liliumscribe (liliumscribe) wrote in spygate,
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Singapore Sling (Fic)

Title: Singapore Sling
Characters: Sheppard and an assortment of irregular characters
Rating: PG13 (Minor violence)
Summary: Sheppard is sent to Singapore on an assignment. Complications ensue. A complete story.
Word Count: 3764
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters... well, Sheppard anyway...  but enjoyed playing with them.

Written for spygate. Thanks to Radon for looking at the first draft and making comments. Also many thanks to melyanna; for her permission to post this here.
This is my first spy fic... so feedback would be appreciated.


Singapore
Sling

“Welcome Mr Smith. It’s been a while. She me feng ba nin chui lai?” (What wind brings you?)

Shen yi… hai you bie de ne?” (Business… what else?)

“Will you be staying long?”

“A few days, depending on how long this new client decides to tao jia huan jia.” (bargain)

“Will you be requiring a wake up call?”

Hao… half past six… No, make that half past five…”

“An early start?”

“Might do a couple of laps in the pool to get going. This blasted heat always gets to me.”

“Welcome back to Singapore, Mr Smith.” Indeed.

Xie, xie…” (Thank you)

 
John Sheppard picked up his hotel key card and basked in the coolness of the hotel’s air conditioning. He mopped his brow furiously and loosened the tie. Coming out of  Changi International Airport, it didn’t take him too long to remember why he hadn’t been back in Singapore for 3 years now. The sweltering humidity. The kind that stifles and sucks every ounce of energy. Obviously he had no intention of returning soon, however, as one of the more experienced field agents in the Atlantis Cooperative, he had the misfortune of being familiar with the island state and could speak Mandarin fluently. The Mandarin part was really a bonus but the co-op wanted all the bases covered. Unfortunately for him, it was the height of the hot season. But then in Singapore, every day of the year was the hot season. At least the cuisine was good. Almost made up for the hellish weather. Still he didn’t know how he got talked into being delivery boy. Such a waste… all his experience. Ordinarily Elizabeth would be with him but she had some personal stuff in Russia to take care of and the higher ups thought he could handle it alone. It would be, in their words,  “a walk in the park.”

Hammond assured him that it would be a simple op. All he had to do was go in, pick up the goods and then leave. Yeah, right. Experience told him that nothing was ever simple and anything could go wrong. But his superiors put on a big song and dance and so, here he was, in the heart of South East Asia and drinking The Singapore Sling in The Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel. Expensive drink it was but he couldn’t care less… the company was paying which to his mind was the only redeeming feature of this entire affair. They sweetened the deal by offering to put him in one of the $900 a night Personality Suites… on this occasion he kept company with Ava Gardener. The Raffles Hotel was legendary on the island and had played host to dozens of celebrities through its 120 year history. Somerset Maugham being the most noteworthy as he incorporated the hotel into a couple of short stories. It was closed between 1987 to 1991 for restoration and now could be seen in all its original colonial splendor. The history lesson Sheppard could have done without but he was happy to partake of the perks. One of the few advantages of putting one’s life on the line on a daily basis.

The drink finished much too quickly and he did consider ordering another but thought better of it. Alcohol and this infernal weather didn’t mix. Just as he was about to get up from this seat, he heard a high-pitched sound piercing into his ears.

 
Yo, Yuehan… Hao jio bu jian!” (John, long time no see)

 Hell, who is this banshee?

 Ni zhe me le?… bu ji de wo?” (What’s the matter with you? Have you forgotten me?)

 Sheppard went through a mental list of his previous dalliances and came up blank. He really didn’t remember this grossly made up creature.

 Dui be qi… xiao jie… Wo men you mei you jian kuo mian?” (I’m sorry, Miss. Have we met previously?)

 Yo, Yuehan, ni zhe me bu ji de le wo? Wo shi Annie” (John, have you forgotten me already? I’m Annie.) The creature wailed, flinging her arms in the air.

This creature seemed completely ignorant of his obvious discomfiture and her voice became increasingly shrilly with every word. He always knew at the back of his mind his past would catch up with him sooner or later but he always believed later and certainly not in the form of this creature. Whatever did I see in her? I must’ve been drunk at the time. Not my usual type. He looked all around him for a way of escape but saw none. Hell, why didn’t Elizabeth come with me? On second thoughts, it was probably better that she didn’t. We would’ve had an international incident. She’s persistent, I’d give her that.

