Many thanks to Kelaris who put me on track with the Russian.
The Archangel Extraction
"Good Morning, Mr Phelps. The man you are looking at is Captain Grigori Mikailovitch Bogatyrov, a famed Soviet submariner and brilliant tactician. He currently lectures in the Naval Academy at Archangelsk. His political reliability is suspect and he is hounded by this man, Arkadi Pyotrovitch Dornoyev who is a zampolit or political officer. The secretary believes that if only Bogatyrov could be extracted and brought to a free country he could be persuaded to divulge the Soviet tactics that would give our submariners an edge in the deadly and undeclared underwater battle. As always, should you or any of your team be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This tape will self destruct in five seconds."
There was the familiar hiss and puff of smoke as the chemically treated tape dissolved in the substance activated as it wound past a certain point . Jim Phelps pursed his lips in a silent whistle.
Archangelsk was the premier Soviet Naval Base; even with fluent Russian speakers this was going to be a tough one. And he could do with Willie who was not the world's most linguistically gifted.
The team viewed the photographs of the Naval Academy and the man to be extracted in Jim's comfortable and minimalist penthouse suite as Jim outlined his plan.
"Cinnamon, nobody does the role of female party official better than you" said Jim.
"Nobody looks better than her in those severe costumes either" said Rollin.
Cinnamon lit a cigarette, managing to look demure, repressive and inviting all at once. Jim could never quite fathom how she put so much sex appeal into the most severe of costumes; natural talent and a lot of practice he supposed. She was quite an asset. Very few men were able to fully concentrate on anything when Cinnamon turned on her full charisma. The Impossible Missions team were among the few who were immune for being almost family.
"My job being to warn Bogatyrov that we are ready to extract him and to keep the Zampolit off everyone's backs while the extraction goes down" said Cinnamon.
It always amazed Jim that considering how sexy her voice was, Cinnamon had trouble holding a tune in a sack. Though on the odd occasion she had played a cabaret singer she had certainly done her best; and her other assets had made up for many deficiencies.
"Exactly" he said. "But I think we will NOT warn Bogatyrov; we don't want him getting jumpy. Just keep an eye on Dornoyev."
Jim went on,
"Willie, Barney, you'll do your usual excellent act with the telephone as I described; you'll be ratings from some of the non Russian speaking nations within the Soviet Sphere" he told them "I don't anticipate any trouble getting the Vietnamese ambassador out" he nodded to Rollin "When he is taken ill: but let's not take any chances."
"Ah, a heart attack brought on to my poor old hardened arteries by the lovely Cinnamonova!" quipped Rollin.
He was apparently in one of those moods.
Still if he got all the flippancy out of the way before the show he usually performed better so Jim let it pass.
Cinnamon threw a cushion at Rollin.
Jim was never quite sure if they were sleeping together. If he knew it for certain he should never let them work together; romance did NOT go with the sort of work they did. Still each was professional enough when on a job. If there was anything between them they managed to shelve it to work.
"Any questions?" he asked.
There were none; he had been thorough in the briefing; each knew exactly what they were doing, and would be where they were supposed to be.
It should be a milk run.
Dornoyev proved more of a problem than Cinnamon had realised.
She turned up to question Bogatyrov since he had been logged as unreliable; and Dornoyev had laughed and told her that there was no need to worry because circumstances made Bogatyrov quite loyal, and plans meant that he could not be taken against his will.
This all sounded ominous.
It was a nuisance that Jim as a supposed translator to the supposed visiting ambassador from North Vietnam was not available. Rollin managed to look amazingly oriental under his heavy makeup – he had not needed a mask at all with his skill – any deficiencies covered by fake wrinkles that would explain a sudden heart attack, and the demand that he return to his family to die.
Cinnamon would have liked to keep an eye on both men; but she was only one woman.
And there was one place she could not accompany either. The mens' restroom.
Dornoyev had managed to excuse himself, though she kept an eye on him; and both men went into the bathroom before Bogatyrov was due to leave for the night to his civilian apartment block.
Cinnamon managed to find a student whose uniform was badly adjusted to issue a long lecture as an excuse to linger; and noticed a man come out of the bathroom.
Cinnamon was a trained observer; and though she thought at first that this was a stranger her finely honed instincts snapped on as she realised that this was the clean shaven Bogatyrov with a false beard and moustache, in different clothes and with spectacles.
When a second man emerged who looked unquestionably like Bogatyrov, Cinnamon swore silently to herself that it was she who was owed the heart attack.
The way the second Professor Bogatyrov turned to scrutinise her tongue lashing of the unfortunate officer candidate however told her who HE was for certain.
It was Dornoyev. He evidently knew how to make masks too; well it was only ever going to be a matter of time before the enemy achieved parity of technology.
There was no time to warn Barney and Willie who were waiting at Bogatryrov's apartment; she must find out where the real Bogatyrov was going.
She wound up her diatribe and turned on her heel. She was able to cover a remarkable distance in a swift walk; because she had practised.
She was on her own; and she must now play it by ear.
