Andrea opened the door to leave her apartment and let out a yelp of surprise. She jumped backward, almost dropping her carry-on bag. At the other side of the doorway, apparently waiting patiently for Andrea to make her exit, stood Lena.
“You seem in an awful hurry there, liebchen. Heading out for a quick weekend holiday?” Lena nodded at the bag. “Or an even longer trip perhaps?”
“Just a few days on the Riviera. I need to get away from all this for a little while. I want to forget the horrors of that interrogation. I’ll be back Monday morning.”
“You know you’re supposed to tell Gerber if you’re skipping town,” Lena chided her. “You’re already in the doghouse as far as the boss in concerned. Running out on him won’t help matters. You must be aware that he doesn’t trust you.”
“Yes… of course I know that. It’s pretty obvious.”
“In fact, he suspected you’d try to run away.”
Andrea looked at Lena, wondering why Gerber would confide this to her while knowing they were lovers. “But how…”
“He sent me to follow you just a few minutes after you left his office. If I catch you bolting, I’ve been ordered to bring you in. I’m afraid things will not go particularly well for you once I get you back to headquarters.”
Andrea kept her cool, but she grew pale at the thought of being exposed. “And if I resist? If I were to… stop you?”
“Don’t be an idiot. They’re ten steps ahead of you. Look at your passport.” Andrea pulled the document from her pocket and opened it without taking her eyes off Lena’s. She glanced down just long enough to see her photograph had been removed.
“Wouldn’t get very far with that, would you?” Lena returned Andrea’s gaze, watching carefully for any sign Andrea might fight back. As she was heading for the airport, Andrea was most likely unarmed. Lena knew she had the upper hand, and to reinforce it, she reached into her jacket and withdrew a switchblade. Seconds later, a six inch blade snapped open. “Now slowly put down the bag.”
Andrea did as she was told. The knife worried her. Why not a gun? It would have been a more appropriate weapon. Lena began to walk toward Andrea, slowly closing the gap between them. When the blade was less than a foot from her abdomen, Andrea began walking backward. A hint of a smile formed on Lena’s lips as she watched Andrea’s face display first uncertainty, then fear. Soon Lena had backed Andrea against the wall. She took another step forward. Andrea felt the tip of the knife press against her midsection. The two women’s chests were almost touching. They stood face to face; their eyes locked.
Lena waited a long time before speaking. “Once I left Gerber’s office, Eberhart followed me into the hall. He wanted to tell me something in private. Eberhart doesn’t trust you either, but he thinks we’ve invested far too much in you to have you eliminated so soon. He thinks we can save our investment, even if you are having second thoughts. So long as… well, so long as your original sentiments were sincere.”
“But they were,” pleaded Andrea. “Nothing has changed. I really was just leaving on a weekend trip.”
“Is that so? Nothing has changed?” Lena slid the blade sideways under the placket of Andrea’s white blouse. Turning the sharp edge up, she drew the knife gradually along the opening, slicing through the threads and leaving the buttons to fall to the floor. When Lena reached the deep cleft between her lover’s breasts, Andrea flinched, but meekly let the blonde continue until all but the lowest button of her blouse had been severed. Lena used the knife to part the two sides of Andrea’s top, exposing a diaphanous white bra that barely contained her breasts. Lena moved the blade under the flimsy clasp holding the two cups together, and with a flick of her wrist, the bra snapped apart, fully exposing the agent’s bosom. Andrea gasped. Her breathing became more intense.
“No, nothing has changed,” she said nervously. Lena used the tip of the blade to trace around Andrea’s nipples, causing her to emit an involuntary moan. The ruddy flesh responded instantly and grew hard. Lena smiled approvingly.
“Do you remember how much you enjoyed having them crushed? How the pain became sublime, even when you thought you could take no more?” Andrea nodded. “Good,” said Lena. “You are being honest… about some things at least.” She plunged the knife into the wall just inches from Andrea’s head and pushed herself against the auburn haired beauty with all her might. Their lips met in a deep, desperate kiss and their bodies writhed against each other like battling snakes. Lena crushed Andrea against the wall, flattening her fleshy tits and almost cracking her ribs.
The two women clawed at each other’s clothes, and soon Andrea was completely naked. Lena stood tall in heels, a black bra and a thong, all of which she refused to remove. It was obvious she wanted to remain in control. She picked up Andrea’s bra and ripped the straps from the garment.
“Hey!” The bra’s owner protested. “That cost twenty marks.” Lena ignored her and spun her around, pushing her face-first against the wall. In seconds, Lena had used the bra straps to tie Andrea’s wrists behind her back. Andrea’s eyes spoke volumes. She was not sure if this was a harmless game, or if Lena was having some fun before turning her in, or if it was all part of something more serious. But it hardly seemed to matter. She was aroused beyond words, and willingly played her part. Lena pushed her onto the bed – a good sign, as being dropped to the floor would be less conducive to lovemaking.
“My dear Andrea,” said Lena, “I believe you. I think you really were leaving to enjoy a short vacation. But you should have told us beforehand. I’m afraid such misconduct cannot go unpunished.” Lena opened Andrea’s carry-on bag and rummaged through the contents. “Now let’s see. A slut like you wouldn’t leave for a weekend without coming prepared. Ah yes! Just as I thought.” At once relieved and embarrassed, Andrea watched Lena remove two items from the bag: a six-inch long vibrator, and a rather wicked looking nine-tailed whip, both on loan from Lena’s extensive collection of sex toys.
Andrea relaxed. Lena was just using the opportunity to indulge in another role play. Eberhart likely suggested she use their relationship to reinforce Andrea’s allegiance to the West, to “save their investment", and that was exactly what Lena was doing. Of course, Andrea knew the blonde spy was far too trusting. Once again, this had worked to her advantage. Now that she realized she was safe, the least she could do was enjoy herself.
As Andrea writhed on the bed, Lena approached her with the vibrator. “No… please!” begged Andrea. “I just forgot to mention it to Gerber. I haven’t slept in almost two days… I wasn’t thinking.” Lena just laughed and positioned the vibrator against Andrea’s pussy. She turned it on and thrust it completely inside her victim. Andrea cried out, but found herself succumbing to the powerful pulsing in seconds. Lena grabbed the redhead’s discarded thong and pulled it over her hips, using it to hold the vibrator in place. The thin gauze of the thong quickly became soaked with the wetness spewing from Andrea’s crotch.
“The punishment for absence without notification is fifteen lashes,” proclaimed Lena. Bound, almost naked and squirming uncontrollably as the vibrator forced her to orgasm, Andrea played her role to perfection.
“Noooo! Noooo!! You’ll kill me!”
“Hardly,” said Lena, before bringing the whip crashing down across Andrea’s breasts. Andrea screamed and arched her back, presenting her flat stomach as the next target. Lena obliged her with a firm slash across the belly, then moved the strokes down Andrea’s body, lashing her pussy and thighs before the helpless woman flipped around to offer up her backside. The whip was hardly a toy, and it soon raised welts on Andrea’s smooth skin. Where two strokes intersected, blood dripped freely. Andrea’s screams of pain were not an act, but neither were her cries of ecstasy.
