On the Run

Chapter 24

Pendleton, California

Every blood vessel in Henrietta Lange’s body screamed in fear when she found out what was going down. Word had reached her through her old team that they were coming together in Los Angeles to face these Russians once and for all. But if that wasn’t bad enough, she’d been left out of the loop and her boy was leading them into the lion’s den. She’d been left to take care of her injured sparrows, while everyone else fought for Clara and Nikita. Both had suffered so much thanks to these Russians and the Comescus over the years and then their children. She’d made it her life’s work to protect the boy, but now he’d placed himself in the worst place of all, in the line of fire. No, she wouldn’t just sit back and wait to hear the news. She couldn’t bear it. She would follow and fight, if it was the last thing she ever did.

Los Angeles

How many aliases had he lived with during his life, G. Callen wasn’t sure, however, now he knew who he really was, Gale Reznikov. It didn’t make him a different person, but he was finally content. He had family, a wife and daughter who were worth staying alive for, as well as his father, uncle and sister who needed him to come home alive. He looked over at his uncle who appeared more nervous than usual. They’d been there before, facing the Comescus head on and they’d come out alive. He looked over at Sam and Granger who he owed his life from that day. They were at the boat shed and the room was becoming busy with people. Mark and Granger talked with their old team, two men and two women who’d just arrived and were being updated on the situation. Nell and Eric were feeding them the most up to date intel on this group. They were strangers to Callen, but they knew who he was. Clara’s boy and as they looked over at him, they nodded and smiled over in his direction. They’d done what they’d promised, kept Clara’s children alive and now there were six children of the next generation around because of it. They would continue to go on, the family tree of Nikita and Clara’s, no matter what happened today. But they each vowed to themselves to ensure that Callen was protected.

“I don’t like this at all, Callen.” Arkady looked over at the ageing group of people on their side. They were older than himself by a few years and even he was beginning to feel his age.

Callen stopped looking at the intel on the screen and looked over at his uncle. “You don’t have to be here, Arkady. If you want to go, go.” His heart sank a little, he’d hoped that his uncle would help fight, this was for his brother after all.

“I don’t want to go, Callen. Not without you.” Arkady began to pace the room, he was on edge. He’d tried to call his bodyguards, but no one was answering. “I’m worried. I can’t reach any of my men.”

“You think they got to them while you were away?” Callen furrowed his brows as he thought over the situation. He remembered the Romani gypsy who’d betrayed Arkady all of those years ago, but Kensi had helped them find out before it was too late.

“I’m not sure.” Arkady stopped and looked back at him. “What if they’ve been forced to work against me? I don’t know who I can trust anymore. I knew that someone in Russia was plotting against me and Hetty a year ago, I am sure that the same person is behind this latest attack.”

“Who do you think it is?” He’d tried to get details out of the former KGB in the past, but now he agreed that his uncle was just as much in the dark as his father.

“I am not sure. I could ask a contact for details?”

Callen shook his head. “You’ve gone to a great deal of effort to hide your real identity, let’s not destroy that now.” He thought for a moment and looked over at his partner, who was cleaning his gun again.

“Sam.” He walked over to him. “Let’s go check out Arkady’s house. Pretend we’re coming to see Arkady like old times. See if it’s safe.”

Sam looked between Callen and Arkady, he wasn’t sure that this was a good idea. If he was to have anyone go there, it should be Arkady himself, but he could see that now that Callen knew who Arkady really was, he was doing all that he could to protect him. Family. What one did to keep them safe! He sighed.

“You sure you want to do this, G?”

“We need to know.”

“Why not have Eric tap into Arkady’s security system, I’m sure he’ll be happy to give Eric the way in?” Sam looked over to Arkady with hope. It was the safer option.

“It’s a closed circuit. It’s impossible.”

Sam heaved out a large sigh. “We’re taking cams with us and we’ll need back up near by.”

“We’ll call LAPD for back up, Sam. Let’s keep our support a surprise for when we need them. For now, I need whoever is after me and my father, to think that it’s just us.”

Sam nodded and gave Arkady an unsettling look, that made the Russian tense. “You better behave while we’re gone.” Sam still didn’t trust the Russian, even though he was family.

Arkady’s Mansion

Sam pulled up out back in the lane way where Callen recommended. He knew the weak points of entry into Arkady’s place. Although he’d mentioned to his uncle on previous occasions the blindspots he noticed that he’d done nothing about it. Now he realised why, so he could sneak in unannounced. Arkady was one sneaky Russian who’d tested Callen on numerous occasions on trusting the older man. But with reflection, he realised why, because he was pretending that he didn’t care about him. It was a ruse to protect them both, he concluded.

