“Who are you, where am I, and where the hell is my solicitor?”
“Right now Ms. Parker, my name and your location aren’t important and frankly neither are your so-called rights. Our records indicate you are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for, so you might want to be a bit more civil.”
The African-British gentleman, for that’s the image he had so carefully crafted, was sitting across a metal table from his prisoner, a young woman in her late teens. The most obvious aspects of her appearance were dominated by black attire, tattoos and body piercings.
“I want my solicitor.”
“This isn’t Scotland Yard, Danae.”
“I don’t care if it’s fucking MI6, I want my solicitor and I’m not saying a damn thing until I see one.”
“I don’t need you to talk. I already know everything I need to know about you. Your name is Danae Elizabeth Parker, you were born on 30 January 1993 in Wembley to Richard and Eleanor Parker. You have a brother named Loren who has recently begun his postgraduate studies in Economics and Finance at the University of Bristol. At age seventeen, you came out to your parents as a lesbian and they promptly sent you packing. You continue to maintain a relationship with your brother but prefer to wander from one acquaintance’s home to the next. You are also associated with the group Anonymous and are directly responsible for hacking into several secure databases, including MI6 since you mention them, and then releasing highly classified files that have put their long-term coverts in Eastern Europe at risk.”
“People have the right to know that it’s not just the bloody Americans who are spying on ordinary people and destroying their lives.”
“Danae, I explained that I do not expect you to speak and certainly not to shout.”
“Let me out of here. I want to make a phone call right now.”
“You are in no position to make demands. No one knows where you are. Scotland Yard has transferred custody, ostensibly to the SIS, but then the SIS has no record of you whatsoever. We’ve seen to that.”
The young woman’s expression went from defiant, to contemplative, to intimidated. “What are you going to do to me?”
“If you want, give you a job.”
“Please, you can close your mouth now.”
Danae clamped her lips shut and yanked at her arms.
“Oh. Handcuffs bothering you?” The interrogator nodded at the mirror to his right and a moment later the door behind Danae opened. She could hear footsteps but couldn’t turn around to see who was coming.
“Yes sir.” It was a man’s voice, accent similar to the interrogator’s. She felt hands touch her wrists and what sounded like keys. Then the handcuffs binding her arms behind the chair in which she was seated came free.
She opened her mouth to say something caustic and then let the gravity of her circumstances weigh upon her judgment. She looked at the man still seated opposite of her. “Thanks.”
“That will be all, Ellis.”
“Of course, Sir.”
The person who had released Danae turned and left the room, closing the door again.
“Yes, Danae. You are quite talented and we admire talent.”
“Officially, we don’t a name, however our group is most often referred to as the Agency.”
“Spies? Like MI6?”
“The difference between us and MI6 is that they have a well-known office building, website, and comply to the various laws requiring government transparency. We do not.”
“You want me to go to work for the enemy.”
“A far better deal than spending the next ten years in prison. We’ll pay for your formal education, residence, you’ll receive a competitive salary and benefits, and all you have to do upon graduation is accept our offer of exclusive employment.”
“That sounds like a pretty good deal but I have a better one.”
“Please don’t give me the finger and then demand your phone call. This isn’t a movie, Danae and prison is the least of your worries if it comes down to that.”
“What does the Agency do?”
“We are a covert law enforcement group, strictly black ops. There are criminal organizations not particularly vulnerable to local, national, and international agencies. We fill the gap, providing surveillance, infiltration, and elimination of some of the most dangerous threats in the world, many of them completely unknown to the general public.”
“Not generally. As I said, we gather information and when we do make arrests, we arrange for the suspects to be handed over to conventional law enforcement along with iron clad evidence of their guilt. I promise you, our exploits will never be reported by the BBC or CNN.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“I should think that would be obvious, Danae. Simply do what you do best, but at our direction.”
“If I accept your offer, what if I want to quit later?”
“We want a return on our investment. Part of the arrangement is that you’ll sign a ten-year contract, to be executed upon your first day of formal employment after graduation. Once the contract expires, you have the option not to renew and after that, your life will be your own. Oh, you will have to sign an NDA and violation of its terms will send you right back to prison, this time for and extended and indeterminate period of time.”
“I can’t tell anyone? My brother…”
“We will provide you with an adequate cover story. Our employees have social lives, friends, families. You won’t be a slave or a prisoner.”
“How do you like it?”
“A very good interview question, Danae. I’ve been a part of the Agency for ten years, the last two as section chief. I like it just fine.”
“I’d be working for you?”
“Yes. When your case file came across my superior’s desk, I asked that you be specifically recruited for my team. You have an impressive if illegitimate record.”
“Do I get to know your name now?”
“Are you in?”
“What happens if I say ‘no’?”
“I believe we’ve already gone over that.”
“Then I have no choice.”
“Of course you have a choice. You can go to prison or you can work for us. The time period for either is ten years and I can assure you the latter option is more pleasant and far more lucrative.”
“Can I sleep on it?”
“If you choose to sleep on it in a jail cell, yes. We’ve got one ready for you.”
“If I say ‘yes’, how do you know you can trust me?”
“We have an initiation period. There will be a large number of legal documents to sign, then you will be taken to a training facility where you will spend the next three months.”
“Three months! I can’t stay…”
“You will if you accept the agreement. Eventually you will re-enter your social life, minus your associations to Anonymous and other similar groups. However, it is during your training when we will decide if you can be trusted. Until then, you will spend 100% of your time under our supervision. Still want to sleep on it?”
“More than ever. How’s your jail’s food.”
“This isn’t a resort.”
“In other words, crappy.”
“Consider it an incentive.”
“So what do I call you?”
“Geoffrey Colins. Pleased to meet you.”
“Danae Parker. You know I’m going to say ‘yes’, don’t you?”
“I do.” Colins stood and extended his right hand. “Welcome to the team.”
Danae rose tentatively. “I hope I know what I’m doing.” He took the man’s hand and they shook.
From last November until the past February, I wrote a science fiction/covert ops thriller centering around a young woman and scientist named Mikiko (Kojima) Jahn who, after being horribly mutilated in a nuclear power plant accident, was reconstructed using advanced synthetic DNA treatments making her more than human.
Subsequently, she temporarily joined “the Agency” in order to use her unique abilities to bring down an international cartel of human traffickers. Geoffrey Colins was the leader of her team and Danae Parker was one of the members. You can learn a little bit more about Danae’s background in the story Pursuit.
Links to the full “table of contents” of those adventures can be found at the bottom of the final epilogue for the series. Since the Agency is a secret organization, I thought I could leverage it for the Sunday Writing Prompt “Secret Organizations” hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. I probably didn’t answer all of the questions the challenge required, but I wanted the interchange between Colins and Danae to go more or less the way I’d envisioned.
Yes, I borrowed a couple of things from the interrogation scene between Agent Smith and “Mr. Anderson” in the 1999 film “The Matrix.”