IN THE WAY

A Chilly, Fulu, and Chuckie side mission fiction:

Pamela Meiclore Cabrella did not realize that she would be late for work until she got snarled in traffic just twenty minutes away from her office. She saw that there was a procession going on with so many people walking along and the cars that accompanied them moving in a slow pace. She swore under her breath. A procession on a main road? She clicked her car radio open. “…and be careful on Matiga Avenue today! It’s President Eran’s birthday motorcade right now, and it’s one hell of a ride,” the DJ announced, his voice slightly metallic from the slight static as the dial was not as precise in the station number.

Tangina! Fuck your birthday, Eran! And fuck your motorcade!” Pamela swore again, out loud this time. After that rant, she took a deep breath and tried to look for a way out. She was about to be late, and she couldn’t afford to be any later. Seeing a McDougal’s branch by her left, she smiled. She eased her way into the parking lot of the fast food joint and looked for an empty space. After a few moments — there! A bit further back from the main road, but she made a beeline for it and parked quickly. As soon as she turned the engine off, she grabbed her satchel, her phone, and climbed out of the car.

She walked along Matiga Avenue to her office, her high-heeled steps tak-taking hurriedly along the concrete ground. She tapped the screen of her phone and spoke, “Hello, Maby? I’m almost there. Stupid traffic kasi eh. Tell the client that I’ll be late at most ten. Give them coffee. I think we still have some cupcakes left in the fridge. Any other problems there? Okay. Prep the materials, I’ll be there soon.” She did not look at the motorcade moving its way down the avenue. Other people did, with their rubbing-necking and swaying to see the cars better. Despite her hurried pace, there was an excited tension in the air. The buzz from the onlookers grazed her ears like insects hovering around her head. “Usiseros,” she muttered.

She made her way to the footbridge where in just nearly ten minutes more, she would have reached her building. As she reached the middle of the footbridge, there was a growing cry of excitement. President Eran was in the last car! The top was open, and he was waving to the crowd as bodyguards flocked his side. Other attendants in the car threw coins and candy at the crowd, who gamely scrambled to grab them from midair or on the ground. She turned to see that the President was just a few meters away – a perfect sight as she saw him clearly.

“Fine,” she said with a faint grin as she took out her phone. “At least I have something to show later. It’ll be a nice story for the clients.” She pointed the phone’s camera at President Eran, and the screen showed him continuing to wave at the crowd.

Pamela Meiclore Cabrella did not realize that she would never arrive for work as a rifle bullet pierced the back of her skull, exited through the bridge of her nose, and went through the camera phone. She tipped forward, her upper face destroyed even as the bullet went straight through President Eran’s heart and out his back. Both man and woman fell – Pamela on the road less than ten feet below, President Eran on the back of the car. There were screams and shrieks all around as pandemonium ensued. Some of the bodyguards cradled the President and tried to revive him as others radioed for help. The crowd became a stampede, further hindering the car’s attempt to drive quickly. More shrieks erupted when some saw Pamela’s body, crumpled and bloody, on the middle of the road.

On top of a building, a couple hundred meters away, a figure was quickly disassembling a peculiar-looking rifle. Peculiar as it looked to be white and waxy in color, not the black, sleek metallic sheen of the usual weapon. Breaking it into several pieces, the figure piled these together. The figure then removed the black garment worn and revealed smooth arms and slightly-developed breasts – a female. This female then proceeded to remove her pants as well. Nearly naked but for her undergarments, she placed the clothing on top of the pile. She reached over several places in the fabric and soft cracks could be heard. As soon as the cracks sounded, white smoke wafted into the air. She then stood, watching the fabric slowly burn and melt the gun underneath. In just an hour, the rifle will be turned into a waxy mush, the fabric will become dry and brittle and blow into the wind. The current breeze ruffled the woman’s hair as she idly watched the black pile burn in its endothermic heat.

Fulu?” the right stud earring she wore crackled with Chilly’s voice. “Let’s get out of here.

Though her Handler wasn’t around, she nodded. Unconscious with her near-nakedness, she walked to the back of the building, where the fire exit steps were located. She went down a couple of stories, her head turning at the sides frequently to make sure that there was no one around, then paused at an open window. Feet first, she squeezed in, her body twisting slightly to make herself fit and dropped into a restroom cubicle. She picked up a bag near the toilet seat and pulled out some clothes, donning them quickly but quietly. Now dressed in a janitress uniform, she walked out of the cubicle, opened the locked door, and removed the “Out of Order” sign.

