[mc, mf, fd, hy]
((Meet Alexandra Ryder, secret agent and skilled hypnotist/mind-controller. This story was written in 2005 and it’s quite the ride. Enjoy. ))
The New Assignment
According to the Government of the United States, the two men standing in front of the high-security elevator didn’t exist. The same thing could be said about the organization for which they worked, and whose main facilities they were about to enter. Its name and purpose was one of the White House’s most guarded secrets, in spite of some stray rumours that sometimes made the headlines of the country’s most famous tabloids.
The two non-existing men knew each other for quite some time. Their friendly relationship dated back from the days when Kennedy was still America’s number one and the Army was their home.
The man on the left, with grey hair, piercing black eyes and an aquiline nose was General Rupert Hayes. He was a stern and upright character, perhaps a bit square on his shoulders and legs, who had lived through many wars before giving up his name and life to serve a higher cause half a mile below Washington’s belligerent streets.
Next to him, stood nicotine-addict Colonel Eric Gibbons who was said to consume five packs of cigarettes a day on a normal day and seven or eight when his emotional balance was disrupted. Unlike his superior officer and friend, he had a quizzical, oval face and no hair of his own ever since his fiftieth anniversary. His eyes had been green but they were getting more and more yellow due to his uncontrollable vice.
Before the doors opened, a third man joined them from behind. His name was Henry Simms and there was nothing military about him. The mid-thirties giant wore the black suit of a civilian bureaucrat and was the only one of his kind with a direct line to the President, a line he used quite often when times were bleak and the whole world was on the verge of collapse.
The two military looked rather disdainfully at the newcomer but were courteous enough to let him enter the elevator first. Henry Simms nodded in appreciation and repaid the gesture by setting the destination as soon as they got in.
The elevator started moving swiftly, going deeper and deeper underground. The silence inside lasted for about ten seconds and was suddenly broken by a question coming from the nervous lips of the Colonel:
“Simms, is it true?”
“You’ll find out soon enough, Colonel Gibbons.”, the younger man replied.
“It’s true, alright!” intervened the General. “Can’t you see by the look of triumph in his eyes?”
“I had forgotten about your sharpness, General…” Simms replied. His voice was cold. He didn’t like him one bit and knew the feeling was mutual.
Before the conversation could continue, the elevator reached its destination and the doors opened to let them out. Underground Level 15 was very similar to the other fourteen of the complex: a labyrinth of grey-walled corridors, strategically placed infra-red cameras and large, indestructible black doors. The two main differences between this particular floor and the rest of the base could be seen in the exaggerated number of armed guards one could find in the most eastern section and on the fact that all of the doors led to inevitable prison cells.
The trio stepped out of the elevator and proceeded along the right corridor where they were saluted by a heavily armed group of muscle-men in Army uniforms.
“Who captured him?” insisted the General after they passed the guards. “And why weren’t we informed of the operation earlier?”
“Gamma Unit did the job. You weren’t informed because the President himself chose not to do so. The operation was classified as top secret and the best way to control the flow of the information is to limit the number of people with access to it. I’m sure you can understand that.”
“Of course, but Colonel Gibbons and I have been working on this Division for the last six years. You, on the other hand, only found out about its existence three months ago and military secrets should not pass through your hands at all.”
“Like I said, it was the President who gave the orders. Talk to him yourself if you want more details.”
“I will, but let us return to our… guest. He was detained in Pakistan, right?”
“That’s right, but at least he had the decency to stay away from tiny rat-holes like the one where we found you know who sleeping. He put up quite a fight before being captured.”
They reached another corridor, this one with twelve bulked doors, six on each side. Beyond it was a small pathway that led to the Surveillance Room, where they could see the images transmitted by the electronic cameras inside each cell. Number 12 was the one that mattered, as it gave them a fairly good view of the prisoner’s face with his long beard and challenging eyes. Though trapped and with no chance to escape, he still looked dangerous.
“I can’t believe that’s really him!” Colonel Gibbons said. “He managed to escape us so many times…”
Simms took the lead to answer back.
“Those are past days, Colonel! Think of the present. He’s here and now he has to be dealt with.”
