Conspiracy at Desert One
By Bernace Charles
Within the dining room, Roya presented a table set for dinner. She found
an ample supply of food stocked in the refrigerator and prepared a dinner
of steak, baked potatoes, and canned asparagus. With this she sliced bread
and poured wineglasses with a red wine.
Roya stepped down a hall and to the library. She stood in the door and
watched Walker. His fingers seemed to fly at the laptop's keyboard. She
walked behind him and place her left hand on his right shoulder. Walker
hadn't noticed Roya was in the room until she touched him. Roya said, "Dinner
Walker turned and said, "A break would be good."
"You don't waste any time do you?"
Walker stood and answered, "I don't know how much time we have.
I have to get a first draft. After that, we polish it, and get it to my
agent along with the photographs and papers. A person who writes can't
just talk about writing. They have to write."
"Do you think your agent will be interested in the story?"
"After he sees the documentation, it will blow the roof off the
Walked placed an arm around Roya's waist and walked with her to the
dining room. Roya impressed Walker with the perfection of the table setting.
It was elegant. Instead of having their seats at opposite ends of the table,
Roya placed hers to the left of his. He said, "It smells great and
Roya said, "Thank you."
Walker pulled her chair out for Roya. As he sat, he wondered if it was
her fear causing her to want to be near him. For the moment, she had no
one but himself, and he had no one but her. They were outcasts of others
"Do you want to say grace or is it outdated in your world?"
Walker answered, "Being thankful is good." Walker placed a
hand over Roya's right and added, "I'll let you. I've probably forgotten
Roya bowed her head, closed her eyes, and said a simple prayer. She
finished it and Walker watched Roya open her eyes while realizing The Old
City held its affect on her. The young woman knew much of The Old City
wasn't of God but of making money. Even with this, she possessed a faith.
He asked, "Did you attend a church in The Old City?"
"I went to Mass. I would go to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
to pray. I'm well aware my guardian angel delivered you into my life."
"I hope my being a guardian angel allows me to keep us alive until
we get back to the states. If you'd rather, we can go to the press with
the story. It might protect you."
"No," Roya said in a strong voice, "I want my mother's
story told where those who come to know it see a woman used. I want her
remembered as a living, breathing person. It has to have the personal level
told. Lewis said he read one of your books and he thought he recognized
his adopted father. I want no less for my mother, Mr. Walker. I need you
to write her story."
Walker said, "I'll do my best." Walker lifted his wineglass
and said, "To your mother."
Roya repeated, "To my mother." Roya fell silent for several
minutes as she watched Wes Walker eat. She only picked at the food before
her. She wanted to be alone and cry, she wanted held, comforted, and she
wanted Wes Walker to hold her.
Walker sensed her loneliness and said, "Tell me about your grandfather's
work in Iran."
Roya looked through Walker and saw into the past. She said, "My
mother's father was the head of the economic section of the embassy following
the Second World War. The State Department assigned him to Tehran. My mother
was born in Tehran. My mother lived there until she was sixteen."
"It must have been an experience living in the Middle East."
Roya continued, "When my grandfather's work with the embassy ended
he taught at Tehran University and served as an advisor for the Iranian
Minister of Economics. He was an advisor and instructor at the University
of Tehran. I have no doubt he was a Central Intelligence Agency contact.
My mother would talk of how she loved the city and of her going back."
Walker asked, "Going back at the time of the hostage situation?"
"Yes, but she kept more to the topic of spending her youth there.
She spoke multiple languages. With her background, it was natural for the
foreign office, or the intelligence service to accept her into their ranks.
She thought working within the CIA would be more of an adventure. My mother
was a free spirit. It's why my father sent her to Tehran. The night she
was in the desert she had a camera and a roll of high-speed film. It was
how she managed the photographs. She never told my father until years later."
Walker hadn't expected Roya's last words. He asked, "Are you certain
she never told anyone other than your father about the photographs?"
Walker emphasized his words, "Roya, if they don't know the photographs
exit we can take them to the press."
"No," Roya insisted. "I want a story written about my
mother's experience and what this did to her. We can take it to your agent.
The photographs will draw further interest in the story. I want my mother
Wes understood Roya's desire. He hoped he had time to write the story.
If someone found them, and they managed to escape, they would have one
place in the British Isles they could hide. He asked, "Do you know
the time that your mother first became involved with The Raven?"
Roya remembered her mother's letter. "My mother met Fred Southgate
because her husband brought him home with him on a Thanksgiving. They were
home on leave from Vietnam. I'm a product of my mother falling in love
outside her marriage. She endured her sin and tried to put it behind her.
I don't think she ever fully recovered from it."
Walker found himself admiring Roya's depth of acceptance. He asked,
"Did your mother tell you this?"
Roya answered in a sad voice, "No, she wrote it in a letter found
with the papers and photographs in the bank in Zurich. I was born after
my father returned to Southeast Asia." Roya paused before adding,
"I think life is a trial."
"You're too young to give up on life. It's getting past the bad
parts making it difficult. There can be good times."
Roya didn't know how to respond to words. She said, "I hope so,
"Please call me Wes. It's my name."
"Wes. OK, Wes, I hope we survive this." Roya added, "Wes,
I want you to call me by my true name. It's Roya. My true name should be
Roya sat silently and took a bite of the dinner. As she did, she remembered
the times she fixed her mother's meals.
Late that evening Walker saved twenty-five pages of text on the computer's
hard drive and before making two backup disks. It was late. He turned the
laptop off. Checking his watch he saw it was one in the morning. After
turning the light off, he ascended to the second floor, stepped into the
darkened bedroom, and walked to stand before the window that gave him a
view of the bridge crossing the Esk River. As he turned from it, Walker
knew he was tired. He wondered where he found the energy to endure the
flight, the drive, and write. But while undressing, he realized he had
accomplished what he did by Roya allowing him to sleep. Her preparing breakfast
and dinner was a definite asset. Roya was a jewel among the thorns of life
as Sally and Lin Thi had been.
At three in the morning, Roya couldn't sleep. Knowing why, she pushed
out of bed. Roya walked the home's darkened hall to open the door of Walker's
bedroom. She stepped to his bed. Roya slipped into it and placed her head
on a pillow next to Walker's. She was soon asleep. >>>
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