Strings of Retaliation – 7a – Report 05122513

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We had no eyes in the lion’s den, so while Lorelei was right to complain about surveillance at her place, the official FBI position was that we didn’t have enough. Eight plus deadly hours a day during which I could not help if things turned sour.
When things turn sour.
The military contracted Merrilyn Tech to develop its espionage and counterespionage tools. No matter what kind of surveillance device I could manage to get my hands on, the company would be two steps ahead. I couldn’t mitigate the risks of Lorelei’s job without blowing her cover.
At least, I could mitigate my bosses demands.
But for how long, I thought as the first line of my To Do list blinked: “Convince Vexx to hack Merrilyn Technologies security system.”
My bosses should know he already did it for himself. I had to convince him to share. Vexx would want it to go both ways — a legitimate request — but I kept my negotiation points to satisfy Lorelei’s request for reduced surveillance at her home and increased freedom of action. Nevertheless, I needed an access to the office.
I massaged my temples. Anyway I sliced it, my bosses would not be happy.
“Gabriel,” the guard snapped me out of my loop, “Lloyd is pulling in.”
I nodded and the guard exited the conference room to return to his post. Lloyd walked in a few minutes later, his press badge still hanging around his neck.
“Trouble?”
“No sir! Infiltration proceeded without a hitch. Miss Beyer performed up to expectations.”
Lloyd was a new recruit and the bosses insisted on him never being here at the same time as Lorelei so we could spy her without her knowing. He felt special and important. The bosses felt in control. I felt dirtied by the lie though I had little choice in the matter; Lorelei would throw a fit if she knew and thwart all my attempts to provide the tiny bit of additional security an ally such as Lloyd offered.
“Good,” I said. “You can put the details in your report. Due tomorrow morning.”
“Yes sir! One more thing worth mentioning: they are sending her on a tour with Cy.”
The word ‘tour’ brought up the contingency plans I had carefully archived in my memory chip over the past six months. Cy’s name ruined them all. Nevertheless, I smiled and thanked Lloyd before my brain dived into troubleshooting mode.
Most tour managers hired roadies on a project by project basis, but Cy had his permanent team. He didn’t trust anyone else with his high paying clients. The FBI couldn’t get rid of a team member and all the alternates without sparking some suspicions.
Vexx’s mechanical cat slalomed around my ankles. I picked it up and petted it, a mindless gesture that helped me think and kept the thing from tripping me while I paced. Vexx did manage to get the fur and the purr right.
The venues where the shows would be held all had their team of locals. The CIA could probably provide assets.
The red tape wasn’t even the worst part of that plan.
The CIA had been lobbying to take control of my operations — and of Lorelei — based on the international nature of Merrilyn Tech. Fortunately, the location of the head office, and thus the crux of our initiative, kept the FBI in charge. The world tour screwed up the balance, but if the CIA could protect Lorelei while she travelled…
You’ll sleep better. Come on! You’ll sleep better.
No matter how many times I repeated it, I couldn’t convince myself. The only thing all agencies shared was their fear and loathing of Lorelei. I had no sway over the CIA.
She’ll be pissed but she’ll be safe.
I chuckled; a lifetime ago, I tried to catch her. Dead or alive.
The FBI would not want to hand the operation over to the CIA; high profile cases always sparked the worst ego fights. Never mind which strategy better served the cause or the assets. I may avoid politically-driven decisions if I came up with an incredible solution to present in the same breath as the problem. My weekly report was due tomorrow which left me little time to think up a miracle.
And I still had to deal a diminution of the surveillance on Lorelei’s house and the return of a few things.
“It says a lot when the easier task on someone’s To Do list is to get a terrorist status revoked.”
The cat didn’t even look up.
“Yeah. I wish I could ignore some people too.”
I dropped the cat to the ground, and put in a request for all the files we had on Cy and his affiliates. A couple of minutes later the data was downloaded in my memory chip. After a check-up on the operations, I retreated to my room. I had a small meditation cushion tucked in a corner for days like today.
Sitting in lotus, I closed my eyes and let the files stored in my chip flood the walls of my brain. I slowed my breath to enter my meditative state and started reading, sorting, highlighting and reorganizing my files in the light of the new developments.
I would find a solution.
It would not be a fun one.

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

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