The grey door opened, and a massive man entered the room. He wore a suit and tie, his face clean-shaven. He dragged a metal chair across the floor and sat down at the table. With one hand, he unbuttoned his jacket, with the other he placed a thick yellow envelope on the table.

"How are you, Kaleb?"

No response came from the other person sitting opposite.

"Do you know why you are here, Kaleb?" The official asked without looking directly at his subject. He slowly unraveled the red twine securing the envelope.

"Those clothes we gave you, are they comfortable, Kaleb? Do you want some water?"

The man just stared down at his hands. He held them atop the silver table. The official glared at Kaleb. He took out one A4 size picture and neatly arranged it.

"Do you know this man?"

Silence.

"He was killed two days ago, in a car accident. Apparently, a hit and run, someone crashed into the passenger side and topped his vehicle. He drove off, leaving the man inside, burning to death. Do you know anything about this, Kaleb?"

Silence. Without missing a beat, the man continued

"You were brought here to this facility against your will. Operatives kidnapped you, placed a black bag over your head, stripped you down, and locked you in this room. Yet you don't have questions, nor are you frightened."

 The official spoke calmly while he studied Kaleb.

"That alone should break most men. But you are something special, aren't you, Kaleb."

He pulled another picture from his envelope. It was the same man, but with a beard and he was surrounded by a group of masked individuals with aks.

"Jackson Robert, a fake name. His real identity, Zuaiter Maruane, a spy carrying intelligence for the "Sons of God," a paramilitary group stationed in Barcelona."

Kaleb stared at his hands, his muscles relaxed, his face lacking all emotions. Another picture was laid in front of him.

"This is Ben-Marzouk Raduen. He was part of a terrorist cell in Iraq."

The official placed his index finger on the picture.

"You shot and killed him on 14th April 2003."

The man didn't flinch. His breathing was steady. Another picture followed.

"Haddad Melhi, commander of insurgent troops in Syria, from 2009 until 2012. His personal unit was neutralized on the night of 25th December. He was found tied to a chair, headless. Hell of a way to celebrate Christmas, I'll tell you that.

Kaleb's eyes shifted and glanced at the picture. He saw a detached head, with gaping mouth and missing front teeth. Kaleb then turned his gaze back to his hands.

"Here, open it. Take a look." The suit pushed the envelope into his fingers and waited patiently. Minutes passed in total silence, both men calmly breathing. The official broke the silence.

"Your name is Kaleb Price. You served in the US Army for three years. You enrolled in Navy Seals after that. Thanks to your successful mission in 2015, you were selected to join The Program. A small percentage of high ranking officials know off its existence: Black Operations-"

"Who are you?" Kaleb snarled, spoke the words slowly, staring into the other man's eyes.

"Mother wants to know why you went offline."

"That so?" his tone was condescending.

The other rose and took off his black jacket. He rolled up his white shirt's sleeves, then sat down. Kaleb recognized the tattoos and shifted in his chair. He strained his back and slid his hands under the table.

"Are you an Alpha?" his voice lost its edge.

"I'm a Specter. Choose your next words carefully."

"I want out."

"Death is you're way out." He calmly took another photo from the folder.

"Diving and reconnaissance, 300 meters."

"It's too deep -"

"Silence, frogman." He snapped, scorching the soldier with his gaze. Reaching into his pocket, he retrieved a wristwatch.

"You forgot to delete the dive logs. It's the sole reason you're still breathing now. Prove your worth to the Family, and live on."

Kaleb kept his gaze on the watch, silently contemplating his current situation. He strapped it tightly around his wrist.

"Who is my Handler?"

"Me. I'll secure the extraction point."

"Just the two of us on the field?"

"Correct. We are capable of completing the mission."

"All resources are at our disposal?"

"Affirmative. Air support, satellite surveillance, the full package."

"Friendly troops?"

"We will be trespassing in the Black Sea; officials were not briefed of our arrival. Expect hostilities from local law enforcement, but do not engage."

Kaleb kept his cool as he gradually learned about the mission. The Specter provided details and answered all his questions truthfully. These were hard men, professionals who got things done for their government.

           “My last diving session was a few weeks ago. I need to hone myself."

"Our facility is at your disposal. The equipment you frequently use has been delivered here before your taking."

"Has my status been reinstated?"

The Specter pulled out a Glock 19 and placed it on the table in front of Kaleb.

"As of now, you have been granted full access and benefits. Do you have questions for me?"

Kaleb took the gun and checked the magazine. It was fully loaded. He glanced at the tattoos on the man's forearms than looked him in the eye.

"No, I have no questions. "

The Specter rose and buttoned his jacket.

"Good. Report to the briefing room in twelve hours." 

As he opened the door, the man turned and added

"Pack Leader, I'm sorry about your men." He shut the door, leaving Kaleb alone with his thoughts. Trembling hands forcefully squeezed the pistol's grip, his eyes bulged and burned with utter hatred. It lasted but a moment, Kaleb once again dominating his emotions. He stood up and checked his watch, then smiled and gently tapped the sapphire glass, as if to show his gratitude. He exited the tiny windowless room and made his way forward towards a female assistant, who clearly was waiting for him.

“Welcome to our facility, Mr. Price.”

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20 likes 2 comments

13:52 Jun 03, 2020

I liked this! It captured my attention from the beginning.

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14:16 Jun 03, 2020

Thank you Rebecca! Much appreciated

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