I understand that you may be looking for employment opportunities in the near future and believe that you would be interested in what my employers have to offer. I’m stopping over in the city overnight and staying in the Executive Suite of the Hilton Hotel. If you could be in the lobby at around two o’clock this afternoon then one of my associates could escort you up and we could have a brief meeting, followed perhaps by dinner at the hotel restaurant this evening if you are still interested. No need to respond to this message, my associate will be stationed in the lobby until three. I hope to see you soon.
Security manager, Osiris Investments.
Osiris Investments. Burke had never heard of them, but he’d be lying if he said the letter didn’t interest him. This wasn’t the usual method of headhunting. He’d take an extended lunch break and head over to the Hilton. A quick google search brought up the Osiris homepage, showing that they mainly handled funds for large American corporations and that had offices in several capitals in Europe and the Far East. He’d take a look, and if it was the right job for him then he would talk to Tracy about it.
He spent the next two and a half hours in progress meetings with the detective squads, checking up on the status of the open cases. At one he took his lunch in the canteen with Detectives Brooks, Stevens and Hart. Excusing himself half an hour later he took a taxi over to the Hilton, arriving ten minutes before two.
He had the taxi stop a block away from the hotel; he wanted time to brush up his appearance. The leather of his shoulder holster was partially visible, so he buttoned his jacket up as he walked towards the entrance. Seeing as he wasn’t on official business hotel security wouldn’t be happy to see he was still carrying a weapon but Burke had spent his whole adult life surrounded by them, it had slipped his mind. A few more steps and he smiled to himself, glancing at his reflection in the lobby window. Cheap black pinstripe suit, starch white shirt, plain red tie. He reeked of cop.
The doorman stepped aside, and Burke buttoned up his jacket as he entered, looking around the marble lobby, trying to work out who was meant to be meeting him. For a hotel so large, the reception was quite empty of people. Three employees behind the reception and concierge’s desk, a bellboy chatting to them. Two middle aged businessmen drinking coffee, a young Asian couple with a baby. An old woman chatting away on a cell phone, a young, executive looking type at the reception desk.
He spotted his contact about the same moment that he was seen himself. Sitting next to the coffee – drinking businessmen was another man reading a copy of the L.A. Times, eyes glancing up occasionally. He looked a few years younger than Burke, with short, dark red hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a dark grey suit, pale blue shirt, striped tie. Seeing put the paper aside and stood up, smile on his face. Burke caught the glint of an automatic underneath the suit jacket.
“Lieutenant Burke?” The associate extended his hand. “Miles Bennett, I’ve been asked to escort you to the executive suite.” Burke caught a faint scent of a cheap aftershave.
“Good to meet you Miles. So you’re with Osiris group too?” Burke asked Bennett as they started to walk towards the elevators. Bennett smiled.
“It’s a little more complicated than that sir. I think it would be better if we let my CO explain.” They entered the lift, standing side by side as Bennett pressed down on the button for the top floor.
They rode the elevator in silence, and Burke ran the slightly confusing exchange through his head. Escort you to the Executive Suite. CO. This was not the kind of language that he would have expected from someone on a corporate payroll.
It was about five seconds before the elevator opened that he realised what was going on. The man who was taking him to the executive suite was a federal agent.
Burke suppressed a grin. He hadn’t really considered that the federal government would be looking for his services; they knew that it wouldn’t be his area. No agency in the world would offer him the money that he’d get going private.
The doors opened and Burke stepped out into the corridor, his escort in tow. The corridor was deserted, save for the entrance to the executive suite, where a dark suited young man with an earpiece and serious face stood, jacket open and hands clasped in front of him, the typical bodyguard posture. He nodded at Burke, stepping away from the entrance to let the two men pass.
The suite itself was probably larger than the ground floor of his house, and certainly worth more. The floor was a plush white carpet, save for a small kitchenette to Burkes left that was made of the same marble that he had seen in the lobby. Cream coloured walls, expensive artwork evenly spaced around it. Directly in front of him were three white sofas arranged around a glass coffee table, a widescreen television in front of it. To the right were several doorways that Burke imagined led to bedrooms and bathrooms. The massive sound system was in front of Burke, next to the balcony, the doors to which were open. A small table stood next to the kitchen, and Burke noted that there were laptop computers and a printer set up on it. He turned to look for Bennett; he had already left without making a sound.
“Little much isn’t it?” A voice caught Burke by surprise and he turned, seeing a figure emerging from one of the bedrooms. He was a few years older and a few inches taller then Burke, with short, crew cut black hair and probing light green eyes. Dressed in an expensive looking navy blue suit with a white shirt and matching blue tie, Burke summarised that he was in charge around here. He looked vaguely familiar, but the lieutenant couldn’t remember where he had seen him before. “Five thousand dollars of taxpayer money an hour. I take it by now you’ve gathered you’re dealing with federal agents rather than some private security corporation.” He said.
“Yeah, the guy you sent kind of clinched it for me. Andrew Burke.” He extended his hand to the government official who shook it, a firm and confident grasp.
“Robert Simmons.” He smiled, the expression widening slightly when recognition hit Burkes face.
Rob Simmons. Burke had never met the man, but he was something of a legend amongst the intelligence communities. As a former intelligence agent himself Burke was often called to act as liaison between US government officials in the intelligence community and the LAPD. Robert Simmons had spent four years as National Security Advisor during the second term of the previous administration and had been in the papers more than he’d been out of them. A former Marine officer and CIA middle manager, he was instrumental in bringing down the rogue Soviet sleeper cells behind the assassinations of the late 1980s and early 1990s, although much of his work was classified. When popular Republican President Oldham won re – election in 1992 he asked Simmons to be National Security Advisor, senior advisor to the President on almost all military and counter – terrorism issues. It had caused a bit of an uproar in the military; Simmons was a virtual unknown. Yet he soon developed a reputation that hushed even the most hardcore of his critics. Terrorist extremists deemed to be threats to America all over the world started dropping like flies and it was widely believed by Burke’s friends in MI5 that he was the brains behind getting President Oldham to send troops into Somalia in 1993.
“I apologise for all of this cloak and dagger stuff, but you have to understand that it’s important that my being here isn’t public knowledge. I’m here on a fairly delicate assignment and quite frankly I think you can help. Care to have a seat?” Simmons gestured towards the sofas and Burke sat down in one of them. He frowned slightly as he did so; it was much more comfortable than anything that he had at home. Simmons placed himself in the sofa opposite Burke, his smile still fixed on his face.
“Right then. Can I get you something to drink at all, coffee, soda? Something harder if you want but I find it a little early in the day for that.” Simmons chuckled slightly and Burke smiled politely.
“No thank you sir, I’m fine for now.” Simmons waved his hand.
“Call me Rob; I haven’t been in the Cabinet for months now. My official designation is Deputy Director of Special Projects at the CIA but seeing as you don’t work for me yet I think we’ll be fine with first names here. I can call you Andy, right?”
“That’s fine So what have you got for me? I’m here now, might as well have a look.”
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