p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; text-indent: 36pt; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Aleesha checked her bags, making sure that she had everything she would need for her mission. She double- and triple-checked. She had all the things that Captain had shown her in his desk drawer, as well as a few changes of clothes. In her purse, she had her wallet, in which she had a credit card that she used only in emergencies, as well as cash money. Hopefully, the amount she had would be enough. She also had a few books for her to read and an actual CD player, just in case she got tired of staring out the plane window at the endless landscapes of clouds and monotonous green fields. Satisfied that she had everything, she put it in the back seat of her blue truck, a sturdy Ford F-150. Before she left, Aleesha set the burglar alarm and locked the front door to her house./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Aleesha had started preparing the moment she arrived home the previous day; if the headquarters to the Secret Sleuth Society was as well hidden as Captain had said it was, then she wouldn't be able to waste any of her precious 72 hours packing. A few minutes could be the difference between success and failure, especially if she was going to account for any delays, expected or not. If there were no delays, then she could finish her mission, as unpleasant as it was, much sooner, which could increase her standing with her boss. This was a highly pleasurable prospect to Aleesha, and it was that very prospect that kept her from going back to Captain and telling him that this was much too unpleasant for her and would he please find another spy to carry it out./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"She checked her wristwatch, the magnetic one that shot out a laser. It read about 8:50. Not quite time for her to go. She knew that she couldn't begin before her allotted time, so she took to tapping out a rhythm while taking a look at the surrounding scenery. The grass was an almost unnatural green. The trees that surrounded her home gave her a sheltered and secure feeling, like a natural wall./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" The ringing of her phone snapped her out of her reverie. She checked the caller ID. It was no one she was familiar with; instead of a name, it showed the number, which meant that she had not added it to her contacts. She answered it, hoping that it might be this partner that Captain had set her up with. "Hello?"/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Hello. Is this Miss Parks speaking?" The voice was male./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""It could be. Depends on who is asking for her."/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""My name is Aaron Clark. I have a message for her, and only for her." He was firm, but not rudely so. "I have information about a special project that she was assigned yesterday."/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"She understood. "Oh, yes. Aaron. Of course. I am Miss Parks. But please, call me Aleesha. What is it?" She was a bit flabbergasted; she hadn't really expected to hear from him so soon./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""I hope that you are ready, because you have a flight that leaves from Nashville's airport in three and a half hours."/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Three and a half hours? I hope I don't run into any serious traffic." It would take her about two and a half hours to get to the airport from where she was, which was somewhere close to Cleveland, if there was little to no traffic. That would leave an hour for her to get her bags checked in, go through security, and catch her plane. It was plenty enough time, just as long as there was no traffic./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""You'll be fine. Now, listen carefully. When you get to the airport, you will see a man waiting for you just outside. He will have your ticket. This one -"/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Aleesha interrupted. "What if there is more than one person waiting? How will I know who to go to?"/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""I've told him what you look like. He'll catch your attention and give you the code word 'luck'. This ticket will have your real name on it, so use your real ID when you go through security. That ticket will get you to Little Rock. Are we clear?"/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Of course. Thank you." She wasn't even going to ask how he knew what she looked like. She just assumed Captain had told him./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Good. I will contact you later. Goodbye for now." Before Aleesha could respond, he hung up./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Aleesha checked her watch. 9:00. She was officially allowed to begin her mission. Starting her truck, she began to two-and-a-half hour journey to the airport./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"When Aleesha arrived at the airport, it was 11:40. As Aaron had promised, the traffic had been bearable; she still had ten minutes short of an hour before her plane took off. She quickly found the man with her ticket. He gave her the code word, then her ticket. She had her baggage checked, which was just a small suitcase with a few toiletries and some clothes and didn't take very long. When she got to security check, though, she found that the line was much longer than she would have liked; it doubled back on itself many times. By the time it was finally her turn, she had a scant ten minutes before her plane was supposed to leave. She was so relieved to find that her equipment went through unquestioned that it was nearly impossible to control the sigh of relief that she normally would have released. She would have to ask Captain how he did it when she had the chance. For now, she barely had time to put her shoes back on and sprint to the right gate. She was obviously the last to arrive, and they were just about to close the gate when she arrived, panting heavily. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Cutting it a little close, aren't you?" growled the assistant./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Sorry," she said with a shy smile, showing him the ticket. He scanned it and allowed her to board the plane. Her seat was in the very back, which was just as she liked./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Three and a half hours later, Aleesha found herself in Little Rock. The moment she stepped into the airport, her phone rang. It was Aaron again./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Have you made it to Little Rock?" he asked./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Talk about timing. I just got off the plane."/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Okay. Now you need to be at Gate E6. You'll have to start over with all your checks, because you're going to use a fake ID next."/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Which one?"/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""Marsha Crow. You should be able to find another associate with your corresponding ticket. Good luck." Just like the last time, he hung up abruptly. Aleesha didn't really care; she was just hoping that no one she was seeing would see and recognize her when she began backtracking into the airport. Fortunately, she didn't seem to arouse any suspicion, and the line for security check wasn't nearly as long as the first one, so she was able to get to the gate in plenty enough time. /span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Once on the plane, Aleesha found that she was quite bored. She didn't feel like reading her book, and she had listened to almost all the CD's she'd brought with her, so she allowed herself to daydream. The first thoughts that floated into her mind were memories of her life before she became a member of the Secret Spy Institution./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Aleesha grew up as an only child. Her parents, especially her mother, had doted on her, so they all got along fine. Then, one day, when Aleesha was ten, for no reason that she could discern, her parents separated. They never told her anything about it, and hardly spoke to her about anything else. Aleesha still remembered her mother's last words. "Aleesha," she'd said before leaving her at her Aunt Beatrice's house, "please always remember that I love you, and I always will. Keep your head up. You can do whatever you want to do as long as you put your mind to it."/span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;""But Mommy," Aleesha had protested, "why can't I stay with you? I don't want to stay in that smelly old house." She hadn't known Aunt Beatrice very well, and her house always smelled like old cat litter because the middle-aged woman often forgot to clean out the litter box./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"The question had worried her mother. She just said, "It's complicated, honey. I don't think I should burden you with the truth of why we can't be together. It - it could be too dangerous. I can't possibly explain why, but one day, it'll be different, Aleesha, you'll see. One day we'll be able to be together again, and I'll be able to tell you all about it." With that, she had kissed her on the forehead and drove off into what would have been a beautiful sunset if dark thunderheads had not blocked the view. Just as the car disappeared, it started raining, and the rain mixed with Aleesha's tears of sorrow until her aunt collected her off the porch. Every day after that, she had continued hoping that her mother would joyfully come back for her and she would never have to smell old cat litter ever again./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"The sad truth of the matter was the Aleesha was twenty-eight now, and she hadn't heard a single word or seen so much as an eyelash of either of her parents since that fateful day./span/p
p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;" /span span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"Eventually, her desire for an adventure between the covers of a book returned, and she opened it where she left off. The rest of her day resumed in a seemingly never-ending chain of flights. She went through nearly all of the IDs. It was nearly twelve in the morning by the time she finally arrived at Albuquerque, New Mexico. It took her twenty minutes to get a rental car, and another ten to get to a hotel. By the time she finally got checked in, it was a quarter after twelve. Five minutes later, she blearily found her room. She wasted no time in organizing anything into dressers; as soon as she saw the bed, she shambled towards it and fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow./spanspan id="docs-internal-guid-68d1b7f1-7fff-6c5f-86e3-5aecb5e628ca"/span/p