Drained and exhausted from all she had experienced over the past thirty hours, Andrea let herself be consumed by the sensory assault on her body, her mind, and her soul. She lurched spasmodically as Lena’s whip continued to thrash her. It may have been role play, but it went further than anything they had done in the past. Andrea was on the verge of screaming ‘elephant’, but she knew she could not. It would all end too soon. Lena would be deprived of venting her frustration, and Andrea would submit long before she was due.
Instead, Andrea let the pain flow through her like hot lava. At the same time she basked in the endless orgasms the vibrator forced upon her. She had no control. She was experiencing pain… and she was experiencing pleasure. But she knew she would not die. And most importantly, she was powerless… no choices to make, no allegiances to proclaim, no expectations or dependencies. It was the first time in years that she felt she was free.
And then, after the twelfth stroke of Lena’s whip, Andrea surrendered herself to the most overwhelming orgasm she had ever experienced, and promptly passed out.
Eberhart had just packed his brief case and was about to leave the office for the day when his phone rang. It was an internal call, and high security. “Probably Gerber again,” he muttered before picking it up. He was right.
“Lieutenant, I just received an update from Metzger about the Vogel woman. He thinks we’ve reached the end of the road.” Eberhart had been so busy working with Andrea, he’d forgotten about Claudia Vogel, number two on the list of three East German agents Krause had identified. Unlike Baum, Vogel was a poor candidate for defection. She had been captured by force and subject to interrogation. But that had been almost five weeks ago. Within days, Claudia had given up more information than her interrogator could have hoped for, virtually all she knew. Except for one thing; the most important of all.
And so they had continued questioning her, day after day… week after week. Lieutenant Johan Metzger, a former Stasi officer who defected to the West to become the head of interrogation in Major Knox’s division, was handling Agent Vogel’s case, but had had no success getting her to reveal what they wanted most from her: the location and cover of the third agent that Krause had named.
Metzger’s East Bloc training made him a valuable catch for the West, where the KGB’s brutal tactics were considered too barbaric by most military personnel. Yet within a year, Metzger recruited enough willing sadists and closet Nazis to staff a very effective interrogation unit. In addition to being the most effective interrogator in the West, Metzger was also the most disliked and the most feared officer in the division. It was no secret that he enjoyed his work. Others were repulsed by his methods, but feigned ignorance of them because of his great success.
The very unfortunate Claudia Vogel had suffered an endless litany of tortures for over a month, far longer than any of Metzger’s previous subjects. Normally, Gerber would have ordered Metzger to kill her long before now, assuming she did not have any further information. But Gerber knew one damning fact: according to Krause, Claudia was part of the same team as Sascha Busch, the third agent on the list. But, so far, unlike Agents Vogel and Baum, who were easily tracked down, Sascha Busch remained nothing more than a name. As one of Busch’s closest contacts, Vogel had to know something about her.
So why did Claudia insist she had never heard of her? More perplexing still, Busch appeared to have severed contact with her handlers at the same time the three agents were compromised. The KGB thought both Busch and Vogel were dead, understandable in the latter’s case, but why had Busch disappeared? If she went into hiding because she knew she was exposed, how did she find out she was in danger? Why had she not returned to the East? Something didn’t add up. For five weeks, Metzger had used every method of torture at his disposal to get Claudia to tell what she knew about Busch – without success.
Eberhart, Gerber and Metzger were the only three people who knew that Claudia was still alive. Because Gerber had ordered him to the submarine immediately, Eberhart would soon find out if Metzger was right – that they indeed had reached the end of the line with the captive agent.
The submarine was a dingy floor of boilers, pipe and maintenance facilities beneath the building’s basement. Few headquarters personnel knew of the place, and those who did rarely set foot there – except for Metzger and his staff of course, as it was here that they conducted their most intensive and secret interrogations. The submarine had been Claudia’s home for five weeks, and for most of that time, Metzger had been her only human contact – if Metzger could be described as human.
After taking the elevator to the basement and descending a flight of stairs, Eberhart heard ghastly female screams from a gloomy chamber at the far side of the submarine where Metzger had converted an alcove into a makeshift interrogation cell. When Eberhart reached it, he could not help but gasp.
Claudia Vogel hung naked from the ceiling by her wrists, which were restrained by solid steel manacles connected to an overhead chain. She had been a remarkably beautiful woman – shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes and a strikingly curvaceous body. Her heavy, yet high-thrust breasts no doubt had turned both male and female heads from twenty paces.
But no longer. Metzger’s diligence obscured that beauty with countless wounds – cuts, bruises, punctures, burns, even bullet-holes covered virtually every inch of her body. Her interrogator had expended his entire repertoire of tortures on the ill-fated agent, yet, somehow, Metzger had kept her alive. More remarkably to Eberhart, Claudia was conscious. Her constant screams of agony testified to that. [See Claudia pic]
Metzger had just smashed his victim with a baseball bat, and acknowledged Eberhart with a nod, before again burying the bat in Claudia’s back with a loud fleshy thump. Her body dangled like a punching bag, which was all she was to the well-muscled Metzger. Shirtless and wearing camo pants, he looked like a prize fighter in the midst of his daily workout – and the once ravishing Agent Vogel was no more than a piece of overused gym equipment.
Eberhart, who wanted to turn away but could not take his eyes off the gruesome scene, was relieved when Gerber joined them a few minutes later. Noting the captain’s arrival, Metzger laid one more blow across Claudia’s left thigh. There was a sickening crunch of breaking bones, or perhaps the grinding of those already broken, followed by another wailing cry of pain. Metzger put down the bat and joined the other two officers.
“As you can see,” Metzger told them, “I’ve moved away from the more refined methods I’ve employed over the past month in favour of a… shall we say final, full-bore approach since at this point we have nothing to lose. I hate to admit it, but I don’t think I can make her talk. Believe me, I’ve tried everything.”
“So it appears,” Gerber walked up to the woman. Claudia hung limply from the manacles, moaning and barely alive. Gerber ran his hands over her body. He twisted her left breast to see if she could respond. Given what she had been through for so long, she hardly reacted.
Gerber took a large hunting knife which lay on a nearby oil drum and returned his attentions to the agent’s breast. He positioned the point of the blade against its underside and pushed up slightly, just enough to puncture Claudia’s flesh. She gasped and lifted her head, staring blankly at Gerber. Then, quite unexpectedly, she spoke.
“I think you certainly know that by now, you pathetic bitch,” exclaimed Gerber. “Who is Sascha Busch? Where can we find her?”
“My name is Claudia Vogel. I am a Class 3 KGB operative. I have told you all the information I know. I have never heard of Sascha Busch.” She recited the words she had repeated a hundred times by rote. Still, she felt obliged to add a few more. “I have nothing else to tell you.”
“Like hell you don’t!” Gerber shouted, his anger rising quickly. He pushed the knife upward penetrating Claudia’s ample bosom until the bloody tip of the blade emerged from the top of her breast. Once again, the captive agent wailed in anguish. Gerber twisted the knife until the edge of the blade faced forward, then yanked it toward him. Blood sprayed over his face and shirt as the blade sliced Claudia’s breast in half vertically. She thrust her head back as her scream rose to a deafening crescendo. Then suddenly, she stopped screaming and all was silent, except for the sound of blood dripping to the floor.
Gerber stepped away from the naked woman who again hung limply from the overhead chain. He examined his bloody clothes and cursed. Eberhart looked on in shock; Metzger in quiet admiration. “You are right,” Gerber told him. “We are indeed at the end of the road with this one.”
