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Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Dawn came early to Bereznia, the sun forcing its way through the low lying clouds. All across the city, the sound of an city waking itself up, was intermingled with the silence of dawn.

From the window of his luxury house, Ivan Kozlov stared across the bay at the dock. The sounds of the fishing boats returning to the wharf, soon drowned out the slience of dawn, and were themselves drowned out by the gantries on the dock, loading the awaiting freighters.

'Honey, you awake?' The voice of his wife, Svetlana drifted through the open doorway.

'Yeh', he gruffly replied. 'Just staring at the bay'

'Come here you', Svetlana said as she floated into the room.

Ivan turned and looked at his wife, looking gorgeous in what looked like her work clothes. 'Good morning' 'Hmmmmmm', came the reply as their lips embraced.

'Busy day today?'

'Not really, but you never know these days. I've got to meet with some higher-ups today, so that's why I'm all dressed up.'

'Well I wouldn't say you were dressed upů...'

'Well, I have to go to work. Bye honey', and with that Svetlana turned around and headed off to get ready.

'Bye babe'

Ivan strolled into the walk in wardrobe and pulled one of his many identical uniforms from the closet. Laying it out on the edge of the bed, he padded off to the shower. Applying first the cold, then hot water, he stared at the wall letting the water wash over him, as he heard the slam of the door as his wife, an air traffic controller at the local airport, hopped in her car, and headed off to work.

Emerging from the shower feeling somewhat groggy and peckish, he got dressed and headed down the hallway. Showered and dressed, he emerged from the hallway, glanced at the fridge and decided to get breakfast at the new McDonalds, which had recently opened. As he walked out the front door, he heard the purr of his staff car and thanked whoever invented air-conditioning.

'Todays turning out to be a stinker ain't it Milhail?

' 'Yes sir, and the day has only just began', remarked his driver/bodyguard as he held the door open for Mark. 'Hmmm sir, you look a tad peckish this morning....'

'Shut-up, just because we can't all wake up at 4am, like a certain staff driver I know, doesn't mean we have to cop crap from them as well', he replied with a grin

'Who me? You must have me confused with Viktor', he chuckled as he hopped into the drivers seat.

As the ZIL limousine pulled out onto the road, Mark reached into the front seat and grabbed the dispatch box. As he pulled the night's messages and intelligence documents, he felt the car pull into the drive-thru. Moments later the car started down the road again, and he set down a message, and grabbed his bacon and egg mcmuffin, hash brown and coffee.

He finished his documents, drowned the last of his coffee, as Milhail pulled the car one handed into a car park spot.

'These staff drivers really need to find a device that will help them eat and drive at the same time. Or better yet, they should eat when they get up', he exclaimed as he climbed out the car and headed into the armoury.

'Well if you can do better, please let me see you do it.....Sir'

'Later Milhail'

'Yes Sir. I'll have to drive Catherine to work, so I'll see you in half an hour for your appointment with whats-his-face'

'Whats he want now?'

'Check your desk, they wouldn't let me put it in the box'

'Ok. Cya then'

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The day was long and the heat stifling, as Aleksi Ponomarev, trudged up the road, the sparsely leaved trees rustling in the hot wind.

He turned right at the crossroads, pausing briefly to admire the sweeping vista before him, the town below him silent, like a ghost town, except for the far off shrieking off the rusty old cranes on the docks.

Hearing movement behind him, he began to turn around, his right arm moving quickly to his waist. Sadly for him, before he could form another thought, his whole world went red, then black and his brain splattered out onto the ground, his limp body soon following it to the bitumen.

Behind him, his attacker bent down to collect the spare casing, placing it in his pocket before stepping over the body and walking round the corner to the waiting car, which then sped off down the hill.

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