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Authors: Wolf Wootan

Tags: #thriller, #assassin, #murder, #international, #assassinations, #high tech, #spy adventure

Edge of Tomorrow

 

 

Edge of Tomorrow

by

Wolf Wootan

 

© Copyright 2003, Wolf Wootan

 

Smashwords Edition

 

* * * * *

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Chapter 1

 

East Berlin, Germany

Sunday, August 12, 1984

5:30 P.M.

 

Bob Hatcher was a big man at six-foot-two and
225 pounds of sinew and muscle. He was deceptively quick for his
size, as many an enemy had found out the hard way. In another
setting he could be mistaken for a linebacker in the NFL. He was
actually one of the most effective field agents the CIA had, and
nearly always operated with No Official Cover (NOC). He spoke
French, German, and Russian so well that he could pass as a native
in those countries, and he was often required to do that. He could
understand, and manage to communicate, in several other languages.
He considered languages an important survival tool in his trade. He
was a product of the cold war, and his beat was the USSR and
Europe. His clothes were shabby, all made in Germany, the country
he was in at the moment. He was always very careful when taking on
a new identity. Small things could give you away. Like wearing
underwear made in the USA. His identity papers carried the name
Fritz Hürst, factory worker. His face was covered with a scraggly,
full beard.

Bob Hatcher, CIA code name
Hatchet Man
, was settled on the roof
of a three-story building in the seedier part of East Berlin. From
his perch he had a good view of the run-down square below. He was
scanning the area with his binoculars, but could see no one down
there. He flipped a switch, activating the infrared option of his
binoculars. He now scanned for heat sources, trying to find hidden
people. Nothing. It was still thirty minutes until his scheduled
arrival time of 6:00 P.M., but he always liked to arrive early to
meetings so he could evaluate the dangers involved. He had avoided
more than one trap by being overly cautious. A rope dangled over
the side of the building so he could not be trapped on the roof if
someone managed to surprise him up there. His car was parked two
blocks away. The sun had not yet set, but it was low in the west
and the shadows of buildings fell upon the square, creating dark
areas.

If everything went smoothly, this would be
his last mission for the CIA. This operation, code name “Blue
Moon,” was a simple one when compared to most of his missions. He
was to pickup a defecting East German intelligence agent and escort
her safely to the USA. He wanted this mission to go right more than
any in which he had taken part. That is why he had his modified Sig
Sauer semiautomatic with attached silencer clipped to the spring
holster in the small of his back. He would not let anyone stop him
from recovering this agent. From the CIA’s point of view, she was
not highly important. She was a low-level agent who carried out
various surveillance assignments on the U.S. Embassy in West
Berlin, and at other Embassies throughout Europe. She would be
debriefed by the CIA and then would be given political asylum.
Their largest gain would be the embarrassment of the East German
intelligence community by the defection of yet another of their
agents.

She was much more important to Bob Hatcher.
Her name was Katerina Klaus, and he was in love with her. She was
also carrying his child. As soon as he had her safe on American
soil, he was going to quit the CIA and marry her. He would settle
down—house in the suburbs, white picket fence—and take care of his
wife and child and live happily ever after. That was his plan, at
least. His boss would not like his best NOC agent quitting, but he
would have no choice in the matter. Hatcher was thirty-two years
old and had served his country for ten years. It was time to have a
life of his own. He remembered the day he met Katerina as if it
were yesterday, although it had been months ago.

 

Chapter 2

 

West Berlin, Germany

Friday, December 2, 1983

8:30 P.M.

 

Supposedly, Bob Hatcher had been
assigned to West Berlin to give him some R & R after his last
rather tense mission. He knew the CIA had other ulterior motives,
however. They had a mole deep inside the East German State Secret
Service …
Staatssicherheitsdienst
, known as Stasi—who had
indicated that a top assassin was scheduled to enter West Berlin in
the near future. His purpose was not known precisely—it was
suspected that his mission might be the assassination of the
American Ambassador—but as insurance, the Company wanted Hatcher,
their top assassin of enemy assassins, in the area. All Hatcher
knew was that during his so-called R & R he was to identify and
neutralize as many of the foreign agents hanging around the U.S.
Embassy as he could. He knew many of the top foreign agents by
sight. Lower level agents, those used mostly for routine
surveillance, he would have to ferret out. He did not consider this
much of a challenge, but it would give him something to do during
his forced respite.

At times, Hatcher thought the CIA misused his
many talents. He knew he could accomplish a lot more if they would
let him: he could infiltrate the Soviet infrastructure and steal
secrets, steal a MIG, blowup submarine bases. This would increase
his exposure and probability of capture, he knew, and so did his
boss. The CIA now used him only in special, critical situations. He
had begun thinking of himself as a “closer,” using the baseball
analogy. He came into the game in the ninth inning and saved the
game after the starters got in trouble. He was also the top
enforcer. If enemy agents veered from the unwritten rules of the
game and did something the Reagan administration did not like,
orders usually came down from on high directing him to punish the
offenders. He eventually accepted his role and found solace in the
fact that he was the best there was in his type of work—an
assassin’s assassin.

For the assignment in West Berlin, he
used the name Robert Kelly, with all the appropriate supporting
documentation, and got a job playing the piano and singing at the
piano bar in a night club that was a favorite hangout for diplomats
and spies from both sides. He was an excellent piano player and had
a great voice, so it was a good cover for him, and he really
enjoyed it. He was determined to enjoy this assignment and play the
piano, sing songs, and get laid by as many
fräuleins
as possible.

