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The Unknown Past

By
P.E. Savage.

    The agent watched the girl take her normal seat in the café.  The blonde hair boy she usually sat with hadn't arrived yet; moving back into the crowd the agent surveyed the crowd.  He needed to get in touch with Control, needed to get the list that he possessed back into his hands.  
    How foolish he was to think he had retrieved the codebook without any trouble, yet he had made a mistake; or else he wouldn't be running for his life.  He moved toward the pay phone and tried Control's private number, yet again, the answering machine was still on and taking messages.  "Where are you Control?"  He cursed to open air.  The agent slammed the phone down glancing about the crowd he had to see if he could spot the person that was following him.  Just when he thought he could breathe he saw them; at least two men were there more?  Time was running short; he had to get rid of the codes.  His only chance of success was to pass the codes on to someone else; another agent would be the ideal choice; yet he didn't have that luxury or time.

    The girl, she could pass the information on for him, no one would expect a musician.  It was a risk, but he would have to take that chance he would have to trust her.  Again he wondered why Control was keeping track of her crossed his mind.  Perhaps she was an ex-agent, that had to be it or the father she was searching for was ex-company.  He quickly scanned the crowd again; he felt it was safe enough to approach the girl.  As he got closer, he noticed how pretty she was.  Her brown hair highlighted her face making her eyes seem more dark and mysterious.  He quickly thought of everything he knew about her and went over it as he approached her.  His shadow fell across the table where she sat, looking up she smiled.

    "May I help you?"  She asked.

    "Karen Scholfield?"  The agent asked taking a seat across from her after she nodded.

    "May I ask who you are?"  Karen pulled some papers closer to her.  The agent didn't waste time in continuing; he pulled the book out of his coat and handed it to her. "Mr. Cottersweld told me to give this to you.  It will aid you in finding your father."

    "Did Mr. Cottersweld discover where he is?"

    "He's not certain, but there is a man in New York who could help you.  You have to call this number and ask for Mr. Harris."  The agent spotted the men in the crowd; they were searching for him.  "I've got to go."

    "Wait, there are questions I have."

    "Mr. Harris can answer them for you."  The agent rose quickly leaving Karen sitting there staring after him.

    "Karen, what's the problem?"  Karen turned to see Scott.  "You look rattled."

    Karen quickly looked back in the direction the stranger took. "A … man was here, he said that Mr. Cottersweld sent him.  Scott he said he had information about my father, but left before I could question him further."  She paused, looking at the book on the table. "He left this, and a phone number.  It make no sense."

    "How about we check with Mr. Cottersweld, before we do anything else and see what he has to say."  Scott smiled pushing the book toward Karen. "Put this away and we'll discuss it after lunch.  I'm starved."

    "How do you stay so thin eating like you do?"  Karen chuckled.

~*~

    The agent woke only to find his he was chained to the wall testing the strength of the cuffs he bit his lip when he felt the metal cut into his skin a warm liquid ran down his arm.

    "Where is it?"  A voice asked.

    "I don't know what you are talking about."

    "Come, come now Ian.  We know you work for the Company.  Now give me the book."

    "I have no idea what you are talking about."  Ian stammered.  A scream was ripped from his throat as an electrical current shot through his body.

    "Where is the book?"

    Ian screamed as another bolt cruised through his body. "Go to hell."

    "Wrong answer."

~*~

    The room was softly lit and the music that played drifted through the room.  A lone figure sat in the chair, glass in hand; his head rested against the back of the chair giving anyone who could see him the impression of sleep.  The ringing of the phone brought the figure back to reality and out of the dream world of thought.  Rising slowly, knowing full well that the answering machine would answer whomever it was.  So why was he so compelled to be there to make sure that he heard it the first time, what made it so vital?  He listened to his familiar message then the beep that would signal the person leaving the message.

    "Hello Dad?  Just thought I'd …" The disembodied voice started.  It didn't take long for Robert McCall to recognize the voice as that of his son, Scott.  Scott, who was in England studying, Robert hadn't heard from him in over four months.

    "Scott?"  McCall questioned as he answered the phone, and disconnecting the answering device.  Sometimes if it wasn't for his line of work, he would disconnect the phone; all too many times it interrupted his sleep, his peace, and at times his very thoughts.  He had a debt that had to be paid, or did he?  At times he wondered about his motivations.

