Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of original short stories featuring The Spy, authored by Perpetuelle’s James Bond. Though this short-story is quite a bit more expansive than Musings of a Spy, I think you will find Sepulchre to be an engaging and riveting read, well worth your time.
The Spy was enjoying a relaxing, but exhilarating, drive along a motorway in Belgium. He was accustomed to a fast paced life given his line of work. Quick reaction in fragile situations was normal for him when on a mission. Right now, he was driving his personal car; an Aston Martin Virage painted in silver birch. He was maintaining a speed of 111 mph on the A10 while en route to Brugge. He had developed a taste for waffles while spending his time-off in Liège.
The Spy reached the city of Brugge and parked his car in a parking lot at the train station. He crossed the street at the stop lights and followed the path past the Concertgebouw. He found the waffle house where he had bought waffles countless times near the belfry of Brugge.
Placing his order, The Spy said, “Une gaufre au caramel et le sucre en poudre, s’il vous plaît.”
“Trois minute, Monsieur” responded the man.
The Spy’s cell phone rang. It was 10, the head of the organization The Spy works for. Walking a few steps away from the waffle house, The Spy answered the call.
“Hello.” said The Spy.
“The weather forecast predicts rain.” said the female voice on the other end.
“But my martini will be dry.” responded The Spy confirming his identity.
“How soon can you get to Brussels International?” The voice on the other end was Victoria Baker, 10’s Chief of Staff.
“About thirty minutes. Is it something important?”
“You will be briefed at the airport in Diamond Lounge B by Hyneman from the Equipment Department. He will have all you need. Your air ticket is waiting at the Korean Airlines counter. Crash dive.” said Victoria and then ended the call.
The Spy looked at his vintage Girard-Perregaux Deep Diver watch. The time read 2:54 pm. He rotated the bezel to align the 30 on it with the minute hand. Next he paid for the waffle and headed to the car. About five minutes later he was back in the Virage and heading at high speed to Brussels International. He would have to depart to wherever it is he is being sent with just what he had with him. Arrangements would be made by his office to settle his hotel bill and collect his belongings.
Precisely, twenty-six minutes later The Spy drove in to Brussels International Airport. He parked his car and remote locked it using a level 4 security countermeasure and then walked in to the airport, stopping at the Korean Airlines counter to collect his ticket. After passing through security, he took the elevator up to the fourth floor and entered Diamond Lounge B. The Spy scanned the lounge for Hyneman from the Equipment Department, but did not notice him. He walked over to a seat facing the window and sat down. He glanced at his watch and reset the bezel.
“Is this seat taken?” said a voice just outside the peripheral vision from his right eye. The Spy looked up.
“What do you have to trade for it?” The Spy responded, using the face to face code phrase.
“The name of a restaurant in St. Moritz where the clarets are splendid…as are the women.” said the man.
“Sit down.” said The Spy.
“I’m Hyneman from E Department. Here is your brief; make sure you destroy it after memorizing it. Take off your watch.”
The Spy disliked entrusting his watch to anyone whom was not a professional watchmaker, but he had little choice in the matter.
“Here, take care of him, will you?” said The Spy.
“Him?” said Hyneman, with a raised eyebrow, but then continued “Oh, nevermind. Now, listen to these instructions. Here is your new watch. It is tough and waterproof to 1,000 meters.”
The Spy examined the watch. It was larger than his Deep Diver; 44 millimeters in diameter and quite thick. The watch was made from stainless steel and had a rotating sawtooth bezel. The name on the dial read Zodiac. It felt nice on his wrist.
“Nice watch Hyneman. But what does it do?” ask The Spy.
“Here is your weapon. It is made from Zytel and has no metallic parts, which should render it completely undetectable.” explained Hyneman.
“That is very interesting, Hyneman. But what does the watch do?”
Hyneman sighed and then said, “Well, obviously, it tells the time.”
“Is that all it does?” said The Spy rather annoyed.
“Everything you need to know is in the brief.” concluded Hyneman as he stood up and turned to walk away, but then paused and turned his head back to The Spy to say something.
“Take care, 7-5-0.”
Yousef al Shaheen
Fortunately for 750, the seat next to him was empty during the flight from Brussels to South Korea, so it afforded him some privacy to study his brief. The brief was encrypted on a USB drive that 750 plugged in to his Microsoft Surface. It contained hi-resolution images of aerial photos of farmland, water reservoirs, and a map of the United States of America. In addition to this, there was a poor quality audio recording of two men discussing weather patterns on agriculture and then a third voice is heard but it is too unintelligible to understand. The conversation on the recording was in Korean and a transcript translated what was being said. The letter from 10 read as follows:
The information you have in front of you was discovered in South Korea by one of our agents while investigating an unrelated matter. Our man recorded the conversation you just listened to. The two men, whom we believe are General Gi Nam Kim from the People’s Army in North Korea and Ahmad Ali Majid from Iran’s Agricultural Engineering Research Institute based on advanced voice analysis, are unlikely to be in the same room for any reason, in spite of their united opposition to the West. And we highly doubt the topic of conversation was truly about farming, but rather something more sinister. The identity of the third voice at the end of the recording is unknown. But we did manage to isolate one word spoken by that voice. That word is Sepulchre. The meaning of this word is “a place of burial”. Because of that I suspect North Korea and Iran are planning something major against the West. The General and Ali Majid have returned to their respective countries. However, the driver for Ali Majid is still in South Korea working at the Iranian embassy. His name is Yousef al Shaheen. His photo will be sent later. Learn what you can from him and pick up the trail from there.
