Also by Stellen Qxz on obooko:
The Undercover Groomsman
Cloak & Stagger
Teddy Tennyson, a man loved by millions and despised by millions more. A man of passion, a man of vision, a man of hate. For years Teddy Tennyson has been at the forefront of the White Nationalist Alternative-Right movement, a driving force behind its growing power and influence in America. And like a lot of other powerful men throughout history, Teddy Tennyson has a dark secret, a secret so destructive that if the wrong people ever discovered it, lives would be at risk, his and everyone he loves and cares about.
Now Teddy Tennyson is a man trapped between two worlds, both crashing in on him, threatening to consume him. His only hope, Alex Wells and Robert Chandler, the married interracial couple who lead an elite team of dedicated private security operators who are prepared to do whatever it takes to protect their clients. Even clients like Teddy Tennyson.
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
After a brief statement of announcement, the FBI Director relinquished the podium to the woman about whom he had just been speaking and stepped far back, it seemed as far back on the small press room stage as he could and still be on it. Perhaps this was a signal to the level of pressure the man had been under lately, and maybe even his desire for his ten year term as head of the nation’s top police agency to come to an end three years earlier than was currently scheduled. Returning to the private sector had never looked as good to the man as it did right now.
ReaAnn Bracken was speaking now, and after many years of being away from her native North Carolina, the genteel hints of her southern accent were still most detectable. At fifty-one, she was quite attractive to the eye, especially the male ones, but one glance into her deep blue eyes revealed an intelligence and cunning that were unmistakable, and when she spoke, her appearance not withstanding, everyone knew this was a woman to be listened to and taken seriously.
“I won’t spend a lot of time boring you with proclamations this morning, ladies and gentlemen. There’s a lot of work to be done, as Director Fortin alluded to. I will say this, though. Right now our country is going through a very difficult time, and there are people out there who are seeking to take advantage of that difficulty and exploit it for their own purposes, to strike fear into our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors. There has been violence, there has been death, and there are a lot of frightened people out there right now who don’t believe they will ever feel safe again. I say this to everyone listening to the sound of my voice at this moment. That is all about to end.”
After a brief pause where she stood staring at the gathered reporters and then into the lenses of the dozen cameras pointed at her, the FBI Assistant Director pointed at the nearest reporter, indicating she was ready for questions. The balding, slightly overweight middle aged man was still so fascinated by the intensity of the statement he had just heard from the FBI executive that it took him a few moments, and a quick prod by the reporter next to him, before he was able to reclaim his bearings.
“Ah, yes, ma’am. Thank you. John Porter, Washington Tribune. Yes, could you explain exactly what the function of your new unit is, what is the Domestic Threat Division, and how is it going to deal with the rising threat of nationalist extremism gripping the United States right now?”
The precise question the FBI Director had asked when his deputy director and ReaAnn Bracken came to him with the proposal just over a month ago when he had returned from a White House crisis meeting with the Attorney General and National Security Advisor. It was also the question the president had asked him just under a month ago when the Director took the proposal to him, along with budget and staffing requirements. The president had not been impressed, but that was to be expected. The current Oval Office holder was little more than a dullard with little imagination and only a rudimentary sense of how government or anything actually worked. Something that the people who voted him into office didn’t seem to think was a problem. However, the vice president and other members of the National Security Council had seen wisdom in the proposal and convinced the president that it might just be the thing they needed to get a handle on the wave of violent extremism current sweeping across the country. Seeing as how nothing else they had tried so far had worked, least of all the periodic and near incoherent speeches by the president.
A green light was given to Director Fortin, and while still in his car headed back to the Hoover Building down the street from the White House, he informed his deputy director and told him to pass that green light on to Assistant Director Bracken.
ReaAnn Bracken had only been with the Bureau a little over five years, having spent the majority of her twenty-seven years of federal service in the CIA. She had come over on a lateral transfer on a recommendation from the previous deputy director who had worked on a number of joint taskforces with Bracken over the years and thought she would be a fantastic asset to the Bureau’s management team. At the time her career had stalled at the Agency, due to shifting priorities and position eliminations, and it was unlikely she would move any higher before retirement. The job at the Bureau held the same GS rank, but the opportunities for advancement were better than if she finished the rest of her public career at the Agency.
A year after the transfer she moved up from section chief to deputy assistant director in the Counterterrorism Division. So impressive was her work there that when the top job came open in the Criminal Division, the deputy director recommended Bracken for the slot as ADIC—Assistant Director in Charge. This had been eighteen months ago, two months before the first mosque bombing in Western Kentucky. A week later, a synagogue in South Alabama was burned to the ground, the result of arson. It only got worse from there.
Bracken looked the reporter directly in the eyes when she answered his question, blinking not once.
“DTD will deal with this problem head on, Mr. Porter. Homegrown extremist violence is not our number one mission, it is our only mission. The entire resources of the division, by presidential mandate, are dedicated to this single task. We will investigate, gather intelligence, identify perpetrators, and, if possible, apprehend the offenders before they can cause any more harm.”
She paused and switched her focus back to the cameras.
“Let me say this to those who have been terrorizing the good citizens of this country for more than a year. Stop now, you might get away with it. Unlikely, but you might. Despite some missteps here and there, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has a very impressive record of stopping criminals. From Ma Barker and Pretty Boy Floyd, to Ted Kaczynski and Timothy McVeigh, the Bureau, in conjunction with state and local officials, usually get our bad guys and gals. And we will this time. We are coming for you. We will hunt you down wherever you are, and we will bring you to justice. One way or another.”
The silence following her last statement was deafening as the reporters and camera operators, and the people in the background on the stage with her, all felt a chill up their spins. Each knew without a doubt that ReaAnn Bracken meant every word she had just said. And those who believed in a supreme deity were probably thinking about god having mercy on their souls.
However, not ReaAnn Bracken, who did believe in a supreme deity, but not so much in mercy. War had just been declared, and the commanding general was ready to take the fight to the enemy.
She turned to another reporter.
“Yes, ma’am, you have a question?”