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For All Nails #81f: A Honey Trap?
by David Mix Barrington and M.G. Alderman

Royal Palace
Bogotá, New Granada
15 June 1974

Alexander Elbittar was a seriously concerned man. The coronation and the
ensuing ball had largely gone smoothly, but there was a potential crisis
afoot. The new King could not be located. More importantly, he had last been
seen leaving in the company of Captain Evangeline Gilmore, a woman-a very
good-looking woman-who could only be a dangerous CNA spy.

Elbittar had naturally dismissed the notion that the Confederation's space
program had been "demilitarized". The so-called "Science Ministry" was an
appendage of their military anyway, and spent millions of pounds on automatic
surveillance planetoids. Why, when they had a "retired" Air Force officer in
position directly over Ciudad Camacho, for example, would they refrain from
having her examine the ground below?

Of course she was a spy. But more disturbing was the possibility that she was
engaged in covert activity on the ground as well.

The background report he'd just received detailed her father's long career in
Army intelligence, and her role in the assassination of the Numidian
ambassador by an alleged lunatic, who, through elegant coincidence, just
/happened/--yes, just happened--to die at Cadet Gilmore's own hands before he
could be questioned. Now she was on the loose at this nexus of diplomatic
intrigue, protected by diplomatic immunity and her own worldwide
celebrity--her face had been on every front page when she made her launch
four months before.  Now, upon what sinister mission was she presently

Elbittar hoped he was wrong, but he knew it was wishful thinking: he had a
good idea of what was going on up north. His researchers had briefed him
thoroughly on what little was known about the military uses of neuroactive
chemicals. Not harmless amusements like alcohol and mota, no, but drugs that
could completely alter the subject's brain chemistry. Two CNA physicians,
Gordon G. Leary and Thomas S. Hunter, were at the forefront of the public
research, on various Mexican fungus species and an artificial chemical called
"lysurgic acid".

The FANG's counterintelligence division suspected that officers planning the
Trinidad operation had been subjected to a "honey trap" attack by entities so
far unknown. Men would tell all to a beautiful woman under the right
circumstances, and with the use of chemicals and Mesmerism they might have no
recollection of having done so. Even the most loyal officer might be helpless
under the influence of so-called "sexual chemicals", like those of certain
insects.  Who could imagine what the Science Ministry was cooking up in their
secret facilities in the Manitoba wasteland?  Probably even the Turnerites
had a hand in this, too.

And here the target was not an experienced officer but a young man--an
impressionable young man, for all his royal breeding--barely out of his
teens.  Elbittar had noticed the King's sudden distraction and rather odd
behavior when they were introduced to Captain Gilmore. Could she have
administered the drug at that time? It was imperative that he be found at
once. So far, the King was not privy to any particularly dangerous secrets,
but that would have to change as the new Privy Council considered the plans
for territorial expansion and the RNG's role in the Ciudad Camacho
project. Not to mention some diplomatic dynamite, with the sudden proposal of
a dynastic alliance from the British. Was Gilmore tasked to disrupt that
plan, for some unimaginable reason? Or would she Mesmerize the King and
compel him to reveal state secrets later, in some kind of a trance?

"Colonel! In here!"

Gomez motioned him into one of the Palace's many picture galleries--too many,
from a security standpoint.  The place was a labyrinth.

The scene opening before him was just as he had feared. His Most Catholic
Majesty was literally on his knees before Gilmore, his arms clutching her
well-turned silk-sheathed knees under the rutched-up calf-length skirt.

"But I love you, Miss Gilmore! I love you!" he blubbered in an agitated,
pathetic and distinctly unroyal voice.

"Your Majesty!" barked Elbittar, more horrified than deferential.

"Ah, Colonel, how delightful to see you," said the redheaded young woman in a
voice that seemed almost bored.  Her eyes were coolly unreadable.  "I take it
that it's time for the royal nap?"

"Captain Gilmore. /What/ have you done to His Majesty?"

"I'm not entirely sure, Colonel. Why don't you ask him yourself?  He's /your/
pet King, after all."

"I assure you that /all/ questions will be asked, Captain. I regret only that
the courtesies of diplomacy prevent me from questioning /you/ as thoroughly
as I would like. I ask you again for form's sake -- /what/ have you done to
His Majesty?"

"And I say again, I'm /really/ not sure. I just seem to have that effect on
people."  She didn't even bother to shrug.

"I imagine that you do." Was she even now exerting some kind of sinister mind
control on /him/? He found himself drawn to those icy blue eyes, catching a
glimpse of something predatory and wolf-like in them, feeling an urge for
that beauty to dominate him... He rapidly pulled himself together.

"Serjeant, His Majesty is unwell. Please escort him to his chambers, and
summon Dr. Rodriguez to examine him. Corporal, please escort Captain Gilmore
back to the /public/ areas of the Palace, and see that she remains within
them for the rest of the evening. Captain, until we meet again, /adieu/. Rest
assured I will not allow myself to be so easily surprised at that time."

He turned on his heel and strode out, but not before seeing the look of
(surely simulated?) incomprehension break over that compelling face.