It was nearly three seconds past my appointment when the chestnut doors to Quory's office opened. I carefully walked in, shifting my head up to attempt direct eye contact with him. He looked away.
"It's 0624:03," I said.
"What? Oh, yes, of course," the man said, glancing nervously around the room, at the globe with its calming, animated waves, at the walls, which were slowly but surely fading from auburn to mahagony, and finally directly into my eyes.
"I recieved one notification from this location approximately eight minutes and twenty-seven seconds ago," I said, watching him fiddle with his fingernails. "Unless I am mistaken, you called me here for a mission. If this is not the case, please refrain from notifying me in the future—"
"Never mind all that, Haelo, this mission is highly confidential." I began to take notes internally. One—confidentiality, nothing new. I had 34,152 resolved missions marked "highly confidential". "It's also imperative that you resolve this—otherwise the Inciter might create a potential Collapse." A Collapse would be the worse—the end of order and Improvement in New Truth. And without order, there is only chaos, as the world had been before.
I put my hands on the desk, my left over my right, showcasing my moon tattoo. It glittered and shone brightly, a silver crescent. Not even Doctors could explain how it got there. It had always just...been.
"You are our best assassin," Quory said, finally returning my gaze. "Don't let us down."
He turned around in his chair, and I walked out.
A voice—well, my voice—began in my head:
Mission: Héa Lovaque, a conspirator from New Colombia. Year: 2754. Location: Centa Pasa, New Colombia. I had not been to New Colombia for a long while, and the last time I had gone there I had traveled to the year 2411—before Centa Pasa had even existed.
Role: You are Davón Heres, a comrade of Héa and his group. Further information will be sent later on an as-needed basis. Day: June 17th, 2754. Time: 10:54. Facility: the Lovaque hideout. Objective: Murder Héa Lovaque. You may kill on an as-needed basis; backup will come to fix any Rips if necessary.
Travel time: 3 minutes.
Traveling was a whirlwind. A tornado of splattered pastels pushing against each other, too fast for even my Improved eyes to see, and the screams and songs and sounds of ages dead and past came and went.
And then there was nothing, but a numbness. I heard nothing. No white noise. Nothing. Not even anything pumping inside of me, just nothing. And I saw nothing. Not white or black or a shade of gray, just an eternal stretch of nothingness.
2 minutes, 59 seconds to go.
I thought about Héa Lovaque. I had heard of him before, but we mainly called him "Le Consperatór", because of his New Colombian heritage, or his code name, LeCon.
He was born in Çon Baria, the capital of New Colombia, a bastard son of a maid and an Elector, Juone Lovaqur, before he was banished to the outskirts of the country, in Hoúston. At the age of twenty-seven he moved near the shore of the Exicana Ocean, in Centa Pasa. He became affiliated with Le Conspira, and led rallies, leaks and hacks. If I could not manage to kill him by the 22nd of June, he would lead a raid on Le Cas Blanque and find the New Judges, shown in 99.99 out of 100 timelines. If I killed him, Le Conspira would lose power long enough to avoid a Collapse.
The Travel was over. I had arrived.
The floor was fleshy. I felt it carefully with my foot, sensing scraps of eaten food (which had long rotted), a bit of human excrement, and 15.32 pounds of dirt. The room had walls, boarded up, with a single green window, with rushing mud outside. It was raining crazily, as if the sky was having a tantrum.
I—or Devón Heres, who I was posing as—wore a simple, black skin-tight tunic, artifical leather leggings, badly beaten boots, a belt holding a fake 22-HR Tool (which was actually, of course, a Seven-Utility Platinum-Standard 56-ZZ, the best Tool ever made), and a broken Watch.
I heard a knock on my door.
"Come in," I said in Colombé.
A man walked in. He was around my height and age, had a brown swath of hair on his forehead, a small build, and had very similar facial features to me. Eerily similar, even.
Good morning, my voice said.
Sorry, what? I thought internally, wondering what information I was supposed to retain from a simple greeting before realizing that the voice had come from the man's vocal chords,
I didn't know that you planned on staying the night, the man said, in my voice. Maybe this was a translation malfunction?
"Otherwise, I would have introduced myself. I am Héa Lovaque," he said, looking me in the eyes. "But you can call me Haelo."
That is the man you will kill, my voice said, internally.
But I knew that man. He held out his left hand, and there it was, a silver cresecent, shining bright as ever.
The moon tattoo.
My moon tattoo.