    "Glad to hear your voice, Dad.  I'll be in town in a couple of days.  It is possible to see you?"

    "Of course, Scott, is something wrong?"  Too many times trouble interrupted their visits.  "What airline will you be taking?  I'll meet you there."

    "Eastern, and nothing is wrong."  There was hesitation in Scott's voice.  "I won't be alone.  I met someone and I promised that I would show her a couple of places in New York; but after that I'll be free."

    "I'll take both of your around to some places.  That is if I'll not be in the way."  McCall hated the way his tongue wouldn't work around Scott; it was like every word would start a war.  "Scott … Let's not let any time go by.  I'll clear my schedule so I'll have some time off.  Who knows, maybe it'll be good for me.  I need to rest once in a while too."

    "Sure Dad."  Scott said his voice was calm but happy. "We'll see you in a couple of hours."  Scott hung up the phone and turned to look for Karen.  He spotted her returning with what looked like their boarding passes, and waved her over to him.

    "It's all set, Karen."  Scott told her as she joined him.

    "Just like that no questions?"  Karen asked.  Her disbelief was easy to see.  "I just can't believe that he would have no questions at all.

    "Don't worry, he will.  Give him time."  Scott picked up their carryon bags and started to move with Karen toward the gate where they would be boarding the airplane.  He scratched his chin and laughed.  "He'll especially want answers about my beard."

    "I won't take the blame for that Scott McCall.  We're good friend, but there is a limit to my lying."

    "I would like to see that." Scott chuckled. "Did Mr. Cottersweld come up with anything else on your mysterious man?"

    "Nothing, he swears he didn't send anyone to meet me.  Let alone give me a book that has something that looks like strange shorthand."

    Scott put his arm around Karen shoulders. "Don't worry, my dad can help you out.  He's really good at things like that."

    "Really?"  Karen chuckled.  "You really look up to him don't you?"  Scott nodded.  Neither one of them paid any attention to the shadows that followed them.

~*~

    McCall hung up the phone and smiled to himself.  He looked at the clock and noticed the time was after one am.  He figured he should get some rest, so far there were no urgent problems to take care of and his schedule was light compared to what he was doing last week.  He moved through the space of his apartment and finished turning off the lights and the music.  He was half way across the room having just turned off the last light and was taking off his robe when the doorbell rang.

    "What?"  McCall cursed under his breath walking over to the door.  Looking through the peephole.  "Hell." McCall cursed again.  He opened the door after a moment's hesitation and stared at his old friend Control.

    "It's late Control and I was just going to bed."

    "Too much work Robert?"  Control stepped inside the door.  McCall noticed for the first time that Control's clothes looked rumpled and slept in.  "Do I have to ask to be let in?"  McCall didn't say anything but did step aside to let Control enter.  "I've got a problem, and I don't know how to handle it."

    "That's a surprise Control, you know how to handle anything."

    "I need your help Robert."  Control stressed pouring himself a drink.

    "I'm no longer part of the Company, Control, as you always remind me.  So why come here?"  Robert McCall didn't expect an answer that would satisfy him, but he had to ask anyway.  For Control to come here it had to be important, and he knew that if the situations were switched Control wouldn't turn his back on him; they had too much water under the bridge.

    "An agent was killed, his body was found an hour ago.  He planted some information on an innocent person, and now I don't know if I can promise their safety.  I want you to take over that job."  Control paused and his face looked more lined than a few minutes ago.  "Robert, somehow, I'm not sure how it happened, but the someone, we believe it to be the KGB, found out that the agent was carrying certain files … certain codes."

    "I don't mean to interrupt you, Control, but didn't this agent know the risks?  And how could he pass on the information to an unsuspecting civilian?"  McCall passed a hand over his eyes and looked at Control again.  "How are you training these new agents anyway?"

    "Look, McCall, we train everyone to do their job, and to make sure that no one knows who they are.  That is exactly what the agent did.  As I said, we don't know how the leak occurred, and right now that is the least of our worries."  Again Control paused trying to gain control of his words and the situation with McCall.  "He was carrying a list that should have been destroyed a long time ago.  It was very important to the Agency to make sure that it was destroyed, and it does involve you since your name and the names of your family were in it."  Control could see McCall's eyes narrow on him.  "It also lists a lot of other agents and their families.  Names that people would pay a very high price for.  Like it or not Robert your name, Kay's as well as Scott's names are on that list.  Call it a Company mix-up and a very big one."

