No Time for Spies
Captain’s Log: Star date 4639.16., unbeknownst to our prior knowledge, the Enterprise has been, in the last hour, robbed of its supply of dilithium crystals. Ship’s security has learned, through the ship's surveillance, that a being beamed aboard the ship while seated in what appeared to be an armchair from the late twentieth century. All officers and crew aboard the ship were, during this time, knocked unconscious by a mild nerve gas that was ignited by the intruder. The only crewmember that escaped being gassed was First Officer Spock who had been locked in the lavatory at that time.
“Alright,” began Captain Kirk, sternly eyeing every officer seated in his conference room, “we have an imminent crisis on this ship. Mr. Scott, is there anyway to rectify this situation?”
“No, Captain. If we don’t get the crystals back soon, then this ship. . . Well, sir, she’s lost,” said Scotty, his voice on the verge of cracking.
“Buck up Scotty,” Kirk encouraged him. “We’ll get through this.”
“It’s not the ship, Captain,” cried Scotty. “It’s just that. . . I wanted to wear the blue shirt! Not the red –the blue!”7.
“That will be all, Mr. Scott,” said Kirk in a tired voice. He then turned to Mr. Spock, hoping for not just a revelation, but also a reasonable revelation. “Mr. Spock, has security come up with anything?”
“Yes, Captain. It’s all very. . . illogical,” said Spock, raising a single eyebrow. He then pushed a button on the table and the wall across from him opened to reveal a movie screen. Then, as the lights in the room dimmed, a picture of Seigfried appeared on the screen. “The surveillance cameras caught this man stealing the crystals.”
Spock then flipped through several more incriminating pictures of Seigfried, who was in the act of aptly swiping and stashing the crystals, so that Kirk and all the other officers could get a better scope of the crime. He then flipped through more slides until he came to a picture of the time machine sitting in the transporter. After resting on the image of the color-uncoordinated recliner, several muffled snickers and a few not so muffled snorts could be heard throughout the room.
“What in the name of bad upholstery is that,” barked Dr. McCoy.
“I believe, Dr. McCoy, that it is a type of reclining chair native to your home planet,” replied Mr. Spock, smugly.
“That’s preposterous!” sniffed Dr. McCoy, glaring at Spock.
“No, it’s ugly,” remarked Mr. Scott. “Blue would’ve been a much better choice.”
“Gentlemen,” interrupted Kirk, “let’s get back on task! How did a recliner appear in our transporter?”
“That’s the problem, Captain,” said Spock in his usual even tone. “There is no record of the transporter ever being used today. In that respect, it would be highly improbable that the recliner came by that method.”
“Then what method would you suggest, Spock?” asked Kirk, eyeing the Vulcan with a degree of doubt and irritation. He was, much to his disgust, now plunged into a life or death situation and it was being treated as if it were simply a quiz show –or, at the worst, a sitcom.
“Mr. Spock’s right, Captain,” nodded Scotty. “The last time the transporter was used was last night when you beamed down to twentieth century Earth so that you could eat at the In and Out.”8.
“Then that would mean that we were still in some portion of the Earth’s ionosphere this morning,” pondered Kirk. “That still doesn’t explain how we could beam up a chair, though.”
“We, Captain, did not beam up the recliner or the thief that came with it,” corrected Spock.
“And you have a better explanation?” prompted McCoy, leaning across the table and glaring at the stone-faced Vulcan.
Spock raised an eyebrow at McCoy. “I said it was illogical not impossible, Doctor. I hypothesize that we are being affected by the controversial ‘Kaos Recliner Incident.’ According to our records of the twentieth century, the thief is one Conrad Seigfried who was the leader of a dissident group of that period known as Kaos.”
“Huh?” asked McCoy.
“Of course!” exclaimed Scotty, snapping his fingers. “That was the first time machine that the United States ever admitted to building and the fuel injectors on that beauty were-"
“Spock,” interrupted Kirk, “what does all this have to do with our dilithium crystals?”
“Apparently the time machine is powered by them,” answered Spock. “According to this story, which is viewed by scholars as more of a legend, this was the precipitating incident that caused the downfall of mankind on Earth.”
McCoy, seething in disgust, tried to restrain himself from tying Spock’s ears together. “That, Spock, is poppycock!”
“Maybe, Bones,” frowned Kirk, “but it is a definite threat that I don’t think should be taken lightly. One, we need the crystals and, two, I have a date with the cashier at the In and Out.”
Spock struggled to repress an innate human desire that was urging him to roll his eyes. “What, Captain, would you advise we do?”
“We get to know our enemy, Mr. Seigfried, we warp back to the twentieth century, and we get our crystals back,” smiled Kirk, who now very much resembled the Cheshire cat. “That, gentlemen, is what we do!”
