THE LIVING STATUES: RED MAFIA PART 1
Gennady sat in the driver's seat of an aging Zil, its smoke-spewingengine doing its best imitation of running at idle. Even in the new Russia, a Zil still spoke of power and influence, although it was the Mercedes that spoke of wealth. He thumbed through a copy of Isvestia, the watery newsprint staining his fingertips, and gnawed occasionally at a sausage and a hunk of black bread. The privacy screen behind him was closed, his master on the cellular phone or looking at books or whatever he did. That was not his concern. Gennady's concern was watching, watching for eligibles.
Today, the Zil was parked along Trofimovo, a dingy thoroughfare near the river that once housed part of Moscow's cultural district. It was much more likely to house black marketers, thugs and street bums nowadays, but a few of the dance schools and artsy places still hung on, their patrons gone, their state funding cut off and their participants desperate. Gennady looked for desperation. His master sought that - it made things so much easier.
There was little traffic, just shift workers coming home from the Moskvich plant, and snow was starting to fall significantly, whipping in the wind. Gennady could only see about fifty meters, enough to watch across the street and down the block a little. The snowfall nearly kept him from seeing her.
She was walking along slowly, trudging through the mounting snow. She had been walking with a group of other dancers, but not talking to any of them, and she continued on while the rest piled into a dingy coffee house. Gennady reached for a pair of old opera glasses. She was twenty, maybe, the cold winter air coloring her cheeks, her walk showing the grace of years of training. She was long and slender, with the powerful physique of a dancer. Her dark hair was pulled back severely, probably done that way for a class. Her coat was far too thin for the weather, a small duffel bag slung over her shoulder. After looking back at the door of the coffee house, she looked around, then pulled herself into the doorway of a boarded-up shop and sat down.
Perfect, Gennady thought. He ran a comb through his hair, adjusted his suite and tie, put his chauffeur's cap back on, tweaked the epaulets on his overcoat, and knocked on the privacy window.
"In the doorway immediately across the street, sir."
There was a long pause. "Hm. Too young perhaps?"
"I looked through the glasses, sir. I don't believe so."
Another pause. "Well, at the very least she can warm up for a bit. Bring her."
Gennady struck out into the cold and wind, crossing the nearly deserted street. He came up beside the young woman, who wasn't looking toward him, her face averted from the wind.
"Miss, are you all right?"
The young woman half-jumped, startled, and looked Gennady over. He looked every inch the servant of someone powerful. "Yes- yes, I'm all right. A little cold, I suppose, but it is the winter after all, yes?" She was young, but Gennady still pegged her around twenty, even close-up.
He stood in front of her, blocking the wind, which she seemed to welcome. He gestured to the Zil. "My employer would like a word with you, miss."
She looked at the Zil, suspicious. Gennady expected that from anyone under thirty, all of whom would equate the car with the resurgent Communists. "Are you a Kremlin man?"
No, Miss. My employer is an entrepreneur, a Communist. He- he is considering the possibility of promoting the arts, and wishes to talk to artists from some of the groups cut off by the Government." Gennady had almost forgotten his lines, and blushed inside - it wouldn't have shown in the snow, anyway. "
She thought for a moment, then was won over by her wilingness to escape the snow. "I'll talk to anyone, I suppose. In the car?"
Gennady smiled. "It would be the warmest place, Miss."
She hesitated for a moment. There were stories about predators of young women, both in the papers and in growing urban legends. Assaults were still less common than in the West, and down somewhat since the Crackdown, but but it was getting colder. She followed Gennady to the car.
The back door opened. Inside, a voice said, "Please, come in from the cold."
The young woman moved inside. There were two bench seats, facing each other. A man, probably in his thirties, sat on one. She sat on the other. The heater was working efficiently, which she was glad of. The driver closed the door. A dark window blocked her view of the front of the Zil.
The man extended a hand. "My name is Sergei Pokryshkin. Perhaps you have heard of me."
The young woman was taken aback for a moment. Of course she had heard the name. Pokryshkin was one of the more successful entrepreneurs under perestroika and succeeding reforms. A former Communist, he had even ridden out the Crackdown, remaining quite successful. He was reputed to be intensely private, his picture never appearing in the media. He was also reputed to be a major player in the Red Mafia.
"Yes, sir, I know of you."
He smiled. "I'm not exactly what the papers say I am. Who are you?"
"Oh!," she said, blushing a little. "My name is Katryn Bondarenkova." She took his hand, and he shook it gently.
