Agent Peck waved to the agent parked outside the Tilden house and rang the doorbell. I’ll be damned, we’re using Ford’s now. It’s still a big SUV but not black. He focused on the number plates. Damn, still government plates. The door opened and he faced Tilden. He introduced himself as she let him in. Peck introduced himself to Frankie and again to Collins. Frankie took Peck’s ID and looked at it, matching the photo to Peck and fingering his badge.
“Am I accepted as advertised young man?” Peck replaced his ID in his pants pocket.
“Yeah. You’re him. I mean you’re you.” Frankie shut the TV off.
“Dr. Gesecke told me he informed Mrs. Tilden about your war injury, Dr. Collins. He also mentioned he had not informed Frankie.”
“Correct. What’s going on?” Collins sat on the sofa next to Frankie and motioned Peck to sit on a parlor chair opposite Tilden.
Peck explained about the poison liquid trichothecene and the importance and miracle of Collins’ survival especially making eye contact with Frankie. He did not mention a similar survivor from Iran. He stressed the top-secret status. “The net result is there are Iranian agents here in San Antonio who want to examine you, Dr. Collins. They also want to get a hold of any medical records which may inform them of a possible antidote against their chemical poison.”
“Does my medical file have this information?”
“Your records are kept up to date, including the results of the tissue culture toxicology studies being done in Bethesda Naval Hospital.”
“Do we have an antidote yet?” Collins leaned forward.
“We’re getting close. The reason I’m here is to protect you and your family from abduction or harm.”
“We could be kidnapped by Arabs?” Frankie was wide-eyed.
“Not if I can help it Frankie. The best way to let us help guard you all is for you not to change your daily routines. Go to work as usual and Frankie you go to school on Monday.” Peck pointed at Frankie. “You may notice a new schoolbus driver, Frankie. He’s one of us?”
“Does he have a gun?” Frankie was excited. “Can I tell anyone?”
“Frankie, no one is to know about Dr. Collins and his war exposure to poison chemicals. And no one is to know about us.” Peck smiled at Frankie. “We can’t be secret agents if everyone knows about us. Right?”
“Right?” Frankie agreed.
“So whatever living arrangement you currently have–keep it. Dr. Collins you stay at your condo at night. Don’t change. We have someone here and at your place even when both houses are empty.”
“Any special instructions?” Collins asked.
“Yes. If strangers appear for any reason, you’re to call us.” Peck pointed at Frankie again. “Frankie, if anyone approaches you in school, at the school grounds or anywhere, you get away and call your mother or Dr. Collins.”
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