After the vote was passed, the meeting finished up pretty quickly. Ezekiel along with Tao started making a plan on who they were going to try and recruit. They planned to recruit them in a certain order to have the best chance of getting them all. The first person they needed to recruit was currently living in Russia and was working for the red room. They worked away from the main base and were stationed just outside of Saint Petersburg at a small farm.
A portal appeared at the farm while inside the mirror dimension, out of it stepped Ezekiel followed by Tao. They looked around the area for a few moments before they moved inside the house. Once inside, Ezekiel connected a USB into a server stack located in the basement and took over the computer network and security system.
Once finished he set it to loop the security footage and then went upstairs with Tao to look around. Ezekiel wanted to find a specific item, a photo album. Once he found it, he waited patiently in a corner of the living room as he slowly looked through it while sitting in a chair. Tao also waited around, but she was hidden in the mirror dimension.
Over an hour passed before the front door opened and a woman walked inside. At first glance it seemed that she didn't notice anything amiss. But after she placed her overcoat on the rack, she spun around quickly with a gun in her hand and pointed it at Ezekiel. Ezekiel never looked up as he continued to calmly look through the photo album.
The woman waited a few moments but when she didn't get a reaction from the man she asked, "Who sent you?"
Ezekiel finally glanced up at the woman, before he looked back at the photo album as he said, "Technically, I sent myself."
Ezekiel flipped a page as he said, "You know I find it weird that a woman like you would keep a family photo album from a spy mission."
Ezekiel slowly lifted up the album and pointed at a picture as he said, "This man was never married to you and these two girls aren't even related to you. Well I guess once they graduate from the red room, you could consider them unofficially your daughters."
The woman tensed at Ezekiel’s statement but did nothing else. Ezekiel closed the album and set it aside as he said, "Melina, I just wanna talk for a bit and give you a job offer. If you don’t like the offer I will leave and you will never see me again."
Melina finally moved as she aimed the weapon closer to Ezekiel's head then his chest like before. She stepped a little closer as she said, "You won't be going anywhere."
Ezekiel smirked as he said, "You don't have the power to stop me and the beacon you activated isn't going to bring anyone to help you."
As soon as Melina pulled the trigger on her weapon and the sound of the shot rang out, Ezekiel disappeared in a cloud of smoke. As the smoke cleared she could see on the chair was her overcoat and Melina could feel the cold edge of a knife on her throat. Ezekiel's voice could be heard behind her as he said, "I just want to talk, give me an hour of your time, please."
As the knife slowly moved away from her throat, Melina spun around and fired her gun three times before she realized no one was there and a salt shaker was on the ground. She heard the man from her kitchen as he said, "I just want an hour of your time, so we can talk like civilized people."
Melina moved towards her kitchen and saw the man seated at her kitchen table with a smug smile on his face and the photo album sitting on the table next to him. The man pointed to another seat as he said, "You can try to shoot me again, which will get you nowhere. Or we can talk like adults for an hour."
Melina eyed the man warily but holstered her weapon before she grabbed a teapot and started to fill it with water. Ezekiel waited patiently as he watched her before she finally said, "If you are here to talk, then talk."
Ezekiel smirked slightly as he said, "Let me ask you a question to start. What do you want out of life?"
Melina paused for only a moment before she said, "I have everything I need, why would I need anything more?"
"Are you sure about that? This photo album I found makes me think otherwise."
Minutes passed before Melina pulled the steaming teapot from the stove and poured water into two cups inside of which she had set a tea bag each. She walked over to the table and set a cup in front of Ezekiel, before she placed the other in front of another chair. She then pulled out some milk, sugar, honey and set them all on the table. She started to mix a little milk and honey into her tea as she said, "You have already wasted five minutes."
Ezekiel smiled as he poured some sugar into his tea and mixed it together using his tea bag. Ezekiel then lifted the cup and drank all of it in one go. He placed the empty cup back down as he said, "I am not really a fan, but thanks for the tea."
Ezekiel waited patiently to see if Melina would talk, but after almost ten minutes he finally said, "I was hoping you would actually chat with me, but it looks like you won't."
Ezekiel glanced at the photo album for a moment before he said, "I plan to get Natasha and Yelena out of the red room, along with all the other girls currently there. I will give them the chance to live a normal life, even though I know most of them won't choose it. As for you, I wanted to offer you a job teaching the girls."
Melina's eyes widened the tiniest bit at the mention of Natasha and Yelena's name, but instantly went back to normal afterwards. Ezekiel waited patiently again but after another five minutes Melina still hadn’t talked.
Ezekiel slowly stood up as he said, "Looks like you aren't interested and I have better things to do. If you change your mind though, just show up at the red room in a week."
