As promised, Auggie had sought out professional help for Eyal and Annie's Blind Training 101. One of Auggie's personal trainers, army buddy and ex-CIA (meaning he could be read-in that he was dealing with spies) had agreed to help.
Irony of it, for Danielle, the non-spy, that training was optional. She opted to take part rationalising that it would help with her specialty of serving her food in the dark. She knew that in her line of business (catering) you needed something that distinguished yourself from the competition to be successful!
The training session was an early morning one so our trio didn't have time to talk about what had gone down the night before. Eyal and Danielle had 'officially' broken the ice on acting as 'lovers'. Eyal, as he had explained to Annie, took Danielle in the garage to have a private one on one with her. His eyes seemed to be on Danielle, but they were in fact studying the 'toy' our visitor had left behind. Didn't take long for our master spy to spot the very sophisticated hearing device. They were now officially on the enemy's radar. Auggie and CIA were read in on the presence of devise. Auggie was glad to hear it wasn't a bomb.
Danielle was realising more and more that this mission was real and dangerous. Her reaction had surprised both Annie and Eyal; she was calm and one could even say Zen about the intruder and the device he had left behind.
Danielle had said "Look, I trust you guys with my life. I'm so grateful to get to see what my little sister is devoting her life to. Being a spy, as I see it, is not only a job but a dedication to your country. Not many people know of your sacrifices and it pains me, but this mission is going to put me in a place to better understand it all. For that I am grateful. The least I can do is help you see this mission through even if it's only a drop in your buckets!"
Those words had shaken both Eyal and Annie!
They had a meeting with Joan and Rivka after the Blind training 101 lesson. Eyal, Annie and Auggie had arrange for them to talk before that meeting; they needed to plan how they would 'play' Joan and Rivka. It was decided that Eyal would take the lead on this intervention. Auggie had joke that the Mossad were the best for avoiding the true at all cost!
To that Eyal had responded "Auggie, thought a bit about our dilemma with us trying to outplay our agencies. Change of plan: I will confront Joan and Rivka with the true and expose all of what we think/know and ask the necessary questions. Auggie, you are wrong: We, at the Mossad, don't avoid the truth, we are painfully up front. That is maybe why we have the reputation of being ruthless. The CIA is a master at covering up its wrong doings to only end up having it all expose and sometime the joke is on them."
Auggie winced at those words but both Annie and he had agreed with Eyal plan.
On her part, Natasha had made some progress in decoding what in Danielle's computer was of interest to the terrorists. She had texted Auggies that Danielle's recipes where being copies. Another meeting in another FBI safe house was planned for the night. One side of the 'job' Danielle would be spare from.
Arriving at the CLB (Club Lighthouse for the Blind) our foursome was greeted by Kip Pastor. An army buddy of Auggie who had force the hand of our ex-soldier to 'volunteer' in redeploying to Iraq to provide personalised support for wounded soldiers having a hard time accepting their disability. By chance, Kip was and award-winning teacher for the visually-impaired, with a degree from Louisiana Tech University and owed Auggie big times!
"Auggie, happy to see you. From the look of your friend's chin here, I gather you tried your hands on being a teacher again!"
Annie asked "He did this before?"
Laughing Kip replied "Oh yes, last summer he nearly killed his psychiatric. Not a good idea to give a woman a cane, a blindfold and leave her cross the street at rush-hour! Have to admit, he might have had an ulterior motive and seems it worked, never saw that woman again!"
Auggie answered "Very funny Kip, can we get down to business before you take any chance of them seeing me as a responsible and efficient leader!"
"Ok, guys, I prefer to be on first names basis, as you know I'm Kip. Would like you to give me your names and how you feel at Blind training 101, take 2"
Auggie took over: "Annie is our quick-witted thinker, her sister can whip quite a dessert-storm and our injured team member is our own roadside bomb. They have 48 hours at the most to get the basic knowledge of how to work their present mission in total darkness. We have a winner in Danielle, to promote her business, she serves people in the dark. It gives her client the chance to have their breath taken away when the light go on! As for Annie and Eyal, they suck at it!"
"Well that may be because the teacher sucked at teaching them! Have everything ready, same setting as yesterday. What is different is that Auggie and I will be sitting at that table guiding you through and making you touch and feel what you can't see. Don't worry I don't intend on having another injury. Danielle, you're in the advance class, you will be our waitress. From what Auggie told me you master navigating in the dark, what I'll do is give you pointers on table setting etiquette."
