Chapter IV: Three Days Prior
Friday, February 11th, 2157 CE.
3:11pm Pacific Time (GMT - 8:00)
Victoria, British Columbia Province,
Dominion of Canada, Earth
"If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
-- Margaret Atwood
Scene 1: Briefing
The screen folded down from the ceiling of the posh hotel room. A Caucasian man, who seemed to be roughly twenty years of age, was seated cross-legged on the single bed of his room. The room looked lived-in, as if he'd been booking it for a long time and hadn't let housekeeping come in.
The face on the screen was also Caucasian, or perhaps Nordic. She was pale and somber looking.
"You said I'd get answers today," he said to the screen.
"Yes, and the objectives of your mission change as of this evening. Well, in your case, this afternoon. It is already dark out, here in Ottawa."
"Ten years of loyalty, you cannot let us down now. You're the perfect face, the right face for the job. Nobody with as much experience as you looks so young," the woman told him, as she unconsciously ran one hand's fingers through her whitening brown hair that she didn't care to dye.
The man smiled.
"You've been a student there for over three semesters. They won't suspect you, especially when they think you're so young, according to their records. They'll be more concerned about our decoy agents."
"However, as good a cover as it was, I want you to give the pizzeria your two-weeks notice, Paul. I'll transfer fifty-thousand credits to your account for now. That should more than suffice. Your spare time will be spent infiltrating --"
"Yes, infiltrating. The university has a classified project in the works, and we suspect they have the Singh Meteorite."
"As in, the Singh Meteor!?" he exclaimed. "So that's why you made me take Astronomical History last semester! But, didn't it burn up?"
"No, Dr. Singh's team had more than just a trail of dust to analyze and contain. Indeed, it left a meteorite behind. However, Dr. Singh was afraid of it. He had it heavily contained. Furthermore, he had some theories. Theories that got him put in an asylum."
"I was taught that he died of a heart-attack shortly after his famous analysis of the dust."
"No, that was a lie we told the public, to protect our reputation from his absurd theories."
"What were his theories?"
"That's classified. However, if things are as bad as we've been led to suspect by the university's behaviour, you might find out on your own if you do your job correctly."
"Can you give me any advice on where to start looking for this classified project?"
"Tomorrow, Paul, you'll receive a package. A pair of glasses. They'll look like sunglasses. They're cutting-edge technology, and I don't want you to let them get into anyone else's hands. You'll figure out what they do. Once activated, they will self-destruct within twenty-four hours of not being worn by you and only you."
Paul frowned as he looked up at the screen.
"I suggest taking a long look in the mirror, when you first put them on. Also, expect a full retinal scan each time you put them on."
"Why can't you just tell me what they do? This channel has always been secure, has it not?"
"Agent Humphrey, I've told you everything I know about them. They will help you, that's all I know about their purpose and use. Beyond that is classified to me, and I'd appreciate it if you avoid informing me in our future conversations. They have no manual, and you are expected to train yourself regarding their usage."
Paul was stunned. "Well, that's different."
"We can't be too careful. Also, with that package, you'll be receiving some weaponry."
"What am I going to need weaponry for?"
The old woman on the screen laughed. "Agent Paul Humphrey, consider yourself one of the few Canadian who aren't at peace with the Americans. From the reports of our decoy agents, we are certain that there are American FBI Agents trying to obtain the same information as you are. And, there is also the possibility that -- well, let's just say the university might be protective of its assets in rather unexpected ways."
"Maintain your cover, and best of luck. End message."
The screen went blank for a moment, and then displayed a menu.
"Close," Paul said, and the large screen folded up against the ceiling. Do her superiors realize how conspicuous sunglasses look in a city of so much rain? Oh well, I'll consider them a fashion statement.