Chapter 60

Flashback – Masha – In hospital


Some doctors ran past and my love Jack questioned, "Why all the commotion? Don't tell me Banzai's gone."


I didn't know what to say until Tatiana ran over and excitedly informed me, "That was Mikhail Kaeoorov! He is the best surgeon in Russia and is Putin's private surgeon. Oh how I wish I could be in surgery with them." But she held up her hands, shrugged her shoulders and lamented, "Alas, with these hands I would be of no help right now.

I smiled and comforted Tatiana, "But if you had not helped to remove the shards from Ben's back, he might not have lived."


She smiled and nodded, "Yes, that is true. As it was he did die twice during the flight."


Jack annoyed me by interrupting, "Masha, please tell me what's happening."


I looked at Jack and answered, "My love, Ben must still be alive. Tatiana informed me that one of the doctors who ran past was the best surgeon in Russia and is Vladimir Putin's private surgeon."


Jack held me and whispered, "Masha, I will never be able to forgive myself if he dies…"


I crossed myself, pulled out my prayer rope1 and began to pray.


1 Orthodox prayer rope – used by the Orthodox to help them concentrate while saying the Jesus prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me). When you pray for someone else you substitute their name for “me”. So Masha prayed, 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on Ben.'


Flashback – Tatiana – In the hospital


This was strange; I had some feelings for Ben. It was not like me to have feelings for patients, especially those who would probably die.


I watched as Masha prayed, and some might think that's unusual for those in our profession (spies and assassins). However, we were raised from childhood in the church and prayer was ingrained in our behavior. And many of our Orthodox Monks were warriors. With my damaged hands I could not use a prayer rope, so I joined her and counted my prayers on my fingers…


Flashback – Jack – In the hospital


I looked at Masha, saw she was holding some sort of rope and looked to be in a trance - ah she was praying. I looked over at Tatiana and damn if she didn't look like she was in a trance too while she appeared to be counting with her fingers.


I didn't really know how or what to pray so I looked up and asked, 'Well God, I've got a feeling Ben's work isn't yet done here. So how about you give him a few more years to finish his work?'


My phone rang again - damn it's the Major!


Flashback – Major M – Undisclosed base


I had all the techs working on the computers. I called the FBI and the NSA and they had the same problems. I desperately needed intel so I called Sgt. Reynolds. I could tell when he answered he wasn't happy to hear from me. He answered, "Yes Sir!"


I questioned, "Sgt. Reynolds, what's the status of Sgt. Blaine?"


Flashback – Jack – In the hospital


Son of a bitch! The Major wasn't beating around the bush and I sure as hell didn't want to talk to him right now. I made static noises into my phone and apologized, "Sorry Sir… be bad… breaking up…"


Then I hung up the damn phone.


Flashback – Major M – Undisclosed base


What the hell! Damn, Sgt. Reynolds just hung up on me! I didn't believe for a moment he had cell phone problems. I called again and heard, 'The phone you have reached is not in service or is out of our service area.'


Son of a bitch! I had a good mind to recall his ass back to America and then send his damn ass to Thule!


My office phone rang, I answered and the Old Man yelled, "What the hell…"


I interrupted, made my own static noises and said, "Sir! Comp… virus… phone system."


Then I hung up on his ass! You know sometimes Sgt. Reynolds has a hell of a good idea.


Flashback – General Glen – Undisclosed base


Son of a bitch! I think the Major acted like we had phone issues and then he hung up on me. I called him again and got a fast busy signal. Had every damn piece of electronic gear gone on the fritz? I called my aide, but this time the phone worked fine and I told him to go over and fetch the damn Major for me! That damn Major may think he was smart, but you don't get general stars without knowing all the tricks.


Flashback – Jens


Well, I had all the information I needed for now. I connected to Ben's nasty Major's computer and uploaded a new program that would make sure any document he tried to create with either Jack's or Ben’s name in it would automatically notify me and let me control it. Then I went on the IRC2 channel the bots3 were monitoring for instructions and issued the terminate command. My order deleted, without a trace, the 'infections' on all the computers. Then I made sure as heck to scrub all my tracks because my simple Britney file had infected the whole government and they were going to be looking for me.


