Chapter 1: The Pentagon
The Presidential Motorcade made its way through the tunnels underneath the building until it reached a cube shaped glass building at the end of the tunnel path. Secret Service agents rushed out of their cars and off the motorcycles to their designated positions. “Area secure!” cried one agent. The doors of the presidential limo opened and out stepped President James Byrd followed by two Secret Service agents and Chief of Staff Robert Blake behind him. The president and his men walked quickly through the building’s hallways corridors in an almost sprinting like fashion until they came to a conference room with several flatscreen monitors, a rectangular conference table, 12 leather office chairs surrounding the table, and the presidential seal on the conference room doors.
CIA Director Mark Walsh was already in the room along with a somewhat younger man sitting in one of the chairs chewing on a toothpick anxiously. The president entered the room and Walsh rose from his chair to greet him. “Mark, I assume you wouldn’t drag me down here at midnight if the situation weren’t critical.” remarked Byrd.
Walsh replied “Mr. President, we have reason to believe that there is a terrorist cell operating here in Washington. NSA also confirmed that these terrorists are planning a full scale raid on The White House within the next 72 hours based on Internet chatter we intercepted.”
The president briefly shot Walsh a look of annoyance and exclaimed: “I get threats like that before I even have my first cup of coffee in the morning. Why did you ask me to come all the way to The Pentagon for this information”?
The younger man who was chewing on the toothpick finally stood up and raised his voice, ” My agency ran two tests on the data that was intercepted and determined that the communications from within the cell came from an IP address located right here in Washington DC. We double checked those tests again and unfortunately arrived at the same conclusion.”
“Mr. President, meet Bruce Hamill: Director of The Counterterrorism Analysis Bureau.” (CAB) interjected Walsh.
Hamill reached for his leather briefcase besides his chair, took out five Manila
Dossier folders, and then began to speak again. “This terror cell was thought to have been eliminated by one of our covert strike forces seven years ago.” Hamill continued “ثعبان قاتل رئيس or translated into English as The Serpent Assassins, were linked to Al Qaeda as a “counterintelligence division.”
Byrd scratched the tuft of white hair on top of his balding head and pondered. “The cell was thought to have been eliminated, correct”? asked Byrd. Hamill handed him one of the files and replied to the president’s question: “The CAB used to deploy it’s own covert ops unit to perform off the book missions. These missions would range from rescue missions, all the way to terminating high-profile targets without being noticed.”
“This unit was codenamed THE WARHAWKS and because they never officially existed on paper as part of the intelligence community, we figured that they would be best suited to a eliminate The Serpent Assassins” explained Walsh.
President Byrd had been flipping through the dossier folder that was handed to him while Walsh and Hamel had been speaking and one file in particular had caught his eye. “what happened to this unit”? asked Byrd.
At that moment, Hamill gave a rather mournful look and explained how the unit had been ambushed during their strike on The Serpent Assassins. Although they had completed their mission in the end, all but one operative was killed during a firefight with the cell. Byrd was still examining the file with great interest, it was in fact the file of the lone operative who had survived the mission: Vince Ludlum.
“What is the status of Agent Ludlum”? Byrd asked in an almost fascinated manner. “Ludlum is still alive, but with a severely shrapnel damaged left leg from a grenade that went off during the firefight and a slight concussion.” answered Hamill.
The president asked a follow up question “does he still have cognitive brain function and reasoning”?
“Actually, his function both physically and cognitively is still excellent and in some cases even above average,” answered Hamill.
The president then insisted “I want him brought in to assess the situation. If anyone could help us prepare against A possible attack, it’s him.”
Walsh gave an unsure look “Mr. President, he’s a wounded veteran in physical pain and severe trauma from his experience. I doubt he could be of much use to us with all due respect”
The president smirked and replied “I’ve met several wounded veterans who have had entire limbs missing but despite their challenges, they’ve still managed to overcome obstacles and achieve The American Dream. From what I’ve read, Ludlum is still able to serve in a consultant capacity. Bring him in and that’s an order.”
Hamill stood up and said “I’ll go visit him. He’s an old friend of mine and he might be willing to come back if I talk to him.”