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Bettmann broke eye contact to glance down at a print of Katzberg's file photo, then held the print up to the light. "I agree there's something strange about this--the girl, the guy--"

"Oh, I agree exactly," Lisa gushed. "That's why I reported this to the Director right away. Matthew was furious with me--"

"But he'll get over the inconvenience."

"Exactly." Lisa stared at the man who had completed her thought for her.

Bettmann stood up from his chair, prompting his two interviewees to do the same. "I want to thank both of you for taking time out of your training and sitting down with me."

Lisa stretched out her hand a fraction of a moment before Madison. "It's a pleasure: we're just doing some spacewalk drills in the water tank today. Charlie told us you two were in Afghanistan together," she said, refering to one of the Secret Service agents assigned to protect her. At the sudden spasm on Bettmann's face and in his hand, she added, "I'm so sorry: that must not be a good topic for you."

Bettmann managed another smile as he absently shook Madison's hand. "It's okay. That was a long time ago."

"How long have you been with Central Intelligence?" Lisa asked as Charlie opened the door for them and a subdued Madison started out.

Bettmann smiled at the beauty who lingered in the room with one hand resting on a chair and the other resting on a nicely-curving hip. "Long enough to know when I need to maintain my objectivity. Have a nice day, Miss Goodall." He turned from her and was out the door in a moment, bidding Charlie and Madison farewell.


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