At the IIC in Glendale, Paul Michelet tried to stay out of the way of his subordinates. Unlike his daughter, he didn't understand what all the machines in the room below him were doing. That's why he paid top dollar for those who did. His success over the years was based on his ability to understand people and the big picture and making the hard decisions. The details he left to others.
Paul Michelet was currently standing in a small conference room that looked out over the imaging and interpretation center. A one-way glass wall separated him from the technicians below. He could see and hear everything that happened and they never knew if anyone was in the conference room. Michelet had long ago discovered that such a set up increased efficiency. If people never knew whether the boss was looking, they had to assume he was and work accordingly.
There were two men in the room with Michelet. One stood so perfectly still that he might have been missed by a person casually glancing in. He was Lawrence Freed, Michelet's chief of security and all around trouble-shooter. Freed was a slender black man, less than five feet ten inches tall and looked like a strong wind might easily sway him. Michelet had had difficulty believing the man's dossier when he'd interviewed him three years ago for the position. The man described on paper was an ex-Delta Force commando, a black belt in five martial arts, and a brilliant operations officer. Not only was Freed's physical appearance deceiving, the man was so quiet and soft of voice that one had great difficulty imagining him capable of violence. Michelet had had his doubts, but Freed came highly recommended from some of Michelet's contacts in Washington so he'd taken a chance. He hadn't regretted it yet in the past three years. Freed got results.
The other man in the room was Freed’s polar opposite. Roland Beasley had not stayed still from the moment he entered the room. Beasley was a large bear of a man, with a pale white forehead and a large bushy gray beard. Michelet had recently hired Beasley. He too came highly recommended. Beasley had yet to prove his worth.
Michelet turned from the IIC. There was a map spread on the teak wood table in the center of the room. “It's taken me seven months to pay off the right officials in Cambodia to allow this overflight.” He wanted Beasley to know that this wasn't some academic lark but a serious business venture with much at stake. Michelet had dealt with “academic” experts before and he knew it was important to make them realize they were no longer in the ivory halls.
“It should be most interesting,” Beasley said. He spoke with a slight British accent, but his dossier indicated no significant time in England and a birth place of Brooklyn. Michelet assumed Beasley had acquired the accent in his academic circles. Beasley was an archeologist/historian, with a specific area of expertise in Southeast Asia.
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