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This is another in the LIAR series, with Max, Billie, and their entire FBI team. If you’re not familiar with the series, some of the content may be out of context. But I’ve tried to leave a few hints about prior stories so that you’re not left out completely.
If you’re looking for all sex with no plot, you may want to pass this one. I usually tell stories that lead to sexual encounters, but the focus is on the story and the ongoing characters. So yes, like COVID-19, this has a couple of “hot spots”. But just a couple of them. The rest is the story line.
He’s On To Me
Max pushed the front door of his modest home open, as he fumbled with some bills that had arrived. He was still a bit tired from the stress of his job, days of travel, and his concern for Billie as she continued to recover from her recent trauma while being kidnapped. Nausea at the thought of what they had done to the only woman he ever really loved, made the despair over his current situation all the more consuming.
Less than a week earlier, he and his team had successfully closed a case. Then, he assisted his junior partner in pulling off the most amazing wedding surprise that only took a full team of undercover FBI special agents. Even before the celebration was over, out of the blue, he was served papers calling him to appear before a Senate hearing related to the operation, Crossfire Hurricane.
Without thought, Max reached over to a framed photo by the front door and put his hand flat on the glass. The photo turned green for a moment before changing to a glow of yellow that gradually faded until the original photo could be seen.
His home was small and located in the newly developed Charles Pointe area, just east of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the FBI. It was a bit of a joke to those within FBI circles as well as the locals. Everyone knew the center was far too large for the publicly stated mission of records retention. In reality, it was the base of operation for not only finger print and retina scanning databasing, but also cyber investigations, undercover training, and a base for a range of active undercover operations throughout the eastern United States.
His home was small due to the fact that as an undercover agent, he was rarely there. Yet, it was built with distinct specifications Max had overseen personally. With the help of his junior partner, Ross, the house was just as secure as his office in the catacombs of the FBI center itself. The open floor plan had a single great room with living space and kitchen. There was a spacious bedroom he used and a second bedroom that was nothing more than a home office space.
Max rarely had friends over, other than Billie. His limited relationship with family didn’t require the need of a guest bedroom. The simplicity of the floor plan seemed a stark contrast to the complexity of his life. The house was decorated like a show home from a property developer, and had hardly changed since the day he moved in.
His childhood home was destroyed by fire a few years earlier leaving him with few personal possessions. It made moving fairly easy. A few suitcases, some boxes with memories, briefcases with equipment, and several pelican boxes with photography gear was all he had left. But what does an undercover agent need anyway?
He sat down in his weathered, leather easy chair and flipped on the TV. A national news service was repeating the top stories of the day before their host turned to opinion editorial. Max sank into the chair and tossed the envelops of advertisements mixed with bills onto the side table before closing his eyes.
“Should we be concerned about the deep state situation in our nation today?” The commentator asked to his news audience. “Just how far does this go? We know that Crossfire Razor was a national embarrassment. We know that General Flynn was innocent. It’s a national tragedy what they’ve put this man through. Millions of dollars were spent in his defense. This dedicated patriot was bankrupted by a corrupt system. It’s not the normal, hard working agents in the field we should be worried about. It’s the radical, controlling leadership structure that everyone knows is corrupt. An out of control FBI needs to be examined and purged of it’s deep state operatives.”
“You don’t know the half of it, Hannity.” Max whispered to the TV as his eyes remained closed.
“And today, today, yet another mysterious death in the Clinton dynasty of disaster. Anyone who knows the truth about the Clinton machine and even hints that they’ll come out as a whistle blower, ends up dead. Funny how so many people who know the truth about the Clinton Foundation either disappear, commit suicide, or end up having an accident. Well it appears that the Clinton team is at it again and this time it’s no accident. Army Major, Alan Waters, yet another decorated war hero of this great nation was gunned down in the streets of our nations capital, just moments ago…”
Max canlı bahis shot up in his seat and glared at the TV. His eyes wide open now, he was intently taking in every detail being released to the public. Before the news commentator could finish, Max had grabbed his cell phone.
