The room was small and dark. Galle was seated at a computer that had two large flat-screen monitors attached and her fingers were a blur, typing and mousing at a great speed.

Dice stood behind her like a lithe shadow, staring at the screens.

It was the personal account page for 'Asper Bank' (AB). The name at the top was 'Homer Skadleen', street name; Orion.

Galle hesitated in her rush. "How much money do I transfer?" she asked turning to look at Dice.

"Three quarters of it," Galle eyebrows curved inwards, Dice paused to explain. "We don't want him bankrupt. If he has no money, he'll be killed by someone or other. This way, we get rid of just enough to put him under serious pressure, it'll be worse."

"Okay." Galle nodded.

"Send half of that to 'Addict-Rehab' and half to our own accounts."

Galle frowned, but rethought and seemed to understand. The mouse clicked. "Done."

Galle looked up at Dice, with eyes begging her not to continue with her crusade. Dice shook her head slightly, lent forward and gazed firmly into Galle's eyes.

"It has to be done." Dice said in a low voice, trying to convey the mission's importance.

Galle's expression did not change.

Dice strolled out of the room.

Galle was left alone in the dark room; the monitor's light casting shadows on her fair features. She cast her eyes down. "Nothing has to be done. It can always be stopped."

Orion paced around the room like an animal imprisoned in a cage. His eyes were wild, and his mouth curled.

His minions stood around him. They were stiff-backed in attention position, none would meet his eyes.

Orion whirled on one who took an alarmed step backwards. "How did she know where I was going to be?! Only a few people knew I was meeting with Brash!"

The minion's mouth quivered as if to say something, but nothing came out.

Orion didn't notice. He turned to another. "You!" He shoved a finger under the unfortunate lackey's nose. "Why isn't she dead?! Why instead, are your men dead?!" Orion stood facing them all and glared at each in turn, forcing their gaze up to his face. "What the hell do I pay you for?!" he demanded rhetorically. "Find her! Kill her!"

Three guys rushed out of the room.

A man towards the back spoke up then. His eyes were wide, as if he could not believe he was saying what he was. "Sir, you're not paying us." His voice trembled and cracked but was loud enough so every one could hear.

Orion stopped.

"Most of your money has been transferred to other accounts."

The man was eyeballed by Orion, who slunk forward putting a hand to his belt.

The man breathed out sharply and staggered backwards.

In a move eerily similar to the one Dice had used not so long ago; Orion slammed a knife into the man's throat. His old muscles strained, as he shoved the knife in further with a jerk. Orion turned.

The man dropped to the floor. His face was stuck in an expression of terrified fear.

"Fetch me a cloth, Randy." Orion's voice was suddenly civilised and aloof. He shook his bloody hands distastefully. One of the men walked hurriedly out of the room. Orion's eyebrows rose, as if he was suddenly remembering something. "Oh, and this no pay business doesn't bother anyone, does it?"

Young Galle was curled up on the floor with a pencil doing the crossword on an old paper. "Another word for sceptical… with 8 letters, ending with 'L'." Galle sighed and pushed the paper away. She rested her head on her hand and stared at the door.

Dice ambled into the shelter wearing her usual cold mask, but could not stop the smile breaking out when she saw Galle.

Galle's face lit up when she saw Dice, and ran up to her grinning.

"Yep." Dice nodded, replying to Galle's unasked question.

The small blonde danced around with excitement. "What do you have to do?" she enquired, enthusiasm lacing her voice.

Dice paused a while, the corners of her mouth curling at Galle's antics, before answering. "Retrieval. It's a test. There's a guy named Thomas Fawkes who's got somethin' he shouldn't. I gotta find the find the guy, find the laptop, take the laptop and bring it back to my employer." Dice leaned against a wall of the shelter.

"How are you going to do that?" Galle asked confused.

Dice thought for a moment. "It's fairly simple. The hardest part is findin' him, but if I ask around I'll get him eventually." Dice eyes sparkled as she considered the next bit. "I watch for a bit, then I break in and take it."

Galle's eyebrows moved inward as if she was thinking hard. "Thomas Fawkes… Fawkes…." Her face brightened. "Tommy Hawks! I know where you can find him." Galle grinned happily.

Dice looked surprised.

Galle rolled her eyes at Dice's expression. "I've been on the street 6 months now. It's impossible to be here and not meet people," she stated.

"So, where is he then?"

"This his house?" Dice asked Galle. The house was white and old in style, the windows had slats instead of just a glass pane. Various plants that were in dubious condition, dotted the front lawn.

They approached it slowly from the front, and ducked down so that they were hidden behind an untrimmed hedge in front of the house.

Galle peeked over the leaves on top. "Yeah… This is Tommy's. Definitely." she whispered.

Dice looked amused. "You don't have to whisper." She said in a sarcastic hushed voice. Her voice than became normal and explanatory. "He's not goin' to hear us at this distance." Dice looked Galle straight in the eye and pointed to the ground. "You. Stay here."

