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Not So Novel: The Movie Trailer (NN Episode 6)

[continued from episode 5]

Several months had passed since the incident at the infirmary.  Nightingale had slipped quietly out of the room with the test results and flower, hid them, met up with Lady Taro in the cafeteria, and continued about the day like nothing had happened.  He had waited for the investigations to start once Kadota’s body was found, but weirdly they never did.  Some lucky Taro become the new Kadota, and….. that’s it.  For a while Taro 1 the lab technician acted a little more unhinged than normal, but no one had asked questions or frankly even seemed to care.  The rumors Nightingale heard was that everybody figured someone had finally gotten fed up with Kadota’s bullshit and did something about it.

As for the test results, Nightingale had retrieved the file folder and flower later in the evening and taken them back to his room for study.  After a couple minutes of reading the test results, though, Nightingale had to give up.  In his haste to get the results, he had forgotten one key thing:  he had received training to be an operative, not a doctor or lab technician.  Certain key words and phrases had caught his eye, like “abnormal”, “divergent DNA structures”, and “flagged for further study”, but most of it was just gibberish to him.  The flower had yielded even fewer answers.  Pretty?  Yes.  Smelled nice?  Yep.  But even after pulling it carefully apart he found no trace that it was anything other than a common chrysanthemum.

After that he had kept his eyes open for more clues, but days turned into weeks, and weeks into months.  Nightingale sighed as he sat down by the computer in his room.  This day already felt like it was going to be just like the others.  He was going to get to watch his friends go out on more missions, while he went to the infirmary and did whatever Kadota thought up for today.

Friends.  Hah.  They had all been sympathetic at first, sending him emails telling him to “Hang in there!” and “You’ll be back to full status before you know it!”.  But after witnessing a couple of his….episodes….firsthand, the smiles started fading.  It wasn’t long before the emails stopped, and the taunting began.  The first taunts seemed playful, his “friends” pretending to drift off in the middle of conversation and then springing back out of it with a laugh.

He grimaced.  But then someone, someone who one day was going to pay dearly for their actions once he found out who it was, coined the nickname “Narcoleptic Ninja”.  The nickname spread like wildfire throughout The School.  Suddenly people who had never paid attention to him before snickered as he passed.  Even some of the younger students did it!  Respect had been firmly supplanted by derision and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.  The School’s rules prohibited any kind of dueling when you were on medical suspension, even the mock kind that you can engage in at the training center.  True, he was protected from them, but they were also protected from him.

Nightingale sighed again as he turned the computer on and started going through his email.  Junk.  Junk.  More junk.  He was amused about how much junk mail he got on a closed network.  Some of the other guys had found out about “spam” when they were out on missions, so they had decided to make their own.  “Is your climbing rope not long enough?  We can make it longer!”  “Stun the ladies with our new portable electric field generator!”  “Takedowns and other conversation starters!”  “Rank enhancers!”

But what was this?  There was a message in his inbox from Talon, Naginata’s personal secretary.  The subject was “Reinstatement”.  He clicked to open it:


You are reinstated to active duty.  Report to 0800 briefing this morning for your next mission.


He read the message.  He read it again.  What, that’s it?  No reason given for why he was reinstated?  Nightingale stared at the screen.  It’s possible, he mused, that it could be a trick.  He shook his head.  It wasn’t very likely, though.  Emails are traceable, and Talon wouldn’t play a practical joke, at least not like this.  Well, he didn’t think he would….  Nightingale glanced at the clock.  Damn it!  It was 0730 already!  Practical joke or not, he would have to hurry to make it to the briefing room.  He changed into his ops suit, a form fitting set of pants, shirt, gloves, and mask so dark green as to almost be black.  Before leaving the room he checked to make sure the test results were still hidden, then he raced off to headquarters.

As he entered the building he heard some mutterings from the other operatives he passed, but security waved him through without incident.  The muttering got worse as he entered the briefing room and took his seat.  Nightingale chose to ignore it.  Maybe they weren’t talking about him.  And maybe Wraith would cartwheel into the room singing a jolly little song….

