The Search for Armageddon

 

camera

© A Mixed Bag 2013

“It’s just a camera. Where’s the special device you told me about?”

“It’s quite special Mikiko, if you’ll allow me to explain.”

Everyone called Desmond Llewelyn an “old curmudgeon,” but the Japanese agent found him endearing, sort of how she remembered Sofu. For the past year, he’d been outfitting her for missions assigned by their two governments.

“It’s a sophisticated sensor that detects specific rad levels from weapons grade uranium.”

“Then I’m going into North Korea…”

“Not precisely. During World War II, your government conducted secret operations to develop the atomic bomb. After VE Day, a U-boat transported Nazi uranium to a base in occupied North Korea. A working prototype was developed but the war ended before they could use it.”

“So you want me…”

“Intelligence says that Kim Jong-un is bluffing and has no nuclear weapons, but they are actively searching for the prototype. You have to find it first.”

Seven years ago, Mikiko Jahn had been horribly mutilated in a nuclear power plant disaster. Her “reconstruction” had been extensive and left her with a body more than human, but the frightened little girl inside didn’t know if she had the courage to face her personal atomic holocaust again.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of November 5th 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

I leveraged two series I’ve been working on. The first is the saga of MI6 Agent Ian Dennis and his discovery that North Korea’s nuclear weapons development is a fake. The second involves Mikiko Jahn, a young Japanese technician who was horribly disabled and mutilated in a nuclear plant accident and who has been reconstructed using advanced synthetic materials and techniques to become more than human and an agent working covertly for the Japanese and British governments.

I did find out that the Japanese were working on the atomic bomb during the war, they did have a secret base in North Korea, and after Nazi Germany fell, a U-boat carrying the remaining Nazi uranium was sent to the Japanese. In real life, the U-boat was intercepted, and the confiscated uranium was used to make the first four American nuclear weapons. I thought I’d tweak history a bit.

Oh, “Desmond Llewelyn” is the name of the late actor who played “Q” in the first twenty or so James Bond, 007 films. I have a sort of affection for the character, so I thought I’d pay homage to the man behind “Q”. Also, “Sofu” in Japanese means “grandfather.”

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

To read other stories about Mikiko, visit:

  1. The Reconstructed Woman
  2. Burn Victim
  3. Woman Under Repair

The next chapter is The Swimmer.

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The Mauritius Robbery Affair: Gardens of Peace

mi6

Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) building – London – Found at manchesterhistory.net

Chapter Nine: Gardens of Peace

December – MI6, London

“Glad to see you up and about, Dennis. I hear it was a near one this time.”

Ian was sitting in the office of Benjamin Cross, Director of the British Secret Intelligence Service. Although Cross’s name and background were a matter of public record, at the agency he was always referred to only as “The Director” or “Sir.”

“Yes, so I was told. Thank you for your concern, Director. Doctors said that if either shell had hit just a few centimeters one way or the other, I would have been killed instantly.”

The Director chalked up Ian’s stoicism to the attitude of a career agent, not knowing that during his recovery, the man had worked out the events of the night of Hall’s death in great detail.

“I’m sure you realize I didn’t call you in just to inquire about your health.”

“No, of course not, Sir.”

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The Religious Defector

silhouette-interview

Found at YouTube

“We appreciate you allowing us to interview you, Mr. Kwon.”

“Not at all, Ms. Singer. It is a pleasure to be here, to be able to tell my story.”

The middle-aged gentleman was dressed casually in a button down checkered shirt and jeans. He looked uncomfortable in the television studio but the reporter, Judith Singer, tried to put him at ease.

“Just tell us your experiences in your own words.” Her tone was soft, gentle really. She leaned forward slightly to indicate interest but not enough to block the television camera. Off to one side, she could see the wall mounted monitor that displayed what the audience was seeing. The dialogue was translated and projected as subtitles because he didn’t speak the same language as most of the audience.

“My country is officially atheist. Except for the show church in the nation’s capital that tourists visit, our religion is illegal, well, all religion actually, but especially any public Christian worship.

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The Mauritius Robbery Affair: Another Shot

Port Louis

Port Louis, Mauritius – Found at Mauritius Life

Chapter Eight: Another Shot

“He gave up his two mates so we should have this case tied up fairly soon, Ian.”

Police Lieutenant Winston Permalloo on the island of Mauritius where this whole mess began had finally gotten a break. A DNA sample of one of the four robbers who had been in Krista Bernham’s flat the night she was assassinated was matched up with a petty thief named Cassam Denmamode who was subsequently arrested in the aftermath of yet another heist. His attorney suggested he might be better off turning over his two accomplices rather facing a murder rap alone.

“What did he say about the fourth man, Winston?” Ian didn’t need to speak louder just because it was an international call, but decades of habit were difficult to break.

