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“I take it the mission went without incident?” The General asks as he accepts the briefcase from my hand.


“Accompany me to my office, Michael.”

I follow without a word. There’s always, inevitably something. We enter Olympus, and he closes the door behind him. I stop in front of the big window, staring out over Comm.

“I have concerns, Michael,” the General voices. “I’m starting to wonder if you’re able to control your people.”

“How do you mean?” I asked, turning to look at him. In the back of my head I curse Laci for her contest. I know this is of her making.

“I think it’s time to put Laci in the N. E. P. Program,” the General says, sternly.

“Laci is a good operative. She has some hurdles she needs to get over concerning her feelings for me, but Non-Essential Personnel isn’t the place for her. She’s still useful to the team,” I explain. Even with her incessant flirting and second guessing, I’m not ready to dispose of her, just yet.

“I’ll leave it to your discretion, for now, Michael. If she challenges a mission during ingress again I will expect you to put her to bed, and not in the way she’d like.”

“I understand.”

“Now to the second issue,” he pauses, coming to stand next to me. “Is there a reason you decided to change the profile at the last minute?”

“I felt it would be best to move Shyira to second because I need to know how my new operatives react in a unit setting. I had Laci relieve Delaney of second position on her first mission also. It’s just how I run my ops. I need them to be where I can keep an eye on them,” I explain.

“I understand. So, it brings us back to Laci and her feelings for you impeding a mission.”

I can tell the General isn’t happy, and on the verge of putting her in the N. E P. Program. A program where operatives are placed on suicide missions only.

“I’ll talk to her,” I say, heading for the door.

“Michael,” the General calls out.

I stop and listen, never turning around.

“If I get the slightest inclination that you changed the profile because you have an emotional bond with Miss Chandler-” the General stops, and I wait for the rest of his threat. “Let me put it to you this way. You’ll never get the chance to say goodbye. She’ll just be gone.”

I don’t respond, only continue out of the office.

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