I continued, “My friends and I were on the run from professional killers who had badly botched one attempt to kill us all in GLC and thus, of necessity, had to find us and kill us in Pacifica. In the midst of this horribly terrifying situation Angela and I were starting to teach the safehouse keeper, Emily Parsons, about the dangerous stuff that had been going on around her that nobody had ever before told her was happening.
“This was a lethal tradecraft failure of your own spy agency, Pacifica Intelligence, and it greatly increased the danger of death for everyone involved. This included both David and Angela. I’m not sure how much they understood this when we first met, but by three days later they knew it very, very well.
“The greatest tragedy of the safehouse shoot out was Emily’s death among the ten who died. She knew just enough to get herself killed, but not enough to survive, and her totally innocent death haunts me more than any other incident in my life.
“My first lesson to Emily was that a spy is a spy 24/7, even when they are on the toilet. They have NO downtime nor vacation leave like you will. Why? Because they must be constantly afraid to fulfill and sustain the need for constant awareness. Anyone who isn’t afraid is a bad spy and sooner or later will get caught or killed. Usually sooner rather than later. And, as I’ve suggested, even if you are a very good spy, you may well still be caught or killed. I was first told I had one chance in three, and that has been approximately the case ever since, right up to moments ago when I walked through the door of this room.”
At this point I removed my jacket and folded it on the table next to my lectern, revealing my empty shoulder harness to any and all. There was an uneasy stir in the audience.
“So I’m still constantly afraid, constantly exercising my situational awareness; keeping mental notes on where the escape exits are; what places have I passed where I could hide; what fighting skills I will need because, as a courtesy to your agency, I’m unarmed; which I’m not virtually everywhere else I go; and how much will be the increase in personal danger to me, of showing and telling all of you so. That’s what it will be like to the end of my life, whether by violence tomorrow or old age in the nursing home, a spy still, 24/7.”
I could hear my voice begin to rasp with the genuine fear I was speaking of. So could they.
“When you chase a spy, or babysit them in a safehouse, you must be ready for the possibility that they already have bodies on their conscience, are already killers, even if you haven’t been told so. They may even be armed like I am, though probably not if firearms contradict their cover. I was never armed in the Zone, though in GLC and Pacifica where, as an obvious whore, I can easily be made and then threatened by dangerous pimps, I’m always armed.
“A rumor that someone carries a gun who shouldn’t be, given their cover, is the surest way to attract the attention of a Security Service like PISS. I was also trained for deep cover to use a knife, a nightstick, and a blackjack, and was trained in unarmed killing. I’m not highly practiced in these, but I still do have the muscle memory. Even if they’re not armed, good spies are terribly afraid, and it’s the person who fears you most who will try to kill you if cornered.
“Would I do that to you? Absolutely. To my friends Angela and David? Of course. Myself and my two roommates carry the mark of Cain, but no one now recognizes it, and it neither protects us from them, nor them from the wrath of God.
“As I say, we’re tough, sometimes almost to the point of comedy. The first thing Julie told David immediately after the shoot-out was that she was sorry he’d missed such a good dinner.”
The audience broke up its tension in laughter.
“I don’t know precisely what David thought about that, but I do know that Julie genuinely meant it and had no sense whatever of it’s incongruity.”
I resumed, “There’s another point about the life of a spy. We are literally in a different world than all of you are, totally stripped of our original identity and doing everything we do under false pretenses. I have a false call name and a hidden address, which you may someday have to trace to locate me; it probably won’t be rented under any name you’ve ever heard of. You can’t trust anything I say or anything I show to you by my dress and my conduct to be true. Everything about me is a lie, except that, way back when, I had volunteered to do this of my own free will.
“I told Emily that everything a guest in your safehouse does is motivated by their job. Some of it might be harmless, but some might not, so you have to be another set of open and aware eyes and ears for your discreet, but watchful, security babysitters who are in charge.
“Even then I had an ulterior agenda, that of preparing her to be offered the opportunity by PI to become a spy herself. She was the right age for many clandestine agent covers and proved immediately to be very quick on the uptake. Just another grateful gift on my part to PI for their continuing hospitality. Was that harmless? Well certainly not to Emily.
“So you must treat anything a spy says as deceptive until independently proven otherwise. That’s why you have interrogators on your staff, and I can tell you they have to be good, as good as Julie was in her deep cover days as an interrogator for the Zone security agency Sec/Spy. She was so good that she managed to conceal even her cover name and her private address from her superiors, and from the agency personnel files. Also from Mossad, who was clandestinely developing that agency for their own use.
“This was a total tour de force of deception and in GLCIS we used to call her The Spook Who Never Was There. Even today no one besides Julie knows what that cover name was, and it was not printed on the GLCIS Honor Roll Wall of deep cover agents.