Riley entered the office slowly but with confidence. The lights were dimmed and Captain Gray sat in his desk, his hands were pressed against his temples, and his face remained in a scrunched expression, as if he were in pain.
“You alright sir?” Riley asked, standing behind one of the chairs. The boss looked up to see his Operative waiting, and shook his head, blinking several times. “Oh, my apologies Sanders. I hadn’t realized you’d come in.”
He gestured to the chairs, and Riley took a seat, intertwining his hands in his lap. “What can I do for you boss?”
Gray sat back in his chair and puffed up his cheeks, breathing out slowly. “Yeah, yeah. I called you in to give you a warning.”
The agent raised an eyebrow, “About what sir?” He asked, cracking his left knuckles.
He sighed, “My boss is angry with you Riley, he’s not happy with your performances in the last few weeks.”
The Operative hissed air out through his now clenched teeth. “Hey, If it’s about that one guy I took in alive. It’s only because he wasn’t causing trouble at the moment. Did your “boss” consider that?” He retorted, gesturing forward with both hands.
Riley’s boss rubbed his forehead, exasperated. “He wants me to reprimand you somehow. And I don’t want to. You’re a good agent and friend to me, Sanders. I’d hate to hurt you or your family.”
At the last word, the agent leapt up from his seat, his fists clenched and his right eye flashing red. “Don’t you lay a finger on my family!”
Captain Gray held both hands up in shock, “I didn’t say I was going to. I meant I would have to cut your pay a bit.”
Riley sat back down, relieved, but still a bit angry about the comment. “Just don’t mention it again.” He responded, which made his authority raise an eyebrow of his own.
“Watch your loyalties Sanders, this department of the CIA is dedicated to eliminating possible threats to the US and people on the Blacklist. Don’t go and put yourself in one of those categories…”
The Operative growled quietly, “Permission to be dismissed… sir?” He asked, to which Gray nodded, “Granted…”
Riley slowly exited the office, along the way pulling a small device, a phone, from his coat’s pocket. “Never thought I’d have to call him… Hate to do it too…”
(Two Months Prior)
The Dead Man Walking panted hard, blood staining his mechanical arm and face. Sweat dripped down his temple and fell off his skin.
The corpses of five thugs littered the warehouse floor, their faces and limbs beaten to a brutal extent, their features twisted and bruised so severely it was hard to distinguish what was blood or skin.
He stopped cold when a voice spoke from across the floor. “You’ve been busy since I left!” Riley glanced over to see a familiar young man standing in the storage’s entrance. His blue eyes reflected amusement, and his dirty blonde hair fell across his forehead, now cut short.
“Levi?” The Operative questioned, walking towards him.
Strider shrugged, reaching both hands out to either side of him, “In the flesh!”
Riley stopped a foot or so away from him, looking his friend over from head to toe. He noticed no new scars, because of Levi’s healing rate, but the one on his cheek remained, bright as daylight.
Besides the cut hair, Riley noticed nothing different about the Time Hunter. His favorite long sleeve blue shirt was still on him, as were his cargo shorts, dirt and burns covered the clothes, though, giving him a beaten and rugged appearance.
“Thought you were in Korea Levi…” He stated, punching his pal in the shoulder. The hunter staggered a little from the punch, it having been from Riley’s right arm.
“I was! You can trust me on that, big guy, but when I got to where the pulse had come from, nothing.”
“So I sent you on a wild goose chase, then?” Riley pointed out, sighing.
Levi puffed up his cheeks, “No! Of course not! I found some evidence of a group having been there, and the tech left behind was definitely Precursor era, so I got a lead. The lead bringing me back here, to the US.”
Riley suddenly smiled, his grin cracking the dried blood on his face. “So you’ll be sticking around then?” He asked, his attitude changing considerably.
Levi smiled back, his signature, nonchalant smirk plastering itself across his face. “You know it… Oh yeah, here…” The Merc reached in his pants pocket and brought out a small circle like phone.
“You probably won’t see me directly that much, but if you ever need me, use the number on that thing, I keep one on me at all times in case I get a call. So whenever you need help, I’ll be available.”
Riley’s smile dropped a little, but remained on his lips, “Thanks, Levi.”
His compatriot smiled wider, holding out a hand, “It’s good to be back, Riley…”
The Operative smacked his hand into Levi’s, shaking it with a strong grip.
Two, admittedly, inconspicuous assassins sat outside the cafe, sipping on their drinks.
Levi set his latte down, leaned back, and crossed his arms, “So…”
Riley looked up from the paper he was reading, “What?”
Levi laughed, slapping his thigh, “Really? We’ve sat here and had coffee for ten minutes and you haven’t said anything, at all. I know you’re not the most talkative guy dude, but I know you can talk…”
The Operative sighed and threw the paper in a nearby trash bin. “Oh, sorry, thought we could drink some coffee like old friends. Without talking.”
