Sara hunched over the keyboard, squinting first at it and then at the computer screen. Her red-framed glasses reflected the white light of the screen, hiding nervous hazel eyes. She knew what she was doing with the computer, what she was searching for, and she could read the Cyrillic fine, but her hands were shaking badly, and there was sheen of sweat on her forehead, telling that she was afraid, and not trained enough or experienced enough to hide the emotion.
Mikhail hadn’t had good night’s rest since he got back from that death camp the SVR called a research facility. Long hours toiling at a desk in a dark room had left him with the tendency to not get any sleep at night. He was in his bed but wide-awake thinking about the job he had to go on in only a few days. Pick up package
96 in Odessa and have it brought to the facility for its final tests. He was used to hearing bumps in the night, but what he heard just then was not his mind playing its usual tricks. He got up, pulling on his sweatpants and taking one of the handguns he kept in his night table. Downstairs, Sara let out a soft sigh of relief when she found the file she was searching for, and hastily transferred it to her flash drive. As soon as it had been downloaded, she snatched it from its port and shoved it into her bra. Safest place for small thugs that needed hiding, she had always thought. Mikhail was making his way down the stairs, a handgun at the ready. There was someone in his workroom. The light from the computer was shining through the cracked open door. How did someone get past his security cameras and the sealed shut entrances? Whoever he was, he had to be a highly trained expert. He cocked the gun, the silencer on. Quickly, he kicked open the door, pointing the gun at the intruder. “Do not move!” He shouted in angry Russian.
Sara had to stifle a scream when the door got kicked in and the shouting started. She had never been good with loud noises. With the light in her eyes she couldn’t see who was threatening her, she only knew that he was male, and he was large. Mikhail had his handgun pointed straight at her, an expression of anger and fear on his face. He didn’t know what he was dealing with here. His other hand reached for the light switch. He flicked it on, shocked by what he saw standing in the room. A woman. No, a girl. A young girl. At least seven years younger than him. The fear disappeared from his face, as he saw the same expression on hers.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?!” She remained sitting in the chair, frozen in front of the computer. Her hands clenched into fists, her nails digging into her palms. He had a gun. The gun was pointed at her. She couldn’t speak, she was terrified, even in training she had never been so terrified. At least there she knew they wouldn’t kill her! Say something!
“I…I…” Don’t tell him the truth! “That’s classified,” she blurted.
The Russian rolled off her tongue with a trace of an accent. He caught that hint of an accent when she spoke. She wasn’t Russian, he could tell. She could speak the language well, but she wasn’t one of them. He approached her slowly, his hands shaking as he held the handgun at her. He seemed to be almost as nervous as her. He looked over her shoulder at the computer screen. He could read the open window on the screen. ‘File upload complete.’ His face contorted and he turned back to her.
“What did you take?! Answer me!” he shouted angrily.
Her entire body tensed and she fought the urge to cringe. She was used to shouting, but that didn’t mean she liked it.
“That’s classified,” she repeated, her voice weak, frightened. She had a good poker face, usually, but she could never hide the tears that built in her eyes when she was under stress. And dammit, this was stressful! Mikhail was used to being yelled at too, only this time he was the one doing the yelling. He looked angrily into her wide, hazel eyes.
“I will ask again, in case you did not hear me,” he said as he pushed the barrel of the gun against her forehead. “What. Did. You. Take?” The gun was at her head. She had been trained to resist torture. The guns had been pressed against her head. Had fired blanks close to her face. But it was different when it was a gun she knew for sure was loaded with bullets!
“Odessa!” she said immediately, quickly. She was scared out of her mind, and her body was shaking. The tears had spilled over and left trails on her cheeks that glistened in the too-bright light of the computer.
Mikhail’s face froze. Questions were flooding into his head. Who did she work for? How did they know about that? And what did they want with it? He lowered the gun, backing away from her but his eyes locked on her.
“Stand up. Now,” he said menacingly. Without even thinking she did as he ordered. He sounded like the people who had trained her: firm and domineering and very, very scary. Her fingertips were still on the desk when she was standing, and her fingernails made tiny pitter patter güvenilir bahis sounds on the desktop. Why couldn’t she stop shaking?! Because she was in a life or death situation, and no one could help her. She didn’t even have an older agent as backup. She was just alone, and Sara hated being alone. He looked her up and down, trying to identify the kind of stealth suit she was wearing. He’d seen it before, but was trying to put his finger on it. He looked at her with anger. He had many questions for her, but it would have to wait for now.
