Daughter of the Bear (Blog Six) by Dan Watt, author of Brackish, and Queen of Caelum, References at bottom of page.
“How much longer?” he asks the driver in French.
“Fifteen if that,” the driver replies. “Hey, where are you from? Maybe I have something you’ll like. I think there’s a thousand songs on here.”
“Do you have Polnalyubvi Youth?” He needs to clear the memories in his head before they reach the airport. The best way to do that is to let those memories run their course.
In the rear view mirror he sees the driver raise an eyebrow. “Russian music? Okay. I thought maybe you were German.”
He smirks at the driver’s comment. The haunting voice of Marina Demeschenko brings him back to when he first heard of Marina’s father’s demise.
After being honorably discharged because of his injuries Marina’s father became a conservation officer deep inside of Russia; where bears and wolves wander in abundance. Trophy hunters came to hunt the bears and her father, after giving warning shots, killed a number of them with a Pulemyot Kalashnikova. But a Kamov Ka-50 “Black Shark” single seat helicopter landed nearby must have received a panic called from one of the trophy hunters. The helicopter used its A42 quick-firing 30mm gun on him. It tore her father to pieces. Erwin learned more details from a vodka infused phone conversation with Marina’s uncle many years later. The man he would be meeting within the next couple of days.
Marina’s Uncle Dmitry, a colonel in the Eastern Military District, was given permission by President Vladimir Putin, to take over his deceased brother’s position as conservation officer. Erwin met him a few times over the years but only once at the conservation area he is headed to. Uncle Dmitry, like his brother, is big and burly.
When Erwin was twelve, not long after Marina’s father had been killed, Sofia asked him to go with her and Marina to visit Uncle Dmitry and gather some of her ex-husband’s belongings. Once there Uncle Dmitry insisted they play with a female cub brown bear he had rescued after game hunters had snuck in and killed the mother. The little cub’s name was Nelli. Over the years Marina always tells him how big Nelli has grown.
The taxi pulls into the airport drop off and he realizes the airport won’t let him board with the telescoping cane in his carry-on. The thought didn’t occur to him because he used to have a special card that let him carry just about anything he wanted to onto a plane. INTERPOL continues to let him try out new gadgets but he no longer has the privileges that come with working for the organization. “I’ll get my bags,” he tells the driver as he pays him in Swiss francs making sure to add twenty percent.
Morok Industries already knows what he looks like. So he needs to be the mouse to find out what cats the company sent to keep an eye on him. Once he knows he can focus on becoming a cat and ignored.
He pays for the ticket to St. Petersburg with his Visa. This will make it simple for them to track him. As he sits down to wait for the message to board he discreetly scans the other waiting passengers. He notices two immediately. To his left, a number of seats away, sits a tall man with salt and pepper hair trimmed in a military buzz cut. The man’s rugged face and piercing blue eyes suggest ex-military. The man continuously looks straight ahead or down at his cellphone. To his right, noticeably distant is another tall man with long raven hair and trimmed mustache and goatee. This man fidgets in his seat and looks constantly around. When he isn’t looking around he’s texting onto his cellphone. The man with the buzz cut is called the “invisible”; he isn’t supposed to be recognized. The man with the long hair is known as an “obvious” or “distraction”.
The two agents are professional but not spy worthy. He doubts they’re former KGB, FIS, SAS, or CIA. They are unlikely part of the Wagner Group or Constellis Group. The Wagner Group would be less obvious, and the Constellis Group are usually hired for protection and risk management. The two men are likely former military with a communication background and strictly mercenaries. He knows that as long as he doesn’t find Marina his life is fairly secure.