It was the freezing night of August the 1st when the Continental flight 1024 came to a screeching halt at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Not the time of year and not the time of day one would like to move from the comforts of an airplane seat to the chilling cold of NY streets but Shri didn’t had the option. The delay due to dense fog in London had delayed the connecting flier and cost him valuable time. It was 2.00 am and as he found his way through the labyrinth of the Intl Airport towards the domestic airline so did the footsteps of these two men who had been waiting in the Espresso Cafe for last four hours………….
Sergei Yaroslav had been the most effective and efficient agent in the Black Hawk unit of KGB the Russian secret services until a 7 years ago, when he was forced to quit on forged charges of treason. Not that his Commanders were happy to let go their most trusted agent, but nothing could stop the whims of the heads in Duma. That’s how things work in Communist Russia: A slight suspicion & a trace of evidence can lead to the downfall of the brightest and sharpest minds in the system. Usually the charges could have been fatal for any other agent but Sergie was able to salvage the situation because of his reputation and intervention from his Commanders. After serving his 6 years sentence he sought asylum in Slovakia and from there on moved to the States with the help of a cousin who ran a private detective firm in Downtown Dallas……..
The cold night and the tireful journey had started to get to Shri. As he sat waiting in the lounge of the domestic airport, he started to ponder over what was he doing in this alien country away from home. It wasn’t as bad as he was thinking, but it certainly wasn’t the first thing he wanted. He had started to wonder about the many things he was going to miss away from home, his parents who cared for him so much, his loving friends, his favorite food that his mom cooked so wonderfully, his bike on which he had a wonderful time exploring the country sides and most important of all the Love of his life! Only a month ago, he was well settled in his job, working as a business analyst in the 1 billion dollar enterprise in India. The job was cool and it paid well. Most important of all he was home, close to his dear ones. Had a nice boss and a very beautiful and affable girl friend , two most important people he was going to spend the most part of his life. He couldn’t have asked for more. Though he had admissions from 5 universities in the states, leaving this heaven for doing MS was the last thing on his mind. But still here he was waiting for his next flight to Houston!
“Subject at Terminal 2 – under observation” Sergie passed on the message over the radio and started pouring over the NY Times as he waited on his prey!
Sempra is not the marijuana of the east in the sense- it is not illegal/banned, it is inexpensive, readily available in every nook and corner – but it is as deadly and sinister. Every year 2 million people in the Indian peninsular are affected by mouth cancer because of chewing this stimulant and thousands are added everyday on this path of ill fate. In the absence of any regulations to curb its consumption Sempra is a flourishing industry in the region. Not that no one wanted legislation on banning the drug but half the politicians in New Delhi, ruling or in opposition, had their hands in the business and no one liked the idea of burning their fingers with a ban. Human rights activist were the lone force fighting for the ever evasive ban against the bureacracy. Year after year the legislations came and they were turned down with resounding majority. There are many Sempra manufacturers in the region, and hundreds of supporting industry which play their hand in processing the raw materials. Most of these are small scale companies. However there are two major corporate giants that are involved in the mechanized mass manufacturing of Sempra and one of being the pioneer in putting up and patenting the formula for the blend.
It wasn’t Sergies’ style to stand on his target for so long, especially when he had a clear shot, but he had no choice. The security of the airport had tightened manifold after the recent terrorist attacks and he had his orders in black and white. His only chance of the completing the mission was if he could corner Shri in some solitude on the airport. He would have preferred his prey to use the restroom or stray close to areas near the baggage inventory. Or still better he would have preferred his prey being of Chinese origin rather than Indian. Not that he hated killing an Indian but the risks were multiple. Every year thousands of Chinese students enter American Universities for engineering research. More than 60% are spies for the government and lately even of the big flourishing Chinese corporate’s. Most have a binding with their sponsors to return with specific piece of knowledge useful for the Chinese defense programs, space ventures or industrial inventions. But not everyone is successful and not everyone returns. Some fulfill the contracts, some take more exciting offers in the US, some are arrested for espionage and face captivation for the rest of the life – even worst some are terminated when found shipping classified information – that concerned with the US space and nuclear programs. The issue is well known on both side, but the Americans can hardly cater to it because the vast appetite of the American universities to take new students. Hence a missing Chinese student hardly causes a uproar in the Embassies. Over the years hundreds of students have vanished in thin air in the past but the Chinese seldom object. It’s a sort of a tacit understanding between the diplomats on the 2 sides. However the things are very different with the Indian students who are as good in numbers as the Chinese, and they are genuine students. The Indian embassy takes good care of their harvest and they enjoy “protected” status. An Indian students’ assassination on JFK would have caused a sensation leading to thorough FBI investigation giving the perpetrators sleepless night for sure. And Sergies’ client from Bombay House had placed a unambiguous requirement of a clean job so that no clue leads a trace to their involvement. So he waited and watched.
It had been an hour at the airport when Shri boarded his pickup at the airport. It was a special shuttle and he was the only one commuting and the loneliness of the night brought back the haunting memoirs of the happenings in last month. As a business Analyst in Maarwoahn Inc he had access to all the classifed information on the world. There were very few things that didnt pass through his department and very little that was bereft of his purview. HE enjoyed good support and appreciation from bosses and savoured his job, only complain being working with a Sempra manufacturer. Though a Fortune 500 they weere spoiling millions of lives. However things were fine.