Agent K wriggled and squirmed her way along the ventilation duct. She had almost gotten stuck at that last corner, but had managed to just barely slide through. Were they making these ducts smaller these days? (Next year, she vowed silently, she was NOT going to eat the entire box of Somoas in one sitting.) At least she was almost there. This was the last bend, then she’d finally be at her goal: the planning room in the alien headquarters.
The Agency had intercepted a communication between the aliens and a mole within the Agency. There was no indication as to who the mole in sheep’s clothing was, but it was obvious that he or she had been in close contact with the aliens for some time. Now that the analysts at the Agency knew what to look for, they had discovered a number of messages detailing Agent movements in the last few months. This latest message had hinted at some big plan, scheduled to go down in a couple of weeks. The Agency had to find out what that plan was, and so Agent K was assigned the task of burglarizing the alien headquarters. She just wished that the aliens would dust their ductwork occasionally.
Agent K stifled another sneeze and peered out of a duct grill into an office. She consulted the miniature map that she had knitted into her black fingerless gloves, made especially for this occasion. Yes, she was in the right place. A large alien hunched slug-like over the desk, poring over some sort of paperwork. The desk chair had been made for humans, and the alien perched uncomfortably on it, trying to keep the chair from sliding out from under him (it?). Agent K held her breath and hunkered down to wait for him (it?) to leave.
Finally, just when Agent K thought she would explode with sneezes, the alien sighed, folded up the paper, locked it in the desk drawer, then left the room. Now was Agent K’s chance!
She carefully used a pocket-sized laser cutter to cut through the duct grill. There was a security camera just to the right of the duct. She reached into her pocket and got out one of the Agency’s newest inventions. It was simplicity itself! A square of garter stitch knitting, in acrylic, that could be draped over security cameras. A heat source (like a laser cutter on low power) would make the acrylic melt to the lens of the camera, impairing the vision of anyone trying to observe the room. Agent K smiled in satisfaction as the black acrylic melted and clung to the camera.
Agent K slid almost gracefully out of the duct (she never quite managed to stick those landings). She picked herself up off the floor and hoped that no one had heard the thud. She looked down in dismay at her previously all-black, chic burglaring outfit. It was now covered in a thick layer of dust, making it a not-quite-as-chic mottled grey. The standard Agency sneaky spy outfit was perfect for operations like this. The outfit consisted of a pair of black cargo pants with lots of pockets for gear, black Chuck Taylors, black handknit socks, a black t-shirt, a black handknit turtleneck pullover, and a black handknit balaclava. The mission-specific handknit fingerless gloves were Agent K’s own invention and could be customized depending on the mission objectives.
Agent K dusted herself off as best she could, but it didn’t make much difference to her appearance. Oh, well, she’d just get dusty again on her way out. She decided she’d better get down to business – that alien could return at any moment. She tip-toed over to the desk, and knelt down to get a good look at the lock. She nodded to herself in satisfaction. The lock was a standard kind for this kind of desk, and she’d been trained to pick the more common types of locks. She pulled a lace-blocking wire out of a special compartment in her cargo pants. (The geeks at the Agency had laughed at her, saying she would be poked constantly by the wire. She had been poked, in some very awkward spots, but at least she had the tool when she needed it!)
The lace-blocking wire slid easily into the lock, and Agent K wiggled it around a bit, searching for the tumblers. AH! There it was. The lock clicked and the Agent K slid the drawer open. She pulled out the papers and spread them out on the desk, intending to photograph them and replace them. But then she read them, and her heart leapt into her mouth.
“No,” she whispered in disbelief. It was too horrible to contemplate.
The plan was to release moths. At the Agency. Where all the wool was.
The mole was to carry the moths into the strategic stash reserve in the subterranean vaults beneath the Agency. If the plan succeeded, it would take years, maybe decades, for the Agency to recover from the damage.
Agent K gritted her teeth and frantically began taking photos. This could not happen, not on her watch. Unfortunately the papers did not use the name of the mole, just referring to “our inside human.” Well, that would have to wait until another day. The threat to the Agency must be dealt with. There were preparations to be made and mothballs to buy. She wondered how low the temperature in the vault could be set to. Surely low enough to kill moths!
Agent K finished snapping her photos, straightened the papers, and returned them to the desk. She relocked the desk and started back to toward the duct. Just as she took a step towards the duct, she heard movement outside the door. She froze for just an instant, then remembered that her dusty clothing wouldn’t camouflage her and leapt for the duct.
The alien shuffled and squelched into the room, not noticing the toe of a Chuck Taylor sneaker disappearing into the duct work. As he sat precariously back down on the poorly-sized desk chair, the duct grill was gently and silently replaced.
Agent K wriggled and squirmed back through the duct towards the outside access panel through which she had entered. She just prayed she would be in time to thwart the alien plot. The Agency would not be any closer to finding the mole, but at least the wool would be safe. And that was what mattered.