Embassy of the Soviet Union
Elena allowed herself a smile. Her agents had tightened the noose around the CIA agent. It was only a matter of time before Rabbit was back in her custody.
"Lieutenant, Agent Lavrushka reports running into Rabbit."
"Rabbit escaped, taking Agent Lavrushka's pistol."
The operator relayed the question, then listened to the answer. "Rabbit ambushed her."
"This is just one lone woman. How difficult can it be to find her?"
"Lieutenant, the agents have found her repeatedly. Keeping her has been the difficult part."
Elena glared at the radio operator. "I did not realize that Rabbit bathed in grease today."
"I-- Lieutenant, shots fired."
"Reports still coming in."
Elena strode over to join the operator. "What happened?"
"Rabbit shot twice with an unsilenced pistol. No one was hit."
"Someone monitor the police frequencies," Elena ordered. "Comrade, alert the roadblock crews. Have them start dismantling and watch for the carabinieri. Our window of opportunity is closing."
Rose could hear the faint cry of sirens in the distance. She redoubled her pace, ignoring the protests of her wounded leg. The Metropolitana station, only a few blocks away, beckoned, offering freedom. Traffic started to pick up along the streets, passing her without a second notice. The PB in her hand felt out of place now that the roads weren't deserted. Rose ejected the clip from the pistol. She wiped her fingerprints off the best she could before depositing the weapon in a trash can. The silencer remained in her jeans pocket, in reach in case she needed it.
At the entrance of the Metro, Rose paused. Just reaching the entrance seemed too easy for her. She hadn't seen a KGB agent at all. With great caution, she descended the stairs into the subway station. A wall of air rushed at her as a train arrived at the platform below. A mass of people started climbing the stairs. Rose threaded her way through the crowd, using it to shield herself from any agents who might be waiting.
Reaching the platform, Rose watched the train leave. A handful of people remained, spread along both sides of the tracks. Rose glanced at each person left, wary of an ambush. She thrust her hand into her pocket and gripped the silencer in her fist. Nervous energy getting the better of her, she paced the length of the platform, keeping an eye on everyone around. Footsteps came down the stairs. Rose glanced over to see a woman with short blonde hair and wearing a long grey trench coat under which olive green trousers could be seen. A low rumble, more felt than heard, filled the station. Rose backed away. The woman kept pace, never breaking eye contact with the American.
Discarded newspapers swirled in the air pushed into the station by the oncoming train. The two women kept their distance. "You've led my people on a fine chase, American."
"I had brothers who liked playing Hide-and-Seek," Rose answered.
"You must have been hard for them to seek."
"I tried." Rose removed her hand from her pocket, hiding the silencer in her fist. "You came close."
The woman performed a mock-curtsy. "I much preferred to play chess with my grandfather when I was growing up."
"I guess this is the end game, where both pawns maneuver around each other."
"I believe we've been promoted to queens."
"My paycheque doesn't show it."
The blonde smiled. "A sense of humour is essential in our job, is it not?" She started moving in closer.
Rose held up her fist. "Stay where you are."
The Russian stopped. "What is that?"
"What do you think?" The rumbling grew louder. The squeal of metal against metal came from the tunnel.
"You had no time to pick up any explosive."
"You'd be amazed at what the labs can brew up these days." Rose saw two men approaching her. She thrust her hand over her head. "I said stop!"
The blonde woman held her hand up to stop her agents. "Come now, we were getting along so well, too. Look, come with me and I'll make sure your leg is seen to."
"I am getting on the next train," Rose said.
"I can't let you."
"You don't have a choice." The squealing grew deafening. Rose took several steps towards the platform's edge.
"Either I get on the train or I drop this."
"You won't. Too many innocent people are around."
"Do you really want to find out?"
The train screeched to a halt. The doors opened, letting another wave of people out. Rose edged through the throng. The Russian woman followed closely. At the train doors, Rose tossed the silencer. "Catch!" She ducked into the train.
Instinctively, the blonde Russian agent caught the tube. She winced, then noticed what she held in her hand. The subway doors closed, and the train chugged to a start. The woman saw Rose standing and smirking just inside the doors. She returned the expression with a mock salute.