Cristobal



Agent 47 bounced uncomfortably on the worn bench seat, as the local bus traveled along muddy, pothole-filled roads in central Paraguay. The ancient Bluebird screamed in protest whenever the native driver changed gears. Approximately fifteen men and women of various ages - some Venezuelan, some Caucasian - rode with Agent 47 through the lush, tropical jungle, occasionally stopping at small villages to disperse passengers and take on more. 

"Cristobal is a rural village perched on a riverside in the central region of Paraguay," Diana Burnwood's crisp voice said in Agent 47's ear. She was precise, concise, and the very model of British correctness, even on recordings. "It is a popular destination for backpacking college-aged youths in search of adventure, due to a nearby waterfall and an unlimited supply of opium piped in from the poppy fields. The villagers appear to welcome visitors and, as a result, Cristobal is more prosperous than most villages in the area. Lately, however, visitors have been disappearing at an alarming rate, and there are rumors of human sacrifices happening in the jungle."

 Agent 47 winced as another pothole jabbed a seat spring into his backside. Tall, broad-shouldered, and blue-eyed, he was posing as a tourist, dressed casually in white chinos and a navy blue polo shirt. His shaved scalp adorned with a barcode tattoo at the back gave him a dangerous edge. He carried a brown leather hold-all with nothing out of the ordinary in it: several changes of clothes, toiletries, maps and brochures of the area. His silenced pistol was tucked into the back waistband of his chinos, under his shirt. 

"The ICA has been hired by the parents of one of the missing youths. Your task is to investigate the disappearances and eliminate the perpetrator or perpetrators. The local police is corrupt, of course, and may be involved," Diana continued. The recording on Agent 47's satellite cell phone could only be accessed playing a certain level of Candy Crush and making a very specific mistake. "If you happen upon any survivors, simply notify CIA Agent Manuel Gutierrez. According to my resources, he should be arriving in Cristobal within the next day or so, and he shall take care of the diplomacies and arrange any necessary rescue operations. His photograph, along with the photographs and information regarding the missing, are in the encrypted email file I have sent to you." 

Agent 47 would review the email file once he had privacy. He wondered if Agent Gutierrez would be an asset or a hindrance. In his ear, Diana concluded her recording with her usual well wishes. "I bid you good luck, Agent 47, and will look forward to hearing from you once the mission is complete." 

"Cristobal!   Cristobal!" the driver called as the bus rounded a bend and the colorful village appeared. Agent 47 deleted Diana's briefing, pocketed the phone, and rose from his seat. It was time to end the disappearances in Cristobal, Paraguay.

 

End