O4's Summit

From: O5-9
To: D. Asheworth, M. Cornwell, E. MacCarthy Jr., J. Micheals, J. Rivera (Group)
Subject: Promotion to Level 4 Clearance
Date: 01/05/1985

Due to the currently ongoing failure of SCiPNet databases as well as the uncertainty of the next move of Damien Nowak, it has been decided that Site-120 needs a new ruling hand, which, following MacCarthy's death, it had lacked for too long now. As such, it has been decided that the five of you are going to act as the ruling organ for Site-120 in exchange for the regular one-manned Site Director office usually expected. Additionally, Jeremy Cornwell will now act as the chief of Site-120's security.

Due to the currently ongoing situation with Nowak, a special gathering of the O4 Council has been called — as the weight of the situation has drastically increased with the paralyzation of most of the European facilities' servers and the lack of knowledge about Nowak's next move, we need to defeat him while we still have a chance.

We are of course aware of the unfortunate situation of Dr. MacCarthy Jr. and his currently comatose state — as such, his attendance is not requested so that he can fully come back to health. Additionally, as Site-120 still needs someone to look over it whilst you will be gone, Dr. Cornwell will stay on-Site to ensure everything is properly governed during that time. Your attendance is requested and required.

1st of May, 1985

Central Europe Regional Command Headquarters, 25 kilometers south of Sopot, Poland

Inhale, exhale.

As Daniel Asheworth entered through onto the other side of the Way, he felt the familiar portal-induced panic. Human perception wasn't exactly the biggest fan of fucking around with its cognition, and with portals being as much of a violation of that rule as practically possible, the natural reaction of feeling like "the entire fucking world is ending around you and your brain is dying" for a moment after usage was expected. Even after all the time he spent at Ontokinetics and the space-time fuckery they had going on, he never got used to that.

With vision and all of cognition relatively stabled down, he realized that he no longer was within Site-120's Grand Library. What replaced that view was a young white tall man with curly brown hair and a Foundation badge he couldn't quite read. They were standing within a corridor so clean and white he could practically see his own reflection within the walls, despite all normal Foundation Site markings present.

Paul Lague, Site-322 Director.

For a split second, Asheworth's heart stopped beating as the following words appeared above the other man.

"How the hell—" he said, looking at the white letters above, apparently, Lague's head.

"Wh— oh. That," Lague replied, slowly walking towards Site-120's representative. "No idea. Some sort of Thaumiel from what I've been told. Level 5 Classified and all of that. The idea is you can see other people's names and positions above their heads. Pretty handy, eh?"

Daniel Asheworth, Site-120 Director Council chairman.

As Asheworth looked at the white letters above him, reflected in the walls, a door opened, seemingly blending within the rest of the room. The pearl-white of the walls split, revealing a long corridor, leading towards a room he could not fully see from there.

Ilse Reynders, Temporal Anomalies Department.

Another one, this time coming from within the newly found corridor itself. The white letters revealed more and more of what looked like a red-haired woman, piercing through into Asheworth's brain with her sharp eyes from behind a pair of glasses.

"Oh, you're finally here," the figure spoke, looking at both men. "Later than usual."

"Are Rivera and Micheals here already?" Asheworth asked, rubbing his still adjusting eyes.

"They are. For a while now, and, may I add, earlier than in most versions, but that's beside the point — the point being that you should come in." She looked at her flickering stopwatch, visibly bearing the Delta T insignia. "Trotye's been shouting at your incompetency for way too long now." Ilse said, chuckling quietly.

"Who the hell is Trotye…?"

She rolled her eyes. "Happens all the time. Confusion is expected and quite natural I'd say, even if a little cliché," the voice down the corridor said almost silently, looking at Asheworth once more. "Welcome to O4."

It was not going to be an easy day.

* * *

As the corridor was suddenly filled with almost blinding, static light, the milk-white walls opened again, this time to reveal an extremely large, windowless room. Despite the brightness of the area, Asheworth's eyes quickly made sense of what was they were seeing: a room consisting of a giant table, hollow on the inside, and surrounded by chairs filled with unknown faces.


A lot of unknown faces.

Inhale, exhale.

With Asheworth stepping forward into the conference room, in between the twenty-meter hollow gap between the edges of the table, a holographic map suddenly appeared. Despite not being quite able to see what it was a map of due to the distance, the thaumaturge could very much make out an elderly man in a lab coat moving its elements around.

