Based on the 'Iran Attack Imminent' thread notion…
The Mole of Vladimir
The Foreign Intelligence Service (or SVR) is Russia’s primary external intelligence agency. The SVR is the successor of First Chief Directorate (FCD) of the KGB since December 1991.
Vladimir is famous for its unique white stone cathedrals, towers and palaces. Unlike any other northern buildings, their exteriors are elaborately carved with high relief stone sculptures. Only three of these edifices stand today: the Assumption Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Demetrios, and the Golden Gate. It is also the home of the Secondary SVR, a misnomer, for it was here that many of the more outrageous plots were hatched, planned, and carried out.
Anton and Sergei had recruited and managed the insertion of the best of the Soviet era nuclear scientists into the secret Iranian nuclear bomb facility, one that Iran was recently forced to reveal. Anton and Sergei were now busy getting the Russian scientists back out, coordinating it through Anna, for just about everything went through Anna.
The SVR had a mole in its building, one who had so far revealed the existence of the Iranian nuclear plant, but not yet the hand of Russia therein, nor the S-500 antiaircraft system being installed that would protect the plant from destruction. Therefore, the SVR building had been put under lock down, all transmissions and phones stopped, but for one.
Colonel Patov, the de facto and continuing head of the SVR in Vladimir, pondered the graveness of the situation, now wishing that he’d never had to run the damn place. The former Commander, the merciless General Burkov, had been done away with by Fredrick in San Francisco a few years back. A worldwide manhunt had produced nothing. Burkov had been replaced by General Nikitin, a man who ran the SVR remotely, and very poorly at that, one who had never even bothered to have set foot in the place, preferring the comforts of Moscow in the new digital age of armchair management.
Patov sat back. He’d been given a week to find the mole. Must show progress in two days. He didn’t miss Burkov, that crazy son-of-bitch, but he missed Nikitin, strangely, having never met him, for it was all too lonely at the top here now, but, what-the-hell, for Nikitin had always taken all the credit for Patov’s fine work. To blazes with them all and their kind, he thought. Who is spilling our secrets? Not me, that’s for sure. He thought of his wife, Patova (they usually added an ‘a’). Perhaps they could run away from this thing, but, no, the Russians left no survivors for events like this. Yet, Patov had already secretly moved his finances to Switzerland, knowing well how to circumvent the ever present prying eyes that were always all about.
Anna had worked her way up, over 20 years or so, to a position of much importance, the coordinator of all activities. She was pure Soviet-Russian from birth, reliable and untouchable, even having a golden heart. She was also a member of the Ninja Empire, their deepest plant anywhere. It was the end, she knew, for there was no micromanaging of this kind of leak, as had been done with the others, to make it appear otherwise. There was no way out. Duty now spelled death. Nor could she shift the blame to Anton or Sergei; that just wouldn’t be right. Still, she would try to hold out, perhaps think of something. Her mind drew a blank.
Patov paced his office, then called upon his Major, Egorov, for company. Anything not to have to go through this alone. They finally decided to put all three suspects through the rigors of the new and improved ‘truth serum’ process that had never failed, although a few had died from it.
“Not Anna,” Egorov protested.
“Yes, Anna, too,” commanded Patov, “I know, but we must be sure. See you in the morning.”
Morning had dawned all too soon for Colonel Patov, now drinking a cup of strong black coffee to jolt him back into the day from a very restless night.
He read the report. What! All three had passed the ‘truth’ test. Then it was given again and all three had passed it again!
Major Egorov entered, saying “We double-checked the computers. Only those three had access, and, you, of course, but you did not do it.”
“Why not suspect me, Egorov?”
“Because I was sent here to keep an eye on you, Colonel, and it was not you.”
“Thank you, Egorov, at least in this case anyway, for spying on me.”
“My pleasure to vindicate you, sir.”
“But they are all pure-blood Soviets. Who, then?”
“It can only be one of them, sir.”
The phone rang, displaying the name ‘Nikitin’.
