posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 02:24 AM
- A Late Lunch -
On any other day, the trip back to the District would have been an easy one. But the weather had clogged traffic, especially around the bridges. By
the time he reached Georgia Brown’s on 15th Street, and some 30 minutes late, his lunch date had apparently already come and gone.
“Guess I’ll be rooming with Bo for a few nights.” Rudge thought to himself as he fingered some of the Chincoteague Oysters.
This meeting with one of Fox News’ prime reporters had been a priority assignment and the little memory chip in his pocket didn’t feel nearly as
good as would have a positive headline. But since there was the time now, he flipped open his Dell Vostro to have a look at what he had been given by
his old friend, the Russian spy.
On board the card were three folders, numbered 1, 2 and 3. Clicking the first, there were two image files and a plain text document that was titled
“Okay” he thought, “I can take a hint.” The note pad opened to reveal the following information:
Image: norge.jpg –
Satellite, Northern Europe, AMZ 9 Dec 2009
Image: brazil.jpg –
Satellite, South America, PMZ 31 May 2009
As he opened each of the associated picture files, Dan Rudge had an inkling that the images themselves were not as important as whatever it was that
Anatoly was trying to tell him. The sat photo of the Norway spiral was nothing to be surprised about. The Russians could have been ready with an
overhead view to their attempted launch of the Bulava missile. We would have if it had been an American test launch. But the one from Brazil? And the
date, May 31st?
Alarm bells were going off in his head just at the exact same moment a female voice piped in from behind, “Thanks for waiting… traffic was pure
Looking around at the same time he closed his notebook computer, he saw a very attractive woman, but not the one he was expecting to have lunch with.
“Bureaucrats aren’t very good drivers, especially in the snow. Um, have we met?”
“No, not actually, not in person. I’m Cynthia Grant, Ms. Banderas’ personal assistant. Well, one of her assistants, to be quite honest. She was
called away on another assignment and asked me to meet you here. But like I said, traffic was backed up and… I really am sorry about being so
The young media intern was maybe mid/late-20-ish, olive complexion with green eyes that contrasted beautifully with her dark hair. Suddenly, Rudge was
out of the doghouse and in spite of the weather and the traffic, it was turning out to be an interesting day.
After introducing himself properly, he motioned to extend the table’s order of oysters but as it turned out, she was a farm girl from Ohio and was
not about to risk herself on something as alien as that, especially with a stranger. The chef salad would be a little less threatening.
For the next hour, Ms. Grant would be peppering the lunch with questions that all seemed to end with the words, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and of course,
Fox News’ favorite named subject: Clinton. And to that end, it was what he had been coached for. The answers would be polite, newsworthy, and
politically neutral from an official source that was still well out of the spotlight.
As she was packing away her voice recorder, she asked, “What again is your position in the Obama administration?”
Without hesitation, his reply was as simply true as it could be without handing out freebies, “Knight of the realm.”
“Well, Sir Daniel Rudge, is that how I should address you in my report?” She was a quick study and undoubtedly ready to get the answer she
“Officially, I am an Assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary of Global Security and International Affairs. But, knight of the realm makes the small
office and smaller paycheck seem a little bigger.”
The long-winded title bought smile from his interrogator, and despite the underlying political tensions, he had enjoyed her company. In truth, the
table seemed more than a little empty after her departure, which in turn led him to wonder whether he was too old at 42 to even think about it in that
The short drive back to his L Street office was an uneventful one. He would put aside the issue of the meeting with Sarkov until after he had turned
in his report on his lunch with the media. Then he would have to have a better look at that memory card.