Each step that got Asheworth closer to the table in the middle revealed more and more faces he had simply never met before — he supposed he couldn't say the same for his colleagues, however. Though exactly one seat was empty, waiting for his presence, the two between which it was located definitely weren't, with two people he quickly recognized as Micheals and Rivera sitting atop them. Both were talking to a person he definitely did not know.

Nathan Valis, IT Department Representative.

"Yes, she'll get sent to you soon. They even gave her a name," the man with neck-long hair chuckled. "Ra. Ra.aic. You know, after Raia Micheals?" He paused for a moment. "Anyhow, you'll most likely hear from AIAD imminently."

As Asheworth approached the three, the IT technician finally noticed him. "Well, looks like he finally arrived. Won't be taking any longer," he said, backing away from the table towards some point in the background. "See you."

The thaumaturge sighed, picking the chair and sitting atop it. He looked around the room again, trying to identify even a single face among the endless crowd of strangers. Despite his best efforts, the only ones he could recognize were that of that two men he had met before and his co-workers. Among the hundreds of faces of lizard people, androids, and mad scientists, he felt lost. Alone, in a room of couple-hundred people. Ironic.

"Now that everyone's here, let's finally proceed, shall we?" a loud voice filled the hall from the far end of the room.

Samara Maclear, Psionics specialist.

A young woman with long, blonde hair stoop up from her chair. She rolled her eyes almost unnoticably, looking at one of the corners of the room, curiously as if she saw something no one else did. Asheworth would have asked, but if he'd learned one thing from his time at the Foundation, it was to not interest himself in things he was not asked to.

"So, as we all know, the situation's… less than ideal, to say the least. SCiPNet's fucked and so is command of all-stuff-Poland," she paused for a moment, blinking three times in a row. "Let's just say this straight — we have utterly no idea how the facts connect, and I'll have to say them out here with no coloring for anyone who has any idea of what to do."

"So, to begin. There's a metaphysical ritual circle over the entirety of Poland, with the one in 5936 apparently being the first "seal." We know for a fact that the locations on the map do not correlate to the actual locations of required ritual sites. Pretty much any five specific rituals conducted by someone with a binding to the rest of the ritual would unlock one of them." Finishing the sentence, she swung with her hands atop a panel Asheworth couldn't quite see, activating the map in the middle. With a few flickers, the projector quickly turned itself on, revealing a circular map of the circle encompassing all of Poland. "What would happen if all five would go out, we do not know."

With a snap of her fingers, the map quickly changed its picture, making the previous image disappear. In its place, a map of a large, circular holograph of numerous underground tunnels quickly came up, all connecting in the middle of the map, near which a circular room was located.

"One-twenty informed us about two of their project leads disappearing in a place located underneath Nowa Oleszna, with its materials not coming from our planet." She stopped, and Asheworth's heart started pumping quicker than usual; he still remembered that day with each detail, for better or for worse. "Not a single extraterrestrial anomaly in Poland in the last one hundred and fifty years, yet that exists there."

The woman shook her head as her eyes glowed for a bit, snapping out of the trance almost immediately. Though it was clear it wasn't a pleasant experience, it didn't stop her from clicking a button on her desk and changing the map once again. This time, it showed a city, filled with numerous houses, walls, and buildings, all stacked atop each other in weird fashions.

"And then…" she said. "…there's Esterberg. I won't lie, especially since that worries me the—"

"A-apologies for the intrusion, miss," the youngest voice of the meeting said, revealing a young face with glasses and brown hair. "But… what's an Esterberg?"

Arthur Lennex, Junior Researcher.

Samara sighed, furrowing her brows a little too much. As she looked at the person asking however, the anger left, turning her expression into a more neutral face. That didn't mean the anger had entirely gone, no — instead, she directed that frustration at the man sitting near her.

"That is exactly why I told you multiple times to not put this information under Level 4 Clearance, for god's sake," she said, slightly angrily looking at a middle-aged scientist sitting by her. The man looked in frustration back at her, as if they had had this argument multiple times before.

Researcher Calvin, Site-48, Anomaly Interaction Specialist.

"And I told you we cannot threaten the lives of—" Calvin tried to say, only to be cut off by Maclear.

"We're not having this conversation now."

Samara paused for a moment, gathering her thoughts again.

