Former CIA operative Nick Seven has worked hard to create a new life in the Florida Keys with his Barbadian lover, Felicia Hagens. Their life in paradise takes an unexpected turn when a double agent that Nick sent to prison is granted an early parole. Nick still remembers what Simon Larch said when he was sentenced: “Someday I’ll get you for this. You won’t know when or how. Just wait for it.” Larch is supposedly in another state, so who’s responsible for the ominous threats Nick receives, and how does Larch seem to know everything about Nick’s past? What kind of payback is he really planning?
The five men comprising the Parole Board sat at a large conference table at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, reviewing a file. The subject of the meeting, Simon Larch, sat rigidly on a chair in the middle of the room, his blank face devoid of emotion while staring at the board members. At another table sat a Federal Prosecutor named Brill and FBI Special Agent Martin Hogan. They engaged in a muted conversation while the panel did a final review of the file.
CIA operative Hank Cullen sat off to the side, staring at Larch, trying to get a read on his thought process. Larch was also a former CIA operative, and although the agency had no influence on the outcome of the hearing, Cullen had been sent there to maintain a presence. When Cullen was coming up through the ranks he had heard about Simon Larch, a double agent in the Middle East who sold troop locations to Iraq. Cullen had no part in uncovering Larch’s activities or sending him to prison, but he had worked with the operative who did. He also recalled what Larch had threatened at his sentencing twelve years earlier—that he’d kill Nick Seven for sending him up.
He glanced at the two Feds and noticed that Hogan had a bored look and kept checking his watch every few seconds. Hotshot Hogan, the last of the hustlers. He made his career by putting Larch away. Surprised he isn’t Director by now. Maybe that’s why he’s here. If Larch stays put, Hogan might wrangle another promotion. Cullen knew that Hogan had used Larch for information while he was incarcerated, and the CIA had taken a few drinks from the same well. It’s amazing how much information Larch withheld during his initial interrogation. Maybe not so amazing, considering the perks he got for talking. I wonder what’s going through his mind? This is Larch’s first try at parole. Surely he doesn’t think he’s going to walk out of here anytime soon.
The Board chairman, a retired Federal Judge named Rogers, set the folder on the table and addressed Larch.
“Mr. Larch, the Parole Board has reviewed your record, along with the report from Warden Samuels. For the record, you were sentenced to a term of not less than twelve years and not more than twenty-five years on the charges of espionage and treason. Do you dispute this fact?”
“No, sir, I do not,” Larch responded in a dead monotone.
“Isn’t it also a fact that when apprehended, you were essentially working as a double agent, in the employ of the United States government while supplying information to the opposition forces in exchange for money?”
“Yes, sir, that is also correct.”
“Why should this board consider your request for early release?”
Larch took a deep breath before answering. “I made mistakes. I took money in exchange for divulging classified information that I obtained while in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency. I’ve learned from those mistakes. As you can see from my record, I’ve been a model prisoner and have taken advantage of my incarceration to further my education.”
Rogers removed his glasses, rubbed the bridge of his nose then addressed the Federal Prosecutor. “Mr. Brill, what is the Justice Department’s position on Mr. Larch’s request?”
Brill cleared his throat. “The department has had numerous conversations with Mr. Larch since his incarceration. His cooperation has been beneficial to our ongoing investigations into domestic terrorist activity and has produced favorable results. We are satisfied that he has met the requirements for early release.”
Cullen’s brow furrowed. He can’t be serious. Larch was responsible for nearly a hundred deaths. Twelve years isn’t even a slap on the wrist. He shifted his gaze to Hogan, who stifled a yawn. I’ve crossed paths with Hogan before and this sounds like the kind of glory hound trick he’d pull.
“We were hoping to hear testimony on this matter from the CIA operative who uncovered Mr. Larch’s activity and arrested him,” Rogers continued. “Why is he not present?”
Hogan spoke up. “The Special Agent involved in the case is no longer employed by the federal government and we were unable to locate him.”
Rogers looked at Larch for a few moments before continuing. “Considering your record and the position of the Justice Department, this board votes to grant your request, Mr. Larch. This hearing is adjourned.”