Summary: Valoran is in turmoil. Two Zaunite embassies have been wiped off the face of Runeterra, with Noxus in the blame. The next Rune War is imminent, and only LSMI6 can stop it. Sending Agent 007 to infiltrate a secret base of operations, the peace of Valoran lies on his shoulders. Unbeknownst to all, an ancient, forgotten influence builds its power from within the shadows.
Smoggy, musky, dirty.
Zaun bustled within this thick pungent air in the middle of an ordinary afternoon.
The winter temperature engulfing the rest of the continent is unfelt, the impenetrable encasing of smog trapping hot greenhouse gases to keep the city-state's occupants nice and warm.
On the elevated streets suspended upon brown, rusty steel girders miles above a plethora of marshland and chemicals, citizens of the city-state shoved and pushed their way between the towering spikes of dilapidated metal surrounding them. Some of these people found pushing and shoving other citizens to not be a challenge at all, their efforts aided by long, strange, animal-like appendages protruding from their bodies as a result of Zaun's infamous anatomical augmentation surgeries.
The twisted buildings lining these elevated bustling streets looked on wearily, their faces slowly continuing their decomposition. Each architectural structures is squished together tightly like fine cigars in metal boxes, except segments of each building meshed and melded with neighboring structures in an uneven puzzle of rusty steel and concrete.
Within this crusty labyrinth of skyscraping edifices, a few majestic-looking buildings stand, incongruous between its dilapidated counterparts. Unlike the patched towers of rusty steel that dominated the Zaunite cityscape, these buildings are constructed of sandstone-plastered bricks, resulting in a more regal appearance. Even with the same basic building materials however, each and every structure varies greatly.
Each one has its own distinct style, characterized by effigies and provocative architectural accouterments that suits their respective owners.
These majestic buildings are the assorted embassies of the most influential powers on Runeterra.
Gleaming in whatever sunlight penetrated through the thick veil of smog, large steel letters classified each embassy to its respective city-state.
Beginning from the right, the first embassy is draped in blue and gold, large stone gargoyles and mythical creatures guarding its stepped entrance. A bronze dome jutted out at the very center of the embassy's roof, shining in only a fraction of its luster as a result of Zaun's dismal sunlight. A triangular peak stuck out from the roof, supported by opulent, shining marble columns. In the center of it all, golden letters read DEMACIA.
Moving along to its immediate left, the next embassy is somewhat dwarfed by its surrounding counterparts, the building merely half the size of the Demacian embassy to its right. But its small stature is made up for with its beautiful landscaping and architectural accessories; the few stone walls are adorned with intricate carvings of stone mountains, blossoming sakura trees and towering pagodas. Atop its stone carved roof a majestic bronze dragon peers down upon curious passerby with a vigilant gaze. Hanging above a red double-door entrance embedded with dozens of golden orbs, an obsidian plaque is engraved with intricate letters spelling out IONIA.
To its left a grey-hued imposing marble structure stood, its design as strong and great as Demacia's embassy. But instead of being draped in bright gold and blue hues, this embassy bathed in the color of sharp crimson, the reds wavering in the banners and flags that flowed in the breeze. Imposing effigies of past rulers stood near the embassy's entrance, gazing into the streets below with pompous glares. Black marble columns stood engraved with sayings and proverbs. At the foot of the stone steps, a sign jutted out from the ground, its steel surface stamped with letters reading [I[NOXUS[/I].
These three main embassies gave way to other embassies representing Freljord, Piltover, Bilgewater, and Zaun itself. Upon the steps of these embassies, few entered and exited, most of the staff within these government-branch buildings keeping to themselves.
Along their gates, several tourists snapped pictures in delight, sticking the lenses of their cameras between steel bars. Every once in a while a tourist would break out into a verbal tussle with another tourist that came from an opposing city-state, prompting guards standing at the embassies' entrances to break the two apart.
To be curt, it seemed like a normal day for Zaun's embassy street. The security did their job well, making sure nothing could harm their respective embassy's staff or government officials.
On the steps of Ionia's embassy, two robed men were engaged in a heated argument. One is dressed in the golds and blues of Demacia, one in the blacks and reds of Noxus. Much to its keepers' chagrin, arguments happened often near the entrance of Ionia's embassy. Nobody from the Demacian embassy dared to venture into the Noxian embassy, nor did anyone from the Noxian embassy dare venture into the Demacian embassy. Seeing that Ionia was the middle ground, zealous citizens of each city-state would engage in conversations, which almost always lead to arguments.
