“Birkoff, I’ve located Michael in the small office building. Fogherty has a gun at his head. I don’t have much time.”
“Nikita there is a rear access to your far left.”
“Thanks, Birkoff.” Nikita changed the clip in her 9mm. as she crouched and worked her way toward the rear access door. As she reached the corner, Nikita heard a car arrive with tires that screeched on the tarmac as it pulled up to the office. Oh, god, no, Nikita thought. It’s Michael’s wife.
“Birkoff, we’ve got an innocent on site now. Michael’ wife,” she added by way of explanation.
Michael looked Liam Fogherty in the eye as the man denounced him.
“You’re a f@$#ing traitor--to your family and to the Cause!” The veins in Fogherty’s neck and forehead were bulging, as he paced and yelled. “You know what we do to traitors in Eire Fein, Michael. They die miserable deaths, along with their families. Now that presents me with a real problem, Michael, because your family is my family. Do you think I can let them live after killing you?”
Michael’s mouth was dry as he spoke, “Stephanie knew nothing about this. She knows nothing about my life, and Sean is just a child. Why would you harm either of them?”
“The Cause, Michael. The Cause is more important than family ties or wives or children. The Cause demands that examples be set to warn future traitors. Your family is forfeit! Know it as you prepare to die!” Liam waved his gun in the air as he circled Michael.
Judging from the fire fight that continued around the aircraft, Stephanie
decided her best option was to try the office. That’s where Siobahn
said Uncle Liam would hold Michael, while the rest of the trap for their
enemies was sprung. Stephanie felt she had nothing to fear from her
Uncle, but she knew he would be enraged with Michael. Her only hope
was that she could talk him out of killing Michael and letting them go
somewhere far away.
Stephanie shook as she opened the door and walked into the small cluttered office.
“No! Stephanie get out!” shouted Michael, unable to believe his eyes as she opened the door.
“No, Michael. Uncle Liam, you have to let him go. He’s my husband, please,” she begged.
“He’s your traitorous husband, and that makes you one as well, my girl.” Without further adieu, Fogherty fired one sure shot into his niece’s chest, and before Stephanie could hit the ground, turned the gun toward Michael. Shots rang. Fogherty looked surprised, as Nikita dropped, rolled and emptied her 9mm into his body.
Nikita cut the bonds on a stricken Michael. He staggered to Stephanie’s body and knelt beside it. He gathered her limp form into his arms and whispered, “I’m so sorry. So sorry. This wasn’t supposed to happen. You were supposed to take your mother out to dinner.” Tears began to fall as he rocked and hugged her dead body.
Nikita knelt beside Michael and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Come on, Michael, you can’t help her now. It’s over.”
Indeed, it was over, for the firing had ceased. “Birkoff, what’s going on?” Nikita asked.
“The arms are secured, and we have the remaining EF members in custody,” was Birkoff’s reassuring reply. “What about Michael?”
Nikita cleared her throat as she answered, “Michael’s safe, Fogherty and Michael’s wife are dead.”
“Oh, god, not again,” was Birkoff’s soft reply.
Tip Wellsley entered the office and stopped as he saw Michael cradling his wife’s body and Nikita as she knelt beside them.
Nikita rose and motioned with her head that she wanted to talk. “We’ve go to do something. Michael’s son is home with his grandmother. Someone has to tell them what happened, and we can’t just leave ‘her’ here for housekeeping.”
“This does present a problem, Nikita. Birkoff,” Wellsley said into his comm set, “Get me Operations now.”
Michael sat in his darkened office contemplating the never-ending guilt
that washed through his mind. He counted the lives he had maimed
or destroyed: Simone, Rene Dian, Stephanie and Sean. While
he had never loved Stephanie with his heart, she had been a good mother
to Sean and didn’t deserve to end her life lying on the floor of a dismal
office with a bullet in her chest. Sean didn’t deserve to lose his
mother at the age of four. Madeline had assured him that Sean and
his Grandmother Moira had been relocated to a neutral and safe location.
He wondered if Moira would be able to exist away from her other six children
and grandchildren, and if Sean would ever be truly safe from the vengeance
of Eire Fein.
An attractive woman came to the door, her eyes ringed with red. It was obvious that she had been crying. Nikita could see Michael’s son as he lay asleep on the living room sofa.
Stephanie’s mother gasped as she saw the black-clad Nikita. “What? Where’s my daughter? Michael?”
