I located the boat to be used for the August eighteenth rendezvous and made a few test runs over a two mile course to judge its speed. The boat handled well and there were no problems.
On the night of August seventeenth the submarine did not appear. I knew it wasn't because the four marksmen weren't present. Henry knew Boss was still in Cuba as indicated by his monitored transmitter location. However, we felt it critical that I take my transmitter out the twelve miles according to plan in case Boss was monitoring me with his new acoustic coupler modem terminal.
I kept going over details in my mind to determine if every precaution had been taken and everything needed was onboard. The two signal detectors, the flare gun, a flashlight, and the compressed air horn were all aboard. The gun and attached silencer were under the dashboard near the steering wheel and I had a scalpel to extract the transmitter from the body of Z99. The CIA marksmen would provide the body bag, and of course I had a baseball cap.
Incredibly, as I unlocked and entered the boat shed on the night of the eighteenth, the four marksmen were inside. If the building was being watched they may have compromised the project! They apologized, explaining they were ordered to look at me to differentiate me from the target. One of them flashed his flashlight in my face and all four men observed my face in the light. Then they had me stand at the end of the enclosed boat shed and all four men pointed their rifles at me and observed my appearance through their night scopes with and without my cap. They promised to remain hidden in the shed for at least forty-five minutes after my departure before taking up their positions.
At 11:15 I headed out due east at three-fourths throttle. This procedure worked well on the first rendezvous. Why tamper with success? This time went about as well as the first occasion. The delivery vessel appeared to be a nuclear attack submarine of what NATO calls the 'November' class. The November class were the first Soviet nuclear powered submarines, joining the fleet in 1959. It was the first submarine used under the Arctic ice.
Once again the vessel appeared quite small until the boat was alongside and then it was quite impressive. As the boat approached the sub I idled the engines. Sailors on deck threw two ropes, one of which was quickly wrapped around a tie-down on the bow and the other on the stern.
Boss was standing on deck between two sailors, each of which had a rope tied around his waist and held a cylinder that was secured to the end of the rope by a metal ring and clamp. Boss had a similar rope tied around his waist. A wooden ramp was picked up from the deck and pushed out to me. I grabbed the end of the ramp and held it down on the edge of the boat. Boss secured his clamp onto one of the cylinder rings, then the sailor removed his. This was apparently being done to prevent the dropping and possible loss of half the world's gray matter into the ocean. He carefully negotiated the short ten-foot ramp as I held out a hand to him. Grabbing my hand, he stepped into the boat.
After an exchange of greetings, he handed me the cylinder and unclamped it from his rope. I stowed the cylinder away inside the cabin as Boss returned to the sub for the second cylinder. After stowing the second cylinder safely away, Boss made a third trip to the submarine and returned carrying a metal aluminum suitcase. I assumed the suitcase contained the thermal printer terminal and the acoustic coupler modem which he carried on his travels in order to keep track of all his Doubles and any alarm conditions. The ramp was pulled back aboard the submarine and we untied both ropes and were soon on our way to Atlantic City.
The thirty-minute ride back in was the longest boat ride of my life. Boss was elated over my last report and the fact that everything he had planned had been accomplished so successfully. Now he was about to enter the critical stage of the project -- the contaminating of the swine flu vaccine at precisely the correct ratio to cause death within four to six weeks. This was the estimated time predicted for all citizens to be vaccinated. Finally, he grew tired of shouting over the din of the outboard engines and sat on one of the seats behind me in the rear of the boat.
I didn't have to kill him. All four bushwackers on shore would love the honor. Perhaps the killer would warrant an increase in salary. On the other hand, I should be the one to do the deed. We've been through some good jobs and tough situations together. I brought him to this situation. No, that's not true. He brought himself to this party. In any event, it would require a frontal shot. By the time I turned and fired he could dive overboard. Better not risk it. As we slowed to enter the marina, I put on my baseball cap. To my knowledge all the gray matter was accounted for. It was still in the same containers in which it had been safely stored years ago. The only modification being the metal rings which had been welded onto the metal cylinders.
Slowly maneuvering the boat into the boat shed, the sudden flash of light was more startling than the quick muffled "clap" of the silencer equipped rifle. Boss never knew what hit him right between the eyes. He didn't utter a word or make any sound. The only sound was the impact of the bullet as it smashed through the front of his skull and exited with a larger hole out the back of his head. This was followed almost immediately by the thud of his body hitting the deck of the boat. I didn't even look around but continued docking the boat and tying it into the shed. Somehow the event I had been planning for over the last year brought me no pleasure. I suppose my relationship with Boss could be properly defined as a love-hate relationship. Here was a man completely contented with the idea of killing two hundred and thirteen million people. On the other hand, I would never have met Sunny if it had not been for him and his swine flu plot. Although I will forever be indebted to him, he had to be eliminated. I did feel a sense of relief now that it was over.
