Pecksley, Sucklow & Miss Dank: CIA

"Sicut Corvus Volat"
The CIA could not function without those underappreciated veterans who know their way around all the forms. It is also helpful to have someone who remembers where all the bodies are buried. The CIA generates quite a few each month.

I am speaking of the secretaries.

Mission Controller Pecksley bears responsibility for each of Red's 28-day crow-borne missions. He must rely on his assistant, Tech-23 (later "Sucklow") to interpret a few hundred biological markers that comprise his field agent's telemetry feed.

(This is not hard science fiction, so just roll with it. I'm a lawyer. I don't know much science, and still less about the CIA, but no one knows more about American Hell.)

Pecksley cannot, however, do anything with Sucklow's information. There is no way of communicating with his agent in the field. He is a helpless bystander trying to divine his own fate from the Delphic mutterings of his teletech. The best he can do is remember to hold onto his tail so it does not betray his nervousness. It's just another day in American Hell, if American Hell had days. Or nights.

Here, Sucklow begins his very first mission as so-called "Deputy Controller with operational authority in the field." It is off the books, domestic, and therefore, illegal, and he has no training for this sort of thing. The agent he is supposedly supervising has been... let's say "unpredictable." He has just been given his name. It will look nice on his government-issue grave marker if he fails. 

It is only through the sure assistance of Miss Dank that his mission begins at all. When their first GSA sedan won't start, it is Miss Dank to the rescue. From the sequel to Judging Angels, the untitled Book 2 in the Rubricatae Chronicles. (Drop by and read the unbroken string of five-star reviews.)

Two hours later, Miss Dank arrived with a cigarette dangling from the corner of her mouth. She had managed to preserve an impressive length of ash. She had a stack of forms and a handful of black ink pens marked “U.S. Government.” 
She would slide a form across the table, point, and say either “initial,” or “signature.” Even as she retrieved a signed form with her left hand, she was sliding another across the table with her right. When an ink pen failed, she would snatch it from his hand and hurl it against the wall while offering a new one with the other hand. 
Her moves were like a clockwork fortuneteller in an arcade smoking a magical cigarette with ash that never dropped.
“What are all these forms I’m signing, Miss Dank?” 
“Initial,” she replied. 
As he looked down at her finger, sweat trickled into his eye. He reached for his pocket patch. 
“No, Dr. Sucklow. Pocket handkerchief.”

Allow me to take a moment to salute all the knowledgeable and hardworking secretaries. Even Hell can't operate without them.

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