"But you don't understand! Our current government is the most viable in the current society of this continent. We fight for justice, we fight for the right. Demacia is-"
"Oh, cut the spiel. We've all heard it before. Look, I can understand how you see Demacia's government as 'viable', but Noxus is obviously the most sensible regime ever to exist. We judge our rulers by their strength, not by their bloodlines."
"And is that why you have this infamous 'House of Du Couteau'?"
"That's not even relevant to what we're talking about! Okay, I can explain that perfe-"
The men's conversation was suddenly cut short; as were their lives.
A blinding light engulfed everything in the surrounding proximity of the Demacian and Ionian embassies, the ground shaking violently to throw every person standing near the embassies to their feet. Eardrums popped, bones cracked. Then flames flowered into the air, explosions rocking the suspended cradle of buildings to their very core.
In just a few seconds, everything on the street of embassies is in chaos, smoke and dust hindering anyone to see. Rubble flew in every direction, clusters of concrete and marble whizzing at dangerous speeds through the air. Heat continued to flower outward as the explosions proceeded to grow in intensity until finally the shaking stopped.
After a few minutes people began to recover from shock. Soon the sound of screaming and the chaotic shuffling of feet ensued. The dust of the explosions settled, revealing the Ionian and Demacian embassies to be nothing but burning rubble, the great walls of the two superpowers crumbled to the ground. Bodies litter the entire perimeter, every person that had been within the blast radius of the explosions lifeless. The Noxian embassy suffered minimal damage; the only proof it had of experiencing the sudden explosions being a gaping hole in its east wall.
Though the sudden explosions had stopped, chaos continued; all around people ran about, desperate to get away in the case of more unexplained events occurring. Men and women rushed out of each embassy, expressions and emotions varying with each person. It seemed that nobody knew what to do.
But far upwards, nestled within a rusty crevice between two Zaunite skyscrapers, a dark hooded figure stood. As a result of the high altitude, the whistling of wind occupied its ears, the aftermath of the sudden explosions seemingly small in its vantage point.
Its eyes surveyed the scene with a hint of amusement, a grin crossing its face. It watched the multitude of people flee the scene in a flash, the sound of aircraft and sirens beginning to resound through the air as the authorities began to rush to the site. Taking this as its prompt to leave, the hooded figure reached within its coat pocket, extracting a black box, sealed with a golden latch.
Giving the package a small cursory glance, the figure proceeded to hurl it into the air, eyes following its progress as it fell until it finally landed into the burning rubble of the Ionian embassy with a clack. Seeing that his work was finished, the hooded figure walked into the rusty alleyway, vanishing from sight.
It didn't see another darkly clad silhouette crouched in the shadows across from its alley. Following the hooded figure's exit, the silhouette reached for her ear, uttering newly acquired information. Once her speech ended, she continued to stare out into the open air, the flickering flames from below dancing within her emerald eyes, a stray lock of silver hair brushing against her face.
Then a medical helicarrier rumbled past, its wide propellers throwing blades of wind in every direction.
With that, the silhouette disappeared.
In the following months, the chaos continued.
Blame was thrown in every direction, causing political turmoil all across the continent. Nearly every power in Valoran, no matter how big or small, joined in the verbal war with eager support. Tension between Noxus and Demacia rose to dangerous heights, the peace of the continent proceeding to stretch itself until it became taut. On the Fields of Justice, matches between Demacia and Noxus raged every single day, the battles growing more and more serious.
Ever since the bombings occurred with the embassies in Zaun, Demacia instantly held Noxus responsible. Ionia made the decision to withdraw from the conflicts, not wanting to get involved. People questioned Ionia's position in the heated political trouble, especially since their embassy was also blown away by the blasts. But with the two main superpowers of Runeterra beginning to grow more hostile by the day, the public's attention was quickly diverted.
Meanwhile, Noxus denied every accusation and assumption thrown in their direction. As the days went on, the government began to retaliate by challenging Demacia to an increased amount of League matches, further adding fuel to the fire.
But this is what was only happening on the surface.