“When’s the President planning to reveal his capture to the American people and the rest of the world?” asked Hayes.
“Right around Election Day, obviously.”
“That will boost his campaign for sure!”
“That’s the plan, but first he wants to get as much as information from him as possible, without mistreating him in any way. We’ve had enough cases of torture in Iraqi territory and things don’t look too good for us in the Human Rights agenda at the moment… The Chief of Staff needs a full-proof solution to guarantee his position as a strong and reliable leader, a leader that keeps his promises and deserves a re-election.”
“I don’t think that’s possible… the only thing we know for sure he’s good at is lying.” said Hayes and laughed afterwards, probably a bit louder than he should.
Simms resented that and gave him a cold face.
“Spare me your criticism. I understand you have an Agent working under your direct supervision that’s specialized in the ways of obtaining information without the use of physical torture.”
“That’s right – Agent 47-D, one of the finest I’ve ever met.”
“The President wants him on the job, pronto! Where is he right now?”
“He?! I really haven’t got a clue…” answered the older man. Now it was his time to laugh at his expense.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
The General raised both his eyebrows at the same time and spoke like an angry teacher to an unworthy pupil:
“That you forgot to do your homework. You see, Agent 47-D is a woman…”
* * *
Twenty-six year old Alexandra Ryder was coming home from an exhausting aerobics session, when her cell phone rang without warning, making her heart race. For a moment, the world around her became hazy, as she let go of the steering-wheel, causing the vehicle to turn abruptly, its wheels jumping over the nearest sidewalk. Immediately, she hit the brakes and was lucky enough to stop before killing anyone. While some people gathered around the car to see if she was hurt or something, she looked at the special number flashing on the cell screen and opened the lid to take the call.
There was no talking on the other side of the line: only a series of mechanical sounds combined in a rhythmic sequence that only high-security level field agents knew how to interpret. The coded message was simple and written in conventional English would go as follows: “Your presence is required at Headquarters a.s.a.p. We have a very special prisoner waiting for your delicate treatment…”
The code played only once, but she understood it perfectly and didn’t bother thinking who the prisoner was. She would surely be briefed when she reached the facilities: the only thing that seemed to upset her was the fact that she had to go home and change in a hurry, so that she would look as presentable as possible for the work she was required to do.
Already feeling altogether, she took the liberty of throwing the cell phone into the back seat, and then made the car jump off the sidewalk as if nothing had happened. Some angry faces looked at her as she was leaving; they were probably thinking she was a menace behind the wheel, which was quite understandable, but hardly accurate. If there was one thing she was really menacing at was in her unconventional use of simple objects, such as candles, pocket watches or glimmering key chains.
* * *
An hour later, after a very relaxing shower, Agent 47-D reached the underground facilities and immediately upon entering them, offered a warm smile to one of the guards on duty.
He smiled right back at her, as he watched her magnificent hazelnut eyes. It didn’t take long for his eyes to roll down into her asymmetric transparent shirt partially visible behind a beautiful Navy-blue jacket, plunging afterwards into the contours of her matching, tight skirt, until they became suddenly transfixed in her unbelievable long legs and on the highly erotic pointy shoes she was wearing. Under normal circumstances, that wasn’t a very polite attitude, yet at that time it was the only one his brain was telling him to adopt. Alexandra stopped in front of him and kissed him on the forehead while whispering:
“I’m so glad you remembered your instructions, Chas, but I’m no longer interested in having fun with you. Remember the pleasure you experienced with me, but forget everything else, ok? This was the last time you fell under my spell!”
The soldier nodded his head almost imperceptibly and the hypnotic power of her shoes was gone. Having resolved that, she continued her walk in a seductive way so that everyone could see her natural feminine attractiveness until she entered the Surveillance Room.
General Hayes was the first to greet her, with a kiss on each cheek, followed by Colonel Gibbons who mimicked the ritual, feeling so happy to see her once again. Simms was left for last. He had been told a couple of strange stories about her methods while waiting for her arrival and was a bit reluctant: he didn’t know exactly whether to believe them or not. His approach was swift but extremely diplomatic.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Agent 47-D.” he said, as he shook her hand. She had a firm grip, as strong as many men’s. He smelled her perfume discretely as she replied:
“The feeling is mutual, Mr. Simms. I confess I was quite stunned when I received the call. After the last assignment, I was given the impression that I would be allowed some time to breathe. May I know the reason why I was summoned here on such short notice?”
