Individual security had apparently become very lax since we were now one big happy group, because two other agents were booked out on the same flight as mine. I made a mental note to point this out as a security problem to Boss. A plane crash could eliminate over one-sixth (3 of 17) of our task force. We need to decide which people are critical to the project and not allow more than one of these to be on the same flight.
In any event, one of the other agents was J66, our "scientific leader." This provided an opportunity for me, as it would be nice to know where at least one Double could be located in the future. My luggage was a carry on bag and I had driven to the airport in my car. If he took a cab home it would be easy to follow him. Since the monitoring system was being fed old data no one would ever be the wiser.
I was seated in the rear of the plane, so J66 and the other agent debarked before me when we landed in Moscow. Both headed straight for the taxi transportation doors with their carry on luggage. Suddenly, J66 veered into a rest room. Good move, I thought. I played the same game, stopping and pretending to use a pay phone until he exited the rest room and headed for the door leading to the taxis. While waiting, I had retrieved my parking ticket, my car keys, and more than enough money to pay the parking bill from my pockets.
Through the revolving glass door went J66. The doorman raised his hand, and the first taxi in a long line of taxis pulled up to replace the one which was driving away. All of the taxis were black with a white lighted TAXI sign on the top, so I was going to need the license number. Quickening my pace, I pushed through the door as the taxi sped away. I did not get the alphabetic characters, but 631 were the three numerical digits. Repeating the numbers to myself, I sprinted to the parking lot, unlocked the door, threw in my bag, jumped in and started the engine. As I raced by the attendant holding the money and ticket out the window, another cab pulled away.
The road from the highway to the airport was a three-kilometer straightaway. I had to find 631 before he turned, or guess the direction. If I had to guess, I decided to turn left toward downtown Moscow. Speeding past the first cab like a maniac, I used his license plate as a test to see how close I needed to be to read the numbers. I was driving over 88 Km/Hour (over 55 MPH) on a slick road and closing fast on the next cab. His brake lights came on as he slowed for the stop sign ahead. I did not slow down until the last second and slide a few feet past the stop sign as he was turning left toward Moscow. The last three digits were 631. Now I backed well off and leisurely followed the cab to an eight story apartment complex.
Writing down the address I thought I had done well. Then I parked the car down the block and watched J66 exit the cab, pay the fare, and head into the building. I quickly got out of my car knowing I could do even better. There was a fifty-fifty chance as to which side of the long, narrow building his apartment was on. Choosing to stay on the south side, I waited, leaning against a street pole watching for one of the darkened apartments to become lit. For several minutes nothing happened. He's checking his mail.
Finally the two darkened windows of the apartment on the fifth floor, fourth apartment from the front illuminated. Bingo! Better yet the drapes were open. Go over and pull the curtains shut, I urged, walking quickly forward with my eyes fixated on the windows. He quickly pulled one and then the other. It was definitely a man!
Now I was getting really adventuresome as things were going so well. Walking up to the second floor of the building, I peaked around the corner, pulled my coat collar up around my face, and walked down the hall observing the numbering system. The apartments on the right side of the hall were numbered 202, 204, 206, 208...from the front of the building. I walked up one flight of stairs to the third floor. As expected, the fourth room from the front on the right was numbered 308. Therefore, his room number should be 508.
I stopped to see if there was a name on the mailbox for apartment 508 on the first floor. 508-Konstatine Gegoria Breszinski. Cute I thought -- KGB.
Later I made some calls and discovered that apartment 508 had been rented out within the last month. That meant he would probably live there at least another five months. It was a general rule that Doubles changed addresses about every six months for security reasons.
That first night back in my apartment I tossed and turned trying to evaluate my options regarding Z99's new swine flu plot. Every scenario led me to the conclusion I would be dead within a year. If I went to Premier Brezhnev with this story it would get back to Boss and I would be dead. Anyone refusing to participate with the project would be as dead as C11. I couldn't just disappear as I could be traced by my body transmitter. If I followed orders and the project failed we would all be dead. If I followed orders and the plot succeeded would we all be considered national heroes?
That brought up another more basic question which needed to be answered first. In good faith could I commit myself to this project? Wondering whether the other Doubles were pondering similar questions in their heads, I eventually fell asleep.
