Fort Mead NSA Facility
Jack was sitting at his desk going over all the information he had on the company Jake had told him about. They were a very upscale Lobby and PR firm. But the real problem was what he didn’t see. The NSA kept loose tabs on everyone who even dabbled in the lobbying field. These guys were nowhere on the radar though. Something didn’t look right. He was worried. What had Jake gotten into? He had known Jake to get into trouble. He always seemed to come out better then he went in. This however, may not be one he can handle on his own. It was just after 3:15 pm when his phone rang. He looked at it. Jake wasn’t due to ring back for a little over an hour.
“Jack Beans.” He said into the phone.
“Jack this is Assistant Director Murphy’s secretary. He would like you to come to his office please.”
“When would AD Murphy like me to be there ma’am?”
“Right now please.”
“I am on my way.”
“Thank you, I will let Mr. Murphy know.”
Jack stood and slipped into his suit coat. He walk out of his office and closed the door behind him. He waited until he heard the solenoid click home before he headed to the elevator. He tried to think if he had ever meat Assistant Director Murphy. He knew little about him. He was the ADA in charge of threat assessment. Jack knew it was Murphy’s job to categorize and rank all threats. The NSA was a vast empire. There were many different departments in the NSA. To the outside world they were just the tech arm of the intel world, but that was far from true. The Techs were the guys who responsible for all the gadgets the NSA used. Then there were the Analysts, they were commonly referred to as the fishing crews, it was their jobs to cast the nets over the data culled from all the agencies. Data came in from CIA, FBI, DEA, DIA, and the data the NSA captured from around the world. The NSA snatched every transmission and data they could touch from around the world. The shear amount of information that came thru its networks was unbelievable.
After the fishing crews sorted and analyzed the data it was passed on to the Mind readers. These folks had the job of summarizing and ranking all the threats caught with in the nets. This was the fiefdom of AD Murphy. Jack worked for Ops Department. Though he was now retired from field work, he now ran various operations and Black agents. Black agents were often referred to as kites. If they got caught you cut the string and left floating in the wind. Jake was a special case though. He was not an official agent but he wasn’t a kite either. Jake Hammond was shared between a few of the different agencies, and Jack Bean was his controller for all those agencies. Jack was not sure why AD Murphy would want him, but he had a bad feeling that it might have something to do with his earlier phone call.
The elevator came and Jack got on. He pushed the button for the 16th floor. When the door opened he turned right and headed for the Assistant Director of operations James Short, his boss. Maggie sat at her desk typing something.
“Good afternoon Maggie, is he in? I really need to talk to him and I don’t have any time.”
“Good afternoon to you to Jack. He is in. He’s on the phone. How important is this?”
“I would say it is an eight. Possibly a nine.” He said.
Maggie used a one to ten scale for all things. When she heard it was an eight she raised one eyebrow. She turned in her chair and started typing on her special tel-com keyboard. The machines were private communication between secretaries and their bosses these machines had no monitor just a little readout. “He said you have to wait a few minutes. He is almost done.”
“Thanks Maggie. It is important.”
“Jack in the last six years you have never told me anything was higher than a five. When most others always inflate the importance, you do not. I think what is an eight to you would be a ten or higher to others.”
Jack chuckled, “Thank you again.”
Maggie glanced down at the tela-com. “He says he is done. Good luck Jack” she reached down and pressed a button under her desk.
Jack nodded at her as he walked to the door opening it. He was always shocked that he couldn’t hear the solenoids slide in the wall of the offices for the AD or the directors. He saw AD Short sitting at his desk looking back at him and he walked forward.
“Jack, what you got?” James Short asked in a no nonsense manner he always used.
Jack always liked that about James Short he was straight to business. When he thought it might be important. Jack turned his head waiting for the door to close. “Mr. Short, I received a coded call from one of our Kites. He was rather upset. It seems someone tried to kill him in his home yesterday. He thought we might have been the ones who were behind it. That was less than an hour ago. About ten minutes ago I received a call telling me to report to Mr. Murphy’s office. I can think of nothing I am working on or have worked on that would come under Mr. Murphy’s domain. I came to you before going to him.”
James Short sat and looked at Jack for a few minutes tapping the ends of his fingers together. “Who is the Kite Jack?”
“Jake Hammond. He runs...”
Mr. Short cut him off. “I know who he is. Do you think this could be a reprisal for something he has worked on?”
“I don’t think so. He has never worked without an air tight cover. He had very little face time with anyone that has the resources to do this. He thinks it has something to do with a laptop and a company in New York.”
“Ok, go see Murphy. Then come back here directly after.” He turned to his computer. “Give me his file ID.” Jack recited it as Short typed it into his computer. “I locked it so only I can unlock it. If he asks you tell him we have an op in the works and it was sealed by me until its conclusion.”
“Ok.” Jack checked his watch. “Sorry sir but I should be going it has been almost twenty minutes since he summoned me.”
“Very well see you when you’re done. Jack remember you work for me not him. I will remind him of that later.” Short stood and walked around his desk to shake Jacks hand. They shook hands quickly and Jack left moving quickly.
He continued to walk fast until he was at the last turn to Murphy’s office. He slowed as he made the final turn. He walked directly up to her desk. He couldn’t remember if she had told him her name. He said, “I’m Jack Beans. I believe you called me.”
“Mr. Beans I called you over twenty minutes ago. I tried to call you twice since then.” She was not in a good mood. Jack figured she had been on the receiving end of Mr. Murphy’s irritation.
