The Sleeper Agent

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The second short story in the SEA franchise.

After the events from Sbabalom Six, the Secret Earth Army return to their sky-base, Poseidon for their next mission brief. But things take an unexpected turn for the worse when someone on the base turns out to not be who they appear to be...

Submitted: November 14, 2016

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Submitted: November 14, 2016

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James O’Haire was a good soldier. Not a great one, but definitely good. That was why he got the job on the Poseidon, SEA’s moving base of operations. The good soldiers always got the kind of jobs they felt were beneath them, as scouts and informants and occasional assassins when SEA were just too busy. But today James O’Haire’s life was about to change forever.
He had been enjoying a few days back at home in scenic green pastures of Tipperary whilst the Poseidon had been stationed at Dublin and was making his way there back now in time for SEA’s return to the base.
He was never sure why but he always felt at home in Tipperary, in spite of the fact he had no family there. Found outside of an orphanage one day when he was just a small bundle of pale skin and tightly-curled ginger hair, he was raised well enough but never truly found a home. He just never seemed to fit in anywhere.
The same was probably true on Poseidon. Most of the people there felt like James only got the job because Commander O’Neill was so keen on ensuring all of the different countries that were part of the Allied Earth Forces were represented on Poseidon but he didn’t care. He played an important part there, he was a good soldier and a decent scout.
As he was pulling into Dublin in the early hours of the morning, the sleepy city was just about to awaken from its slumber. Ideal conditions for secretly travelling up to the sky-base Poseidon by secret matter transportation he thought.
James left his car in the ‘Council Car Park’ according to the big display sign at the front entrance. No one had to know that it was a holding bay for SEA operatives’ vehicles, as long as they kept themselves to themselves no one really bothered with their cars being there for unbelievable amounts of time.
James had a quick look around to ensure that no one was watching, and then hit the little button which should have harmlessly transported him back to the base.
However, something was not quite right.
Usually, James would close his eyes, hit the button and wait three seconds, when he opened them he would be back on Poseidon. But this time all he could see was a piercing white light, and could hear what sounded like the noise of thousands of insects chirping from inside his head. James fashioned his mouth into something with resembled a scream, but no sound came out.
Instead, all he could see were swirling lights, a mixture of all colours of the rainbow. And then he heard the voice.
“Agent Activated”
He had no idea quite where it came from, and he closed his eyes once more and everything went black.
When he opened them, three seconds had passed. And he was stood back on the Poseidon once more.

Captain Harold Hart stood looking out of his top floor window on the Poseidon. It really was quite something he thought to himself, every day he usually thought that. A floating sky base never in one place for too long, it harboured all of the personnel responsible for ensuring that the Secret Earth Army were the most efficient and well-oiled machine in Human military history.
Captain Hart was too old to go on missions himself any more, even if he was only three years older than Red O’Neill at forty-eight. He was quite happy in his position as the Chief of Operations for SEA. He acted as the buffer between SEA and the IGC (or the InterGalatic Confederation to give it its proper title. The name given to the assembled Human Forces across the cosmos)
His morning thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the sound of his new secretary’s voice telling him they were back. He really must remember her name, Suzy? Or Sally? Either way she was nowhere near as good as Cassandra, the sooner she was back from maternity leave the better.
He knew they had returned anyways. He was watching the Stella Salvation take its rightful place in the landing bay. A gleaming beacon of metallic greys and silvers, there truly was no other starship like it. Not many ships could travel across all of time and space the way the Stella Salvation could. Armed to the teeth and gorgeously designed to boot, Captain Hart often thought about what it would be like to one day fly it. But those days were behind him.
He perused the crew of five as they walked back across the platform, getting applauded for their efforts on Sbabalom Six as they proudly strutted back towards the main building. Wow, that is a really stupid name for a planet, Hart thought. He observed each individual as they wandered towards him, knowing he would have to go down and confer with them about the last mission.
They really are a strange pack of cards, Hart thought.
Floyd Mercury, the new lad. Australian. Had the appearance of an unkept “surfer-dude”. Not an appropriate appearance for a soldier but it earned him enough rep with the ladies and there was no way anyone was going to change him.
Mallory Clock. London born. Very noble in appearance. Good tactical soldier. In fact, a phenomenal tactical soldier. Slicked back brown hair which never seemed to come out of place even during the wildest of battles.
Oscar Brake. Age Unknown. A former child soldier from Somalia. All he had ever known was war. No one knew his real name, “Oscar Brake” was the pseudonym he took when he entered the Allied Earth Forces and no one really dared ask him about his past. Regardless, one of the best soldiers the AEF had.
Dallas Buchanan. “Dallas Loose Cannon” to use his nickname. Again, far too straggly for a soldier in Hart’s books. An American lunatic with a vast knowledge of all things war. No one was ever really sure of how Buchanan kept passing the psyche evaluations but as long as he did, he would remain as SEA’s munitions expert.
Commander Red O’Neill. A real titan of a man. No one was actually too sure where O’Neill came from. Red was just a young soldier when he was one of the men sent as part of the colony ships which set out past the Solar System to find places for human life. When they first arrived on Krungonon they were attacked beyond belief. Red was one of only three soldiers to survive and get back to the human base on Neptune. He still refuses to talk about it to this day, but that experience, doubled with his blinding hatred of all things non-human made him the most valuable asset Humanity had.
Yes, a really strange pack of cards indeed. Hart then left his office and headed towards the main control hub.

