Retd. Col. Baldev Singh paced up and down the hall. Periodically, he would take out a neatly folded handkerchief and mop his brow. These girls were the reason he was so dependent on antacids, he thought, rubbing his chest.
“No sense of time. They should have been home thirty minutes ago,” he grumbled to his wife, Kuljeet Kaur, fondly called Kakki.
Kakki shook her head, as she stirred her Amritsari choley. Growing girls needed the protein, especially with all the training these girls put in. A three mile run at 5 am, followed by Krav Maga in the evening, unless they were out on a mission. All this, in addition to their studies.
“They are still kids, Bally. They deserve to have some fun,” she said.
“Not when they are on a mission, Kakki. Do you know how many agencies are dying to know their identity? There is already a price on their heads. Their safety is my biggest responsibility.”
He still remembered the day that he got this brilliant idea. He was at his club, having a drink with the Commissioner of Police, who was lamenting the lack of resources. Post 26/11, all their best agents had been recruited for counter-terrorism work, and undertrained and overworked cops were having to go undercover, with really awful results. They had been discussing the qualities of a good agent, when Col. Singh broached a topic that had been on his mind for some time.
“Listen, Sharma, what if I could give you a group of highly trained agents?”
“Who? Do I know them?”
“Well, no, since they only exist in my mind, right now. But, if you give me a year, I will find, train and present to you, the finest undercover agents you will ever get.”
“What’s the hitch, Bally?”
“Sharma, when you go out on the streets of Mumbai, what is the single largest demographic that you see everywhere, but, don’t even register? College students! Kids around 16-20 years of age, who can spend hours in one spot, chatting away, without arousing suspicion. They are smart and techno savvy. They can be loud, yet, inconspicuous. I just have to find the right combination of a very high IQ, courage and the right attitude, and there, you have your perfect agent.”
So began the search for the youngest undercover agents, in the history of Indian Intelligence.
The sound of voices brought Col. Singh back to the present. His girls were back. They were in high spirits, laughing, as they entered the house. The perfect combination of intelligence and undiluted courage.
Tina Rane, an orphan, who was extremely focused and responsible…the team leader.
Debjani Das, or Debbie, the youngest, but, the smartest of the lot, with an IQ of 150… the tech guru.
Milli Patel, brilliant, but, absent-minded, with a history of unintentionally blowing up labs at her school and junior college… the explosives expert.
Svetlana D’Souza, or Sweety, who spoke multiple languages, was an expert in mixed martial arts and absolutely fearless… the dare-devil.
Col. Baldev Singh proudly watched them line up in front of him…. his elite group of undercover agents, The Blackbirds.
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