Somebody's Going to Jail
thing about a hero, is even when it doesn't look like there's a light at the
end of the tunnel, he's going to keep digging, he's going to keep trying to do
right and make up for what's gone before, just because that's who he is."
September 2013. Nairobi, Kenya.
Yonah Zamir rubbed her forehead with a frustrated sigh as she made her way across the busy street. She probably needed less coffee, not more—she was already sick, a rare occurrence for her.
Still, she hadn't had much sleep, and this case demanded that she be alert and focused. So more coffee it was.
She entered the little coffee shop, glancing around out of habit instead of actual curiosity. A movement caught her eye—in the corner sat a red-haired woman, whose head had snapped up at her entrance, almost as if out of recognition. She seemed vaguely familiar, perhaps one of the forensic investigators who was confined to the lab instead of being in the Criminal Investigative Division with the rest of the task force agents.
Zamir ordered her to-go coffee and stepped back to wait.
The red-headed woman stood, placed her empty porcelain espresso cup back on the counter, and turned to go.
Another person entered the coffee shop door at that particular moment, forcing the red-head to brush closer to Yonah. As she did, her hand slipped against Yonah's—something small and hard pressed against Yonah's palm, and she instinctively curled her fingers to keep it from falling.
The stranger moved out the door without a word.
Yonah didn't dare open her hand until after she had her coffee and was on the street again, though she knew what it was. Her eyes confirmed her suspicions.
Teeth. Two human teeth—the eye teeth, to be exact.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
She'd just met the Kidon agent.
And the agent knew who she was.
That same agent was casually smoking outside the police headquarters whenever Yonah returned. She approached, extending her hand in greeting, "Rav Seren Zamir."
"I know," the stranger spoke in Hebrew. She smiled, took another drag of her cigarette, studied Zamir down the length of her nose before accepting the handshake. "Connelly. Not Rav Seren, but the Kidon doesn't stick to titles as much as the rest."
She made a slight gesture towards Yonah's still-clenched fist, referring the teeth as she switched to English, "You understand what they are?"
"Yes." Yonah nodded. "But whose?"
"Ade. And soon, I will give you the teeth of Wasaki."
Another cryptic smile. "Someone in Tel Aviv told me that you had a personal tie to this case—to Wasaki, in particular. Ade helped him plan the bombing in Tel Aviv, four years ago. This is your way of knowing that vengeance was truly served."
"Thank you," Yonah said simply. She opened the breast pocket of her shirt and gingerly slipped the teeth inside. These were more precious to her than rubies—they were proof that the years of searching and sacrificing had not all been in vain. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, she ventured to ask, "And Wasaki?"
"Soon," Connelly took another drag of her cigarette. Her eyes narrowed as she quietly added, "And he will suffer more than his lieutenant did. Of that, I can promise you."
"Good," Yonah gave a curt nod of approval. "When he screams, remind him of the wailing children and grieving parents he left in his wake. Remind him of their suffering, through every second of his."
This smile was deep, assured, almost cat-like. "They do not call me Azriel for nothing, my dear."
Yonah knew her eyes were the size of saucers—this was Azriel? Despite the clandestine nature of the Kidon, Agent Azriel was still a hushed-whisper legend amongst members of the Israeli intelligence community, a vengeful phantom who pulled off the most daring hits in the name of Israel. No one outside the actual Kidon knew Azriel's true identity (most assumed it was a man, given the name), but even those who imagined a woman would never have thought that she was the slight, unassuming thing standing before Yonah now. She looked too old to be chasing down international enemies, slipping over high beams and through small windows (if the stories were true).
Connelly seemed to read her thoughts, because she simply smiled again. "It's alright. I get that reaction quite a lot. For a while, I thought I should be offended by it, but then I realized that it just proved how good I was at my job—I get closer to the targets than most others can, because not even the wariest men in the world would suspect me of being their assassin."
Yonah glanced around—there wasn't much foot traffic, but it still wasn't wise for Connelly to be confessing such things aloud, in broad daylight.
The other woman was grinning at her again, amused by her reactions. "Don't worry. The police station cameras don't have microphones, and my back is facing them—so even if someone could read lips in English, they won't read mine. I'm never unaware, my darling."
