14

Kiev, Ukraine

“Why Moldova?” Danny asked.

“I have no idea if it means anything,” Nuri told him as they debriefed the break-in over the secure sat phone. “He was looking at a lot of sites there. We’ll have a better idea in the morning, when MY-PID finishes churning through all the data. I just thought it was a little unusual. Moldova is not exactly the garden spot of the world. It’s not on the beaten path, that’s for sure.”

“It’s not,” agreed Danny.

“The guy loves porn,” continued Nuri. “And he’s an animal — he started screwing on the couch while I was there. I swear, I was ten feet away. Maybe closer. If they’d seen me, they probably would have asked me to join in.”

Nuri’s mention of Moldova brought back painful memories for Danny. A decade and a half before, Dreamland Whiplash had run an operation in neighboring Romania, helping rout guerrillas who were trying to disrupt a pipeline project. In the process, they’d helped rescue the country from a coup.

But they’d lost a key member of the team and a friend, CIA officer Mark Stoner. Danny could still remember getting the news.

They talked for a while more, about whether Flash should stay with Nuri or come to Kiev, about how many more people they’d need, about when to contact the local authorities.

Danny couldn’t focus on any of it. He kept thinking about Stoner.

He’d lost a lot of friends in the early part of his career, in Bosnia, and then with Dreamland. Later on in the Gulf and Afghanistan. It had been a luxury the last few years, not having to worry about forming friendships that could end all too suddenly.

“I’ll talk to you after we get the info dump,” said Nuri. “Figure out the next move then. In the meantime, I’m going to bed. You good?”

“Good.”

“You OK, Colonel?”

“I’m here,” answered Danny.

“Maybe you ought to get some rest, too,” said Nuri. “You sound a little tired.”

Danny glanced at his watch. It was five in the morning; no way was he getting back to sleep.

“I’m good,” he told Nuri. “Talk to you soon.”

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