He stood by the doorway, and watched the greatest intellect in the world, kneeling on the floor, weeping himself into a frenzy.
“Dead … dead. I can’t … my child …” A moan broke through those choked words. Reddened eyes looked up at him from the sobbing figure. “And the cause. The one who did this. No question about it?”
He shook his head, reluctant to confirm, but bound by duty. “No question. Technology traces confirm it, intelligence sources indicate it as well. He wanted you to know” A small shake of the head. “Revenge. For Montevideo.”
“I don’t care.” The man’s voice was soft at first, cracked, an aged and age-old lament for potential cut off, for legacy severed, for heart shattered. The repetition was much louder, but no less dripping in bloody human history. “I … don’t … care what it was for. I don’t care if it was ‘quick.’ I’m not going to let him get away with this.”
“Of course not. We’ve alerted agents world-wide. When he comes up for air, we’ll know where he is. We can have a strike force ready. It will be costly, but --”
“No.” He shook his head, violently. “No, no, no, not again. Not this time.” The eyes of the greatest intellect in the world stared up at him, lined in red, ringed with tears. "Blood for blood. Do you understand me? Blood. For. Blood."
It was what he’d feared from the first time he’d learned the news. “Is that --?”
“Blood for blood, dammit! Find that – that --” The great man choked off again, then continued, his tone grating and rumbling like Juggernaut. “Find the one thing that he loves above all else. The one thing he once told me he’d give his life for. And kill it.”
"Kill it! Let him live for a while with this, live when all he’ll want to do is die. Let him suff – suffer." The word barely got out. “Let him know this loss. And know that it was his fault! _His fault!”
“He’ll retaliate. He might --”
“He might? He might what? Try and hurt me back? How could he hurt me more than this? What more can he take from me?”
The man climbed painfully to his feet. The expression on his face was terrible, inhuman. “He wants to retaliate? Fine! I’ll show him what I can do when I set aside all other considerations. Show him what happens when at long last I truly dedicate myself toward – ending – him.” He fell silent for a long moment, looking at something that no one else could ever see, would ever want to see. “Retaliate? Escalate? I don’t care. Not any more. Let it all burn.”
“I --” The man in the doorway was cut off by the look he received, the one that said that even he would be a target if he didn’t comply. “-- I’ll take care of it.”
He stepped back into the corridor. Everything in him told him this was wrong – tactically and strategically, at least. He didn’t give a rat’s ass for the ethical implications, not in his line of work. But he still stood there a moment, reluctant to take that first step, knowing where that path would lead.
_He’s the smartest man in the world. He knows what he’s doing…
Grief … rage … guilt … no, that’s not the smartest man in the world in there. It’s the_ mostdangerous_. To his opponent – himself – and everyone else on the planet._
He shook his head again, but headed for the control room, already considering the fastest, most effective way to assassinate the child he’d been given as a target. At least he could throw himself into his work, let that professional dedication and his own desire for revenge drown the warning klaxons in his head, even as the wail of the great man’s voice in maddening grief echoed down the passage behind him.
This was not going to end well.
author: *** Dave H.