Dawn met up with her colleagues from the WSC, but someone's arrival will shake everything.
Into the obscure: Ambiguity
Chapter 02: The new recruit
18th June 2022
No current objective
Agent Aurora location: WSC HQ, Appalachian region, USA
Morning arrived. Dawn and her colleagues woke up and started with their morning routines.
In the little bathroom, Dawn just got out of the shower and looked in the mirror, into her own blue eyes. She pushed her long dark hair away and inspected her face. She stroked her warm, light-brown skin tone.
She pushed her hair behind her back again and started touching the scar going down on her right eyebrow. Still there, huh? Shouldn't've tried to cut my hair myself when mom wasn't home, when I was 12... Do you remember, mama? Never seen so much blood, flowing all over my face. Stings in me eyes, even today when thinking about it...
Had to wait for you to come home. Sat on the bathroom floor, with a towel against it. Quite a deep wound. You even fainted when seeing me. Papa had to help us both. Papa...
After a shower and putting on their grey WSC fatigues, all headed to the HQ's cafeteria for breakfast.
Josef and Lenora were already installed at a table, while Dawn was still picking... her coffee.
"You think she has drank anything else than that?" Joe questioned, looking over his shoulder at Dawn.
"Nope, just coffee... Nada m. And say breakfast is the most important meal of the day!" Lea exclaimed. She took a sip of her tea.
"Welp, I think she's having some trouble..." Joe mumbled again.
Dawn was trying to get her favourite drink, but the machine wasn't working correctly.
Ugh, dumb, high-tech machine! No! Why do you just give me water? Argh! Dawn slammed her fist in the machine. It started bugging and beeping. After it stopped making abnormal noises, the coffee filled Dawn's mug. She sighed of relief and went to her colleagues.
"Had some, difficulties?" Joe asked hesitantly.
Dawn looked at him after taking a sip. "Such advanced tech, but not able to make a decently working coffee machine..."
Lea grinned quickly. "And eh... What will we do these days? Now that we're on a high alert..."
"Training, briefing, sleeping... Maybe a mission," Dawn dryly replied. Lea sighed at the boring sound of her colleague's description of the following days.
"We've been working together for some months now. Might have to stick around for a couple more..." Josef continued with hesitance. "We'll be, together, often..."
Dawn raised a subtle eyebrow. Josef continued. "We could, use some of that time to, know each other, better!"
"Y-yeah, we have the time, now..." Lea added. Both looked at Dawn who sipped from her coffee while looking up.
She swallowed the last drops of her warm drink and stood up from the table. "Gotta check something first. See you at the training..."
And Dawn left the cafeteria. Lea looked at Joe and sighed. He shrugged in response.
Dawn headed to main hall, straight to the infirmary again. The nurse she met yesterday was again present.
"Oh hello Dawn! How are you today?" She asked, stopping everything she was doing and turning her full attention to the operator.
"Eh, yes good. I--"
"You want to see your friend, right? You're on time, she woke up recently!"
Dawn's blue eyes sparkled from the inside. She felt a shock. Without further waiting, Dawn rushed to the room with Abby, and found her friend in the bed. Abby turned her head slowly, and looked.
"Dawn..." She said softly.
"A-Abby!" Dawn went to her side and crouched on her level. "You're awake."
"Thanks to you, cough! I should've been dead hehe. The doctors found a bullet in the side of my head, giving me a terrible headache! They left it there, it is too risky to remove it..."
Dawn wasn't really listening, just looking, at her friend being awake again. She closed her eyes for a moment.
"Not too interested as I see?" Abby ironically remarked.
"We'll talk about your medical condition later, I gotta alert the rest!"
"Wait, Da--" But Dawn already left. She ran through main hall, in the direction of the training room.
She entered the room. Lenora and Josef were standing with Sergeant Flynn and another person. Dawn didn't care and rushed over.
"Abby's awake!" She announced in the midst of the rest. Her colleagues looked surprised. Flynn turned to Dawn with a cold stare.
"Shouldn't you be training instead, like your colleagues, agent Aurora?" He asked. Dawn looked at the ground for a second.
