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The first thing she felt was pain.

Pain in her head from a throbbing migraine; the bright lights that assaulted her eyes when she opened them didn’t help.

Pain in her stomach; poking jabs that eventually collected into a large, uncomfortable patch of pressure.

But the pain didn’t concern her, didn’t faze her. Not anymore. She was used to it.

Her senses returned as she adjusted to being awake. She didn’t know how long she’d travelled within the blissful nothingness of unconsciousness, that thin line between life and death. But it had been enough to muddle her mind and make things so confusing. 

Her limbs ached too much to move. She felt with her fingers, touching the fuzzy material of a blanket covering her. Next came her sight: the bright whiteness soon stopped hurting her eyes, allowing her to see where she was. To see that she was in a hospital, with all this equipment she was attached to, a heart monitor to her left rhythmically recording her vitals, a breathing tube attached to her nose.

But everything was outdone by one feeling in particular: confusion.

Where was she? How did she end up here? What has happened?

Thinking didn't help. There was nothing comforting in her mind. Her head throbbed with pain and any attempts to form thoughts dissolved into nothing. Her mind would not listen to her, would instead only show glimpses into scenarios she could not tell decipher between reality or imagination. But they all followed the same theme. There was pain, there was cold, and there was anger. The anger intrigued her the most - it had been directed at someone, something, anything; but her mind would not give in to her curiosity. Images flashed here and there, sometimes physical pain would follow with them, manifesting itself in spasms and winces. Her mind showed her torturous images, let them remain in her memory, and would not let her think of anything else - not her name, not her age, not words. Just images of suffering.

Sound tore her from her gruesome cinema. A door slid open - in a room, that's where she was, in a hospital? Maybe. It was hard to differentiate between the place where she had awoken and the place from her memories where so much violence had taken place. There was a woman at the door, dressed in blue scrubs, intending to make her way over. But when their eyes met, the woman stopped. And stared. And her mouth opened in shock.

Before she could even ask the woman to answer the questions her mind refused to, the woman had dashed away. Why did she run? Did she scare her? Was she responsible for the torture she had been reminded of? Answers would have to wait, because the woman returned with a coterie of others. A man was the first to brave the distance between the door and the bed. He immediately marched over, taking her chin in his hand and using his leverage to keep her still to scan her face. His presence brought a sickly, sterile smell to her nose, making her cringe, but soon the room came alive with action, people milling around and fussing about her. Checking medical equipment and vital signs, scribbling notes and flicking through charts, and watching her with eyes of hunting birds.

She didn't like the extra attention, nor did she feel comfortable holding their wordless gazes. It was a struggle to sit up, so a slump would have to make do. Her eyes, now adjusted completely to the light and not clouded by the visions of memories, wandered around this room. Prison? No, a hospital. Why was she here, though? Sure, she was in pain, but that was normal. Her body was used to that. Was there something wrong with her? Probably, given the horrific things her mind had manifested. But, as before, waiting and being patient brought answers, although she wished they hadn't.

Her eyes glanced to the bed. There was a blanket covering most of her, it was scratchy, but it was warm. But the material of blankets wasn't what concerned her. She stared and stared at the bottom half of the bed, looking for what was out of place. Something wasn't right, something was off, something was... missing.

Her legs.

They... weren't there.

But how is that possible? All humans have legs. Humans need legs to move - walking and jogging and running and fleeing. All these human actions required legs.

So why didn't she have legs? 

She stared and stared and stared and stared. Maybe if she looked long enough, they would come back. Maybe her mind was playing tricks on her, another cruel game, she was used to that. She was used to pain, cruelty and-

"WHERE ARE MY LEGS?!" She screamed with a voice she didn't know she possessed. Beside her, the heart monitor blipped faster, monitoring her deteriorating condition. 

Her legs were gone. They would not come back, no matter how hard she stared, how many times she asked the medical personnel working to calm her down. Had they taken them from her? Why weren't they there? Why had they done this?

“Tempeste,” the man said. Was that her name? Maybe. He seemed confident in calling her that. “It’s alright. There’s no need to panic. You are safe here.”

“Where am I?” She demanded. “Who are you?”

If her anger made any impression on him, he didn’t show it. “You are at the Val-de-Grâce military hospital. And I am Major Augustin, a trauma surgeon.”

"Where are my legs?"

Major Augustin took her hand. The contact made her breathing, which she hadn't realised had quickened, slow and begin to become steady. Their gazes met before he began to speak.

"You were involved in a traumatic incident, Tempeste," the doctor said slowly. Maybe he was trying to be reassuring. But she read the look in his eyes. He looked at her like she was a crazy "You suffered greatly and as a result had to undergo numerous surgeries. This included amputating your legs, as they had been damaged beyond repair. I'm sorry."

An apology meant nothing to her. He could so easily say these words because at the end of it, this did not affect him. Doctors. They care for the sick and the wounded, but most of them probably don't get attached. Because they don't have to be. It doesn't affect them, they don't have to live with no legs, or diabetes, or heart failure, or whatever ailment it is their speciality to heal. 

She felt her face twitch. "So that's just it," she deadpanned. "I have no legs."

A sympathetic pat on the shoulder was the gift she was given. "Once you have properly recovered, options for physical therapy will be explained to you. Prosthetics are an option."

So that was that. Her new reality. A victim. Weak. Vulnerable. Helpless. That is how she felt as the weeks melted away. A military hospital indeed, with personnel in camouflaged uniforms going about their duty. People came to see her. Faces she did not recognise all bore similar forms of sympathy and pity, but beneath their caring masks she saw the truth - they stared at her as if she was a wild animal. She heard pieces of chatter between them, but since they would not speak to her of the event, she knew next to nothing about what had happened. They didn't have to tell her anything. She wasn't like them. Just a civilian caught in the crossfire of their endless fighting with terrorism. Another tally on the list. A tragedy, but nothing to really worry about. 

The weeks of therapy passed by. She remained silent throughout it all unless she really needed to speak, and even then, her answers were as short as she could make them. She was doing enough for the doctors and other medical staff to chatter encouragingly and discuss a future transfer to a civilian hospital.

But then the GIGN paid a visit.

Not to receive treatment, not to check up on any recovering colleagues, no; to see her. 

She was picking her way through her meagre breakfast when a nurse ushered three uniformed GIGN operators into the bay. They approached calmly, trying not to spook her, even though she was staring at them, still and silent, watching their movements.

They had commended her recovery, they had called her brave, they had made small talk before reaching the reason for their presence. 

The GIGN interrogated her. That's what it felt like. Bombarding her with questions about the trauma that had caused her pitiful state of having prosthetics to hobble on.

“I don’t remember anything,” she answered every question the same way, with a lie.

They all seemed disappointed with her answers, but gave no indication that they did not believe her, so after some empty promises that she would be safe once she was recovered and that they were doing all they could to bring the perpetrators of her suffering to justice, they left. 

But she was beginning to remember.

And the memories that began to surface… she wished she could forget them. 

Because memories brought pain - not physical like the tender soreness from her healing wounds, but the scars on her mind began to show their origins. 

And a dulcet, whispering voice told her all she needed to know.

It had taken her two months, two weeks and six days to fully recover. 

She was able to walk using her prostheses without assistance, something the medical staff were delighted at.

And so they announced that they would be contacting her guardian to take care of her.

Guardian? It hadn't occurred to her that out there in the world, someone might know who she was. Might care about her. That would make sense she supposed, as everyone has parents. But then again, she used to think that everyone had legs, and, well...

A woman came into the room. She was dressed in a uniform - not military, definitely civilian, but she could not place its meaning. When the woman saw her, she sneered.

"Come on then, it's time to go," the woman said, curling her finger and beckoning her like she was a disobedient child.

“I-I don’t know who you are,” she admitted.

The woman flared up in red embarrassment. “Don’t you go pulling that nonsense! First you run away from home and land yourself in trouble, as always!” Her shouting made medical staff turn their heads toward her. “And now I have to clean your mess up and bring home a crippled daughter!”

She wanted to say something, anything in response, but words would not come. Memories of her suffering had returned, but she had no recollection of who this woman was, this woman claiming to be her mother.

“Is everything alright?” A kind voice laced with concern called, Major Augustin shouldering his way past the bay curtain.

“Yes, yes of course!” The woman beamed a fake smile. “Just typical teenage angst. We’ll be on our way. Come,” she beckoned towards her.

She turned to the doctor with pleading eyes. “I don’t know who she is.”

“Stop with the lies and come with me, Tempeste!” The woman shrieked.

Major Augustin cleared his throat. “Madame, may I see some identification, please?”

“This is absurd! I’ve already been asked five times for my ID since I’ve been here.”

“It is standard procedure, Madame.”

With a dramatic sigh, the woman rummaged in her handbag, obtaining her ID and slapping it into the Major’s outstretched hand. The doctor scrutinised it before seemingly comparing it with her charts.

“According to your information, Tempeste, Ms. Bisset here is your mother.”

“Yes, exactly, now enough with the dramatics!” Her apparent mother said, snatching her ID card back. “Come with me. We’re going home.”

She folded her arms. “I’m not going anywhere with you. I don’t know you.”

“Stop lying!” Ms. Bisset cried. “You may hate me, but I am your legal guardian and I am-”

“Madame, if you will allow my input,” Major Augustin interrupted. “Tempeste has suffered through significant trauma and as a result has considerable memory loss. You must be patient with her. Furthermore, she is legally an adult. At age nineteen, she is free to make her own decisions. If she does not wish to leave with you, then it is her prerogative.”

Ms Bisset’s face scrunched into disgust. “Fine,” she squawked, jabbing a finger towards her. “If you wish to spend your days on the street like the dirty beggar you are, so be it! Don’t come crawling to me for help when you’re starving and penniless.” She turned on her heel and stomped out, not before throwing another insult behind her. “Go begging to your selfless, wealthy father instead.”

Major Augustin watched her leave before turning back to her, sympathy in his kind smile as he made his way over. He began to speak, but she did not hear his words.

Because all of that was in the past.

“Oy! Planet Earth to Tempeste!”

She scowled at the grinning, green-haired Englishman who had pulled her from her thoughts. A hand waving in front of her face roused her back to the present, to her apartment. She found herself rolling her eyes at his next comment. “I thought you were staring at my arse, Revs. But nah, you were in your dream world again!”

“Eat shit, Ethan.”

Cyclops grinned smugly at her once more, slinging an arm around her. “Alright, spill it. What were ya thinkin’ about?”

She hummed thoughtfully. “Nothing, nothing.”

“Yeah, of course, because everybody just stares into space for five minutes and thinks about nothing,” Cyclops mused, handing her a ticket. She glanced down to read Paris Gare du Nord - London St Pancras Int’l stamped in bold, but looked up when Cyclops started talking again. “His imperial majesty wants us headin’ off to old Angleterre sooner rather than later, you remember? So let’s go, already, before I develop arthritis.”

She caught the leather jacket he threw at her, moving to pull it on, but chose to first stare down reflectfully at the patch of a shrieking spectre on the back, the feminine face twisted in horror, at the letter patches above it, naming the owner of the jacket.

Revenant.

 

Chapter Text

The terrorist died in a flash of red.

Blood gushed from his opened artery, painting his white mask with beautiful speckles of crimson and raining down onto the hand that gripped the knife that had ended his life. Revenant did not care about the warm sticky spray that had signalled the end of his life; she had done this many times, to terrorist scum of this rat's type, and to bastards giving them their orders. It was second nature. Nothing could get in the way of what she wanted, not the pain of broken ribs and bruises, nor the few knife knicks she attained from the rats who fought back. Those bastards had taken the joy of life from her. Revenant's purpose was clear - to be an angel of death, a deliverer of vengeance, or whatever they wished to call her, so long as it ended the same way. With them dead, their empire of horror collapsed, innocents spared from suffering.

Preferably done by her hands.

Taking reprieve in the fact that she had killed every last one of the rats in this cell, Revenant began to collect documents and items of importance from their den. She photographed things that were too large to bring with her; other things were stuffed into her backpack. There was so much to take, so much left out in the open. Revenant hardly had enough room for it all, but once she pushed down the meagre medical supplies in her bag, her spoils fit nicely.

Revenant jumped at the vibration of her phone in her pocket, the silence becoming the norm for so long after the noisy fighting. A sharp exhale and a couple of muttered curses later, she answered Cyclops' call, putting it on speaker so that she could continue her information scouring.

"What is it?"

"And hello to you too, Tempeste," her fellow triumvir chirped. She could sense the smarmy smile through the line. Revenant frowned. He got to the point after a round of chuckles. "Got anything good?"

"A few diamonds in the rough."

Cyclops hummed thoughtfully. "I'm sure Manu will be happy to hear that. Did they give you much trouble?"

"I convinced them to hand over their information."

"I'm sure you did," Cyclops agreed. "I looked into the dodgy lead of the bunch, turns out they're a bunch of hooligans. Nothing more than thick-skulled EDL supporters."

Revenant huffed. "How tragic. You almost had an opportunity to get your hands dirty and your eyes away from screens."

"Yeah, yeah, alright ma cherie," Cyclops snorted. "I'll be making my way over to you. Don't get yourself, killed now, you hear me?"

Revenant only hummed in agreement before ending the call, making her final checks around the room before moving onto the next. An armoury, by the looks of it. A stockpile of weapons, illegal for sure - considering where they were, ranging from guns to knives to throwables. As she scanned the place for anything she might want for herself, Revenant's mind wandered, and she began to wonder just how she had gotten herself to this place. Why it was her clearing these dens of horror instead of professional counter-terrorism units. The French government had warned her numerous times to forget about vengeance and let the police and the GIGN do their work - but they did not care about her, only instead about making sure that they covered their own backs before doing any real work. Numerous people had stepped in with their harsh words and stern looks, not expecting a nineteen-year-old girl to stare them down and tell them to mind their own business. If they wished to sit around and ponder whether or not to raid this base or eliminate that cell, she did not care to follow along and pester them for updates. Revenant would do their jobs for them - no, not for them ... for herself; if she helped them, it was only by accident.

Revenant decided that she was done here. The tiny warehouse was hardly worth her time now that she had collected what she had fought for. She could wait until she was at the safehouse to patch her minor injuries up. Just a few checks... her eyes went to her Stingers.

She didn't understand the intricacies of the device. She left the finer details to Einar, the doctor of engineering had eagerly taken up her request for it, even though her words had been vague. He got the designs made up, assembled the prototypes, and produced many versions, accumulating a 14-part series until he got it just right for her. Einar's first couple of attempts had been alright, but manufactured wrong, since there had been a miscommunication. He thought she wanted a melee taser of sorts, to make hand-to-hand combat always be in her favour, but once Revenant had explained that she wanted to be the one shocked by the device, Einar was sent back to the drawing board. He was confused, that much was obvious, but he knew better than to question a triumvir. Revenant was sure he had learnt that during the assembly process of Cyclops' All-Seeing-Eye. 

Her Stingers were in order. A few slight shocks confirmed it was working; activated by pressing her left thumb to her forefinger, ripples of electricity would be sent down her arm and, thanks to the wires of her suit, to the-

Lost in her own thoughts, Revenant almost missed the hissing sound of metal burning. Her situation became clear and without another second of pause, she activated her Stingers and fled. 

But not without a single look over her shoulder.

A look that would convince her not to flee the warehouse entirely, but to watch on. 

The wall which Revenant had been leaning against was obliterated by a C4 charge, allowing a team of five soldiers to burst into the armoury room. They checked every corner, window and exit for signs of life, their guns moving around and leaving red lasers scanning along the walls. A few steps into the room, the team finally came to a halt at the signal from the one leading the assault. Revenant stared at this group of... operators. They were not soldiers. The patches on their arms confirmed so. SAS. GIGN. FBI/SWAT. CBRN. Spetsnaz. 

Cyclops was right. The international counter-terrorism group was based in England. 

The operator leading the assault let out a large sigh. Revenant watched as he beheld the dozen still-warm bodies of the white masks. He reached for his radio.

"Yeah, Six, we're late to the party again," he drawled.

"If this continues, my muscles are gonna atrophy," the operator with the SAS patch complained.

The lead operator scoffed, turning back to his colleague, revealing the FBI logo on his uniform. "We wouldn't want your arthritis to get worse either, old man."

Revenant used the time it took for them to report the scene to "Six" to assess this team. They remained on high alert, being the professionally-trained soldiers they were, going through the things of unimportance she had left behind. She glanced over the Spetsnaz member of the team, a lumbering broad man who seemed bored to be there. The other two, however, she watched closely. They were both GIGN, from her nation, both towering at least six feet tall, a large shield in one's possession. But Revenant's attention was diverted when the leader spoke once more.

"Lion, be a good kitty and check those cameras."

Cameras.

Oh, baise-moi...

Revenant had forgotten about the cameras.

