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Whispered Identities

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DISCLAIMER

Any resemblance to the characters of Nikita and Michael from the television series La Femme Nikita are purely coincidental.

The character of Michel Terrien may appear to resemble Michael Samuelle from LFN but Michel's personality traits are somewhat different to those of Samuelle's.

So please don't get upset if he displays characteristics you have come to expect from the character of Michael Samuelle.

Oh, and Nikita may appear to have the same personality as the television character...but this is coincidental of course. LOL

This is NC-17 R rated.

CHAPTER 1

The Bahamian night air was heavy; brought abut by searing daytime temperatures, followed by a tropical rainstorm.

Two women sat sipping on tall drinks at the bar of the Guanahami Village Resort. The bartender stood with a bored expression, wiping a cloth over the same glass he had been polishing for the last five minutes. His blank thoughts were jolted by the ringing of the bar phone.

"Yes...good, it's slow tonight...fine - one more hour."

He replaced the receiver and sauntered up to the two woman.

"Can I refresh your drinks ladies? Business a little slow for you tonight too?" He smiled sheepishly.

"Thanks - no," replied the blonde. "Are you closing early?"

"One hour more," yawned the bartender. He wandered to the end of the bar and continued wiping glasses.

The striking, dark skinned woman leaned over to the blonde and whispered: "Geeze, Nik! He thinks we're hookers!"

The blonde grinned, "Well Terry, if the neckline on your top was any lower, you could see your belly button!"

The other woman glanced quickly at her stomach. "Well, sh!t! I'ts bloody hot in this country - a girl's gotta keep cool."

The blonde squirmed on the bar stool, re-positioning her legs, as she took a sip from the glass. Her white tank top contrasted with tanned, freckled shoulders and arms. She reached down and re-adjusted the long, flowing silk patterned skirt that reached to her ankles.

The dark skinned woman finished her drink and glanced around the bar.

"Geeze Nik, we've been on this stakeout for three days. I thought intel showed this guy was here for the meet."

"Intel did state that."

"Well, I'm bored as hell - let's go into town and hit some clubs...maybe meet a cutie or two."

"We're on the job Terry."

"Nik - who's to know...and besides this guy isn't showing! He's laundered that money somewhere else in the Caribbean."

"And just how will we explain being in a nightclub when this guy shows up here?"

"Three days Nik! Three days and no laundry man...and... besides, this humidity make me horney!"

"Turn your hormones off, Terry - we're on the job."

"Always the diligent Nikita! Or is it cause you're getting some back in London...with David Majors, mister perfect level five performer."

"That's finished - we're just associates...working..."

"Associates! Oh, that's what shagging your fellow agent is called now, is it?"

Just then a man entered the bar and wandered over to a corner table. He wore white cotton pants and a black ribbed mock t-shirt. His auburn hair was shoulder length, and cut short on top. He smiled quickly as he passed the women but made no effort to engage them in conversation. The waiter walked over to the man.

"Perrier water, s'il vous plait."

The waiter nodded and returned to the bar.

"Well....does that look like him, Nik?" questioned Terry.

"No...Gawd no...didn't you look at the photograph...he's not even close."

"I wouldn't mind getting close to that...you see how he filled out those pants."

"Terry...it's not him...and forget coming on to that guy...no matter how horney you are. Look why not go up to the room, contact the Agency and update them...see if they want us to remain here any longer."

"Okay, okay...but he is hot! I bet he's French, maybe Belgian...."

"Terry - go - now."

The dark skinned woman slid off her bar stool, tossed a smile at the man and started for the door. "See you later Nik...oh, what a waste of what could have been." She laughed loudly as she disappeared out the door.

Nikita glanced quickly at the man seated at the corner table. He smiled and nodded, then pulled a PDA from a small case and proceeded to be engrossed in tapping some form of communication into the device. Nikita looked away.

He is rather good looking in a smarmy sort of way...over confident about his sexuality...oh crap...now I'm letting my thoughts wander south.

Nikita had been assigned this mission with Terry Blake, a one-time CIA agent who had moved to London after an illicit affair with a congressman in Washington. Her departure had been expedited by the White House and pressure ahd been applied in Britain to accept her services at MI-6, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, also referred to as SIS.

MI-6 had reluctantly recruited her after perusing her file: Terry Blake had an impressive record of cases, world wide. She had a way of extracting intel from high ranking officials that proved invaluable in bringing down despots intent on furthering their own means.

Nikita liked working with Terry, however, her sexual appetites sometimes complicated a mission. As she sat at the bar, trying to decide how much longer she should wait, two men strolled in and one spoke to the bartender.

"Two single malt scotch, straight up. Bring them out to the poolside - and please let no-one disturb us."

Nikita inhaled her breath. It was him: the laundry man. She watched as the two heavy set men, dressed in business suits walked to the first table next to the pool. Cabanna lights illuminated the poolside and the pool itself was floodlit. No people were present in the entire are. In fact the only people other than the bartender, was Nikita and the man at the corner table...the smarmy Frenchman.

Nikita's thoughts raced. The profile had been for her and Terry to follow the men and make contact, presenting themselves as employees of the Bahamian Bank of Nassau. They were to offer guidance in filtering money through the bank's system. Being employees, they would have all the inside information, thus allowing the money to be laundered - clean and with no repercussions.

Nikita moved to a table near the door so she could watch the two men as the waiter delivered their drinks. They sat smoking Cuban cigars and sipping their scotch. She reached into her bag and pulled out her cellphone...it rang and rang.

"Where the hell is she? Please Terry...don't screw this up...."

"Yes," came the brittle response.

"They're here! I'm sitting watching them now...get down here so we can proceed with the profile."

"You kidding me...I have a cutie bellboy just about to do his thing!"

"Terry, get your butt down here! I can't do this all by myself!"

"Sh!t! Nikita...all you gotta do is follow them to their room...then..make your move with the profile..you don't need me!"

"The profile requires two people - now get down here!"

"Nik! This bellboy isn't any little boy! You should see the size of his....!"

Nikita slammed her cellphone closed and bit her lower lip.

Alright...think...yes, she could do this alone. After all, she had to perform many missions on her own. When she had been recruited by MI-6 after leaving Section One, she had relished the new found freedom of using her own methods and talents in performing the job.' She fingered her phone, then threw it into her bag. Following them to their room or townhouse could prove somewhat dangerous. She would make contact here at the pool.

She started to get up from her chair and glanced over her shoulder in the direction of the corner table. Suddenly as she swung around, the so-called Frenchman almost bumped into her as he made his way to the door.

"Pardonez-moi, mademoiselle," the man smiled.

"What? Oh, sorry...didn't see you," stammered Nikita.

"I believe you dropped this," he reached down and retrieved her phone that had slipped from the bag.

"Ahhhh...thanks...must have slipped out when I...."

"Have a good evening." Then he was gone.

Nikita blinked and shook her head. 'What the hell...what was that about? I'm a blithering idiot...'

She frantically looked back to where the businessmen sat poolside, sipping their scotch.

Thank gawd..they were still there.

************

Chapter 2

Nikita made her way slowly up to the two businessmen. She had ordered another drink and as she approached the men, waved the glass before them.

"Gentlemen...I hate to drink alone...mind if I join you?"

"Not tonight sweetstuff...maybe another time," smirked the larger man as he ran his hand threw his thining hair.

"Sorry gentlemen...I have other business proposals for you - like investments."

The other man shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Look blondie, we're busy, go ply your trade elsewhere."

Nikita sat down and plopped her drink on the table. "I've been waiting for you...ah, Mr. Terrazenno, isn't it? My business partner at the Bahamian Bank in Nassau advises me you might be looking for an investment opportunity."

The man looked quickly around and swallowed the rest of his scotch. "Who is Terrazenno..why do you think I might be that person?"

"Come now, a sophisticated gentleman like yourself...I know who you are...and you...." She looked over at the larger man, "....are Mr. Stockwell...from Illinois - correct."

"What do you want!" demanded the second man.

"I told you - I have a business investment for you. My associates and I think we can put together...ah, shall we say, certain money saving investments for you both. After all, that is why you came to the Bahamas, correct."