"Anyways, to answer your question — in a way I'm allowed to without breaking any protocols, I mean — Esterberg is a Fae Free Port located within a pocket dimension entirely in Częstochowa. One-twenty's the one monitoring most of it." So that was one of the "important" files Asheworth got when he got promoted. Probably should have read them, but it was too late for that anyway. "And within that Free Port, we detected one of the ritual sites in which Nowak plans to use his gathered army to do something — presumably to bring one more seal open to his grand ritual, I suppose." She pulled a new map again, this time to show a figure Asheworth knew more about than he wanted to — Damien Nowak, the cult leader they'd been chasing for a while now. "And then," she said. "There's Nowak himself. We have intel from… let's say, sources that never are wrong," she said, with her eyes slightly flickering for a moment, "that he'll be in Esterberg in the next couple of days, and, well, if he does that, he'll probably do something to activate the next seal there. So if we don't intervene, we… well, to put it simply, we'll be fucked."

As she stopped speaking, the room was suddenly filled with utter silence. For a reason not specified, no one dared to speak a word, as if everyone was trying to piece the puzzle together.

Though this state lasted for more than felt comfortable, it was quickly broken by an older voice coming from Asheworth's far left.

"So… what seems to be the issue, then?"

Vodi Lababidi, Site-42, Containment Specialist.

The new voice joining the discussion quickly gained a face, be it one tired more than it reasonably should have, The researcher put xer head into one of xer long arms and yawned, visibly frustrating Maclear.

"Free Ports are protected by international law, meaning we physically cannot attack them."

"Not unless we want all of GOC on our asses at least," Calvin added, scratching his back.

"Wouldn't that be… pardoned, to say it straight?" Site-42's representative said, moving xer head a little bit. Asheworth could swear he saw a pair of cat ears atop it, though that thought disappeared as quickly as it showed up. "I mean, we would be working in defense of anomalies living within, and—"

"Look, no. It just doesn't work like that," Samara said, putting her hands together. "The GOC doesn't care about the motives — what matters is that we interacted with a space we weren't supposed to ever touch," she sighed, looking around. "And that brings us to today." she paused for a moment. "I'll just put it as straight as I can — what the fuck do we do?"

As chatter immediately exploded among the hundreds of faces present in the room, they were all suddenly silenced as a middle-aged American stood up from his position, with a judgmental look in his face.

William Trotye, Site-73 Director.

"Can't we just… send a couple of MTF units in? I mean, if we properly disguise them, nothing should be a problem, right?" he said, backing his hip with his right hand.

"That… that is something to think about, I agree," the leading speaker said, looking at Trotye. "I know that these thirty years in MTF experience are, well, experienced, but I can't just send people to an almost certain death. Not when there's no telling what Nowak's legion of shapeshifters are planning on doing. For all we know, it might as well be a trap to lure us and later use the opening we would offer that way." She took a quick breath in, blinking three times again. "But that is a suggestion we can go off of, so I don't think it's a total waste, no."

"Fair enough," the rough-faced former MTF operative said, sitting down again.

"Any other suggestions?"

"Is there any information about if Esterberg possesses any sort of internet structure? Or anything even similar, for that record?"

Pierre Dagon, General AIAD Director.

Another person, this time from near Samara. The programmer scratched his back with a hand that appeared to be somewhat mechanical at parts, though still remained mostly human.

"Should it have one, we would be able to relocate a couple of our newly developed programs into—"

"One — it doesn't. Two — even if it had one, AIAD still doesn't have enough well-made programs to even attempt to do anything. In ten years, maybe. Now — no." Both parties sighed silently, though the new voice was visibly slightly frustrated that a project it seemingly cared about a lot had been shot down.

"Anything else?" Samara said again, trying to find a solution, though failing to, even among so many of the Foundation's brilliant minds.

As silence filled the room, the sheer amount of tension present within it was to be felt in the air. Despite it, no one spoke a word for what felt like literal centuries.

"But… what if we just… raid it and get Nowak to justice?" the oldest voice yet said, coming from an elderly woman sitting two seats away from Asheworth. "I mean, fuck, if we just send three disguised squads to get a literal war criminal from it, no one will know, neither will anyone care, right?"

Laura Knight, Site-96 Director.

Though Knight didn't appear to be particularly happy about being there, looking like the most bored person Asheworth had ever seen, he couldn't say she didn't have a good point.

"What?" Maclear replied in the only way she found possible. "How would literally breaking an international GOC law help us in any way?"

