Our hero knows he’s in serious trouble.
The problem is, there are familiar faces and a question of who is a friend and who is foe made all the more difficult because of the enemy, if it was the enemy, simply because it didn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.
Now, it appears, his problems stem from another operation he participated in.
“So,” Lallo said, “you’re telling me you landed separately, Treen and his group advanced towards their position without waiting for your team, that shortly after landing you heard gunfire exchanged, that the members of your team broke ranks and went to help their comrades and that all of them, as far as you were aware at the time, had been killed or captured.”
“And the two operatives you’d come to rescue?”
“At the time, I had no idea what their status was, but I did make a preliminary assumption that if our mission was blown, then they would hardly be left alive unless the enemy thought they had some strategic value.”
“It hadn’t occurred to me at the time because my job was to simply to aid the extraction team. To be honest, I had no idea who they were or what their value was.”
That was not exactly the truth because I could hardly say I hadn’t overheard a conversation between Treen, the briefing officers, and an unseen, unnamed officer discussing the two operatives, and the fact it was imperative we get them out at any cost. It wasn’t said why, but I could guess.
It didn’t take long to realize that if our arrival had been known, so would the location and worth of the two we were to rescue. I didn’t think they were killed out of hand, not until they’d told the enemy’s interrogators everything they knew.
And I got the impression they knew enough to cause our whole operation in that country ended up with a great deal of irreparable damage.
No wonder they wanted to sweep it under the carpet.
I watched Lallo scribble a long not over several pages. Was his conclusion the same as mine, but based on truth rather than hearsay?
Then, “Were you met by the person who has been referred to as the so-called source?”
“Do you know if Treen’s group were met?”
“No. I was given to understand that source had gone quiet, I suppose another word for either captured or defected to the other side.”
“Apparently there was a report that the agent in situ was going to be at the landing site.”
“Well, there’s your explanation as to why the mission was blown from the start. Whoever it was, was either captured, or a double agent, and told the enemy of our plans.”
“A reasonable assumption in the circumstances, but not necessarily correct.”
“And you know this because…”
I was curious. The agent’s defection would explain everything.
“That agent resurfaced three days ago, again asking for repatriation, and is in the air to a secure site as we speak.”
He stood and took a moment to stow the pencil in the binding of the notebook before giving me his attention.
“We will also be in their air tomorrow, headed for the same secure location. I’m, sure you will be available for that interrogation, because I, too, have serious doubts about this agent’s shall we say, loyalties.”
That still didn’t mean I wasn’t going to finish up at a black site, or worse.
© Charles Heath 2019-2021