“There is nothing more fun than seeing an audience screaming and jumping. You are the ultimate puppet master, controlling the emotions of the audience.”
- Fede Alvarez
Voltaire flexed his fingers before he climbed out of the car and called out to Kelly who raced across the parking lot to stand by his side.
“What are you doing?” Kelly asked “you’re invisible. What if someone hears you?”
“I didn’t know where you were.” Voltaire said cheekily. “Next time, I’ll just stand here, do nothing, and hope you can miraculously see me waiting for you.”
“You are worse than my kid.” Kelly said smiling as she found Voltaire’s hand and placed it on her shoulder. She guided Voltaire over to Croft and Petra who were stoically standing by the office building. Voltaire swept his cane across the ground until it bumped against Croft’s new titanium boots, tailor-made for her unusual speed, by Drusilla.
“I’ve found a man with the ability to fly.” Voltaire said. “He is part of the enlisted personnel and he is an Army Private. Private Fable Bayan is scheduled to work in the records department today so we can corner him in the archive’s back offices.”
“How did you figure this out?” Croft asked suspiciously.
“During roll call I was able to identify Fable’s voice and then I followed him around so I could eavesdrop on his conversations.” Voltaire said, “I also figured Fable would have clocked in extra volunteer time because he loves his job, seems bent on being honorable, and is probably feeling pretty guilty about the friendly fire incident that happened today. Unsurprisingly, Fable signed up for a little volunteer work at a fundraiser for injured vets and when he signed up for a charity walk, I found out his rank and what he was doing today based on when he said he was free.”
“What did he say Mr. Detective?” Petra asked teasingly.
“Private Bayan said he was pretty much free all day.” Voltaire said “and if they needed him, then he would be in ‘Records’ on the first floor, in office three-five-nine. You ladies are just here to make sure that I can find the right office. Once you bring me there you can enjoy the show as long as you play your parts.”
“If we are just your guide dogs, then why did you call so many people for help?” Kelly asked, trying to sound unimpressed. “Was it just an excuse to see Ben again?”
“Fable just killed his best friend.” Voltaire said, “so recruiting him will be… tricky.”
“Well, Croft and I are known for our people skills.” Petra said as she wrapped an arm around Croft’s shoulders, smiling salty. “We can sweet talk your guy with the grace of wet, angry bumblebees.”
“Just follow my lead,” Voltaire said, “after you bring me to him.”
“Of course, little one” Kelly said mockingly as she lead Voltaire into the records building’s public entrance. The inside of the building was brightly lit because the overhead light bulbs were reflected off the metallic sterile walls that formed the base’s steel maze. Each room was large, impersonal, and so heavily fortified that Kelly felt as if she was leading the way through a prison yard that was built for holding guards instead of inmates. Voltaire’s hold tightened protectively when Kelly quietly shuddered.
“This is a waste of time.” Croft said as she followed the blind man.
As the group explored the hall of records, Voltaire unveiled his plan. Croft listened stoically with an air of disinterest, but Petra visibly began to anxiously bite her lip with discomfort, while Kelly listened in amazed silence.
“It’s a twisted, but brilliant scam.” Kelly whispered as admiration crept into her voice.
“Mostly twisted,” Petra said.
“Just pretend to be part of Conflation’s Charity Walk movement,” Voltaire said. “That way when I begin to whisper in Fable’s ear, he won’t be able to run away from me, his invisible witness, out of fear that I’ll out him to you supposedly innocent volunteers. Then you all just say the lines I gave you so Fable will have two conversations at once. He is an honorable guy so as long as I can get his word that he’ll cooperate then… he will.”
“I can pretend I do not know you exist.” Croft said
Disclaimer: This is an original story that is not based on any real people or events. It is a work of fiction that is purely for your entertainment.