Short Story 10

The Federal Agents

I’ve been thrown into the deep end. I’m always spitting out theories about this and that, but I never thought people actually pay attention to my life. I never thought in a million years that an intelligence agency would need my help.

I was sequestered to become a consultant on a case, and was greeted by federal agents at my door this morning. They are now transporting me to their headquarters and when I asked them where that is they said it’s on a need-to-know basis…but America.

That means it’s legitimate, right? I mean they showed me their badges and were all, “this is a international security issue”. I still don’t know what any of this is about. But it must be serious if they are recruiting help from someone overseas.

Unless I’m the one they are after. I didn’t do anything illegal did I? This is crazy talk, of course I didn’t do anything illegal, I’m as straight as they come. I’ve never even had a parking ticket.

We get to the airport, and I’m expecting to get placed on a commercial flight, but the car gets ushered to a private plane. This day is just full of surprises.

I’m greeted by a young man who’s taller than me with blonde hair. He has a beaming smile, but has clearly had a long, hard life. His formal clothes complete with tie and Italian dress shoes. It seems to suit him, and I’m sure he’d have about fifty others just like it at home.

He extends his hand, and in a thick British accent says, “You’re the consultant! Pleasure to meet you, I’m sure you have lots of questions, namely what’s going on and why you? Well, I’ve followed your work for quite some time and think you are exactly what we need to break this case! And with a few favours I’ve managed to get you clearance! Come we have a long flight ahead of us!” He’s far more eccentric for a federal agent than I had anticipated.

After walking up the metal stairs and onto the plane, I am greeted by five people looking in my direction. One man is clearly ex-military dressed casually in jeans and a hoodie. Sitting next to him is a woman wearing a business suit, whose posture is remarkable.

Opposite them is a woman wearing black cargos and a bright blue singlet along with some glasses reading a gossip magazine, and a girl who must have been a couple years younger than me, I’d say twenty, typing code into a computer.

The final man is in his forties, dressed in black cargo pants, the same as the woman, and black cotton t-shirt. He has a beard, and is eating an apple with any army knife that seems to have been through many battles.

I smile kindly, and then turn to the man who I had already met. “I’m flattered, really, but I’m not sure how much help I can be.”

The woman in business attire pipes up, “Nice work with this one, she doesn’t even trust herself, so how are we supposed to trust her?”

Who gave this woman the right to judge me? I was just referring to the fact that I have no idea what the situation is here.

The English guy shushed her and looked at me for a minute, “Okay, looks like they might need some convincing of what you’re capable of, understandable. Tell me, based on everything you’ve witnessed since you pulled up to the plane, what do you know about me?”

Was he serious? I look at the guy eating the apple who returns my gaze, but apparently has nothing to add. I guess he is serious. I briefly flick through the past few moments in my head.

I turn to the guy in the waistcoat, “Okay, well I know you’re from the UK. Judging by your accent, I would say you were born in the North, to a family who wanted bigger and better things for you. Because of this they sent you away at a relatively young age to stay in London. Based on the way you shook my hand with both of yours, I would say you like making meaningful connections. However, these meaningful connections are often responsible for a lot of hurt in your life, and yet you still yearn to make lasting relationships. You enjoy playing guitar in your spare time, and the only reason you went into a profession like this, instead of following your passion on the stage, is because you lost someone very close to you. I can tell you have really lived, in your…I’m going to say thirty years of life.”

I take a breath, “You and he,” I point to the man eating the apple, “have experienced something together, something involving death, that no one else on this plane could ever comprehend or even know about judging by their expressions right now. I also know you two are probably the reason this team exists, I mean it doesn’t really seem like standard intelligence agency protocol. I also think that you guys don’t investigate everyday breaches in security, there is something more to what you guys do. It is because of this that I said I’m not sure how much help I can be, because if it is something out of the ordinary, I’m probably not an expert.”

The guy eating the apple had finished it and put his knife away by this point, and he claps and laughs in response. He looks at the woman with incredible posture, “That will teach you to make comments on things you don’t know anything about.”

He has a Boston accent, and he turns back in my direction, “You have no idea how difficult it is to get her to stop judging people prematurely. You’re spot on with everything, and I’m sure you were holding back too. You’re going to fit in perfectly here. Don’t let any of them push you around; you can definitely hold your own.”

The captain comes out of the cock pit, “Russian airways have cleared us for arrival at five.”

Russia! I mean part of me is incredibly excited; I’ve always wanted to see the architecture in Saint Petersburg, and snow for that matter.

They must have seen my eyes light up, and the army knife guy says, “We’re not actually going to Russia, we’ll be off the plane long before it lands.”

Most of the flight, everyone has kept pretty quiet about how exactly we’re getting wherever it is we’re going and what we’ll be doing when we get there, but they said everything can be explained on the ground.

We’re on the plane for a few hours, and then they all started getting up.

The army guy from Boston taps me and says, “You’re with me newbie because I assume you’ve never jumped out of a plane.”

By Naomi Eleanor

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