Tuesday Afternoon — U.S. Embassy, Moscow
Six dreaded the thirteen-hour flight back to Moscow, as he downed the Smirnov with a gulp and pulled a blanket over his shoulders. His mind weighed down with thoughts of the woman he’d left behind, rather than the challenges that lay ahead. Watching J.J. and Tony squabble over Hershey Bars and peanut brittle gave him the shred of hope he wished to exploit for his own good. At least this was before he received a call indicating the CIA Director had fingered him to support a mission in the one place in the world he vowed never to return again.
This was not to say the city had not been kind to him even with its bi-polar charm. Sprawling modern skyscrapers juxtaposed against white communist-era tower blocks. Bright, multicolored cathedral onion domes against the Kremlin’s towered fortress. Not unlike D.C. in many ways with the beauty of its monuments interspersed with its monolithic government headquarters. But deep inside Moscow was the heart of its people. Even during the frigid winters, and under the watchful eyes of the security services, one could always find pockets of warmth where borsch ran cold and the vodka ran deep.
Only after receiving the hand of J.J.’s source in the mail did Six feel pressed to leave. The gruesome dose of Russian intelligence “hospitality” sent him scrambling for American shores.
Before he left Langley, Director Lance Miller’s orders were clear, unwavering. The mission: Impossible.
“You can thank General Ronaldson for this, always giving me shit. He convinced the council to overrule me,” he said, taking a seat behind the desk in his seventh-floor suite. He was a muscular, broad-shouldered man whose immaculate suit and spit-shined shoes harkened back to his Army past. “Been a bug up my ass since they created the Director of National Intelligence position,” he said. “Mosin is officially a DIA HVT – high-value target—subject to kill or capture orders—which is code for Kill-on-Sight. Stupid son of bitch doesn’t even know what he stole.”
Six jerked his head back. “What did he steal?”
Director Miller invited Six to take a seat across from him on the couch and leaned in. “We have every reason to believe covert plans for the European Missile Defense may have been revealed in a conversation on those recordings. If the information gets out, it’ll leave the U.S. in a political and military shit storm so thick, fresh air will be a distant memory for years to come.”
“Jesus.” Six felt a brain spasm; the migraine came on like gangbusters.
“A military special ops team is on its way to Moscow. Your job is to get to him first and keep him alive—we must recover the intelligence. We can’t risk it getting into the hands of Russian intelligence.”
“I understand, sir. But how? I’m a declared CIA security officer for goddsakes. They know who I am. How the hell can I operate from the Embassy?”
“We’ve hired you some help. You’ll get the details when you arrive at the Station. Our contractor operates one of our black sites outside of Moscow—Ghost Man. He’s got a head start, and you have the intelligence from Task Force Phantom Hunter that the DIA team isn’t privy to. I’ve got to warn you…if Ghost gets wind of the special ops team, he may turn on us.”
For the first time in years, Six felt almost impotent. A thousand factors lay outside his control. If he dropped the ball, the country would suffer for it. He couldn’t let that happen.
“Say what you have to say, do whatever you have to do. Keep him alive and recover that intel at all costs. You are not to return to Langley without it.”
“So, what happens if…when I recover the intel?”
“You’re the best exfil specialist we’ve got. Extract him, and we’ll turn him over to the FBI. I’ve got Congressional oversight breathing down my neck like a horny teenager. I’d like to come out on the other side of this one on the high road and with my hands clean.”
“And if he doesn’t turn it over…if I don’t recover it.”
“Simple,” Miller said. “Kill him.”
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