There was a knock on an old sewer system access control point. An old man answered the door and let in a semi-good looking man of medium years with a swagger that was not lost on the third person in the room. Finding men to get a job done is easier said then done; the hard part is making sure the jobs are done right and with little ties back to himself. Slade is seen leaning at the back of the room with luminescent lights shining dimly at the old office building. Slade often likes doing his commercial espionage contracts away from prying eyes, and the old sewer system line is not in use right now and construction teams to lazy to tear it open…
“, I presume,” answers Slade from across the room, where a semi-automatic pistol and a decanter with some amber liquid inside lay upon the table. Slade is in a sleek but functional leather jacket and military boots since formal wear kinda bleeds a sore thumb in these parts. “I see that you responded to my message board about the job, hmm. The job is delicate but pays on the dollar: three percent the value of the object in question. You might think the value of the payment is small, but at the same time, how much do you value your life?”
“Are you threatening me, sir? ’Cause I can find all kinds of dirt on employers I find too unsavory.” Reginald replies with calm swagger of knowing where to throw the punch that will hurt the most. It usually scares most people into better deals.
“Ahhh , bravado in the face of danger to apply one’s dominance of the situation. Clever.” Trakus hears the audible click behind him where the old man he had seen before was now holding a not-so-concealed military-grade pistol. It was slightly older than the one by Slade but still quite effective. “You see Mr. Trakus, you can dig all you want into my past, but then you won’t live very long to tell those secrets. Not by me, mind you, but by two organizations you would very much not want as enemies.” Slade offers the charming smile he often supplies to stubborn board members.
“Now that the threats and “promises” are delivered, we will get back to the task at hand. There is a prototype chip being developed by one AstraComm Corporations. The chip’s functions are not up for discussion or debate, the only thing you need to do is obtain it for me. I accepted your request on the job board because you often obtain optimum results, excluding that incident with the female diplomat."
Trakus was a little taken away by the information that was thrown at him, especially since that incident was covered up by local paid officers at the spaceport.
“I will want to know details about how you intend to obtain the chip, the crew you will use to obtain it, and credit chip information on the parties of your team. You see, I know most agents like to do two things. The first is take the risks involved because it gives them the thrill of being caught. The second is that the same person often likes to take the credits for that job for him- or herself. Now.” Slade reaches into his leather jacket and retrieves a data pad and old tech hands-free communication device and tosses them to Trakus. “The data pad is connected to a secure data pad of mine so that I can receive progress on your plans and I will oversee final approval. The headset will be your way of finalizing the deal, and I will know whether you succeed or not. Take this in mind as a final reminder.”* Slade shifts his focus to the decanter and pours himself a finger’s length of liquid. “The reward is worth the risk, I do not make idle threats, and I have been trained extensively in the use of the pistol beside me.” Both eyes fade to the pistol. “I find violence is bad for business, and I know you can use the money from the financial troubles you have recently endured. Do the job, do it well, and get paid.”
Slade takes a sip from his glass and nods to before the door who opens it to the stink of old trash and filthy water. Trakus thinks, nods, and begins to make for the door. As he is about to leave he turns back. “Who are you sir? You do not seem to be like most of the brown-nosed asses that usually hire me. If I am to do this job, I would like to know the person I am working for.”
Slade smiles as the pawn moves forward on the chess board. “Slade Wilson is the name, surely you will find it among many articles in the media accompanied by the title ‘Chief of Operations Directorate for Vesta Corporation’. Know the name well for I am sure we will do business again. Remember, your operation and party details are due by 10am tomorrow morning.” Arnold guides the Agent out the door and leans his back to the door.
“Was it really necessary to show the gun, sir?” Arnold interjects with a calm questioning demeanor.
“Ohh come on, you old sea-dog, you know as well as I that the gun was necessary to both the guarantee of mission completion and if certain dreadful actions were to ensue. Main reason, however, what is life without some fun!” Slade interjects with his usual calm and beaming smile.
Some operations take more than one agent. It’s not something that Alda enjoys, but it’s an unavoidable part of the job. On this particular mission Alda was teamed up with Agent Reginald Trakus. They were sent to acquire a new prototype chip from one of Vesta’s competitors and Trakus, as senior officer, was lead infiltrator and Alda was assigned, to her dismay, as backup in the support vehicle. Alda stewed and drummed her fingers on the console, while hovering in the black, stealth , sitting behind the pilot. Alda couldn’t tell much about the pilot, concealed as he was by goggles and a black operative suit, but that wasn’t unusual for a mission like this. What was unusual to her was the precise manner in which the pilot managed to keep the aircraft in orbit over their target, making things a lot easier for Alda. She stared at the screen in front of her watching Trakus’ progress, groaning at every mistake he made. What a clumsy moron! She already had to shut down one alarm he’d tripped and he had gotten turned around three times. Alda was ten times the black bag agent Trakus was, and her were through the roof. She should be in there right now, instead of waiting for this bumbling idiot to compromise the mission. In fact . . .
