“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”


"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Monday, June 17, 2019

A fragment....

“Sunflower. Sunflower. Sunflower. Network compromised. Consider all comms hostile. No further official traffic will follow. Activate Tsunami protocol."

There are few things as lonely as hearing your support network collapse. 

I'd gone through it twice - each time leaving me physically and mentally adrift, hoping to survive another 24 hours, much less make it further. But those had been single-shot missions, losing the resources and plans to keep an op running in Istanbul the first time, and Stockholm the next. It had been rough, but at least I’d known out “there” somewhere was safety, if only I made it across the right border. When your control tells you that there *isn’t* a home to go back to, that made it worse. 

Especially when you're a deniable asset, when you don't even exist. Tsunami was the code word implying *everything* was blown - that not only was our identity compromised, but that the whole system was now against us and we were on our own. That, no matter what happened, we would never be able to go back to who we used to be, and we had to find a way to quickly erase who we currently were. We'd used it a few times as a drill for "disappearing" from the grid and society, trying to evade to a friendly network and escape a hostile country at the same time. The fact it was announced out of the blue brought a new realism, an understanding that in a few seconds the rug was yanked out from under you. Imagine going into work and finding out not only had you been fired, but your boss was now actively seeking to arrest, if not kill you, just to keep things clean. That’s what Tsunami meant.

The next transmission made it more real, a rare glimpse at a human presence behind the omniscient machine-speech of the mastoid com-plant. A quiet female voice breaking protocol, a final note to those of us in the field. "Good luck and God speed."

What else could I do? I grabbed the backpack from my chair, and tucked my pistol under my shirt, walking out the door knowing I could never come back. 

So you wonder why I was suspicious 8 years later when they showed up to recruit me again? 


Monday, June 10, 2019

Milestones

Celebrated one of those decade birthdays last week. A small gathering of local friends and a few family members. Good food. Conversation. No stress or drama. It was rather pleasant.

Of course, one of the joking comments is the fact I've beat the odds by making it this far. Point is, that's a true fact - between the career path I've followed, and various moments of dumb choices along the way, I very easily might not be here.

More importantly, I was able to take a moment to realize how fortunate I've been through all of this. To still be alive. To have visited amazing places, all around the world. To have done things that a lot of people only dream of. To have met, and even become friends with, some truly incredible people who populate this world. To have a family that cares, even in the hard times.

I can't say what the next bit of this ride will bring. But I've enjoyed the heck out of it so far.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

As part of my daily drive home I pass by the Pentagon memorial for the 9/11 attack victims.

This is always a point of reflection for me - the three arcs rising into the sky in tribute just outside our nation's capital.

While the memorial rightfully commemorates those who died that September day eighteen years ago, I also remember those I have known through the years before and after who died in service. Peacetime and war, in combat, through accidents, and unfortunately even some suicides.

And, I ask myself a question every time I drive by. "Did I earn my place today? Did my actions at work honor their sacrifices and make them proud?"

Usually I can tell myself yes, that I've done what I can to help make my country, her citizens, and the world as a whole a safer place. Some days I fall short - losing focus on the things that are important, or simply taking the easy path and being lazy at times.

But, on the whole, I use that daily ritual to remind myself of them, and to try to do them justice.

For 243 years men and women have given their lives in service to the United States of America.

All had their own reasons for service. All had their own hopes and dreams. All left someone behind who felt the void of their passing.

We can debate various bits of politics, history, or where we stand in the world today.

But, let us not debate their sacrifice. Let us all take a moment today and reflect, and strive to be worthy of the legacy they left behind.

Rest in peace, my brothers and sisters.