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VIII- World’s Best Plan
White House security wasn’t what it used to be or maybe it was just that Vincent Harris was getting better at his job. It’d been a while since he’d snuck into the President’s home and he swore it wasn’t this easy last time.
If it were daytime he would have just went in as part of the tour and snuck away to wait for the President in the Oval Office. Being as it was the dead of night, Harris came up with a different plan.
It wasn’t the kind of plan that was going to win the award for “World’s Best Plan”, but what it lacked in cleverness and grace it more than made up for in terms of sheer effectiveness and simplicity.
Harris spent most of the past decade or so learning how to kill people and then killing people, but that was only one side to his training. Getting into and out of places unseen and unnoticed were skills just as important to someone in his line of work. Being unnoticed was far more difficult than just not being seen. There are many ways to know if someone is around and only one of them relies on sight. Bio-electrical sensors, infrared body heat imagers, microphones, scales, and scent detectors could betray a human’s presence without resorting to seeing them.
Guards weren’t a problem, they hardly ever posed more than an annoyance to him. The biggest difficulty was deciding whether to kill them or put them to sleep. At first, Harris struggled with those options, but now he had a system. Even number days he put guards to sleep, odd-numbered ones he’d scramble their brains. The only exception was that he never killed soldiers or agents working for the United States.
He didn’t always sneak into the White House, he’d been there plenty of times for legitimate reasons and used the door like everyone else for those times. This time was different though, this was the first time he broke into the White House specifically to commit treason.
It didn’t take much for him to get inside the building. Defenses can only be built against known threats. The Ruiner’s arrival was impossible to plan for, the technology that would be necessary to detect his presence hadn’t been invented yet and wouldn’t be for some time. The impossible was increasingly possible for Vincent Harris. Sneaking into highly secure government buildings was about as exciting as laundry day. The door to the Oval Office was guarded by two Secret Service Agents. Harris started towards them from the end of the hall like they weren’t even there. He wasn’t thinking- not in words. He was picturing himself opening the door to the Oval Office and walking through it unnoticed. And that’s just what he did, like some kind of modern day Lamont Cranston.
This current President was the third Harris had the pleasure of serving, but those aren’t the words he would have used. Tennis and volley balls got served. Presidents were like clients, just people who made work for other people.
This President had a habit of staying up too late watching TV and dicking around on his phone instead of tending to his sworn duties. He was also a bit of a weirdo; he’d promised to protect the United States from aliens by building a wall in the sky. People went for it.
It was around 11 p.m. and Harris quietly shut the door behind him and noticed the office was empty. He sat down and waited, still as a shadow. He waited. He waited some more. By the time he got sick of waiting it was closer to midnight.
He told 34 that he should be back before 12:30 and that if he wasn’t back by 1:30 a.m. that meant something went horribly wrong and she was on her own.
While he waited for the President he fished the USB drive from his shoe and printed a handful of photos.
Around 12:07 a.m. the slightly orange and misshapen man who had somehow become the President entered his office and turned the light on only to find the Ruiner sitting at his desk. Harris put a finger to his lips and pointed to a chair in front of the desk.
The President knew about Project Ruiner and had met Harris a few times prior to this, always during the daytime and surrounded by generals and other military types.
“What the hell are you doing here?” the president demanded. His tone of vice tried to convey the authority of his office and the confidence of one who holds it. It didn’t sound that way. The President sounded afraid and more than a little surprised.
“Haven’t you heard?” the Ruiner answered.
“That my vacation got ruined.”
“Jesus, you can’t just come sneaking into my office because your vacation request was denied.”
“You take so many vacations, I thought you’d be more sympathetic.”
A stern but impotent look passed over the President’s face. Harris had him over a barrel and he knew it.
“Kole and Terbim had a miscommunication that resulted in my vacation plans getting ruined. Things got worse from there and as a result of gross incompetence, combined with the lackluster performance of MS Office, I was ordered to kill a U.S. agent by my boss and then her boss tried to kill us both. Haven’t you heard about any of this?”
“No, no I haven’t. I haven’t checked my emails in a while. Who are Kole and Terbim?”
“See? Outlook sucks. Look, nevermind. We’re going to do this the easy way. You know who I am?” Harris sighed inside a little bit.
“Yes, you’re the Runier. An assassin with near mystical abilities. You work for me,” while pointing his thumb at himself.
Harris shook his head, the arrogance of this particular president was too much “It’s a 1099 thing. I don’t even get bennies.”
“Take a look at these,” he said as he handed the photos he printed out to the President.
“They look like Russian whores to you too? There’s just something about Russian whores that make them stand out as both Russian and whores.”
The President was silent. He looked through all the pictures. Eyes widening, breath constricting. He was having trouble thinking.
“See the blonde in the red, the one peeing on you? Her dick’s bigger than yours. Bet there are lots of people who would love to see these. Before you go freaking out on me, let’s try being reasonable. I’m sure you’re familiar with how blackmail works? ”
The president nodded as to indicate he did indeed know the mechanics of blackmail.
“Good. Here’s the deal. My boss is an ass who can’t send an email. The Fourth Branch is being run by a crazy person and I want you to fire both of them. Also, I want my vacation.”
“Who’ll run Project Ruiner if I fire whoever it is that’s running it now?”
“Fourth Branch Agent 34. She’s not an idiot, so she should be great.”
“I see. Anything else?”
“Yeah, do your fucking job and call Kole right now. Tell him to knock it off with the following me around. We took a train from Newark today and the thing was crawling with Fourth Branch Agents. Same thing with the hotel we’re staying at.”
“What about your vacation?”
“It was only supposed to be two weeks, but I’m thinking I should get a month from now on.”
“I thought you might think so. My vacation starts immediately, by the way. Agent 34 starts her new job in the morning.”
“You don’t think she’d want a few days to recover from all this first?”
“That’s not a bad idea, I knew you could be smarter than you looked if you really tried. She can have the month off too- with pay of course.”
“Why are you committing treason and blackmail over a vacation?”
“It’s a shame you can’t see there’s more going on here. I’m keeping the pictures in case we have to have another talk like this.”
Before the President could muster a reply, Harris was out the window. By the time the President got to the window, Harris was halfway back to the hotel. By the time Harris reached the hotel, the President was on the phone, doing as he’d been told.
When Harris returned to the hotel room he found Agent 34 asleep on the couch. He put her on the bed and left her there. He would have gathered up his things and left, but he didn’t have any, so he just left.
“See you at work,” he muttered while slipping out the door.
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