750 pondered what he has just heard. ‘There was no doubt the word Sepulchre meant something bad. But where do the map and photos come in? Since this Yousef al Shaheen is a driver, I hope Ali Majid was forgetful and let something slip out that Al Shaheen might have overheard; because he is the only lead I have.’ After 750 landed in Seoul, South Korea, he caught a taxi and told the driver to take him to a restaurant that was a couple blocks from the Iranian Embassy.
After about twenty-four minutes the photo of Yousef al Shaheen came to 750’s Note 4 cellphone. He studied the face and once satisfied he had memorized it, he put his phone in his pocket and started walking toward the embassy on the other side of the street.
As he approached he saw Yousef al Shaheen in a black Mercedes-Benz sedan pulling out from the gates at main entrance to the embassy building. Immediately, 750 caught a taxi and instructed the driver to follow the sedan. The tail ended back at the airport where the occupant got out and disappeared in to the crowd at the terminal. 750 paid the driver a lot more than the cost of the ride so he would not talk about following an Iranian diplomatic car. Then he casually walked over to the black sedan and opened the back door behind the driver and quickly got it.
Exposing his weapon, he said to Yousef al Shaheen “Keep both hands on the wheel! And do not attempt to be a hero. Now, drive.”
Once outside the area of the airport 750 ordered Yousef al Shaheen to turn down a deserted stretch of road and to turn off the engine. Then 750 forced him over the driver seat and pulled him in to the back and began questioning him.
“You drove Ahmad Ali Majid to a meeting a few days ago. Who else was at that meeting?”
Trying to stall, Yousef said “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know this Ahmad Ali Majid.”
Anticipating this, 750 said “Yousef, I know you are lying. I know Ahmad Ali Majid was in your car and I know he met a North Korean general. Tell me who the third person is who was at the meeting.”
“I know nothing!” said Yousef.
“Yousef, I am losing my patience…” said 750.
“Or what? Hmm. What?” said Yousef in a defiant tone.
Looking coldly and dead in Yousef’s eye 750 calmly replied “Or you will not leave this car alive.”
Each man stared hard at the other until Yousef caved and looked away. Yousef realized this man did not seem like the type to not act after making a threat. He could see this man was a professional, he was determined.
“What assurance do I have that you will not kill me after I talk?” asked Yousef.
“I can assure you things are looking bad for you at this point. It can only get better from here on.” said 750.
“Alright, I will tell you what I know. Ahmad Ali Majid and the General met to discuss an operation between my country and the North. I don’t know the details, except it involves weather technology from China.”
“China is involved?!” said 750.
“No. The technology was stolen from China.” said Yousef.
“What is the weather control technology being used for?” asked 750.
“I swear I do not know! I only overheard parts of Ali Majid’s phone conversation while I drove him.” said Yousef sounding desperate.
“What about the third man? There was a third man at the meeting. Who is the third man?” said 750.
“I don’t know his name. He was called The Professor by the General and Ahmad Ali Majid. He worked for a global organization. That is all I know, I told you everything!” said Yousef.
Yousef sounded like he was being truthful. How much? Well, that was yet to be determined. He ordered Yousef back in the driver seat and ordered him to drive back to the Embassy.
Just before they approached the gates to the Iranian Embassy, 750 got behind the back seat, in the trunk, and warned Yousef, that if any attempt was made to alert security he would kill him. As the car drove up to the gates it stopped briefly while Yousef exchanged pleasantries with the guards and then proceeded through to the underground garage. Once the car was parked, 750 ordered Yousef to take off his clothes and to get into the boot.
Wearing Yousef’s clothes, sunglasses, and driver’s hat, 750 was better equipped to pass by the security cameras unnoticed. He used the security access card belonging to Yousef to gain entrance past the doors leading inside the Embassy from the garage. Past the doors there was a guard post and another pass scanner. 750 did not like his options, mostly because he had none. But it was too late to go back. The guard just spotted him.
He walked to the guard post and kept his head down hoping the hat and sunglasses would be enough to not get him noticed. 750 pulled out the security access card again and swiped it. “Ding, ding, ding!” rang the machine. This alarm made the security guard get off his chair and stare in 750’s direction. The guard said something in Farsi to him. 750 did not understand what the guard said, so he decided to just nod twice and try the scanner again. He began to sweat. It took all of his willpower to stay calm and swipe the card again. Just before swiping it a second time, he realized the card was facing the wrong way. He turned it around and swiped it again. “Bing!” sounded the machine, granting admission past security. 750 passed through while keeping his head down. The guard returned to his chair and went about his business.
The Spy turned left down the first hallway and then stopped to look at an emergency exit map of the building. The important offices were on the fourth floor. If he took the stairwell he would avoid the general population in the building, but he might also draw suspicion by anyone watching through the cameras mounted in the stairwell corners. He decided to take the broader route and risk being caught. ‘After all,’ he thought, ‘if I am in the building, why would anyone suspect me?’
