Report on GK Delta’s disappearance during Operation: Kid Gloves
Generation Kymera Delta Squadron
United States Navy
San Nicolas Island Base, Channel Islands, California
From: Lieutenant El Ray, USN
To: Commander El Ray
Subject: Report on GK Delta’s disappearance during Operation: Kid Gloves
The conspicuous rumble of the KCC Mark IX’s 300 horsepower engine undermines its junky delivery-van disguise. It was bigger than most of the delivery vans I’d seen, too. For all the technological superiority the agency and military relies on, I’m frustrated how often they overlook the little details that can completely botch a mission, sir.
At dusk on the afternoon of the , I park in the back alley of the Hotel Luxadoré, per instructions. We climb a stairwell to the third floor, both of which are off limits to guests and staff. Room 301 is a modest suite: modern furnishings, a small kitchen, one king-sized bed, and a writing desk with an ethernet port mounted to it. What we couldn’t find is a lead.
We search the room thoroughly for the slightest clue. No luck. The place was immaculately clean as if Sham had never been here. That’s Sham’s M.O., never leave a trace.
“It’s impossible!” Albert VII finally says. “We’re never gonna find anything here!”
“We are on a mission, Mr. VII,” I snap at him.
“Sham’s a genius superspy. We’re a strike team. We’re not gonna outsmart him, sir,” Quillroy says.
“What if we try that reverse IP app thingie? Don’cha just plug it in to, like, a router, and it’ll show all the internet addresses the router was connected to?” Daart suggests, pointing at the room’s ethernet port.
“Are you kiddin’? That’d be the first thing Sham would wipe. Any files he worked on would be encrypted or erased,” says Albert VII.
“And the agency uses NASA-level egghead computer security,” Quillroy adds.
“This room is our only lead, and we need to be thorough. It’s a good idea, Daart,” I say as Albert VII frowns.
Albert VII retrieves a laptop from the KCC van. The TracePath app Daart referred to is designed so that even Quillroy could use it. We connect the laptop to the room’s ethernet port, and the app goes to work.
We spend several minutes in silence watching the rows of “Connection data encrypted” messages scroll down the screen.
“Zilch,” Albert VII says, breaking the silence. As if fate stepped in at that moment, the next row gives us an IP address for a webpage, breaking up the long list of data encrypted messages.
“We’ve got one!” I say.
“www.DrGainsmanBlog.com? The guy who thinks Martha Washington was secretly part of an alien royal dynasty? WoooWooWooooooo!” Albert VII says buzzing around the room, arms out, imitating a UFO.
“Sham might’ve just looked at it for laughs, sir. We all do,” Quillroy says.
I pull up the website and turn the laptop around.
“Then we should know civilians sometimes accidentally stumble on information about us,” I remind them.
Above a bad drawing of a lizard-man, there’s a headline that reads Reptilian Sighting at Portland Television Station. The article goes on to describe how Marcus Stepton, an employee at KBOO TV, a local cable-access channel, spotted a “reptilian alien” rummaging through station records before “suddenly vanishing.”
Of course, no one was buying his story except Dr. David Gainsman, a celebrity in the “paranormal industry.” Gainsman is paid well for his convention presentations that theorize world leaders are reptile aliens wearing human suits.
This far north, the sun had completely set by 1722 hours, the time we arrive at KBOO TV. We park in a discreet location and use the KCC’s AR-enhanced video surveillance to automatically alert us if Marcus Stepton appears in the vicinity.
I have no way of knowing if this stakeout will take minutes or days.
“We need to prepare in case we encounter Stepton sooner rather than later,” I say. “The KCC is outfitted with a VFSR, Mr. VII. Get on it and give us a 3D rendering of the inside of that building and a count on any people inside.”
“Aye, aye, sir.”
We always take it on faith that the sounds the VFSR emits can’t be detected by humans. Each of the members of GK Delta can hear either the low frequencies, annoying upper frequencies, or both. The VFSR’s sonar does the job, giving us a detailed 3D map complete with material composition. These renderings are usually pretty accurate, but this one had some abnormalities.
