Central Intelligence Agency

Langley, Virginia

"How the hell are we supposed to find someone willing to take care of this inconvenience? We can't even trust our own agents!"

"Well, had you listened to me, we wouldn't have this problem, now would we?"

"What! Listen to you and your goddamn conspiracy theories about how the fucking CIA has been infiltrated – "

"Gentlemen, please! Shut the hell up for one fuckin' second!"

All eyes turned to the source of the admonishment

Army General Stephane DePace stood from his seat, almost knocking his laptop off the table, sending deadly glares at each of the men seated around the circular table. He couldn't believe that the directors of both intelligence agencies, the secretaries, and the Joint Chiefs were behaving like a bunch of bickering children. The situation at hand wouldn't resolve itself with shouts and accusations.

DePace was an intimidating fifty-year-old man, with hardened brown eyes and short graying hair. He had come into the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs barely six months ago, shortly after the untimely death of his predecessor, Air Force General John Studemeyer.

To his immediate left and right were the rest of the Joint Chiefs: Marine Corp General Michael Christiansen, Vice Chairman to the Joint Chiefs, Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis Smith, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Robert Kensington, Army Chief of Staff General Mila Kirschner Forbes, and Commandant of the Marine Corps General Joel Mann. Across the circular table sat the senior civilians within the government: FBI director Joseph McIndoe, Director of the Central Intelligence Eric Wilson, Secretary of Defense Mitch Karakeidos, National Security Advisor Tahara Joyner, and Secretary of State James Bentley.

Inwardly, DePace sighed. There was too much power in the room, too many big egos. This wouldn't not come easy.

The director of the FBI stared at him. "Well, what else are we supposed to do? Just sit here and wait for the consequences of the CIA's ineptitude – " he purposely glared at the DCI, "to happen?" He turned his gaze back to General DePace. "Do you have any genius suggestions?" he asked, a cutting tone to his voice.

General Forbes glared at Director McIndoe. "He probably has a few better ideas than you ever will, McIndoe," she said angrily, her fury rising at how blatantly disrespectful the director was being towards the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

DePace sighed and looked at General Forbes, his eyes softening. "Mila, please," he said quietly. General Forbes looked at him and nodded, then continued her visual assault on the director. DePace joined her, shoot him a deadly look. "I think I may have the perfect solution to our problems, given the cooperation of all aspects of the government, Director."

Director Wilson raised an eyebrow. "Enlighten us, General."

DePace sighed. This was about to get ugly. What he was about to suggest would definitely send insults and incredulity across the room in both directions. But it couldn't be helped. The work at hand needed to be done by someone who had absolutely no ties whatsoever to the government, someone who had no morals and ethics, someone cold-blooded.

Taking a deep breath, he sat down. "As you all know, our little inconvenience is quite delicate. We need someone from the outside, someone who is out of our…employ, shall we say. I already have the President's approval, provided that you all agree," he said.

Joyner leaned forward. "This is going to be a black op, isn't it?" she asked, quietly.

The general looked toward a darkened corner of the room and gave a single nod.

A man wearing Navy blues stepped forward. He was a commander, highly decorated and clearly deadly, given the tell-tale badge he wore – the Trident, distinguishing him as a Navy SEAL. He had short brown hair and clear blue eyes. An expressionless mask graced his handsome but hardened features, and a scar ran down from his left eyebrow to the bottom part of his face. He was tall, about six foot five, and very built.

"Gentlemen, allow me to introduce Commander Seth Kindersley, United States Navy."

General Forbes eyebrows rose and she leaned back into her chair. "Kindersley? As in – "

"Yes, the very same. He is the eldest child of the President's brother."

Commander Seth Kindersley was a legend among the armed forces. He came from a line of highly respected military officers and had more than once proven his station among his revered family members. He was the youngest man to ever hold the rank of Commander; it was unheard of for a thirty-one year old reach the O-5 paygrade. Most officers couldn't even begin to dream of becoming Commanders until they were at least forty years old. It was a cause for controversy – some thought he had earned that honor, others believed it was because he rested on mommy and daddy's laurels. Nevermind the obvious fact that he was highly decorated for proving his valor in the field as an elite SEAL – his uncle, who just so happened to be the President of the United States, had carried him through, all the way to where he was today.

"And how exactly is he supposed to help us?" General Christiansen asked. He looked at Seth, an disdainful smile dancing on his lips. "No offense, son, I'm sure you have a helluva skill, but you aren't exactly…low key, if you catch my drift," he said, his tone clearly indicating that he was part of the majority that believed Seth was a poster boy rather than a honest-to-God warrior.