The larger man leaned towards Nikita, obviously the scotch in his hand had not been his first this evening.

"Look sweetheart, if you can make me some money, tell me more."

"Forget it! This doesn't feel right," the second man started to rise from his chair.

"Alfonso...sit down...a beautiful woman like this...what can she possibly do to..."

"She can snare you into a deep trap...you want your dick yanked, go ahead. I'm leaving."

The man pushed his chair backwards and strode off down the length of the pool, disappearing into the night.

Nikita smiled at the larger man. "Sorry you friend is so suspicious...but maybe we can still do some business."

"Look sweetcakes, just tell me exactly what you and your...associates are going to do for me. And if you are yanking my dick, you will regret it. That is unless you want my dick, ah, you know, we could go to my suite and get down to some serious phucking."

"Mr. Stockwell...that is your name, correct?"

"Yeh, Bruce Stockwell, and your name?"

"Opportunity...Ms. Opportunity...I have reason to believe you wish to move some funds out of the US to safer shores, and that's why you came to the Bahamas."

"What if I do...just how are you going to help me?"

"My associates have contacts here with five Bahamian banks. We can move your money here and also to other safe havens."

"Look sweetheart, my partner and I are waiting for a guy from Brazil to contact us here. You don't look like no guy from Brazil...so...unless you want to join me in my suite...I think we better say goodnight."

"Fine. But Alterno Nasso from Brazil was shot two days ago...people say it was a crime of passion, but we believe he got greedy and his clients decided to...shall we say dispose of him."

Beads of sweat spread across Stockwell's face.

"Sh!t! Two days ago...he got popped! Look...I gotta talk to Terrazenno...where can I get in touch with you...maybe we can do business.!"

"Here's my card...you can contact me at the Bahamian bank. Don't wait too long - tomorrow morning...say about 9am."

Nikita rose and extended her hand. "Nice meeting you Mr. Stockwell, I trust we will be doing business in the morning."

The large man sat breathing heavily, draining his empty glass over and over. "Yeh, right...I'll phone you in the morning."

"And Mr. Terranzenno, will he be joinging us also?"

"I'm sure he will. Look...thanks...I'll call first thing."

"9am...we can meet at a discreet location and my associate and I will set up all the necessary accounts for your...ah, investments."

"Yeh, sounds good. I better go tell Terranzenno...talk to you tomorrow."

Nikita smiled and began walking away. She glanced back to see the large man walking quickly along the pool in the direction of the private suites.

Whewwwww..that went okay. Just a little quick thinking on my feet...better contact the Bahamian bank contact to confirm the set-up.

She pulled her cellphone out and tapped in a number. After confirming the morning set-up with the bank contact, Nikita walked slowly towards the beach.

The moon shone over the ocean as she pulled off her sandals and strolled over the sand. The waves pounded onto the shore as she stared out to sea.

Better try to get a separate room tonight...Terry won't want any interruptions. And I don't want to have to listen to that all night.

Nikita's mind wandered back to the man in the bar - the so-called Frenchman...smarmy...definitely over confident about his sexuality...still.....

************

Chapter 3

After leaving the bar, the Frenchman had made his way to luxury suite GG on the seventh floor of the resort hotel. He swiped the cardkey and opened the door. A short man in his mid-thirties, dressed in kaikai pants and powder blue shirt, swung around as the door opened.

"Christ Michel! Where the hell you been! I'm sweating bullets here - the marks will be here any minute!"

"I'm here now. I wanted to finalize the bank accounts so the transfers run smoothly."

"I don't kow why I'm so jumpy on this one; maybe cause this sting has been ticking along so well. Soon as you bounce the money and we wave goodbye to the Russians, let's grab a private jet and high-tail it back to London!"

"That's not what we discussed. We should remain here for one more day after the transfer, otherwise it will look like we're nervous and are hiding something."

"Welllllll!....for gawd sake! This is the biggest sting we've done! I want to get the hell out of the Bahamas and fast!"

"Peter...we talked about this job...there are risks....dealing with the Russian mafia might have it's drawbacks."

"Drawbacks! You call them maybe blowing our heads off - drawbacks! I should have stayed in England, pulling off little scams...more my style. You on the other hand; you get off on this, I can tell."

The Frenchman laughed, "Peter, just look at this job as a collection of little scams...have a drink to settle your nerves."

"I've already had two!" He paced up and down the room, glancing nervously out the large patio window. "Why the hell aren't they here! They must have been tipped!"

Just then there was a knock at the door. The two men glanced quickly at each other as the Frenchman walked to the door, swung it open, and ushered in a grey-haired man in his fifties and a younger man in his twenties. Peter rushed over and shook their hands.

"Have a seat! Can I get you a drink? Vodka...or perhaps something else?"

"Vodka straight - two."

The Frenchman went and sat at a nearby desk and booted up a laptop computer.

"Gentlemen, we have discussed how you want the funds dispersed. All that remains is for you to give me the amounts and we can proceed."

The grey-haired man wandered over to the desk, sipping on his drink. "We have some reservations. Our intitial discussion looked promising but now...how can I say...this doesn't feel right."

"What! What do you mean! What doesn't feel right!" stammered Peter.

The man bored his eyes into the Frenchman. "If the transfer of all the economic aid destined for my country goes astray, the powers in Russian will become too suspicious. And even my association with the government leaves me open to...well, shall we say - repercussions."

The Frenchman reached over and poured Perrier water into a fluted glass. "Mr. Gelner, I would have thought cold feet in your country were a thing of the past; especially for a man of your position."

"What...I do not understand...cold feet...what do you mean?"

"Haaa...my associate is referring to you getting nervous about this deal. Cold feet in English means...."

Suddenly the younger man interjected. "I know what cold feet means...we don't trust your offer...it has some loose ends."

The Frenchman rose from the desk and wandered to the patio window. He stood, silently looking out at the night, then turned slowly.

"I understand your concern. Perhaps I can offer you a demonstration of how a small sum of funds can be sheltered - hidden so well - only you two will ever know of its whereabouts."

"We are open to a demonstration but not with the existing funds already in Russia. A new aid transfer sits in a Philadelphia bank for the US government to make the transfer on the 15th of the month. If your system is foolproof - show us how you can make that money appear in our Swiss accounts."

"Ahhh, yes gentlemen, of course. But as I suggested to you before - set up Bahamian accounts. After all that's what the Bahamian banking system is for. Use of Swiss accounts is too dangerous."

"Show us."

The Frenchman returned to the desk and tapped codes into the laptop. The Russians stood looking over his shoulder, sipping their vodka.

"There - this is your new bank account in the Federated Bahamian Bank. Now what US bank has the aid funds and what is the account number?"

"This is the bank but you will never get into the account...we have tried to discover it...a secrecy surrounds all world aid funds."

"Without the account number, this may take somewhat longer - you may want to take a seat," announced the Frenchman.

The older Russian strolled over to a sofa and sat watching Peter, who smiled and took another drink from his glass. The younger Russian continued to watch the Frenchman tap in codes on the keyboard. After ten minutes a firewall password prompt appeared on the screen. The Frenchman looked up at the young Russian. "Your Premier's name is Putin - correct?"

"Of course, everyone knows that - why do you ask?" scowled the man.

"I suspect that is the US password for aid directed to your country."

"How do you know this?"

"I don't; it just seems like a possible - awwwww, lucky guess. Very well, I'm into the account. Now how much would you like transferred to your new Bahamian bank?"

The older man jumped up and bolted to the computer screen. "$200,000. A small amount that will not be missed."

The Frenchman tapped in some final numbers and the computer announced the transfer had been made.

"Oh, your names for the Bahamian accounts are Oskar and Olav. That okay with you?" smiled the Frenchman.

The older Russian threw back the remains of his drink. "Very well - let us proceed with the funds in Russia. But I want to know what reassurances I will have that the government will not trace the money."

"Monsieur, money laundering is very simple these days. I simply transfer the funds between different banks so quickly and over the course of a few days, the trail is lost and therefore untraceable."

Peter jumped up and strode over to the computer and other men. "Wash the money clean in launderettes...that's what it's called."

"Launderettes? What are they?" questioned the older Russian.