"Are you a dancer, Miss Bondarenkova?"
"Yes, sir, I'm with the Lubov Ballet. I have been with the Ballet for twelve years."
"Since you wereÉ six?"
"Since I was nine, sir."
"Hm. The Lubov, a great tragedy, that. It was once a great company."
She grew fierce for a moment. "It remains a great company, sir! It has no patrons, like the Bolshoi. That is the problem!"
"I see you are a tigress, Miss Bondarenkova! Unfortunately, one without a den, it would appear. How long have you been living in doorways?"
Her eyes cast downward. "I just keep waiting for- the Ballet will find a patron. I know it will. I just- keep waiting." Her eyes watered alittle.
Sergei sighed. "I fear it will be a long wait. My interest in artists is moreÉ international. I'm looking for artists interested in performingin Europe and the United States."
Katryn smiled, chuckling. "I'm afraid I may be too old to perform beforeI can get a passport."
Sergei frowned, his face darkening, taking on a decade all at once. "The Crackdown is a tragedy for our country. Since Yeltsin, things have become worse and worse that way. What the fools in the Kremlin fail to understand is that they not only keep Russians in, they keep capital out. That leaves you and your company on the streets, instead of financed by the West."
She nodded, and he paused for effect.
"Of course, I have my ways ofÉ helping artists leave the country."
Her eyes widened. Hooked, he thought.
She spoke in a hushed tone, as if the Zil might be bugged. "The borders are sealed, private airplanes gone, boats searched. How could you do this?"
He smiled. "I have a very special way for people to leave. Are you interested?"
She nodded, and his smile grew wider.
The Zil pulled away from the curb, with Katryn inside, just as other Lubov ballerinas came out of the coffee house.
"Hey, Rena, did Katryn get in that car?"
"Yeah, I think so. What's a Zil doing down here?"
"That's really odd. What do you think, Tania?"
Tania Vatutinova frowned. She had watched the whole exchange between Gennady and Katryn through the coffee house window, and watched her get in the Zil, which sat for a long time before leaving. There were stories, about black cars in the night, women disappearing. "I think I'd like to borrow your car, Svetlana."
The Zil drove slowly, deeper into the warehouse district. The car pulledinto a warehouse about thirty blocks further down Trofimovo, directly across from the docks. The warehouse had just a few windows along one side. Two men closed the warehouse doors as the Zil pulled in.
Sergei helped Katryn out of the limousine. "This is the gateway to America, Katryn, the gateway to your dreams. Come into the office, so we can discuss the details."
Katryn sat down opposite a large, ornate desk in the small warehouse office. Sergei sat behind the desk, and took out an official-looking stack of forms. I'll need you to sign several of these, so we can manufacture some papers for you." She hesitated. "So you can work in America," he added, and handed her a pen. She eagerly signed the papers without reading anything, then sat back in her chair.
"So how can a person be taken from Russia to America? Past the inspectors, past everything? I'm not a fool, Mr. Pokryshkin. People talk. They use machines than can even tell how many hearts are beating on a ship leaving the docks."
He smiled. "We have acquired some very special equipment from the old Soviet government, from the NKVD. It was developed for space travel. What this equipment does is place you in a deep, deep sleep, so deep that you are barely breathing, your heart barely beating. You become indetectible. We put you to sleep here, wake you up in America. That's it."
She looked suspicious. "Is this a safe thing to do?"
"The risk is minimal, less than having your tonsils removed. If this is what you want, you can leave for America tonight."
Her eyes grew large. "Tonight? But I have arrangements to make, people need-"
He smiled again, an almost fatherly smile. He even used the daughterly form of her name. "Katusha, you were living in a doorway. What arrangements are there to make?" He moved to close the deal. "Why waste your talents here? All those years of study can pay off for you, at Lincoln Center, in Los Angeles, in Boston. Why waste them here, going nowhere?"
She exhaled, letting out a deep breath. "You're right. When do we get started?"
He pointed to another door, in the back of his office. "The doctor who will put you to sleep is right through there. I'll take care ofeverything else." He stood up to escort her to the door. "When you wake up, you'llbe in America."
A voice in the back of her head made her hesitate for a split-second, butÉ America!, she thought. She went through the door.
Tania Vatutinova parked the barely-running Peugeot outside the dark warehouse the Zil had pulled into. She was more worried every minute that passed. She could barely see out the rapidly fogging windows of the car. The crackling radio had said the temperature was down to minus twenty. She zipped her coat up completely, tied down her hood firmly, slipped on her mittens, and climbed out into the driving snow, looking for a window, or another door, some way to find Katryn.