A stupid mistake. A fucking stupid mistake. 

She reached for her belt immediately, feeling reassured when she grasped the EMP charge she found. As much as he annoyed her, Revenant counted her lucky stars and would be personally thanking Cyclops for trusting her with one of his "babies." Revenant tried to be as silent as possible when she deactivated her Stingers, but they heard the click of the EMP charge being activated, and they all whirled and had time to meet her eye contact as she threw it towards them. 

They had no idea what it was, of course, but most of them had the instinct to shout, "GRENADE!" as it came hurtling towards them. 

The EMP would give her a temporary blackout, just enough time to get the hell out of there, and to delay or perhaps prevent them from gathering the camera feeds. Revenant lunged over the desk she had used as cover and made for the exit, hoping she remembered well where it was. She didn't think about the possibility of them having equipment to let them see in the dark, or any of the blind bullets that were being sprayed in her general direction hitting her, Revenant concentrated on leaving, just running and running and-

She let out an audible grunt when she collided with a solid mass, sending her to the ground. She was outside now, lit slightly by the street lamps, and she looked at the thing that had stopped her.

The CBRN/GIGN operator slowly got to his feet, staring her down. He'd probably be pointing his gun at her if he still had it, but it was some metres away from him on the ground. He kept glancing between her and his gun, but made his choice when she tried to get to her feet, lunging to keep her pinned. 

He was far taller and heavier than her, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to fight him. Revenant's freedom was at stake, and she knew what it felt like to have no autonomy over herself. She would not be allowing herself to be captured again. Fists flew, legs kicked, and expletives were exchanged. Revenant was close to being free of his grasp, which was good, she didn't want to hurt someone who had not slighted her, but then his hand reached for his belt.

For the knife there.

The sound of it being unsheathed sent her into a blind panic, so she began kicking away from him. But his grip would not give up, he was not going to relent, he was going to kill her-

He stabbed. The metal chimed against more metal. He had been furiously staring at her, but now his expression was twisted with confusion. He needed to look down for an explanation, but Revenant didn't. She used his distraction to whirl, kicking him to the floor as she shot up, sprinting away without looking back. Revenant didn't want to know if he was pointing a gun at her, if he was chasing her, if his friends had arrived and had become a firing squad. 

Revenant didn't stop running until she was at least ten streets away from the warehouse. She doubled over, panting from the exertion of fighting and running, resting her hands against the wall. Gathering her breath, she looked down at her legs. Her robotic prostheses.

At the knife jammed into the left leg.

Revenant was sure that whatever higher being that was waiting for her, if there was anybody responsible for life, would personally cast her down to the worst circle of hell for being continuously cheated. She wasn't sure how she was so lucky, even though she wouldn't describe suffering through her own idea of hell as lucky, but she was sure that whatever was waiting for her in the beyond was worse, so for now, she would continue to dodge anything fatal. 

Her phone began to vibrate once more, and yet again it was Cyclops. She answered, still short of breath, to hear Ethan sound the most worried she'd ever heard.

"Revvy! You alright? The place is crawling with soldiers an' police!"

"Oua-ouais, I'm alright, I'm fine," she panted. "Just get out of there. We can meet up at the safehouse."

"Yeah, of course," he agreed. "What happened though?"

Revenant took a moment to catch her breath. "I think it's that team you emailed us about. Rainbow, or whatever? They saw me."

"I'm surprised you're not dead or captured if they saw you," Cyclops commented. "You speak to them?"

"Non," Revenant replied. "I EMP'd them and fled. But I ran into one on the way out and we fought. He tried to kill me, but I got out of there because he stabbed my prosthetic."

Cyclops let out a low whistle. "And how many times has Einar saved your life?"

"I save my own life, not others," Revenant hissed. "This is serious, Ethan. That place had cameras I didn't disable. They're gonna know it was me that killed those terrorist and took the information."

Cyclops let out a muttered string of curses but remained as positive as ever. "Ain't as much of an issue as you're making it, Revs. Sure, Manu ain't gonna be thrilled, but you had your mask on, and the only thing they're gonna know is that Revenant is a girl."

"And how many French girls with prosthetic legs do you know?"

"Even if they correctly identify you, they ain't gonna find you. And what are they gonna do? Lock you up for doing a better job at eliminating cells than you?"

Revenant sighed out. "I need sleep."

"We both know you ain't sleepin' tonight."

"Fine. Then I need coffee and chocolate."

Cyclops snorted. "I know a place."

"Send me the address." 

Chapter Text

Revenant was nobody. Outside of the Triumvirate, her true name was unknown. There was no one in the world, other than those within the group, that paid any attention to her existence. 

She liked it that way. Who she was didn’t matter, it was pointless to dwell on what came before. Her life with the Followers allowed her to bring justice to those who had caused her to suffer and protect those who were most vulnerable. That was an honourable, rightful mission. It did not matter whether or not they were sanctioned by governments, agencies or world leaders. Nemesis didn’t require permission to unleash vengeance upon criminals. 

Revenant only hoped that Manu was not about to deliver his wrath to her.

“You think too much,” Ethan mused as he settled into the booth they had occupied. He delivered two piping mugs and a plate of pastries to the table, taking a gigantic bite out of his treat of choice, following it up with a swig of tea. When Revenant continued to stare down at the table, her fellow triumvir tsked disapprovingly. “Come on, drink. Eat something. You can’t let the anxiety win.”

Right. Revenant had momentarily forgotten that she’d told Cyclops about how her anxiety prevented her from looking after herself. To stop his pestering, she begrudgingly took a large sip from the hot chocolate she’d ordered. It was far too watery, but she wasn’t going to complain.

“Manu is going to fucking kill me,” Revenant finally voiced her concerns.

“Hm, I don’t think so.”

She huffed. “You’re right. He’s just gonna beat the shit out of me instead.”

Cyclops finished off the rest of his pastry before speaking again. “You are overthinking all of this, love. Even if they identify you from the camera feeds, it’ll take ‘em days. And you know what you can do in those days? Head back to the Pyramid and wait for this to all blow over.”

“I won’t run away like a coward.”

“More like hibernation, really,” Cyclops mused. “We did what we came to do. Nemesis isn’t going to go ballistic. I told him about Rainbow, so he understands the conflicts of interest.”

Revenant just shook her head. “I had plenty of time to disable the cameras. But I forgot. Like a fool.”

Ethan shrugged. “So what if they identify you? It’s not like they’re going to know anything at all about who you are now, what you are capable of, where you will be.”

“They will find Aurelie,” Revenant muttered, clarifying when Cyclops gave her a strange look. “My mother.”

He immediately perked up. “You haven’t spoken about her to me. You want to?”

“I’m not bothered about her, it’s more about my father,” Revenant said. “Who he is, who he isn’t, who he could be. I have no idea.”

“Well why don’t you ask Aurelie?”

“She wasn’t exactly… excited to see me,” Revenant cringed at the memory, retelling the encounter at the military hospital to Cyclops.

Ethan scoffed. “Not exactly the mothering type. A mysterious, selfless and wealthy father, huh? Sounds like a cracking case to solve.”

“Could you look into my mother’s past? Maybe we can identify my father through her,” Revenant suggested. “I was born in Paris, as was my mother, so maybe he’s a Parisian too.”

Cyclops smiled. “You know I’m always willing to help, Revs.”

“How is your mother, by the way?” Revenant asked, immediately regretting doing so. The confident, charming smile usually permanently plastered on his face disappeared. “I- sorry, we don’t have to-”

Cyclops waved it off. “It’s fine. She’s… alright, I suppose. Given the circumstances. Doctors say she’s got a year left in her. I just wish I could be there for her more frequently, but last time I visited, there were undercover agents waiting for me.”

“Someone knew you were visiting her?”

“Well, I doubt she gets many visitors. And all it takes is one look into her family history to put a name to a teenager visiting her,” Ethan said, pausing to deeply drink from his tea. “They could’ve arrested me in her hospital room, but they waited until after I left to trail me.”

“Well, I’m glad you got to visit her.”

Cyclops gave a pained smile. “Yeah, but her memory isn’t the greatest. Kept having to remind her who I was every five minutes,” he shrugged. “And she kept calling me Eva.”

“Ethan, I’m- I’m sorry for bringing this up, I don’t-”

“Don’t apologise, Revs,” Cyclops interrupted. “It’s alright. I needed to talk to someone about this anyway,” he gestured with his finger, signalling him remembering something. “Ah, talking about fathers. She told me that my father visited her.”

“Really? I thought they were separated?”

“Yeah, well cancer has a habit of bringing people closer, even if they hate each other’s guts.”

“Have you met him?”

“Nah,” Ethan admitted. “Seems he’s only stopped by a couple of times. Mam kept talking about how he was off fighting the Argentines in the Falklands, but I think the drugs were making her delirious.”

“The Falkland Wars? That was like, the ‘70s, no?”

Cyclops shook his head. “1982,” he corrected. “She would’ve been about my age back then. So I’m guessing she and my dad were childhood sweethearts.”

“So your dad’s a soldier…”

Ethan shrugged. “As I said, the chemo and the painkillers made her drowsy. I couldn’t begin to separate the truth and the delirium. Though, she did keep asking for a “Mike” so I suppose that’s a start.”

“There are a lot of Michaels on this planet.”

Cyclops nodded his head in agreement. “But how many have fought in the Falklands?” He rubbed his forehead. “If I’m being honest, Revs, I ain’t that bothered about it all. Finding out who my father is won’t change anything, I ain’t about to start afresh. But if you wanna find out your papa’s name, then I’ll help you.”

“I mean… I suppose you are right. I’m not sure he will gladly welcome an outlaw into his affluence.”

Ethan shrugged, polishing off his tea. “You never know, Revs. This world’s a strange one.” He gestured to her half-full mug and the remaining pastry. “Come, finish up your drink an’ croissant,” he smirked when she couldn’t help herself from cringing at his pronunciation. “Oh, je suis désolé, mademoiselle. S’il vous plaît profitez de votre croissant.”

Arrêter de parler , Ethan,” she jokingly covered her ears. “Where on earth did you learn such dog-French?”

“Blame my high school French teacher, God I hated her,” Cyclops rolled his eyes, leaning back in the seat. As Revenant ate her breakfast, she listened to his pondering. “What was her name? Madame… ah, Madame Touré! That was it. Always shouting at me for dying my hair, the snooty cow.” Revenant scoffed at his remark, informing him that she was paying attention. “She was from the south of France I think. One of those cities, I can’t remember…”

“Nice?” Revenant guessed, but Ethan shook his head. “Avignon? Bordeaux?”

“Bordeaux!” He exclaimed. “That was it. Well, eventually she went off back there, for family reasons. But she didn’t leave us with much, and the school couldn’t get another French teacher before exam season, so that sucked,” Ethan placed his hands behind his head. “Not that I really cared none. I was forced to learn a foreign language at GCSE level, so I wasn’t trying too hard.”

“You? Not trying hard in school? I will not believe it!” 

Cyclops grinned at her. “Revs, you know I only liked my maths an’ science. The rest bored the shit out of me.”

“Ouais, ouais,” Revenant rolled her eyes. “How was cushy Cambridge for his majesty the child prodigy?”

Oxford ,” Ethan barked. “I know you’re only messing, but don’t say the C-word around me, Revs.” He jerked his chin towards her. “You done?”

“Oui.”

“Then let’s get outta here, Manu said the heli’s gonna be coming for eleven Norway-time, and you know what that journey’s like,” Ethan reminded her, and she groaned. “It ain’t all that bad!”

“Maybe not for you, since you have the profound ability to sleep anywhere, anytime,” Revenant snapped.

As they paid their bill and exited the cafe, Ethan swung an arm around her shoulder and lifted her near-bottom spirits with signature optimism. “Ain’t gonna be no issue, Revs. Let’s get Manu some Smirnoff from the off-duty to lessen the blow, yeah?”

Revenant sighed, shaking her head at his confidence. “Allons-y.”

 

Chapter Text

Revenant stared at the robotic finger tapping an impatient tune on the side of a crystal glass. Observed how the alcoholic spirit inside rippled with every single tap. Listened to the chime of metal meeting glass echo around the silent room. Turned her attention to the whispers of scars peeking out from the cuff of his black shirt, remnants of that terrible, terrible happenstance that made him who he was, just like how they had all suffered in some way. Admired the eagle cufflink, watching the light catch the silver...

She did everything she could to avoid looking Nemesis in the eyes, to avoid speaking to him, to stall her inevitable answer to his question.

What happened?

She could answer many ways. The cell was eliminated, information secured, assignment complete. That was the simplest response, but it did not inform him of everything. She had to tell him about that group of soldiers, how they nearly apprehended her and now had camera feeds of her and-

Koshka s’yela tvoy yazyk?” Nemesis purred, pushing the glass away from himself. “Or is it your own will that you stay silent?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

Nemesis sighed. “Something happened during the raid. So tell me. It cannot be devastating, for you still draw breath.”

It was Revenant’s turn to sigh, her shoulders sagging as she did so. “Cameras.”

“You didn’t disable them?” He asked, humming when she shook her head. “Why not?”

“A team of soldiers arrived after I had killed the terrorists and taken the information,” Revenant responded. “They saw me and I was chased. I would’ve been killed if it hadn’t been for my prosthetics.”

Nemesis remained silent for an excruciating long time, running a hand through his hair, before ominously deadpanning, “I see,” he leant back in his leather office chair. “Do you believe them to be part of the organisation Ethan is investigating?” 

When Revenant nodded, Nemesis looked away in thought, ice-blue eyes wandering to his prized collection of gymnastics awards and medals, as his gaze always went to when he was thinking hard on something. Her gaze followed his, admiring the glittering gold awards that ranged from national contests to olympic games. The glass case took up the majority of the wall but it was still only just large enough to encompass the numerous medals and trophies, not to mention the frames with various pictures in them, mostly Manu wielding a Russian flag with a gold medal draped around his neck, looking victorious and mighty… the newspaper headlines, Russian media hailing him as a national hero; Александров делает это снова! Король гимнастики третий год царствует на чемпионатах мира!

“You have done nothing wrong,” Nemesis’ sudden words almost making her jump in surprise, turning back to him, his eyes amused by something. “It was only a matter of time before our paths crossed with these… soldiers. There is more to this, it is no mere coincidence that we are here,” his face scrunched up. “I do not wish to bore you with my philosophy. Bolshoye spasibo Tempeste, for your hard work. Make sure you rest and have Rhexenor check your wounds,” before she could even roll her eyes, he added, “I know you are injured. I can smell the blood.”

Revenant got up and made for the door when it was clear that she was allowed to leave, lingering at the threshold when Nemesis spoke a final time, “Also, Einar wishes to see you.”

Once the door to Nemesis’ office was firmly closed behind her, Revenant released a heavy sigh of relief. She wasn’t dead, she hadn’t been beaten to a bloody pulp, she apparently wasn’t to blame for this upcoming mess. She was free to resume her activities.

She was Revenant, a triumvir of Nemesis, one with duties and responsibilities.

And she was too scared to see the good doctor Alexios. As kind and gentle as he was, Revenant really didn’t want to deal with any of it today, not with stress already picking away at her sleep-deprived mind, she didn’t need the sterile atmosphere of the infirmary to make certain memories resurface. So visiting Einar was next on her to-do list, for whatever reason he wished to see her for. 

It had been some time since she had stepped foot in the Pyramid’s workshop, the place basically becoming Einar’s home as he often took his seldom naps in the hammocks he constructed above the place. Not that Nemesis, nor any of them, minded - he was the workshop’s unofficial boss, with projects needing his ceremonial approval before going underway. He was an invaluable part of the group, creating and fixing equipment many of them couldn’t begin to understand, teaching prospective students and giving them a second chance at life, not to mention his involvement in the linguistics programmes. Einar kept the place clean, organised and welcoming - which could not be said of the rest of the Pyramid - an enormous task given the workshop’s tendency to get crowded with equipment and inventions. Not to mention Einar’s closest friend, his pet raven, Greta, having a roost and cage in the place. 

Screeching wrenched her from her thoughts, Revenant finally arriving at the workshop, finding the source of the infernal noise immediately. Greta flapped her wings from her branch, perched near the doorway, seemingly demanding a reason for her presence. She scowled at the wretched bird, tempted to stick out her tongue, but she had witnessed Greta during feeds and she didn’t feel like losing her tongue. 

“She squawks because you reek of bluth ,” a lilting voice made her turn to her left, finding the tall Icelander leaning against one of the many workstations in the room, what appeared to be a dismantled drone pieced out on the surface. His snow-white hair was tied back, plain grey overalls donned over black jeans with red Doc Martens, and the typical smug grin plastered on his pale face. His eyes raked her up and down, the light making them eerily red. “You are injured.”

Revenant merely shrugged, taking a seat at the workstation, trying not to be intimidated by the larger height gap she had made herself experience. “It’s nothing.”

