#TeamSteamPunk - Part Three: The Wars at Home - @ashiqtnt

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He did not answer right away. He wrote for another fifteen minutes while Red was served her drink and a bowl of chips. She was half way through the chips and on her second drink when he put his pen down and looked at her. She was looking at him crossly. Jack had a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

"Sometimes I read," he said.


"You asked me if I did do anything else."

Red sighed exasperated, placed her drink on the table and put her head in her hands. Jack could not see her face but she was smiling. If there was anyone who could put her in her place, it was him. She looked up to see him smiling at her.

"Okay, Sir Jack. I yield. What mission dost thou have for me?"

Jack laughed at this for a moment and then suddenly turned serious. He let out a deep breath, Red saw the worry lines form on his face as he tried to calm himself by running a hand through his salt and pepper hair.

He pulled out a book from under a small pile on his table and placed it in front of Red. She turned it around with her free hand and looked at the cover. FRAY was written on top and it depicted a girl fighting some monster with the words "The Thrilling Conclusion!" in a catchy font. Turning the pages she made out some vague storyline and pictures. She put it back on the table, shrugged and raised an eyebrow at Jack.

"What you just leafed through was actually an intelligence report from an undercover agent. A friend of a friend acquired it and passed it on to me. Apparently a former agent had a sister jailed behind enemy lines; they used her to spy on a colonel. This was her final report."

"This picture book is an intelligence report?"

"Yes. Though it doesn't look like much, it is very clever. Anyway, our friends in the Agency seem to think that her missions were a complete failure, given that it did not have any major impact on the war. But I've been able to piece together three bits of additional information from this rather hurriedly done book and it would show that her mission wasn't a complete failure as initially believed. One, Gattacus is building dragons that can fly. Now, I do not know whether this is literal or figurative for some type of technology. Two, there is a traitor in our midst. And, three, the girl knew that she had been compromised by this traitor but decided to act through to protect her collaborator."

Red had listened attentively and sat back in her chair when Jack did so. Red saw the corner of a pack of cigarettes peeking out from under a book on the table. She pulled it out.

"Ecrivain's Specials. I thought you had quit," she said.

"Some occasions call for it."

She retrieved one cigarette, lit it with his lighter and took a long pull.

"So where do I come in?" she asked.

"We have identified this mole, he is a Major Brown in his majesty's thirsty seventh royal infantry battalion. Though not occupying a very high position in the military, he is seen as influential as he has the ears of a quite a lot of his superiors. We believe Brown was responsible for the sabotage and explosions at the Number eighteen aircraft facility in London, which means he has also acquired the plans for our new long range aerial fighters that were being developed there. Getting to him is tricky as we can't prove any of this and he has friends in high places. I am pretty sure that he may have passed the plans to someone. You need to find out who he passed it on to and get it back if possible."

"And Brown?"

"Eliminate him. Once you get the information from him, he is of no further use."

"That's easier said than done. I'm pretty sure that he has got people watching him, protecting him. No to mention, he is still an officer in his majesty's army. That would mean at least a few soldiers around him all the time."

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