“Colonel Washington, you state that you are now receiving prime intelligence from your source now embedded in the Columbian drug cartel. Is that correct?”
“That is correct Senator. Our operative is now relaying the cartel’s distribution plans and timetables to us. This provides us with the opportunity to locate and identify participants in the smuggling operations and ascertain the financial institutions they are using.”
“We want to thank you again for appearing before this select sub-committee on convert intelligence, Colonel Washington,” acknowledged the chairman of the three member panel.
“You are welcome, Senator. I want to thank the entire committee for allowing me the opportunity to report on our success,” the Army Lieutenant Colonel replied.
The colonel understood the interview was over. She stood up closing the few paper files before her placing them on her laptop then placing both into a stainless steel case nodded at the panel, turned and exited the conference room through the side door. The senators waited until the door closed before they returned to their session.
“I believe with her testimony completed that concludes the business before the sub-committee today. If I could have a motion, we will adjourn.”
“Mr. Chairman, I make a motion we adjourn,” offered his sun tanned colleague to the senator’s left.
“I second the motion,” said the older, attractive woman with grey hair to his right.
“All in favor say aye.”
A unanimous chorus of ayes echoed in the small hearing chamber. The assistant to the chairman dutifully noted the motion in addition to the vote. She stood up leaned over the railing turning off each senator’s microphones. Returning to her seat she closed her laptop, took off her glasses and rubbed her emerald eyes then ran her fingers through her shoulder length red hair. She glanced up to notice the senator watching her. She flashed a warm smile at the older woman and slid her laptop into its inexpensive case.
“Barbara,” said the chairman with a slight southern drawl, “could you go ahead? We’ll be along in a minute.”
“Of course,” the pretty red head said to her boss.
Noting the tone in her boss’ voice, Barbara quickly finished gathering her things. With her laptop case slung over her shoulder, the young aide walked to the door turned to once more catch the eye of the older stateswoman, smiled coquettishly, then slipped out the door. The large oak door echoed shut in the chamber.
“Tom, you seem out of joint on this? Did you have objections?” The chairman asked leaning back in his chair.
“Not at all, Doug. It is just…well…where do these people come from?” he stammered.
“What do you mean?”
“What...I mean, how is this boy…uhh..girl… an operative? How many of these…trans-gendered people are there?”
“Senator Lawson, need I remind you that this person is a United States citizen and a veteran with an impeccable service
record? What would your blue state constituents think hearing you say that?”
“I believe the vast majority of the UAW and IBEW members would agree with me, Gloria. And don’t lecture me about my positions, especially when you have those Family of God people.”
“Now Jim, that is uncalled for. Gloria did not doubt your sincerity to social equality but was reminding you this young person is extremely skilled and patriotic,” the Chairman held up a hand preventing more comments from being issued. “Gloria, I doubt that Jim is trying to say anything against this person,” he continued trying to pacify, “I believe he is surprised that there are so many in the military. From what Colonel Washington said we should expect more of these brave and patriotic individuals to come forward.”
Senator Lawson frowned and flipped the report back to the operation description where he quickly reread the summary of the action that took place a little over six months ago. He took off his glasses to rub the bridge of his nose, then replaced them and continued to read the brief. After a few minutes, he closed the report and looked at his two colleagues.
“Did you two realize that this young soldier was left in the ocean?” Lawson asked.
“I understood she was picked up,” the chairman replied.
“Just think about that...left in the ocean…to die…”
Without another thought to the young boy- girl who they shot and left floating in the sea, Manuel pushed the throttle forward and the boat swiftly responded to speed toward its rendezvous point where it would pick up another shipment of cocaine. About an hour later the burly bodyguard and his employer saw their contact coming from the southeast.