Beneath it all, the secret world of information bustled with an even busier boil.
Right when the bombings occurred, the Demacian Intelligence Agency (or the DIA for short) immediately went to work to find the perpetrators. Sending several undercover operatives to Noxus, the powerful city-state hoped to find the ones responsible as soon as possible.
Expecting infiltrators in their midst, the Noxian Military Counter-Intelligence Section (their acronym is strangely read backwards: SICMN), dispatched operatives of their own to keep an eye on the DIA headquarters, watching their every move.
Unbeknownst to all of Valoran's secret services, the fabled League of Summoners Military Intelligence Section 6-LSMI6 for short- was already a step ahead of the game.
Field operatives under the cover of medical and fire staff quickly rushed onto the scene before any crime investigation unit (assured to have undercover field operatives from other intelligence organizations) could arrive at the scene of the bombings. Immediately scouring the smoking remains of the embassies for any evidence that could leave to the perpetrators, the agents strangely did not find any bomb residue or any explosive remains at all.
Instead, what they found was a box.
Within the latched container, there lay a small parchment of paper, a date and a place written upon its surface in black ink. This was LSMI6's only lead, the only proof that could lead them to the perpetrators.
But one night, the box, their only lead, disappeared without a trace.
Frantic, the institution sent out every one of their best agents across the continent, searching for the lost piece of evidence.
If they didn't obtain the information soon, something else could happen that would tip the scales of peace in Valoran.
Time was running low, and the possibility of another Rune War grew larger and larger.
A crowd of Zaunites bustled about through the cramped hallway of one of the city-states' famed airports. Unbeknownst to the majority of the throng, in the shadows above a suited figure crouched, hand placed upon an earpiece lodged within his head.
His intense blue-grey eyes shine from the gloom, trained on a man wandering about within the sea of people below, trying desperately to look inconspicuous.
"Don't look so bloody obvious," the crouched man spat, a grimace forming on his face.
"S-Sorry sir. I'll try not to sir," his subordinate replied through the intercom.
In response the man gives an irritated grunt, eyes maintaining their glare.
His face is young but worn, an almost invisible scar running down the right side of his face. His lips are set to a tight frown, eyes set and concentrated.
A flash of arcane mist flashed over his eyes for a millisecond, a small indicator of his profession as a Summoner.
Nobody knew the man's name; he was merely addressed as 'Summoner' by his cohorts and acquaintances.
But to most, he was known by the alias given by his employers: Agent Double-O-Seven.
After his assignment at Casino Royale Demacia was cut short, the Summoner was immediately reassigned to stakeout the location printed written on the parchment that lay within the sought-after black box. A subordinate officer was sent alongside him on the specified date of meeting.
The two agents had been staying within the airport all morning and all afternoon, waiting for something, anything to happen; the sheer vagueness of the information contained within the box they were chasing after did not shed any light on what was going to happen at the airport, resulting in the two field operatives to merely sit around.
The Summoner suddenly cocked his head as his earpiece began to buzz with static before a voice began to speak from the other end.
"Double-O-Seven…zzzt, Double-O-Seven. Do you read?"
"Loud and clear."
"Good. Any progress?" the voice on the other end was the somewhat raspy feminine tone of M, the head of LSMI6. At the current time, the elderly superior was seated behind her desk with her hands folded, her eyes possessing their usual serious glare. In front of her a legion of technicians and operatives worked behind glowing consoles, monitoring the moves of every agent currently operating in the field.
At his superior's inquiry, the Summoner grinned bitterly.
"I'm sure you could ask one of the tech boys 'bout that ma'am."
A scratchy sigh made its way through the earpiece.
M rubbed her temples with her fingers, her face as tired as the Summoner's.
It was true that she already knew that there wasn't any "progress" to be had. In fact, the superior had merely dialed in her best agent just for stimulus.
If something didn't happen soon, it seemed the whole day would be wasted without the desired intel in their possession.
Hearing M silently resigning, the Summoner blinked in annoyance. His eyes lost a twinge of their fierceness, the boredom in his psyche beginning to surface to become more apparent. Yes, it was a tad bit immature for the professional field operative to be bored while on assignment, but the circumstanced called for no other reaction.