“You know, I am technically a doctor…”

“Of mechanical engineering,” Revenant finished in monotone, earning a toothy grin in return even as she shook her head and remarked, “Always the same joke, Einar.” She stretched, asking at the same time, “Nemesis said you wanted to see me.”

Einar had managed to lose focus and tinker with something, her question gaining his short attention once more, “Oh? Ah, ja , I did,” he discarded his previous interest. “I read your report, my brilliant invention saved your life!” 

Revenant rolled her eyes, but admitted. “You know I am appreciative of my prosthetics, Einar. I needn’t say so every time we see each other.”

The white-haired engineer ruffled her hair, making her huff, before using one hand to bring over another stool. Instead of sitting, as she had anticipated him to do so, Einar instead patted the seat. “Leg up! I want to see if the knife ruined my work.”

Truth be told, Revenant was forever grateful to Einar for his work in creating and maintaining her complex prostheses. She couldn’t even begin to understand the intricate mechanisms behind how they allowed her to walk, run, crouch - whatever she wanted to, as if she still had legs. So she would put up with his obsessive checks and simply zone out as he prodded and poked at the prosthetics, muttering to himself in that sing-song language of his. 

“Lucky, lucky, lucky,” Einar retorted, straightening to full height once more. “No damage, only scratches. But I don’t take you for the cosmetics-type.”

“Smarter than you look, Einar,” Revenant huffed, lowering her leg again. 

“I dress for convenience, not to impress,” he responded, smoothly holding out his arm when the slightest of flaps sounded, Greta perching upon it just a heartbeat later. The mechanical engineer stroked his bird lovingly beneath the beak, making cooing noises before turning back to Revenant. “You really should see yourself to the infirmary, felagi . Or take a bath. Before Greta takes a bite. I fed her recently, but she will hunger and become fett if you keep coming around, stinking of her food.”

Revenant only hummed in consideration of his words, watching as Einar sat and resumed his working, Greta hopping up to his shoulder to peek at everything her owner touched. 

“I’ll see you around, mon ami ,” she said her farewell.

Bless! ” Einar called without looking up.

==============

Translations:

Koshka s’yela tvoy yazyk? - Has a cat eaten your tongue?

Александров делает это снова! - Aleksandrov does it again!

Король гимнастики третий год царствует на чемпионатах мира! - The king of gymnastics reigns over the world championships for the third year in a row!

Bolshoye spasibo tebya - Thank you very much

Bluth - Blood

Felagi - Friend / Comrade / Companion

Fett - Fat

Mon ami - My friend

Bless! - Bye!

Chapter Text

To: [Flament, Olivier] [Toure, Gilles] [Kateb, Gustave] [Nizan, Julien] [Pichon, Emmanuelle]

From: [Pandey, Harishva]

 

Operation Outline

 

Good morning all,

As you all should have been briefed by now, it would appear that last week’s eventful mission was our first encounter with the vigilante organisation known as the Followers of Nemesis. From camera footage that Specialist Grace “Dokkaebi” Nam and Specialist Masaru “Echo” Enatsu were able to obtain from the scene, we have both video and photographic evidence for our ongoing investigation. From analysis of such footage, we can determine that the vigilante is female and hails from France, if the patches on the shoulders of her jacket are anything to go by. Furthermore, the back of the aforementioned article of clothing is home to more telling decorations, including what appears to be a personal sigil and the name “Revenant.” However, we mustn’t jump to any conclusions and label this person in particular as one of the Triumvirate, as it is entirely possible that she is a servant of that particular triumvir and uses the name to denote her place within the hierarchy. Please refer to the attached images below when you can. 

To digress, with this footage and Specialist Flament’s account of his up close encounter with this follower, we can conclude that she has a pair of prosthetic limbs. This is an excellent development and has allowed us to significantly narrow down a manhunt, which is where you all come in. We have identified a possible suspect in one Tempeste Bisset, a native of Paris who went off the grid around eight months ago. The last location she was known to be present at is the Val-de-Grace military hospital in the French capital. We have not yet reached out to the personnel at this facility, but by the time you have all assembled at HQ we will have more to work with. As for now, we know that Tempeste Bisset is nineteen years old and has a listed parent in Aurelie Bisset, a healthcare worker at an elderly care home. 

We will speak more thoroughly on your mission when the time comes, but for now it is likely that this Follower of Nemesis will keep a low profile, as Specialist Michael “Thatcher” Baker’s account of an EMP blast disabling the cameras gives us an idea that she knew full well that there were cameras in the facility.

Safe journeys,

Harry.



Tu as l’air d’avoir besoin de sommeil .”

Revenant sharply sighed, looking up from her food to find Dr. Rhexenor leaning against the booth, wielding his own lunch tray. When he requested to sit with a glance towards the empty opposite seat, she motioned invitingly, staring down at her food to move it around the plate once more. From the corner of her vision, she observed him place down his tray before shrugging off his pristine white coat, folding it over the seat and sitting down in front of her. 

As much as she wasn’t in the mood for small talk, Revenant was grateful to have someone to speak French to, and her options were limited to the doctor opposite her, who learnt the language during his days in the French Foreign Legion, and Cyclops, who probably didn’t know how to count to ten. She made her choice. 

“I’m not tired,” she lied, grateful to have French flowing from her lips, not just in her thoughts. 

Dr. Rhexenor scoffed. “We both know that isn’t true, Revenant. Is the medication not working?”

“I don’t want to sleep,” she said truthfully.

There was sympathy on the weathered soldier’s face. “I know you have nightmares, Revenant, and you know that I am here to listen whenever you wish to speak. But rest is important. Crucial. You cannot let yourself be exhausted because you are avoiding something you fear.”

“I am not scared,” she snapped. “I- I just…” her tone softened. “I don’t want to remember.”

The Greek doctor took a large sip from his mug before he spoke. “It is best we don’t speak of these subjects in a public space, Revenant. I know you are holding on by a thread. You can come see me anytime you wish.”

Revenant really wanted to have someone to speak to, someone who could understand and help, but she couldn’t face entering the infirmary. Not without having a breakdown. The place where those monsters kept her, tortured her, experimented on her… it had a setting very much like an operation theatre… and the smell, the sterile stink of it, ingrained in her memory… she couldn’t go where the scent reminded her of-

“Could you see me instead?” Revenant’s voice was small and she felt meek, something she detested. Dr. Rhexenor tilted his head - curious, confused, needing context. “In my room or in the chapel or anywhere quiet. Just not… not there. Not the infirmary.”

“D’accord,” the doctor nodded, finally understanding. “Just email me whenever you wish.”

With the awkward conversation out of the way, Revenant was able to relax. And eat a little. Something Alexios picked up on during their minor small talk with an approving smile. They spoke of everything and anything, from the canteen’s poor excuse of a croissant to discussions about Dr. Rhexenor’s homeland, Revenant admitting her fascination with both the language and the history, things she hadn’t told him before despite their weekly passing conversations. He seemed quite impressed by her meagre grip on a beginner’s-level Greek and swore that she could practice any time with him, and that he’d give her lessons when his free time allowed it. 

When her phone pinged, Revenant frowned. She was beginning to enjoy Alexios’ company, since she had now distanced him from his place of work. Nevertheless, she retrieved it from her hoodie pocket and found a text from Cyclops waiting for her.

Revs! I gotcha some info about ur mama if u wanna see it .

“One moment, please,” she excused herself from the conversation. The doctor motioned his affirmation. Revenant texted back, I’m not really interested in my mother, Ethan .

Another text followed, Yea I know that, but to find ur dad we might need to look into her past. I’ll get some stuff pulled up, come see me later, ok?

D’accord .

“Remind Ethan to pick up his prescription, will you?” Alexios mused when she shoved her phone away again.

“You were reading my texts?” Revenant snarled defensively.

The doctor shook his head through another sip of coffee. “You had a particular look on your face. Always see you with it when you’re around Cyclops.”

“What kind of look?”

“A scowl,” he laughed, Revenant allowing herself to scoff. He checked his watch before gathering his things. “Ah, I’ll be going. My students have probably set fire to something during my break,” Alexios pulled on his white coat and stood with his tray. “I’ll see you around, Tempeste. Stay safe. And sleep.”

Revenant watched him leave before returning to her phone, finding three more texts from Cyclops. She shook her head in disbelief, thankful that she usually kept her phone on silent. 

Can you bring me sum hot choc when u come?

Please.

Pretty please.

Revenant sighed. Alright, fine. I’ll be there in ten.

Ur the best.

When she eventually made her way into the Triumvirate dorms and to Ethan’s room, she knocked as a warning that she was coming in, pushing open the door before a reply could come. The lights were off, but the soft clicking of fingers against a keyboard and the illumination of multiple computer screens confirmed that Cyclops was present. Closing the door did little to rouse the attention of her fellow triumvir, whose silhouette was outlined by the computer screens he was hunched over, some occupied by lines of numbers and letters she couldn’t begin to understand, others with what seemed to be documents and websites and photos. 

Revenant scoffed at the sight of Ethan huddled over his computers in his baggy hoodie. “Like a fucking cave goblin… hey, Ethan!” 

The only acknowledgement of her presence came in the form of a hum. So it was going to be like that. Revenant flicked on the light without warning.

“Ah! The light! It burns! I’m meeeeeelting!” Ethan cried, slithering out of his chair. He had a smug grin on his face when he turned towards her. It was met with a disapproving raised eyebrow. Cyclops reached out his hands for his drink, so Revenant rolled her eyes and came over, handing it to him once he begrudgingly stood up, stretching as he did so. As he scoured his room for another seat, Revenant took it all in. His bed was up against one of the walls, bedding strewn messily, as if he’d woken up and gone straight for his computer. Revenant wouldn’t have been surprised if that was the case. There was a mini workbench where a prototype of his drone was sat, with a bunch of diagrams and tools around it, as well as a stack of EMP charges stacked precariously adjacent. A minifridge stocked with energy drinks and sodas took the normal place of a bedside table, with an alarm clock on top. 

And then there were his computers. Or his monitors? Revenant didn’t care about the differences. Screens took up the majority of the large wall opposite his bed, with a large desk beneath for keyboards and other… things a computer scientist might need. Underneath that was where the computers seemed to be, a mess of wires and things she couldn’t name.

“So,” Cyclops began, inviting her to sit beside him. Revenant obliged. “Aurelie Bisset, your mama, is a healthcare worker. She currently works at a retirement home for the sick elderly. She attended medical school and was on her way to becoming a doctor, but she dropped out.”

“Why?”

Ethan looked over his shoulder at her, slightly cringing, before bringing up a mugshot on the computer. “Drugs,” he replied. “She was into a lot of vices. And got into debt, on top of what she owed for going to a private medical school.”

“So how does this help find my father?”

Cyclops placed his hands behind his head. “Well, since you were born in Paris, maybe we can start with her former classmates? See if she had any childhood sweethearts!” 

“Or maybe it was a one-night stand with a drug dealer,” Revenant deadpanned.

Ethan shrugged. “I’ll keep looking. For now, I’ll print off some stuff for you. I found her yearbook from college, see if you find any resemblances!” He seemed to remember something. “Oh, also, I did something else helpful! But you have to promise not to be mad.”

“What. Did. You. Do.”

“Promise you won’t be mad,” Cyclops repeated, but Revenant folded her arms and scowled. He sighed and clicked at his computer for a bit. “Okay, so I may or may not have borrowed your saliva…”

Mon dieu, Ethan-”

“Hey, hey, wait, you’ll see,” Cyclops beamed a smile. “So according to the DNA test I snuck in at the labs downstairs, you’re about 90% western European, AKA French, and about 8% north-African, like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia... those places.”

“So?”

Cyclops shrugged again. “Maybe it will help figure out who your father is.”

“Don’t pull that shit again, Ethan, it’s not alright,” Revenant snapped, earning a genuine apology. She took the papers he printed for her. “Let me know if you find anything… merci, for this.”

De rien ,” he smiled over his shoulder as she left.



To: [Pandey, Harishva]

From: [Kateb, Gustave]

 

RE: Operation Outline

 

Six,

I will be shortening my time here in Madagascar, despite the six more days you allowed me for my work. I believe it imperative that I return to Hereford as soon as possible because I must admit that I personally know the mother of this alleged suspect in the case. Aurelie Bisset and I attended the same college and medical school, and for two years I had a romantic relationship with her. I will be able to tell you more when I am back, with any and all information you may require. If you feel the need to remove me from this operation due to my connection to Aurelie Bisset, I understand completely. 

Cordialement,

Specialist Gustave “Doc” Kateb GIGN

 

 

 

========

Translations:

Tu as l’air d’avoir besoin de sommeil - You look like you need to sleep

D'accord - Okay

De rien  - You're welcome / any time

Cordialement  - Regards

 

Chapter Text

To: [Flament, Olivier] [Toure, Gilles] [Nizan, Julien] [Pichon, Emmanuelle], [Pandey, Harishva]

From: [Nam, Grace]

 

Hello,

I have received the requested camera feed footage from Heathrow Airport and have identified suspect Tempeste Bisset within it, along with an apparent accomplice. I have not yet been able to identify the person with her due to the clothing he is wearing, but here are some key features: male, around 5’10”, slim build. I know it isn’t much and Specialist Masaru and I are working to identify him. 

I have attached the footage with the suspects below.

Also, airport security informed me that Tempeste Bisset re-entered the country yesterday, but they did not apprehend her due to being unaware of our investigation until this morning. They are in the process of gathering the relevant footage to send to us.

Stay safe out there,

Dokkaebi.

 

“Thank you for coming with me, Revs.”

“Don’t mention it,” Revenant assured her fellow triumvir, awkwardly putting an arm around him. Compassion, empathy… they were hard things for her to grip, but it pained her to see Ethan in such sorrow. Accompanying him to Hereford once more was the least she could do, even with the possibility of those soldiers looking for her. Cyclops had reassured her that his eyes had not found any traces of manhunts or warrants suggesting that anyone or any force was looking for her. She trusted his eyes.

It was a little strange to see Ethan wearing formal clothing for a change, rather than his hoodies and metal band shirts, but it wasn’t the time or place for snide remarks or stifled laughs. They both donned all-black outfits, fitting for the occasion. His green hair was the only thing confirming to Revenant that it was Ethan she was following into the peaceful churchyard, the bright colour easy to spot even with a shrouded veil covering her face, as they neared the sermon site.

When Ethan had been informed of his mother’s death, he had turned into a wreck.

Revenant had never seen him like it before. After the phone call with the doctor, who told him that his mother had caught influenza and hadn't been strong enough to fight it off, all of the life was immediately drained out of him. He had gone silent for days, wouldn’t eat or even glance at his computers, before Nemesis’ concerned comment about how dangerous it would be for him to appear at her funeral set him off, turning him into a hurricane of punches and kicks towards the tall Russian until Nemesis forced him to the ground and ordered him to calm down. Manu had permitted him to make arrangements for a small funeral, on the condition that one of them accompanied him for safety. Ethan’s teary eyes had merely glanced towards Revenant, and that had been that. 

The funeral was small, just as planned. No frills, no choir, no weeping crowd. Just one priest. Family and friends. And soldiers.

Ethan's mother had been military, after all, before her diagnosis. Revenant had silently listened to Ethan's stories during their travels. She always made him beans on toast every morning before school without fail. His uncle Nathan (his mother's brother) had taken the role of a father in his life during his early childhood when his mother was deployed on all corners of the earth, living with him on his chicken farm in the Highlands. How she hadn't wept or shouted when he came out to her, instead becoming supportive and being there throughout the surgeries he had to transition. Even after her tour of the middle east, her struggle with the mental illnesses that followed her home, and her discharge from the army, his mother always loved and cared for him.

And then that month came where his life completely spiralled out of control. His mother's cancer diagnosis and him being framed as a cyber criminal both occurred in the span of two weeks, meaning that he had to abandon his mother's bedside to look out for himself. Ethan blamed himself for not being there more often, even if she had convinced him to look after himself over her wellbeing. She never believed what the police or newspapers had portrayed him as, siding with her son until the end, because she knew that he was innocent. 

---

"Why are we even goin' if she's ya ex, Mike?" 

Thatcher held back the remark he really wanted to make, instead focusing on the mirror to straighten his uniform and rid of all imperfections. Next to him, Seamus gave him a long glance. Sighing, he turned to face Smoke.

"Shut up and fix your collar."

James gave a mock salute before taking his place at the mirror, and a knock came at the door of the SAS dorms. Thatcher answered, finding a gathering of fellow operators there, just over a dozen. Doc seemed to have been the one to initiate the knock, freshly back from Madagascar with a slight tan, bearing sympathy on his face that was mirrored by the rest.