“What are these?” I ask, pointing to some random spiney shapes.
“My best guess is radio interference from the station’s dishes,” Albert VII suggests.
Cross referencing the rendering with blueprints filed with the city’s building commission, we identify one person in the reception area, two in a studio, and one going back and forth between the studio and a production room.
At 18:00 hours, I make the mistake of letting the team break for dinner. At 18:02, Stepton exits the building. I should’ve figured work shifts might end on the hour.
“Now that we’ve located Stepton, what do we do with him?” Quillroy asks.
“Yeah, Commander Stone ordered us not to be seen. We can’t, like, go up and interrogate him, right?” asks Daart.
“Mr. VII, how’s your ‘bag-o-tricks’ stocked?” I ask.
“Fully, sir. In fact, I have a fresh banana cream pie I just made this morning. Why ya ask?”
“Now’s your chance to try out Decoy Maneuver F,” I tell him to his glee.
“Alright! Now you’re talking, jefe!”
Albert VII changes into a purple football jersey and a pointy brown hat he had stored in the repurposed ammo canister on his belt that he refers to as his ‘bag-o-tricks.’ As he puts them on, the hat makes his horns look like a gimmicky Viking helmet.
He exits the van. The rest of us listen in via his open comms.
“Hiya, pal. I’m wondering if you can help me out,” Albert says, approaching Stepton. “I’m trying to get my show on the air—”
“Wait, are you the guy who keeps calling about the Super Bloopers Sports Show?” asks Stepton.
“Eee. . . yes! That’s me! Super Sports Extraordinaire! I’ll get your sports fans playin’ defense on their split sides instead of their blindsides!”
“Look, man. This is a bad time, alright? I’ve already told you on the phone, I don’t think your bits are funny, and now you show up here in person expecting to go on TV? You didn’t even shave. You look like an ape.”
“Monkey,” Albert says scornfully.
“And why on earth are you dressed like a Minnesota fan when you’re in the Portland market?”
“Forget all that. It’s the entertainment that matters, and if it’s jokes you want, prepare to be amazed! Uh. . . Didja hear this one? Supermodel Ellie Escalante called off her engagement to star quarterback Todd Randall. Looks like a Superbowl ring isn’t the only ring he’ll never wear!”
“Weak. Do you have anything else to offer?” Stepton asks. He goes on like a judge on one of those talent competition shows. “Your jokes are terrible. You have no future in comedy”
Mr. VII wouldn’t give up, though. He continued his schtick with the same negative responses. I didn’t like how this was playing out. I don’t mean the bad jokes. The disguise was working great so far, but the longer this dragged on, the more likely we’d get found out.
“Albert VII, abort and return to the van,” I order, but Mr. VII doesn’t listen. He continues with the jokes. It’s possible the radio interference we’ve been experiencing prevented him from hearing me over the comms. It’s also just as possible Albert VII was enjoying his chance to try out his material a little too much.
“I can go in and tell him,” Quillroy volunteers. “I was in on the planning for the Decoy Maneuvers. Albert even worked out a Decoy Maneuver G that I could execute. . . he called it the ‘perfect disguise’ for me.”
It’s a tough call. “Alright, get in there, pass the word to Mr. VII, and get him out without making a scene,” I tell him.
“Aye, sir.” Quillroy steps out of the van to prep and heads out.
“WhhuUUUaaahhh!” Before I can even get back to surveillance, Stepton yells in horror. Daart and I quickly open the backdoors of the van.
Stepton is running for his life toward the KBOO offices while Albert VII facepalms. We’re both awestruck at what Quillroy thought would pass for a disguise: Groucho Marx mustache-glasses. Apparently, Decoy Maneuver G was nothing but a practical joke on Quillroy that Albert VII had set up a long time ago and then forgot about.
“I don’t get it. Glasses always worked for Clark Kent, right, Daart?” Quillroy asks.
Stepton was nearly to the office’s door when Daart, thinking on his big frog feet, flings paralytic slime at Stepton’s legs. The sticky goo soaks into his pant legs enough to bring him down, face first, in a flower bed.
