22. December 6th 2012 - Philadelphia, USA
Daniel hadn't expected to be in the secret office twice in the same week. More importantly, he hadn't expected to fail three missions in a row.
The correlation was beginning to irritate him.
He wondered for a moment whether it was due to the incompetence of his colleagues that caused his constant failure. There wasn't so much that he could remember for him to say for sure, but he doubted it. The Bleeding Effect was certainly getting out of hand. Why, though, he couldn't tell. When Daniel was around Amanda, he did get the odd headache or feel the need to vomit, but cases of seeing vivid hallucinations were few and relatively mild. But every encounter with Desmond since Daniel's encounter with the Apple of Eden in Florence had caused severe hallucinations.
Maybe Desmond was some sort of trigger?
How or why, though, was beyond Daniel. Unless there was some magic genie or guardian angel protecting him, Daniel couldn't see why Desmond would set him off. He hadn't even formally met the guy until the New York incident.
He sighed, Daniel's head becoming sore with thinking on all the possibilities. Laetitia was managing some work at her desk, while Daniel (to Laetitia's great displeasure) was sitting on one of the ornate couches, rubbing his bandaged forehead. Beside him was a needle-gun loaded with a blinking tracking chip.
Maybe this was a way of rubbing it all in Daniel's face - that he would help consecrate his possible replacement into the Order as a Master Templar.
The thought made him mutter several Russian curses - calling Laetitia some choice nicknames - and he felt around his pockets. Since being hospitalised in the compound, he hadn't got a chance to give Amanda's message a look-over.
“Shit!” Daniel swore, finding his pockets empty. He must have left his cell-phone in his room or in Dr Sung's office. He hoped on the latter. If he came close to trusting anyone in the Templar Order, it was Sung.
Laetitia looked up from her work, “Agent Cross?” she said.
“Mind your own business,” Daniel muttered impatiently.
She smiled, “Don't take your excursion to Brazil as too tragic a failing,” Laetitia said, “we'll pick up the pace, as soon as we welcome our new operative into the fold.”
“I said: mind your own business.”
“Or perhaps you were dreaming on about your strumpet back in Rome? I wonder, do you even remember her?”
Daniel glared at Laetitia and stood up. His jaw clenched, “You can handle this yourself,” he turned to leave.
“Daniel...” Laetitia purred.
Daniel ground his teeth and cracked his neck in irritation, but didn't face her.
“Don't make me write back a bad report to Warren,” Laetitia taunted.
Daniel turned slowly to look at her, “Don't make me whoop your ass.”
Laetitia paused, “You wouldn't,” she said with nonchalance.
“I'm not sane, so you can't say that for sure,” he replied, a threat in his voice, “There's only so much of your bullshit that I can take, until I'm no longer in control. And we've all seen what happens when I'm not in control.”
Laetitia was about to retort, when the hum from the secret entrance sounded. She sat down in her swivel chair, her back to the passageway.
Oh, so cliché.
Daniel rolled his eyes, shaking his head in derision as he sat back down.
Daniel watched as Juhani Otso Berg stepped into the office, gawping at the decorum - the statues and the drapes. He hadn't even noticed Daniel was sitting there watching him. What a tool. Daniel held the needle-gun in one hand.
Oh, he would enjoy this.
“Very few people ever see this room,” Berg jerked around, wondering where Laetitia's voice was coming from. He focused on the desk and the chair, “It was first decorated in 1937, when we founded the company,” Laetitia swivelled around on her chair and introduced herself, “Laetitia England. Warren has told me so much about you,” she said pleasantly, “Quite impressive,” she got up and gestured for Berg to sit, “reaching such a privileged position.”
Laetitia walked back to her desk, her high-heels clacking on the floor as she did so, and leaned forward, “The remnants of the Assassin Order are scattered across the globe. The time has come to end this fight and you will be on the front lines,” she sighed somewhat melodramatically, “It comes down to trust. We must be certain that ours is well-placed,” she glanced over to Daniel. Berg noticed this and turned his head slightly.
Daniel held him in an aggressive headlock and said, “Don't move,” he held the gun, ready to inject him with the tracking device, which was blinking on and off.
Berg cried out in shock, struggling against Daniel's arm with his hands.
Laetitia passed an irritated look to Daniel, “Daniel, I give the orders,” she said.
“Fine,” Daniel said through his teeth. The old cow was only trying to assert her authority.
“Thank you,” Laetitia nodded, and with pause followed by a wave of her hand she said, “Now, go on.”
“There,” Daniel said, pulling the trigger and injecting Berg before releasing him. The man gasped, holding his arm and looking up at Laetitia as the world began to darken around him.
“From this day forward, we monitor your every move,” Laetitia concluded, smiling down at him, “Welcome to the fold, Master Templar.”
When Berg had finished passing out, Daniel tilted his head to a side and said, “Can I go now?”
Laetitia sighed and dismissed him with a flick of her hand.