“Where is the data that you stole?” he asked as calmly as he could. As long as she was with him, no one would get the files.
“Emailed to the… to my employers,” she answered quickly. It was gratifying to know that she could still lie under pressure, even if she was crying. She wanted to get out of there. She should have taken the first flight to ‘anywhere but Moscow and out of the USA’ she could find, but she had been too afraid to disobey her orders. Mikhail’s face darkened. Could she be telling the truth? If so he was in trouble. He glared, pressing the gun back against her head.
“If that’s the case, I may as well kill you now before killing myself.” That information getting out would in fact mean the death of him.
She glanced over at him with a panicked look on her face. “I lied! I didn’t send it to anyone!” I am pathetic, she thought. A few minutes under a gun and she completely broke down. She didn’t want to die! She had been through too much shit to die!
He nodded. “I thought so,” he said and nudged her with the barrel of the gun. “Come. We’re going to have a talk.” As long as the data hadn’t been sent, he had nothing to worry about. She slowly stepped out from behind the desk, being careful not to make a move that might make him shoot her. She had never been shot before, but it had never looked very pleasant. Again, she thought about how much she wanted to go back to the camp. There was no more home for her, but at least at camp she wasn’t threatened with death and real torture. Only fake torture and ten mile runs through the Nevada desert with little water. Mikhail held the gun against her back as he walked her into the kitchen. There was a single lamp on the table, which he turned on. He pointed at the chair at the end of the table.
“Sit.” She sat, not taking her eyes off the giant man on the other end of the table. He could hurt her easily, and he probably would. The very thought made her whimper softly in fright, her hands twisting together on her lap. Mikhail sat down in front of her, a dark, angry expression on his face.
“I am not going to bother asking your name, so why don’t you just tell me who you are working for?” He asked. The gun was lying on the table, the barrel pointed at her. She was silent for a full ten seconds before she finally answered.
“The United States government?” It was the truth, but it sounded like a question. He raised his eyebrow. He had a feeling she wasn’t Russian. So he assumed she was speaking Russian because she’d learned it.
“So, you are American?” He asked in English. He was looking over that suit again. CIA, he assumed.
“Yes,” she whispered. Her eyes were locked on the gun. It was shiny, she thought idly, clenching her fists again. She didn’t want to die. She considered begging him to let her go. Heaven knew she didn’t have any problem with it. He frowned, getting up from the table and walking towards her.
“And your superiors knew about the Odessa project. What did they tell you?” he asked her menacingly.
“They didn’t tell me anything but where to find it, I swear!” she said, nearly squeaking in her fear. He was huge. From Sara’s perspective, he looked seven feet tall and even huger. He glared, leaning closer to her with a menacing expression.
“I should kill you for breaking into my house…” he said as he began circling her around the chair. “After you stole my files, then what were you going to do?”
“I was supposed to take them to Minsk, Belarus,” she lied. She wrapped her arms around herself, hunching over, trying to make herself smaller. Not an easy feat for young woman who was nearly six feet tall. She wasn’t looking him in the eye. She was shaking, trying to become smaller. Only a fool would think she was telling the truth. He pointed the gun against the back of her neck.
“Let’s try that again, little liar. Where was your extraction going to be after you robbed me?”
The cold barrel pressed against her skin and she broke immediately with a rather pathetic sob. “Odessa, Ukraine!” Don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me! She chanted in her mind. He nodded his head, continuing to pace around her. She was surprisingly compliant for a CIA agent.
“So they meant for you to take Package 696, did they?” he asked. She nodded quietly, tensing up whenever he got close. This wasn’t a training torture session, and he wasn’t one of her instructors. She was expecting to be hurt badly at any moment, and this time türkçe bahis it wouldn’t be a punch or a slap to the face that would sting and bruise. It might be something that actually broke her. Sara had never broken a bone, but she was sure it hurt.
