Operation Runaway

A Jonathon Stone Mystery Short Story

NSA information leaked by a spy sends Jonathon Stone and his fellow agent, Chuck Chun to Hawaii to stop the flow of information. Is our suspect a whistleblower or is it espionage? Their assignment: neutralize and stop the flow of information. At a luau in Paradise, they get help from an unlikely source before Jonathon and Chuck can complete their mission.

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Excerpt from Operation Deadline

My boss, Russ Evans, was coming to Long Beach to brief me in person. When he did things like that it was always a special project and there was always danger involved. He was bringing Chuck Chun with him, a fellow agent, to help me with the op.

I turned my car into the Long Beach Airport parking lot and parked in short-term parking. I was about a half hour early so I headed to the restaurant in the terminal. There was enough time for a cup of coffee and a bagel. I had stayed away from the casino the night before just in case we were headed somewhere.

A CIA agent-at-large meant you got the quick and dirty assignments. I sat at the counter and drank my coffee. Usually, Russ gave me a good outline of what I was getting into beforehand. This time, besides the arrival information, his only remark was that it was a Stealth Op.

In the past, that meant a Black Op with limited communications. And to bring Chuck along was a sign that there was danger in the air.

I watched out the window as their plane landed, right on time. This airport is a no-frills one. The convenience was nice, but passengers had to deplane down mobile stairs to the tarmac. I watched as Russ and Chuck left the stairs and walked toward the terminal. Russ was much taller than Chuck. I guess I hadn’t noticed that before. The other surprise was Chuck was wearing a colorful Hawaiian shirt. It looked like we were going undercover, but Chuck was not going to blend in very well. At least, no one was going to make him as a Federal Agent with that thing on.

I met them in the luggage area. Russ had no baggage. Chuck, on the other hand, had two large suitcases. I greeted them both and we went to my car.
Once in the car, Russ said, “Let’s go someplace where we can talk uninterrupted with no chance of eavesdropping.”

“Got it. Chuck, are you going to a luau?” I asked. I always tried to give him a hard time. He gave me one of his quick looks and didn’t answer.

I am the observant type who always tries to read between the lines. So we had Chuck with two large suitcases, a loud shirt, and no comment and we were headed to a secure location.

“How about the beach?” I asked.

We turned onto the main street and headed west. I know a couple of places near my home that were out in the open, yet secure enough for a confidential chat, at least before the beachgoers could get there.

I pulled the car into a parking area next to the beach and we walked to a set of stone tables. There was not much activity except for seagulls looking for breakfast in some garbage cans.

Russ started the conversation. “An order from the top has come down and you two were picked for the op. Jon, you have heard about this guy, Peter Drucker?”

“You mean the guy that’s leaking intel about our NSA operation?”

“That’s correct.”

I looked at Chuck. They are ordering a hit on the most watched man in the world. This didn’t make sense.

“Isn’t he held up in Russia at the airport?”

Russ realized what I had concluded. “He is not our target. He has been neutralized; he just doesn’t know it yet. The longer he stays in no man’s land at that airport, the more time the NSA and our Agency have to change players and our game plans. We always had a backup plan if this ever happened.”

“Does he really have the information they are reporting?” I asked.

“He has enough. He is releasing a document or two a day that’s the real thing. Everyone in San Francisco is doing damage assessments. It’s our number one priority.”

“So we are not going to Russia, right?”

“We are going to Hawaii, Jon,” Chuck said, with a quick smile.

I had been completely thrown off, except for Chuck’s shirt.

“Okay, here is our situation. This guy has information not only on us and the United Kingdom, but he has stuff on the Russians and Chinese. You know, when we do a write-up, we include not only what we were doing, but what we found out. He has all that.”

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