I’m back home and this story has been sitting on a back burner for a few months, waiting for some more to be written.
The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I’m not very good at prioritising.
But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.
Was I working for a ghost?
The question that was foremost in my mind was whether I should call Nobbin, and let him know that I’d met Severin and that his ‘information’ was on a USB.
When I’d mentioned the fact O’Connor said the evidence was somewhere, I knew this evidence was on a USB and could be in one of the hiding places O’Connor had set up with Nobbin. If not, then it had to be somewhere else, somewhere only O’Connor would know about.
Somehow, I got the impression O’Connor had not trusted either side. Yes, he was about to tell me where the evidence was, but if that was the case, it meant it was not anywhere where anyone else would know about.
Severin should have curbed his desire for execution a little, and taken O’Connor into custody, and then interrogated him. It made me wonder, briefly, why Severin would want him dead. In cases like that, it was because Severin didn’t want O’Connor to talk to me, or anyone else.
Still, he could have tranquilized O’Connor. I would not have known the difference.
That meant I had to find out more information on O’Connor.
Of course, in just saying that out loud, over a half-full glass of scotch, just to steady the nerves after seeing Severin again, made it sound almost like a running joke.
As if I would be able to find someone who was, for all intents and purposes, a ghost. That was how we were supposed to be, ghosts, to everyone we knew, including family. We could no longer talk to anyone because they might become a target used as leverage against us.
That part of my training had been the scariest. I didn’t have any friends, not real friends anyway, and no family, other than a half-brother who hated me. I had toyed with the idea of meeting him, after I’d completed the training, just to see if anyone would try to use him as leverage, and then tell them he meant nothing to me.
It was an idea, I doubt if I could do it in reality. But the thought of it gave me some measure of revenge for all the bullying he had inflicted on me when I was young. Perhaps that was why I took this job, to prove I was nothing like the person he considered me to be.
Enough of the delving into the shadowy past.
I had a problem that needed solving. How to find O’Connor.
After a long night of fitful sleep, I woke the next morning with the shreds of a plan. I’d go into the office and use their computer system to look for him. Of course, I didn’t expect that there would be any information available to an agent with my security clearance, which was basically to get in and out of the front door and log on to the computer to fill out reports and a timesheet.
It was a surprise, after what Nobbin had said about my employment, that my pass got me in the door. It did, but I had no doubt somewhere it had register my name in a log somewhere. I figured I had about half an hour before someone came checking up on me.
The same went for the computer system. There was a bank of about a dozen computers in a room where the agents could do information searches, and private work, such as reports. Three others were occupied, and none of those using them looked up when I entered the room.
Not a surprise. We were taught to keep to ourselves and say nothing about the missions we were attached to anyone else. In our line of work, secrets were paramount. We were to become consummate liars because we could never tell anyone the truth about what we did. If we wanted a cover story, we were to say we were international confidential couriers of documents for legal institutions.
It sounded interesting, but it was quite boring, or at least that was how I described it if anyone asked.
So, ignoring the others, I logged in and found I was still on the employee list. And, I still had the same level of access I had before.
I ran a search on the name O’Connor.
It came back with five documents, the first of which was his personnel record. First name, Donald. A date of birth that made him 27 years old, and an address, in Putney. I wrote it down. Marital status, single. Status, deceased. Section worked for: Eight.
There were supposedly eight sections, and the one I worked for was Seven. Out of interest, I brought up my records. It was how Severin had found me because my address was on file. But more interesting was my status, transferred, and my section, three. Was Nobbin’s section three?
I would ask if I got an opportunity to.
The other four documents were reports, most of which were redacted, or marked restricted. Or above my pay grade, whatever that was.
But, at least one thing was clear, I had not been fired, just transferred. I guess I would have to call Nobbin after all. After I visited O’Connor’s last known residence.
I wasn’t holding my breath expecting to find anything.
© Charles Heath 2019