The next morning I awoke exhausted, skipped breakfast, and headed straight for the track. I quickly ran myself to exhaustion then sprinted even more, all the time rehashing the possibilities in my mind. Finally I was on my hands and knees gasping for breath with my entire body wrenching, trying to vomit, but to no avail as my stomach was empty. The spasms subsided and I recovered somewhat after locating a water fountain and splashing cold water in my face. The water was so good and I was so dehydrated that I drank much more than necessary, even though knowing better. At this point I didn't care anymore. It had started to rain now and I managed to sprint only a few hundred meters around the track before expelling the water from my stomach. That made me angry and I sprinted the remainder of the lap as fast as possible, then vomited even more. By this time a thunderstorm was pelting me with large, cold rain drops, lightning was striking all around, and the booming thunder was followed by slow rumblings until the next boom.
Perhaps a higher authority, if one exists, can make my decision. I left the track and went into the stands. The stadium was about sixty rows of seats high. I sprinted up the rain soaked slippery wooden bleachers as fast as possible, raising my knees high. Running the stadium requires much more energy than sprinting on a flat track. It seemed I would never reach the top and indeed almost ran over the top and fell, but the safety rail caught me in the stomach as my face and chest bent over the rail and I stared at the ground far below. In my utter physical and mental exhaustion I threw my outstretched arms up to the mighty storm, threw my head back, and dared the lightning to strike me as I was now the highest object around.
After giving the storm sufficient opportunity to take me out I concluded it wasn't going to be that easy. Dejected and even more frustrated I sat down on the top row of the stadium in the rain and cursed Boss for placing me in this predicament.
I had always regarded Boss with the highest respect, considering him to be a great man and a true patriot. Together we had accomplished some incredible assignments which had greatly benefited Russia. The Doubles organization could be very proud of its entire history. Why jeopardize all we had accomplished? Sure, work had been slow for several years due to the Brezhnev administration's policies, but that would eventually change. Why couldn't Boss be more patient? Why couldn't he simply leave well enough alone?
After resting and recovering for about an hour, I returned to my apartment still not having decided what to do. Hoping the storm would blow over, I called my jump master and scheduled myself aboard a 3 p.m. flight. There had been numerous cancellations due to the weather. My plan was to get above it all and look at things from a distance. Sometimes things make more sense from afar.
The weather did clear up and at 2:30 I headed out Leningradskoye Road to Frunze Central Airport. After boarding the plane with about eighteen other parachutists we began our climb for the jump from fifteen thousand feet. I boarded first as I wanted to be the last out. Generally, I pop the chute higher up than the others and enjoy slowly floating back to earth. Today was to be different.
While the plane ascended to the jump height I was rethinking all my options. All seemed to end in probable death within a year, or two at best.
Even the cold rush of air did not disturb me from my thoughts as I exited the plane. Our targeted landing zone was marked with a large white "X". I must make a decision. I did not pop the chute quickly as I normally did but continued to free fall in a face down spread eagle position. If a decision was going to be made before landing, this would surely speed my landing and thus the decision. The opened chutes of those who had jumped before me swayed back and forth below. I quickly caught up to and fell past them.
All of the choices seemed to end in death. Everyone has to die I suppose, it's the last part of living. But death should have a meaning. Death, death, death. As I closed my eyes, that brought back a memory.
In my line of work I have traveled virtually all over the world. The most awestruck I have ever been was at Auschwitz. Not the pyramids, or the Roman Coliseum, or Niagara Falls. To actually walk over a road made from Jewish headstones. To be in a place where you knew millions of innocent men, women, and children were systematically starved, tortured, and murdered as a governmental policy. You are standing there thinking these thoughts to yourself yet now the place is so eerily peaceful and quiet. It is overwhelming! I was not going to be part of a plan that caused something like that to happen again! Although raised by the state and trained to obey orders from an early age, I had difficulty in the progression from killing a few people a year who probably deserved death to killing two hundred and thirteen million innocent people!
That was it! If I was going to die no matter what choice was made, I would try to die for some purpose. Do what was right, and always be able to look back over my life with a clear conscious! I could kill men, and perhaps even women, if I had to in my line of work. But babies and children, or even innocent men and women? No way!
