Welcome! Over the next few weeks you'll be meeting some of the people in An Unlikely Hero by Tierney James. Our first interview is with Tessa Scott.
I’d like to introduce everyone to Tessa Scott from An Unlikely Hero. From what I gather this whole national security, terrorist among us scenario was a total surprise to you.
That’s right. I lived in a gated community where the most exciting thing to happen was cobwebs forming over the neighbor’s security system and setting it off. I never imagined Libyan terrorists lived just outside our gates where they were trying to make a bomb. As you know it accidentally landed in my yard. That’s when the trouble really started.
It’s my understanding Captain Chase Hunter entered your home on false pretenses and managed to destroy your home.
The important thing to remember is that he also saved my life from a really awful man named Jamaal who would have had no qualms about slitting my throat to get back his bomb. Captain Hunter can be a dangerous man when the innocent are threatened. I’m sure I would not be here today talking to you if he hadn’t first lied to me about who he really was. I owe him a great debt.
I can tell by the blush on your face and the timid smile that you have great affection for the captain. Did you trust him from the start?
Actually I didn’t like or trust him. I saw him as an arrogant bully that wasn’t any different than the man who broke into my home. He lacked a sense of humor, demanded total control and was never to be questioned about his decisions. We butted heads more times than I care to admit. It irked me that his team followed him blindly when they appeared to be at such risk. But in the end I found myself understanding his method of madness. Truthfully, he didn’t like me anymore than I did him. I was an irritating complication. I came to admire him greatly. It’s rare that a person stands in the presence of a real American hero. You’ll never know the pain, suffering and sacrifice that man has given for his country.
Through my research I found that Captain Hunter works for a secret agency called Enigma. That sounds pretty mysterious. What can you tell me about it?
Nothing is as it seems on the surface. Since I’ve signed documents saying I won’t divulge information obtained in my actions with Enigma I can’t go into details. All I know is that Homeland Security is kind of a watch dog over them. It’s my impression they aren’t above breaking the law when it comes to saving lives. The people I met aren’t fans of big government. Enough said.
Your sacrifice was a bit of a nail biter. Has it changed you?
Of course. I’ll never take anything for granted again, especially the safety of those I care about. They can vanish in a heartbeat. I’m not as trusting as I once was. Paranoia now follows me like a ghost. Sounds and smells trigger memories of… Can we move on to another question?
Will you work for Enigma in the future?
I’ll admit I never felt more alive than I did that week they forced me into service. Truthfully I don’t think I’m cut from the same cloth as those agents. I’m pretty much of a wuss. But yes, I’d work with them again. It would be my honor. But that will never happen.
Why do you say that? Clearly Captain Hunter felt you were part of the reason the terrorist plot was thwarted. You’re well educated, gutsy and respected in the community.
Everyone needs to be on board with that decision. Dr. Samantha Cordova would never sanction that action. She and I didn’t exactly hit it off on our first encounter. If she had her way the terrorist Essid, would have killed me at the Global Navigation plant after my capture. My relationship with the captain, although platonic, made her crazy. I suspected there was some kind of history between them, although he rejected that idea. Her opinion of me could be compared to a bottom feeder at some polluted river.
It’s interesting that you used the word “platonic” to describe your relationship with Captain Hunter. My sources say you spent the night with him on several occasions during this mission. Any truth to that?
As I said before at Enigma things are not always clear, lines get blurred and truth can be a lie. I won’t dignify that question with an answer. If you knew me you would never have asked such a question. Did Captain Hunter tell you that?
He generally smiled wickedly when I approached the subject. I merely read between the lines. Have you had any contact with Enigma since last summer?
No. They vanished completely out of my life. There have been times when I felt someone was following me or that my calls were being monitored. Paranoid as I said earlier. Nicholas Zoric, the Serbian said we’d meet for coffee someday to chat about our mission, but to date he has not contacted me.
Tell me about Dr. Zoric. He’s an artist if I remember correctly.
He was an artist in Serbia before the war that killed his wife and children. Some people call him Dracula because he looks rather dark and evil. I think his talents in interrogation have added to that persona. I never quite got over being terrified of him. But the loyalty he gave Captain Hunter impressed me. They have a strong bond of friendship. You know, a friend of the captain is a friend of mind kind of attitude. The captain would never let him meet me for coffee. That might involve me again in Enigma business. Something about Zoric touched me, though. I hope he finds happiness again.
You showed uncommon valor for a soccer mom. Where did that courage come from?
Probably my faith in God carried me through. What I learned about that whole experience with Enigma and terrorists is that there is something remarkable inside all of us that make us rise to the occasion. When called upon we are able to do extraordinary things, like taking down a terrorist cell. The fear inside us acts as a catalyst to stop the unthinkable. I was fully prepared to die if need be. Fortunately Captain Hunter refused to let that happen.
What advice would you leave us with given that most of us will never know the danger you experienced?
Better look over your shoulder. Who is it that lives around the corner? Be prepared.
Thank you, Tessa. Our next interview will be with Dr. Samantha Cordova. Join us next week.