In the middle of my 6 week holiday, I literally got called in for an “Italian job”. And yes, it was just as boring as the film. It cut into (completely approved) recreation time, and I had to come up with a reason for a sudden trip to Venice that wasn’t on the itinerary. My girlfriend, luckily, didn’t mind (actually, telling your girlfriend “oh, uh, we have to go to Venice” isn’t the hardest sell if I’m being fair).
LoTech stuff, a bank in San Marco. I had to pick up a new passport with the right stamps, so I needed to pick up a redacted business card (literally classic black lines through words) which left only the letters for cypher instruction (as I said; everything is a test. I was sober the rest of the trip because of this. And pretty much since too).
I then handed my passport, with the business card inside, to the train inspector with the “Marco” name badge. (I am not even kidding). Why complicate things is the name of the game.
It took a while, but when they brought our passports back, mine now had the corrected stamps and the chip altered by a machine that looks like a self service checkout (we saw them at PGN. Basic training for a reset. Actually, you can see them at terminals at most airports if you know what you’re looking at. Usually towards the ends, the attendant who’s just that little to old to be working front counter at an airport, and no baggage weigh station? Anyway. Who cares).
They had to take the girlfriend’s too of course, for appearance, and she flipped out a little but not much. And actually, why did they? I guess it makes things appear uniform, but you’ve got to stay out of your head. It is that kind of over-thinking that screws things in the field. That’s probably why I got the desk. The fact that I have rules for “staying out of your head” rather than just staying out of your head.
Yes, I know this is boring, it’s my life. You don’t have to live it. You don’t even have to read it.
(Although on that note; somewhat disconcertingly I’ve been approved for a carry. I didn’t ask. If I’m being moved no one’s told me. They’ll want me enrolled in something at a local University till at least G20, no question. And involved passively in some left group. Keep an eye. It’s really ridiculous when all posters are online now and they can just join twitter for updates themselves. Though there is a secret page, so there you go).
I guess ultimately there is no replacement for solid Humint, just like with investigative journalism: even with the whole internet, the first story always comes from boots on the ground investigative work. Anyway. That’s all for another entry.
My former OPC has a running social footprint, as is protocol, an active Facebook profile complete with baby pics. It isn’t her though, I’ve confirmed that. It is still funny. That page is somebody’s job.
My new OPC is not a friend. Oh, I can say that, like these things really get double vetted. I’ve already got my narrative approval no. for this series anyway. The point is the old OPC wasn’t really a friend either. Not “not” a friend, just ultimately no more than the profile is now, really. If that makes sense.
But for the most part, it isn’t the job for making friends. Which is why I chose it really, I now know. I use to be all about boundary free living, complete openness, truth to self first and then to all others. And I still am; in principle. Maybe this job is to protect me from intimacy. (Ooooh)
In the states I didn’t make friends much outside of training. Not that I had much of a shot. First of all we weren’t allowed to go out of precinct anyway (there is a shopping complex down Arlington a ways).
Besides, we were from different parts of the globe training for a joint op that specifically required us to be nowhere near each other.
And not that I maintain much in the way of honest contacts under any one name now, but don’t I need some familiarity? It doesn’t even feel true as I type it. No, I don’t. Not like the relationships I see. Loner and all that standard profile stuff.
But still, be that as it may; I still know I’m not scheduled to leave. I just started a new 5 for one thing. Protocol doesn’t allow them to be interrupted that easily. Bad for psychological health, leads to early career burn out. You need the stability, apparently, even if it is temporary and can be taken away at anytime.
You know how I know for certain I am not scheduled to rotate on a permanent shift? Language enforced learning has dropped from 3 with 2 minimum fluent to 1: suspended. That’s more than a tell. 2015-17 maybe. And who knew 8 years ago that Mandarin and Russian would turn out to be good choices. Fluked it.
I wonder what in my PX correctly selected me for a desk and sig-ear deploy when my credentials were Hu, my cognitive science the minimum of computer programing and my personality (I thought) gregarious. Especially when I didn’t really know I was a loner myself yet. While willing to drop everything on a whim. And travel off site. Alone.
But they were right, as usual. We’re just so very good at that stuff now.
LSC J.J.R, (GSI- [A01]-AusD3-CivPsyOpsSeries/MISO#4), Rpt/AppNo: HxA01-353-3113/A
Reprinted JChronLettSci (2013). From Re-Pent. Ed6