Full Metal Panic Fan Fiction

Spy vs. Spy

By Kraven Ergeist

A/N: For those of you who don't know, Wraith is the Korean spy that was ordered to observe Chidori from the sidelines while Sousuke took his more frontal approach in TSR (She appears disguised as a bulbous older man in a full trench coat and a voice modulator, so at first, you don't even realize she's a girl).

I couldn't find a single fic written about this character, and with a potential title like this staring me in the face, I just had to put it down.

xxxxx

Sousuke was hardly a hacker by any means. He knew enough about computers to send and receive messages, type up reports, and do the occasional research that came with being a student. But in terms of digital breaking and entering, the best he could manage was making an educated guess of a password.

With a little help from his classmate Shinji Kazama however, Sousuke was able to figure out the basics and penetrate at least the low-level security. He was also sure to pick up a few tips about bypassing cookies. Technically, he could be court-martialed for accessing restricted data, but he would overlook protocol this one. He had a score to settle.

He had since managed to neutralize all possible threats to his mission of protecting Kaname Chidori. But one remained. One variable in his plans that he could neither predict nor contend with.

"Codename Wraith," he read aloud from his desk, alone in his room. "Ex-North Korean spy, who is also a master of disguise. As a member of the intelligence department of Mythril, Wraith has standing orders to watch Kaname Chidori and protect her from serious threats, particularly those associated with organizations seeking her whispered capabilities."

Sousuke frowned. There was very little information here that would be of any value to him. But Shinji had shown him another little trick – message boards. A veritable hot spot for internet rumors of all kinds of juicy subjects, varying from celebrities to conspiracy theories, to possible release dates of various technological developments, and – Sousuke allowed himself a contented sigh – government secrets.

Surprisingly enough, he found quite a few rumors going around about the Arbalest Arm Slave. Mostly false claims of its sightings, as well as questionable statistics regarding its combat capabilities, but Sousuke was almost alarmed when the word "Lambda Driver" popped up. To think the general public could know that much!

Then he found what he was looking for.

Wraith – ex-Korean spy, master of disguise, it was all there. Suddenly his accomplishment in hacking didn't seem quite so prestigious. Sousuke browsed the message boards, not daring to post anything, and scanned through the claims that cycled through.

Little more than what he already knew seemed credible. That Wraith was a combat expert, that she had been located in various sites, including Russia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam. Sousuke raised an eyebrow at the mention that she had also been involved in guerilla war that had taken place in Helmajistan.

He took note of the user who had posted this information.

"Wraithfanboy27…" Sousuke said, staring oddly at the name. "An odd codename for someone trying to be covert in researching Wraith. Perhaps…he's trying to get Wraith to drop his guard by feigning innocence?"

He was forced to retract his statement when he browsed through other posts by this user.

"A woman? Wraith is a woman?"

Sousuke was about as surprised as the reactions to this claim on the message board, but Wraithfanboy27 was quite adamant about this claim. At first, Sousuke wanted to discount this, but he couldn't overlook its possibility. If Wraith was a woman, it really threw a monkey wrench into any plans he might make on how to deal with her. He could get into an enemy's head if they were male, but he doubted he could do the same for a female adversary.

Also, the more Sousuke read through Wraithfanboy27's posts, the more he noticed a trend in their claims. While he seemed to stand by his claim that Wraith was a woman, he also supported the Helmajistan theory, but he also supported several other claims that seemed too ludicrous to believe.

Could he be…could he be purposefully spreading misinformation? If he was, then Sousuke also couldn't discount the possibility that Wraithfanboy27 was in fact, Wraith himself. It would make sense, going to a site concerning rumors about you and spreading anonymous misinformation to throw off your enemy's scent. It was brilliant, Sousuke realized! It was digital spy work! He should consider going back and doing the same in the message board about the Arbalest. Sousuke was beginning to understand Shinji's fascination with this particular field.

After making a few briefly worded claims that the Arbalest had been stationed somewhere in the Middle East to assist the American insurgence (a flat-out lie), Sousuke decided to contact this Wraithfanboy27. Of course, Shinji had pressed on him the value of creating an anonymous email account. There was always a possibility that Wraith could track the email back to its source. Sousuke reminded himself that his vernacular would also be a hindrance, and Wraith might be able to identify him simply based on his manner of speech.

It was a risk he'd have to take.

