It was in France. A petition had been made at the U.S. Embassy for “negotiations” to begin for a Top Secret trade between the two countries. James, a conductor for the NEW (No Exceptions Ward) program, had arranged the non-public meeting in a room at the top floor of the embassy.
It was a fancy room, decorated to impress. A large bookshelf displayed the finest blue and gray plates from China. They had dragon-emblem designs; a blue dragon was breathing fire at the corners of the plates, which were lined in silver, made to look like the fire was surrounding them. The table was a replica of the current Knights of the Round, which had emblems and designs before each chair. They were the coat-of-arms of the old lines of England, like the Henrys and the Franksons. It was a dark brown thing with a glassy look to it like it had been framed. Perhaps, it had. Who knew what lengths the military was going through to get this over and done with? On the walls were replicas of famous paintings, including a nice looking blue and red copy of the Mona Lisa. It wasn’t left for people to touch, though. It was covered in glass. A display in the back of the room showed different medals attained by the U.S. throughout the years. A gold rotating fan made the room seem almost un-earthly, as if you were imagining it. There was even a famous Katana once used by Moo, a general from Japan, hanging above the entrance inside a glass case.
James was the only person in the room. He was in a gray dress suit and had a suitcase in his hands. He sat on the head chair, a chair with a spear-head on the top. The three French men walked in a minute later. One of them was named Francois, the negotiator. The other two walked in at his sides in white suits. Francois wore shorts and a Hawaiin blue and green shirt. “Ah, Monsoir, LaCrox,” said Francois in greeting, “We have come to an agreement.”
“Have we?” asked James. “I don’t see my gift, Mr. Lasois.” James meant the codice, a story of the war tactics of the Aztecs. It was an irony that the French had ended up with it, thought James with a smile.
“Oh? You kid, I see. Please, let us take what we came for now.”
“I kid? Where the hell is it?” James snapped.
“Sergeant Arias has taken it.”
“Who the fuck is that?”
“This is an embassy, Mr. Lacrox. It’s full of marines.”
James looked furious. Three months he had negotiated for the stupid thing. He had almost lost his girlfriend because of it. He had called a Louise, who had referred him to a Luis to a Pepe to the Mexican consulate general, Dr. Lorena Maise, who had then told him that Mexico no longer had it. It had ended up in France after the Spanish invasion. Who the hell was Sergeant Arias? James gave them a wait signal. “A moment,” he said.
He quickly left the room and asked the guards outside a question. They talked to him for a few minutes and then nodded, quietly.
“Gentlemen,” said James, smiling, “I have gone through sixteen channels to get this meeting and through a few of the locals to get the information as to the owner of the codice, so I’m not letting some clerical error ruin our relationship. Please, have a seat and we’ll settle this in a friendly manner.”
A minute later, the sergeant in question was brought into the room. He was in a marine outfit, one of those brown and green dress suits with a white T-shirt under a sleeve-cut dress shirt. He was adorned with medals. They covered almost half his upper right side. He had five pins, three gold and two silver. He couldn’t fit them all in his pockets but he kept them neatly arranged, so that he looked well-decorated and not foolish. He even had a set of wings like they gave the Navy officers. Arias was, of course, of lower rank but he was a well-built and healthy guy, probably in his thirties. He didn’t wear a hat; it wasn’t allowed in the inside. The guards had dragged him inside from the look of it. One of the guards had a swollen eye and the other was breathing heavily. Arias had to be dragged in with his hands in handcuffs in front of him. He had been punched below his left eye. It was a red welt that promoted his guards victory over the well-decorated marine.
“Now,” said James, “Any reason why we shouldn’t kill you, Mr. Arias?”
“Kill me,” said the sergeant, smiling.
“But first,” said James, “I believe you took something that belongs to us.”
“Took?” asked the sergeant, “No, I didn’t take it; I stole it from you.”
“We had a deal,” said the French man. “This trick won’t work on us.”
James said, “Calm down, frenchy.” The French mans’ guards had brought out their guns. “Take the money.” James was forced to give the money to the French for nothing.
The Frenchmen left. Francois didn’t. He stayed.
“Is there some other reason for your presence here?” asked James.
“I am a man of honor,” the Frenchman said, “So I shall stay and see if you get what was promised.”
“The codice belongs the United States,” James said, “Anything apart from that is not of your concern.”
“Why would a member of your own army steal the codice?” asked Francois.