Metzger walked up to Claudia and studied her body. He opened an ordinance foot locker at his feet and pulled out a large calibre handgun. He pushed the barrel into the bloody mass of torn flesh which had been Claudia’s left breast, stepping back slightly as a ruptured silicone implant suddenly slithered free of the tissue and fell to the floor. “Yech,” he said disgustedly, then pulled the trigger three times in succession. As the shots echoed through the submarine, Claudia’s body lurched uncontrollably. The men watched her corpse sway for a minute until it was completely still.
“We are the only three men who know this bitch wasn’t killed the day she was brought in,” said Gerber. “Let’s keep it that way. At least now the truth has caught up with what everyone else believes.”
“Not all of the truth,” said Eberhart ruefully. “We still are no closer to identifying Sascha Busch.”
“What about the other agent… the one you turned?” suggested Metzger. “Bring her to me, and I will get her to talk. She cannot be as strong as this one was.”
Gerber sighed. “Don’t you think we thought of that? First, unlike Vogel, Baum worked in a completely different area of the KGB organization. She wouldn’t know anything about Busch. Second, she too believes the other two agents are dead. I cannot afford to have her, or anyone else know that one may still be alive.” Gerber sighed again. “I’m afraid until we get more intelligence from the East, we remain in a very awkward position.”
One Month Later
Though previously she had enjoyed her classes, after the excitement of being called to the East, terrifying as it may have been, Andrea suddenly found it difficult to concentrate on her studies. Sitting in an architecture class had lost much of its appeal for her. She realized it was a necessary evil to maintain her cover, but she now wished her KGB bosses could have provided her with something a bit more exciting. Eberhart had given Andrea little to do over the past weeks, and she had not received new instructions from the East, which was fine by her.
It had been more than four weeks since her trip across the wall, and although her monthly meetings with her handler had been replaced by direct contact with the KGB, she was uncertain and on edge. Andrea felt trapped by both sides. One had her on a short leash – Gerber refused her request for a valid passport – and the other was a tinderbox that could go off the minute anyone discovered she was also working for the West. More than ever she wanted to escape, to get out of the intelligence business altogether and move to a foreign country under an assumed name. But in her current position, that was impossible.
And then there was Lena, the only bright spot in Andrea’s tangled world. She knew that Lena had disobeyed orders to keep her failed attempt to leave the country secret from Eberhart and Gerber. And she knew Lena repeatedly had vouched for her loyalty to the West. Without her support, Andrea wondered if she would still be alive.
Their relationship had lost some of its urgency, as happens after the initial excitement wanes, but they still met three or four times every week to make love. Sex with Lena was a wonderful release for Andrea. The role-playing allowed her to vent her frustrations and fears, letting them stimulate her fantasies instead of burdening her mind. No matter what the game, whenever Andrea played the victim she drifted into a world free of worry and concern.
In real life, Andrea’s choices had left her checkmated and cornered. She was angry at being thwarted by those around her. But in the bedroom, being at Lena’s mercy was cathartic; ironically, losing her power to make decisions was liberating when rewarded with sexual gratification. If only she could find a substitute for her libidinous appetites in her non-fantasy world.
Andrea knew that were she to leave Germany, if that ever became a possibility, it was unlikely that Lena would join her. Lena had invested far too much in her career to sacrifice it and start over. Besides, the espionage business was the only thing she knew well, and there was not much of a market for intelligence operatives in the safe destinations Andrea fancied. But for Andrea, there was no choice. She had decided she would escape the first chance she could. If things played out the way Andrea imagined, she would soon vanish or she would be killed. Either way, she knew that ultimately her relationship with Lena was doomed.
* * * * *
That morning Andrea had received an unexpected call. It was cryptic, but she could tell it was from her KGB bosses. “Please continue as before. We have new work for you.” Though she had anticipated direct contact – the call seemed to confirm this – it also suggested she would again be receiving low level assignments from her handler “as before”. It appeared she had not proven herself as well as she had hoped. Andrea felt as if once again she had become an expendable pawn.
After finishing her classes that day, Andrea went to her locker. She hesitated. Would there be a note in her textbook? She opened it to page 257 and found the slip of paper with the expected meeting instructions. It seems things hadn’t changed at all. At least this time she was not ordered to East Berlin, which ensured she would not have to relive her dreadful experience at the warehouse.
As always, the instructions were given in code: 1600 T Elephant. Andrea gasped when she saw the elephant reference, as that was her safe word during her sex play with Lena. But she quickly caught herself and dismissed it as an odd coincidence. 1600 T meant that she needed to meet her handler at four PM at the Berlin Tiergarten, the city’s famed zoo, another meeting place she and her handler had used previously. Elephant simply meant he would be at the elephant exhibit.
She had more than enough time to contact Eberhart to let him know what her orders were. She had learned that it was dangerous to keep even the smallest matters from her bosses in the West. So Andrea wasted little time calling him. She no longer felt safe visiting headquarters, and discussing any matter of substance over the phone was always a risk, so she and Eberhart agreed to meet at a cafe a few miles away from the university.
“At least this time they don’t want you to go to an East Berlin warehouse in the middle of the night.” Eberhard seemed almost as relieved as Andrea was.
“My sentiments exactly. This seems to be just another update with my handler, even though I thought those had ended. I guess my bosses in the East still have their suspicions. Of course, the meeting may be a set-up. They could be trying to make me feel secure so I will be unprepared for any surprise they have in store for me.”
“I doubt it,” said Eberhart. “It’s a busy spot, and it’s in the middle of the afternoon. They wouldn’t risk calling attention to themselves, so I doubt there will be any drama. You don’t have anything to give them, do you?” Eberhard was unable to conceal his suspicion that Andrea was still holding out on him.
“Of course not. And my handler won’t be expecting anything this time. Now that I’ve given them the information I was assigned to gather, they’ve extended my assignment for six months, remember? Most likely, he will be giving me new orders.”
“And this time,” Eberhart admonished her, “I trust you will report back to me without any delay.”
Andrea nodded. “I’ll meet you here at six o’clock. If I’m not back by then, it is only because the meeting went on longer than usual… or because something went very, very wrong.”
The Tiergarten was near the center of the city, so Andrea made the trip on the U-Bahn in less than thirty minutes. The elephant pens were just past the main entrance, and it did not take her long to spot her handler, this time dressed as a businessman, but disguised with fake facial hair and thick glasses. Not much of a cover really, but in such a large outdoor venue, it hardly mattered.
He was leaning forward against a railing separating the walking path from a moat, which was all that kept the elephants from joining the zoo visitors for a casual afternoon stroll. From his right hand, an envelope dangled precariously over the moat. Andrea stood next to him and turned in the opposite direction, her back against the railing. As always, she waited for him to initiate the conversation.
“I’ve heard you came through with the documents we had requested. Good work… Noraskaya, even if it took quite some time for you to complete it.”
“Thank-you.” Andrea winced at the back-handed compliment.
“This month you will assist with another venture.”
Andrea was disappointed. She thought that her performance at the warehouse would have led to a more important assignment than just providing token assistance for someone else. It worried her that the KGB was not showing more faith in her abilities. It also confirmed her suspicions that perhaps she was not as convincing as she thought she was. She was glad she chose to stand as she did. Looking in the opposite direction, her handler could not see the concern which crossed her face.