The room was like any other in a doctor's office. The doctor was a middle- aged man, gowned, standing behind a standard examining table. There was a table beside him with all manner of medical tools.
"I'm Doctor Godorov," he said, through a surgical mask. His hands were gloved, and she understood why he didn't extend a hand.
She stood in the middle of the room, arms at her sides tightly. "So, what do I do now? Is this going to hurt?"
The mask creased in a smile. "No, not a bit. You'll just go to sleep. I'll need to do a brief physical examination first, so if you'll justchange into one of the gowns over there." He motioned to a rack of surgical gowns, then turned to arrange his instruments.
Her mental alarms went crazy, but for some reason, she was determined to go through with this Ñ the attraction of a way out of her bleak life inMoscow was so strong. And he was acting just like any other no-nonsense Moscow doctor. There were diplomas on the wall, for Doctor Maxim Godorov, from Moscow State, and from the Lubyarsk Clinic. Both were excellent credentials. She began slipping out of her clothing, and putting on a gown.
"What do you want me to do with my things?"
"Just fold them and place them on the chair next to the gowns." The doctor was focused on a cabinet of instruments on the other side of the room.
The gown was like any other surgical gown, ill fitting and virtually open in the back. She held the back closed, and sat on the examining table.
The doctor turned back to her. "Okay, have you had a full physical examination in the last year?"
"Good. I'm just going to check your ears here-" She felt a probe push into her ear, then a wetness.
"My ear feels plugged now. What happened?"
"Just- removing some wax. Nothing to be alarmed about." The doctor drew a syringe of something, tied a rubber tourniquet around her arm. Last chance, she thought, and decided not to resist. The substance burned a little going in. She felt a little light-headed, her arms and legs heavy. She felt a headset of somekind being placed over her ears and face. Everything was gone for a moment.
Her first conscious emotion after that was confusion. Where am I?, she asked herself after about a day. She was- floating? She tried to move, but- couldn't? She was totally at rest, every square centimeter of herbody relaxed. Where am I? She could see nothing, not black really, but Égray, like the night in Moscow. She could hear- music? Relaxing music. Thenshe could see colors. She could hear a voice, but couldn't make it out,telling her to do something her brain didn't want to do. It kept talking, herbrain more ready to listen, but still hesitating. The music grew louder.
Her hands moved, she could feel that, moving across her body, doing things to herself she had never done before, caressing and stroking and rubbing. She wanted to laugh, but couldn't. She was more aware of sensations now, the feel of her hands efficiently gliding across her body, of some kind of object in her ear, and then of a pulsing and vibrating, rubbing along the inside of her thighs, then suddenly in her hand. She grasped the vibrating thing, rubbing it against her other hand, then along the curve of one breast, then tickling down her abdomen and grazing between her legs. The voice she couldn't understand mumbled something else. Her brain resisted, strongly. She was almost completely aware of her surroundings now. The music grew louder still, and she- plunged! The vibration shot throughher, and she drew it slowly in and out of her, a pounding feeling spreading through her belly and up her torso, her breaths drawn deeper now. The hesitation was gone now, and her vision began to grow lighter, fuzzy shapes visible. She felt a surface now, beneath her body, but she kept plunging, faster and faster.
She could see the shape of the room now, and her own body even more clearly. She knew the headset thing was gone now, but still felt something in her ear. The thing in her hand was shocking red and cylindrical. She had heard about these things, battery-operated toys for pleasuring yourself, but had never actually seen one. Part of her was clinically interested in the sight of the thing sliding in and out of her, in the sight of her nipples hardening and responding to the sensation spreading through her.
Another part of her just couldn't stop. She could still hear the music,and occasionally the mumbling voice in the speakers? She knew she was at the voice's command, as one hand left the toy and clutched at her breasts, pulling at her nipples, squeezing and stroking. A sensation was building in her, increasingly more powerful. She could see most of the room now. The doctor was there, unmasked now. So was Sergei, with an approving look on his face, and another man with a clipboard. She thought for a moment that she should be very angry at them for doing - whatever they were doing to her - butthe voice soothed her, and she continued on, legs moving spasmodically, heart pounding, hand grasping, toy plunging, sensation building until she could hardly stand itÉ
And then she stopped moving. It was strange, she thought. Her arms and legs were frozen, the toy stopped in mid-plunge, an open-mouthed expression on her face. Then she realized something else had happened. She couldn't feel her heart pounding now. It was still, deathly still. She wanted to cry out, Someone help me, please!, but her lips didn't respond, her headand neck didn't move.
