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The Cuban Connection by Kevin Surface Excerpt 7

This suited Kate Beckett just fine. People had made the mistake of underestimating her for most of her life. The daughter of an NYPD sergeant, she had obtained her first black belt in karate at the age of seventeen. She now held the title of seventh-degree black belt, and jogged twenty-five miles a week. She had completed twelve marathons and was an above-average pistol shooter, being especially accurate with the standard-issue Glock 9mm that rested comfortably in its leather waist holster beneath her suit jacket.

Her professional aspirations within the Bureau dictated that she excel in all areas of law-enforcement expertise. But if anyone was to go places inside the Bureau, they had to play the politics and be lucky enough to be handed the right case at the right time that would serve as the launching pad for the rest of their career. Inside the Bureau, they had a name for such cases - haymakers; the kind of case that brought instant fame and respectability to the Bureau's good name. Kate Beckett's adrenaline had been on constant overload lately. By an ingenious stroke of fate, she was working on just such a case.

She hurriedly made her way through the revolving glass doors in the rear of the building and scampered the twenty feet or so to the access and entry turnstile protected on either side by a five-foot stainless steel wall that extended the entire length of the rear lobby. It was an solid-steel turnstile that rotated forward only after swiping the proper security access card through it. After the card was successfully scanned, you had five seconds to push yourself forward and onto the other side. Then ten feet on either side, and halfway between the turnstile and the elevators, were two large, black marble security desks with an armed guard behind each one.

"Hi, Sam. How are you doing this morning?" she said to the security guard on the right.

"Just another day in paradise, Kate. And yourself?"

"Fine, fine," she said, scurrying by to try to catch the open elevator.

"Hold that door please!" she yelled to one in particular in the crowded elevator.

"What floor?" asked the annoyed person closest the buttons.

"Ten please," she responded while exhaling a long breath.

As the elevator reached the tenth floor, she virtually sprinted out the doors and down the long hallway which led to her office. Stopping abruptly at the small coffee stand just outside her office, she reached down and opened up the sliding door of the cabinet and removed her personalized coffee cup. Thank God Murray was already here, she thought as she poured herself a full cup of decaf. At least someone had beaten her in and was considerate enough to have already made the coffee.

"Hi, Murray."

"Good morning, Kate," he said to her backside as she entered her office across the hall from him.

"I see you got your cup of coffee," he stated rhetorically as he entered her office.

"Yeah, thanks Murray, I really appreciate it." She laid her briefcase down on her desk while simultaneously walking around and taking a seat in her cloth-and-vinyl swivel chair. Leaning forward, she went through her stack of messages, eagerly trying to see if there was anything important.

"How's the Cabrese investigation going?" Murray asked, interrupting her.

"What, Murray? I didn't hear you," she responded half-heartedly, while perusing her messages.

Sounding a little irritated, he repeated himself. "I said, how's the Cabrese investigation going?"

This time she had heard him and looked up. "Now Murray, you know I can't go into that. You don't want me to get into trouble, do you?" she asked him coyly.

Special Agent Murray Abraham had been in the service of the Bureau much longer than she had, but had no real aspiration to climb the ranks. He loved being just an agent. A regular within the rank and file of the Bureau, willing to take any routine case that came his way. Retirement was only eight years away, and he planned to live frugally off his government pension and take an odd job or two from a private security firm if the opportunity presented itself.

"Well, we can't have that, can we?" he retorted with a small chuckle as he headed back across the hallway to his own office.

It was now less than forty-five minutes to their scheduled briefi ng on the Cabrese case. Keeping a lid on the case had been a logistical and strategic nightmare. As a matter of fact, she wasn't quite sure how Murray had found out about the case, except for maybe the "good ole boy network." If the ADC ever found out who had leaked it, major heads would roll. The investigation was very extensive and highly classified, but the most important factor was that they had turned one of the major figures in the Cabrese crime family, and she had been an integral part of making that happen. This was the type of case

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