He pulled a photograph from the envelope and handed it to Andrea. “Examine it carefully. You will not be able to keep it.” It was a waist-up picture of a gorgeous brunette in her mid twenties. She was wearing a silk halter, tied under her breasts which barely fit in the undersized garment. Staring straight at the camera, the woman flaunted a Mona Lisa smile and a look that suggested whoever was taking the picture was about to get very lucky indeed. Andrea’s pulse quickened. She wished she could keep the photograph. [See Nina pic]
“Her name is Nina Strom and she is one of ours. She is part of a mission, the nature of which I cannot reveal. This mission commences tomorrow, with Agent Strom crossing into West Berlin, undercover of course. She will arrive at your apartment at eighteen-hundred hours, where she will stay until she hears from a contact she expects will call her there.”
“Expects?” asked Andrea.
“This contact is not someone we have dealt with in the past. We are not certain of the individual’s convictions, and this person is wary of us. We provided your number as a way for them to get in touch, but we did not get a commitment.”
“Someone from the West is thinking of turning?” Andrea said incredulously.
“I cannot reveal more, nor can I confirm your suspicions. You are simply to provide a place for Agent Strom to stay until contact is made. Her cover is a French friend of yours who is visiting for a short period, though we would prefer you keep her out of sight. For obvious reasons, she should not leave your apartment as the contact could call at any time. Until then, you will see to her needs.”
“And what if ‘contact’ isn’t made?” Andrea asked somewhat indignantly. “How long will I be saddled with a roommate whose ‘needs’ I must see to?”
“There is a three day window. If Strom does not hear anything by Saturday, she will return to the East. That is all I can tell you.”
“So basically I just provide room and board. Wouldn’t it be simpler if you just had me wait for the contact to call? I’m sure I could handle whatever is required.” Andrea was becoming more indignant about being cast in such a minor role.
“Let’s just say, Agent Noraskaya, that you are not familiar with the background of this case. Also, we need someone who can return to the East. I’ve probably told you far more than I should have, so please… just perform your duties and do not pry further. By the way, Agent Strom has already been instructed to ignore any questions you may have about the mission, so don’t bother to ask her.”
It was a flimsy response, but the part about needing an agent who could return to the East was plausible enough. Andrea looked again at Nina Strom’s picture and decided there were far worse jobs than spending a few days in close quarters with this woman. She also wondered how Eberhart would react when she filled him in on her instructions.
Andrea’s handler turned around, and allowing Andrea to see his face. There were no clues in his expression. Her assignment could be exactly what he said it was, or it could be some bizarre plan to set her up for a fall. “That is all,” he said at last. “Do you have any questions?”
“No,” Andrea replied curtly and turned to walk away.
“Agent Noraskaya,” he called after her. “The photograph.” She turned around and gave it to him.
“I agree, it is unusual.” Eberhart sipped his coffee at the cafe, where Andrea had joined him promptly at six. “Then again, in our business, what would anyone consider routine?”
“Do you also agree that this could involve someone from the West turning to the Communists? That isn’t exactly a common occurrence. It could be a double agent on the verge of being nailed, or a source who is being offered an amazing incentive by the East. Either way, the KGB is interested enough to roll out the red carpet, so whoever it is has something pretty valuable to share.”
“Yes, that does worry me.” Eberhart’s brows furrowed. “We must ensure that this Agent Strom gets nowhere near this individual, whomever it might be. Also, we must prevent anything valuable from being leaked to the East. It is a stroke of luck for us that the KGB chose you to harbour its agent or we would know nothing about this.”
Andrea realized that the East’s decision to use her to attend to Strom was almost too convenient. Perhaps it was all a ruse. Perhaps there was no defector, and Strom’s true mission was to eliminate Andrea. Eberhart acknowledged that possibility, but rejected it. “If they wanted to kill you, they could find a much simpler way. No, let’s not get sidetracked by our own paranoia.”
“So how do I proceed?”
“Assuming that the traitor calls Strom, you have to make sure that you be there to get all the information you can. Name and whereabouts. If Strom gets it and you don’t, well… I hope that doesn’t happen. For everyone’s sake.”
Andrea understood exactly what Eberhart was saying.
* * * * *
When she got home, Andrea was surprised to find a package among the usual pile of junk mail that she received every day. It was small enough to fit in the ground floor mailbox of her building and the wrapper had no indication of a sender. In her apartment, she opened the package gingerly – in her line of work, she could never be too careful – and found that it contained a VHS cassette. Nothing else. Just the tape.
She pushed it into her recorder and watched a grainy image form on her television. At first the scene was unfamiliar but then, to her horror, she recognized the warehouse in which she had supervised the torture and killing of Krause, Schneider and Helling. Once she identified the location, she realized she was watching the entire gruesome event. There was Helling, hanging upside down, nearly naked and being whipped, then turned loose, only to be shot dead. There was Schneider, slowly being lowered onto the flaming grill until the front of her voluptuous body was nothing more than charred meat. And there was Krause’s gang rape and beheading, all shown in agonizing real-time footage.
And in the center of it all was Andrea herself, confidently coordinating the brutal proceedings like a circus ringleader. Seductively dressed in black bra and panties, playing with aplomb the dual role of dominatrix and murderess. The tape presented a sexual sadist’s perfect wet dream: a stunning red-haired vixen, barely dressed, torturing and killing three luscious, female victims as if solely for the entertainment of the viewer. There was no soundtrack, so all context was lost. That this was an interrogation, that the victims were traitors and spies, hardly seemed to matter. The tape presented what most people thought was a myth: a snuff film. And Andrea Baum was its very recognizable star.
Andrea sat in shock. She watched the entire video, then rewound it and watched it again. She did not recall anyone taping the events. Had she known she was being recorded, she would not have performed as she did for her KGB bosses – even if it had cost her her life. The camera angles made it clear that the equipment had been hidden among the many boxes in the warehouse. There was no way Andrea could have known that her actions were being recorded.
Instantly, she realized the devastating consequences this video would have on her life. Not only did it expose her as a killer – she had already confessed to ordering the execution of the women – it showed her to be a willing accomplice. Equally damning, it showed that she had not told the truth to Eberhart and Gerber, exactly what the latter needed to prove she had not turned. And then there was poor Lena, who never would have expected Andrea was capable of such atrocities.
At first, she was overwhelmed by emotions, but eventually Andrea composed herself and analysed the circumstances. The tape had been sent to her without any further communication. The intent did not appear to be blackmail, at least not yet, as there was no demand for money or anything else. If a copy had been sent to her bosses in the West, why bother to send it to her as well? Would it not be more effective to let Gerber and Eberhart surprise her with this revelation? The more Andrea thought about it, the more she believed that the tape had been sent only to her. She also doubted that this was some ploy by the KGB to destroy her reputation in the West. If they suspected she had turned, they would simply kill her. It made no sense for the KGB to have any further interest in what to them was merely a test of Andrea’s convictions.
The only theory that appeared to hold up was that someone, most likely among her colleagues in the East, was trying to scare her. Someone wanted her to realize there was irrefutable evidence that she was responsible for a horrific act which not only destroyed her credibility in the West, but also showed her to be a contemptible, sadistic monster unworthy of mercy or pity from either side. Someone had hoisted the Sword of Damocles directly above Andrea’s heart, and wanted her to know it. What this person had in store for her, and if there was a plan to threaten her exposure remained to be seen.