From his vantage point behind the piano, he
could watch employees of the U.S. Embassy come and go, watch to
whom they talked, who watched them, who followed them, and those
who sought their company. Not all of these would be spies, but he
would check them out. Hatcher thought that the spy games played by
the CIA, MI-6, KGB, Stasi, MOSSAD, and other international
intelligence agencies were quite humorous. It seemed as if they had
some sort of Marques of Queensberry rules that they all observed.
Hatcher participated in this game very rarely, since, at the level
where he worked, gentlemanly rules did not exist. His cover was so
deep that none of the “gentlemen spies” knew him, or of him. They
all had heard stories about the dangerous phantom “Hatchet Man,”
but no one had ever seen a picture of him, and any enemy who had
ever seen him did not live to describe him.

All of the club regulars soon became friendly
with Bob Kelly, requesting songs, singing along, or just chatting.
None of the CIA agents assigned to the U.S. Embassy knew Bob
Hatcher. He did not appear on any CIA payroll records. He did not
exist to the run-of-the-mill case officer. So like other patrons,
they just enjoyed his music and suspected nothing.

It did not take Hatcher long to determine
that none of the top foreign deep-cover agents, people like him,
were in the area; at least, not the ones he knew of. There was
always the chance there were some he did not know about. It was
unlikely that any of them could spot him, since he was a master of
disguises and no one, not even the CIA, had a picture of him as he
looked today. There was a KGB colonel in town, but the CIA had
picked him up some time ago and had him under their eagle eyes, so
Hatcher did not waste time on him. He watched the U.S. Embassy
during the afternoons, and the bar crowd at night. In the four
months he had been at this, he had discovered several of the
surveillance agents.

Though he thought this assignment was a waste
of his considerable talents, he was enjoying it thoroughly. He had
regular hours, got to shower as often as he wanted, wore very good
clothes, and enjoyed being able to play and sing again. He was even
getting his vocal range back, since he used his voice every night.
His high tenor notes had stopped squeaking. He had not sung so well
since he was in college where he supplemented his income by playing
bars on the weekends, and singing in college musical
productions.

As he sang “Stardust,” he surveyed the crowd,
as was his habit. He saw one of the East German surveillance
agents, Katerina Klaus, come in with one of the Americans who
worked at the embassy. They were a contrast in heights, sort of
Mutt and Jeff. He was about six feet two inches; she was five feet
five inches. He had on a dark wool suit, white shirt, and power
tie. She wore a red, silky-looking cocktail dress with thin straps
that clung to her slim body and reached mid-thigh. Her breasts were
small, her butt rounded just enough for her stature. She had short
blond hair and blue eyes. Her face was oval, and her thin lips
sported a red lipstick that matched her dress. If she wore any
other makeup, it was very subtle. Hatcher thought she was stunning.
So did her escort, who, from his lofty height, was looking down the
front of her dress. They sat down at a table not far from Bob’s
piano.

Hatcher had identified her as an agent about
two months before. She worked for a company housed in a building
across the street from the embassy, with windows facing the
embassy. Hatcher had decided immediately to check that building and
its occupants. The windows were perfect for telephoto cameras to do
their thing. He had established, finally, that one company there
was a front for the Stasi. Getting everyone’s names was not
difficult. Whether they were real names he did not know. At this
stage it did not matter. The task was so easily accomplished, he
wondered why the CIA had not found them already. Or had they? Were
they screwing with him again? Was this just a “keep busy” job?

Seeing Katerina Klaus with James Connor of
the consular staff led Hatcher to believe she was on a fishing
expedition. He supposed her bosses recognized, with her looks, that
she could pull double duty—take surveillance pictures during the
day, get close to embassy employees at night.

Hatcher watched as Colonel Evgeny Grinkonov,
the KGB man, came in with a dark-haired beauty, possibly one of the
many high-priced hookers available. Two CIA men he recognized were
not too far behind. They took up positions at the bar while the
couple was seated at a table.

What games they play! Here I am watching
spies from both sides of the fence. If I know most of them, they
probably know each other. Those CIA agents are too obvious. They
are probably just harassing the colonel. They play the game of Cold
War as if it were Clue. Who is in the parlor with Colonel Mustard?
Don’t they understand how deadly this game really is?

He finished his song and there was a decent
amount of applause. The waiter brought him a drink and pointed to a
table of four populated by two men and two women. Hatcher raised
his glass in salute to the white-haired man with a walrus mustache.
The man waved. He was an important West German industrialist who
came here often. He liked it when Bob Kelly sang songs in German,
which he did occasionally on request. Hatcher was sure the free
drink should be considered a request, so he started a lively German
song. The white-haired man smiled and began tapping his fingers on
his table to the beat. The Germans in the crowd joined him, and
then finally most of the other patrons. The song was definitely a
hit. As Bob Kelly finished with a flourish, he was rewarded with
thunderous applause. He stood and took a bow, to the delight of the
crowd.

He sat down and took a sip of his drink,
lighting another cigarette to replace the one that had died in his
massive ashtray on the piano. The drink was a real bourbon and
water, not tea, but with very little bourbon. He paid attention to
such details. He did not want to be caught with a fake drink, but
the bartender knew to keep them light. He had to keep playing until
two o’clock in the morning. He looked at Klaus’s table and saw that
they had drinks in front of them and were chatting animatedly. Of
course, she would know English. He wondered how well. She was
laughing at something James Connor had said. Hatcher thought she
was radiant.