Sergei was talking to someone, signing a clipboard. She was increasingly able to hear conversation, as the music and the voice had stopped. There was only a buzzing, and a strange sensation she felt in her teeth and jaw.
Sergei snapped, "Will someone shut off that thing?" The doctor reached down between her legs, and twisted something. The buzzing stopped. She suddenly realized it must have been the toy buzzing away, but she couldn't feel it. She couldn't feel anything now!
The third man took back the clipboard. "Is there a disposition on this one yet? What transfer number should we use?"
Sergei hesitated. "Oh- call her by the date and number for the day, like the rest. Doctor, what number is she for today?"
"Hm- she would be number twelve for today, sir."
"Okay, call her 110812, then. As for disposition, I think we have a buyer arranged. There's been a lot of interest, and-" he looked at her bodylike a piece of meat, "this one's particularly well put together. She should draw top dollar."
Top dollar?, she screamed. You're selling me? Please, someone help me! But nothing came out. Nothing at all.
The doctor said, "We'll be following Pokharin's protocol forsuppressing metabolism on this one, sir. It sounds like the shipping will take some time, more than the recommended period."
Sergei sounded irritated. "Yes, I know. I'm not happy about it, but air shipments are out of the question now, and with direct shipping cut off, we have to transfer a couple of times. Have you been following the protocol with the others today? They'll all be taking the same trip."
"Yes, sir, but we ran out of room in the cooler. I had to put three of them outside."
Sergei laughed. "Yeah, I suppose it's colder than the cooler outside. Did you give her the serum?"
"Yes, sir. It's been over an hour."
"Okay. Ivan, get a couple of your men. Make sure you keep them all close to the door. We wouldn't want to lose any in the snow."
The snow?, she thought. Dear God, I'm going to freeze to death! Her mouth still didn't respond, her lungs didn't take in air, her chest was still. I should be dead by now, she thought, and I'm just tired. Her consciousness was starting to fade, and she fought hard against the fading.
She could only see in the direction her frozen head was pointing. A young man, not much older than her, passed her, looking her over. She could see part of another at her feet.
"Now *this* one's hot. Definitely the hottest all week."
"I don't know," the other said. "A little too thin for me. I guess the Americans like them this way."
"Whatever you think. I'd sure buy this one, and bang away all day!"
Bang away? She almost wanted to fade away to nothingness after that. She realized she was going to be a slave. She could only tell that they lifted her by the relative motion of the room, the ceiling becoming closer to her, then moving past. She couldn't feel their hands at all. She could seeher breasts, her hand and the end of the toy, parts of her thighs, and one foot. The man at her feet was using the toy as a handle! Her humiliation was as complete as it could be, she thought.
They set her down roughly - she couldn't feel it, but she knew she bounced a little. The two men put on heavy coats and boots, and mufflers, and gloves, then picked her up and walked through an open door, the snow suddenly blowing in. She could see that it was cold, but simply couldn't feel any of it. The men set her down roughly in the snow, and fled backinside.
She was in a lit yard, filling with snow, tilted sideways at about a 45 degree angle in the snow. In front of her were several mounds of snow. Sticking out of one of the mounds was another young woman. Her mouth was opened wide, eyes squeezed tightly shut, hands tightly cupping her breasts. At least you couldn't see what was coming, Katryn thought, and she let her consciousness fade awayÉ
Tania couldn't find a way in along the row of darkened windows, or at the back of the massive warehouse. On the far side was a small fenced area around a door. A giant silver box stood next to the doorway, jutting out of the warehouse. The box was about ten meters long, two meters high and two meters wide, with a large metal door on one end.
It was a struggle for her to climb the fence, but the snow had piled high enough on one side for her to crawl over. She tried the door to the warehouse. Nothing. She shook at the doorknob for a while, but couldn't force it. Maybe the metal door leads into the warehouse, she thought. She tugged hard at the door lever, couldn't budge it. She leaned against it, and discovered that it had to be pushed to open the door. It was dark inside, and cold, cold as the outside was. There was a light switch outside, next to the door. She flipped it, and recoil in horror.
