The next morning, I reported to the CIA headquarters for something I can say I've never done before. Attend a meeting. In all my years as a part of the CIA, both in training and out of, I have never been asked to attend a meeting. So, as I filtered into our auditorium (we like to call it the "Bubble"), with my colleagues, I adopted a half-dazed state. I've been inside of the Bubble before, but never for a formal gathering. Taking the first empty seat I could find, I sighed and sat up straight. Standing on the front stage, behind a wooden podium emblazoned with our seal, was Jonathan. I furrowed my eyebrows, confused. What's going on? Above him, a screen magnified his face. He waited until there was silence to speak.
"Thank you. Good morning, everyone. I understand that this was a last minute request for you all to attend this particular meeting, but new intelligence has been delivered that is urgent. In addition, I have an announcement to make."
Nobody spoke as he paused, fixing a stack of notes that he most likely doesn't need anyway. He cleared his throat before continuing. My mind wandered slightly, thinking up possible announcements he could deliver. Unfortunately, none of them made sense except for one.
"At approximately 1:32 this morning, the agency received an urgent transmission from one of our agents stationed in Tokyo. The US Embassy has been attacked. Hostages were not taken. Everyone perished, including seven of our top agents. It is an unfortunate blow to our agency when one agent perishes, but seven? It's a tragedy. There will be a service later this week for the seven lost members of our agency. Japanese officials deny having any knowledge of the attack prior. Whether or not that is true is still a mystery. We have our top analysts working on it as we speak."
Nobody spoke except Jonathan. Nobody even made a sound. It was like we'd all stopped and held our breath.
"In addition, despite the horrible timing, I have been conflicted. For the past fourteen days, I have done much contemplating and have come to a final decision. I, Jonathan Edward Wells, hereby resign from my current post as the Director of the CIA. Effective immediately."
That awoke some chatter. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. First, seven dead agents. Now, Jonathan is resigning. There is no way this is coincidence. Why is he stepping down? Did something happen?
"I couldn't have been more pleased with my time serving this noble country. I couldn't have asked for a more compatible and brilliant group of colleagues to work with either. I resign with a heavy heart. My position is to be passed on to my faithful assistant and friend, Mr. Barnaby Cross."
Barnaby Cross? Interesting name...Suddenly, a man in a gray suit stepped up onto the stage and crossed it to stand beside Jonathan. Jonathan smiled, shaking the man's hand. I assumed that it was our new director. I studied him. His gut was just barely contained by his starched white button-down. He had a round face with pig like black eyes and thinning brown hair. He waved a beefy hand, smiling a smile that reminded me of the politicians at Capitol Hill. It's the exact same smile they give the Press. Jonathan stepped aside, clasping his hands behind his back and allowing Barnaby to step into the spotlight.
"Good morning, everyone. May I just say, I am looking forward to working with you all. As Jonathan stated, everyone here is a brilliant colleague. We work for this agency because we are patriots. We believe in protecting this wonderful country and keeping it in control. I hope that we will all have many chances to work together in the near future. Thank you."
Barnaby looked down, cleared his throat, and pointed a remote at the projector screen. The image switched from him to a grainy security camera picture of a man in a dark baseball cap. I squinted, trying to make out the face. It was difficult to see, with both the quality of the photograph and the fact that the baseball cap hid most of his face. I know I recognize him from somewhere...
"This is Eyal Sali. Here in the United States, he goes by the name of Eddie Markham. He is the founder of a terrorist group who threatened our agency not one year ago. In fact, he tortured and held many of our operatives. Particularly, agents originating from Project N."
I dug my fingernails into the arm rests, almost falling out of my seat. He's Pinstripe Suit! The man who tortured me every day for two weeks, for hours upon hours at a time. The man who almost pushed me to my breaking point. My stomach knotted. I felt like I was going to be sick. Well, that's exactly what happened. Without any warning, I keeled over and emptied the contents of my stomach onto the floor. Great. Just freaking great.
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