Suddenly coming back to the reality of the moment, the white "X" now seemed extremely large and men were running from all sides on the ground toward the "X." "No, no, no!" I shouted as I grabbed for and pulled the rip cord. Two seconds later a severe jolt as the chute opened and I was on the ground encircled by a large group of concerned men asking what had happened and if I was okay.
In actuality, I had never felt more relieved and serene. There is a serenity that comes from finally having made a very difficult decision. My mind was made up. I could not condone this plot. I would try to stop it. Another second before pulling the cord would have meant death, but I felt great! I would definitely come down on the "against" side of this plot. I knew this all along I just needed convincing. To my knowledge that made it me against the world! In any event, I had survived the decision making process and had at least one year to live. Now I could forge ahead with a clear mind. My subconscious mind began immediately to develop strategies for stopping the plot.
I realized that killing Boss would fix only half of this dilemma because in all probability he was the only person who knew where the gray matter was stashed. It would still be out there as a possible threat to the world -- which had no defense against the hitherto unknown material. I had to protect him until both he and the gray matter were together. That could be near the end of the project. Another possibility was to try to postpone the project to buy some time.
In August of 1975, everyone was notified and we had a follow-up meeting at another secluded resort. Basically, everything was on schedule. An outbreak of our "swine flu" virus which our United States based pig ranch had isolated and produced would be released on an unnamed military installation in the United States in February of 1976. This would allow sufficient time for the six months to produce the vaccine but not adequate time for scientists to really evaluate the flu outbreak.
I considered following another agent to his or her living location, but due to my suggestion regarding possible plane crashes -- this was now impossible. We all returned to our destinations with only one agent to one airline flight. It created some unusual and inconvenient routes, so I was not very popular at that meeting.
Anyway, I already knew where one Double lived and I had been developing a plan. My plan was to create a security problem by making the agent appear to become a turncoat and aid the United States. This would be accomplished by killing the agent and somehow getting his transmitter into the American Embassy where it would generate a monitoring system alarm. My first thought was to kill him following one of these meetings, knowing that Boss would be feeding the Doubles monitoring computer old data so we could all meet together without anyone's knowledge. But then I realized we could all become suspects if the killing was ever discovered precisely because we were not being monitored.
The perfect crime would be to wait until the monitoring system was operating normally, leave my transmitter at my apartment, and go out and commit the deed. My transmitter would become my alibi. The difficult part was the part about leaving my transmitter at my apartment. It meant cutting it out of my arm. On the other hand, we were talking about 213 million American lives and maybe millions of Russians! It had to be done. If Boss believed the plot had been compromised, surely he would cancel the project, cover up loose ends, and things could drift back to normal. This would end the eminent danger and give me time to locate the gray matter.
A well conceived plan, except try gashing yourself with a razor blade, even after several drinks. I needed to cut a three-sided square "U" shape around the transmitter, lift the flap of tissue and pull the transmitter out. An anesthetic was needed. Through a Mafia "friend," I was able to procure a syringe and a small vial of Novacaine, a local anesthetic used by dentists.
With the necessary equipment and supplies on hand, I took my first step toward saving the world. I had bandages ready to bandage the wound, alcohol to use as a disinfectant, several new single edge razor blades, a bottle of the best Russian vodka, the syringe, and the black market Novacaine.
Once all was in readiness, in other words after about ten drinks, I decided to begin the deed before becoming too drunk. While drinking I was psyching myself up for the event. I had run myself to exhaustion at the track in the afternoon so as to help me sleep that night as well as for relieving tension. Everything needed was laid out on my kitchen table. I was going to do it. Reaching for the syringe, I pressed it completely closed to eject the air. Sticking the point of the syringe through the septum of the small bottle, I pulled the plunger back, thus sucking as much Novacaine into the syringe as possible.
It suddenly hit me that this was it -- there was enough Novacaine for one attempt. I took a few deep breaths to assure myself I was not drunk enough to pass out. Then inserting the needle just barely under the skin, small amounts of Novacaine were injected along the lines to be cut on three sides of the transmitter. Now I waited for the drug to take affect. That wasn't too bad, I thought. As soon as the surface was numbed I would inject the needle about half a centimeter deep around the same lines and use up the remainder of the Novacaine. I continued to touch the area until it was very numb. Here goes. The secondary shots were not uncomfortable at all, thus building my confidence. No pain, only a sense of pushing on the skin as the needle was inserted.