But one thing Andrea did know for certain: more than ever, she wanted out.
The following day, Nina Strom appeared at Andrea’s door thirty minutes after her promised six o’clock arrival time. She apologized that the train from Paris had been delayed. Nina spoke with a believable French accent, and it quickly became clear to Andrea that Agent Strom was going to maintain her cover at all times. It was safer that way. In case Andrea’s apartment was being monitored or should anyone show up unexpectedly or hear them from an adjoining unit, the two women would always be in character. Also, it would make it less tempting for them to discuss Nina’s mission, as Andrea would not think of Nina as a fellow operative, but rather as the foreign house guest she pretended to be.
To Andrea’s delight, the French accent only added to Nina’s allure. Dressed in a low cut, blue mini-dress and high heeled pumps, she was even more attractive than her picture had indicated. Her brunette tresses framed a slightly asymmetrical face, and that come-hither gaze seemed to emanate permanently from her eyes. On her small frame, Nina’s breasts appeared larger than they were, leaving her with a body that would easily entice men and women of the proper disposition. Andrea found herself staring at Nina admiringly, wondering if that disposition was shared by her guest.
Nina arrived carrying a small travel bag in one hand and an attachè case in the other. The size of the bag confirmed her stay would be relatively short. Watching the sexy young woman settle in, Andrea for the first time regretted they would not have more time to get acquainted. But it was the attachè case that most intrigued her. What was in it obviously related directly to Nina’s mission.
After a late dinner, during which the two women did their best to act like old friends, Nina feigned exhaustion from the long trip and asked to turn in early. Andrea had already prepared the fold-out bed in her living room, and apologized for the thin mattress. “I’ve slept on far worse, believe me,” said Nina with a shrug. Before Andrea could turn to leave, Nina pulled off her dress. To Andrea’s surprise, she wore nothing under it. Nina noticed her host’s look of dismay. “I hate underwear,” she said with a laugh, and walked nonchalantly into the bathroom.
Andrea’s heart skipped a few beats as she watched the naked beauty prance around her apartment. Nina was very at ease being nude and obviously liked to show off her body. Andrea sighed and headed to her bedroom. It took her a long time to fall asleep. She simply could not get Nina out of her mind.
* * * * *
The next morning Andrea awoke to find, to her disappointment, Nina modestly attired in one of Andrea’s robes. The pair enjoyed some coffee and muffins before Andrea excused herself to make a few preparations for the day. She called Lena to tell her she had come down with the flu and so wouldn’t be able make their planned rendezvous that evening. Lena sounded concerned and asked if there was anything she could do.
“Just stay away from here,” said Andrea in jest, “unless you’re dying to get infected with the nastiest bug I’ve had in years.” She faked a wheezing cough and promised she would make it up to Lena Saturday night. Eberhart had not told Lena anything about Andrea’s assignment, and that was definitely to everyone’s advantage. With her regular life on hold, Andrea returned to the business of attending to Nina.
Since Nina could not leave the apartment until her contact called, she had no need to dress for anything. She was quite comfortable hanging out in Andrea’s robe, which had the distracting tendency of coming undone every ten minutes, leaving Nina hanging out in more ways than one. It seemed the lovely brunette never missed an opportunity to display her body, something which led Andrea to consider the possibility that Agent Strom’s true mission was to drive her mad with lust.
Andrea was reluctant to leave her apartment for even a few minutes for fear she would miss the call. Eberhart had decided it was too risky to bug Andrea’s line, as an experienced agent like Nina could easily check for this, so it was up to Andrea to get any information she could. She had hidden the extension telephone in her bedroom and planned to pick up as much of the exchange as possible while Nina used the main phone in the living room. In the meantime, Nina was more than a little curious about why Andrea was spending the day at home.
“Don’t you have classes to go to?” she asked, more out of concern than wanting to be alone. “There’s no need for you to stay here and babysit me all day.”
“Now that would make me a terrible hostess,” Andrea shook her head. “Is there something you would like me to go out and get for you?” Andrea had to make it seem like she was willing to leave, but hoped Nina would not accept her offer.
“No. I’m fine. I’m kind of glad you’re here… I think I’d be bored to tears otherwise.” It appeared Nina did not suspect. Or if she did, she did not let on that she suspected.
Andrea smiled. “That’s good. I’m actually enjoying my place a lot more these days. It seems much more beautiful than it was just a little while ago.” Nina smiled back; the compliment was not lost on her. Andrea blushed after being so forward. She usually wasn’t that brave. Nina rewarded her by bending down and letting the robe come undone for at least the twentieth time that morning.
The telephone remained silent the entire first day, and Andrea began to wonder if the call would ever come. For dinner, Andrea prepared a gourmet meal, selecting a special bottle of wine she had been saving for Lena’s birthday. Nina was grateful for all the attention, but she was no stranger to such treatment. She knew the effect she had on members of both sexes. It’s what made her such a good agent. If her looks and charm made Andrea happy, so much the better. It could certainly liven up an otherwise tedious mission.
After dinner, Andrea remained uncertain whether Nina shared her Sapphic interests. She did not know that Nina never made the first move. For the brunette it was a game to see how quickly a potential partner suggested something more intimate. With most men, it usually took no more than a few minutes. With reserved women like Andrea, it was more of a challenge.
“Well, I’m sure you’ve got things you need to do, perhaps your school work,” Nina offered. “I think I’ll just read a while and turn in early again.” She walked to the pull-out bed, stripping off her robe in the process.
“You can’t be tired? We’ve just been sitting around all day. It’s not even nine o’clock.”
Nina loved watching Andrea squirm. “What do you suggest then?”
“We… we could play cards?” Andrea offered timidly, and instantly regretted giving Nina the impression that this was her idea of a good time. Why was this woman being so difficult? Lena never was. Lena always took control, made all the decisions. Andrea never had to do the work.
“Like two old grandmothers?” Nina scoffed playfully. “Sure… why not? Rummy or Euchre?”
“No… no…” Andrea tried to recover. “What about poker? Strip poker?”
Nina broke out laughing. “Andrea my dear,” she said, drawing her hands over her naked body, “it seems you’ve already won.”
Andrea turned red. “I’m sorry. This just isn’t going the way I want it to. Hell, I don’t even know if you like… you know… women. Or me for that matter.”
“Of course I like women, just as I like men. My rule is, and has been for a long time, why rule out half the population as potential sex partners? And yes… I do like you, too. And I love poker, even though I’m not very good at it.” She winked at Andrea and picked up her travel bag. “Why don’t you clear the table while I make our game a bit more challenging for you.” Nina headed for the bathroom as Andrea’s embarrassment turned to anticipation.
She wondered if she should prepare as well, but decided against trying to match Nina’s seduction skills. Besides, Andrea thought she looked pretty sexy as she was. She wore a skimpy tank top, tight jeans and heels, along with her sexiest bra and panty ensemble. It would do. Or so she thought until Nina returned a short while later.
The robe had been discarded in favour of a short, diaphanous negligee which did little to hide the mesh bra and g-string she wore underneath. Matching thigh-highs and four inch stilettos completed the outfit. Andrea wondered why Nina would pack clothes like this for a covert operation but reflecting on some of her own assignments, she realized they were effective work attire in some situations. Nina pirouetted. “Do you approve?” she asked.
