Other Aspects: Not Taking This Bullshit; Thrives in the Shadows; Just Tall Enough for This Ride; Never Fight Fair; I Specialize in the Ridiculous
“So I should warn you about someone we’re dumping. Elliott Smith is one of our troubleshooters. See, we don’t call him ‘Agent’ Smith or ‘Officer’ Smith or anything that formal. He doesn’t really fit in those categories anymore. For the last ten years or so, Smith’s expenses and paychecks were covered by the State Department’s pest control account, if you take my meaning.
“Smith ran away from home at fifteen ‘cause he couldn’t stand the suburban megachurch bullshit anymore. He lived off the grid until he decided to go to college. Teenage boy, all on his own, bouncing around the country and he never once got arrested, or wound up in an emergency room. No prints, no warrants, not even his face on a goddamn milk carton. Hell of a thing.
“Smith was a great operator for a long time. Took care of a lot of problems. Thing is, he’s just seen too goddamn much. Kept running into one creature of the night or another, especially anytime a job took him to Seattle. What’s worse, he never had the sense to just back off; he’d just find some allies or some angle on the matter and continue the mission, and then he’d write his report like he knew we’d see right through it, but we couldn’t call him on it ‘cause then he’d call us on our bullshit.
“He’s way past the red line now. Psych profiles come back clean; no behavioral concerns, no warning signs, but it’s just not safe to keep someone after they’ve had that many… incidents. Doesn’t matter if he looks okay. It’s policy. He’s past the red line. He’s done.
“We could take him off the board entirely, but… well, he might be useful in the future. Red line or not, the boy’s a patriot; the Director feels strongly about that. And, well, if we try to take him out, someone might fuck it up, and that would get messy. So he’s getting his walking papers, and we’ll see where he goes from there. Chances are, it’ll be Seattle, so we thought you should know.”