Nengghi was dancing at a new club in Singapore. It was not
one of the fancy clubs full of beautiful girls. It was closer to the military
bases and more importantly not too far away from Selangor
military and intelligence bases here in the capital. Not too close, but not too
far. She had been trained how to use some of the latest scanning units that
would inform her where her customers had traveled based on the millions of
pollens, dust particles and bits of dirt that remained on their clothing and
shoes, especially shoes, people never seemed to get the shoes right. She had
been issued a new wardrobe of sterile clothing that could be freshly
contaminated by local dirt and contamination from Singapore and areas to the
north, she spent weeks in the area before even applying at any of the clubs.
Gibson didnt want anyone sniffing the possibility that she had ever been
on the island of Bali. Anyway, women sent as spies tended to be beautiful and
manipulative, not disabled and unassuming.
carry several traits that were valuable though; stubborn, a bit angry and much
smarter than people gave her credit for most people that is.
Her goal so
far had been to track anyone showing signs of having been on Kalimantan. It
turned out to be extremely boring and ever so slightly terrifying. Just like
back on Bali, she didnt get many customers, almost none actually. So she
had developed other ways to scan customers clothing without being caught.
Fortunately go-go clubs had no built-in sensors like military installations.
another boring night when a powerfully built man walked in to Nengghis
club. She knew enough about Selangor military units now to see that he was not
a regular combat controller. He was a guy who spent a lot of time outside, in
very interesting. Using the little light she used to guide
customers to their seats, she tipped the back of his heel and collected just
the tiniest shred of information. Wandering back to the other side of the club,
she loaded the data and it came up with an immediate match. This man or
at least his shoes had been on Kalimantan. Her heart beat faster, she
had to leave the room in case she had been observed; she did not want anyone to
catch the blushing of her face. Gibson had taught her to be careful about
things like that.
with short steps back into the main room, wrapped a pony tail holder around her
hands and passed by her new person of interest. He looked like he was from a
Russian family, very little or no Asian blood mixed in there. She looked at him
and smiled ever so slightly, hoping he would make it easy for her. He did.
for Nengghi, the man had been to one other club previously and was in the mood.
He immediately locked on her eyes and leaned forward to catch her attention.
She stopped, backpedaled slightly, cracked a cute little smile and cocked her
Whats your name? he asked.
Nin. she answered.
name is Basil, can I buy you a drink?
never used his real name either.
later Vasiliy and Nengghi were still together, but Vasiliy had only taken a
long weekend, it was time for him to return to work. Nengghi was depressed. She
had not been able to glean any information from Basil. She had also
decided that Basil was not his real name. She began to run the odds in her
head; how long before she would find another person who had been to Kalimantan,
versus the risk of trying to latch on to Basil. The only plan she
could come up with was to try talking about the war and show some Selangor
patriotism. The idea made her shudder. It was far more dangerous than the mere
passing of information. Even getting Basils data and tying him in with
Kalimantan was some sort of achievement and would probably be useful. Her mind
wandered back to Major Gibson, now that was someone who had really put his life
Well. she thought, If he had managed it, Ill do the
same. It was terrifying, but felt good to be focused again.
afternoon, Vasiliy wandered in to the underground offices up on the hill. Keng
was there meeting with some officers on the other side of town, it was about
the Japanese attacks and their implications. He saw Vasiliy walk in and told
the people at the other end that he needed to log off. This wasnt a
slight to Vasiliy, rather a sign of his importance. When Keng and Vasiliy had
not seen each other in several days, there was always an immediate sense of
needing to catch up on things. The forms of the other officers winked off and
left the two men alone in Kengs office.
Keng gave a
brief outline of the weekends events, which were few and predictable,
before asking Vasiliy if he had enjoyed his time off. Vasiliy grinned slightly.
Well he said, It started off like that, but I had a much more
interesting weekend than I thought I would have. Keng looked at him
know me, first night out I hit the bars, took it easy, enjoyed the view,
right? He gave his trademark grin again Vasiliy was a man who
could get any woman he wanted. So this mousy little thing at the second
place I hit, she caught my attention, I bought her a drink, left and there was
just something about her that stayed with me, so I went back. By the way, I
didnt think about it until later but the little light she used to guide
people, it was ever so slightly a different design and beam tone than the ones
used by the other girls. Keng raised his eyebrows he was a
didnt wonder about it at the time, other than think it was interesting,
some people are different you know, and this girl actually had a problem with
her hands, so maybe it had to do with that. Keng furrowed his eyebrows,
Vasily put up his hand for Keng to hold his thought.
continued, We spent the weekend together, she was fun, kind of quiet but
so am I. I admit I didnt think anything more about it. Sunday morning
while I was getting in the shower, I saw that little light in her bag and
picked it up. It was damned heavy. Keng stared at him intently.
But, Vasiliy continued, she was too close for me to do
anything, I had to put it back immediately and grab her bag to move it. At
least that helped to explain my contamination on it. But now I wondered, so I
had the place checked while we were out for breakfast
nothing. I had her
followed back to her apartment, it was convincingly small for someone with her
income, so nothing there. She generates absolutely no refuse, not the
slightest. The two men looked at each other and gave that sort of
ambivalent visual shrug.
agree, Vasiliy continued, the trash thing could go either way,
maybe shes meticulous. So I decided to go one step further. The reason I
took yesterday off was to get her out of her apartment for a good four or five
hours. I had a MAP team slide up and do a grid of the room and we may have come
up with something two things actually. Her clothes almost all have
normal levels of dirt, pollen and other things from around this part of the
world. But two of her small shirts at the bottom of one stack were sterile in
the center, where they were left folded together. Well, they were near sterile.