Andrea nodded. “I thought you didn’t like underwear.”
“This hardly qualifies as underwear, darling. Now let’s play.”
The poker game had progressed just as Andrea assumed it would. Neither woman even bothered to check whether the number of items they wore matched. It was just some token foreplay to break the ice. After a half dozen hands, it was obvious that Nina liked to lose. For Andrea, that seemed a bit of shame, as she thought Nina looked incredibly enticing in her gauzy lingerie. Besides, she was eager to get out of her own clothes to draw a bit of Nina’s attention for a change. But Andrea’s competitive nature always got the best of her and she usually had the better hand. As a result, Nina was down to her bra and the dental floss around her waist while Andrea had lost only a shoe.
Nina made quite the production of removing each item of clothing, treating Andrea to a mini strip show as she slowly peeled off whatever was next in the queue. When Andrea won yet again, Nina made sure to tug at her bra, pulling it this way and that while dancing seductively, before finally freeing her breasts and returning calmly to her seat.
Andrea did not want the game to end while she was still fully dressed, so she forced herself to play two abysmal hands which somehow lost to Nina’s. That cost her her other shoe as well as her top, and at last gave her the opportunity to flaunt her own assets a bit. Andrea’s lacy, plunge bra showcased her breasts nicely, and Nina certainly enjoyed the view. But then Nina lost another hand, ending one game… and beginning the next.
Nina threw down her cards and pouted. “You cheated,” she said in a spoiled child voice.
“I did not!” Andrea protested. “You can’t play poker to save your life. Now take off that damned g-string. It’s not covering much anyway.”
“And if I refuse?”
“There will be consequences.” Andrea wasn’t about to drop the ball again. She had played with Lena enough times to know where this was heading.
“Do your worst!”
Andrea stood up and walked purposefully to Nina, who stubbornly remained in her chair. Andrea grabbed the strap of the tiny covering and ripped it from Nina’s waist, throwing it aside disdainfully and leaving her totally naked.
“You bitch!” Nina certainly feigned indignation well, but Andrea wasn’t sure if she should go further. Did this woman play as rough as Lena? Andrea wasn’t quite as comfortable taking the dominant role sexually, but realized if she wavered even a bit, it would spoil the game. She decided to dive in.
“Silence!” Andrea barked, then slapped Nina lightly across the face. For a moment, Nina was stunned, but she obeyed Andrea’s command and did not reply. Instead, she gave a defiant smirk. “Do not move. If you do, you will only make things worse for yourself.” Nina did as she was told. “Wait here. I’ll be right back.” Andrea went to her bedroom and returned a minute later carrying several coils of soft rope. Nina let out an exaggerated and almost believable gasp of terror.
* * * * *
Thirty minutes later, Andrea was playing a role she knew well, though in a very different context. She was a ruthless interrogator, albeit a female SS officer whose job it was to break a member of the French Resistance. Nina, naked and now securely bound to her chair, played the part of the beautiful Maquis agent flawlessly. Her French accent made her seem so innocent and so vulnerable, yet it also betrayed her loyalties. She clearly was fighting against the Nazis. Andrea was trying desperately to get Nina to betray her comrades. To her credit, Nina stood up rather well to Andrea’s best efforts.
“You’ll never get me to name any of the others,” she said, as indignant as ever.
Andrea, now stripped to her bra, panties and heels, grabbed Nina by the hair and pulled her head back. She bent over her captive and looked into her eyes from just inches away. “Oh yes, my dear, you will. I have only just begun with you.” She grabbed Nina’s right breast in her hand and squeezed slightly, causing the brunette to flinch.
“Ha!” Nina mocked. “You Nazi bitches are so weak.” Andrea accepted the challenge and increased the pressure on Nina’s pliant flesh. Nina gasped slightly but continued to berate her tormentor. Andrea wondered how much this woman could take, but it was clear she wanted more. Only when Andrea began squashing her breast with both hands did Nina at last emit a cry which signaled she’d had enough. But still she refused to cooperate.
Andrea picked up a vibrator and waved it in front of Nina’s face. “No… you wouldn’t!” Nina’s eyes went wide as saucers but she could not resist a quick lick of her lips as she realized the “torture” that was in store for her. Andrea eased the vibrator inside her and turned it on. In seconds, Nina began to moan.
“Give me the names!” Andrea demanded, but her “victim” was far too preoccupied to hear what she said.
In fact, both women had become somewhat distracted. By the time the knock at her apartment door registered, Andrea was so deep into her role playing reverie that she didn’t consider who could be calling on her. Ignore it, she thought to herself, they’ll go away. Only when she heard the sound of a key twisting in the lock did she remember she had given Lena the spare. Not once had Lena ever come by unannounced, so it was in utter disbelief that Andrea realized that she had chosen to do so on this particular evening.
In a panic, Andrea raced to the door, but she was too late. Lena was already inside when she got there, fumbling to put down some food she had brought for her “sick” lover. At first Lena did not notice the bizarre goings on in the middle of Andrea’s living room. What caught her eye was the pleasant sight of Andrea standing in front of her wearing nothing more than sexy lingerie.
“Expecting me?” she said with a wink. Andrea was too alarmed to respond. “Well, never mind, I’m just glad to see you’re okay. I’ve been calling all day and the phone was always busy. I hope you’re feeling a bit better, and that you don’t mind me dropping by with some… “ Lena stopped mid sentence as she looked dumbstruck at Nina, naked and bound to a dining room chair, the vibrator in her pussy buzzing at full volume. “What the fuck is that?”
Andrea hung her head. There was nothing she could say, and she made no attempt to explain the unexplainable. “I… I’m sorry,” she said meekly. Lena stood her ground, seemingly preparing for a confrontation, but as the truth settled in, she realized there was no point in making a scene.
“I would never have thought…” she began but didn’t know how to continue. “You seemed so… so confused. I guess I was wrong. Wrong about everything. I never really knew you at all.” Lena turned and walked out, leaving Andrea to shut the door and assess the damage.
“Shit!” she said to herself. She stared absent-mindedly for over a minute before Nina’s voice disrupted her thoughts.
“Babe, I don’t know what that was all about, but it’s probably put a bit of a damper on our evening. Now if it’s not too much trouble could you pulleeeze pull this damn thing out of me and untie me?”
As if Andrea’s life couldn’t become even more convoluted, it wasn’t until she had turned in that evening that she grasped the significance of a seemingly off-hand comment Lena had made after her unexpected arrival. Devastated over being caught cheating, Andrea became so absorbed in her relationship woes that the whole reason for this mess – her assignment to harbour Nina – was all but forgotten. As she lay in bed, her mind racing over all that had happened, it suddenly hit her: Lena had said “I’ve been calling all day and the phone was always busy.” How could that be?
Andrea jumped out of bed and raced to the extension phone which she had hidden in the closet. She was horrified to discover the receiver was slightly ajar – off the hook since… since she had made her calls that morning. How careless! If Nina’s contact had tried to reach her that day, he or she could not have got through. They may well have stopped trying, scuttling the hopes of both the East and the West. And it was all due to Andrea’s incompetence. She wanted to scream in frustration, but with Nina sleeping in the next room, she could not even do that. Instead, Andrea carefully replaced the receiver in the correct position and crawled back into bed. She decided she would not tell anyone about her negligence.
