room with their fluorescent glare, and he continued in a serious tone.
“Obviously, this cannot be allowed to happen. There’s more at stake than our national reputation. There are serious economic ramifications. So as of today, right now, this is our most pressing threat. We have a little over a week. Eleven days to come up with a plan to stop him. On the tenth day, his target will be here, and if we haven’t caught him, we’ll have a serious problem,” Rodriguez finished.
The older man leaned back in his chair and folded his hands behind his head. “Do we have any information on how he’s planning to get into the country? Or any more recent photographs of him? Those are, what, over a decade old, you say? He could look like anyone now.”
“I’ve put out the word through unofficial channels to the Germans, but we have to be very careful. It’s not impossible that Rauschenbach has contacts in the government there, as well as with the police and the Bundesnachrichtendienst – the German intelligence service. Our only advantage at this point is that he has no idea that we know what he’s up to. That could work in our favor. If he thinks we’re unaware of his plans, then he might let down his guard.” Rodriguez nodded at his staff. “I want a working group formed to deal with this today. Any resources you need, you’ll get. There’s nothing more important than stopping this from taking place. Nothing.”
Umberto scratched out an indecipherable message to himself and put the pen down. “What about the Federales ? We’ll need to bring them into the mix. We can’t keep a threat to national security like this to ourselves.”
“I’ve thought about that. We’ll take it up the appropriate channels and request a liaison. That should satisfy protocol so we’re covered. But make no mistake. When all is said and done, this is a Mexican problem, not a departmental one. So let’s get to work on it, shall we?”
Umberto wasn’t done. “Who was killed? You mentioned that someone died to keep this quiet. Who, and who killed him? Because if they knew that the information was at risk, the German could already be on alert.”
“It was a local informant in Berlin. That’s all the French would tell us. But I did a search of deaths in Berlin for the last ten days, and found one that fits the bill. Death by shooting. A member of the police department. A clerk of some sort. As to who did it, they didn’t have any idea. It’s one of the frustrating aspects of the case. But I think we can assume it was someone connected to Rauschenbach, if not the man himself. Although given his reputation, if it was him, I’m surprised anyone got out of it alive.”
“What about...what about his security? The target? We’ll need to notify them as well.”
“I’d rather not just yet. As I said, there’s more at stake here than meets the eye, and I’d rather not alarm anyone if we can handle this internally. I’m looking for any sort of ideas, no matter how unorthodox. We can’t afford to be conservative in this. I have a meeting scheduled with the president and his chief of staff this afternoon to give them the broad strokes, and I’d like some options before I have to brief them. That gives you” – Rodriguez checked the time – “three hours to mull this over and come up with something. I realize that’s short notice, but do what you can. I’ll be back before then to hear what you’re proposing. In the meanwhile, you can access all the data here, in this file, and on the network. Code name Eagle. Your clearances have all been entered.”
Rodriguez stood, and the men glanced at each other uneasily. A cross-disciplinary working group like Rodriguez had proposed was highly unusual, and some of the personalities involved were still smarting from other battles. But he’d been unequivocal. They needed to put their differences aside and come up with something quickly.
Rodriguez moved to the door, took a final look
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