Galle scowled but shuffled around so she was comfortable, and nodded.

Dice stood into a bent position and moved like a sweeping shadow around to the back of the house. The grass was crunchy and brown but Dice made no sound as she progressed like a great cat, her movements' liquid in their flow. There was a glint of reflected light as she unsheathed one of her knives.

She slunk up to the back door. There were a few soft clinking sounds as Dice fiddled with the lock then the door swung open. Dice edged inside and closed the door. With her back to it she did a quick survey of the room.

It was messy. The couch had rumpled clothes hanging on it and the floor was a litter of popcorn. A shining new black TV rested on a small table. The only point of interest, were the video cameras in the four corners of the ceiling.

A door leading into the room banged open. In the doorway stood an outraged man; his face was red, his eyes were bloodshot, he was quite obviously drunk and he held a steak knife in his right hand.

He let out a roar and charged. Thumps echoed around the house as his feet pounded on the floor and he closed the distance separating him and Dice.

Dice's face was a cold mask, showing no emotion. She waited in til the man was close enough she could smell sickly sweet alcohol, then she sidestepped and brought her knife up to his throat, efficiently slitting it.

He slapped a hand to it and went down in a gurgle of blood.

Dice sent four knives flying into the cameras and left the room to inspect the one the man had come from.

It was a bedroom; unmade bed, floor strewn with more clothes and a bedside table with an open laptop settled on top. Dice adjusted a nearby webcam so that it faced her and clicked on to a minimized program.

Her employer' rugged face stared back slightly horrified.

She leered at him coldly, but didn't say a word.

"You pass," he stated, scrambling to reclaim his own mask of indifference.

Dice smiled condescendingly at him. "If you didn't want me to kill the man, why did you send him to kill me?" she asked, taking a jab at his ego.

"It doesn't matter. He's…" the man paused. "He was a dumb thug. I have enough of them to make them worthless. You, I was hoping, were what I was looking for."

"Was?" Dice raised an eyebrow.

The man smiled in his version of charm. "Now I know you are." His face changed. "You were an assassin, that's as clear as day. Who trained you I wonder," he mused.

Far behind Dice, a door creaked open.

"You have the job. There's a guy that needs a bodyguard, you'd be perfect for it. Keep the laptop, I'll use it to contact you."

The program closed down.

A hysterical scream slashed through the air.

Dice closed the laptop and ran out of the room with it.

Galle was crouched over the dead man, sheer horror etched on her features. She heard Dice come into the room and stared up at her, eyes wide. "He's dead. He's dead, Dice. He's dead, what do I do?" she pleaded her voice wild and shaking.

Dice looked momentarily confused, before her face settled again.

Galle's expression altered as her thinking caught up with her racing mind. She looked down to Dice's hands, which had smears of blood on them.

Galle stood, took a few stumbling steps backward, her eyes glued on Dice's eyes.

Dice had her mask on and all Galle could see in Dice's eyes, was stony coldness, the stony coldness of a killer who did not care.

Galle was whimpering. She hit the wall and stopped moving backward, but started shaking and slid to the floor.

Dice stood still as a rock. Then an emotion pushed its way onto her face, this emotion was not generally associated with Dyshika Skando and she'd never felt it before.

She was feeling a tiny smidgen of guilt, and it rocked her world.

An older Dice who was 17, was sitting in a large tree observing the night. She was spread out on a twisting branch in a comfortable position, a small smile playing on her face.

She looked peaceful, a part of the shadows and blurred figures of the night.

A figure silently approached her from behind. She turned her head to look at it.

It was a man. He was dressed in black, like her, had short, spiky blonde hair and chiselled, colourless features. The blonde man seemed young, maybe 20, and was muscled. He moved gracefully like a predator. Quite obviously he was moving toward Dice, but he made no sign of addressing her.

Dice merely watched as he approached, from what she could see of him so far, he had no weapons. In Dice's world 'no weapons' meant; 'no threat'. When he was directly beneath her siting position, he halted.

The man grasped the thick branch Dice was on, without any effort pulled himself up and stretched out next to her. He grinned languorously at her.

Dice looked at him suspiciously, but didn't attack him. She was sure now that he had no weapons stashed anywhere. She waited for him to speak, leaning against the trunk of the tree in a position that meant she could react quickly if attacked.

"Dyshika Skando…" he said stretching out her name lazily.

Faint surprise showed on Dice's face.

"I've not heard that name in years," she stated, with a hostile edge in her voice.

He leant in and looked deeply into her icy, blue eyes. "I think you're going to hear it more often now."

She gazed at him quizzically.

He reached a hand into his pocket.

Dice stiffened.

He smiled in an I-don't-mean-any-harm way.

Dice didn't relax.

He pulled out a photo and held it in her view.

