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Awakenings Chapter 5: Focusings, Page 10

With great discipline, Alex began to count.  He sensed that the van was traveling at a speed of somewhere between 20 and 50 miles per hour.  He simultaneously measured the magnitude and direction of each turn, storing the information.  He suspended counting each time he felt them stop.  At 335 seconds they came to another stop.

He heard the side door open.  “Get up”.  He was roughly brought to his feet, hitting his head on the roof of the van. ‘Step down.” He was guided onto what felt like paving stones beneath his feet.  “Walk down these stairs.”  He was guided down a single flight of stairs, mentally counting the number of steps as he descended and was led through an open door.

When he heard the door close behind him, the sack was pulled off of his head, showing him a featureless room with a worn vinyl floor and dirty sheetrock.  In the center sat a scratched fake wood collapsible table and several folding chairs.  Sitting in a chair behind the table was a thin non-descript man with balding thin hair combed over a bald spot and who appeared to be in his late 60’s or early 70’s.  Alex reflexively compared the face to his memorized catalogue and with a shock actually thought he recognized the face!  Could this be Volodymer Kravchenko, one of the Cold War Soviet psy-ops specialists?

“Good evening Alex.  You can call me Volo.” The balding man smiled to reveal yellowed teeth.  “Please have a seat.  Would you like to share a drink with me?  We have some fine vodka, schnapps, your American whiskey, even some beer.”

Alex sat down. “I am not thirsty.  Why did you kidnap me and bring me here?  You have committed a very serious crime.”

Volo signaled with his hand and one of the two handlers who had brought Alex through the door brought a bottle of fine Kentucky whiskey to the table where Volo then filled a shot glass and downed the contents in one motion.  Alex noted that his two handlers were both medium sized men dressed in dark gray and brown denim pants with cheap button down shirts, cheap running shoes, and were both wearing seemingly incongruous brightly colored ski masks to hide their identities.  When Volo lit up a cigarette, Alex noted the overflowing ashtray on the table, then realizing that the stains on the walls were from nicotine collecting on the walls from lots of cigarette smoke.

“No so bad as what happened to you in Moscow many years ago.  How could you possibly have hidden that from the background investigators when you joined the FBI?”

“The FBI was very weak in those days.  There were people in power very much higher than me who were also implicated.   A deal was made.  Those records were sealed and put into a place not even the FBI could look under terms of national security.  How did you find out about the embassy?”

“Lets just say that we have resources that not even the CIA or FBI are aware of.”

“Do you mean that you have some highly placed moles?”

Volo just looked at Alex without any expression.  He was clearly studying every subtle move and expression that Alex made.

“Do you want to make a lot more money than the FBI will ever pay you?”  Alex just stared in silence.  “You really have little choice but to cooperate.  I really want to help you.  Some of my associates take a different approach.  They would destroy you, your career, and your family members if you don’t cooperate.  But I think that you are a sensible man.  If you join us, we can even help you deal with some of the real threats that truly threaten your country.  We have intelligence on terrorists that your Department of Homeland Security would be thrilled to get, but is restrained by the bleeding heart laws that really weaken your country.”  So the conditioning began.

Continued ...    Back to Page 9