The trees swayed gently in the afternoon breeze. What is my next move? she wondered as a squirrel scampered past, unencumbered by such meddlesome thoughts.
She'd been here for hours and seen nothing extraordinary, nothing that she needed to report to her so-called superiors. But her training told her that this was when she could least afford to lose focus, lose sight of the goal. Others had done that, at great cost. She would not follow them.
My next move, she decided, is to remain here and forget about the squirrels.
It would be difficult, but then, everything about her job was. In truth, she didn't know the half of it. Their mission had been segmented into pieces, with each of them knowing only as much as was absolutely necessary to complete their individual task. Someone back at headquarters coordinated the entire affair, plotting maneuvers and allocating resources as appropriate
She was, literally, a pawn in a much larger chess game whose stakes she didn't fully comprehend. Being tempted by the occasional squirrel was understandable but unacceptable. Too much was at stake.
There, at eight o'clock. She swore she saw movement. Almost imperceptible, like a shadow in the bushes. Or was it just another insignificant rodent?
Nothing is insignificant, she reminded herself and remained alert, watching for the movement.
There it is again! She took deliberate steps toward the shadow, approaching at an angle that she hoped would disguise her intent until it was too late.
Part of the problem is that she didn't know what she was looking for. According to headquarters she didn't need to know. She would figure that out when she saw it and then determine whether to neutralize or intercept.