“Who’s there?” shouted Kevin, terrified by the incessant knocking of the door.
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“Its me, Scott” came the reply.
“Who’s Scott? I don’t know any Scott!”… “Go away”
“Name’s Scott. I’m one of you guys. The Agency men are on my trail. Please open up”
“The Agency?” gasped Kevin, the very sound of which sent cold shivers down his spine, “What Agency?… What do you know about the Agency?”
“I’ll tell you… please open”
Kevin feebly walked up to the door and slightly opened it, the safety latch well in place. He peeped in through the narrow slit between the wall and the door and shouted in a frightened manner “I don’t recognize you”, and then shut the door firmly back. He rested on the door with his back and clasped his hands tight.
“I know you…you are Kevin” came the reply.
“I don’t know who you are…. just go away……I’m already under threat”
“Please believe me, I’m one of you guys……..you’ll have to help me now”
Kevin thought quickly as the knocking turned to banging. He had not seen the man; what if he was with the enemy? The guy seemed to know him! Could he chance it? No way!
“Listen Kevin, I know you are being hunted by the Agency! But we all are! Trust me, I’m not one of them. I even recognized you,” the man cried out in exasperation.
“So what? So freakin’ what?” Kevin shouted back. His tone was a mixture of anger, doubt and fear. He had deliberately been loud to reassure himself that he’s the man in control. “The Agency knows my face. You could’ve seen photo”
“I have seen you in flesh in the Department. We’re colleagues goddammit”
“In the Department? I don’t remember”
“I was recruited when just before you went underground. I’ve seen you, I’ve seen your photographs, and we’ve even talked about you”
“Yes we have. Do you remember the murder of the chief? I hate to be flattering at a moment like this but you’re still a legend when it comes to such stuff”
“But I only planned it; it was executed by someone else”
“I know; everybody knows John did it, but not without your planning.”
“So who are you?”
“I told you I’m Scott”
“No, I meant which wing did you work for?” asked Kevin, still somewhat unconvinced.
“I’m in DF6”
There was no DF6! “Damn you, there’s no DF6” Kevin objected. He wouldn’t buy some Agency guy’s crap.
“Oh, now there is” the man was quick with the rebuttal, “intended for special operations only.”
“Okay, so who’s your senior?”
“So that bastard is out of Operations” Kevin though to himself, unmindful of the banging. He still would not trust the man. He could be dropping names!
“Why are you here?”
“What do you mean why?”
“I mean, you’re on what?”
“As I’m inexperienced, I’m only scouting. But the Agency spotted me! They’re only a few minutes behind and I need to hide immediately”
Whatta nincompoop! But he still couldn’t trust the man. “I don’t believe you,” said Kevin. “Get the Hell out of here”
There was a pause. And then the man spoke rapidly “Look here, I know you have a gun. Let me in first. Then you can check my papers. You can also probably guess that I’m unarmed.”
There was something both right and wrong about the guy. Scouts never carried identification papers; only contingency instructions to be used if a situation were to go off the wire. But he was right the Scouts were seldom armed, except in circumstances particularly deemed dangerous.
“What papers? Scouts never carry papers.”
“The instructions I’m talking about.”
But there was a catch. To believe the man, he would have to check the papers. And to check the papers he’d have to assume that the man was unarmed. And to assume that the man was unarmed, it required him to believe the man in the first place.
Kevin explored the odds. So far the man had seemed genuine. If he didn’t open the door, the man would keep banging it until the Agency guys came and took him. And seeing that he was banging at this particular door, they’d be more than curious to find out who’s inside. They could break open the door and take Kevin too. They could do anything! He had promised himself that he wouldn’t be taken alive! For that he’d continually had to try not to be taken at all. Too much was at stake! Too much! He’d have to think fast!
But what if he was from the Agency? A remote possibility. He had only shown half his face while the safety latch was on. Somebody who’d seen him was more likely to immediately recognize him than someone who’d just seen his photographs. There was no DF6 when he went down under. But he remembered that talks were on to spin off special operations. The man might be genuine after all. He’d still have to check his papers for that! He did not readily believe that the man might be unarmed. He’d have to exercise extra caution while letting the man in.
“Okay listen” said Kevin.
“I’ll listen to anything you say. Just lemme in”
“Put your hands up in the air and stand at a distance from the door facing away.” Kevin ordered. He removed his gun from the trouser pocket and held it firmly.
Kevin creaked open the door, the latch still on, the gun leveled. The man was standing as instructed. He unhooked the latch and opened the door further still. He stretched out the arm holding the gun, took two steps backwards. “Now slowly walk back. No other movement, remember buddy, one movement of the hand and down you go”
“Right” replied the man slowly, walking back, his body still turned away from Kevin.
Kevin continued to walk backwards, his gun still pointed at the man, “Still further back” he thundered.
The man obliged, now completely inside the room.
“Stop” ordered Kevin, “Now lie down on the floor on your belly”
The man slowly kneeled into position and lied on the floor face down.
“Now, where are the papers?”
“In my left shoe… I’ll show you”
“Freeze…No movement I said” Kevin shouted. Gripping the ankle of the left black shoe, he tugged as it came off. “Lie down still”
Kevin placed the shoe on the table and scuffled inside with his fingers. He found a piece of paper and pulled it out. The gun still aimed, he unfolded the paper and brought it to the corner of his eye. It read:
Entry Level 3: Abort and call doctor immediately.
He was reassured. The “doctor” was the Control Room, an unlisted number that was to be only memorized.
“Okay Scott, you can get up now”, said Kevin breathing out deeply, “I was scared shit that you were one of the Agency guys.” He walked past the man to close the door. He would have to put the safety latch on again.
Bang! Bang! He felt a stinging pain originating from his upper back. The room seemed to darken out and then there was no awareness of anything at all.
“You bastard,” said the man settling the gun back in his pocket. “You don’t know the Agency!”