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The Bulgarian ambassador is found eviscerated in his London quarters, and Major Sonja Slade of the Prussian Army searches for his killer while trying to forget her own ties to the dead man.

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Sunday
Sep162012

Week 7

Slade, The Officer

Recording commences. 15:19:22

"Do you think she was telling the truth?"

"She's a good officer."

"That's not what I asked."

"Constanta's a long way from home."

"They're saying it's a disputed city."

"Makes that sort of thing easier. She's a good officer, she has a good track record. She's seen enough now not to be disturbed by this sort of thing. She was cool as frost in there."

"And she's seen enough of this, now, that she might as well see the rest, is that what you're saying?"

"It's not a stupid thought, that's all I'm saying."

"Will she buy that it was enemy action?"

"We'll doctor a couple of files."

"I suppose... well, she's got the expertise."

"There's no such thing as an impervious agent, you know. Someone's always working on them, somehow. At least we know where Slade's loyalties lie."

"And you're right, if we send one of the others, we'll have to brief them in."

"So it's settled. I'll deal with the files myself. Or we could even, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility to tell her the truth, is it?"

" You're hilarious."

"Fair enough. I suppose she's not quite our type."

"Certainly not. And of course you understand you understand what happens if she works it out?"

"Ah well. That's the other good thing about Slade. Expendable."

Recording ends. 15:23:58
 

CLASSIFIED FILE

EYES ONLY

DATED 13 OCTOBER 19--

REPORT OF INCURSION BY ENEMY AGENT INTO HOME OF MS ANGELICA BRAVA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF SECKINGTON

Ms Brava, a senior financial analyst with an important international bank under several protectorates, was found dead at her home on 12 October. The circumstances of the death were sufficient to arouse suspicion. Details are appended on separate sheet 2W.

Ms Brava had been under surveillance for some time. Her business frequently took her overseas for prolonged periods of time, and she was known to have friends in other protectorates. There was a suspicion that she was passing information to at least two powers: the REDACTED and REDACTED.

After her death, the usual procedures were followed to ascertain the source of the attack.

These procedures established that the power REDACTED, aided by certain smaller allies, had sent the attacker after her. It was a class 3 REDACTED, possibly augmented. Details are appended on separate sheet 4R. We believe that only Prussia would have the capacity to create such an aggressor, even if it were used by another client state. The possibility remains open that another protectorate stole the aggressor for its own ends.

 

SHEET 4R

CONCLUSIONS

Due to Ms Brava’s exsanguination and the extensive damage to the face and upper body, we conclude that her attacker was a non-human. The information passed to us by REDACTED in the Prussian Empire suggests that they have been creating Coleoptera hybrids since 19-- at the latest. Analysis of the tearing to the flesh and soft tissue suggests Coleoptera mouthparts, possibly genus Carabus. This genus would be consistent with a Prussian protectorate, and with what we know of the workings of their Masters. The spattering of the blood around the room we can assume to be either an aggressive tactic, designed to provoke fear, or an instinctive territorial stance. We have suggested several safety measures which could be taken in case a further attack is anticipated on sheet 7S, appended.

 

Report from The London Morning Herald, 27 August

The death of the Bulgarian Ambassador Toma Bojilov was confirmed today by the Ministry of Information. Ambassador Bojilov, who had been playing a key role in the Franco-Prussian negotiations at the Central Debating Chamber, fell suddenly ill on Saturday evening. He was rushed to the London Fields hospital where attempts to treat his condition - thought to be a viral infection of the lungs - failed and he passed away on Saturday night.

Commander S Slade, whose unit is responsible for security at the Franco-Prussian conference, told the London Morning Herald that foul play is not suspected. "Ambassador Bojilov had probably been ill for some time," she said, "the city of Constanta was hit by plague two years ago, as you know, and many of its citizens are still showing occasional signs of ill-health, sometimes leading to sudden death." Health officials are eager to inform the public that if, as they suspect, certain aftereffects of plague worsened Ambassador Bojilov's condition, there is no chance that he could still be infectious. He was subject to the usual rigorous blood scans before arriving in England.

 

Fragment from observation of subject 4292-h

She arrives home later than expected. Two hours later than her usual time.

She kisses him on the forehead. He looks worried, but says nothing.

She says "smells good, what is it?"

"Stew," he says, "it's still warm. In the oven."

She removes her coat, hat and boots. She takes a bowl of stew and sits on the sofa opposite his chair eating it hungrily.

"It's good," she says. "Did you use that... what is that taste?"

"Tarragon," he says, "aniseed."

"It's good," she says again. She finishes the bowl.

She chews her lip. He is reading a motoring magazine and does not look up.

"They're sending me off," she says, "to follow it up. The... the Bulgarian thing."

"Yes?" he says. He still does not look up.

"There are some loose ends," she says. She leans forward. "You know it was enemy action, don't you? Not that shit they print in the newspapers, 'recurrence of plague'. I saw it. I've seen the files. It was enemy action. They think it came from Midway." He puts down his magazine.

"I thought you weren't supposed to talk about that."

She sits back.

"I just want you to know," she says. "It's important. It's not like I asked to go."

Fragment ends

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