Even as a D-MISE agent, inside an organization built on secrets, there are many things that I am not supposed to know that I do. I know who our faceless leader is. I know why he founded D-MISE, and I know that I can get away with publishing these secrets because I won’t be around long enough to face the consequences, as far-reaching as they will be. I pity those that stand between us. I pity myself because the fruits of my labor could very well wither before I get to taste them in After. I never directly met our leader, but I’ve always considered him a mentor.
I haven’t been a perfect D-MISE agent. There were times when I went outside the protocol. There were times when I made hard choices that didn’t directly benefit the big picture. There were times when I was misguided, and there were times when I was oblivious. Whatever I was, however, I was good at covering my tracks. The decentralization worked in my favor, and perhaps our meticulous leader’s all-seeing eye had a blind spot that I exploited. Maybe he knew and kept me around for other reasons.
I can’t explain why I stepped outside my role on several occasions and interfered where I probably shouldn’t have. Perhaps I was feeling nostalgic for a life I could no longer lead. Perhaps I had gotten comfortable getting away with things that other agents would be fried for (that wasn’t a typo for “fired”). Maybe I just liked the guy, and I couldn’t stand back and watch him keep messing up and stumbling through mission after mission. Maybe I felt guilty that he was cursed with our lab experiment gone wrong, a very unpleasant and sadistic creature. Maybe getting involved stroked my ego and gave me gratification that working the shadows usually doesn’t. Maybe I just missed the sound of a human voice.
In my time as an agent, I became very attuned to riddles and clues, and I became good at giving indirect answers, no matter how much it frustrated him. I even enjoyed it on a mischievous level. Very few of us are granted anything close to resembling partners when we work for D-MISE, so for a stretch, he was my only company, even though we could only talk through shadows. I had to be careful that he didn’t rely on me too much, but that came to pain me as much as it did him. I needed to know that he could stand on his own two feet, and carry his weight for the big picture. I might not always be there to point him in the right direction, and I guess I needed to assuage my guilt. After a time, I began to feel a strange tingle of pride when he did well.
All the secrets that I kept for D-MISE, I struggled the most with keeping my own. I’m the one that helped Langston Romaijn, and I would do it again.