In these boots, she could do anything. Titanium steel rods formed the spine of the six inch heels. If she pushed down and then twisted in a specific sequence, a knife blade would come out of the front of the right boot. There were other extras. Too numerous to list. These were her favorite pair of boots. Patent black in contrast to the red of her long (of necessity) dress.
Her partner, Paulo buzzed her the signal. Game on.
She got up from her horror of an orange shag chair by the wall of silver wallpaper. Two anonymously handsome men stumbled over to her in their anonymous suits. One skidded to his knees across the yellow floor. He said, “Please, please, please dance with me?” The other man blinked at her with clasped hands.
She walked between the men and said, “Not right now. I need to talk to our host.” They weren’t who she came for. The dancers moved out of her way as she walked across the dance floor. She rounded the modernist replica of the planet cracked open.
The host of this little party sat on a small clear plastic throne at the other end of the ballroom. Not pretentious at all. Dr. Singh Noh. Short. Slightly plump. White Nehru jacket. Dark circles under his eyes.
He tapped furiously on a data pad. Not at all in time to the pulsing music.
She leaned against an arm of his throne. He glanced up and scowled. “I don’t know you. Why are you here if I don’t I know you? Who are you?” He did something with his data pad. “You aren’t on my list.”
“I’m Lola Carhena.” She smiled. Leaned forward which gave him a clear cleavage view. “I came with the Carpathian.”
He scowled. “The Carpathian died three weeks ago when his car evaporated into subatomic particles.” He put his data pad in his coat pocket. “Try again.”
She shrugged. “That explains why he was so quiet on the way here.” She pulled Dr. Noh to his feet and slid her hands down his back. “Dance with me.” The tango that began its sultry play seemed, and in fact was, timed to her approach.
He scowled, but his pupils were slightly dilated. His face was at chest height. The boots helped achieve that. He muttered, “It’s a black and white ball. You shouldn‘t be wearing red.”
She said, “I’ve made up my mind to have no regrets.” She stepped back from him. Pulled him in her wake. “You should too.” He followed. Settled his hand on the small of her back. They turned on the steps. Dipped on their knees. A simple lunge. A warmup.
Then they got serious. Steps circling around each other. Push and pull. She pushed and he was no exception to the rule. She hooked her leg around him and he spun her around. Dr. Noh was short, but not all that bulk was fat. Muscles. The rest of the dancers pulled away as they stalked their steps. She skimmed her hands inside his jacket. As she pulled him under her arm, she back led him out of his coat, which she draped like a cape over her arm and reflected it was too bad this wasn’t a Paso Dobles.
At the end of the dance, she dipped him. Given their height difference, it was easy. He looked up at her with narrowed eyes. She couldn’t help it. She bent low, wrapped around him and whispered into his ear. “Resistance is futile.” Pulled back to see the affect on his wide brown eyes. His hands flailed a bit on her shoulders. She let him stand up.
He said, “I, I.” He swallowed. “Who are you?” Softer now. A real question.
His phone buzzed at his hip. He muttered a non-apology and looked at it. Listened for a moment. Yelled into the phone, “No, no, no, no. What are you all morons. Did you get your degree from the bathroom. Is it on toilet paper. No. Don’t touch anything. Nothing. Stand there and try not to breathe. If you asphyxiate it will save me the trouble of feeding you to the attack Chihuahuas. I’ll be right over.” He glared at the phone. Snarled generally at the world. He waved his hand at her. “Don’t, go anywhere.”
She winked and took a drink from a traveling tray.
His phone buzzed again. He muttered, “Morons. My minions are morons. I can‘t have one simple party and…gah.” He walked away. It was a good thing his shoes didn’t have titanium in them. He’d have pile driven through the ugly orange floor.
She tapped her ear. Her handler, Paulo said, “You are good to go. He’ll be busy in the left agrarium for at least ten minutes.”
She ditched her drink in a plastic sculpture. It looked good there. She went out onto the balcony and looked at the view. The Andes mountains did their best impression of looming all around the rounded glass and steel building perched on its craggy peak. She grinned at the peaks and stripped out of her dress. Underneath, she wore a black body suit. Her earpiece buzzed, “You could have changed inside.”
“Nag. Nag. Nag”. Lola draped Dr. Noh’s coat over the railing. She dropped the data pad into her purse, which expanded into a nylon pack. Very stylish. She climbed onto the railing and aimed her grappling hook. “Anyway, this outfit goes with the black and white theme of the ball.” She always hit what she aimed for. The line reeled her up the curved side of the building, which was quite considerate of Dr. Noh. Much easier to climb this way. Classic design too.
Once she reached the roof, she got a time check. Four minutes down.
She went to the small structure that housed the elevator engine. She swiped her lipstick across the lock and blew on a little compact powder. Waited as acid from the combination ate the lock. She hit the remains of the lock out the back with the heel of her left boot and opened the door. Once inside, she attached the grappling hook to the metal moorings at the top of the elevator shaft. She clipped the other end of the tackle to the support harness that was a part of her bra.
She jumped into the abyss. The tackle squealed above her. She didn’t try to slow it. Paulo counted down in her ear.
She reached the elevator ten floors down. She dropped down inside and pulled Dr. Noh’s data pad from her bag and tapped a few keys. Precious seconds counted down.
Paulo said, “You have four minutes left.”
She sing songed, “You aren’t helping.” The elevator lurched down to the thirtieth floor.
There was no one in the corridor outside the elevator.
She used the data pad to get her into Dr. Noh’s lab. Once inside she whistled. “Dr. Noh, you have been a very busy mad scientist haven’t you.”
There were dozens of items of interest, but she was here for one thing. Dr. Noh's Heart and Soul Project. She put the plans in her pack and smashed the prototype glass heart. He wouldn’t be dominating the world with this project at least.
She didn’t leave a note. Although, she did etch a few, “X”s on the steel frame of Dr. Noh’s desk with her lipstick.
Paulo said, “Times up. They know you’re there. Get out. Go now.” She glanced at the door. She heard people run by the door.
Slow way it was. She climbed up the ventilation shaft that connected to the main air handling unit. Absolute blast.
Paulo fed her unhelpful information about the alerts that were going up all over the facility. At least it gave her something to think about other than air shaft and bad jokes about being shafted. Paulo never got those kinds of jokes. She didn’t bother telling them anymore.
When she reached the roof, the siren’s wail got louder. A lot louder. Men in black uniforms swarmed around inside the glass levels of the building below like ants. She mocked a salute and jumped off the building. The tackle whined as she slid down the curving glass wall.
She passed Dr. Noh on her way down. He held his Nehru jacket. A blur of white on the other side of the glass. There and gone.
At the base of the building, her hang glider was where she’d left it under a drift of snow. Men shouted somewhere above her. The pop, pop, pop sound of gun fire. She brushed it off and launched into the air and away into the night.
The Andes really were beautiful this time of year. Cloudy. Foggy. Damp. Beautiful. Paulo gave her updates as she flew.
The next day, she’d turned in the data to her Division Chief in Brasilia and all that was left was paperwork. So very much paperwork.
Three weeks later, she received an envelope in Finding Nemo stationary at her office. Inside was a gilt invitation for a ball. At the bottom someone had written, “I have an under water lab too. Dr. S.N., PhD, PhD, PhD, PhD”
Lola tapped the invitation against her lips and smiled. She thought about what to wear.