Patov jumped out of his chair. “What does he want? I thought I had two days for progress.”
Patov lifted the receiver and listened, as one must do when a superior calls, just saying ‘Understood’, before hanging up, rather than being hung up upon.
“Egorov, our S-500 antiaircraft construction site has now been revealed to the world!”
“There is such a project?”
‘Yes, to protect the Iranian nuclear plant. It’s but one-third completed though.”
“What to do?”
“Make it look like it was abandoned. Put dust on it, Whatever. Get our people out of there immediately!”
“Will do, sir.”
“And, Egarov, one more thing.”
“We now have but one more day to find the mole, or Nikitin is coming here tomorrow to personally execute all three suspects.”
“Damn. We need these people.”
“It’s the old way, Egorov. The sure way.”
“I’ll try, sir.”
“No try. Do.”
“Maybe Nikitin leaked the information himself.”
“Unlikely; he’s an old hard-liner. And if he did, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“Find that mole or I’m dead.”
There was no progress during day, even after Patov had personally and intensely interviewed all three suspects.
Exhausted, Patov went to sleep early, sending nothing to Moscow.
General Nikitin’s armored limos pulled up outside the SVR building, around 3 AM, its flags flying. Major Egarov, being on night duty, received their demands at the front door, and went up at once to wake Pavlov.
“You have to get up, sir. Nikitin is here.”
“What! In the middle of the night?”
“Tell them we’re under lock down. No one comes in.”
“They’re waiting outside.”
“And no one goes out.”
“I had to bring the three suspects out…”
“I could hardly disobey them, sir.”
“Well, then, what else do they want?”
“They insist. Immediately, and as you are.”
“Egarov, take over. You will not see me alive again.”
Pavlov was already a beaten man, an inmate waiting on death row, and so, he, dazed as he had become, collected a few personal items and went out into the street in his night clothes. The limo door opened. He got in. A General of the Russian Army was sitting there, in full uniform, looking most unhappy.
The limos sped off, no one saying a word as all the while the miles passed on by through the empty city streets. Patov knew to stay silent unless spoken to. He noted the outskirts of the city passing, and yet no one said anything, the country kilometers now eating up the limo with their darkness. A perfect spot for an execution, he thought.
Patov couldn’t take it any more.
“Where are you taking me, Nikitin?” he bellowed.
Patov stayed quiet, thinking better of his outburst.
They stopped at an old farmhouse, pulled the limos inside, got out, and lit a small candle. So, this is it, figured Patov.
No one spoke.
Nikitin lit up a smoke and offered one to Patov, who gladly took it and lit it up to calm his nerves.
Halfway through the smoke, Nikitin leaned in as if to speak. The face somehow seemed familiar, but Patov couldn’t place it.
“Colonel Patov,” said Nikitin, very slowly, “You transferred all your funds.”
No one could know this, thought Patov, but they did.
“To use after you’d escaped this mess?”
It was no use. They had him. Another long silence ensued.
“Remember the tunnel, Patov?”
Patov was really confused now.
“The one under the train tracks.”
Patov strained his memory… so many incidents over the years… then he began to recall some bits and pieces of it.
“I’m not exactly sure.”
“Remember, ‘It’s lights out for me?’”
“Ahhh… YES. You reached up and smashed the only light bulb in the tunnel, leaving your sweater hanging there in the dark to fool us… then you escaped. You are… Fredrick!”
“I am. You should have shot me on sight.”
“And you’ve come to dispose of me, like you did Burkov?”
“No, that was a different case.”
“He sure is… was.”
“Burkov was a madman. You, Patov were just doing your job.”
“Then where are you taking me?”
“To Switzerland, where you can meet up with your money and your wife.”
“Yes, she’s in the rear partition of the second limo.”
“You would do this for me, one who once tried to capture you? It this some kind of a trick?”
“Well, you can’t stay in Russia now, can you? And we will let bygones be bygones. Pardon my Russian, but it means that all is forgiven and forgotten.”
Patova stepped out and embraced her husband.
