His name was Thomas J. Olemacher. He was 34 years old.
Thomas went to school to become a forensic scientist, and was recruited by us right out of an impressively short time in graduate school. He spent the next ten years with The COMPANY, and spent the last five of them as a member of the Secret Chiefs.
He also spent the last three as an unwitting spy for The Legion. The Big Man had paid him a visit, and warped his brain around into spying on our every move and reporting back to them, usually while he thought he was somewhere else. He also quietly sabotaged a few actions against The Legion by disappearing key evidence and information.
A few days ago I set up a test to see where the Legion's moles were. Once I figured out where they were, it was simpler to look after our people in that one group and look for suspicious activity. Poor Thomas gave himself away by going to a Synagogue on Sunday when, as we knew, he was as Catholic as the !@#$ Bear Pope. It wasn't too hard to figure out why, and what was being said, and to whom.
The other day he and I went for a walk. He didn't survive the trip. I slipped him slow-acting poison in his beer.
Today we buried him.
I said nothing about what had happened to him. I spoke of his fine service to his country and the great work he'd done with us. I told them he was a patriot and a public servant, a scientist, and a !@#$ fine line dancer.
And I said that it was always a sad thing when a tragedy takes someone so young and vital, so quickly and without warning.
As far as everyone knows, outside of a few people I can trust, he died from a sudden thrombosis. Sometimes a clot forms for no reason, bounces around in your blood stream, and smacks your brain with all the subtlety and mercy of a runaway garbage truck full of leftover 80's hair metal stars. One minute you're fine, the next minute Bon Jovi loudly informs you you're living on a prayer, and then you're not, anymore.
(Living, that is.)
The truth is that he'd spent several days hooked up to an N machine, having every last piece of information sucked out of his dead brain. And now that we've had time to analyze all that intel, we think we have a better idea of what The Big Man wanted to know, and possibly why.
And this will aid us in the next step: taking The Legion down for good.
I am not proud of this thing I have done. I lied to him in those last moments, telling him he'd be revived and then be free of what Biggs did to his brain.
The simple, easy to handle truth is that there's no cure for that affliction. The worse truth is that The Big Man's power over others is truly vicious. Not only does he program people to fight to the death if they're found out, but also do everything in their power to destroy themselves if they can't flee.
Especially the eyes.
The poison I used causes slow paralysis that just feels like drunken fatigue, at least until the end, when it feels more like an 800 pound gorilla is using you for an easy chair. It's hard to gouge out your own eyes to thwart an N machine scan if you can't even raise your arms.
He died feeling scared, a slave to The Big Man's cruel programming. I could see it in his eyes. If he could have pressed a button by blinking to teleport him into the heart of the Sun he'd have done it.
I held his head in my hands and lied to him. I told him he was safe and going to get better. I told him a million things, all of them kind and reassuring. But those were !@#$ lies.
All of them.
I made it all the way through the funeral without crying, and I'm not crying now. I'm sitting in my office, listening to my favorite Lush song, over and over, and drinking enough Johnnie Walker to kill Johnnie Walker, himself, and I am not crying.
I am thinking of vengeance, cold and complete.
I am dreaming of a day when the entire world's worth of America's enemies will have one face, and I can put my foot down on it. I am wishing for blood and revenge and the glorious feel of a gun in my hand when it goes off and hits someone right in the brains. I am rejoicing to have a target worth shooting at, again.
It's just some dust in my eyes. The strength of the whiskey. I am not crying.
I am not. !@#$. Crying.
NEO YORK CITY
(AGENT ARMATRADING'S APARTMENT)
The room is a mess. It shouldn't be, but it is. There's clothes all over the floor along with books and magazines and the small knick-knacks that Sue spent a lifetime accumulating and enjoying.
It's her way of trying to break free. In those small moments when her body rages against the domination, when Agent S slackens his grip ever so slightly, she breaks things. She does this to try and send a message to someone who might realize it.
It does no good, though. This neighborhood is a !@#$hole where no one talks to their neighbor out of fear. The apartment tenants are inured to the noises created when things smash against walls, and people make choking cries at odd hours.
Sue took the room because the neglect made her feel safe. She thought it would unlikely that anyone would realize who she was, or what she did, in a dump like this. And, sadly, she was all too right.
Agent S allows her this temper tantrum, just as he allows her to scream and hurl abuse at his CIA associates, down in Virginia, who are watching her actual body. There's nothing she can do, here or there, and letting her have some hope actually aids in the process.
