Via Salvatore Pincherle
Rose struggled to sit up on the overstuffed couch. Her hands felt numb, circulation to them being cut off by handcuffs holding her arms behind her back. Once seated properly, Rose looked around the lavish room. Only one door provided a way out; the narrow windows faced a wall only a few feet away. With an effort, Rose stood up. She swayed on her feat, the remnants of whatever knockout drug she was given still coursing through her body. Rose closed her eyes to help her head to stop swimming around. Slowly, she reopened them.
"Damn Russians," she muttered. She cleared her throat, then walked over to the windows. "Damn Italians, too," she added when she saw how little space there was outside. Rose paced the length of the room, trying to think of an escape. She peered over her shoulder, giving her head a slight shake to toss her ponytail out of the way. The cuffs binding her hands didn't look unusual.
Rose sat back down on the sofa. She wriggled her butt on top of her hands, the denim of her jeans rubbing roughly. She felt the cuffs' chain slide under her. Allowing herself a slight smile, Rose rolled backwards on the couch and extended her arms. She brought her hands down her thighs to her knees. One by one, her legs passed back between her arms.
Her arms now in front of her, Rose shook out her hands, trying to get feeling back into them. The brunette took a closer look at the lock on the handcuffs. Rolling back up so she was seated, she reached into her hair and brought out a small set of lockpicks. An indeterminably long moment later, she had one cuff off. Her hand tingled with pins and needles as feeling returned. With determination, Rose worked on the freeing the remaining hand. A satisfying click later, the handcuffs landed on the couch.
Rose walked out into the middle of the room. "Oh, God, it hurts!" she called. "Is there anyone out there?" She fell heavily to her knees. "Ow," she moaned with added realism. "My stomach . . .." Rose fell to her side then rolled on her back, hiding her hands underneath. She let out one last moan.
The door opened, letting two men in grey suits in. One stayed near the doorway, a silenced Makarov in his hand. The other ran to Rose's side. He knelt down and asked, "Where does it hurt?"
"Let her die," the other man said.
"Moscow wants to find out what she knows. She can't talk if she's dead."
Rose began hyperventilating. "Please," she said between short breaths, "help."
The first man felt Rose's forehead. "Where does it hurt."
"Here." Rose chopped her hands together. The only thing keeping them from meeting was the Russian's neck. As he gasped for breath, Rose pulled him in between her and the armed agent.
The man with the Makarov pointed his gun towards the skirmish. "Valeri, move!"
"Oleg, help," gasped the man in Rose's grasp.
Rose reached inside Valeri's jacket, feeling around for his holster. The Russian's breathing sounded like it was improving. He reached for the American's throat. Rose countered by thrusting her head into his with a sharp crack. Valeri fell to the floor. His partner rushed his shots. Two holes appeared in the couch with only muffled bangs. Rose jumped on top of Valeri and searched again, this time with better results. She pulled out a PB pistol.
Oleg aimed his gun at Rose. The brunette rolled off Valeri as she fumbled with the pistol's safety. Bullets stitched the rug beside her. Rose managed to thumb the safety off. While upside down, she pointed the gun over her head and squeezed off a shot. She continued to roll, landing on her stomach. Oleg clutched his leg. Rose fired twice more. Both shots hit their mark. Oleg fell in a crumpled heap with a thud.
Embassy of the Soviet Union
Elena entered her commander's office. She stopped in front of the desk and came to attention. "Sir."
"At ease, Lieutenant."
Elena put her hands behind her back. She nodded.
The commander stood up. "The American woman has escaped. Go to the command room and coordinate the search."
Elena snapped to attention and saluted before turning on her heel and marching out. She continued her pace to a room deep inside the embassy. Two guards challenged her. Elena showed her ID. The guards stepped aside to let her at the lock. The blonde tapped in an eight-digit number on the number pad on the door. It slid aside for Elena. She walked in and took her position. "Report."
"Agent Tyutin reported that the American has escaped," a young man said. "She assaulted him, took his pistol, then shot Agent Fedorov with it."
"Designate the American agent as Rabbit. Send Teams Rostov and Kuragin after her. Hold Team Bezukhov for now."