He started down the hallway toward the elevator and pressed the up button. The doors opened and 750 entered and pressed the door close button; holding it until the doors shut. Then he pressed number four.
The elevator started to ascend. The ride up gave him a moment to recompose himself and refocus on his objective. “Ping!” sounded the bell signaling a stop at a floor. He looked up to see if he had reached the fourth floor. “Damn.” he said. The elevator stopped on the third floor. The Spy adjusted his hat and kept his head down pretending to adjust the time on his watch. The person entered and pressed number four on the panel. It felt like the longest twelve seconds of 750’s life. He looked at the Zodiac watch on his left wrist for a moment and turned the bezel by one click. The ratchet sound the bezel made was subdued and the operation was smooth; just the way The Spy liked it.
“Ping!” rang the elevator bell again, this time for the fourth floor. Letting the other occupant get off first, 750 then exited and started walking in the opposite direction of the other person. Keeping his head low while walking down the hall he glanced up as he neared every door to see which sign plaque might serve a clue to where he needed to go. All of the names on the plaques were in Farsi and English. 750 passed five doors and none looked like anything that said “top secret-stay out”. He passed a sixth door…and then stopped and backed up. He looked at the door again. There was no sign on or near it and the door opened out, rather than in. 750 looked to his left and right. The hallway was clear. 750 took hold of the door handle, turned it, and pulled. Inside were janitorial things. Everything was neat and the closet stretched deep. Also, the middle was like a path, clear of any clutter. The Spy walked into the closet and closed the door behind. The light above his head turned on. Alarmed, 750 stopped to listen and thought ‘OK…that is odd.’ He moved along the middle of the closet to the back and examined the wall. It sounded secure when he gently tapped it. ‘This closet is too weird to be a nothing. No sign outside that reads janitor or anything else for that matter.’ he thought. Puzzled, 750 looked at the back wall again, and then paused. A slight draft was disturbing a rag hanging off the rack near the right corner against the wall. Like an eagle focusing on prey, 750 locked his eyes on the corner. He felt around with his hand. The disturbance was coming from the corner, which means there was a room behind the back wall in the closet!
The obvious thing to do first would be to push on the one side of the wall and hope it swings open. ‘Here goes.’ thought 750. He chose the left side of the wall and pushed. With a bit of force the wall swung in and 750 walked through to the other side. He stopped to scan the room and listen. Other than the wall automatically swinging closed, there was not a sound. The room was bare of anything on the walls or the usual furnishings one might come to expect from a government office. There was a large oval desk with three chairs and a telephone. No doors, other than the hidden one he came through. He walked over to the desk and saw a map of the continental United States and photos of farmland that had appeared dead. There was graphs, statistics of populations, and a folder. The name on the folder read “Operation Sepulchre”. His right eyebrow raised in its corner upon reading it.
He opened the folder and inside was operating instructions and design schematics for the Weather Control Machine Yousef spoke of, complete with agricultural and population targets inside the U.S.A., and a letter signed by General Gi Nam Kim and Ahmad Ali Majid. It outlined an agreement between both countries to attack America using the weather machine stolen from China to destroy farmland with extreme drought, contaminate reservoirs with heavy water, and create severe storms with enriched acidic rain. The second part of the plan involved using radiation spread by the wind to infect the populations of every major city within the United States. A note read the Weather Control Machine had been transported to the Gran Desierto de Altar portion of the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. Operation Sepulchre was to be underway in twenty-three hours.
10 was dead on. Iran and North Korea were planning to kill the American economy and in the process cripple its government. ‘This attack can only be a prelude to war.’ thought 750. This coming disaster had to be stopped. 750 bent the folder in half and stuck it behind him in his pants under this jacket. He had to get this information to 10 as fast as possible so his boss could alert the U.S. government. The Spy hurried off to the secret door to the janitor’s closet and peeked out the door to the hallway to see if anyone was outside. It sounded silent, so he proceeded to leave gently closing the door behind him.
At the elevator he pressed the down button. The elevator was at the bottom floor and was not responding. He started to become suspect, so he decided to take the stairs down to the garage level. A couple feet inside the stairwell he heard footsteps from below hurrying up the stairs. There was nowhere to go except down because he was on the top floor. He had to get out of the embassy at any cost possible; but preferably undetected. His Zodiac watch was about to come in handy. He pressed down on the bezel while turning it clockwise to remove it. The bezel concealed three razor sharp titanium sawtooth disks. 750 removed all three and reattached the bezel. He held one in his right hand ready to use if needed. The footsteps suddenly stopped and then disappeared. A door closed one floor below him. Immediately, he ran down the steps as quietly as he could. Time was of the essence, so he could not make a point of concealing himself from the cameras at every turn. 750 could only hope he could make it out before security noticed him.
At last The Spy was on the bottom floor where he had begun and cautiously opened the door. No one was in the hallway. He walked out and headed for the garage where the car was parked with Yousef in the trunk. He turned the corner on his right and there was Yousef talking to the security guard. Yousef looked up and saw 750, and now the security guard, also, saw him!