Mikhail saw she was just a girl, probably inexperienced, but skilled enough to break into his house. She was cooperating with him well enough, so he didn’t see the need to get violent with her. Yet. As far as he knew she still had the data on her somewhere, and until he recovered it, he couldn’t risk her leaving.
“Well American, you now carry valuable information on you, so I’m afraid I cannot let you leave,” he said.
Couldn’t let her leave? What was he going to do with her? Tie her up and lock her in a dark closet?
“Wh-what would you do if I gave you the information back?” This girl was every spy’s wet dream; she sang like a canary under the slightest amount of pressure. Mikhail looked at her curiously. Was she really that afraid and that weak? He thought for a moment.
“Well, in that case, I think I could be persuaded to let you go. Or at least make your stay more comfortable.” He didn’t want her running back to her superiors and having them bring hell onto him. Having her as a hostage would guarantee his safety. She couldn’t go back without the information. They would hurt her if she didn’t bring it back! This man was the immediate threat… but the CIA was much more frightening. She wouldn’t give it to him then. So she just stayed silent, and the shaking of her body slowly stopped. He couldn’t possibly hurt her as much as they could… right? He looked her over. He could tell she’d chosen to honor her country. He shook his head. Looks like he’d have an unwelcome guest for a while. Sadly, as this as a residential home that he didn’t want to remind him at all of that hellhole facility, he couldn’t lock her away. He put away the gun in his holster.
“Upstairs. You’re going to have a nice long stay here,” he said. She stood silently, starting to step away from the table. And then she realized that moving that way put her closer to him, and side stepped nervously. She was like a skittish animal. He rolled his eyes. She was such a pathetic looking girl. He almost felt sympathy. Almost. He pointed towards the stairs.
“Move.” He’d have to secure any exits before going to bed. She walked up the stairs slowly, occasionally glancing over her shoulder at him. She was pathetic and she knew it. She couldn’t hold it together for even ten minutes, and now she was a prisoner! In Russia. She was a prisoner in Russia. Russian prisons were scary! She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. No more freaking out. No more trembling. Try to stop crying. Mikhail led her up the stairs, up to the spare bedroom. It was no prison cell, but it would have to make do.
He gave her a light shove into the room. “This is where you’ll be staying. Don’t bother trying to escape, this room is sealed.” He was too tired to try and search for the files. It could wait till morning.
“I’d rather not be shot, so I won’t bother,” she mumbled, moving quickly away from the door. She sat down on the bed and stared her boots. The minute she had put the dark blue suit on she had felt like she was in bondage gear.
“I’ll deal with you in the morning,” Mikhail said, shutting the door behind him and locking her in. The windows were secure and he went to double check the security alarms. Clearly he’d gotten lazy for her to break in without alerting him. She bent down and took off her boots, setting them neatly at the end of the bed. Next she took the pins out of her hair, letting the long brown curls tumble down her back. The pins and her red-framed glasses went on the nightstand and she slipped under the bedclothes, pulling them up to her chin. She wasn’t sure when she fell asleep, but when she opened her eyes again; the sun was streaming through the window.
The next morning, Mikhail was up and double-checking the doors and security. He knew she was still there. He unlocked the door, speaking through it.
“Come down when you’re ready. We still have more to discuss,” he said. He went downstairs, starting to fry eggs and bacon for them. He didn’t know why he was cooking for the prisoner, but he didn’t want her to starve to death. She sat up, rubbing her eyes blearily. It was surprising how easy it was for her to sleep when she was a prisoner in an unfamiliar country. She slipped her glasses onto her face, and combed her fingers through her curly hair as she walked down the stairs.
“Most people don’t let prisoners wander their homes,” she said softly, sitting down at the table.
He nodded. “Well, this is no prison. If it was, you’d be in a cell.”
He put a plate down in front of her. “Now eat. Once you’ve got your strength back, we’ve got much to discuss.” He was intent on finding that data.
The flash drive was still in her bra; she could feel it there. She wasn’t going to tell him that though. güvenilir bahis siteleri Instead she just started eating. If her mouth was full she couldn’t answer questions. Mikhail made himself coffee and made a cup for her too. He wanted to get this over with as quickly as he could. The more comfortable he made her feel, the more compliant he hoped she’d be. He wanted this over with quickly before tomorrow when he had to go to Odessa for his extraction. Sara ate the food, but didn’t touch the coffee. She thought the stuff was vile.
