Madeline turned to see Sarah standing triumphantly with a smoking gun in hand. "Sheís dying Sarah."
"I know. You will be joining her very soon." She took aim at Madeline.
"Please Sarah. I donít want her to die."
"So you would rather take my life instead?"
"No I donít want to do that." Madelineís voice was calm and soothing. "I want to help you."
Sarahís face grew red with anger. "How are you going to help me? By taking me back to that hell!"
"No, no I donít want to do that. I know what youíve gone through, I donít want to do that to you again."
"What do you know about what Iíve gone through! You know nothing about it!"
Madeline gave a small laugh. "Oh I know about the M9 project all right."
"Weíre you part of it?" Sarah was growing curious. She put the gun down.
"You could say that yes. Put the gun down and we can talk."
"Why should I trust you?" She asked. "For all I know you were one of the people who did this to me."
"You can trust me because I want Nikita to live." Madeline put her attention back on Nikita.
"Why do you care so much about her?"
"Because she is a good person. She has the humanity and compassion that we never had."
"Very well." Madeline could see tears welling up in her eyes. "But I canít
go back there! Iíll die before that happens!"
Nikita awoke with a face full of mud. It was in her mouth and eyes. All she could remember was pain. A pain that was still with her. Nearby she could hear voices talking. But she couldnít make out what they were saying.
She turned her head to see what was going on. Standing next to her was Madeline. She was speaking to Sarah who seemed to be crying.
They hugged each other then Sarah ran off into the woods. The next thing she knew there was the sound of an explosion. It was the cabin they had been trapped in. But Sarah hadnít gone in that direction. She had gone the other way.
Nikita tried to speak. To ask Madeline what was going on. All that came out of her was a grunt.
"Come on Nikita we have to go." Madeline picked Nikita up and carried her
"How is she doing?" Michael stood next to the bed where Nikita lay. Madeline was next to him staring intently at her.
"Sheíll be fine." Madeline said. "Sheíll need to rest for a while but she will live."
"Nikita is lucky." Michael said softly. "Sarah took out three of my men from the rescue team. I barely made it out alive."
"She would have gotten you too if she really wanted to." Madeline stared coldly into his eyes. "Youíre the lucky one."
They both turned their attention to Nikita as she rustled in bed. Slowly she opened her eyes as if it hurt to even lift her eyelids. She looked up at both of them and smiled.
"Michael," her voice was harsh and tired. "could you leave us alone for a moment. I need to talk to Madeline."
Michael gazed at her for a moment then nodded his head. "Of course."
When Michael was out of earshot Madeline got closer to the bed. "How are you doing?"
"As well as could be expected." Nikita looked angelic against the white bedclothes and sheets. "What happened?"
"Well something came over Sarah and she went back to the cabin. It exploded soon after. Iím assuming she killed herself."
"But IÖ" Nikita knew she saw Sarah run away from the cabin.
"Nikita." Madeline grabbed her hand for emphasis. "Sarah is dead. She went into the cabin and was killed."
She understood what was going on. For some reason Madeline was protecting Sarah. If Section thought she was dead then no one would be looking for her anymore.
"Why?" That seemed to be a question Nikita asked a lot since joining section.
"You donít want to know."
"I do!" She tried to sit up in bed but winced and fell back when the pain erupted through her. "I need to know Madeline. You can give me at least that."
"Very well." Madelines face softened all of a sudden. "But no one knows this. Not even Operations."
"Go on." Nikita urged.
"Sarah is exactly like me when I was her age. Given I put myself in that situation, and she was taken forcefully. I didnít want her to go through what I did. I couldnít save myself. I had to save her."
"Are you telling me that you were part of the M9 project?"
"Yes that is what I am telling you." Madeline closed her eyes and pushed back the tears that started to flow suddenly. "After I killed my sister I was taken and put in the project. I was the first successful graduate of the project. And I had thought the last. Until SarahÖ"
Nikitaís mind was reeling at what she had just learned. She understood Madeline much better now. She almost pitied her. But it was hard to pity someone that was so cold and almost evil.
"What is she going to do now?" Nikita asked. "Sarah is just a girl."
"She will survive. Right now she is going to find her parents." Madeline's thoughts went to the girl and envied the life she was going to have.
"Do you think she will find them?"
"Why is that?"
Madeline turned cold again. Returning to the same woman Nikita had known for so long in section. "Theyíre dead"