A soft but urgent pinging sound began ringing throughout the house. Four strategically place light fixtures that looked more like dusk to dawn, nightlights lit up with a glowing red warning. Max knew they weren’t nightlights. They were proximity alerts.
He glanced around the room quickly as he drew his firearm from its holster. Moving rapidly to the floor, he shuffled along until he came to a large bookcase. Reaching up he slid his fingers into a groove along the left side of the bookcase. It swung free and opened like a large door.
As he pulled the bookcase door closed behind him it latched securely in place, a low glowing, blueish light came on in the walk-in closet sized room. The walls were surrounded in modern, textured, sound proofing. Max tapped a small video monitor on one wall which came on, showing a dozen video surveillance images of his home.
A slight movement blurred one image that portrayed what was taking place on the east side of the home, while one of the more central images showed video of two men entering his great room. They were both wearing full assault uniforms and were efficiently sweeping the home, viewing through the sites of their drawn, tactical handguns.
With a quick switch of mode, Max checked to assure the system was recording the screens. After being sufficiently satisfied that he had video evidence and proof, he turned to a small electrical panel. Flipping one switch, all the lights in the house went out.
He could see the confusion in the actions of the assault team as his security system went to night vision mode. This couldn’t be an authorized tactical action. Why would an official tactical team invaded his home? There was already a date set for an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also knew that his friend and mentor, Major Alan Waters, was just killed. Whoever had ordered this, they weren’t going to take him that easily.
He took a step away from the screen and turned to the shelves behind him. Quickly, he threw an FBI, bulletproof vest over his core and strapped the velcro in place. Then taking a tactical hemet from the shelf, he pulled it down over his head. It was larger than the typical helmet and covered his entire head. A full screen covered his face and he strapped it on tightly. Dead silence surrounded him. With a mild grin on his face, Max lifted a plexiglass guard up and away from a red, brushed metal, switch on the electrical panel.
With one flip of the switch, all the screens went blank. He waited several moments before flipping the switch back to it’s safe position. He struck the power switch for the main lights of the home, but the screen was still darkened. From his safe room, surrounded in sound proofing and his head enclosed in this particular soundproof assault helmet, he couldn’t hear anything. But he knew what had happening.
The door swung open as he hit the night vision optics of his helmet. The room was empty and the front door was wide open. He could feel the cool evening air coming from the open door. Glancing around he could see two windows were broken out and several photos in the room had broken glass.
The sonic defense system he had installed with Ross worked efficiently. The non-lethal system emitted an extremely loud and bone rattling sound that would break glass, damage hearing, and dispel any intruder in seconds.
By now, Max knew that the sound would have alerted neighbors. Hell, even the police in Clarksburg, 8 miles away, could have hear this sonic burst. He tugged his helmet off and could see that several LED based lights were still on, while old school bulbs and light fixtures were blown out by the sound. He walked over to one of the hidden cameras in the room and pulled it out. The lens was shattered, causing the monitor to go blank in the safe room.
Before the police arrived and before the investigations would start, Max quickly examined the room. Years of practice in observation pulsed through his veins as his heart was still pounding from the encounter. Running on sheer adrenaline now, he moved throughout the house, searching for evidence. His firearm was still drawn when he noticed smeared blood on the front door frame. Possibly someone had experienced a ruptured eardrum from the sonic blast. Glancing around quickly he found more evidence of blood on the carpet near his easy chair.
Moments later he could hear the sound of police cars headed into the neighborhood. He waited until the sound of police surrounded the house before returning his firearm to its holster. Grabbing his FBI credentials from his jacket pocket, he held them open facing the doorway so that any officer entering the room would see them immediately.
As he heard a local police bahis siteleri officer approach the front door and begin shouting at him, Max complied to avoid unnecessary friendly fire.
“FBI, Agent Max Wright, CJIS Division. This is my home and I was just attacked.” Max shouted back at the officer, who, seeing the submissive stance and calmed slightly.
Without putting his firearm away, the officer called his superior by clicking the mic attached at his shoulder. “Landry. This is officer Wilkins. The living room is secure. I have a potential victim, so you better get in here.”