Kip took Eyal aside "Eyal, Auggie told me you suffered a recent concussion. Sorry, but that means you are starting with a strike against you; your balance being off. Here's a trick of the trade that might help you: Contract you abs, keep them tight at all time, it will help with the dizziness. Looking at you, don't think you'll be needing instruction for that task! If you do feel dizzy, stop and reach out for my hand. I'll give you the help needed and not to worry I will not joke about it or point it out to your friends! Auggie is an overachiever and that makes him sometimes overbearing for us 'normal' folks! Don't get me wrong, he means well but just doesn't realise we can't all be up to his high standards."
All and all the training went very well and this time all passed with flying colors. Kip suggested another session to zoom in on the listening techniques blind people need to learn and so did our spies!
After grabbing a bite to eat (and talk about their plan), they joined Joan in a downtown restaurant for desserts and coffee.
"Hope you all applied your evasion techniques. Wouldn't want this group to be burned before it started."
Danielle looked at Joan and asked "Evasion techniques?"
"Eyal kiss Danielle's cheek, "It's a bit like trying to avoid your parents when you drank or smoked. Don't worry, it's a second nature for us, a walk in the park so to say!"
Eyal jumped when a hand squeezed his shoulder and whispered in his ears "Mr. Master Spy, you didn't cover your tracks that well. I was able to pick up your trail from at least 500 meters from this restaurant. Go easy on that perfume! When you get back in Israel and under my care, don't worry I'll take care of those shortcomings you developed in the US!"
To that Rivka Singer sat down and saluted all.
Joan extended her hand "Welcome Rivka, glad you could join us. Want you to meet Danielle, Annie's sister. She will be partnered with your Mr. Lavin for the duration of this mission. People, I read Rivka in on what went down yesterday. She has some chatter that you need to hear. Rivka, take it away."
"First, Danielle, I am pleased to meet you and would like to congratulate you on misleading one of my best operatives! Nice job of helping him in helping himself. He can be a pain in the butt sometimes… no I'll rephrase that - all of the times!"
All laughed and Eyal just dropped his head, he was not going to win this fight!
Rivka proceeded in reading in the team to her latess news "From what we could gather, we might have been misleaded in thinking that nuclear weapons were implicated. We have it from reliable source that they seem to have the means to blow up living things without leaving traces. We came across footages where we see dogs, cats, horses and many wildlife's animal just blowing up and combusting instantaneously. The blasts is as strong as a roadside bomb. We were able to access one site where two dogs had been blown up. There was no trace of detonators, gun powder, noble gases or alkali metals. On one tape we were able to place our two targets to the blowing up of what we think was a monkey. Our fear is that the next 'tests' will be on humans."
Eyal head shot up "Rivka, are you telling us that we might be facing with our Israel defector having the technology at making unsuspected and undetected human suicidal bombers!"
"Sorry Eyal, but that is exactly what we are fearing. I wouldn't have flown here personally is the Mossad didn't think this was not capital! We are on orange alert at both agencies, not a time for turf wars but cooperation."
Joan and Rivka briefed our foursome and as they were ready to part, Eyal let his friend leave and went to back to where both women were still sitting
"OK ladies, don't doubt the danger part of this mission, but do you really thing I'm going to swallow this crap about pairing me with Danielle, an untrained asset. This mission is a code orange one, the highest possible treat at our respective country's national security. What made you think that Auggie, Annie and myself would fall for this not so covert situation! I'm the spokesperson for the team (they all have the same opinion I do): What's up?
Joan looked at Rivka who just said "Joan, I had told you so!"
Eyal shook his head "Ok, let me run this through on both of you – CIA ordered the Mossad to leave us in the dark about the reason Danielle was forced on us. We only 'needed to know' the direct objective of this mission: the Israel defector and the Iranian terrorist pairing to plan an attack of some sort. Joan, got to admit that I will never approve of CIA 'Need to know' tactics but I'm guessing you were also against the orders that were given to you. That's why you chose the two agents who would see right through this situation. Rivka, well you were in a bind with my medical situation so I'm deducing Joan offered her help to force me to get medical attention. You knew you had the one weapon that could make me capitulate: One Mrs. Annie Walker."
Joan and Rivka smiled sheepishly at Eyal. He now knew he was right on track and admitted his male pride went up a notch!