Using the disk from his watch he expertly threw it at the guard, hitting him in the throat. “Aaarrrgh!” screamed the guard, falling to the ground. Yousef went for the guard’s gun, but he was too slow. Another disk thrown by 750 hit Yousef in his left temple. Yousef fell down next to the guard, dead. Without wasting any time, 750 ran out the doors to the car and got in. He had to hot wire it to get it started; he assumed Yousef must have taken the keys out. The car started and he pulled out and drove to the exit. As he approached one of those annoying emergency alarms sounded. Apparently, the embassy was going in to lockdown. The car just made it out of the garage as the steel gate closed. Coming around the building he accelerated to the main gate with the guards. They took aim at the car with their semi-automatic rifles and fired. The bullet-proof windscreen and body protected 750 and he rammed the gate, successfully escaping capture!
After zigzagging down a few streets, 750 parked in a deserted ally and got out, quickly walking away from the car. He just managed to catch a taxi and told him to drive to the airport fast. The cab driver was an efficient driver and in practically no time at all he was at Incheon Airport. He paid the driver, again, more than it cost for the drive and made his way to the American Airlines ticket counter.
“One one-way ticket to the United States, please.” said 750.
“Where in the U.S., sir?” asked the agent.
“Anywhere, as long as the flight departs as soon as possible.” said 750.
“Oh, we have a flight to California; San Francisco, departing in 27 minutes…” she said.
“That is fine, I will take it.” said 750 cutting the agent off in her sentence.
“The only available seat is in first-class, though. Is that alright, sir?” she asked.
“Do you take American Express?” said 750, confirming acceptance of the seat.
The Spy just narrowly made it onto the flight. He did not have time to contact 10 before boarding, so he would have to do it from the plane. After a deep sigh, he ran his hands through his hair which was still covered by Yousef’s hat. He took it off and stuffed it in the back of the seat in front of him. About thirty-three minutes into the flight, the attendants began serving beverages and food.
“May I offer you something to drink, sir?” asked a splendidly attractive blonde attendant.
750 said “Champagne?”
The attendant smiled. “Of course, sir, we have three to choose from: Dom Perignon, Krug, and Bollinger.”
“Dom Perignon, please.” said 750.
“Excellent. Here is your dinner menu, and I will return with your champagne.” said the attendant.
“Thank you.” said 750. He admired the attendant’s curves as she walked away.
Remembering he still had to alert his office about the plot, he picked up the phone in the seat back in front of him and swiped his charge card and called the main number which was for a dummy corporation.
“Thank you for calling Seven Continents Consulting. Where may I direct your call?” answered the operator.
“Hello, I have a problem and I would like to consult 10 of your best consultants, please.” This was the code phrase all spies for the organization had to be precise in saying when they called from an unsecured telephone.
“Certainly, sir, one moment while I transfer your call to the primary consultant’s office.” said the operator.
The code had been confirmed authentic and now he was being connected with 10’s office. Spies in 750’s department, called Special Services, had 24-hour direct contact to either 10 or his Chief of Staff, Victoria Baker. Right now, in 10’s office, the red light on the orange telephone was ringing. The orange telephone was strictly for Special Services spies calling from outside “Seven Continents Consulting” and the red light indicated the line was unsecure.
“Hello.” answered the hard deep voice belonging to 750’s boss.
“Hello, I need to consult with you about a problem we discussed less than twenty-four hours ago. Unfortunately, the problem is bigger than we initially estimated. I am flying to the United States, as we speak, to fix the problem within twenty-two hours, but I need to send you vital information.” said 750.
“Give me the details now, 750.” said 10.
“Bad weather is going to be over the U.S. in less than twenty-two hours from now. Highly enriched contamination will affect the general population. Also, the two groups in your original communication are confirmed. The weather originates from China, but is being used by those two groups, and will come from the Gran Desierto de Altar portion of the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. I have physical proof for all of this.” said 750.
“What is your destination?” asked 10.
“San Francisco.” said 750.
“I will alert my contact within the United States and request someone meet you at the airport.” concluded 10 and hung up.
The Spy thought for a moment. ‘Who was 10’s contact in the U.S.? It must be someone in the military. I doubt it would be C.I.A. or F.B.I. It would have to be someone that understood the gravity of what was planned and could use their understanding to accelerate approval for action.’
“Your champagne, sir, and have you selected what you would like for your dinner?” asked the blonde attendant.
“Yes, I will have the chicken and mashed potatoes, please.” said 750, with a smile.
The attendant walked away to get the dinner. It had been a while since 750 had had a break to revamp his appearance. The lavatory was a few feet away and he decided to go to it before his meal arrived.
After a few minutes, he emerged from the lavatory feeling better from splashing water on his face. As he was about to sit down, he saw a man was now sitting in the window seat next to him. That little voice inside every person that says ‘this does not look right’ started to talk to The Spy. But, nevertheless, he sat down.
The man looked to be in his forties and was wearing brown wing tip shoes, polished like they were fresh out of the box. His suit was a double-breasted navy blue pin stripe. The shirt was white and he wore a dark brown tie tied in a Windsor knot. His pants had a cuff. 750 hated Windsor knots and double-breasted suits and pants with a cuff. Whoever this man was, he already did not like him.
