In 1965, in the chilliest part of the Cold War, Anders Desruisseaux is nearing the end of his career in the US military. His last stint has been with Army Intelligence, working as an agent handler in northern Germany, where he runs "agents" in and out of East Bloc countries. He sees his job description as: "Retired spy, much field experience, twenty years of lying, deceit, sedition. Plays well with others." At this point in his life and career, things should be getting simpler. But suddenly they're becoming much more complicated. Among his other problems: is one of his former sources out to kill him? This novel is fiction-based-on-fact. Many of the techniques and places described in the novel were and are true. The job was at times exciting, rarely glamorous, and sometimes just a rotten way to make a living.
"Mr. Desrosiers, I have given your offer a great deal of thought, and I have come to the conclusion…" He paused, a little too long.
Oh, shit, I've lost him.
Richter looked briefly into his drink, then back at Anders. "The conclusion that you are working for a western intelligence agency." He lifted his glass and drank, his eyes laughing at Anders over the rim.
Anders' heart stopped. It had to, because every bit of liquid in his veins had instantaneously frozen quite solid. Anders gripped the arms of his chair, half rising. "What?"
Richter waved him down. He was actually laughing. "Oh, yes, it's the only thing that fits, really."
Anders had not moved. "Herr Richter, I assure you…I don't know where you got the foolish notion…"
"Mr. Desrosiers, humor me for an instant, will you?" Anders sank slowly to his seat. "You're not a businessman, that's for certain. Nor do I believe you work for a…consortium, I believe you said. I do believe your interest in the East Bloc, however. I'm sure you know that I deal with East Germany, else you would not have approached me. Oh, the information you wish me to obtain is quite harmless really—" he flipped his hand as if dismissing something frivolous—"but it was only the first step, I know. Ease him in gently, as it were, then"—he make a quick, jerking motion with his free hand—"set the hook."
Anders was ready to leave, but he had to ask one final question. "Mr. Richter, where did you ever get such an idea?"
Another flip of the hand. "Oh, I read, you know. I've read all of the literature."
"Of course. James Bond. Null-null-sieben. I'm quite up on it."
"I'm sorry, Herr Richter. I believe our business is finished. If you'll excuse me…"
"Please, don't be melodramatic, Mr. Desrosiers, or whatever your name is. Not that it matters. You probably use quite a few, don't you?"
Anders was becoming angry. "Now see here…"
Richter leaned forward again. "So which one is it? Not the CIA; they're American. So it's got to be Canadian."
Oh my god oh my god oh my god…
Richter leaned back, a smile of triumph on his lips, taking Anders' lack of answer for an affirmative. "I knew it!"
Run? Or see just how much he'll swallow? A little disinformation couldn't hurt at this point. Hell, nothing could hurt at this point. He looked Richter directly in the eyes. "Nothing so flamboyant, Herr Richter. I'm an agent of OCEA, the Office of Canadian External Affairs. Don't try to find out about us, everyone will deny our existence."
Richter seemed fairly boiling with excitement.
"We're interested in protecting Canadian interests in the world, and especially in Europe. With two superpowers squabbling over half the world, where does that leave us?"
"Yes!" Richter said enthusiastically. "Of course! Now it makes sense!"
Holy shit, he actually believes this crap. In spite of himself, Anders began to warm to his topic. Let's see just how far I can go. The mission's blown anyway. He looked around the room. The bar was deserted. The barman was stacking glasses in the small dishwasher, and being none too quiet about it.
"Has it occurred to you where most of the world's atomic weapons are located? And have you given any thought to the track missiles will take, should the US and Russia decide to throw them at each other?"
Richter's eyes widened. "My God! You're right! Over the pole! Over Canada!"
"Precisely. That's why we need warning, Herr Richter. That's why we have to know such things as where the missiles are located, what kind…" Shit, everybody knew intelligence agencies were after that sort of stuff. He wasn't giving anything away. Well, it was time to end this farce. Anders rose. "And now, Herr Richter, if you'll excuse me…"
Richter looked panic-stricken. "No, no, Mr. Desrosiers. You don't understand. I want to help! I want to be a spy!"