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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
JenEllen BS: Once a Mudcat, always a ? (Story thread) (151* d) RE: BS: Once a Mudcat, always a ? (Story thread) 03 Apr 07

Although he'd never admit it out loud, Agent Rex Edgewater was continually surprised at what the government chose to hide from its ordinary citizens.

When he had been recruited for special cases early in his career, his roommate had celebrated by renting every X-Files DVD he could get his hands on and subsequently quizzing Rex on the details of alien life forms and all sorts of "The Truth is Out There" nonsense. Rex had played along good-naturedly, knowing full well he'd never come across anything worth writing FOX about. He did the job, and he kept his mouth shut. That was what the agency prized above all things.

That, and Rex's uncanny ability to connect the dots.

As he sat that night in his dark office, surrounded by teetering files that dated back well before World War II, dots began to form before his eyes. Unbelievable dots that made him doubt the sanity of his employer. A circus as the foremost training ground for the greatest spies of the 20th century? Where was the logic?

The data had been collected over the years in great detail. The old Frenchman worked both sides of the line for a while during the war, making deals with both the Germans and Russians to save his own hide, but in doing so found he had great aptitude. This scared Rex Edgewater to his very soul. How many demons in this world were presented with something so heinous only to find they were good at it, good enough to perfect it to art? Whatever number that was, add one more.

The Frenchman teamed up after the war with a Portuguese family with mafia ties and had been tailed and photographed stealing everything from state secrets to bio-weapons, jewelry to statuary, and in one strange case--a prized orchid. They were unstoppable and apparently had no conscience. After reading notes of suspected jewel thievery and the supposed case of the lion-tamer's filling the carcasses of dead rabbits with the jewels and feeding them to his charges to pass (haha) through customs, Rex stopped reading and put his hands to his eyes. He needed a drink, badly.

As he stood to grab his coat, he knocked over a pile of files and sent them sliding across his desk. A photograph skittered out of the top file and Rex caught it before it flew to the floor. The picture was grainy, and taken from some distance, but showed a little girl of four or five, walking hand in hand with a man that Rex knew to be Ivan Turgenev. The bloodthirsty bastard was probably taking the little girl off to throw her in a pot of stew. When Rex went to put the photo back into the file he saw another photo, this time in much better resolution, of the girl. She was probably ten now, grinning like a goon and hanging upside down from the bars of the tiger cage. The tiger looked nonplussed, the girl ecstatic.

Rex chuckled at the sight and unconsciously sat back in his chair, his drink momentarily forgotten while the life of the Frenchman's granddaughter unfolded in front of him. The great cities of Europe seemed to be the Circus' playground. The photos and documents showed her sightseeing --and probably planning out escape routes-- with Ivan Turgenev, Li Su, and a man that Rex determined to be her uncles; Joam, Lupo, and Nuno Fechamento. There was also a great deal of documentation about a tussle between a Canadian, Malcolm Dundee, and the family. Rex shuddered to think he might have to work with the RCMP on this one. It was never as much fun as one might imagine.

The last, and most recent photograph was the one that burned itself into Agent Edgewater's brain. It was taken in the woods just outside a known nudist camp and folkie watering hole and showed her running through the trees. She had headphones on and was sweat-soaked. Concentration shaded her eyes and Agent Edgewater found her beautiful. He brought himself to heel by remembering that it must have been taken just before Agent Scrump was killed.

The investigation was his now. He stood quickly and began to gather everything he thought he might need. He would take the first flight west and try to reach the camp before dawn.

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