Birkoff and Molly entered the big station in Dublin. He had run many Sims for this station. He knew the position of every camera and where the blind spots were. He made sure that the two of them stayed in poorly lit areas. "Keep your face down" he commanded and steered them to a place he knew the cameras didn't reach.
They stood for a moment and Molly had a sudden inspiration.
"Wait here" Molly said and hurried off to the restroom, dragging a bag behind her. She entered a stall and quickly changed her shirt and removed her cap and the fake nose ring. She washed off all the dark makeup and fluffed up her wavy hair. Then, donning a different jacket, and her sunglasses, she emerged looking totally different. Birkoff didn't recognize her. She tapped him on the shoulder and giggled when he jumped. He grinned nervously and said "Great idea. I'll go change. When I come out, if I don't come over to you, don't worry. There are people coming to help, but I don't want them to see you."
"Why ever not?" Molly asked
"It wouldn't be in your best interest. If you see me talking to anyone, just start walking. Don't act like you know me, just go."
"Where?" Molly asked bleakly. "I have no job and no money"
"I took care of that," Birkoff said. He scanned the crowded station. Looking up, he studied all the security cameras. Section would surely tap into these. They were in a spot with bad sight lines. The cameras would not get her face. She looked around nervously
"How?" She said in a low voice.
"I set up an account for you. Don't go home because they know where you live. Just keep going to London. All the information you need is on this." he said as he slid a card into her pocket. He hid his actions with his body. If the cameras caught anything, it would look like he was taking her hand.
"They?" she asked quietly
"Both sides are now after you. The assassin will double back, and the people coming to get me will consider you a security risk. You've seen me." He answered baldly.
"Who are you?" she asked again, stepping back from him
"I told you, I'm just a computer geek." Birkoff said flatly. Molly snorted inelegantly.
"Wait right here. This is the best spot to be in. It is out of the sight lines for the security cameras. Anyone looking for you will have a hard time finding you." he instructed, then slipped into the restroom and changed his own appearance again. Once again, he put on his more sophisticated clothes, and his contacts. He emerged confidently and scanned the crowds. He spotted Michael. Expertly scanning the area, Birkoff also saw Nikita. Michael spotted him and contacted Nikita. "I have him" was all he said. Birkoff knew Michael would cancel Molly in a heartbeat. He resisted the urge to look in her direction. He stayed where he was until he made eye contact with Michael, then, turning his head, he did the same with Nikita. She grinned briefly. Nikita stayed behind and watched the crowd.
Molly watched the brief exchange between Seymour and the lethal looking man in black. "Don't act like you know me" rang in her head. She quickly shifted her gaze. Then, she saw another man; the hired killer was there! He looked at Molly and she calmly turned her head and continued to look around. Every sense was heightened. Molly watched the assassin out of her peripheral vision, relieved that he hadn't settled in on her, yet. She glanced at Birkoff and caught his eye, flicking her head slightly in the killer's direction before she moved slightly. She pretended to be reading a magazine. Birkoff casually glanced where she indicated and saw the killer.
"Michael…fifty feet to your left. Grey hair, blue jacket, bag on his shoulder. I thought I lost him along the way, but he is back and he recognizes me. He's been after me since I got the data." Birkoff said with a nervousness he actually felt. He wanted to get out of there, to let Molly get away! Michael coolly took in the situation. He sized up his foe and spoke softly. "Nikita. South entrance. Grey hair, blue jacket, bag on his shoulder. Pick him up and bring him in." Molly watched as a striking blonde woman walked up to the killer and expertly extract him from a crowded railway station without raising a ruckus. She paled at the deadly expertise. Who on earth were these people?
"You indicated that there was an innocent accompanying you." Michael said softly.
"She's gone. She managed to steal my cash while I slept on the train and got off somewhere back on the line." Birkoff lied smoothly, dropping his glance to the floor. He didn't want to look Michael in the eye. Michael studied Birkoff carefully. He was slightly flushed and looked embarrassed. He knew Birkoff was not a field operative and that the outside world scared him. He didn't pursue it any further. He thought Birkoff was lying, but the need to get him back to Section took priority. "Let's go Birkoff," he commanded. Birkoff walked out of the station with him, never turning around. Molly watched, rooted to the spot as they disappeared into the confines of a nondescript gray van. She thought she saw him wink at her as the door closed. The van drove away and Molly, sighing, heaved herself away from the wall and moved towards the ticket kiosk.
"So, Birkoff. How was your vacation?" Nikita asked, a wicked twinkle in her blue eyes. Birkoff snorted.
"What vacation?" It rained, the bad guys were shooting people all over the place, and then they were after me! It rained some more. I saw the inside of two hotels, a store and two trains. I tried to read the newspaper, tried to drink tea." he shuddered at this " and when I tried to hook up with a girl, she stole my money!" he said with comic exasperation. "Oh, and it rained." He finished. Michael actually grinned as Nikita laughed out loud. Birkoff shook his head as he chuckled. "I think I have had enough. Vacations are highly overrated," he mumbled as he watched the city stream past the van. Birkoff stared out the window, seemingly lost in thought. The two operatives couldn't know that he was reliving the blissful moments with a lively redhead with soft, soft skin. Lightning flashed and a brief roll of thunder rumbled. Birkoff smiled sadly and closed his eyes. "Thank you Lolly" he said to himselfEpilogue
Molly entered an Internet café in London and sat down with a sigh. Her new credit card was a wonder. She was able to get an apartment, buy some new clothes and now, was about to do some needed computer work to find a job. She logged on and was surprised to see an icon for email. Shaking her head, she clicked on the icon and felt a rush of warmth as the message opened. It was Birkoff!
"Hi Molly. I hope you are well and getting on with your life. You can find the particulars of your safety net account by clicking on the link I have provided. Spend with caution and it should last you a long time. Get the job you really want. You have the means now to pick and choose.
The men who killed your father have been brought to justice. That is all I can tell you. Please don't dig any further. It will just bring you to the attention of the very people I am trying to shield you from.
Lastly, Thank you for a memorable vacation. I needed that, and I discovered I needed you. You helped me in more ways than you know. Have a good life. Delete this message when you finish.
Molly smiled, reread the message, and then clicked on the link. She gasped softly as the balance appeared. She had never seen so many zeros in a bank account of her own! She looked around at the people in the café. She recalled the lethal looking man in black, the cool blonde, the gray van, and now, this account… Gingerly, she deleted the message, touching the computer key as if it would shock her. Who were these people?