The female target has bone tumors, but appears healthy. Hair and eyes are both brown. Even with the disease, her body is tightly coiled, maintained.

Is this going to be a problem?

Her pain level, according to the doctor’s report, should have driven her insane months ago. It’s intense, but she never complains. She’s brave.

Is this going to be a problem?

She was a ballerina in high school and the first couple years of college. When the bone tumors appeared, her father took her to Bargeldia. He knew about the plant extract. Had a friend across the border in Austria who harvests it. When she takes the extract, she can move around, even dance a little again. The supply has dwindled, so she is in ration mode.

Is this going to be a problem? The father has been eliminated. You have your orders.

It’s not her fault. She’s not dealing it, she needs it. She was a ballerina. She’s not a threat. She doesn’t even know it’s illegal. Nobody does. Only a very small group even knows it exists. I suspect that’s the problem. We don’t want word to get out. My dossier didn’t elaborate.

You have your orders.

During my surveillance, I’ve noticed she likes to dance in front of the large living room window. She twirls out of sight and then returns. It’s been a week since she has danced. By my calculations, it has been almost two weeks since her last injection. Yesterday, she came to the window and pressed her palm against the glass and fluttered her fingers. Seeing her hand like that, I imagined it was raining, that the water was following her lifeline and etching the grooves deeper into her palm. I zoomed in and could see the knots on her wrist bulging like relocated knuckles. Despite this, she still appeared graceful.

This is irrelevant to your report. When was your last psychiatric evaluation? Is this going to be a problem?

The whole thing is a problem. I want to talk to her. I know she would leave the country if she knew what was going on. If I could just talk to her. I can wear a disguise. If things worked out, I would take her away myself. I would resign, go back to civilian life. I have the resources. I could help her. I would kiss those knots, trace her lifeline with the tip of my finger, let her know that she isn’t alone.

You have your orders.

I have your orders, and you have my decision. I won’ t do it.

Then I have my orders.

I know.