The really useful thing about James O’Haire not being the kind of soldier most people remembered, it was really easy for him to slip past everyone unnoticed.
Captain Hart had acknowledged the salute he cast towards his superior officer, but he didn’t even notice anything strange about O’Haire. If he looked at him for even a fraction of a second longer, he might have noticed his eyes had the strangest yellow tint to them which had not been there previously.
No sooner had Hart passed O’Haire he began to follow.

The main control hub of Poseidon was the absolute best of Earth technology. Huge metallic computers lined the walls and rows of tables were experts in data analysis and espionage sat to plan their next tactical assault. The room was massive, about the size of indoor arena where one might have gone to watch a concert or sporting event back before the War. Metallic and unforgiving, all of Earth’s defences were set up here, if anything were to happen to the room it would be a completely catastrophic for not just SEA, but all of humanity.
Two large metal doors slid open at both ends of the room. Captain Hart strode in gallantly from one end and SEA marched in through the other. They did the communal salutes and formalities and then business really began.
“So,” began Captain Hart, “Sbabalom Six. Tell me what I need to know.”
  Red O’Neill spoke first. “Nothing out the ordinary. Routine nuking of a building and possibly destroying all of the forces of the Sbabalian horde. Of course, that won’t be the case because they have the worst habit of surviving. They’re clever like that.”
“Even so, I will need the full documents on my desk by Sundown,” informed Hart, “did you find any evidence of the supposed Super Weapon?” He drew inverted comma marks around the last two words there, as if he himself wasn’t convinced by it.
“Negative, Sir” replied Floyd, “I had a full scout of the building before hand, managed to go unseen. But there was a frightening amount of ammunitions there, and ships in for repair. Thought it best to take it whilst we were there.”
“Good work men!” said Hart, with nothing like the enthusiasm the praise one should give for five men who risked their lives for Earth should have, “wind yourselves down before turning in the report. Your next mission report will be given to you tomorrow at 09:00 hours.”
  “Sir, yes Sir!” SEA boomed back in unison. They saluted and then aimed to turn for the door from which they had just walked. Even though there must have been at least fifty soldiers in the main control hub, not one person had managed to see James O’Haire position himself between SEA and the door. They took a few steps towards him, looking at one another with eyes which suggested none of them were too impressed by the fact they had to write a report up in their spare time before heading back to whichever corner of the cosmos they were going to tomorrow.
In an instant, a bolt lightning flashed across the room, striking Mallory Clock square in the chest.
He flew back some ten feet before crashing to the steel floor with a bone-crunching thud.
“MALLORY!” yelled Oscar as he flung himself towards his fallen comrade, to check for any sign of life. The rest of SEA turned back towards the direction in which the lightning bolt had came from, all of them stunned into silence.
James O’Haire was stood with his ghostly white arm outstretched, another ball of electricity forming at his finger tips. He let out a cry which sounded like a cricket being stomped on, and fired once again. The team flung themselves out the way of the bolt which smashed against the wall, sending it spiralling towards one of the computers and totally devastating it.
Red O’Neill reacted first, reaching for his rifle, he took aim at O’Haire and began firing, but O’Haire moved faster than then lightning he had just sent barrelling at them. In an instant, lightning coursed over his body and then whatever James O’Haire truly was, was now stood where James O’Haire had once stood.
It kind of reminded Red of a big, burgundy beetle. It had six, limp appendages, but at the end of each was what looked like a few little fingers wavering together to generate the beginnings of a lightning bolt. It had a deep-yellow stomach, but its exo-skeleton was definitely a shiny burgundy. It’s bulging eyes matched its stomach. Suddenly, its shell like body opened up to reveal faint, pale-blue wings. And then the creature took flight.
