Universalis 2/Scene 2

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#1: Look Before You Leap :: #2: A Room with a View

The night is young when Joanna Edwards reaches the nearest MI6 base in a London suburb, under a pub. Her bike should be at the place already, picked up alongside with the mission object by the cleaners team. Combing the countryside for the lost object isn't her job: once she secured the area, an encrypted radio signal let the HQ know that the agent succeeded, and a cleaning is due.

A secret lift takes 003 below the pub's basement, down to the facility. Although she never been to this base, Joanna easily finds her way to the mission office. The base is disturbingly quiet: on her way, a single guard salutes her, but no other personnel is seen. Without a knock, 003 enters the office, but... in an almost empty room there is a simple wooden desk. A man behind it, presumably the mission officer, is completely hidden by a newspaper he reads.

As Edwards enters the room and approaches the desk, a smartly dressed young woman steps from her place of concealment behind the office door. Treading quietly behind 003, she steps, once, twice, three times to put herself within arms-length of the agent and then tries to wrap a garrotte around 003's exposed throat!

With an elegant spin, Joanna turns to face the choker, and the assassin herself becomes a victim. A belly-kick stuns her, and a throw send her flying for the wall. At instant, 003 rolls to avoid a knife thrust from the second foe and stands up with her neck already free from the garrotte. The vile instrument lies on the floor, now harmless. But the knife in 003's hand is not so. Before her enemy can react, 003 pierces his chest with the sprung blade, right in the heart. His death is painless.

003 sighs as the male assassin slumps to the floor. She really doesn't enjoy the taking of life; it's a necessity that's forced on her. With a glance to ensure the female isn't going to be trouble in the near future, she steps towards the desk with the intention of dialling the emergency code to indicate the office has been compromised. As she does so, she hears the snick of a gun bolt from behind.

"That's quite far enough, Miss Edwards." says a clear, English-accented voice from the doorway.

She turns to see the man, previously guarding the entry, pointing an FN-P90 at her chest. The man grimaces slightly as he sees his fallen comrades but his attention is not released from his adversary.

"I have no desire to harm you Miss Edwards but it's clear that you would not hesitate to harm me. I would appreciate it if we could keep this civil. Please restrain yourself firmly with these, right hand to left foot and crosswise. Then we may talk and even go our separate ways."

As he speaks, Raoul removes two pair of handcuffs from a belt pouch, slides them down his leg to the floor then gives them a gentle kick to step near 003's feet. 003 notices the cuffs are stamped Cuerpo Nacional de Policнa (National Police Corps).

Joanna's ochre eyes examine the foe agent for ten seconds. Unseen, combat scenes unfold in her mind, but no winning strategy is obvious. "Improvise, then" - thinks 003 to herself and speaks calmly, with a hint of sensuality:

"A gentleman should introduce himself to a lady before putting her in chains."