Knight sighed. "Look, here's the thing — I know all of you newbies are big on adhering to every rule there is, but that's not how it works, sweethearts. I've been in this business longer than most of you had been alive, and trust me, as long as the GOC is happy, we good." She paused for a moment. "In practice that means we can do anything as long as we don't majorly fuck up. And if the gathering of Level 4s can't think of a stealth way to send twelve people into a magic city to retrieve one person, then Jesus Christ are we fucked already."

Silence filled the Summit, for a third time this evening. Not even Maclear spoke.

"So, here's my proposal — we send a couple of MTF squads into Esterberg, they get Nowak, done. Nothing more. We'll think of the details if we agree it's the right course. If we do it well, no one aside from him will get hurt."

The entire room suddenly exploded with numerous voices, each attempting to say something — almost four-hundred people, every one with an opinion to share and a proposal to put forward. Though the sheer chaos it created was like nothing Asheworth had ever seen before, the—

Everyone's attention got suddenly changed to Samara, who simply stood up from her place. Though Asheworth was too far away to be sure, he could swear her eyes were entirely white with nonexistent wind flowing through her hair for a moment. She angrily looked around, holding her head with her hands, sitting down as quickly as she stood up. She sighed, cracked her fingers, looked around the room, and crossed her hands. "I, Samara Maclear, as the moderator of this gathering as directed by O5-9, hereby wish to put this proposal to further discussion."

The entire population of the room started shouting over each other again, though this time much less loudly than before.

"Laura Knight's plan will be put to a vote as ordered by the previously mentioned Overseer," she said, with her tone getting slightly higher. "However, to make sure no one in this room is under the influence of any negative emotions during such a vote, I hereby order an official thirty-minute break to happen. You are free to wander this building's guest premises for the remainder of that time." Finishing her speech, Maclear stood up and left the table, heading for one of the exits from the room. Many soon followed, leaving only a few within the hall.

And as Asheworth remained almost alone, with almost everyone now gone, he noticed a single person in a red suit and fedora standing near the wall left to him which he hadn't noticed notice before. Starting to head towards the nearest exit with his co-Site Directors, he suddenly felt a feeling of dread as he looked the man into the eyes. He sped up his walk.


And for a moment before Asheworth left the room, he could swear he saw the man grin.

* * *

"So, what did you want to talk with me about?"

As the trio of the newly-appointed Site-120 Directors entered Regional Command's massive, white-clean cafeteria, Asheworth sat down one of its tables with a cup of coffee he'd picked up on his way there. He didn't even like coffee, but some sort of automatic reaction within him wanted to take off his mind from the man in the red suit for a moment. It had been almost twenty minutes, but the figure still drooled inside his mind for a reason he couldn't explain.

"I… I think I'm going insane," he said, looking at a woman next to him. Rivera had been through a lot with him, especially recently, but… even then, he felt weird. He felt alone, paranoid, and scared, despite being in one of the best-guarded buildings the Foundation had to offer. "I… it's hard to explain, but I can't get Nowak and his… things out of my head. Not after what they did to MacCarthy."

Rivera sighed, taking her seat next to him. "Look, I… I know it's hard. I know. It's not easy for me either. But we gotta move on, alright?" she said, looking around the giant room. "MacCarthy will recover, and we will get Nowak to justice. I swear it to you."

"I… I hope."

As they both sat in silence, the third Site Director suddenly remembered he was also there, and probably should do something.

"So, uh, h-how will you two vote?" Micheals said, chuckling nervously as he corrected his glasses. He was never good at starting conversations, but he thought he should do something to break the awkward silence.

"Probably a yes, I guess," Rivera replied, taking a sip from her plastic tea cup. "As much as I don’t like the idea of another unwarranted military action, I suppose it’s needed.." Asheworth nodded in agreement.

Micheals sighed, taking a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. He knew smoking wasn't allowed here, but frankly, he knew no one would care.

"Anything else on your mind?" he said, breathing out the smoke of a newly lit cigarette. Both of the sitting shrugged. "I mean, if we got the free thirty minutes, I guess we can at least talk about something, no?"

Neither of them replied, quietly sipping their respective drinks. They were tired.

"I… I guess there is something I think you should know," Asheworth broke the silence quietly, taking another sip. "There's… there's a person in that conference room — or, rather, was when I still was there — that looked… weird."


