“Yes, sir! Very good, Comrade Major...it shouldn’t be long before our plan will be fully engaged.” The balding uniformed man placed the phone onto its cradle with a satisfactory thump. He leaned back in his desk chair as he lifted a lit Havana cigar to his lips. Filtered sunlight found its way past the heavily curtained windows and mixed with the cigar smoke.
Lieutenant Colonel Nalaborsky looked from his cigar to the man nervously sitting in the half light across from him. “You’re in luck, Dimitri, the project has begun. Soon I will have my revenge on Illya Nicovetch Kuryakin.”
Dimitri Savinov face paled dramatically. He had just signed his childhood best friend’s death warrant. He stood up and faced the threat sitting before him. “Must you go through with this? It has been twenty years since the two of you have crossed paths. What could he possibly have done to you or do to you in the future? Please, Comrade, even as a child Illya Nicovitch saved my life and that of a dozen others during the war. How can you do this to him now?”
“Enough, Dimitri! You forget yourself. If you had not provided the information I needed you would be spending the rest of your life in the gulag. Your family would starve and maybe sent to the gulag as well. I suggest you forget about Kuryakin and go about your business as if you never knew him.”
“Yes, of course.” Dimitri Savinov swallowed nervously. “You do promise, Comrade, that from now on my family and I will be safe and left alone?”
“But of course, I am a man of my word.” He paused and studied the man in front of him. “You may go now, Dimitri.”
But Dimitri Savinov did not move. “Excuse me, comrade, but what about the money you promised me?”
“Is it not enough that I have spared your life, Dimitri? But of course, as I have said, I am a man of my word.” The Lieutenant Colonel pulled a ring of keys from his pocket and unlocked the lower right hand drawer to his desk. He reached in and withdrew a canvas bag that clinked noisily as he dropped it onto the desk top. “Here are your thirty pieces of silver, Dimitri. Now take them and go.”
Dimitri blanched at the biblical reference. “No, never mind, I don’t want it!”
“Nonsense, you’ve earned it.” He picked it up and tossed it. “Now get out.”
Dimitri caught the bag reflexively as it was tossed to him. He opened his mouth to say something, closed it and rushed out of the Lieutenant Colonel’s office.
Lt. Col. Anton Nalaborsky picked up his phone and summoned the guard stationed in the outer office. “The man who just left the office...give him a ride to the woods outside of the city and kill him.” He rose from his desk and pushed the curtain aside to view the street below. He smiled as he watched two of his men walk up beside Savinov and escorted him to a black sedan and forced him into it. There would be no danger of Dimitri Savinov ever getting hold of Kuryakin and warning him of his treachery. He turned to the credenza behind his chair and poured his best vodka into a glass. As he observed the scene being played out on the street, he raised his glass. “To you, Illya Kuryakin! Your days are numbered and may you rot in Hell.”