He smiled at the surveillance camera.
The door slid open with an angry hiss.
He turned and winked back over his shoulder at the secretary, who immediately looked away with a flustered blush. Then Captain Kirk stepped into the office of the chief of the Federal Secret Police.
The door snarled closed behind him.
Captain Kirk’s medium height and slim build gave no indication that he was one of the secret police’s most efficient and deadliest agents. As he approached the huge desk at the far end of the room, the corners of his mouth turned up and his light blue eyes glinted, giving just a hint of the intensity of emotions that lay coiled inside him like a terrestrial rattlesnake.
The silence as he crossed the room was more than casual. Kirk sat down in the hard, uncomfortable chair facing the desk, meeting the glare of the man opposite with a smile. The silence went on.
On the far side of the desk Chief Boulder hunched. His nose was like a craggy cliff long exposed to the weather. Sharp, pitted, it jutted out from between his small, black eyes and hooked down toward his thin, bloodless lips.
“Where the bloody hell have you been?” Boulder demanded, breaking the drawn silence.
“Sorry. Cruiser I was on had some mechanical problems.”
Boulder snorted in disgust.
“You should have been back ten days ago, Captain. You were probably screwing around with one of your damn women. I got a good mind to have you demerited.”
Kirk started to reply, but stopped himself.
“What did the board say about my assignment?” he asked after one minute.
“You’d better get it through your head that I don’t give a piss what the damn board thinks. You answer to me and if I don’t like the way you work, I’ll reduce you in rank, and there ain’t nothing your damn little board of supervisors can do about it.”
“I was told they were quite pleased.”
“But I wasn’t pleased. You’ve been getting too fancy. I sent you out on a straightforward assignment and instead you go sneaking around in some bassackwards way...”
“Well, it worked! All I did was...”
“I know what you did, dammit, I read your report! Consider yourself under orders not to do it again. You do only what you’re told to do. Cut all this fancy business out.”
“I thought that the agent was supposed to use his own judgment in the method of completing the mission.”
“But you’re not supposed to change the damn assignment!”
“I don’t! I just interpret the intention....”
“Don’t interpret nothing. Just follow your orders. Nothing more, nothing less. I’ve had it with you. Step out of line once again and I swear I’ll have you shoveling shit for the rest of your career. And if you think that just because you happen to be my nephew I won’t...”
“I beg your pardon, Captain?!”
Kirk stifled his reply. They had this same argument every time. He was well aware that his uncle would leap at any opportunity to expel him from the force. That was one of the things that continually prodded Kirk into being one of the best agents in the secret police. The chief complained about his method only because there was nothing else he could find to fault Kirk for. Kirk’s record was perfect. He had never been caught and never failed to complete his mission successfully.
Kirk glanced around the office as Chief Boulder angrily shuffled through some folders.
The office hadn’t changed since the very first time he’d been in it, seven years earlier. The room was conspicuous for its bare, nearly frugal appearance. There was no furniture other than the chief’s desk and the chair where Kirk was sitting. The walls were metallic white, unadorned by any kind of frills. To the untrained viewer there was nothing to indicate that this office belonged to one of the most powerful men in the whole galaxy.
But Kirk was far from untrained and he was aware that the plain white walls were impervious to nearly every kind of weapon, from projectiles and explosives to chemicals and radiation. Within the walls was an electrostatic field that made the office immune to outside surveillance. Kirk was also aware of the arsenal of control buttons imbedded unobtrusively on the desk top. What those buttons did he could only guess, but he knew that if he were to make any violent move toward Boulder, the chief could kill him with the touch of a button.
“This next assignment should be clear enough, even for you,” the chief said, breaking into Kirk’s thoughts.
“Assignment?! I just got back! What about my furlough?”
“You spent your furlough in the ten extra days it took you getting back, Captain.”
Kirk groaned, but took the folder that the chief held out to him.
“It’s on a planet called Qurra, out in the W-Three sector. There's a group of artists practicing illegally. The leader, a signer named Uhura, used to have a license, but it was revoked for breaking her non-political clause. She's attracted a group of kids around her and is causing quite a stir."
Kirk was glancing through the folder as he listened to the chief.
"That's a matter for the local authorities. Haven't they been notified?"
"Yes. But the governor has been rather uncooperative."
"So how come you don't change his mind for him?"
"That's exactly what we're doing, fool!"
"How? By grabbing this Uhura and throwing her in jail?"
"By eliminating her."
Kirk glanced up sharply.
"You want to kill her just to prove a point to some governor? Seems rather extreme to me."
"You weren't asked for your opinion, Captain. These things have been decided by people who have a great deal more knowledge than you do. You just worry about completing your mission as assigned. In fact, you're to eliminate two people. There's a young man who leads the group."
A grimace passed over Kirk's face. He perceived from the chief's tone that this mission had more to do with politics than with criminal activity. Kirk's job was supposed to be to enforce Federal law, not further someone's political career.
"You've got to be kidding," Kirk burst out. "Do you really mean to send me a quarter of the way around the galaxy to kill two innocent people just to prove to some shit-for-brains governor that he'd better mind his manners?"
"Calm down, Kirk. First off, they're not innocent; they're practicing art without a license."
"That's not a capital crime!"
"Secondly, the entire situation has political nuances that you know noting about."
"Then just go after the governor if he's the one that's causing the problem!"
"I'm not used to justifying my orders, Captain! And if you want to stay a captain, you damn well better just get your ass out of here and do what you're told! And you'd better not get fancy on this one, or I promise you I'll bust you down to rank faster than you can...."
The door rasped shut behind Kirk, cutting off the sound of the chief's tantrum. With the folder under his arm, Kirk winked at the surprised secretary, who once again blushed at the captain's attention.
"What's wrong, Captain?" she managed to ask.
"Nothing I can't handle. The old man's just got a bad case of indigestion." Kirk walked quickly toward the exit. "Guess he's been eating too much Aldebaran shellmouth."
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, pureet1948Write a Review