Death has a thousand doors to let out life.
I shall find one.
Phillip Massinger

Destruction with destruction to destroy.
John Milton

This is adding insult to injury.
Edward Moore

Karr sat before a wall of video monitors. Each flickered with the silent image of Willow and Jason locked in a passionate coupling. Reflected light danced over her pale face. Her jacket was open, the white shirt underneath open enough to reveal the top of her white lace bra. Her ice blue eyes went from screen to screen, expression cold but thought ablaze. Mason… he took her from me… Mason still shivered in the cool darkness of the Deadplane, too weak for even the faintest mental touch. She would recover. Perhaps they would share mental caresses and whispered talks. But the feel of her body, her smell and taste were gone to her forever. The bastard had even left her body too damaged to preserve for later. Violet sat across from her, a large oak desk between them. She was still primly dressed, her hair neat in its tight bun, clothing looking freshly pressed. The desk was sparsely covered, with only a few files, a computer terminal and phone.

After a long moment Violet cleared her throat. Karr swivelled in her chair to face her again. Violet could read the pain just below the surface. Not that Karr would confess it. No, some lower level flunkie would suffer for it. "Have the files we recovered from the Andersons been reconstructed?" Karr asked, inflectionless.

Violet shook her head. "Not yet. They are heavily encrypted, and the technicians suspect a viral guard as well."

Karr sighed. "Unfortunate… I'll have to ask her parents about it." Violet felt the eagerness oozing from her words, the mask of disinterest transparent as glass. "And Astra?"

"Currently in recovery. She nearly went into complete systemic shock, you pushed her too hard. Her talent is very draining… and she is young."

Karr nodded, "Yes, yes… but we have to keep Willow off balance… Astra seemed to to do it well." Her regret was genuine.

Violet nodded, "Yes… She should recover by morning… there has been some progress on-"

She was interrupted by a door hissing open. Light spilled into the dimly lit room from the hall. Hanes walked in, dressed in rumpled fatigues. Sweat gleamed on his bald head and face which was slightly pained.

Karr did not look up as he entered, merely spoke. "I take it you did not recover Willow?"

Hanes shooks his head, easing into the stuffed chair beside Violet. Propping his feet up onto the desk, he ignored a poison glare from Karr. "Yeah… there was a complication. They had help, merc named Smith… scuttlebutt said he was feeding bugs somewhere in South America… guess not. Anyway, he, Willow and Jason ghosted. Trashed the place so it looks like a typical break in…"

Karr steepled her fingers, looking over them at the mercenary. "How did this Smith get into the picture?"

Hanes shrugged. "I thought maybe the parents brought him in… didn't typically do bodyguard work but he might have changed his tune. Weird thing… he had some sorta prosthetics… his arms were metal. Armored, I think."

A frown came over Karr's face. "Her parents… why don't I think so… they wanted her to think she was normal."

He smiled. "Don't sweat it, babe, you pay me to handle these things… plan B is in effect. Jason is probably going to run to his bolt hole. We get the girl, the Templates and ace his ass all at once… No problem." Karr nodded and swivelled back to face the monitors.

"Now we wait." She hated waiting.