The Terrorist’s Game
“For a long time I was scared I’d find out I was like my mother.”
Tyrell burst into Eduard’s room as Eduard was again trying to call Talia and Cameron. “Where’s Talia?”
“She and Cameron left a little while ago,” Eduard replied. “I do not know their location.”
“What are they driving? Where did they go?” Tyrell was frantic, but neither Leonid or Eduard had any idea why.
“I have no idea,” Eduard replied. “Their phones are not reachable, and they appear to be turned off. I have tried numerous times to call them. There is no answer, no voice mail; nothing. You seem more upset than when you left; why?”
“I spoke with Clarissa,” he replied. “I told her that I left Talia, because I couldn’t support her as the field agent in this case. Clarissa scolded me like a child and told me that Talia can’t confront Percival, because it will destroy her.”
“Destroy her? How?” Leonid asked. “What does that woman know? What has she been keeping hidden from all of us? I do not trust that one.”
Tyrell didn’t want to tell them any more than he already had about what Clarissa had told him. He didn’t want to believe her theory. “I know it sounds crazy, but she thinks that Percival is directly connected to Dmitri. As God as my witness, she never told me that before. She kept that even from me.”
Eduard felt his blood run cold. He got that feeling every time his son’s name came up and there was talk of Percival. “Dmitri is dead. What are you saying? What is Clarissa hiding from us?”
Tyrell didn’t answer Eduard. “Does she have her phone, or Eduard’s as well?” he asked Leonid, not locking into Eduard’s gaze. “She must have some phone or another.”
“I believe she has both Eduard’s and her own phone, and Cameron has a phone as well,” Leonid replied. “They are not answering any calls. Her phone goes directly to voice mail, and Eduard’s phone does nothing but disconnect.”
Without another word, Tyrell left the room, slamming the door behind him.
Eduard stood in the middle of the room, not knowing what to think. “What could this possibly have to do with Dmitri?” he thought. “Why would Clarissa Anderson, a woman that had been his friend for many years, not tell him if she had information regarding the Alder Nation?”
“Give me your phone,” Eduard ordered Leonid.
“Hello Leonid,” Clarissa said when she answered her phone.
“Clarissa, it is Eduard.”
“Eduard, how nice,” she said. “Where is my daughter?”
“Talia and Cameron left a while ago,” he answered. “Why is Tyrell frantic? He said irrational things when he was here, and I presume you are the one who would understand it all.”
Clarissa didn’t wish to discuss any of her thoughts on the subject of Dmitri and Percival. She had known Eduard for several years, and they had been close allies in the mess that was their international family. She was well aware that the current information that she was keeping to herself would devastate him. She didn’t want to tell him that all indicators were that his son was still alive in Lviv. It would break Eduard’s heart to realize that his son may well be a terrorist monster. She knew well that Eduard wouldn’t understand that she was trying to protect him from shattering news that would devastate him. He would think that she had ulterior motives that were for her own selfish use. She didn’t have a reputation for being a magnanimous humanitarian.
Since Dmitri’s death Clarissa had wondered if he was actually dead. His wedding ring also had a tracking device in it, but she was the only one aware of that fact. After the helicopter explosion in Lviv, which reportedly left her daughter’s husband dead, she checked her equipment, and his ring was actively tracking locations. The ring remained active for almost a month after the incident, and the last known location that she had for that ring was Lviv, Ukraine. Clarissa believed that Dmitri, for whatever reason, had joined the Alder Nation.
Clarissa never divulged the information to anyone, not even Tyrell. There was always the chance that Dmitri had been taken prisoner, instead of instantly killed. There was a possibility that he was tortured and then killed a month later. She didn’t want to spout theories without more information. Her daughter was despondent over the death of her husband, and Eduard became a career driven workaholic as he followed the direct orders of the group in order to save the remaining members of his family.
Over the years, many people tried to locate the terrorist group and bring them to justice. Everyone from the CIA to Interpol to British Intelligence had attempted to locate the Alder Nation and bring them to justice. No agency had been able to do so. Clarissa, because of her suspicions, had hoped that no one would ever be able to find the Alder Nation. She didn’t want to tell her daughter that Dmitri ran out on her to become a terrorist.
Now, Clarissa needed to find her daughter and help her through the situation. She was afraid of what Talia would do when she realized that her husband was still alive and part of the terrorist group that had been making life hell for her entire family for years.
“I need to know where to find my daughter,” Clarissa said.
“She was intent on driving to Lviv. She and Cameron are most likely on the A4 between here and the Ukrainian border,” Eduard replied. “That is a guess. She insisted on driving, because she believes that Percival is tracking her and her jet.”
“I guess I’ll find her somehow,” Clarissa groaned. “How far is it to Lviv?”
“240 K. Why? What is happening?” Eduard asked. “What information do you possess? Why are you keeping it from me?”
“I can’t tell you over the phone. It’s going to be all right,” she told him. “I can assure you, Percival won’t hurt her or our granddaughter.”
“How can you be sure?” he asked. “I cannot afford to lose my girls.”
“I know who he is,” she replied. “That’s how I know. I wasn’t sure until my granddaughter disappeared, but I know now.”
“Who is he?” Eduard demanded to know.
“I’m sorry Eduard. I can’t explain right now. Right now, I have to find Talia before she finds Percival. Please, trust me enough to understand. I promise, I will explain everything when we are all together.”