When Dornoyev, wearing Bogatyrov's face entered 'his' apartment he was confronted by two apparent naval recruits.
"Professor Bogatyrov" said Willie "I know you speak English. We have been sent to escort you to a safe place from which you will be helped to travel to the West. Perhaps you will like to pack an overnight bag?"
"American agents" said Dornoyev, smiling gently. "I fear that you are going to be disappointed."
He reached into his pocket.
Willie went for him; but Dornoyev only laughed gently, even as Willie's huge strength and fighting skill managed to overpower the man. Barney whipped out of his pocket what he had reached for. It was not a gun, but a small silver box with an antenna and a single red button.
"It's a radio controlled alarm!" said Barney "We have to get out of here!"
Willie had noticed something; and quickly pulled at the mask loosened in his struggle with the Russian. It peeled away smoothly.
"Dornoyev" he said intensely.
"Sap him and lets move" said Barney succinctly.
Willie used minimal force to stun the Agent; and the pair moved rapidly to the window where they had prepared an emergency exit, rappelling down the side of the apartment block even as they heard footsteps thundering up the stairs to the apartment.
There was a military vehicle outside the front of the building as they came down the alley from the back. A guard with an AK47 stood outside.
The men in the apartment would be down soon if they could not pass this car.
The two men exchanged a look.
"Take the driver" said Barney softly. He strolled out of the alley, getting out a cigarette, looking as though he had not a care in the world. He offered the pack to the driver. "ogon'ku ne najdetsa?" he asked casually. Asking for a light was one of those useful phrases he had committed to memory.
"Da!" said the driver hungrily. The cigarettes were British; not as desirable as American, but a brand that a Russian might be more readily have been expected to acquire, perhaps in bribes from the few tourists that visited.
Barney moved close and as the man went for a matchbook he rabbit punched him skilfully on the back of the neck.
Barney, being the way he was, tucked the box of cigarettes into the man's pocket as compensation.
Willie meanwhile had come to the driver's door and heaved it open.
His hand shot in and the driver shot out.
Willie and Barney now had wheels and made use of them – just in time as they were pursued up the road by a fusillade of fire from the men who had responded to Dornoyev's call.
"That was a bit of a problem" said Willie in his laconic way. "What now?"
"Ditch this car, get back to the safe house and contact Jim" said Barney grimly.
Cinnamon caught up with Professor Bogatyrov as he was getting into his off white Moskvitch car. Cinnamon got in the passenger seat.
"You don't mind offering me a lift, do you professor?" she said.
He started and looked at her with frightened eyes.
"What?" he feigned a lack of knowledge.
"An interesting trick you and Comrade Dornoyev pulled" said Cinnamon politely.
The professor was a dirty grey colour that did not quite match the colour of his car.
"I – I don't know what you mean!" he tried.
"Professor, if you think I was born yesterday you can think again" said Cinnamon. "You are scared; now it may be that I could be in a position to help you. I am not a supporter of the regime myself you know. I was coming to aid you."
"You're trying to entrap me and then I will never see my daughter again" mumbled Bogatyrov "Like the filthy Americans who want to kidnap me without caring that I have a daughter who needs me."
"Tell me about your daughter" said Cinnamon.
"Where else have I to go but the room I am so graciously permitted in the State Orphanage?" he said "You may as well come and see her. THEN I will know whether to do anything but call Dorneyev and have you removed."
The State Orphanage was a state orphanage for Incurables. To Cinnamon this was a quite medieval outlook; but then a lot of Eastern Europe was, in many ways, quite medieval.
Professor Bogatyrov knew his way around and led her through a series of locked doors to a playroom, after discarding his disguise.
The little girl with golden curls got up and flung herself on her papa. She was, thought Cinnamon, about ten; though her actions were those of a much younger child; and she gazed up at her father with big blue eyes – with an epicanthic fold to them.
The child was a sufferer of Down's Syndrome.
"Hello sweetheart" said Cinnamon, bobbing down and holding out her arms. "What is your name?"
"Her name is Irina" said Bogatyrov in a tired voice "She cannot speak. I am grateful that she recognises me."
Irina regarded the strange woman with the peculiarly wooden look and open mouth, tongue advanced that was typical of the face of a Down's Syndrome person. Then as Cinnamon smiled at her, she achieved a smile back and held out her own arms for a cuddle. Cinnamon wrapped her arms about the child.
She spoke to the Professor in an even voice.
"Do they not let you keep her at home with you then, with a carer?"
"My wife died giving birth to her" said Bogatyrov in the emotionless tone of a man who has seen too much grief and is drained of it. "I could not care for her properly when it became apparent that she had….problems. She was taken away and brought here; I have been in the habit of visiting her as often as I could. When there were rumours that the Americans might try to take me, I was ordered to let Dorneyev occupy my apartment in disguise and as a reward for my co-operation I was permitted to live near my daughter. So that I would remember what I would lose if I let myself be taken."
