I switched Estes and Saul in this chapter bc they were a little OOC the way I had them.
Saul, standing with his arms folded, looked at Peter Quinn over his glasses. David Estes sat in his chair, elbows resting on the armrest.
"Remember," Estes said. "This is off the books. Carrie can't find out."
Peter looked up to the ceiling and sighed. "You know I don't like keeping secrets from her. I'm not the guy …"
"You are a fucking spy for the CIA," Estes snipped. "You are exactly that guy."
"When is this supposed to happen?" Peter asked.
Peter nodded to Estes and started to walk out the door.
"And Peter?" Estes said. Peter turned around. "Don't fuck this up."
Peter nodded in Estes' direction and walked out of his office.
"He's going to fuck this up," Estes said under his breath. Estes swiveled in his chair towards Saul.
"He's not going to fuck this up," Saul said.
“I don’t know why we’re on this bullshit assignment,” Carrie griped. She was sitting in the back with Virgil and Peter. Max was driving the van away from the city, towards an out-of-the-way hotel.
“Carrie, they need this source. You recruit. You want the CIA to start sending Peter in? No offense, Peter.”
Carrie looked at Virgil, raised her eyebrows, and nodded in silent agreement.
“You know, I can hear everything you’re saying,” Peter casually said. Carrie turned towards Peter, leaning against the wall of the van, arms resting on his knees. Even sprawled out, he had a way of blending into the background.
“What did Saul tell you about the source?” Carrie asked.
Peter inhaled and started, “Imad Al-Din. Son of Yusuf Al-Din …”
“Wait, you want me to talk to his son?” Carrie exclaimed.
“Saul thinks Imad is westernized. He didn’t grow up in Syria. He went grade school in France and college in London. He only spent a few summers with Yusuf. And he’s been secretly dating an American girl. They met while she was studying abroad in London. And that’s why he’s in the US; he’s with her right now.
“Yusuf is rumored to be eyeing the Shard, the tallest building in London, for an attack. Imad is a crucial connection to Yusuf. Saul needs you to talk to Imad. Set up a meeting. But I got to let you know, we’re going in cold.”
Carrie dropped her forehead into her hands, and then looked up at Quinn. “He has had no contact with the CIA, and I’m supposed to march into that hotel and get him funneling information for our side? I don’t care how westernized he is, I can’t get a kid to go against his father after one meet.”
“You’re not being asked to. We just need him to agree to see us again.”
Carrie shook her head. “Peter, I have nothing to-“
Peter handed Carrie a manila envelope. “You have something.” Carrie took the envelope from Peter and pulled out a handful of black and white photos. She saw Imad and a blonde-haired female in compromising positions – in many compromising positions. There was no doubt it was Imad – his face clear in over a third of the photos.
“Is this his girlfriend?” Carrie asked. Peter nodded. Her face, clearly visible as well, contorted in various phases of ecstasy. Carrie even spotted a Christian cross dangling from her neck in the photos.
“Did you take these?” Carrie asked Virgil.
Max looked over his shoulder and cleared his throat. Carrie nodded to herself, impressed.
Most people would not willingly betray their parents, even with a clouded and strained relationship. But these photos could nudge Imad ever so slightly towards the CIA. By the time he figured out what the CIA wanted from him, it would be too late. Imad would protect his secret before he realized the gravity of the situation his father had with the US and British governments.
Virgil handed Carrie a wire, and she judiciously hooked it around her ear.
Peter continued updating Carrie on the mission. “MI6 is expecting the attack on Remembrance Day, November 11th. Saul needs you to set up another meeting with Imad, so we can load tracking software onto his phone. Imad will call his dad, and we’ll find out where in the hell this guy is. We hand that information over to MI6, and the CIA operations are done on this side of the pond.”
“And if he doesn’t agree?”
“That’s when I come in,” Peter said.
Carrie pulled open the van door and looked back inside the van. “Why couldn’t Saul tell me himself?”
Peter shrugged. “He was busy.”
You think you can come in here and ask me to give you my private property?
No Imad, we’re asking you to save thousands of lives. Your dad is planning an attack on London in a few months. Peter could hear Carrie pleading the CIA’s case.
You’re not having access to his personal information! I’m in law school. Bring a warrant, bitch.
Virgil looked at Peter. “Mabye they’re a little too westernized.”
“Max,” Peter said. “Did you bring the decoys?”
Max nodded. He fished in his bag and pulled out copies of Imad and his girlfriend’s cell phones. He threw each to Peter. He flipped them around in his hands. Max had even found matching case covers.
“And you can do the download here?”
Peter stuffed the cell phones into his pocket and headed out the van.
Peter walked to the door of the hotel room. He could hear muffled arguing through the thin walls. Carrie was supposed to keep the door slightly ajar to account for any “oh shit” scenarios. It looked closed. He pushed on the door, and it opened. He walked in.
