Rich and Pavel talked long into the night. They rose early and Speed drove them to the Naval base.
Detained by the guard at the gate Rich said, “My name is Rich Larsen. I’m here to see Major Oaks and Clyde Acres, it’s urgent.”
“Wait here, sir and I’ll make a call,” the guard said and went inside the guardhouse to make a phone call. He returned to the cab’s window. “Go ahead, sir. The front door to headquarters will be open and the CQ will help you.”
The cab drove up the door. They got out and Speed drove away. They walked inside headquarters and the CQ ask them to have a seat.
“Have there been any flights out, this morning?” Rich asked the CQ.
“All flights are classified,” the CQ said. “Aren’t you the guy who briefed us on the AK 47 and field stripped it for us?”
“Yeah,” Rich said. “Well the flights are still classified, but anybody living near the end of the airstrip would know.”
“Thanks,” Rich said.
Pavel whispered to Rich, “Blindfolded?”
“Yes,” Rich said.
Pavel’s mouth curled down and he nodded approvingly. “Do you play chess?”
“Yes,” Rich said.
“Are you sure you are not Russian?” Pavel said.
In the distance down the hallway, Oaks and Aces advanced. Oaks in khakis and Acres wearing slacks, a sports jacket, and polo shirt.
Rich exchanged greetings with them. “This Pavel Petrushkin, Yuri’s brother.”
Oaks and Acres glanced at one another.
“What can we do for you?” Acres said.
“First of all,” Pavel said, “I must be forthright with you; I am KGB.”
“And…” Acres said.
“I wish to speak with my brother,” Pavel said.
“He has asked for asylum,” Oaks said. “It is my duty to give it and protect him.”
“I wish only to speak with him briefly,” Pavel said. “We will speak in English.”
“We cannot prevent it if Yuri is willing,” Acres said. “Major Oaks, will you speak with Yuri?”
“That will not be necessary,” Yuri said advancing from a side hallway.
“Pavel, my brother,” Yuri said.
“Yuri,” Pavel said.
They embraced and held each other tightly. Both their faces yielded bitterness of heart and tears.
“Tatyana,” Pavel said. “I’m so sorry. When she died, we all suffered beyond what you know, but not as deep or lasting as you. She was like a sister.”
“Pavel,” Yuri said, “I never want you to experience such a thing, never.”
“Yuri, I know Privratnik,” Pavel said.
“That’s it,” Acres said. “You said no Russian.”
“It means gatekeeper,” Yuri said to Acres. He looked at Pavel. “Who is he?”
Pavel smiled, “Uncle Victor, who else? He is safe also.”
“You cannot go back,” Yuri said. “They will figure it all out. Your life will be over.”
Pavel smiled. “Yuri, I have come to ask for asylum myself and if that is not possible, I have something for you. If I go back and whatever they do to me it will be worth this.”
Pavel reached inside his coat. Oaks and Acres stood poised. He handed a brown envelope to Yuri.
Yuri opened it. He smiled. “It is a photograph of Tatyana and me.”
“It is all I have of Tatyana. Thank you, Pavel, but Sasha and little Yuri,” Yuri said and turned to Acres, “his wife and son.”
“Yuri, my brother,” Pavel said, “do you not think that Uncle Victor would escape without first taking care of the whole family.”
“How did he do it?” Yuri said
“Uncle Victor knows where all the bodies are buried,” Pavel said. “He knows all the secrets.”
“Uncle Victor was a quiet humble man,” Yuri said to Rich, Acres, and Oaks. “If not for him we would have never made it out of our village and advanced our education. He never wanted anything for himself, only for others.”
“Mr. Acres,” Pavel said. “I do not know where the plane is going that Yuri is taking, but could you take along another passenger. I’d be willing to pay my own fare.”
Acres turned to Oaks. “Let’s get these two out of here right away.”
“Where are we flying?” Yuri said.
“Hawaii,” Acres said.
“Where is Sasha and Little Yuri?” Yuri said.
“The KGB thinks they are waiting for me on the Black Sea for a Holiday,” Pavel said. “In actuality, they are in Lisbon.”
“I have to wait for some sort of authorization,” Acres said. “I just can’t start loading planes with Soviets and hope the Agency will find the humor in it.”
“How long will it take to get authorization?” Oaks said.
“We’re talking days and weeks,” Acres said.
“I won’t go without Pavel,” Yuri said.
“Why don’t I sail them to Hawaii,” Rich said. “By the time I get there, everything should be taken care of.”
“That would not be a good idea, my friend,” Pavel said. “The next time you will not find a submarine with a sentimental KGB agent. They will be looking for me and Yuri for sure. One thing I know for sure, they are watching this Island.”
“Crap!” Acres said.
“Can we go back to your boat for a while?” Pavel said. “You told me you were going to stay around Pago Pago for a few more days.”
“We can offer more protection here,” Oaks said.
“You do not sleep in the mouth of the lion,” Pavel said.
“Right now,” Acres said, “we are the only friends you have.”
A Lance Corporal entered from a hallway. He handed a sheet of paper to Oaks. Oaks looked at it briefly and handed it to Acres. Acres stepped away and murmured to himself as he read it.
He turned back to everyone. “You’re cleared for Hawaii, Pavel. your wife and son left Portugal yesterday. We will be in Hawaii for a few hours and then the U. S. mainland. We will likely end up in Langley, Virginia sometime in the next couple days. I can’t promise you an immediate reunification with your family, but they will be safe. If I was to give you a timeline, this time next week you’ll all be together. The Agency will do everything it can to make you comfortable and safe.”
The phone on the desk rang. Oaks picked it up.
“They’ll be right there. Thank you, Captain.”
“The plane is ready,” Oaks said.
“Mr. Acres,” Yuri said. “I do not know the protocol for such things with the Americans, I know we will likely be relocated with different names, but if possible, if Mr. Larsen would ever want to see us again, if he contacts the CIA could it be arranged?”
“We can’t do that,” Acres said. “It is too dangerous.”
“I found his boat in the middle of the Pacific,” Pavel said. “I can find him.”
Yuri and Pavel hugged Rich.
“You take care, my friend,” Pavel said.
“We are brothers,” Yuri said. “I told you things I only tell to Pavel.”
“Have a safe trip,” Rich said. He tore a sheet of paper from a tablet. He jotted on it. He handed the paper to Yuri. “Ask for Don; he will be able to get a hold of me. I don’t plan on being back in the States for a couple more years.”
“Let’s go,” Acres said.
Yuri and Pavel walked together down the hallway toward the runway.
“I’m getting a cowboy hat and boots,” Pavel said. “Some people tell me I look like John Wayne.”
“No,” Yuri said, “they say you walk like him.”
Rich looked at Oaks. “He does walk like John Wayne.”
“Yeah,” Oaks said, “he does.”
“Can I have breakfast at the mess?” Rich said.
“A guest, at my table,” Oaks said.