General DePace winced inwardly. He knew some of his officers weren't very receptive of the boy, but really. For a general officer to take offense over something so trivial? It was almost pathetic. But no matter. DePace knew that Seth was the right man for this. True, he was young, but somehow, Seth Kindersley was the sort of person that made you look twice . . . quiet authority tinged with an edge of danger. In dealing with him, you always had the sense that he was sizing up an adversary . . . and somehow you always came off second best. There was a sense of presence about him that was somehow unique. In addition, he commanded respect from his men and even if he didn't, it was apparent that he had it anyway. He was a true leader, one who stood behind them and supported their actions and they knew it. But he also knew where to draw the line and would not hesitate to take his personnel to task when necessary. But if there was one thing that General DePace knew about Seth, it was that the young man detested to be compared to his uncle or thought that his success had come out of opportunities created for him because of his uncle's position.

Meanwhile, Seth picked up on his tone and gave the general a thin smile. "None taken, sir. But I'm not going to be the one working for you," he replied quietly, trying to refrain from any biting remarks. He's just an idiotic leatherneck, Kindersley. No biggie, he quietly told himself.

"Oh? And who will be kind enough to assist us?" Secretary Karakeidos asked.

Seth looked at General DePace. "If I may, sir?"

The general nodded, stepping aside.

Seth sat down in the generals chair, began typing on the laptop. All of a sudden, the wall of plasma televisions came to life with a picture-less profile of sorts.

"Gentlemen, let me know when to scroll down."

All eyes turned to the televisions and began reading the file. Seth could see each of the men slowly pale as they read the file.

ID CLASS: 90876-0531
CASE FILE: MOSCOW-E640, TOKYO-E630, ROME-E651, BOGOTA-E645, VIRGINIA-E641
NAME: Unknown
ALIASES: Reaper, more commonly known as the Ansatsusha
GENDER: Female
RACE: Unknown
HEIGHT: 5'11"
WEIGHT: 160 lbs
NOK: Unknown
DOB: Unknown, although it is suspected that she was born in 1980
POB: Unknown
EDUCATION: Unknown if higher education was pursued. However, shows intelligence beyond the genius level.
OCCUPATION: Contract assassin
ORGANIZATION: SELF-AFFILIATED
TRAINING/SPECIAL SKILLS: Ambidextrous. Unusually high pain threshold. Quickly adapts to whatever situation she is put in. Highly trained in the arts of Krav Maga, Ninjitsu, Jujitsu, Aikido, Judo. Expert knowledge in most weapons, explosives, and warfare, specifically nuclear warfare. Accomplished pilot.
LANGUAGES: Fluent in English (all dialects), Spanish (all dialects), Persian Farsi, Italian, German, French, Arabic (all dialects), Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Indonesian, Czech, and Swedish.
EXPERIENCE: Has been in the contract assassination field for ten years.
ASSASSINATIONS: 459 suspected kills, including Italian Prime Minister Vittorio DiMancha, Russian President Dmitri Korabeshev, the Crown Prince of Japan, Mafia boss Alessandro Mercanza, Yakuza underboss Takashi Aritomo, and Columbia drug lord Miguel Velasquez.
WEAKNESSES: Physical - tends to favor her right side, specifically her right arm, leading profilers to believe that she injured her left upper body. Emotional – if a family killing is in order, she refuses to kill children under the age of eighteen.

"Scroll down, Commander," came Admiral Kensington's soft request.

"Certainly."

ASSESSMENT: While no one individual has ever really dealt with the Ansatsusha and has ultimately lived to tell about it, she is known across the spectrum for her cold-bloodedness, cunning, efficiency, success, and calculation. She takes pride in each of her kills, leaving her motif on her victim's forehead, usually in blood. She is very chameleonic, able to transform herself for whatever her mission calls. She is not above deceit and will do whatever necessary to get her job done. Her reputation speaks for itself within the criminal underworld, however, she answers to no one. The yakuza learned this the hard way – Takashi Aritomo tried to strongarm into working only for him. The day after his attempt, he was found dead in his own bed, disemboweled and beheaded; his forehead was marked with her motif and a typed letter warned the yakuza that they would do well to remember that she does not take nicely to being bossed around.

The Ansatsusha is reportedly wealthy – her asking price for a low-level job is $5 million, many times over the usual price for most contract killers. However, she is good at what she does and has earned the reputation of the number one assassin in the criminal underworld for the last ten years, therefore allowing her to charge that much. All payments must be made in cash only as well. Aside from her "accolades", her whole identity is unknown. Her background and her motive for choosing the assassin route are unknown. Her contacting method is now unknown; she killed her handler for carelessly handing out her contact information. And no one alive knows what she looks like – her captured employers have told Interpol that whenever a meet is arranged, it is in a place with no kind of artificial or natural light available and that she always stands behind the employer. Currently, the Ansatsusha has been inactive. Interpol suspects that she will not strike again until she finds a trustworthy handler or worse, until she is provoked.