It was a picture of a man, roughly 17, with brown hair and green eyes, he was smiling brightly, but it was clear no one was home. His face was the pale of not having enough sunlight. He was wearing a straightjacket, and was sitting in a white room.

"One of your little friends," stated the blonde man.

Dice had her mask shut over her face, but in her eyes were disbelief and shock; she had never expected to see this person again.

"There's more." He showed her two more pictures with smiling familiar faces, all insane.

"Francis, Terriann, Othor…" she whispered. Her face showed sadness, and then anger. Dice tensed her muscles and her face became menacing. "Where did you get these?" she demanded, a clear warning resonating in her voice.

The blonde man's reaction was immediate. His green eyes flashed and his smile shut down like a trap, into an expression that read 'Do not threaten me'.

Dice's hands curled into fists, and she leant slightly forward. Both Dice and the blonde man were alphas in social order. Alphas can threaten anyone in their circle, and no one threatens them.

They death glared at each other.

Dice needed to know what he had to say. She gave a faint nod in deferral and resettled her expression so that it was less menacing.

The blonde man relaxed. "They're at Maddley's Mental Institution. I suggest you go visit them, you might find out something interesting." That was his peace offering. The blonde man leaned back and studied her face. He made as if to leave.

Dice stopped him with a hand movement. "Who are you?" her face showed gratitude.

"Attrian." He dropped of the branch and melted into the night.

The building was all white in a clinical way. It seemed to radiate strong vibes of depression. Dice and Galle walked into the reception room.

Behind the front desk the secretary was painting her nails blood red.

Dice opened her mouth to speak but shut it when Galle elbowed her. Dice looked down.

"Let me do the talking. You wouldn't want to scare her away with your great people skills," Galle joked, her light blue eyes dancing.

"My people skills are fine!" Dice protested, narrowing her eyebrows at Galle with mock anger.


"Watch." Dice put on a superior look and strode up to the lady. "Excuse me," she said in an obnoxious tone. "I'm looking for my friends; Francis, Terriann and Othor Skando?" Dice smirked, her expression changing to tell-me-where-they-are-right-now-or-else!

Galle hit herself on the forehead with her palm.

The lady smiled up at the menacing Dice. "I'm sorry," the lady said in a sweet voice. "You're not allowed to visit them."

Dice let her face cloud over with anger.

The lady shrunk in her chair.

Galle decided to disarm the situation. She walked over and waved a hand indicating Dice. "I apologise for my cousin," Galle said pleasantly. "She's very distraught. We only just found out her friends were here."

Galle mixed truth with lies and the lady seemed to rise up in her chair. "That's okay. We get people like that a lot in here." She smiled warmly at Galle who was looking angelic.

"We would be very grateful if you could tell us what rooms they're in." Galle said her face looking sad and pleading.

The lady melted. "I guess I could make an exception."

Dice looked from the lady to Galle and back again incredulously.

"They're in rooms 18, 34, and 56." The lady smiled again.

"Thank-you," Galle replied.

Dice and Galle wandered off down the hallway.

As soon as they were out of earshot Dice snorted. "You are such a goody-two-shoes," she complained.

Galle gave another angelic smile. "This might shock you, but people are more likely to help you if you're nice to them."

"Yeah well—" Dice stopped. They had reached door number 18.

Galle grabbed Dice's hand tightly in support, and she opened the door.

A girl with long red hair was sitting up on a bed wearing a straightjacket. Her face was pale and blank, as she stared off in space.

"Terriann…" Dice breathed. Her face was sad, lost in memories.

Terriann blinked and turned to look at Dice. The redhead laughed in the way of the incredibly insane. She didn't glance in Galle's direction, the insane redhead only had eyes for Dyshika and didn't seem to recognise Galle's existence. "Dyshika." Terriann grinned. Her head was askew. "I dreamed of you… I dreamed you saved me from Orion." Her face was dreamy. "But you didn't!" Her face turned into pure hatred. Foam came to her lips and she started struggling, growling at Dice.

Galle backed away.

Neither of the other girls noticed.

"You were always the strongest, the fastest, the most ruthless." Terriann's lip curled in disgust. "Orion's little girl," she taunted.

Dice's face was under the most intense mask yet.

"But you couldn't help me, you didn't." Terriann's face became timid, and then grew scared.

Dice stepped closer.

"Orion! No!" she held up hands to ward off blows. "Dyshika help me! No! Orion!" Terriann was then silent, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Dice let her mask drop, sadness was written on her face in block letters. "I'm so sorry Terriann. I didn't know." Dice leaned over Terriann and clapped on her both her ears at the same time.

Terriann's eyes rolled up and her eyelids shut slowly.

Dice had knocked Terriann out, giving her sleep without nightmares, helping her Dice style.

Dice turned to Galle only to find that the she had left the room. Dice stepped outside.

The little blonde was looking anxious. Galle gazed up at Dice for an explanation of some kind.

"Find me Orion," Dice ordered Galle in a cold tone. "I have a message for him."