As one of the CIA agents quickly closed the door to the boat shed, two others jumped into the boat and placed Z99's remains into the body bag to contain as much blood as possible. While the fourth agent was unreeling the hose, others hooked the boat onto cables suspended from the motorized boatlift. Going over to the body, I used the scalpel to cut out Z99's transmitter, placed it in a plastic bag, and put it in my pocket. They raised the boat until it was slightly above the surface of the water, then removed the two drain plugs from the stern of the cabin cruiser. The hose was turned on and the bloody deck was washed as all traces of blood ran out into the Atlantic.
Suddenly I was glad they were here. I fetched one of the two cylinders and handed it to one of the agents. "What's in it? Drugs?" he asked.
"Yeah, drugs," I replied. A Russian agent would never have asked.
I retrieved the second cylinder and held it out to another agent. Opening the metallic suitcase, I discovered it did indeed contain the Silent 700 terminal and acoustic modem. The terminal was useless to me since I did not know the phone number to call or the password. The only person who knew the password was now in a body bag. I closed the suitcase and handed it to one of the agents, instructing him to deliver it with the two metal cylinders.
I then gathered up my personal items and equipment and carried them to my car. Two agents were driving off with Boss sealed in the body bag in their trunk, presumably to Pennsylvania and the small specialty steel mill. All four of the sniper weapons along with the two cylinders of gray matter were placed into the trunk of the remaining agents' car. They waited for me as I made one final check of the boat with the flashlight and locked up the boat shed, leaving the keys in the boat.
"We'll try not to lose you," one of the agents joked.
"You guys go ahead without me. I trust you to do as you were instructed." What could I do to stop them anyway?
"Whatever makes you happy," the other said.
"We had a good night. Thanks for the help."
"All in a night's work," one of them replied.
I hurried to my car and drove back to Washington, DC as fast as the speed limit allowed. Returning to my hotel, I ran up three flights of stairs instead of waiting for an elevator, opened my door, hid the two body transmitters, locked my room, and ran back down the stairs to my illegally parked car. Although it was nearly 4 a.m., all I could think of was holding Sunny. I rang her doorbell four times before I heard her rushing down the stairs. Without asking who it was she quickly opened the door, throwing herself into my arms.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
"I am now," I replied, as we stepped inside and locked the door.
"I just wanted to be next to you tonight."
"You're always welcome here. I love you."
"I love you too. I'm sorry I woke you. Let's go upstairs."
I lay awake as she slept safely in my arms until her alarm clock sounded at 6:30. Then I watched her dress. Only after she kissed me good-bye did I allow myself to fall asleep.
What I thought would be my last meeting with Henry turned out to be the most pleasant. He was a few minutes late this time so I knew everything was going well. No one took any efforts to restrain me to the chair. Apparently I was one of the "Company" now.
As he walked in smiling I rose from my chair. "My heartfelt congratulations," he exclaimed.
"Thank you, Sir. We could only have pulled this off together. A year ago I had to select someone to work with on your side. You fit all my requirements at the time so I chose you. I'm happy to say you were the correct choice. I know you had some doubts along the way, but I appreciate your hanging in there with me until the end. I'd like to shake your hand someday."
"Well, I can arrange that," he said as he opened the door on his side of the partitioned room and left the cubicle. Moments later he opened the door on my side of the room and stepping in reached out his right hand and gave me a strong handshake.
"No one will ever know, but this nation owes a great deal to you," he said as he sat on the table leaving the chair for me. "This plot might very well have succeeded except for you," he continued. "We need to learn from this. Why do you believe it was so successful?"
I reflected for a minute before replying, "An important part of its near success was secrecy. It was attempted by a small group of highly skilled agents whose existence revolved around secrecy. No politicians were aware of the project. I don't believe the KGB, CIA, or FBI could have pulled it off. Being in politics, I'm sure you know how important it is to maintain secrets."
"Yes, I surely know. I'm sure you'll agree it's very critical that all of this be kept secret. What with détente and peaceful coexistence, it would be harmful if Americans thought all Russians were out to kill them. Also, it's an election year."
"Have you informed President Ford?"
"No, I wanted to talk with you first and get your ideas. Although we can track all Doubles now, I don't want to arrest them here. It's better if it's handled at your end. We would have to hold trials. We'll have to find a way to get them back inside Russia."
