Game Over

checkmate

Image depicting a checkmate in chess

"I've got Mzimu."

A few days after Mikiko had last seen Timothy Fleming, he had sent her a text with his (untraceable) number so she could contact him when she had evidence the Organization’s leader was dead. Colins said it probably had been easy for him to pick up her cell’s number remotely as long as he was in close proximity, even from the phone issued to her by the Agency. It had likely happened when they spoke in the church.

"You have proof of his death?"

He was using a secure text app so even though Mikiko and Fleming could exchange messages, Colins, or rather his computing and electronics expert Danae Parker, couldn’t locate him. Colins told her that should be immaterial since they’d located the farmhouse on the Romney Marsh where he was holding Sienna Thomas over a week ago.

"I have Mzimu in person. Do you want to meet?"

“He’s got to be thinking this one over hard, Mikiko. It’s the sort of trap we’d set up for him. On the other hand, he did say if possible, he’d like to meet Mzimu face-to-face and finish the job personally.”

“But it is a trap, isn’t it, Geoffrey?”

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A Last Ale at Blakes

blakes of dover

© A Mixed Bag 2010

He was sitting at a table nursing one of the ales for which Blakes of Dover is noted when she walked in. The young Japanese woman was immediately drawn to him, walked over, and took a seat at his table.

“I thought we might have a bit of lunch before you take me in, Mikiko.” Timothy nodded and a server came immediately over.

“Yes sir?”

He looked at the woman, “What will you be having?”

“Order for both of us.”

He ordered Beef with Chips and two more ales.

“I knew it was only a matter of time. I won’t bother asking how you found me. I’m glad you came alone.”

“They’re waiting outside to arrest you, Timothy. It’s either us or Mzimu.”

“It’s either prison or a shallow grave in a field somewhere.”

“At least you chose a pleasant venue for your last meal.”

The ales quietly arrived and the international assassin known as Hellspite proposed a toast to the one person in the world who had finally captured him. His career was finally over and he trusted her to finish what he started by bringing down the gang of human traffickers that had started it all.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of January 7th 2018. The idea is to take the image above and use it to prompt the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

I’m obviously leveraging characters from my Mikiko Jahn SciFi/Adventure series. I’m thankful the photo included a very recognizable sign for Blakes of Dover and I discovered that Dover is less than twenty miles from Dymchurch where the latter part of my larger story takes place.

These events occur after my most recent chapter in the series and I’m not sure yet if this wee tale will become part of the canon. I guess it depends on whether or not I want Fleming (AKA Hellspite) to escape or not.

Oh, this scene is set specifically in the cellar bar which is perfect for a quiet drink and a small lunch.

To read other stories inspired by the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Hawkhurst Gambit

church - dymchurch

St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Dymschurch as seen from the South.

“The lads play well together, Eileen.”

“Yes they do, Sean. I appreciate you taking us in while we’re in Dymchurch.”

“After all, what are family for?”

The two old friends sat in the Billingham living room by the fire as their two sons Timothy and Roger played with their collection of Pokemon cards at the kitchen table.

“You sure Suzanne doesn’t mind?”

“She’s not jealous if that’s what you’re thinking.” Sean picked up his glass of Port, sipped and then grimaced. “Got to speak to the Missus. This last bottle she brought home tastes like vinegar.”

“You do understand what I’m asking, Sean.”

“Aye. Richard must never find out though or it’ll mean both our lives.”

“He won’t find out if you hold up your end. I got a generous settlement from him and he doesn’t have to know about the rest. You’ll be well compensated as will your kin when the time comes.”

“You know it’s not the money, Eileen…”

“The families pay their way, we always have. I don’t expect you to take such risks, especially with your family at stake, all for love and loyalty.”

“I promise I’ll do my part. I see no trouble bringing Roger into the family business when the time comes.”

“Same with Timothy, Sean. Still, we have to be careful with the young ones. You don’t take the Hawkhurst oath without devoting your total allegiance to Mzimu.”

“Aye. T’would be death otherwise. When you leaving for Chicago then?”

“And you believed him.”

“Of course I believed him, Geoffrey. Yes, he could have been lying but I couldn’t take the chance.”

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Night of Syn

syn - scarecrow

From the 1964 television show “Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow.”

“The character Hellspite only appeared in a 1963 television series based on the Russell Thorndike Doctor Syn novels. As you know, Thorndike created the fictional Christopher Syn and his alter ego, The Scarecrow in a book series he authored between 1915 and 1944, which was subsequently adapted for a 1937 movie and the aforementioned TV show.”