* * * * *
The next day, things were understandably awkward between Nina and Andrea. Nina didn’t need or expect an explanation of what happened the night before, and Andrea seemed so immersed in her thoughts that most of the day passed in silence. Nina had again donned Andrea’s robe, but wore it more modestly. Solitary activities like reading and television were the women’s primary diversions, and both had started wishing the phone would ring. It did, twice that afternoon, but the calls were for Andrea.
When Nina was in the bathroom, Andrea thought to look inside her attachè case, but of course it was locked. If she cracked it, which she could, she had no way to lock it again. Instead she shook it. Based on its weight and the sound of its shifting contents, Andrea had a pretty good idea what was inside. It confirmed her suspicions that someone was being paid a lot of money to defect to the East.
* * * * *
Just before eight o’clock, the phone rang.
Andrea answered and was greeted by a female voice asking to speak with “Miss Strom”. As agreed, she handed the receiver to Nina and went to her bedroom, closing the door behind her as if to give Nina privacy. She rushed to the closet to get the extension. It was gone!
“Fuck!” she said under her breath. “That bitch… how did she know?” Andrea only had a few minutes, so she looked out her window to the alley behind the building. She was relieved to see the black Fiat parked exactly where she’d been told it would be. A second car was likely waiting on the street in front. Four times she flashed the lights in her room – the night-time signal. One long flash, followed by three short ones: come in three minutes.
When Andrea returned to the living room, Nina had finished the call. She had also opened the attachè case and retrieved her gun, which she was now pointing straight at Andrea. The open case displayed its remaining contents. Just as Andrea thought: money – wads and wads of one-hundred mark bills.
“You don’t look very threatening in that bathrobe.” Andrea tried to buy time. “What gave me away?”
“Your girlfriend. When she said she couldn’t get through yesterday, I realized something was screwed up. There had to be another line. I waited till you were asleep and scoped out your room. I know you were trying to keep me from finding it, but hiding it in a closet? Honey… that was pretty lame. If you’d just left it out in the open, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought.”
“Maybe I was just curious.” Andrea knew it was a weak explanation, but it was all she could think of.
“Maybe. Unfortunately, Major Chernin was still worried that you’d turned. He told me to keep a close eye on you. In fact, he ordered me to kill you if there was any evidence you were working for the West. So in a way, I had a second mission: stay close enough to you to test your loyalty. Sorry babe, but you failed.”
Andrea needed at least another minute before her backup arrived, and she knew Nina was not about to wait that long. Damn, she thought to herself, why didn’t I have them come sooner? She decided to distract Nina using the only bait she had available: herself.
“After the time we shared yesterday, do you really want to kill me?” Andrea unbuttoned her top and let it fall to the floor. She was left standing in a sheer bra which did little to conceal her breasts. Nina hesitated. “How much is in that case? A million marks? More? Can you imagine how far we could go on that? Just the two of us. We could make a new life for ourselves anywhere in the world, somewhere we would never be found.” Andrea unzipped her skirt and let it fall to her ankles.
“Don’t make this more difficult than it needs to be,” said Nina. The sight of Andrea, now barely dressed and offering herself to her – wanting to start a new life with her – was sad and poignant. Touching, but it wouldn’t change what she had to do. Nina hated this part of the job, especially when her target was someone she cared for, not to mention someone so beautiful.
Andrea stepped forward, walking towards the gun. Nina continued to hesitate. Why couldn’t she shoot? Was she considering Andrea’s ridiculous proposal? No… she had to act. If she didn’t, it would soon be her staring down the barrel of a gun, or worse. Andrea watched a tear trickle down Nina’s cheek.
Andrea was just a few feet away from the gun, its barrel pointed directly at her chest. Nina pulled herself together. “I’m sorry, darling, but you betrayed us…”
Just as Andrea closed her eyes and braced for the worst, two large, black-suited men crashed through the apartment door. Nina spun around and got off a single shot, hitting one of them in the upper arm. It was far from enough to stop the assault. Caught by surprise, Nina didn’t have a chance.
In an instant, the larger of the two men had pulled both her arms behind her back. Nina’s struggles only managed to loosen the bathrobe, exposing her chest. Enraged at being shot, the wounded man walked up to Nina, barely noticing her uncovered breasts.
“Fuckin’ slut shot me,” he cursed, then punched Nina in the solar plexus with his uninjured arm. … Nina doubled over slightly and coughed blood. Before she could recover, he hit her again… and again and again, driving his fist into her belly, breasts and face.
“No! Stop it!” Andrea pleaded. “She doesn’t deserve that.” Andrea knew Nina had been about to shoot her, but the fact that she had waited, that she took no satisfaction in killing someone who was both an enemy and a friend, made her worthy of some compassion. It was hard for her to admit, but Andrea realized she still loved Nina, even after nearly being killed by her.
The man ignored Andrea’s pleas and continued his assault on Nina until she hung limply in the grasp of his cohort. The bathrobe had opened fully, displaying Nina’s body in all its splendour. “Nice piece,” he said, then let her drop like a bag of wet cement. Nina landed on her back, unconscious and splayed out nearly naked on the hardwood floor.
Andrea looked down at the beautiful woman whose company she so enjoyed the previous day. Although the captive agent was badly beaten, Andrea knew that soon she would face far worse. Since Andrea had no information to provide about Nina’s contact, that information would have to come from Nina herself. And no doubt she would be very unwilling to provide it. At least at first.
Despite her reluctance to enter the agency’s headquarters, Andrea knew Eberhart and Gerber would want to see her there immediately. It was the last place she wanted to go, but refusing to let her superiors debrief her after spending more than two days with an enemy agent was not an option. After helping the two male operatives transport Nina’s unconscious and now hogtied body into the back seat of one of the Fiats, Andrea volunteered to drive the other car in place of the agent whose injured arm hampered his ability to do so. Still seething over being shot by a woman, he sat in the passenger seat and quietly cursed throughout the twenty minute trip.
On arriving at headquarters, the unconscious Nina, wearing only Andrea’s undone robe, was quickly hustled into the basement by two of Metzger’s bully boys. Eberhart was waiting for Andrea. He took her to his office where Gerber joined them a short while later. In ten minutes, Andrea told the two men all that had happened since Nina arrived at her apartment. Well, all that Andrea thought was relevant to her assignment without unnecessarily compromising herself.
“So basically you’re telling us that in two days you learned absolutely nothing about Strom’s mission.” Gerber fumed.
“I did everything according to plan,” said Nina, not mentioning Lena’s visit or leaving the phone off the hook for most of the first day. “There was nothing else I could have done.”
“She’s right.” Eberhart offered his support. “We had agreed she should hide the extension phone. It didn’t occur to us that Strom would be so thorough, only that she might take a quick look into Agent Baum’s bedroom. We assumed she would trust a fellow operative, especially one who had proven herself just a month ago. The KGB must be suspicious of Baum’s loyalty – or perhaps this Strom woman just doesn’t trust anyone. In either case, we can’t blame Agent Baum. She followed our instructions to the letter.”
“You came up with nothing. Absolutely nothing.” Gerber was not appeased. “I’m sure a better agent would have been more resourcef…”
“Excuse me Captain.” Andrea was now incensed. “We know the contact is a woman, and we know Agent Strom was about to deliver a great deal of money to…”
“Apparently, one million marks. Not exactly a king’s ransom, but perhaps enough motivation for a low-level operative. But why would the KGB want such an individual? And was the money intended as a pay-off for this woman to defect? All speculation. No, Agent Baum. We really did not learn very much.” Gerber remained adamant.