Alda clicked the communicator, using mission codenames, “Badger this is Early Bird, new orders incoming. Hold position.”
Trakus responded, “What? I’m almost there!”
Simpleton. “Negative, Badger. Repeat. Hold position. Awaiting new mission parameters. Radio silence until confirmation is complete.” Alda clicked off the communicator, got up and reached for her gear. She started strapping on various pouches and equipment checking each as she went.
The voice of the pilot bit through the recycled air of the cabin, “Alda, there are no new orders. What are you doing?” Even as the pilot asked the question, it was obvious he had guessed Alda’s intent, as the Dragonfly maneuvered quickly towards the insertion point.
Alda slid her into it’s holster. “He’s taking too long. Don’t worry, he’ll be fine. I told him to hold position.” With that, she opened the side door to the Dragonfly and leapt into the entry point.
For ten minutes, Agent Trakus sat in the air vent, anger building waiting for new orders. Then suddenly, “*Badger, new orders confirmed. Mission complete, return to nest.”*
“What are you talking about? I haven’t even—”
“Mission complete, Badger. Return to nest. Repeat, return to nest.” With a scowl, Trakus began working his way back to the Dragonfly.
Once safely aboard, Trakus ripped of his stealth hood. “What the hell was that, Vitrionne?! What do you mean mission complete?! We didn’t get the-” the senior agent’s rant was cut short as Alda swiveled in her chair holding a small plastic case containing a small black chip.
“What the hell is that?” Trakus growled.
Alda grinned, “Mission accomplished, sir. Parameters required a faster evac, so acquisition of the asset was expedited.” She twirled the object between her deft fingers, then tossed it to the fuming agent, “Under your excellent leadership, of course.”
Trakus snatched the chip out of the air then quickly closed the distance between himself and Alda, coming nose to nose with the woman. “You’re lucky nothing went wrong, or I’d have had your head on a platter, Vitrionne. You ever pull a stunt like this again and you’ll be out. I’ll make sure your burned from the agency, clear?”
Alda held her ground and didn’t flinch, didn’t drop her grin, didn’t change her demeanor in the slightest. “Luck had nothing to do with it, sir. And I’m really not sure to which “stunt” you’re referring. I mean, no officer under your command would leave her post without your express permission, so anything that happened here would have occurred following your orders. Congratulations on another successful mission . . . sir.”
Alda was startled to see the pilot appear suddenly behind Trakus. “Perhaps the senior officer should sit down and relax,” the pilot said in oddly mechanical voice. Trakus turned around, eyes bulging, and lunged at the pilot, perhaps with the intention of grabbing him by the collar. “How dare you!” growled Trakus. Trakus stopped suddenly, disconcerted by the lack of reaction from the pilot as the officer gripped at the pilot’s overcoat. Trakus seemed to be straining to get the pilot to budge when there was a tear, and the entire overcoat of the special ops suit came off.
Trakus and Alda were both surprised to see the mechanical body of a common labor tumbrel unit standing in front of them, wearing a pilot’s hoodie and goggles. The tumbrel spoke quietly, “This one was impressed by the daring of the young one, and would prefer that you take your seat…sir.” The goggled eyes of the pilot turned towards Alda and she seemed to hear a laughing sarcasm as the tumbrel mirrored her “sir”. “I have edited this entire incident to show only the highest and most proper conduct for the young one, so I suggest…again…that you sit down…sir.” The surprisingly lithe tumbrel returned to its seat and began preparations to depart the AoR.
Trakus glared at Alda for another intense moment, then roared to the pilot, “Get us out of here!”
Luckily, the pilot’s full face mask hid his smirk as he silently steered the 221 Dragonfly away and back to base.
Once the aircraft was landed, and the pilot had regained his overcoat, he spoke to Alda as they departed the craft. “Is there much opportunity to fly in your line of work? I surmise I will be looking for another job soon; nobody wants a tumbrel as a pilot. However, should you ever need one, you can count on me. I like the way you jumped out of the aircraft. So…poised. I…am Tumbrel42.” the pilot said before he strode off into the depths of the hangar.