The Sithy Challenge
LC Aggie Sith had a challenge for her friends in the blogosphere: let’s have a short story contest. I didn’t think I had it in me. Maybe I don’t, but here’s my shot at it. After drawing a complete blank on ideas, inspiration hit me, as I was listening to the latest of many books on tape that entertain me on the way home from work.
Harvath was dreading this meeting. All these years, the Carlton Group had been operating independently of the CIA, but the Patriot Act mandated that information must be shared between agencies. “For the good of the country” was the ruling from the Attorney General. Of course Scot had absolutely no use whatsoever for any lawyers, as they tended to make his life difficult, to say the least. When you spend your time on the outside of international law, chasing terrorists, lawyers soon become an impediment to your job, instead of lending a helping hand. However, after the last round of mayhem, including the takedown of a cell stemming from the full fledged “interrogation” of an Iranian diplomat, those days had come to an end. The State Department had exhausted all its favors to prevent an international incident. Now the price was Carlton Group’s freedom to operate on its own.
The good news was that the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department had determined that both the Carlton Group and the CIA had value. Both had things they were good at, and things they were unsuited for. The Carlton Group had quick response as it’s main benefit, along with a short chain of command, resulting in quick decisions. The CIA had the bottomless pockets of the US Government, along with the cloak of diplomatic immunity. Not for the really hairy operations, but at least there was a layer of protection for some missions. Not that Scot would ever see one of those.
His boss, Reed Carlton, had managed to finagle a deal. No one wanted Harvath’s singular talents to go to waste, so a special division had been thought up. A lot of work had gone into staffing this division. Scot had been given carte blanche in the Carlton Group to select the best members for this team. All the members had been assembled, and the office had been furnished. The best communications gear, the best surveillance equipment, the most powerful computers, all had been brought together in the Maryland countryside, at a ranch outside of the hustle and bustle of Washington DC. Everything was done, until the call from the White House. Evidently the Commander in Chief, a former Texas Governor elected in a surprise come from behind win, thought very highly of the new secret and yet unnamed agency. It fit in with his ideas of a strong military, and his campaign promise to rebuild America’s intelligence infrastructure. But he also had his own way of doing things, and he didn’t see any need to clue anyone in the agency’s top brass as to what was going down. This meeting was the unveiling of the new direction the agency was to take.
The conference room was completely full. The President couldn’t be here, it was said, but Harvath knew that was a security measure. No sense putting any more attention on this new agency than necessary. He might be a cowboy, but the President listened to the people under him, and that made him a smart cookie in Scot’s mind. Everyone had a speech, and Harvath listened intently to everyone. You always listened when the employer spoke, and he had many employers. These were their representatives. He owed his attention to them, at the least. However, during the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s speech, it was one word that got his complete and undivided attention: Partnership.
That’s just like the government, thought Harvath. There’s always strings attached. He now remembered why he was dreading this meeting so much. There’s always a catch. The Deputy Secretary droned on about sharing, collaboration, and teamwork. Harvath dreaded the thought of CIA pukes in his domain. But that didn’t even come close to his worst nightmare.
That came after he heard the chuckle behind him. Turning around, the new voice said, “Scot Harvath, heard of you.” Followed by another chuckle. As he saw the source of the voice, Scot realized he had heard of him, too.
Reed Carlton introduced the guest. “Scot, I’d like you to meet Mitch Rapp”.
Hope you enjoyed it. This was a little more fun than I thought it would be. Maybe we’ll try this again sometime, and try not to rip off 2 bestselling authors while I do it. Hopefully Brad Thor and Vince Flynn have a sense of humor about this.
Other Stories in the Challenge:
Autumn People: The Stockyard Girl
Epic Entropy: Rendezvous at Eight
Fountain Abbey: One Rainy Day
Lemur King’s Folly: The Starkness of Being
The Necromancer: Glances could kill. Love was outlawed.
Powder Burn Flash: Tight
Reluctant Rebel: Nightmarish Morning
Sithy Things: Befitting the Sin
Snugg Harbor: A Recollection of December
Third World Country: Well, It Ain’t Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder
Uncivil Peasants (BlackIsWhite): The Breach
Yabu: Merced Recibida, Libertad Vendida