The twin engine plane descended, flew above the boat and passed over the pair who waved in recognition. The two cartel agents waited as the plane passed over again but this time a large package tumbled from its door. Seconds later the package splashed in the water near the speedboat. Manuel maneuvered the boat close to the floating container allowing Angel to catch ahold of it with the boat hook and pull it to the boat. Together they hauled the package on to the speedboat then after checking its contents they placed it in the boat’s cabin.
Almost ninety minutes later Manuel pulled the speed boat next to the pier and Angel leaped onto the wooden planks waiting for his bodyguard to toss the line to him. After securing their craft, the pair walked down the pier to the marina parking lot a short distance away where they got into their blue sports car and drove away. The two South American Indians paid little attention to the dark haired woman standing next to the pumping station who watched them drive away. Taking a cell phone from her pocket she quickly called her team member.
A Cessna 172 Skyhawk waited on the tarmac where a trim, handsome man paced back and forth nervously when his cell phone jingled. Quickly, he answered and immediately snapped his fingers at the pilot who leapt up from his chair and ran to remove the chocks blocking his plane’s landing gears. The man thumbed his cell phone off and leapt up into the plane while the pilot started the engine and spoke to the tower. Receiving clearance the single engine plane taxied onto the run way and flew southeastward.
“Head to 79 degrees, 53 minutes and 49 seconds longitude by 25 degrees, 49 minutes 38 seconds latitude,” the Logan said.
“You got that backwards,” the pilot said.
“In aerial navigation we say the latitude first.”
“Just get to the target point.”
The Army CID captain thumbed the controls on the scanner verifying the coordinates of the beacon. The signal was strong and it was verified. Satisfied, he removed his seatbelt and slipped out of the front seat moving to the back slipping on his equipment.
“We will be there in less than 4 minutes. Are you sure you will be ok out there?” The pilot asked.
“Yes. I don’t plan to stay out there long.”
“Want me to hang around for a few minutes, just in case?”
“Good idea. You will know when it is ok to leave.”
“Well…ok, I guess.”
Logan slipped on his helmet and goggles and zipped up his orange jumpsuit then opened the door to the Skyhawk. While the air rushed through the interior of the cabin he strapped a black, nomex bag to his leg. The CID agent took the long strap from a matching large bag and connected it to his harness next he set the bag by the door. He once more checked his harness then turned to his attention to the pilot.
“Coordinates reached. We’re here. Good luck.”
Captain Logan gave a thumbs up, picked up the bag sitting on the cabin floor and leapt out the plane. Air whipped about him as he fell towards the open sea; he counted to ten slowly then pulled the red plastic covered “D” ring hooked to his harness releasing his chute. He was suddenly jerked upward then he began to descend slowly after the orange square opened up above his head. He dropped the bag he held taking a hold of his parachute’s handles allowing him to steer his fall.
“The Sergeant knew the risks when she accepted the mission,” Senator Hayworth stated, “but I understand exactly what you mean. Out there in all that water alone…”
“Remember, she did know the Captain was going to jump,” the Chairman noted.
“I think the girl has a real set of balls on her. No pun intended,” Senator Lawson glanced back and forth between his two panel members.
“This Captain Logan should be commended on his effort in her recovery,” Senator Hayworth said.
“You are right, the man has courage,” the suntanned junior Senator quickly agreed.
“He does but this is not out of the ordinary for him. His service record states he routinely accepts these assignments.
It appears he is somewhat a thrill seeker,” the Chairman observed.
The CID officer slowly circled riding the thermals while scanning the blue ocean underneath him for his target. When he came about again he looked north; there she is he thought…about two hundred yards away he saw the young operative bob up and down in the waves. The captain steered his parachute towards her when only a short distance remained he released the nomex pack into the water.
Amber waved at the parachutist as he passed overhead then swam to the floating package in the water. After several attempts she succeeded in clutching the “D” ring connected to the package and pulled with all her strength releasing the inflation device. The package exploded into a large, yellow rubber raft.
