The fog around the figure cleared immediately, giving the commander a clear view of the shadow. It was one of the operatives captured - a boy with brown hair and ragged clothes, and smiling cheekily away.
A flicker of movement and the boy fell, a sai in his chest. The Nobu assasin appeared back beside the commander, panting slightly with blood staining his blades.
"Good job." the commander said, pleased. "The body would have to be iced -"
But the body seemed to have ideas of its own. With a sigh it melted into golden particles and a single gust of wind sent it swirling into the fog.
"Not a real body." said the boy, annoyance clouding his face. "We have an Oragi that can create Images of himself."
As if to confirm that statement, shadows appeared all around them, obscured by the fog. The commander frowned and picked up his phone. "Can we kill them all?"
The boy shook his head. "We have to find the original. Killing images can go on forever. And what is it with this smoke?"
"I -" The commander froze. This is not smoke! he realized, with a shock. Spinning around, he found the van smouldering, but no longer releasing copious amounts of heat. The air feels damp - like steam.
And all of a sudden realization hit him like a tsunami overcoming wave breakers. Snippets of the report flashed through his head -
"Nerve agent -"
"Released through steam -"
"Inhalant only -"
He turned and looked at the chalet - all its windows was spewing steam. When they staked out the area earlier before laying down their trap his men found ever tap in the chalet turned on, sending basins and sinks overflowing.
Shit! The commander's mind screamed. This was a trap! They had predicted the Toskan to stake out their chalet, they had purposely talked near a bird patrol, they had even timed their vaporizer to hit only after their van had been destroyed!
The commander stumbled forward, wanting to watn his men - to tell them to get the hell out of there. but the words couldn't come out. He tripped and fell, the world spinning around him.
The ground felt cool against his cheek. His throat was dry. The commander couldn't feel his arms, his legs - he realized his body couldn't move even if he wanted to. panic was bubbling forward, his eyes darting madly.
From his point-of-view he saw his men fall, one by one. The Nobu boy was still standing, but swaying dizzily. He must have realized what was going on for he vanished - moving faster than the naked eye could catch.
A tree in the commander's peripheral cision shook as the fast-moving boy slammed into it. He was too dizzy to run.
By ow black was eating up his vision. The commander cursed the agents who brought this on them. It was probably his last conscious thought.
He did not see the Image of Jason walking up to him and checking his pulse. He did not see another Image tossing the vaporizer into the van, and then tossing one of the soldier's grenades in after it. He did not hear the explosion.
The images vanished, leaving behind a scene of destruction and death. Steam was still spewing out from the chalet. The van was still smouldering. And several thousand miles away the White Sun operatives were nearing the border in a train.
Alec's blog extract
By now you probably know the entirety of the plan. I was afraid of the unknowns in the escape - if Jason was dead, or any of the other Oragi, the entire thing would collapse around us. You could say we were lucky. I definitely believe so.
But there is one thing haunting me. When i was running through the records to check the background and abilities the four shinobi had, i came across Gillian's profile. He was one of the earliest Oragi ever in the White Sun. Surely he could single-handedly save all four of them. Why send us - inexperienced youngsters still fresh out of school?
What's so important about him staying to protect the academy? Better yet - why is the academy so important?
What is it hiding?