We quickly snatch him up and haul him back to the van.
He is frantic, asking us who we are, thinking we’re going to eat his brain, and all sorts of nonsense. I do what I can to assure him that we mean him no harm, but it’s not much good.
“That’s right, we won’t eat your brain. . .” Mr. VII interrupts me. “We’re going to marbleize it!” His approach, although dishonest, breaks through.
“Marbleize it?” Stepton says in terror.
“Marbelize it! We’ll suck all the information out leaving behind just the fat in your head,” Albert says. “You see, we’re alien bounty hunters—”
“From Planet X!” Daart adds.
“That’s right, from Planet X!” Albert VII continues. “A few days ago, you stumbled on one of our most wanted fugitives, Castro P. Weinburger, notorious doppelganger of the vice-president of the Fyord Corporation of America! We’re here to capture him before he destroys the solar system!”
“I’ll tell you whatever you want to know! Just don’t turn my head to fat!” Stepton cries.
We eventually learn that days before, he’d interrupted Sham reviewing video and invoices of a recently-aired infomercial. Stepton gives us all the information we need to find these leads in the archives.
Armed with this new info, and Stepton’s security ID, I send Albert VII into KBOO—through the front door.
“I’m here for the Wacky Weather Report thing,” he tells a security guard at the reception desk.
“You mean the Super Bloopers Sports Show?” the guard asks.
“Oh, yeah! That’s it! See, the joke is, I pretend to do a weather report during the sports.”
The guard is quiet.
“. . . Heh. HA HA! HA! I love practical jokes!” the guard finally laughs.
“Oh, really? Well then have I got one for you—”
“Mr. VII!” I shout over the radio.
Albert VII quickly scans Stepton’s ID through a keypad and heads through the main doors, leaving his audience of one confused.
It takes only minutes before I hear Mr. VII’s voice over the comms. “Alright, I locked myself in the archives. What now, boss?”
“Gather all the information you can from both the infomercial video and the invoice,” I tell him. “Report back as soon as you have something we might be able to go on.”
The audio distorts and cuts out, but I can hear Albert VII respond, “Ten-four.”
After a few minutes, Mr. VII radios again. “Alright, the video is just footage of local scenery, and a voice saying to call an 800 number on the screen. That’s it. ‘Call 1-800-[redacted]’ over and over. Kinda Creepypasta if you ask me,” he says.
“What about the invoice? Any contact info for who was billed?” I ask.
“Name, Sue Doughnim, very clever. Address, 32135 Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, Oregon. No phone, no email, paid in crypto.”
“Head back to the KCC, Mr. VII,” I command. “That address is just the breakthrough I was looking for.”
“Aye, sir,” he responds. “Want me to give the 800 number a ring on the way back?”
“Good idea,” I tell him.
The rest of the team and I search records of the address. Recent photos show a kiosk at its location, and county filings show it registered to a business called “News + Phones!,” an independent retailer that specializes in magazines and prepaid cell phones.
“We need to roll out, Mr. VII. Anything interesting on the 800 number?” I ask.
“Ensign, this is Lt. El Ray, do you copy?”
“Maybe it’s the static interference again, sir?” Quillroy suggests.
“We have to be sure,” I say.
We pull the van up behind the building without being noticed. I enlist Daart, who’s eager to help, to check each room of the office through its windows. He uses his natural frog abilities to jump to the roof in a single leap. He crawls vertically down its smooth walls.
“I don’t see anything, sir,” he reports.
“You need to be thorough—” I start to explain.
“I know, sir. This place is small. I checked every room twice. Even the bathrooms. Albert’s not here, and someone ate too much El Taco Cheapo.”
“El Ray, look!” Quillroy shouts, pointing at the surveillance feed. In the distance, our cameras pick it up as clear as day: A banana cream pie splattered where the asphalt meets the dirt. We discreetly step out for a closer look. Daart eventually joins us. We find more items from Albert VII’s bag-o-tricks: garlic gum, a whoopie cushion, hand buzzers. We follow footprints that only Albert VII could’ve made, but quickly lose the trail in urban landscape.