"In this case launderettes are banks," repled the Frenchman. "And you are safe - the transactions are being made on this computer by me - no trail back to you. Once the money finally rests in your Bahamian and African accounts - you can access it when you wish."

"Very well. Do it - take $10 million from the Russian government account and do the...ah, laundry. Your payment will be $500,000.

"What!" exclaimed Peter. "We had agreed on $2million US."

"Yes and we originally discussed removing $25 million but that is the full amount of the aid money...I don't want to deplete my country's whole bank balance."

The two Russians looked at each other and laughed. Peter joined in the laughter.

"No! No, of course not...you must think of your country!"

The Frenchman tapped away on the computer, finally breaking through the firewall of the Russian State Bank. He smiled, "This is far too simple. Your country really needs to update is computerized banking system."

"Perhaps we can ask the Americans for some money to do so," joked the older Russian.

"Or ask Mr. Gates to give us a Microsoft computer program to convert our antiquated system," laughed the younger Russian.

"There. $10 million has been removed and is making it's way through ten different banks around the world. In the morning I will move it again with different time zones. It will be split between three Caribbean banks and four African banks. All that remains is for you to advise what names you want the money under. I suggest different business names."

"Excellent. I have already made up a list," announced the older Russian.

The Frenchman smiled. "So you had already decided to use our services it would appear."

"What time in the morning will all the transactons be complete?" queried the younger man.

"With time differences - I'd say by noon Bahamian time. We can meet here then and you can watch as I transfer our payment from one of your accounts into ours."

"Good - we will leave now. Until noon tomorrow."

The Frenchman shook hands with both Russians and Peter escorted them to the door. After they left Peter ran over to the Frenchman and jumped up and down.

"Woooooo hooooooo! I can't believe we did it! Well - you did it mate! You are amazing! The things you can do on that computer - no wonder companies around the world want you to work for them. You are the best! So...now are you going to transfer the whole lot to us!"

"Now that would be too greedy Peter. We don't want the Russian mob chasing us. I suggest $3 million...let them have $7 million."

"Oh, very well then...teach the bastards some manners. Imagine only paying us $500,000...cheap buggers. Then when should we skip bank to London?"

"Right after we meet with them and they think they see the $10 million in their hands. It will be bouncing so quickly, they won't be able to tell where it is."

"Perfect! This sting was sooooo great! Better than that disaster with the Italian wine barons...imagine those buggers trying to trap us in their villa...like we wanted their stupid daughers along with their money!"

"We were careless on that operation. Women and extorting money don't mix. We learned from our mistake."

"Not your mistake mate! Mine...started thinking with my dick...but they were rather tasty ladies!"

The Frenchman smiled. "Perhaps...but I still think there was more going on than vineyards and winemaking...the Italian familes were into something more...well, we shall never know now."

"So what are you going to do with your share of this little enterprise, Michel?"

"I don't really know. Perhaps a cabin in the mountains somewhere."

"WHAT! You mean you haven't got it spent in your mind! I do - a new Mazaratii and a Lamborghini sports car; a villa on the Riviera and six women, no make that seven, one for each day!"

The Frenchman closed the computer and unplugged it. "You have spent the money in your mind...but take care my friend...our activities are still being observed by police authorities."

"They can't prove a thing - right!"

"Caution is always wise in this game. I'm going to try to get some sleep now...see you in the morning."

"Yeh, sure mate. Hummmmm, a red sports car, no perhaps yellow...both maybe......

************

Chapter 4

The British Airlines concord streaked through the sky. Seated in first class, Peter Gabriel and the Frenchman sat finishing their meals. The stewardess approached them and smiled.

"Gentlemen, may I take your trays? And perhaps you would like an after dinner drink."

"Brandy for me...you want something Michel?"

"Yes, thank you, a cognac."

The stewardess whisked away and returned immediately with their drinks. Peter stretched leisurely in his seat.

"Ahhhh...this is the life, mate. And soon, life will be getting even better, or should I say richer!"

The Frenchman sipped his cognac. "Yes, true. But sometimes the game is more exciting than the reward."

"Well, not for me. Retirement for me mate! Soon as we get our hands on the money, I'm off to the Riviera and buy myself those cars and a villa!"

"We should be discreet Peter. Lay low in London, maybe even head up to Scotland and disappear for a time."

"Scotland! You kidding me! It's friggin' cold up there. Besides, who the hell will trace us."

"I still have concerns about the Italian job. We had that money safely transferred to our accounts and look what happened...it disappeared," mused the Frenchman, tucking his steel framed glasses into a leather case and placing them into the pocket of his jacket.

"Bloody Italian mafia," scoffed Peter. "Pretending to be wine merchants with sexy daughters to lure us. Sorry I screwed up, mate. You think that's why the money disappeared or maybe bloody Interpol was closer than we thought."

"They could have been. But we must be careful."

Peter yawned and stretched. "Geeze, I'm bushed...think I'll catch a little shut-eye."

"I'll move to an empty seat and read...give you more room and then I don't have to listen to you snoring." He smiled and walked to the front of first class.

The only other passengers were an oriental couple who sat whispering to each other and a red-haired woman who sat by herself. The Frenchman slid into the seat opposite the woman. She smiled and nodded; he returned the gesture. The stewardess appeared, "May I refresh you drink madam?"

"Yes, I'll have a cognac please."

Turning to the Frenchman, the stewardess asked, "And you sir?"

"Please, yes."

The stewardess returned with the drinks and left. The woman who looked to her in her mid-forties, sipped her drink, then spoke: "Excuse me. Would you care to join me...it's a long flight."

"I don't want to intrude on you."

"Oh, you wouldn't be intruding...please come and join me."

"Very well."

The Frenchman slid into the leather seat next to the woman and held his glass in a toast.

"Sante."

"You are French?" she questioned.

He smiled, "Sometimes."

"That's a strange answer. You are not from England?"

"No I am not."

"Sorry...I'm being nosey...I am from Denmark but live in England. I've just been on holiday in the Bahamas."

"It is very beautiful there."

"My name is Bridget Petersun...and yours?"

"Michel Therrien...glad to meet you Bridget."

The woman squirmed in her seat and turned to get a better look at him.

"I am a journalist Mr. Therrien, or may I call you Michel?"

"Michel is fine. What media do you work for?"

"A small newsmagazine...small and boring...and you what work do you do?"

The Frenchman reached over, picked up her hand and kissed it gently, "Let's say I'm between jobs right now."

The woman inhaled sharply, and swallowed the rest of her cognac. "Ah, oh...you shouldn't be without work long...you are...ah, very charming."

She withdrew her hand, smiled and placed it on her lap.

~ ~ ~

The red-haired woman, Michel and Peter stood waiting in the customs line-up at Heathrow Airport in London.

"Bloody-hell, why is this taking so long!" questioned Peter impatiently.

The red-head looked longingly at Michel. "Yes...we could be doing better things than waiting." She smiled and winked at him.

Just then two uniformed officers approached them.

"Excuse us gentlemen. Please accompany us."

"What! What for...what's this about," squirmed Peter.

"Is there a problem?" queried Michel. "We have not had our luggage checked yet..or gone through customs."

"Come with us - both of you."

"Hey! I want to know what for!" demanded Peter.

"We have your passports...and we don't want to do this out here. Come with us!"

The two men walked between the officers to an interrogation room. The one officer slammed the door and motined for the men to sit at a table. At that moment two men dressed in business suits appeared from a side door. One of the men, balding and sporting a handlebar moustache, threw two passports on the table.

"Rather careless of you...using your own passports, don't you think!" Michel and Peter looked at each other, then Michel spoke quietly.

"What seems to be the problem? We are who the passports say we are...."

"Yes, no doubt. But the passports seem to be sporting little name changes. You for one," he pointed at Peter. "....you are really Peter Gabriel Burrows..."

"Well, maybe I...", stammered Peter.

"You have a long record for extortion Mr. Burrows and the latest one in Italy appears to have caught up with you!"

Peter began sweating and wringing his hands together. "I...ah, I don't know what you're talking about!"

The bald, moustached man walked up to Michel and leaned into him.

