“One door to go” she thought to herself as she slithered along the wall, not quite touching it. She scanned the frame and listened for a good two
minutes before she reached out and attached a wire to the door handle. The other end disappearing into the cuff of her suit and, after a few seconds,
a little green tick flashed in her monocle to let her know that there was no voltage in the handle and that she could turn it without setting off any
alarms. She pulled hard on the handle once it was fully turned, making her shoulder crush tightly to the heavy wood of the door and she took a step
in, the action reducing the chances of anything squeaking as the big door opened.
Nothing stirred in the small room. It looked like the back of a chemist's shop. Shelves lined each wall, filled from end to end with bottles and
vials. She let out a breath and realised that she had failed to plan for this. The pictures she had obtained not quite making her understand the
difficulty of telling one small, glass bottle from a thousand just like it, in the dark when she couldn't make a noise. She closed her eyes and took a
few breaths, reaching out with her consciousness..Something many would ridicule her for, she knew, but, those same people would refuse to look up from
the feet of a man they were stalking, with their knives in their hands in the jungle at night, less they feel those eyes on their backs. She edged
to the left, feeling drawn to the centre shelf and her hand reached out for a bottle with a faded, curling paper label. “Edmund the Martyr” it
read in ancient copperplate and she smiled, triumphantly. “Damn girl, you still got the bitch craft” she thought and turned slowly to ease her way
She could have just ran for the door, thrown it open and headed for home with all the alarms going off. Her mission would technically have been
accomplished. There was an attitude in The Regiment though, that if you are going to do something, do it right. Get the job done and leave everyone
else scratching their heads as to how on earth these shadows did what they do when seemingly no mortal being could have.
She crept down the cellar steps, gliding through the blacker darkness behind the wine racks. The musty smell of old cellar mould catching at the back
of her throat and the cool air stinging her uncovered eye. Reaching the back wall, she popped a small magnet from a pocket and stuck it to the reed
switch on the tiny, semi circular window before popping it open with the blade of her knife. It was an old Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, the emblem
of many special forces units around the world and, though there were better utility knives she could have chosen, the matt black killing steel had
been hers for so long she couldn't imagine ever going to work without it. She listened for a further two minutes before levering herself out of the
window and settling it back not quite flush again. Crouched low down by an acacia bush, she scanned for the patrol that she knew was due around now.
The buzzing of a small drone approached, flying at around twenty metres it circled the property and she waited for it to pass by before darting to the
fringe of woodland beyond the billiard table smoothness of the lawns. She didn't have to worry about the radar, knowing it wouldn't be switched on
during the drone runs and was crouched safely within the low bushes just beyond the line of silver birches by the time the drone came back around
for it's second sweep.
She was waiting in the plush anteroom of the boss's office at Nine thirty the next morning. The smell of Whitehall reeking of power and purpose, a
more concentrated version of the old money aura of Stoneacre. She smiled, smoothing down her skirt. Meetings here were always mufti and even now,
there wasn't a person alive (who knew) who could not stare at that tan beret with it's winged dagger badge. Some had, once upon a time made the
mistake of doubting her right to wear such a thing. Broken noses and crushed ribs had shut up many a loud mouth...Not just from her either. The days
of choosing between uniform and civvy wear were actually over for her, she'd officially retired as WOI after twenty three years in the army. The next
ten were spent on detachment, same sort of work, but far more money but with far less backup.
The general will see you know “Staff Sergeant Major Harling.” The young, rosy cheeked subaltern manning the desk called out and she rose, smiling
at him for the expressions that his use of her old rank caused to bloom in the faces of those she had shared the space with for the last twenty
She walked up to the tall, double doors, knocked once, firmly and waited a heartbeat before pushing through.
“Staff!” Called Sparrow, “Damn glad to see you made it. Everything cushty I trust?” He raised an eyebrow expectantly as he waved her over to a
seat in front of his huge, oak desk. Something like a relic from the court of King James the First.
“Yeah, all good, boss. Went like clockwork.” She answered, using the old address for her former CO
and current boss. Not many people ever called the Brigadier General anything other than Sir and those who did, were either family, or people who,
like her, had passed selection and served with him.
He grunted at her nonchalance, seeing it for the proud, professional soldier's understatement that it was. He knew there weren't all that many people
still serving who could have done what she did, much less any on the retired list. He held out a hand and the small glass bottle appeared from inside
a perfectly fitted jacket and she placed it into his palm. “That jacket.” He rumbled, “Von Furstenberg.” It was a statement, not a question.
He knew this because his wife owned many such examples and he shuddered each time he saw the receipts.
“Yes Boss.” she said with a grin “Can't be turning up at the ministry in jeans and heels, can I? Don't want people thinking I'm some Labour
He actually laughed then and placed the glass bottle in the top drawer of his desk ready for his later appointment with the Duke “You know, it might
be fun if you were to stay back and see the old bugger's face when I present him with his family's most prized heirloom.”
“I don't get why it wasn't in a safe or something Boss, I mean, if he cared that much about it.”
“Oh, he over thinks things, he has this idea that a safe is the obvious place to look, thought it would be save among the jars of toad eyes and newt
tails no doubt. I must say, you did rather well, how long did it take you to find it amid all that junk?”
“Not long, boss, I'm good at what I do.” She said with a grin. “You got anything else for me?”
edit on 46pFri, 21 Jul 2017 12:43:46 -050020172017-07-21T12:43:46-05:00kAmerica/Chicago31000000k by SprocketUK because: spelling again