This is a short story about a counter intelligence operative in the service of a fictional South African government. Events may be altered to suit the narrative of the story. His adventures will begin anon, but I thought we should meet him 1st and set the tone… so here we go. – AQ
It was stuffy in The Minister’s mahogany waiting room. The large doors where always closed. There were no windows in sight and though one could understand the security precautions being taken, the part one couldn’t understand was why the air-conditioning was never turned on. As a result, the room had the lingering smell of leather, lavender and woman’s perfume.
The young man seated on the long burgundy leather couch uncrossed his legs and then crossed them again. A thin layer of sweat sat on his brow and the collar of the black polo neck he was wearing seemed quite constricting. But he seemed nonchalant. He coolly wiped his brow with a handkerchief before looking at his watc, the time was 19h15. He had been waiting for 30 minutes for Minister Zulu now.
He glanced at the large oak double doors to The Ministers office and then looked at the woman sitting opposite him. Her expression was that of focus. Her thinly braided hair was tied in a pony tail and her horn rimmed glasses sat comfortably on the bridge of her nose, as she busied herself typing something of import. She wore a white silk blouse that strained to contain her ample bosom and a tight black skirt that was accented by her toned caramel legs.
Though she seemed to have a formidable poker face, she pouted and bit her lip occasionally as she navigated her way through her work.
Zinzile Khumalo, The Minister’s secretary, was perhaps the most beautiful woman in the entire building. According to the whispers in the department, she was also the coldest. In fact it would not be too far of a stretch to label her as a bitch… until one took into account the gravity of her duty as gatekeeper of the Department Of State Security that is.
She was not inclined to suffer fools or flattery. Many a self important suit had found themselves cut down to the size of a bonsai as she put them firmly in their place before continuing to type calmly and stoically while they sat and waited to be attended by the Minister Of State Security.
The young man looked at his watch again, 35 minutes. He was of course in no rush, but the fact that he had been told to come to The Minister’s office at 18h45, only to be still waiting to be attended… was a little annoying. So he stood up, buttoned the top 2 buttons on his blazer & walked towards the desk of the intimidating beauty across the room.
His walk was that of a confident man. A powerful and agile man. At 5 foot 9 he was not tall, but he was also not short. He was quite good looking and well groomed, though not carefully so. Being a man trained to dance with death, he was perhaps more of a rugged character than his dark navy suit belied.
As he reached her desk he sat down on a corner and smiled down at the rather busy looking woman. As abrupt as his action was, Zinzi didn’t flinch. In fact, she didn’t even look up at him until she had completed typing the sentence she had begun. Once she had finished typing she sat back, crossed her arms and looked up at him over her spectacles, her irritation more obvious than visible.
“Yes?” she inquired.
“Yes?” smiled the suave young gentleman in reply “I don’t recall asking anything. But if your answer is yes, then perhaps we could go and get something to eat? I don’t think The Minister will be coming out any time soon.”
Zinzile didn’t smile back. She looked down at the spot where he was sitting then back up at his face. The two stared at each other. Eventually she spoke up.
“Can you get off my desk please?” “Why?” asked the young man with a smile. “Because my desk is not a chair. Now, if you could kindly take your seat, I’m sure the minister will be with you soon Captain Biko…”
Apparently ignoring this request, the young man in the navy suit continued “But it has been 30 minutes that I have been waiting and the Minister hasn’t come out yet. Is he in another meeting?” “Yes.” responded the young woman politely. “Can I ask with whom?” “No.” was her curt response. “Also,” she continued “I must insist that you get off my table…”
John got up and put his hands up to show he meant no harm. He then walked over to one of the portraits hanging on the wall. The portrait was of Jimmy Kruger, former Minister Of Justice and infamous politician.
