Tuesday, November 02, 2004

One Week Later.......

Tamsin Garrett entered the building with purpose, the flag and eagle unnoticeable considering the many times she'd been here. She'd spent the first three years of her official CIA career doing undercover work. The last two years had been spent as a senior operative, a plum assignment for someone her age. But then, she'd had a little help in the form of an experimental program for college students. Tamsin had been offered a position in the program because of her father, an agency legend, but she was where she was today because she was good. Her father could only claim part of the credit for that.

Tamsin had been told she would be doing desk duty for a few weeks to give her a break from her most recent mission in Estonia, a few more dead and one explosion too many for her liking. But since she had been called in today for a briefing, she doubted she would get to see a desk, let alone write up a few reports on new intel.

She got off the elevator and headed to the conference room, smiling and nodding at the co-workers she passed. Tamsin wasn't a friendly sort of person, but considering how unfriendly the rest of her job tended to get, she tried to go out of her way to balance the scales when she was home. She entered the conference room and saw that in addition to Tom Edwards, the Assistant Director of the field office, Jake Cash, Tamsin's regular partner, and her father, John, were already there.

"Sorry to call you in Garrett, but I felt you would be especially useful on this, " Edwards said as he motioned for Tamsin to sit. He turned on the screen to feature a picture of a rugged looking man about 40 years old. "One month ago Nick Crossfield walked off an assignment in Budapest. Complete loss of contact, he hasn't been back to his apartment. None of his family or acquaintances have heard from him. No activity on his bank account, and not even a hint at border checks anywhere around the world. Then three days ago, we were alerted to this." Edwards clicked a button and brought up a scan of a memo. "Someone broke into a uranium enrichment facility in Vienna and made off with an undisclosed amount of nuclear material."

"Undisclosed?" interrupted Tamsin.

"The facility refuses to confirm how much was taken, if any. They're in the middle of negotiating a new government contract. And to complicate matters, what we have learned is that all surveillance equipment on site was disrupted and every guard responsible for that area of the facility was rendered unconscious. The suspect got in and out in about 15 minutes, taking nuclear material of some quantity with him. This morning, our analysts discovered this. Another heist of nuclear material, this time from a research facility in Stockholm. The characteristics of the job indicate it was the same perpetrator."

"And you think it's Nick Crossfield," Cash spoke up.

"Yes. It's his style," Tamsin's father answered. "Our profilers have gone over his debriefs of past missions and compared his actions to these two thefts. They are convinced we're dealing with Crossfield. Analysts have concluded that if he strikes again there is an approximate 80% chance he will target a research facility in Capetown, South Africa. That's why we brought you in Tamsin. We're sending you there to wait for him and to apprehend him."

"Isn't it a bit unethical to send me? I mean, Nick was in charge of the special project I participated in."

"We're aware of that," Edwards said. "It's because of that project that we're sending you. You and he developed a special bond during that year. His reports of your progress had a different slant than those of the other participants. We think you might catch him off guard long enough to stop him and bring him in."

"Because Crossfield knows our methods, we aren't sending in backup for you. You'll only have Cash and you'll have to make due," John Garrett informed them.

"What about Crossfield's life? Anything show up that might explain what he's doing?" Cash asked.

"Nothing so far. You'll have all that to review on your way to South Africa. Any explanations, however, are secondary to your mission. Get down to op-tech and get outfitted with whatever you think you'll need. Your plane leaves in two hours."