On a mumbling tone, she replied. "I checked on my teammate, because--"
"I, didn't remember asking you for an answer! 10 push-ups!"
"You asked a question, and I answered out of pure politeness," Dawn replied. Joe and Lea looked away.
"Neither this time, miss moody!" The nickname he assigned to Dawn. One she didn't particularly appreciate.
Dawn looked behind the Sergeant's green military suit and saw another individual, unknown to her. He looked like her age. Brown curly hair and a bit pale. The guy looked at Dawn and slightly smiled, awkwardly. Dawn looked away.
"Argh, let's cut the crap! York-york, Chicana, stop pretending to not hear what's being said and come closer. Still have this damn announcement to make..."
Dawn's colleagues gulped and stepped towards her. The unknown guy looked confused at the Sergeant.
"Are those the codenames you use? Can we, choose them?" He asked.
Flynn turned around, and his shadow dominated over the boy. "Did I give you permission to talk, Froggy? Still a lot to learn here! NOW SHUT UP!"
Flynn turned back to the rest, who all assisted to the scene. Lea and Joe looked up or to the ground. Dawn crossed her arms and looked at her Sergeant.
"So! This, person, is Aaron, or something, and--"
"Actually it's Arnaud, but--" Flynn sighed in frustration, interrupting the guy. He bent over him and gave him a death stare.
"Do, you, think, that, I, care? NOW SHUT UP! Ehem," Flynn normally turned back to the younger operators, as he didn't almost give a heart attack to the new person.
"Wait, is he--"
"A new recruit for the younger generation. But honestly I regret the choice already..." Flynn unsubtly whispered. The newcomer crossed his arms.
Dawn blinked a couple of times. She tilted her head slightly, looked back and forth between Flynn and this recruit. Flynn then took a paper out of his pocket.
"The critical state of Abby Valesh, alias agent Furvus, made us decide on the recruitment of a new member for the younger generation... Signed, by the guys at the top..." He read, mumbling.
"B-but she's awake! She just woke up! I saw it by myself!" Dawn protested, raising her concern.
"We know, long before you! She woke up during the night."
"Okay, so what?"
Flynn retook his note and turned it around. He mumbled a bit, inaudible for the rest. Then, he just crushed the paper into a ball and threw it away.
"The medics, to spare y'all of this incomprehensible medical bullshit, concluded that the bullet she got in her head touched a part of her brain, now disabling her lower body. She isn't fit for field missions any more."
Josef and Lenora looked shocked. Arnaud awkwardly glared at his feet. Dawn stared in front of her. No emotion was shown to the outside. W-why, didn't she tell me, right away? She didn't want to hurt you? How's that even possible! No, Dawn! You impulsively ran away! You're impulsive now? Sigh...
Dawn looked back at her Sergeant, then at Arnaud.
"He'll start training with you all. I'll come check, from time to time," Flynn concluded, and he turned around, but stopped again and looked over his shoulder, "and also, forget those 10 push-ups..."
Huh, still a bit of humanity is wandering in him...
"Make it 20, for interrupting me! And after that training for a couple of hours! No leaving this hell!" And he left.
A stormy cloud appeared above Dawn. She sighed and started pumping. Arnaud was awkwardly standing next to her. He looked at the exit.
"Ehh, you know he left, right? You don't have to do, those push-ups..." He explained.
Dawn just finished and stood back up, facing him. She stared at him with an even threatening look as Flynn. "First, there are cameras in the corners, and he checks them! Second, 20 push-ups is a piece of cake, and third, we are disciplined here!"
"Ohh I see! That's fabulous!" Arnaud replied. Dawn didn't react and turned around, heading to some ropes to climb. Josef and Lenora were there too. Dawn directly started climbing, ignoring the rest.
"Hi Aaron! I'm Lenora Perez, but you can call me Lea. Nice to meet you," Lea exclaimed.
"It's Arnaud, actually. Arnaud Ganant. Nice to meet you too! And you must be Josef then."
"Or Joe for short. It's a pleasure," the two boys shook hands. At that moment, Dawn got back on the ground. Arnaud turned to her. He looked on a little note from his pocket.