"Mike, are you sure you wish us all to come?" Doc asked, giving pause as Thatcher glanced at them all. A party of different nationalities, different CPUs, all his friends and companions. "We don't wish to intrude."

Thatcher nodded once. "There is no intrusion."

---

Eventually, people noticed their approach.

A broad, tall man in a suit embraced Ethan first. Probably his mother's brother, if the recognition between them was anything to go off. The priest was the next one to greet her fellow triumvir with a sympathetic arm on his shoulder and a murmured conversation. The soldiers attending might have also said their condolences, if it had not been Ethan's choice to avoid all further conversations by standing next to Revenant, on the opposite side of the open grave to the gathered military men. They all appeared to be of different nationalities, but primarily British, so Revenant surmised that Ethan's mother had made international friends whilst deployed. Apparently, they had been the final attendees to arrive, as the sermon began shortly after.

"We are gathered as one, today, to celebrate the life of Rachel Kominsky-Williams, a beloved mother and brave soldier..."

---

"Do ye know anyone here, Mike?" Seamus asked warily.

"A few familiar faces," Thatcher admitted. "Mostly close family and friends of Rachel's. Her son wanted it that way."

"Son?" Seamus echoed, glancing at him. 

"Don't ask, because I don't know," Thatcher snapped, folding his arms as he waited for this to commence and end. 

Sledge stood closer so that his words could only be heard by the both of them. "Is this why you wanted to come...?"

"I am here to pay my respects, that is all, now drop it."

Smoke appeared by his side, instantly causing Thatcher to ball his fists, but nothing provocative came out of his mouth this time, instead he was nudged by the younger member of the SAS and pointed towards an approaching attendee of the service by a nod of Smoke's head. "Who's that then? Ya know 'em?"

Thatcher deigned to look across the grave site in time to see a duo arrive, a man and a woman. They were young, with the girl wearing a veil to cover her face, but her companion had no such shroud, his shocking green hair stark against his all-black outfit. He was warmly greeted by Nathan, Rachel's brother, with a hug before being spoken to by the priest.

"No idea," Thatcher concluded.

---

The eulogy was filled with stories of Ethan's mother's heroics, sacrifices, and love for her son. Amusing anecdotes were thrown in to lighten the mood, but Ethan remained stony-faced and neutral throughout the short ceremony. He was invited to give a few words, but he shook his head when all eyes turned to him. Many of those soldiers continued to stare at him for the entirety of the funeral, and at Revenant. Almost as if they were outsiders, even though it was they themselves who Ethan considered unwelcome, from his muttered comments about not knowing who they were.

After the conclusion of the sermon, and once the grave had been covered and flowers laid on top, the guests began to pay their respects and offer condolences to Ethan and his uncle. Revenant gave them some space as to not intrude, but also to not be mistaken for a family member. As she watched one of the soldiers come forward to talk to Ethan, she felt itchy, her instincts once again proving themselves when she turned to find someone staring at her. Yet another soldier, but this one appeared to be from her home country, with GIGN patches on either soldier. She stared him down until Ethan gripped her arm, rousing her attention.

"Let's go, I don't wanna stick around."

"Something wrong?"

"A lot of things, let's talk somewhere else, yeah?"

"Of course, mon ami."

Chapter Text

{FILE_0189} [Audio_Transcript_Bisset_Aurelie_Interrogation]

 

Section 12-B : 01:02:54

 

Bisset_Aurelie: Go after Gustave! That [expletive] is her father. Maybe he’s hiding her as a fugitive. I don’t know where the [expletive] Tempeste is and I don’t care. I haven’t seen her in months, so she’s probably on the streets somewhere or [expletive]-ing off her father’s wealth.

Specialist_Toure_Gilles : Madam, what exactly are you claiming?

Bisset_Aurelie : I’ve had enough of this. You hounds always come after me because of my one drug conviction. That was years ago.

Specialist_Toure_Gilles : Madam, we are here about your daughter.

Bisset_Aurelie : And as I’ve told you ten times already, I haven’t the slightest clue where she is. And I couldn’t care less.

Specialist_Toure_Gilles : Well-

Bisset_Aurelie : And frankly I couldn’t give a [expletive] whether she is alive or dead. I wish for the latter. That [expletive] is responsible for all of my misfortunes. I should’ve had an abortion.

[silence_00:00:14]

Specialist_Toure_Gilles: Thank you for your time, Madame Bisset. Please contact us if you do come across any information that you believe may be appropriate for our investigation.




“They know you by name.”

Revenant hadn’t even closed the door to Manu’s office, and yet the greeting he chose to give her left her with dread in her gut. She knew that this was an inevitable outcome - the EMP hadn’t been strong enough to completely obliterate the camera footage. But being faced with this new reality… it made an uneasiness settle over her body, nothing like the nerves she could usually shake. 

She sat down at the only free chair opposite Nemesis. In the other, Cyclops lounged, more interested in his phone. There wasn’t a coy quip, a smug smirk, or any reassuring comedy coming from the green-haired Brit. There was uncharacteristic silence. But Revenant had been getting used to it - he’d slowly been getting quieter since his mother’s passing.

“You’re to stay here until it is deemed safe to travel in Europe,” Nemesis told her, jabbing a metal finger in her direction, before turning his attention to Ethan. “Any news about the group?”

Cyclops hummed, not looking up from his phone. “There appears to be an investigation into us. I’ve got my eyes in their emails, not without effort. Seems they have their own hacking expert on payroll,” a smirk finally graced his face - confidence. “Nothing I couldn’t sneak past though. Like stealing intelligence from a baby.”

“What is the scale of the investigation?”

Ethan rolled his shoulders. “They know we call ourselves The Followers of Nemesis, and that we three ‘lead’ the group. But other than that, there’s laughably nothing to see. And there will be less when I’m done.” He motioned towards her. “They recently had a chat with your mum. She had lovely things to say,” the sarcasm was clear with his tone. “But she dropped a name. Gustave.”

Revenant could feel the coldness of Nemesis’ stare considering them both. Indeed, the Russian asked, “How long have you been looking for your father’s identity?”

“Couple of weeks,” Revenant replied, trying not to let the surprise she felt transfer to her words. It always amazed her how quickly Manu could catch onto things. “Since before we left for England.”

He inclined his head. “Do you mind me asking why?”

Revenant shrugged. “Curiosity.”

“I’ve sent ya the interrogation audio and its transcript, if you’re interested, Manu.” 

Nemesis nodded towards Cyclops and seemed close to dismissing both of them, before he said, “This is no longer about what I want. And we must now reflect that,” Revenant was confused, something he quickly picked up on. “I think it best we operate under a new name. At least for the organisation. For the time being, keep this to yourselves.”

Revenant got up when a dismissive wave was given, but before Cyclops could join her in leaving, Nemesis’ voice stopped them both in their tracks. “We have recently been recognised as a mercenary organisation.”

Cyclops looked taken aback. “Since when? I haven’t spotted anything-”

“About an hour ago,” Nemesis responded. “After I finished my phone call with the leaders of Europe’s primary CPUs.”

Silence overcame the office, the Russian glancing between both Revenant and Cyclops, reading their reactions. Revenant was surprised, of course. Manu hadn’t mentioned anything about meeting with, negotiating with , professional law enforcement organisations. 

“Criminal outlaws to mercenaries is some promotion, Nem,” Cyclops breathed. “What does this mean for us now? Do we have to obey a higher up?”

Nemesis, thankfully, shook his head. “It means that we can be contracted to complete what others cannot or do not want to do. And we can cooperate more fluidly with others.”

“Why would others want to work with The Followers of Nemesis? They don’t know us,” Revenant reasoned.

“They don’t know The Followers of Nemesis. They know Sentinel,” Manu clarified. “As far as Europe knows, Sentinel and The Followers of Nemesis are two separate entities.”

“What is Sent-” Cyclops began, but realisation seemed to hit him just as it hit Revenant. “That’s who we are now? A mercenary group named Sentinel.”

Nemesis nodded. “It will make things easier. Trust me. To appear structured like a paramilitary instead of a freedom-fighting outlaw group will do wonders. Both of you do me a favour and come up with a name for your respective divisions.”

“Our divisions?” Revenant echoed.

“Sentinel is divided into five divisions of mercenaries. There will be Rhexenor’s medical division. Einar’s engineering division. And you two may create what you wish.”

Revenant could hardly make sense of what she was hearing. A dream, perhaps, is what it truly was - a reprieve from the nightmares that usually plagued her. But pain kept her tethered to the truth: this was reality. As real as the fact that she was a wanted criminal, she was now a mercenary. Technically. It seemed that Ethan was in his own world of contemplation as they both left Nemesis’ office, but a hand at her arm said otherwise.

“Gustave Kateb,” Cyclops said.

“What?”

“Gustave Kateb,” he repeated, getting no sense of understanding from her. He thankfully explained, “One of Aurelie’s classmates in medical school. A Parisian. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth. A renowned doctor and now a member of the GIGN.”

Revenant looked down at the phone thrust into her possession. A man stared at her. She didn’t recognise him. She read through the information Cyclops had conjured up. A career of selflessness and honour. Like father like daughter clearly didn’t apply. 

Revenant stared back at the picture. She still didn’t have a sense of recognition. But she said his name.

“Gustave Kateb.”

"And you're gonna love this," Cyclops took back his phone, bringing up another file. "Check out where he works."

Revenant could only sigh at what he showed her. "Fate has a way of making this all very convenient."

Cyclops grinned. "So? What do you think? Think he's your papa?"

She shrugged. "Maybe. Je ne sais pas. I'll find out."

When she began to walk away, Cyclops' voice called Revenant to a stop. "Nemesis said you can't leave the Pyramid."

"I'm not leaving. Not yet," Revenant promised. "Mais bientôt."

 

To: [Harishva, Pandey] 

From: [Nam, Grace]

 

Harry,

I have considered the footage gathered from the airports which the two members of the FoN used to travel between England and Europe. Tempeste Bisset remains a consistent identity, but I have managed to find a possible identity in her companion as Ethan Kominsky-Williams. He is a graduate of Oxford University, with a master's degree in Computer Science, at only 19 years of age. I contacted the university, and they confirmed that he was offered a scholarship as he was considered a child prodigy who finished his studies very fast. He appears to be using a false identity to travel as he has warrants for cyber crimes. Kominsky-Williams was accused to be responsible for a series of hacks against a variety of corporations around five months ago, but has managed to evade law enforcement. Multiple sightings have been reported across Europe, but that's not what I am worried about, Six.

I think both of these suspects are triumvirs, those leaders of the FoN.

From what I have been able to discover, Ethan Kominsky-Williams often uses the online pseudonym Cyclops. I do not think it is a coincidence that one of the FoN is also named Cyclops. 

Maybe I am being paranoid. I feel uneasy about searching more into this, if his credentials and hacking capabilities are to be believed. Perhaps we can talk more in person.

Regards,

Dokkaebi.

Chapter Text

The Good Doctor

 

“Do you believe in an afterlife, Alexios?” 

Revenant had been mustering the words for some time. She had calculated how to word her question, but most importantly, she had been gathering what little strength she could hold onto in order to actually speak. 

Dr Rhexenor lowered his gaze. He had been routinely checking over the IV bag hanging next to her bed. Whatever cocktail of drugs it contained, Revenant didn’t care. It was doing its job well. It smothered the pain of her blistered arm. It soothed the aches of her chest. 

The doctor frowned, gloved hands reaching for her bandaged arm. She winced instinctively, even though no pain ebbed from the wound when he poked at it. Thanks to the drugs and her general exhaustion, Revenant was having a hard time staying awake, but she managed to prolong her consciousness so that she could say, “Because I don’t. Not anymore.”

 

The Followers of Nemesis. Sentinel . Names that were meaningless. It was no concern of hers how her affiliated organisation referred to itself, as long as the end goals lined with her ambitions. Helping others was good, true, but the scourge that was the Directors would not disappear thanks to philanthropy. These terror groups knew no peace and would have to be dealt with similar, if not more, violence. Revenant knew this. And Nemesis knew this. Others had a hard time grasping this truth, and maybe Manu himself was teetering from his former long-standing belief…

Sentinel? Mercenaries? Divisions? Was it necessary? Did all of this really matter, in the end?

Revenant didn’t want to go there again. Questions like that only spiral into further doubts, and those led to a dark path of thought that she seldom walked, but when she did…

Achtung!

Revenant halted suddenly, narrowly avoiding a collision with the medic standing only a reach away. Julien shook his head with a smile, French following his natural speak of German just as easily as he scolded her, “Come, Tempeste, you are not usually so distant.”

“Have you seen Alexios?”

“Last I saw of him, he was having a shouting match with Mathias in the research lab.”

Revenant couldn’t help herself from appearing surprised. “Uveges is back from Africa?”

The Swiss medic hummed in confirmation. “Indeed. I must be going, but a heads up - Somnus’ charity in Madagascar hasn’t changed him one bit.”

Fantastic. At least now there was another scapegoat for when others searched for the cause of gloominess around the Pyramid. However, to Revenant it didn’t mind how many people referred to Mathias as a mad scientist, a psychopath, or his gassy highness, in the words of Cyclops; she enjoyed the silent company he provided. She usually only sought him out when she required non-verbal comfort, in the form of a distraction from her thoughts, to watch the meticulous flow of him as he worked. And Somnus didn’t hate her either, as far as she could tell. Usually those who would dare tread within the walls of his lab were quickly shooed away, but there was never a stern word shot her way.

Revenant smiled. She was glad that Julien had already gone, so he would not tease her about it. She soon forgot about the need to speak to Alexios, her focus very much on seeing a doctor of a different ilk. Luckily for her, the laboratories were not so far away from the infirmary corridors she had been wandering down, Revenant soon finding herself standing outside the infamous personal lab of Somnus. She couldn’t help to think back on the petrified looks on the faces of the poor souls who had elected to study chemistry in the Pyramid’s complimentary classes, finding themselves with a teacher who took no forms of attitude or amusement, a man solely focused on development, innovation, brilliance and results. Most chose to drop out within a week, citing an “unfortunate newfound lack of interest in the topic.” But those who remained flourished beneath the guidance of the chemist, once they had evolved to his unique style of teaching. 

When Revenant had first joined the ranks of the Followers, chemistry was one of the options on the broad list of classes she could enrol into to further her education. Or in her case, begin it. With no memory of her prior academia, chemistry had seemed too menacing to her, but she wondered how different a person she would have been, all thanks to choices. Everybody had them, most made stupid ones. Revenant was glad for her outcome.

“Do you plan on admiring the paint all day, or can I go into my lab?”

“As cheerful as ever, Mathias,” Revenant mused, hiding her discomfort on Somnus’ ability in silently approaching. She stepped aside, simultaneously turning to look at the doctor. The tall ginger was dressed as casually as she’d ever witnessed, not a lab coat nor goggles in sight. Just a plain grey hoodie, ripped black skinny jeans, and what appeared to be Converse shoes. 

Mathias grunted, shouldering his way into his lab after unlocking the door, not going further into the room without turning to ask, “Is there something you wanted?”

“To say hello,” she admitted to the Hungarian scientist. “And to ask about Africa.”

“I haven’t had any liquor that would put me in a position to speak of Madagascar, Tempeste.”

Revenant felt her eyebrow quirk upwards. “That bad?”

He scoffed, leaning on the door frame and folding his arms. Though, one of his arms soon wandered, long fingers gripping the cross hanging from a delicate chain around his neck. He looked nearly on the verge of speaking of his thoughts, but the usual cold, neutral look of indifference returned to his slightly sunburnt face. 

“Return later with spirits, and we will talk.”

Revenant watched the door close behind him. An invitation to socialise with Somnus? Somnus? Socialising? Something that sounded so impossible was not to be refused. 

 

To: [Nizan, Julien] [Toure, Gilles] [Pichon, Emmanuelle] [Flament, Olivier] [Nam, Grace]

From: [Pandey, Harishva]

 

Good morning all, 

There have been no alerts sent our way by any ports of exit within the United Kingdom, so this may suggest that suspect Bisset has not exited the country and is laying low, or perhaps she has managed to leave through an illegal route. In the meantime, it is imperative that we follow up on other leads that may assist our investigation. As per the suggestion of Specialist Gustave “Doc” Kateb, we will contact the individuals Dr Alexios Rhexenor and Einar Veturshvísla PhD. As the attached documents show, the aforementioned doctors are responsible for suspect Bisset receiving state-of-the-art robotic prostheses thanks to her participation and cooperation with the continuation of the research found in Dr Veturshvísla’s doctorate dissertation. I have attached the entirety of the essay above, but to get to the point, Dr Veturshvísla developed a series of robotic prostheses and synthetic organs during his research in both biomedical and mechanical engineering disciplines at Oxford University. Once his theories had been sufficiently studied and proven, and with the help of Dr Alexios Rhexenor, Dr Veturshvísla attained permission to begin trials with volunteers with afflictions ranging from missing limbs to malfunctioning organs. The most successful outcomes came with the robotic prostheses, with suspect Bisset being one of these cases, others including a gymnast receiving prosthetic fingers following an accident. 