The box was a meat cooler, and the meat hanging inside was human. She was frightened and fascinated simultaneously, a rush of emotions she could barely contain. She stepped inside. All the bodies were young women. They were all in various positions and stages of sexual excitement, which she found too bizarre to comprehend. Some were hanging by a leg, some by an arm, one even by the neck. All were bone-white and rigid, frosted over in various places.
She stepped backward, the horror taking over, heading for the fence- and abruptly fell over something in the snow. She sat up, turned, and found herself staring into Katryn Bondarenkova's face. Her eyes were slightly open, her mouth as well, frozen in the throes of excitement. She scrambled backward. There were four bodies in the snow. Three were nearly covered. Katryn's body lay almost on top. One hand was clutching at one of her breasts, the other plunging a vibrator deeply between her spread legs.
Tania thought she was going to be sick. She stood up to race back over the fence, and ran straight into a large man, who struck her into blacknessÉ.
Her head hurt, and she was naked. That was all she could determine at first. Her wrists and ankles were tied, arms above her head, legs spread. Was this how it was for Katusha?, she thought. A gowned, gloved and masked doctor was doing something to her face.
"There, that should cover the bruise, sir," the doctor said, voice muffled by the mask.
"Good, I wouldn't want to devalue unexpected merchandise. What is your name?" She couldn't see the person who belonged to the second voice.
"Fuck you," she said. It didn't seem worth screaming to her.
The second voice laughed loudly. "Well, Miss You, you're about to take a very interesting trip. How would you like to join the ladies outside?"
"Just kill me and get it over with." The fight was practically out of her.
"Kill you? You think they're dead? Oh, no, they're not dead at all. They're much more valuable alive. And you should be very valuable indeed. You're not built like a dancer, Miss You. Not- at- all. I've onlybeen taking dancers this week, so you must be one, or you wouldn't have comehere nosing around. Are you a friend of Miss Bondarenkova?"
"You bastard! I'll kill you for doing that to Katusha!" The fight's coming back, she thought.
"I don't think that will be happening tonight. I would think you'd betoo top heavy to dance. I'd like to see you dance, though. Dance for me."
"Go fuck yourself."
Some music began playing. It was a ballet standard, Prokofiev. There was a muffled voice, talking over the music. She tried to understand what it was saying, but she couldn't hear it. It was telling her something, something she didn't want to hear.
"Go ahead, Doctor, untie her."
"Sergei, are you sure?"
Tania sat up with lightning speed as soon as she was released, springing forward from the table toward the source of the second voice, a refined looking man in his thirties. She ran at him, and abruptly- spun! Andspun again! Then she sprung onto her toes, gliding across the small room. The room looked like a doctor's office, she thought. She wondered why she was dancing to the music. She didn't want to dance. She wanted to kill theman called Sergei, with her bare hands. She headed toward him again, andÉ leaped, then spun! The music was so captivating, she couldn't helpherself. She felt odd, determined that it was the movement of her breasts, free of lycra and cotton. The music grew louder. The voice changed to something more insistent, something more unspeakable. She tried hard to resist, tried rushing at the man called Sergei, but instead hopped up on the examining table she had woken up on.
A young man entered the room, wearing a bathrobe. He was probably in his early 20s, she thought, well muscled, close cropped hair, nice scent.
Sergei smiled. "Dmitri, you wanted the last one. You may have this one, if you want."
Dmitri hesitated. "Must youÉ?"
Sergei motioned to the doctor, and they went through another door, into what looked to Svetlana like an office.
The insistent voice spoke to her over and over. She found herself focused on the young man's scent, a musky cologne that she found attractive. She lay back on the examining table, and he dropped his robe, to reveal a muscular body and very erect member. She said aloud, "Come take me," while her mind said, This can't be happening. At any other time, she thought,but not now, not like this!
The young man, Dmitri, came over to the table, and started using his mouth on her sex. She felt the first surges of pleasure, and tried desperately to dive off the table and run through the door. The voice kept exhorting her to relax and enjoy, and she succumbed to the voice. After a time, he began stroking her all over. He brushed a hand across her face and her right ear. She felt something enter her ear, but didn't respond to it. Soon, shefelt nothing but the sensation of Dmitri's body as he climbed atop her, andbegan rubbing against her. She leaned back, the flats of her feet nearly pressed together, her knees spread as wide apart as they would go. Her strength and flexibility allowed nearly a 180- degree stretch. She ran her hands across his broad back, as he entered her and began pounding away. All the while, a voice kept screaming in her head, Get out! You can't be enjoying this! Get out while you can!, but that voice grew quieter and quieter as Dmitri thrust away.