Another drag, another small flick of cigarette ash, and the amusement disappeared. "Still, we probably shouldn't be seen together. If this goes sideways, I don't want you dragged in."
"Sideways?" Yonah felt a prick of apprehension. "Why would this go sideways?"
Connelly made a slight grimace as she searched for the right words to explain, "I've got a queer feeling about this one. Maybe just because it's Wasaki—heaven knows how badly we've wanted to catch him, and how long it's taken for us to get this close. But something feels different. And different doesn't feel right."
"I know what you mean," Yonah confessed. Her sudden illness had made her think the same. Then, she offered a small smile, reverting back to Hebrew, "Still, I wish you happy hunting."
Connelly smiled at this.
Yonah Zamir took a deep breath as she entered the police building again. She passed Agent Shir-Del in the lobby, and for a brief phobic moment, she thought the woman could see the truth written on her face—just as real and evident as the teeth hidden in her pocket.
No. No one knew. And no one would ever know—in years to come, Yonah Zamir would shoulder the burden of being one of the only people in the world who knew what truly happened here, but it was a weight that she would gladly carry, so long as it included the knowledge that Mariatu Wasaki was dead and destroyed.
Three days later.
"What news, Zamir?"
"You must contact Agent Azriel. Her cover has been compromised, and even now the task force is preparing to take her and the target by force."
A slight shuffling, a pause, a breath. "Azriel went dark almost twenty-four hours ago. She will not resurface until her mission is complete."
"But I am telling you—"
"I have heard your words, but you have not heard mine. There is nothing we can do. Azriel knows that she must avoid capture at all costs, and she has been adequately trained to do so. Thank you for your concern, Zamir, but this truly is beyond your purview."
The line went dead. Zamir stared at the cellphone in her hand for a moment.
No. That couldn't be the end. This woman had given Zamir a gift that no one else could give—hope, vengeance, peace, an odd combination that restored some measure of faith in God's ability to provide some kind of justice for His children, through His children. As a Kidon agent, Connelly had made countless sacrifices for the nation of Israel, had covered her hands in so much un-innocent blood, and this was to be her thanks—death or possible suicide, to avoid capture?
This is not who you are, Yonah. This is not the story your child will hear.
In that moment, the right choice was clear. Despite the uncertainty that had plagued her for the past week, now she knew with unwavering faith exactly what to do.
They had barely even begun to address George's question about what to do with Yonah Zamir when the woman herself entered the room again.
This time, she wasn't smiling. And this time, she closed the door.
"You cannot kill Agent Connelly," she stated, without preamble. "She is operating under the instructions of the nation of Israel—she is not a traitor or a collaborator. She was sent to kill Mariatu Wasaki."
"Sent?" Easter stood a little straighter. "How the hell could she have been sent? She came here with Interpol."
Zamir crossed her arms over her chest. "And was it your decision to bring her?"
His brain suddenly pieced it together—the call from his superiors, the command-relayed-as-a-request that Connelly join him. Still he heard his own voice murmur, "That's impossible."
"The Kidon has many friends with similar interests," Zamir pointed out. "It is in everyone's best interest to have Mariatu Wasaki off the world stage—and Israel was willing to ensure that. Your bosses saw the usefulness in that situation."
She opened the pocket of her button-down shirt, producing a set of teeth. "She has already taken care of Andwele Ade. Please, just let her finish the job with Wasaki and disappear. In the end, we'll all get what we want—an end to this monster's reign of terror."
"But what if the situation is reversed?" Ahoo motioned to the laptop. "We see two heat signatures, but we can't tell who's who or what's really happening—what if Wasaki figured it out and is holding her captive?"
Zamir paused at the thought.
"This doesn't make sense," Easter shook his head. "How would Connelly even end up with the Kidon? She's not Israeli."
"Wait," Spencer Reid picked up his cellphone, dialing Penelope's number.
"Yes, Boy Wonder, I am yours to command." The blonde's urgent voice came over the speaker phone.
"Garcia, pull up the info you have on Constance Connelly again."
"Uh, OK….what do you need, exactly?"
"Her full name. And her mother's."
Clyde tried to remember on his own, "Her middle name is Elaine…something like that, but odder sounding. More Irish."
"Erelah." Penelope supplied. "Constance Erelah Connelly—"
"Erelah isn't Irish," Zamir interjected. "It's Hebrew."