Elena took a seat at the table. She glanced down at the map of Rome under the Plexiglas. "Rabbit will want to leave the city. Get agents down to the train station, airport, and bus station. Keep a watch on her hotel room, though I doubt she'll head there. Maintain surveillance on the American and British embassies."
A flurry of activity occurred. Elena kept her attention on the map. She calculated how far her quarry could run, then drew a circle around the safe house where Rabbit was being held. "Team Bolkonski is to start searching in a ten block radius. Report in every fifteen minutes."
Via Via Salvatore Pincherle
Rose paused at the corner. She tried to catch her breath. A spot on her forehead threatened to turn into a full-fledged headache. She rubbed the spot she smacked on the Russian's forehead, feeling a slight bump. "Great." Rose peeked around the corner. The block had no traffic, just two parked cars. Rose pushed off the wall and faded into the shadows of the alley. Instinct told her that, despite the appearance, going out into the open here would be dangerous. Instead, she crouched down, the Russian pistol in her hand.
Voices filled echoed in the street. Rose shifted the grip on her weapon. The low rumble of an Italian engine underlined the conversation in Russian. A man crossed in front of the alley. Rose pressed against the side, hoping she wouldn't be seen. The man pointed into the alley and barked a few words Rose didn't understand. The car coasted into view. From the passenger side, a light shone down, illuminating the walls. Rose shrank back further, trying to will the light to skip over her. The agent peered down the alley. Afraid to even breathe, Rose counted the long seconds before he continued walking down the street. Even then, she waited for a few more minutes after the sounds of the agents died down before standing up again.
Rose backed away from the street. Once she felt she was a safe distance away from the entrance, she turned and ran back the length of the alley. Again, she paused at where she entered and looked around. The same sort of desertion as the other end greeted her. She strained her ears, trying to catch sound of her pursuers over the din of the city. Hearing no sign of Russian agents, Rose stepped out of the alley, pistol still in hand. She walked at a fast pace to the end of the block, then considered her choices. Straight ahead lay an entrance to the Metropolitana. To her left, she could return to the building she escaped from; to her right, she Rose wasn't sure. She turned right, pausing only to stash her stolen PB in her waist band, hiding the gun's butt under her blouse.
As she walked up the lonely street, trying to get her bearings, a pair of headlights came around a corner ahead. Rose ducked into a doorway, willing herself to be as flat as possible. The Audi drove by without slowing down. Rose watched the car continue driving away for several blocks before she stepped out of hiding. She took a deep breath and slowly released it, calming herself down. With one last glance over her shoulder, Rose continued her escape.
Embassy of the Soviet Union
Elena listened as her teams reported their lack of success. She paced around the table, studying the map. "Has Team Bolkonski reported in?" she asked.
"Elements have, Lieutenant," a radio operator answered. "We're missing reports from Agents Samsonova and Datsyuk. They had gone to the northern part of the perimeter."
"Alert Team Bezukhov to go to their last known position. Start--"
"Lieutenant, Samsonova is reporting in now. No sign of Rabbit."
Elena sighed. "Cancel the orders. Why are they late checking in?"
"They spotted suspicious movement wanted to follow up. An Audi got through our roadblocks. Rabbit was not inside."
Elena leaned on the table. "Too much time has passed. She could be out of the initial search radius."
"We're doing everything by the book, Lieutenant."
"What do we know about Rabbit?"
The operator flipped open a file. "Not much. She's a new agent in the field. Rabbit may be relying on her training and not on experience."
"I, too, am relatively new to field work, Comrade." Elena tapped the board. "Rabbit hasn't done anything. She hasn't tried to run for freedom. There is a Metro station, yet not one of our agents there has seen her."
"She can't have gone far."
"She hasn't. Rabbit is still in the perimeter." Elena traced her finger along the map. "Get me a satellite photo of the area."
"But, it's dark, Lieutenant. The satellite won't be able to pick up Rabbit."
"Any satellite photo, Comrade. I want to see what the area is like. Maps have been known to have errors and may not show the alleyways."
"Right away, Lieutenant."