Their flight was leaving in about an hour. Nyssa and Sara wandered through the airport, before heading through security.
Their latest mission had taken them to Shanghai, in China. The kill itself had been effortless, giving them a fair amount of time to simply explore the city. While at the airport however, Sara had vanished for a few seconds, only to return with a small golden cat figurine, with a tiny hand that waved.
It was the kind of thing that existed purely for tourists who didn’t have a clue of the folktale behind the lucky cat, nor that the story and statue was Japanese in origin. In short, someone the polar opposite of a member of the League of Assassins, who had to be taught details of various cultures.
“Want a souvenir?” Sara said. She tilted her head: smiled at Nyssa.
She hadn’t paid for it. Shop security systems were nothing compared to the things she’d had to evade. Sometimes, she just enjoyed exercising her new skill.
Nyssa, however, just chuckled. She took the figurine, tilting her head as the small paw waved at her. An eyeroll later, and she slipped it into the pocket of her suitcase.
Sara had been picking up souvenirs on each mission they’d been on. Most recruits did something similar, in their first few years; plus Sara had apparently always been interested in travel. Now, she was just making the most of the opportunity.
Still, Nyssa couldn’t help but be amused at Sara’s insistence at giving them as gifts. Nyssa had little use for decoration, or indeed much that wasn’t of any practical use. Regardless, she found she valued Sara’s presents.
“I’m glad this journey wasn’t wasted,” Nyssa said, deadpan.
“The League gets paid,” Sara said. She shrugged: “May as well send that money somewhere.”
Maybe they should have been less open in chatting about the League, in a city still reeling from the sudden murder of a major political figure, and in an airport brimming with security. It didn’t seem to bother either of them, though.
“Cute,” Nyssa said. She might have been sarcastic. “I’m glad the benefits of travel aren’t wasted on you.”
“They’re not,” Sara said. “That doesn’t mean we can’t have a bit of fun. You didn’t mind playing games back home.”
Strange how easily the word ‘home’ fell from her lips. She scarcely thought of Starling City, nowadays.
“They were part of your training,” Nyssa said. Sara shrugged.
“You still called them games.”
“That was to encourage you,” Nyssa said, and then smirked. “And they were games for me.”
Sara couldn’t say she was surprised. The League was hardly renowned for its gentle methods, and she had to admit to struggling to figure out what was fun in a few of those games, to begin with. She’d grown used to them; even if it was hard to find enjoyment, they were less strenuous.
One of the least unpleasant had involved falling a sizeable distance into icy-cool water. Though the river was deep, it was also thin, making it rather hard to land in; especially when she had her eyes squeezed shut from the air rushing past her as she fell.
She didn’t bear Nyssa any ill will for her training, however. It was a necessity of the League, and she was prepared well for most of them. And, even if Nyssa had been there to chuckle while she sputtered, she was also there to wrap her in a blanket and bring her back to warmth.
A few minutes later, and they were queuing to get through security. It was slow going, though each had learned patience. For Sara’s part, she was holding back laughter.
“I take it we’re not expecting trouble?” Sara said, quietly. Nyssa shook her head.
The League gave out two kinds of ID. The first was a good fake, with unsuspicious details, and a photo digitally altered to be recognizable to human eyes, but that missed out a few details that a computerized scan might search for. Only a handful of systems would identify the user.
The second was used more for training purposes, than anything, and given to new recruits to see what they’d do. To normal eyes, it seemed regular, only to be revealed as fake as soon as the airport examined it.
The challenge was to escape without launching a huge manhunt. Sara could remember having to do that a few times; it had fast become an irritation, more than a challenge.
The only especially tricky part of it was knowing the kind of ID you’d been given. It was meant to make sure assassins were on-guard at all time; even professionals were sometimes slipped lower-quality fakes. Normally they weren’t told, though Nyssa through positional superiority and through blood was more likely to know.
“Nothing,” Nyssa said. “I pulled a few strings. When we’re out together, the only risk is that they have good software.”
Relatively unlikely. Sara had only heard of a few organizations who could see through League fakes, and they weren’t likely to be interfering with every airport. Sara had heard of a few assassins having difficulties near Hong Kong a year back, but that was mostly it.
“That’s good,” Sara said. Much easier to relax when she knew she wasn’t likely to have a gun pointed to her head. Then, adopting a more playful, posh voice: “Enjoy the flight, Ms Raatko.”
Nyssa chuckled at the sound of her typical alias.
“You too, Ms Drake,” Nyssa said, using Sara’s alias similarly.
A chuckle. The queue crawled on, slowly.
“Where were the seats?” Sara said: as the more senior assassin, Nyssa had been in charge of booking them.
“Row 20,” Nyssa said. “On the right edge of the plane.”
“Window seat?” Sara said, tilting her head. “I call it.”
Nyssa chuckled. She didn’t speak: only shook her head, and Sara could guess what that meant. A sigh.
“Life is never that easy,” Nyssa said. Sara shrugged.
“Nice if it was, though,” she said, and paused. A smile: “How about a game?”
“Game?” Nyssa said. She gave a smile both playful and intrigued.