Before he could respond further to her declarations and gestures, she came alongside him and put her arm around his waist, making certain provocative gestures. It made him jump. What was she up to now? She turned to face him and whispered into his ear,

“Mr Sheppard… Don’t make any sudden moves. Play along with me. I’ve been sent here to make contact with you. The plans have changed. Our client is getting cold feet and the schedule has been moved up to this afternoon. 1600 hours. Location unchanged. Do you have the goods?”

“My name is Smith not Sheppard… I think you have me confused with someone else.” He responded coldly.

“I have no time for this, Mr Sheppard. The Co-op has been contacted and they’ve left you a message at the desk. Meet me at Ah Teng’s Bakery when you’re already to talk.” Then changing tact, she reverted back to her act…

Aiya, Yuehan. Hen gao xing nen gou jian mian. Wo men zai jian…” and blew him a kiss. (John, I’m so happy to have seen you. See you later.)

As suddenly as she had come in, she left. Sheppard was fuming. A simple op. Where had he heard that? Already he didn’t like the way things were turning out. At least that overdone excuse for a female wasn’t a blast from the past. He was beginning to think he was slipping.

But he had to get back to business. Focus. Johnyou’re letting that female get to you.

 He realized that it could be a trap but there was no harm in making sure. Strolling casually and pretending to admire the oriental rug collection and other ornaments, he gradually made his way to the reception.

 “Carol, are there any messages for me? My company said that they would check in with  me after I arrive.”

“Yes, Mr Smith… one arrived for you, about ten minutes after you checked in. I’ll go get it.”

“Thanks.”

The receptionist walked away and Sheppard took a quick glance around the lobby area, taking note of guests. Not far from him were two rather loud Americans arguing whether the food was better in Hong Kong or Singapore. He suddenly felt rather unpatriotic and looked away. He noticed a couple of Asians… Japanese or Korean… men sitting in the comfortable arm chairs reading The Straits Times.  In the far corner, an old lady whose nationality was obscured by age, was carrying an enormous handbag was hobbling around, browsing the artifacts. Wonder what’s inside? Gold bars? Jewellery? Why do women need all that junk anyway? Sheppard speculated.

Soon, the receptionist returned with the aforementioned message. Sheppard promptly thanked her and went to his room. On reaching his room, he locked the door behind him and tore open the envelope… it was from the company. The logo… the style… all there. It read:

 

S… Last minute change of plans… Client getting antsy and wants exchange made this afternoon at 1600 hours. Location unchanged. Not expecting any trouble but be prepared. Local contact person goes by the name of Annie.
W sends her regards and suggests that I order you not to get into trouble. Confirm of receipt of message in the usual way. H.

 

Not expecting any trouble?! Hell…Simple op… This was all beginning to sound ominous. Still, it sounded like a genuine note from HQ. Must be a big fish for them to be dancing to his tune like this.

He pulled out his PDA and logged in. Punching in the required code, he waited for confirmation before putting it away. I suppose I’m going to have to meet the banshee now. He noted from the hotel information guide that the dress code for Ah Teng’s Bakery is “casual”. I could go for that. He quickly shed the tie and the jacket and messed up his hair to complete the look.

Ah Teng's resembled the traditional Singaporean “coffee shop” but had all the modern trappings. The lovely smell of the local pastries wafted through as Sheppard walked into the café, assaulting his senses.  The café cum confectionery was named after one that was located on Victoria Street in the 1950s. Walking straight to the counter, Sheppard surveyed the delectable offerings with an inexperienced eye.

“I hear the steamed custard bun and the Kueh Lapis is quite delicious. You should  try it.”

Sheppard swung round to see who was  making the recommendation. It was the banshee but slightly less overdone.

“Consider it a free piece of advice from a local.” Her eyes were twinkling with amusement at his surprise. “Nice to see you again, John. You don’t mind me calling you John, do you?”

“You must be Annie.”

“Sometimes it’s Annie, sometimes it’s Annette, sometimes it’s Daisy…”

“So you recommend the custard bun and the Kueh Lapis?”

“My favourites. The custard buns here are some of the best in the country. But I’m biased. A relative of mine makes it.”

 Sheppard made his order and took his seat with Annie.

