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Mallory Rowe First Kill

Ron Lewis


Mallory Rowe First Kill




Ron Lewis

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© Copyright 2011/2024 by Ron Lewis

All Rights Reserved

Cover Design by Shiloh Young


This story is purely a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, whether living or deceased, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.


Mallory Rowe First Kill

Several Years Ago


Knots tied in his stomach. A gut-wrenching seasickness. Reminding Deputy Director Hanover how much he hated being on a ship. A strange thing for an admiral. However, Admiral James William Hanover was the former head of Naval Intelligence. While he was a Navy man, through and through, James seldom set foot on sea vessels his entire 30-year career.


Watching in amusement at his old friend’s discomfort, Captain John Samuels didn’t quite laugh. Their friendship went back to their days at the United States Naval Academy.


Hanover, who finished 10th in their class, was not far ahead of his friend, who was 14th. The great expectations they had for each other, coupled with the competitiveness of their relationship, kept the friends in touch.


Never serving together. Neither learned to fly nor underwent SEAL training, but advanced in the Navy. A seadog from the start, Samuels made his way through the command structure, becoming a captain in less than 14 years.


Hanover went straight to intelligence work. Starting as an analyst and working his way up the ladder. Promoted to admiral before his 40th birthday, Hannover worked hard for his rank and for his country.


Crossing paths often, a friendship began at the academy and continued thereafter. Shared respect and admiration between the two men was immense. Hanover held greater value in his friend’s opinions than anyone else.


Part of the reason he was here was for the man’s opinion.


If that judgment matched what Hanover desired, he had a mission for one of Captain Samuels’s pilots.


Espionage was not a game. But you play or work it like one.


Agents who handled themselves well were a key factor. As a matter of fact, it was essential. Recruiting those operatives required much information about the person you were after, which did not tell you everything.


One of Hanover’s favorite evaluation tools was dumping would-be field workers into an operation to see how they handle things. Successful candidates would have a job offer waiting for them. However, there is always an inherent danger that they’d die if unsuccessful.


Hazard for an untrained agent was what he hated about this technique. Still, all contenders for this agency had some kind of training. Few had one hour of experience, and mistakes would happen. Surviving to learn from those errors was the goal.


Thinking of why he had come here, DD Hanover wanted just to blurt out what he required of his old friend. This was not his way. He had to contain his excitement. Still, he felt he knew this person was the real deal. A valuable candidate came along, so seldom one planned to do it right.


Quiet and comfortable, the Captain’s Ready Room was his hideaway. No one bothered Captain Samuels without a good cause. The exception was when he offered an invitation. Drinking the Scotch, DD thumbed a book on Navy procedures for landing. Hoping the whisky would settle his stomach, DD read to kill time.


Kill time. What a strange expression, considering why he came to the Indian Ocean.


The violent pitching slowly faded, and the vessel had a gentler sway.


Far more movement was happening than usual, though. Touching down would be difficult. DD was not feeling well. The seasickness wouldn’t let go of him. He hated being on the sea, but he was fifth generation Navy. His son was the sixth Hanover to wear the uniform as a calling.


Bucking up sometimes was a necessary part of any job.


His boy was the primary reason Hanover was here. With a simple letter from him, Hanover watched Ensign Rowe from January of the previous year onward. Digging into her past, present, and calculating what her future might contain, he found she was just what the doctor ordered.


Darkness filled her under the surface. Shadows of the soul black as midnight, a key to a person with a somewhat disturbed psyche. Volatile, capable, with a deep sense of loyalty and patriotism, were conclusions he drew from what he learned.


Possibly, she was more than a little troubled. But that wasn’t something that worried Hanover. Agents with problems, especially women operatives with difficulties, probably go back to the Culper Ring and 355. Bless the ladies. They’re far better spies.


DD knew this and accepted it.


Let the myth of dashing men stand. Ladies would gain trust and admittance where no male spy might. Women’s beautiful faces and seductive smiles gained more secrets than charming men could manage with three times the numbers.


Silence filled the air for twenty minutes until it became awkward.


Discussions of spouses, children, and even grandchildren ran out. The two men sat in an uncomfortable hush. Knowing Captain Samuels was dying to hear why DD traveled halfway around the world.


Hanover enjoyed making him wait.


Wanting to tell him, DD waited for just the right moment. Glancing at the small black box with its flashing green light, DD Hanover knew no one listened in on them. A former field operative, Hanover learned to be cautious. A trait that stuck with him. Holding the contraption for Samuels, he grinned, as if to say now would be a good time.


