Bareword
Mr. Tokyo

Sobek so often made light of the training that Tokyo always felt a touch of fear when he became utterly serious.

—You are training for espionage, the old tutor said, grim lines around his eyes. —Espionage is about the flow of information. The successful agent opens new channels, new streams of information which may in time grow into mighty rivers. Your particular talents allow you to find new springs where few men can. This is the essence of your role, the constant in whatever situation your duty will present.

Tokyo nodded, wondering what was coming.

—Every field agent, given time, becomes a reservoir of information. A little gathered here, a little observed there. An unfamiliar mannerism in a well-known contact, an unexpected deduction based on orders from several consecutive missions. Neutral intelligence. Sensitive background. Photographs, phone calls, the contents of a room. Whispered words. You will become the keenest of interpreters, capable of acquiring and sifting unique information that neither side has.

—I understand, he said.

Sobek smiled, but his eyes stayed sad.

—No, he whispered. —You do not. Because this information … before long it will become so valuable that it cannot be allowed to fall into enemy hands. You must be prepared to end your own life rather than let this happen.

—What if I am disarmed, rendered helpless? Tokyo asked.

—Then you must be prepared to do it with your mind alone.