I have reached out to both doctors with the request for an in-person interview, but it would seem that a video call will have to suffice instead, as Dr Rhexenor’s assistant responded with a statement on behalf of the doctor, stating that he was too busy to travel so far, and Dr Veturshvísla himself answering with a refusal to meet in-person. Force will not be necessary in an attempt to secure a meeting. 

Please await another email for further instructions.

Harry.

 

Revenant heard Einar before she spotted him. Melodic humming echoed around the near-empty workshop, so she was soon able to find the source. He was sat at a table, tinkering with something she couldn’t pretend to know anything about, faithful Greta perched on his shoulder and watching as his hands worked. To gain his attention, Revenant knocked gently against the doorframe, Einar’s humming coming to an unfortunate, abrupt stop. The engineer looked up, smiling when he spotted her, soon grinning.

“Ah, hello, Tempeste!” The Icelander waved her in, welcoming her further. Revenant began to walk over, trying not to let her malfunctioning leg drag across the floor. “How are you? Something you need of me?”

Revenant extended her hand when she arrived over, opening it to reveal the piece of metal she held, wires and snapped chips exposed, explaining just in time for realisation to come across Einar’s face. “This broke off.”

“Oy…” Einar lamented, a simple point at a neighbouring stool had Revenant sitting. She unclipped the offending prosthetic as the engineer inspected the broken piece. Once Revenant placed her mechanical leg on the table, he pounced upon it, finding the place of damage and looking as if it was a piece of him that had been damaged. “This will take some time, fantur …”

“I do not mind waiting, and you don’t have to do it now…”

“Nonsense, I have no other work of importance,” Einar insisted. “This is an emergency. A tragedy.” He finally looked up. “If you do wish to wait here, then you should rest. Take it easy. Alexios told me you were not feeling well.”

Revenant felt too tired to argue or demand why he was speaking to Alexios about her, and soon the humming returned, lulling her into sleep with a lullaby of hums and mechanical whirrs...

 

I believe you may be overthinking this, Grace.

Maybe I am being paranoid, Harry, but I see too many similarities. Dr Veturshvísla, Dr Rhexenor and Cyclops all studied at Oxford University. Maybe the doctors are part of the group too. Maybe they are in on it.

I think a break from this work may be beneficial for you.

Six, wait.

You are relieved of work concerning this investigation for now, Grace.



Revenant woke with a start, white noise soon becoming understandable, people having conversations…

“We have to tell Immanuil,” she recognised Dr Rhexenor’s voice. 

“Ja, of course, that much is obvious,” Einar responded. Metal creaking suggested he was working on something still. 

A door squeaked, and Revenant heard footsteps approaching from the workshop entrance. 

“Hey, hey,” Ethan’s voice was always recognisable to her. She made eye contact with him when she opened an eye, bracing herself at the brightness of the room.

“You know, I wish Einar would let me sleep in here,” Cyclops mused, grinning at Revenant when she drowsily looked at him. Shifting, she soon realised that she was leaning on a table, and someone had put a pillow beneath her head, a blanket around her. 

“Jealous, Ethan?”

“On the contrary. I’m glad you’re getting more than ten seconds of sleep,” he smirked at her. Revenant scoffed, stretching and meeting Alexios’ gaze. He smiled kindly. Cyclops was here to see Einar, it seemed. “How goes the Mark 2?”

“It goes, it goes,” Einar lilted. “I had my doubts, but your thoughts were well-placed. It will soon be ready for flight, I’m sure. It’ll… erm, er spikfeitt .”

“Obese?” Revenant questioned in utter confusion. All eyes turned to her. All showed confusion. Yet none but Einar replied.

“It is slang, dearest fantur ,” he chirped, becoming giddier by the second. “Means cool, great, awesome. Whatever you pick. But yes, also means obese.”

Alexios shook his head, concerning himself with his phone once it beeped, but Cyclops could only step back in what seemed to be confused amazement. “I have several questions,” he puffed, turning to her first. “You know Icelandic?”

Non ,” Revenant said with a shrug. “Just picking it up. Listening.”

Cyclops held up his hands. “Here I was, thinking Manu was being complimentary when he said your Russian was good.”

“My Russian is excellent. My Icelandic is awful.”

Einar snickered. “It will not remain that way for so very long. I am a very good teacher.”

“I would learn faster if you would not so often break into spontaneous 40 minute lectures about different types of wires… in Icelandic.”

The white-haired engineer chuckled. “You are not kept here against your will, Tempeste,” he waved Ethan over. “Come here, gaur , see your drone.”

Cyclops went out of view, so Revenant finally sat up properly, finding a fully repaired prosthetic awaiting her on the table. Confused, she asked, “How long was I asleep?”

“A few hours.”

“How long?”

“Seven hours.”

Seven hours? ” Revenant cried out. “Why did you not wake me up?”

“Why did you fall asleep?” Einar retorted with a smirk. 

Revenant was not in the mood for his smarm. She donned her fixed prosthetic, sighing in relief when it finally obeyed her, and gathered her things to leave, not before throwing thanks to Einar behind her. He seemed distracted by Cyclops, but stopped calling Ethan a pappakassi to wave her goodbye. 

It was nearing ten in the evening by the time Revenant arrived back at Somnus’ lab, relieved to find the lights inside still on. She knocked, having the usual response of a disgruntled grunt sent her way, but Revenant heard the approaching footsteps. Mathias opened the door, his height allowing him to stare down at her, something she tried her hardest not to be intimidated by. 

“We have mutual knowledge,” Somnus said.

“If you’re talking about chemistry, you are very mistaken…”

“Gustave Kateb,” he clarified. “We both know him.”

 

Translations:

Achtung! [German] - attention! / watch out!

Fantur [Icelandic] - ghost / phantom

Er spikfeitt [Icelandic] it is obese (literal) : it is awesome/cool (slang)

Gaur [Icelandic] - dude (very informal)

Pappakassi [Icelandic] - cardboard box (literal) : idiot (slang)

Chapter Text

“Explain,” Revenant demanded. “Explain to me how you know him. How you know I’m related to him.”

Somnus’ lips thinned. Perhaps he wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of demands. He huffed, kicking a weight into place to act as a door stopper before gesturing for her to follow him inside. She did, seeing that his lab was as meticulously clean as ever, not a dirtied beaker in sight, no equipment left out on surfaces. 

“You know what I was doing in Madagascar?”

“Humanitarian work,” Revenant replied. Sometimes it was hard to remember that he was somewhat medically trained. Perhaps he’d even be part of Sentinel’s medical team, if Alexios could stand being around him to even consider accepting his help.

Mathias hummed in confirmation. “I don’t wish to speak on what I did, what I saw, if it’s all the same with you. History classes tell nothing of plague’s true horrors,” he shifted uncomfortably, leaning against a workbench. “But I’ll tell you about Docteur Kateb , if it is what you want to hear.”

“Please.”

“The most selfless, empathetic man I’ve ever met,” Somnus admitted, before scoffing. “So much so that it put him and my work in danger on multiple occasions. But we survived, as did many victims, thanks to him. Yet he was pulled away early, for reasons he wouldn’t share in detail. A personal emergency.”

Revenant crossed her arms. “And how do you know about my relation to him? I’ve only just found out.”

Somnus smirked. “Cyclops likes to hand out his chips. I gave Gustave one as a gift. An unknowing gift, but a present for sure.”

“You have access to… a lot, then…”

“Cyclops does. I informed him about his newfound treasures, so I assume he is doing some mining,” Mathias shrugged, picking lint off his hoodie. “Maybe you should see what he has.”

Revenant inclined her head. “Then how do you know about this? Did Gustave speak about me?”

“No,” he said simply, and she felt her chest sink a little. “I only know what I know thanks to Cyclops telling me. But Kateb seemed… different on those last days. As if he was worried, or stressed, about something he could not cover up with his work.”

Köszönöm , Mathias,” Revenant thanked him. Whether or not she had butchered his language, he did not express, simply humming in acknowledgement of her gratitude. “This means a lot.”

She had no reason to remain, and her lack of spirits meant that Somnus was not going to speak about Madagascar, so after an arrangement to meet up another time for drinks, Revenant left his labs after bidding her goodbyes. 

And headed straight for Cyclops’ room.

 

From: [Pandey, Harishva]

To: [Kateb, Gustave]

 

Dr Kateb,

I want to welcome you back to Hereford and thank you for the information you provided us today. I believe that you will be able to remain a part of the investigation into Tempeste Bisset and accompany your fellow GIGN operatives to Paris tomorrow morning.

I will keep you updated, as always.

Harry.

 

Revenant didn’t knock. 

She did regret it, wondering if she was going to walk in on Cyclops… doing other things than sit on his computer, but instead found him at his usual spot in front of his monitors. Ethan whirled almost immediately, a look of fury on his face only momentarily, but once he spotted that it was her that had disturbed him, his face relaxed. 

“Hey, Revs, don’t scare me like that!” Cyclops smirked, spinning absentmindedly in his chair. “I could ‘ave been doin’ anything.” 

“I want the information Somnus gave you.”

“Well-”

Now .”

Ethan’s eyebrows shot up. “Christ, Revs, what’s wrong?”

“I’m not in the mood, Ethan,” Revenant snapped. “The information… please.”

After looking her up and down warily, Ethan relented, turning back to his screens. “It ain’t much, but it is interesting. Turns out there’s a full-blown, borderless investigation into you. We knew they were after you, but the scale is rather impressive,” he scoffed. “And check out this email. One Harishva Pandey seems to be in charge of the whole thing, and he has collected a bunch of his GIGN ops to have their boots on French ground for the manhunt for ya.”

“What about Gustave?”

“Well, he sent an email back to his boss admitting he had a relationship with Aurelie Bisset and asked to be removed from the investigation because of this,” Cyclops explained. “And since we know that Aurelie dropped his name in her interview, I think that perhaps they are putting the pieces together. All that’s left is DNA confirmation, really. But, since I wisely chose to test yours way back, we already have something to test against, yeah?”

Revenant folded her arms, coming to a conclusion fast. “I’m going to Paris.”

“But Manu-”

“Manu is going to permit me, I’ll make sure of it,” she interrupted. “And even if he doesn’t, I don’t give a fuck. I joined this organisation freely and I can leave it just as easily if he denies it.”

Cyclops turned. “This really is somethin’ you’re serious about, eh, Revs?”

“If you had most of your memories missing, would you like it if secrets were kept from you?”

“Suppose not,” Ethan agreed. “If Manu doesn’t budge, I’ll try an’ sway him. Don’t do anythin’ too drastic now, will ya?”

Revenant only hummed, eliciting a look from her triumvir brother. Cyclops sighed, reaching into a desk draw and handing her what he had fished out. Hacking chips. His ingenious design. Still, he explained what he could to her, “If you’re feeling up to becoming 007, you might as well have these, hm?” He leant back in his chair. “Once they’re in, you’ll have invisible access for about twenty mins. After that, I can’t guarantee they won’t notice my eyes. Once you find what you want, you can save it into them too.”

“Thanks, Ethan.”

“Don’t mention it,” he nodded, smirking as he warned, “Go easy on Manu, won’t ya?”

 

From: [Pandey, Harishva]

To: [Kateb, Gustave] [Pichon, Emmanuelle] [Flament, Olivier] [Toure, Gilles] [Nizan, Julien]

 

Good morning all,

This morning at 9:30 on the dot, you will take off for Paris. The local gendarmerie and RAID forces have been alerted to our investigation and you can expect cooperation from them. Before you investigate the leads into the tattoo parlour and the gymnastics club, I want you to assist with a raid on a suspected white mask cell. The commander of the waiting GIGN force will have more information and further commands.

Specialist Marius 'Jager' Streicher will be waiting for you on the helipad. 

Harry

 

This time, Revenant knocked, but didn’t wait for a reply. She found Nemesis at his desk, reading through documents, but he looked up and stared at her as she approached.

“I’m going to Paris.”

Manu let go of the file he had been perusing, leaning back. “For what?”

“Information.”

The Russian’s frown deepened. “Are you certain your curiosity hasn’t turned into an obsession?”

“I want to know about my father. I want to know if this Gustave Kateb is my father,” Revenant snapped. “Wouldn’t you want the same, if you were in my position?”

Nemesis hummed. “We all have our reasons, Revenant. I, for one, want absolutely nothing to do with my relatives. But you… yes, I can understand from your perspective.”

“So I can go, then…?”

“I’ll allow it, but you face the danger alone,” Manu replied. “Still, you can have your kit. I won’t deny you that. Make sure you visit Alexios, he’ll have coolant for your stingers.”

Revenant couldn’t quite believe that Manu had so quickly allowed her to do as she wished. “ Bolshoye spasibo, Immanuil.”

Vmeste miy sila .” He said as she walked out.

Revenant wasted no time in heading straight for her assigned storage, where her kit was kept, and immediately dressed into it. The slim-fitting thermal, the lightweight armour, her stingers… coming together to transform her from Tempeste to Revenant. She didn’t don her helmet just yet, that could wait until she was on her way. Supplies were gathered, the larger items into her backpack, essential items into pockets and onto hooks on her person. For now, she tucked her gloves into her belt. 

Slinging her bag onto her shoulder, Revenant made her way to the infirmary, where she found both Alexios and Einar in discussion. Their conversation ceased when they heard her approach, eyes widening at the sight of her geared up. Alexios already knew the reason for her presence, but that didn’t make the despair in his eyes disappear, making his way to the infirmary’s storage. He had always disapproved of her stingers, warning of the likelihood that the electric shocks will lead to arrhythmias, loss of sensation, bodily malfunctions and other risks, not to mention the chance of cardiac arrest. But Revenant knew that despite those risks, using her stingers was worth it. Alexios disagreed, for now.

“Off to battle, felagi ?” Einar asked.

Revenant nodded, not interested in a discussion about it. That didn’t deter the tall Icelander.

“Stay safe, litla valkyrie ,” Einar lilted, hugging her tight. He pressed something into her hand, seeing only once the embrace had concluded that he had given her a mjolnir charm. “May Oðinn and Þorr guide you.”

Revenant allowed a small smile, tucking it into a breast pocket. Alexios returned soon after, wielding several packs of coolant. With a simple motion, he gestured for her to remove her stingers, applying one pack of coolant to her arm. The silence and less-than-gentle application said everything to Revenant that Alexios refused to use words to convey. 

“See you around,” was all that she said in goodbye to the two doctors, whose eyes she could feel burning into her as she went. 

Revs?

What is it, Ethan?

u sure about this?

I've never been sure about anything really. But this is what I want to do.

well I thought u should know that Mr Six sent his GIGN to Paris

For me?

yeah but they're gonna be hitting a cell somewhere in the city

just a heads up

also he knows about ur apartment above the tattoo shop and ur old gymnastics club

u know, the one u met Manu at?

Merci bien.

 

It had been a while since Revenant had gone out into the public… in the daytime. And she had since forgotten how much she hated wearing jeans. It was a struggle to walk down Rue Montorgueil like a normal person to not attract attention, but she needn’t worry, most were too busy to even glance her way. 

Revenant knew her way to Madame Henriette’s flower shop like it was a second home, not needing to keep her head high to scan every low-hanging shop sign for the right one. Instead, she watched her shadow dance along the cobblestones for the minutes it took to arrive. 

When she pushed open the door, the bell above her head announcing her arrival with soft tolls, Revenant frowned at the sight of a busy shop. Then again, it was nearing la fête des mères , so it came at no surprise that patrons had come to select the prettiest flowers for their mothers. The old worn floorboards hardly made a sound when she crossed the shop floor towards the cashier, not bothering to ask one of the assistants for their recommendations - Revenant was here for a specific flower.

The desk was manned by a single employee. Her long, sharp face was expertly wrapped in a lilac shroud, protecting her features from her hair. She was working hard, pen scribbling away at what appeared to be a series of invoices, but she soon noticed Revenant’s presence. Piercing amber eyes levelled to hers and her eyebrows expressed annoyance. 

“Hello, Sika,” Revenant greeted, inclining her head. “I’d like a basket of pink roses, please.”

Nostrils flared. “Will that be all?”

Ouais .”

Sika placed down her pen and got up without a word, disappearing into a back room. A line of patrons began to form in her absence, so one of the flustered sales assistants manned another register. Soon, Sika emerged with a basket of what looked to be two dozen roses, with a scattering of identically coloured petals on top. 

“One-and-seventy,” Sika said before she even placed the basket atop the counter. 

Revenant counted out four 50 euro bills. Handing them over, she insisted, “There’ll be no need for change.”

The florist blinked. “ Hal hqa ?”