"And you my friend...while your record is a little sketchy...we have an extradition order from Canada. The mounties want you for a little scam in Quebec."

The Frenchman shrugged and smiled. "Me? I have no idea what you are talking about."

The other man, short and with a large stomach, walked up to Michel and leaned over shouting in his ear.

"You piece of crap! Think you're so fucking smart...your real name is Michael Therrien Samuelle! The two of you are a couple of con artists...bigcat sting operators...well, your last job in Italy has just bit you on the ass. You're going down for big time!"

"I thought you said the mounties wanted me," smirked Michael.

"They can wait in line - we gottcha first for scams here in Britain, then the Italians can have you. By the time the mounties get a piece of you - you'll be an old man!"

"Ahhhhhh, sir....I think we are entitled to a solicitor!" stammered Peter.

"Ha! Sure think matey! Oh, sometimes I love my job...specially when we nail dickheads like you smartasses!"

The bald, moustache man motioned to the unformed officers. "Take them to lock-up!"

Michael and Peter were handcuffed and escorted from the room. As they were led away, Michael turned to the officer escorting him. "Hummmm, don't know why your superior is so angry at us...he having a bad hair day?"

The officers smirked as they led the men to the airport lock-up.

************

Chapter 5

Nikita's taxi pulled up to 85 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall Cross in London. (The home of MI-6) She paid the driver and hurried inside. Her flight from the Bahamas had arrived only two hours before and she had slept little on the plane.

Gawd, I should slip into the lou and splash cold water on my face....I must look a wreck. She attempted to pull her hair back into a ponytail as the lift rose to the tenth floor.

Nikita was expecting the worse from her superior, Adrian Maxwell, the head of southern hemisphere operations. The mission had self-destructed with neither Stockwell or Terranzenno showing up at the Bahamian Bank in Nassau. In fact intel showed the two men had departed in a private jet for Brazil that same evening.

When Nikita arrived at Adrian Maxwell's office, she smiled weakly at the office assistant and sat down quickly. Just then Terry Blake rushed through the door.

"Good, you're still waiting Nik! Didn't want to piss off the queen any more than she probably is!"

The office assistant motioned for the two women to enter the main office. Adrian Maxwell sat behind a large marble desk. The room was stark except for two large vases of roses that graced a credenza. The older woman was dressed in a black business suit, her graying hair pulled back in a tight roll. When the two younger women entered, she removed her reading glasses and motioned for them to be seated on the leather and steel chairs in front of her desk. Nikita smiled, "Good morning Mrs. Maxwell."

Terry nodded, "Yes, you are looking well."

The older woman said nothing but got up from her desk and walked behind the two younger women. She paced slowly behind them. Nikita and Terry peaked over their shoulders, then snapped their heads back, and sat staring ahead. The older woman returned to her desk and sat.

"Well, you two certainly messed up! I've read the report you filed from the Bahamas and frankly can't believe you let those two gentlemen slip away. Of course you realize, we now have to start again in Brazil."

Terry interjected, "We can jump on a plane land in Brazil and within a couple of days...track them down and...."

"Ms. Blake, you don't think we would send the two of you back on this mission, do you! I realize you are a recruit from the CIA and may lack some of our more sophisticated undercover techniques but frankly your lack of knowledge in the intelligence service is shocking...and I use the word intelligence loosely!"

"What! Now hang on a minute! I have been an agent for seven years and have very good credentials!"

"Enough! This isn't school play where the principal calls you in the office for a scolding!"

Gawd, it feels like it, thought Nikita.

"Ms. Blake you are being re-assigned to MI-5 where you will work on domestic crime. They have a case perfect for you - a call girl ring that requires an undercover agent. Now get out of my sight and report to MI-5 offices by noon!"

"But...but! I think you are being unfair...!"

"Good day Ms. Blake! And close the door after you!"

As Terry got up and stormed out, Nikita sat, breathing deeply, her heart pounding. Now she was next. Adrian Maxwell sat quietly, leafing through a file on her desk. She removed her glasses, closed the file and tapped a pen onto the cold marble desk. Nikita started to speak:

"Look Mrs. Maxwell, I know the mission didn't go well...yes, I failed totally but...I think...!"

"Did I ask you to speak? Did I ask for an excuse? No I did not! Now I know you have only been on loan to us from Section One for eight months and this is only the second MI-6 mission you have served on but...you screwed this one up totally! The agreement we have with Section One regarding your recruitment here can be tenuous."

"What? I was of the understanding my working for MI-6 was permanent...I was no longer the property of Section...I was told I...."

"Ms. Jones...your position with MI-6 is a pilot project. You must prove your worth here and frankly, with the results of the Bahamian mission, I don't know."

"No! No, please! I am a good operative...I can't go back to Section! Let me have another chance to prove myself!"

"Did I say anything about sending you back to Section? Your record shows you performed well there and it seems their main objection to you is your free-will. That can get you in trouble here too."

"I know...I...sometimes do things my own way. But I enjoy working here! I can prove myself, please send me out on another mission - I promise I'll perform it correctly and to standard!"

"Very well. But you need to spend more time in our company...learning more of our techniques. I am sending you to the training center. You will work under Madeline Watson-Smith and train new recruits."

"What? A trainer...I don't know if that would be using my skills to the best purpose...I mean I've been a field operative for many years and working abroad on cases is my..."

"This isn't up for discussion Ms. Jones...you will report tomorrow morning to SIS training center on Borought High Street - after briefings you will then transfer to the main center at Fort Monckton at Gosport in Hampshire. If after six months, Madeline Watson-Smith gives you a good recommendation, you may transfer back to the field. You see, we may have been somewhat premature in allowing you into the field. Now - that's all - please close the door on your way out."

Nikita got up slowly and left the room. Once out in the street she hailed a taxi and directed the driver to her flat. Sitting in the taxi as it snaked through the London traffic, she could feel tears welling up. She dragged her sleeve across her eyes.

Not the training center...anything but there. It's like being sent back to Section - well almost.

Nikita had met Madeline Watson-Smith when she had gone through briefings upon her arrival at MI-6. The woman's reputation preceded her - she was a tyrant. If she were a young, good-looking stud, her work in the training center would be a piece of cake. The gossip circulating through MI-6 about Madeline was that she had huge sexual appetites and all young good-looking men were personally trained under her tutelage. But as far as women working for her - they usually didn't last longer than a month, then were sent to work in the postal office.

Nikita opened the door to her flat, threw her luggage on the floor and walked to the refrigerator. She pulled out a yogurt container and gagged upon opening it. Limp lettuce leaves and a dried up trimbale were the only items on the shelves. She slammed the fridge door, walked to a cupboard and pulled out a can of beans.

Well, if I had some bread I could have beans on toast - the good old English favorite.

After opening the can of beans, she plopped onto a leather chair and sat spooning out the cold beans. She reached over and switched on the cd-player. The music of Coldplay drifted from the speakers as Nikita slide from the chair to the floor. She closed her eyes:

Why did I think my life would be any different here in London working for MI-6.

After arriving in London, Nikita had met David Majors, an agent with MI-5. He had pursued her relentlessly. She had felt an attraction towards him, but his possessiveness had become stifling. Their time together had been hasty dinners in cafes, followed by a quick retreat to either his loft or her flat where the rest of the evening was spent in bed. The sex was good, but many times David had been a demanding lover, and after his needs had been met, he had simply fallen asleep or if at her flat, got up and left. Also, his relentless teasing about her being from the colonies, namely Australia, had become a bore very fast. Nikita had broken off the relationship.

When she had been recruited into Section One by her father, who was the head of Center, Nikita had thought being a spy would be cool and perhaps was her calling. She had dropped out of college shortly before the college deans expelled her for constantly pulling pranks and smoking illegal drugs. Her mother, who had been an alcoholic, had died when she was in her teens and her father was not around to bring up a teenager. His way of dealing with disobedience was to place Nikita in Section One and have her train as an operative. It soon became apparent that life in Section was a matter of do or die. Due to her young age, she had spent three years training with Rene Deon. Rene was the specialist in training younger recruits. Nikita had developed an immediate crush on Rene but he had quickly quelled her advances and made her life in Section even more malevolent.

