ErgoFlux - Chapter 9
Published Sep 26, 2012

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Longest chapter yet! :O It just kept building and building. Anyhoo, hope you enjoy it! :3

Longest chapter yet! :O It just kept building and building. Anyhoo, hope you enjoy it! :3 Inside the bakery, Charlie and the French baker stared at each other from across the counter. Even though Charlie had just asked her a question, the woman was silent, and she stared blankly back, causing Charlie to worry that this woman might not understand English, just like the teen. But then the woman spoke. Though she didn't seem at all pleased. "And who are you, exactly?" Despite her rich accent, she spoke English rather fluidly, which surprised Charlie a bit. 'Thank heavens' Charlie thought to herself. She didn't really care that the woman seemed displeased. She was just relieved that the woman could understand her. Maybe she'd finally get somewhere now. "Um, my name's Charlie. M-Murphy. Charlie Murphy..." Charlie struggled to get her name out, wondering if it was really okay to use her real name. She was a part of a secret agency now, after all... Perhaps she should have come up with some fake alias? Oh well, it was too late now. "Um, who are you? Are you the owner of this bakery?" Charlie went on, deciding it best to leave the name issue for a later time. "I am Mathilde Goulon, and yes, I do own this bakery." The woman replied, covering up her anger with a calm tone. "What are you doing with my nephew? I don't believe that I'm acquainted with you. And if I am not acquainted with you, than neither should he be." "I'm sorry?!" Charlie was taken aback. This woman sure had some nerve to talk this way. All Charlie wanted was a little help. She didn't mean any harm to the boy what-so-ever. Besides, a teen though he was, this kid was big enough to take care of himself. What was with this weird overbearing attitude coming from this woman? Charlie's comment went ignored, as the teen got more and more angry. "Mais! Tante Mathilde!" He shouted to his aunt. That's when the woman suddenly turned to the boy, her face becoming red with rage. Then she began yelling at him in French. Charlie was so intimidated she wanted to duck behind the counter at the words the woman hurled... Even though she didn't understand any of them. When the woman was good and finished yelling at her nephew she turned back to Charlie. "And you!" She said with intimidation in her voice. "I want you to get out of my bakery and never come back. And if I ever catch you around my nephew again, I'll snap your neck!" Scared out of her whits, Charlie made a mad dash for the door. Without even giving a second thought to the teen she had come there for, Charlie walked quickly back to The Catania Cafe where she stopped to catch her breath. Once she began to calm down, it didn't take Charlie long to realize what she had done. She left. This was her very first assignment as an agent and she just up and left. Just like that. "How could I do that...?" She whispered to herself. "How could I?" Her first day as a member of the agency and she had already failed. But more importantly, how was she going to explain this to the rest of the group? Reluctantly, Charlie returned to the hotel that evening. She didn't really want to face the rest of the group, because she would have to tell them what happened and how she had failed so miserably. She decided to sneak through the kitchen instead of coming in through the main entrance. She planned to make it up the staircase and to her room the back way. Unfortunately, her plan was not so successful, because just as Charlie entered the kitchen, she noticed Fargo sitting at a table with his laptop. And Eddy Slick was sitting next to him. 'Maybe if I ignore them and just keep walking' Charlie thought to herself, 'I'll make it to the staircase before they notice me, and then they won't be able to ask me any-" "Hey, Charlie, there you are." Eddy grinned

Frick! Too late...

"So how did it go?" Eddy asked
"Uhhhh.... It went... great." Charlie winced painfully at this awful lie. She really didn't want to lie to them. But she just couldn't be honest right now. She couldn't find it inside herself to tell Eddy how completely horribly she had failed. "Turns out the kid really was just delivering bread. He doesn't speak a word of English, so he couldn't have over heard our plans." Charlie laughed nervously as the lies continued to pour out. She really could have just stopped at "It went great," but that didn't seem to have happened. "Hey, that's great." Eddy grinned even wider. "That's a relieving piece of news. We can rest easy now. Great job!" "Yes," Fargo agreed passively without glancing up from his laptop. "And there was a bit of news from the Boss as well today. He says he's been delayed in Paris for some reason. He won't be back until tomorrow night." 'Greeeaaaat...' Charlie thought. 'In my greatest time of need, Chase can't even come back? Some boss he is!'

