Bishops, Rooks, and Knights—Pawns, Episode 92, Odysseys in Paradise

Not long after sunrise, the storm intensified. The submarine called to inquire about the safety of Boris and Dmitri. Boris told them they were fine and well taken care of.

During the morning hours Rich, Boris, and Dmitri shared their exploits. Boris joined the Soviet Army when he was 15 in 1944. Boris talked about his involvement in the World War Two, the East Berlin Uprising and his participation in the Hungarian Uprising. Dmitri was five years younger and university educated. His achievements were mainly covert and he never mentioned locations or landmarks. Rich told them all about his exploits from Maine to the present, however never mentioned the CIA or any names. There was a certain respect and decorum they held for Rich and his precarious situation. They were men who moved in the shadows of secrecy and espionage. They knew more of this world than Rich could ever possibly fathom.

“How did we find you so easily?” Boris said. “It is a good question, do you not agree?”

“Yes,” Rich said. “I thought it could be luck, it’s a big ocean out there. That’s more than luck.”

“Two men defect,” Boris said. “It cost a lot of money to keep them safe and undercover. We catch one of the US spies and trade. The CIA no longer has that expense. The Soviets have a deterrent for anyone else who wishes to defect; the US will quickly trade them back. It would make a defector think twice.”

“So who put you on my trail?” Rich said.

“That is something I can not tell you,” Boris said.

“But we knew a lot about you before we ever got on this island,” Dmitri said.

“The obvious would be White and Smithson,” Rich said, “but too obvious.”

“Don’t trust anyone, my friend,” Dmitri said. “You are as expendable as a pawn.”

“And if I may add,” Boris said, “you are a very good pawn.”

“But seldom does a pawn’s value exceed that of any other piece on the board,” Dmitri said.

“And what about you and Boris?” Rich said.

They smiled.

“Every pawn thinks he is a bishop, rook, or knight,” Rich said. “We all inflate our value, but we know we will never be kings or queens. And when it comes to the end game, whether we be a bishop, rook, or knight, our value is still no greater than a pawn. We all become expendable.”

“So it seems,” Dmitri said.



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