He continued "Know you both can't admit to what I'm going to say so please do not listen to my babbling, it's my concussion playing with my head!"
Both women laughed but were attentive, blabbing or not!
"Danielle is, on both agencies radars, more a target than an asset. The reason you paired us together is for us to clear her of any wrong doing or bring her downs as a terrorist. You both don't believe she is guilty but your superiors do and tasked both of you to take her downs with the Israeli and Iranian. Must admit I'm proud of you both – You now know how it feels to buck the system and work our respective agency! Welcome to our world! We talked and agreed to do your dirty work, can't see where we have a choice. Danielle is not a terrorist, she's being frame and we will prove it. We guessed they are setting her up to take the fall, we haven't yet figured out the how and why but do not worry: It's our priority!"
Joan got up and bided her farewells to both and added "Well Eyal, you are right that concussion is playing havoc with you thinking. Sometimes it takes a serious blow to see the light. I will make sure Auggie is read in properly. He'll just have to read between the lines, he's use to it!" Joan discreetly winked at Eyal!
That left Rivka and Eyal. They were silent for a moment, an awkward moment. They didn't know how to stray away from their work relationship and step into the unknown territory of being friends. That would mean admitting they care for each other more than a boss versus employee. Not a usual occurrence at the Mossad!
"Rivka, I'll break the ice here: Would like to thank you for 'forcing' me to swallow my pride and get the needed help."
"Eyal, you deserved the best and will get it. I just approve of the Nemecton electrotherapy. It will keep you here for 6 to 8 months. That should make you happy!"
"What are you insinuating, Rivka?"
"Eyal, never have I seen you to mention to me the names of women you were intimate with or that you worked closely with. This Annie Walker has been on your radars since the day you met her. Seen you anguish over her missions, watched you sit at your desk (a thing you never did before meeting her) to track her missions, covered for you when you left us dry to go to her rescue and gave you an alibi when you took a Mossad's file for her but I also realised you never sold out your agency in the process. You even chose your country and the Mossad when put in a position to choose. Admit you had a moment of temporary insanity and quit but you were rapidly pulled back."
"Rivka, never realised I had put you in situations to compromise yourself. Why did you never talk to me about all of this? I'm not one to have others pay for my actions. You want my definitive resignation, it can be in your hands this afternoon?"
"Eyal, don't want your resignation - quite the contrary! This injury of yours is giving me the means to put in a plan that will permit you to see if this woman is your soul mate. Yes, yes, I know you have deep feelings for her, I'm also a spy remember! Your Nemecton therapy will take up to 8 months, in the meantime Arthur Campbell will ask our Director for a spy trade so to speak: CIA sends us one of theirs operatives and the Mossad sends CIA one of their agents. I will be tasked with choosing one of my people: I'll recommend that since you are already on US soil, that it should be you. I'm letting you free Eyal: If you come back, you were ours, if you don't you never were! You deserve this chance at happiness. It kills me to maybe see you go but it pleases me to be the one to give you this opening to try your hand at true love."
Eyal was lost for words, never had he thought Rivka could go to this lent for him.
Rivka saw that he was struggling so she continued "Do not worry, we will be seeing each other still. Did you think I'd leave you live this American way of life 365 days of the year. That spy exchange will have conditions – you will still be Mossad but operating under Arthur Campbell in joint Mossad and CIA's missions. There will be an agreement that I can call you back in the fowl for particular mission. You'll have the best of both worlds for more than a year. Hope it gives you the necessary leeway to get what you want out of life."
Eyal got up, pulling Rivka up with him. He approached her and gave her a heartfelt hug. Rivka couldn't return his show of empathy, she was not a woman to display her emotion in that way, but she did pinch his cheek.
"Rivka, words can't describe what I am feeling at this moment. Who will be 'taking' my place at the Mossad on this exchange?"
Rivka smiled and looked sideways at Eyal "You know him I think, he was once 'the competition': Arthur will be sending Ben Mercer. We need his expertise for a certain 'need to know' mission."
Eyal couldn't help but laugh, the Mossad gives from one hand but makes sores it fills a purpose. He didn't doubt Rivka offers was sincere but her and Arthur's dealing had one maybe many hidden agenda, but it suited him fine!
To be continued
Told you I'd finish this story and I will… Hate it when stories are just left unfinished. It might just take me some time but I will see it through, promise. Please review, love reading your opinions.