And we’re back from our meeting with my NSA source. And as usual, I have some good news and bad news. I suppose it all depends on how you look at it. And for our mutual friend and colleague, who happened to be on site when it happened, it was certainly shocking. Perhaps I should defer to my field report and let people decide for themselves…
Veiled Tsunami and Dark Angel were on hand to oversee the events and monitored our conversation. The transcript they while bearing witness appears below, with minor annotations provided. For security purposes, the names of the people involved have been removed.
“Source: [censored], you look different. Lose weight since we spoke last?
Smackdown: [censored], good to see you too. Yeah, been getting a little more exercise than usual.
Source: So I’ve heard. Are the rumors true?
Smackdown: What, you mean about the new crime-fighting league? I suppose so. Depends on what you’ve heard.
Source: Well, I’ve heard that you got criminals running scared in the big city. Some say its only a matter of time before they start bringing in the heavy guns, try to knock you over.
Smackdown: That’s really not what I called you to talk about.
Source: I figured as much. You don’t hear from a guy for years, suddenly he calls out of the blue. You gotta assume he’s looking for a favor.
Smackdown: Yeah, well you remember Kandahar, don’t you? I’m calling it in.
Source: Easy there, Mr. Vigilante. I’m debating who owes who here. But you need to know, I’m taking a big risk just by coming out here. As per your… request, I did some digging and got a hit on the name you gave. Turns out you’re friend, Mr. T, presents a bit of weird case.
Smackdown: Weirder than grown men and women running around in costumes fighting crime?
Source: [laughs] Worse, though it’s definitely in the same ballpark. Tyrene, it turns out, wasn’t just some high-profile thief treasure hunter. He was a deep cover operative who did wet work for any number of security agencies. NSA had never heard of him, but I know guys who say folks at the CIA, MI6 and Mossad had him on speed dial. His criminal racket was just a cover he used for a few years.
Smackdown: Wait a minute, this artist used to be an assassin?
Source: We all got our hobbies. Right now, yours is to run around the big city making purse snatchers and mobsters nervous. Mine is spying on immigrants who don’t file for the right kind of permits. We make a living though…
Smackdown: I get it, fine! But where does the whole rumor about this code come into play?
Source: What, you mean that painting fable? No idea. But rumor has that after he retired, he turned to art, and some of his subject matter was spooking some of his old associates. Anything else I could tell you would be speculation at this point, but I did find one other thing that might be useful to you.
Source: An old file from the CIA archive. Brought you a copy, thought you might like some light reading on the way home.
Smackdown: [takes the file. reads it] Wait a minute… this was his first job. He was contracted to recover a downed aircraft?
Source: In Nicaragua, yes. Back when the Contras were fighting for control of the country. The official-unofficial story said one of the CIA’s planes was shot down after conducting a covert meeting with the rebels, but that sounds like company talk to me. I think they found something down there in the middle of the conflict zone, so they sent in some company men to get their hands on it. He was one of the infiltration team that was supposed to go in and find out.
Source: Keep reading.
Smackdown: I don’t get this… after that mission, he was put on indefinite medical leave?
Source: Right. After that mission, he became the super spy that no one wanted to have on the payroll anymore. After that, he was the guy they secretly contracted to do the big, black op missions.
Smackdown: There’s another page here. It looks like it was from before he retired. [reads] So he broke into a secret warehouse? And this was connected to the mission down south?
Source: Apparently. And it’s not a warehouse so much as of the storage facility the CIA put aside for hiding sensitive materials. My guess is whatever they recovered over there was brought back here. Tyrene broke back in to where it was being kept and tried to take it again.
Smackdown: And they just let him take it?
Source: No idea. The report doesn’t say he made off with anything, it just hints that he came back to the location where they kept it. Again, just guessing, but I think whatever he found was something he needed to get his hands on again.
Smackdown: Like a crack addict needing a new fix… I think I see a pattern here.
Source: Do you? Because I have to admit that it’s getting a little weird for me.
Smackdown: Yeah, sorry for the confusion. It’s still new to me too. This makes us square, you know. I promise never to ask for a favor again.
Source: You could just call to chat about old times.
Smackdown: [laughs] I’ll do that, just as soon as the collective scum of the world decides to take a break.
Confused, Revengers? Well I sure was at first. Allow me to elucidate further… Based on the clues provided the other two paintings, I think that Tyrene was part of a recovery team that was sent to Guatemala to pick up something alien. I think it gave him and the others special powers, and thereafter they were put to work doing deep cover stuff to keep their powers secret.
I think he broke back into the warehouse where it was being kept because whatever it was it gave him needed to be periodically recharged. Or maybe he just hoped that he could get a boost by going back to the source. Who knows? Point is, I think the third and final painting contains the location of the warehouse itself! I trust people are nervous now, because if it does, whoever stole it is on their way there!
The address of this storage facility was contained in the brief my source prepared for me. We need to go there immediately and prevent whoever is hoping to break in from doing just that. No doubt it will guarded, but for all we know, our adversary is packing some serious heat!
So who’s with me for a road trip/ass-whooping?