operation: chaperone | hill + carter

12°2′11″N 24°52′37″E
14:32 GMT +3

     In between emails she watches the wind whip over the sand through tinted bulletproof glass. What little vegetation there is is being sucked outward, tugged by invisible tendrils toward a low pressure system. Maria thinks idly that it’s like the sea when there’s a tsunami approaching- everything goes still and quiet while the oncoming wildness collected itself before wreaking unimaginable havoc. The dust cloud has been rising on the horizon for the better part of an hour; still several miles out but nonetheless sending the locals scattering and zipping toward whatever they called home. Sand rises with the swirling winds, aiming to blot out the sun but until it reaches them there’s still a window of time. They’re cutting it close, but Director Hill’s more worried about the Quinjet making its approach from Khartoum than the MRAP she’s currently occupying.

     Eyes flit toward the time at the top of her phone screen, tiny and centered above the email application she’s using, and she wills herself not to calculate how many hours it’s been since she last slept. A couple on the plane here, that had to count for something. The driver adjusts the air conditioning and a vent above her head begins to blow violently, disturbing the woven fabric she’s draped over her hair, looped into elegant folds around her neck. A slant-eyed glare toward the front seat while she fusses with the hem of the scarf, attention drawn abruptly back to the device in her palm by way of intruding vibration. The notification is ignored, to be dealt with later, and instead she taps out a brief email, swishing it away with a definitive press of her thumb.


>> Jet should be on the ground in fifteen. Might be a rushed transfer. Storm on the way, giving you a heads up.

     There’s a part of her that’s pleased to be out of the press of the city, dusting the tips of her boots and getting actual field work done rather than being chained to a desk mopping up mistake after mistake. It’s not much of a difference, being here rather than there; the effect is the same, she’s still working to right a wrong or at least attempt it. A shadow passes over the MRAP, the jet swings wide and settles over the tarmac before gently hovering downward. The pilot manages to keep the wings steady despite the winds that are now buffeting inward, slung back out from the storm like a left hook. Hill slides over in the seat, pops the door handle so it can be swiftly swung open, and crosses one leg over the other. 

She lifts her eyes from her phone when the door is wrenched open, filling the interior with a crust of sand that she sweeps one-handed from the seat onto the floor mat. 

     “Hope you’re ready to go, we have thirty-six hours before our presence will be deemed a non-diplomatic intrusion. And I don’t plan on leaving empty-handed.” 


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