 “We can talk here for a few minutes without being heard.”

“You look much more human without so much make-up and shouting.”

“An occupational hazard. A throwback to my school days… in the drama society.”

After some banter, the waiter brought Sheppard his order and he very quickly devoured it. He hadn’t realized how hungry he was with all the excitement of the past couple of hours. But it was very good… both the custard bun and the kueh lapis – the multi-layered, multi-coloured sweet cake.

“In Singapore, the local cakes are made with rice flour and glutinous rice flour, which gives it a tender, moist texture,” Annie remarked suddenly, “And is steamed rather than baked. Which is what’s going to happen to us this afternoon if  we aren’t careful.”

Sheppard groaned. He knew for certain now that his superiors had been doing a lot of hand-waving. Annie continued her line of thought in low tones…

“Word is, your client has rocked the Triad’s boat and they want him in a million pieces. He has info that your people want, so he has cut a deal with your government. The Triad got wind of it this morning. So the short of it is, we have to get to him before the Triad does. They’ve put out a hit on him. The Co-op will let you know who the contractor is as soon as they find out.”

“I wasn’t prepared for this… and having to go through customs. Do you have anything that I could borrow?”

“Probably… Now invite me to your room… We should continue this conversation somewhere else.”

As if on cue, a number of patrons filed into the café.  She’s observant, if nothing else. Could be useful to have around. They both got up and walked out of the café. Annie waved to the server and grabbed hold of Sheppard’s arm, giving the impression that they were a couple. Playing along, Sheppard then slipped his arm around her waist. Now, I’m really glad that Elizabeth isn’t here.

They carried on their masquerade as a couple until they reached the Ava Gardener suite. Annie then proceeded to scan the area for listening devices. Nothing was detected.

“Good. Please excuse me while I freshen up. This make-up is a killer on the complexion.”

Sheppard took the opportunity to make preparations. Thanks to Dr Z… he was well equipped in other ways. His ring doubled as a poison dart gun and his mobile phone had a deafening ring that could disorientate an opponent temporarily. His belt doubled as a utility harness. (Z’s been watching those Batman videos again.) His PDA contained a magnetic explosive and the entire unit could be switched over to be used as a remote to detonate the explosive from up to a distance of 10 m… and his Rolex, with, quite literally, a flick of the wrist could be used as a laser cutter. I hope to God I don’t need to use any of this…

Next, he needed the right look. He lost the shirt and went for the loudest Hawaiian shirt in his scant collection and slipped on a matching pair of shorts. In the left hand pocket he slipped in a little package the size of a small notebook. He was almost ready except for the camera and looked every inch the tourist.

“You look every inch the tourist, Sheppard.”

“And you look more like someone I wouldn’t mind being seen in public with.”

Stripped of her garish make-up, Annie actually looked quite attractive. Her hair was tied up and her natural colouring was given full berth with the more earthy tones of make-up she was now using.

 
“It’s an art… uglifying oneself… you should try it sometime… It has, however, the advantage of keeping away the unwanted attention.”

“Oh believe me, I have… latex gives me the most awful eczema. Are we ready?”

“I am, if you are…”

“Right then, let’s get going…  You’re the local expert so what’s the best way to get to Sentosa Island?”

“Sentosa, eh? I suggest the MRT… We have time and it’ll make your tourist act a lot more convincing.”

“But I am a tourist… and I’ve never been to Sentosa…”

“C’mon Sheppard…” Annie retorted in mock exasperation, “We have a job to do…”

Grabbing the camera, the pair made their way to the Raffles Place MRT station which was several minutes walk from the hotel. The full force of the tropical sun could be felt but there was some relief to be found in the air-conditioned train. Alighting at the Harbour Front Station, Annie and Sheppard walked to the bus stop, where they hopped onto a bright orange bus that would take them across the Sentosa Gateway bridge and into the world renowned tourist attraction.

“Where’s the drop off point?”

“It’s on a need to know basis only…” Sheppard teased.

“Well, I need to know…”

“Why? There’s time to play tourist and give this camera a good workout. And remember, it’s Smith.”

Sheppard picked up his camera and took random shots of his surroundings. The Visitor Information Centre was not particularly swamped with visitors at two in the afternoon on this day. Before he took another shot, he noticed a familiar face in the litter of faces… One of which was the old lady from the hotel. To confirm this, he looked through his camera and using the zoom, he focused in on her face. What is she doing here? Still carrying that big bag. Is she going on a picnic?

