(This came from something in my introduction thread, and the seed has become something much more, so I present it to you as an amusing diversion)
There are many stories told of Miss Anastasia and her exploits. When the inhabitants of the demi-monde of espionage, infiltration and general international skullduggery gather in their haunts, conversation often turns to the exploits of the legendary figures of their trade, but when one ventures forth a tale of Miss Anastasia, an almost reverential silence will descend amongst them, so eager are they to hear the tale.
Most of the tales told about her are fabrications, of course, spun from the fevered imagination of one who has spent far too long pretending to be a Peruvian fish merchant or Macedonian actor in order to fulfill the most minor part of a grand operation conceived in marble halls well above their pay grade. So, I make you this promise - every single word of what I tell you here is true.
She spent her youth in Vladivostok. I was going to say she grew up there, but that would not be believable - she was grown up from the moment she was born, it is inconceivable to imagine this woman never being totally aware of her surroundings. When this happened is not clear - some tell tales of her leading the Red Army into the city after the Revolution reached the Pacific, others are adamant that she was the teenage girl who tore down the flag of the USSR when that fell. What is known is that it is from here that the NKVD, KGB or FSB recruited her, having spotted her potential to be a star agent. By the age of thirteen, she had already turned down recruitment offers from the leading ballet companies of Russia and the leading martial arts companies of Japan, as well as that bizarre institution in Bangladesh that combines them both.
They claim to have recruited her, though perhaps it is more true to say that she recruited them, the head of the local branch finding her waiting in his office one morning, requesting an assignment, her details already recorded in the system as though she'd been there forever, even though no one had any knowledge of her existence before then. From there, it's the usual tale of spent bullets, burnt passports, discarded disguises and broken hearts scattered around the globe that are the residue of all the finest agents, no matter their nationality. Stories from this period of her career are the most commonly told around the table of agents, perhaps because they are usually simple enough to be told and understood when several bottles of whiskey have been drunk. Soon, this attracted the attention of Moscow, who had an operation that needed an almost impossible array of skills to pull off. Naturally, she had them all.
The plan was very simple - a mission in London would appear to go wrong, she'd be captured by MI5 and agree to work for them as a double agent in exchange for her freedom, but would secretly owe her ultimate loyalty to Moscow, thus acting as a triple agent. While keeping the balance of this role in their head would trouble all but the most experienced of agents, this was child's play for her, and it's perhaps why she instead divulged the entire plan to her MI5 handlers and instead offered to become a quadruple agent. They agreed instantly, but I am told that there are sweepstakes running within MI5 about just when she will be revealed as a quintuple or sextuple agent.
The rest is the world that we now experience, and try to control in her wake - the way she skilfully handled her conflicting orders at the Chequers Summit to such an extent that I understand the Conservatives were very close to selecting Vladimir Putin as their candidate for the Axminster South by-election, her visit to Milan for Fashion Week which led to the diplomatic services of several countries spending hours unsuccessfully persuading an army of supermodels not to retire in favour of a teaching career and, of course, the recent incident in the harbour at Cannes with the arms dealer, the yacht, the bag full of stolen diamonds and the genetically engineered swan.
Then there are the other legends - the CIA invested millions to prove that her hair was of a shade of red impossible for a human to grow naturally, yet a two-year Mossad operation failed to generate any evidence of her walking past a hair salon, let alone entering one. There's also her habit of entering one house that may or may not be owned by her through a series of shell companies at night, then exiting from another on a separate continent the next morning, and the way every restaurant in every city in the world has the best table reserved for her, even though they claim never to have heard of her five minutes before she enters.
But these legends all miss the one fact that no one even dares to consider - that their oh-so-important world of espionage is just a game she plays to fill the time between her real work. Since long before the supposedly secret services of the world knew about her, the true secret powers have been aware of her. Indeed, it is rumoured that Faction Paradox, with their usual flair for impossible showmanship, attempted to recruit her to their cause before she was even born. The Reconstituted Others (Up Faction) saw their advances rebuffed as well, while the Charm Offensive Tendency found themselves permanently excluded from the whole of Asia after their recruitment attempt went awry. Not that the 'intelligence' factions of this world would ever have noticed this going on around them, so concerned are they with their realities.
She remains one of us, part of the Legion of Dynamic Discord, sworn and bound to do whatever the hell we feel like as long as we don't break the universe in the process. And if we do, we promise to put it back together afterwards.
And every single word of this is true, as I promised. It's just that the sentences they form themselves into are packed full of lies.