The man looked at 750 and said “I hope you do not mind me sitting next to you. I was getting stuffy back there.” he said motioning to the seats behind 750’s. His accent sounded German, especially when he pronounced ‘there’.
“Hmm.” he simply replied back.
The man started again. “It is a shame….”
“What is?” asked 750. His curiosity was getting the better of him.
“That you are in the middle of an affair you should not have meddled in.” said the man.
That little voice inside 750 was right on as always! This man was no regular passenger. He had a connection to Operation Sepulchre.
“And who are you?” asked 750.
“My name is Yubie Lell. Without the information you stole from my clients, there is nothing to convince anyone that there is an eminent danger. And Sepulchre will proceed on schedule.” said the man.
The Spy thought quickly before responding. ‘What did he mean when he said “clients”? Of course! The voice of the third man at the meeting, the one that could not be understood except for the word Sepulchre; this was that man!’
“Clients? If Iran and North Korea are your clients, then who do you work for?” asked 750.
“I am a member of TIME.” said Yubie Lell.
“TIME?” said 750.
“TIME: Terrorism Institute for Murder and Extortion.” Yubie Lell said proudly. “And I suspect you work for…C.I.A.?”
“No.” replied 750 simply, and then continued, “So, you are going to use the Chinese Weather Control Machine for your “clients” to destroy the economy of the United States. And what do you get in return?” said The Spy.
“Two billion dollars in gold bullion.” Yubie Lell responded.
“You are being rather up front about all of this information, aren’t you?” said 750.
Lell revealed something under his tray table in his left hand that resembled a pea-shooter and said, “All of this is of no consequence because before we land, you will die. ’Time’ is not on your side.”
On The Other Foot
The mysterious man sitting next to 750 had given him valuable information about who was behind and carrying out Operation Sepulchre. Now, because of this new intelligence, it was imperative 750 succeeded in his mission.
The attractive blonde flight attendant was walking down the aisle when The Spy decided his “new friend” should enjoy some champagne too.
“Oh Ms., may I have another glass for my friend here, please?” he asked.
“Certainly, I will return with one in a moment.” she said.
“Do not get any ideas.” Yubie Lell warned.
“If I am to be killed, I would rather not enjoy my last drink alone.” said 750.
The flight attendant returned with the glass. During these few moments, 750 had developed a plan to distract the TIME agent long enough to hopefully disarm him. He began unwrapping the cork on the Dom Perignon. Pretending to have difficulty opening the bottle, he let it slip from his hands and it fell to the floor. He remarked about how clumsy he was and bent over to pick up the bottle. Before sitting up, he shook the bottle while gently prying the cork out. When he was almost back up he looked at the man and took aim and…”POP!” The cork hit the man just above his right eye sending his head flying back and hitting the cabin just beside the porthole. This was just enough time for 750 to grab the man’s hand and remove the gun from it.
“What a pity, I have spilled my champagne.” said 750 dryly. “Fascinating little stealth gun you had here. Is the projectile made of non-metallic components too?”
“You might well kill me, but Sepulchre will be successful. TIME is dedicated to its operations. The price has been set between North Korea and Iran. And TIME always delivers what it promises.” said Yubie Lell.
“Not this time.” 750 replied.
The blonde flight attendant returned with 750’s dinner and placed it on his tray. She then asked Yubie Lell if he had ordered his dinner yet. He said he had not and requested the same meal 750 had ordered. Since 750 had now gained the upper hand, he needed to keep it. Immediately, he spoke up “Oh, have mine Yubie. You look famished. I can wait for another dinner.” The attendant nodded happily to 750 and moved on to another passenger.
The spot on Yubie Lell’s head where the cork hit him was turning redder. ‘The next hit he took was going to have to knock him out for as long as possible’ 750 thought.
Yubie Lell must have felt at this point that sooner or later this spy was going to let his guard down just enough to give him a chance to reclaim his gun and kill 750. He could see The Spy was exhausted. ‘Just close your eyes longer than a blink, and I will close them permanently’, thought Yubie Lell. In truth, 750 was getting tired and he knew he could not hold the position he was in for the duration of the flight. Time was slipping away and he needed to eat and get a little rest before the plane landed in San Francisco. He asked a passing flight attendant for a cup of coffee.
With food in his mouth and feeling more relaxed by what he just heard, Yubie Lell said “So, you are tired?” 750 ignored his remark. Down the aisle, 750 saw the attendant pouring his coffee. It was now or never.
When Yubie Lell leaned over to take another bite, 750 grabbed his head by the hair and pulled back hard, and then with full force he punched the area of his chest over his heart. Yubie Lell seized up and started choking. All of the passengers around the cabin heard the violent coughing and stood up to see what was going on. The blonde flight attendant rushed over.
“Let me by to help him.” she urged. 750 played along, casually slipping Yubie Lell’s stealth gun up his sleeve. The blow 750 had dealt was felt in his hand and wrist. He had intended to kill Yubie Lell with that punch. But any form of incapacitation would do just as well.
“This man has had a heart attack!” announced the attendant, “Mark, notify the captain about this. Everyone, please return to your seats to give us room to help this passenger.”
