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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Treize Khushrenada on Thu Nov 23, 2006 6:56 pm

Treize could barely breathe in the cigarette smoke-filled room. The long oak table extended before him where he stood, his back to the closed door, and the faces of the thirteen men seated along it were shrouded, where not in the smoke that flowed from some of them with each exhale, in shadow cast from the dim lamps set in all four corners of the room. He swallowed hard, feeling his Adam’s apple rub against the stiff collar of his old blue uniform, which these occasions forced him to wear. That oceanic gaze, turbulent now with anxiety, passed over each man in his black suit, almost as though they were mocking his discomfort.

“Mr. Khushrenada,” someone spoke. He wasn’t ever sure who was doing the talking. “Things have gotten far out of hand. I’m sure you would agree with that. A simple look around the world today would reveal a dystopia far from what you were placed in your position to instill. Must we remind you of your responsibilities?”

“It would seem that your own personal interests are getting in the way of your efficiency,” began another. This time Treize could see who it was: the man who he had been told to refer to as Mr. Nine. Each of the men in the meeting room had given him a number, from zero to twelve, to call them by. It was the policy of the Organization, and was but one of the blatant signs of the importance they placed in secrecy. He had his suspicions on who some of these people were, and no doubt they all held the highest positions from their designated countries, but there was no way to be sure, and to make such an accusation would mean his exile from any sort of liaison with the group, or worse.

“I assure you,” Treize breathed deeply as he paused for a moment. “I am just as capable of carrying out my assignments as I was when you gave this position to me. Everything will be under control again, in a matter of time.” The man at the head of the table, Mr. Zero, snubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray set before him.

“The Luxembourg City disaster was completely your fault. From that failure alone we have substantial reason to… reprimand you. But out of the general good nature in the group, we have decided to give you the opportunity to redeem yourself.” There was a dull murmur of chuckling from those assembled.

“In any way possible, sir,” Treize nodded, biting back the contempt for these people that surged up within.

“Your responsibility has always been to maintain a level of order in the developed nations through whatever means necessary,” chimed in Mr. Four. “And from your performance in Luxembourg we can see that your skills are in need of further assessment. What’s more, you seem to have some sort of relationship with the terrorist group your have been deployed to quell.”

“Old enemies,” Treize answered the unspoken question promptly, shifting his stance slightly to one a fraction of a bit more comfortable. “They have an unreasonable hatred of me for my actions in Metro City, and Wing City more recently.”

“Understandable,” Mr. Three took the floor. “It has been decided that your assessment will be quite simple, and will parallel the normal assignment you would have been given in such a situation as this one. You will eliminate the terrorist force. You will be given any resources you require, but the force must be destroyed entirely. Anyone involved or linked to it must be stamped out. We will have no further interference in our plans, when things are suddenly so ripe.”

“Of course, sir,” Treize nodded again. The procedure and decorum of these meeting were so tedious and nerve-wracking. After seven years of visiting this dimly lit room he began to dread every appointment with a similar sensation to ice cubes filling his stomach.

“And one more thing.” It was Mr. Zero again. “We have had reports that the former Organization member known as Zechs Merquise has returned to you. Is there any truth in this?”

Treize took a few moments in silence, perhaps more than he should have. “No,” he finally answered, firmly.

“And it is understood that, if said ex-member should reveal his location to you that you immediately contact Organization headquarters?”

“Yes,” another firm reply was given as he was bolstered by his resolve. Mr. Zero caught his eye, an almost ominous connection lingering there for a moment. Bastard, Treize spoke silently. But it doesn’t matter what you know.

“You are free to go.” The door behind him opened immediately and he turned, heading through it. Frozen suddenly on the threshold, however, he almost turned back. He wanted to say something. He wanted to yell or scream. He wanted to make it clear how much this room of thirteen men had ruined his life. He wanted to take an ashtray off the table and hurl it across, nailing Mr. Zero right between the eyes.

But instead he continued out, leaving the room behind him. If there was any truth to gods in the world, those men were them. And if he had learned anything from his studies of Greek tragedy, it was that one never insulted the gods.

He had an assignment, in any case. It was best that he wasted no time getting to it.

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Treize Khushrenada
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Member for 13 years
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