Current day, 10:47 PM,
The White House, Washington, D.C.
“Welcome to the House of Representatives office building,” Staffer Shane Epstein said, opening the antique, wood and metal door for the two men dressed in black t-shirts and jeans.
Cole, wearing a black baseball cap, noticed the camera as soon as he and Kevin stepped through the doorway. The agent turned his face to the ground, shadowing it under the hat’s brim, a cap identical to Kevin’s. They both ironically had the letters CIA emblazoned over their fronts. He could have kicked Kevin’s joking ass for buying them from the street vendor.
“No one would suspect anyone who actually works for the CIA would wear a hat that says CIA on it,” the moron that was Kevin replied to his annoyed friend.
Shane turned in front of Cole, snatching his focus back to the present.
“You don’t have to worry, Agent Hitchens. I saw you looking at the cameras...they’re, um, down for maintenance at the moment,” the man in his mid-thirties said, extending a hand to Cole and then to Kevin. “I made sure you two will be unseen at least until we get to the tunnel.”
“Tunnel?” Kevin asked.
“It’s for staffers and members of Congress to get around between buildings. The one we’re going to runs beneath the Capitol Building. That’s where the coordinates Lou sent me indicated you needed to go, right?”
“Yeah, that’s right. Look, I need you to know, I really appreciate your help, Shane. I also realize you understand the risk,” Cole said, eyes constantly assessing the various activities occurring in the hallway filled with what appeared to be a hallway of never ending rows of doors. As the trio arrived at the top of a large staircase, Cole muttered. “...this is gonna be painful.”
Shane helped Cole down the stairs. “Look, I know what Lou does is hush-hush, but I also know it’s very important and this is about as important as it gets. So, when he called me and told me it was a matter of national security to get you guys into the tunnels, well, it was no-brainer,” Shane said with a smile. “Okay, here we are...let me do the talking...”
“Hey, Karl, how’s it going?” Shane said to the security guard posted at the entrance.
“You coming down to visit tonight, too, huh? Man it’s been a strange shift. I had some blind dude walking around down here earlier with an ugly seeing eye dog...it was so odd. I’d swear that dog didn’t know what it was doing. Still the guy had high level clearance...”
“What kind of dog was it?” Cole asked.
“Dunno, an ugly one.”
“Did you see which way they went?”
“Yeah, they went that way, why?” the guard said and pointed to his right.
Shane shook his head at Cole.
“Oh, okay. By the way, cute hats,” the guard said pointing at Kevin’s head and then returned his attention to Shane, still eying Cole with curiosity. “So, what’s up, Shane? What brings you and these um, CIA agents, down here besides asking about seeing eye dogs?”
“Um, yeah, my boss’ constituents here just want an, erm, special, private tour of the tunnels. You know, they want to ride the trains.”
Shane pulled a pair of tickets out of his sport jacket’s inside pocket. “Lookee, lookee, Nationals tickets, compliments of my boss. VIP seating, too.”
“Sweet!” The man nervously looked around, up and down the tunnels, eventually plucking the two pieces of paper from Shane’s fingers. “Enjoy the ride,” the guard said, waving the trio on.
“Sucker for baseball much?” Kevin asked under his breath as they made a right turn in the direction Karl the security guard indicated the mysterious man with a dog went.
Shane grinned. “Believe it or not, I used to date that weirdo. Baseball’s the only thing that man has or will ever love.”
Cole smiled, however the expression was short-lived, rapidly disappearing as he rounded a corner. He discovered a collection of armed agents in black tactical gear waiting for them. The letters CIA emblazoned in white over their chests. “I guess we know where the dog went for certain, now...”
“All teams, our boy is here!” The lead agent said into their mic. The rest raised their weapons preparing to fire.
Cole grabbed Shane and Kevin, shoving them into a convenient, perpendicularly set hallway just as the agents pulled their triggers.
“Go, go, go...” Cole heard one of the agents shout in between the echoing gunshots. The discharges were quickly followed by the sound of thudding combat boot heels stomping down the hallway, now from two directions.
“Keep behind me, ya’ll.” Cole said to Kevin and Shane as he prepared himself to take down any of the first agents to arrive. None came.
“All units stand down! By order of CIA Director Hinds, I repeat all units in pursuit of Agent Hitchens stand down immediately!”
“Director Hinds?” Cole blinked and then eased his head around the corner to find out what was going on. He raised an eyebrow as he noticed that the two assault teams simply stopped dead in their tracks in the middle of the hallways.
“What do you mean Director Hinds, HQ? What’s going on here? This is team two leader, our orders came directly from Director Moore to apprehend our boy and we have eyes on him!” she said, in confusion.
A man from the center of the squad produced a screeching phone from his vest and answered it. “Hello?”
“Crown...” issued a voice on the other end of the device’s connection.
“Agent Morrell? Yes? Oh...roger that, Crown.” The man in assault gear tapped his commander on the shoulder with the phone. “It’s a call from the Whitehouse communication center, ma’am. Uh, the Vice President...no, wait it’s erm, President Cao, ma’am, wants a word. It appears that the VP is now the CIC (Commander in Chief). There has been a change in administration. Here, ma’am,” he said , presenting the phone to the SAC.
“What?” The agent quickly removed her helmet, long dark ponytail falling over her shoulder, and placed the phone to her ear. “Sir? Yessir, so, the Speaker has signed off, too? What? I don’t understand. Oh my God! Yessir! Will do, sir. I understand!”
Cole watched the confused lead agent lower her weapon to the floor and step forward with her hands up. “Agent Hitchens, I have just been informed that you are now in command of my team. You are clear to come out and into the open, sir!”
“I want all weapons on the ground, now!” Cole barked and listened for the clattering weapons to hit the commercial tile flooring. “Let’s go, ya’ll. We’re good.”
The agents stood at attention as Cole limped toward them. “Go on, pick ’em up. We got work to do, ya’ll.”
“Call me a bomb squad and a veterinarian...and Shane, go find Lou and you two get as far from D.C. as you possibly can!”