    "So everyone's in danger now.  That's just great, Control just damn great.  God, those names were never suppose to be written down, yet they have been, names that were supposed to be destroyed haven't been, and now anyone can buy them, steal them, or worse yet use them."  McCall started to pace in his living room.  What was going to be a nice quiet evening was now turning into a cheap spy thriller.  Just what he left the company to avoid.  "So who did the agent pass the information on to?"  McCall quizzed.  His mind was racing; plans had to be made.  Scott needed to be protected; leaning against his mantle Robert McCall watched his friend.

    Control closed his eyes briefly then stood up; it was his turn to pace.  "Her name is Karen Scholfield and she's …" Control turned to face Robert.  "She's traveling with Scott."

    "Scott?  My Scott?  You got Scott involved in this?"  McCall stepped closer to his friend.

    "She's a singer Robert; she met Scott at one of his concerts."  Control backed away.  "Like I said, it's their safety that I'm concerned for.  There's no way to totally protect them on an airplane."

    "If anything happens to Scott Control.  I will hold you personally responsible."  McCall sat on the couch and rubbed his forehead, he could feel the beginnings of a headache.  "Didn't the agent know it was dangerous to pass on this type of information to a private citizen?"

    "He had no choice in the matter."  Control watched as McCall sat back.  He knew Robert well enough to tell his mind was working.  McCall quickly rose and started his pacing again.

    "What about the European branch?"

    "They tried to intercept them, but they moved too quickly.  For all we know there's a mole in that division.  For that reason, I don't want to contact them until we are sure of at least two things.  That both Scott and Karen are safe, and if there is a breach in our security, who."  Control shrugged his shoulders and looked at his friend.  "I'll do everything I can Robert."  McCall nodded his head in agreement, then escorted Control to the front door. "Just be careful until I find some things out."

    "I'm always careful, Control.  My years with the Agency taught me to be so."  McCall slammed the door and leaned up against it.  Now he would have to make sure that he spent time with Scott and his friend, until he knew that they were safe, and where the agent had planted the information.  This time he would make sure that all the information was destroyed totally.  Robert thought back to the camping trip that he and Scott had taken, and how it turned into a night of being shot at and making crude weapons.  "Scott, hurry home."

~*~

    The figure sat three rows behind Scott and Karen; he kept watch on every move that they made, he even monitored their conversation.  So far it had all been very boring stuff about music and the touring of New York.  He knew that he had to get to girl's flight bag.  He watched as she carried both her purse and the bag onto the plane.  Soon the names of the Company's agents would be common knowledge, which would halt a lot of their operations.  It would either be that or else some unforeseen accidents would happen to their loved ones.

    Either way it would give him the time he needed to make his move and gain control of certain key area; then pass that control over to whomever he selected.  Whoever he sold the list to would have the freedom they needed as well as keeping the Company at bay.  Everything was going to be just fine, once he had the list, the names.

    He glanced at his fingers and cleaned some dirt from one of the fingernails.  Too bad he had to wait until they landed.  It would have been so much easier to just blow up the plane.  Unfortunately, that action would also destroy the code book, no he had to take care of getting the information himself, and it had to be kept intact and not blown up all over the ocean.

    "It was really a shame; she wasn't a bad looker.  But after all was said and done she would end up dead just like that blonde hair boy with her.  She was probably an agent herself, a very innocent looking agent.  The Company was clever in the way they hid agents always where a person was least likely to look.  

    The boy on the other hand would be a loss to his parents, but death was a thing that all people had to face sooner or later.  He couldn't leave anyone alive who could be a possible witness in the future.  He sat back and watched and planned.  Soon the whole Agency would be held in terror, in terror for their families and their friends.  The thrill of that type of power made him feel invincible.

    Parts of other conversations came to his notice, breaking his consideration.  People were such braggarts and the woman behind him had done nothing but talk since the plane too off.  He knew enough of this woman's family, her pig, and her grandchildren to last him a lifetime.

~*~

  Part 2
                                

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