Author's Note: Yet again I have found that if you want to read good fanfiction, you must write it yourself. Sigh. While at first the plot may seem typical, I can guarantee you that no one has done it like this before. This will be in true epic superspy style, and it will be good. Anthony Horrowitz could do it better, of course, but hey - that's cuz he's the author! In the meantime, enjoy and please let me know what you think!


It is a fact little known that the country of Russia is run by the KGB. Or, as they are known since the fall of the Soviet Union, the FSB (Federal Security Service). The president and his closest advisors are all former officers of the ranks; the ministers in control of arms, agriculture, law and economy have similar backgrounds. In fact, the most powerful politicians in the nation all come from the same city – St. Petersburg – as the president himself. The KGB has evolved from an instrument of terror and intelligence to become the government itself.

An article to this effect was published in The Economist on August 25, 2007. The author, although he chose to publish anonymously, was found mysteriously dead two weeks later, presumably the victim of a car accident in the city's crowded motorways. But there were many people who read the article. Most laughed it off as a conspiracy theory. Others believed it, but knew that Russia, no longer a world power, was fortunate enough if its democracy could survive the next decade; the aging agents in its power positions could pose no real threat to the free world.

There were also some who, upon reading the column, nodded grimly before dropping the paper into a wastebasket. The article would be stored in electronic format in a massive database, and the papers in the wastebasket would all be incinerated at the end of the day.

Among these people were a middle-aged man in a grey suit and a black-haired woman in sensible – to some, downright ugly – shoes. They were Alan Blunt, head of MI6 Special Operations, and his second in command, Mrs. Jones.

Less than thirteen months later, the article would appear on Alan Blunt's desk again, only this time in a manila folder containing a compilation of many sensitive documents. Underneath it was another folder, which he gingerly but neatly moved out of the way for the present. It was not really needed; he had memorized the contents.

Mr. Blunt opened the top folder and glanced over the documents. He looked across his desk at Mrs. Jones.

"We are running out of time," she stated.

"I know," Blunt replied. She knew that he knew this; what she was really asking for was his decision.

"As of the moment," she said, after a minute of silence, "we don't have enough information to determine the importance of this threat."

"If it even is one," Blunt pointed out. It was unnecessary; both he and Mrs. Jones knew full well that this was one matter that would not be underestimated.

"Our best agents have returned empty handed. We have tried bribery, but even in the corrupt bureaucracy that is Russia, there have been none that know enough or are willing to inform us. The Americans, of course, have been equally unsuccessful, and are hindered because they wish to ostensibly maintain the idea that they are no longer in a Cold War. Russia, however, does not think the same way."

Mr. Blunt nodded, a sign for her to continue.

"But we have one man who may be able to tell us what we need."

Blunt quietly opened the second folder, and stared for a minute at the colour photograph on top. "We will speak to him," he said. "And, if necessary, we shall use him."

Mrs. Jones had expected this. "He is a loose cannon," she warned. "We have no way of controlling him. He is too dangerous to be released under any circumstances."

"Any?" Blunt inquired, his face showing the first hint of emotion as he sighed, deep lines creasing in his forehead.

Mrs. Jones stopped sucking her peppermint as she saw for the first time the true, destructive gravity of the situation. "You believe it is that bad?" she asked, finally.

"I hope to God not," Blunt answered fervently, than collected himself. "We will, I hope, have no need of his... services. But the information we want he will not give without a considerable incentive. His own life appears to be of no consequence to him, and unfortunately we need him too much to dispose of him. Prison he would eventually escape; but there may be one way to reach him."

Reaching under the photograph, he pulled out a document. It was a transcript of a conversation. Mrs. Jones silently seethed. It was a conversation that should not have been recorded.

"Alex Rider," said the man, "may be of a great help to us."

Mrs. Jones stood, furious. Without a word she turned on her heel and left the office. Blunt knew full well how she felt about involving Alex in another mission, especially one as dangerous as this. And with a man as dangerous as this.

Mr. Blunt watched her go. She knew he would do as he said. There was no other way, something they both knew. He sighed, stood up, and closed the manila folder over the hard blue eyes staring out of the picture. It was time for lunch.