“Thank you,” she said, her voice still quiet, like she was afraid he’d be angry if she were too loud. He exhaled, taking a drink of his own. He sat down across from her, visibly tired and annoyed.
“I’m curious. How did you get past all of my security measures? There are cameras on every hall and the windows are sealed shut,” he asked with no shortage of curiosity in his voice.
“I hacked your system,” she said, this time actually sounding a little proud of herself. She could at least do that and not screw it up. He raised his eyebrow with surprise. He’d thought that was inconceivable. He’d built that system himself.
“Well, that’s slightly impressive. I wasn’t aware that they taught you that in America.” Her expression fell back into one that closely resembled one of fear and anger.
“Not in conventional training, they don’t.” He was supposed to be a genius, she knew that much about him. So why couldn’t he figure out that the eighteen-year-old in front of him wasn’t exactly a normal G-man?
He looked at her curiously. He’d figured that out long ago. No ordinary agent could enter his house undetected and hack into his computer database. She was clearly not given the same training. Her skill set and her inability to handle pressure proved that.
“You still have that data on you somewhere, and I’m going to find it before the day is out,” he warned her as he took a bite of his food.
“No you won’t.” She wanted to sound confident, but the faint tremble in her voice gave her away immediately. She had absolutely no faith in her ability to hide and protect the information, no faith in herself not to crack and just beg the frighteningly handsome man to let her go, to not hurt her. He frowned, crossing his arms.
“I’ve been trained by the SVR, young lady,” he said, as he had a feeling she knew this already so he didn’t feel the need to keep quiet. “I have ways of making you talk.”
He doubted she knew that he was only trained to kill, not interrogate. He could fight and uncover new things about nuclear physics. Not much else. But he was big and imposing enough to cause her concern. All she could think about now was the horror stories she had heard about what the SVR did to people who didn’t cooperate. She was stiff in her chair, her hands clenched into fists on the tabletop.
“You wouldn’t dare hurt me. I’m just a kid!” Even as she said it she knew she was lying to herself. Being a kid wouldn’t stop him from hurting her. It hadn’t stopped the trainers from hurting her. Besides, being 18 made her legally an adult.
He chuckled, trying to look intimidating. “And? You’re wearing the uniform and you broke into my house. I have every reason to hurt you.” He had a feeling she’d been warned about SVR agents. Little did she know, he hadn’t been trained the same way as one. Nor had he been brainwashed into a killing machine. But as long as she thought he was, she’d stay in line. She whimpered involuntarily, shrinking back against the chair.
“I won’t give it to you.” Sara wasn’t suicidal. The CIA would hurt her worse than he would.
“I can’t give it to you!” she cried.
He shook his head. “Well, you’re not leaving here with it, I can promise you that.” If the CIA got to the package before he did, he’d be dead. They wouldn’t hesitate.
“I’ll give you one last chance. Hand it over,” he said.
“Go fuck yourself!” she shouted, very clearly frightened and angry. “Yo-you’ll never get me to give it to you. Ne-never.” She didn’t want to be hurt, but she didn’t want to die even more. He frowned, crossing his arms.
“You leave me with no other choice then.” He replied, standing and backing away from the table. “Stand up. Now.” He didn’t have the gun with him, but he had a feeling he didn’t need it. Not with her.
She gave him a wide-eyed stare as she slowly got to her feet. Sara didn’t dare take her eyes off of him. What was he going to do to her, she wondered, trying to keep herself from panicking. Would he pluck out her fingernails? Slap her under her cheeks were bruises? Cut her? Waterboard her?
He looked her up and down, still in that CIA issue stealth suit. She had that flash drive on her somewhere. And he was going to find it. He pointed to her suit. “Strip.” He said with no shortage of seriousness.
She flushed angrily almost as soon as the order left his mouth. “No!” She didn’t have to obey him, she didn’t have to…but her fingers were already holding the zipper. They didn’t move though, seemingly just holding it in place.
“No.” she repeated, stepping backward. His expression darkened when he saw her backing away. If she thought she was getting away, she had another thing coming.