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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 123: Brown 149
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Sea Turtle met him at the airport.
“I gather you were just here, so you know your way around?”
“Half right. I was here for several weeks through yesterday, but was rarely outside the British Embassy, and then always within a couple blocks on foot or driven by someone else in the back of an embassy car. I had my own car in a garage somewhere, but never had occasion to use it for anything. It’s probably still there, if we need it. Where are we going?”
“Well, for the moment it’s agreed that you’re not going to be at the British Embassy immediately, unless you need something there. You’re having lunch at the American Embassy with the British Ambassador and their chief of security. You know them?”
“I studied their personnel files. The Ambassador shook my hand when I was introduced as a new temporary member of the staff, but I doubt he could have picked me out of a lineup. I worked a bit with Colonel Simpkins over the past few days, so I know him a little better. He, at least, will recognize me. So what do I call you? And I know this sounds confusing, but what do you call me?”
“You’re to be John Adams--could they have picked a more American name without going for someone like, I don’t know, George Washington?”
Remembering C’s reaction to the name, Derek smiled. Sea Turtle continued.
“‘Captain’ will suffice for me, and Chameleon is ‘Sergeant’. Gecko and Komodo Dragon are both lieutenants, but they won’t be at the meeting and in the field the code names are preferred.”
Derek noticed that they were in an embassy car, but Komodo Dragon was driving.
“So,” Derek asked, “have you been briefed?”
“Not much, really. Ambassador’s teenage daughter went missing, we’re here to find her, something about a local boyfriend. He’s probably the key.”
“Yes, but probably not the way you’re thinking.” Derek gave Sea Turtle the background details of how one of the security agents had been using Samantha as a mule to smuggle data in microdots on candy wrappers to a Romanian contact who displayed a romantic interest in her and picked up the information when she gave him his favorite candy on their secret dates.
“I can’t say he never felt anything for her,” he concluded, “but it was his job to make her fall in love with him, and when the inside agent was arrested he vanished. She thinks that he was kidnapped or arrested or something, and of course embassy security doesn’t take that idea seriously, so our working theory is that she went looking for him and stumbled into trouble.”
“So, how do we rescue her?”
Derek nodded knowingly. “Yes, that’s the problem, but we have to find her first. I’m working on it.”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #265: Versers in Motion. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: