“We have a notice in the weekly communication to be on the lookout for two operatives missing from Fargone,” Bill King said.
“Did they send their biometric data or are we supposed to figure out who they might be on our own?” Sam Burnstein asked.
“Full face photos, clear enough to set decent recognition parameters, but no DNA or fingerprints,” Bill said. “No hint what their assignment involved. I’m sending their pix to your screen.” It was the two spies who Garrett had captured on the Kurofune.
Sam made a show of looking over each shoulder slowly. “Nope, haven’t seen them. Not our mission, not our concern. If they don’t trust us enough to give us anything but a face they don’t want them very badly.”
“That’s a preview of how hard they’d search for us if we went off the radar suddenly,” Bill said.
“On the up-side, if we ever decide it’s safer to go missing than report in, we wouldn’t want them looking much harder,” Sam said. “Maybe they disappeared themselves.”
“I’m not your political officer, and you have more experience than me, but that is still dangerous talk. I can see circumstances we’d agree on such a thing, but they would be rare. A surprise change of regime, where returning home would just put us in front of a wall to be shot would be one circumstance. Why you might want to defect or go dark is not something they are going to cover in training,” Bill pointed out.
“Regime is still a bad word,” Sam warned. “We never work for a regime, because they are evil. There was a story going around a few years back, before you were old enough to shave, that was amusing. One of our agents was in a South American country that was targeted to be destabilized. He worked himself up to being the chief pilot favored by El Presidente. When the revolution came he was rushed to the airport to fly the deposed fellow to a safe haven in the Balkans with a small group of his most trusted guards and about thirty tons of gold. He shot the copilot and depressurized the rear compartment with the President and his thugs. The aircraft was eventually found on an airstrip in Africa where it would have been challenging to land, and impossible to take off. The bodies were present but sadly the gold was gone and never found.”
“That’s an interesting story, but to pull that off he’d have had to be planning it for a long time to have everything in place to pull it off,” Bill said. “What would you need to do an operation like that?”
“A friend in country with big truck like a farmer would use, or the ability to rent one on short notice, a cell phone, and lots and lots of nerve.” Sam said.
Bill sat and thought on it, but couldn’t find any fault with it. “I know a lot of agents will vacuum up valuables they find in the course of an operation. They just regard it as an unofficial bonus system. Things like cash or jewels or things that can be slipped in a pocket, but thirty tons of gold?”
“My question is, would you split it with me or get all greedy and decide you had to have the whole thing yourself?” Sam asked.
“I’d have to cut you in and hope you wouldn’t be the one to go greedy, because I can’t imagine how I’d start to liquidate thirty tons of gold without getting myself killed.
Do you really think you could do it?” Bill asked.
“Sure. You don’t try to sell thirty tons. You sell a few ounces here and there and get known to a couple refiners. Maybe buy or start a jewelry store and put some ads out you will buy scrap. Work your way up to buying one of the refiners with whom you liked doing business, a business with experienced people who can show you how to re-melt and refine it. Then it just becomes a matter of moving it off the books. You have a cover for possessing significant amounts of the metal. It would require a little patience to do it safely and maximize the profits,” Sam admitted.
You devious bastard, you could do it,” Bill decided.
“That’s just an example. One never knows what will come along. It could be gems or a trade secret or a design that isn’t patented. Something like a single piece of art or any object that can’t be divided up might be challenging,” Sam said.
“I’d do it with you. My software says you mean it and aren’t trying to entrap me,” Bill said.
“Mine says the same thing,” Sam said. “Trust is a wonderful thing, but having a solid metric as the basis for conspiring is golden.”