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.
“Welcome Mr Smith. It’s been a while. She me feng ba nin chui lai?” (What wind brings you?)
“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
“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
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)
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,
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. John… you’re letting that female get to you.
“Yes, Mr Smith… one arrived for you, about ten minutes after you checked in. I’ll go get it.”
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
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
“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.”
“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.
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
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, 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.”
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
“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…”
“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
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.”
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.
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.”
“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…”
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.
Kueh -- Southeast asian cakes. Mostly sweet rather than savoury.
Singaporean cakes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kueh
Pistols for women: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/m
The Raffles Hotel: http://www.raffleshotel.com/home.php