Feds

Image Courtesy of Techjaws.

 

Chapter Four

Feds

Shadyside Café

Venice Beach, California

Agent John Arrowhawk is growing impatient, for good reason. He’s sitting alone at a wire-framed table covered by an umbrella shade waiting for arms dealer, Derrick “D-Tech” Sylvester. What kind of silly nickname is D-Tech, anyway? Arrowhawk wonders as he checks his watch. The arms dealer is more than thirty minutes behind schedule, and Arrowhawk fears that the deal may have already fallen through before it’s begun.

Sylvester supplies weapons to many in Southern California’s criminal underworld. He also has ties to many South and Central American drug lords. Posing as a rising cocaine trafficker in the L.A. underworld, Arrowhawk has arranged a buy with Sylvester. He’s been working on this meeting for weeks, with hopes of not only arresting Sylvester, but also obtaining his client list. Arrowhawk taps his earpiece.

“He’s got cold feet, the deal’s off-”

His field leader interrupts. “Hold it, we got him on surveil, he’s heading right for you.”

At that moment, a thin man with a close-cropped hair, and dressed in an Armani suit, arrives at Arrowhawk’s table. His appearance comes off more like a GQ cover model than an arms dealer. The well-dressed man pulls up a chair across from Arrowhawk.

“You got the money?” he asks calmly.

“No money till I see the merchandise,” Arrowhawk answers.

Sylvester nods and the two get up from their outdoor table and head inside the café. The pair walk past the various café patrons and into a side room just across from the kitchen. In the room are an oval wooden table and three chairs.

Sylvester places a two large metallic suitcases side by side on the table and opens them. Within the foam-lined cases lies an assortment of weaponry, including two Glock-36s, one Walther 9mm submachine gun, and an Uzi.

“This is just a sample,” Sylvester says. “I’ll take you to the rest once I see the cash.”

Arrowhawk looks at the weapons and then at Sylvester. He presses a button on his wristwatch. “Thanks, but that’s all I needed to see.”

The door is kicked open, and suddenly, Sylvester is accosted by a slew of café patrons. Unknown to Sylvester, most of the café patrons are in fact undercover agents. He slips his right arm free to grab the Glock from one of the suitcases. Arrowhawk closes the lid of the second suitcase and bats the gun out of Sylvester’s hand with it. He’s then slammed to the ground face-first with his arms pulled behind his back.

“You set me up!” a bewildered Sylvester blurts.

“Way to state the obvious, Tech,” Arrowhawk replies.

“I’ll get you! You ain’t seen the last of me!”

“‘You ain’t seen the last of me.’” Arrowhawk mocks. “Do you know how utterly unoriginal that sounds? You sound like a perp from a bad cop drama. Let’s be honest, you’re just mad ‘cause you got caught.”

He slaps Sylvester on the back of the head as he’s lifted off the ground by one of the agents.

“You gotta be slick, my man.”

Arrowhawk motions to the agent. “Get him out of here. I want him in interrogation within the next half hour. Also, make sure we get a team to the industrial park to recover the rest of his caché.”

“Right away sir,” the agent says. “But, I’m just curious, why didn’t you just zap him when he pulled the gun on you?”

“Because it would’ve been too dangerous in close quarters like this. I can’t risk one of our guys getting hurt.” As he turns to walk away, one of his colleagues pulls him aside.

“Samuels is on the line for you, John.”

He takes the cell phone. “Arrowhawk.”

L.A. office Special Agent in Charge Kevin Samuels comes on the line. Arrowhawk worked briefly under Samuels as his ASAC, but stepped down shortly after the Kerrington affair. The two still maintain a fun yet professional relationship.

“How did it go?”

Arrowhawk responds in his own slightly satirical way.

“As well as it could have. Some of these arms dealers aren’t that bright. They wouldn’t recognize a sting operation if it ran up and bit them in the crotch.”

“You know, I really could’ve done without that mental image, John.”

“Sorry.”

“Anyway, make sure you write up your field report before your hot-shot press conference.”

“The Vigil thing?”

“Yeah.”

“What time was it again?”

“Do I look like your secretary?”

“No, sir, but you are one of the most informed and astute people I know,” Arrowhawk responds.

“Enough with the brown-nosing. It’s at two o’clock, east coast time.”

