His eyes burned from the morning sun, the previous night had left him falling into bed woozy and feeling as though he were hungover, though no alcohol was consumed over the course of even the last week. Despite his hard work he felt as though he were no where closer to his desired goal, which was an active NSA mission. The National Security Agency, it were perhaps called the Father of Third Echelon, a specialty operative agency specializing in the use of black ops agents called Splinter Cells. These Splinter Cells operate in total secrecy, not a single enemy should know of their existence nor should a single trace be left behind during a mission, and if (God forbid) they were discovered and captured then the United States Government would deny their existence and rather than expose everything, allow their one Splinter Cell to die but that was a fate all Splinter Cells knew could occur were they to blow their cover.

He was barely 35-years-old but a military man his entire adult life. Enlisted in the Air Force at 18, spent three years trained to fly dangerous air missions then another two years as a Test Pilot for many experimental and highly dangerous air craft no other Pilot would be stupid enough to test, only 12 out of his 50 plus craft ever exploded on him, and only once was he injured beyond a few week recovery period. After his time was up he went back to civilian life for a few months before boredom struck and he decided to enlist in the United States Navy for four years as a pilot then being taught to command submarines. When his term was nearly up his desire to remain in the armed service led him to volunteer himself for the United States Navy Sea, Land and Air or more commonly known as the United States Navy SEALs . Passing each prerequisite with a little below flying colors led him to being called an official SEAL for the duration of 5 years where he served in Team 5, when he left after his term to enjoy a more quiet and simple civilian life. It was just after his 35th birthday that the NSA recruited him to work for them, his knowledge of stealth tactics, various weapons and languages made him an ideal choice for their Splinter Cell project.

Several months of training exercises to shape him into the ultimate lone warrior, getting back in shape and proving he was a good man for the job would lead him to the present day where, he was grudgingly getting out of bed to accomplish his morning bathroom habits which were less of a habit and more of good upbringing on his parent's behalf, both of which had died over a decade ago. A loud yawn and a hand through his thick, short, dark brown hair and he was ready to take on the day - only after his activities were done.

A half hour later as the Splinter Cell-in-training finished his morning breakfast and brushed his teeth did he receive a phone call from a private number, though he wasn't interesting in picking up for fear of talking to some telemarketer, the call was more than worth the risk for on the other end was a fairly cheery man,

"Congratulations on your recent acceptance, you've proven yourself a valuable asset to us. We've got an assignment mission for you. You know how to get here." The voice silenced and the other end clicked.

"Great." His voice uttered half-sarcastically at the uber-cheery prick on the other end, no name no nothing, but for fear of phone tapping the calls were usually rather short and avoided main details.

The National Security Agency lies about five miles outside of a town called Laurel, located in Maryland. The NSA is known for the headquarters of the most secretive intelligence agency ever known and denied. It can intercept and has been known to intercept all forms of communication between man called SIGINT (Signals Intelligence). They analyze any and all transmissions for any out of the ordinary or suspicious where they can stealthfully and quickly gather more intelligence without ever leaving a trace. The NSA was where he was heading, living 50 miles away from the facility by choice during his training gave him great lay of the land, and within an hour he arrived at the gates of the NSA.

The walls were bright white and the lights above weren't helping either, with his eyes closed he was lying nearly naked on a cold metal table, a few people were sterilized in the room with him. His mission, as it turned out, was a Cochlear implant which provided silent communications between operative and the watcher or mission leader. The implant took about 1-2 hours and the patient was allowed to leave the same day, with a recovery time of about 4 weeks. It was a very precise procedure, it had to work in such a way to allow the operative near crystal clear transmissions, any misstep could result in a malfunction and cause the operative to go back under the knife for a second time. Once the procedure was complete they attached a nearly invisible patch just above the Adam's Apple, called a Sub-Vocal Transceiver which, with precise and accurate use was the perfect way to communicate back to the NSA without a single word being truly spoken.

The skill needed to use one was definitely not an easy one, it demanded a cross between a whisper and ventriloquism which allowed silent communications even meters away from an enemy. It was basically a final link to being a true Splinter Cell because without it, the entire mission could be blown on a single transmission and if you weren't an officially trained Splinter Cell or failed to be up to Third Echelon's standards there was no point in going through the procedure in the first place.

"How's it feel, Mr. Anderson?" Anderson, a fairly typical American last name his father was typically named.

"Feels just like surgery, only without anesthetic." Anderson replied grimly, "Anyway to take it out?" He asked, though he hadn't moved from the table. His voice, typical of most Agents was a bit dark and scruffy, but you wouldn't be cheery and happy-go-lucky were you doing what these men were doing.

"Not unless you like pain, it's right behind your ear so I wouldn't bother. The lack of anesthetic was necessary, we feel it's unnecessary in this low-risk procedure."

Over the course of the next few weeks Anderson was mainly home recovering from the procedure, upon the 5th week the wound had completely healed and the small shaved spot the Doctor did to him was nearly covered with hair once more, though not as long as the rest, it was less conspicuous than before. The phone rang as Anderson finished his meal, Perfect timing he thought sarcastically. Once he answered the phone a familiar voice spoke to him,

"How's the implant?"

"I can barely notice it."

"Good. Tapping it allows you to switch channels, it can be switched off when not on the job, hold the implant down for a few seconds instead of tapping it. You can differentiate between channels by the low tone, 7 channels, 7 tones, like a cuckoo clock, but less annoying. One tone for channel one, two for two, so on."