Sheppard tried to push it off as a coincidence but experience told him that he shouldn’t discount it altogether. I wonder…

“Hey Smith, want to go see the Merlion? We can catch one of these island buses if the heat’s getting to you.”

“Sounds good…”

 
Sheppard allowed himself to be dragged away and up onto a bus. He was still unsure about what he’d just seen but continued to carry on as if nothing had happened.

The Merlion was a magnificent sight. This particular one on Sentosa was the biggest model, standing at 37 metres high. It was a half-lion, half-fish mystical creature akin to the fantastical mermaids and mer-men. Sheppard did the obligatory tourist thing, taking pictures of it and Annie from different angles and varying perspectives. But all the time, he could not shake off the sense that trouble was not too far away.

They made stops at the Sky Tower, the Butterfly Park and the Insect Kingdom and finally at Fort Siloso. He did not explain his interest in the fort… and did not choose to correct her when she believed that it was purely professional interest that led him to look there. It had been a pleasant afternoon and he had almost forgotten what he had come to do. There was a distinct lack of tourists in the area, which was fortunate.

“Once a military man, always a military man…” Annie ventured as an observation and grinned.

“Well, you know what they say, you can take the man out of the military but you can’t take the military out of the man.”

“You miss it, don’t you? Being in the military…”

“Yes and no, what I really miss is the flying. Flying in something that goes faster than 2000 miles per hour. There’s nothing quite like it.”

“I hear that you’re quite a multi-talented guy.”

“I suppose you’ve read my file and know that I’m too good for this assignment.”

“Enough to know what I’m dealing with here.”

“And what exactly are you dealing with…”

“Someone of the old school…”

 

Their conversation was interrupted by a beeping sound coming from his PDA… What the…

He picked it up and noted that he had received a text message from The Co-Op…

        Hit to be carried out by The Bag Lady…

What was a nebulous feeling of disturbance was beginning to take shape. The old lady from the hotel. It has to be. Sometimes, I hate being right.

“Annie, get your gun…”

“What’s wrong? Seen something, have you?”

“How good a shot are you?”

“Fair to middling.”

“Let me have it, then…”

 Glancing around, Annie discreetly pulled out a 3-inch barreled Micro Compact .45 caliber pistol from under her skirt.

“Fully loaded?”

She nodded

“Let’s hope we won’t need it. But if I’m right… there’ll be a bit of excitement before the afternoon is over. Continue with the tourist act for as long as possible.”

Facing the sea and changing his tone of voice, Sheppard suddenly said rather loudly, “ Did you know that before these two 64 Pounder RML Guns were built and mounted here on this emplacement, there were two Twin Lewis Guns in place here. They formed part of the anit-aircraft defences of the Fort.”

Before Annie could respond, a voice from no where remarked, “The 64 Pounders formed part of the armament of both Fort Siloso and Fort Connaught during  the late nineteenth century.”

In response, Sheppard continued, “Are you aware that the 7 inch RML guns at the entrance of the fort was used for coastal defence and was based on those used by the Royal Navy?”

A figure emerged from behind a bush, “Oh yes, and the two 25 pounder Gun Howitzers were first brought into service by the British Army in 1939. Mr Smith?”

“Mr Lee, I presume…”

“You’re early… Who’s she?” said the one called Mr Lee pointing to Annie,  “Instructions were that you come alone.”

“My partner. You changed the plans on us so the company had to change the plans too I’m afraid you’re being tracked. The people who want you dead know that you’re here.”

“That’s why I need the package. Do you have the goods?”

“Do you? Let’s see it.”

 Both men pulled out their respective packages and gingerly made an exchange.

“Lee, you…”

 Before, either man could say anything further, Annie yelled out,

 “Laser sight! Get down! Both of you!”

Acting on impulse, Sheppard pounced on Lee and pushed him out of harm’s way.

From a lying position, Sheppard pulled out the pistol, followed the position of the laser sight and aimed it in an upward direction at the sniper…  It was the old lady… except not looking very old at this point… Without too much hesitation, Sheppard’s gun went off and the bullet headed straight for the forehead. The late Bag Lady fell down from off the tree she’d been hiding in.