"I… I know it will sound insane, rightfully so, but… he felt wrong. Wrong like MacCarthy did back in 5890, or, well, what replaced MacCarthy did. I—"

"Look, if you're saying some r-random guy is a sh-shapeshifter based off of your—"

"No, it's not like that, it's more like… I… I don't know," Asheworth said, scratching his neck quickly. "I… you know what? Just ignore it."

Micheals raised his brow, exhaling another portion of smoke, masking it as quickly as it appeared. He looked in the distance quietly, ignoring what Asheworth said, as requested. He worried about him sometimes, you know. He knew he had a weird past he didn't like talking about, but sometimes, it was too much for him. He did have to agree that the man in the red suit was weird, though. Micheals saw him too, and, well, he was… off. Not like that wasn't normal for the Foundation, though, but even for an employee he just… Micheals couldn't put it well with words really. It was a weird feeling of being eerie he couldn't—


Suddenly, a loud sound filled Micheals' palace of thoughts, completely pulling him back into reality. Though the moment of initial confusion was longer than he probably wanted it to be, he quickly realized it only meant they were being called back into the hall for the vote. He almost called his companions to come back, but as he entered into the corridor leading towards the conference hall, he realized both of them were already there.

And though James Micheals tried to remember what he'd been thinking about before the alarm, despite possessing an almost perfect memory, for the first time in ages, he couldn't remember.

* * *

Entering back into the conference room, Asheworth glanced over it in an attempt to once again find the red-suited man from before. Although no one even remotely similiar caught his eye, the thaumaturge did notice that almost everyone else was already here.

"Before we proceed to the vote, does anyone want to add anything?" Maclear said loudly, with her voice filling the entire room.

Though for around five seconds, no one replied, the silence was quickly broken by a vigorous young voice, filled with a thick Irish accent coming from Asheworth's right.

"If I may, Director Maclear, me and my friend would like to put something forward."

Winter McCormick, Department of External Affairs

The man stood up, revealing a medium-sized scientist with entirely white hair and pitch-black eyes.

"As the representative of DoEA, I believe it is my duty to point out something everyone has missed during our initial proposal," he said, putting his hands together. "That being of course the well-being of Esterbergians. You see, with this operation, we also risk the destruction of numerous extremely valuable habitats of anomalous races, probably some of the last ones existing. I… I'd like for my friend here to take a word himself."

McCormick pointed towards a man sitting near him with his head — though Asheworth couldn't quite see him due to the distance between them, Winter's colleague appeared to be a balding man in his sixties, with large glasses on his eyes.

Drahoslav Patočka, Site-64.

"Putting my personal beliefs aside for a moment, I'd want all of you to see the possible catastrophic consequences this little escapade of ours may have for the inhabitants of Esterberg. You see, with recent years, the pacifist ideology believed by many employees of the Foundation, including myself, has been rooted out and replaced by a military spirit, which, well, I personally condemn." He stopped, correcting his glasses. "With this, we simply cannot ignore the possibility our MTF units will attack local inha—"

"I… pardon my intrusion, but that is a massive overstatement. I find it extremely hard to believe any employee of the Foundation would attack the Fae on their own initiative. It's… I'm sorry, but it's ridiculous," Maclear cut him off before he could reply. "Let's just proceed to the vote, shall we?"

The two men tried to reply again, though no one listened. Asheworth almost felt bad for them, knowing that they acted in good faith, but, well, there wasn't anything he could do anyways.

And though Asheworth was too far away to be sure, he could swear two little flames blinked in the eyes Patočka and McCormick as they angrily sat down.

"So, with the power given to me by the organizers of this Summit, I hereby declare the voting to begin," Maclear said loudly, snapping her fingers. "All in favor?"

A forest of hands exploded into the air, with almost no one withholding. Asheworth automatically followed, not wanting for his opinion to not get counted.

"All against?"

All previously erected hands fall down, only to reveal less than ten standing against.

"Well, I think that settles it. Now, before we continue to discuss the details—"

"Um, if I may," Asheworth said nervously, standing up. "I'd like to offer myself for the leader of the mission. I know Nowak like no one here and—"

"I… I'm sorry, but I can't allow that," Maclear replied. "You know nothing of Esterberg, and that's what matters here. I'm sorry, Asheworth."

"Now that that's done for, may we proceed to…"

* * *

1st of May, 1985

Site-120, 5 kilometers south-west of Częstochowa, Poland

"That's bullshit!"

