December 3rd, Gettysburg, PA. South Viewing Tower, Gettysburg National Battlefield.

There was a cold, biting wind coming from the northwest as the man began to climb the slippery stairs on the gray, metal viewing tower. The day was overcast, but the white and gray clouds were high enough in the atmosphere to allow any brave souls venturing outside to view the mountains all around them. Very few dried leaves remained on the large oak trees in the park, the last vestiges of the fall, still holding on. Other leaves, already fallen but not yet decomposed, were following the wind and flowing southeastward in their curious little dance, stopping, then lifted by the cold wind, ever traveling southeastward today. He had seen only few visitors in the park this morning as he traveled Confederate Avenue to the southern end of the battlefield. His vehicle had passed two women walking their dogs along the road and one intrepid jogger running northward, against the wind. The lack of visitors was the main reason why this meeting would be held here at this time of day. His dark blue government GM SUV, driven by a burly, well-dressed driver, drove past two other government GM SUVs on the way to the tower. In the distance, through the flurries, he could see 2 more large, dark vehicles to the south. More protection, he thought, they can never be too careful. The older men were driven there separately in new, dark gray, Ford sedans, which were parked near the tower. When he had finished the climb to the viewing platform, he saw his fellow federal employees, gazing eastward. He could tell the two older men had been at the tower a few minutes at least, as their breathing was not labored, like his own. Perhaps these men had better cardiovascular health than he thought. The youngest man had never met either of these men in person before today, only on secured video and audio chats in the year he had been made the Assistant Director of the Department of Homeland Security.

"Catch your breath, hard to climb those stairs when the weather is like this. But look at the view," the taller of the two men said, lifting his arm and turning back to face the east. The cold, crisp day did indeed improve the view of this part of the battlefield. With the leaves gone from the trees, the terrain of the battlefield could be well seen. Large boulders in the distance stood out well this time of year and even slight undulations of the ground could be noticed well. The tallest man was dressed for the cold; a long, dark green wool coat kept his body warm, while a black fur hat covered his curly gray hair. At first glance the tallest man could have been an insurance agent or a college professor, but the younger man knew better. These men before him had seen and done things around the world that the no one would never know about or care to know about. Things that work out for the best rarely make the network news or become viral online.

Meetings like this still had to take place even though communications were so much easier these days. That was the problem, information can be disseminated so quickly and so raw that at times the facts were known before a story could be told. Even here, among the monuments, signage and cannons, the three men had to speak with control. No names were spoken, no countries named, and certainly no goals were spoken of. The men knew well that listening technology had immensely improved in the past decade. Someone who knew that craft well could be recording their conversation from a mile away with a hand-held device no larger than a loaf of bread. The quiet man in the meeting was also dressed well for the weather, with a long quilted black coat, black wool cap and leather gloves. The younger man thought that this man fit the personality of his well. The CIA should have quiet Assistant Directors; leaders that listened more than they spoke. Federal agencies on different spectrums of the world view still had to communicate with each other, which was why this meeting was taking place. "How many times have you been here?" said the younger man, his breathing slowly becoming less labored. He wasn't nearly as neatly dressed as his fellow government employees, nor as prepared for the wind and temperature at the top of the tower. His blue parka wasn't as long as it should have been for a day like today, but he knew that he wouldn't be here too long. These types of meetings don't tend to have dinner and a movie included. The younger man shivered as the tower, even with a metal roof atop, did not stop the wind from blowing harder than it was blowing on the ground.

"I first climbed this tower when I was in seventh grade, on a school field trip," replied the tall man. "This place helps me clear my mind. I think it does for a lot of other people too. Just imagine what happened all around us, the cannon, the roar of thousands of muskets and the horrible sounds that would accompany those weapons after a human body is impacted," he said.

The younger man thought this man was a bit out of place and should be a lecturer at a college. But, since the NSA was the government's informational harvesting agency, the man must have more information stored in his brain than 99% of people on the planet. They all looked into the distance, towards those famous rocky hills to the east, but soon began the conversation that needed to be completed this day.

The NSA man began the conversation, "Are we certain it is him in the water?"

The younger man thought about for just a second, was this a test, surely, he knew the answer already? "Yes, confirmed by DNA as well as fingerprints. 3C has been notified through the State Department and other normal diplomatic channels, but I'm sure they knew shortly after the body was found, even before the identification was complete."

"What does your man say?", the NSA man asked.

In reply, the younger man said, "That he didn't do it. That it was some sort of accident. He knows who caused the accident of course, but doesn't want to involve them officially. As you probably know, there were state and other agencies involved in the case as well as our people. I don't know if I believe all of what he is telling us. I know he knows more than what is in his verbal report, but does it really matter at this point?" After a brief pause and a slight sigh, the NSA Assistant Director said, "No, No, I suppose not, in the bigger picture, the threat is gone and the killings solved."

The CIA Assistant Director then spoke, quietly, "I've heard from 3C through our cousins. They gave only a very terse statement about him."

The NSA man turned slowly towards the west looking at the South Mountain range in the distance. They all looked at the Eisenhower farm just a short distance in front of them as they continued to talk.

"What do they say about him? How angry are they?", inquired the younger man, still looking to the east; hoping at least one of them would answer him.

"Rouge employee, they say, must have been paid by some foreign government or capitalist, or taken drugs, or coerced by a woman to get involved in these regrettable crimes. They didn't have any idea about his plan, nor the others involved, they only wish that they had found out sooner about his actions," replied the CIA man, smirking. "What else could they say? That they wanted these things to happen and be found out?" he added. "Even if they didn't know about the plan, I'm sure they were disappointed that it didn't work in the way it was intended." "At least they didn't say anything more publicly, but I'm sure there will be payback, somewhere, someday," said the NSA Assistant Director. There was a quiet respite on the tower now as the men looked again to the east.

As the younger man looked towards the rocky hills, he asked to no one in particular, "Do you think the rebels were too reckless, too full of themselves when they tried to take Little Round Top that day?"

The tall NSA man turned to his youngest companion, smiled and said, "At that time, they were the best on any battlefield in the east, never really beaten, but everyone loses, sometime, even the biggest and best, just ask Goliath. Even after that, they just had to try to break the Union line in the center, they couldn't believe they could lose here and in the end, almost didn't."

The youngest man thought for a moment as he looked towards the famous copse of trees in the far distance, then heard slight scraping of a shoe. He then turned to see that the two older men had already left his side and heard rapid footsteps echoing on the metal staircase. He sighed and said to himself, ‘Those guys move like frigging cats. I guess the meeting is over.’ By the time he was halfway down the tower, the two sedans had already been driven off, southward, towards South Cavalry field.