The teams opinion is that these two shirts were part of a larger stack of
clothing that was originally sterile, and has mostly become contaminated by the
amused, Okay. he quipped, Your new little girlfriend has
sterile clothing; that pretty much does it. Whats the other thing?
Oh. Vasiliy noted idly, She has an MGV module mounted inside
Yes. replied Vasiliy triumphantly. The module is almost
impossible to detect and we didnt dare approach it, but its density,
size, shape and placement just within the surface of the wall its
MGV all the way. So she has some little friends looking out for her, and
Ill bet I know who.
and asked Do you think the probe of her room was detected in any way, and
did you find out anything else.
this was a close range passive sweep, especially after we discovered the place
was defended we missed whole parts of the room staying clear of any
possible triggers. And I didnt have to find out anything else. While we
were at lunch, she started talking about the war, and she broadened the
discussion to peoples obligations and how we all need to do something. A
regular little patriot she is I tell you. continued Vasiliy with a smile.
Shes interested in joining the service for Selangor somehow, and
wants me to help her. What do you think, is she digging into the service in
general this is a military area or do you think she knows
shes playing around with intelligence personnel?
long and hard. While Vasiliy was talking, he brought up Nins government
records. They were reasonably complete, she was an orphan, had been injured as
a child, parents dead, raised on Sumatra. Spoke a mish-mash of regional
languages, nothing to make her stand out. So that meant exactly nothing. If she
were a mole, there were a hundred Selangor junior officials the Australians
could bribe to create Nins record. This did not have the feel
of a Japanese operation; they hardly needed people like Nin. Kengs
thoughts turned to other events, newer events. An idea struck him, a solution
to another problem, and maybe this was his way to solve it.
index finger on the table, he paused in thought and sat back down. Leaning
forward, he fixed the other mans eyes with his own. Vasiliy, I know
you will be disappointed with this, but I want you to trust me, that there is
something bigger at stake, and that what Im going to do is necessary. Do
looked at him cautiously. I think it may be premature to arrest
her. he commented.
no. Keng waved his hand, Im not going to do any such thing,
you dont understand, Im going to send her back to Australia
which is where Im guessing she is from. Vasiliys face was a
study in wonder. What?!
Im going to interview her, tell her that her cover is blown, and send her
little self packing back to Australia. And do you know why?
although shocked, was not stupid and was already picking up on his
superiors logic.To carry a message?
she may be just the back channel I need to help keep a lid on things that could
spiral out of control.
But, Keng continued, you cannot ever tell anyone about this.
Even while we were talking just now, I disabled all the sensors covering this
office. I have that authority, so thats okay, but you have to understand
just how important this is. It is far more important than the discovery of one
mousy little spy.
nodded his headed in martial affirmation.
up at the ceiling, thought for another moment and then gave the order:
Bring her in Vasiliy.
The next day
Nengghi sat nervously in a clean, empty room in a nondescript sector of
government offices. Basil had offered to help her enlist but had
instead brought her here, most likely to be interrogated. She probably had
minutes to live, but she was not as afraid as she thought she might be. And
strangely, she didnt think much about being killed, she already knew what
pain was about although she wasnt looking forward to it. She just did not
want to let down Major Gibson.
seemed like hours, a Selangor man walked in to the room, his appearance was a
typical Singaporean blend of Chinese and Russian. He sat down in front of her.
Nin. he opened. My name is Mikhail. That by the way, is my real
name. Do you know what I do? he asked. Nengghi shook her head.
Actually, I think you do. Or I should say, you have a better idea of what
I do than you are willing to admit. He sat looking at her. He looked and
looked, but she said nothing.
Well. he continued, Whatever your name is, I have a
proposition for you. Its a very simple one, and it will not hurt anybody,
does that sound good so far?
with a quiet, confused expression. The base sensors however, indicated her mind
was working furiously to compile everything he said, and that she understood
exactly what he meant. Good, he seemed to be talking to the right person. He
hated wasting his time, they were running out of time.
Alright Nin. he continued again, here is what I would like
you to do. Mikhail held up a small glass vial. Inside, astonishingly, was
a medium sized blueberry. Unscrewing the cap and rolling the fruit into his
hand, he smiled, almost to himself, and then held it up, showing her it was
safe to handle. He then leaned forward and held it out to her. Here, take
it, I promise you it is only a regular piece of fruit and nothing else.
he said. She reached out and cautiously removed the blueberry from his
fingertips. To Kengs relief she did not try to eat it. Some people might
have thought that was his intent, not this one though. He set the glass vial
out for her to use if she wished, she did not take it.
would like you to do with this, is to go back where you came from and I
think you know what I mean by that and give it to someone, anyone who
might be interested. Do you understand what Im asking?
cautiously nodded her head, trying to act timid and confused but suspecting
this man knew more. The only thing she could do was obey, get out of Singapore
and report back to Major Gibson what had happened, including the blueberry
whatever that meant.
satisfied. Base sensors indicated she knew exactly what to do; there was no
confusion in her mind. Yes, he was talking to the right person.
15. Third Party Invasive