She had felt herself spiraling down into a great depression until she met an architect named Gray Wellman. He was ten years older than Nikita and had a child, his wife having been killed in an auto accident. Wellman had been the reason Nikita made it through her training at Section and although personal relationships were tolerated, she had been advised a normal life with the architect was not in the cards - her life was Section One and not a home and family. Gray Wellman had become more demanding of Nikita, wanting to marry her and have children - she broke it off, realizing - that to continue would only hurt him and his child.

The sounds of Coldplay ended and the next cd, Norah Jones began to play. Nikita tossed the empty bean can in the bin and pulled out a bottle of Merlot from the wine rack. She uncorked the bottle, poured the red liquid into a large wine glass and wandered to the window. Rain had begun to fall and splattered against the glass. In the distance, the towering buildings in the center of London disappeared into a blanket of fog. She sipped the wine, fighting back tears.

My life is nothing...who am I kidding...I have nothing...even my father doesn't care...why should I?

Nikita ran her finger down the window pane, tracing a line of rain as it streaked over the glass.

I'm so lost...I don't know who I am...I don't think I ever did.

************

Chapter 6

The Metropolitan Police car steered into the lower parking area of New Scotland Yard. Michael Therrien Samuelle and Peter Gabriel Burrows were led handcuffed into an interrogation room and seated. They remained alone in the room. Peter looked frantically at Michael.

"What the hell Michel! What they got us for?"

"Say nothing Peter...it will work out, trust me."

"You think they're listening and watching us," stammered Peter.

"No doubt - perhaps we should smile," smirked Michael.

"Why are you so relaxed! And your comment at the airport about the bald officer havin' a bad hair day - what were you thinking!"

"Things will be fine Peter, relax."

A side door opened and two plain-clothes men entered with a uniformed officer. One of the detectives motioned for the officer to remove the handcuffs. Michael smiled and nodded. "Thank you, that feels much better."

"Gentlemen," barked the larger detective. "In a moment the Assistant Chief Superintendent of New Scotland Yard will be paying you a visit. I trust you will be ready to offer up all pertinent information about the money laundering operation you were involved in Italy and no doubt in the Bahamas."

"What! What...I don't know what you're talking about," stammered Peter.

"Say nothing Peter," said Michael. "They cannot interrogate us without our solicitors being present."

The larger detective leaned into Michael. "Look here sunshine, we can do whatever we want...we have enough on you two to make you old men before you walk out of prison."

At that moment Detective Superintendent Sharron Kerr entered the room. She was a woman in her late forties, trim and with short curly, red hair. She smiled.

"Gentlemen, I trust you have been informed who I am. I currently head up the special projects team of the crime directorate. Your particular crimes fall under my jurisdiction."

Michael smiled and spoke softly, "Congratulations on your new appointment and also the success of the raids in London, smashing the Columbian drug rings."

Sharron Kerr was taken back by his comment. "Ah...Mr..." She reached for the file from the second detective. "....Mr. Therrien or is is Mr. Samuelle...you seem to be abreast of current events here in England."

"I read the Guardian every day, no matter where I am."

"Indeed. Well, let's get started...which one of you would like to commence telling me about the money laundering scam that took place in Milan, Italy on the 12th of August, 2003. And don't waste my time gentlmen...we have more than enough details and statements from the Italian authorities to make a case stick." She looked at Peter. "Would you like to go first, ah....Mr. Burrows?"

"Not really."

"Say nothing Peter," quipped Michael.

"Oh, this is going to be tedious. Very well, officer, take Mr. Burrows to another interrogation room, I'll be along shortly."

Peter was led from the room by the officer, followed by the second detective. The Superintendent pulled up a chair and sat on the opposite side of the table facing Michael.

"Mr. Therrien-Samuelle, we have two extradition orders for you - one to Italy, another to Canada...we know of your exploits as a computer specialist and your front as a high-tech venture capitalist. You can sit here and fling your smart-ass comments at me all day, but in the end, we have you - caught you out. You should have aligned yourself with a smarter partner that Mr. Burrows. The brain between his legs engaged before the one in his head in Italy. While he was having sex with one of the Italian wine baron's daughters, he spilled the whole scam to her....very careless...perhaps in the throws of passion or maybe too much wine? You two were lucky to sneak out of Italy before the police grabbed you. Now - do you wish to make a statement?"

"I am entitled to speak to my solicitor."

"Yes, that is true." She gestured to the large detective. "Bring the telephone here - let Mr. Therrien-Samuelle make his call."

Michael took the phone and punched in a number. He looked over at the Superintendent. "You are bluffing...but good try."

"The room was bugged Mr. Therrien-Samuelle...your friend was very drunk but enough details were documented."

Michael looked away as the party on the other end of the phone picked up. "This is Therrien."

The man on the phone sounded startled. "What? Where the hell you been, you haven't checked in for weeks...and what the hell you using your name for?"

"I'm in a bit of trouble. Scotland Yard is insisting I've done something illegal."

"Sh!t Michel! What are they charging you with!"

Michael looked over at the Superintendent, "I don't know - I haven't been charged. Just a minute, I'll ask. Excuse me, my solicitor would like to know the charges."

"Extortion and money-laundering as a start," replied the Superintendent.

"Thank you for clarifying that. Hello, apparently for extorition and money laundering."

"Michel, I will have to speak to the head to see how we can play this out. Until then, you'll have to stay locked up."

"Well that's not very convenient."

"Goodbye...I'll be in touch."

Michael sighed, "Goodbye." He turned to the detectives. "He's working on my release but until I speak with him again, I guess you best toss me in a jail cell."

"You sure you don't want to speed up the process by telling us the details of your operation, Mr. Therrien-Samuelle?"

"No thank you."

The Superintendent pushed an intercom, "Have an officer take this man to lock up. Strip him of his clothes, hose him down and issue prison garb."

"Is that really necessary, I showered before leaving for England."

An officer appeared, handcuffed Michael and led him away. Once they were alone, the Superintendent looked at the other detective.

"Something bothers me about this man. He is not all that he appears...he is hiding something."

"Bloody smarmy Frenchman, that's what he is!" smirked the detective.

"Dig deeper, I want to know everything about him," puzzled the Superintendent.

************

Chapter 7

Michael sat in the Scotland Yark lock-up for two days. He was getting impatient as he had not heard from his solicitor and no official charges had been laid. Something was wrong, they should have sprung him by now. Just then, a guard appeared at the cell and opened the door.

"Come with me matey...the Superintendent would like a little chat."

"At last...your prison food leaves something to be desired."

Michael was clothed in blue prison garb with a large orange X on his back. He was led handcuffed to an office, and seated on a wooden chair. The prison guard stood behind him. Within minutes, the Superintendent appeared from a side office and went and sat behind her desk.

"Mr. Therrien-Samuelle, or do you mind if I call you by your first name - Michel, or is it Michael?"

"You may call me any name you wish, Mrs. Kerr. Do you mind if I call you Sharron?"

"Yes I do - please call me Superintendent."

"As you wish."

"You have quite an impressive record Mr. Therrien-Samuelle. Born in Canada - Montreal, Quebec. Your mother was Canadian, your father French. Your parents divorced when you were young. Your father was an industrialist, your mother a writer of children's books, I believe. You were educated in England because your mother moved here. You started university at Oxford but quit. You travelled around the world, then decided to study computer science at MIT in the US, then you returned to Paris to study world finance at the Sorbonne. Your academic standings are impressive but you never managed to complete an academic degree or secure a full time job. Why would that be Mr....ah Samuelle?"

"I never found a position to my liking." He smiled.

Sharron Kerr found herself being drawn to his piercing green eyes and sensuous mouth. She quickly looked down at the file before her.

"You possess computer skills beyond the grasp of many...in fact some would say you have a brilliant mind...to bad you waste it on illegal activities."

Michael smiled again and opened his mouth, running his tongue along his upper lip. Sharron Kerr watched in fascination and squirmed on her chair. She rose suddenly and walked to the window.

"You could have had anything you wanted Mr. Samuelle. A beautiful home, fast car, beautiful women...but you took the wrong path and now you will pay."