A couple of metres away, Annie was taking on two large Caucasian men who had also appeared from no where…  Sheppard got up anxiously to assist but after a series of kicks, punches and one flying umbar later, both assailants were  lying flat on the ground.

“In a skirt too. Remind me never to get on your bad side…” Sheppard looked on amused and relieved.

 Minutes later, police cars could be heard whirring in the distance.

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

In less than ten minutes, the police and other emergency vehicles were all over the scene. Paramedics were in attendance and the police took Lee in for questioning. Eventually, they turned their attention to Sheppard and Annie.

“It’s alright officer,” Annie pulled out her identification and flashed it to the officer in question. Pointing to Sheppard, she said, “I can vouch for this man. A joint op with the Americans.”

 “Alright, Inspector…” The officer took a good look, nodded thoughtfully and walked back to the crime scene.

 
“A cop, eh? Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Sheppard remarked

“This is a police state, Sheppard. Do you think you’d be allowed to carry on with your cloak and dagger stuff without the police knowing anything about it? For that matter, do you think I’d be allowed to run around with a gun?”

“I was hoping for a straightforward transaction.”

“You should know better by now.”

“I’m the eternal optimist, don’t you know? Will Lee be alright?”

“Depends on how co-operative he is. If my superiors are happy with his answers. That sort of thing. You know how it works.

Sheppard nodded and then remarked, “Do you know where a hungry man can get a bite and a drink here?”

“Got a good work out, did you? Hmm… I think I know exactly what you need. I know a great place here that sells satay…”

 

The End

 

Glossary:

Kueh -- Southeast asian cakes. Mostly sweet rather than savoury.
Satay -- Sticks of meat grilled over a charcoal grilled accompanied by peanut sauce and cakes of rice
Custard bun -- a white soft bun (bao) with a custard centre
MRT -- Mass Rapid Transit. The island's public train transportation system.

 

References:

Fort Siloso: http://www.fortsiloso.com/index.htm

Sentosa Island: http://www.sentosa.com.sg/useful_info/getting_to.html

Singaporean cakes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kueh

Pistols for women: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3197/is_6_47/ai_88108992

The Raffles Hotel: http://www.raffleshotel.com/home.php

Tags: asia fic, fic, john sheppard
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That was a lot of fun! I liked seeing John on his own, and I'm amused (probably too muchso) by "The Bag Lady." And my favorite line:

“In a skirt too. Remind me never to get on your bad side…”

Good fic! :D
Thanks La...
I enjoyed writing it too.
Sweet! I may be biased, but I love this bit...Thanks to Dr Z… he was well equipped in other ways. His ring doubled as a poison dart gun and his mobile phone had a deafening ring that could disorientate an opponent temporarily... and you did so much research. I'm always short on detail in my fics. :D
I think I get a bit bogged down by details sometimes... But I thought I should follow on from "established" Spygate "canon". ;)
I grew up in Singapore so I know the place pretty well.
Great story. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Ada... Nice to see you here. Thanks for leaving a comment.
"Annie, get your gun...."

That one made me laugh. :)

Great story.
Lol, this reads like the Spies Tourist Guide to Singapore. :p

Hehehe, I went to Sentosa when I visited Singapore last, didn't get to go up the Merlion though. And I actually understood some of the Mandarin without a dictionary or my sister. Yay me!! Ah Firefly, I knew you'd come in handy!

Lol, I think you might know Singapore better than I do, I'm a terrible native. Besides the Merlion and Sentosa, the only thing I got was the kueh and only cause my mum makes them.

And as much as I love Shep/Weir, it's nice to see Shep as the focus for a Spygate fic. Hehehe, and how when he first meets Annie, he's running though his mental little black book. Lol.

I think I've been watching too many bad spy movies, cause I kept expecting that Annie was the bad guy after all and the old lady was the real contact.

And a Hawaiian shirt?! Lol, the mind boggles at this.
"I think I've been watching too many bad spy movies, cause I kept expecting that Annie was the bad guy after all and the old lady was the real contact."

You know, I had the idea that some people might think that but I thought it was too obvious...
Well, I had thought about putting Weir in this but writing 2 people is more difficult than writing 1 and I guess I'm still a little more Sheppard inclined. Sheesh... and I still went over 3 and a half thousand words.

If you ask me, I think Sheppard would look great in anything... even a Hawaiian shirt.