“Their boss, though Denmamode doesn’t know much about him. He planned all their jobs, emailed them their instructions for the robberies, and in addition to what they got for each haul, wired additional funds for them into an offshore account. The three we have here are small timers, but whoever put them up to this was a stone cold professional.”

“Qian.”

“Quite, Ian. It seems clear that the robberies were just a front for the real objective, the assassination of Ms. Bernham. Once that had been accomplished, the fourth man disappeared again and he stopped sending them any further crime plans.”

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The Mauritius Robbery Affair: God Rolled the Dice

north korean train depot

Chapter Seven: God Rolled the Dice

Four Months ago – Pyongyang, North Korea

Jun Ho was only six-years old and this was his first train ride. Daddy couldn’t come, but Mommy said they were going all the way to Russia.

Soo Mi took her only child by his hand as the train pulled into Pyongyang station. It would take eight days to reach Moscow and anything could go wrong in that time. She showed the forged identity papers to the conductor. It was unlikely her husband would suspect they’d attempt to escape this way.

Her son was so excited as they took their seats. He giggled when the train started moving. They would never see North Korea again. Her long assignment as a sleeper agent was over. She was taking her precious boy and North Korea’s astonishing nuclear secrets back to the west with her.

Her husband, a Major in the Korean People’s Army, would search for them in vain, or so she prayed. If they were caught before reaching safety, given what she knew, both Soo Mi and her little boy would be killed immediately. The North Korean military couldn’t risk the information getting out in the open. That’s why it was so important for Jun Ho and her to reach home.

Today – London

In 1963, a John le Carré novel was published called The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and later made into a movie starring Richard Burton. The novel had not been on Krista Bernham’s book shelf and the only reason Ian Dennis thought of it was the messages that flashed on his computer screen. He had sent out a coded query that anything having to with North Korea, nuclear weapons, high level assassinations, Kim Jong-um, and related topics trigger an alert that would be routed to him. Since this was, for the most part, internal information, he wasn’t fed details, but he was given a contact so he could further inquire.

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The Mauritius Robbery Affair: Messenger

nicosia1

© Dickelbers/Wikimedia Commons

Chapter Six: Messenger

Ian Dennis flew into Larnaca International Airport on Cyprus, but he had another airport in mind.

In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and the Nicosia International Airport, once the island’s principal air hub, was the site of extremely violent encounters between Turkish and Cypriot forces and was heavily bombed. Today, it is deserted, officially closed and, located within the UN controlled buffer zone, has been declared a Protected Area used as the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping force.

Fortunately, Ian has a few connections at the UN and in Cyprus security so he arranged for a private visit. He had a meeting this morning with her.

She stepped out from behind a security wall at what was once the Health Control centre.

“I see you continue to abide by the rules of British punctuality, Ian.”

“And you remain mysterious as ever.” He indicated a direction by waving his right arm and she joined him on an uncharacteristically casual stroll through the ruins.

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The Hiroshima Legacy: From Tales of the Yūrei

Hiroshima

A mushroom cloud billows into the sky about one hour after an atomic bomb was detonated above Hiroshima, Japan – Atomic Heritage Foundation

“Five minutes out from target, Colonel. Altitude three two three three three feet. Local time zero eight one zero.”

“Acknowledged, Captain. Status of the package, Captain Parsons?”

“Parsons here, Colonel. Package armed in flight. Lt. Jeppson took the final safeties off 25 minutes ago. We’re set down here.”

“Acknowledged, Captain. We are a go for final approach and delivery. Descending to three one zero six zero feet.”

Colonel Paul W. Tibbets Jr. looked out the cockpit window, first to the left and then to his right. The Enola Gay was accompanied by two other B-29s, The Great Artiste was carrying instrumentation for measuring the heat and radiation of the blast, and no-name ship contained the latest photographic equipment to record what has about to happen.

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Jun Ho’s First Train Ride

north korean train depot

Jun Ho was only six-years old and this was his first train ride. Daddy couldn’t come, but Mommy said they were going all the way to Russia.

Soo Mi took her only child by his hand as the train pulled into Pyongyang station. It would take eight days to reach Moscow and anything could go wrong in that time. She showed the forged identity papers to the conductor. It was unlikely her husband would suspect they’d attempt to escape this way.

Her son was so excited as they sat in their seats. He giggled as the train started moving. They would never see North Korea again. Her long assignment as a sleeper agent was over. She was taking her precious boy and North Korea’s nuclear secrets to the west with her.

Her husband, a Major in the Korean People’s Army, would search for them in vain.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge, with images provided by Google maps. Today, the pegman takes us to North Korea. The challenge is to use a single image as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is exactly 146.

I took a peek at the image used by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields on her blog post response to the prompt (no, I haven’t read her story yet), and although I could have used another photo, I was captivated by the idea of traveling by rail in North Korea. I found out that there is a train that travels back and forth between Pyongyang and Moscow by way of Irkutsk.

From there, I used North Korea’s nuclear threat to the world as a hook and my wee tale practically wrote itself.

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