“I am sorry, but I do have other duties.” He did not try to hide his own irritation. “Should I go in, or should we keep Mr. Murphy waiting for a little while longer?”
She sighed and pressed the button under her desk. “Go in Mr. Beans.” She said with a deep scorn in her voice.
Jack walked to door and went into the office. Sitting around the conference table were four men besides AD Murphy. All of them looked up at him at the same time. Each one of them wore the same look of contempt on their face. He recognized one of them as Murphy errand boy. For some reason he thought he recognized one of the others but he couldn’t place it.
“Mr. Murphy, I’m Jack Beans, you asked for me.”
“Yes I asked for you over twenty minute ago Mr. Beans. I am not accustomed to being kept waiting. Do you normally keep assistant directors waiting?”
“No sir. I apologize I had to wrap a couple of things concerning an ongoing operation sir. It couldn’t be helped. What can I do for you?”
Murphy just looked at him for several seconds. Then said, “I need a file on an independent, it appears you run this man.”
“Witch Kite would that be sir?”
“Kite?” asked one of the gentlemen at the table.
“We refer to the independents, as you say, as Kites. If they get in trouble we cut the strings and they are on their own. Kites”
“We get it Mr. Beans,” said Murphy.
“You still haven’t told me who the kite, or independent is you want sir.”
“Jake Hammond,” said another guy at the table.
“I am sorry I don’t know any of you. If you want me to discuss classified information pertaining to a current operation sir, you will have to do it in private.”
“In private? Who do you think you are Mr. Beans?” Murphy stood pushing his chair back. “I am an Assistant Director of the NSA. If I say these men are cleared for the information you do not have the authority to question me. Do I make myself clear Mr. Beans?” By the end Murphy was shouting.
“With respect Mr. Murphy, that is not the way it works in operations. Mr. Hammond is currently involved in an operation. I can’t access his file without authorization from my superior sir.” Jack stood there waiting. Murphy just stared at him.
“Who is your superior Mr. Beans?” asked the first man.
“I am sorry, what was your name?”
“Kevin Mc Neilson.”
“Mr. Mc Neilson I report directly to AD Short. Will that be all?” he asked to the room in general.
“No it will not be all,” said Murphy. His face was turning red again. Jack stood looking at him. “I want the file if you can’t transfer it to me then you will answer any questions I have.”
“As I told you Mr. Murphy, I cannot talk about a case file of ongoing operation.” Jack repeated. Murphy’s head was now so red Jack thought he was on the verge of having a stroke.
“Mr. Murphy, may I suggest you and I walk down the hall to Mr. Short’s office? I think we could resolve this.” Jack stayed calm. He couldn’t believe how angry Murphy was getting. Something was not entirely as it seemed. Murphy stood staring at him.
“Sir, I think that may be the best way to proceed,” interjected Mc Neilson.
“Very well Kevin maybe your right. Let’s go Beans.” He walked around the table and past Jack. He went through the door. Not looking at his secretary he said, “Call over to AD Short, tell him that I am on my way.” He didn’t even slow as he went past her and down the hall.
Jack realized that Kevin was walking behind him. When they got to Maggie’s desk she stood asking, “Mr. Murphy?”
“Yes.” Murphy walked right past her to the door. When he got there he tried the door knob, but it didn’t budge. He almost bounced off it. “The door.” Murphy said his head turning red again.
“I am sorry Mr. Murphy. I was trying to tell you that he is not available right now if you would like to wait, he should be able to see you in a few minutes.”
“Get on that tela-com and tell him I am here now young lady or you will be looking for work do you understand me?” Murphy practically yelled at Maggie.
Maggie sat at her desk and typed. Jack knew what was going on. He checked his watch. He had about half an hour before Jake coded back in.
“Sorry Mr. Murphy he said to tell you he is dealing with a critical situation with an operation. You can either wait or he will call you when he is available.” Maggie was ever so polite. Jack walked over and sat on the couch.
Murphy looked like his head would explode. He turned and stormed back to his office. Kevin said, “Please have Mr. Short call over as soon as he is done. Thank you.” He didn’t wait to hear her response. He darted after Murphy.
As they turned out of sight Maggie waited a few seconds, then she smiled at Jack saying, “He will see you now Jack.”
“Thanks Maggie.” He replied as he headed for the door.
“What happened Jack?” asked AD Short before the door even closed.
“He demanded I transfer the file to him from a machine in his office. When I told him it wasn’t possible, he said I would have to give him a verbal run down on Hammond. There were four others in the room, so I told him I couldn’t, due to security involving a current op. Sir, I thought he would have a stroke. His head turned so red. It looked like he was going to bust an artery.”
Short laughed, “He is like that, it happens at most every meeting. It is somewhat of a joke we bet on whether he will bust something inside his head or not at each meeting”
“Now what sir?” asked Jack?
“We wait for Hammond to call back. Then we try to figure out what has Mr. Murphy so stressed out.”
“What about the Company he told me about? Should we get the information?”
“What did you find out?” Jack filled in Short on what he had found out.
Short looked very thoughtful for several seconds. Then he grinned and said, “I think that Jake may have stumbled on an agency black ops cover. I know it’s not one of ours. That leaves the questions whose it is, and why they are so frantic. Why would an agency send a cleaning team before checking out his file?”
Jack thought that was a very good question. Then he said, “Lucky for Jake they didn’t. If they would have seen his file they would never have tried what they did.”
Short chuckled, “I wonder who got the news that they just lost an entire team when they tried to take out a computer geek?” Both men chuckled at that.