“Greed, maybe?” asked James, directing his eyes at Arias, “Why did you take it?”
“Because it doesn’t belong to you,” said Arias.
“And it belongs to you, doesn’t it?”
“It doesn’t belong to me, either. It belongs to my people.”
“No,” said Arias, “Those are not my people. Those are the people that lied to me all my life.”
“Lied to you…. about what?”
“About everything,” said Arias. “Stealing the codice is not even one-fifth as wrong as what was stolen from me.”
“And what was that?” asked Francois, who was truly just curious.
“My history,” said Arias under his breath because one of the guards had punched him in the stomach.
“Where is the codice?” asked James.
“Up your ass!”
“Where is the codice!” yelled James.
The guards put a knife to his neck.
“Kill me!” yelled Arias.
James was getting stressed by this idiot. “Let him down. Sit, Sit.”
They sat him on one of the chairs. James forced Arias’s head to see the coat of arms on it. “That’s the true history of my people,” he said, “And it is far more beautiful than a bunch of savages in cloths and spears. Now, where is that stupid scroll?”
Something rang, loud and lyrical, like a ring tone but with rhythm. James and Francois stepped back from Arias, alarmed. “You don’t think that’s a bomb, do you?” asked Arias, “I’m much too smart for that.”
The guards searched him and took the phone from his pockets. A text on it read: ‘Secured.’
“You’re working with someone on this?” asked James, alarmed. “Hold on, how do you know about this; it is top secret.”
“My girlfriend works for the NSA. She’s the one that sent the original message via Morris code.”
“You’re not afraid to put your girlfriend in danger?”
“What danger?” asked Arias, “As far as I know, you can’t do anything to her. Remember, any suspicious behavior leads back to you. Remember this whole thing is ‘Top Secret.'”
James slammed his face on the table. He bled from his nose a little.
“Can’t we trace this number? Get the vice president on the line. He knows what’s at stake. There’s no way this little spick will get away with U.S. property.”
One of the guards stepped out.
While the three were distracted, Arias pushed his chair back in a hurry, striking Francois below the stomach because he had been standing behind him. The chair swiveled and he swung around with his foot and kicked the guard on his right on the thigh. The guard crashed onto the wall and knocked down a few of the paintings. Then, Arias swung the chair around again, pushing Francois back against the glass protecting the medals. Francois hit the case back first. The glass shattered. Francois slipped to the floor, unconscious. While this was happening, James was taking out his gun but Arias had taken off at a run to the other side of the room.
A series of bullets ricochet of the walls but one hit the glass case that was holding the beautiful china, and it struck a plate and shattered it. Arias ran into it, knocking off the top shelve, making plates run down onto the floor and break, which caused the lower shelves to break and thus producing an unstoppable chain of events where all the China plates in the glass case landed on the floor. Some broke and others didn’t.
The guard recovered and ran at Arias who was on the floor, a bullet on the shoulder. One of the bullets that had ricochet almost killed him but it had got him on the upper side of his shoulder, instead.
The other guard ran into the room but a bullet had ricochet and hit the glass that was holding the katana up. When he entered, a stuck piece of glass moved to one side and un-positioned the katana and it fell on the guard, killing him instantly, stabbing him straight down on the head.
James shouted, “Roger! Get that fucker over here!”
Arias was dragged this time with a lot of force to where the dead guard was.
“Look what you did!” James yelled.
Arias looked down at the dead body in pity. “I’m not the one with the gun, Mr. Lacrox.”
“How do you know my name!”
Footsteps, in high numbers, were heard. People were running along the halls toward them.
It was the FBI. James smiled. “Good. True justice will be served.”
Six-foot Men in black suits entered the room and quickly surveyed the area, came to their own conclusions and shot James on the head because he was the only one holding a gun. Arias had forgot that he was in a marien uniform and that he looked like a hostage. His one remaining guard put his hands on top of his head as soon as they had come in. He was handcuffed and pushed to the floor. The FBI man in charge broke into the room in a run yelling curses about criminals going to Guantanamo Bay.
The Frenchman recovered consciousness in the middle of the action and ran out of the room after hearing the gunshots.
Arias was set free. The call that was supposed to have reached the vice president had not occurred because he was in a meeting but the guard was not able to inform this to James before he died.
Arias text messaged back to Dr. Lorena Maise, ‘Cortez is Dead.’