Mark, the other flight attendant, went straight to the telephone outside the cockpit and called the captain. Everyone slowly returned to their seats and now only The Spy and a couple flight attendants remained near Yubie Lell. The blonde attendant asked 750 to help her carry the semi-conscience TIME agent to a section near the front galley where a cot had been erected. At one point Yubie Lell looked up and started to say something to 750, only to be told by The Spy “Shhh. Don’t you worry. You will be taken care of when the plane lands.”
Back in his seat 750 felt an ease of pressure. He stopped a passing flight attendant and said “More champagne, please.”
A Race Against TIME
The flight from South Korea finally landed in San Francisco. The rest of the flight had been relatively relaxing and 750 was able to shut his eyes for a time. Yubie Lell was feeling, more or less, still out of it. He would have to remember to inform whoever met him at the airport about Yubie Lell and TIME. As soon as the doors to the aircraft opened, 750 was one of the first passengers off the plane and made his way to the exit. On the way a man walked up beside him before he left the terminal and said “Are you from Special Services?” The man was wearing blue jeans and a plain white button down shirt with a navy blue blazer. His hair was dark blonde and combed back using a product to control his curls.
When 750 did not respond, the man said “I’m Whiskey, from The Unit.”
Feeling more at ease to confirm the question, 750 said “In that case, yes.”
“Then, follow me.” responded Whiskey.
“By the way, there is an enemy agent on a stretcher in the aircraft.” said 750.
“We’ll take care of it.” Whiskey responded.
Whiskey led 750 through an unmarked door that opened to a long hallway with a set of doors at the end. Through those sets of doors, there were a group of eleven men dressed in combat gear. Each man was checking his gear and weapons. When 750 walked into the room the men looked up at him. Whiskey made quick introductions and then asked 750 to brief them in detail.
“A few hours ago, I was in Seoul, South Korea, investigating a meeting between General Gi Nam Kim, from the People’s Army in North Korea, and Ahmad Ali Majid, from Iran’s Agricultural Engineering Research Institute, that took place a few days ago. I have here, the reason for that meeting, and all of this was confirmed to me on my flight by a man named Yubie Lell.”
Turning his attention to Whiskey, he asked “Did you get him? Yubie Lell, he was the one on the stretcher.”
“Gimme a minute.” said Whiskey.
750 continued his briefing. “This Yubie Lell told me his organization is the one carrying out the attack. He called it TIME, an acronym for Terrorism Institute for Murder and Extortion.” All of the Unit men looked around to each other, and then 750 proceeded.
“The name of this attack is called Operation Sepulchre. TIME has a Weather Control Machine they stolen from China and has set up base in the Gran Desierto de Altar portion of the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. Their plan is to use the WCM to attack American agriculture and densely populated areas, which will in turn, destroy the American economy and significantly end many lives.” concluded 750.
Whiskey returned after a phone call away from the group. “Bad news. The man on the plane got away and one of the flight attendants is dead. Our people are reviewing surveillance video right now. He could not have gotten far. We will have to move fast if we are going to stop the attack. This Yubie Lell will be on the phone to his people to move the WCM so we’ll not find it in time.”
The Spy thought about the blonde flight attendant and hoped it was not her. But quickly returned his mind to business.
“I do not think so. From spending a few “pleasant moments” with him, I think he will move up the timing for the attack. How soon can you find exactly where in the Gran Desierto de Altar the WCM is?” asked 750
“It should be only a matter of time. Since your boss contacted our boss, we have been searching every inch of that desert. In the meantime, we have been ordered to deploy to the Gran Desierto de Altar and expect intel updates while in flight. This package was sent to our base for you. We have also been told to consider ourselves under your orders for this mission.” said Whiskey.
“Alright then. I need to contact my office. Then I shall need a change of clothes and some gear.” said 750.
Within thirteen minutes, 750 and the twelve members from The Unit were on an unmarked plane and flying to the Gran Desierto de Altar portion of the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. During the flight, Whiskey and 750 got to discuss more about TIME and studied the instruction for the WCM’s operation. The organization, that Yubie Lell is a member of, disturbed 750.
TIME did not sound like any criminal organization he had ever known. He also reasoned that Yubie Lell could not be at the top of the TIME because if he was he could not afford to be directly connected to any plot, nor would he attempt to engage the agent trying to stop him. No, he held some power somewhere in TIME, just not at the top. Just then Whiskey stood up and walked to the cockpit. A few minutes later he came back to where 750 and the other Unit members were toward the back of the plane.
“Everybody listen up.” said Whiskey, “This op has been code named Operation Bad Weather. Our satellites picked up heat signatures in this remote area of the Gran Desierto de Altar….’bout here. Now, visually we can’t see anything except desert. But we suspect the WCM is under camouflage. The Weather Control Machine measures just less than sixty feet in length by forty feet in width. It takes just four technicians to operate it, but I have strong doubt there will be less than thirty armed guards protecting it. And if this TIME organization is like how it sounds, then we will be in CQB with professionals; so watch your six. One last thing, a person matching Yubie Lell’s description was caught on a traffic cam running a red light. The car was travelling in the direction of the Mexican border. The President has ordered us to capture Yubie Lell if he is with the WCM. I say again, the President has ordered us to capture Yubie Lell. We HALO in thirty mikes.”
