Company Woman


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Scene Title Company Woman
Synopsis TORCHLIGHT dispatches oversight to InVerse's operation.
Date June 24, 2021

The echo of gunfire reverberates off of concrete walls.

Orange emergency lights flash in the dark, casting strobing shadows against pale gray walls. A pair of figures move quick in the dark, darting from a hallway through a room filled with vacant desks. Both of the figures stay crouched low, one of them—Director Charles Montgomery Edmonton—covers his head with his hands while he runs. The woman at his back—Viktoria Jäger—keeps her .45 angled down at the floor and gripped in both hands as she sticks close on the Director's heels.

The sound of gunfire draws nearer and as Director Edmonton starts to turn toward elevators, Agent Jäger grabs him by the arm and pulls him away. There's a look of concern in her wide, dark eyes as she drags him toward a maintenance corridor. As they shut the maintenance hallway door behind them, the elevator doors open and a five-man team of British Military Intelligence officers in full tactical gear spill out into the empty office floor. A violent end narrowly missed.

"We have to hurry," Agent Jäger says with a sharp look over her shoulder. Director Edmonton continues to jog ahead, winded from how long they've been fleeing. "Not much further," she says with some certainty.

Up a flight of stairs and around a corner, Edmonton and Jäger find themselves exiting the maintenance corridor into the loading dock of Primatech Paper's London distribution hub. Jäger grabs Edmonton by the shoulder, guiding him to hide behind a concrete pillar while she steps out into the loading dock floor, coming out from behind a forklift. Her dark eyes train on something and she holds up one hand in a single fist. Then turns over her shoulder. "It's clear," she says to Edmonton, who comes out from hiding to find an array of figures in black body armor waiting in the loading dock. The moment the shock hits him, so does Jäger, whipping him across the back of the neck with her pistol while kicking him in the back of the knee at the same time.

From between the armed men, a single figure emerges to greet Agent Jäger. His blonde hair is thinning, swept back behind his head, and blue eyes piercing under the harsh fluorescent lighting. "Well done Agent," he says with a wide smile and a slow clap. Edmonton looks up at Agent Jäger with wide eyes, realizing the horrible truth.

He'd been betrayed. The whole Company had been betrayed.

Eleven Years Later

TORCHLIGHT Initiative Offices
The Shard, London
United Kingdom

June 24th
6:48 pm Local Time

"I still think about that day." Minister George Nowell says over the brim of a glass of Scotch, looking across a low glass table to the dark-haired woman seated across from him in the dimly lit bar. "You had every opportunity to get yourself out of that situation. If you'd fled to the States you probably could have wound up with the defectors who survived, maybe got yourself a good private sector job there if you survived their little war." He takes a sip of his drink, then smiles. His question is unvoiced, but Viktoria Jäger hears it none the less.

"I worked hard for this." Jäger says, not having touched her dry martini beyond cradling it in one hand. She looks up at Nowell, fearless with her eye contact. "But you're right, I had every opportunity to turn on you, and I haven't."

"You're loyal." Nowell says as he takes a deep breath, rolling his glass in one hand so the ice cubes click together. "But you're also shrewd." He says, blinking a look up to her from the glass. "In the eleven years since TORCHLIGHT began its operations in the UK, you have proven yourself time and again one of my most loyal. But I do not believe it is out of a sense of faith in our job, Viktoria. I believe it is because you see this as your best path to freedom."

Jäger looks down at her martini. She has no response.

"Don't be mistaken. Your self-serving shrewdness is why I trust you more than any of my other agents. They can talk all they want about their high-minded ideals, but at the end of the day I don't believe for a minute they couldn't be misled into taking some bleeding heart American stance and send this entire fucking country into a tailspin." Nowell says, searching Jäger's eyes as he does. "Not that we aren't already halfway there as it is. But you understand the long-view of this. You know where the safest option is, and you know it's here with me." He takes another sip from his glass and sits forward, resting it on a small napkin on the table between them.

"You're not normally this chatty." Jäger says, still nursing her drink.

"No, I'm not," Nowell agrees. "I tend to talk when I'm nervous and anyone with half a fucking brain who looks out that window," he says with a motion to an overlook of London's skyline, "would be fucking nervous." Nowell's eyes are wide and intense when he looks back at Jäger from the city view. "Which is why we're having this conversation. Because I need you to deal with a source of my anxiety."

Jäger finally takes a sip of her martini, lingering silent eye contact with Nowell.

"I need you to go to Prague." Nowell says with a bitterness in his voice. "InVerse Technologies has perpetrated the most colossal fuckup that could blow back on us like piss in the wind, and I need you to be there to shut it down if the wind changes even slightly in our direction."

Jäger raises a brow, setting her drink aside. "Shut it down?"

"I'm not going to mince words here. If InVerse jeopardizes our operation or this nation's security I want you to cauterize the entire fucking thing from top to bottom." Nowell says.

Jäger clenches her jaw for a moment, glancing down at her lap and then back up to Nowell. "I'll need a team."

"And you'll have one," Nowell promises without missing a beat. "Our partners in Crito Corporate have insured us that they'll do their due diligence to clean up the paper trail, but they're leaving the human component to us. I don't think I need to spell out how this has to happen."

"No." Jäger says, taking a deep breath and letting it out as a calming sigh. "Sir, it's rather clear. Does InVerse know I'll be en-route?"

"No," Nowell says with a half-amused tone, "but I'll let the appropriate channels know day-of. The last thing I want them to do is have preparation to cover their asses."

Jäger nods again, brows knitting together. "When do I leave?"

Nowell smiles, apologetically. "Tomorrow morning."

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