Chapter 22, Mole

Jason was uneasy. His mission had been fairly easy until now. Alex Rider complicated things greatly, perhaps even fatally. Sighing, he sat down at his desk and picked up his mobile phone. He dialled an eight digit number and waited. After a few seconds, someone picked up.

"Code please?" a tired voice said.

"Alto 3, Juliet Alto Bravo 9-7-6." He answered, trying not to chew his bottom lip, a nervous habit of his. The person on the other end grunted sourly.

"Oh, it's you. What do you want Jason?"

Jason paused for a moment, if he didn't measure his words carefully here, things could turn very ugly. Then he shook himself, this was important and he wasn't going to allow protocol to get in his way.

"Put me onto our blunt friend."

For a few moments, there was a hostile silence on the other end. Then, he was answered.

"I can't, he's…out… besides, I shouldn't anyway for breaking protocol like that; we use codenames for a reason."

Quickly running out of patience, Jason said,

"Are you quite sure?! I have important info and-"

"No, he's definitely out. He will be back later; I'll deliver your message."

Jason breathed out angrily and hung up, he hated delays.

"Are you busy Jason?"

The new voice startled Jason; he nearly reached for his gun. Yassen stood at the door; it was him who had spoken.

"Who was that you were speaking to?" The Russian's tone wasn't particularly demanding or interested, but Jason felt his nerves stretch a little more. He had no clue how long Yassen had been standing there, if he'd overheard the entire call, he may as well dig his grave now. Yassen may have been simply curious, or, Jason thought, he already knows and when I lie, he'll kill me. The Italian had no doubt that the Russian would kill him. Yassen looked and moved like a dancer, but the veiled threat in his blue eyes was all too real. Swallowing awkwardly, Jason decided on a half truth.

"Oh, that was a contact of mine; he's proving hard to reach…"

Yassen's gaze seemed to bore holes in him for a moment, but then, the Russian man shrugged.

"Alright, you'll just have to keep trying. I came to give you this." Yassen produced a disc and put it on the desk.

"It's got all the information for Operation Descent on it."

Jason managed to look Yassen in the eye.

"Have you told Ivana and Alex about Descent?"

Yassen shook his head.

"No, I wont until they're both ready. Alex still needs time to adjust to a new situation."

Jason raised an eyebrow.

"What about Ivana, isn't she ready yet?"

Yassen's face gave nothing away, but Jason got the feeling this wasn't a question he was entitled to ask.

"No she's not. Physically perhaps, but mentally I think she's unready. Ivana is too susceptible to mind games and the such. I'm working with her; you do your job with Alex."

Nodding, Jason looked down at the disc.

"I'll take a look at the files." He said. Yassen nodded and left, closing the door behind him. Exhaling heavily, Jason stood and walked to the mirror in his office and stared at his reflection. He was young, only 23, and good looking with short brown hair that matched his eyes. Jason was fast, strong and his youth granted him good health. The future should've been bright for him. Touching his fingers to the reflection, Jason wasn't so sure. Moments like that left him feeling aged and weary beyond logical reason. Walking back to his desk, Jason wondered why he'd allowed MI6 to control him for so long.