Patov looked up and over at Fredrick, finally, asking, “All this in exchange for what I know?”
Fredrick smiled. “We already know most of what you know. You are free, Colonel Patov. Is there such a word in Russian?”
“Yes, but… at least I will bring you up to date.”
“I know, Patov… just let it sink in while we get you some traveling clothes.”
Patov returned to his chair and sank into it, no longer fully knowing how or who to trust.
Patov added, “Anna must work for you, Fredrick.”
“She does, and she is now safe within the limo.”
“And the other two?”
“They have to come along.”
Anna stepped out and walked over to Patov.
Patov looked up and said, “Ah, golden heart, I knew it had to be you.”
“You were not meant for this cruel line of work, Patov. I put in a good word for you.”
“Thank you,” said Patov, almost crying now.”
“If I may ask, how did you get the information out? All the e-mails, phones and such are monitored every second. We even look at strange conversations for unusual word use.”
“That would be telling.”
“It’s beyond all that.”
“Brain waves? That’s not possible, is it?”
“A novel idea, but one whose time has not yet come.”
Fredrick looked at a secure readout on his phone, indicating that Operation ‘Fire’ was now underway. A few moments ago, the Israeli Defense Minister had been on the phone to the American President, who replied, just before hanging up, “Thanks for the notice… and God speed.”
Six Israeli jets were already in the air, one far out in front, three in the middle, and two lagging back, all of them quickly approaching the Iranian border. The Defense Minister and his aides had gathered around the computer screens.
“We almost waited too long,” said one. The S-500 site is partly operational, although they are now covering it with dirt.”
“It can still operate through the dirt. Yes, indeed, why did we wait for a madman to come through on his public promise to destroy us?”
“Yes, especially when such a boast would only make our actions tonight all the more necessary and right in the eyes of the world?”
“We are getting soft.”
“Iran is even isolated from its Muslim neighbors.”
“The jets have crossed the border, sir.”
The S-500 antiaircraft system came to life through the dirt, noting one blip and taking out the lead Israeli aircraft. But it was only a drone, carrying no one and nothing of interest but a missile now tracking out of the debris and down through the sky toward the S-500 site, its approach obscured, at first.
“They will never see it coming; they will glory in the kill and will not even be checking their radars for a second or two.”
They didn’t, and so a large part of the S-500 apparatus was soon destroyed, the next three jets finishing the job and continuing on, the two jets in the rear now closing through the freed sky.
“What’s with those last two jets, sir? Are they special?”
“Ah, you do not have security clearance for that.”
“Indeed, I do.”
“Yes, you do. I am joking. Suppose that our bunker buster missiles do not complete the job, the Iranian site being too deep, as it is rumored to be?”
“Then they could salvage it, and if it was far enough along in its enrichment process…”
“Are you telling me what I think you’re telling me?”
“The first wave is at the target, sir, and dumping the bunker-busters.”
“Get me the live satellite on my screen. Analysis?”
“Those lines are the depths reached by the bunker-busters, sir. That block still beneath is the nuclear plant as newly illuminated by a special probe that we sent in first.”
“No good, was it?”
“The busters did not reach the target, sir.”
“The Defense Minister transmitted a code to the last two jets and then bowed his head in prayer.”
“They’ve dropped their nukes, sir, fighting fire with fire.”
Fredrick received an update.
“Gentlemen, ladies, and Colonel Patov and wife: we’ve entered a new age. The area of the Iranian nuclear plant and its surroundings will be uninhabitable for several centuries to come.”
“God save us all,” cried Patov.
Major Egorov took temporary command of the SVR. He would later find that his command continued, for the real Nikitin had mysteriously disappeared, and no one would ask any questions of this, it being the old Soviet way.
Egorov now sat at Patov’s desk, ready for the tasks to come. He took a rare moment to break character and smile to himself. No improved ‘truth serum’ injections had actually been given, for he’d only gone through the motions. He would carry on Anna’s legacy, for he, too, was a member of the Ninja Empire.