“A lot happened under his watch. Do you know who his secretary was?” he asked. Zinzile didn’t respond. He looked over to see that she was watching him intently. As defensive as her cross armed & cross legged posture was, he could sense that she was beginning to crack under his charm. He smiled at her. However she didn’t smile back. Instead she stood up & walked lithely & gracefully over to the coffee table in the corner & began making some tea. He now had a full view of her firm curvaceous body as she stood there. Once she was done she walked over to him, her body swaying hypnotically as she moved & handed him a cup of tea. She then motioned him over to the chair & without waiting to see if he acquiesced, turned around & returned to her seat. She then resumed typing, paying him no more heed.
“You are a fascinating woman Zinzile Khumalo. You are also quite rude.” he sipped his tea & waited for a response. Nothing. The tea of course, was perfect. “Are you really going to ignore one of your bosses guests?” he asked with a smile. Zinzile again didn’t respond. The young man proceeded to go back to his spot on the chair & looked at his Tag-Heuer, 45 minutes. As he looked at his watch he recalled how the departments technology unit had offered him an Omega timepiece as his official watch & how he had had a long conversation with The Quartermaster about why he would not wear it.
Luckily The Quartermasters lieutenant, Lt. Maryke Van Vuuren, had been trained to work on Tag-Heuer’s as well. She was also one of Cpt. Biko’s lovers. So, before he could be disciplined for refusing to wear a required part of his uniform, he was supplied with a rather fashionable watch to go with his rather fashionable suit.
The door to The Minister’s office opened & the Minister Of Police emerged.
He walked out swiftly & seemed rather upset. A few seconds later the Minister Of Telecommunications emerged, followed by the Minister Of Justice. None of them even looked in his direction as they dashed for the door.
No doubt they had had a rather heated meeting. As the Ministers where exiting, Zinziles phone rang & as soon as the ministers had left she stood up & motioned for the young man to follow her & she lead him into the office of the Minister Of State Security.
As they walked in, they found Minister Zulu pouring a drink at his decanter table on the far end of the room. In the corner on the opposite end the Minister Of Defence, Robert De Klerk, was seated at The Minister’s desk quietly sipping an already refilled whiskey.
“Ah, Agent Leo 36! Just the man I was hoping to see. Of course you know Minister De Klerk yes?”
“Yes sir. Good evening General De Klerk.”
Minister De Klerk merely nodded & looked on quietly. Minister Zulu walked over to Agent Biko & handed him a whiskey & then motioned that he have a seat next to the Minister Of Defence.
“Thank you Zinzi, that will be all.” Zinzile nodded, took the cup of tea from the young man & then retreated from the room. As she left, the young man looked at her & waved. She almost smiled, but her icy temperament won over & the door closed shut.
“Oh that is not a battle you can win my boy.” pointed out The Minister as he observed the exchange. “Anyhow, I’m sure you are curious as to why I called you here yes?”
“Yes sir. I am. If the attendees of your meeting are any indication & judging by the moods of said attendees, it seems rather serious…”
“Yes. Very serious. Very serious indeed.”
Agent Biko was not really surprised by this. He suspected that his boss had a reason for summoning him. Especially considering that he was a field agent & not an analyst. It was not uncommon for The Minister to meet with his agents. But he normally only met with senior agents & their supervisors to gather intelligence & relay information to be disseminated.
But Agent Leo 36 was a special case.
He had not joined the National Intelligence Agency straight out of college as most did. In fact he had joined the army as a pilot & had excelled at physical training, weapons training, hand to hand combat, computer programming & his test scores where remarkable. His prowess at Ditholo was even more notable because not many of the predominantly white afrikaaner seniors expected this from a “black” trainee & in record time he had earned 4 mustering & proficiency badges & all 3 silver shooting proficiency badges.
Upon graduation he was assigned the rank of Second Lieutenant & sent to the Makhado Air Force Base to join Squadron 85, the Advanced Flying School. It was here that he excelled the most & not only did he learn to fly the old Impala Mk.I/II & the Hawk Mk.120, but he took to the Gripen like a fish to water & upon completing his flight training he was assigned the rank of Lieutenant & added to the illustrious Squadron 2.
