Perception and HistoryMature

The engine roared as the Silver Shadow flashed through the tunnels, drawing ever closer to the entrance to Rome as more data flowed through the screen. Esme sped along the subterranean roads as she watched Armstrong's eyes flicker from one hologram to the next, soaking in the data as his breathing remained controlled and slow. 

"How do you cope?" He looked up and feigned a perfect smile. 

"Cope with what?"

"All the information. All the danger. You've worked with N.E.M.E.S.I.S. for years now, and yet you haven't died from either disembowelment, exhaustion, or my great-grandmother - how?" Armstrong chuckled a little before he began.

"I was born," he said, "to a nouveau riche family. It was a happy time - a good time. I learned my morals and methods from my mother, my speaking and communication from my father, my manners and combat from my grand fathers, and from my grandmother - the one who survived, anyway - I gained a deep zest for life. I keep in touch with them as much as I can, and have always had the utmost love for them. 

"Even before joining N.E.M.E.S.I.S., I was fascinated - some may even say obsessed - with becoming the best person I could possibly be. I gained a valet in Marcel, an old friend of mine skilled in the five animal styles of Shaolin kung fu, whilst I always favoured bartitsu - think a mixture of martial arts for the gentleman about town.

"Then I joined N.E.M.E.S.I.S. after a chance encounter with the utterly divine Contessa de la Sanguina and several thugs. I saved her life, and she improved mine..." He stopped as he saw Esme begin to turn bright red and grin, the Silver Shadow still racing along the tunnels.

"By which, I mean she gave me a few... well, one may call them upgrades. A neodymium magnet implanted into my occipital lobe granted me the ability to sense magnetic fields, and several infrared and ultraviolet sensors were placed in there as well - it's how I could feel your unusual heat signature back in the garage. 

"So, yes. I am only a mortal - but I am a useful one." 

The End

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