A while later he came out of it and smiled, keeping his head turned away from the camera. He had made it. The details of how it had begun were hazy but he knew what he needed to know and it was a relief to be where he was.
He noticed the tray of food had been left on the chair for him. Fat chance of that happening, he thought. He lay back and thought the whole thing through once more. Satisfied that he had the narrative straight in his head he searched his memory for the one last thing he needed. He made no effort to force the matter; he simply held a clear image in his mind of the face and waited.
Some time later it finally came to him. Now he had a name to go with the face, and that was his ticket to salvation and success. He waited for the next visit, this time looking forward to it. He decided he would have some fun before he dropped the bomb.
When he heard the door being unlocked he rolled over onto his side and pretended to be asleep. He heard lab coat come in and take his seat.
“Wake up. It’s time to talk again.”
He waited half a minute and then rolled onto his back.
“You again. You just don’t get enough, do you?”
“You’re turning into quite the comedian. Got anything you want to tell me?”
He stroked his chin and looked thoughtful.
Lab coat sat forward in his seat and looked expectant.
“Oh? About time then. Give.”
“Well…what’s in it for me?”
“Depends on what you have to say.”
He sat up and looked lab coat in the eye.
“I’ve passed your test, Major Stillman.”
He grinned as lab coat stared at him wide-eyed and then smiled.
“Very good, soldier. Now tell me your name.”
He stood up at attention and saluted.
“Lieutenant Stephen Miller, sir.”
He sat back down and heaved a sigh of relief.
“That was rough.”
“I’m sure it was, soldier, but you came through with flying colours. What do you remember of this assignment? “
“Only that I was asked to try out for a deep cover operation, an unspecified one that would involve burying my true identity and being programmed with new ones so that if I were captured I would be impervious to detection. You also needed to know if I could recover my true identity using skills I’d acquired without my captors realizing I had done so.”
Major Stillman nodded his head.
“You’ve performed admirably son. We put you through hell, but it was all necessary to determine whether or not you had what it takes. I’ll report back to General Barker that you’re ready for the operation. There will be a promotion in this for you when it’s all over. Are you prepared to serve your country in this capacity Lieutenant?”
“I am indeed, sir.”
“Very well then. Dismissed. Time for some well deserved R & R.”