In all the years that Eduard knew Clarissa, he had thought many things about her, and he had never known her to lie to him directly; certainly not frivolously. He had no reason to doubt her loyalty. He wanted answers, but the feeling in the pit of his stomach told him that maybe it was better to wait until he could speak with her face to face.
“Do not disappoint me,” he said.
“I won’t,” she promised.
Leonid overheard some of the conversation. For some time he was suspicious of the connection between the Alder Nation and the Sokolovsky family. He was certain there was at least one missing piece to the puzzle and he had long since been afraid that the piece was Dmitri. He never told Eduard or Talia his suspicions, because he was afraid of how it would affect them. He wanted to be wrong about the matter, but now, after the phone call and the things that Clarissa had said, he was fairly sure he was right.
“What did she say?” Leonid asked Eduard, even though he heard a great deal of the conversation.
“She knows something,” Eduard replied. He looked at Leonid’s expression. “What do you know? I feel like I am the only one who does not fully understand what is happening.”
“Dmitri’s death nearly killed you,” Leonid replied. “I did not wish to cause you more grief for a hunch. I have never had evidence that my hunch was more than that. That is why I never told you my thoughts. You are family, and I did not wish to bring you unnecessary pain.”
“What is this hunch?” Eduard asked, feeling faint.
“I believe Dmitri is alive,” Leonid said.
Eduard gaped at him. He felt faint and sick. “You believe that this whole time, my son may have been alive?” he exclaimed. “Could he hate me so much that he would betray me like that? Use me as a pawn for a terrorist organization?” His face went pale. “Oh my God, Anya.”
“Yes, if this is true, she is with Dmitri.”
“Clarissa said that Percival would not harm either Talia or Anya. She must think that Dmitri is with Percival and has my granddaughter. What must this trauma be doing to her?”
“What about Talia?” Leonid asked.
Eduard’s eyes grew wide. “Oh dear God. She has no idea. May Tyrell catch her in time.”
“Talia and Cameron had at least an hour and a half head start,” Leonid said. “They could be more than halfway there. Tyrell cannot possibly catch them.”
Tyrell sat in the back of his Uber, hoping that it wouldn’t take long to ready the Lear jet for the short flight to Lviv. He had to find Talia before she found Percival, and he had no time to approach subtly. He would have to come screaming into Danylo Halytskyi International Airport in a bright pink Lear Jet. There would no longer be the element of surprise.
“Hurry, please,” he told the driver.
The man looked blankly at him, not understanding a word that he said. He needed an interpreter in Poland. The language barrier was thick there and he spoke no Polish. They turned into the airport road. Tyrell didn’t know how to tell him where he needed to go.
“Terminal?” the driver asked.
“No, charter,” Tyrell replied.
“Hangar Numer?” he asked.
“Numer 16,” he said, thankful that the man seemed to understand him decently.
The driver pulled up next to hangar 16. There were two pink Lear jets in the hangar. He smiled and jumped out, paid the driver and ran up the steps into the open hatch door of the idling plane.
“I didn’t realize when I was talking to you that you were on your way here,” he said as he sat down next to Clarissa.
Clarissa Anderson was a magnificent creature, standing nearly six feet tall. She was thin, beautiful and timelessly glamorous. She had the signature red hair that all Anderson women had and the bright blue eyes to match. She had been labeled as crazy for many years, because she chose to step out of the international celebrity spotlight, but was perfectly sane and one of the most intelligent women that Tyrell had ever met. She sat in her pink seat and smiled at him. She had her travel outfit on; a classic Vera Wang suit personalized in pink.
“Close that hatch and let’s go,” She ordered him. “We have to get to Talia before she finds Percival.”
“You do realize that Percival will know if a pink Lear jet lands in his town. He’ll know we’re coming.”
“So?” she asked. “Michael, we’re ready to take off,” she yelled toward the cockpit.
“He will track us.” He waited for a reaction, but got none. “That could be dangerous.”
The plane began to taxi out of the hangar, toward a runway.
“You think I should fear him,” she said.
Tyrell had forever been in love with the woman and worried about her safety. “I don’t want anything to happen to you. I couldn’t bear that.”
She smiled at him. “Remember, my love, I’m a hermit. He’ll think it’s my daughter. This is her jet, not mine. For once, things won’t be as he expects them to be. He’ll be caught off balance and won’t have the advantage anymore. He’ll be chasing ghosts, like we’ve been doing all these years.”
“Oh my God, this is her jet,” he said. “Are you sure about this? What if he shoots it down with a random EID?”
“Don’t you worry about me. That bastard hurt my baby, and now, he’s stolen my granddaughter. I will be fine. He is the one who should be worried. I don’t believe he will kill his wife, because he would lose his daughter forever.”
“He’s going to be angry. When he thinks he’s chasing Talia and it turns out to be you, he’s going to be confused as well.”
Clarissa smiled at Tyrell. “Yes, he will be angry and confused. I’m looking forward to that.”
“The odds will be even.”
Eduard sat by the window, looking out over the market square when Leonid returned with their lunch. Leonid burst into the room, threw the bags of deli sandwiches on the table and began to go through every drawer in the suite.
Eduard was fast reaching the point where he didn’t want to ask any more questions as he sat , helpless, being the only one who was powerless in the current situation. However, he felt compelled to find out what the outburst was about.
“What are you looking for?” he asked.
“My wallet is missing,” Leonid replied. “My FSB ID was in there.”
Eduard rolled his eyes. “I wouldn’t bother reporting it.”
“Why?” Leonid asked.
“It is most likely crossing the border with Talia.”