Never Judge a book by its Cover
This story is based in a world where World War 1 and 2 never happened. Instead there was a continent spanning war between three Empires, the British Empire, and its colonies, ruled by President Victori, the Indian Empires and its colonies, ruled by Myhat Magandi, and the Artic Empire, a race of Polar Bear that has evolved in a similar way to humans. They can use swords and shields but unlike humans they can do fine without them. I may write a story in the future about this War of the Three Empires but at the moment this is all I’ve got.
Dianne swept into the room, her simple black dress swirling about her ankles. A small, black handbag with a silver clasp swung daintily from her arm. Her eyes, hidden behind tinted glasses, flicked from side to side, wary and alert. She continued over to the floor-to-ceiling windows that had replaced one whole wall of the apartment. The view was stunning, looking out over the river Thames. The sun had just begun to set, and the reds, oranges, yellows and purples were dancing across the water, bringing the river to life.
A small cough behind her shattered her tranquil thoughts, catapulting her back to the present. She spun round, a haughty expression on her face, only to have the moment ruined by one of her heels giving way beneath her. She really shouldn’t have worn those ridiculously high heels.
She’s brilliant; she really is, thought Bob. She really gets into her role, absorbs herself in it. She could have been an actress for a living, but he knew better. She was actually an American spy, working for the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA for short. Apparently she was a specialist in murder cases. Preventing murders, solving murders and performing them. That was why she was here now. Whilst hosting a party to celebrate his recent ascension to office, the latest President of the United Kingdom had been assassinated. No one knew how it had been done or how had done it. The whole country was up in arms about it and as he was the Head of Security at the party, he had been put in charge of finding out who had done the dreadful deed.
“You can stop acting now. I know who you are.” Said Bob, his sharp voice breaking the delicate silence.
“Really? You presume to know who I really am, even though you have only just met me?”
“Yes, I do” he replied simply.
“ Go on then, surprise me!” Dianne fired back angrily.
“ You are a CIA agent specialising in the field of murder investigation. You have successfully completed seven assignments across the globe. You have single-handedly brought down an African government and assassinated numerous spies, including Mr. Litvenyenko, who attempted to infiltrate prominent American attractions.”
“You know my credentials well, Mr…?”
“Mallet” he replied.
“Ah, the English contact, I remember.”
And that was it. The rest of the evening involved going through the evidence and arranging meeting points for the next couple of days. Dianne smiled to herself as she sped down the motorway. This man, Bob Mallet, he was clever, very clever. He hid his secrets well, laying false trails, covering his track. But she had had three days to suss him out, and for a person of her intelligence, that was almost too long.
Dianne slipped into deep concentration, multitasking as only women can. She was mulling over the past three days, analysing anything and everything, trying to find another small bit of information that would help her understand how Bob’s mind worked.
She pulled up on the eastern side of the Nordfell Dam that spanned the width of the river Severn. It had been built and paid for by the previous President who had only recently left office. They say that he was concerned with something called global warming and wanted to use more renewable energy. However, everyone soon thought that he was just another crackpot old fool predicting the end of the world, so they voted him out of office at the next election.
But that wasn’t why Dianne was here. She had arranged to meet Bob Mallet here. It would be the last time they met because after forcibly getting as much information form him as possible, she was going to kill him.
She could see him now, leaning on the guardrail, staring off into the distance. He didn’t look round until she was stood right next to him.
“Your intelligence almost rivals my own, Mr Mallet.” Stated Dianne, almost casually, “You weren’t actually trying to find out who murdered the President, were you?”
“No, I wasn’t.” He knew that the board had been set, moves and tactics decided, so there was no point in lying. “Your not a CIA agent either, are you?” countered Bob.
“No, I’m not.”
“So why are you trying to solve this murder?” said Bob, puzzled.
“Have you ever heard of the Nexus? No? I am one of the seven people on the board of executives. We are responsible for forty-seven percent of the illegal activities that are conducted across the globe. Essentially, the Nexus financed the late Presidents political campaign, sabotaged or killed off his rivals to ensure that he won. We would then have blackmailed him into doing whatever we wanted. Obviously he didn’t know anything about this as you managed to kill him off before we could put our plans into action.
“But how? How did you connect me to the murder?” whined Bob.
A faint smiled crossed Dianne’s lips, she was glad for the opportunity to show off her abilities.
“Well, the first was when we examined the dead body. It was apparent straight away that the President hadn’t had the quickest or the nicest of deaths. Then again is there such a thing as a nice death? Anyway, amongst the broken arms, bruised chest and twisted legs, you pointed out that there was a strange indentation on the forehead of the dead President. I was surprised that it was still there as he had been dead for a couple of days.”
“Then there was the visit to the Presidents office, the last place that he had walked into. A housemaid had found him in there whilst doing her weekly dusting of all of the surfaces in the house. There was blood all over the place, a grim testament to a long and violent battle. You and I were waiting outside for the Forensics team to finish when you said, “What a mess! Back in the war you would have just put a bullet through his head and be done with it.””
I was an idiot. I should have figured it out then and there. Even so I was suspicious. But I didn’t want to believe that they man I was working with could be corrupt, not when he was a member of the British Police Force. Anyway, me being the cautious person that I am, I went and looked you up at the National War Records Bureau, and guess what I found. Bob Mallet was down as having received a ST. Georges Cross for Insane Bravery at the age of twenty-three, after having served in the War of the Three Empires. Furthermore, they even had a display that had one of these medals in it so I borrowed their medal and went to examine the body again. That was when I put together the indentation, the medal and you, Mr Mallet.”
“What did you have to blackmail him with?” asked Bob, out of curiosity.
“Oh, just some pictures of him dealing with a few known members of a Chinese Triad, looking for…”
Dianne stopped talking and they both turned to look at the far side of the dam. They could hear a car engine screaming as the driver pushed it to the limit. The car came rocketing out of a large wooded area and onto the dam. The driver slammed on the brakes, skidding to a stop in front of them. The driver’s door opened and a short woman with what looked like a fairly heavy handbag got out.
“Bob Mallet!” she shouted, storming over to them.” Why did you kill my husband?”
“I was just about to ask him that myself.” Commented Dianne.
The woman glanced at Dianne, pulled her handbag back and then swung it forward with all of the might. Bob tried to put his hands up to protect himself, but to no avail. The bag smacked him in the jaw and the momentum went from the bag to Bob, flipping him over the guardrail and down to a watery death at the base of the dam.
“I really wish you hadn’t done that,” complained Dianne “He had information that I needed!”