spycraft scifi contest entry.
|Her name was Bench, Brenda Bench. Her adoptive parents had saddled her with the unfortunate surname and it alliterative associate. Brenda had been teased unmercifully through highschool. Now no one laughed. She was chief of field operations for a group that called themselves The Factors. It served as an interuniversal agency which was similar to the FBI, CIA, and Interpol all rolled in one. They protected as much of existence as they had the manpower to cover. Reality was infinite. Their numbers were not. Brenda let her subordinates mostly follow their guts when it came to finding troubles to correct.
She didn't spend much time in the field, but there were circumstances she had to act as a field agent. She was naturally gifted with certain skills. Her species was capable of invisibility almost to the point of complete undetectability. Only hellhounds and their benevolent counterparts, healing hounds could see her when she concealed herself. Another skill she had was the ability to teleport anywhere, including into the main base of the factor's adversaries known by most simply as the dark.
The leader of the dark was Mira Black. At one time, before her forcible conversion, Mira had been known as Miranda Harvey, a high-level factor operative. Now she had defected. Brenda was the only factor to have any hope of spying on Mira in her base of operations. Every time she tried to send in spies, Mira returned them gift wrapped in a series of small boxes. Probes and listening devices they sent in, by remote were violently destroyed and returned in more pieces than the agents. Mira's people were nearly impossible to turn as double agents, the decapitated remains of the rare few that did decorated the perimeter of Mira's compound.
When it came to gathering intelligence Brenda was the only living factor to have even seen Mira's throne room. She knew she needed new information and there was only one way to get it. But before she went in, Brenda wanted to make the most of the dangerous mission. She approached Sinclair Chavez, the head of the factor's research and development department.
Brenda knocked on his office door with no prior appointment. The response was quick and delivered by Tuesday, Sinclair Chavez's AI assistant, "Mr. Chavez posts regular hours for unannounced appointments on the second Thursday of each month. I would suggest you make an appointment."
"Tell Mr. Chavez that Field Chief Brenda Bench is here for some equipment for a covert operation which cannot wait for the second Thursday of next month!" Brenda stated coolly.
The doorknob turned almost instantly and Sinclair's bald head peeked out of the office, "I will be right with you." He closed the door for half a second and Brenda heard several barricades being lowered on the other side, and could feel high level telepathic shielding being raised. He swung the door open and allowed her to enter. All of Research and Development was shielded from teleportation because it could interfere with some of the sensitive calibrations of the equipment and interfere with certain fabrication techniques, but Sinclair's office was triply shielded. "Come in chief."
"I need those covert listening devices you promised, now. I am going in and I want to have hostess gifts."
Sinclair began barring the office door and flipping on electronic jamming devices. Then he went to what appeared to be a rather low-tech office safe and began imputing the appropriate codes. He opened it and withdrew several black velvet boxes. He handed the first to Brenda.
Brenda opened the box. Inside was an array of bullets and a small handgun equipped with a silencer. Not very stealthy. Chavez either read her face or her mind, "They are listening devices. I figured bullets and bullet holes would not be something out of place in the compound. A gun wouldn't be a bad thing to have either."
"Isn't it a bit low tech?"
"Low tech? Do you know the engineering that goes into producing listening devices that can survive and function while replicating the natural deformation of a spent bullet?" Chavez argued. Clearly the gun and bullets had been his personal idea. He didn't usually defend the work of his engineers this vehemently.
Benda held a hand up in surrender, "What else do you got?" He handed her the second box. It held what looked like a chunk of flesh, half rotting and covered in writhing maggots. "This is a listening device?"
Sinclair smiled, "Yes, it is biomechanical with a space-time conduit connecting it to our receiver. Plus it is designed to decay and produce 'flies' which can establish new listening devices."
"So it is self-replicating?"
"Yes, just drop it in a filthy corner to deploy it."
"It'll do," Brenda smiled until she realized she would have to touch it. "What else do you have?"
Sinclair held out one final box. In it was a black diamond pendant. The box was tagged with the words, "From an admirer."
Sinclair nodded. "We figured there was a chance her vanity would outpace her caution. It is a passive listening device attached to a crystalline hard drive to a quantum computer, which transmits a second long micropulse information packet via quantum entanglement only once every eight days. It doesn't read as tech the rest of the time. We figure they won't be able to detect it."
"I just do what with it?"
"Leave it somewhere for her..."
Brenda smiled she knew just the place, "That it?"
"For now, good luck and don't get caught by any hellhounds."
Brenda flinched, "You know I will do my best. Fortunately, they like munching on her minions as much as us so she doesn't let them run loose often."
Sinclair grimaced and began reversing his precautions.
Brenda felt the need to remind him of her abilities, she was the only factor able to safely teleport to or from R&D. She wrapped her mind around the twisted fabric of space-time within their pocket universe. Using every bit of skill she had, she moved through it without disrupting it in any way.
She arrived in the portal room which connected the pocket universe known as the Preserve, which served as their base, to the outer omniverse. With no preamble or discussion with anyone, she used her skills again to exit the Preserve, bypassing the exit portal. Brenda arrived on an earth and stayed only long enough to cloak herself before teleporting to The main dark compound.
The compound existed on a planetary fragment enclosed by a fragment of a universe, much like the Preserve. It was engineered and designed from the texture of the ground beneath her boots to cause dismay. She followed a remembered route through the main gate into the building housing the Dark's command bunker. The angles within the building were just slightly off square and level, not enough to announce the deformation to the conscious mind but enough to cause subtle disturbance of the equilibrium. Colors were selected to cause nausea, dizziness and emotional reactions depending on the hallways. The layout of the compound was warped and twisted as its engineers had used space folding technologies to make hallways both parallel and perpendicular at the same time. Brenda had extensively mapped the compound in the past, but she didn't count on the route to Mira's throne room was the same.
On reaching the section of the compound in the worst repair, Brenda used the silenced gun to add to the bullet holes in the walls and ceiling. She extended the bullet holes into nearby areas. It was doubtful that Mira's minions would notice or question a few more here and there. She dropped the simulated rotting flesh in an area she knew Mira used to torture and gloat at prisoners. Then Brenda headed to the throne room. A hellhound chained in the corner sat up and took notice of her. She carefully skirted around it and climbed the steps to Mira's throne. With a flourish, she placed the gift upon its seat.
She climbed back down the steps. She made it all the way to the door before the hellhound bayed mournfully in her direction. It almost seemed to be asking for rescue. Brenda knew she couldn't take the risk. She retraced her steps and teleported directly back to her office. On her desk was the receiver for the listening devices she had just placed, with a note from Sinclair, "Channel one is the bullets, chanel two is the rotting mass, channel three is the necklace." Brenda flipped on the receiver and listened for anything that would help their cause.