The dullness continued to permeate the wireless comlink between the Summoner and headquarters, the hushed bustle of the airport intermingling with the muffled clickity-claks of typing fingers. The ground beneath his shoes occasionally rumbled and shook as a result of a Zaunite rocket being hurled into the dark depths of space by a pillar of fire and smoke.
None of the Zaunites paid any mind to this; since the space race between Zaun and Bandle City had begun several months ago with the success of Teemo being the first organism in orbit, the two city-states had been launching rockets into the cosmos every day. Just a few weeks ago, Zaun had been on the headlines of every major news media outlet in Valoran, a result of their success of launching Nautilus, Titan of the Depths into orbit. Though no one really knew the true reason why the hulking behemoth agreed to such a scientific endeavor, the public praised the Titan for his courage all the same.
Though the occasional rocket launches had shocked the Summoner and his cohort during their initial arrival in the rusty city-state, after several hours of dull inactivity the two field operatives grew accustomed to the rumblings, until the duo would not even bat an eye whenever a distant rocket was launched.
All the factors leading up to this point resulted in the utmost boredom, the muscles in the Summoner's body itching for activity.
Then, as if on cue, the Summoner's entire body jolted upright at the sound of his subordinate's voice speaking calmly through the comlink. Eyes quickly searching through the sea of bodies below him, the Summoner caught sight of the subordinate, leaning against a wall next to a figure whose face is shrouded with an upturned collar and a wide-brimmed hat. A steel briefcase dangled from his right hand, and after glancing at it with his clairvoyant vision, the Summoner could see the black box inside of it, along with its small parchment of paper.
Hundreds of feet beneath the Institute of War, M leaned forward in her chair, ears also listening intently to the dialogue beginning to blossom.
Through the comlink, M and the Summoner listened intently to the dialogue between the subordinate and the mysterious figure. Their words filtered through the earpieces in muffled tones. The subordinate suddenly went quiet, the deep baritone of the unknown figure was currently speaking.
"…luck. And timing. I wish you these things for your cause."
"I don't understand. Why did you bring us here? What cause?"
A deep laugh.
"We just want some good-natured fun, you see. A game. A game that involves you, Valoran, and your precious League of Summoners." The man chuckled again. "Not to mention, your 'secret' service."
At this, the intercom resounded with scratchy fuzz as the agent let out a nervous burst of air. Still, the Summoner silently commended him for continuing to maintain his calm composure. His thin frame seemed to shudder with every breath. The Summoner could tell his subordinate was growing nervous.
Keep it together…
"H-How do you know about us?" the agent asked, his shaky tone still somehow maintaining its cool.
Another throaty chuckle.
"It is unbelievable how your precious organization knows almost nothing about us, even if they boast of being the most informed intelligence agency on Runeterra. You will discover who we are soon enough, but for now, the only thing you need to know is that our time has finally come. We have been planning this for centuries. Now that our rise has begun, nothing can stop us. Not even your precious LSMI6. I will have you understand that since our assault began, hope for your so-called 'peace' or 'balance' has already been diminished. We are now merely playing around."
During his monologue, the Summoner took careful note of the man's voice; judging by his strong, throaty accent, he was definitely Noxian by origin. Also observing the man's physical features, the Summoner could tell that he was physically resilient; faint outlines of his biceps could be seen through his cloak, along with broad shoulders resting upon a tall, strong frame.
The small blue bar indicating his mana supply embedded into his watch lowered slightly when the Summoner proceeded to use his clairvoyant vision once more to peer through the cloaked man's layers of fabric. The Summoner's eyes widened at the sight of the man's hand grasping a Noxian PSS Captive piston pistol, a government-issued silent pistol that was infamous for its soundless terminal performance.
This man was there to send a message.
One scrawled in blood.
But before the Summoner could warn his subordinate, it was already too late.
The intercom buzzed to life once more with the man's baritone voice.
"Listen well, Double-O-Seven," the Summoner shifted his jaw in surprise at the man's sudden utterance of his alias. "We both know what is going to happen to your subordinate, and we also both know what you will have to accomplish to obtain this," the man looked upwards into the rafters of the airport, his gaze directly meeting the Summoner's as he slightly raised the silver suitcase. "As I have stated, this is all just part of a game." A sinister grin crossed the man's face as he tore his gaze from the Summoner to look back at the pale-faced, bewildered subordinate.
