For the Greater Good
Scouring the carbon build-up on the inside of the rifle barrel was always so relaxing after a long day of picking off the Forsaken in Stormheim. The smell of gunpowder filled the gnome's nostrils as he scrubbed ever so diligently, inspecting the lands and grooves of the barrel exactly every 17 seconds to acquire a mirror finish needed for precision headshots.
Just as he was beginning to work through the dull carbon fouling, two tall figures walked into the gnome's workshop. They wore hoods and walked with a quiet, dignified demeanor that made it clear that these were not human Marines.
"Agents?", inquired the gnome.
"Sir.", replied two female voices in unison.
"Ah, fantastic! Come in, take a seat! I have data to disseminate!" the gnome replied excitedly as he set the rifle down on his work bench and began wiping his goggle lenses with a filthy rag.
The two hooded figures balanced themselves on the tiny benches across the table from the workbench, patiently awaiting further instructions.
The gnome reached into his overalls and took out a grime-stained letter. It's green wax seal had been broken, but the anchor-shaped sigil was still clearly visible.
"New Orders from High Command. They have reviewed my calculations and concurred with my proposed solution for the problem in Durotar!" he expounded with glee, his large white teeth contrasting the soot that caked his face.
"You are to initiate operations on this at once. I have requisitioned discrete transport for you to Eastern Kalimdor. Upon arrival, you are to meet with these three contacts." As he spoke, he pulled out three photos. One was a tall, long-haired blood elf, the other two were a goblin and a darkspear troll.
"Their names are Liveticus, Gorter and Gambozak. There's a bunch of others, but you know how Troll and Goblin names are. All relevant and pertinent data points are indicated in your Orders. These contractors are expensive, but my evaluation of their capability indicates that they are highly effective. Instruct them to begin gathering information on behalf of the Argent Crusade or similar organization of exalted moralistic repute in order to more effectively conceal the objective of the mission. Figure out the details, you've got two days to come up with a plan before you set sail for Kalimdor." As he finished, he gave his goggles one last wipe-down with the dirty rag before just tossing it to the floor in frustration and pulling the goggles up to his forehead.
"Sir, this will take some time to gather. The Forsaken are quite paranoid about anything relating to their inner workings - and the Royal Apothecary Society takes that paranoia to a whole different level. The information these contacts provide may not be reliable, sir." explained the hooded figure to the right, speaking calmly as she held the open letter in her hand, passing it over to the other hooded figure.
"That is a probability that has already been accounted for!" answered the gnome, somewhat annoyed at the thought that he wouldn't have considered the plausibility of this being the case. "But we have to explore every variable to come to the most effective solution."
The hooded figure nodded in agreement. "And what do we do after they have provided the information we're looking for, sir? Or if they should come up empty-handed?" she inquired, ending her question with just the slightest hint of hesitation.
"My calculations have indicated that optimal results will only be obtainable if your true identities are kept secret. Maintaining a positive business relationship with this contractor must be a priority! We can't squander a capable resource!" nodded the gnome to himself before continuing. "But if there are any anomalies which we had previously unaccounted for, and the variables are such that we cannot come to a favorable solution... we will take care of it. The Captain is making preparations for such an eventuality. No loose ends, agent."
"Very well. With your permission then, we will begin our work, sir."
The gnome reached for the goggles on his forehead, pulled them forward and popped them back over his eyes.
"Indoubtedly" replied the gnome.
"Dismissed!" he exclaimed, saluting the two hooded figures who promptly saluted back and began exiting the workshop.
As the gnome picked up the cleaning rod and propped the gun barrel up toward his face again, he thought about how everything always works so much better after all traces of filth have been wiped away and scoured completely from the surface.