The area around the transmitter quickly became numb. It was easy to see the raised square in my flesh under which the transmitter was implanted. Reaching for one of the razor blades, I began before the effects of the Novacaine wore off. I had to move the razor blade back and forth to start the incision, probably because of the scar tissue caused when it was implanted. Surely a much larger scar would be produced. My first cut went fairly well with not much bleeding or pain. The other downward cut on the opposite side was made without any trouble. The cut across the bottom to connect the two parallel cuts was much more difficult but I managed it. However, no real flap of flesh was produced as expected. While fighting off sleep I decided to cut sideways in the bottom cut, thus creating a passageway through which the transmitter could be squeezed out by pushing on the opposite side. Idiot, I might not have even needed the two cuts on the sides I thought to myself.
Cutting came easier now as my left armpit was numb and the alcohol kept moving from my stomach to my brain. How about another drink? No, forget it -- got to finish this. I pulled the razor blade across the bottom cut repeatedly, making a little more progress toward the transmitter with each stroke. With small streams of blood now running down my arm I could feel the razor blade pushing against the transmitter. Dropping the blade I squeezed and pushed the top of the transmitter, trying to force it out of the cut along its bottom end. No movement. Maybe the flesh had attached to the transmitter.
Fetching a butter knife and no longer concerned with disinfectant, the dull flat blade was forced through the bottom cut and along the top of the transmitter until the top was totally released by the grasp of the flesh. The same procedure was repeated for the bottom. Still it would not slide out. The edges must be holding it. Stumbling through drawers until I found some needle nosed pliers, I forced the closed pliers through the now gaping cut, opened them slightly, and slid them over the transmitter. Not too tight, do not damage it, or I'm really in trouble. By turning it back and forth it eventually released it grasp and slipped out of my body. I gently laid it on a towel on the table and proceeded to disinfect and bind my arm as best I could in my condition. Stumbling into my bedroom I collapsed into bed, grateful that step one was completed.
The next morning I awoke with more pain in my head from the vodka than in my arm from the surgery. Immediately removing the bandages, I doctored the wound and installed a proper bandage. Removing the transmitter from J66 would be much easier. Suddenly, a new sense of freedom overwhelmed me. Not only could I come and go freely, I could actually make myself appear to be somewhere else. The perfect alibi had been created.
Now for step two of my plan. First my arm needed to heal sufficiently. But I could not wait too long for fear of losing the whereabouts of J66. I had to strike before he moved. First I had to be prepared to eliminate the body. After considering several options I decided to contact a person who had performed similar work for me on a previous occasion. He was a maintenance man who serviced the furnace for an old, large apartment building on the outskirts of Moscow. He would destroy one package a night in the building's large incinerator for the equivalent of 2,000 United States dollars. However, the largest package he could handle was about the size of a human torso. This project would require three packages. The clothes could be jammed in as filler.
The problem was I would have to do the dismemberment and storage of the body parts, which might be a security problem. Hiring someone else to do it would present an even greater risk. It's better that I do it and no other person sees the body. I made the arrangements with my friend. He said he needed a one week notice to arrange the work schedule. We agreed on a price of $2,000 per package, $6,000 total -- more than a year's wages for him. Now that my transmitter could be left at my apartment there would be no problem making the three nightly deliveries.
Now, how to eliminate J66? Ideally it would be nice to break into his apartment and be waiting for him, but that would be risky with possible witnesses to the break in. Perhaps a direct frontal approach. After all, we recognized each other now. I could say there was a problem and Boss will be meeting us at his apartment -- a security problem with one of the other Doubles for which we need his help.
Deciding on the direct approach, I still needed some idea of his hours. When to expect him home and a certainty that he lived alone. Several times during the next week I left my transmitter at home and went to determine if J66 had any repeatable procedures. He did. Every night he would walk two blocks to a local bar. About two hours later he would stumble home. Every time he was out his apartment lights were turned off. He lived alone. I gave my furnace operator a week's notice on Thursday and started convincing myself mentally that this had to be done.