Whiskey approached 750 with a folded piece of paper in his hand and said “All of that intel came from my Unit HQ. But without your people, we would not be here. So, thank you.” Whiskey then handed 750 the folded paper. “That order from the President said nothing about you because he does not know about you or Special Services. Whoever your boss is in contact with, for whatever reason, that person is keeping Special Services secret.” 750 opened the plain white piece of paper. It read:
“750. A termination warrant has been authorized for the TIME conspirator, Yubie Lell. Terminate, with extreme prejudice. -10”
Twenty-seven minutes later Whiskey announced “three minutes”, meaning they would be jumping from the aircraft in three minutes to parachute to the spot where TIME has the WCM. This was the first time in two years 750 had to parachute to a target. Since that time, he had not had much opportunity to participate in practice jumps with his fellow spies. He had been assigned to three missions during that time. Two were investigations in to weapons purchases by terrorists and the other was an assassination of a guerilla leader in Africa who was guilty of numerous crimes against humanity. The time was nearing for men to start the mission. 750 held his Zodiac watch up to a light in the aircraft for a few seconds. Its lume was strong.
It was now twelve seconds until the jump. Every Unit member was in position and ready for the green light to go. The Spy was behind Whiskey; who was the first man to exit. Like a Formula 1 driver waiting for the lights to change from red to green we all jumped out when we heard “Go! Go! Go!” from Whiskey.
The jump was intense. The Spy’s pulse elevated at first and then slowly returned to normalcy. It was late evening and there were no clouds below them. 750 checked his altimeter. In eighteen seconds he and the others would pull their cords to release the chutes, and hopefully, land unnoticed three miles from the target. After counting down from eighteen in his head 750 yanked his rip cord along with the others. All the men landed safely.
The package Whiskey gave 750 came from the Equipment Department at Special Services. It contained thirteen new state-of-the-art Smart Light-Spectrum Technology glasses, or SLST. Unlike the bulky night vision goggles used by many soldiers, this SLST made use of Nano-technology which decreased the size of the goggle while at the same time incorporating a variety of light spectrums. They look more like wrap-around sunglasses than goggles and the wearer has a 180 degree field of view. 750 and the Unit members activated the glasses. For now, they used traditional night vision. The SLST was an incredible advancement for night vision devices.
Whiskey and the other Unit members took up position to make a perimeter and scanned the area for signs of movement. The area appeared to be secure, so Whiskey moved closer to 750.
“It’s all yours. What do you want to do?” ask Whiskey.
“We move south-southeast. Everyone keep a two meter spread. I will take point. Let’s move.” commanded 750.
With that order, the team moved stealthy toward the base TIME had made for Operation Sepulchre. After a brief time, they stopped a quarter mile from what appeared to be TIME’s base housing the WCM. To search for enemy contact through the SLST, 750 cycled from ordinary night vision to thermal vision and zooms in three times. He tells the team he sees six sentries patrolling the perimeter of the base; which appears to be camouflaged just below the ground.
The team divided in to three groups and after successfully eliminating the sentries, proceeded to the entrance to the underground base where two armed men were standing guard. Whiskey and another Unit member took aim with their H&K MP5’s and fired two shots. “Phut! Phut!” was the sound made by their suppressed guns. Whiskey and 750 grabbed the comm’s from the guards and listened to see if there was any detection of their arrival. There was no chatter on the comm. Before Team’s One and Three entered the base, 750 changed the SLST glasses to standard vision and confirmed the position of Team Two and then said “Rig the perimeter and entrance to blow if this mission goes south. We are now going in. Team One, out.”
Team One, which consisted of 750, Whiskey, and two others, entered the underground base and moved as quietly as possible down the metal steps leading almost eighty feet below the surface. As they descended, 750 looked over TIME’s operation. There were two main paths leading from the bottom of the stairs down to the other end of the base. The Weather Control Machine was directly in the center and he could see what resembled five enclosed glass stations surrounding it with guards manning the entrance to each station. And one station was larger than the other four. ‘That must be the main control for the WCM,’ he thought. There were two large generators; one situated below the stairs the teams were on and the other on the opposite side of the base, about two-hundred feet from where they are.
At the base of the stairs the team scanned the location and gave the OK for Team Three to advance toward their position. When Team Three reached Team One’s spot, each team took one path and moved forward. There was still no chatter on the comm’s taken from the guards at the entrance.
Meanwhile, on the surface Team Two was busy maintaining a defensive perimeter and planting explosives around the base in preparation for a worst case scenario.
Back inside the base, the teams advanced closer and closer to the glass control station. Just then, a man in a white lab coat walked out from behind one of the generators and into the path of the team. Startled, he alerts the soldiers guarding the Weather Control Machine and control station!
Immediately, a firefight ensues and 750 start’s to plan how he will advance up the path to stop the WCM because he hears the generators gaining power and realizes time is seriously running out.
“Whiskey, they are starting the machine. Give me cover so I can get up there!” yelled 750 over the sound of gun fire.
“Roger that!” yelled back Whiskey. Addressing the two men beside him he said “OK boys; lay down a suppressing fire for 750. He is moving forward!” The two men acknowledged the command and concentrated their assault toward the control station.