"So, let the game begin."
With that, the Summoner could hear the muffled shot of the PSS. Immediately, the man briskly walked away from the now-lifeless subordinate, who was still strangely standing upright against the wall. Standing upright, the Summoner's eyes followed the fleeing man, instantly recognizing the man's path to be headed outside into the airport's private docking bay.
A brief cursory glance with clairvoyance at his subordinate's corpse revealed his upright posture was a result of a few pinioning runes hastily placed within his jacket pocket. Without hesitating any longer, the Summoner quickly began to run towards the light of the outside world, his footsteps clanging against the steel floor of the platform he had been hiding in.
Mid-run, the Summoner reached for his earpiece as the blinding light of Zaun's atmosphere came closer and closer. The bustling sounds of the airport hallway began to diminish as the outer world's spread-out ambiance began to encompass his hearing.
"In pursuit of assailant. En route to private docking bay," the Summoner said sharply into his earpiece, his eyes squinting at the harsh light assaulting his eyes as he jumped out into the main walkway of the docking bay, exiting a ventilation shaft ten feet off the ground.
Flaying his arms for balance with his black tie whipping past his head, his athletic body finally landed onto the concrete ground, his legs bent as a result of his crouching landing position. Some passerby let out surprised outbursts at his arrival, his head instantly swiveling about in search for his target.
Few seconds pass before the Summoner catches sight of the cloaked man, the dim orange sunlight glinting off the silver briefcase he clutched with his hand. Contrary to his brisk walk within the airport's main hallway, the man was now running at a full-on dash. Instantly jolting up, the Summoner broke into a sprint to match the man's pace. The man was less than ten yards away, but with the amount of people clogging up the docks' walkway it was difficult to maintain a good tailing distance.
The man knew the Summoner was on his tail, and occasionally looked over his shoulder to see if his pace was fast enough to keep his pursuer at bay.
The two men shoved past a legion of Zaunites and tourists, completely disregarding the angry yells and shouts aimed at their direction.
It was unusually busy on the private docking bay, considering the fact that only wealthy citizens or visitors could afford to own an airship to dock at the airport outcrop. The private docking bay housed hundreds of privately owned aircraft. It resembled a ship dock that was commonly found on the island of Bilgewater, except for the fact that the ships and the dock itself was suspended hundreds of feet off the ground with several levels.
The dock was definitely a sight to behold, the various aircraft lodged within its confines reflecting the light of the sun, its brown steel supports arching and supporting at seemingly impossible angles, creating a huge intricate maze of suspended steel.
But of course, the Summoner could care less about the grandeur of this architectural marvel during his pursuit.
His target suddenly took a turn into an outcrop, leading outwards toward docked airships varying from majestic zeppelins to small, humble hovercopters. Quickly following suit, the Summoner immediately extracted the Walther PPK from his blazer's pocket. His sprinting footfalls resounded against the hollow steel walkway as the passerby thinned out to occasional lone airship owners making their way to their respective vehicle.
The man in front of him also drew his weapon, turning around at intervals to begin shooting his PSS piston pistol. Each shot rang out through the dull, smoggy air, sparks produced from the brass walkway below the Summoner's feet as each bullet barely missed.
The Summoner slowed his pace considerably, stopping every so often to take cover behind the various trashcans and toppled service bots that littered the otherwise pristine private docking bay. He returned fire sparingly, careful to aim his shots with intent to kill.
Suddenly the chase changed its pace as his target jumped off the walkway to land onto another walkway below, softening the fall with a full-body barrel roll. As the Summoner followed the man's progress, he staggers back a bit as sparks flew into his face as a result of his target loosing several shots into the edge of the walkway below him.
The Summoner's eyes are suddenly met with the back his target already running at full sprint. Grimacing in concentration, the Summoner emulated the fleeing man's previous maneuver, landing on the steel walkway several feet below him with a full-body roll. Instantly getting to his feet, the Summoner proceeded to sprint as fast as his legs could carry him.
He ignores the sporadic appearance of aircraft zooming above or below his body, his eyes still set on the man before him. His target suddenly disappeared as he turned round the next corner, causing the Summoner to stop; it was imprudent to follow an armed assailant around a corner in such a manner, lest he wanted to risk getting shot.
