Diminished Capacity

by Grey Bard

Item, one suit, destroyed beyond the ability of Bonn’s most respectable military tailors.

Item, men’s boots, one pair - scraped and mud-caked, to be sent for cleaning and repair.

Item, informants, a set of three, compromised and unusable for future NATO intelligence gathering.

Item, one .44 Magnum automatic, recently fired and in need of stripping. Five bullets missing.

Item, one NATO agent, Major in rank, of West German origin. In need of rest and debriefing.

 

Klaus sat down on his hotel bed, and gave up his attempt at organizing his thoughts. He hadn’t had any choice, but it had not been a good day. He had cut things very close, very close indeed.

The television? Patronizing rubbish – in Spanish. The newspaper – likewise. Mentally composing the mission report? Beyond the abilities of his current state of mind.

Clearly, he was just going to sit here until one of his men brought in a change of clothes and Major Klaus von dem Eberbach managed to bestir himself again. Currently, sitting extremely still and thinking about nothing was by far the more attractive option.

There was a knock on the door. He got up with a sigh, and went to collect his suit from Agent A. It was Eroica.

“You aren’t A,” Klaus said, stupidly, and cursed himself as he said it.

Dorian draped himself on the open doorway. He looked very good for a man who had been moments away from the receiving end of a messy assassination.

“My hero,” Dorian said, smiling and trailing his fingers down Klaus’s chest. “May I offer the traditional reward?”

“Perhaps this is not the time or the place,” Klaus managed, too drained to even bother to remove the hand in question. The thief looked oddly surprised at this variation of his eternal rejection.

Klaus was too tired for another round of this game. He fell back a step into the room. “I am covered in mud, and I have but a single bed, and my flight leaves in two hours...”

Dorian looked on in bemusement as Klaus heard himself ramble on. A strange light kindled in Eroica’s eyes, and the smile returned, quieter, but strong.

“Of course, Major,” he said, breezing out. “Timing is everything.” He seemed far too pleased for a man who had just been given the brush off.

Klaus went back over the previous conversation. Did he just admit what he thought he admitted?

He buried his head in his hands. He really needed more sleep.

 

Eroica
Grey Bard