She had been up most of the night, not just reading Sebastian’s file but memorizing it, memorizing it like one does the curves of a lover’s body. If there was a detail in that file, it was in her brain now, and she would never forget it. She was also intrigued by her mark because most of his past was unknown. No one seemed to know where he had been born, where he had come from, or where his money came from, and this was unsettling to her because if Sebastian was a mystery to Triumphia it was because he had made himself a mystery, he had jumped through a lot of hoops to wash his past away, and he was certainly hiding something. Triumphia was known around the world for having the best intelligence agency, it was as if they literally knew everything about everyone, and they used this information for their own interests which usually involved blackmail. Some might think that having the strongest military makes a country powerful, some might believe having the most money makes a country powerful, and others might feel that the biggest and most destructive weapons are the most important to a powerful country. In fact, as the old saying goes, knowledge is power, and no one had more knowledge than Triumphia. If you were a powerful politician or influential figure anywhere in the world, Triumpha had a file on you as thick as your dirty deeds, and in that way, the empire controlled the most intimidating and dominant men and women as if they were paper dolls or pawns on a chess board. Sebastian’s Triumphia file began on the day he landed in Corver City, building his empire from nothing, and rising to become one of the most influential people the city had ever seen. Personally, she had never seen anything like it.
It was true that she had spent all of her life behind the tall walls of the Citadel, trained to be a cog in an army of ruthless mercenaries that served the empire without question, and it was true that she had never personally experienced the outside world, but because she and her other Malum peers were expected to one day cross into different countries and faraway lands, they were highly educated and well versed on the history, current events, psychology, and politics of all lands and cultures. The way Sebastian had suddenly become everyone’s favorite person was unprecedented, especially amongst modern humans, who loved to hate anyone who was doing better than they were, and Sebastian seemed to be winning in every aspect of life. He was on the covers of magazines, smiling rakishly in perfectly tailored suits. He was on the gossip news channels, walking hand in hand with whoever was society’s newest woman of the moment, whether she was a swimsuit model or a professor turned climate activist. He never stayed with one woman more than a few weeks at the most, but none of his partners seemed hurt or bitter after their break ups, in fact, they continued to talk about him in the most positive ways whenever asked. It was bizarre. It was almost as if they were being brainwashed, blackmailed, or both.
Not having insight into Sebastian’s past did pose a slight problem for Agent X, and she was actually a bit surprised that this assignment had not been given to a more seasoned Malum agent because he was a challenge. The ideal plan would be to build out a psychological profile on her mark and figure out his weaknesses, his blind spots, and his pressure points, but that was hard to do with the first twenty or so years of his life hiding in a black hole somewhere. It had become pretty obvious to her that Sebastian surrounded himself with security measures that would make it impossible for a stranger to get close to him, and she needed to get close to him so that she could retrieve the information Triumphia wanted, which according to her intelligence was located in Sebastian’s penthouse on the top floor of the Heights, in some hidden panel located between two back to back walls. If she had a better idea of who he was and what he liked, she would just seduce him, the quickest way to get through the front door of his private domain, but she had an inkling that Sebastian had women throwing themselves at him every day, and very few made it past the lobby.
Her best bet was to start small. She would go to Heathrow Heights and walk through the front door like a normal young woman looking for an employment opportunity with the best company in Corver City. Once she was in, she could figure out a way to infiltrate his inner circle, and if that didn’t work she would just wait for her moment to catch him alone, force him into submission, and make him do what she wanted. Whether through finesse or force, she was going to complete her mission, there was no other way. This was her first mission, if she failed she would never see the outside of the Citadel again. Triumphia doesn’t give you second chances, and she knew a fate worse than death waited for her if she let her empire down.
She pulled a small phone out of her pocket, it was the size of her thumb, completely black and smooth except for one button, which she now pushed.
“Identification number” a cold, robotic voice stated through the phone.
“Braya 596824” she responded quickly.
“What do you need,” the voice asked again.
“I am applying for a position with the target company, I need a resume of some sort, a way to show I have experience and I am qualified”
A pause on the other end of the line. “Is this your plan?” There was almost a sneer in the voice, it was a bit unprofessional, and she felt herself getting defensive.
“Yes, I think I can get close to the target and earn his trust and within a month or two, I will have the material requested” she answered, her voice thin and her annoyance evident.
There was the sound of computer keys tapping through the phone, a deep chuckle, and then the voice said, “playing the long game, huh? The file is on its way to you. Goodbye” then she heard a click and the line went dead.
She stuffed the tiny phone into the pocket of a little black clutch and huffed her way into the bathroom. When she emerged she was wearing a charcoal gray pencil skirt, opaque stockings, black pumps, and a white button-up blouse. She had curled her long red hair into a loose bun at the back of her neck, she had slipped on a pair of tortoiseshell glasses, and gone light on her makeup, except for her lips which she had painted a bright red. Looking in the figure-length mirror on the wall of her hotel room, she smiled and lowered her glasses, peering over them and arching her eyebrows the way she imagined a sexy librarian would. Her disguise was the perfect mix of professional and provocative, and with a resume that showed she had the experience to back it all up, there would be no problem being offered a position at Bash Industries. That annoyingly smug administrative person on the other end of the phone was going to feel pretty stupid when she returned triumphantly, they would probably give her a promotion, and then she would have Mr. Smug fired for incompetence. She grabbed the black clutch, checked to make sure the resume had arrived in her inbox, and then she stepped outside of her hotel room. It was only ten in the morning, but the sooner she got to Bash Industries, the better.