In a previous post, I noted that, as the Rebecca Series developed over the years, my central character gradually came to be regarded as an unofficial member (fictionally speaking) of several nations’ intelligence agencies: the United States’ CIA; the United Kingdom’s MI6; and Israel’s Mossad. This is not easy to explain in short posts like this, so I’ll just say that the fact that she has repeatedly been given critical information before the intelligence agencies gained access to the same data, eventually led some of the CIA, MI6, and Mossad leaders to accept her, as they say in the intelligence world, as another one of their “assets.”
In the currently underway novel, set in 1985 (the sixth in the series), the opening paragraphs depict two members of the United Kingdom’s intelligence agency discussing the current situation. The two are chairperson and member, respectively, of an MI6 subcommittee charged with dealing with “unexplained and unexplainable” data sources.
The chairperson tries to explain to the new member of his committee that Rebekka Yahalomin – “the Rebecca Communications Unit,” Israel’s Hebrew label for Rebecca and her colleagues – sometimes develops information before anyone else has it. But, he notes, her group informs the intelligence agencies, if at all, on their own initiative. Now, he is hoping to extract certain bits of data from Rebecca’s group simply by asking for it, even though the initiative has never, in the past, lain with the intelligence agencies.
Here are several of those opening paragraphs of the (as yet untitled) novel:
Early on a Thursday morning in downtown London, Graham Roberts-Holm, senior MI6 agent and director of the small MI6 sub-group created to focus on “unexplained and unexplainable” data sources, found himself wrestling with the task of introducing a young colleague to the sub-group’s mission. The two were seated opposite each other at a small table in one of the agency’s briefing rooms…
“We have concluded,” said Roberts-Holm, “after exhaustive studies – studies you will find described in detail in your file folder – that Rebecca Clark’s messages come from a source we cannot identify or explain. And, I might add, it was Mossad, not our agency nor the CIA nor, certainly, the KGB… it was Mossad which first concluded that Ms. Clark’s data source was indeed either supernatural or otherwise completely unexplainable.
“We at MI6, and the CIA, as well… and, apparently, KGB… have accepted Mossad’s designation. That designation is a Hebrew phrase, Rebekka Yahalomin, meaning ‘the Rebecca Communications Unit’.”
Silence, while the newcomer pondered this.
This delicate dance among members of Rebecca’s group and CIA, MI6, and Mossad, a dance during which, at times, they all need each other, plays through this in-process Rebecca novel, just as it did in the fifth novel in the series (A Fearful Thing). Although there is sometimes tension among these four groups, they are united in opposing the Soviet Union’s KGB, which they regard as both a rogue entity and a terrorist outfit.
Here, as before…Rebecca finds herself at the vortex of a swirling series of aggressive moves by the Russians, with those moves countered by the allies, and with Rebecca at times helping the allies and at other times stepping back from the conflict.
When she steps back, it is because her Christian beliefs and ethics always move her in the direction of lessening the potential for violence. When she cannot prevent violence, she is often able, at least, to prevent lethal violence.
A Fearful Thing is the first novel in which Rebecca is armed.
But she is armed not with firearms, but with foot-long “throwing knives.” Called “competition throwing knives,” these are specially made to be thrown at targets, much like archery targets. In this novel, Rebecca’s brother Luke, a former Royal Navy combat-unit leader, has taught his sister how to throw these specially designed knives with a powerful underhand motion that results in a no-spin flight to the target. Thus, the trajectory of these knives in flight looks much like that of an arrow, except that they rise slightly, given the underhand throwing motion used by Rebecca and Luke.
The allied intelligence agencies – CIA, MI6, Mossad – are not at first aware that Rebecca has added this weapon to her capabilities and, while they find it both interesting and amazing, they do not value her for that reason. They want her to assist them in learning about critical threats sooner than their own sources can develop that knowledge. When Rebecca unleashes her new weapons-delivery capability at a critical juncture in the story, both allied and enemy intelligence operatives are astounded by this addition to her repertoire.
And if some of the individual CIA, MI6, and Mossad agents are led by this to reconsider their propensity toward lethal violence, so much the better.