El of a Thing
Copyright© 2010 by Ol'Mac
THURSDAY 3:00 P. M Homeland Security Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Max Aldmen was somewhat surprised at being recalled to Washington, but his direct boss had said it was to receive kudos on a mission performed at lightning speed and to personally debrief the director. Arriving at headquarters, Max was ushered in amid the whispered awe of his fellow agents. He swept through the security procedures and was then escorted into The Presence.
Rising and extending a hand, the director said, "Max, that was the best job ever done in the field. Congratulations on a superb performance. I just have to know how in the world you pulled that off. If it's duplicable and able to be taught, I know exactly where your next posting will be."
"Well sir, on behalf of the team and I, thanks very much for your praise. But in all honesty, I don't know if this feat is duplicable or not. We did have a bit of outside help and I just don't know if that same help would be available again. That's not saying that the operation wasn't a lot of good old legwork, but credit should go where it's due." Then with a small grin, Max added, "Besides, I don't want you thinking you have a magician on your team now."
"That's something I don't think I'll ever get used to Max," The director replied, "Your team goes out there and pulls off the operation of the decade, then you come in here passing out credit like a sailor on a three day liberty pass. I wish to God the rest of our crew had that kind of humility."
"Well, thank you again sir, but in actual fact we did get some crucial tips from an anonymous group in Chicago that made all the difference. Our team would have come up with the same results because that's where the evidence led, but I'm afraid we'd still be at it even now, without their help," Max said.
"Hum, what are the chances of bringing in this group even in a consulting framework?" asked the director.
"Well sir, again, we have no way of contacting them. I could return to Chicago and hope for a contact, but that's all it would be, a hope and a prayer," Max responded.
"All right, guess the buck stops here, as the saying goes. These folks sound like a resource worth spending the time to cultivate. I'll have orders cut for your detached duty. Head on back there and we'll all keep our fingers crossed. I know you'll do your best, Max," the director said, while standing and extending his hand once again.
"If it's at all possible, you can count on me getting it done sir," replied Max.
THURSDAY 4:30 P. M. NSA Headquarters, K. E. O. T. C. section
As Col. Miles Davidson US Army Retired glance through the data coming in from Chicago, a picture began to form. The FBI was still in keep-an-eye-out mode, while HS had gone in fast and hard, got their bag limit, and got out again. Then something very curious happened. HS was going back in. The orders for this reverse fake were sitting on his desk and his only question was... why?
This new data, coupled with those two crazy phone link ups, the last one of which had that insane modulation wave format, was painting an ongoing operation of some depth here. Overall, it reminded Davison of his last Alaska passage vacation. You could actually track the feeding whales they had spotted by watching the surface of the mirror smooth inlet. Just before they breached, the surface would develop ripple patterns. That's what this was beginning to look like, ripples.
'Alice is not the only one murmuring, Curiouser and Curiouser, ' Davidson thought, 'Best keep a tight eyeball on this one.'
THURSDAY 5:00 P. M. FBI Surveillance Point Alpha, Chicago, IL
Lisa surrendered her window observation point to the overnight team member and almost danced in anticipation. She hated lying to her fellow agents, but knew they'd put her in a nice soft walled room, if she even hinted at the traffic she'd seen today. 'I can see it now; Log entry: 2:45 P.M. Subject spotted moving south on East Van Buren. Physical Description: 39 inches tall by 12 feet long, Hair Color: None, Skin Tone: Blue. Subject gave statement to this Agent with query of, "Hi Lisa, how's it going?"... ' Then with a mental giggle, 'Oh yeah, that would go over big time!'
Deciding she wasn't going to wait around for Collins to chew the fat with the night crew. Altman tossed a, "See you tomorrow guys," over her shoulder and made a break for freedom.
She then grabbed a cab and even goosed the driver for a bit more speed, with a quick flash of her ID.
She planned out her time management. 'Let's see, shower and hair. Then decide what to wear. Oh God, I sound like a doggerel poet. I still can't believe what just thinking about Him does to me. At this rate, I'll have to start carrying a purse full of "Stay Free", or start buying really cheap throw away underwear. Oh God, Girl you are sooooo losing it.'
Arriving home, she made a bee-line for the bathroom and flicked the shower on. Then, like an artist working on a master piece, she laid out her tools and went to work. Finally her three S's were taken care of, especially the third S and that one glance in the mirror, set her to thinking, 'Wow, that "Venus" really is a great razor and the landing strip looks immaculate now.' Then an unbidden giggle erupted, along with, 'The grass is mowed and the Airport is open for business.'
One hour and fifty minutes later Altman was standing in front of the Portal to Lake's Edge.
"Basic black dress with a scoop neck, that's the ticket, besides, it makes my blonde hair stand out like neon. Better get over there before I freeze my tush off." She murmured while keying the portal, she then paused in wonder once again, 'God's sake, an eight foot diameter round silver mirror. Wonder if I'll ever get used to this completely?' She then stepped from a Chicago February into seventy two degrees and a field of Emerald Green grass.
