I wrote this last night and it is unedited.
Imperial Intelligence was in a squat stone building next to a canal that hadn’t been used for public purposes for more years than most could remember. To any observers it was a shipping company with a solid base of employees but very little business. Those who got inside or even a few who inquired for contracts would find a row of desks piled with the usual manifests and decent rates but little else. Those who knew how to get into the lower floor to the underwater dock get to see the real purpose. The canal connected to the three major shipping lanes allowing for quick and easy travel which made it easy to get lost among the clutter.
Agnes Chassel knew which bank of file cabinets was hollowed out on top of a staircase leading down. She had been an agent for over three years now and this had only been the second time she’d been to the headquarters. If she had it her way she would have gone quite a while longer before setting foot in the office again. She was dressed in a simple pair of trousers, overcoat, and elbow length riding gloves. The coat hid the pair of custom four-shot revolvers and the long gloves concealed a stiletto on one had with a set of lock picks on the other. Her life with Intelligence had begun in the Imperial sanctioned orphanage took her in.
Walking down the steps and into the staging area still felt like heading to the main office for some scheme or another.
“Ah, Miss Chassel,” the voice of Agent Marsden looked like a kindly old man but he had earned a desk job after an almost mythic career. “Still not carrying a boot knife, I see.”
“Good morning,” she gave a tight smile. “Boots for ladies aren’t nearly as accessible and wearing a style for men attracts attention.” She flicked wrist and the stiletto into her hand. “I prefer gloves.”
Marsden nodded appreciatively, “what brings you to the office?”
“Reporting in,” she crossed to his desk and lean in, continuing in a hushed voice. “Any idea what I’m getting into?”
“Oh,” he grinned. “My bet is you’re getting the fun one.”
“I guess he’s still sore about that mine job.”
“Fancy bit of work, that,” he pulled out a well-thumbed report. “It didn’t win you any favors. The Lords don’t care much for matters of principle or honor unless it makes them richer.”
“If I wasn’t supposed to blow it up they shouldn’t have kept the explosives so handy.”
“That’s a girl after my own heart,” Marsden smiled.