Flood calls one of his loyal operatives with an update and further orders.

Flood: Ah, my plan is coming together. Arenâ?Tt you happy for me? The trap is about to spring, and the delightful thing is that they wonâ?Tt even realize it until itâ?Ts far too late; not that they have any alternative to walking into it, anyway. Oh, such genius! It really deserves better than to be wasted on Zionites, but, when in Roma... Are you still standing there? Didnâ?Tt I tell you that I need you to secure our listening post near the meeting area? Get moving!

The Merovingian operative arrives at the listening post, where the operator overwatching the mission reports that heâ?Ts reading redpill signals within, who dnoâ?Tt belong to the Merovingian organization.

The operative enters, and discovers the redpills are those who were once loyal to Niobe, and have now selected to follow Anome. The Merovingian operative engages the redpills. After defeating a couple, the operator calls.

Operator: Those idiots must be some of Anomeâ?Ts supporters. Apparently his following among Niobeâ?Ts old faithful was larger than we expected... No doubt heâ?Ts lured them away with the promises of vast power from the Machineâ?Ts â?ocheat codes.â?

The operative finishes off the rest of the redpills. As the last one falls, the operator calls a second time.

Operator: That takes care of all of the signals in the area. Stupid buggers, working for Anome like that. A fool and his RSI are soon parted.

The operative checks one of the listening postâ?Ts computers. The operative discovers Anomeâ?Ts people mustnâ?Tt have figured how to mess with the scanning equipment. With the goal completed, the operative vacates the listening post.

Flood: Anomeâ?Ts followers... What a joke. It is to laugh. The meeting is coming up shortly. Too bad youâ?Tll be missing it! Iâ?Tll be happy to give you all the juicy details later, though. Oh, Malphas wants to see you for some reason; I canâ?Tt imagine what.

The operative obeys and heads to Malphasâ?T location. The Blood-Drinker lieutenant waits as the operative arrives.

Malphas: I understand youâ?Tve been handeling security for these meetings recently. I would like you to appear at the impending meeting with Zion, at a specific time. I wish to sound out their representative, Ghost, without appearing too curious about him myself. I want to know how confident he is in Zionâ?Ts survival should Niobe perish. Flood will signal you when your presence is required.

The operative leaves the meeting to await Floodâ?Ts call. Shortly enough, the call comes through.

Flood: It... it seems that you will be at the meeting after all, while I... oversee thing from my control area. Thatâ?Ts the way I prefer it, anyway. Meetings are so dull. Iâ?Tm sure youâ?Tll be bored to tears. Run along to the meeting now.

Arriving at the meetingâ?Ts location, the operator reports heâ?Ts reading the signals of two Exiles as well as one redpill who he indicates would be Ghost. The operator also reports reading the signal of one other redpill, who left the meeting just a minute ago.

The Merovingian: It's about time you got here. Your Zionite counterpart has already come and gone. I see. Always rooting about for an advantage, eh, Malphas? Haha! Don't think I don't know you well, you sly devil.

The operative approaches Ghost and casually questions him about Niobe as per Malphas' instructions.

Ghost: We're going to get Niobe back. And Zion is more than any one person. If youâ?Td spent more time there, maybe you would have found that out.

Ghost is visibly annoyed at the question from a Merovingian redpill operative. The operative returns to where Malphas stands.

Malphas: Good work. He maintains a defiant façade, but I can smell the worry on him. Delightful.

The operative leaves the meeting, where Flood quickly calls.

Flood: Aha! I told you it would be a boring meeting, didnâ?Tt I? Thank goodness it occurred to me to send you in my place. Yes... Before you got there, the Merovingian told Ghost that we'd save his precious Niobe for free. Hah! You should have seen Ghost try to figure out what to make of that. It was genius, I tell you. So glad I thought of it. The Merovingian wants to see you now, for some reason. Try not to waste his time, would you?

The operative meets with the Merovingian, who is accompanied by two Blood-Drinkers.

Merovingian: Cause and effect: I make a generous offer, and it is accepted. We left Zion no choice, you see? Since you will be involved in the rescue operation, I wished to impress upon you that no harm is to come to Niobe at our hands. We will return her to her caves safe and sound, and Zion will find that it no longer has an excuse for making war on us.

The conversation is interrupted as the operativeâ?Ts phone rings.

Operator: Ohh! So once we rescue Niobe, sheâ?Tll be obligated to call off her little war against us. Man, theyâ?Tre gonna be eatinâ?T crow down in Zion for months!

Merovingian: You understand now. You see, you must know when to give, and when to take. I take their Morpheus, I give their Niobe. Ah, I must look like a veritable demigod to those simpleton. They are mine to manipulate as I see fit.

The operative leaves the Merovingian, and is contacted by Flood.

Flood: What did he talk to you about? Was it about the success of my plan? It was, wasnâ?Tt it?

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