“Thank you Danae, but we already know this. How does it pertain to Fleming’s current location and where he is holding Sienna Thomas?”

Geoffrey Colins and Mikiko Jahn had arrived late last night and were currently running on determination and caffeine. This early morning meeting, jet lag, and the time change on top of lack of sleep had rendered Colins surly.

“Quite, but I need to relate the background so that my report will make more sense.”

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The Protector

iowa city fire

© J Hardy Carroll

The Present

“I’m gonna help you out Devon, but it’s the last time.”

Devon Willis was recovering from a compound fracture of his right arm at Rush University Medical Center. He’d told the police that he’d gotten into a fight with three other guys. Didn’t want to identify them and didn’t want to press charges. His doctor said he should stay for another day or two, but he had to get out of Chicago. His brother Cameron was going to drive him to the place he kept in Iowa City. Only Cameron knew about it, Devon’s hideaway.

“I know. I appreciate it. I swear I’ll pay you back.”

“The only thing I want from you is to never hear from you again. You broke poor Mama’s heart more times than I know. I haven’t told her you called me again. Figure she don’t need the grief.”

“I just need to get away from here. The other night…”

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Five Years On

memorial japan

In Namie Seiko Yoshida and her husband Tsutoshi offer a prayer for their late daughter Miki, who was killed by the tsunami while at work at a post office, in Ukedo district, 5km north of the nuclear plant – Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

Mikiko Jahn and Brigit Monroe stepped out of the ruins as the older couple drove away. They’d placed flowers on the foundation of what used to be their home across the street.

“I had dinner with them every weekend. I’d just introduced my fiance’ Ichioka the Sunday before the accident.”

Brigit, Mikiko’s psychologist, touched her forearm and felt it trembling. This visit was dangerous, but Mikiko insisted on going home for the anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Five years ago, the reactor 3 hydrogen explosion injured eleven and killed one, except Mikiko was only presumed dead. Her injuries were catastrophic. The government covered up the events around her reconstruction as the first synthetic organism. Cybernetic brain implants regulated all of her emotions until this morning when Brigit ordered the firmware upload.

Now Mikiko could feel…everything.

“Ochan. Otousan.”

Brigit put her arms around Mikiko and let her sob for hours.

I authored this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps image and location and use them to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Fukushima, Japan. I couldn’t believe it. For just over a month, I’ve been writing a science fiction/espionage series about a woman horribly mutilated in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster which began with a devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 and set in this very location.

Mikiko’s latest published adventure is The Most Dangerous Predator but the events here occur after Woman Under Repair but before Woman in the Shadows.

It’s tough to compress everything that’s happening in this scene into 150 words and have it be a complete story. As readers of her series know, soon after the accident, her “designer” Dr. Daniel Hunt had several cybernetic chips implanted in various parts of her brain to regulate her emotions. Being horribly mutilated and then being the object of numerous, highly invasive surgeries, literally being rebuilt from scratch using synthetic materials based on artificial DNA would be emotionally intolerable to just about any human being. The chips regulate those emotions, allowing Mikiko to endure her state and her transformation with relative calm. Her emotions can be programmed to even allow feelings of well-being and happiness under the most horrible circumstances.

Brigit Monroe is Mikiko’s psychologist and in her opinion, sooner or later, Mikiko must learn to regain at least some control of her emotions and especially to be allowed to experience grief over her loss, not just of her original body, but of her former life. Even Mikiko’s parents don’t know she’s alive, and because she is regarded as most secret by both the Japanese and British governments, she can never tell anyone she survived.

So I wrote this. In a longer tale, perhaps a novel, I would expand upon these events quite a bit. For now, this is the best I can do. The photo at the top has a caption that tells the real story of the people depicted. At the bottom, I’m including another photo of a real person memorializing those lost in the tsunami, but one I hope will express how Mikiko eventually embraces her new life.

Oh, “Ochan and Otousan.” are the best I can do using Goggle to have Mikiko say “Mommy and Daddy” in Japanese. If anyone out there can offer a correction, I’d appreciate it.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

flowers-memorial-fukanuma-beach-sendai

On Fukanuma beach, Sendai, a woman throws a bunch of flowers – Photograph: Ken Ishii/Getty Images

The Most Dangerous Predator

chicago

Chicago skyline – stock footage

Mikiko heard and smelled them coming. The contact wasn’t with them but she’d been told they would arrive about now. When the door was kicked open and half a dozen heavily armed agents burst into the room, Sienna jumped halfway off of Fleming just as his hand emerged from the underside of a chair holding a Glock 26. He’d already been rapidly reaching for the weapon before the agents abruptly entered but to Mikiko, he might as well be moving in slow motion.