“Hell, Jimmy, I can’t take this any longer.”


Less impressed with what light signaled, it was safe to talk, than agitated that his friend took so long to get to the point.


“What brings the Deputy Director of the nonexistent Special Investigative Service to my aircraft carrier?” Captain John Samuels asked.


“Her,” he threw a file from his briefcase to the captain’s desk, and it slid across the empty desktop.


Captain Samuels gazed at “Your Eyes Only,” emblazoned on the folder and the name. An enormous smile came over the captain’s face.


“Lt. Mallory Dallas Rowe,” Samuels said, “the number one pilot I have. The top sniper in all the armed forces. A highly trained Navy SEAL who’s not allowed within 200 miles of combat. This all because the folks at home just couldn’t stand to lose a woman in combat.”


He stopped, stood, and paced bout when he spoke.


“And by the way, that is a lot of male chauvinist bullshit at the Pentagon. But, old friend, that is my unofficial opinion. Officially, whatever they want. Whatever happened to having the right person for the job?”


Samuels returned to his chair.


“That’s why I am here. When can I see MS Rowe? I have a job for her, a kind of audition.” The DD clutched his stomach for a second. Appearing close to a shade of green, it was easy to tell DD suffered from seasickness.


Heaving upward and to port, the Aircraft Carrier threw her 5,349 inhabitants around, including DD. He grabbed his stomach, worried he might retch at any moment. That would be awkward for him. The sea was not through with the carrier or her men and women.


The craft lurched in the ocean for several uncomfortable minutes before settling down again.


“For a Navy man, you’re a weird duck, Jimmy.” The Captain tossed a bottle of antacids. “You need the ship’s doctor?”


DD Hannover shook his head. “No, thank you. But I’ll take these, grateful for them, Johnny.”


“She is on a recon flight.” He said as he glanced down at his watch and then referred to a clipboard. “She’ll touch down in two hours and seven minutes, approximately.”


“Excellent pilot, is she?”


“If it has wings or rotors, she can fly it. You know she was fifth in her class at Annapolis, which tops you and me. Top of her class at Navy Fighter Weapons School. Hell, they desired to keep her as an instructor. She’s the best there is.”


Captain Samuels and DD nodded in agreement.


Hannover shoved about 10 of the small tablets in his mouth.


“Top of the group in her SEAL training unit and one hell of a martial arts expert,” Samuels said.


“Yes, and she is more than a little emotionally unstable,” Hanover said, peering at his notes, added. “The relationship between her and father appears ... complicated, to say the least.”


“She keeps her emotional issues under control. As to her father, whatever that relationship was, she has had more than her share of trouble other than those with him.”


“Johnny, you don’t need to defend her. MS Rowe’s particular personality quirks aren’t a detriment in my line of work.” He spoke with a soft yet authoritative voice. “Give me your unadulterated opinion of her. The straight, brutal truth, in excruciating detail. Old friend, be honest about her. Tell me her assets and handicaps.” The DD looked at his friend.


John Samuels thought for some time.


“I think she has a tortured soul.” Rubbing his forehead, Samuels glanced to his right, where a mirror hung on the wall. Gazing back at him from the mirror were eyes, his eyes begging him to stay quiet. “There’s a rage about something so deep inside her and wanting so desperately to be set loose. She is dangerous. If the right circumstance happens, she will be capable of anything.”


“Can she kill and stay whole?” DD asked him.


“She isn’t whole now. Can she kill? Yes, will it affect her?” There was a long pause as Samuels considered what to reveal. “No,” he said without elaboration. “I don’t know if that is good, even in your work.”


Clearing his throat, wondered what else to divulge after a few moments. The captain continued telling her strengths and a few weaknesses. Damn, few weak points existed, though, for him to report.


“Little girl and grown woman all wrapped tight together in one person with a touch of anger mixed in for an imperfect damaged psyche. She is smart, fast on her feet, and can care for herself.” Pausing often as he spoke. The captain struggled to put what he thought into words. “Will she be a reasonable agent? No, she’ll be an excellent agent and should stay alive long enough.”


He stopped talking. After a few moments, he added to his statement in a far-off voice.


“You know, when they catch a serial killer, all the neighbors say, ‘We just didn’t have a clue.’ I’m here to tell you, buddy, no one would say that if she turned out to be a serial killer. Instead, they would say. ‘She was never quite right.’ She will be one hell of a field operative. She’ll make you proud, but there will be a price to pay for her actions.”



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