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Chapter Forty-Five

Current day, 2:45 PM, Camp Peary, The Farm

Agent Lou Epstein stood with his arms crossed. He scanned over the faxed documents scattered over Fitz’s desk fully understanding he should not have been in his supervisor’s antique-drowned office. In fact, it was something he never dreamed of doing until this morning when his boss began acting strangely preceding a flurry of secretive activity. Technically, Fitz’s extraction of several of his favorite agents from Epstein’s cryptography class without providing any reason as to why was enough to make anyone curious. However, when the landing of two black helicopters outside in the commons area occurred, finding out the answer was simply too much to resist for a former counter-intelligence agent like himself, already suspicious of any and everyone, especially his supervisor, one Agent Harland Fitzpatrick. Lou had to know.

“What the hell is all of this? ...G.I.Z.M.O.?... Nano-tech WMD’s?” Lou muttered, thumbing through the papers. On a legal notepad next to the documents, the agent then noticed the words ‘Apprehend 42 Cole and fam’ and ′Mount Silver’ scribbled on its yellow surface in barely legible red ink followed by a ten-digit number. He looked up at the wobbling ceiling fan clicking above to ponder it all for a moment. “Cole? Cole...Hitchens? The local guy, the hillbilly? The one everyone’s been whispering about? He’s here in Virginia? I thought he was in Afghanistan...and why would Fitz be involved with apprehending the man and his family? Wouldn’t that be the Bureau?”


Lou raised an eyebrow and glanced down at the gray secure phone screeching from Fitz’s desk. “Hello,” he said nervously, lifting the receiver to his ear.

“Fitz? You’re back?” inquired a female voice. “Cole has been apprehended? What about his wife and kids, have they been detained?”

Lou paused and then opened his mouth to speak. “Yes,” he replied, his stomach knotting. The agent understood he was taking a massive risk, however he knew in his gut something was going on and it was not Camp Peary business. The documents before him were evidence enough of that.

“Excellent. 42 is in place. You know what to do.” CLICK!

“Cole apprehended? 42...for-ty-two, like what was written on the note? Wait a second...where else did I see that?” Lou mumbled and then returned his attention to the papers scattered over the desk. He spread the documents around until he located the scanned document that had what appeared to be a bullet hole or some sort of black dot marring a section of it.

“Here it is!” Epstein exclaimed and plopped back in Fitz’s chair to examine the paper closely. “Top Secret: Project G.I.Z.M.O. Subject 42...”

Setting the document down after reading through it, Lou opened Fitz’s laptop and smacked the space bar. “Wow, Fitz, smart move leaving your terminal unlocked,” the agent said with a laugh. He located the black ops secure link, clicked it, and then punched in an inquiry for the G.I.Z.M.O. project.

Nothing returned.

Lou’s forehead wrinkled in confusion. “Okay, how about this,” he said, typing in the word, Radii.

This inquiry returned a result.

“What the f...?”


Lou nearly jumped from his seat. With a shaking hand, he lifted the gray receiver once more and swallowed. “Hello?”

“Agent Fitz,you’re back, sir? So, that’s why you were radio silent. Well, um, the Radii facility has been overrun by locals, sir. They’re here and have taken Agent Hitchen’s family. We escaped with our lives, sir. What are your orders?” inquired the voice on the other end of the crackling connection, one Lou recognized as Trainee Simmons.

“Why would they need to hold a man’s family hostage?” Lou wondered. He cleared his throat and, attempting his best angry Fitz voice, said, “Abort mission.”

“Sir? Return to Camp Peary?”

“You heard me!”

Rustle, rustle. Simmons’ voice sounded distant and muffled as if he were covering the phone. “Agent Fitz says to abort mission...no, that’s what he said...I don’t know...Fine, okay. I’ll ask, damn!” Suddenly the line cleared and the trainee’s voice returned to normal. “Sir, shouldn’t we assist Team Two at least? They were preparing to assault the Roadhouse and take Agent Hitchens. In fact, I thought you were supposed to be there with them.”

Lou shot back, “No. Mission failed. Do nothing!”


Lou hung up the phone, rubbing his hands over his face. He was utterly perplexed at the strange activity, but knew that the Company should not be running ops like this right here in Langley’s own backyard and not to this extent. More importantly, the revelation that agent trainees were holding a man’s family at gunpoint...what the hell kind of op was it?

Agent Epstein fully expected that there would be repercussions regarding his actions if he were wrong, nevertheless, everything in his being told him something bad was going down and whatever it was, Fitz was involved along with others in the Agency. The documents in front of him clearly indicated that. Returning to Fitz’s computer, he opened another window and ran an inquiry on his supervisor’s phone. It was still transmitting, actively pinging from a cell tower near an establishment designated as The Roadhouse. Lou jotted down the address and telephone number from the notepad, reassembled the papers in the way he thought he found them, and backed from the office.


As the door closed, a black box appeared on the computer’s screen. ”Why is your cellphone in western Virginia if you are in your office, Fitz? Agent Fitz?” The cursor blinked impatiently as if waiting for a response before more words appeared on the screen. “Who is this on this terminal?”

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