The new agent was summoned, referred to by only his codename: Etienne. No one knows him. He is apparently a former freelancer who was trained outside the academy system. The director pointed to a chair and invited his thoughts on a strategy of inquiry into the loss of Dufort, considering how useless the agency’s efforts have been to now. Etienne had an idea whose logic was inescapable, and so simple the director was humiliated neither he nor any of his staff officers had thought of it first: to start targeting their own agents.

The director tested him: what makes you think our men had anything to do with it?

Etienne said they must be behind it. No one outside this building knew who Dufort was or for whom he worked.

But what about that bizarre license plate?

It has to be this pointless, distracting flourish, something to throw us off the more meaningful evidence, like the fact that—again, I must stress—no one outside this building knew who Dufort was or for whom he worked.

How is it possible we’ve failed to adequately vet our own officers?

Who else could possibly have known Dufort was stalking a rival source that day?

Couldn’t they have just been security for the informant?

Why then kill Dufort, a man no one knew?

Could it have been a random act of mayhem?

Involving a masked man, a—even if incorrectly—silenced weapon and a false number plate?

The director told him to return in 24 hours to deliver his verbal plan, with every detail fleshed out, and to tell no one.


For all installments of “The Ambush,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Part 1: The Body
  2. Part 2: The Colony
  3. Part 3: The Surveillance; or, the Vigil over the Dead