"I suppose. I had a nice house once and a fast car...women, well...I've never had much luck with them. Women scare me...I'm uncomfortable around women. I guess that comes from spending more time with computers."

"Do I make you feel uncomfortable, Mr. Samuelle?"

"Yes, somewhat. Women don't think logically...a computer is all logic. I've always been more comfortable with computers. But thank you for asking. So...what happens now?"

"It appears your solicitor has abandoned you so we will appoint one. But there is another option. I've been in touch with MI-6 and told them about your computer skills. They would like to utilize your international banking skills and your world-wide government connections."

"I don't understand. I don't know anyone in government."

"Don't try to scam me Mr. Samuelle. Here's the deal: Scotland Yard and the Italian government will ignore the charges against you for now. You will work for MI-6 for a period of five years and if at the end of that time, you have performed satisfactorily, the charges will be dropped."

"What about Peter?"

"Mr. Burrows had many charges against him here in Britain. And he does not possess your talents. He will be going down I'm afraid."

"If I agree to your proposal, he comes too."

"The man has no talents MI-6 would even care to look at."

"Peter possesses many skills that an intelligence agency could utilize. No deal unless he comes too."

Sharron Kerr smiled. "Very well, I'll talk to MI-6...see if they can use a cockney, second-story man."

"Good."

She started to laugh. "My goodness Mr. Samuelle, for a man who claimed to have done nothing, you agreed to my terms very quickly. True your friend Mr. Burrows implicated you in the Italian job and there are rumblings in Russia about foreign aid money disappearing - a scam with your earmarks all over it - but just why did you accept my terms now?"

"The prison food is bad and I'm bored."

"Yes, indeed...but perhaps something more, knowing you." She pressed a button and spoke into an intercom. "Take Mr. Samuelle back to lock-up."

She turned to Michael. "You will have to spend one more night here I'm afraid; in the morning you will be taken to MI-6 training center at Gosport in Hampshire. But not before we place a special transmitter implant under your arm. We wouldn't want you running off on us, would we? If you leave the greater London area, Mr. Samuelle, we will find you immediately."

"Interesting...I don't like needles...will it hurt?"

"You will be given an anesthetic and not feel a thing."

"Thank you. May I ask a favor? I would like to try and contact my solicitor one more time please."

"Very well. I'll have the duty officer take you to an office with a telephone. That's everything. Good luck."

The guard walked Michael to an empty office with a telephone.

"Excuse me, I wonder if I could have some privacy...I'm calling my solicitor."

"Yes, sure. But I'm right outside."

"Thank you."

Michael dialed the same number he called a few days before. "This is Therrien...why haven't you contacted me! I'm in deep trouble - Scotland Yard is shipping me off to work at MI-6!"

"Yes we know. We can't help you...you will have to go along with the deal."

"What! There must be something you can do. The Superintendent just gave me five years of hard labor at MI-6 being a spook!"

"Sorry Michel...there is nothing I can do. You're in."

Michael slammed the phone down.

***********

Chapter 8

Nikita ran up the stairs from the London underground. Her Porsche, that she managed to bring with her from Section, was in for repair. A little too much fast driving in the English countryside had persuaded the clutch to start slipping.

As she negotiated the crowds on Borough High Street, she glanced at her watch.

Gawd...I'm going to be late! Great way to start with Madeline!

The damp morning air crept through Nikita's light weight coat as she pulled it tighter around her neck. Her blonde hair was piled high, pulled together with a leather lie and she was wearing her steel framed glasses.

Last night had been a torment of despair and tears, leaving her eyes red and swollen. An attempt at putting in contact lenses had proved futile.

She produced her identification for the MI-6 guard and raced towards the elevator. Upon reaching the executive floor, she was directed to the waiting area outside Madeline Watson-Smith's office.

Nikita sat fidgeting with her small leather pack and smiled weakly at the young male assistant who grinned back sheepishly.

He knows I won't last a week working for her...he knows I'll be toast and end up in the postal room - or worse - be sent back to Section.

Just then the assistant picked up his phone and directed Nikita to enter Madeline's office.

Nikita had removed her coat. She was dressed in a dark blue business suit and white blouse; her tanned face contrasting with the blouse.

Madeline Watson-Smith sat behind her desk, a heavy etched glass table with connecting slim line computer on the side. Nikita quickly took in the office surroundings. The floor had a thick, red plush carpet. At one end of the office there was a large terrarium filled with exotic plants and on the far wall, an aquarium divided into two sections: on one side - red angel fighting fish, the other - blue fighting fish.

Madeline looked up slowly from her computer.

"Be seated Miss Wirth-Jones."

"Ah...Nikita Jones is the correct name."

Madeline smiled slyly, "Very well...we wouldn't want to get off to a bad start, would we?"

"Ahh..no...I guess not."

"I've been reading your file. Interesting...transferred on a pilot program from Section One. However, your performance on the Bahamian mission was a total disaster. Looks like we were wrong in anticipating your training at Section One would suffice to serve our purposes."

"I would like to explain more about my involvement on that mission...I...."

"I have not finished speaking Ms. Jones...when I have - you may address me."

"Yes ma'am."

Lordy...more school principal head games... thought Nikita.

"You are fortunate not to be sent back to Section One...only because we are somewhat short of trainers here at MI-6. You will spend the next two days upgrading your knowledge of MI-6 training practices, then you will be assigned new recruits. Luckily for you - our recruits want to be here, unlike Section One. True we do have the odd trainee who has been inducted into service due to their specific talents. You will be assigned a small office with full computer access to MI-6 files pertinent to your job. After we finish our discussion, I'll have Serge take you there and you can start studying the training manuals."

"May I ask a question?"

"Yes, now you may."

"What specific skills will I be training the recruits?"

"Well certainly not advanced undercover operations, seeing that is what you failed so miserably at. After examining your file, I've decided you will best be used teaching munitions, self-defense, interrogations skills and valentine operative performance."

"Valentine operative!"

"Yes...is there a problem with that?"

"Well...yes, I have had to use those skills on missions at Section but to teach them...I don't know if I can."

"Ms. Jones, an attractive woman like yourself, I would think seduction comes naturally."

"Seduction? I...ah...I have never been comfortable having to perform..."

"Like a whore?"

"Ahh...yes - that and in addition to the deception of manipulating people's emotions to obtain intel."

"Oh dear...it's no wonder Section wanted to loan you out. Well, Nikita Jones - here at MI-6 you will use all your skills if you want to retain your job. And besides, looking at the Bahamian mission, I trust you had to utilize your womanly wilds to communicate with the target."

"Yes, somewhat...but looked what happened - I failed...that should tell you how seductive I can be."

"Nevertheless, I'm sure your basic instincts will suffice to train the new recruits. Now - do you have any more questions?"

"I...I guess not...thank you."

"Ms. Jones, I don't have to emphasize how important it is that you perform to a higher standard here at MI-6. You must enjoy the new-found freedom granted you working for us. After all, life at Section One must have been...ah, somewhat stifling...let's just hope we don't have to send you back."

"I'll try my best."

"Good. And now I'll have Serge show you to your office. He'll give you a tour of the training facilities where you will be working."

Nikita rose and extended her hand. "Thank you...I know I can be a good agent...I like working for MI-6...so...well, thank you."

"You should be introduced to your first recruits in a few days...good luck...and, Nikita...welcome aboard."

"Thank you again."

************

Chapter 9

Nikita left the office and stood waiting for Serge to receive his directions from Madeline. He smiled, replaced his telephone, and motioned for Nikita to follow.

"Soooooo..." He spoke with a Russian accent. "You are here from Section One. I have heard terrible things about that place... you must love working for MI-6. Were you a trainer at Section?"

"No, I was a level two operative."

"Whewwwww! What the hell you do to end up here as a trainer?"

"I blew a mission."

"Sorry..." He grinned. "well, life here is good...especially for young men agents working for Ms. Watson-Smith."

"I've heard that. But I hope to perform to standard...I want to be sent back into the field."

"You are a very beautiful woman...just keep under Madeline's radar."

"What do you mean?"

Serge stopped walking and turned to Nikita as they entered the self-defense training gym.

