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Chapter 18: John Gets a Lead

The call had come to the hotel room at 7 a.m.  "Wait there," the voice had said.  So John had waited. It was now nearly 1 p.m., nobody had made contact, and John was getting pissed off.  He had received a voicemail from Marlena about Sydney and knew his wife was heading for Salem.  He desperately wanted to talk to her, to see here, but he was trapped in this hotel room waiting.   If he left, he would lose any chance of getting information.  Finally, someone knocked on the door.  John opened it, exposing a thin man with receding, straw-colored hair, and wire-rim glasses.

"Mr. Black, I'm Nathan Weaver, Deputy Secretary for DHS."

"Nice to have a face to go with the voice."  John stepped back to allow the political hack to enter, closing the door once he was inside.  "What do you got for me?"

Weaver set his briefcase on a counter, opened it, and removed a manilla folder.   He tossed it on the counter.   "That should tell you everything you need to know about Chief Donovan's last-known whereabouts."

John picked up the folder and flipped through it.  Several questions immediately jumped out at him.  Why would Shane leave his Nightwing front to track an Al Qaeda sleeper cell?  That was field agent work, not a job for the head of the ISA, especially in England, where the ISA had plenty of operatives.  And if he was working in England, how had he disappeared from ISA view?  Not to mention, why would the ISA all of a sudden give John a full file on Shane's whereabouts after keeping him in the dark all this time?  "You expect me to believe this?"

Weaver played innocent.  "That's the truth."

"It makes no sense.  I know Shane.  He wouldn't blow his cover over a few terrorist wannabes.  He spent too much time building Nightwing."

"You didn't read carefully enough," said Weaver.

John looked back at the file and examined it more closely.  On the 10th page, in small type, he saw what Weaver was referring to.  Known associations: Andrew "Drew" Donovan III.  He looked up at the politician.  "You don't seriously expect me to this to believe Shane's brother is involved in Middle Eastern terrorism.  Drew's nuts, but terrorism isn't his style."

"Believe what you want.  Drew Donovan is a master of disguise and has shown himself willing to be sold to the highest bidder.  Imagine the damage he could do in the UK."

"But Shane--"

"Chief Donovan always had a soft spot for his twin.  Considering their resemblance, he knew he was in the best position to extricate Drew and, if possible, to find out further information about the cell."

John shook his head.  It made sense, but almost too much sense.  And there was another overarching question.  "Why are you giving me this?"

Weaver looked thoughtful.  "The simple answer.  Chief Donovan is too valuable an asset to fall into the wrong hands.  And while we can't risk our operations on a manhunt, we see no reason that a lone man with no current ISA affiliation can't go looking for an old friend north of London."

"I didn't say I'd do it."  John still did not believe the file.  There was something too perfect, too pat, about the information, about this entire meeting, that screamed "set up."  He waved the folder.  "I'm still not sure I believe this."

Weaver nodded, as he closed his briefcase and headed toward the door.  "Very well, Mr. Black.  You asked for a lead and we provided it.  Now it's up to you to decide if that lead's worth pursuing.  It's only your friend's life at stake."

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