Even before a senior officer could approach the house, Max could hear the distinct sound of the FBI Police vehicle approaching the house as well. Every FBI police vehicle had a distinctive siren to identify them separately from local law enforcement. Moments that seemed like an eternity later, a familiar face entered the room. The local officer received a squawked message to stand down.
“Hell Max. What is going on here?” Bart Peterson, director of the FBI Police group entered the room.
“What took you so long?” Max chided sarcastically.
Peterson snorted a chuckle. “Well, it’s not every day that our scanners get wind of a sonic device going off, shattering windows for a half block.” Peterson bantered. “How many?”
“At least four. All four proximity alarms went off at the same time. Could be more. I could only see two enter the house. There’s video on the security systems.” Max replied.
“You spooks give me the creeps, you know that?” Peterson replied before using a more modern headset mic to contact additional FBI Police officers.
After a few additional questions, Peterson seemed to have things under control. “We’ll secure the house and work with local LEOs to keep watch for the night. You probably need to take a walk for now.”
Max realized he was right. It wasn’t safe here and he needed to find a secure location to get some rest. Stepping out on the porch, he could see the large, white, SUV with the FBI Police logo on the side. Unlike the black, unmarked SUVs used by agents, the FBI Police vehicles looked like most other state and local law enforcement agencies.
He glanced up to see in the headlights of the FBI vehicle, a familiar face among all the flashing lights.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” Max demanded.
Adrian Ross walked toward him slowly. Behind him was his new bride, Cassie. “Our first few days of being married went well. But after the third day, I realized what a mistake I had made.” Ross began.
“You shithead.” Cassie shouted as she slapped his shoulder as high as she could reach. “He’s just mouthing off again. The cruise was canceled due to some virus going around.” Cassie explained.
“Look, I’m glad to see you. But you two are on your honeymoon. How did you know about this?” Max asked.
“Redundant systems.” Ross said briefly.
“See. Marriage is already working on him.” Cassie laughed. “Before he would have gone on for a half hour telling you about duplicate router systems, ip addresses, response call times, and embedded software integration.”
Ross just shook his head. “That’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo.”
“Doesn’t matter. What does matter is, he programed your sonic deterrent system notify him if it ever went off.” Cassie finished.
“It did seem like the kind of event that would be a last resort action. Thought if the sonic bomb went off, it meant real trouble. What’s going on, boss?”
“Well. Honeymoon or not, I’m glad you’re safe too.” Max said. “At least your system didn’t buzz Billie. She’s been through enough.”
“I’ll let you know when I’ve had enough.” Billie shouted as she marched toward the group.
Max looked up to the night sky as if to ask, ‘what else could go wrong tonight.’
“You okay.” Billie asked. She quickly wrapped her arms around Max and drew him in for a kiss.
Max pulled her back a notch. “Billie. You know the rules.” He blurted out, half whisper and half demand.
Everyone on the team was well aware of Max and Billie’s ongoing relationship, including it’s ups and most of the time, downs. There was nothing to hide in front of Cassie and Ross. Even Peterson knew of the relationship, although he couldn’t acknowledge it publicly. Such relationships between two, senior agents could be seen as a liability while undercover. Such relationships were therefore, highly discouraged by the Bureau. Ross and Cassie, being support staff who rarely if ever were undercover, didn’t seem to spark the same kind of scrutiny by the Bureau. The last thing they needed was an additional thing to worry about.
“Shithead.” Billie shot back, being pushed back away from him.
“First of all, your language is rubbing off on Cassie, which is a problem. But more importantly, there’s the chance that someone is watching us.” Max stated, returning to boss mode.
Ross, using his taller vantage point, glanced around casually. But there didn’t seem to be any bahis şirketleri people who were not uniformed officers.
“They’ve found you, haven’t they?” Billie asked.
“What?” Cassie asked as her eyebrows furrowed.
“We need to talk. But not here.” Max said. “Let’s meet for breakfast at the place we first met Flavia.”
“Is there something…” Ross asked.
