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Catalyst & Accelerant

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The demolitions expert was lost in concentration, her normally cheery face fixed in a stoic mask as she handled the components of her concoction with practiced care. With one hand, she painstakingly poured a mysterious substance into the half-filled vessel before her, drop by single drop.

“That’s it…almost there…one false move and it’s all over.”

When she was finally satisfied that she had the perfect proportions, she clapped the lid over the metal capsule and lifted the container high as she gave it a vigorous, rhythmic shake.

“All right, two mojitos, shaken like hell!” Eris called out, beaming as she poured out the contents of the cocktail shaker into the waiting ice-filled glasses on the bar table. She swayed every so slightly as the floor beneath them pitched - the yacht they stood upon was state-of-the-art, but it was impossible to completely avoid the bobbing of the waves.

“Careful,” her companion offered a steadying hand on her shoulder that was immediately answered with a pout. “After all we’ve been through, I would hate to lose you in some kind of freak boating accident.”

“As if!” Eris was as quick to laugh off the threat of danger as always. “Lee, I know you’re the brains of the operation, but you really do worry too much.” She passed her partner a glass, and the two of them paused to take in the refreshing aroma of rum and freshly muddled mint combined with the perfect amount of lime-infused simple syrup.

“You know, some people would say that a proper mojito is stirred, not shaken.” Lee said with a playful smirk.

Eris merely scoffed. It was obvious from the way Lee said it that the “some people” she was referring to meant Rye.

“Sure, maybe, but let’s be real, you’ve always preferred doing things my way, haven’t you?”

“You’ve got that right!” The two of them clinked glasses, and while Eris eagerly drained her cup, her companion looked on pensively.

“I have to hand it to you, that was some clean work you pulled. I didn't even need to use half the explosives I had prepared. Now I have a whole stash of Claymores that I don't know what do with..." She trailed off for a bit, briefly losing herself in the joy of contemplating fiery mayhem. When Lee didn't comment, she looked her over in concern. "Why the long face?” she asked, unused to seeing her take-charge friend so somber. “When you asked me out on this boat, I thought you were banking on a good heart-to-heart, since it’s just the two of us.”

“Yeah, about that…” Lee swirled her drink, not meeting her eyes. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since we finished the job, about the crew, about you...about the both of us.”

Eris set her glass down and took a seat on the luxurious cushioned bench built into the yacht’s deck. Around them was nothing but the tranquil sound of the waves, such were the perks of owning your own private island in the Caribbean with no neighbors for miles.

“I think I know what this is about. The Broker contacted you again, didn’t she?”

Her companion nodded silently, causing Eris to frown as she worried her bottom lip with her teeth.

“I get it, the big leagues are calling, right? You’re tired of playing around with your old buddies, want to get out on your own.”

“Eris, it’s not-,”

“Well that’s just fine!” her outburst was like the blast of an M-80, fast and hot. “You got us our fat stacks just like you promised. You don’t need my permission to do what you want.” She sniffed, unable to hide the pained sob behind her words.

“Hey, whoa, you’ve got it all wrong.” Lee put down her own drink and pulled her into a hug. They stayed close for a time, the emotional pain hitting Eris so hard she trembled.

When she managed to calm down. Lee held her out at arm’s length and looked her right in the eyes.

“I told them ‘No’ she said with a sheepish grin. ‘No’ okay? I don’t need to join secret society when I’ve already got the best damn crew I could ever dream of. And leaving you after all it took to get you back? Hell no, Eris. You spent three years in max security prison for me!”

“Yeah, without so much as a box of bang snaps to keep me company.” Though her eyes were a bit red, Eris’ smile had returned. “You know I’d do it again in a second.”

Lee squeezed her hand.

“And that’s why we’ve gotta stick together. I could never let you take the fall for me a second time.”

Eris answered by placing a kiss on her cheek, making the master thief flush as she reached out for her mojito. The drink had barely touched her lips when the jolting blare of a police siren rang out over the water.

Reluctantly, she set her glass down, and the two of them scanned the horizon. Eris grimaced as she caught sight of a cruiser with flashing lights coming towards them at full speed.

“Interpol!”

Her companion bounded over to the boat’s control room where the navigation panel sat waiting.

“Hold on tight!” Lee took the helm in a white-knuckled grip as she shoved the throttle up as far as it could go, accelerating them at a rate that would have made their getaway driver proud. Heading out to international waters would be their only hope. From then on, they'd have to improvise. Good thing they had plenty of practice.

She spared a moment to glance back at Eris, looking as beautiful as she’d ever seen her as she cheered and punched the air while the distance between them and their pursuers continued to grow. In the back of her mind, she recalled the words she said to her all those years ago, when they'd first teamed up in Barcelona.

The two of us? We're a team. You make the plans, and I get to blow up whatever stands in your way.

Their eyes met, and as the two of them shared a secret smile, she knew that she had no regrets.

No matter how far they ran, the law would always come looking for them. And together, they would keep on running.