"And you are, Dani--?" Arnaud was about to finish his sentence, but instead, Dawn took his arm and reached for his neck before pushing him to the ground. Arnaud was very stunned.
"My name's Dawn! For everyone, in all circumstances! Have you understood it, Aaron?"
"It-it's Arnaud, actually..." Dawn death-stared him and released the grip. She turned around and walked away. Arnaud crawled back up.
Arnaud turned to Josef and Lenora, who were still standing behind him. "Quite a personality!"
"She's hard from the outside, but if you get to know her better, it'll be alright," Lenora explained.
"And why is she so sensitive about--"
"We don't know that," Josef said shrugging, "she never explained. When we first met, she said she was called Dawn... I don't mind, she's a good teammate."
Arnaud looked up at Dawn. He smiled up.
"She'll calm down, she calms down rapidly," Lea explained, putting a hand on Arnaud's shoulder, "now, do you want help with the training? We'll explain to you everything you need to know."
Hours passed, and it was lunch break for the younger generation. Dawn never trained this hard of her life. She was enraged by what the high command had done. And they had to bring the worst guy in!
But later, she calmed down and had time to think clearly. Sigh, Abby's legs are broken. She cannot do missions again... Or perhaps with a sort of technology? Nah, not possible right now. But, maybe they'll find another use for her in the HQ... Abby's smart. In, maths, mostly...
Dawn ran back to the infirmary before going to eat. She passed by the nurse, so quickly she didn't have the time to say something. Dawn arrived back at Abby who was reading a book. Dawn saw the scar on the side of her head made by the bullet.
Abby put her book down and smiled. "Shouldn't you be eating right now?"
"Gotta check on my, friend, first... How y'a feeling?" Dawn sat on the empty bed next to Abby.
"Incredible headache, tubes everywhere on my skin, almost choked several times during the night. Living on painkillers..."
Dawn grinned slightly. She looked down. "I... I heard for your legs... I'm sorry..."
Abby frowned in a playful way. "Sorry for what? Without you my other half wouldn't work either! It's okay Dawn..."
"No. It's not okay! You can't do missions any more! We, can't do missions together! You don't remember?"
Abby giggled at the last part. Dawn wasn't too amused. She looked her in the eyes again. "Never seen you so caring before!"
Dawn ignored the comment. "A-and now they replaced you! With probably the most incompetent fucker around!"
"Yes, I heard it. Arnaud, right? They presented him to me earlier. He's a good person, I assure you. Indeed, still a recruit, but he will get trained, and get as competent as us."
"I highly doubt it!"
Abby rolled her eyes with a smile. "Dawn, I know you have difficulties, real difficulties, meeting new people. And that you see him replace me won't help it either, but I'm gonna ask you. Don't be a total dickhead with him."
Dawn was thinking a bit. She smirked evilly and got off the bed.
"Of course I'll treat him well! And I'm gonna apologize, right away!" Dawn slowly walked backwards to the exit. Abby widened her eyes.
"Dawn, no! I'm serious now! Don't traumatize him!"
"And we will be the beeeeest of friends! Bye Abby!"
"Dawn! I'm not joking! Dawn!! Ugh... Stubbornness should be a sin..."
At the cafeteria, Joe, Lea and Arnaud were already eating their lunch.
"So, where are you from, Arnaud?" Lea asked.
"Ahh, I lived in Paris to study law before your organisation, kinda captured me and introduced me to all this cool stuff! Of course, I accepted to join!"
The three continued talking, and at some point, Dawn arrived. She approached the table. Josef and Lenora saw her and subtly went silent. Arnaud turned around to see her.
"Hey, Dawn! Sorry that we already started, you suddenly vanished, and we were hungry? I hope you don't mind, or are there also disciplinary rules here, haha!" Arnaud exclaimed. His table colleagues gulped.
Dawn coldly stared at him, then shook her head. "We gotta talk, now..."
Dawn directly turned around and headed to the hall. Arnaud shrugged at Joe and Lea, stood up and followed Dawn.
"So, what did you wanna tell me?" Arnaud asked with a smile.