He typed up a simple request for more information concerning Wraith, and even made a substantial monetary offering to make it sound convincing. After sending the email, he killed time by delving further into the message boards. While he could confirm several bits of truth that were mentioned, most of the so-called facts posted were absolutely outrageous. Sousuke had never really laughed in his life, but reading some of these users comments made him come startling close.

Then a window popped up on his screen.

WRAITHFANBOY27 would like to chat.

Sousuke's breath caught in his throat. He hadn't expected a reply this fast, and he had expected an email, not a real-time communiqué.

Gingerly he clicked the "accept" button, and a message window appeared on his screen.

Wraithfanboy27: I wasn't aware that you had 200,000 yen to spare, Sagara Sousuke.

Sousuke was honestly impressed. It wasn't an unexpected result, but it had taken less than half an hour for Wraith to access the public email site and determine the IP address of the anonymous email that Sousuke had selected. More than likely, Wraith was positioned somewhere he or she could see him, with a laptop like his.

Wraithfanboy27: I know you can read this Sousuke.

Sousuke gulped. There was no getting out of this. Gingerly, he typed at his keyboard, carefully proofread his reply, and hit send.

771984: I am currently searching for information regarding an unchecked variable in my plans.

Sousuke grimaced. He'd chosen his birth date for his online code name. Had that been enough to give him away?

Wraithfanboy27: Is that why you've been accessing classified information? You're treading on dangerous ground, Sergeant.

Sousuke glanced out his window, frantically searching for something to give away his opponent.

771984: One is expected to take risks for the sake of their mission, Wraith. You of all people should know this.

Wraith's reply was instantaneous.

Wraithfanboy27: Your mission does not include nor concern me. Continue to follow me, and I will take action.

Sousuke felt the hairs on the back of his neck bristling. Shit, she must be pointing her sniper rifle at him! Calm down, Sousuke! Don't let on that the enemy is getting under your skin! As soon as you do that, you lose!

771984: Is that a threat?

Wraithfanboy27: No, just a statement of fact.

Sousuke bit his lip. This was getting him nowhere! Wraith still had the advantage. He or she could see him, knew what he looked like, where he lived, and probably knew his daily schedule! He or she had all the angles covered. He or she…

Sousuke pursed his lips.

771984: That is some admirable work on the message boards, Wraith. Purposefully spreading misinformation on the internet. It's genius.

Wraithfanboy27: If you're trying to flatter me, you're wasting your time.

Sousuke bristled. That was a clue. He'd never heard his male comrades and classmate use the word "flattery" nearly as often as he heard his female comrades and classmates. Wraith had inadvertently given herself away.

771984: One thing I'd like to know, Wraith. It's about one small piece of information you leaked. Are you a man or a woman?

For the first time in their conversation, there was a pause.

Wraithfanboy27: Why do you want to know?

Sousuke still felt a cold sweat run down his back as the sniper bead prodded mercilessly against his temple. Wraith must be particularly anxious to read his expressions. Sousuke steeled himself so as to give her nothing.

771984: Curiosity.

Sousuke looked out the window so she could see it in his eyes: he was being honest.

There was another slow, painful pause, in which her sniper bead played haywire with his nervous system. If this was to be the nature of all his interactions with Wraith, he might consider bailing out before this got out of hand.

Wraithfanboy27: Something tells me you've already figured it out.

Sousuke let out a breath. He had to smile. It was a small victory, a rather insignificant admission of information. But after receiving nothing short of outright refusal of information granting, it was progress.

Wraithfanboy27: Are we finished here?

Sousuke typed at his keyboard and closed the window down as soon as he sent his message.

771984: You already know that we aren't.

He quickly shut down his computer before she could try to reestablish the connection. After he did, he took a deep breath. Being a soldier, he was no stranger to the adrenaline rush that came from treading on dangerous ground, constantly at risk. But that had been on the biggest thrills he'd experienced in a long while.

He might have even called it fun.

Getting out of his chair, he stepped over to his window and peered outside up at the nearby rooftop where he expected Wraith was watching him. He saw nothing of course, but he gave a significant look just the same.

With that done, he pulled the blinds closed.

Still peering down the scope of her sniper rifle, Wraith watched her target disappear. She could have killed him at any moment. As insubordinate as he was being, she could easily justify it to her superiors. But something had stopped her from squeezing the trigger. Initially, she had written Sousuke off as a lost cause, a bumbling idiot who could barely complete the simple task of monitoring a sixteen-year-old girl.

But now she could see he had potential. Oh, he had potential.

"Sagara Sousuke…" she purred, uncocking her rifle. "I am not going to go easy on you…"