2 IRC - Internet Relay Chat. A protocol for real-time Internet text messaging but many times used to control bots


3 Bots – Short for robot. A program that operates as an agent on an infected computer.


Ha! Mess with the best, die like the rest!


Flashback – Major M – Undisclosed base


Well, my computer seemed to work better but I was still missing that damn document. My pet Sgt. came into my office and stated, "Sir! All the computers seem to be working fine."


I walked out, looked and sure enough things were almost back to normal. I said almost because someone fucked up our computers once and that means they could do it again.


The phone rang, I picked it up and the Old Man said, "Major, that was a hell of a job fixing all the computers in such a timely manner."


I lied, "Thank you Sir. It was difficult but we managed to take care of everything."


Then unfortunately he added, "Now since this crisis is over, I need a report of what the hell is going on in Russia."


I needed to buy some time so I waffled, "Sir! Seeing as all the computers were down, it will take me several hours to generate the report."


He stated, "Well normally I would tell you that you had one hour, but since you did such a great job on the computers, I will expect to see you tomorrow at O-nine-hundred hours with a complete report."


That's just fucking great! Now I have to stay up all night to create a damn report of which he would only read parts.


I decided to call Sgt. Reynolds again and got the same damn phone message so I sent him a fucking e-mail telling him to report to me in America ASAP! I'll teach his fucking ass!!! But, what the fuck!!! My computer refused to send the email???


Flashback – Ben – Junior High School – One month later


This last month I tried to be the model student, but it didn't work. I still got blamed for things which I didn't do and also received the subsequent unjust punishments. But I didn't just sit on my rear this last month so I now had a huge hoard of aerosol cans. Also I had learned one glorious new trick from chemistry. That being said, I wasn't a total angel this month. I did break into the chemistry closet and liberated the chemicals I needed for going ahead with my retribution.


Before I tell you what I did, I need to tell you a little about my school. My school was built in the dark ages – well not literally, but we did have an old coal fired furnace. Yeah that's right, our custodian, Erv… No, let's talk about Erv first. He was fat, bald, had a tattoo of an anchor on his forehead and drank like a sailor. He was also one scary SOB and we all stayed out of his way. But he was also sort of cool. He had holes drilled into all the girl's locker rooms (which we all knew about and shared) so sex education took a whole new meaning with Erv. I remember the time he got drunk and didn't turn off the sprinklers on the football field and that night it got cold enough to freeze the field. It was funny as hell watching all the football players (did I mention I hated all of them) falling on their butts all game day. Enough of the sidetrack about Erv and back to the school.


We probably had the last coal fired furnace in the state of Colorado if not America or the world. It was Erv's job to shovel coal into (as he called it) the SOB (or if he was really drunk - the fucking SOB). This had to be done every day, several times a day. On the days when Erv passed out drunk, well the school got damn cold until someone (sometimes me) would sneak down into the furnace room and feed the coal to the hungry beast. We never could figure out why Stern Vern (our principal) didn't fire his butt, but someone found out that Erv had something on Stern Vern from their shared time in the Navy.


Erv left the door to the basement and the SOB (coal fired furnace) unlocked most of the time because who in the heck would want to go in the furnace room… Well I would to be exact…


One day when the school started to get cold (you could tell cause the girls would wear their coats in class), I asked to go to the bathroom but instead lit out for the furnace room. Sure enough, Erv was passed out and smelled like booze. I took the massive number of aerosol cans I'd hidden, all the chemicals I'd hidden and opened up SOB's door. I threw in twice as much coal as it needed, then threw the aerosol cans and chemicals inside, slammed the door and ran back to the classroom.


I hoped that the coal fired SOB blew up and took all of us with her… Oh boy this was going to be great!!!


Flashback – Ira and Mira – in Israel


We lost the Beelzebubs during our journey and Safia finally traversed us into our sanctuary. Not a location merely to escape but an actual church sanctuary. I questioned, "Are you confident we will not be discovered in this location?"


She replied, "Yes, the Mossad will not breech the doors of a Christian church. It would cause a huge incident and we have hidden here many times."


I viewed the people assembled, locked vision with my sister and declared, "Irinka, I have a plan…"