Penelope continued, "Mother's name is Susanna—"
"Also Hebrew," Zamir pointed out.
Spencer glanced at his companions. "In Judaic tradition, a child's lineage is determined through the mother. Her father was Irish, hence the last name, but her mother's ancestry meant that in the eyes of the Jewish community, she was one of them. She's not Israeli, but she's still Jewish."
"Eight years in Jerusalem for a bloody consulate posting," Clyde murmured. "It was a cover."
"Oh my god," Penelope chimed in. "That explains the off-the-gridness."
"So we're saying Constance Connelly left Israel and came back to Ireland as, what? A sleeper agent for the Kidon?" Clyde's brow furrowed in confused disbelief.
Zamir's somber expression implied that it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility.
"This is way too far down the rabbit hole," Penelope spoke again, her voice filled with incredulous wonder. "I mean, I'm a pretty darn good hacker, but there's no way I can pull files from an agency that barely exists—I mean, Israel confirms that it exists, but that's it. Literally. They acknowledge what it is and what it does, but the rest—"
"We get the picture, Garcia," Hotch interrupted. "Thank you for your help."
"I just wish I could have been more help," she bemoaned. "Keep me posted, loves."
"Will do," Rossi promised, before Spencer ended the call.
There was a beat of silence as everyone absorbed the information. Then Ahoo Shir-Del spoke up.
"Send me in."
"What?" Clyde looked at her, equal parts disdain and confusion.
"We built up a good rapport," Ahoo looked to George for affirmation and support. "She likes me—finds me endearing, she said. I think I could get to her, talk her into giving up Wasaki peacefully."
Unfortunately, George Whitting did not share her conviction. His brow furrowed in slight sadness as he gently informed her, "This isn't the time to earn a merit badge in hostage negotiation, Lion-heart. You're putting too much faith in a person who's been leading a double life for a very long time. You think you had a rapport—but who's to say that it wasn't part of her cover? There are too many variables in play here."
Clyde Easter's disdain melted into something sadder, laced with a surprising bitterness, "Trust me, Agent Shir-Del. There are some of us who have known her much longer, who would have never seen this coming. This woman is an expert, and we can't guarantee that she isn't dangerous."
"She isn't." Now it was Yonah Zamir who came to Connelly's defense. "She is a patriot, who has sacrificed much for so little in return. More importantly, she's a good soldier, and she's been given a mission, which she must finish, or else she will stay out of contact with her superiors in Tel Aviv until it is completed."
"It isn't just about Connelly," Ahoo spoke up again. "Wasaki has to be brought to justice. This isn't justice. We can't let countries think that they can just send killers out to settle their scores. We can't sit idly by and let this happen."
Yonah Zamir gave her a look that would wither a mountain. But instead of responding, she moved to the laptop, where Spencer and Easter already stood, "They haven't left, have they?"
"No," Hotchner joined her. Rossi and Whitting moved closer, but didn't come around to observe the screen.
Zamir's eyes searched the screen for details, "And we cannot tell which is signature belongs to which person."
She leaned forward, tapping one of the images. "That one is seated. Or chained to a pole. See? Not much movement. The other is moving more freely."
She stood up again, setting her hands on her hips. "She has him. Let her finish the job, and then we can go in."
"How will we know?" Spencer asked.
Yonah gave him a slightly incredulous look (and really, he should have known the answer), "Because one of the heat sources will eventually disappear. As the body cools."
"And the other will leave," Easter added, his brows furrowing in a grim line. "And we won't know which is which until we go in to find the body. That's not a chance I'm willing to take. Constance might be acting under Kidon orders, but on the books, she's still an Interpol agent—and we take care of our own."
"Then what do you suggest?" Zamir's voice held a note of challenge.
"We stick to the plan," Easter informed her. "This is still an extraction. Either we go in to rescue Connelly from Wasaki, or we go in to take Wasaki from Connelly's custody—either way, Connelly will have some serious questions to answer. And either way, we go in."
He looked around, making sure everyone else was in agreement.
Someone was missing.
He frowned, "Where the hell is Shir-Del?"
an old American saying: When there's blood on the streets, somebody's gotta go
~Russell Gewirtz, Inside Man.