16:00 (21:00 GMT)
Mike Brennan was glossing over some reports on his computer when Veronica Slocum came in with her usual frustrated look. Oh hell, what now?
She tossed her bag on the couch and said, “Well, I just had a very unpleasant meeting with the president. She was expecting an update on what was happening with al Hamwi and I didn’t have a damn thing to tell her. What the hell is happening, Mike? You were supposed to fill me in.”
Mike stood up and suppressed his frustration the best he could. He turned around to get the freshly printed report off the printer tray. He rolled his eyes. This stupid woman just doesn’t understand how things are done. He turned back and handed her the latest report. “I only just got this a little while ago. His asset was killed as soon as he got there. There was an ambush.”
Veronica perused the paperwork and looked up. “I already know about this Mike. We’ve already told the President. Are you telling me that you just got this report? You’re his Goddamn handler. You should be the first to know about it.”
Letting some of his frustration slip, he quickly jabbed back. “I just got the whole report. If you read further, it gives the complete picture.”
Veronica tossed the folder on his desk and said, “Okay, you know so much, then give me the complete picture. Was it a failure or a success? Did he abort after his asset was killed?”
“Hell no. Blake wouldn’t be turned back by that. It turns out there was just one sniper. And he eliminated them. There’s a picture of him in the file. After the ambush, he went into Sabzawar and met up with the team of ASA Special Forces that he hand-picked.”
“So the mission was a success then? He found out something about al Hamwi?” Veronica asked.
“Hardly!” Mike continued as he strolled over to refill his coffee. “They managed to infiltrate the location of al Hamwi’s men, but Blake lost four of the five members of the ASA team. It seems that they knew he was coming, and when.”
“What? How? How in the hell did this happen?”
Mike walked back behind his desk and sat down. “It seems that we have a mole.”
“Well, we need to find out who the hell it is and deal with them. Immediately!” Veronica said.
Mike let out a louder than normal sigh. He cocked his head to the side. “Gee, ya think?” Veronica shot him a scorned glare.
He held up his hands in a manner of surrender. “I’m working on it, and I promise you that you’ll be the first person I call when we find out.” He paused for a moment and then said, “Now—there is a bit of good news.”
“Great! I could use a bit of good news. What is it?”
“When Blake went into the basement of al Hamwi’s, he found Jim Dunn. He’s in pretty bad shape. He’d been tortured. He lost all of his finger and toe nails, broke all his fingers, cracked some ribs and—they cut off his ear.”
Veronica cupped her hand to her mouth, horror filled her eyes. “Those animals! Oh my God! Where is Blake, now? Is he on his way back here for debriefing? I want to talk to him as soon as he gets back.”
“Well, he was supposed to be, but he diverted the plane.” Mike glanced down at the report he’d received from Blake so he didn’t have to keep looking at Veronica. Wait for it… It’s coming.
“Diverted the plane? Where did he go?” Veronica asked.
And… there it is. I shouldn’t have to cover for him like this. She needs to let him do his job. Mike met her gaze from behind his desk and said, “Nowhere yet, he’s still en route. But he’s scheduled to land in Cuba in about an hour or so.”
“Why is he going to Cuba? I thought you got all the intel from down there that you could from when you went to clean up his mess?”
“I did, but he must have a reason for going there.”
Veronica shook her head. “No. There is no reason for him to go there. Have him re-diverted back to Langley. I want to debrief him immediately.” Veronica picked up her bag and opened the door. Half way out she stopped and turned back. “Call me when he gets here. And that’s an order.” She slammed the door shut as she left.
Bitch! “Yes ma’am,” Mike said as picked up the phone. He fake dialed the phone and glared at her through the window in the door. When she turned the corner he slammed the receiver down. This is ridiculous. She is more of a problem than an asset. He stood up and left for Julian’s office.