Nick sat in the back of the taxi silently, steeped in thought. None of this made sense. Nikita wasn’t an agent and never had been, he’d been out of the game for years now. So why Nikita, why were they after him now after all this time. The driver headed down Massachusetts Avenue toward Foggy Bottom where they’d catch the Roosevelt Bridge into Virginia then head south past Arlington Cemetery to the Pentagon.
Nick began thinking like an agent. Whoever the man in the Fedora was knew where he lived, he knew he’d be heading for the Metro. Nick froze, pulled out his phone and stripped off the back and removed the battery. Nothing, but a pro wouldn’t put a bug where it would be obvious. Nick took small screwdriver out of his computer bag and opened the back of the Nokia phone. “OK, there you are.” Nick whispered. A tiny chip wired right into the phone’s harness so it would run off the phone battery. “Slick” muttered Nick, “Never go dead.” Nick left the bug in place and replaced the back. He’d use the phone once more then discard it. By now they’ve tapped into the account, names, phone numbers, emails, they had every piece of information it held. Nick dialed Boris’ office. The secretary answered, “Agent Bovalcheck’s Office” “Hey Mary, it’s Nick” “Hi Nick what’s shakin’ bacon?” “You don’t want to know Mary, is Boris there?” “Yeah Nick, hold on please” Mary always had a crush on Nick even though she was old enough to be his mother and had been married to the same man for 45 years. “Nick, where the hell are you? I thought you’d be here by now. I was starting to worry.” “Yeah I got held up. Hey let’s meet a Tonic for lunch, I’m starving.” “No problem, you’re buying.” “Sure Boris, whatever you say.”
Nick hung up the phone and tucked it down into the crease between the top and bottom cushions of the seat, down into the candy wrappers and lint where nobody would find it for a long time. If they were using it to track him, they’d be chasing the taxi. Boris knew that Tonic was a diversion, it was a real restaurant in the West End near GW Law, but Nick and Boris weren’t going there, if someone was listening – and they were – they’d be waiting there as Nick passed.
Nick knew they’d drive past Tonic on the way to the Roosevelt Bridge so he ducked low as they zipped along through traffic. Sure enough another Town Car was waiting across the street, two dark figures visible behind the tinted glass. “Man they’re all over me.” Nick muttered. Soon they were across the bridge and heading south. Nick flashed his ID at one guard at the check point who went inside to make a phone call, another guard did a search under the hood, in the trunk, then underneath the cab with mirrors on long poles, a third guard led a bomb-sniffing dog around the vehicle. “Man…” thought Nick, “…things have sure changed since I got out.” Nick left the service just prior to 9-11.
The taxi dropped him off and circled away and toward the exit. Nick entered a second security checkpoint surrendered his weapon, and passed through a metal detector, and a guard with a wand. “Raise your arms please palms open and upward, turn your belt buckle inside out, remove your shoes.” “Hey Nick” It was Mary sent down to escort him in. “Hi Mary, how ya been?” “Could be worse, could be better.” “How’s Ben?” “Ben’s Ben, same old stuff, Redskins, Orioles, Blackhawks, and Budweiser.” “Come on Boris is anxious to see you.” “Not as anxious as I am” They walked in silence to the elevator. Mary knew better than to ask what was going on. She wasn’t cleared for that level of security. But Mary knew from years of experience that whatever was going on, it wasn’t good since Nick had been out of the game for over ten years.