What happened after this is almost a matter of record across two countries, at least in the offices of those in the know. Still, for the purposes of the official record, I’ll continue.
“What do you want me to say to your office?” He didn’t smile, I thought that was odd. I expected something, but he gave no expression at all. “Tell them, I’m alive, and secure. Then hang up.” She laid down her fork. “What am I to say to the White House? I assume I’ll be talking to the President.” “Actually no, you’ll be talking to you, or at least the actor they’ve hired to play you.”
“I see, I don’t suppose the message really matters. My voice is really the trigger isn’t?” With still no expression, he stood and looked at Jean Luc. “In my business, and it is really that a business, you don’t care who gets the glory. You call me César, but that’s part of the act. I’m really more like P.T. Barnum, I give the folks a show, a three ring circus you might say. While everyone is watching the clowns and the trapeze act in the other two rings, the strongman in the middle is loosening the screws holding the net.”
“It was never about me was it?” This time, he did allow his face to reflect something, it was sadness. “Unfortunately no, I rather wish it had been. You seem far more intelligent than I realized. Prime Minister, you could have been so useful. Yet, you championed businesses that went against my interests. I tolerated it as long as I could, but you just make to much happen.”
The Prime Minister and I shared a look, and she moved closer to Cote. “So you decided to use me to make what you wanted happen.” He smiled. “So, so brilliant, sure you won’t make the second call?” She picked Jean Luc up and faced Cote. “Oh, the second call I would have made in a heartbeat. It’s the first one that’s never going to happen.”
Then Camille, I mean the Prime Minister, launched Jean Luc at Cote. I never saw him in better form, he had Cote on the ground in seconds. The man tried to stab the cat with the knife in his coat, but Jean Luc was too fast. Soon Cote was couched in a corner, bleeding and trembling. I picked up the knife, as Augustus pointed his five-seven at him.
Camille was in charge now, though she knew we only had a few minutes. “What was going to happen when I made those calls?” He looked up at us trying to bluff. “Doesn’t matter now, you’ll all be dead in two minutes.” “No, you don’t. You can’t risk bloodshed here, this isn’t your hotel. It’s across the street from a television network. One that has it’s cameras and equipment focused on our room, and has since the beginning.” He frowned.
Augustus spoke next. “We knew that you would watch for any police or military presence. You wouldn’t expect a third party to be filming us from another location though. I made the contact when Jean Luc and I walked this morning.” It was my turn. “We have you Mr. Cote, it doesn’t matter if you send twenty men in here. It will be viral in seconds. Now start explaining.”
The rest you know all to well Mr. President. The first phone call wasn’t to Cote’s office at all, it was to his operative at the White House. This was all really a test to see if he could control Camille, or whether he would have to really kill her.
The actress that I thought was a fellow colleague. She had been a plant since the beginning of her career, a hired assassin of his organization. Her mission wasn’t to impersonate the Prime Minister for us, but to kill you for him. When she didn’t get the call, she knew Cote’s end of the plan had gone south.
Still, he had giver her orders to proceed regardless. She wasn’t waiting so much on his signal, as giving him time to secure the political control of the Prime Minister. He wanted something to blackmail the Prime Minister with. In short, letting her think she had agreed to do his bidding to save her own skin.
Their plan was to kill one, and control the other. What she didn’t count on was that before you were the President, you had been in the CIA. You had not only trained Jean Luc, you trained his sister.
The sister that America knows as the sweet, shy Presidential cat, Marguerite. When Cote’s agent lunged at you, Marguerite attacked, just as Jean Luc had, giving the Secret Service time to react.
As you also know, I’m still on special assignment in Canada, attached to the Prime Minister’s office. We’re working together to bring down Cote’s organization, and I’m afraid that it will take some time. Tonight though, I have the night off, thanks to you Mr. President.
P.S. (Encoded for the President’s reading only)
You were right my friend. I have a date, unfortunately, your the only one that can know that. It’s going to be awfully difficult when we have to stop seeing each other. As you explained to me, due to the politics involved, and for her career, one day we’ll have to say goodbye. For as long as we can, we won’t think about that day.
We’re going to dinner. It will most likely be her Uncle’s apartment, the press can be so frustrating, but it will be fun. Tonight, I’m not a top secret agent, and she’s not the leader of a nation. We’re just two people who thought they didn’t like each other, and tried hard to convince ourselves of that. Thankfully, at least at that assignment, we were both a Flop.