Chapter 1

Dr. Marta Shearling groaned and put her head in her hands. That action did not stop her cell phone from insistently ringing but it did make her feel slightly better. Not for the first time in the past week she wished to go back in time to the four days she and Aaron had been on that fishing boat leaving Manila, lost and without responsibility. Those had probably been the best four days of her life, which was saying something, considering that they'd been being chased by the CIA. Marta reached for her phone and calmly turned it off instead of smashing it on the pavement like she really wanted to. She accepted the coffee that the waitress brought to her gratefully. 'Get outside, breathe in the fresh spring air, drink coffee and listen to the birds sing. You'll feel better about this whole thing.' Words of wisdom that had come from her mother that morning, they'd been working for about ten minutes.

Then, her phone had blown up again with calls from her ex-boyfriend Peter Boyd, again. He'd been calling periodically all month. She'd once been woken up at night by her phone; it had rang in the lab, startled her on the car ride home and in the shower. He just wouldn't leave her alone! The first time he'd called Marta had answered, thinking that he'd heard about her on the news after the scandal went public with the verdict. The scandal had been on of biblical proportions and she was talking Old Testament proportions. Pamela Landy had ultimately figured out that the CIA was somehow tapped into her plans for the senate after Hirsch's untimely heart attack and the false accusations of treason against her. After that she'd fired her lawyers, gotten a track phone and figured out the next best thing to Hirsch and, had gone after it.

Yamin Hayes was twenty two and had an IQ that granted her MENSA membership by the age of four. At the first senate hearing Marta and Aaron had attended they'd met the girl that had conceived the heinous idea of the invulnerable assassin program, unknowing that her idea would become reality after the agents handling her took the notebook she'd been working on it in away. They'd directed her to get back to work on other projects. She'd been twenty at the time of the hearing, had pin straight black hair and shocking blue eyes. She, Aaron, Jason Bourne, and Nicky Parsons along with three other assets sat stunned in the audience and watched the slightly uncomfortable genius in a khaki blazer explain how she had come up with the idea of a small network of high functioning assets that would become a stronger core for the Agency. Yamin had created the complete plan for the network in two days when she was thirteen years old and the idea gotten stuck in her mind. Aaron had turned to her with such a deer in the head lights look when he'd heard the girl's age that she'd had to stop herself from laughing out loud during Yamin's rather sad explanation of how she'd ended up working for the CIA at the age of five when her parents had left her in foster care, at a loss of how to handle the young prodigy.

Marta sighed sipping her latte and staring at her currently inoperative cell phone. I could benefit from a new number she thought to herself. The distraction of watching the people stroll along on the side walk relaxed her. She thought about their lives, and trampled down jealously over their normalcy and that they took for granted. None of them had ever had an intelligence agency try to kill them. That thought wasn't fair she knew, sometimes it stung thinking of what had been taken not just from her but from Jason Bourne, Nicky Parsons, Aaron and all the other operatives. She distracted herself from the grim thoughts creeping up on her by creating a story for the woman in the blue dress sitting on a park bench talking on her cell phone. Marta let her imagination run wild. The woman's name was Della and she was a house wife bored in her marriage talking to her young sexy, Latin lover. The woman smiled that coy, flattered smile that women get when handsome men compliment them and she wondered if her story was so far off. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a slight glimpse of the back of a dark haired man about six feet tall with military bearing who was just turning away. Jerking around Marta helplessly searched the crowed for the man but couldn't find the figure that she'd spotted seconds before. Sighing she gave up the doomed search for a person who likely wasn't even there. Six months ago, the senate hearings had come to an end and the committee had sacked over half the CIA's staff and had nearly everyone in a position of power fired or thrown in prison for murdering their assets, attempting to murder all the ones who'd survived, breaking international laws, breaking privacy laws, and numerous human rights violations. After they were in the clear and no longer needed for their testimonies all of the people that had been connected to the program had dispersed, now comfortable and safe in their own country. It was a happy ending, for all of them, except maybe the CIA's officials who, she felt, had deserved what they'd gotten. Slumping further down in her chair she thought grimly about Aaron. He'd left almost immediately after they'd been released from all government duties and she missed him with a horrifying intensity. In the first few days Marta had hoped that he'd call her going so far as to keep her cell phone with her at all times just in case he needed something. But on the fifth week she'd let that dream die and went back to her old habits of losing her cell phone periodically, and not really caring where it was. She was ashamed that she'd cried over him as much as she had. It had to have been some kind of suppressed emotions backlash sort of thing, she figured. But really didn't she deserve at the very least a call or a visit after saving his life, twice?

Sitting there she resumed glaring at her cell phone. Aaron wasn't there and he didn't really deserve her anger. He was probably trying desperately to return to civilian life after such a long time as both a soldier and an asset, and she couldn't really blame him for needing space. The thought pulled on her heart strings he shouldn't have to suffer alone; she thought sadly, I would have been there for him if he'd stayed around.

"Hey, doc," A familiar voice greeted amicably and none other than the subject of her forlorn thoughts, Aaron Cross, pulled out the chair opposite her and sat down with a smile.