“A race,” Sara said, simply. “First one to the plane gets the window seat. Sound fun?”
Nyssa shrugged, then nodded. Hardly the most thrilling thing, but more entertaining than a normal journey through the airport.
Sara smiled. As they reached the front of the queue, to drop their suitcases off, Sara subtly slipped a blade out of the luggage, and into her jacket pocket.
When they moved on a small distance, now with only their hand luggage, they were in the queue for the metal detectors. Sara leaned across, to kiss Nyssa; using it as a distraction to slip the blade across, to Nyssa’s pocket.
“What was that for?” Nyssa said, as Sara pulled back. Her expression was very far from complaining.
Sara shrugged. She resisted the temptation to smile innocently, knowing that would give everything away.
“Felt like it,” Sara said. “Good luck kiss?”
A chuckle: and Nyssa leant back across, returning the kiss, and giving another. Sara didn’t focus on those sensations, instead keeping her mind on her jacket, and the weight of her jacket, in case Nyssa was returning the knife.
Nothing seemed apparent, however. Presumably Nyssa hadn’t noticed: Sara’s League training had to be good for something, after all.
“You need it more than me,” Nyssa said, playful.
“We’ll see,” Sara said.
She slipped ahead, moving through the metal detector unimpeded, and picked up her hand luggage from the other inside. Then she turned, and waited for Nyssa to follow.
Instantly, the sirens went off. Nyssa frowned, briefly, but expecting it to just be a random alarm, she stood ready to be searched. When the pat-down revealed an intricately patterned dagger, and security moved in to lead her away, she actually smiled.
Sara suppressed the urge to wave. The League had ensured no connection could be drawn between their fake identities: for all the airport knew, they were two strangers who’d struck up a conversation and gotten along. A playful wave goodbye wouldn’t encourage that impression, however.
She did, however, satisfy herself with a wink.
It wouldn’t be anything remotely close to insurmountable for Nyssa. Once security had taken her to a private room, to talk, she’d be free in less than a minute, unhurt. Plus, she wouldn’t have caused a fuss: always preferable when outgoing, rather than arriving.
However, Nyssa would be delayed until she could get passed security again. That gave Sara a fair bit of time.
Idly, she wandered through the airport, keeping an eye out, and heading for the correct gate as soon as she saw a sign. Boarding began just a couple of minutes after she arrived.
Still no sign of Nyssa. Sara frowned, glancing around, again. No, definitely no Nyssa.
Sara didn’t feel worried though. If there was one person who you didn’t need to be scared for, it was the heir to the demon. She could take care of herself. Still, if she didn’t hurry up, she’d need to take the next plane.
When her row was called, Sara showed her pickpocketed ticket, and got on board. She glanced back, then. Still no sign of her lover.
Then, she let herself worry slightly. At worst, Nyssa would only be delayed until the next flight. That was Sara’s hope: but then, the League did (unavoidably) have enemies. If someone had recognized her when security had lead her away…
Walking down the aisle of the plane, Sara exhaled. She needn’t have worried.
Nyssa was sitting in Row 20, idly flicking through the safety booklet. In the window seat, of course. She turned her head; looked up as Sara passed, and smiled.
“Took you long enough,” she said.
Sara sighed, and sat beside her. Not at all bitter about having lost the race; if anything, she was rather impressed.
“Don’t suppose you’d be willing to share how you managed that?” Sara said.
Without a word, Nyssa folded up the safety booklet, slipping it into the back of the chair in front of them.
“You tell me,” Nyssa said.
Another challenge. Sara stood again, pulling a couple of books out from their hand luggage, before shutting it back in the above-seat compartment. Just as she was about to sit again, she paused, hand on the cupboard. Curious she tilted her head. Contemplative.
When she sat, she passed Nyssa’s book to her, rested her own on her lap, and nodded thoughtfully.
“The ceiling,” she said, chuckling at the simplicity of it.
“Always be mindful of your surroundings,” Nyssa said. “There are always options.”
How Nyssa had reached the plane was obvious, really. Sara had made the mistake of thinking going through security was the only, or at least the easiest, way to get to the plane. That wasn’t the case: the ceiling at the airport was of a kind Sara had seen a great deal of, and occasionally taken advantage of, as Nyssa had.
There were multiple boards laid out over a metal framework: boards that could easily be moved, for ease of access. Above, was a fairly open space, where pipes transported heat and water all over the airport.
For a League-trained assassin, it was child’s play to quickly sneak up there, unseen, and silently crawl through. Then it was just a matter of getting outside, knowing the gate to go to, and finding the plane.
“I win,” Nyssa said.
“This time,” Sara said, and smiled.
A chuckle. Nyssa reached across; squeezed her hand. There was a moment of silence between them when the pilot’s voice sounded through the speaker. A short time later, the plane began to move, driving to the runway.
“Where was I?” Nyssa said, to herself, as soon as there was a chance to talk again.
Sara hesitated. “Promising not to get revenge for my prank?” she tilted her head, hopefully.
Nyssa chuckled, both of them knowing what a League prank generally entailed. A quick tussle with airport security barely registered.
“I can’t promise that,” Nyssa said, and smirked at Sara’s expression.