On his 1st assignment he had flown on a stealth mission to take out a rebel base in the DRC as part of the UN Force Intervention Brigade – Special Forces & Reconnaissance Company & had found himself in a dogfight with a couple MiG-23s that had fallen in the hands of the March 23 Movement. It was a fierce fight & his squadrons captain was shot out of the sky. Though he had tried to eject in time, he had been caught in the blast & the UNFIB SFR Company found themselves in a fight for their lives as the rebels began firing surface to air missiles into the aerial skirmish. But Lt. Biko had taken command & had lead his 2 squad members to victory. The 4 MiG-23s where shot down & the rebel base was blown to kingdom come. The next day M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa called for his forces to immediately end hostilities & Squadron 2 came home.
It was upon his return home on the 11 of November in 2013, that Lt. John Biko met Minister Of State Security Linda Zulu. He had been introduced to him by then chief of the SANDF, General Robert De Klerk. The Minister had invited Biko to join the SSA & offered him a promotion to Captain. John had not looked back ever since.
“Well, what do you need me to do Minister?” asked Biko as he sat down & sipped the dark whiskey in his glass. It was the Glenfiddich 50yr old that The Minister had gotten from the British Foreign Secretary. It was the Minister Of Defence who responded.
“We need you to go to Syria & retrieve a briefcase, John.” “A briefcase?” “Yes, a briefcase. it was taken by a defector who intends to give it to the ISIL command.”
“The son of a bitch hadn’t even been 5 months out of SANAI before he turned traitor!” spat Minister Zulu as he walked over to his desk
“The briefcase contains classified details of our former nuclear program & details of our intentions to restart it.” Finished Minister De Klerk.
Biko looked at the Minister Of State Security & then back at the Minister Of Defence “We are restarting our nuclear program?”
“That is classified” responded the Minister State Security.
“Yes” responded Minister De Klerk “But we do not want this to be public knowledge & we do not want to be the ones that help ISIL go nuclear… I’m sure you can see the urgency of your mission here John?”
Standing up, John Biko aka Agent Leo 36 nodded & drained his drink. “When do I leave sir?”
“Immediately.” was Minister Zulu’s response.
“I must add that we have had a series of attacks, both cyber & real world, occurring since the defector disappeared.” added Minister De Klerk “We suspect they are trying to get a hold of the materials & equipment they need to start their plans. So you are going to have to find & retrieve the briefcase, but also to find & terminate the defector & those who know the contents of the document. I have a chopper leaving from Waterkloof that will take you to Hoedspruit within the hour. From there you will join Squadron 19 and fly an Oryx to Kinshasa as cover. Once you are in Congo I trust you can make your way to Syria?”
“Of course General.” “Good. Then good luck John. Whether this escalates into a global catastrophe depends on you.”
“One more thing Agent Biko” John looked over at Minister Zulu “If you get caught or compromised, you understand that you will be disavowed, yes?” “Yes Minister.” “Then Godspeed boetie.”
Standing at attention he saluted his superiors & then turned around & exited the room. As he walked out of the Minister Of State Securities office & headed for the elevator, the young man passed by Zinzile’s desk. She was staring at her pc & typing, as he expected. As he pressed the button for the lift & began running his mind through scenario’s of what was to come, he almost didn’t notice as the beautiful young woman walked over to where he was. He looked at her & she looked at him. As he leaned in for a kiss, she put her hand on his chest & smiled. She then handed him a back pack.
“This is from The Quartermasters Office. A Lt Van Vuuren dropped it off?” “I see” replied the handsome young man. The 2 stared into each others eyes until the lift arrived. As he stepped in to the lift & looked back at her, the beautiful young woman called to him.
“Come back in one piece John Biko…” “Ah. So you know my name, Zinzile Khumalo…”
With that, the elevator closed & Agent Leo 36, John Biko, looked at his watch. “50 minutes to get to Waterkloof. I guess its time to go to work.”
And that is our first look at Biko, John Biko 🙂 Its about time we had a South African secret agent dont you think? John Biko will return when we catch up with him in either Kinshasa or just before he enters Syria. Hope you like.