"Professor" said Cinnamon "The Americans did not know you had a daughter. The intelligence was faulty. We can take you both out and have proper care for your daughter who can be taught to maximise what abilities she has. I need to make a telephone call; but I suspect that the telephone here is monitored. Pack an overnight bag and I will pack for Irina; I will inform the Director of the home that she is to be taken to secure accommodation as you are at risk. We will go to the metro station nearest and I will call from a public booth and then we shall ride the trains randomly to shake any followers and get off at a place I know of."
"You mean it? I see that you are not disgusted by her affliction as so many others are! Whatever you are, whoever you are, I see the compassion in your eyes…. I will place myself and my daughter in your hands."
Rollin, as Vietnamese Ambassador, was enjoying himself and flinging himself into the role as usual. It was not to be a particularly arduous role since all he had to do was to be available to have a heart attack at the right moment. Indeed he was preparing himself for just that eventuality at a soiree at the local Naval Commander's headquarters.
When he was called to the telephone it was with every expectation of being told that all was set.
The news reported tersely by Barney in the code that they had decided was most disturbing. They had agreed on certain phrases that sounded enough like Vietnamese to a non Vietnamese speaker which would cover most eventualities, to be filled in with odd words of backspeech. It was unlikely that any Russian could follow backspeech.
Barney's voice said,
"Kon bak too kon" the agreed code for 'something has gone wrong' followed by "won tuk phong" meaning 'we are both all right' and then "Ornoyevday askmay".
The Russians had learned how to do that then! Rollin said,
"Phong tuk won" reversing the phrase to assure them that it would be all right "Bay Bay dun kwok" – to tell them to stay put for now was the best he could think of.
He returned to the soiree.
Jim was able to murmur to him privately to ask if it was all going according to plan; and Rollin shook his head. They must talk more privately; they already knew where the bugs in their suite were and took suitable precautions to tune in to Vietnamese radio stations with the radio laid close to the bug so they might speak quietly masked by the irritating – to a western ear – Vietnamese music.
However before they might take their leave, another telephone call came in for Rollin.
"Kon bak too kon; van kon pho" said Cinnamon briskly. Rollin blinked. It had gone wrong but don't worry? Cinnamon went on "anmay ashay aughterdaay, neonday ourhay won tuk phong."
"Phong tuk won, neonday ourhay" said Rollin. Five full words in backspeak was a risk but one that had to be taken. 'Man has daughter, one hour, we are all right.' He confirmed the hour; and settled down to seeming to continue drinking without actually consuming much, addressing himself to Jim to repeat the information in backspeak. Jim would adapt readily enough.
It was up to Rollin to time swallowing an unobtrusive pill to help him look ill; and an old fashioned and reliable method it was, indeed the soldier's hypochondria. Eating cordite produced a pallid skin, sweating and every appearance that could be attributable to heart failure.
One also felt ill enough with it temporarily that acting was easy.
Rollin watched the clock; and swallowed down the pills under cover of drinking. Soon he started to feel distinctly nauseous and his limbs felt painful. Several people were looking at him in concern. Jim was asking him if he felt all right. Rollin clutched his chest and groaned; and collapsed in a heap.
He had with him the recording of a heart with trouble to play when a medic listened to his chest; and to fool an ECG and rather than accept anything more at the Naval Hospital he would protest that he wanted to die in his own land and demand to be discharged in his broken Russian.
Barney and Willie were surprised to say the least when Cinnamon turned up at the safe house with their anticipated guest – and another. Cinnamon had led the professor and his daughter around the underground railway system for half an hour changing trains – fortunately Irina had found the novelty fun – before heading for the safe house by the expedient of hotwiring a car.
Barney, at whom Irina stared with some trepidation, won her heart by making a rabbit toy out of his pocket handkerchief; and Willie made her laugh by throwing her up effortlessly like a baby.
They were stowed in the hiding place prepared, and Cinnamon gave little Irina a sleeping pill so she would not be afraid or make any noise. They set off in a fake ambulance, Cinnamon crisp and pristine as a naval nurse, Willie as an orderly, and Barney in a mask to make him look Vietnamese, supposedly the Ambassador's valet and pilot. Barney disliked wearing a mask but there was no way he might otherwise pass as Vietnamese. Slightly lightened with foundation cream he had passed well enough as a Kazakhstani but there were limits!
At the airport orders were to permit the dying man onto the aeroplane he had chartered to bring him in and out of the country. The orderly and the nurse were most solicitous, no-one in Vietnam could accuse the Soviet Union of not taking every care. The translator was to go too; he was needed to speak to the old man's servant.
And Barney hurried up to the cockpit to get the plane out quickly – not unreasonable if he wanted to get a dying master home as soon as possible; and masking their real reason of wanting to head for friendly territory before any deception was discovered!
The hospital bed on which the supposed Vietnamese ambassador lay was sufficiently masked with exotic eastern rugs for anyone to notice how deep the bed really was as he was wheeled onto the plane.
Only when the plane had taken off did Rollin – feeling much better – get off the bed to open it up; and if he and Jim were surprised by the appearance of the child, they were too fine a pair of men to make any comment bar welcoming Professor Bogadyrov into American protection!