Max pulled the trigger of the revolver again, but its only response was a dead, yet taunting, click. While the Kaos agent that was trapped in the fireplace behind him was not going anywhere, the silhouette emerging through his doorway was now becoming more of an imminent threat. He decided, as he aimed his firearm at it, that even though it was a slight and short, yet shapely and eye pleasing figure, it was a most deadly one as it just happened to be aiming a gun at him. He winced and flipped open the cylinder of the gun and discovered that it contained one lone bullet –which was apparently his only hope at a lucky shot. He then looked up from his gun and found that he was face to face with a stormy-eyed and pistol brandishing Lucy Bently.
“What are you doing?” she demanded, snatching his gun away. “I don’t care what you heathens did in the ‘60s all night with your love-ins, sit-ins, and whatever other excuses you had to party! Just remember this is the crest of the twenty-first century and I need my beauty sleep. Now stop horsing around and go back to bed!”
“And don’t ever shoot at me again!”
“Sorry about that, Bently,” apologized Max.
“And don’t call me Bently!”
“Lucy,” began Max in a reproachful manner, "there’s a—"
“I don’t want to here it! Go to bed!” she ordered, stomping her foot on the floor.
“Yo! Hot lips!” shouted the Kaos Agent from the chimney. “When are you and Homie-House over there gonna remove me from this thing?”
“Shtarker!” barked Seigfried pounding his fist on top of his desk and catapulting an ashtray onto the floor in the process.
“Yes glorious leader!” chirped Shtarker, marching into Seigfried’s office. “Was your space trip fun? Did you bring back presents?”
Seigfried rolled his eyes. “You don’t deserve presents you twit! Where’s that agent that you assigned to spear head the “Kill Maxwell Smart” project? I want a word with him!”
“He’s sitting over there,” smiled Shtarker, nodding at the man sitting by Seigfried’s mini-bar.
Seigfried snorted and then glared at the man. “You, Admiral Dushinka, have failed me twice! This is Kaos! We do not fail here! I don’t care what your lackluster government does! I do not tolerate failure!”
Dushinka pursed his lips and glared back at Seigfried. “I assure you that the third time will be the charm.”
“Nope, what twos it threes it,” interrupted Shtarker, shaking his head. “You’re clock is fixed, Dushinka –kaput!”
“In your case, Dushinka,” growled Seigfried, ignoring Shtarker, “ I sincerely hope it’s a charm. You had a grand opportunity to kill Maxwell Smart as well as the President, but you allowed your plan to be uncovered! I have now received word that your best assassin is, as we speak, stuck in a chimney! You’ve cut corners and Kaos doesn’t cut corners!”
“Actually,” interrupted Shtarker, “we do cut corners.”
Seigfried and Dushinka both turned to Shtarker with equally appalled looks. Shtarker shrugged, walked over to the sink and filled the coffee pot with tap water. Seigfried, who was trying to think of an appropriate sermon on money management, walked over to Shtarker and glared at him. He then looked down at the water in the coffee pot and noticed that it was a grimy rust color rather than clear. Seigfried snatched the water from Shtarker and scowled down at it as if it were responsible for Kaos’s shortcomings.
“What is this?” shrieked Seigfried. “Water isn’t supposed to be colored!”
“That,” smiled Dushinka, walking over to them, “was another one of Herr Shtarker’s brilliant fiscal cutbacks! Shtarker claims a little polluted water never hurt anyone and Kaos should be tough enough to take it!”
“Shtarker,” cried Seigfried as he dumped the tainted brine on him, “you overgrown moron! I don’t know how you kept this organization running. Do you think we’re some sort of discount spy-ring?”
“I kept it running on a shoestring, Herr Seigfried,” replied Shtarker, clicking his heels together.
“You kept it running on a cat hair is what you did!” snapped Seigfried. He then slammed the coffee pot on the counter and turned to Dushinka. “As for you, Dushinka, either you take care of Smart yourself or go play your spy games elsewhere!”
“Give me time,” growled Dushinka. “I can’t up and kill on a second’s notice! Frankly, I don’t see what a threat Maxwell Smart is to you. One, he’s not too swift a spy and, two, I’ve assigned him to work with my most incompetent employees.”
“Incompetence has never held Smart back so I would advise you not to underestimate him,” snapped Seigfried, sitting back down at his desk. “Now get out of my office… you zissy!”
Seigfried and Shtarker kept their silence until Dushinka strode out of their office and was out of earshot. Shtarker then smiled smugly and pushed a button on Seigfried’s desk that was supposed to close the office door. The door, however, would not close. Shtarker hit the button again, but the door responded by opening even further. Shtarker was about to hit the button again when Seigfried slapped him.
“Let’s forget about the door and talk in our ‘little one-foot voices,’” suggested Seigfried in a snippy tone.
“Ok,” smiled Shtarker, leaning closer to his fuming superior. “Why didn’t you do anything with Dushinka? Huh? He’s pulling Kaos down!”
