"The-less"

Now, she didn't want any of this. All that Queen&Country service was putting a tax on her. No, she wasn't exactly unhappy with it, as her salary was surprisingly high for a governmental worker, but she had a family and spending upwards of ten hours at her office wasn't exactly something her wife and proverbial kids appreciated. Not that she had much choice, anyway. There were certain forces at play that would notify much more certain authorities of some high-treason-sentence-worthy activity from her past should she leave or do anything untoward with regards to her work.

Capitalist ventures like that of Mrs. Burnham are commonplace around Britain. What is much less common is for them to be undiscovered foreign government spy outposts, still quite like that of Mrs. Burnham. Having a close relative (like, for example, a spouse) in a governmental position doesn't help keeping up a front like that (regular background checks), but having an easy, regular access to said government's secrets greatly outweighs ever increasing risk of discovery.

— You?! But... Why? – Sarah broke down

— Oh, you didn't catch on? You were even more stupid than I thought. – Fenella shrugged, now affixing a silencer to a run-down pistol with numbers sanded off.

— So that's all I was to you? A tool?, a means to an end? – She regained her composure.

— Mostly, yes. I mean, your coital expertise is extraordinary, too, but it was just a bonus, really.

— So, before you kill me, just one more thing, luv. My so-called last words, if you will?

— Sure, I guess it is your priviledge as an executee.

— "Painted Black"

Snipers fire.

"Here lies Fenella Burnham, 1983-2016. Beloved wife and dedicated merchant."
Much lower, were you normally wouldn't look, a Maltan flag is engraved.

"Here lies Sarah Burnham, 1984-2057. Beloved wife and selfless defender of Queen And Country."


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