Ah, and there he is.  Wraith walked into the room, settling into the chair that faced the room.  Wraith had been ops commander for more  than 35 years.  He had achieved his rank at the age of 40, and even now at 75 he was considered to be one of the deadliest operatives still alive.  Nightingale had went on a mission with him a year ago.  There were 5 guys blocking the path onwards.  Nightingale had wanted to find a new route, but Wraith had shook his head.  Stepping away from him, Wraith had walked into the shadows… and disappeared.  Moments later he materialized behind one of the men and killed him with one quick movement.  As the others turned he disappeared again, just to appear behind another one.  Within seconds the way had been cleared.

Nightingale shuddered.  After that night he had vowed to never try and take Wraith’s position by force.  He had wondered sometimes if the older man was still alive because even death was afraid to come for him too soon…

Wraith said softly, “Alright, ladies and gentlemen, settle down.”  The room quieted instantly.  “As you all know, we welcome Nightingale back to our ranks.  I congratulate you, Nightingale, on your….recovery.”

Nightingale shifted uneasily in his seat as everybody turned to look at him.  Someone raised their hand in the back of the room.  Wraith looked up, surprised.  “Yes, what is it?”

Nightingale turned to look as one of his former “friends” stood up.  “Sir, I just have to ask, sir…  Why is he here?”

Wraith looked annoyed.  “Why shouldn’t he be here, Mako?”

Mako squirmed under the gaze.  “Well, sir, he…well…you see….given his condition… one wants to really go on a mission with, uh…….”

“Are you trying to say you don’t want to go on a mission with the ‘Narcoleptic Ninja’, is that it?”

“Yes, sir.”

Nightingale inwardly reeled as if struck.  That damnable nickname had reached even the higher-ups!  And for Mako to say that…  No, he couldn’t show weakness.  He gripped the chair arms and resolutely stared straight ahead.

Wraith snorted softly.  “Well, Mako, it’s your lucky day.  For the rest of you, too.  Nightingale has been chosen for a solo mission, so nobody will have to go on a mission with him today.  Now sit down and shut up.”

Mako quickly sat down.  Wraith then turned on the projectors and went through the assignments.  After each team received their assignment, the relevant team members left to go on the mission.  Pretty soon the only people left in the room were Nightingale and Wraith.  Wraith turned off the projectors and turned to Nightingale.

“‘Narcoleptic Ninja’, huh?  How do you like your new ‘title’?”

Nightingale gritted his teeth.  “It’s not one I would have chosen, sir.”

“No, I suppose you wouldn’t, would you?  Well, I can’t say I blame you.  But I will tell you this.  I don’t give a shit.”  Wraith leaned back in his chair.  “In fact, you shouldn’t either.  But enough of that.  I’m sure you want to know what you’ll be doing for your solo mission today.  Truth is, I’d love to know it too.  Oh, I received the orders.  But I’ll be damned if they make any sense.  We have received coordinates for a movie theater.  You are to infiltrate the theater, get into the projectionist’s box for theater 3, and watch the movie.  Once done, you are to make your way to the top of the theater for extraction.”

Nightingale blinked.  “That’s the whole mission, sir?”

“Yep.”  Wraith reached into his pockets and pulled out a piece of paper.  “Here are schematics to the theater.  There is a staff entrance around the back that you can use to get inside.  The theater only has a active roster of 6 employees, so you should find it extremely easy to get in and out.”

Wraith looked at Nightingale for a moment, then he got up and closed the door.  Wraith walked back slowly and sat down.  He leaned forward.  “I’m going to tell you something that I probably shouldn’t.  But this mission seems…wrong.  One of our wealthiest clients paid for you to watch a movie.  They paid, they paid well, and they paid enough to keep the mission off the books.  We could have bought a copy of the damn original film for what they paid!  Besides us, only two others know the full details of the mission.   Your pilot doesn’t even know.  She knows where to drop you off and that’s it.”

Wraith stood up.  “I just thought you should know.  Now get going.”

Nightingale stood up, saluted, and headed for the prep area.  He opened his locker.  The equipment they took into the field was based on the mission; it seemed that he was cleared to take his katana, a couple knives, some basic climbing equipment, and a standard issue multi key.  Sparse equipment for a normal mission.  Nightingale shook his head and left for the airfield.

The flight was long but uneventful.  Wraith was right about the theater; getting in was extremely easy.  Someone had even left the staff door propped open when they went out for a smoke break!  A couple glances at the schematics lead him right to the projectionist’s booth for theater 3, and his multi key easily opened the lock.  He inspected the room.  A screen showed the countdown to the next film (2 minutes), and from what he could tell everything was digital.  He sat down to wait.  The lights in the theater dimmed, and a trailer started to play.