As she started to remove her coat, she heard behind her, "Allow me, My Lady", and her knees went to jelly again.
A little voice inside her head whispered, "You are so lost, best of luck Girl", while she heard her own voice say, "Thank you, My Lord." Then turning, she came face to face with Him.
"My Lady, before we begin this adventure, may I ask what you seek?" Elnore queried, while a strange expression passed over his face.
Blushing furiously at being caught like a kid in a cookie jar, Altman replied, "My Lord, in truth, I do not know yet. If something develops out of this, then it will. If it does not, then we will have had our moment." All this came babbling from her mouth, while her mind screamed at her, 'What are you doing, you idiot!'
Elnore then took her hand and gently kissed the back, while saying, "My Lady, I would not lead you on by deception. If you seek pair-bonding in the human sense, then I must tell you it is a very long shot. If however, you seek a moments pleasure ... that is another thing entirely."
"My Lord, I would not turn down any relationship, but right now, a moments pleasure sounds wonderful," she breathed into his face.
Chuckling, Elnore held out his arm, and said, "Come then, My Lady. Let us be off to Lake's Edge Hold. I believe we might be able to spare more than a moment or two."
As they rode toward the Hold Lisa could have sworn she heard Ricky Nelson's "Fools Rush In" playing in the background.
All the while she mentally raise her hand, acknowledging the tag.
Thinking, 'Yep, that's me for sure tonight.'
THURSDAY 7:30 P. M. Ronald Regan Washington National Airport,. Washington, DC
As Max walked up to the door marked Authorized Personnel Only, he thought, Wow. The director really wasn't kidding about making this happen. Even though this is public transport, at least I didn't get subjected to the cattle herding. This is actually turning out to be a good blend of cover mixed with efficiency. But, of course, no cover in the world will keep me out from under the microscope of this group. Just have to hope for a professional sense of honor with these folks. A shiver ran up his spine as he thought, Just hope I can get three words in edgewise before that guy lowers the boom. Don't know if it will do any good, but I'll sure have my fingers and toes crossed, along with every other part of my body.
THURSDAY 7:35 P. M News Stand, Chicago, IL
Lannee's mental call caught Mike as the last of the evening rush was abating, My Lord, I've new data to update the file on Agent Aldmen. As you asked, we have had three of our folk with long distance scanning ability, locked onto this one since you brought him to our attention. He has just boarded an Express Flight from DC to Chicago and should arrive about 8:20 local time. The readings on this one are still not in the detail I would like, but we were able to get the flight number. He is flying United 1867 Express and is scheduled for landing at O'Hare approximately 8:17 CST this evening. I will have to assign more of our folk to, boost the gain, if you need more depth on this. I had thought to check with you before allocating the additional resources.
Mike sent, My Lady, you have my thanks for you and your folks diligence, but I will take it from here. Looks like Max and I need to chew-the-fat.
THURSDAY 7:50 P. M United Flight 1867, Over Baltimore Airspace
The Seatbelt / Cell Phone light had just gone off after the craft reached it's cruising altitude of Angels thirty two. Per SOP, Max returned his cell to receive mode and then notice an incoming call register. Caller ID was either busted very badly, or the Chicago group was faster on the trigger than anyone had expected. With a lump in his throat, trepidation in his guts and an overriding sense of duty, Max keyed the receive button, saying, "Max here."
The now familiar Basso voice answered, "Hello, Max. I thought we had a deal?"
Knowing that this could easily be his last communication on the face of this world, Max very carefully enunciate, "I'm under orders to contact you."
"I know, Max. That's why you're getting this call instead of a heart attack." The voice replied, then said with a sigh, "All right Max, here's how this will work. If we can help in any of your investigations, we will. If we can't help; we'll tell you that too. But the second you snowball us in the least; this arrangement is ended. You do understand what I mean ... by ended?"
Swallowing what felt like a grapefruit, Max replied, "Yes, I understand."
"Good." The voice said, then added, "Max, I do apologize for the seemingly continual threats, but our group has a choice here. We can stay under the radar with contacts like you, or we can initiate wholesale slaughter of anyone that finds out about our existence. Now even though the second choice, does not in any way, shape, or form, match the natural responses of anyone in our group. It still remains as a final option. I know from your point of view it might seem ludicrous right now, but we really are the good guys. Max, I want you to do something for me now. Lean your head back into the cushion and simply relax. If this works, what you'll feel will be a slight tingling pressure on your right temple. Then I'll speak with you again."
Aldmen, figuring, in-for-a-penny, in-for-a-pound, reclined his head back. About five seconds later he felt exactly what the voice had described. He then heard in his head, 'Max, hang up your cell phone, you no longer need it.'