The Ansatsusha remains number one on both the Interpol's and FBI's Most Wanted list. Experts begrudgingly agree that it is highly unlikely that she will ever be caught.

Update – Russian FSB Operative Jakob Zhdankov is the only one to ever see the Ansatsusha. But before he could physically describe her, he passed away from his injuries sustained in a brutal fight with the assassin. His death was a result from the assassination of Russian President Dmitri Korabeshev.

The directors, secretaries, and Joint Chiefs turned and faced the young man. Many of them were grim, remotely horrified at the implied suggestion brought by the revealing of the assassin's profile. They had heard of her, but because she was so ridiculously stealthy, she had been made out to be a legend, a folk's tale of sorts within the worldwide intelligence community, mainly within American intelligence, since she had yet to strike.

Seth cleared his throat. "This profile was updated last year. We have new information on the Ansatsusha, mainly what got her started into the assassination business and what she looks like."

A collective intake of breath was heard throughout the room.

Seth stood up. "The Ansatsusha came from a very wealthy family. She was born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth and was the youngest of three. In her youth, she was bright and happy. She excelled academically and athletically, and was well-liked among her peers and renowned for her language skills. However, after the murder of her family, she disappeared. It was assumed that she, too, had been killed. It later became known that she moved to Japan, which is where she learned all of her skills. She was under the tutelage of Takashi Siyeko, the father of Takashi Aritomo. According to the Takashi family, she was discovered by Siyeko during a fight in Osaka, a live-or-die type of fight. He had heard of her reputation for being the nameless worthy but merciful adversary and was quite impressed by her and immediately wanted to recruit her, but needed to be sure that she had what it took, what he required in a yakuza strongman, so to speak. So as a test, Siyeko paid the Ansatsusha half a million dollars to kill her opponent. Thinking that the girl wouldn't have the guts, Siyeko expected her to freeze and then walk away. But to Siyeko's surprise, the girl walked up to her opponent as he crawled to his corner and snapped his neck. That was the murderous birth of the assassin known as the Ansatsusha.

"Afterwards, she was taken under the Takashi clan's wing and was taught all of her current skills. Siyeko became her second father, favoring her above all, including his own children. After his death, the Ansatsusha began to move away from the family, her only link to the family now gone. It was then that Aritomo attempted to strongarm her into pledging her loyalty to the family, but mostly to him. The rest, as you have read, is history. Officially, Aritomo is the only kill that she has done where no contract existed. Unofficially, the actual number is unknown.

"The Takashi clan describes her as evil incarnate, the coldest thing to ever walk the earth. She is heartless, unyielding, but most of all, methodical. She is highly disciplined when it comes to her kills, knowing exactly how much force to exert. Very rarely does she ever go overboard, unless she herself is threatened. She is arrogant, highly intelligent with an incredible knowledge in advanced weaponry and explosives. The Takashi clan has stated that not only does she kill for contract, but also for game – if she finds an individual that absolutely disgusts her, she gets rid of them. After Aritomo's assassination, the Takashi clan never attempted to contact her again."

General Forbes swallowed, her action loudly heard. "Jesus Christ," she said. She leaned forward and pinned Seth with a serious look. "So what exactly as you suggesting, Commander Kindersley?" she asked. Seth raised an eyebrow. "What do you think I'm suggesting, ma'am?" he countered. Forbes sighed. "I think that you're asking us to consider hiring this woman," she said quietly.

General Mann scoffed. "Ridiculous. There is no way that we are going to collaborate with that immoral abomination," he said, his tone quite arrogant.

General Smith looked at his colleague. "This may be the only choice that we have," he said. Admiral Kensington laughed. "If we need to resort to hiring an assassin to our jobs for us, there's obviously something very wrong with the dynamics of our operations," he said. He looked at General Mann. "I'm with you all the way, Joel. I refuse to work with that woman," he said.

The Secretary of State raised an eyebrow. "Gentlemen, it's not like you'll have much of a choice," he said. Admiral Kensington glared at him. "And why not? There needs to be a unanimous vote as to whether we want to work with her or not. Joel and I refuse. That puts a little dent in your plans. Besides, how can you possibly ask the government to condone the hiring of a cold-blooded killer, a mercenary of sorts? It goes against everything we stand for, everything that we preach!" he yelled.

His actions triggered a verbal lobbing of insults and disagreements, just as General DePace predicted. But surprisingly the voice of reason did come from him; it came from the demure National Security Advisor.

