Note: This is part of a series. You can read part one, part two, and part three here.

I am so tired of writing this crap. Who cares? No one gives a flying Ford truck what happened, anyway.

These thoughts insidiously invade my gray matter as a I write up one of about five operational meetings I have conducted in the last 18 hours. I am sick of writing. I am sick of casing for meeting sites. I am sick of driving surveillance detection routes. I am sick of trying to make fake-nice with some idiot fake-foreign-government official, and figure out what kind of cigar he fake-likes so I can buy him one.

Welcome to the station phase of The Farm.

This is the crucible we have to endure at the conclusion of field tradecraft training, during which we live in a notional country under a constructed political scenario, which runs for a certain amount of time. In it, all the students play a role in the notional country, developing and recruiting spies in the same constructed environment.

The whole exercise starts slow, then ramps up into confusion, chaos, and crisis. Imagine you were a (hypothetical) CIA officer in Moscow when communism fell, and that about captures it.

I had one particularly bad night. It was toward the end of my training, and I was exhausted. I had been writing all day after a morning meeting, and one of my agents signaled an emergency meeting for that night.

I drive my surveillance-detection route, and all looks clear to me. I hold my meeting. I head back, and write it up. It is all pretty sloppy, and I start to doubt myself about the surveillance.