Thursday December 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Day three of Secret Agent Theme week brings us: the target.

Still don't really know where I'm going with mine. Hoping things start to become more clear after today's entry.

Edit: yup, that helped.


Most agents, after receiving their latest assignment, begin their surveillance from afar. Computers for background checks and whatever information that can be found online. Telescopes (and even the odd sniper scope) for long distance, unobtrusive viewing. They circle and circle, slowly drawing the net tight until at last the target is captured. Or eliminated.

Agent Pine, however, did not operate like most agents.

He preferred a more direct approach. When questioned by his supervisors about his methodology (usually after a mission which featured... complications), Agent Pine liked to say that he didn't want to give his mark a chance to see him coming. Element of surprise and all that.

In the case of the mission he referred to as The Paper Assignment, Agent Pine's opening gambit was to walk into the lobby of his target's building wearing an obviously expensive black suit and red silk tie and ask for her by name.

"Mrs. Rose Desmarais?" the receptionist asks, one perfectly plucked eyebrow rising ever so slightly.

"Ah, good, your ears work perfectly." He'd actually asked for Rosie Dee, throwing in a sly wink for good measure.

"Our Chief Financial Officer?"

"That's the one! She's done real well for herself, ain't she?" Agent Pine shakes his head in apparent disbelief.

"And do you have an appointment with Mrs. Desmarais?" The receptionist managed to turn the question into an accusation.

"Of course I do, darling!" Of course he did not.

"And your name would be...?"

"Let's cut the chitchat, shall we?" Agent Pine pulls a chequebook from inside his jacket, bringing a silver and red pen with it. He twirls the instrument idly between his fingers, pausing once, then again, to click out it's retractable tip while making sure it is aimed directly at the receptionist's face each time he does so. "How much do you need to leave your post and take me straight to the little lady?"

"Why you shameless fool! I cannot... possibly... unattended..." The receptionist gives her head a shake, blinks her eyes rapidly. Agent Pine gives her one more click of the invisible mist for good measure. "I... well, since you asked so very nicely... right this way, sir."


Greg said...

Ah, I thought that you'd had a plan as well as a list of prompts for your story! Still, it's not been evident so far that you weren't writing to a plan, so I commend you for that :) I have... well, as usual, I know what my characters are like. Everything else is just the scenery around them until we have to get to the action; in the meantime I let them loose and watch them interact.
Agent Pine seems like a confident and likable chap; I do feel a little bit sorry for the receptionist though as she seems competent and formidable under normal circumstances. I like the gadget and the use of it, and how it fits in with the persona Pine's using as well: I have no problem picturing this as I read it. And I am wondering about Rosie D... if it had been Rosie C I have been picturing Mrs.Christmas already :-P

The target
Mumsie left, and it was only after she'd gone and Rupert heard the butler humph in disgust that he realised that she'd managed to expropriate the bottle of brandy as well. He yawned again, waited for the butler to leave the room, and stood up, dropping the dressing gown and revealing that he was, indeed, wearing nothing underneath it.
He dressed quickly in jeans, polo shirt, leather jacket and aviator sunglasses which he perched on his slicked-back hair while he played with his smartphone and accessed his email. After entering two passwords, a time-restricted passcode and the starsign of his first pet he was allowed access to his secure emails, and pulled up the dossier on the Red Bear.
The man was as fat as an oil baron, noted the dossier as the first item, and hairy as a bear. Politically things were tricky: there were good reasons to consider him as an economic disrupter, but he had goodwill in certain circles that included far too many voters for a politician to be entirely comfortable alienating them. His sphere of activity was astonishingly wide, and he appeared to use a number of aliases, all the known of which were listed in the dossier. There was nearly a page of them, and there were notes that some of them appeared to be either false, or deliberate plants as time-boxing of his activities meant that he couldn't possibly have been in the places he'd been seen at those points.
Goss tched to himself, and tapped through more pages of background detail. He could read up on those while en route. "Location, location, location," he muttered to himself. "Where does the Red Bear live?"
Russia, said the dossier, though he seems to have bases in other northern territories as well. Finland, Lappland, Sweden and Norway had all been considered as serious contenders for a while, but the agency had narrowed it down and decided that of all the reports, those from Russia and Canada has the most credibility. They all agreed that he based himself in the Arctic circle though, and the extreme weather conditions were a definite factor in his evading capture so far.
"Clever," muttered Rupert, ignoring the look the butler gave him. "I bet there's a yacht at the equator as well though."
He pulled a large, heavy coat from the wardrobe and dropped it on the bed. It looked like there was no way of avoiding the chill for this case, and then checked flights through the agency booking site.
"EASYJET?!?" The butler retreated from the room with the speed and agility of a cat, hearing the thump of something heavy hitting the door as it closed behind him.

David said...

The Barber used to fly first class. Different airlines, of course, he could never be too known by the flight attendants. Unless that was part of the game. There was a time when they had private travel. Now, the Barber made his way down the aisle to economy. Middle seat. One carry on. His small duffel would fit neatly under the seat in front of him. Budget cuts they claimed. He knew the truth. He had grown expendable, it did not matter to them how many people saw him anymore. The Barber had once been a shadow. Now he was….

“I think you are sitting in my seat,” an old woman with three carry ons.


The Barber showed his ticket to her.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Are you sure?”

“You are in my seat,” she said as she
began to lose grip of her bags.

“Is there a problem?” a flight attendant inquired.

“This man is in my seat.”

The flight attendant looked at the Barber’s ticket then the woman’s.

“Ma’am, you are in 23E. Across the aisle.”

No apologies, the woman sighed and moved to the other side, where another man had taken her seat. A man who did not look pleased to be in a middle seat. Too many muscles and too many inches to fit comfortably. He was in fact, in the wrong seat. As he got up, he looked directly at the Barber, as if the Barber should have been the one who moved. The Barber had wished to remain invisible, but now he felt he had a bullseye on his face.

Marc said...

Greg - nope, totally winged it :)

I think knowing your characters is a good start. Sometimes it's just nice to get out of their way and let them tell their story.

Reading this now that I know you're talking about Santa is a completely different experience. Well done on hiding his identity so cleverly. Or for me being particularly distracted and slow witted this week. Either way.

Hah, fun ending note to this entry as well :)

David - that's a great spin on the prompt. Some nice details, both on the plane and the reasons for the Barber being where he is on it.