[“In a world gone mad, one woman struggled to bring down an empire….”]

Nightingale felt a blade press against his throat.  A female voice said, “Don’t move.  I just want to talk.”

[A flash of lighting and a peal of thunder.  In the rain, a woman stands in a field holding a sword to a kneeling man’s throat.]

Nightingale raised his hands, then he spun, planting his shoulder into the woman and throwing her back, while his hands moved quickly to disarm her.  She chuckled and in a blur he was facing the tip of a sword…..his own sword.

[“You took children!  You have turned them into mindless warriors!  You will pay for what you have done!”  She beheads the kneeling man.]

Nightingale gulped.  He said, “OK, what do you want to talk about?”  Now that he was facing her, he could see that she was a little shorter than him, with short golden hair and a lithe body.

The woman chuckled again and said, “You.  The truth.  You interested?”  She tossed him his katana.

[The woman stares directly in the camera and says, “You’re next”]

Nightingale eyed her warily.  “How can I know that I can trust you?  I don’t even know who you are!”

[“Snowfield pictures presents: A Rose Among Thorns”]

The woman grinned impishly.  “Of course you can’t trust me.  But you can call my Chrys.”

She walked towards the door, stopping for a moment in the doorway to grin at him one more time before stepping out of the room.  Nightingale stood perplexed for a moment, indecisive about what to do next, but then he shrugged and stepped out of the room to follow her.

[to be continued]

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Sara | December 19, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I rather like this episode. It’s not as action-packed as some of the others maybe (which is not necessarily bad; you can’t be all action all the time, after all), but I feel like it’s pretty well put together, flows nicely. I overheard some conversation yesterday about the beginning being difficult to follow stylistically, but I didn’t find it so myself. A little rough, maybe, as we’ve already discussed much of the work has been, but I followed it OK.

    It seems to me like the stylistic issues get better toward the end, though, too. Or at least weren’t tugging at my attention as much.

    How well the trailer fits in, I’ll have to wait and see. It helps, for me, that the characters are kind of, “Yo, this is WEIRD.” Because then it’s not something you’re trying to pretend that ninjas usually do, just hang out in movie theaters. It’s a part of this weirdness that has been building. So far, it works.

    I also like that it looks like we’re going to get some info on what’s going on. You’ve been building a lot of this mystery up, and that keeps interest going, but I do think it’s time for a revelation or two in order to sort of show that it’s not all just smoke and mirrors, there is something that will be revealed.

  2. Ezgi | November 12, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    世人都知英语好,唯有钱途忘不了;A B C D E F G,雅思、托福、GRE.教材辅导一本本,十年辛苦为谁忙?心脑不能并用,举一不能反三,意识形态、思维方式依然故我,词汇只知数数量而不知计质量,只知滥用记忆力,不知要自行分析判断,还得时常反省,自我总结。只知表面现象做足表面文章去应景,而根本不愿探求本质、发展和变化。再就是患得患失,拔苗助长一日用心,奢求十日之效;一月用功,便冀一年之绩。长此以往,如何到达彻底解脱之彼岸?We are trapped in the unravosy learning mode which relies almost entirely on our faculties of memory alone, without independent thinking, without habitual classification of what we learned periodically. In fact, strategic thinking is such a rare commodity in this day and age that it demands a premium in the “market place”.Too often, we are so misconceived that we believed frequent exchanges of ideas with other fellow learners of English are so beneficial that they would make this trip or pilgrimage somehow faster and easier. While we may intuitively agree that the only way to learn English well is to closely mimic the process how native speakers learn and perfect their own language skills, few of us actually pursued that route to full fruition. At least in Mainland China, there is also a trend to place a disporportionate amount of emphasis on classic English literature and with the hope that this would somehow cultivate a refined English taste. What a waste of time. Not surprisingly, many have benefited from such grossly misplaced emphasis at the expanse of the whole nation: too much educational resources have been wasted or underutilized.The most important thing in the complete MASTERY of a language, at least in this author, is to put one’s heart and mind TOGETHER to wherever they need to be, whether in learning grammar, vocabulary, different modes of thinking or linguistic aesthetics. Additionally, a little knowledge on history, of the language in concern, is an absolute must.Just my two cents on language acquisition and retention.

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