“Somethin’s wrong,” Quillroy declares.
“Based on the footprints, he was alone, and I don’t see any sign of a struggle,” I say. “He just walked out of here.”
Daart tries to hide his concern with a brave front. “Guys, it’s probably just another one of his dumb tricks. . . Right?”
“No way. Al Seven wouldn’t just ditch us,” Quillroy insists. “Especially not in the middle of a mission and especially not when Sham’s already MIA.”
We return to the van, and I drive the team around the neighborhood looking for any sign of Albert VII.
“Quillroy, try the 800 number Mr. VII gave us. Maybe there’s something there,” I say.
Quillroy listens in, repeating what he hears word for word.
“‘Go to GPS coordinates [Redacted] at 8:04 PM.’ That’s it, sir. It just keeps saying ‘Go to GPS coordinates [redacted] at 8:04 PM’ over and over.”
We plug in the coordinates and find the specific location: a parking lot at Reed College. I opt to take the team to the college first instead of the newsstand since Mr. VII would’ve also heard the 800 number’s recording.
On our way, Mr. VII, Quillroy is visibly antsy.
“What’s on your mind, ensign?” I finally ask.
“Sir?” Quillroy says, snapping out of his focus. I peer at him from the rear view mirror until he answers. “Well, I think whatever got Sham got Al VII, and I think that the longer he’s gone, the worse the odds of us finding him. We should split up.”
“Negative,” I tell him. “Agent Sham and Mr. VII are already missing. We can’t risk losing any more soldiers.”
“Sir, risking our lives is always part of the mission,” Quillroy says, taking young Daart aback.
“True,” I admit.It’s never an easy decision to send someone off to risk their life, but that’s part of my duty. “Take the Mudskipper and check into the News + Phones! kiosk. Radio when you get there. Watch your six, and rendezvous with us at Reed if you don’t find anything.”
Quillroy salutes, and then hops on the dirt bike and revs the engine.
I hold up a hand to keep him from leaving. “One more thing. . . wear your helmet.”
“Aww, lieutenant, you worried about me, sir?” he says with a smirk.
“It’ll cover your face,” I say, tossing him the helmet. “Your Groucho-disguise ain’t gonna cut it.”
His smirk fades to embarrassment. “Yes, sir.” Quillroy races down the highway on the Mudskipper.
It’s a short ride to Reed College. Daart and I arrive 23 minutes before the time indicated on the phone recording.
We park in a discreet location overlooking the parking lot and focus all of our surveillance equipment on the area. Our objective is to monitor for any activity while not being taken by surprise by whomever (or whatever) is behind Ensign VII and Agent Sham’s disappearances. The lot had a few scattered cars. No humans in sight.
As the deadline approaches, I notice Daart reaching into his pocket for his Iron Stomach action figure. He poses it on top of a monitor. I don’t blame him for being nervous.
It’s 20:04. We are fixated on our video feeds. Then our directional mics pick up shuffling footsteps. Of all the people on Earth who could’ve shown up, it was the last person I expected to see . . . Quillroy, and he wasn’t alone.
He was at the front of a pack of kids. There was something unnatural about the way these kids walked. It reminded me of a marionette’s walk, except their heads remained slightly bowed. It made it difficult to tell if their expressions were blank or sinister. Either way, it was disturbing.
Unfortunately, Commander, this is the end of my report. I know I radioed Quillroy, but I regret to say, I have no idea whether he replied or what he might have said.
- Operation Kid Gloves Intel Request
- Agent Sham
- Cadet Feedback, Mentoring, and Counseling Form
- Lt. El Ray
- Operation Kid Gloves Preparation Meeting
- SNI Administration
- Report on GK Delta's disappearance during Operation: Kid Gloves
- Lt. El Ray
- Re: Cadet Daart Operation Kid Gloves Witness Testimony
- Field Agent Sham
- Operation Kid Gloves Debriefing
- SNI Administration
- File #GK03-500114 Z://~sham/personal/2050_journal.txt
- Agent Sham