"Well I'm tired," Charlie finally said. "Guess I'll turn in for the night." And with that she retired to her room before the two had the chance to say anything more to her.
Charlie hoped that maybe with the passing of the day, the guilt and shame might also diminish, but when the next day came, Charlie felt just as horrible as ever. Perhaps even more so.

However, the rest of the group continued to believe that their secret plan was safe.

Eddy decided that the group needed some time to relax and have fun before they started in on their big break-in job. He thought about taking everyone out to lunch. And, ironically, he wound up choosing The Catania Cafe of all places.
And while everyone ate and enjoyed their food, Charlie just couldn't. She couldn't seem to forget the previous days events and what she had done. Everything continued to play over and over in her mind. She thought about what she had done and what she could have done differently. But no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't put it out of her mind. Charlie sat there quietly, staring at her food and poking it every now and again with her fork. She just really didn't have much of an apatite to eat.

After a while, Eddy looked across the table and took notice of Charlie's behaivor. "You ok?" He asked. "You don't feel sick, do you?"

Charlie looked up from her food, forcing a rather convincing smile onto her lips. "No, I'm alright..." She started to say, but then she noticed something. The group was being watched. There was somebody eying them quietly from the other end of the cafe.
Charlie narrowed her eyes to get a better glimpse of the spy. Complete and total shock overtook her once she recognized the face and realized who was watching... "Uh...." Charlie choked, in a panic. "I th-think I left something back at the hotel..." Charlie grasped desperately for an excuse just off the top of her head and it seemed that was the best one she could come up with. And though the vague excuse left Eddy rather confused, Charlie didn't stay long enough to deal with that. She excused herself quickly. Charlie discreetly made her way through the cafe and approached the young spy. "What are you doing here?" She demanded in almost a whisper once she reached him "Why are you following us around? Didn't you hear what your aunt said yesterday? You're going to get us all in trouble!" The teen only stared back at Charlie, blank faced.

"Of course..." Charlie sighed. "You don't understand... You never understand. What am I going to do about you?" Charlie grew silent for a moment as she thought. It then dawned on her that this problem was not going to go away on it's own. She needed to try and fix it. She had to go back to the bakery and talk to that horrible woman. Broken neck or not, Charlie had to deal with this once and for all. No more running away. Not this time. "Alright," She finally decided. "We're going back to the bakery to talk to your aunt. Come with me, okay?"
So this time Charlie lead the way to the bakery and the boy followed closely behind. Normally, she would have been terrified, but her determination swallowed up her fears so that the only thing she had left to feel was her own resolve.

Charlie walked with purpose in each stride she took as she made her way up to the front entrance of the bakery. Then she nearly burst through the door. "Excuse me?" She said with a slight sound of authority in her tone. "Is the owner in? I need to talk to her?."
"You?!!" The voice of the boy's aunt was unmistakable as it sounded throughout the entire bakery. Mathilde appeared out of the back and charged out from behind the counter, making a be-line straight for Charlie.

Charlie held her ground, refusing to be intimidated.
"I thought I told you to stay away from my bakery and from my nephew!" she yelled in Charlie's face. "I warned you! Now I'll wring your neck! You little- What was your name again?" She demanded. Charlie would not back down. "My name is Charlie Murphy. I have something really important I need to talk to you about. So if you would kindly listen to what I have to say-"
"Wait a minute." The Mathilde stopped short as soon as she realized something. "Murphy... Murphy..." She thought for a moment. "I knew a Murphy... Yes, James was his name. I knew him here while he was here in France, but he disappeared soon after we met. Never heard from him again. I don't mean to be presumptuous, but... is there any relation?" "Uh... yeah...?" Charlie's attitude suddenly changed from strong-willed to just plain surprised. "Yeah, he was my father... You knew him?" "Oh, James!" Mathilde sighed. Her demeanor totally changed, and she smiled as if she were recalling some fond, old memories back to mind. "In the short time I knew him... Oh, how I loved that man." Charlie was a little disgusted at the thought of this woman having had any feelings of that sort for her father. But she supposed that worse things could have been the case. "How did you know my father?" Charlie asked, putting the other thoughts to the back of her mind for now. "James Murphy was in the same agency as my brother." Mathilde explained. "They were both working on this Ergo Flux case, or whatever it was. The mission was cancelled after James disappeared. That's the story everyone knows anyway. However, the story that never gets told involves the disappearance of my very own brother and his wife only weeks later." "From the moment they disappeared out of their own bedroom, Maurice became an orphan." She continued, motioning toward her blonde nephew. "From then on, it was my duty to raise him from an infant into adulthood. I suppose that's why I'm so overly protective of him at times. I just want Maurice to have a good life. I just want what's best for him." "So, anyway, did you grow up to be an agent just like your father?" Mathilde inquired, switching the topic entirely.