“We really can’t go into it here. It is truly bigger than one conversation could explain. Let’s just say that until they struck my house and know my team members, it was above your pay grade. But now that this is striking us here in Clarksburg, I’m going to have to read you in.” Max stated.
“I’m up to speed with the parts that are unclassified for my grade level. I’m fairly certain there’s more.” Billie said with a disdained look at Max.
“8 am, tomorrow. Where we met Flavia.” Max said.
“Can we do 9. It is our honeymoon.” Cassie said with a smirk.
“8 am it is. On it.” Ross said, putting his arm around Cassie. They turned to head home.
“Take care of her.” Max called out to the two as they left, with almost parent-like tones.
“Not going home. Got a suite at Stonewall Resort. We’re still on our honeymoon.” Ross said as they walked away.
“And you?” Billie asked as they were left alone.
“I need a place to crash. Probably just grab a room at the Courtyard across the highway.” Max said causally.
“Such a loner.” Billie said with an air of frustration. “Let’s go to that place.”
Max knew what she meant. Years earlier, before he was gone for months on end as a part of a major undercover operation, they had met for random hook-ups at a no-tell motel. It was the kind of place where cash was king and identification was optional. No trace of digital footprint to follow and a half way decent, clean room for a few hours.
“It’s not safe for you to…” Max started before Billie interrupted him.
“Don’t even start with me tonight. I’ve had enough of your bravado. We both need some sleep. We both need a good shower. And we both need a good fucking. So, let’s go.” She demanded.
Coffee and a Starting Point
Billie slipped into the booth next to Max, pushing a cup of coffee in front of him. “Here. You look like you need this.”
“Black?” Max asked, taking the cup in hand.
“As black as your thoughts right now.” Billie said with a hint of disgust.
Lost in his thoughts, the aroma of the coffee drew him back into the realm of the living. He fumbled with the lid before taking a cautious sip.
“There.” Billie nodded to the front door as Cassie and Ross entered. Ross glanced around and acknowledged them with a grin.
“Hey, sorry we’re late.” Ross started, recognizing they were a few minutes later than they should have been. Cassie slid her way into the booth across the table from Max and Billie. Ross joined her after she settled in place.
“It is still our honeymoon.” Cassie grinned up at Ross, being sure to put her hand with the wedding ring on top of his to show it off a bit more. “We couldn’t help ourselves and had to have seconds during our morning shower.” She blurted out, causing Ross to redden a bit.
Billie shot back, “Hey, we had seconds in the shower too, but we don’t go bragging about it AND we were able to be here on time.”
Cassie looked at Billie with a confused expression, wondering if she should take the comment seriously. Billie kept her deadpan expression fixed as if to say, ‘damn straight, we did.
“There it is. That’s the trouble with kids today. They don’t take responsibility. They just can’t have sex as a part of their morning shower routine and still get to work on time. ” Max said to Billie in a sarcastic, 1950s tone.
Grinning from the banter, Cassie stated, “God, I hope our marriage stays as fresh and fun as yours.” But instantly it hit her, that Max and Billie weren’t married. Her expression changed as she back-peddled. “I mean,… as your relationship.”
“It’s okay. We know we’re kinda messed up.” Billie said with a matter of fact tone. She leaned over and kissed Max on the side of the head as if to admit it and acknowledge that they were okay with it.
Max paused, letting her comment sink in. Possibly because he wasn’t okay with it any more. He probably wouldn’t admit it to Billy today, but the reality of what she was saying had stung. They truly were messed up. In recent days, he was starting to understand the desperation of his reality. Fake names, fake backgrounds, and fake careers while undercover had led to fake relationships and his fake marriage with Billie. They had been shot at, nearly blown up, chased by a sniper, and harassed by mob bosses. Billie had been kidnapped, Max had been drugged, and all of his team members had been compromised in the process.
Now the greatest failure of his career had come back to haunt him. The motto of the FBI is ‘Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity’. But now he questioned his resolve in all three areas, as one mission was haunting him. It was only when he realized that his fidelity to the mission was compromising his integrity, that he walked away. Now, nearly five years later it still weighed heavily on his mind.
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