It has been a crazy week in the Lucy office. Lots of emails, orders, research, you name it. I still have a stack of filing that needs to get done this week along with the weekly routine. I thought to relieve some of the pressure I would offer a prize
If you have a crazy work story, share it on the blog for a chance to win "The Spy Who Wants Me". If you win and have already read TSWWM then I will send another book of your choice if we have it in stock.
Enjoy the excerpt from The Spy Who Wants Me!
Elle was stupefied.
No one had ever copped her cover. No one had ever even come close. To identify her as a federal agent as her family had done would be one thing, though implausible without inside information. But to know that she was an agent for TGP? She would have said that was not possible.
So few people were even aware of the existence of her agency, the risk of one of them ever running into her personally was almost nil. And even if they did so? To know that she worked for said agency, was beyond improbable. Without a leak in TGP, it should be impossible.
How then did Mr. Smith know about TGP and further, how had he discovered she was an agent?
Was there a leak? Oh, man, she needed to talk to her boss.
While thoughts whirled in her head – speculation competing with prospective answers to Mr. Smith’s words – she let her gaze fall first on Frank and then Beau. Neither showed the least surprise at Mr. Smith’s words. They had known. Beau had known. This whole time.
“Before you attempt to deny your status as a TGP agent, or your assignment here to discover both what we are working on and the true status of the antigravity experiment, let me assure you, it would be useless. Not only do I know which agency you work for, but I know the name of your boss and in fact think it would be a good idea to bring him in on this meeting.”
Elle crossed her arms and sat back in her chair. When in doubt, maintain silence. It was neither an admission, nor a denial.
“Frank, will you please call the number I gave you earlier and request the man who answers to join our discussion?”
“Of course, sir.”
Elle waited while the connection was made.
“Hello?” The Old Man’s voice came over the speaker phone, cautious but unmistakably his.
Adrenalin surged through her at this further evidence Mr. Smith had way more information than he should have, but she maintained her calm façade while she waited to see what came next.
“Hello, Whit. We’re having a meeting with your agent Elle Gray and thought you should be brought in on it.”
Several beats of silence and then, “I’m not sure what you are talking about. I don’t have agents.”
Mr. Smith laughed. “While Ms. Gray is technically a Goddard Project agent, TGP is your baby so that makes her your agent, wouldn’t you say?”
“TGP?” The Old Man asked carefully.
“Please, let’s dispense with the subterfuge,” Mr. Smith said.
“Who am I speaking with?”
“I’ll answer that, since I seem to be the topic of this conversation, as bizarre as it might be.”
When Mr. Smith had called Whit by his name, Elle was utterly convinced he did indeed know about TGP and her role as an agent. She didn’t know how he knew and that was something they would have to investigate, but she didn’t want The Old Man worried that she was at risk. So, she’d used her code word – bizarre – to let him know she was not in any known physical danger. It was not her code for all green, however.
This situation was too fantastic for her to be okay with it.
“You are speaking with Mr. Smith, benefactor and founder of Environmental Technology Research and Development. In the room with us is Frank Ingram, Company Controller. We’re actually at the conference table in his office. The only other person in the room is Dr. Beau Ruston, second in command to Mr. Ingram. I am Elle Gray, a security consultant hired by the company. Although the room is clean since I disarmed the single listening device my equipment detected, I can’t tell you whether or not our conversation is being recorded or listened to by anyone else via the one-way video conference apparatus Mr. Smith is using.”
There. She’d apprised her boss of the situation, let him know she hadn’t admitted to anything and left any revelations made up to his discretion. If her fury at the situation leaked through her words, The Old Man would understand it. The idea that someone within The Goddard Project was feeding information to the outside was more than disconcerting, it was devastating.
The agents and support personnel for TGP were more than her co-workers, in a very real sense, they were a second family.
Beau was looking at her with that odd expression again. Only now, maybe she understood it. He’d met her knowing she was pretending to be something less than what she was. And because of that, he didn’t trust her. A lot of things made more sense to her.
But one thing didn’t. Why had he made love to her the night before? It had been the first time she’d had sex in four years without some ulterior motive. The prospect that he’d had one left a hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“I see,” Whit said. “Mr. Smith, do you have a first name?”
“Do you mind sharing it?”
Silence again. “This situation certainly is bizarre.”
The Old Man might be giving her tacit approval for her handling of the circumstances and agreement that she did not appear to be in imminent physical danger, or simply stating the truth.
“I am sorry it seems that way to you.”
“Ahh…” The Old Man sounded like he was pleased about something. “I thought your voice sounded familiar, Mr. Smith.”
“So, you recognize it?” the other man asked.
“If I assure you the conversation is neither being recorded nor listened to by anyone not already listed by Ms. Gray, will you believe me?”
Elle waited. Everyone waited. Even Mr. Smith, who said nothing else.
Finally, “I will,” came from The Old Man.
“Good. Can we dispense with the cloak and dagger regarding Ms. Gray’s role here at ETRD?”
“It would be pointless to refuse, however I expect you to tell me how you got into my computers and identified my agent.”
“Will do. Later.”
Mr. Smith and The Old Man knew each other? And trusted each other? This case was getting stranger by the minute. She didn’t know there was anyone Andrew “Whit” Whitney trusted outside of his precious TGP. But the way her boss talked, made it sound like Mr. Smith himself was responsible for the leak in information. That he had somehow hacked into TGP’s computers.
Which put him in league ability wise with about three computer hackers in the world. Unless he had one of them working for him.