Oubliette: “Recruit”

Note: This is part of an experimental creative writing exercise. If you want to read more or start from beginning. You go to the Oubliette page. Please note the earlier stories are crude. 🙂

The color green can have many meanings both good and bad. It can have a positive meaning such as life, renewal, and nature. On the other hand, its meaning can be negative such as envy, greed, and illness. It is the color that The General chose to use for files on new and potential recruits of Oubliette; in this case it means “greenhorn.”

When Mara saw the green folder on her desk a couple of days ago, she was not surprised. It was only a matter of time before she would be assigned a new partner. Having lost her partner four months ago, it was a matter of when it was going to happen. Agency policy was field agents work in pairs. The dangers of the job made it necessary. Still, solo was the way that Mara preferred to operate. It was so much easier for her to get things done. She was secretly thankful of the shortage of field agent recruits.

When she read through the file of this new guy, Owen Holt, she could not help but to wonder what The General was thinking. This guy was a complete opposite of her. He grew up in a privileged world of white picket fences where the town drunk was the biggest threat to everybody’s safety. He attended a military academy and served as an officer in the Army in Iraq. She mused that the only thing that was missing from this fairy tale was a wife, 2.5 kids, and a dog.

Objectively speaking, she felt that he was very well qualified to be a field agent. He was a key figure in taking down the warlord Abdulrasheed in Iraq. She allowed herself to be impressed by that. On the other hand, there is no training that could prepare one for the duties of a field agent in Oubliette.

When Mara arrived in her office in the morning, she tossed the green folder on her desk. It landed with a soft thump. She sighed as she sat down and stared at the folder a bit. She took the receiver of her desk phone, dialed a number on its charcoal grey buttons, and waited for a voice.

“Hello, Orville West”

“Good morning General. This is Officer Rodriguez at the DC facility.”

“Hello Officer, I image this call is about that folder I sent you? What do you think?”

“Yes sir. I don’t mean any disrespect but I don’t understand why he would be assigned to be my partner.”

“I will be honest with you, Mara. The main reason is that you needed a new partner. He was available and being in the DC area made it convenient. I’ll also add that The Senator wants this guy on our side.”

“Did The Senator consider who he would be paired with?” In the background, she heard him chuckled under his breath. She continued, “Looking at his background, I have concerns that he and I will be able to work well together.”

The General spoke. “Officer, after all of these years working with you, I know you are a professional.  I get the impression that he is one as well. He is very by the book and detail oriented. I am sure you two will work out the differences. Remember what you thought about Thompson when you two first met?”

Mara looked across her desk and at the empty desk in front of her where Thompson used to sit. She knew the General was right, they did not exactly get along when they first started working together. “That is the problem, sir. I don’t operate by any book and I have my ways of doing things. There is another thing, I don’t understand why he is being transferred. Destroying evidence? Unauthorized investigation? This does not fit his profile.”

“I remember a recruit that came to us under similar circumstances. The Senator and I think that it was a setup and he became a convenient scapegoat with his amnesia. The Director thinks that he might have an agenda that overlaps with one of ours. I am skeptical about it but we’ll have to see.”

“I see, that makes sense. Can I at least test him to see how he would perform? Sort of a trial by fire scenario?”

“I think that would be good idea, Officer. Do you have something in mind?”

“Well… I’ve been needing to follow-up on the Wellington farm case.”

“Interesting choice… If I remember correctly, You gave that a very high credibility rating on your initial assessment didn’t you?”

“Yes sir. I also mentioned that I saw some of the phenomenon. The way I see it, if he works out on this case, he would definitely be a keeper.”

The General audibly chuckled. “Officer, that isn’t a fire. That is a blast furnace. Go ahead. Let’s see what kind of mettle our agent has.”


Owen arrived at the field office earlier that he expected. With the imminent flooding of DC with the lowbrow supporters of Ronald Bouffon in a couple of days, he expected that it would take longer to get around DC than normal. As a result of this punctuality, he had to resign himself to spending more time in the waiting room.  Curiously, Owen did not even know there was a waiting room. He usually used the back entrance and went straight to his desk.

The local news was on the television and Owen relaxed and listened; he did not have anything better to do.

