As promised, here’s the fifth chapter of Conquest: A LitRPG Story! The Pre-Order is available now on Amazon for only 99 cents. Pre-Order your copy today at myBook.to/Conquest-LitRPG
And God knew that His time was limited, so God created man in his own image after the manner of flesh; male and female created he them. He didst infuse part of His divinity into man that His legacy might live on in another form…
– Methuselah 5:7 –
Lily Thatcher yawned in the early dawn light and threw on a bathrobe. She had gotten in late after extracting Jason from CyberBolt Headquarters. Her mind wandered as she thought about how she should answer Allan’s proposal, and she felt a flutter of excitement followed by a pang of guilt. She wanted more than anything to be able to say yes, but she would need permission first from her commanding officer. She cringed as she tried to imagine how she would approach the issue. No matter how many scenarios she tried to play out in her mind, she knew he wouldn’t be happy about the arrangement.
Entering the study just off of the living room of her apartment, she sat down at her desk. She reached under it and flipped open a small panel where she placed her left palm on a hidden scanner and pressed on her right temple to activate the virtual screen.
A virtual keyboard appeared before her. She entered her credentials, and the symbol for the National Security Agency appeared on the screen. She waited in queue as other stragglers completed their morning reports. After several minutes, the screen flashed and her commanding officer appeared.
“Agent Wilson.” he acknowledged, referring to her real name and title.
“Commander Arlington.” she nodded, “Good morning.”
“I have bad news.” he sighed, “Allan’s microchip and all of his GFID Nano-chips just fried early this morning.”
“Again?” she stammered, “How many times has it been this year?”
“Too many.” he sighed heavily, “I just don’t understand it. We were monitoring his vital signs this morning and the Nano-chips reported a state of anxiety. Right before he woke up we tracked a huge surge of energy just before all six Nano-chips fried simultaneously. You have to get this problem under control. We’re quickly running out of excuses to inject him!”
“I’m sorry commander, but I don’t understand it either.” she cringed as she thought about the likely reason why Allan had woken up in a state of anxiety, “I’ll make sure he gets scheduled an appointment for a ‘forgotten’ vaccination. What about Timur though?”
She could hear him tapping away on an old-school keyboard, “No, his are fine. For now.”
“When is Allan’s meeting with Timur?”
“Still at 9:00 AM, as we planned.”
“Let’s make sure that nothing gets in the way of their meeting. It’s crucial that we monitor any exchange they might have. We need to find out how they are disabling our tracking devices.”
“Yes, sir.” she agreed.
His eyebrow then furrowed, “Agent Miller told me about your encounter last night.”
“Yes.” she nodded, “I was able to extract Jason without difficulty.”
“I was referring to Allan’s proposal.”
She fidgeted only slightly, “You don’t need to worry about me. My emotions are in check.”
He eyed her suspiciously, “Did you accept?”
“No sir. I deflected the question until I received further instructions.”
“Good.” he nodded, “Now go back and accept.”
“We think he’s testing you. He may be on to who you are. If he thinks you’re one of us, he may question your commitment to the relationship.”
“How far do you want me to go?” she pressed.
“As far as it takes.” he explained, “Try for a later engagement, obviously. But for now, go back and tell him that you had a rough day at work and you are sorry. Maybe plan a make-up dinner date or something. Propose back to him.”
“Yes sir.” she forced herself not to smile.
“We anticipate that this case should be wrapped up in the next few months.”
Lily was confused, “But sir? What about the wedding?”
His eyebrows furrowed, “There won’t be one, of course.”
Her stomach fell and her mind went blank. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.
Commander Arlington raised his eyebrows as he observed her reaction, “Is there a problem, Agent Wilson?”
“No, no…” she stammered, “Of… of course not.”
He eyed her suspiciously, “Have you developed romantic feelings for your subject?”
“No sir.” she shook her head adamantly, “You hired me for my acting skills, remember?”
He studied her for a few minutes before responding, “Good, because you should consider him as the potential threat that he is. Now, once we wrap up this case I have a special mission that I’ve been considering for you.”
“What kind of mission?”
“It would involve you leading a task force, but it would require your relocation across state lines.” he explained, “So obviously I can’t endorse a wedding that would restrict you to Chicago.”
“I understand your concerns, sir.” she saluted, “But my loyalties are with the Agency. If you feel the need to reassign me, please do. I don’t want you to have any reservations.”
Commander Arlington studied her for a few more minutes before he let out a sigh. He returned her salute, and the screen flashed the NSA symbol.
She pressed her right temple again, and with a short moment of static the screen and virtual keyboard disappeared. The implications of this conversation then hit her at full force. She was ecstatic about the idea of leading a task force, but at the same time she didn’t expect how hard the guilt would hit her when she found herself alone. This assignment had been a particularly difficult one. Though her training had taught her never to get attached to a subject, she could feel her heart aching with guilt. She knew she had truly fallen in love with Allan, a fact that she could never reveal to her commander.
A tear rolled down her cheek unexpectedly. She wiped her cheek as memories flooded her mind from the past three years of their lives together, fused with emotional pain. Allan not only loved her, but he trusted her. Sometimes she feared that he trusted her too much.
She wanted nothing more than to imagine that her life with Allan over the past three years had been influenced by fate and that they would live happily ever after, but she knew better.
There were so many lies she had told him; too many obstacles they would have to overcome if she ever told him the truth. She wished she could take it all back, that she never had taken the assignment in the first place… but she was in far too deep now.
© Copyright 2016 Richard M. Mulder, All rights reserved. Registration # TX0008281211