Chapter Twenty-Eight

Line of Departure

I rapped on Kessler’s door, before barging in without an invitation. We were alone. He sat at his desk, as before. I filled the seat Commander Hathoot had occupied the day before. His salutation of “Professor” lacked goodwill. As he played with his dead pipe, I hunkered down to wait.

Whatever this articulate man wanted to say, I knew I didn’t want to hear it. As far as I was concerned, his only saving grace was the Basque, and she did not seem to consider his relationship with her a positive asset. I had not pushed Don about what was going on between the captain and his stepdaughter. I wasn’t aboard to do family counseling, unless it was essential to accomplish my mission.

“If that Mouse flag goes up on my mast again I’ll leave you right here in Russia, and you’ll have hell to pay to get out before winter sets in.” He banged his pipe on the edge of his desk.