Together like well oiled machines, the partners moved stealthily through the property and observed the area. They could see Arkady’s men walking through the mansion as if there was no care in the world. Anger surged through Callen’s veins as he realised that his uncle had been betrayed. A stranger, a man whom Callen had never seen before sat at the dining table enjoying a dinner that one of Arkady’s men had made. Callen tried to remember if he’d seen this man before, but he could not. Nothing in his memory bank hinted of this man before now. There was something about the way he sat there as if he was the king of the castle. He was the one pulling the strings. He pulled out his cell and snapped an image of the man and sent it through to Eric. He and Sam waited in the bushes while Eric placed the image through their facial recognition software. His cell vibrated and he and Sam looked at the details.

Yuri Orlov. Used to work with Nikita Reznikov back in the 1960′s and 70′s.

“This must be the one,” Callen whispered to his partner. “He’s come to Los Angeles. This will be easy.”

Sam held his arm to prevent him from doing anything stupid. “Not yet, G. We need backup and everyone in place. We need to ensure that every single on of them is here to end them together.”

Callen knew that Sam was right, but how were they going to do it?

“We need Arkady to return to his home. Then we can see how this goes down.”

Callen shook his head. “No. I’m not going to put him in danger.”

“If you didn’t know that Arkady was your uncle, you would send him in.”

Callen heaved out a sigh, Sam was right again. “Okay. But we need everyone in position with LAPD as backup.”

“Deal. I’ll contact Granger.” Sam sent a message to their Assistant Director to notify their plan, while they remained in their hiding spot in the garden.

Boat Shed

Hetty pulled up outside the boat shed and cut her engine. Her Jag had proved its loyalty and had gotten her back up there in record time. She walked into the boat shed and found her former team standing around a table looking at a map.

“Where is Mr Callen and Mr Hanna, Owen?”

Owen Granger and the others looked up at Hetty with surprise. They’d left her out of the loop deliberately, knowing that she would be against Callen being involved in this operation.

“They’re at Arkady’s.” Hetty narrowed her eyes and looked over to the sofa, where the Russian sat, his head in his hands as if he was preparing himself for the inevitable.

“Mr Kolcheck, would you mind telling me why my agents are at your house and you are here? And why on God’s green earth, is Mr Callen back in Los Angeles?”

Arkady fiddled with his fingers in his lap at the petite firecracker. “You know Callen, Henrietta. He’s stubborn and he fought me when I told him that he couldn’t return.”

Hetty knew her boy well and understood the Russian’s predicament. “But why are they at your house and you are here?”

“None of my men are answering my calls. They went to do some surveillance, Callen knows the way in undetected.”

Hetty pursed her lips and nodded. As she looked closely at the Russian, she realised that the former KGB officer had deliberately left the blind spot for such occasion. “Have you heard from either of them since they left here?”

“Yes.” Owen stepped forward. “Sam sent me a text. A Yuri Orlov has made Arkady’s residence home. From what Eric could find, Yuri used to work with Nikita back in the 1960′s and 70′s.”

She turned to Arkady. “Do you know this man?”

Arkady took in a deep breath and slowly released it. “Unfortunately, I do.” He stood up and began his pacing again. “This is not good, Henrietta. Yuri isn’t one to leave loose ends. He must know who I really am for him to have taken up residence at my home.”

“Your men have betrayed you.” Hetty stepped beside him and looked up at his blue eyes. Why hadn’t she noticed the resemblance before now. How similar Callen and Arkady were.

“So it seems. Sam wants me to return home and suss out the purpose of Yuri’s presence in my home and to find out why my men have ignored my calls.” She could see the worry in his eyes, but Sam did have a point.

“This may be our only way to figure out what’s going on. To see if this Yuri is the one stirring the pot in Russia over your brother.”

Arkady caught Hetty’s eyes and nodded. “I know, but I still don’t have to like it.”

“We’ll be there for back up, Arkady.” Mark Burton stepped forward to encourage the man. Now that he knew who he really was, he would do what he could to protect him.

“You are a good man, Mark. Nikita talks highly of you from when you were Clara’s partner.” He looked over at the other members of the team. “You are all good people. Coming here to risk your lives for my brother and his family.”

“We are family,” Mark responded. “Family to Clara, who was family to you. And we look after our own.”

The others nodded in agreement. They’d spent most of their lives overseeing that Clara’s children were safe. After thirty-nine years, it was time to finish the job that they had all started.

“What’s the plan?” Hetty looked over at Owen who appeared to be the one in charge.

Owen moved over to the table and went through Sam’s plan. After he’d finished, Hetty analysed the detail. “Where would I go?” She looked up at Owen, expecting to be told.

“Nowhere. You can watch back at Ops. If anything goes wrong, you, Eric and Nell can call LAPD for back up.”

Hetty shook her head. “No. I am coming with you.”

“Not this time, Henrietta. You’ve done more than your fair share to keep Callen safe. It’s our turn now.”

The others agreed and outnumbered her. She didn’t like it, but she left them be and drove back to the mission, thinking over the plan as if all of their lives depended on it.

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