With the recent failure of the snatch/reconnaissance mission, as well as President James Bass breathing down his neck to identify some unnaturally perfect looking bitch code-name “Goddess,” Director of National Intelligence Sean Turner hadn’t gotten any sleep, which only served to make him drink more, and made his reactions even less appropriate. When the Ah-64 Apache flared and touched down, scattering leaves and debris at such velocity that the dirt felt like razors tearing his skin, Turner was already outside, staggering, yelling and waving at the cockpit.
As soon as the Black-Ops agent hopped out, code-named “Knuckles,” Turner grabbed him by the collar and dragged him to the back of the restricted hanger. This was a dangerous act. Turner didn’t care. He could hear the Apache’s rotors rev as it lifted off to its next destination and he felt more high velocity debris tearing his flesh.
Once in the back of the hangar, he didn’t care who heard him, he just began shouting. “What the fuck!? You really screwed the pooch! Nine dead. Nine! They blew the shit out of your vans and made you look like Keystone Cops! Two scientists and some bitch did this to you? Did this to Black Ops? You’re supposed to be our best!”
“That’s what happened.”
“And more bodies were dissolved? Dissolved? What are they, fucking magicians?”
“Bad mojo, I guess.”
Turner waited for further explanations, for some insight, for some commentary, for anything useful to come out of this knuckle-heads mouth, but since the agent didn’t know any more than he’d just reported, he wisely kept his mouth shut.
“Idiot!” Turner shouted, “Fucking stupid idiot!” He was beginning to slur. “What the hell am I going to tell Bass?”
Knuckle’s knew he had a higher security clearance than the Director of National Intelligence, and that he didn’t have to stand here and listen to this shit, but he also knew that Turner and Bass were drinking buddies, and Turner could easily influence the president by well-timed whispers in his ear.
Knuckles didn’t want any of those whispers to be about Black Hole Ops. There was too much unaccounted money at stake. He tried to report the facts, and kept his opinion to himself.
“Where are these scientists and this bitch right now? Right at his particular God-Damn moment?”
“Her name’s Akira, sir.”
“Oh! You do know something! Please, tell me…where are they right now…”
“We don’t know.”
“Damn it Knuckles or whatever your real name is, don’t play mind-games. I’m already stretched too thin! Where the hell do you think they are? Answer me, or I’ll have Bass take a deep dive into your organization and I’ll personally name you as part of the swamp!”
Knuckles felt like reaching out and choking the living shit out of this semi-sober National Security Director. Turner was replaceable. But the damage Bass could do by looking too closely at the funding could be irreparable.
“They have to be somewhere in Washington, but we don’t know where.”
Turner wanted to put a bullet through the agent’s useless heart. “That’s the stupidest mother-fu…” he stuttered, lost his balance, slipped. Knuckles caught him, propped him upright. He fought the temptation to crack his skull on the concrete.
“We’re the US Government,” Turner continued, regaining his balance. “You’re using the most sophisticated surveillance equipment on the planet. You had satellites in fucking space watching them the whole time. How could you possibly…possibly… not know where they are?”
“Sir, let me explain.”
“Please, yes, please, do.” Turner gasped for air, straightened himself and brushed himself off.
“The surveillance equipment, the satellites, everything…everything came off line at precisely the right moment to help them escape.”
“That can’t be a coincidence!” Turner roared.
“We don’t think so either.”
“Who’s helping them? I demand an answer!”
“You’re not going to like the answer.”
“We don’t think this is a case of—pick an enemy—any enemy—” Knuckles splayed his fingers as if he were holding a deck of cards, “We think this Akira—code name Goddess—had something to do with it.”
Turner regained his composure, hoping his calm demeanor would elicit responses that made sense.
“How? Tell me how?” Turner took a deep breath, speaking slowly: “How? How is this Akira taking the entire universe of our most advanced, sophisticated surveillance equipment off-line at precisely the right moment to elude capture from highly trained killers, assassins and butchers? How is that even remotely possible?”
The air became a whirlwind and the debris once again tore at Turner’s flesh as the Ah-64 Apache returned to pick up the agent for his next assignment.
As the helicopter touched down, Knuckles ignored the National Security Director and ran past him to jump on board. He turned his head slightly as he yelled:
“We think she used a smart phone.”