"Hello, my name is Megan Campbell and I'm an investigator reporter for US News and World Report. I'm now standing front of a bombed out remains of the once lush and spacious home of Tassos Nicolaides, the leader of ARES. Tassos Nicolaides once had power, prestige and supremacy dominance over one of the largest and coldblooded world crime organization dealing in mass globe terror. But today all that remains is this jumble of rubble and the death of Tassos Nicolaides. My story starts six months ago when I received an international assignment to investigate the operation of ARES. During those six months I was like the third party watching two exceptionally gifted and clever spies doing their own thing, their way but now I getting ahead of myself. So let's go back to the beginning, back to that day when it all started for me. November 4th will forever be etched in my mind."
# # # # # #
Rainy cold day in New York City and the rush hour traffic was at its peak. Megan's cab stopping at the towering building of US News and World Report and she starting off her day by stepping into a cold puddle of water. The elevator being over loaded and her left foot soaked and chilled to the bone what else could go wrong - yeah, the coffee machine is broken.
"Good morning Megan and I need to see you in my office." Harry Bernstein the manager editor of international crime reporting standing just outside his office door. Now Harry is a not the fool around type of guy, always business and one dare not crack a joke around him or all hell would break loose. His personally could have been developed over the last thirty years of seeing the pits of human atrocious and the absolute brutal cruelty people can inflict on one another. At any rate, Harry Bernstein is well respect around the office.
"Good morning to you too. Have something new for me to cover." Megan all smiles that dim damp and nippy November day. Taking off her coat and scarf she found the usual chair across the desk from Harry and sat to watch the balding, slightly overweight gentleman take his chair.
"You ever heard of Tassos Nicolaides?" Harry looking for a file he had stored in a desk drawer.
"Yes, he is a very wealth Greek shipping tycoon believed to be supplying vessels for the transport of smuggled missiles and heavy weaponry to different Islamic extremist terror groups around the Mediterranean area."
Handing the file to Megan, "That is only part of his operations and we have some good information on his dealings. His crime venture goes by the name of ARES and name is from Greek mythological figures and Ares was the god of war, bloodshed, and violence. Fitting for his wealth of sadistic endeavors."
Megan looking through the file and reading a section, "He enjoys the good life."
"Tries to stay above all his filth and merciless dealing. Anyway you have a contact within the CIA and without divulging your source can you dig... I mean really dig deep into this monster's life and expose him for what he is. As you know, we need proof and verification on all the information in that file and if you can get more... well do it. Corroboration is the key here."
"Yes sir. I take it that I have the same leeway as with my past assignments?"
"Full and complete freedom to run your investigation as you see fit and with the budget to match. Of course making sure you don't overdo the expenses."
"Thank." Megan taking the file to her desk, the small cubical in the corner of a large newsroom and starts her review of facts. One name pops up and she knows the name, Arthur Campbell, her brother. Okay this is the best excuse for a trip to Washington and a visit with the family. Business and pleasure but first to find a decent cup of coffee. There is a Starbucks in the next block and quick walk in the rain would do her good, start the juices flowing for this new assignment. Thank god she remembers to bring her umbrella.
Sitting at a comfortable booth in Starbucks and enjoying a pumpkin spice latte, Megan makes a call to her brother, "Good morning Art, this is your long-lost little sister calling."
"Well Meg good to hear from you and what is the reason for your call?" Arthur Campbell picking up the call on the third ring.
"Thought I would pop down to Washington and have a visit with you, Joan and the new baby."
"Great. When can you come?" Arthur all cheerful and happy to hear from his little sister.
"I can catch the five o'clock shuttle out this evening and hope I have an invitation for dinner."
"You know you do. Will you be able to spend a few days?"
"One or two days before I have to leave for Europe and can't wait to see Mac, my new nephew. That is the nickname you have hung on him isn't it."
"You know me Meg, we have to shorten all names. Yeh we call him Mac. See you this evening and I'm sure there is more to your visit than just seeing the baby."
"Yeah big brother, you know me too well and I'll read you in on all the details or lack of when we are face to face."
"Okay Meg, see you tonight."
That was easy she thought. Now home to pack for some warmer weather, she was headed to the Mediterranean, Monaco to be specific
Washington's weather was much better than what Megan had left in New York but still with a chill in the air. She would try to be in the states during Thanksgiving, the Campbell's time to get the entire family together but she had her doubts for this year's celebrations. Her sister and husband with their kids would be flying in from Miami and the youngest brother Colin and his long time live-in girlfriend from Texas would always converge on Arthur's home. Arthur being the oldest and he had kept up the traditional of Thanksgiving but for last year and for the life of her she couldn't remember the reason the clan didn't get together.
Renting a car and driving into Virginia and the gated community where Arthur and Joan lived, Megan was in a good-humored, a new and stimulating assignment, a long overdue visit with her brother and maybe a chance to take a quick trip to also visit her father. Ralph Campbell is up in his nineties and living in an assistance living home with showing no signs of slowing down. She had to laugh at her dad because last year he was talking about remarrying but the woman died on him the week before the wedding. Ralph wasn't upset as he had said being married would tie him down. The man is a character much like her other brother Colin, both playboys.
"Megan I'm so glad you call." Joan answering the door and in her arms was an adorable little boy, "The guest bedroom is always ready for you."
"Oh Joan how are you and I can't believe this is your Mac. What is he, ten months old?"
"Yes and shame on you for not coming sooner but I understand, your work is like ours, tough to get away. Come on to the kitchen and let me fix you a drink. Arthur is running a little late and he is the cook for tonight."
"I never knew my brother could cook."
"It's call take out for our favorite Italian place not far from here." Joan mixing a Bloody Mary for both of them. "He knows how much you love good Italian."
"That's Art, looking out for his sister." Megan taking a slip of her drink and tickling little Mac's chubby chin.
# # # # # #
"Hey this is Megan again and so that is how our evening went, very friendly without talk of Tassos Nicolaides or why Arthur's name would be associated with such a merciless criminal but then again, Arthur Campbell is CIA. It wasn't until the next day when I drove into work with Art and in his domain at Langley I was informed to stay clear of Tassos Nicolaides in no uncertain terms. I was only after information but had to listened to what he had to say and that was the easy part. The hard part was with a straight face tell him I would keep my distance. Of course we both knew that wouldn't happen but if it made him feel better about me leaving for Europe than so be it. Little white lies never hurt, especially if you are lying to your big brother and he knows it. There was little information Arthur could give me but a little is better than nothing and I have worked with less before. So now on to my assignment in the sun and fun capital of the world."