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Chapter 58

Argus Consulting

Washington D.C.

Jorgenson was more disappointed than he’d let on while speaking to Russell. True, after a half century in this field he’d long grown accustomed to disappointments and dead ends. And he knew their failure to unlock the ellipton’s secrets was not necessarily a final one.

All the same, he couldn’t deny that he’d hoped to bridge that gap between the twentieth century and the Others who created the things he had spent a lifetime chasing, if only in a modest way – even something so small as reports of communication with the device by their own psychics.

Still, the affair suggested to Jorgenson ways in which they might go about such business more efficiently. He had Candito working on a proposal for their own, permanent special forces section, with at least one A-Team ready to go anywhere in the world at twenty-four hours notice. It was conceivable they could set it up through Administrative Actions, which he believed he’d put in good hands with Jan at the head.

While he was at it he thought to look at the files of the two other operatives who’d gone to Russia with him. Argus retained its interest in the former Soviet Union and would build on the information it had acquired – knowledge regarding certain sites, certain names.

Of course, McNab wouldn’t be going to Russia again. For the next six months he would take on only light assignments in countries with cooperative governments. Ukraine looked like a good bet, willing to negotiate access to an archive of phenomenon-significant documents they claimed to have inherited from the Soviets, and McNab spoke the language. Perhaps that would be a job for him.

Thinking about the same matter he also turned his attention to Ferguson. Jorgenson knew how she’d come Argus’s way, and why. It had been convenient for his employers to look the other way on SIS’s penetration of their program, a sort of de facto cooperation they could deny entirely if it suited them. For the time being, it suited him to continue making use of the woman, all the while pretending not to know that she was reporting back to Century House. (He wondered what Sir Stephenson had made of the story she’d told about the contender for the upper-class twit of the year award she’d seen at Ugransky.)

On the whole, his work was going well, and he only wished he could have said as much for his home life. The waitress from that Ohio diner had become wife number three, who looked to be going the same way as the two who had preceded her – except that this time, the dalliances ultimately finishing the marriage were hers. Maybe the way it all fell apart wasn’t such a great surprise given the difference in their ages, and the changing times, but it seemed to him all the more reason to concentrate on his work.

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