Donovan is back. I wasn’t sure how that character was going to turn out, but I’ve brought him back with the good guys. As I looked over the previous installments, it was apparent that this guy was more than just a black or white character. He is a formidable force that I just couldn’t write off to be a bad guy. It appears that I’m pulling in more characters from Blood Orange with the addition of Maria Colluccio and Admiral Baker. This may just turn out to be another Brad Rafferty book after all. It will take some rework and I just may lose the whole first person thing. Who knows how it will turn out?
Road Kill Part 26 – Donovan Returns
What was Donovan doing here? I looked at Admiral Baker searching for answers. I knew the admiral was a force to be reckoned with and that he was Brad Rafferty’s mentor. Was he on the bad side of this and was this a trick or was Donovan some kind of double agent?
“Sean, I’m glad you could make it,” Admiral Baker said as Donovan entered the room.
“Sean? Donovan’s first name is Sean?” I thought to myself.
Donovan took a seat at the table and all eyes looked to Admiral Baker. He turned to address me.
“It appears that you and Mr. Jones were able to dig up some damning evidence against our illustrious Secretary of State. Brad tells me that the intelligence you gathered points to an imminent attack at the soccer match with some type of radioactive material using GTMO prisoners that have been coerced into cooperating. This is most disturbing.”
Baker had summarized the situation quite nicely. I was anxious to see what plan of action he would draw from his summary.
“I’m going to defer to Commander Rafferty to help us lay out the tactical plan from this point forward. My job is to provide whatever resources you may need,” Baker said. “But first, I must point out that we are in a sticky situation. If we do this correctly, we will stop a devastating attack and bring down a truly corrupt government official. If things go badly, we could be tried for treason, or worse, the attach could be carried out and the United States could become involved in a war that would forever change our global image and put us in league with nation builders like Russia and China. My mission, and I hope yours as well, is to stop this from happening.”
Baker paused for effect and to catch his breath before continuing.
“With that being said, any one of you can walk away from this mission now with no repercussions. If you remain for this meeting, however, there is no turning back. Am I clear?”
Everyone at the table nodded and remained seated. I half-expected Jones to bolt for the door, but he stayed in the room looking calm and attentive.
“Good,” Baker concluded. “Brad, you have the floor.”
“Thank you Admiral Baker,” Rafferty began. “As you know, we have about a week to plan our strategy and stop this attack. We have two options. The first is to stop the attack in its infancy before any mobilization of the materials or personnel takes place. The second is to let things get to the point where the actions are underway and then stop it right before it happens.”
Rafferty paused to make sure that this sunk in.
“I don’t have to tell you that the first option is less risky, but it does not give us our desired outcome which is bringing the Secretary down as the one responsible for the plan. She likely has plausible deniability of the plan fails in its early stages. The closer we get to the execution of the plan, the more likely we are to be able to trap her in it.”
Rafferty let the group digest his words.
“Any questions so far?”
Jones piped up as the sole civilian participant.
“So exactly what are we going to be doing? I don’t have any special ninja training that is going to be a big help with either option.”
Rafferty grinned at Jones’s question.
“Mr. Jones, you underestimate yourself. The members of this team are here for two reasons. First, each of you has special skills or knowledge that will give the mission a higher likelihood of success. Second, each of you has the right mindset in terms of loyalty to your country without blind loyalty to those that abuse their authority. Does that clear things up?”
Jones seemed to steel himself for his next statement.
“It does to a point, Commander Rafferty, but what about this guy?” Jones asked pointing to Donovan. “He and his thugs have been chasing us all over Florida. What side is he on, anyway? Do you guys trust him?”
It was the question that I had on my mind as well. I knew Donovan better than most, but I wasn’t clear on his motivation.
“Perhaps Mr. Donovan can answer that question better than I can,” Rafferty said.
Donovan didn’t speak immediately. He seemed to be carefully thinking about what he was going to say.
“There is a gray area here. I run one of the most top secret operations in this country. In that capacity, information crosses my desk that would change the opinion and position of this country if it were ever made public. When this situation arose, one of my top agents was nearly killed for just brushing the edges of what was going on. That got my attention.”
I felt some satisfaction that Donovan referred to me as one of his top agents. Any bit of positive news was worth latching onto at this point.
“I did some digging on my own and determined that something unacceptable was going on at the highest levels of government,” Donovan continued. “Everything pointed to the Secretary of State, but I needed to be sure. I also needed to gather information indirectly through a plausible method that wouldn’t result in suspicion of me or my agency. That is when I made the decision to allow the information gathering that has been going on. I had to make it look like a legitimate criminal hacking of information by staying just behind your actions. I took Ben Simpson into my confidence and determined that he was not in the same mindset, but he had some usefulness as a mole to keep me informed. I used this same litmus test on agents within The Mother Ship to determine who we could trust with this operation and who would be fiercely loyal to the Secretary and those in power. Thankfully, a good number of our personnel fell on the right side of this. One thing that was very surprising in this operation was the speed with which you were able to gather information. Mr. Jones, your talents are formidable and I, for one, am glad you are on the side of the good guys.”
There was some surprise around the table and silence following Donovan’s monologue which was broken by Rafferty.
“One thing I’m confused about is your role in interrogating the prisoners at GTMO. How did you get involved in that?”
Donovan smiled at the question.
“I basically volunteered. Once the information began to emerge, I went to the Secretary and assured her that I could conduct the screening of the prisoners with the utmost discretion and efficiency. She agreed and I was brought further into her circle of trust with regard to the plans. I didn’t get specific details on the timing of the attack, but I was able to gather some useful information on the method and scope.”
“What about the prisoners that were poisoned with aconite?” I asked. “That’s the stuff that almost killed me.”
A dark looked crossed Donovan’s face.
“I had nothing to do with that. I gave the results of the screening to the Secretary. The deaths of the prisoners that were disqualified happened after I left GTMO. That action further convinced me that I’m on the right side.”
“Does anyone have any more issues with Mr. Donovan before we continue?” Rafferty asked.
His question was met with silence.
“Okay,” Rafferty continued. “We need to take stock of the information we have and begin to close the gaps. We know where the attack will be. We know what type of attack it will be. What we don’t know is the specific day and time and the method of attack. I’m familiar with this type of attack from our investigation on the incident at the Carrier Dome. My guess is that something similar will be done here. My experience gives us an edge with regard to what we’ll be looking for. What we need to do now is split up into tactical teams and begin to close the gaps in our knowledge.”
Rafferty stood up and walked to the large whiteboard on the wall.
“Donovan, you will head up the personnel that will be mobilized to stop the attack. My thought is that we need them to blend in with those that will be at the soccer match. This means infiltrating the crowd, team personnel and workers at the venue. Your people excel at this type of operation, so I’ll leave that to you.”
Rafferty’s eyes turned to me.
“You, Mr. Jones and Maria Colluccio will be trying to help us zero in on the when and how aspects of the attack. Use whatever resources you have to monitor conversations, intercept email and any other means to get us an accurate timetable for the attack. I will be coordinating with and providing status to Admiral Baker. The Admiral will run interference for us to make sure our efforts can stay under the radar.”
Rafferty stepped away from the whiteboard and took his seat.
“Fine. Let’s split up into our tactical teams. It’s going to be a very intense week leading up to this event. How we handle it just may have an impact on the future of this country. Tension is going to run high, so I would ask you to keep your heads, get rest when you can and stay focused.”
Rafferty was not exaggerating. We had our work cut out for us and the pressure to succeed was incredible.