“Police are still searching for two vigilantes believed to have caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage and nearly injuring or killing bystanders. The suspects have been identified as Dark Liberty and Anarchist. Both are believed to be advanced humans.”

The scene on the television changed to an interview with a man identified as Sergeant Robinson. The scene was at night and the dark alley behind him was alternating between flashes of blue and red. “Acting on a tip, we had one of the suspects, Anarchist, cornered in an abandoned building… In the confusion, he was able to escape before the AHRU arrived… Next thing we knew, he stole one of our cars and was pursued by Dark Liberty.”

The segment ended with a statement from the mayor of DC. “The City of Washington DC are calling on the vigilantes Anarchist and Dark Liberty to end their feud and turn themselves in. This is also notice to other vigilantes DC will not tolerate such reckless behavior in our city.”

“Agent Holt, the Assistant Director is on his way.”

Owen had nodded off and almost jumped at the voice of the receptionist. He stood up and walked over to the coffee machine. He grabbed one of the multicolored paper cups and filled it with the black excuse of coffee found in this waiting room. Although it was not Thrace’s coffee, it would do the job.

Assistant Director Stone entered the room and was holding a large envelope. Stone mechanically handed the envelope to Owen. “I was told to give this to you personally.”

Owen looked at the envelope. It was constructed with a manila paper that was heavier than the typical manila envelope. The only writing on it was “For Owen Holt’s eyes only. Highly confidential material enclosed.”

“Who is it from?”

“Damned if I know. The courier would not tell me anything. All that I know it is for your transfer.”

Assistant Director Stone offered his hand. “Hey, I am sorry that it ended this way. You were a great agent and it was an honor to work with you.”

Owen shook his hand. As he headed towards the door, he answered, “sure.”


Owen decided to wait until he go home to open the envelope. When he entered his apartment, he sat down and looked at the envelope. He pulled the tab to open the envelope and pulled out a sheet of paper. He looked at the paper and cursed under his breath. “We will contact you.”

The letterhead was unusual. The logo consisted of a key shaped keyhole with an eye peering through it. The wording read “Department of Forgotten Affairs” and “Oubliette.” Owen just sat there for a moment thinking this had to have been some sort of sick joke.

Out of nowhere, Owen’s cell phone rang. He pulled it from his pocket and answered, “Owen Holt”

A woman’s voice spoke back, “Hello Agent Holt. I am Officer Xiomara Rodriguez and I am with the Department of Forgotten Affairs or as we usually say, Oubliette. On behalf of The General and Director, I would like to welcome you to our agency.”

“I’m sorry… I don’t understand. Who are you?”

“I am Officer Rodriguez with Oubliette. You have received the letter haven’t you?”

“Yes, I did. I’m holding it now. Who’s this General and Director? Why have I never heard of this Oubliette?”

 

“Yes, I know you have many questions. I can’t go into much detail over an unsecured network. We do have a lot to discuss and to go over in your orientation but this needs to be done in person at a secure facility. Before I forget, you are still operating under the same rules for classified information as the CIA. The existence of Oubliette is classified and you are to not talk about it with anyone. With the inauguration, I’m not going to be available tomorrow or Friday. Would the morning of Monday or Tuesday work for you?”

“Monday would be great.”

“Great. I will see you on Monday 9:00 at our facility. Have a good weekend Agent.”

Mara quickly hung up before Owen could ask where the facility was located. He navigated to the recent calls on his phone but there was no identification and the number was clearly fake. Hoping that he might have missed it on the letter, he examined it but his question remained unanswered. He looked in the envelope and concluded there wasn’t anything in there either.

Owen thought for a bit and held the letter up to the light. There was a watermark, “Official Oubliette Correspondence / Dispose by Incineration.” Suddenly, it dawned on him; the envelope did feel heavier than it should have been. He took the envelope and examined it closely. He noticed something and walked into the kitchen. With a sharp knife, he carefully made an incision on the back of the envelope revealing a hidden pocket.

From the pocket, Owen pulled a small white card. There was an address written on the card. Owen wondered to himself whether or not he somehow had gone back to elementary school. After thinking for several minutes, he took his cellphone and tried in vain to find out more about this mysterious organization and Officer Rodriguez.

 

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