"A little advice - don't get involved with any men agents she is...ah, ones working closely with her. If they come on to you - tell them to piss off - if not and she finds out - you are finished."

"Thanks for your advice. I come from a place where personal relationships with fellow ops was not permitted...so it shouldn't be hard."

"Well, maybe...but...ah, you are beautiful...I would like to get to know you better but I know my place."

Nikita smiled. "So...this is the self-defense gym...will I be teaching...?"

A tall man with a shaved head and dressed in karate clothing walked up to them. Serge smiled, "Josh...this is Nikita Jones...she will be training new recruits under your tutelage." "How do you do," he responded with a Scottish accent. "Welcome to Legoland training center. Our main site is at Gosport in Hampshire but you will do the basics here - namely karate, kickboxing, tai chi. I trust you are fully trained in these."

"Yes...I have a black belt."

"Good...well, I must get back to work. See you when the new recruits arrive next week."

"Yes, thanks."

After Serge had shown Nikita the munitions training and other pertinent departments in the center, he directed her to a small office. As he closed the door, Nikita flopped down at the desk and booted up the computer. The screen filled with textbook manuals of training procedures. She looked blankly at the screen.

]My gawd...I've got to make this work...I can't be sent back to Section...I must keep under Madeline's radar...learn all the training procedures...thwart any attempts at passes, especially from Madeline's young men...hummmm, what else?

She learned back in the chair and closed her eyes.

