Field work can be extremely hazardous. Espionage isn’t like wandering down the garden and peering over the neighbours fence…..i mean it can be… but it’s not always your garden and sometimes the neighbour / embassy guards shoot back.
Agents will need a number of things if they are to function efficiently in the field. M.I.18 are here to ensure that all extras, the polish if you like, are added to any cover. The key is to have all the paperwork in place. Not just the big stuff, the electronic records that authorities check, and they will, but the small stuff, the small day to day trash we all carry around, that’s what makes a really good cover.
Good pocket trash depends on the cover. Dry clearing stub, receipts for local shops, library card, basically anything that breaths live into the character the agent is now playing. There’s no point in carrying around ticket stubs for the Royal Shakespeare company if your man is supposed to be Liverpool dock worker. That’s not to say the the good people of Liverpool don’t appreciate a good tragedy, it’s that that may make them standout, which is what we don’t want; boring and instantly forgettable, that’s what we’re after. Better to have tickets for a small local amateur football game or whatever that individual would likely do, but you absolutely have to keep the agent up to speed.
“How was the game last night ?”
“Really ? It was a draw. Who did you say you were again ?”
And it all falls apart faster than you can blink.
The next thing we have to consider is personal protection. Agents don’t always carry firearms, especially in this country. To be frank they can be more a pain if anything. They have to be accessible but not visible, you have to think of your environment and what you’ll be wearing. You don’t want to track your target to the local swimming pool only find that you’re down to your speedos and nowhere to hide your gun.
If you’re in this country and the chief thinks things will go badly you’ll probably have a top cover team. As I’ve said before we only work with the best. Hereford has a team on twenty-four hour stand by at our disposal. They pride themselves on never having lost an agent at home or aboard. We’ve had a few close calls, that’s the nature of the work, and someone is always ready to give it a go. But believe me once five or six dots from laser sights start dancing on their chest, they suddenly get the urge to surrender, strange how that happens.
No, if your on home soil and need something for close protection, knives and stabbing instruments are far more useful and easier to conceal. Before you ask, no one uses shoe knives despite what Ian Fleming would have you believe. I mean seriously how would that work in an actual fight.
“I am dreadfully sorry but would you mind standing still whilst I kick you to death…eventually…”
Belt concealments are better, but again think of the environment, not so easy to explain whilst passing through a metal detector. The fact is that despite the vast amounts of money spent on developing personal protection systems, it’s actually the humble Biro that has proven the most effective. Cheap, easily concealable, never questioned, the pen is one of the few items you can carry anywhere. When applies to pressure points, it’s deadly or at the least debilitatingly uncomfortable. Okay, I’d be lying if I said we didn’t produce a fountain pen with a reinforced razor sharp nib, but it writes really well and if you are going to carry, you might as well do it in style.
All this, shabby shooty stuff brings us to another problem, what to wear? Again, it’s all about environment, you have to blend in. If your moving from one situation to another, you’d better have more than one item. Reversible is good, tricky with bulletproof stuff, but not impossible. All you’d need to do is duck into a doorway or public convenience, switch it around and out you pop looking completely different, well that’s the idea. Luckily for us, there are firms that supply all this sort of thing. Years ago, we had tailors developing bespoke items. Now we do what everyone else does, look it up online and order it.
You can get everything, from kagools to three piece suits. They even do bullet proof wallets, I kid you not…..although, if your opponent has a machine gun this would be a little redundant..but they make great secret Santa presents.…so.
As I’ve said before its M.I.18s job to ensure that an agent going into the field has everything they’re likely to need to carry out their task. We handle the procurement, supply and delivery of all of the above, anywhere in the world. If it’s needed, we get it, or get it made. I can proudly say we have never failed to deliver. Ask and we’ll supply…No…they don’t do bulletproof speedos……so don’t even….…..just don’t.