Don't touch that chair.
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Alexander McKay entered one of the offices of MI-9, the branch of the British Intelligence apparatus that dealt with non-humans. No one came to greet him as he walked down the green-carpeted hallway. He entered the elevator, and pressed the single button on the control panel. It glowed a dull orange. The doors closed and the elevator began to drop.
Suddenly, they stopped. A sound crackled forth from a speaker that Alexander couldn’t see.
“State your name.”
“State your business.”
“I need to see Ericka Rodgers.”
“For what purpose?”
“I have important information that she needs to hear.”
“Information of what nature?”
Alexander paused for a moment before answering.
“Information regarding Project Ommegang.”
The voice did not speak again, but the elevator began moving again, heading down.
Soon, the elevator door opened. Standing there was a woman in a black suit. Her posture was ramrod straight, making her seem much taller than the five-foot-four that she was. She had jet black hair, tied up behind her head, and held in place with a severe-looking clip made of silver. Alexander was pretty sure that hair clip cost more than he earned in a year.
“Mr. McKay. Come with me.”
Alexander nodded and followed her down another set of long, green-carpeted hallways. At the end of one of the hallways in this maze of industrial office design was a door. Ericka Rodgers took out an unusually long brass key from her breast pocket, stuck it in the lock, and turned. The lock clicked smoothly. She motioned Alexander into the room.
Alexander went in. There was a table in the middle of the room. A chair sat on each side of the table. There were two cups of tea, one on each side. Ericka sat down facing the open door. She gestured at the empty chair and Alexander sat, not knowing what else to do. Neither of them had spoken since Alexander had left the elevator. Ericka clicked something underneath the desk and a holographic keyboard appeared above the desk. She pressed one of the buttons and the lights came on in the room. She pressed another and the door closed. She looked at Alexander.
“You should have no idea what Project Ommegang is, who I am, or even how to get into this building. Yet here you are. I figured I had better take this meeting myself.”
“Now, Mr. McKay. There is no need to be secretive anymore.”
Alexander told her the story of how he had come into possession of information about Project Ommegang. It was all made up.
“I have some more questions.”
“These documents. Do you have them?”
“Will you give them to us?”
“Can you provide any insight into what exactly this tranche of documents contains?”
“Information about Project Ommegang.”
Ericka put down her cup.
“Yes, of course. Please do enjoy your tea. I just need to confer with my associates for a moment.”
Ericka got up and left the room, the lock on the door clicking firmly shut.
Alexander put his hands underneath the table. From each cuff he withdrew a slim knife. Palming them, he placed his hands back on his lap. He closed his eyes, and waited.
Alexander heard the bolt on the door snick back. His eyes opened. As the door swung in, he raised his feet and kicked against the table. As soon as he felt his feet connect, he stood up, leaving the chair to slide backward on its own. The metal chair rammed into Ericka. She fell backward, her silver clip making a dull sound as it hit the floor.
Alexander drew a blade against her neck, red blood spilling out onto her black jacket. In one smooth motion, he stepped over her body and picked up the folder she had been carrying. He paused, and picked up the hair clip as well. He stuffed the folder into his jacket. A klaxon began to blare. Red emergency lights turned on, casting everything in a red glow. Alexander ran, retracing his steps back to the elevator.
He reached the elevator and pried open the doors. He could hear yelling behind him, loud boots hitting the floor. Guards. He opened the door enough that his thin frame could just fit through. He climbed up the cable. He heard the whine of small arms fire and heard a bullet crack against the still mostly closed doors. He climbed faster, his arms burning. Alexander heard scraping below as the MI-5 guards tried opening the doors even further.
He made it to the top of the shaft, his hands red and chafed. Reaching out for the door to the top level, he got a toe hold on the ledge. Using one of his knives he cracked open the door and then pushed it open enough to slide through.
He exited the elevator and stared into the face of a shopgirl. She pointed a lasgun at his stomach, hands steady, finger on the trigger.
“Stay right there, Sir. You move a muscle and I shoot. I’m not supposed to kill you, but who knows what lasshot can do at such close range.”
Alexander nodded. He looked defeated for one moment, just enough for the shopgirl to drop her guard for a fraction of a second. When she did, he spun to his left. The lasgun fired and Alexander felt two pieces of steel filament enter his side. He ignored the pain, adrenaline coursing through his body, and used the knife in his right hand to slash at the shopgirl’s cheek. She screamed and fell to the ground, the gun dropping with her. He kicked it away. He dropped his knives a few paces away from the door, the blade still dripping with blood. Alexander opened the door, the “Closed” sign banging against the glass, and walked off into New London. He removed the silicone mask covering his face, his dark green skin now visible, and blended in with the other Martians on the street.
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