The Man from AUNTI

The Man from AUNTI by David Macfie


Inside the organization, James Blind was known as the man from AUNTI – the Allied Unilateral Nuclear Treaty Inspectorate. He was a secret agent in their employ and his job was to ensure that the Inspectorate knew everything it needed to know, to protect the Treaty and keep it in place and functioning correctly. He was also empowered to use whatever resources and force he needed to enforce the Treaty. AUNTI was an off-the-record, for-your-eyes-only department of the British Secret Service, but it was sanctioned by the NATO members of the Allies, who were its signatories.

On this day, Blind was on his way to a new briefing by “P”, the head of AUNTI. “P” was a career diplomat, who had worked in the Secret Service for years. He hid behind the slightly pompous façade of a caricature stage-farce, buffoon British politician. Blind knew that this caricature disguised a mind that was as sharp as a razor, and the memory of an elephant. “P” was always several steps ahead of everybody else.

Very quickly, Blind was briefed, supplied with some tools of his trade, and on a plane. He was heading for a country, the name of which was classified. He was to meet an informer, who had found out that the leader of this country had authorized secret underground nuclear testing. Blind’s mission was to debrief the informant and then take whatever action was necessary to defuse the situation. He was to be in and out as soon as possible.

Blind landed and was met, at the airport, by the informant, who was acting as a taxi driver. In the car the debriefing was rapid and comprehensive. It was all over by the time the roundabout route to his hotel had been completed. Blind paid his fare, including a generous tip, and the only public exchange of words was the effusive ‘thank-you’s’ from the driver. Blind checked in, and rushed to his room, where he prepared for the next part of his mission. The informant had confirmed that the country’s leader and the commander of the armed forces were the two “hawks” in the government. They were driving the nuclear program. The others in power were far more amenable to the terms of the Treaty. The informant had confirmed the current locations of the two and had outlined the security arrangements surrounding each. He had stressed the urgency because the two were only staying at these places for one more night.

Blind checked everything, then checked again and again. He couldn’t leave anything to chance. Then he settled down to wait.

Just before it got dark he collected his luggage and checked out, telling the hotel that his client had arranged for him to stay at their guest apartment. Then he moved quickly to a ‘safe house’ that the informant had told him about. There he changed into a black outfit that covered his whole body, leaving only the eyes, mouth and base of the nose open. Those parts were concealed by black make-up. Blind also changed his eye color with custom made contact lenses. His outfit had belts and pockets to carry his tools. Once it was fully dark and late enough for most people to be off the streets, Blind left by the back door and collected the bicycle that had been hidden there. He had programmed the GPS coordinates of his two targets into his dimmed watch, and set it to take him by the most deserted routes. He activated the first route and followed it swiftly.

When he arrived he hid the bike and crept around the perimeter. Three meter high walls, with an eight strand electric fence on top, was as expected. The only surprise was that there was only one exit, through the main gate. From his informant’s description he selected the quietest and darkest part of the wall. Suction pads on knees and hands made short work of the climb. He hung at the top and clipped one meter long insulated cables to each of the live wires, making the clips about sixty centimeters apart. Then he cut the wires inside the clips. This left him a nice passage over the wall, with no one any the wiser. The descent was a mirror of the climb. He had studied the routine of the guards, and timed his entry between their cycles past this place. So he was crouched next to the building at the darkest point, before the guards crossed in front of him again.

He knew the correct bedroom, but did the climb to the roof here, and was on the roof before the guards came past again. Now he was concealed from the ground and quickly scuttled over to the right place. He peeped over and noticed two things immediately. The room was dark and the window was open. “Pretty stupid,” he thought. He put earphones in, and dropped a sensitive microphone down in front of the window. Then he listened. He, finally, heard the clear sounds of a sleeping adult. He took the chance and swung, silently, in the window and crossed to the bed. Sure enough it was the commander of the armed forces. The injection, with a very thin hypodermic needle, was easily and rapidly accomplished. The commander felt nothing and never would again. The fast acting toxin would stop his heart in seconds and leave no trace. Blind retraced his steps, carefully. It wouldn’t do to get caught now.

Soon, he was on his bike and pedaling to the next target. He couldn’t believe his luck. The layout was an almost exact replica of the previous target. “It’s as if they were trying to make it easy for me,” he thought. “I’ve had a practice run, now for the real thing.” Everything was the same until he was over the window. The light was on and the leader was pacing. Blind waited, patiently. An hour and a half later, the light went out and a further twenty minutes passed before the sounds of sleep came through the microphone. Blind was in, out and away, in no time. He crossed the city to the safe house again and returned the bike to its place. He spent the rest of the night, uncomfortable and cold, on a camp bed with a thin mattress and no blanket. The following morning he cleaned himself up, dressed in his business suit and caught a taxi from outside his hotel.

Secure on the plane, he opened the complimentary newspaper and smiled at the headline.

DOUBLE TRADGEDY, it shouted. The story was about how the leader and the commander had both died of heart attacks during the night.