What followed next was utter chaos. The other three members of SEA and the staff of the main control hub all opened fire on the insect which was spilling pure electric in every direction, completely carving up the computers and files which had all of SEAs data. Almost as quickly as the anarchy had started, the beast fell lifeless to the floor, completely overcome by the bullets which flew at it from every available direction, but by that point the damage was done.
Red O’Neill was not an approachable man at the best of times, but right now he looked like he was on the cusp of single-handedly ripping every alien world from the sky.
“What the hell was that thing?! Why on Earth was that on this ship?! How on Earth has this happened?!” Questions of anger came pouring from him at a frightening pace. He turned and grabbed Captain Hart who was now stood next to him, “I thought we had some sort of scanner in place by now which detected any God-damn non-human within a three miles radius of my God-damn base! How the hell did thing get on board?!”
Hart pushed Red away, but could tell from the look in Red’s eyes he would regret it later. Although Captain Hart technically ranked higher in the IGC than him, Red O’Neill was very much the one calling the shots whether they liked to admit it or not.
“Look, I don’t know okay!” Hart admitted angrily, “are there any casualties aside from the machines?”
Both men surveyed the room, praying that no significant damage was done, but instantly they realised one of the voices they could here amongst the cacophony of carnage was Oscar and Floyd trying to revive Mallory Clock.
“Mal? Mal!” they both kept chanting as if it was some kind of ritual, “come on Mal, speak to us man!”
“I’ve found a pulse!” exclaimed Floyd with minimal delight, before screaming to everyone, “someone call a damn medic down here now!”
The next few minutes past in a blur, despite all the noise which went before it everyone remained silent as the medics arrived and rushed Mallory off to the medical bay, just praying for their man to be alright.
Dallas broke the silence, by kicking the carcass of the beetle thing hard. “What the hell is this thing anyways?”
Red looked at it with unholy distain, “It was James O’Haire. He’s from not far from here, Tiperary I think. Whatever it was, we have to assume James O’Haire is now dead.”
“What do you think though?” asked Dallas curiously, trying to tread carefully around Red, “a clone or something?”
“Sleeper Agent,” said Red, matter-of-factly, “it’s the only way something like this could have got through the sensors. It had to appear absolutely human for all its life to the point it didn’t know it was alien. But we have to assume there’s more of them. Oz. Floyd. I know you’re hurting right now but I need you to round up every other employee in this room and prepare them for examination. We’ve got work to do.”
The two soldiers headed off without a word, terrified their comrade might never awaken from his injuries.
“Red,” said Dallas, with caution unbefitting his character, “we won’t know if there are more of them will we?”
“Probably not,” said Red honestly, “but we’re going to have to try and figure something out. But what we can say for certain is that the Galacticon Fall definitely know about Poseidon. As of this instant, we’re on the back foot Dal. Captain Hart,” said Red turning to his superior, “send word to The Authority. We’re heading up there tonight. We have a problem and it needs solving.”
Captain Hart nodded solemnly, “at once, Sir.” He marched out the room. The Authority weren’t going to like it but Red was right. If the Galacticon Fall knew about Posiedon, then no one was safe.

 

In the Royal Colony of Hasharot, the Vilamorph council were sitting impatiently, waiting to see if their plan worked. Their attention turned as a thin, slender beetle thing walked into the room to greet them.
“My Lords and Ladies, I am pleased to announce that Agent 567 has proved a success!” The room exploded into a nightmarish noise of insect cheer, their chirping and rattling of dozens of beetle-like Vilamorphs filled the air. One or two over-zealous members of the Royal Colony even filled the air with crackling lightning.
The leader of the Vilamorphs, Lady Rikoa boastfully proclaimed “Excellent! We must send word to the Galacticon Fall, although we have no more leads on board the Poseidon we have rendered their defences almost obsolete and quite possibly ridden the Galaxy of one more member of the wretched Secret Earth Army! The Galacticon Falls, and we rise!”
“The Galacticon Falls, and we rise!” cried out all the other Vilamorphs in an amen cry, before once again filling the air with their excited chirping.


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