She took her hands off of his back, running one hand through her hair, stretching the other arm out, her hand rotating with each thrust. She reached to put her hand back on him- and her outstretched arm didn'tmove. What's happening to me, she said, but no words came. Her mouth didn'tmove. Her other hand stayed enwrapped in her hair. Oh my God, she thought, this is what happened to Katryn!
The office door slammed opened Ñ they must have been watching, she thought Ñ and Dmitri climbed off of her quickly. The doctor picked up acone- shaped thing from an instrument tray, reached between her legs and pushed. She didn't feel anything but a little pressure. Her head was tilted back slightly, and she couldn't see what he was doing.
The man called Sergei looked disapproving. "It needs to be a little deeper seated. We don't want it to be really visible. Press right- that's a little better. Perhaps we should let Dmitri push it into position. Dmitri? Do you want to finish?"
Dmitri smiled. "Why not?" He mounted her atop the examining table, his face over hers, smiling. She could feel the pressure of his body a little bit, a little pressure between her legs, and then nothing. She watched him pound away at her as though she were a spectator, until he came forcefully, but she felt none of it.
Sergei walked up and down, looking at her approvingly. "An excellent specimen. We've had requests for just such a thing before, and I mustsay, the end product is exquisite. Dear, sweet Miss You, congratulations. You're about to embark on a new and exciting career. You're going to America, where you're going to be the most expensive, lifelike, desirable sex doll ever created. Doctor, is she ready?"
"Yes, sir, it's been long enough."
"Dmitri, get dressed and take her outside. Put her where she can see her friend until she loses consciousness. Pleasant dreams, Miss You, pleasant dreams."
Dmitri and the other man lugged Tania's body out into the snow, and set her on her stomach, where her tilted back head allowed her to look forward and see Katryn's frosted-over face, jutting from a snowbank. Tania felt her consciousness slipping away, and welcomed the darkness.
Dmitri said, "I can't believe it's this cold in November! What awinter we're going to have!"
His comrade, Misha, shook his head. "Yeah, miserable. Say, the cooler's open and the light's on. I'll catch that. You go on in before yourhair freezes."
Dmitri had just come from the shower, and his hair was already starting to glisten. "Sounds good. See you inside."
What a disgusting creature, Misha thought. He closed the cooler, shut off the light, and glanced at the woman lying atop the snow. He reached into his parka, and pulled out a small black box, which he raised to his mouth.
He whispered, "Pluto to Mickey Mouse. Pluto to Mickey Mouse. The package is prepared. Do you read? The package is prepared. Delivery is tomorrow at fifteen-hundred. Do you read?"
There was silence, then a quiet voice responded, "Mickey Mouse to Pluto. Message received and understood. Who is delivering the package? Do you read?"
"S.S. Mirabella, from Liberia. Tomorrow at fifteen-hundred. New York via Stockholm and Lisbon. Do you read?"
"Message received and understood. Leave the doghouse, Pluto. Your master suspects. Do you read?"
"Message received and understood, Mickey Mouse." Misha tossed the black box out beyond the fence, where it fell into the deep snow. He looked at the woman atop the snow again. Her leg was mostly covered now, frost creeping up her torso. "I'm sorry this happened to you. If you can hear me, help is on the way when you get to America."
Bret Snow sat in the Communications Room at the U.S. Embassy, as he did eight of every twenty-four hours, six days a week. One of the many monitors in the room showed the street in front of the Embassy. It was nights like this when the irony of his last name was especially apparent. Two Ops people were struggling through a drift on the sidewalk to come in the front door.
Ten minutes later, Don Abrams from Ops entered the Room.
"Everything's set. The package is being delivered." Abrams didn'tdared say anything more. The Embassy building had more microphones in it than the White House Press Room. Instead, he handed Snow a piece of paper.
Snow placed the paper in an envelope. Next to "Priority", he wrote "ALPHA-1". Next to destination, he wrote, "Langley, Dept. 56".
Next to recipient, he wrote "ALLEN BYRNE Ñ EYES ONLY".
Snow dialed a phone number quickly. "Jack, Bret Snow. I have a courier package. I know it's late and the weather's bad. I'm callingthe crew at Sheremetyevo. This goes tonight, no matter what."
Coming in Part 2: Allen gets the news The Grey Man returns More about Sergei Allen visits Mitch A mysterious package arrives