Ouais, ouais ,” Revenant said as Sika closed the register, hefting the basket into her possession. “It’s the least I could do, given your… impeccable acquirement of such fine roses .”

The lady smiled - a small twitch of the mouth, but a rare, genuine sight indeed. “Safe travels, petit fantôme .”

Revenant gave back a farewell before exiting, making the reverse journey to return to her apartment. Plucking a rose to gingerly sniff at, she smiled down at the black metal peeking out from the small gap in the arrangement Sika had finely crafted.

“Onlookers were horrified to witness people being thrown from windows and onto cars below. This apartment building was renowned for crime and our correspondent with RAID confirms that the authorities suspected prolific gang activity within. Some forty minutes later, when RAID officers assembled and began their siege, the apparent gang battle within had already ceased. The RAID soldiers did not leave the building with criminals in cuffs, but instead with body bags. The official report states that no sign of those responsible was found within the building and the cameras were completely disabled. It is still unsure whether this was a gang rivalry or something else, but it can be said that the massacre inside was the work of a professional.”

“Many residents in this building had gotten used to the gang hierarchy and paid their dues without question to the kingpin in the penthouse. It is unsure if they will find their lives more peaceful, or if a new gang will take up the throne left behind by the old kings of the street.”

Revenant attacked an annoying itch at her neck. The damn scarf was making her react to something it was made of. It didn't matter. It wouldn't be much of an issue for very long. She hiked up the steps of the medical school building of Paris University, flashing a fake student ID to the guard who wanted to see it. He allowed her entry with no issues. To her, she was Rosalind Geiler, an Austrian exchange student, studying neurosurgery. If he checked with reception, he would find her scheduled to be present in a variety of lectures today. If he persisted and wanted to check the database, well, he would find that Rosalind Geiler had been attending Paris University for nearly three years and was an excellent student, according to her professors. 

Thank you, Cyclops.

It was hard to not look at the security cameras. They made her skin burn more than the damn scarf. But to look at them would mean acting suspicious. She made her way through the building, forcing a fake smile and an unhurried step, soon locating the women's bathroom. Ducking inside, she made for one of the walled-off stalls, dumping her backpack onto the ground. And she began to change.

It was a relief to pull the horrendous scarf from her neck, to strip out of the brightly-coloured clothes, to rip away the jeans. The coldness of her metal prosthetics brought relief to her hand. From her backpack, she pulled her kit, applying a coolant before equipping her stingers. Her helmet - a motorcycle helmet, of course, nothing else - came last...

And then she activated her stingers. 

It was a feeling she had experienced many times before. Mostly in less than ideal situations. But now, the lightning was a relief. She knew it wasn't lightning, but she liked to call it that. A buzzing thrill of energy, adrenaline coursing through her. It was thrilling to run through the corridors and halls without the need to move out of the way of those gathered there, to fake a pretty smile, to look like she was heading to class. She had a destination in mind, and thanks to the clear highways of the lightning, she arrived at the server rooms quickly.

Revenant dispatched the security guards and computer technicians before they could even register her presence. They would wake up sore, but they would have no memory of her. They would blame themselves for falling asleep on the job.

Heading straight for what she perceived was the main computer, she inserted the chip Cyclops had given her into the USB port as soon as the screen demanded a login and password. In a matter of seconds, a familiar green eye flashed upon the screen and reassured some of her heightened nerves as it was followed up with ACCESS GRANTED.

Cyclops promised that his chip would grant her invisible access for twenty minutes. Plenty of time to locate her father’s file and ready the modified flash drive to save it into. Twenty minutes to go unnoticed, otherwise there would be trouble. Revenant would not be apprehended, but if she took too long, she would leave a footprint. 

But the screen soon gifted her with the prize she had come for.

A masterlist of all attendees of the university, in one place.

How convenient.

Revenant found herself clicking manually through three pages of former students before becoming impatient, not making a dent into those with last names beginning with A. She skipped a few pages ahead…

D’Augustin, Lucien

Daine, Theresa

Delancey, Adrian

Delmont, Christopher

Not far enough…

Revenant clicked rapidly in frustration.

Montag, Natalie

Moreau, Alexandre

Mortimer, Madeleine

Too far… she curled her fist, half tempted to punch it through the screen, but she composed herself. Remembering her time limit controlled her rage. She had to remain calm. She had to know more. To access the files, the medical record, the possible DNA test that waited within...

Clicking backwards, she soon spotted her prize.

Gustave, Kateb  

Clicking onto the file, she read through the information. A dedicated student. A selfless humanitarian. Kind words, but not what she searched for. The fingerprints she found gave her hope, but she found nothing that she could truly put to use. When the words began to melt together, Revenant gave up, saving the file onto the chip and making to take it out of the port.

When the door of the server room opened.

 

Translations:

Köszönöm [Hungarian] : thank you

Bolshoye spasibo [Russian] : thank you very much

Vmeste miy sila [Russian] : together we are strong

Felagi [Icelandic] : comrade / brethren / friend

Litla Valkyrie [Icelandic] : little Valkyrie

La fête des mères [French] : mother's day

Ouais [French] : yes

Hal hqa? [Arabic] : really?

Petit fantôme [French] : little ghost

 

Chapter Text

When Revenant activated her stingers, the lights briefly flickered. 

They always did. It was as if they were heralding her transparent presence. The few who knew of her gadget also knew of the correlation between the flickering of lights and the device. Revenant wasn’t a scientist, didn’t know or care of the reasons why this occurred, but she didn’t need to. Many times she had reassured friends in less-than-ideal confrontations, as when they noticed the lights flicker, they knew she was nearby. Every time she entered a room, every time the stingers turned on and off…

The lights flickered. The ones overhead, the ones in the desk lamps, the ones in the computer screens. 

And as her guest walked in, they returned to their normal steady brightness.

Revenant watched him approach, took in the shock that registered on his face at the sight of the unconscious IT workers on the floor, but the thing that caught her eye for the longest?

The RAID patches on his all-black uniform. 

She found it strange that it was not university security coming to check up on her work. Perhaps this investigation into her was further along than Cyclops or any of them believed and that they had already tracked her down to the university. Maybe Pandey and his Rainbow Six had already put the pieces together about Revenant and her apparent father…

Static stuttered. The RAID officer’s radio. He reported his findings, requested information on ‘other scenes’ and asked for back-up. Revenant found it amusing that he stated ‘no signs of those responsible’ were in the room. Time and time again, she found herself thanking Einar for his genius in creating what helped her most. 

When the RAID officer approached the computers, Revenant silently backed up to keep herself as far away as possible from him. The last thing she needed was for him to pick up on the near silent shocks coming from her stingers. She watched him analyse everything, lingering for a strange amount of time at the computer without scrolling or touching it… almost recognition in his eyes as he beheld Gustave Kateb. Maybe it was simply GIGN-RAID thing she didn’t know about. The new angle she had allowed her to give this officer another look over, identify where his gun holster was, and see his patches clearly. It seemed he was a medic of some kind, the insignia bearing the typical caduceus with two snakes that is a symbol of medicine. And an ID patch with the surname MOREAU in bold letters.

Fascinating. A medical officer with a name she somewhat recognised. Perhaps she shouldn’t knock him unconscious and return to her work…

Alexandre Moreau. A name she had seen on the database. The student her father mentored during his time at the university. Here, before her.

What kind of fates…

Revenant stepped forward. It was easy to quietly sneak up on the unsuspecting RAID officer, given her shrouded state, her trained light-footedness, his distraction with checking up on the unconscious IT technicians, trying to wake them up… ouais , good luck with that, Somnus had given her all she needed to keep them sleeping for a long time. 

The medical officer had hoisted them all in more comfortable positions, not that their unconsciousness would really take notice to that, and him kneeling down before them gave him no sight and no way to deflect her hand as it came up and reached for the gun in his holster. 

And Revenant took it, him none-the-wiser. 

Alright then, Alexandre Moreau. Time for you to tell me what I want to hear.

Revenant made for the table nearest to her before she spotted Cyclops’ chip still in the computer, so she seized it, making as little sound as possible. The slight click was drowned out by the officer’s radio anyway. She paused to listen as chatter occurred between him and what seemed to be his commander, but once he resumed his care, Revenant hopped onto the table, crouched down and deactivated her stingers. 

The lights flickered once more. 

Moreau hadn’t noticed it on his arrival, but he certainly did now. He looked around inquisitively, seemingly finding nothing wrong, even as they locked eyes. He turned back to his work only briefly, before doing a double take and launching to his feet, reaching for his gun.

The gun that was in her hands. 

He took a step backward, his eyes jumping everywhere, scanning every inch of Revenant. But they locked onto the gun, his face evincing some surprise at the fact that it wasn’t pointed at him; instead, he followed each bullet as she unloaded the pistol and dropped them to the floor, one by one.

Alexandre Moreau huffed a breath. “You don’t look much like a terrorist.”

Revenant inclined her head. “I’m not a terrorist.”

“Then why are you here? Why did you attack these people?” He gestured towards the techs. 

She wasn’t here to answer questions. “Why are you?”

“That’s classified information, I cannot-”

“Come on, Alexandre, you can tell me.”

He couldn’t help the slight gasp that he released. Beneath her mask, Revenant smiled. She was beginning to enjoy this game. She noticed his eyes latch onto her prosthetics. Maybe he had looked over them in his initial sighting of her.

What she didn’t expect was for him to recognise her, in turn.

“Revenant…” He murmured. 

“You know who I am?”

“I’ve heard stories. You’re a wanted woman,” he responded. 

She scoffed. “Tell me something I don’t know. Why are you here?”

“I have been deployed here in response to a terrorist attack,” Alexandre admitted. “It is my duty to escort civilians out of danger. Since you have made it more challenging to get these people to safety, I think you owe me some help, no?”

“I owe you and your organisation nothing,” Revenant snapped. “RAID abandoned me, why should I help you, hm?”

“Because it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “To save innocent lives.”

Revenant curled her fists, but resigned with a sigh. “Fine,” she hopped down from the table, but pointed at him accusingly. “You make a single move on me, I give you the worst headache of your life, if you wake up.”

Alexandre seemed unfazed by her threat, simply holding up his hands in mocking defence, but he seemed grateful for her help as they worked to move the techs to safety outside the building. Despite his pleas and promises, Revenant refused to walk outside and be seen by the police and press waiting there, waiting inside for him and dealing with the perplexed looks sent her way by patrolling RAID officers. Once all the techs were safe, Revenant made to leave, since she had the info on her father that she came for.

“Hey, wait!” 

Revenant stopped, begrudgingly turning to find Alexandre running after her, a hand held up. 

“What?”

“You can’t remain here, it isn’t safe.”

“Oh, please, you really think-”

Shots cut her off, echoing around the entrance hall, machine gun fire originating from somewhere in the building. Immediately, RAID officers began reporting into their radios and guiding university workers and students to safety at a faster rate. 

A hand tugged at the crook of her arm.

Revenant yanked her arm back, almost sending Alexandre stumbling to the ground. In return, she got three rifles pointed at her, courtesy of his fellow officers.

“Down on the ground!” One demanded. 

She would have complied, only to use one of them as a shield to escape if they came close enough to cuff her, but Alexandre stepped in to defend her.

Why did he? Revenant couldn’t guess why. After all, she was a wanted vigilante, had just assaulted him…

“Weapons down, this isn’t necessary,” he seemed to command this small number of officers, as they reluctantly obliged. “It was my mistake.”

Revenant wanted to ask why he had spared her from arrest, from more trouble if she escaped… but more gunfire, closer gunfire, didn’t allow for any kind of questions. The RAID officers tore away to assemble and work, leaving her alone.

Good. It was how she wanted it to be. 

But, just before they went…

“Who are attacking? Which terrorist group?”

Alexandre turned. “The white masks.”

The white masks. Henchmen of the directors. Revenant felt rage build up inside her. The same bastards who had ruined her life, who had crippled her, who had wronged so many of her friends…

With a single pinch, Revenant activated her stingers. 

 

60218-AE

Specialist_Kateb_Gustave

05/06/18

00:43:22

Pandey_Harishva: And how was the situation in Madagascar?

Kateb_Gustave: Quite horrendous, but we made do in the circumstances.

Kateb_Gustave: I became acquainted with lots of new faces, fresh from STEM studies.

Pandey_Harishva: Some bright minds?

Kateb_Gustave: Ouais. One young man… ah, I forget his name.

Kateb_Gustave: Tall, and Slavic of some sorts, if my memory serves me right.

Kateb_Gustave: Quite the intellectual when it came to chemicals and…

Pandey_Harishva: Let’s get back on track, shall we?

Kateb_Gustave: Of course.

 

Revenant showed no mercy to any of them. They didn’t deserve it. Crazed minds believing so stupidly in a destructive cause… to harm innocent lives…

And the ones that gave them orders, who brainwashed them into subservience, the Directors. They would all meet their end. By her wrath, or anyone’s, it did not matter to Revenant. As long as they died alongside their cruel world order. 

The terrorists had no time to react as she activated and deactivated her stingers continually, blinding them with the flickering lights and striking when they were incapable of fighting back. Corridors turned into graveyards, previous places where students would gather and wait to enter classrooms, a new place for these scum to breathe their last breaths. They deserved death for their crimes, but the rage that Revenant was filled with wasn’t necessarily solely directed at them. It was for those that controlled them. Those that picked populated places and sent cowards behind masks to gun down innocent people, or blow up important buildings, or shake society as a way to cause fear. 

If RAID, GIGN, or any of the other counter-terrorism teams didn’t want to deal with the Directors, those who sat in positions of power and affluence, then Revenant would. Gladly. With pleasure. She would rip them out, drain the filth, and make sure all of those cultists were dead. And if she had to cut through these lower level thugs, then so be it-

Revenant had deactivated her stingers, but couldn’t reach to activate them once more, because a bullet tore through her shoulder.

Crying out, she managed to tackle the shooter, even with the pain searing through her. It was only a brief struggle, with shots ringing out from his gun as he fought for his life, but the bullets stamped into the walls instead of flesh. The lights, no longer flickering, glinted off her knife as she slashed away his life for good. 

Putain ,” was the only thing she could muster as she beheld the carnage she had created, and as she briefly looked at her wound. She felt around on her back.

There wasn’t an exit hole. 

Groaning with effort, Revenant hauled herself to her feet, staggering down the corridor the way she came, and pushed through the shotgun-blasted doors.

She tripped over herself, landing flat on her stomach. With a hushed curse, she opened her eyes and intended to get herself on her feet once more, but she saw that there were black boots before her.

She let her face drop, thinking that more terrorists had come to avenge their fallen comrades, that her crusade had come to an end. Instead, a hand turned her over, and she found herself looking up at Alexandre Moreau.

“You again,” she muttered. “What are you, my nanny?”

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Killing terrorists.”

“That isn’t your job!”

Revenant struggled, sitting up and leaning against the wall. A hand to her shoulder signified her injury. “Don’t tell me what my job is.”

“You’re hurt.”

“Oh really? I didn’t notice…”

“Very funny,” he tsked disapprovingly. Revenant didn’t fight the hands that started to treat her. “Why are you here, anyway?”

Revenant huffed. “None of your… putain! … business…”

“You are a civilian, you shouldn’t be fighting terrorists…”

“Go look in that corridor and tell me that’s the work of a civilian.”

“Alright, so whatever you are, a mercenary, a vigilante, an outlaw,” Alexandre corrected himself, digging into his medical kit. “It doesn’t explain why you are here.”

Revenant shook her head. “You’re smart. Why don’t you guess for yourself?”

Alexandre didn’t give into that, instead working in silence for longer, the quiet only disturbed by her occasional grunts of pain and curses. Revenant was trying to keep awake and also come up with the reason why he was helping her… again.

“Did someone hire you?”

Non .”

“So you are here for yourself?”

“Obviously.”

Alexandre yanked his tweezers back, giving her no warning as he removed the bullet from her shoulder. She swore out, hand immediately flying toward her wound in recoil, and she bared her teeth at him. “You’re welcome,” he simply said, going back to treating her. “I read the reports about you, Tempeste...”

“Revenant,” she interrupted. “It’s Revenant to you.”

He shrugged. “I know what you have been through, and…”

“You can’t possibly understand-”

“I didn’t say I understand what you have been through, I said I know what has happened to you,” he corrected her. “I know that you suffered at the hands of the white masks, but these are dangerous people, you cannot fight them by yourself.”

“I don’t,” Revenant snapped. “I don’t fight them alone. As I said, what I do is none of your business. Keep out of my way.”

“It is my duty to protect the citizens of France, Revenant,” Alexandre stated. “And I will do that. With or without your compliance, and with or without your approval.”

Revenant refused to speak, even as he asked more questions as he stitched and disinfected her shoulder wound, only rising to her feet when he wrapped a dressing on top of it. Even so, she was apparently too hasty in his eyes, holding his slightly-bloodied gloved hands out.

