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The Infiltrators - For Queen and Country

Flintlock Burnfur

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Highwayman's Rock - 150 kilometers off the coast of North Carolina


Things were going to shit fast.  Alysia McBride hadn't thought the Circle of Thorns would want their island back so badly, but they did and they were here.  She just had enough time to get the employees out of the Rebel's Helm and to the speed boats before a conflagration of mage fire destroyed the building.


How did things go so wrong?  She'd have to figure that out later.  For now, her only concern was getting everyone out.  By boat, by helicopter, or by the Vanguard teleportation grid.  She already knew the Midnighters were working as fast as they could in transporting the mystical objects recovered from the washed up pirate ship.  But everything else, the garden, the house, her magical trophy room, all of it might have to be lost.


Alysia jumped over the hedge rows near the quiet little gazebo at the back of her house and watched as a blast of mage fire destroyed the glass walls. "Well fook!" she hissed out and took a deep breath.  "Was just gettin' used ta seein' star light at night."  Her thoughts were diverted as she heard the barking of a dog.  "Howitzer!" she called out and was soon met with an excited, bounding German Shepard.  She took to her knees to give the dog a good petting and a hug.  "At least yer still here, lad.  Good boy.  Now we haveta get out o' here.  An' quick like."  As she turned, faithful dog at her heels, they were met with the appearance of four mages and three guides.


"Alysia McBride," one of the mages called out.  "Now it is time for you to pay for your disservice to us.  We shall reclaim this island, and send you to the depths."


"Like hell," she sneered.  Howitzer began to growl in response as he crouched low, ready to pounce.  Alysia drew her pistols as her eyes began to glow with blue fire.  "I'm not goin' down without a fookin' fight."


Central London, one day earlier, MI-5 Headquarters


The director of the overseas branch of MI-5 took her seat at the head of a long conference table.  She was surrounded by a gathering of technicians, intelligence officers, and other responsible for bringing new recruits into the fold.  "Good morning, gentlemen," she said as she slipped on her glasses.  A gentleman nearby placed a tea cup and saucer in front of the director, to which she nodded her appreciation.  She took a sip and sighed, letting a small smile cross her face.  "Earl Grey, a good start to the morning."  With that, she focused her attention to those gathered.  "Reports for this morning?"


"We have located and apprehended the Russian hackers involved in the 2016 Presidential election, ma'am," one of the intelligence operatives said as he brought up a dossier on a large view screen in the conference room.  "All alive and counted for."


"Their equipment?"


"Recovered," the operative stated with a firm nod.  "Old mid 1990s computer technology was used as the primary systems."


"Of course it was," the director said with a sigh.  "New technology can't be relied upon to recognize an older system.  Let's keep that in storage and wave in the Russian president's face whenever he comes out of his hole to threaten the world, shall we.  Anything else?"


"Lord Recluse is making the standard moves in the Rogue Isles," one of the operatives spoke up as he opened a manila folder.  "It seems he has been sending his... minions into an area of Paragon City called Dark Astoria.  There is a large conflux of magical energy that has been detected there."


"The rising of Mot, yes I am aware of this," the director stated with a nod.  "Keep our field agents informed and ensure that they continue to observe.  So far the only good news out of that situation is the destruction of the Knives of Artemis."


"Speaking of the Knives of Artemis, ma'am," another agent as he motioned to a man standing near the doorway.  "We have made contact and brought in a person of interest."  The director perked an eyebrow and motioned for the agent to continue.  The agent nodded to the man, and he opened the door, waving his fingers as though motioning for someone to come in.  A woman entered the room, still dressed in the garb of the former Knives of Artemis, though the patches on her arms had been ripped off quite a few years before.


"Sister White," the director said with a smile.


"I don't use that name anymore," the woman stated flatly.


"Indeed," the director said as a man handed her a manila folder.  The director opened it, reading through it as she spoke.  "Marianne Wallcott, born in Manchester, England.  Your father has done great work for the Labour Party.  I wonder what he would think of you working for a band of mercenaries."


"I doubt he would think very much of it," Wallcott replied in an even tone.  "Though, I do not work for a band of mercenaries anymore."


"No, I suppose you don't.  You trade that in to live in a standing of warehouses in Port Oakes," the director sat back as she took off her glasses and looked directly at Marianne.  "Above a small city in an abandoned sewer system.  My, how the mighty have fallen."


"Your agents took care of that, as it would happen," Wallcott replied with the hint of disgust in her voice.  "What happened to the people?  The children?"


