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©02 The Media Desk

the Growth of theHunter

ch 47

     Somehow Bishop42 managed to arrange it so that if I had a speaking engagement in, say, Boston. I also had an agent in the Boston area that needed trained in, say, long range audio surveillance equipment.
     So I was busy. Very busy.
     I had precious little time at home before. When I worked full time and was on the road on missions once a month or so, it seemed like I was never home. But now. I was never home.
     In spite of being told that was the secret to a good marriage, I wanted to be with Keia every possible minute I could.
     But on those rare occasions when I was home for three or four days in a row. It was our honeymoon again.
     Then the baby arrived.
     I was home for her labor, and I was there when my daughter was born. And I was there for the first three weeks, we were all home.
     Then I withdrew my resignation and asked the Bishop if he'd take me back.
     Bishop42: It was strange. I did not have time to process your paperwork.
     theHunter: thank you
     Bishop42: No thanks needed. Good agents and trainers are hard to find. I have invested considerable time and resources in you. Replacing you now would take more time and money than I can afford at this juncture. So if you needed time for your family, it was a minor sacrifice to make for the larger good.
     theHunter: I hope you're not going sentimental on me in your old age.
     Bishop42: I'm not. Keia said she wanted you at home.
     theHunter: then i'll thank her
     Bishop42: I would hope so.

     My first speaking/training mission away from my wife and child was the hardest.
     I literally interrupted the discussion group excusing myself to the bathroom, and called her.
     She was fine, the baby had just eaten and was falling asleep, and I wished I was there.
     I took a break when training a woman that looked too young for this business how to blend into a crowd while watching everything that was going on. And called home. I went through some basic foot pursuit techniques in a mall. When it was my turn to loose her, I did, and called Keia. Then we went back to her motel room.
     "How did you sleep last night?" I asked her.
     "Fine." She said.
     "Oh. You didn't have any company?"
     She wasn't a good liar but she tried anyway. "No."
     I turned on the TV and stood there and watched. She was rather photogenic, as was her friend.
     "How?" She said harshly, then she said a few other things. I clicked the remote, the view changed to the bathroom with a charming picture of her getting into the shower. Then another click, a different view of her and her friend, hard at work the previous evening.
     "Remember the other day I told you to ask for another room, and insist on it, when you checked in?"
     She nodded, then looked away from the TV for a minute.
     "Find them." I told her. But I left the TV on.
     The two I had put in the most obvious places she found immediately. Then she looked around for the other one she had seen the picture taken from. She found it in a couple of minutes.
     "Is that..." She trailed off. She was still on TV. "It has to be..." She looked toward it, and found it by elimination. "Is that it?"
     "Is that it." The TV echoed as I clicked again and the picture went black.
     "Damnit." She swore softly.
     "Damnit." The TV answered, in stereo.
     She searched long and hard by hand, and found one mike. "I know there's another one, but I can't find it."
     "Plain sight." I said, she looked at me. I looked around the room slowly. "I can see it from here."
     The TV parroted my words.
     She stood in one place and looked. And looked some more. Then she shook her head.
     I got up and walked to the picture frame and picked off a round metal circle from top dead center of the picture frame and handed it to here with a thin wire coming off the back like a tail.
     "Jesus." She said, the TV said it too. I clicked.
     "I'll be right back." I said and got up.
     As I walked into the bathroom I heard her exclaim something. I didn't do anything but get a tissue, but I knew my walking in activated something.
     She walked in as I walked out. Looking for another camera.
     It took her awhile, even though she knew where it had to be. Then she came out holding the tiny piece of electronics.
     "OK, I learned my lesson." She said.
     "Good. I'll see you first thing in the morning."
     She nodded and said. "I've got a lot to learn."
     She had no idea.

     The next agent I trained was one of my most difficult assignments ever.
     The man was an old hand at the espionage and counter intelligence business.
     Over lunch he told me stories about moles in East Germany and holes in the walls in Moscow and lethal chopsticks in Beijing.
     But the new century has very little to do with the good old days of the Iron Curtain.
     The reason I was bringing him up to speed on gadgets and electronics was simple; Centre had told me to.
     We ran over everything from explosive paper clips to eavesdropping window stickers on cars.
     "So really I couldn't have a private conversation anywhere."
     I nodded, "If we wanted to record every minute of your life for the next three days without your knowledge, we could do it."
     "What about my right to privacy?"
     "This stuff is only done with good reason and approval from way up yonder."
     "By us. What about some others with less regard to an individual's rights." He tapped a demo computer disk that I had used to rape a hard drive without leaving a trace of what had happened behind. "If the bad guys got hold of some of this stuff, they could do anything they wanted."
     All I could do was agree with him.

     Keia slowly got back to work doing her research and processing information.
     It never ceased to amaze me how exacting and easy to understand her grammar and usage was in her reports. Compared to the way she wrote my stuff came out barely readable and left you wondering about my literacy at times.
     She rewrote a paper I was to send to a study group and I didn't even recognize it as mine in the proof copy they sent me. It made it more sense than original, and said everything I had said much more clearly and with better emphasis.
     Not that I'm complaining mind you. But it was embarrassing at times. My only hope is that our daughter gets her language skills from her instead of me.
     Keia's skills extended to evaluating photographic evidence as well, she could pick out a single person out of a crowd at a parade without a magnifying glass or other aid. That coupled with her detailed memory made her an asset to the organization without equal.

     I also had less time to play my favorite on line game. But when I did, I made up for lack of quantity with excellent quality.
     Vulture9: That's not fair.
     theHunter: where in the rules does it say this game is fair?
     Vulture9: We have to at least be able to attack you.
     theHunter: attack away
     Vulture9: We did. We lost everything instantly!
     Morrison: Sounds fair to me, you were trying to kill him.
     Vulture9: But his defenses are like unreal.
     theHunter: No. My defenses were simply better than your offenses. Go buy more ships. Bring more people next time.
     Vulture9: What can get through a completely shielded sector full of mines and robot attack ships? There's not even enough room in the sector for another fighter.
     Morrison: Sounds like he's jealous Hunter.
     theHunter: he'll get over it.
     theHunter: Oh, by the way, Vulture. Since you attacked me, expect a retaliatory attack soon.
     Vulture9: No way. No. We ain't got nothing.
     Morrison: You won't have when he's done with you.
     theHunter: Three fortified planets, two bulk transfer ships, a nice little port, and several million in your accounts.
     Morrison: You forgot about his lunchbox.
     Vulture9: How did you know that?
     theHunter: And your lunch box.
     Vulture9: I'll give you the ships to leave us alone.
     >>> theHunter shakes his head and cracks his knuckles.

     Some people just have no sense of adventure.

End 47 growth

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