“You should go to a hospital…”

“That sounds like a wonderful way for the government to catch up with me, thank you for the suggestion,” Revenant responded, rolling her injured shoulder. “I think I’ll pass.”

Alexandre seemed to begin a response, but Revenant’s attention was drawn past him, to the person running down the hallway towards them.

It wasn’t a RAID officer looking for him.

It was a terrorist, armed with a gun and…

Dressed in a bulky hazmat suit, bringing with him an ominous beeping.

Bomber.

Revenant had only heard about them, never seen one. 

Alexandre had turned around too, scrambling for his weapon amongst his supplies, which he had dropped to treat her and-

He wasn’t going to get it in time…

And Revenant only had her knife…

She threw her only weapon towards the approaching bomber, but he ducked with shocking agility.

And the beeping sped up, and-

Revenant tackled Alexandre out of the way, straight into a glass window, and they both went hurtling towards a lower-level roof just as the corridor exploded with a fiery inferno, sending the rest of the window glass raining down onto them…

She hissed when a shard sliced at her cheek, turning to check on Alexandre, praying she hadn’t pushed him out to his death.

But Revenant found that she had been his shield from the explosion and the glass.

She rolled off him, cursing out when she stupidly put her hands down into more thin shards of glass, picking them out one by one…

They both stood up at the same time.

“You…” Alexandre spoke, gaining her attention. He restarted his sentence. “You saved my life.”

Revenant shrugged. “I guess. Saved my own as well. Wasn’t going to leave you to die.”

“Thank you, Tempeste.”

“It’s Rev…” she began, but stopped herself. “You’re welcome.”

 

To: [Pandey, Harishva]

From: [Nam, Grace]

I think this will make you change your mind, Six.

Evidence_Article_281

IMAGE-12

Image Description:

A gathering of well-dressed young men and women stand in front of University College dormitories, Oxford University, date labelled as September 4 2014

Captions read: {Univ Fresher’s Party 2014} {Freshers, Undergrads & Grads}

Persons of Interest:

Marker 1, front row, sitting, 3rd from left: Ethan Kaminsky-Williams, suspected ‘Cyclops’ of the Followers of Nemesis

Marker 2, back row, standing, 2nd from centre: Dr Einar Veturshvίsla, PhD Mechanical Engineering

Marker 3, back row, standing, centre: Dr Alexios Rhexenor, BM BCh

 

Revenant’s job was done. She had no reason to stay. RAID had gathered more officers, had taken prisoners, had saved the university. 

She watched on as the scene began to die down. Press packed up their things and police vans pulled away. RAID officers gathered in groups and hauled away terrorists in cuffs, others cleaning away debris from the street to make everything as it was once more. She went unnoticed, because they were too busy.

Revenant went to leave, but took pause as she watched an unmarked armoured vehicle pull up to the scene, five GIGN officers making their way out and toward the main group of RAID officers. She found it strange that they would bother turning up at all, considering the rescue mission had already been completed. 

And that’s when she saw him.

Clad in blue synonymous with the GIGN, a white band wrapped around his helmet, denoting him as medical personnel, he broke away from his group to check up on the wounded being treated by ambulances still on site. He immediately got his hands dirty, assisting with treatment and the administration of medicines, all to make the RAID officers comfortable and ready for transportation to hospital.

Hospital. She should probably go to one. Maybe not a public one, Revenant was sure she wasn’t that badly wounded, that she had no other options. Alexios was going to be delighted to find out she had been shot, and that she had activated her stingers so rapidly that they had burnt right through her coolant supplies, leading to more burns to scar her arm even further…

And yet, Revenant activated her stingers once more.

Street lights flickered. Ambulance lights flashed, even the siren went off briefly. The occurrence made the police forces look up, but not for long, as was the case with her stingers. The disruptions never lasted long. 

Cloaked in the safety of her stingers, Revenant approached him.

She stood behind him as he got up, straightening after crouching to treat a patient. 

He turned to go back to his GIGN colleagues, unknowingly staring right at her for a brief moment.

Revenant was a mere metre away from Gustave Kateb.

She watched him walk away, back to the work he was sent to do, not the work he did out of his generous, selfless heart.

And she reached out a hand…

Fingers curled to grab an arm…

But her hand clenched into a fist.

Grabbed at nothing.

She stopped herself.

Now’s not the time. 

Not yet.

Chapter Text

XI - La Douleur

 

It took nearly twenty hours for Revenant to return to the Pyramid. 

Twenty exhausting hours.

Twenty lonely hours.

Most of it was spent in the sky, in a plane from England to Norway, then a helicopter headed to the Pyramid. And throughout it all, Revenant didn’t bother to speak to those around her, unless absolutely necessary. She was too busy contemplating the previous two days. How she had not only failed in her mission, but also injured herself along the way. 

Had she failed?

The pit of gloom in her gut told her yes , but then again, she always felt that way about herself. What had changed this time? She had more information on this ‘Gustave Kateb’ than she did beforehand. That was a victory. But what was the point of it all if, in the end, he either wasn’t her father, or there wasn’t enough information or related evidence to confirm it? Then it would have been a massive waste of time with nothing but useless facts and a new wound to show for it. 

And proving Nemesis right. That she was obsessed. The only question was, what was it she was obsessed with? It’s not like she was longing for a parental guardian in her life - she could take care of herself fine. Most times. 

Revenant just wanted another chance. Sure, she was nineteen, she didn’t need parents. And why would anyone want her as a child? At least, that’s the impression she got from her mother. That selfish bitch couldn’t care less about her now that the state didn’t compensate her with child support money. She had never loved her anyway. And the feeling, once Revenant had remembered exactly how loving she had been in the past, was very much mutual. 

And if Gustave Kateb was her father, why would he want her as a daughter? Why would he risk his successful career at Rainbow by agreeing to be in contact with a wanted criminal? Why would he compromise his flawless reputation as a selfless humanitarian by aligning himself with her? Her who had caused so much hurt and had carved a path of violence in her wake in the name of vengeance.

Those were the thoughts she contemplated on. The thoughts she was trapped with for twenty hours. 

As soon as she arrived back to the Pyramid, all Revenant wanted to do was collapse into bed, still with her gear on, and sleep all her problems away. It had taken all of the strength left within her to not pass out in the helicopter. But there were injuries to tend to, reports to write, a debrief to attend, and most importantly…

A Cyclops to see.

Revenant and him had been texting back and forth throughout her travel back to the Pyramid. The idiot had landed himself in the infirmary after one of his skateboarding skills went wrong and he collided into a metal rail, bursting his appendix on impact. To quote Alexios, via Cyclops, the aftermath was apparently as if someone had used his appendix as a water balloon. 

The infirmary was the first place Revenant headed to. Two birds with one stone: she could borrow some supplies to fix her wounds and see Cyclops at the same time. If she was lucky, Revenant could evade Alexios and treat herself, but if her injuries were worse than she thought, then maybe she could seek out Jules. 

But Revenant had exhausted her lifetime’s worth of luck.

Alexios was doing his evening rounds when she arrived, so there was nowhere for her to quickly dash to and hide. Golden eyes locked onto the hand she had pressed against her shoulder before she could hide her discomfort, his gaze meeting hers as his lips pressed into a thin line, a look of disappointment already present on his weary face. Revenant didn’t need to hear his words to know that he sent one of his medical staff coterie to help her to a bed while he finished his rounds, a nurse making her way over to Revenant just moments later. She shrugged off the caring hands that tried to support her, instead choosing to follow the nurse to a free bed.

“Revs!” 

Immediately whirling, Revenant scanned for the source of that familiar nickname. A hand rose and waved at her, across the bay in a bed was Cyclops. Ignoring the nurse’s insistent words to rest, Revenant went to her green-haired friend, who had managed to sit up by the time she arrived at his bedside. 

“Mr Kaminsky!” The nurse who had been guiding Revenant appeared on the other side of the bed, hands flapping at her hacker friend. “Dr Rhexenor told you to have bedrest. No straining!”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m good,” Ethan shrugged it off, turning back to Revenant. “Find what you were looking for?”

Bloodshot eyes lit up when she presented the chip, reaching out to take it from her, but he let out a hiss, arm dropping down and holding his side again. Immediately the nurse began to coo over him, gentle hands pulling his away from what pained him. Revenant had never seen Cyclops in so much pain, and it bothered her a lot. Usually he’d smoke weed whenever his sickle cell hurt him, but in the environment of the infirmary, Alexios would probably kill him if he tried. And if the stories he told her about his resistance to opioids and other pain medications were true… then he was probably in horrible, horrible pain.

The nurse rolled up his shirt to have a look at the wound that landed him in the infirmary, Revenant seeing for herself that half of his stomach was swathed in bandages. When she looked up, she met his pain-filled eyes.

Cyclops tried his best to put on a brave face. He asked, with his voice more noticeably strained, “Did everything go well in Paris?”

Revenant was about to tell him about her successful mission, but the ward curtain was pulled back, and Alexios appeared without the party of staff he’d previously had. He had presumably gone searching for her and when he hadn’t found her, had assumed she’d left or come here. 

“You - sit down,” Alexios ordered, pointing at Revenant. She was more than happy to oblige, sinking into one of the bedside chairs. The doctor crossed the space to Ethan’s bed, taking his wrist and pressing two fingers against it, asking, “How are you feeling?”

“Like shit,” Cyclops replied truthfully. “Be a lot better if you’d give me my weed back.”

“No smoking in the infirmary,” Alexios barked. Revenant was right - he hadn’t tolerated it at all.

“I can go outside-”

Revenant could sense the lecture brewing from Alexios, so to save her friend from it, she chimed in, “You can’t even sit up, mon ami. Listen to Alexios.”

Her siding with the doctor evinced some surprise from the Greek, eyebrows raised, but Cyclops was having none of it.

“That’s rich from you, Revs.”

“Unlike you, I have genuine reasons to ignore medical advice,” Revenant reminded him, getting up once she’d seen Alexios conclude his checking of Ethan’s vitals. “I’ll see you around, gremlin.”

“Yeah, yeah, au revoir ,” Ethan grunted, but his eyes lit up and he called out, “Hey, could you feed Byte when you have the time? I asked Einar to, and I trust him, but I’m scared he’ll let Greta eat him.”

“I don’t think ravens eat bearded dragons, Ethan.”

“You don’t know that,” he retorted. Revenant didn’t bother to respond, just rolling her eyes and waving dismissively. Alexios gave Cyclops a final order to rest, accompanied by a disciplinary pointed finger of warning, before he followed Revenant’s path out of the bedspace. He simply told her to follow him, arriving at an unoccupied bed shortly after.

Va-t-il aller bien? ” Revenant asked as she sat down. { Is he going to be alright?}

Oui ,” Alexios responded, helping her to remove some of the heavy gear she was still wearing. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

Revenant hummed in agreement. “Something like that.”

“Are you only here for your burns?” Alexios asked, pulling on latex gloves and gathering supplies from the nearby stock drawers. “Or is your shoulder hurt as well?”

“I got shot.”

“You…” Alexios whirled. “You were shot ?!”

Revenant couldn’t even explain herself, couldn’t come up with an excuse, as Alexios was already cutting away at the bloodied part of her shirt, only to find the bandages there. He looked up for an explanation. Not wanting to admit that she received help from that medic, she lied instead.

“I pulled the bullet out.”

Eyebrows furrowed at that. “Tempeste, you know better than to-”

Ouais, ouais , I know,” she relieved her aching back and lay down. “It wasn’t that deep, I could grab it with my fingers.”

Alexios muttered something in his mother tongue, unwinding the bandages to see the wound himself. “You stitched it too?” Revenant nodded, another lie, wincing when his gloved fingers prodded and poked. “You’ve done a remarkable effort in treating it yourself. I might have to consider employing you, Tempeste, if this is the level of clinical skill you can perform.”

“I don’t think I’d be a very good medic,” Revenant scoffed.

“Well, you never know,” Alexios mused. “Sit tight. I’ll get you some pain meds and-”

“No pain meds,” Revenant insisted.

“Why?”

“I don’t…” Deserve it. I don’t deserve it. She sighed. “I don’t want any.”

“Tempeste-”

“I said no.”

It was the doctor’s turn to sigh. He shook his head as well. “I’ll get an extra pair of hands to help out. Anything else you want to tell me?”

“I think I might have broken a rib or two.”

Alexios nodded his understanding and went about collecting who and what he needed. With a sigh, Revenant settled back. Maybe she could sleep during this, if he’d let her. He probably would, considering the numerous times he’d caught her during her sleepless nights. If not, then she could at least rest for some minutes whilst she waited for him to come back…

When Revenant awoke, it was dark. It took some moments of panic to identify her unknown surroundings - the infirmary. Her body must have really been exhausted, but considering what she had been through, she wasn’t surprised. Remembering why she was here in the first place, Revenant assessed herself - her left arm and shoulder were covered in bandages and there were stitches closing the more deeper cuts on her hands. Her ribs still ached, but since there weren’t any bandages there, she assumed everything was alright. 

Reaching for the bedside lamp, she flicked it on, revealing that her phone rested on the table and her jacket was folded over the chair. Pulling off the monitor leads attached to her chest, Revenant started to get dressed, tucking her phone into her jacket pocket after checking the time - 23:47. She felt uneasy on her feet at first, but once the world had ceased spinning, she made to leave. There was no reason for her to stay, and she had more important things to do, things that could wait until tomorrow, but she didn’t want to sleep here in the infirmary. Her back already hurt enough.

Remembering her conversation with Ethan, Revenant first ducked into his room before her own. She had babysat his pet before and knew what bearded dragons needed, so when she saw that the heat lamp was still switched on, she turned it off. Byte opened one of those eyes to look at her curiously, lounging on a rock beneath that lamp. Revenant turned on the UV lamp and slid open the sliding glass door to the vivarium. She stroked Byte beneath his chin, her finger smoothing out the tiny spikes of his ‘beard.’ It was a little black, which she remembered meant that he wasn’t happy. Probably because he hadn’t seen Ethan in a while.

“You hungry, Byte?” Revenant asked, before shaking her head and muttering to herself, “Not that you can reply.”

Still, she kept her promise and fished around in the food basket Ethan kept beneath the vivarium, finding the pot with wax worms in it. Using tweezers, she fed Byte three before deciding that was plenty. From the note left on the table, Einar had already fed him some seven hours ago. This was a midnight treat, then.

Midnight. Excluding the rest she had in the infirmary, Revenant couldn’t remember the last time she had gotten any proper sleep. The journey from Cyclops’ room to hers took mere minutes but felt like hours and she was more than happy to simply collapse into bed and let the world dissolve into darkness.

 

To: Uveges, Mathias via Oxford University Staff Email: drmuveges@ox.staff.ac.uk

From: Ilensky, Marianne; on behalf of Police Nationale de France

Greetings Dr Uveges

I am contacting you on behalf of the administration the national police of France in regards to a matter of importance. We would prefer you to attend an in-person interview as the subject matter of this conversation is sensitive, but it is understood if the far travel is not possible. To give as little detail as possible, we believe that a gas of a similar if not identical composition to your 'Somnus Gas' creation was used at a crime scene currently under investigation. Any information you can give us in regards to your manufacture of the gas and knowledge of current stores of Somnus gas is much appreciated.

Warm regards,

Ms Marianne Ilensky

 

Revenant awoke to bright sunlight. In her delirious state the night before, she had neglected to close the curtains. It was a rude awakening but a necessary one - she had much to do, her tasks from yesterday still incomplete. With Cyclops in the infirmary, accessing the information on the chip was going to be difficult, since she hadn’t the slightest idea how it worked. She just hoped it was like a simple USB stick.

But first - before that, there was a Russian to see.

Revenant hadn’t spoken to Manu since she had left the Pyramid. No texts, no calls, no emails. She hadn’t seen him upon returning, and if she didn’t know any better she would think he was avoiding her. Maybe that was too presumptuous for her to think; the cunning head of Sentinel most likely had an armada of ongoing tasks to tend to. Her little independent mission was most likely at the bottom of his list of concerns. 

She tried her hardest to locate him - checking at his office, his room, everywhere he’d normally be. No luck. There wasn’t even a single soul manning the reception outside his office. Resigning herself to her other task, Revenant made her way down to the infirmary once more.

If my former self could see me now. Willingly entering a sterile, nauseating place…

Now wasn’t the time to make herself anxious.

Revenant located Cyclops with relative ease, remembering from the night before whereabouts his bed was. He seemed in better spirits than yesterday, actually able to sit up, grinning when he caught sight of her.

“Revs! So glad to see you again,” he patted space beside him on his bed. Revenant continued to stand. “You have to tell me about Paris!”

“It wasn’t that exciting.”

“Bollocks!” Cyclops exclaimed. “Alexios told me you got shot!”