"They've been taken care of," the director replied.  "Relocated throughout the British Empire.  The children placed in orphanages in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.  They'll be looked after.  But that is of little consequence.  We actually have need of you."


Marianne scoffed as she let her emotions show.  "You really want me to trade in one band of mercenaries for another."


"Miss Wallcott," the director said as she sat forward in her chair.  "You'll be working for Queen and country."  Wallcott just stared at the director.  "At present, our agents in the field have observed the movements of an organization called the Circle of Thorns."


"I am familiar with them, yes."


"Good," the director said with a nod.  "It would seem they would like some of their property back.  I'm sure you are equally familiar with a small island chain in international waters off the coast of North Carolina.  You aided a person called..." an operative was at the ready to bring information up on the screen in the conference room.  A photograph appeared, picturing Marianne Wallcott in her gear next to a woman in red hair who was carrying a pair of pistols.  "Alysia McBride.  Also known as the Ballistic Witch."  The director paused as though to give Wallcott a chance to respond, but none came.  "It seems the Circle of Thorns wants their island back.  They're about to make a move on the island."


"Forgive me, Director.  But how exactly does this concern me?"


"You helped Miss McBride before," the director stated as she sat forward in her chair, fingers steepled together.  "You are going to do it again. You are going to bring Miss McBride into the fold."


"She's Irish," Wallcott said.  "She'll hate the idea."


"Well, no one's perfect," the director stated with a small smile as a murmur of laughter ran through the room. "You have less than 24 hours to reach the island.  Before then, you must find and destroy five soul gems.  They are connected to this man." The director picked up a remote and a new picture showed up on the console.  "Magus Envertus.  He is leading the group that is attacking Highwayman's Rock.  You will lead a team to find the soul gems and destroy them.  Any and all Thorns are to be dealt with quickly and quietly.  Once you have achieved that, you will go to Highwayman's Rock, retrieve Miss McBride and all her intel she has gathered over the past few months.  And then you will bring her here."


"For what purpose?"


"For Queen and Country, Miss Wallcott," the director replied as she sat back in her chair, raisin her tea cup.  "For Queen and Country."


Highwayman's Rock - present day


A mage's duel is never a pretty sight.  But Alysia was finding she was holding her own against Envertus.  So much so that she completely ignored everything else around her.  Her pistols hung in the air, shooting instinctively as they were imbued with a very specific spell.  Howitzer was dealing with any stragglers, taking them down with ease.  Alysia didn't hear the churning of the chopper blades behind her, the only indication she had was the sudden retreating of the other guides, thorn mages and spectres.  And then, they were quickly dealt with.  She heard the sound of rapid gunfire, and watched as Envertus fell to the ground, his leg bleeding profusely.


Alysia stopped casting her spells as she looked to Envertus.  The mage was attempting to activate a spell that would send his soul to a new body.  And another gunshot rang out.


"We won't be doing that today, Envertus." a woman called out as she stepped beside Alysia.  Sudden realization filled Alysia's eyes as she recognized Sister White.  Wordlessly, Wallcott handed Alysia a package.  "There's a soul gem inside.  I think you know what to do."


Alysia ripped the package open, holding the precious soul gem in her hands.  Destroying these items of power was difficult at best, but fortunately Alysia had studied just how to do it.  The gem floated between her hands as her eyes glowed more brilliantly with magical blue flames.  Envertus just watched as the soul gem began to crack and break, finally shattering with the pressure placed upon it.


"So ends the story of the great Magus Envertus," Wallcott said in the most unimpressed way possible before taking her Walther PPK and firing a bullet through the mage's head.  She kicked the body once out of habit, nudging it to see if there was some life left.  Satisfied there wasn't Wallcott holstered her pistol and turned to Alysia.  "Come on, then.  We have places to be."


Alysia watched as armoured and armed men rushed to the hovering helicopter, each of them holding pieces of Alysia's life here on the island.  Computers, tablets, tomes.  Even her coffee pot and collection of Arachnos mugs she'd acquired.  "What the bloody fuck is goin' on?"


Wallcott held up a badge before Alysia.  It read MI-5.  "We have business to discuss.  There are people who wish to have your services."


"And just why exactly would I wish ta work fer the British government?"


"Oh, it's not the British government, Miss McBride," Wallcott said as she placed a hand carefully but firmly on Alysia's arm.  "It's for Queen and Country."


The above was written as inspiration from the following.





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