It was General Hayes that gave the answer, by pointing into the same monitor they had observed before.
“The reason is that man over there.”
Alexandra Ryder recognized him on the spot, and her eyes glittered with satisfaction.
“Oh, you finally caught him! It was about time, anyway! He doesn’t look so dangerous to me in that tiny little cell of his…”
“For the time being, he’s still the most dangerous terrorist we ever came across with…” intervened Gibbons. “But I suppose he won’t be for long, isn’t that right, Alexandra?”
“I suppose so. As you know, I never failed in my line of work before, and I think I’ll enjoy bringing him under a lot”
“So, do you really think you can… hum… soften his mind for us?” asked Simms, who was feeling more and more uncomfortable. The woman gave him a funny look. The tone of her voice became ironic and somewhat intimidating:
“Sure, if softening is what you want… but I can also take him deeper and drain all of his will-power so that he won’t orchestrate any more terrorist attacks against our country.”
“What exactly do you mean by draining all of his will-power?” retorted Simms. He was beginning to sweat under his armpits.
“Wasn’t I obvious, Mr. Simms? I’m talking of a complete brainwash: deprive him of his set of beliefs and replace them with more agreeable contents for a civilized person. It’s not so hard to accomplish and besides, I’ve done it before with less threatening individuals.”
“I see, but The White House is not interested in such drastic measures. We’re only looking for information on terrorist cells spread across our country and in the countries of our NATO allies: the names of the leaders and operationals, the kind of weaponry they possess, etc. Such information must be acquired without breaking him completely, as you said. There mustn’t be any signs of manipulation when we make the announcement of his arrest to the world.”
“It’s all a matter of politics, Alexandra!” General Hayes spoke out loud. “The President is hoping to clear all of his mistakes in the past few years with this capture.”
“I know, but I think the people won’t buy any more crap from him anymore.”
“Miss Ryder! You’re talking about the President of the United States of America!” said a very shocked Simms. “Please, show a little more respect!”
“Relax, Mr. Simms. He’s not here to listen, and there’s nothing wrong in stating the obvious. He’s going to lose the elections even with this Arabic ace of his… are you sure you only want that sort of information from him?”
“In that case, I suppose a mild trance will be enough. I’ll simply distract his mind long enough to plant a simple suggestion that will make him start spewing all of his dirty secrets in no time.”
“What sort of suggestion?”
“Well, considering he’s not willing to cooperate with us, I’ll hypnotize him and then use his natural resistance against him. The more he tries to evade questioning, the more words will try to come out of his mouth, until they all come rushing in. Call it hypnotic reverse psychology, if you like.”
“What are you going to use to capture his attention?” asked Gibbons, who had always been an enthusiast of her sultry schemes, especially after he himself had come to understand that she was unlike any other Agent engaged in that kind of activities. He clearly remembered the first time she had worked her magic on him just by making him look at a reflection of light on a small paperclip, while singing softly at him.
“I brought this small piece of jewellery with me…” and from her left pocket she drew a golden necklace with a crescent, the symbol of the world and the power of Islam. Gibbons caught a glimpse of its shape and looked away just in case his mind decided to drop for her just like that. Simms noticed his sudden embarrassment, but said nothing for he too was in a very similar position.
“That’s an interesting coincidence.” he eventually said.
“I suppose so, but it was completely unintentional, of course. It just happened to be the first shining object that came into my hands …”
“Perfect.” completed Hayes. “Go on and do your best, Alexandra. “We’ll monitor the whole session from here.”
“Very well.” she said as she wrapped the string of the necklace around her fingers. “I’ll be back in a flash, gentleman.”
Gibbons saw her turn away and sighed.
I hope you enjoyed what you read so far. Plenty of more left in store but, in the meantime, should you wish to honor me with your feedback, feel free to contact me using the form below. Thank you.