The Sitting Duck Pond

Lady Chief continued, “The basis for what I have to say now is simple. GLCIS has had your safehouse system pulled inside out for the last decade. They have every address and the name of every safehouse “owner” as well as photographs and exhaustive personal data on each of them. They also have your legal name and all your personal data, Donald.” David’s face was getting stormier by the minute, Donald was white as a sheet.

“They were able to get all this intelligence with simple, month long helpings of clandestine tailing of you as you went from safehouse to safehouse on management duties. Moreover since your security protocol called for you to routinely use a different electrocar on every such trip, GLCIS also has a list of every in house electrocar that PI owns: make, model, color, VIN, and licence plate. And all this simply because you decided to keep your safehouse system completely separated from PI headquarters and run it yourself on the cheap, trusting in that to keep it hidden from sight since no one below your Chief’s group of staff had access to the addresses.”

“You’ve been very lucky Donald. GLICIS hasn’t ever wanted to kill anybody in Pacifica. They could have taken out any confidential source you’ve been entertaining here for the last ten years. Not only that, this safehouse, and probably all the rest of them, is a tradecraft nightmare. The keepers have no security and firearms training, the houses have no electronic security system, no built in CCTV and audio recording system, no set of alarms going back to PI headquarters as well as making an insane amount of noise, no firearms available in case of a breakdown in humint security coverage, and not even a goddam deadbolt on the house front door!

“You don’t have safehouses, you have a pond full of sitting ducks, and I’m frankly not happy to be frolicking in the pond with you.”

All the PISS personnel were turning green around the gills and David of PISS wasn’t sure who he was pissed off at most, Donald or Lady Chief. He was high up in the hierarchy of PISS and people, particularly women, simply didn’t talk to him as Lady Chief was doing, at least not if they wanted to keep their jobs. She said she was tough and he’d never seen anybody in the business quite this tough and it looked as if the other two of these agents might be equally as tough as well as being obvious and dangerous criminals, even in Pacifica.

“I’ve made it clear to Aaron that if he wants to stay in the spy business, he’s going to have to rebuild his entire safehouse system AND his entire motor pool from the ground up. He has already committed a full new budget line to do this. I’ve told him that Elizabeth will be available for long term consultation on these matters. When she retired from the whorehouse, I gave her a safehouse to run. She was by far the best keeper GLCIS had, precise in security protocols and tradecraft, and inventive in alleviating guest boredom by building a 2,500 volume library of her selection and a 250 album audio collection of 20th Century jazz.”

Lady Chief stopped for a long minute and looked above the heads of her audience. Then she resumed, “You may be wondering how a whore and Madam could actually do this. Elizabeth was forced into the life in the Great Diaspora in order to survive. Lots of people about Elizabeth’s age had to do things they didn’t want to do. They usually don’t talk about it much. She has both a Batchelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English Literature from Loyola University and she was working toward her Doctorate when, as she says, “the shit hit the fan”. She will be doing most of the talking this afternoon about safehouse construction and safety protocols.

“Don’t be fooled by the title Elizabeth and Sally will always wear and will tell you that they wear proudly: a whore. In my first meeting as Chief of GLICIS with Elizabeth, many years ago, I made that mistake. But within two days I discovered that she was the best at analyzing intelligence of any person I had seen before or would see ever again. She was even better than my old boss, the second Chief of GLCIS, and I NEVER would have thought anyone could be as good as him. Simply taking information that I already had for weeks, by the end of the second day she had outed the mole from Mossad who was destroying GLCIS from within.”

“Elizabeth made friends with every spy that ever used her safehouse. She would be routinely told when they left that they had felt welcome, cozy, and most importantly, safe on her watch. After their spy business was finished and it was safe to let them live on their own, under a different and legal identity in the rest of GLC, most of them said the same thing, in writing, to me. And unless you know about, as you said, “real spies” you don’t know how totally drilled they are in never committing anything to paper. Of course Elizabeth had run a hospitality and entertainment business prior to retirement.”

Lady Chief said this with an absolutely straight face and everybody listened to it with one. I had the hardest time with this and I’m sure I was wearing what Elizabeth calls my stuffed duck look to keep from laughing. A “real spy” has to be able to handle their face. So does a whore.

Lady Chief then called out loudly, “Quit hiding behind the kitchen door, Emily. I’m sure you found our discussion entertaining, but this part is essential for you to hear.” When she emerged her face was bright scarlet, “Lunch is waiting to be served as soon as you require it.”

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