"Glad that's out of the way, still hurts a little but the wound is healed from what I can tell."

"Perfect, you've got a mission, important one according to Lambert, come see us and more will be explained." The voice died and the click of the phone explained all Anderson needed, once the phone was hung up he readied himself to leave the house to the NSA for a second time.

Back at the NSA he was met by an African-American man in their lobby.

"James Anderson, I'm glad to hear your training went well." James Anderson was his full name, as spoken by Colonel Irving Lambert, who was a tad shorter than the 5'10" athletic man, who was coincidentally the same height as fellow Splinter Cell Samuel Fisher. Though not a veteran of the CIA Directorate of Operations as Sam Fisher, the experience in the various branches of Military service gave James what was needed to be a successful Splinter Cell.

"Pleasure, Colonel." James saluted immediately, recognizing Lambert as his superior.

"There's no need for that Mr. Anderson, in fact we can operate on a first name basis here, we're not in the SEALs anymore, James." That reaction led James to releasing his salute and standing at-ease.

"Your Cochlear implant is showing up as working quite well."

"Speaking of which, Colonel, how do I use the Sub-Vocal Transceiver?" A few minutes of explanations led James to getting the technique down fairly well, he was a good whisperer and a quick learner, so the Transceiver part was a cake walk for the man.

"So what's my mission, Colonel?"

"Glad you asked, we'll get you suited up and explain on the way."

A half hour passed before James was flying in a V-22 Osprey, Third Echelon's main source of flight in the agency. It allowed for the Splinter Cells to be flown into the mission area and allow the watchers to remain within distance once the mission was accomplished. Sitting on an uncomfortable seat that James could only imagine was to ensure no one got comfy while flying, just made the minutes pass by in a manner slower than one could think possible.

"We've been informed less than two hours ago," The Colonel's voice crackled over the cochlear implant which was the confirmation by James that the implant worked perfectly and as designed to, "A United States Military Base was infiltrated by class of Secret Agent not unlike our Splinter Cells. We fear another nation has created their own form of Third Echelon and is using it for information gathering."

"What kind of Military Base would have information another Splinter Cell organization would want?"

"The base is a highly secretive yet well-known base designated Area 51."

"Hold on, how did anyone manage to get inside without being seen, it's surrounded by desert for miles and any craft flying at any height would be forced to land or be shot down."

"Exactly. So not only did they make it inside, they escaped to safety, or so we believed." Lambert's words was met with confusion,

"How do we know it was infiltrated and they escaped?"

"One lone image. The security team missed it during the live feed, but during the rewatching noticed a few seconds of tape that appeared odd, once it was digitally enhanced a faint image of a human figure can be seen before moving."

"And there's no way it could have been an anomaly with the feed?"

"They went over it hundreds of times before confirming it was indeed inside the base and not from the video. Everything has occurred within a time span of two hours, we now believe that whatever is inside that base is still there and you are going in."

"That makes no sense. Why me?"

"Because, to catch a Splinter Cell you must be and think like a Splinter Cell. We cannot allow the intruder to be aware that we are on to them for fear of a hasty escape, and we definitely cannot have them dead because they need to be interrogated."

"Alright, I get it. So no one will know I'm there?"

"Exactly. If you get caught you will be shot at, you will be treated like an enemy no matter what. Be careful, Anderson, you've got a lot riding on this first mission."

"Just my luck." James sighed, he stood from his bench and walked to the rear of the aircraft where he waited for the green light to jump.

"You'll land 30 miles from the base, just far enough to prevent us from being spotted, we'll not be nearby in case anything goes wrong, so you have to enter and escape without being spotted. The guards will most likely be equipped with night vision or thermal goggles. You have our specially made Trifocals, they allow two different views: Thermal and Night Vision in one set of goggles, the pride of Third Echelon, they will be your greatest ally along with your OPSAT (Operational Satellite Up-Link) which will display real-time information. You've been issued a single Standard Military CQC Knife and a modified Five-SeveN pistol called a SC Pistol with a silencer and a laser sight for precise firing. You are not issued Fifth Freedom, therefore - and I strongly urge this - there is to be no deaths on the site."

"Alright. I understand, no one is to be killed during this mission."

"You've also been given a standard issue Splinter Cell Rifle called a SC-20K. It has a launcher attachment which can fire Sticky Shockers which can knock out an enemy, though they can only be used once and you only have three on you. Two sticky cameras which allow you to view the image from your OPSAT as well as change the view on the camera to Thermal and NV if needed. They are reusable only if you do not use the self-destruct feature which releases knockout gas, is that clear?"

"I've got my equipment down then, anything else?"

"Yes, you've also been issued five airfoil rounds, hitting an enemy in the head will allow you to knock them out, and your suit, it's tight fitting and makes no noise when moving, has sensors to detect the amount of light hitting the suit and detect laser sightings which can prevent you from being shot with a laser sight. It has a heating/cooling system to keep it a moderate and comfortable temperature in any condition, kevlar threads to make it nearly bulletproof but only from long range, anything else can penetrate the suit. It also has a few, what we call, bladders, which hold water and keep you from getting thirsty for up to 12 hours."

"...are we done?"

"Yes." And as if on cue the light changed from it's dim red glow to a bright green which opened the rear doors and allowed James Anderson to jump from the air, once he landed he would have 30 miles to travel to reach Area 51 where, if the information was correct, the intruder from another country hid and was attempting to retrieve information.

Here's hoping for a successful first mission, Anderson. He thought as he pummeled towards the ground below.