All characters are trademark and copyright Paa-Kofi Obeng

 

 

 

 

Spy Woman Part 2

Chapter Three (continued)

Super Sleuth

SVR[1] Headquarters

Yasenevo 11 Kolpachny

Moscow, Russia

She reaches the roof, where her extraction team hovers above in an MH-60 Enhanced Black Hawk helicopter. Clemens motions for her to jump in. Just as she leaps for the helicopter, a bullet grazes the side of her right leg. Fighting Bull stumbles and barely grabs hold of a landing skid with her left hand as the helicopter begins its ascent. As she dangles from the helicopter she draws a black Sig Sauer P-225 from her shoulder holster and returns fire on the guard who shot her. The bullet pierces his chest, and his body crumples to the ground.

Fighting Bull loses her grip, but before she can fall too far, Clemens snatches her left wrist and pulls her into the cabin. Their gunner returns fire with two mounted 7.62mm miniguns as the pilot releases burst flares from the M-130 flare dispenser, disorienting their attackers and covering their escape.

Fighting Bull hands the jump drive to her operations officer. 

“That was too close, Cynthia,” Clemens comments.

“I know,” Fighting Bull counters. “It won’t happen again.”

“You said that in Sarajevo, and in Kandahar before that.”

Fighting Bull nods contritely. Deep down, she is not truly penitent. The fact is that she thrives on episodes like this. To her, the rush of being on the precipice of death is akin to being high on cocaine. One could rightly assert that Cynthia Fighting Bull was an adrenaline junkie with no intention of ever going into rehab. Competent though she is at her job, her love of excessive risk-taking is her one major flaw as an agent.

Clemens inserts the jump drive into his laptop’s USB port and begins transferring the encrypted files to Langley’s server. The on-board medic bandages Fighting Bull’s leg wound. Thankfully for her, there is just superficial damage with minimal blood loss.

With the release of superhuman growth hormone from her anterior pituitary gland, she transforms from the Andropov identity back into her original slim five-foot, five-inch frame. Her protean ability is both amazing and unsettling to witness, best described as wax melting, with Andropov’s visage liquefying away to reveal Fighting Bull’s true face. Clemens looks up from his laptop to catch this process.

“No matter how many times you do that it still gives me the creeps,” he comments.

 Fighting Bull smiles and ties her long, light brown hair into a pony tail as she takes a cabin seat. She grabs the duffle bag with her change of clothes from the side of her chair and places it in her lap. An unfortunate downside to her ability is that she can’t transform her clothes whenever she does a shape change. Thus, she is constantly required to have a change of clothes on hand to fit her original body frame.

“Cynthia, you want to grab something to drink before we head home?” the pilot asks.

“You know she doesn’t drink Barton,” Clemens says. “Just worry about getting us home.”

Fighting Bull nods at Clemens then looks down at her phone. She notices the time and sees that she is almost late in giving her video debrief to her handler. She touches the overhead flat-screen monitor above her, agent Tony Dickson appears onscreen.

 “How was it?”

            She responds with a smirk. “Smooth as a baby’s bottom. They didn’t have the slightest clue that I was even there.”

          “Yeah right, and there’s a bridge in New York that I’d like to sell you. I saw your little fiasco from the SATVID.[2] Next time, leave when Clemens tells you to!” Dickson chides.

 “Now where would the fun be in that?”

 “It’s all fun and games until I’m reading your eulogy.”

 “I understand. I won’t make that mistake again, sir. So when’s my next assignment?”

 “You won’t have one. You have a press conference to go to, remember?”

 “Uh, no. When did this come about?” 

“Didn’t you get the memo about being sanctioned into that new special task force?” Dickson retorts matter-of-factly.

 “No, sir.”

 “You sure?”

 “Positive.”

Back at Langley, Dickson clicks the Microsoft Outlook icon on his computer screen and retrieves the errant e-mail. He pauses as he reads.

            “On second thought, scratch that. There’s no way you could’ve gotten that memo because I’m staring at the copy that I was supposed to e-mail you. Sorry, I must’ve forgotten to send it. My bad.”

“‘My bad?’ Sir, isn’t it you who always reminds me that this CIA stands for the Central Intelligence Agency, not the Center for the Inept and Amnesic?”

