Deeper: Part Seven
"Thank goodness that is finally over," I complained as I sprawled on the sofa in the office. We had just come back from another meeting. I wasn't really a part of the meetings, they were just part of my act to show how deep my access was, and they were boring as all get out. "Seriously, Buzz. If this mole doesn't reveal themselves soon, I'm going to go mad."
"Patience, Kimmy. It has only been two weeks," Buzz replied.
"Closer to three now. You've got it easy, you get to be yourself. I'm not even sure I'll know how to walk in normal shoes anymore. I'm going to be reaching up to scratch ears that aren't there because I've developed that habit to make this Aisha disguise seem real, and that's not going to look weird at all."
"Humans adjust remarkably well, you'll fit back into your normal life just fine," Buzz told me.
I just squirmed, my fake tail was mildly annoying in the position I was in. I wasn't going to miss the tail, that was certain. Our door chimed, announcing that someone was there.
"It's your friend," Buzz said.
"Which one?" I asked, annoyed. I really wasn't in the mood for hanging out with the six suspects.
"Miles," Buzz replied.
I sat up, surprised. I had expected Nigel or Sharron; the two who were still actively were trying to be my friend, even after what a fool I'd made of Nigel. Miles was the quiet one. He sometimes spoke up when we were together in the café, but on the whole, I didn't know anything about him. I had never even seen him outside of the café, or if I had, he was just so unnoteworthy that I'd missed him.
I went to the door and opened it, making sure to look as annoyed as I had been feeling a minute ago.
"What do you want?" I asked as the door opened.
"Uh, I was wondering if you'd like to--" he started.
"Yes," I replied, stepping out of the office and pressing the button to shut the doors. "I don't care whatever stupid thing it is you want to do, I'll take any excuse to get out of that office."
"Uh, okay," Miles said, sounding even more confused than usual.
We stood there for a second, him looking clueless, me waiting. I rolled my eyes. "Miles, didn't you want something? Because this is more annoying than spending time with Buzz."
"Oh, right!" he gasped. "Yeah, uh, I was hoping you'd be kind enough to help me with my men. I know they don't match up to the standards, really. It's just; they'd never pass Buzz's inspection, not by a long shot. I don't even know how I wound up a lieutenant. I'm a much better soldier than a leader."
"That's not really my area," I said. "That's Buzz's department. I couldn't care less about what rift raft are doing. That's why I'm a merc, not a lieutenant."
"But, you know Buzz's techniques for training and such, right?" Miles said. "Maybe you can give me a few pointers?"
I rubbed my forehead. "Fine. I'll come watch. Don't expect anything, though. The moment I'm fully bored, I'm gone."
"That's all I'm asking," Miles said gratefully.
I followed as he led me to the elevator. We went down two floors and got out. His path was winding and almost aimless. I started to feel uncomfortable. I stopped and pulled out my blaster.
"Slow up, Miles. What are you pulling? I'm pretty sure the training rooms are a floor up. You'd better think twice about whatever you're up to, because I will make you sorry if you've something underhanded planned," I warned him.
"Calm down, Starender," Miles said.
I felt a chill run down my spine. The whimper had gone out of his voice.
"What do you want?" I demanded.
"To talk. I'm about to make you the offer of a lifetime. We had to come down here, though. Not much of importance on this floor," Miles said.
I didn't lower my blaster, but I told him I was listening.
"I work for someone who has far more potential than Sloth. He's willing to make you an offer to join his organization, as a double agent. Your access is far greater than mine as a lieutenant, so of course you will be compensated accordingly."
"I would never betray Dr. Sloth," I said a little too loudly and emphatically.
"Don't worry, Starender. The reason I picked this level is because no one is going to notice if a few minutes of surveillance footage from one unimportant hall is missing. You can talk freely," Miles told me.
I knew I had to work quickly. Buzz would be on his way once he realized the surveillance cameras had been cut. "Well, that changes things, I suppose. I'm going to need names and details, Miles. I'm not just going to sign onto some mystery client because you say it's a good deal."
"His name is Colonel Iniquitous; he is Captain Nefarious' successor. And believe me, he is more likely to take Neopia than Sloth," Miles said.
Inside I was cheering; I had my mole, and a confession that this actually led back to Iniquitous. I had never managed to shake the worry that Garoo was purposely misrepresenting the information to get us to help him oust a Resistance mole. I kept my straight face and allowed it to curl into a greedy smile.
"I have heard of him. Word is he's at the top of the Defenders of Neopia's most wanted list. They don't rent that spot out lightly. One time that was Sloth's spot. He sounds like a Neopet I could become friendly with."
Miles smiled and opened his mouth to speak.
"I knew it!"
We both turned to look. Nigel was standing there, his blaster trained on Miles. "I knew there was a traitor in our midst and I figured it was you, Miles. You pretended to be such a cowardly weakling, but you always had that shifty look in your eyes. And you, Starender, you're not really considering this?"
"I'm a mercenary, Nigel. I work for the highest bidder, or the one with the most potential. I've made no secret of that," I replied.
"Drop your weapons, both of you!" Nigel shouted.
"No, you drop yours," Moire said.
Moire had come up behind Nigel and pressed her blaster in the small of his back. I trained my blaster on Nigel as well. This clearly went deeper than just Miles, and I needed Nigel to back down if I was going to get all the information. Nigel hung his head in defeat and held his blaster out for Miles to take.
"Okay, I'm not signing on for anything until you level with me. How many of you are in on this? We'd better hurry, because while this level doesn't house anything important, it's not uninhabited. I don't think we need any more witnesses to complicate this," I said firmly.
Moire nodded. "Yes, of course. That's only fair, especially as I'm fairly certain you'll be one of us by the end of this conversation. You're not the type to turn down an opportunity this good."
"Besides myself and Moire, Nicola, Andrea, and Sharron work for Iniquitous," Miles told me. "We're the perfect team; we can all funnel information back, and cover for the others. The only reason we didn't try to add Nigel to the mix is because he's like Buzz. All in the family."
I shook my head and scoffed. "That's always pathetic."
"You're not really going to join them, Eva?" Nigel demanded.
"Why not? This is a far better opportunity than living in Buzz's shadow. I might finally get the respect I deserve."
Nigel snorted in disgust while the other two grinned at me.
"So, just you five work for him, and I'm the only one you've offered a position to? I mean, I know my access is greater than yours, but I'm not sure if it is on the level of a general," I said. "Wouldn't it be better to try for one of them?"
"They are too loyal, unfortunately," Moire said with shake of her head. "Honestly, we thought we were dreaming when you arrived on the Space Station."
I chuckled. "This sounds too good to be true. It's just perfect, like it was made for me, or I was made for it."
They both nodded.
"So, your answer?" Miles asked.
"There is only one thing to say," I said. I put one hand to my ear under my wig, pressing the emergency communicator I had wired under the paint and putty. "Buzz, I got them. All the lieutenants but Nigel." With the other, I raised my blaster and pulled the trigger, stunning Moire.
"Good work, Kimmy. We're initiating Operation Takedown. Take them out on your end." Buzz said.
The faces of my companions had changed radically. They almost seemed to have exchanged moods. Nigel, now free, tackled Miles.
"Nigel, get back!" I ordered.
He jumped off and I stunned Miles. As he went limp, something rolled out his hand. I picked it up and showed it to Nigel, hoping he'd know what it was.
"Great," Nigel said. "That's a communicator. He's probably warned the other three to flee."
"Well, then. We'd better get round them up before they get away," I said, relaying that information to Buzz.
The station's lights started flashing red as the alarms started blaring. We hurried for the elevator and got in.
To be continued...