246 :

"That? It's only an earpiece." Nathaniel answers simply, tucking a strand of hair behind his left ear and stealthily putting the earpiece inside his ear.

"No. That piece of technology is not something that is available in the market and it's years away from anything federal law enforcement is currently using. Who are you really?" She asked, scrutinizing him closely.

"You can choose to see me as a concerned citizen with too much money on his hands." Nathaniel shrugged noncommittally.

"You don't expect me to believe that, right?" She asked with a humorless laugh.

"Then what would you believe, Gabrielle?" Nathaniel asks curiously.

Gabrielle was about to respond when she closed her mouth shut. What was she thinking? She knew that if certain people knew about what she downloaded out of her workstation at the Pentagon, she would be in a lot of trouble right now. She had been careful but there was no way to know if it was enough. On and on, she was pretty paranoid right now and the fact that her friend was late and wasn't answering his phone was only making things worse. Nathaniel on the other hand, didn't look like the type of person that will be sent after her. First of all, he was too young. She could tell that even if his face and the way that he held himself made him look older, she was certain that he wasn't twenty years old yet. But still, her gut feeling was telling her that there was much more than met the eyes about him.

"Let me say something then but you have to stay calm, alright?" Nathaniel offers.

Surprised, she nonetheless nodded.

"Since I became a celebrity, I started to be really attentive to my surroundings, especially in crowded places like this. So many young people like myself ended up dead because of a crazy fan and I don't want to be added to this depressing long list. Tonight, I spotted a bunch of guys, the scary type with dead eyes but their focus wasn't on me, it was on you Gabrielle."

"On m… me?" She asked, her voice cracking and her face turning white as a sheet.

"I'm afraid so, yes. Do you want me to call the cops or escort you to a cab out of here?" Nathaniel kindly offers.

"It doesn't matter, you should leave." She said in a defeated but resigned tone.

Until this moment Nathaniel had mostly ignored the conversation that was coming from his earpiece as they were discussing what he already figured out about the people watching Gabrielle. That all changed when Lina started bringing up news.

"Ok people, I just got some results and this is worse than we thought. I have a positive ID on the women in front of Nathaniel. Name: Gabrielle Ela Morck, 32 years old, born in Ozark, Missouri. She's been working at the Pentagon as a financial analyst for the last 5 years. Six hours ago, she downloaded a classified file from her terminal and she has been missing ever since. Three hours ago a country wide alert was issued to arrest her for treason and espionage. A bank account was discovered with five millions dollars on it, received an hour after she downloaded the file, the origin of the payment was traced back to a China shell corporation."

"Fucking hell." Jon swore.

"What information did she steal exactly?" Na-Yung asked.

"Undetermined at this point, an investigation is on the way, it's just said that this is highly classified." Lina added after a moment.

"What about the weirdos in the room?" Lucie asked.

"I have identified only two of them so far as I prioritize Gabrielle over the others. They are both federal agents working for customs. I will have more information in a few minutes." Lina answers.

"Why the fuck immigration officers would be sent to arrest a potential traitor?" Camilla asked.

"They would not and they are not. These people are a kill team sent by Homeland to make her disappear where she can be interrogated without the constitution getting in their way if not outright killing her. Nathaniel, we need to pull out." Scott said.

Nathaniel just stayed silent, watching Gabrielle expression and eyes with attention. Half a minute passed when Nathaniel finally gave his answer.

"No." He finally said, Gabrielle raising an eyebrow.

"Nathaniel, this is a high profile case and if we screw up, the best scenario will be our cover will be blown and the worse we will be convicted for aiding a traitor to escape prosecution." Scott tries to reasonned Nathaniel.

"She's not a traitor, she's a whistleblower." He answers, Gabrielle straightening up with a jolt hearing this.

"Nathaniel you just heard the evidence against her, they are overwhelming. Even if she was like you said a whistleblower, there are protocols in place to do so and none of them involve stealing classified information!" Scott exclaimed.

"Tell that to Edward Snowden or Julian Assange." He waited a moment but seeing no one chimed in, he continued. "If she's really a chinese spy, she had the occasion to take a flight to anywhere in the world and instead of going into a non extradition country and enjoying her newfound wealth, she went to NY to meet with a friend of hers that is a reporter. A reporter that is now late and not responding to his cellphone, I'll let you judge for yourself if it's simply an unfortunate coincidence or if something more nefarious is afoot here."

Gabrielle was going to say something but pressing on her foot with his and his stare told her that it was not the time.

"Are you sure about this?" Scott asked. He wasn't sure about the whole situation but he had learned to trust Nathaniel's instinct on this kind of situation.


"Ok whatever you want to do, do it now. The fuckers in the room are starting to get antsy and one of them is coming in your direction." Camilla noticed.

"Alright then we need to move and now. If this team use the model I believe they do, they also have someone doing tech support assisting them, usually from some hidden location in the country. Lina I need you to take Hans' car and drive like a maniac to the bunker. You need to cut this team of their support, whatever it takes, cut the internet in the entire country if you need to, I will handle the aftermath. Go now."

"Understood." Lina answers.

"Hans, I need you to create a black zone around the bar. Cut every signal coming out of the bar, can you do that with what you have on you?" Nathaniel asked.

"Yes, I have a jammer in my car, let me grab it quickly." Hans answered in a hurry. "That was close but I got it."

"Good but before you use it, there is a CCTV on the corner of the corner of 2nd avenue and 53 street, you need to take it down."

"That's easy, it will not take long." Hans said confidently.

"When they are going to lose contact, they are going to break off to figure out what's going on. Na-Yung, Camilla you will ambush them when they get outside and neutralize them. The others, stay on high alert in the case one of them do something stupid." Nathaniel instructed.

"That doesn"t solve the current problem of the douchebag coming your way and you need to buy time for Lina to work her magic." Lucie pointed out.

"Don't worry, I have a plan for that." Nathaniel answers with a big smile on his face.

There was a collective groan heard on the com, knowing that whatever he planned, they were not going to like it one bit.