"Uh... yeah... something like that..." Charlie answered slowly. She wondered if it was even okay to answer in the affirmative considering this was technically only her second day as an agent. Unsure of how to respond properly, Charlie changed the subject altogether. "So, I did come here to ask you a very important question. I have reason to believe your neph- Maurice has been trying to spy on my agency. But there's this whole language barrier issue, so I don't really know what he's after. If you could just... maybe just listen to him... we might be able to find out what he wants."
"Okay," The woman nodded slowly, knowing she was guilty, in this case, of not listening to her nephew enough to let him explain himself. "Okay, I'll ask him what's going on."

So Charlie watched as the baker woman approached her nephew and encouraged him to talk to her. He started slowly, speaking to her in French, and she listened intently to all he had to say. He went on for a while.
"Well this is interesting," Mathilde finally said, turning to Charlie once Maurice was done explaining. "It seems my nephew is under the impression that your agency is researching and following the Ergo Flux phenomenon. I'm not sure where he got that from, but he was following you because he wanted you to help him find out what happened to his father and mother. He just... wasn't sure how to ask you." "Well, my father was taken away by an Ergo Flux when I was very young," Charlie began slowly. "That I am certain of. And since then, I've dedicated my life to finding him, and learning more about the thing that took him. And if, in doing so, I also discover what happened to Maurice's parents, I will not hesitate to tell you and Maurice exactly what I find. In fact, you two will be the first to know. Will you let Maurice know that?" Charlie smiled. "Thank you!" Mathilde produced a genuine smile to Charlie proving her how enormously grateful she was. "I will be sure to tell him. And forget what I said to you earlier. You're welcome in my bakery any time you want. Thank you. Thank you!" Charlie returned to the hotel that evening with a new sense of pride in herself and her abilities. She had finally succeeded. She was ready to face the group again, and not feel shame.

When she walked through the front door, she saw that everyone was gathered in the main room. And standing right there with them was... Chase Donavon.
"And what's with that get-up?" Eddy was asking the silver-haired man.

"Hey, don't make fun!" Chase chuckled. "I bought it in Paris. Thought it might help me blend in with the locals a little better."

"You kidding?" Eddy laughed. "You don't blend in anywhere! You stick out like a sore thumb no matter what crowd you're in."

"I wouldn't know." Chase shrugged lightheartedly.
Charlie watched them interact, and she frowned a little. 'Sure, now he shows up.' she thought. 'Right after I resolved everything. Thanks for the help, Mr.Boss Man.'

Chase stopped, glanced over at Charlie and smiled slyly as if he had just heard her every thought. "You succeeded, on your own, didn't you?" He mouthed the words to her with a subtle wink.
Having Chase invade her thoughts was weirder than Charlie could have ever imagined. The realization that Chase had stayed a day late just to let Charlie deal with her own problems on her own was even stranger of a thought. But in the end, getting past all the odd, uncomfortable feelings, Charlie was truly grateful for the opportunity to handle her very first assignment as an agent. Now she was totally ready to tackle this next big mission.

---Chapter 9: End

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#1babygirl15526Sep 28, 2012

Aw Charlie! Coming into her own and sloving her very first case as an agent. I'm so proud. I can't wait to see what the future holds. Are they really that obvious though? Wow her father did the same thing that she is doing now. I wonder if her grandparents were taken by an Ergo Flux and she is to be taken by one too. Anyway can't wait till the next one.

#2enid30Sep 29, 2012


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