The room silenced as Imad and his girlfriend gaped at him. Peter’s eyes quickly scanned the room, and he saw both cell phones sitting on the small kitchen bar. Imad and his girlfriend were facing him. They just need to turn back around, Peter thought. He eyed Carrie, willing her to distract them.
“Who the fuck are you?” said the blonde.
“I came here to back up my partner. Listen to her. Everything she said is true.” He pointed to Carrie, and they turned back towards her.
He walked in front of the bar and held the decoy phones in his hand.
“I need you guys to calm down. I promise you, Imad, anything we find on those phones will never – “
“A crime can always be found,” said Imad.
“Hey,” the blonde interjected. “Get away from our phones!”
Peter pretended to swipe his hand along the counter and threw the decoy phones onto the floor. He quickly slid their real phones into his pocket. Imad and his girlfriend stomped behind the couch to pick up the decoys. Peter walked to Carrie and clutched the back of her arm. “Let’s go,” he said. “We’ll find another way.”
Carrie played along, led by Quinn. As they approached the door, she turned around and pointed at the couple. “If anything happens to that building, just know that your finger helped detonate the bomb.”
Imad’s girlfriend flipped Carrie off. “If we see you again, we’re calling the cops!”
Imad put his hand on her shoulder as Carrie and Quinn walked out the door.
“Give me the details on that girl,” Carrie said.
“Already got it,” Virgil said. “She is Emily Mitchell. 24 years old. Emily is in her 3rd year at George Mason, studying General Law. And is, apparently, feisty. Her dad is a Democrat in Maryland’s House of Representatives. Rumor has it, he wants to become Senator Mitchell.”
Peter looked at Carrie, “That’s all we need to know. You didn’t show them the envelope?”
“No,” she said.
“Good. How much longer on that download, Max?”
He held up five fingers.
Carrie looked at Quinn. “What? You’re going to blackmail her? Is that your play?”
“Quinn, this is not one of your brightest plans."
“If it works, does it matter?” he asked as they walked back to the door. “You have the phone?”
She rolled her eyes at him and pointed to her pocket. “You have Imad’s?”
He ignored her question and knocked on the door, the manila envelope clutched in his hand.
Imad opened the door. “Listen, you guys really should not have come back.”
Peter ignored him, barreling into Imad’s arm as he walked across the threshold. Carrie followed.
She spotted Emily’s phone still sitting on the kitchen counter top. Imad’s was gone. “Visual on her phone,” she whispered to Peter as she turned to shut the hotel door.
“We warned you. Call the cops, Imad!” Emily yelled.
On cue, Imad pulled the decoy phone out of his pocket.
Peter punched him.
Imad fell to the ground, phone flying out of his hand, as Emily yelled, “You freak! What the fuck?” She ran to Imad, kneeling at his side. Peter leaned down and picked up the decoy phone. He covertly made the switch and threw Imad’s real phone on his chest. Emily reached for the phone.
Peter turned to Emily, who had been calling the shots the whole time. She clutched the phone desperately in her hands. “Emily, right? Before you make that call, I have something you should see.” She looked up at Quinn, her mouth twisted, holding the rage inside. Peter pulled the photos out of the envelope and threw them at her. They fell around her like falling leaves. “I know you like to keep private things private.”
Emily picked up a photo, hands shaking. “Where—where did you get these?”
Carrie walked up next to Quinn. “Call the cops and these are being emailed to every family member and every media organization that might be interested.” Carrie paused as Emily dropped Imad's phone and picked up another damaging photo.
“How many Congressmen have daughters who fuck the sons of known terrorists?” Peter asked.
Emily looked at them, tears starting to stream down her face.
“Come on, Peter,” Carrie said. “I think we're done here.”
Peter and Carrie ran to the van.
“Have they made any calls?” Carrie asked.
Virgil shook his head. “Not yet.”
Max snapped his fingers and took his headphones off. He turned up the volume on his laptop.
“Emily’s phone,” Virgil said.
Quinn’s heart sank. Emily was calling the cops.
The phone rang, and everyone held their breath. Carrie and Virgil looked at one another while Max stared at his computer screen. Quinn’s head hung towards the ground.
They heard someone pick up the phone. Quinn lifted his head.
Max saw the number pop up on his computer screen. “They’re not calling the US,” he whispered.
Marhaba, Imad finally said.
Where is your phone? the voice asked.
“It’s Al-Din,” Carrie said.
Some government people were here, and they asked about you. I am borrowing Emily’s phone. I thought it would be safer.
What did they want?
They wanted to meet later so they could do something with my phone. I told them no, and the guy hit me. Father, they know what you plan to do.
Max snapped at Virgil and gave him a thumbs up. He has Al-Din’s location, Peter thought. Carrie balled her hands into a tight fist and tucked them under her chin. It looked to Peter as if she was praying.
Nothing is set in stone. Get a new phone. I'll send you the money. As-salamu alaykum.
Yes, Father. As-salamu alaykum.
And the line went dead.