Ezekiel started to turn around and walk out of the room as he said, "Oh, and a word of advice, the red room is no longer working for the betterment of your country and its people. Why else do you think someone like Alexei is currently in prison. It wasn't because he was criticizing the government, it was because he didn't like what Dreykov was doing."
Ezekiel faded out of view like a mirror shattering as he walked out of the room. He turned around and looked at Melina for another moment before he said, "Looks like the first recruit failed."
Tao nodded her head as she said, "Possibly, maybe your next one will go easier?"
Ezekiel shook his head as he said, "Doubtful, without Melina I think this one will be a failure also."
Tao opened up a new portal and followed Ezekiel through it to their next destination.
In the real world Melina was quiet for a few minutes as she watched the spot where the man just was. She glanced at the photo album before she stood up and went to the freezer and pulled out a bottle of vodka. She opened the bottle and took a long drink from it as she walked to her computer. She needed to find out some information before she made her next move.
Tao and Ezekiel were in the mirror dimension as they walked through one of the most secure prisons in Russia. They moved towards the security room of the prison, Ezekiel wanted to take over their systems before they met their target. Once they arrived at the security room, Tao and Ezekiel left the mirror dimension.
Ezekiel walked towards the three men stationed at the monitors as he said, "Excuse me, but you gentlemen wouldn't happen to know the way to the bathroom, I think I got lost."
The three men immediately turned towards Ezekiel and right afterwards they relaxed into their chairs as their eyes glazed over. As Ezekiel inserted a USB into the computer system Tao said, "That was new, normally you do something with your hands and whisper something when you use that ability."
Ezekiel typed on the computer as he said, "I've been practicing the ability using only the sound of my voice. For normal humans it's more than enough to overpower them."
Ezekiel removed the USB and turned back to look at Tao as he said, "I found the target and set the video footage to loop for the next few hours. Let's get out of here."
Tao pulled Ezekiel back into the mirror dimension with her, before they left to go find their newest recruit. They walked through the bare concrete corridors for about ten minutes till they came to the cell they were looking for.
They looked inside and a man was currently laid back on his bunk reading a book. After a few moments Tao pulled the man into the mirror dimension with them.
The man glanced over at Ezekiel who was standing just in front of the open cell door as he said, "Alexei, can we have a few minutes of your time?"
Alexei studied Ezekiel for a moment before he glanced behind him to look at Tao. He then looked back at his book as he said, "I am not giving out autographs today."
Ezekiel smiled wide as he said, "It's a good thing we didn't come for an autograph. We just wanted to offer you a job."
Alexei glanced up from his book before he said, "I don't need a job, now leave me alone."
"Really? I thought someone like the Red Guardian would jump at the chance to help people. But I guess you aren't really a hero are you? Just a government experiment turned into a propaganda machine."
As Alexei stood up the book in his hands ripped right in half. He glowered at Ezekiel as he said, "You know nothing about me."
Ezekiel raised his hands up in a pacifying manner as he said, "You're right, I don't know you personally. I have read some of your psych profiles though. One thing all the reports say is that you have a hero complex, I personally don’t find that a bad thing. I actually have that complex myself. It’s part of the reason I came here.”
Alexei glanced at the book he ripped in half before he sat down and said, “What do you want?”
Ezekiel smiled as he said, “A job offer is mostly why I came, and to also offer you a chance to reconnect with your fake daughters, Natasha and Yelena.”
Alexei looked at Ezekiel instantly, he studied him for a few moments before he asked, “How do you plan to do that?”
“I plan to rescue them from the red room, along with all the other girls currently there. I came here hoping you would like to help me and afterwards I will need help taking care of them and training them.”
Alexei’s hands tightened a little and his voice took on a dangerous edge as he said, “What are your plans for those girls?”
Ezekiel waved off Alexei’s words as he said, “I already told you I have a hero complex, I plan to rescue them from that place. I would just take them back to their families if I could, but you and I both know that isn’t an option. The things those girls have been put through needs to be dealt with properly. I have a way to help speed up the process, but they will still need help.”
Ezekiel sighed then said, “As for the training I won’t lie, I don’t think most of them will be able to live a normal life any more. Instead of training them to be heartless assassin’s, I was hoping to convert them into something better or different. Something they could make the choice to become themselves, instead of forced into the role.”
Alexei watched Ezekiel for a while before he said, “If you try to attack the red room, those girls you are trying to save will fight you. You might just end up killing them, instead of saving them.”
“You don’t have to worry about any of that, I will take the red room and all the girls will be safe. Not a single one will be hurt when I do it.”
Ezekiel grinned as he said, “I am in no rush, how about I give you a few days to think about it? I will be back on Friday, that gives you five days to think it over.”
Alexei was forced out of the mirror dimension before he could speak, while Tao made a portal for Ezekiel and her to go to their next target.