I also prepared materially, purchasing a fur lined coat which would be used to absorb blood. An easily concealable 25 caliber silencer equipped pistol would be used. He would receive shots to the back of the head at the first opportunity after entering his apartment. The 25 caliber should not exit his head. One small suitcase in the trunk of my car would contain three bags, rolls of tape, another coat, and any other necessary equipment. All the time my transmitter would be generating my alibi every fifteen minutes from my apartment.
Assuming this part worked successfully, I needed a plan to make J66 appear to be a traitor. He needed to go to the American Embassy. Initially I thought of several complicated plans. One involved placing J66's transmitter into an embassy car's gas tank. But what if the car left the embassy grounds before I could inform them of the transmitter? Once "J66" entered the embassy an alarm would be generated. As he exited Boss could track him and see that he was not in the car.
I finally decided it was better to use the KISS principle -- Keep It Simple Stupid. I would simply have J66's transmitter delivered in a package. After all, they search every package coming into the embassy. They would find the transmitter along with my instructions. My past experiences were that any item or person of importance would be rushed out of Russia and end up at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. This is exactly what I hoped for, except they needed to package the transmitter in lead or it would be detected and recovered before leaving Russia.
Carrying my transmitter around I tried to present a normal routine the next week. It was never enjoyable killing a person but I prepared for next Thursday night and practiced what would be said to J66.
Thursday night arrived too soon for me. Leaving my transmitter in my apartment, I drove slowly past his building until he came out and headed down the street to his favorite neighborhood bar. Knowing where he was going I turned down a side street behind him to avoid his possibly recognizing me. There was at least an hour to waste. Really more like an hour and a half but I had to be back in time so as not to miss him. I drove to a restaurant six kilometers distant to have supper. All during supper I was mentally reviewing my preparations in my head. Had anything been overlooked?
I arrived back early on the street where J66 lived. On about my eighth slow trip past the bar there he was stumbling along on the sidewalk toward his apartment building. It was 10:45 p.m. Taking a deep breath and thinking "here goes," I pulled up alongside him and leaning over I shouted, "Sixty-six, Sixty-six." Startled, he stopped and bending over looked into my car. "It's Eighty-eight," I said. "We have a security problem and we need your help. We are to meet with Ninety-nine at 11 p.m. at your apartment. Get in!" Then I quickly pulled the door handle to open the door for him.
Without hesitation he slipped into the front seat and pointing out his apartment building said, "I live in that building. It's good to be needed. How can I help you?"
"Z99 will fill us both in on the details in a few minutes," I said, thinking this was easier than I thought it was going to be.
As we approached the door to his apartment with me walking behind him, I began to take off my overcoat, inside of which was strapped the 25 caliber Beretta with the silencer already attached. A bullet was already in the chamber. All I had to do was pull the trigger as many times as required and the clip fed weapon would do its work.
He unlocked the door and moved back for me to enter. As he stepped inside and turned to close the door his back was turned away from me and his head was in a perfect position. I quickly placed the silencer against the back of his head and pulled the trigger, while bringing the coat draped over my left arm up to catch his head as he collapsed immediately. Now he lay on the floor with his head over the fur lining of the coat. He was twitching, so I immediately dispatched another round into his head, and he lay motionless. I was careful to keep his bleeding head over the fur lining and not leave a blood trail while dragging his lifeless body into the rest room. After placing the coat and his body into the tub, I returned to the trunk of my car and retrieved the suitcase of equipment which would be needed. I locked the door behind me upon reentering his apartment.
Returning to the restroom I began to undress J66, careful to place each item of clothing along with the bloody fur lined coat into a disposal bag. The only item removed from J66's clothes was the key to his apartment. After cutting out J66's transmitter, I began the most difficult part of the job, the dissection. Upon completion, there were three thick brown storage bags heavily wrapped with tape. Locking the door and returning to my car, I made the first delivery to my incinerator comrade. Immediately returning, I quickly carried down the other two packages, careful to go unnoticed. Before the last trip I checked for any evidence which might have been overlooked. J66's transmitter, on which a small amount of flesh had intentionally been left, was placed on a paper behind a bookcase. It was 1:30 a.m. by the time I returned exhausted to my apartment.