Levi’s smile disappeared and was replaced with a frown. “Why’s that?”
Riley grimaced, “Because we’re most likely being watched as we speak.”
Strider picked up his drink and casually stretched, looking around the area, up at the building and across the street. Not trying to spot anything, but just keeping a lookout. “By whom if I may ask?”
The CIA scratched the back of his head, bending his back and getting multiple pops out of it. “The Precursors…” He responded, to which Levi seemed to choke.
“Say what now?”
“Uh-huh. I get a feeling they’ve infiltrated and corrupted my branch of the CIA.”
The Hunter raised an eyebrow, putting both hands behind his head. “You think so? What would they be doing in there?” He asked, eyes wide.
Riley shrugged, but quickly responded, now certain of his theory, “Think about it Levi, I told you awhile back, before you left to chase them. My job is to eliminate possible threats to the US and people on the Blacklist.” He explained, now leaning forward.
“I helped you get information of their whereabouts, you’re certain they were in North Korea?” He asked, his eye coming online to keep track of the surroundings.
Levi nodded, taking another sip of his latte, “Of course. I found some of their tech there.”
Riley smirked, “Then isn’t it a bit suspicious that as soon as you get there, they were gone? I think they’re using me as a way to keep track of you.”
The Merc’s expression turned grim, “Makes sense. But why would they be in the CIA?” He questioned, intertwining his fingers.
The Operative pointed at himself, “I’ll explain that more then, I guess.” He took a drink of his coffee and sat back. “Like I said, I eliminate threats to the country and people on the Blacklist, if the Precursors are from the future like you said and you inspired an uprising before coming to the past, they could use my branch to get rid of anyone who threatens them in the future.”
Levi nodded several times through the explanation, “Geez, you ever think of becoming a conspiracy theorist?” He asked, playfully smirking.
Riley couldn’t help but laugh, smacking the table, “Nope, but I guess I could be good at it huh?”
They laughed quietly for another five or so seconds, then got back into the conversation, Levi asking, “Are you sure?”
The Agent nodded, “For the past month, I don’t know, something about my targets changed, I checked my latest victim’s records, and found that he was innocent, no crimes at all. I looked at the targets from the past thirty days, and got the same results, all innocent...”
Levi made a gesture as if to say give me more, “What was one of their names?” He demanded, now even more curious. Riley thought for a moment, crossing his arms, then snapped, pointing at the Merc, “Jeremy Kent.”
Strider breathed out heavily and rubbed his forehead. “I know that name. I met his great-grandson in my timeline, he was one of the leaders of the war between the Spartans and Precursors.”
Riley shook his head in dismay, “You mean to tell me that I’ve been ensuring a dictatorial group to survive and take over the world in the future?” He suggested, looking disgusted with himself.
Levi reached out a hand, “No! No! It’s not your fault man, you didn’t know!”
Riley continued to disagree, “I swore never to hurt the innocent, and that’s all I’ve been doing… And not even for a greater cause, for a group of selfish humans who want the world for themselves!”
The Hunter and Agent sat in silence, Levi looking sympathetic towards his friend and Riley’s eyes beginning to water.
Riley wiped his eyes, refusing to look weak. “I won’t let them go unpunished…” He muttered, clenching his fists. Levi’s mouth twisted into a determined grimace.
“Then we share the same cause, vengeance on the people who did us wrong…”
The CIA nodded quietly, grumbling underneath his breath, “Vengeance…”
Riley slammed both fists onto the tabletop, toppling his drink onto its side, spilling its contents onto the concrete. “I have a plan…”
Levi tilted his head, having saved his latte from Riley’s outburst. “Yeah? What’s that?” He asked, tilting his head at the man’s proposition.
The Operative held up a finger, still forming the idea in his head. “We’re going to take them down. But I can’t do it right now. If I make any wrong moves, they’ll butcher my family. We need to be careful.”
“What do you suggest, Mr. Revolt?” The Hunter teased, his stupid smile having returned.
“We need to disappear, make them think I’m dead.”
Levi nearly spit out his drink, “Whoa, whoa, you wanna fake your death?!” He exclaimed quietly, not sure whether he was serious or not.
Riley nodded, now intent on carrying out his plans. “I have a way. I have a battle in the RHG planned to happen in a week or so. If I get my opponent to help me, I can do it.”
Strider nodded, a slight look of admiration reflecting in his eyes. “Nice, I like it.”
The Operative pointed at Levi, squinting even more than usual, “I’ll need your help. You need to get a warning to my family, tell them I sent you, they’ll know who you are if you explain yourself. Tell them to get out of the country, to the place Riley told them to go if they were in danger. Use the emergency money if they need to.”
The Hunter nodded, now set on his objective, “Alright, what then?”
“I need you to meet me at a certain place… And I’ll be bringing a guest…"