but kept her emotions under check, ignoring the pain. "Fuck you, Agnes."

Stepping around Addison, Brodie leaned into her. "Was that an offer?"

The agent snorted. "The only way that would happen was if you favoured necrophilia."

Brodie seethed. Moving away she backhanded Addison. "You are so arrogant that you would actually think I would be interested in you!" She stepped backwards, moving around her desk and sitting upon a large, comfortable leather chair. Agnes placed her fingertips together under her nose. She smiled maliciously. "Now that blonde doctor, however, she is a delight I have had the pleasure of sampling." Brodie hummed in a low brassy tone. "Sweet," she whispered.

It was hard not to rise to the bait when Brodie used Skyler. The agent felt physically repulsed by the mere thought of Skyler being harmed in any way whatsoever. If Brodie had so much as touched her improperly, Addison quietly pledged to make the woman suffer tenfold.

Attempting to adopt an indifferent air, Addison sighed. "If you are planning on a slow torture and death then can we get on with it as this is getting tedious… Agnes."

"GUARDS!" Brodie bellowed. Instantly the two women who had escorted Addison into the room re-appeared inside the doorway.

Brodie walked around her desk. "Yes that is my plan, Black, but all good things come to those who wait. I have business to attend to first and that I am afraid must come first. As for yourself… well you won't be going anywhere for a while. First however…" Brodie pulled a knife from her hip. She twirled the sharp object in the light. With her vision clearing slowly but surely, Addison was just able to identify the shining knife for the threat it could be.

"Hold her," Brodie ordered and Addison felt her shoulders restrained firmly to the chair.

Cold steal from the sharp blade moved slowly down Addison's face and smeared the blood that had collected around the wound on her brow. The British agent held her breath, ready for Brodie's next move… whatever that would be.

"Tell me," Brodie cooed. "How does it feel to experience fear both of the unknown and of the inevitable?"

"Wouldn't know."

Agnes smiled. "Oh… you will." She handed her knife to one of the guards and ordered the binds around Addison's feet be severed. The order was carried out swiftly and the agent was hauled to her feet.

"Let's go, shall we?" Brodie led the way out of her office and down another corridor.

Though her vision was still fuzzy, Addison was able to make out a lot more around her. She made mental notes of the building and its layout, locations of guard placement and apparent room usage. She would need the information later.

They came to a halt beside a door guarded by one very tall man. He seemed familiar to Addison yet his features were still unfocussed.

"Shamus," Agnes addressed. "You remember Agent Black."

"Addithun," Shamus mumbled and recognition dawned upon the agent.

She sensed its arrival before it even made contact and braced her stomach muscles as a solid packed punch hit her square in the abdomen. Addison doubled over, feeling the very breath leave her body. She gasped through her teeth and blew out a calming breath.

"Now, now, Shamus." Agnes patted the burly man's arm. "I promise you can have as much fun as you want with her later. For now lets just stick her in containment shall we?"

Addison righted her position as Shamus unlocked and opened the door. Her eyes searched out Skyler and the gasp of shock told her the blonde doctor was indeed in the room.

"Addison!" Skyler cried and made to move but stopped as Shamus turned his weapon upon her.

"A gift," Brodie said and pushed Addison with force into the room. The agent stumbled through the doorway and fell to the ground. "Maybe you should take advantage of these last few days you have left… although looking at her… she is in no condition to do anything!"

Finishing her statement, Brodie gave the nod and Shamus slammed the door shut.

Knowing it was now safe, Skyler leapt to her feet and ran to where Addison was climbing to her knees with a bloody grin.

"What did she do to you? How did she do this to you?" Skyler assessed Addison's injuries visually. "Oh god!"

"Just untie my hands," Addison said. "And don't sweat it. I am fine. This was the intention."

Skyler pulled at the rope holding the agents wrists together. "It was your plan to get the crap beat out of you… and god knows what else!" She held Addison's face and looked at the redness around her unfocussed eyes.

"Yes." Addison flexed her arms glad to be free from the restraint. She rubbed the chafing around her wrists. "Let Brodie think she has us beat because soon… the last thing that bitch is ever going to see… is me… right before I send her straight to hell."

End of Part Four

This story is complete and the next part will be posted within the next 5-7 days.

Continued in Part 5.

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