Bullets whizzed over and around the team. One man from the Unit threw a flash bang at the soldiers protecting the machine, which allowed them a brief moment to move up from their current position while at the same time diverting their attention from 750, Whiskey, and the two Unit men. Meanwhile, 750 caught a break. Two of the four soldiers defending the control station had to reload. He took out a flash bang and tossed it perfected into a bin near the soldiers. “BOOM!” It managed to incapacitate them for the four men to take them out.
Without a minute to lose, 750 jumped into action while Whiskey and company changed from offensive to defensive.
Bursting through the door of the control station, 750 shoots a man in a lab coat and then sees Yubie Lell standing beside a computer. It looks like he is about to do something that would finalize the Weather Control Machine’s destructive action.
“Do not move!” orders 750, “Operation Sepulchre is over.”
“Do you really think we have only ONE of these ready to attack the United States?” said Yubie Lell ominously.
750, paused for a moment to think about what he just heard. ‘If true, this changes 10’s orders to kill Lell. But, if it is a bluff, it could afford TIME enough opportunity to try the attack again while we investigate his claim. And I did see the schematics for the WCM in the embassy, so conceivably, they could have built another.’ 750 made up his decision.
“That is a chance I will take.” said 750. He squeezed the trigger of his gun. “Click.” His eyes opened wide as he realized he was out of bullets. Like lightning Yubie Lell, reached under the desk and produced a gun. The Spy was helpless to call for help from Whiskey or anyone else because the firefight kept them occupied.
“Perhaps it was a bluff, perhaps not. But you will never know. You will, however, live long enough to see your failure to stop me. I push ‘Enter’ on this keyboard and Sepulchre ruins the United States.” said Lell.
While Yubie Lell was talking, 750 was thinking desperately about how to prevent the disaster. Of course! His Zodiac watch still had one last sawtooth disk. All he had to do was take it out of the bezel and then he would have another chance. The Spy dropped his gun and held his left hand with his right hand just below the watch. Very discreetly, he used his thumb and finger to press down the bezel and turn it clockwise. He felt the subdued click. ‘YES!’ he thought. The bezel lifted and he casually removed it from his Zodiac watch and moved his hand to his side. He hoped Yubie Lell was not a good shot for what he was about to attempt. He just needed Lell to break eye contact for a split second. ‘NOW!’ he thought as Lell glanced to his right to place his finger on the keyboard. ‘Swoosh!’ sounded the disk through the air as 750 flicked it to Lell, hitting his right shoulder. “Arrragh!” scream Lell in pain. Leaping to Lell, 750 grabbed the gun and wrestled it from the TIME agent.
Back with the upper hand, 750 said “Your “time” is up.” “Pow!” sounded the gun when 750 shot and killed Yubie Lell.
750 looked at the computer. The screen read “You are about to activate a Weather Control operation. Do you want to proceed with the current action?” Very carefully, 750 moved the mouse and clicked cancel. He let out a sigh of relief as he heard the generators powering down.
“750, the rest of the soldiers are dead. It’s done!” said Whiskey in a congratulatory voice.
“So is he,” said 750 gesturing to Yubie Lell body, “and just in time. Let’s rig this place and get out of here.” said 750.
“Roger that.” replied Whiskey.
After TIME’s base was rigged to blow, the team moved to an extraction point. A few minutes later the helicopters picked them up and they returned to the U.S. They heard the explosion from the base as the helicopter lifted off the ground.
A few days later, 750 was back at his office completing his report about the mission. He had a meeting with 10 in three minutes. When he arrived at 10’s office he knocked on the door and waited for the admittance.
“Come in 750. Sit down” said 10, and then continuing “Congratulations. Thanks to the success of your mission and the intel you recovered, TIME now has a record with us and the American’s. They and we have agreed to keep any information related to TIME compartmentalized for now, to avoid general panic and any outrage from the Mexican government. I would say you have earned yourself a few days leave. Oh, before I forget, here is your watch.” 10 looked at it and said, “Girard-Perregaux, humph.” Then handing it over to 750, 10 dismissed The Spy, “That is all 750.”
That evening The Spy arrived at his favorite restaurant. Waiting to be called for his table, he pondered about what he would eat. Escargot and caviar was definitely on his mind. And he would not forget about a bottle of Dom Perignon. A steak cooked medium rare with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. ‘Yes’, he thought, ‘that is what I shall have tonight.’ He woke from his day dream when the hostess called his name.
“Mister Bard. Jon Bard.”
Somewhere in Europe…
Somewhere in Europe a meeting was in progress. Two men were sitting in front of a desk in an ornate office. The man on the other side of the desk was the director of TIME. He was reading a message sent by Yubie Lell after he escaped authorities at San Francisco’s airport. The Director began scolding his subordinates in a most dissatisfied tone.
“I am not pleased with the outcome of Operation Sepulchre. Iran and North Korea were promised success; all they got was our failure. The only one that should be punished for the results of Sepulchre was killed by an unknown man in Mexico. I suppose a thank you is in order for him eliminating Yubie Lell. Since you have discovered that he works for a security service unknown to us, we should show more interest in him if HE should cross our path again. And be certain that when he does…you kill him.”