“Based upon what the Colonel reported we have the makings of a very fine operative. She needs much more training and a firm hand. It was a good call by Major Brewer to prevent her further involvement with the target,” Senator Gloria Hayworth noted.
“The major convinced the bodyguard to become the DEA’s mole by persuading him that Corazon was behind the death of his family in Columbia. Also she was able to coordinate the faux shooting on the boat,” added the junior senator from Michigan.
“You are right, Jim. Major Brewer appears to be an effective field leader. Maybe it’s time she should be in charge of her own operation,” the Chairman offered.
“She needs to continue to mentor this Kain – girl,” Senator Hayworth stated. “Did the report state where she is at now?”
Senator Russell flipped through the report quickly and discovered the page he was looking for, “Here it is…the University of Missouri at St Louis. It seems she is also working at a local gay club, called ‘Heaven’.”
“What is she doing there?” the chairman asked.
“Performing…dancing and lip syncing, it says,” replied Senator Lawson.
“Tom, I meant at the University,” said the silver-haired chairman
The deeply tanned man leafed through the file again, “Oh…ummm…it appears she hasn’t picked a major yet…she is listed as undecided.”
“We better get her to decide to stay with us,” Senator Hayworth stated.
“I think we all know who we should send to convince her,” Senator Lawson declared.
“Are we agreed?” He looked at both panel members who nodded their assent, “I will have my assistant contact her.”
“I’ll catch you girls later. I’m heading to the library; I’ve got to study for my constitutional theory class.”
“What is it with you and this class load?” Heather asked the blonde girl. “I mean you’re a freshman…start slow and work your way up to those classes.”
“Yeah Amber, don’t max out your first year here,” Lori commented not taking her eyes from her phone.
“Look, I’ll catch up with you later. Ok? We’ll meet at ‘the Yard’ about seven tonight?”
“Well, can I borrow your pink top? You know the sheer one with the three quarters sleeves?”
Amber nodded at her friend and said, “I thought you already borrowed it…but sure. Do you have the key to my apartment?
“Yeah, I still have it. Thanks babe…we’ll catch you later,” Heather said taking the arm of the dark haired girl who did not look up from her phone but furiously continued to text.
Amber smiled watching the pair go down the sidewalk on the bright spring afternoon, turned on a heel and headed for her date with Hobbes, Locke, Madison and other political thinkers. A slight breeze pushed her blonde hair off her shoulders as she walked quickly to the building then up the stairs to enter the enormous foyer where the click of her heels on the marble floor caused several young men sitting in the lobby to stare openly at the pretty coed.
Amber knew many of her classmates thought she dressed oddly or a better description perhaps was too well for a college student. She rarely wore the baggy sweatpants along with any of the various Tritons t-shirts most of her friends wore to class but dressed in skirts or slacks with blouses. She couldn’t understand why with the beautiful clothes available to her friends they would only choose the ugly, loose athletic wear. Amber shrugged her shapely shoulders as she walked into the stacks and to her favorite desk.
She fished her smart phone with the pink otter box cover from her purse to check the time. The digital display read a quarter past seven; Amber discovered she had missed several texts since she turned her ringer off. She flicked the switch activating the ringer then gathered her books and tablet, slipped them in the leather case. She threw the case’s strap over her shoulder and darted between the book cases to make her way out of the stacks back into the lobby area where a few students remained when her phone played a familiar tune she hadn’t heard in months. She retrieved the smart phone once more. A smile spread across her face then she swiftly thumbed the security code across the touch pad and hit the answer key.
“Hello, Major?” she asked cautiously.
“Hello dear, how have you been?”
“I’m doing great. I simply love school,” Amber replied beaming hearing her friend’s voice.
“I’m glad to hear that. Are you busy tonight?”
“Are you in town? What did you have in mind?”
“Would you like to watch a movie? Would you consider the cinema of Yemen?”
Amber’s mind went blank for a second upon hearing those words then she began to think of the possibilities.
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