Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Consequences by David Darling

 Taking the elevator back to his hotel room Jeremy flipped through the pictures on the camera display. Wearing a dark blue suit and tie, the tall man still resembled a quarterback more than a businessman. Silver streaked through his short beard and hair, giving him a distinguished look.

  He had shadowed his target at a distance and had captured a few good shots of her from across the park. Already a foreign agent tried to place her under surveillance and that had meant the word has gone out within the intelligence community of their breakup. Jeremy felt justified in keeping an eye on her, and if truth be told he was not willing to accept it being over.
  For the last three years, Erin thought Jeremy was a low-level government clerk in Israel, however, he is anything but. After twelve years in counterterrorism, Jeremy has recently moved into covert operations. Where he was sent for missions, the words plausible deniability for the Israeli government would be invoked, should he ever be compromised.
   The elevator opened up at the seventh floor and keeping his eyes constantly scanning back and forth, Jeremy walked down the hall to the stairwell and descended to the sixth floor. Ingrained habits to avoid detection and to help shake anyone following were automatic, especially when he knew that at least one foreign agent was closing in.
  After he walked the full length of the hotel, he took the stairwell up to the eighth floor and stood outside his hotel room. The sign still hung on the door handle, asking that he not be disturbed. He had a quick look at the top and bottom of the door on the hinge side. 
  Before leaving his room, he had taken a few precautions: a small piece of paper was wedged into the door hidden from sight and a long hair was stretched from the door to the frame and held in place with a little spit on either end. Should the door be opened the paper would fall or be displaced, and the hair would separate and hang down.
  Both of these marks were in place, and not triggered.
  Holding the white plastic passkey against the sensor, the LED light flickered green and the door clicked open. He reached down to pick up the small piece of paper as he walked into his room.
  After the door closed behind him, the Mossad agent froze while he slowly looked around. The sudden adrenaline surge caused his heart to beat faster and his muscles twitched with contained energy.
 Everything seemed exactly as to how he had left it with one exception. Laying in the middle of his bed was a piece of paper, folded in half so that it would remain tented.
  After he crossed the room in three long strides, he picked it up.
 
Thank you and have a nice day.   
 
 The smiley face on the end at first infuriated him, then it caused him to chuckle as he thought about the situation. He was outplayed, it doesn’t happen often at his level.
  As soon as he wondered about the ‘thank you’ part, his stomach seemed to drop and a feeling of dread washed over him.
  Throwing down the note he darted over to the bathroom and slid under the counter, looking up.
  The silenced Glock 17 that was hidden under the counter, the only weapon he had smuggled into the city, was now gone.
  Moving to the small couch in the seating area, he pulled the cushions off and shoved his arm down the back-seat gap and reached up inside the backrest cushions.
  The small laptop he used for work was no longer there.
  This can’t be happening…
  Leaving the couch cushions on the floor, Jeremy opened the closet and pulled down his camera bag. The largest telephoto lens inside the case wasn’t real, and he popped the end open and tilted it down to look inside.
  Empty.
  His lockpicking tools, backup passport, identification, and currency were gone.
  Everything else was expendable and could be replaced. The missing laptop, however, spelled his death sentence and the consequences would be dire.
 
*****
 
The Trident Spear cut through international waters without any problems or issues. The new class of Triple E container ships is considered the largest ocean-going vessels on the planet and they can easily hold over 18,000 twenty-foot containers. The Danish company, Maersk, is the largest shipping company in the world and handles mainly shipping between Asia and the States.
  Nestled within the foredeck stacks lay three blue containers, only one thing separated and identified them from the others. Above the lock and sealed gate end of the shipping containers, a small half-sphere of polished black glass was secured into the metal siding, that was transmitting signals to a satellite. Three separate signals were being relayed out, and after bouncing around various servers and computer systems across the planet, the tracking results were easily displayed on the screen.
  William Richmond leaned back in his office chair and picked up a secure satellite phone, dialing a number from memory. The MI6 agent resembled a librarian more than a covert operator with the short white beard and bifocals perched on the end of his nose. The phone was answered immediately after the first ring tone.
  “Shuōhuà.” Speak.
  The voice was crisp and with that one Chinese word, a ‘no-nonsense’ tone was expressed quite clearly.
  “The laptop was secured. Everything is all set on my end.”
  “The General is prepared. Are you ready to change the world?”
  Without waiting for a response both parties disconnect. Keeping all calls below a ten-second duration ensured that they would not be traced.
  William gently placed the satellite phone down on the antique desk and took a deep breath. It was too late now to change his mind.
  Typing in the activation code, the devices within the three shipping containers began the countdown as they approached the Port of Los Angeles.

© David Darling

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