[1] Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki—Russian Foreign Intelligence Service

[2] SATellite VIDeo

All characters and story trademark and copyright of Paa-Kofi Obeng 

Red Tape

Image Courtesy of Photoaltan

 

Chapter Two

Bureaucrats

 

Interstate 495

The Washington Beltway

Conrad navigates the perpetually congested Washington Beltway in her late-model Ford SUV, with the intent of getting to her Silver Spring home before lunchtime. Although her eyes are fixed on the road, her mind drifts back to the meeting with Hanahan. The thought of being active again is both appealing and honestly quite frightening—How would she transition back to active duty? What would she do to keep them all on the same page? These thoughts run through her mind just before the ringtone of James Brown’s “The Big Payback” from her cell breaks through her fugue. She looks at the caller ID and sees that it’s Maurice Hodges, case officer with the Montgomery County Department of Child Welfare Services. Hodges has been a constant thorn in her side since the beginning of her custody case with the county. Her disposition immediately changes as she lifts the phone to her ear.

In a flat voice she answers, “Conrad.”

            Maurice Hodges’s voice is the perfect amalgam of the character Steve Urkel from the 1990s television show Family Matters and comic actor and economist Ben Stein.    

“Yes, Ms. Conrad, this is Maurice Hodges from the Department of Child Welfare Services.”

She can’t help but grit her teeth every time he opens his mouth.

“Yeah, I know who you are. What exactly is it that you want?”

“Just calling to remind you of your pending court date.”

“Yes, I do remember, Mr. Hodges. Is there anything else you would like to waste my daytime minutes on?”

Hodges is put off by the curt response and pauses a moment to gather himself before responding.

“No, nothing else, but I have to say, your tone and manner are quite rude, considering that you’re one of our decorated servicewomen—”

She interrupts him mid-sentence. “Look, I’d love to listen to your diatribe on proper phone etiquette, but unlike some people–such as yourself–I use the air I breathe to do work that actually matters. So if you’ll excuse me…”

She presses the “End” button on her phone and flings it into the lap of the passenger seat. The absolute nerve of him…he seriously needs to invest in getting a life. I promised mom that I’d keep us together. There is no way they’re taking Camille and Cameron away from me.

Conrad turns on her multimedia player and plugs it into the center console audio-input jack. Her SUV is suddenly immersed in the sounds of James Taylor’s Fire and Rain. Little did she know how prescient that song title would be.      

 

Characters copyright and trademark Paa-Kofi Obeng 

Spy Woman Part 1

 

Chapter Three

Super Sleuth

SVR[1] Headquarters

Yasenevo 11 Kolpachny

Moscow, Russia

The Cold War has been over for decades, but the CIA still has a penchant for keeping tabs on its Russian sister agency. This provides covert operations officers like Agent Cynthia Fighting Bull a world of job security. Her current assignment—retrieving files on former Soviet nuclear scientists from the SVR archives—is going smoothly so far. Her ability to shape-shift is no doubt helping this along.

She operates under the guise of SVR Security Chief, General Anatoly Andropov.

Her operations officer, Dalton Clemens, talks to her over the radio earpiece, addressing her by her call-sign.

“Chameleon, your exit window closes in thirty seconds. Have you secured the package?”

“That’s affirmative; I’m almost done,” Fighting Bull responds.

After downloading the file, she pulls the jump drive out of the computer’s USB port and tucks it into her coat pocket. Clemens comes back in her ear.

“Chameleon, infrared is picking up movement in your direction.”

She taps her earpiece before responding. “I’m leaving now.”

As she proceeds to the exit, much to her surprise (and chagrin), she bumps into the genuine General Andropov. Mutually stunned by this encounter, they both pause.  

“What the hell?!” Andropov blurts out in his native Russian.

Fighting Bull hesitates briefly as Andropov reaches for the H&K P-10 pistol in his left shoulder holster. Regaining her mental bearings, she kicks the pistol out of his right hand and follows through with a forceful roundhouse to the chest. The impact knocks the wind out of Andropov. He loses his balance and tumbles to the ground. She sprints out of the room just as the back of his head hits the floor.

A trio of security guards walks by to find one Andropov sprinting out of the archive room while another is sprawled on the floor. The guards are understandably confused by what they see. The real Andropov, struggling for air, orders the guards, “G-get him.”

The men pull out their Kalashnikov rifles and begin firing on Fighting Bull, as they chase after her. She deftly navigates a myriad of corridors and stairwells. Shattered pieces of plaster splatter across her face as bullets pierce the walls, just narrowly missing her.

[1] Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki—Russian Foreign Intelligence Service

Characters Trademark and Copyright Paa-Kofi Obeng