Try to be happy...and...hummm...maybe have a life....

~~~~~~~

Note: "Legoland" is what MI-6 main center in London is called by those who work there. This is because of the shape of the building...it looks like lego blocks.

************

Chapter 10

The armoured van pulled into the underground parking at the MI-6 training center in South London. Michael was led handcuffed to the fifth floor where he was placed in a holding cell. He had changed from prison clothes back to his own, namely a charcoal grey, pin-stripped suit with black turtleneck sweater. His hair had been cut shorter but the auburn curls still rested on the neck of his sweater. Michael had also been ordered to be clean shaven for his first meeting with the head of the training center - Madeline Watson-Smith.

Madeline sat at the dressing table in the secret bedroom, discreetly located behind a wooden panel in her office. She touched up her make-up, then rose and scanned the room. Walking over to the large, round bed, she pulled the cold blue satin bedspread over the rumpled sheets. The canopy bed was the main feature in the room, complete with mirror located in the canopy top. In the far corner, a portable jacuzzi tub sat draining. Her most recent trainee, a young Swedish recruit by the name of Sven Organsen, had just left half an hour before.

Madeline sighed deeply, feeling completely satiated.

This new recruit has definite possibilities... she mused.

She wandered back into her office, carefully pulling the wooden panel over the opening to the secret bedroom. Her satiation was interrupted by the intercom announcing the arrival of a new trainee, Michel Therrien-Samuelle. "Give me ten minutes to upload his file, then have him brought in."

As Michael was led through the corridors of the training center, he thought to himself:

This was not in the plans...getting caught was very careless...what possible purpose could be served by working for MI-6.

Michael was ushered into Madeline's office. The guard stood behind him as Madeline looked up from her computer.

"You can remove the handcuffs and leave."

The guard complied and disappeared through the electric, sliding door.

"Please be seated Mr. Therrien-Samuelle. I've been perusing your file - very impressive...and with your computer hacking skills, I can see why MI-6 has sought to secure your talents."

Michael sat; a small smile crept onto his face as he tapped his chin with two fingers.

Madeline smiled knowingly. "However, your time at the training center will not only be involved with computer science - you will learn to be an agent and go through full training."

Michael removed his steel framed glasses and looked slyly at Madeline. "Is that really necessary?"

"Yes it is Mr. Therrien-Samuelle. After all we would not want to send you out on a mission without you being able to look after yourself. Seeing you have probably spent most of your time sitting behind a computer, I would suggest we start with the physical skills. You will be put on a complete fitness regime and you will learn karate and kickboxing."

"Hummmm...that sounds dangerous," replied Michael.

"Mr. Therrien-Samuelle - everything we do here is dangerous."

************

Chapter 11

"Mr. Therrien-Samuelle, everything we do here is dangerous," retorted Madeline.

Michael's eyes bored into her, "I only require one."

"One? One what?"

"I only require the use of one name...Mizzz Watson-Smith." He paused. "Samuelle...Michael Samuelle will suffice."

Madeline rose from her desk and walked behind him. She thought to herself:

I would so enjoy training you sir...but your straight-ass, uptight attitude would become a bore...your uncommonly good looks are so wasted on such a prat as you appear to be...and besides, I do enjoy a younger apprentice.

She leaned in and whispered in Michael's ear. "And so thou shall be - Michael Samuelle." Madeline returned to sit at her desk.

"You shall live on site here at the training center in shared quarters with other trainees for two weeks. After that you will be allowed to live outside MI-6 - accommodation will be secured for you or you may wish to locate your own."

"That is very generous...but why would you trust me? I might want to do a runner."

"Mr. Samuelle, the transmitter implant under your arm can detect you anywhere on this planet. It is a state of the art compound glucose chip with DNA specific thermal tag connected to our satellite. You will be monitored and tracked at all times."

"Yes, very efficient. Very effective in persuading me from taking a holiday."

"It has worked extremely well on agents that did not apply to work here - namely ones who possess skills we wish to utilize."

Michael shifted in his chair and stroked his chin.

"May I ask a question?"

"By all means...I may not answer you if I deem it a high risk question, but go ahead."

"I understand why you might want to use my computer skills for MI-6 purposes, but why must I train as an agent doing all the physical combat, karate skills...frankly I'm somewhat unprepared for violence...it's not in my nature."

"I thought that might be the case - you are after all a...shall we say," she smirked. "...a computer nerd..but those are MI-6 requirements."

"I will try my best, but violence - guns and fighting..."

"You will work with a trainer...she will teach you to defend yourself."

"She? I will be working with a woman?"

"Yes...her name is Nikita Jones...she comes with good credentials."

"Oh, I don't know...a woman...I...."

"What's the problem?"

"Well...it will not be in my file...but...I...how can I say this...I don't feel comfortable working with women."

"Really? You seem to be comfortable talking to me."

"I may appear to be...but you are rather intimidating...and yet have a way of making me feel...well, almost comfortable...oh, this is sort of embarrassing..."

"Are you gay, Mr. Samuelle?"

"No...I don't think so...or, it's not that...ah, is she young, this Nikita Jones?"

"Yes - late twenties - why?"

"And good looking?"

"I suppose men would find her attractive...look what do you mean?"

"Frankly, young beautiful women scare me...I am uncomfortable in their company."

Madeline smiled and thought to herself:

Oh, it would be soooooo enjoyable teaching you a thing or two...

"Well, unfortunately, you are stuck with Ms. Jones...our department is somewhat understaffed at present and we are on a tight time schedule for upcoming missions. Your training will be fast-tracked so you must work hard."

"Fine...I will do my best, even though I am required to work with a young, beautiful agent."

"Ahh, yes...good. That's the spirit. Now you will be returned to your quarters with the other trainees. Good luck Mr. Samuelle...and welcome to MI-6."

************

Chapter 12

Nikita's first week at the MI-6 training center had dragged by very slowly. She was bored with the continuous reading of training manuals. When she drifted into the cafeteria, a few agents nodded at her but did not engage in conversation.

This lot is a tight-lipped bunch...unfriendly...almost like Section...except, I do miss Walter and Birkoff...and, well maybe Rene...

Nikita sat sipping tea and nibbling on a Caesar salad, when she looked up to see Serge pulling up a chair.

"Greetings Nikita. How is your day going?"

"Boring...when are the new recruits arriving? At least then I'll have someone to talk to."

"What...nobody chatting you up?"

"At this point, I'd welcome that."

Serge laughed, exposing a mouth full of newly capped teeth.

"Don't worry...they're just a bunch of tight-lipped Brits. Ahh...you're from Australia I read in your file...I would love to visit that country."

"You read my file?"

"Yes, sorry...but I wanted to learn more about you. Don't tell Madeline, she'd whack my balls off...oh, sorry for the language. So - what is Australia like and how did you end up here?"

"I don't actually remember much about Australia...I was young when we left. About all I came away with is the accent."

"Oh too bad. I'd like to visit there some time."

"I thought the other agents would be a little more friendly," shrugged Nikita. "This place is as bad as Section One."

"Oh, they're not a bad lot...they are suspicious of you...because you are new and from another agency...but I can tell you, they like to party. Would you like to come with me to a party this Friday...many of the agents from MI-5 and 6 will be there - well, at least the younger ones."

"MI-5? I don't know...I..."

"Don't worry, David Majors from MI-5 will not be invited, he's too high up the food chain."

"What do you know about David Majors?"

"He was your lover."

"How...how do you know I was involved with David!"

"I told you - I read your file."

"That's in my file! My gawd, is nothing private...this place is as bad as Section!"

"Sorry Nikita, there were no details...just that you and him were involved."

"Well, not anymore."

"Good...I mean...would you like to go to this party on Friday?"

"I don't think so..I'm not much of a party person...especially these days."

"Things will get better for you here, it just takes time."

"Thanks Serge, now if you'll excuse me - I better get back to the training manuals."

Nikita returned to her office to notice the red flasher on her phone, indicating she had a message: it was from Madeline - she was to report immediately.

Upon arriving at Madeline's office, she tapped lightly on the door as Serge had not returned from lunch.

"Enter."

Nikita stood before Madeline who sat typing on her keyboard. Finally after a few minutes, she looked up.

"Ahh, Nikita...so how are things going?"

"Fine."

"Good, all up to snuff on our training procedures?"

"Yes, and I've gone through all the self-defense training procedures and ordinance practices."

"Excellent - that only leaves the valentine operative procedures."

"What? I didn't receive a specific manual on that...I did learn tactics at Section One about enticing a purp however, so I trust...."

"No need right now. But I have a special recruit for you."

"Just one recruit? I thought I'd be training a group of recruits."

"This one is a special case. Normally, I would start his training but my plate is rather full at present as I have a host of very young recruits to work with."

No doubt you do Madeline. This one must be old, decrepit and even viagra couldn't help him.

Madeline rose from her desk. "Come with me to the interrogation viewing room. His full file will be sent to your office. He is a special case - chose to work with us rather than go to jail on computer fraud. His talents in high-tech financial matters and computer skills are many - that is why he is here but we will train him to be an agent nevertheless."

Oh great, a full time computer geek, that couldn't cut the muster with Madeline.

"If his skills lie with computers, why train him in self-defense and ordinance?" queried Nikita.

"He will operate as a full-time operative and it will be your job to bring him up to that status. I suggest a full physical fitness regime to get him in shape, together with karate and kick boxing. As far as general undercover techniques, well, that will be left to others."

Nikita and Madeline entered a room with a one-way mirror. Seated on the other side of the glass, Michael Therrien-Samuelle sat, clothed in his own dark business suit, his arms crossed over his chest, his three fingers touching his chin.

Nikita drew a quick breath.

Oh my gawd! It was the smarmy Frenchman she had seen in the Bahamas! It couldn't be! But it was him...gawd the man was beautiful...what was Madeline's problem with him...maybe too old, she liked them in their twenties. This man looked to be maybe in his mid-thirties.

Nikita said nothing as Madeline looked over at her.

"You will have to be wary of his tactics, he is very clever and has a smart-ass mouth. Don't let him sidetrack you...oh, and he claims to be rather frightened of women...I think that is all a bluff, but it could be because he is gay."

Gay? What a waste if he is, thought Nikita.

"He could prove extremely valuable to MI-6," declared Madeline. "If we can utilize his talents to combat cyber crime on both terrorism and global financial manipulations, he will put us ahead by years. I must admit we are somewhat behind in fighting high-tech criminals in this country."

You could probably use the services of Seymour Birkoff at Section. mused Nikita.

"Where should I start his training?"

"Completely familiarize yourself with his file. We think there is more to this man than he presents...he is somewhat of an enigma. You will have your work cut out for you Nikita but if you bring him through full training and he becomes a seasoned operative...well, maybe you can return to your former position with MI-6."

"In addition to the self-defense and ordinance training, will you want me to train him in field techniques?"

"Maybe...we will see how he progresses. It is early days...and for now he is to remain in shared quaraters with other trainees. In time, he will be allowed to venture out of MI-6 and obtain his own living accommodation. He has been fitted with a global tracker so he doesn't do a runner."

"Shall I go in and introduce myself?"

"Yes. But let him know who is boss...if he is truly wary of women, establishing dominance will not be difficult."

"Right...fine...I'll introduce myself and give him a schedule for the fitness training. Then I'll read all his files and start his training in the morning."

"Excellent. Now I must return to my own prospects...young men with varying talents.."

Nikita smiled to herself as she watched Madeline leave.

This man was indeed good-looking but time will tell if he turns out to be a jerk...and if she brings him through full training...she could finally return to full field status.

Nikita entered the interrogation room as Michael looked up and nodded.

"Good. I was getting bored watching you watching me through the one-way glass."

"Oh, you detected that...how clever of you," shot Nikita. "My name is Nikita Jones, I will be your trainer."

"So I understand. Have we met before?"

"Ahhh...I....no..never!"

"Humm...you certain?"

He paused as Nikita tried to divert her eyes from his.

"....well, if you insist we have never met...when do we start?"

"Why, you have somewhere to go?"

Michael smiled and smirked, "Not really...but the sooner I get on with this so-called training, the faster I can lose the snoring room-mates and get my own place."

"That will only happen if and when I determine you are ready!"

"You are too young to be the bitch Mizzzz Watson-Smith is...why are you treating me like a criminal?"

"Because that is what you are! You will do everything I tell you and when I say!"

"Yes, ma chere...no problem...please don't be too harsh with me...I am not accustom to a place like this. And I haven't been sleeping very well."

"Ahhh...well, yes...okay then...we start tomorrow morning. Be at the self-defense gym at 7am sharp...and wear a sweat suit!"

"Sweat suit? I am sorry...what is that?"

"A track suit...for training...we will also go for a five kilometer run outside MI-6...but don't worry, if you try to escape, we will track you down!"

"I know...but I am not certain I can run that far...can we go slowly...and getting sweaty...I am not accustom to that either. Mon dieu! This is going to be very difficult, I'm afraid."

"You will do fine...I'll see to that..."

"Thank you...but can I ask you a question?"

"What?"

"I told Mad..ill...eeen, that I am rather uncomfortable around young, beautiful women. Could you please try to be less beautiful?"

"WHAT??? Look...I...what do you mean? Cut the bull mister...you may be uncomfortable around women, but your demeanor suggests something else!"

"I feel we have met before...was it in the Bahamas? I would never forget a beautiful face like yours."

"No...no...we have not...now drop the smarmy act...!"

"I am truly sorry...I sometimes make inappropriate remarks... I haven't spent much time around women...too many hours with a computer...my social skills are less than adequate...I apologize."

"Ahhhh...yes...okay..." Nikita turned to leave, very flustered. "Tomorrow morning - 7am - the gym! Okay!" She stormed out of the room.

The security guard standing at the door jumped as she exited. "Take him back to the shared accommodation now!"

"Yes, ma'am."

Nikita hurried through the hallways of the training center towards her office.

What was with this guy!

She slammed her office door and paced the floor.

"Why am I so flustered! Geeze! I'm having the same reaction to seeing him as I felt in the Bahamas!" She quickly sat down and downloaded his file. As she sat reading, his profile became clear. He was a very clever, intelligent man - in addition to being very good-looking.

Gawd Nikita - get it together! She bit her lower lip.

Establish dominance...like Madeline said, make him work hard...he claimed to be less than fit...push him...ride his ass...yes, his ass...well, ah...I haven't seen that yet.

Nikita started laughing to herself.

"Oh dear, it has been too long. I need to get more focused...maybe even give David a call....nooooo! That was not the answer. It was just sex for gawd sake! Who needed it anyway! Now...take a deep breath and focus...I can't believe spending five minutes with this guy has got me so worked up! I need help! Maybe I'll go out for a run...yes...that's what I need...choose a route for tomorrow morning...yes...a plan...perfect...."