"Be quiet, all of you!"

The room immediately silenced.

Joyner sighed. "Sometimes, in order to survive, we must turn to tactics that are…unfavorable," she said quietly.

Her words resounded across the room.

Finally, the Secretary Karakeidos opened his mouth. "B-b-but e-even if we were to work with this…this…woman, how the hell do you suggest we find her? She killed her handler, we have no idea where she might even be, and mainly, we don't know who she is or what she looks like! Forgive me for the lack of faith, but this just seems impossible!" he sputtered, all eyes turning to General DePace and Seth.

Seth smiled thinly. "Oh, but we do know what she looks like. The Takashi clan described her as being five feet, eleven inches, incredibly muscular with short black hair, tanned skin, and green eyes, and according to the males, she is ridiculously beautiful. The Ansatsusha made the mistake of tattooing her motif on her inner right wrist. She also has a scar running down from her left shoulder, a result of an assassination gone bad where she ultimately emerged as the victor. According to the current oyabun, she underestimated her mark and was almost killed herself. But that's neither here nor there."

Karakeidos scoffed. "I don't give a shit whether she looks like Tyra Banks! That description doesn't help us at all. And furthermore, it still doesn't answer my other two questions: where do we find her and just what the hell is her name? We can't possibly track with only a partial birthday and an alias. All of her personal info is unknown!"

Seth crossed his arms. "I know exactly where to find her. And even better, I have a picture of the Ansatsusha."

General DePace's eyes widened and he turned to face his younger counterpart. "What? You never mentioned that at all, Commander! How the hell do you know how to find her?" he shouted.

Seth smirked. "I have my ways, sir," he said quietly.

DePace's eyes narrowed. "Commander, that's not enough."

Ignoring the general, Seth nonchalantly typed a few commands into the keyboard. Immediately, a picture popped on a screen. Depicted was a somewhat blurry woman dressed in black. She was kneeling behind the scope of a .50 caliber M107 long-range sniper rifle, taking her aim for what was clearly an assassination. The picture was apparently taken unbeknownst to the woman.

The DCI raised an eyebrow. "While this is clearly a breakthrough in answering the question of what she may look like, this photograph is too grainy for us to even enter in the database."

Again, Seth typed a few commands. The screen zoomed in on the woman's face and the resolution cleared. Sure enough, she had green eyes and short black hair. And she was beautiful.

"Gorgeous, isn't she, gentlemen?"

General Christiansen looked at Seth, incredulous. "Commander, you can't be serious," he said. Seth gave him a pointed look. "When it comes to close assassinations, it is quite obvious that the Ansatsusha uses her looks for her benefit. How else would a president, a prime minister, and the Japanese crown prince be easily murdered? Police reports clearly state that the perpetrator needed to be up close and personal with the victim. No man can resist a beautiful woman, sir," he said.

General Forbes sighed. "Too bad we don't know who she is," she remarked.

This time, Seth grinned wickedly. "Gentlemen, we do know who she is."

All heads turned to look at Seth, clearly stunned.

Still grinning, Seth typed in a few more commands. This time, another picture popped up, side-by-side to the picture of the Ansatsusha. But this picture was of a young teenage girl with a wide grin. She was thinner, more dainty looking, with shining green eyes and knee-length black hair. She stood in between two individuals, an older man with shockingly blonde hair, green eyes, and handsome features, and a beautiful woman with shoulder-length black hair and blue eyes. The girl's parents.

General Forbes shot to her feet. "Is that…?"

Seth smirked and walked to the screen. He stood next to the blown-up pictures and gave Forbes and DePace a pointed look.

"Do you know who those two older people in the picture are?" he asked.

"John Bannon and his wife," came General Forbes shaky reply.

The whole room began murmuring. General DePace looked at Seth. "But, I don't understand, what does –"

"Take a good look at the picture of the Ansatsusha. And look at the girl in the Bannons' picture."

DePace blanched. It couldn't be. She was killed at the Compound. There's no way that she's alive, he thought. But those eyes. The same green eyes like John's…

Seth squared his jaw. "She looks familiar, doesn't she? Perhaps too much like someone who is believed to be dead?"

DePace looked at Seth, his eyes widened. "Are you saying –"

"Yes."

The room exploded into shouts.

General Forbes threw a venomous look at Seth. "You better start explaining, Commander."

"Certainly, ma'am. Allow me to reintroduce you to the only living child of the late Brigadier General John Bannon and his wife, the late Colonel Alessa Gigante Bannon, Aislinn Evangeline Gigante Bannon, otherwise known as the Ansatsusha."