18 March; Thursday, 11:23 p.m.
Crofton, Maryland

It was the sum realization of a lifetime, and David Haskell couldn’t stop his hands from shaking. Staring at the computer monitor, he wondered if he was making the right decision. There was only one thought prevailing among the thousands of others in his crowded mind: After all this time— could he possibly know what the right decision was anymore?

The house was dark, save for the bluish haze of the computer screen. David had been drinking. It was the only way he could find the courage necessary to execute the chain of events that he had been contemplating for the last three months.

He took another swig from the bottle beside him. The bourbon couldn’t stop the shaking. David knew that the drinking wouldn’t help— but he no longer cared.

The memo was only four paragraphs in length. Some 400 words to describe the Hell that he had helped to create.

Would sending this message be worth the consequences? He forced a laugh, reaching for a nearly-empty pack of cigarettes. “Screw ‘em,” he whispered, hitting the return key. Within seconds, David’s confession was coded and sent deep into cyberspace, making its way toward an unwitting recipient.

What’s done was done.

He took a long drag on his Camel, feeling some small measure of satisfaction. Too many people had died. Too many lies. It was time for some truth. With his eyes still closed, David reached down and opened the desk drawer. Reaching inside, he felt the cold, yet welcome, steel of the Lorcin semi-automatic.

He kept his eyes closed, crushing the remains of his cigarette on the desk and lodged the muzzle of the gun beneath his chin, slowly wrapping his index finger around the trigger.

“Forgive me, Beth,” he sobbed before squeezing the trigger.

With that, the deputy national security advisor was no longer a threat to those who were worried about his loyalties.


Copyright, 1997

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