“He’s not alone,” remarked Seigfried, glaring at his assistant. “Agent 86 is the ulcer to my stomach lining, however, it’s time he had the opportunity to drive someone else nuts –that being Mr. Dushinka. I plan, for your information, to eliminate Smart after Dushinka tires him out for me.”
Shtarker nodded and then decided to address another burning issue. “What exactly do you plan to do with the time machine? The United States government already knows you have it and several extremist groups around the world have made us rather sizable offers for it. I think—"
“Shtarker! This is Kaos! No one is permitted to think independently here! The time machine will remain hidden in Vinnyville until Smart is eliminated! I have great plans for the past, present, and future of Kaos and I need the time machine to achieve my goals!”
Max and Lucy spent the rest of the night and the wee small hours of the morning trying to explain to Anté how they obtained a chimney infatuated assassin. Attempting to sleep was futile with the din of workmen tearing up the fireplace and not bothering to be neat or quiet about it. The jack hammering continued until about five minutes until seven o’clock, which was also the precise moment a monochrome suited Maxwell Smart and a bleary eyed Lucy Bently left for work.
Due to their lack of sleep, the fact that they had boarded the metro line taking them to Foggy Bottom instead of Pentagon City9. came of no real surprise to either of them. What did surprise them was Anté’s anger when they called his office to announce their tardiness. After much twisting and turning through the District of Columbia’s subway system, Max and Lucy found themselves on the correct but extremely crowded yellow line. Standing room alone was next two none and Max, who was smashed between Lucy, a 350-pound biker, and four very chatty Swedes, wondered if he would have more breathing room if he could find a way to cling to the ceiling.
It was then that Max’s shoe began to ring. He tried to ignore it, pretend it wasn’t his, and mentally deny its existence. He waited for the dirty looks of other passengers to be catapulted in his direction, but that did not happen. The phone continued to ring. He waited for someone to tap him on the shoulder, but that did not happen. He then noticed that the people around him had started pulling phones out of their coats, their briefcases, and their purses. He watched Lucy pull a phone from her coat pocket, flip it open, and then snap it shut again.
“I think it’s you,” she said, turning to Max.
Max reluctantly bent down, yanked off his shoe, and removed the bottom panel. He then put the shoe up to his ear and discovered that his caller was nothing more than a ‘phone breather.’ He thought about hanging up, but this was the third phone breather he had received in less than a week.
“Hello? Who is this?” barked Max.
“One,” came the faint, but deep reply.
“One what?” demanded Max in an irritated tone.
“One, from the NEA!”
“Oh!!!!! One!” exclaimed Max.
“Yes, and I need to have a word with you immediately,” said One in a clipped manner. “I have a number of things we need to discuss. Meet me in supply room 101.”
One then abruptly hung up without saying anything more. The click of his receiver crashing into its cradle still rang in Max’s ear as he put his shoe back on. Then, as he stood up, it came as no surprise to see that half of the car’s eyes were on him while the other half were gazing at his shoe. He felt someone tap him on the back and turned to see the towering, leather clad, biker staring down at him.
“That’s a remarkable innovation in telecommunications! Can you hook it up to your computer?” asked the biker.
“Okay, Lucy, One said we’d find him in supply room 101,” said Max as they walked into the NEA.
“101 is one of the supply rooms on the north wing,”10. explained Lucy, leading him through a set of steel doors that sprung open as she walked up to them. After they entered the wing, Max started to remark about the door, but Lucy cut him off. “We’re admitted into the north wing because the laser above us has scanned our eyes and determined that we have security clearance for this area.”
“What if you have the wrong corneas?” asked Max.
“Then you may have to learn to read Braille,” replied Lucy.
They then made their way through several more of the same types of metal doors and pristine hallways. Max decided that everything in this part of the NEA was much more sterile, much more clerical, and definitely much more cubical than anything he had ever seen. He listened to Lucy drone on about the security in the north wing and how it was the tightest sector in all bureaucracy far and wide. Amidst the busy sailors, officers, and defense contractors that were darting from office to office was an omniscient eye that surveyed their every twitch. Cameras were not only in the ceiling and in the paintings, but they were also in pinholes in the wall and in between the cracks in the floor of the officer’s washroom. There was nothing that slide past the all-seeing eyes of the NEA.
Lucy stopped at a door and wrapped on it. Max saw that the it was marked with a brass plate that said “supplies” and that, above the door, the number 101 was engraved into the wall. Lucy pounded on the door a second time and found that, while no one had answered, the door opened on its own.
As the door creaked open, Lucy caught the scent –or rather the stench- of something unpleasant. She was certain it was blood. Max peered into the room only to make a face that was lined with a mixture of nausea and shock. Lucy could only gasp at what she saw. What they saw, although it now resembled a lifeless lump of a man, was the slumped over body of One.
yourself! Part Six of "No Time for Spies" is here right now!)
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