While returning to D.C. it occurred to Jan that when they spoke about the raid into Estonia Nick did not put on an extravagant show of gratitude for the extraction, which was all to the good. They’d gone after him because he had the ellipton. Had that not been the case, they would have been told to leave him, and he would have obeyed his orders, just as he thought that Nick would have obeyed his own orders if their positions were reversed. Whatever his reservations about the fact – and he had many – they were not comrades, just employees of the same company, a point he was sure Nick understood.
Still, there was room for respect. Getting past all those Russians, wounded, that was no mean feat.
“I didn’t know about you, at first,” Jan admitted to Nick. “But what you did was really something. I’d be honored to work with you again in the future.”
“Thanks,” Nick said. “Same here.”
It was probably a moot point, given that both of them would be out of commission for a while (Nick would be wearing that sling for weeks), that neither of them was very young anymore, and that the chances of their doing anything of the sort ever again were low in any case. Still, he’d meant what he’d said.
In the meantime he turned his attention to settling into the city. After his debriefing at headquarters he started looking for an apartment to stay in. He found a little place in Arlington where he set up while looking for a new home for his family. He had his eye on a three-bedroom house in a gated community in the city’s suburbs. He didn’t like the look of the local public school, but he’d heard about a “good” private school nearby that he thought might be suitable for the children.
After returning to his Arlington apartment he got a call from Candito who asked him to come in and see him the next day.
Jan went and found Candito waiting for him with another, older man. Candito introduced the stranger as Mr. Jorgenson, the overall head of their section of the firm.
Mr. Jorgenson got to the point quickly.
“We’re putting together a team which can get Administrative Actions up and running,” he said, “and we’re interested in making you the Chief Operations Officer for the company. Your experience in Africa is particularly interesting to us.
“The money will be somewhat better, commensurate with your new administrative responsibilities, and while you’ll still travel you’ll probably spend more time in D.C. than in your current position.”
In spite of himself Jan smiled wryly. This was not too different from the offer from Piter he’d turned down a short while before coming here.
Still, his trip to Russia had been a reminder of how physical his profession was. He knew for a certainty that he wouldn’t be good for stunts like the ones that nearly got him killed twice in the last month much longer. Something that didn’t have him jumping out of helicopters was more suitable at his age. Besides, with his family starting a new life in a new country, with all their relatives and friends very far away, they would need him around more.
“It sounds very interesting sir,” Jan said, his taking time to consider the offer this way a matter of form. He knew he would be calling to accept before very long.