As Emissary R18 entered his living quarters, he noticed a flashing light on the encryption console. This meant a new assignment was waiting for him. He put away the supplies he had just obtained, put a premade meal in the microwave, and got comfortable at the desk. The console required voice recognition followed by a retinal scan just to activate it. Then passwords were required to open the assignment files. Security was a priority with his job. He often did not even know what he was involved in, only aware of the specific details of HIS part in any given plan. He had long ago learned that curiosity was not a useful trait in this profession, and all too often extremely dangerous.
A mechanical voice began relaying information. At first this seemed a fairly typical project: vague as to its ultimate purpose yet only someone with his unique skill set could obtain the desired results. But then the twist … normally he operated alone. This time he was to recruit a team of other Emissaries with similar talents. Apparently Head Office had concerns about the success of this particular assignment. He had worked in teams before, but it was rare, and this was the first time he was to set up the team. Not that he was concerned. He was quite capable of doing what was necessary, and the files included all the necessary contact information for those others who complemented his talents. There were not many, but R18 knew they existed.
The parameters of this assignment required total anonymity. All communications were to be done digitally, with all contact details changing each time they were used. This was extremely tight security, even more than R18 was accustomed to. It must be a truly important project indeed. He was only provided the code names of his potential team, the relevant skills they had to offer, and how to make contact. There was no guarantee that they were available, or even would accept the project. If no one accepted, there were contingency plans, but it was definitely not a desired outcome. R18 again found this odd. If everyone was being chosen by a shared skill set, then the project should be doable by one, even if not as easily. His not to question why.
He acknowledged acceptance of the new project, then prepared an audio message for his potential recruits. The voice would be digitally altered, again for security reasons. The initial contact was simply a request for availability and willingness to accept a new mission as part of a team. No further details would be offered until there was a commitment. The only reason R18 had so many details was that he was the chosen leader. Backing out was not really an option. Somewhat annoying, but par for the course. It also was a testament to the value Head Office placed in his services. Everyone would receive the same message, with a reply expected within 24 hours from the time the message was opened. This was the usual mode for obtaining new assignments.
Mere minutes after sending out the recruitment audios, he got an indication of a new message. This was unexpected … usually communications were not so fast unless they were scheduled in advance. It was a positive reply, accepting the mission request. This bode well for the success of the project. At least one of the recruits was on the ball and ready to rumble. He did not pay attention to which recruit it was; he would not do much of anything further until everyone had replied, so he could update the appropriate team members en masse. Again unexpectedly, he got ANOTHER message a few minutes later. This one was trying to recruit R18 for another team assignment. This was extremely odd. It was rare for Head Office to offer more than one mission at a time to anyone, even Emissaries with the most needed skills. Something big must be going on for such an unusual occurrence, especially if it involved TWO team projects. Unfortunately, since he was heading this effort, he opted out of the second mission. Almost immediately, he got a third message. This time one of the recruits said no.
Something was not right here. If he did not know better, R18 would think he was communicating with himself! He verified the contact details of the responses he had received so far, and none of it was info he had ever used. Of course with the tight security, he could not really know what had been assigned to himself, since the details were regularly changing. There were ways to contact Head Office when things did not play out as they should, but the situation had better be dire before attempting such contact. Best to assume that he just had some gung ho potentials who were currently unassigned.
Suddenly the all points message system kicked into play. This almost never happened. The only time the organization used that particular message system was for a situation that called for all hands on deck. That amounted to all out war, or some sort of great disaster that pretty much would effect the entire population. What was going on here? This message would go out to ALL affiliates of the organization, no matter what security level. With an uneasiness R18 could not quite explain, he signed in to read the message.
Head Office was calling out warning of a traitor in their midst. No wonder they were using the all points system. A traitor was just about the worse possible event that could happen to an organization that depended on obedience and security. It could undermine everything that the organization stood for, and ultimately lead to chaos for all of society. A traitor needed to be brought to heel immediately! R18 read further to get all the information available about this despicable being.
With a bone hurting chill, R18 realized that that the call to arms had a very familiar target. He rubbed his eyes as he stared at a clear picture of himself on the screen. Something was seriously not right, and it all had to do with this latest assignment. The ONLY reason he could think of that would label him traitor would be refusing an assignment that was not to be refused … such as this one. But he had NOT refused. Or had he? He decided to use the “‘Do not use unless you are dying” contact methods to straighten this mess out. He started to input the appropriate codes, only to suddenly get kicked out of the system. He felt sick for a moment. Of course! Accused traitors would lose all access unless the were found innocent. This would be quite difficult when his guilt was already assumed.
Like it or not, R18’s life was about to get extremely difficult.