Cooper Wilson shot straight up in bed, sweat rolling in large beads down his face and along his soaking back. In the corner of the room, Agent Smith put down the magazine he was reading. “Were you there the entire time?” Cooper asked.
“We are tasked with having eyes on you at all times.” There are probably more personnel in this residence than there are in many of the Ambassadorial residences here in town.” Agent Smith flatly replied. Cooper closed his eyes. He was convinced that Smith wasn’t the agent’s real name, and that every agent on the detail would answer to the name. “You don’t sound happy about that.” Cooper replied.
Agent Smith’s poker face refused to budge. “You’re an assignment. I’m a professional.”
Cooper looked into Smith’s steely eyes. “Be honest. I can take it. You’d rather not be here, am I right?”
Smith paused a minute, then turned his head slightly, his face invaded by the beginning of an expression. “I neither like you or dislike you Mr. Wilson. I’m aware of your past. I know how most of your family died, and believe it or not, I sympathize. I know you’re a symbol…a bridge between the ideals of the past and the realities of your country’s present. I know what you could mean to certain rebel factions in your country, but after your country overshadowed mine for more than a century, and in many ways dominated us culturally, I tend to view your nation’s internal strife as your business, and not ours. There is no upside for Canada in us getting involved.”
Cooper rose, crossed the room, to where his clothes lay in a chair, and started to dress. Neither said a word as Cooper donned his socks, his pants, his shoes, and then stood, his back to Agent Smith, buttoning his shirt. When he finished, he crossed the room toward the door, where he put his hand on the door knob, paused, and turned back to Agent Smith. “During that time of “overshadowing”, your family slept safe under the aegis of my country’s shadow, as we stood on guard against a threat you couldn’t have hoped to successfully defend against on your own. For whatever the rest of our faults were during that time, that should count for a lot. Maybe everything. But if the “rebels”, as you call them, are eventually defeated, then you have to know that the victors will turn their attentions on you. Still, thank you for your candor.”
Cooper turned to open the door when Agent Smith called after him “Mr. Wilson! I said I am a professional, and I meant it. If I can prevent harm from coming to you, even at the cost of my life, I WILL do it.”
Cooper shut his eyes. “I didn’t ask for that, and I don’t want it.” he thought to himself.
He opened his eyes, walked out, and shut the door behind him, nodding to the Agent waiting outside the door who silently followed him down the hall, remaining two steps behind.