Chapter 25 – De-Brief

Safe-House 2, Washington, DC and Location Unknown

The morning rush-hour had started, and the streets were filling up with vehicles and the sidewalks were busy with the morning fitness routines and the walk to work commuters. People were in a hurry in all directions and the air was full of the smell of the coffee-to-go and the chatter of cell phone conversations. What a sad and lonely place DC had become, no good mornings, no hi how are you todays, just the usual crush of self centered bubbles concentrating on their own little space and their own self-importance, welcome to the back-stabbing capital of the world.

The house was cold and lonely, I needed to prepare the environment and give myself an edge. A steaming hot shower and fresh casual clothing and footwear that would not be out of place in a technology company. The agency preferred suits and ties, and all the other control shit, which I did not adhere to and this gave me a sense of freedom and I always relished the look of contempt on the director’s face.

I prepared the business room which was equipped with the usual administrative fixtures and fittings and the necessary technical equipment. The director always prepared the room with the table square in the middle, his superior chair with the arms close to the table and the other chair with no arms further away from the table. A psychological ploy that was supposed to give him an edge, which I always thought rather pathetic. Today my chair would be to his left side and several document boxes in the original space where the chair had been. He would be pissed off, brilliant and to make a further statement I would appear to be working at the table when he arrived.

Standing protocol of previous meetings had dictated that he would prepare the room and then ask me to join him, sometimes taking up to thirty minutes to do so. That was sure as hell not going to happen today, I was tired of the powerplay, psycho bullshit.

I was ready ten minutes before the allotted time, fresh strong tea, paper, pens and calculator. I did not need a laptop or any other computer equipment, my mind was sharp and focussed and today it needed to be!

The director arrived at the designated time and was startled and indeed a little agitated that I was sitting there waiting and ready. There followed the usual pleasantries and then a long silent pause before I said, and?

He replied in the usual slow and deliberate style and asked me about myself, how I felt, physically and mentally. I gave him the full picture and asked if the physio confirmed the assessments. He was most impressed with the results and concluded that the agency delighted that my status had been returned to full operation capacity.

He asked me to give a thorough breakdown on what I had been doing over the past few months to regain my physical well-being. I was brief and to the point and he appeared satisfied with the details.

Now tell me about everything else you have been doing, I need to know what exactly you know down to the finest details. That took nearly two hours to complete as he interrupted me on many occasions to explain, expand or re-iterate specific information. He further re-iterated how important the work I had been doing was in the context of freedom and humanity and intimated that there were other objectives to this intelligence gathering.

Then he came to the crunch which I had not been expecting. This agency has been building a picture around the world on people trafficking and the impacts of slavery within the confines of international trade.

We have a very delicate situation, whereby the twin stepdaughters of a former US Senator are being linked in several ways to the Zodiac Members of this International Slavery Cartel. A few months ago, here in Washington, DC in broad daylight one of the twins was snatched while walking home. However, this is a far more complicated situation than we were initially understood.

One of these twins, who going forward shall be referred to as Package One, was interviewed in a safe house in the Old Town by another member of this agency. I can confirm this fact because it was me who delivered the package to our colleague, who you will meet in due course. The package was subjected to an intensive period of advanced interrogation techniques which we prefer to refer to as interview styles for obvious reasons.

The results were astonishing and have given this agency an opportunity that we must take advantage of, but in so doing, it will put the members of this agency at significant personal risk. You will therefore have the option to terminate your contract with immediate effect, so before we discuss anything else you have fifteen minutes to decide on your immediate career choice. If you do not return to this room within the allotted time frame, I will assume that you have made an alternative decision and you will be advised accordingly.

I rose from the seat and made my way to the kitchen area where I would make some fresh and very strong tea and this time add a small measure of sugar. My brain was working overtime, after the months I had been in rehab and working on the Zodiacs I knew the organization inside out, but technically only knew what the agency wanted me to know. I had a damn good reason to stay because I wanted to know more and more than that, I really wanted to be able to make a difference.

That was the very naïve part, because most people want to feel they make a difference in whatever they do. My conscience knew the ideology was bullshit and I would really make no difference whatsoever, but I was on the inside and I wanted to stay there, and above all else that day, my sixth sense was telling me that leaving would not be the smartest thing I would ever do. I needed the bathroom and to get back into that room, there was no turning back, no termination of contracts, just adrenaline and the excitement or fear of the unknown!

The director said nothing as I sat down again, the air in the room felt colder and the hair on my arms was rising as the anticipation of danger filled my veins, and I could not contain myself anymore.

I smiled and said confidently, well then, what’s the big plan?

Don’t be too sure of yourself Max, this is no walk in the park, nor a Mission Impossible filmset, always remember the quote from Gene Kranz that failure is not an option. Because in this case it most definitely is not an option to consider at any point.

You successfully conducted a very thorough de-brief session earlier and now you have an opportunity to move forward onto the next challenge.

The details are in the file, you have a flight booked to Phoenix first thing in the morning from JFK.

Do not disappoint the agency and most of all do not fail yourself. This session is concluded.

With that the director stood and with a distinct and almost ninja silence he left the room and departed from the house. There were no goodbyes, no good lucks, nothing but silence!