A New Opportunity








“I don’t understand,” I said. “I failed the mission. I let my team down. I don’t understand why you aren’t letting me go.”

The boss gave me a long, hard look. “It’s because you failed a mission that I’m here today. Through these cameras that I know you know are there,” he pointed at the wall, “I’ve been watching you carefully. And the resilience you’ve shown is unlike anything I’ve seen in a spy before. You haven’t lost your commitment to the cause.”

I was flabbergasted. All this time I had been underground, believing I was being held against my will, but now it appeared to be all an elaborate test. Then the boss said a sentence that rocked me to my core.

“I sabotaged your final mission.”

I could only stare at him, dumbfounded, as I attempted to process his words. Everything that had gone wrong, from the auto electrical failure to the getting lost to the falling off the cliff-face and all the physical therapy that had resulted from it – all of it had been planned? I had predicted much in my spy career and I had dealt with information that could destroy the world if it were ever revealed. But discovering this, after months of isolation and pondering, seemed to surpass all the information I had known about in the past.

Despite my training, I had only one word in response. “Why?”

The boss pointed at the partition, and when his finger touched the plasterboard, the white colour fell away to be replaced by a digital screen, filled with words and pictures. In the top left corner were pictures of myself, some of which I recognised as having been taken during my mission. Others were words and phrases, like most recommended mechanic in Lockleys and Melbourne auto electrical, which related to my last mission. It seemed to be a digital compendium of my whole life as a spy, all laid out in front of me.

The boss turned to face me. “When I said I’ve been watching you, I didn’t just mean for the past few months while you’ve been down here. I’ve been watching you for years now. I’m nearing retirement, and I need a replacement. I’ve nominated you.”