Nikita attempted to lead her to a chair and began gently, “Perhaps, you’d better sit down. I have very bad news.”
At these words, Moira sagged to the floor and began to keen and wail, “No, oh no.”
“Shh, you’ll wake the child,” Nikita said in a soft voice. That seemed to have an effect, because Moira began to sob quietly.
“Stephanie and Michael are both dead. Your brother Liam Fogherty is too. I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, but you and the child are both in danger as well. The organization I work for is going to relocate you to a safe house until you can be relocated permanently. You will not be able to contact the rest of your family ever. Do you understand me?”
“My family--I-I can’t see them again?” Moira stammered.
“It’s for your own protection. You will be considered traitors to your brother’s cause, and others will try to kill you and Michael’s child.”
Moira looked at the blonde woman in front of her. “I do understand. Thank you. What is your name? Who do you work for? Can you tell me that?”
Nikita said, “I’m Nikita. That’s all I can tell you.”
“Nikita? Nikita? That’s the name my daughter said Michael used to say in his sleep. Get out of here! I don’t care who you are, or who you work for. You’re responsible for my daughter’s death. You and Michael! Is he even dead?” she asked with a venomous tone.
“Yes, he is.”
“Get out! I’m not going anywhere!” Moira shouted.
As Moira’s voice grew louder, Sean began to stir. “Mommy? Daddy?” he asked as he rubbed his eyes.
Immediately, the living room was filled with four Section One operatives.
Nikita’s eyes began to fill with tears, “I’m outta here.” she said as she
ran from the house, and she could hear Wellsley say, “Will you come with
us please.” A plaintive “Mommy, Daddy” would echo in her nightmares
for months to come.
Madeline and Operations were sharing one of their breakfasts during which they reviewed ongoing missions and future operations. Madeline took delicate sips from her tea, as Operations inhaled his cup of dark roast coffee.
“Well, it certainly looks like the Eire Fein mission was very successful. We disrupted a major general attack, and Michael is through with his deep cover assignment.”
“Yes, everything went as planned. The .WAV file that Birkoff generated, to warn Stephanie of Michael’s danger was brilliant. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it,” Madeline offered with a smile.
“And Michael, how is he now that this assignment is completed? Was he in love with his wife?” Operations asked.
“I don’t think so. There was a bond, of course. Michael always reported that their intimate relations were quite satisfactory, even passionate. There is the child, of course. That is what troubles me. At some point, I think Michael will try to find him.”
“Well, we won’t let him find him, will we?” Operations said with a definitive coldness.
“The location of Michael’s son and the child’s grandmother are not
in any computer system. You and I are the only ones who know
where they are,” Madeline said with a small smile.
Nikita walked into Michael’s dark office. He had not responded to her knock, but she knew he was there. He looked at her with blank eyes and said, “Go away, Nikita.”
“No, Michael. I’m not going anywhere.” With a silent glance she told him to activate his scrambling device.
“Nikita, please, go,” his voice pleaded, but he reached for the panel and punched in the numbers that would secure the office from other eyes and ears.
“I can’t go into this now, Nikita. What I said to you as I carried you to Medical was true, every word, but things have changed. I have changed. Everyone that I care about is destroyed. I won’t do that to you.”
Nikita leaned forward until her face was only inches from Michael’s. “You don’t understand. I don’t care what you said. You led me on for years. You said things to me you had no right to say. I’m sorrier than I can say about your wife, but you deserve everything that’s happened, Michael. You deserve the hell that you are experiencing.”
“I know,” he whispered.
“I will never trust you again. I never want to see you again outside this hell hole. Don’t ever speak to me again, unless it’s mission related. Do you understand?”
Nikita left him to the darkness of his soul. The light, however brief,
was nearly extinguished. Only one tiny flicker of hope still wrestled
in his mind. His son Sean was somewhere safe, and he would find him
and together they would flee the covert world.
In a two-bedroom condominium in Phoenix, Arizona, Moira sat and cradled Sean in her arms as she whispered the daily litany that would become his own in time. “Your Daddy was an evil man. He killed your Mommy. He was truly evil. He never loved you.”
A clinging Sean snubbed his baby tears as he wrapped his arms around her neck. “Nana, aren’t Mommy and Daddy ever coming back?”
“No, Sean. Your Daddy killed your Mommy. He was very, very bad.”
“But I love my Mommy and Daddy. I want them now,” he wailed.