I'm working on a new concept for a novel called "Shadowstalking." Here is an excerpt, see what you think and let me know--would you want to read it?
The best cover is no cover. The best cover is to have a real life.
This country uses such “agents of opportunity” or intrinsically motivated agents raised through college and individually mentored by a mature agency operator on a continuous basis. These individuals are trained, in situation, on tactical tasks and objectives, not on any agency’s policies or procedures. They are called “Snow Agents,” and are specifically trained to look, act, and live like anyone else.
Snows are most like a protected witness, an informant, and a long-term undercover cop/ sleeper agent; and least like a special agent or spy. Snows have no specific or narrow or short-term tactical objectives. They are not asked to find any specific information or enact any specific operation. Instead Snows are taught to look for concerning patterns or information, analyze the information, and either handle any concerning trends on site (if possible) or notify the mentor (and let a mentor decide on the need to escalate to formal inquiry through traditional agents).
I know this, because I am a Snow.
I interviewed for a data analyst job with the National Security Agency at an informal career fair at my university in the fall of my junior year. I wanted to be a simple psychologist, and I had already applied to graduate schools; but I thought it would be interesting to see what careers were actually open to someone with only a bachelor's degree in psychology. What I didn't know is that the NSA recruiter was not just a recruiter, and the interview was more than a career interest chat. The interview was my pre-employment test itself, but I would never even be officially recruited by the NSA.
That day I began a lifetime of service to my country, but I've never been directly employed by the federal government at any time in my life. That day, I became an un-celebrated, un-decorated, completely unknown, Snow Agent. I am part of the first and last line of defense against any social blizzard or freeze—we are part of the snow, one with the cold, locked outside forever. We leave every man behind, we take no stands, we brave nothing, we admit everything, we do not hide, and we have no hidden agenda because we have no agendas. We have no patterns, no rules, no standards, and we are one with everything.
We are the zen masters of covert intelligence operations. Hitting us is like trying to catch a snow flake. You can do it, but we’ll just melt into nothing and you won’t have anything but a fleeting memory and lots of doubts about what we were or the true nature of our structures. We take no oaths, and make no promises. We are unique and yet nothing special. We serve to serve, until we don’t one day. We are expendable like snowflakes in summer.
We do it because we know, innately, from birth, that no one knows what is right or what will be right on this earth. We know that humans and human history are absurd and cannot be controlled; only temporarily diverted and steered toward a less damaging path for a particular target of interest (like say the United States). For us, societies and governments are like large sluggish judo opponents—when we see a society or government preparing for an attack we fold with the strike, pulling it down into an arm bar until it acquiesces that later would maybe be a better time to try that something absurd and ugly.
We are whispered about by the CIA, the FBI, even the rest of the NSA, and several other folks who almost know that we might exist. We are nicknamed, “shadow stalkers” and rumored to be the spies that stalk the legitimate spies, spooks, and shadows. I guess the rest of the world believes an internal affairs department of investigation may exist within the shadowy security agencies of America? Not exactly. Just snow.