As usual, I was escorted to my chambers to give the illusion that I was in custody.
The building was shared between three ministries. The Ministry of Special Operations. The Ministry of Immigration. And the Ministry of Derelict Affairs, (although, the offices of the latter ministry has in recent decades been shuttered away, and now fell under the purview of the Ministry of Immigration) which would explain the presence of a ‘Derelict’ in the building. However, if someone as wild and lawless as me were to wander freely, that would cause alarm. And Overseer Rachel wasn’t prepared to deal with that. Not that I would want her to. It would potentially jeopardise the arrangement I’d made with her to safely move the families out of Pimlico. Thus the escort.
We arrived at my room, and they unlocked the door. According to Overseer Rachel, the passwords changed hourly, and only my guards, Stern and Sterner knew them. I could never decide if I should be flattered or insulted by the lengths she went to to keep me from escaping.
I of course, went in alone. It was my room after all.
The door closed, and I spat out the pills they had administered into my hand. I quickly shoved them into my pocket, hoping that I hadn’t been caught on camera.
Sedatives, Overseer Rachel called them. Something to help me sleep. Never a proper name. I could have sworn the last and only time I took them, they ran tests on me against my will. While I was under. It was an anaesthetic of some kind.
I looked around to see if the place was as I left it. The emergency lights changed from red to white when I stepped inside, sensing my presence. They were activated by movement. Welcome home, they were saying.
Though it wasn’t home. It had been cleaned since last I was here. However, it was standard procedure, and I didn’t expect anything different.
Overseer Rachel’s agents would search the place for contraband, while she looked through my diary, for any insight into the movements of the Derelicts. As well as the movements of the Underground. She was convinced I knew. And she was right. But I would never risk writing that sort of thing down. And if I did, it would have been in code.
I chuckled and muttered, “You guys will never find anything.”
The floors, cherry harwood, had been swept. The walls had been washed and repainted white. And there was no art to speak of hanging from them. None at all. But then there wouldn’t be. Not if they painted over my artwork. Painted in every room.
I stretched and yawned, thinking sleep would be a sage idea. After all, I wouldn’t be able to get a good night’s rest again until I had returned from my undercover assignment. As always.
Whenever I entered a new room the lights went on. Though I didn’t need them at the moment. The windows were wide, and the sun was shining through. It wasn’t even noon yet. However, it was reassuring to see they were in working order.
I sauntered into the kitchen, opening all the cupboards and cabinets, ready to inspect my things. All of the dishes were recently cleaned. Crockery of plain white porcelain. Cutlery of stainless steel. There was an absence of knives but, (I chuckled) I knew the policy behind the practice. I chuckle every time I think about the… incident.
Then I looked through the food they had given me. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Bread. Oats. Tea. A plethora of vitamins. And there was more than enough there, it seemed a waste to provide me with so much. As it was, I would only be spending the night. And I generally didn’t eat very much.
Besides, how can I prepare anything without knives? Oh well. I’m not that hungry anyway.
I turned the kettle on, had my tea, which I took the time to make sure contained no barbiturates as well. And then I went to work. Disabling the cameras.
Every room I went into received a thorough inspection. The kitchen, the bedroom, the lavatory. Ceilings, walls, baseboards, vents. The furniture, appliances, electronic devices. Everything. Everything was inspected. The procedure of removing these miniscule devices took half an hour in all. Microphones too. When I was done I crushed them under my boot heel, and left the little pile on the floor. A present for my caretakers to clean up tomorrow, and replace with all new equipment.
I then spent a minute to crush the pills and flush away the powder. I watched as they were sucked away in a vacuum. Into oblivion.
Now that there were no longer any prying eyes upon me, I took a device from my tattered rags and clicked the button on the side to activate it. I let the laser light shine on my palm to see it worked and I was pleased it did.
I strode to the window with the laser pointer and shone it outside. Steadying my hand, I focused the intense green beam across the river, toward Victoria Station. Flickering the light on and off for different lengths of time, I successfully broadcast my message using a technique called Morse Code.
Standing in the middle of my quarters, I took a moment to think about what a… quaint life I lived. A moment before I crawled into bed. Under the covers. And then I peered out and stared at my bedroom light. Watching. Waiting. Waiting for the bedroom light to shut off on its own. There was a while yet before the sun went down, and by then I’d certainly be awake. But I always worried that once the lights turned out… they’d never come back on again.