Dawn sighed and closed her eyes. One hundred thoughts crossed her mind. She chose one and stared back at him.
"Listen, carefully! I might pardon you for earlier, as you couldn't really know, you know why!" Arnaud nodded.
"And I will give you one, chance. Not because of you, nor this organisation, but because of Abby! So you disappoint me once, it's done! And don't even think that we'll be friends one day! This here, is your new job! So that means, only, professional relations! Nothing more! Have I made myself clear?"
Arnaud showed a little smile. Dawn was waiting for a response, and got a bit uncomfortable.
"Yes, madame!" He replied. Dawn stiffened herself.
"Good... Good..." And she walked back to the cafeteria. Arnaud caught up with her and walked next to her.
"Hey. Ne serait-tu pas par hasard, franise?"
"Are you French? Because your name--"
Dawn stopped walking and faced him again. "What did I tell you about it?"
"But, are you?"
Dawn felt with inner fury. Why is he smiling so much?! Why is he annoying me! Why isn't he keeping his distance! No one ever lasted this long! This guy is a tough nut, but a rotten one!
"No, I'm not! I don't care!" And Dawn resumed her walk. Arnaud followed her.
"Perhaps you had ancestors that migrated to the US..."
"I said I didn't care!"
Suddenly, before they had reached the cafeteria back, the loudspeakers went on.
"Attention. Agent Aurora, Opera and Lichten must report to the briefing room immediately!"
"Alright! Maybe some distraction!" Dawn said too herself.
"Or maybe a boring briefing that will last for hours!" Arnaud replied. Dawn jumped slightly, seeing him again on her side.
"Eh, y-, no... Huh! I wasn't talking to you!"
"To who then? I don't see anybody else, other than moi," Arnaud said in an ignorant tone. Dawn showed him her 'I don't care' face.
"To myself... Now go eat! I have work to do!" Dawn turned around and noticed her colleagues running towards her. She almost smiled at them.
"Ah, guys. Good. Let's hurry then," Dawn ordered. The three started running. Arnaud put his hands on his hips, seeing them vanish.
"Speaker came at the right moment, really..." Dawn told.
"What did you tell him? He didn't look, traumatised?" Josef asked.
"One chance to prove himself! I shan't give him more! I tried to make it clear it is professionalism around here. But that idiot doesn't understand half what I say."
Suddenly, her two colleagues stopped moving and stood in front of her.
"Dawn, eh, we also, need to talk, actually..."
Dawn crossed her arms. "Okay? But we don't really have time."
Josef looked at Lea and whispered, "do you?"
"No, we agreed you do it."
"But, it's not--"
"Alright, cut the crap here!" Dawn insisted. Her colleagues turned to her.
"Well, Dawn... We, Lea and I, think that, perhaps, you, and us--"
"Yessss..." Dawn said impatiently.
"You don't see us as friends, do you?" Slipped out of Josef's mouth. Dawn raised an eyebrow.
"Guys, this is a horrible timing. We gotta go to the briefing!" Dawn tried to change subjects.
Her friends stared at her, insisting for an answer. I think I gotta update my approaches to discourage people from talking to me...
"Dawn, we are a team. But outside of that, nothing! We could be a group of friends too!" Lea continued.
"Why do you refuse to be friends?" Joe added before Dawn could reply.
Dawn listened carefully. She remained silent for a bit more, thinking about what she could say.
"I'm... careful, with people..."
"You think I wouldn't explain if I knew why?"
"And what about Abby? You clearly are friends with her..." Lea replied.
"Y-yes, but she's-- Ugh, I don't know. It went better with her, I felt something special between us."
"You're, in love?" Josef theorized. Dawn tilted her head.
"No, I'm not. Nothing against those people, but I'm not... I don't know, how to describe that feeling. Feelings are irrational you know... Maybe that's why I can't explain it..."
"So it is, kinda personal, if you can be friends with Abby..."
"No! It's the other way around! Abby's just an exception... Argh, guys I'm a bit moody, or cold from time to time. Heck, most of the time! I've tried to find out what the fuck is wrong with me. No success..." Dawn said, looking down.