Truth be told he's come to respect her, however perversely. It will be a shame when the operation is done and she'll have to be terminated.
She'd have made a great asset.
Agent S closes her eyes, and then opens his own. Black on black eyes shine, and when he reaches for the hidden communications device, and turns it on, it uses those uncanny and unique eyes to identify him, and not blow up half the building. The Director's on the line in moments, and they begin to confer.
(They'd initially agreed on meeting in Chamber Zero, but this proved more practical for a day to day basis.)
"Yes sir," he says through her lips: "I have it confirmed. He is going after The Legion, next. The entire thing about HONEYCOMB was a smokescreen to find The Legion's moles. Although HONEYCOMB is going to wind up in their crosshairs before too long, too.
"Yes. That was what that was about. He did away with the mole, himself. That was that funeral, yes. Quite touching, really. I think he was actually feeling guilty about that.
"Well, that is a problem, sir. Technically he hasn't done anything we could get him for. Internal security and discipline are nothing outlandish, and there's no way we could have him publicly or privately hoisted for that.
"Yes, it's on the schedule. The day after tomorrow. They've got strike teams all ready to go, nationwide. They may also be coordinating with a few foreign intelligence agencies."
"Well, I've been thinking about that, sir. There's all sorts of things that could shake loose if he took down The Legion. I know we don't want too many things to come to light. Between you and I, it could be very damaging.
"On the other hand, sir. If he does take them down, and does so very quietly, we'd no longer have that particular albatross around our necks. I don't think people are likely to take the word of several nonagenarian supercriminals against the sworn testimony of the CIA Director.
"I see. Yes. I understand, sir. Perfectly. In fact, I took the liberty of making a list of everyone who's in his crosshairs, if you need to have a look at it?"
"Oh, good. I'm glad. I'll send it to you now. And I'll continue monitoring the situation and see if I can turn it to our advantage, sir? He was pretty malleable after the funeral.
"Oh, it's working perfectly, sir. Excellent idea on manufacturing a death in the family. I've gotten some sympathies I might not have otherwise enjoyed.
"Of course, sir. I'll contact you tomorrow. Good morning, sir."
He takes out a flash drive and sticks it into the communications device, quickly sending a list to his superior. Then he turns the communications device off and hides it.
Then, satisfied that he's done as much as he can for the greater good this evening, he decides it's time to play. He lies back on the bed and reaches for the special drawer, and the fun things he bought to take full advantage of this luscious, shared anatomy.
And he lets her be conscious just enough to know what's going to happen, but not in control enough to do anything about it.
Of course, she tries. She screams and fights him every step, every moment. It doesn't help, but it makes the moment of shared, unwelcome release all the sweeter for him.
Yes, a shame she has to die. But they all do. It's just part of the job.
The call goes out early in the morning. Across the country, indeed across the world, several dozen elderly men and women suddenly pick themselves up and leave their current circumstances.
From old folks' homes and retirement villages, assisted living situations and the houses of their grown children, even a few hospital beds, they vanish. One moment they're there, the next they're not.
Some vanishings are stranger than others. Some involve injuries to caretakers and security guards. Some astound and amaze, and others seem sad and pathetic -- especially when mystified spouses are left behind.
Some are not so successful. An ancient woman brandishes a strange weapon at her nurse and breaks her frail arm trying to fire it. An old man suffers a heart attack trying to lug a very heavy suitcase out the back elevator of his retirement home apartment tower.
Three hoodlums jump an old lady in her parking lot, and are atomized along with her when something strange goes off in her purse.
Bank accounts are emptied. Treasured possessions sold. Dusty, old trunks and suitcases that hadn't been touched in years are gone from storage, while more immediate things are left behind.
Other disappearances take place as well. Younger people, in these cases, or at least people who appeared younger. Investigating police often find confusing documents left behind. Evidence of alternate identities.
Suspicions that they were not quite who and what they claimed to be.
The news is slow to report the mystery, as always. And for some strange reason, remote COMPANY surveillance fails to register the mass vanishing, in spite of the fact that every person who vanishes that day was on a certain list that was going to see action less than 24 hours later.
It's almost as if someone flipped an unseen switch while someone else made a phone call.
(SPYGOD is listening to Apart (The Cure) and drinking Johnnie Walker)