Carrie smiled and clapped her hands in victory. “Yes,” she exclaimed.
Virgil looked at Max and hit him on the shoulder. “It feels good,” he said.
“If only they all ended like this,” Carrie said as she patted Quinn on his knee. “Let’s get a drink. It’s on me.”
Virgil interrupted, “Carrie, we were keeping Saul up to date while you and Quinn were upstairs. We need to go in the office and fill out some paperwork."
“No,” she said.
Peter smiled. “Carrie, you know if we don’t document, it didn’t happen.”
She groaned. “Fine, but drinks later.”
Peter nodded. “I’m in.” He squeezed his hand into a tight fist and checked out his knuckles.
Carrie pouted and rested her hand on Quinn’s forearm. “Oh, did Imad’s face hurt your hand?”
“Fuck you, Carrie,” Peter joked.
“I’m not typing up a report. We’re just debriefing Saul, and then we are going to the bar. We saved the CIA about 2 weeks of work.”
Max looked at Carrie.
“Okay,” she said. “About a week’s worth.”
The elevator’s doors opened, and the group of four walked into the dark hallway.
“Where is everyone?” Peter asked, and he flipped on a light. He walked ahead to Saul’s office. The door was locked. Peter looked back at the group. “Maybe he’s in the Debriefing Room.”
Carrie rolled her eyes, and she marched down another hallway. “Saul?” she yelled. “Saul.”
Virgil caught eyes with Peter, and they gave each other a knowing grin. “She’s going to hate this, you know,” Virgil said.
“I know,” said Peter.
Carrie walked to the Debriefing Room and pushed the doors open. “Saul?” she said. The room was dark but Carrie could see an outline of someone in the room. “Saul, why are the lights off?” She flicked on the lights.
“Surprise!” a crowd of people yelled.
Carrie saw Saul, Dar, Fara, and about 12 other of her coworkers surrounding a cake. Behind them, a large banner saying CONGRATULATIONS ON 10 YEARS hung precariously, taped to the wall.
Carrie covered her mouth and turned towards Peter, Max and Virgil. “You bastards knew!” she exclaimed.
Saul and the crew clapped as Carrie faced them again.
“Carrie,” Saul said. “It’s been a hell of a ride. And in true Carrie fashion, we thought you’d come back with a meeting time with a college kid. But we got a location on a target instead. Fantastic work.” The group clapped at the accolade. “Everyone grab a glass.”
Fara handed Max and Peter a flute of champagne. Saul handed a flute to Virgil.
“To Carrie. To ten more fantastic and never boring years.”
The crowd raised their glasses and then sipped the champagne. Carrie bowed in appreciation and mouthed thank-yous to the crowd.
David Estes walked to Carrie and gave her an appreciative hug. Quinn saw her pull away. He was about to congratulate her when Dar tugged on his elbow. Peter followed him, out of earshot of the crowd forming around Carrie and Saul.
“Great job today, Quinn.”
“Yeah, well luckily Max had the phones with him,” Peter said.
“Not luck,” Dar said. “Preparation.” Peter stood there, unresponsive. Dar took a deep breath. “Yusuf Al-Din is in Goiania, Brazil. Bring him in if you can, but between you and me, if he doesn’t make it… what can we do, you know?” Dar shrugged. He sipped his wine and continued. “He’s not a high value target, just a religious nut-job with money. No influence. It’d be a waste of plane fuel to bring him back, and a waste of breath to interrogate him.”
Peter sighed. Dropping everything to fly to a strange country and hiding in its darkest corners was starting to take its toll. Every time he shot these terrorists, Quinn would see or hear something magnifying the humanity of these men. A sobbing devotee, a crying wife, a wailing son.
“When?” Peter asked.
“You’re flying out tomorrow with a small team. Donna has already emailed you the specifics.” Dar spread his arms toward the party, “But stay awhile. Have a drink.” Dar patted Quinn on the shoulder and walked towards Estes.
Out of the corner of her eye, Carrie saw Quinn ending his conversation with Dar. She excused herself and walked towards him.
“You knew about this, didn’t you?” she gushed, the alcohol starting to work its magic.
Peter grinned. “The whole time.”
Carrie dropped her head, hiding her laugh. Or avoiding Quinn’s fixation on her. She couldn’t be sure anymore. Quinn had a tendency to look deeper than Carrie was comfortable with.
“What did Dar want?” she asked, changing the subject.
Carrie knew that meant something. “Okay,” she nodded, playing along. She looked back up at Quinn. “You still up for that drink? Not here obviously. But out.” She waved her hand. “At a bar.”
Peter quietly laughed. “Rain check?”
Carrie took a sip of wine and shrugged her shoulders. “Maybe,” she said as she gave him a sidelong look. After a moment of silence, Carrie said, “Well, I’ll see you around, Quinn.”
Peter smiled wistfully and looked at his drink. “Yeah, see you around,” he said as he returned his gaze to Carrie. But she was already gone.