Lenora approached her colleague, and put her hand on Dawn's shoulder.
"Would you, like to be friends then?"
Dawn looked up at her with her neutral expression. "I-I just don't know, how. How to plan it, or what steps to take. I think about it often, but I cannot find a solution!"
Lenora smiled. "Kindness. Just be kind, and spontaneous. This world could use a bit of extra good."
"And do you know that the WSC organises some team-building events too?" Josef added. Dawn nodded no and felt some disgust. Kind of forced stuff to get people to know each other... She turned back to Lenora.
"What do you say? We do that as a good start!" Josef proposed.
Dawn nodded slightly and turned back to her female colleague. "And that will help us to know Arnaud better too!"
Dawn's smile disappeared immediately. "So, that briefing?"
The three talked it out and passed through the sliding doors. Just Samur and Miller were present.
"Welcome, operators. Take a seat. We have, important news," Samur started. The three sat down.
General Miller stood up. "We have intercepted a radio message of the NWO. In it, they revealed that one of their high-ranking officers will be transporting confidential documents that could lead us to Isermann, one of are targets, but we're not totally sure."
"Just one way to find it out," Dawn mumbled.
"Exactly," Samur and another voice from behind replied. Everyone at the table turned around and saw a young man walking up the stairs.
What the hell is he doing here? Dawn thought, with a disgusted face.
"Recruit Eiffel," Samur mumbled at Arnaud.
"Reporting for the briefing, sir!" Arnaud said back while greeting everyone. Dawn had to grin at the blunder he's making. This guy! Unbelievable!
Arnaud sat next to Dawn and stared at her.
"What baddy are we going to eliminate now? Ehh... Why are you laughing?" Arnaud looked at Samur who wasn't too pleased.
"This briefing doesn't include recruits, Ganant! This is an important mission for experienced operators."
"But why can't I participate?" Arnaud asked, looking around and sincere. Dawn calmed her laughter.
"Oh, you'd get killed immediately. Thinking about it, yeah why don't you join us, on our mission!" Dawn mumbled as a response. Arnaud didn't understand. Lea tapped Dawn's arm.
"You're not being kind," she whispered.
"But it's him, he's an exception to that 'grand rule of morality'." Dawn replied ironically.
Lea looked irritated. Dawn rolled her eyes. "Look, he didn't even get what I said. That's how stupid he is!"
"English isn't his native language, Dawn!"
"You mean I can insult him in his face without him understanding?" Dawn grinned. Lea wasn't happy.
"Okay, okay. I take back what I said."
In your dreams, Perez... She thought.
"Sigh, doesn't matter. Like this you'll learn how a briefing goes. General, you can continue," Samur resumed.
"Ehem, the target will land at the airport of S Paulo where a contact is waiting to hand the info to. Locate the target and the briefcase, and bring it back," the General finished.
"Woah! Sounds super cool! Like real secret agents!" Arnaud exclaimed, shooting everyone with a gun made out of fingers.
"It's not, cool, recruit! Those missions require concentration, patience, and skill! While our three operators here will be sent on that case, you will be starting your training. Go meet up with Sergeant Flynn in the training room now."
Arnaud got off his seat and greeted everyone. "Good luck guys!"
"Keep your luck for Flynn's trainings. You'll need all of it!" Dawn replied without turning around.
Arnaud eagerly turned back at Dawn with a smirk. "You were talking to me, or to yourself?"
"Take your time, really! Every minute you get too late equals just 10 push-ups!" Dawn said, ignoring his question
Arnaud's eyes widened. "W-when does it, start?"
"Ehm, you already have 30 push-ups to do."
"Oh shit!" Arnaud said panicking and he vanished. Dawn grinned.
"When do we leave?" Josef asked at the commanders.
"Head to the armoury for your undercover equipment. Then go to hangar 1 where a transport plane is ready to bring you to your destination. The target's landing is planned at 10 pm, coming from Madrid."
"This will be the first mission of Operation Limbo. Mission Tarde. Good luck, operators," Samur ended with. The three got up and left.
Hope I didn't unlearn doing missions. It's been a while...