When Fulu turned, Chilly was already there in a similar uniform, standing quietly at the door. Chilly nodded and the two of them went into another fire exit. Their steps echoed as they went down, yet their eyes darted this way and that to look for anyone else that might be in the same stairwell as they. Several times, Chilly had to stop with a hand upraised, turning her head slightly to listen further. As soon as there was no danger, they continued on.

As soon as they reached the fifth floor, Chilly opened the door to the main hallway. She peeked to see if anyone was around. Seeing no one, she and Fulu made their way to one of the rooms. Three short knocks on the door later, it opened and they filed in.

“Open that bag, Chuckie,” Chilly turned to the young man, who held a small tablet in his hands. Chuckie quickly complied, taking a brown leather satchel bag and loosening the strings to open it. As he did so, Chilly and Fulu removed their uniforms and dumped them in it. Chuckie prudently closed his eyes and turned away as they changed into more casual clothing: blouses, a pair of pants for Fulu, a short skirt for Chilly, flats for the both of them. Chuckie hitched the bag behind him like a backpack and waited till they finished, his hands still on the tablet.

“Nothing, Chuckie?” Chilly asked. Chuckie shook his head, his eyes still closed. “We were lucky. The CCTV cameras in the hallway in this floor are busted. Still, I had to make sure and redirect the feed. We’re clean.”

“Good,” Chilly said, sighing. She then glanced at the two youngsters looking at her expectantly. “Well! Now that’s done, why don’t we get some ice cream?”

Chuckie blinked. “Huh—what? Ice cream? We need to get back,” he protested. Fulu remained quiet and impassive. “Of course, we will. After we get ice cream,” Chilly insisted. “I’ve been craving for it since last night. I want ice cream. Let’s go.” She nodded to the tablet he held. “Make sure that there are no traces of us here.” Chuckie shrugged and began tapping at the tablet screen. “Sure thing,” he said.

Minutes later, they were already out of the building through the back. The people that were supposed to be downstairs were gathered at the front, looking at the crowd as it still was chaotic. Chilly smiled. “Usiseros,” she said, “always interesting organisms, aren’t they? Such people always like to look at something so interesting, yet gruesome at the same time.” She took Fulu’s hand and glanced at them. “Now, let’s have a stroll, shall we?”

The crowd ignored them, intent on either running away from the scene or towards it. The car that had the President had already long gone, but Pamela’s body was still on the ground. The police that were there were too few and tried to bring order to the chaos, shouting contradictory orders to each other and the people around them. The team merely glanced at the people, but hurried on.

A short queue to a counter in a nearby McDougal’s branch and three orders of ice cream later, the group was quietly ensconced in one corner of the fast food restaurant. Chilly sighed and smiled while eating. “Strawberry bits heaven!” she cried and took another bite. She looked at Chuckie, who was looking at his cup. “What’s wrong? I thought you liked chocolate.”

“I do,” he said. His eyes had the look of a boy waiting to be scolded. “But won’t the Director be waiting for us and demanding where we were?”

Chilly patted the young man’s cheek. “Do you have any reason to believe that we’ll be in trouble? Do you think you missed something?” 

Chuckie shook his head. “I never miss!” he said, “I checked all the satellites and telecomm waves – no one saw Fulu. I double-checked!” Chilly smiled.

“Then you have nothing to fear,” she said. “Consider this as a reward. It’s the little things in life, Chuckie. Remember that. Look at Fulu. She’s eating her ice cream with no fuss!” Fulu was quietly eating her vanilla cup.

“There’s nothing about her to fuss,” Chuckie said petulantly. However, he picked up his ice cream and began eating. As they ate, Fulu looked up. They were seated near tall glass windows, and she could see the parking lot. There, at the furthest corner of the parking area, was a lone car.

“Fulu?” Fulu turned to Chilly’s voice. “Something wrong, love?” Fulu shook her head and dipped her spoon into her dessert again. Chilly cupped her chin in her hands and regarded her assassin. She spoke softly to her. “But you know, love? That was quite a bold move. You also killed a civilian just to get to your target.”

Fulu paused, her spoon midway to her mouth. She looked at Chilly. “She was in the way,” was her simple answer, then ate again.

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