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Backgound - Agent Ryan by Trish

Sam’s Tale— safely stuffed in a safety deposit box somewhere in Berlin...

My name is Samantha Ryan.  It’s as good a name as any, and besides, it’s what my passport says.  Of course, the only two things on my passport that are correct are that I’m a US citizen and the photograph is mine.  I’ve a will on file somewhere that states my tombstone will simply say, “Born: Yes.  Died: Yes.”  That’s not original; I read it somewhere and liked it.

People say that I have a flair for languages—what I don’t tell them is that I had a head start.  My mother spoke both German and Russian to me when I was very young.  I don’t remember much about that, but I do know that now I can speak both of them like a native, if I choose.  Another thing that I don’t tell people is that she was an East German who went over (or under, or whatever) the wall sometime in 1974.  That was the year that I was born, and no, I don’t know if I was conceived before or after.  It wasn’t something that I thought to ask her, and it’s too late to do it now.  She died on May 13, 1987, on the 133rd day of the year and it seems somewhat redundant to say that I was 13 when it happened.  I have never liked the number 13. 

That’s when I met my father.  He came to China to meet me after her death.  I hadn’t met him until then, and I try very hard not to wonder how he knew she died.  What I don’t wonder, however, is whether or not he’s my father.  That much had to be verified before I got a US passport.  Besides, I look a great deal like him.  He said he was a naval officer, but I never saw him in a uniform until his funeral, three years later.  I’ve never seen the point, since I spent almost all of the time in boarding schools, but he insisted that I attend school in the United States.  It wasn’t much different than the schools that my mother chose for me, just that the instructors spoke English instead of French.

When he died, I met my half sister.   She was a good deal older than me, had a family of her own, and didn’t seem surprised about my existence.  She managed the trust that paid for my education, so I saw her periodically for the next few years.  After that, we didn’t see each other as much, and mostly to handle a few legal details.  I signed my trust over to her son Jason when he began college.  It was easy to move on.

I’m still not really sure how I happened upon my career path.  I studied languages and history—not exactly the sort of thing that you’d think would make for future employability.  I think in the beginning I thought I would take subjects that wouldn’t be difficult for me, and had some vague idea about becoming a professor for the time off and the travel.  It’s not that I had a particular distaste for the “hard sciences” but that they really didn’t interest me, and geeks tend to be a little too self-absorbed for my taste.  To supplement my income I found a job at an import-export company.  It was pretty apparent after a very short time that there was more to the place than it seemed to be, and by the time that I had it pretty much figured out, I was offered a very different kind of employment.

That’s pretty much it.  I graduated, and then went on to a graduate school …of sorts. At least use my degree, and get to travel. I have no comment in regard to the time off.  Besides all that, there’s a definite plus to being one of the good guys.

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