The three men sat in the new office of Culberson, Iverson and Abrams. Dewey Culberson wore a charcoal grey wool suit, white monogrammed shirt with silver cuff links, and a Panerai Luminor Submersible black dial watch. His real name was George Cress, but it had been so long since he used it, he felt more like a Dewey. At 53 he was the senior agent on the team. They had been together for over two year. It had been a long run and now they were playing around on the Bureau’s tuff, which made the job all the better, for Dewey. He hated the FBI. They all did.
Gilbert Iverson sat on the couch of the new office with a scotch. He was generally quiet and contemplative. His skills were many as he climbed the ranks. His marksmanship is first rate, his knowledge of protocol is perfect, and he has the ability to speak and more importantly, think like a Russian. All of this combined with his analytical mind, made him indispensible. It was his report on Russian procurement strategies, which caught the attention of Dewey. His theory was so simple and utterly without flash that Dewey couldn’t put it down. One line in a communiqué intercepted by agents in Germany, had been all it took to catch Gilbert’s attention. Dewey asked Gilbert if he would mind living abroad for a while, he said no, and two days later they were in a tiny apartment in Berlin, with their new names.
Jake stood by the window. He thought he was as smart as Gilbert, but he wasn’t. The youngest of the group, he was a rising star, but often didn’t know his own limitations. This was sometimes a double edged sword. When they were in a tight spot in Kiev, he had arrogantly thought he could take on 4 KGB agents alone, and had surprised them. It was such a stupid move it worked. He thought he was brilliant. Dewey thought he had potential. Gilbert thought he was too much of a wild card. They were both right.
Jake said, “This office has a better view.” There was rain falling, but he could still see the traffic below.
“When are yesterday’s surveillance tapes going to be in?” Dewey asked, while shuffling some papers on his desk.
Gilbert, “The analysts are going through them now. The move slowed them up a little today, but we should have the reports in an hour or so. The Berlin unit’s report should also be arriving by currier any time now.”
“I am not sure why we needed to move though.”
“Once the secretary hired the private dick to snoop around, we couldn’t risk staying. Need I remind you that we are well outside our mandate? Or do you need a refresher course on what that is?” Gilbert answered in as condescending manor as he could muster.
Jake had to respect Gilbert, even if he really didn’t. So he took the slight and filed it away with the rest. “Anyone hungry?”
Dewey thought that Jake could be a somewhat annoying at times, but also felt sorry for him when Gilbert would take him down a peg. “Sure, I could eat. What are you thinking?”
Jake craved approval from Dewey. He read everything Dewey had ever written and he had written a lot. When someone says he ‘Wrote the book on…’, they were generally right, literally. “Chinese food? There is a place a block from here.”
Gilbert was hungry and loved Chinese food, much more than he enjoyed giving Jake a hard time. “That sounds good. I’ll buy, if you run and get it.” His tone was much warmer now. Jake appreciated it and took the twenty. Jake also loved a free meal. He was notoriously cheap.
A bookish secretary passed Jake in the hallway and entered the office with a quick knock. “A currier just delivered this.” She handed it to Dewey and left.
Gilbert stood by the desk, waiting while Dewey read. He finished the first page and passed it to Gilbert. He read it quickly then said, “I can’t believe they killed agent Lohman. He was even more cautious than me.”
“We don’t know it was the Russians,” handing him the second page.
Gilbert read the description of Robert Lohman’s murder. “It says he was mugged in an alley in Nuremberg? A witness says that 5 guys followed him into alley and shot him. I don’t believe it. He would never let himself get boxed in like that.”
Knowing the answer, but asking anyway, “So if it wasn’t some thugs?”
“It had to be the Russians. I would guess either Oleg Kiselev or Pyotr Chistyakov. But that isn’t what concerns me. How did they find him? His whole job was to be invisible. They must have smelled something in the wind.”
“I will have their files sent over and put out the word out to the team in Brussels.”
“What we need to know…” Gilbert said, choosing his words carefully, “…is how much they think we know.”
This is why Dewey liked Gilbert. “Why do you say ‘how much they think’ we know?”
“If it is Kiselev, he will shut down their operation, if he suspects we have the slightest idea what they are trying to get. Chistyakov is a little more daring, but he too will shut down if he feels the slightest heat. The reason I say ‘think’ is because they are both arrogant men. They will believe that their source is 100% accurate. We have a leak, but what we don’t know, is what they have been leaking.”
Dewey smiled. It had been a long argument and eventually he had relented. When they were sitting in the small apartment talking hypothetical plays, Gilbert had suggested creating a second set of files, from day one. The false set which would live in the secure filing cabinets, while only the two of them would know where the real files would be located. Dewey had maintained that it would double their work load and he couldn’t imagine it helping. Dewey liked how Gilbert hadn’t thrown it in his face. Once he had relented, Gilbert always referred to it as ‘their’ secret.
“Then I guess we had best check on the real files.”
Gilbert poured himself another drink. “I don’t think they are the problem. I checked them this morning. I am more concerned about who put them onto us.”