"I can help with that. I know the recall code. Have the message 'Zee Zee misses you - Return home on the double!' placed in the personal ads column in all major newspapers where your satellite detects a Double. Within a week of seeing that message, we are to return home. You can verify our return on your computer tracking system."
"Great, that solves a major problem. Let me write that down. Do you want me to put in a good word about you to Premier Brezhnev?"
"Not at this point with Doubles still on the loose. Just let him know you had the help of a Double in preventing this tragedy. We'll all be arrested and interrogated. I should be able to convince them I'm the one who spoiled the conspiracy. If not, they can call President Ford on the hot line for verification at that time. When do you intend to start bringing President Ford up to date?"
"What are your plans for the gray matter?"
"It is presently locked in a safe which is guarded twenty-four hours a day. I will recommend that President Ford offer to have Russian guards also be present along with our guards. They could initially be brought over from the embassy. Long term, I would like to see it go back where it came from. Next year we have two deep space probes going to the outer planets and then out of the universe. I believe they're called Voyager I and Voyager II. Five to ten more pounds should be manageable."
"As long as there's no problem with lift off, that sounds like an excellent plan as long as both sides verify each cylinder is on board. If you have a pen and paper, I'll write down my hotel and room number in case there are any glitches between President Ford and Premier Brezhnev. Although I'm seldom there, you can leave me a message."
As we were about to leave he extended his hand for a parting handshake and said, "Clifford Irwin Anderson -- CIA. I always thought that was a cute touch. What's your real name?" he asked.
I hesitated, and almost told him before answering, "D88."
I don't know how he felt, but as I left him that day it seemed we had been friends for a long time.
As I checked the personal ads in the Washington Post the next day, I expected to see the "return home" message but it wasn't there. I suppose Henry wanted to talk to President Ford and get him on the hot line first. The message needed to be placed soon because someone was expecting delivery of the gray matter.
Still no "return home" message the next day. However, when I called the hotel's front desk at 2 p.m., I had a message. The operator read the message to me, "There's a glitch -- Pick you up in front of your hotel at 7 p.m." No name was given.
Well, I was in no mood for any damn glitches! I decided to do something I hadn't done in awhile. I located a quarter mile track behind a high school and ran! It felt good just to sweat and feel my body straining to exhaustion. I returned to my hotel, showered, dressed, and headed to Sunny's. We kissed, hugged, and went out for a quick supper before I returned to my hotel at 6:50 p.m.
Once again, four men in suits arrived in a car with darkened windows and drove around town with me in the middle of the back seat before finally arriving at our destination. They must teach a class called "Pick Up and Transport 101," I thought.
When I arrived, Henry was waiting for me on my side of the room which now contained two chairs.
"What's the glitch?" I asked.
"Let's wait for President Ford, he has some questions." As he finished, the door to the other side of the room swung open and in walked President Gerald Ford.
Secretary Kissinger turned and introduced us, "President Ford this is the man I know as Clifford Irwin Anderson or D88. Cliff this is President Ford."
President Ford began by saying, "I want to thank you on behalf of my country for doing the right thing in this matter. Did Leonid Brezhnev know of your participation in stopping this plot?"
"No sir," I answered. "I always believed he had no active part in the plot but I never knew for sure. In any event, if I told him there would have been a wide investigation and Z99 and the gray matter would have been driven underground until another day. I would have been eliminated. Either way, I couldn't risk telling him."
"Exactly as I thought," the President continued. "Suddenly he's claiming that an active Russian investigation uncovered and prevented this plot which was designed to destroy the United States. Therefore, he wants some payback for his extraordinary efforts."
"What does he want for his reward?" I asked.
"He wants us to stop backing the Shah of Iran militarily and financially."
"You could call his bluff. After all, this could be embarrassing to him also," I countered.
"The problem is this is an election year," the President said. "If we meet his demand he promises all evidence of the plot will be erased. Henry, place the ads to call all the Doubles home tomorrow. Mr. Anderson, it's been a pleasure and thanks again." With that, he left the room.
"Sounds like he's made his decision," I remarked.
As recently as August 7, 1976, the U.S. and Iranian governments had announced that Iran would spend ten billion dollars for military purchases from the United States over the years 1975-1980. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger stated that the U.S. wanted a powerful Iran in the Middle East.
Based on the conversation I had just participated in, this policy was going to be suddenly reversed only two weeks after it had been announced!
Proceed to Chapter Seventeen. Table of Contents. Questions or comments?