So much for doctor-patient confidentiality. Revenant admitted, “Yeah, I did.”

“I sometimes wonder what you do for fun, Revs, if you consider getting shot uneventful ,” Cyclops guffawed, picking at the tray of food on his lap. “So, did you find what you were looking for? Is it paternity test time?”

Je ne sais pas ,” Revenant shrugged. {I don't know} “I didn’t have enough time to review the files. I just downloaded them onto the chip.”

“Fifteen minutes is a long time, Revs.”

“I was interrupted,” she explained, rolling her eyes when he motioned for her to continue. “By a RAID officer.”

“Rainbow?”

“No, a response to a terrorist attack at the university.”

Cyclops gestured with both palms open. “And you told me it wasn’t that exciting ,” to make his point, he imitated her French accent when quoting her. Revenant’s frown grew. “You don’t wanna talk about it or something?”

“Not right now, mon ami .”

“Alright,” he changed the subject. “Alexios said I can get outta here in a couple of days. Fancy heading into the old town?”

“So we can get bombarded by a group of babushkas and fed endless pelmeni and ukha ? Non… ” Revenant shook her head. “ Je déteste ça ici. It’s so… excluded.” {I hate it here}

“That’s the point, Revs, so nobody can touch us,” Cyclops reminded her. “Who would look for a rebel group of teenage vigilantes in the middle of the Russian arctic?”

Revenant just hummed in agreement, getting up and brushing lint off her hoodie. “Speaking of Russians, have you seen Manu recently?”

“Pretty sure he’s at the gym.”

Oh. It hadn’t occurred to Revenant that Manu might have taken other aspiring gymnasts into his coaching. She’d never seen him teaching someone else, but it made sense. 

“Teaching?” Revenant voiced her assumption in a question.

“Training.”

She whirled to face Ethan. “Come again?”

Cyclops smirked. “A lot’s happened since you’ve been gone, Revs,” he shrugged, as if the news that Manu was practicing gymnastics again was nothing. “The IOC and the FIG cleared him to be allowed to compete professionally again, prosthetic fingers and all.”

“That’s wonderful news,” Revenant was almost lost for words to say entirely. She always could tell that it was Manu who wished to be the one training on the apparatus whenever he was coaching her, so now she was more than happy for her Russian friend. 

But there was something else she had to know. 

“Is he going to quit?”

“Quit…?”

“Leave this life for gymnastics,” Revenant reiterated. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Ethan’s mouth flattened into a line. “I don’t know, I didn’t want to ask. But yeah, I agree with you, Revs, it wouldn’t come as a shock to me either.”

Revenant didn’t have anything more to say on the matter, not out loud anyway. She was happy for Manu, she really was, and it wasn’t her place to judge whether or not stepping away from this mercenary life in favour of returning to his professional sports career was a good move, it wasn’t any of her business. In fact, Revenant would support him, if that was his decision. This short conversation just put a lot on her mind. What would happen if Manu left everything to them, or dissolved everything entirely? What doors had Manu unknowingly, or knowingly, opened for injured and disabled athletes with the international gymnastics federation allowing him to compete with prostheses? Did that mean… could she

“Oh Revs, another thing,” Cyclops called her back as she had started to walk off, lost in her thoughts. Revenant stopped and turned. “Manu’s old coach is here. Sergei-something. He’ll be sticking around to see if Manu’s still got what it takes to be on the Russian team.”

“I see,” Revenant mumbled, already deep in thought. “Rest up, mon ami . I’ll drop by later.”

“Bring me some hot chocolate, would you?”

 

To: Pandey, Harishva

From: Gustave, Kateb

Six,

We have investigated the locations you suggested to us and found no evidence of recent activity by the suspect. Our mission was briefly put on pause when a terror attack occured at the University of Paris, we decided to aid the deployed RAID forces and arrived to see the arrest of the surviving extremists. As for the gymnastics club, the head coach remembered last seeing Tempeste Bisset over a year ago but reported that she kept to herself and was not coached by any members of staff. Interestingly, she was visited by an Olympic Champion in the sport, if the coach is to believed, one Immanuil Aleksandrov, a 12-time gold medallist. Whether or not this is true or some kind of advertisement for his establishment, I am unsure. However, we have come across a possible lead.

The coach gave us the name of who he believed to be a friend of the suspect's - Sika Khopesh. According to our files, she is a Kurdish Turk who moved to Paris four years ago and currently works in a florist. We will investigate this lead today. 

Regards,

Specialist Gustave "Doc" Kateb

 

Davay, davay, davay !” Russian words of encouragement echoed far outside of the gym, the open doors to the hallways beyond giving Revenant an early insight into the happenings within. “ Ot sebya! I vverkh! Rukoyatka! ” 

Revenant wasn’t surprised to find Manu on the apparatus, though she should be. He had been plagued by the aches of his burn scars, tormented by the loss of fingers, but now? It was like she was watching one of his Olympic routines. To her unqualified eye, he was flawless, but according to the stout man watching on, there was always room for improvement.

Such as the miniscule step Manu took when he dismounted the high bar, immediately getting a disapproving tsk from who Revenant assumed to be Sergei. 

When her Russian friend clambered down from the slightly elevated platform to have a refreshment, he locked eyes with her. He had taken a double take upon sighting her at the doorway of the gym, keeping her gaze as he drained half a water bottle, before excusing himself away from his coach. Manu made his way over to her, unhurried, with Sergei watching and raking assessing eyes up and down her. 

“I heard you had returned,” Nemesis spoke once he got within a range of private conversation. “And that you had gotten yourself injured.”

“Not badly.”

“Still, a wound that will scar forever,” Manu said, brushing some chalk off his red vest. 

“Are you going to join the Russian team again?”

“Most likely.”

Revenant’s lips thinned before she could restrain herself. “I’m happy for you.”

Manu grunted. “I know what you are thinking, Tempeste. And the answer is yes.”

“And what is it, that I am thinking?”

Nemesis gave her a long look, before he spoke the words she had been dreading.

“From tomorrow, the dissolution of Sentinel will begin.”

Chapter Text

XII - Trahison

 

REVENANT



“Alright.”

“Alright?” Nemesis echoed, tilting his head. “I’m disappointed, Tempeste. I expected more resistance.”

Revenant shrugged. “You have no more enemies, Manu, no reason to continue.” She watched him chalk up his hands, pushing herself to say what was truly on her mind. “Dissolution seems a bit much, though.”

“You think so?”

Revenant shoved her hands in her jacket pockets. “You could just step down, let me or Cyclops take your place.”

A look of surprise washed over Nemesis’ face. Revenant surmised that her Russian friend hadn’t thought of the possibility of a succession, since his mind was clearly focused on his return to sport. His mouth thinned into a line and he shook his head. “It is a lot to take on, Tempeste. I won’t be financing-”

“Money isn’t an issue.”

“Oh?”

“I still have what the French government gave me and Cyclops…” she trailed off. “Well, he has his ways of acquiring money.”

Nemesis looked over her shoulder briefly, perhaps his coach was getting impatient, but then he promised, “I am not opposed to it. You just need to know what you’re getting yourself into.”

Her Russian friend was summoned back to training by the impatient, beckoning clapping from his coach, leaving Revenant to deal with this new information by herself. She hoped that everything she had worked for was not about to end so suddenly, just because Manu was no longer interested in their ‘mutual’ mission of vengeance, but since Cyclops still had his reasons to remain part of the group, informing him of their possible newfound positions was next on her list of things to do.

Ethan seemed a little surprised to see her so soon, but the signature smirk dropped from his face when she told him the news. He said nothing as a flock of nurses went past the bay, but as soon as he considered them out of earshot, he said what Revenant had wanted to say to Manu.

“What the fuck do you mean he wants to dissolve the group? Is he out of his mind?”

Revenant shrugged. “New priorities. All who wish him harm are dead, he has no reason to continue. I told him that instead of that… drastic option, that there was an alternative.”

“Yeah?”

“You and I could continue without him, or simply replace him. Finances won’t be an issue, I have money and you can borrow it.”

Cyclops leant back, green hair stark against the white pillow. “I mean yeah, we can do that. I hope we can do that. I much prefer this subzero base to a life on the run.”

“You and me both.”

“Oh please, at least you had your little biker ghosts, I was on my own!”

Revenant was about to correct him on that, when a throat was cleared behind them. She whirled, finding Alexios at the threshold.

“Tempeste, can I speak with you for a moment, please?”

Revenant glanced back at Cyclops, who simply waved her away, “We’ll discuss more later when he lets me leave this prison.”

“Oh, I can’t wait to discuss things of great importance with you when you’re higher than the sky.”

She left Ethan chuckling, walking away with Alexios, the doctor leading her to a quieter part of the infirmary where they wouldn’t be overheard.

“Did you see Immanuil today?”

“I did.”

“Ah, good. Well, if you see him again, would you mind passing on a message?”

Revenant shrugged. “What is the message?”

“More of a request. For more medical staff to be hired,” Alexios explained. “Jules, Martin and I are overworked, to put it mildly. I would have passed the message on to him myself, but I couldn’t find him anywhere…”

“Don’t worry, I will see what I can do,” Revenant promised, noticing the confusion arise on his face. “I will be taking care of hiring new staff from now on.”

“Ah, I’d heard about the possibility of leadership changes,” Alexios nodded. “There is something else, something more pressing.”

“Ouais?”

“It’s about your father.”

Revenant stilled. “How do you know about him?”

“Immanuil,” Alexios explained. “Before the gymnastics returned to his life, we had been speaking of the meeting that myself and Einar were invited to attend. About you.”

“Invited by who?”

“That leader of the counter-terrorism group, I forget his name,” Alexios waved it off. “I am to attend this meeting in a week’s time, once Ethan is better recovered. Immanuil and I had been going over what I should and should not say.”

Revenant leaned in closer. “And what are you going to say?”

“That I know you only from the prosthetics trials and that I haven’t seen you in many months,” Alexios shrugged. “Revealing my true occupation here would jeopardize my entire career, my friendships, and not to mention how it’d make you feel.”

Revenant scoffed. “When is the meeting?”

“Next Thursday, eight in the morning, at their facility.”

“You should still go ahead with the meeting.”

Alexios still seemed unsure. “Tempeste, if they suspect anything… I’m not the best liar.”

Revenant put on a reassuring smile, patting her stingers, drawing his gaze down to her arm momentarily before her speaking made him look up once more. “Not to worry, doctor. I will be in there with you.”



I would like to call in that favour you owe me

And here I was, thinking you had forgotten about me, kleiner Geist

Are you working

Not anything concrete, just my little hunts

Well, I have a need for a doctor, to put it lightly

If you are in need of medical attention, I would recommend going to a hospital. I’m in Argentina at the moment.

How about I call you and explain everything, Severin



DOC

 

Gustave had just arrived at the medical wing when Six called. Expecting an emergency of some kind, he was on high alert upon picking up the phone, but instead he was met with cheery pleasantries. It wasn’t an incident that Six wanted him to attend, it was an interview. Other than expressing his wish for Gustave to attend said interview, Six did not give any more details over the phone, only that the interviewee was already on the premises and ready to begin.

Pouring his freshly-brewed coffee out of his favourite large mug and into a travel flask, Doc made his way to Six’s office. He was welcomed in by Harry’s enthusiastic voice when he knocked, making his way inside with some professional confidence that disappeared upon sighting the interviewee.

“Gustave!” Dr Alexios Rhexenor exclaimed, standing from his seat opposite Six.

“Alexios,” Doc responded, beyond surprised to see an old MSF colleague standing before him. They shook hands. “It has certainly been a while.”

“Indeed it has. I heard you were in Madagascar not too long ago…”

Gustave nodded. “I returned early. Some pressing matters here.”

“Mr. Pandey has been telling me a little about the problems-”

“Please, call me Harry,” Six interjected.

Alexios smiled. “Yes, well, I finally found myself with enough free time to come here. I know it’s been a little over two months since you originally asked me to sit down for this interview, Harry, but if there’s anything I can do to help, I’ll be more than happy to.”

“Well, we have hit a dead end, so to speak, in recent weeks,” Six admitted, inviting both of them to sit. “What I would like to discuss with you, Dr Rhexenor, concerns the prosthetic replacement trials you co-oversaw with Dr Einar Veturshvisla…” Harry shook his head. “Forgive my pronunciation. I digress - it is a particular patient of those trials I wish to inquire about.”

Alexios had been nodding along. “Alright.”

Gustave was failing to see why Six would want him to be present in this interview, and-

“Do you remember patient 37 of the trials?”

“I do, actually.”

“And her name?”

“Tempeste Bisset.”

Gustave felt a kick of nervousness set in. Six was right, this suspect in their case of vigilantism had left no trails in recent weeks. He had to remain professional in this environment, but the old questions he had pondered on began to rise to the surface, the screaming matches he’d had with Aurelie played back in his mind…

He blocked it all by listening to the interview.

“How was Ms. Bisset as a patient?”

“Extremely difficult and volatile.”

“And yet you still allowed her to take part in the trials?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Alexios looked confused. “Haven’t you read into her past? Don’t you know what she has gone through?”

“It would seem that you have.”

Gustave’s friend gestured openly. “Of course. Her tragic past was plagued with medical conditions arising from the torture she endured. I wasn’t about to take away her second chance at a normal life just because she was rude and distrustful of us. I could understand from her side. I don’t know the details of what she went through; all I know is that she suffered at the hands of terrorists and the French state did the bare minimum to help her.”

“You seem to have a grudge against the French government.”

“I don’t hold grudges. Not in my profession. I despise unnecessary suffering,” Alexios corrected Six, who continued to write away at his desk whilst keeping the audio recorder on. “Do you have any relevant questions?”

Gustave noticed the change in Alexios’ mood almost immediately. It seemed that this line of questioning was not sitting well with the trauma surgeon. When he glanced his way, Gustave offered a warm smile of comfort. Alexios’ frown did not go away.

“My apologies, Dr Rhexenor,” Six replied, a finger tapping at his chin. “I wasn’t aware of your apparent rush to leave.”

“I have work to do.”

“And what work might that be?”

“Excuse me?”

Gustave stepped in. “Six, is this really necessary…?”

Harry stopped his words with a simple raise of his hand. “Who do you work for, Dr Rhexenor?”

“The University of Oxford.”

“The same university you have not stepped foot in for over four months?”

“Correct.”

Six leant back in his chair. “Do you have any other employers?”

“I am a reservist in the French Foreign Legion.”

“A noble cause indeed,” Six patted a hand against a file on his desk. “I have read of your military career. An injury in Mali sent you from the front lines, did it not?” He hummed when Alexios nodded. “What about any more recent occupations?”

“Nothing stable at the moment.”

“What do you classify as ‘stable’?”

“A hospital job. Private practice. One day perhaps.”

Six tapped his pen against his hand. “So what have you been doing in the meantime?”

“I do not see how it is relevant to your investigation of Tempeste Bisset…”

“Humour me, then.”

Gustave noticed Alexios tense up, his mouth flatten into a line. Still, the trauma surgeon sighed and admitted, “I have been helping those who are in need of medical treatment but cannot afford it.”

“A selfless humanitarian mission! What have you accomplished so far?”

“You know of the trials, there were a handful of patients from those with follow-ups,” Alexios said. “And I was volunteering with MSF.”

“Follow-ups you say? Did Tempeste Bisset attend any of these?” 

Alexios sat back, looking upwards as if to encourage his memory to come to him. “To one, yes. An early one. I haven’t seen her in over six months.”

That would put their last meeting way prior to the first sighting of ‘Revenant’, if that was Tempeste Bisset in the recordings. 

“Thank you for your time, Dr Rhexenor, I believe I have no further questions at this present time,” Six concluded the interview, offering his hand to Alexios. After a brief pause, the Greek accepted the gesture. Harry glanced toward Doc once more. “Gustave, since you are old friends, would you mind escorting Alexios from the base? I’m sure you two have a lot to catch up on.”

“D’accord,” Gustave replied.



Who’s Severin?????

I thought we were past the ‘still reading my texts’ part of our friendship

Awww we’re friends :D

Don’t make me rescind that

Ok but who’s Severin tho

An old friend

I thought you didn't have friends

You being in the hospital won't stop me from kicking your ass

Yeah but Alexios will be mad... what did you guys talk about :)

The weather…

Come on Revs if we’re gonna be partners in crime ur gonna have to tell me about the people you hire, like what's his last name???

Frenzel. I hired him, that’s the important part

What’s he like?

Well… a mix of me and Alexios

That’s scary af lmao, lemme look him up :P

Yeah I had to learn from somebody

He’s ex-GSG9?!?! Ok yeah I like this guy as a recruit

Not a recruit, I’m thinking something a little more higher up

Ooooh tell me more mon ami!! But in person, you never know who's watching ;)