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Agent Ryan's Story

Personal Log - CIA Special Projects

Seems like I keep drawing the weird end of the stick… It usually starts as an assignment to a special task force; they called them by odd names: X-Ray, Golf and my all time favorite Bravo. Whatever happened to the good old days where you went out of country for a couple of weeks, on an assignment; found your target and took care of business; Or a little bit of B&E and skulking to take some pictures for some good old fashioned blackmail. Or just gathering INTEL on someone…

It felt like I was assigned to just cover up stuff. Not like it didn’t need covering up. Some things people just don’t need to know. My job has been to make sure no one finds out. Or at least I thought I was doing…until meeting Agent Alphonse.

I was pondering an analysis question that got dumped into my lap this morning, sorting all of the knowns and unknowns in my head. Petty dictators are all so predictable. It seemed like I was actually making some progress in my head when Alphonse just appeared and introduced himself to me… apparently we had some mutual acquaintances. He was also very aware of my work history. Alphonse never actually said much, but just enough to let me know that he knew. He struck me as a very educated man, rather non-descript older looking gentleman, very well dressed (Armani Suit, Italian loafers, very expensive watch, and silver headed walking cane). 

Alphonse said that he has a job offer for me. He didn’t go into much detail, other than to say that the freedom and safety of the entire world is a stake. Pretty kitschy phrase, if you ask me… very patriotic… Alphonse also said that if I accepted the job, my life would forever change. He never did explain that one.

The last thing Alphonse said was to expect a call from an Agent Carmichael for a formal interview. If the interview went well, I could have the job. I reached down to get my soda and he was gone. Like a ghost. Now, that gave me chills…

For the rest of my lunch I was wondering about the interview. As it turned out, I didn’t have long to wait.

By the time I got back from lunch, the memo was on my desk. “From the Office of the Director” was the title on the memo… Looks official enough… “You are scheduled for a debriefing at 1300 tomorrow. Report to room 1313. Agent Carmichael will meet you there. He will be in charge. You are hereby authorized full disclosure. This memo has been filed with Personnel OPSEC for inclusion in your file; maintain a copy for your records….”  And so on…

The signature looks authentic. The EEC codes will tell though. After I get logged in, I load up the EEC application and typed in the code. It immediately came back verified… These guys have some pull. Hummm… The Director did not call it an “interview.”  Maybe He isn’t in the loop. I kind of find it hard to believe, but with the way they compartmentalize things and the politics that can be involved, maybe I can believe it.

Let me get this analysis off of my desk before this appointment… More droll stuff...  Dictator of a small African country wants more power and won’t stop at anything to get it. Even though he is partially somewhat aligned with the west, he will be more trouble than he is worth. He will swing whichever way suits him at the time. We are better off letting this one go. If he survives, we can make overtures afterward.  There is something quite satisfying about distilling down over 500 pages of documents down to a one page synopsis and recommendation.  It almost seems like they write themselves.

I have just enough time to file my report, and re-file the documents before heading off to the 13th floor.

I never liked that floor. That floor is always used for interrogation, psych-evals, and a place to hold people… Never did like the number 13 either and now I have an interview on the 13th floor in room 1313 at 1300… and tomorrow is Friday the 13th… I am not going to like tomorrow at all…Hopefully, it should be entertaining.

The time for the interview arrives… I am outside room 1313 on the 13th floor at 1300… An auspicious day to be sure, when my phone rings…

“This is Agent Carmichael. I am running a few minutes behind schedule. Sorry for the inconvenience. I should be there with in 10 minutes. Just have a seat and I will be there shortly.”

He promptly hung up and didn’t even give me a chance to respond. He has a deep voice, slight accent, from the southern US, quite possibly Georgia or Alabama. I would guess raised in the south, but moved away for college, perhaps…

Oh, well. I am here. I might as well go in and wait. The plain, sterile, non-descript room is not inviting. Government issue furniture – gray desk and equally gray uncomfortable chairs, a clock on the wall and nothing else.

Nothing else to do but watch the clock on the wall… seems like time is crawling. 1305, 1306, 1307, 1308, 1309, 1310, 1311, 1312… Just as the second hand swept across the 12, in walks Agent Carmichael. Well,  I assume it is.

I start to stand as he enters. His voice belies his slight stature. It would appear at first glance that he would fit in at any of a dozen or so federal offices, plain dark blue suit, matching tie, white shirt, eyeglasses.

“Please sit down…We are not going to be too formal here,” he says as he hands me his credentials and sets down what looks like my personnel file.

His credentials read: Special Agent M. Carmichael, Central Intelligence Agency. Picture matches, as does the anti-tampering marks on the ID.

“If I know Alphonse well, and I do, he probably misled you into believing this is a job interview,” he said with a bit of a smirk and that southern drawl. “Your reports and work history were your interview. Your ability to follow orders, report and analyze the facts-by the way your analysis on the African Dictator was quite refreshing – If he survives (chuckles)… the ability to keep your mouth shut, and not too superstitious (obviously poking fun at the date/time/room numbers).

I just want to know if you’d like to run a special team. Save the world kind of stuff. I will be able to answer most of your questions; however, some may not be answered unless you decide to take the job.”

Now I am getting interested… I just filed that report before coming up here… This guy has his fingers in some really tight places or he has some pretty good skills…I am banking on the first one. Questions, questions, questions….

“How many members will be on the team?” I ask. “We are going to start with three permanent members, plus some support staff and an undisclosed number of floaters. The team could grow in the future, depending on need,” Agent Carmichael responded.

“Is this going to be a Company team?”  Agent Carmichael never missed a beat, “Right now it looks like it is going to be an interdisciplinary team.”

Great, “interdisciplinary team” is code for an alphabet soup OP, with too many bosses. They never turn out well from direction to funding.

Agent Carmichael seemed to pick up on my hesitation and added:

“You will be the Agent in Charge in the Field. You will report directly to me and no one else. Occasionally, you will report directly to Agent Alphonse, my superior, this will be an exception. Everyone on the team is responsible only to the team and for the team’s mission. Funding has been approved and allocated at least for two years, maybe more depending on the success rate or failure.

Unfortunately, I cannot wait for an answer. We have a lot to do and little time to do it.”

His southern accent is so disarming… Just about the time I was making up my mind Agent Carmichael said:

“Great! Glad to have you aboard! You will receive orders within the next week. Tell no one about this meeting. We will meet again. Have a wonderful day.”

I was still picking my jaw up off of the table as he stood up, turned and left. Then it clicked… He was born and raised in southern Alabama!

What did I just sign up for?

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