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The Sky is the Limit

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There was no flash drive.

Dressed in a white shirt, Bermuda shorts, and wearing a straw sun hat, Agent 47 sat back on his haunches, a frown furrowing his brow. An inch over six-feet tall when standing, with broad shoulders, blue eyes, and a bar code tattooed on the back of his bald scalp, the ICA agent had been sent to Kueauea, a private resort-owned island in French Polynesia, to retrieve a flash drive listing old KGB assets. A relatively easy mission, with no eliminations scheduled. The seller, Ivan Markoff, had arrived the night previously. The buyer was unknown.

Agent 47 had arrived on the island two days prior to prepare for his mission. Accessible only by yacht, Kueauea was a vacation destination for the rich and powerful. Luxury villas dotted the landscape, tucked between palm trees, hibiscus and gardenia bushes. Activities such as parasailing, water-skiing, deep sea fishing, swimming, and sunbathing were on offer.   A five-star chef worked at the restaurant, and live music played daily at the tiki bar on the white sand beach.   Satellite internet provided a constant connection to the outside world.

Posing as a high tech investor, Agent 47 played the role of vacationer, participating in pier fishing and swimming, listening to the nightly band, and learning the ins and outs of the island. The employees lived four to a room in a row of bunkhouses hidden in the interior of the island. A small medical clinic and security station nestled behind the restaurant. Garbage was trucked to the far side of the island, where it was stored in dumpers on a concrete service pier. A scow exchanged the full dumpsters for empty ones regularly.

When Markoff arrived via the island's luxury shuttle yacht, Agent 47 went to work, tailing the man and his young mistress. Markoff, a pear-shaped, droopy-eyed, ex-State Security bureaucrat, had stayed in his villa last night, had eaten breakfast in the restaurant that morning, and then had joined his mistress on the beach. Agent 47 had taken the opportunity to search the man's villa for the drive, only to turn up empty-handed. Undeterred, Agent 47 had deduced the drive was on Markoff, and had set a trap for him.

Markoff sat slumped on the toilet in his villa, leaning against the W.C. wall with his trousers around his ankles, sound asleep. The fast-acting sedative added to Markoff's vodka had enabled Agent 47 to search Markoff's person for the drive. Only, it wasn't on Markoff. Which meant either the mistress had it, or Markoff had already made the exchange.

Rising to his full height, Agent 47 left Markoff on the toilet, closing the W.C. door behind him.   His mind ran over several potential scenarios, as he retrieved the empty vodka glass, an undrunk, doctored Bloody Mary glass - which had been meant for the mistress, but she had remained on the beach - and the trap note he'd written on the resort's stationery.   Fingering the note, a new option presented itself in his mind. He took a fresh piece of stationery from the desk tucked into the corner of the living room before departing the villa.

Agent 47 deposited the glasses on the maid's cart, the trap note and the hat on his head in the trash, and strode down the path. He bypassed the restaurant and took the employee walkway to the bunkhouses. It took no time to enter one of the rooms using his electronic microcontroller on the key card reader after a perfunctory knock to ensure no one was home. Squashed in front of two sets of bunk beds was a tiny sitting area consisting of a love seat, a television, and two tray tables. A wardrobe cabinet stood between the beds. There appeared to be no bathroom attached to the room.

The wardrobe gifted Agent 47 with a staff shirt, which he drew on after removing his own white one.   The dark green t-shirt with a hibiscus flower logo on the chest stretched dangerously at the seams. As long as he didn't swing his arms around too much, it should disguise him well enough.

Another quick search found him a pen, and he jotted 1am, Tiki bar on the resort stationery he'd taken from Markoff's villa. Folding the note once, he left the employees' quarters and returned to the main portion of the resort.   He dropped his own shirt in a trash can along the path.

Markoff's mistress, a well-endowed brunette wearing black string for a bathing suit, baked under the tropical sun on one of the lounge chairs spanning the beach. A pleasant breeze came in off the ocean.   Vacationers stood in the surf or floated on boogie-boards on the waves. A speed boat zipped past the long pier extending into the ocean, where fishermen cast their lines. Two yachts were docked at the pier.

Agent 47 walked up to the mistress, his large form casting a dark shadow across her face. She frowned and opened her eyes, as he said, "Excuse me."

She took one glance at his borrowed employee t-shirt and scowl marred her brow. "What do you want?"

"Mr. Markoff directed me to deliver this note to the person he met with earlier, but he neglected to give me a name or description," Agent 47 lied.   "I know you are vacationing with him, so I thought perhaps you might point out this person to me..."

Agent 47's ploy was a simple one. If the mistress didn't know what he was talking about, it was highly likely she had the flash drive in the bag next to her chair. (It was very easy to see it wasn't on her person.) However, if she did, Agent 47 would know Markoff had met with the buyer between the time Agent 47 went to search the villa and Markoff appearing there.

The scowl on the mistress's tanned face turned to a look of fury, and she swung her legs over the side of the lounge and stood up. She snatched the note from Agent 47's hand, unfolded, and read it. "I'll kill her!"

Agent 47 was surprised by the use of pronoun, but didn't let it show. The mistress shoved past him and stomped across the beach toward the pier. Agent 47 took the opportunity to pick up her bag, acting the concerned employee. He followed her at a distance, performing a swift search of the bag's contents without it being obvious. He didn't find the flash drive, but he hadn't thought he would.

The mistress reached the pier and stormed over to the yacht docked beyond the one belonging to the resort, offloading new vacationers and on-loading departing ones. Agent 47 could see her shouting, arms waving in anger.   Two bulky men dressed in black - obviously bodyguards - walked down the gangplank from the yacht. A woman with a short cap of white-blonde hair, dressed in a pale blue, linen pantsuit, appeared on an upper deck, glanced over the rail, then coolly dismissed the mistress's tirade and disappeared back inside the yacht.

The bodyguards blocked the end of the gangplank, hands crossed in front of their groins, but otherwise did nothing. The mistress tried several times to get past them, screaming the entire time, but eventually gave up. She stomped back down the pier, where she met Agent 47, who held her bag out to her like a dutiful worker. She yanked it from his grip, and continued fuming across the beach toward the villas.   Agent 47 felt briefly sorry for Markoff.

Turning his attention to the yacht, Agent 47 casually strolled down the pier as the bodyguards made their way back up the gangplank. The three-tired luxury yacht gleamed under the bright sunshine.   Tinted windows prevented him from seeing any of the interior. He continued past the yacht, heading toward the fishermen at the end of the pier, as he pulled his cell phone from his pocket. Connecting through the satellite internet, he placed a call to his handler.

"Diana, get me everything you have on a yacht called The Sky Is The Limit..."

 

End