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“You’re sure there’s nothing else?” asks Rita.

“We checked the rest of the tape through everything we’ve got,” sighs Mary, rubbing her eyes. “Virgin white noise. No encryption, no watermark. Whoever left this wanted us to see only this fifteen seconds of… nothing.”

“Not nothing,” says Tina. “The inside of a security center where every instrument shows nothing.”

Rita watches as they rewind and play it again, until it cuts to static.

“Guys?” she says slowly. “What kind of person doesn’t show up on any instrument?”

“A dead one,” says Sandra.

“Right,” says Rita. “So who do we know that’s dead?”


His hat’s a Borsalino, silk-trimmed, just like on TV. He dons it smoothly.

“Yes,” he says. His voice is different, though: clipped, calm, professional. “It was necessary to temporarily achieve a measure of protection against agencies desperate to conceal their existence. Fame served admirably.”

She hesitates. He smiles.

“Your skills will prove invaluable, Ms. Fairfields, in completing my squad.” He gestures, and three of the most dangerous women on earth step forward. “Rita: Tina, Sandra, Mary. You see,” and there’s a ghost of a laugh there, “those who joked about Numbers One through Four were more right than they knew.”