Next morning I awoke early, put my transmitter into my pocket and went to a hardware store to purchase a soldering iron and a large quantity of lead fishing weights. Returning home, the lead weights were melted in an iron skillet until there was a single flat, circular, one centimeter thick piece of lead. Then, a 6x20 centimeter rectangular portion of the lead was cut out and using the hot soldering iron, a dashed line was placed down the middle of the 20 cm length. Using the soldering iron the following message was printed across the rectangle in all capitol letters:
Leaving my transmitter in my apartment and disguising myself somewhat, I headed out to J66's apartment with the lead and some tape. Entering his apartment and retrieving his transmitter, I heavily taped it to the lead rectangle, of course leaving it still exposed and transmitting. After checking the apartment over once again, I departed and drove to a flower shop on Kalinina Prospekt (Kalinina Avenue) which was only a few kilometers from the American Embassy.
Selecting a tall, wide mouth vase, I ordered a large flower arrangement. Knowing all such objects would be searched, I later dropped the lead and transmitter into the vase while passing final inspection on the large bouquet. The flowers were addressed to the American Embassy with the message, "Happy Bicentennial." The deliveryman was well tipped to make sure he delivered them promptly. I followed him and watched him take them in and leave without them. Check the vase I thought to myself. Please check the vase.
Rushing home to get my transmitter I tried to pass a normal day, checking my latest communication drop twice for any messages. Later that night the second delivery was made to the incinerator. Expecting a message from Boss, I checked my communication drop three times the next day. Surely alarms were being generated as J66 had appeared to spent the night at the American Embassy. Sure enough, on my third inspection of the communication drop there was a phone number which I was instructed to call and ask for Kresgi. Calling the number from a pay phone and asking to speak to Kresgi a voice replied, "Be at the corner of Konakovski and Flotskaya at 3 p.m." That gave me thirty minutes to get there. While standing on the specified corner at 3 p.m., Boss pulled up and opened the passenger door. I quickly got in.
"We have a major security problem," he began. "J66 has gone over to the Americans."
"Are you sure?" I asked with some surprise in my voice.
"I'll prove it to you in a few minutes. We're going to the Kremlin."
Parking a block from the Kremlin we walked through various alleys, then down into tunnels, and eventually up through a manned security chamber into the computer room containing the Doubles monitoring system.
Boss typed in some instructions on the keyboard as he talked to me, "I'm going to replay yesterday's data on the board. You will notice J66 go into alarm and then we lose communication with him. He goes into alarm as he enters the American Embassy at about 10 a.m."
As yesterday's data replayed on the display board, the green eight centimeter diameter circle labeled J66 moved about the map until it turned red and started blinking as its motion stopped, then eventually it turned solid red.
Boss explained, "The red blinking is when he enters the coordinates where the American Embassy is located. When it stops blinking and stays solid red, it means we have lost his signal. He has stopped transmitting or his transmitter is being shielded with lead."
"I have four Doubles watching each side of the embassy with a photo of J66 and a signal detector to detect his transmitter. But we're probably too late. You must prepare to go to the United States to eliminate J66. He will surely end up at CIA headquarters in Langley for interrogation. He's a traitor!"
"But he must have compromised the project by now. We must stop, or at least postpone or modify the plan," I said.
"No, no, no!" he shouted. "One idiot is not going to ruin the most perfect, well-developed project ever conceived. They will think he's crazy telling such a ridiculous story! I've already ordered the evidence removed from our pig farm. If they find it without knowing the exact location it will appear like any other pig farm. He will lose credibility. He may predict the flu outbreak at some military base but that will be put off as coincidence. That's all he really knows. You must kill him as a warning to the others."
"But Premier Brezhnev must know. Is he willing to continue the project with it now compromised?" I asked in bewilderment.
"Since eliminating the need for onsite operators, he and I are the only two people with access to this important room. Yet he rarely comes here. He has written us off."
Well I was correct about one thing. This was a Z99 project. He was a rogue elephant all right. Now what was I going to do? My plan "A" had failed. He was even going to continue the project with it compromised. He had flipped! I had only succeeded in making my job more difficult. Now he would be even more secretive and cautious. I would have to go to plan "B." Problem was, I had no plan "B." In any event, if and when J66's transmitter reached Langley, which it was certain to do, I would be headed to the United States.
I must get busy developing plan "B."
Proceed to Chapter Seven. Table of Contents. Questions or comments?