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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 71: Brown 130
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“How’s your Russian coming along?”
Something in the casual way C asked the question caused Derek to think there was nothing casual about the inquiry.
“Surprisingly well given that I’ve been studying it for about a year, alongside several other languages.”
“Yes, of course. I don’t suppose you’ve picked up any Romanian?”
“A word or two here and there. Why?”
C shifted in his seat and looked at some papers.
“I’m thinking of sending you on an undercover assignment in Bucharest. We think there’s a leak in our embassy there, and need someone to investigate. It’s a bit out of your line, but you’re available and I’m thinking that a young son of a Lord getting some foreign relations experience as an aide in Eastern Europe is the kind of cover that won’t raise suspicions. Your accent has improved significantly, I’m told, and the Kyler Bryant identity is reasonably well detailed for this. Any thoughts?”
Derek pondered a moment before shaking his head. “No. I mean, I have no idea where I would begin, but it may be that once I’m there I’ll get some ideas. Do we know anything?”
“Not much, I’m afraid--not even enough to know who you can trust when you’re there. I’m inclined to connect you to one of our CIA contacts rather than go through British diplomatic channels, simply because I am that uncertain as to where the leak might be. But you can have a few days to prepare, and we’ll give you everything we have including full dossiers on embassy personnel and what we know about active agents in the region, and fly you comfortably on a diplomatic jet with whatever equipment you want to take with you. We won’t have too much control over where you are assigned once you’re there, because again we don’t know who we can trust--the British Ambassador himself might be the leak, or it might be some intern in the mailroom.”
Derek nodded. “Sounds good. I’ll need my energy foods, of course, and I’ll probably take all my equipment just so it’s near me if I need it. What’s the next step?”
“Check in with Gear. They’ll probably have something useful for you, and we’ll make sure you have a car waiting for you when you arrive. Remember, they drive on the wrong side of the road on the continent; you’ll have to watch for that.”
Derek smiled, knowing that the “wrong side” was where they drove in America where he grew up; but he never drove there, and only learned to drive here, so it would be different for him. “Thanks. I shouldn’t have too much trouble, but maybe I’ll spend a day down in driver training reviewing that before I leave. After all, better to know what I’m doing before I get there.”
C nodded, and Derek rose. “Excellent,” C said. “We’ll keep in touch.”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #243: Verser Redirects. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: