A percentage mark ("%") is a tool I use to mark passages or words that I either want to expand or revise. It is not a typo (probably).

O5-11 was reading over the folder again, considering the pros and cons of maiming orphans to contain an infectious nettle plant when the video monitor lit up. A message from O5-3. Eleven patched him through.

"Eleven," Three began, his eyes wide, "you need to come here now. Thirteen's dead." There was a slight quaver in his voice.

Eleven wasn't sure how to respond. It seemed that Three wanted her to be shocked that the old man was finally gone. Her initial reaction was to smile, now that the spiteful old fossil was finally out of the way, but the tremor in Three's voice suggested that wasn't the expression to choose. She settled for a short nod and a considered "Hmmm…"

Thirteen was by far the oldest member of the Overseer council, a body where the average age was generally in the upper seventies. It had been over twenty years since he had grown too feeble to attend meetings in person, and nearly fifteen since he had stopped making speeches altogether.

For years, he had laid in his bed, penning vitriolic screeds against this or that potential reorganization or change. In the past several years, he had given up typing altogether, simply voting "No" on any new proposal. For whatever reason, he had seemed particularly relish voting down ideas put forth by Eleven and Six. The past few weeks, he had become a bit more reasonable, but still refused to offer any explanation for his votes.

She had queued up a playlist for this exact moment. As Eleven clicked open windows on her monitor, Three continued, lowering his voice. "He's dead. And you need to get over here, now."

She looked down at the papers strewn across her desk. "I really can't, Three. You can send me a report, or we can discuss it at the next meeting."

On the video monitor, Three shook his head. "No reports. No talking about it at meetings. No one who's not on the council can know about it." He was practically whispering now. "One and Ten are both here. The rest should be arriving over the next few hours."

"Christ, Three, everyone at a single, unsecured location? You know what a breach of protocol that is?"

"Sod the bloody protocol!" Three said, raising his voice. He glanced around and lowered his voice. "The site's secured. We're at Thirteen's home. Red Right Hand is here. Three, you need to come, now. Please." Before she could respond, the feed went dead.

Muttering to herself, Eleven sent out orders for a transport to Thirteen's home. But before she left, she hit "Play" on the console.

"Ding, dong the witch is dead! Which old witch? The Wicked Witch!" began a chorus of squeaky voices.

Helicopters always put Eleven in a foul mood. Even the glee at Thirteen's death began to curdle as she was jostled back and forth by turbulence. After what seemed like forever, they set down in a clearing. Black-clad MTF agents dashed back and forth, barking indistinct orders over the din of the blades. As Eleven exited the helicopter, she saw Six approach to greet her.

Eleven smiled, glad to meet someone else also grateful for Thirteen's overdue passing. Six didn't smile back. It was only then that Eleven began to realize how serious the situation was.

"The Insurgency? Or the Coalition?" she asked, a note of hope in her voice. Six shook her head and led Eleven past the crowd of men in hazmat suits.

Eleven's mind began to churn with possibilities as Six failed to respond. "Broken God? Or some travesty by those art kids?" Six silently led her forward.

"Sarkic… death attack? Fifthist axiom realignment?" Her voice quavered.

Six shook her head. Finally, they reached a small

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