As Asheworth entered through the closing portal into Site-120, he felt angry. He felt angry he couldn't do anything, he felt angry he was put down, but mostly, he felt angry he knew that it didn't even matter in the grand scheme of things.

"Look, I know it doesn't—" Rivera tried to say, following her colleague's footsteps out of the portal into his office, only to be cut off.

"No, no you don't know. I know him like no one there does, for fuck's sake!" Asheworth spat out, angrily. "I was with him when he started this and I'll be there when we finish this!"

He paused, realizing he probably shouldn't have said that.

"I… I'm sorry, Jess. I shouldn't have—"

"It's alright," she sighed. "We're all tired."

"Look, I was young and stupid, alright? I… he gave me hope. After I left the Library, I needed guidance, and he gave me it." He sat down on the closest chair angrily, covering his face with his hand. "The moment I realized I was nothing more than a part in his game, it was already too late."

He paused for a moment, sighing in the process.

"It was too late for me and the only person I cared for, though I fought back. You ever wondered how he got that burn on his face?" Asheworth chuckled nervously. "Yeah. I… I was always good with flames."

He finished, realizing he'd made it more awkward than it should have been, but to be fair, he didn't care that much. It felt weird sharing his past with other people, but he knew she wouldn't tell anyone. She never did.

"You should rest before the operation," Rivera broke the silence suddenly. "Even if they didn't give you the captain permission, they still will need your help out there, and it's not like you can do well when exhausted."

"I… I will."

"Goodnight, Asheworth," Rivera said, closing the doors to his office behind her as she left.

He didn't reply. It wasn't like like she'd have heard it anyways.

Putting his lab coat on the rack in the corner of the room, he realized how utterly tired he was. He'd go sleep somewhere else, but it wasn't like he had a home. He envied those that could get back after work to their loving families, but that option was way past possible for him.

As the sit on the sofa turned into a lay, he closed his eyes, trying to stop thinking about what happened all those years ago. It was hard for him, you know, but even if, he had to move on. You can't just live with the past, or the past will one day get you.

And for a moment before he escaped into the unconscious, a single tear rolled down his cheek.

* * *

2nd of May, 1985

Overwatch Command, ██ kilometers █████ of ██████, █████

He hadn't been here for a while, at least not for a while he remembered well. Though the man in the red suit knew the layout of Overwatch Command almost by heart, the endless labyrinth it was never ceased to amaze him — the sheer amount of rooms with apertures he simply didn't understand was always rather impressive, even after all those years.

Though the elevator was slow as it had always been, he got used to it. Everyone did. Though he wasn't sure if the place it was leading to wasn't just extremely deep underground. Either way, he wasn't paid enough to care, nor would he even if he was.

As the moving room stopped, a familiar "blip" filled his ears. The elevator doors he'd been looking at for a long while opened. The room was dimly lit, with almost all of it being left to one's imagination, including the person it housed. O5-9 had a temperament for rooms with a weird atmosphere. The man in the red suit had never seen her clearly once, but he was sure Nine wasn't a normal person — no one not insane contacted their employees through an underground bunker. But, to be fair, no one who worked for the Foundation for longer than a year could call themselves fully normal.

"So, you're back," a young, distorted female voice called from within the halls, revealing a short person whose face the man couldn't see — though, the more he thought about it the more he realized it was probably for a reason.

"I am," the newcomer said, half-closing his eyes, focusing on his boss. He was always curious as to who was behind that fog, though he knew that if he asked, he'd probably see no tomorrow.

"What's the reason for this… intrusion, let's call it?" the Overseer said curiously, pouring herself a glass of a liquid the man couldn't see. If he had to guess, he'd say it was whiskey, but if he was honest, he wasn't sure these bastards even drank alcohol.

"Neverland passed," the newcomer spat out with a harsh and rough voice, approaching the half-visible figure.

"Good," O5-9 said, mixing her drink. "Proceed to Operation Ex Machina as planned."

The man in the red suit nodded, tipping his hat to the Overseer he hadn't seen for so long. He grinned, heading towards the exit.

"Oh, but before you go," Nine said, snapping her fingers in an attempt to stop the other person in the room from leaving. "Tell Nowak the Sparrow heard his call, and that the Black Moon will soon howl like it hasn't in ages."

The other nodded in understanding.

And for a moment before the doors closed behind him, the red-suited servant grinned again.

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