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Lament of Purity


Ben Dyar

1230, Zurich, Switzerland; Tuesday

A woman, easily in her middle twenties, sat at a corner. Her frame was deceptively small, dark sienna hair cascading down her slim shoulders. Steam rose from cappuccino, the aroma wafting throughout the compact café. Flakes of pearl white snow lazily drifted from the light gray clouds, pasting the sidewalks. A green silk scarf was nonchalantly tossed around her neck, frayed strands drooping on her black leather coat. Her eyes flitted between her tilted book and the glass door. Customers ignored the woman as they chattered about trivial affairs. Little did they know the fate that arrive in a matter of minutes should a certain package not be received.

The quaint silver bell chimed as a man sporting a black trench coat strode in. He inconspicuously ordered a coffee mocha cappuccino and a poppy seed muffin. He casually walked to the woman, carefully sitting on the cushioned wood chair. The old supports creaked and groaned as his full weight finally rested.

“You’re late,” said the woman.

“I was unfortunately delayed.”

“On the floor.” The man glanced down at a leather briefcase. Quick as a flash, the woman’s hand sprung from under the folds of her coat and struck the man in the bone under his eye. His head snapped back from the force while another blow struck his throat. His eyes rolled into his skull as the lack of oxygen to his body forced him into unconsciousness. Within three minutes, he would be dead. A scream from the next table alerted the patrons and they began to stare at the dying man. The woman slipped a hand into the trench coat and withdrew a beeping palm computer from a concealed pocket.

“Sixty-four seconds,” blared a monotone computer-generated voice. She hastily tapped the screen with the stylus, inputting characters.

1236, Zurich, Switzerland; Tuesday

Sirens blared as traffic screeched to a halt. Dirty white police cruisers with orange and white checkered stripes streaked through traffic as hastily as possible on the snow-encrusted streets. The first of the armada arrived at a burning café in the most popular section of Switzerland’s capital. Flames roared from the family-owned coffee shop, melting nearby snow into forming puddles. Fire engines pulled behind the police cruisers and began to soak the flames with chemicals and water.

1241, Zurich, Switzerland; Tuesday

A car stopped at an intersection two blocks down from the uncontrollable inferno suddenly exploded. Rolling shock wave tore gaps in surrounding buildings and tossed cars like pebbles. A sparkling new BMW Z4 idling next to the rusty Mercedes was thrown a full block down a paralleling street before slamming into a storefront. Bodies of the instantly-dead were flattened under the falling wreckage, destroying gaping drivers. A new swarm of police descended upon the carnage, stopping traffic and clutching Uzi 9mm submachine guns.

1247, Zurich, Switzerland; Tuesday

A formidable-looking man charged into Seimens, demanding a new Pentium 4-m laptop computer. A startled clerk directed him to the aisle with such equipment. As the man grasped a sleek black model, another clerk sidled up.

“Anything I can do for you?”

The huge stranger tore the computer from its anti-theft restraints and slammed it over the clerk’s head, killing him instantly. He ripped open his overcoat and passing innocents stopped and screamed.

Computers and human pieces were later found as far as a mile away. A crackling blue shockwave tore through the streets, hurdling aside cars and pedestrians. The electronic warehouse completely disintegrated into oblivion, whoever survived the initial blast was annihilated as debris fell.

1256, Zurich, Switzerland; Tuesday

The American embassy in Zurich was abnormally crowded for a Tuesday. American citizens wished to return home after the terrifying bombings taking place around the European city. In twenty minutes, downtown Zurich was transformed from a peaceful winter afternoon to a bloody, chaotic war zone. Police helicopters roared overhead, snipers scanning the crowds of mid-day commuters for any unusual suspects. Several UN HMMWV reconnaissance vehicles had been sent along with two Armored Personnel Carriers to patrol the streets and keep the order.

“I’m an American,” said a young woman with dark sienna hair flowing down her black leather coat.
The external security squad, five men who checked passports, were now in full combat gear; body armor strapped around their torsos, Kevlar-coated helmets resting on their heads, and loaded and ready M-16 assault rifles in their hands. “Alright, go ahead, ma’am.”

The woman entered, heading to the line for exportation of citizens. Dark wood-paneled stairways stretched to the second level, ornately carved and beautiful. A golden chandelier hung from the distant fifth floor, illuminating the otherwise bland atrium. Two armed guards approached the woman.
“Ma’am, you’re going to need to come with us.”

“Why, I’m a citizen. What did I do?” The guard pointed to a newly-attached sign above the door reading ‘Upon entering, everyone is subject to random security checks.’

She relaxed. “Oh.” They led her deep into the first floor, past all of the secure employee offices to the last door on the left. Two more guards hung back, more alert, fingers already on their triggers. The first guard knocked twice, waited, knocked once, and then knocked two more times before the latch opened. A suit-clad man sat at a uniformly blue steel table. Another man stood, dressed in an identical black suit, in the corner, unblinking. His build suggested intensive military training; his waist was slim and his body widened with muscle at his torso. The special military units preferred upper-body strength as opposed to leg muscles that would potentially slow an agent down. The guards slammed the door and it automatically locked. The woman sat.

“Miss Augusta, I presume you know why you are here,” began the man at the table. She tensed, then, glancing at the standing man, relaxed into her chair. “No particularly.”

He opened a stark manila folder. Her picture glared back at her, a thick stack of files labeled with red block lettered ‘Confidential’ sat underneath. He slowly and purposefully paged through the massive archive, until at last reaching the last document, stopped and slid the paper around for better viewing.

“‘Operation Black Dagger’ ring any bells, Akira?” Again, her muscles tensed, but just as soon, they relaxed.

“I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“I see this process going one of two ways, Captain Akira. Either you tell us what we need to know, or we extract the information in a-how shall I say?-rather painful procedure.”

“Let me go. Now.” The man in the corner stirred and began to rapidly close on Akira. She fell from her chair, rotated on one foot, brought the other up, and slammed it into the man’s gut. Without ceasing the movement, Akira wrapped her muscular fingers around the steel chair and ripped it from its bolts. The man who was sitting brought up a radio, but before he could speak into it, the chair was airborne. It lifted him from the floor, taking his body from the middle of the detail-less floor and slamming him into the equally drab wall. Rivulets of blood trickled from his mouth as his concussion took hold. The second man had righted himself and was preparing for another assault when a small knife sliced through the air towards his face.

Wiping sweat from her brow, Akira sprinted from the room. After dispatching two guards outside the room, the alarm had begun to blare. Lockdown had commenced; all doors electronically locked and the guards beginning a hunter-killer sweep through the embassy. She dove through a window and landed on a snow drift. A black BMW idled on the alley corner, and when her eyes caught sight of it, she ran for it. A muffled magnum bullet tore through her right forearm as she closed the door and the driver floored the accelerator.

Outside the city, the car stopped and the driver got out of the car.
“Aren’t we going to Rome?”

“Not anymore,” he said, “Black Dagger has been terminated.” Before she could scream, he had fired the silenced 9mm pistol. He spoke into a cell phone. “Mission complete. Dagger has been cleansed.”

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