Sienna was on her hands and knees staring at the door, the agents behind her were still running in, and Timothy Fleming was now swinging his arm up from under the chair in the process of attempting to aim at Mikiko.

She moved her arms slightly and fired. Although his head and chest were now exposed, Mikiko avoided those targets. She could have permanently crippled Fleming by firing into his shoulder joint, but instead shot his right deltoid. At nearly point-blank range, the impact was astonishing, sending searing waves of pain through his arm, neck, and chest. He immediately released the Glock and reflexively shielded his wound with his left hand. She could have crippled him for life or even killed him. Why mercy? For Sienna’s sake or her own?

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Pursuit

thames

Body being pulled out of the Thames River – found at DailyMail.com

The body of a young woman has been found in the River Thames in Reading.

Thames Valley Police said the corpse was found shortly before 10:00 GMT on Tuesday morning, near the Thames Lido.

She has not yet been identified but officers believe she may have been a recently arrived undocumented immigrant.

Police are currently treating the woman's death as suspicious. According to Det Insp Robert Farming, an appeal for witnesses has been made.

Mikiko Jahn sat reading the BBC news story on the borrowed tablet over and over again, and then after a while stopped being conscious of the words. A photo was run with the story. She recognized the girl from Sebastian Wright’s security file.

The dead woman was a fourteen-year-old Syrian refugee who had been trying to escape to Europe when she and a group of twenty-one other young girls between the ages of twelve and seventeen had been captured by human traffickers. She and four others were routed to the UK, London, specifically to Wright to provide a night’s “entertainment” to a few select delegates at the symposium Mikiko had attended last week.

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The Swimmer

woman-underwater

From the story “Swimming naked in Snowdonia?” – Found at walesonline.co.uk

The Present – The Sea of Japan off the Coast of North Korea

Without actually taking on the characteristics of a sea mammal, Mikiko’s body had adapted to become the most efficient human swimming machine possible. The British Naval Submarine Wilson could only travel undetected to within eight kilometers of North Korea’s eastern coast. It was too risky to launch the agent in a raft, so she’d have to swim that distance underwater carrying all of her equipment.

Through the small port in the airlock door, she could see the boat’s Captain Wallace Davies as he gave her a “thumbs up.” As the small chamber filled with seawater, she reciprocated, though for a moment, she irrationally wanted to bow.

She was dressed in a standard civilian wetsuit (no Naval, military, or government markings of any kind) but in addition to the pack she was wearing, she was outfitted with a new carbon fiber fin made in America called the Lunocent. Wearing this device, even an unenhanced human could swim nearly 13 kilometers per hour, twice as fast as Olympic Gold Metal winner Michael Phelps.

Then as the water reached her face, like a sea-lion, Mikiko exhaled and moments later, when the chamber was completely filled, she rotated the upper hatch wheel handle and pushed. She launched herself out of the submarine and quickly put on the Lunocent fin. Mikiko figured she probably had eight to ten minutes before she had to surface for air and she wanted to put as much distance between her and the Wilson as possible before she did.

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Woman in the Shadows

shadow woman

From an HD mobile wallpaper – Shadow Woman

“So, just exactly what are her capabilities, Professor? The information will be necessary for my report.”

Hiro Takeshi was the special liaison between the Project and the Prime Ministers of both Japan and the United Kingdom. He had already received periodic updates as to Mikiko Jahn’s progress for the past three years, but the world’s only synthetic woman was due to go operational within a week and Takeshi was nervous. He wanted everything to go well with the Project and the woman.

Even he didn’t know what the two governments would ask of Mikiko, but he was responsible for making sure she delivered, even though he had no control over anything except the purse strings.

“Well, she’s not a goddamned superhero if that’s what you’re thinking, Mr. Takeshi.”

Takeshi was bilingual and bicultural, but he’d been born and raised in the Kensington district of London and so was a citizen of the Crown. However, the British PM Theresa May had made it abundantly clear that both she and her Japanese counterpart Shinzō Abe had damn well better be pleased with their exceptionally large investment in this young woman and the Project that had produced her, and Takeshi knew his professional neck was in a noose.

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