Lowering the bar in the gauge embedded into his watch once more, the Summoner's eyes flashed to a bright blue as clairvoyance once again clouded his eyes. Instantly his sight bores through the airships obstructing his vision, allowing him to follow his target's progress. Just as suspected, the man was crouched behind a rusty dumpster, with his piston pistol at ready.
Quickly moving to action before the man could suspect anything, the Summoner runs to the specified corner, his eyes maintaining their blue glare. Reaching into his suit pocket, he extracts a duplication rune, bringing it to his lips to mutter a quick incantation. All at once the small, glowing stone disappears in a mist to instead be replaced by a life-size copy of the Summoner. Immediately, the flickering duplicate runs around the corner to be met by the gunfire of the crouched assailant.
The Summoner surveyed the scene as his duplicate falls to the ground with bullets torn through its body, blood beginning to blossom on its tattered dress shirt. Upon seeing this, his target arises from his position to walk over to the fallen effigy, suitcase in hand.
Immediately, the Summoner turns on his heel around the corner, pointing his Walther PPK directly at the man standing above his duplicate. Several shots ring out throughout the air as he lets loose several rounds from his handgun. In mere seconds, his target falls to his knees, clutching his chest.
The Summoner smiles as his duplicate fades away to mist, his target falling facedown upon it with his eyes agape. The Summoner walks over victoriously to the corpse before burrowing his brow in disbelief; his target's corpse had faded away, along with the briefcase.
His target must have emulated his action of sending out a duplication rune, giving him more time to escape.
Gritting his teeth, the Summoner raised his head, eyes searching through the dock for his escaped assailant. Sure enough, the man had already run at least a hundred yards away, suitcase still in tow.
"Godsdammit," the Summoner spat, his feet beginning to bring him to a sprint.
"What's wrong, 007?" M inquired, her technicians continuing to clack away at their terminals.
"Nothing ma'am. Still in pursuit of assailant."
One eye still maintaining his clairvoyant vision, the Summoner proceeded to resume his chase.
He continued to frantically dash toward his target, who was now two levels above him, almost two hundred yards away from his current location.
There was no way for him to catch up on foot.
Suddenly, the Summoner turns his head as a high-speed whizzing zooms past his ears. For the first time since his pursuit, the Summoner notices the intricate wirework placed beneath the pathways of the dock carrying crates to respective levels of the private bay at high velocities. At this, an idea crossed his mind, causing him to stop. His eyes dart back and forth between his targets current location and the irregular whizzing of crates being whisked away on the steel wires by strong, metal wheels.
Then his gaze turned down below to be met with the ground, hundreds upon hundreds of feet below him. The Summoner almost grew queasy at the sheer height (It was amazing how none of these walkways had no guardrails to prevent anyone from falling to their death). His mind is also assaulted with the the factor that at least five feet lay between him and the wire, along with the fact that he had to perfectly land his hands on a passing crate or he would plummet all the way below to Zaun's ground level.
But seeing that his target was more than three hundred yards away, there was no other choice.
Quickly pocketing his handgun, the Summoner began to take deep breaths. Slowly stepping back from the edge of the steel walkway, he unbuttoned his grey pick-and-pick blazer, allowing optimum leeway for his next maneuver. His breaths became concentrated and focused, his eyes reducing themselves to slits.
A distant zip indicated the passing of another crate. The Summoner let the crate speed by him as his chest heaved. The next one was his.
His target was now almost four hundred yards away, two levels above his head.
Then, as his ear heard the distant whizzing sound once more, the Summoner began to run, arms pumping in the air, lips pursed with concentrated intakes of air. Each step he took pounded against the steel platform beneath him, until his next step met nothing but air.
Time seemed to slow as his feet left the platform, his arms gyrating in the air. The Summoner could feel his stomach drop, the sensation increasing his heart rate exponentially. Then, he shut his eyes, throwing forward his hands for the airborne lifesaver that he prayed would be there.
All the Summoner could hear was his breaths, his legs running on air.
In this span of time, he wondered if this decision was wise. If the crate came too early, he would plummet to his death. If the crate zoomed by too late…he would plummet to his death.
The Summoner shook these thoughts from his head. This was the only option. After all, field operatives must utilize everything in their disposal to get the job done.
All he had to do now was hold his breath and see if this tool would aid his mission, or aid his death.
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