[September 4. Buenos Aires, Argentina.]
It’s been a hectic morning at Binder’s den, today there are only two tattooists attending nor do they bother to ask what I’ve come for.
I’ve been sitting for a few hours now watching people come in and out of the parlor. It’s always the same with these undevies, they scratch their bodies pretending for a change and I only see them leave here being the same trash they were when they came in.
This is the fifth time that Aléc has called me for a mission. I hope this is one of those that require an upgrade. I fantasize for a few seconds imagining what my next implant might be. A smile still hangs on my face when a scrawny girl with a piercing gaze makes her entrance.
Our gazes meet and we recognize each other without ever having seen before: This girl is special.
She sits in one of the chairs as she takes off her jacket and gives the artist directions on how and where she wants her ink. She listens to the tattoo artist’s response as she holds her gaze on mine. Is she challenging me?
The doors open again and this time someone really important enters: long black hair, small and slim figure with a firm step. She wears a rather gothic outfit that hides a set of knives on her hips and waist.
Nightress. I understood she was in Germany working on something important.
It stops in front of my Firefly, doesn’t it? I nod awkwardly more as a reflex than as a conscious act. Come, Alec is waiting for us. She walks to the back hallway unheeded by the workers, I follow close behind her a little excited at the prospect of my next assignment being under the command of a legend like her.
I entered Binder’s laboratory just after the Overlord and we found him reading some printed documents lying on his chair with his feet on the table.
Welcome, girls, he says without taking his eyes off the sheets. Nightress bows, which I awkwardly imitate, and then stares at an oil painting hanging on the wall. I fold my arms, unable to hide my anxiety.
After a couple of minutes that seemed like years, Alec drops the papers on his desk and they begin to talk without paying attention to me. The dialogue is about the operations of Von Koenig and a certain Argiope in Leipzig. From the body language of both I infer that things did not go entirely well in Germany, although the main objectives seem to have been achieved.
What I have here on my desk is a document that Epsilon sent me last week. Apparently the Inner Circle has received news about their missing member and that has stirred the waters in more than one fish tank. You will have to travel to Bariloche, southwest of here. He hands a cell phone to the Junklord and continues with his instructions, There you should meet Epsilon. He pauses while Nightress puts away the cell phone he has received. Take Karol with you.
Karol? We answer in unison. She’s a local Fresh Meat. She’s been waiting for a chance for us to put her through her paces, Aléc turns to look at his monitor. She’s in the chair tattooing his right arm right now. Karol Kallinger, we’ll see what she’s made of.