Roofied in the Russian Underground by a sexy spy and he had the nerve to show up in my hotel room? I knocked the offending glass out of Gabe’s hand.
Ok, I tried to. It probably looked more like a drunk swatting at a fly. It hurt too badly to move.
“Please, drink this. It’ll help.”
“Like the decanter of Vodka that helped annihilate me? My crew’s gonna kill me… Actually, death would be preferable.”
“You need to trust me.”
“Trust…you… A spy.”
I wanted to punctuate that with a laugh ha! but it would require my diaphragm to engage and I’d probably spasm.
I cracked my eyes again. It was fairly dark in the room but there was enough streetlight filtering in to make out his face. He was looking at me the way he had on the plane.
My Gabe was back. And he was a spy.
Damn, he was sexy. I had a sexy spy in my room with a James Bond skill set and thanks to him,
I was dying.
“Your crew is fine. They’ve been supplied with the antidote.”
“So you really did poison us…”
I glared at him as he brought the glass closer but I couldn’t resist anymore.
My throat felt like the neck of an hourglass where thousands of sand particles had passed.
I prayed for a quick death, lifted my head and drank.
The liquid was cool, sweet and rather thick like clear cough syrup.
It coated my throat and my insides all the way down to my tummy, settling the queasy ache there and spreading through every nerve fiber like liquid morphine. The thumping quelled.
I could use a batch of this secret spy juice for the aftermath of Margaritaville layovers in
I lay back feeling warm and dreamy and oh so much better. Every little thing is gonna be alright.
“You like Bob Marley?”
Shit. “Did I just sing that out loud?” I risked a peek at Gabe.
He seemed to be smiling. Then–
“You must hate me.” This from Gabe.
“You have to love someone first to hate them.”
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
I’d love to divulge all the delicious details of our small talk but I doubt it was of interest to anyone else but us.
It helped Gabe trust me because he revealed the secret stuff surrounding our sojourn into the shadows and back to the Hotel.
That my friends, nearly wiped out my dreamy little buzz.
The Hotel we were in, as Betty Lou had indicated, was former KGB Headquarters during the Cold War. Except “former” was a misnomer.
It was well known that American flight crews stayed at the hotel; namely, us. And we were unknowingly part of a top secret operation between the KGB and the sect we had inadvertently stumbled upon in the Underground behind the red door.
In other words, it wasn’t just Gabe who knew who we were when we showed up.
Gabe had been working this ring undercover for some time to discover all the parties involved.
Lucky for us we were an American flight crew and they needed us for their operation. Because what we had stumbled into was an ugly little business known as human trafficking.
Which would explain why all the people we saw appeared to be drunk or drugged.
Now at the onset it seemed totally legit to the unsuspecting. Freedom was promised for a price and that price bought the airline ticket to fly (on us mind you) to Vladivostok, a major shipping port on the Pacific which also served as a terminus for the Trans-Siberian railway connection to Moscow.
As one might imagine, the major shipping, railway and airline ports made this town a hotbed for criminal activity Gabe likened to lawless days of the wild west. It was rife with unsavory characters, shady deals and missing persons, which was probably why we just did a turn there instead of a layover.
Gabe had just been entrusted with the Handler position (the other guy was shot, coincidentally), which meant he transported the “goods” on the flight to VVO with us.
In effect, these poor humans who thought they were starting the first leg to the Promised Land (which we helped sell as an American airline) were actually being sold into slavery when they arrived in Vladivostok.
Thus, when we appeared it sent something of a shock wave through the Underground–
“Although I don’t think anyone was more surprised than me,” said Gabe.
It would’ve been unwise to let us go immediately without finding out how much we knew (nothing as it turned out) and it would have been disastrous to dispose of us which meant the preferred transportation route would have ceased immediately and indefinitely.
The clear choice was to get us out of there and back to the Hotel in the easiest manner possible, which meant drugging us and taking us back by means of the Secret Underground System.
In the town of Magadan, an Underground tunnel system was constructed between various buildings and the KGB Headquarters (aka Hotel) for ease of espionage, transferring prisoners and notable black market items.
It proved especially useful during the harsh Siberian winters or when transporting a drugged American flight crew back to their hotel.
Gabe leaned forward and looked at me intently.
“I know you’ll find this hard to believe but the dose
I gave you, all of you, was watered down. At full strength, it’s likely you wouldn’t remember your own names and
I need all of you to show up for that flight.
I’ve told you these things because I need your cooperation to help me do my job.
One question remains and you need to be very careful how you answer it:
How much do you remember about last night?”