“Fortunately, Agent Baum was able to capture Strom alive. With a little persuasion, I’m sure Strom herself will reveal the details of her mission.” Eberhart again tried to prop up his stumbling protègè. Andrea raised her eyebrows in his direction, so that Gerber could not see, letting Eberhart know she appreciated his support.
“She didn’t capture Strom,” bellowed Gerber. “Baum admits the back-up operatives took Strom down after she shot and almost killed one of them. All we got was information that we would have had anyway, and it’s pretty useless on its own. No, this mission was not a success. We could have captured Strom the second she walked into the apartment. We didn’t because we wanted more. We didn’t get it. We would have been better off bringing her in for interrogation two days ago. If we had, we’d have what we want by now.
“But Lieutenant Eberhard,” Gerber continued, “you are right about one thing: Strom will tell us everything about her mission. In fact, she will tell us everything about anything we want to know – her bra size, her favorite sexual position, her preferred brand of tampons. Before midnight, she will have no more secrets.”
Andrea shuddered. “Captain, I’m very tired and would like to go home. There’s not much else I can do here.”
“On the contrary, my dear.” Gerber stared at her. “You will play a vital role in Agent Strom’s interrogation. After spending two days with her, you are closer to Strom than any of us. A seemingly innocuous or insignificant revelation may mean much more to you than it does to us. If anything she says triggers even the slightest speculation in your mind, you must tell us. We do not want to overlook the smallest shred of useful information.”
Andrea nodded. She wondered if she could put aside her feelings for Nina and do what was expected of her. She took a deep breath. In her mind, she tried to see Nina not as a friend, but as an enemy agent who might have killed her.
“Very well,” said Gerber. “Strom is in Room B-9. She should be prepared by now.”
“B-9?” Eberhart sounded surprised. “I thought the new equipment was still being installed.”
“Metzger confirmed the work was completed just yesterday.” Gerber smiled. “This KGB bitch will have the honour of being our first guest to use the improved facilities. Let’s hope she demonstrates how effective they are.”
After her own experience in the building’s basement more than two months ago, Andrea feared the worst for Nina. Lieutenant Metzger had been the one who suggested that the headquarters’ interrogation facilities needed upgrading. He had been the one who proposed the new design and the one who oversaw construction. Now he would have a chance to test the long-awaited improvements. He hoped he could soon boast that the West’s facilities had at last surpassed those of the East.
* * * * *
Gerber, Eberhart and Andrea entered a small, dark room in which a row of chairs faced a large one-way glass which made up most of the room’s far wall. On the other side of this glass was a much larger room, a well-lit chamber containing a variety of high-tech apparatus and controls, most of which Andrea could not identify. Without a word, she and the two men sat down. They all knew what this place was for; there was no need for discussion.
Andrea recognized Nina immediately. She had been restrained on a five foot wide, eight foot long metal table that was surrounded by the strange array of equipment. The top of the table had been tilted up forty-five degrees, leaving Nina neither lying flat nor standing, but positioned so as to give the three observers an optimal view of the proceedings. Nina’s body lay spread-eagle and face up, her limbs pulled wide apart and stretched to their limits. Manacles welded to the table secured her wrists and ankles, completely immobilizing her.
Nina was naked of course, her skin already glistening with sweat. Her X-shaped pose was so taut that Andrea could count Nina’s ribs as they pushed against her constricted midsection. Her breasts, which had seemed disproportionately large on her small frame, were drawn across her chest and now appeared more moderately sized. With her legs pulled wide, her bald vaginal opening gaped salaciously, drawing the observers’ gaze directly to her sex. Andrea had seen Nina nude almost as often as clothed, but at no time had she seemed as exposed as she was now.
Andrea wondered how the manacles restraining Nina’s wrists and ankles could be so perfectly positioned. A few inches closer together or farther apart, and the restraints would have been too loose, or not usable at all. Surely this table was not built specifically for her. Andrea looked more closely. She noticed the wrist clamps were attached to the top portion of the table, which was actually a separate plate of metal about eight inches wide. This plate could be extended away from the main platform. Because of Nina’s small stature, it had been raised only an inch, just enough so Andrea could see that a pair of hydraulic jacks controlled how far the plate was elevated. Instantly she grasped the insidiousness of the device. As the jacks pushed up the plate, the manacles would move away from the table, pulling on Nina’s outstretched arms and cruelly stretching her body. This devious machine was simply a refined and updated version of a medieval torture rack.
Andrea felt sick. Nina was still unconscious and blissfully unaware of the agonies awaiting her, but Andrea realized that would soon change. Gerber wanted information, and an insentient prisoner was not of much use to him. Andrea prayed that Nina would understand immediately that there was no way she could hold out – that the pain would eventually become unendurable – leading her to limit her suffering by cooperating right away. But in the short time they had known each other, Andrea had learned Nina was proud, courageous, and more than a little stubborn. She certainly was not the type of agent who would break easily.
At last Gerber ended the silence in the observation room. “Well then… I’m sure we’ve had enough time to ogle our enchanting subject and to grasp the punishment that awaits her should she choose to be difficult.” Gerber picked up a microphone mounted at the base of the glass and turned it on. “You may begin,” he instructed. A moment later, a man in military fatigues entered the chamber and walked over to Nina. He turned to face the glass, though he could not see who was on the other side of it.
“This is Corporal Decker,” Gerber told Andrea. “He is one of Metzger’s most talented interrogators. Tonight, however, I shall be asking the questions. Decker will be responsible for persuading the subject to cooperate. When I activate this microphone, Decker and Strom can hear us and naturally, we will be able hear them at all times.”
Gerber looked into the other room, and turned on his microphone. “Herr Decker, are you ready to start the session?” Decker nodded. “Remember, it must be dry and clean… no marks on her body. Depending on what we learn, we may still need to use her.” Decker nodded again. “Begin by reviving her.”
Decker picked up a syringe filled with stimulant and plunged it directly into Nina’s right breast. Andrea winced. Were they interrogating a man, they surely would inject him in the arm or leg, but as this was a woman, and quite a well endowed one at that, they could not resist adding some lewd entertainment. For a minute, Nina lay still. Soon she began moaning softly, as if waking from an erotic dream, then her head lolled from side to side and her fingers twitched. Decker moved his hand over her pussy and began massaging her sex, causing Nina’s moans to grow louder. More pointless erotic thrills for these lechers, thought Andrea.
Just as Nina reached an involuntary orgasm, she regained full consciousness. Her eyes went wide with shock and her body tensed visibly. Except for her head, hands and feet, she was unable to move, but Andrea could see she was already resisting.
“What the hell?” Nina shouted. “Where am I? What’s going on? Who the fuck are you?”
Gerber raised his microphone. “My dear Agent Strom, the first thing you must learn is that I will be the only one asking questions. I will let it pass this time, as you had not yet been warned, but from now on, any questions from you will be met with some rather unpleasant repercussions.”
“Bastard!” yelled Nina. “You’re too afraid to show yourself? Who’s this little shit? Someone to do your dirty work?” She looked at Decker, who calmly ignored her.
“Agent Strom, you haven’t been listening. Herr Decker… three centimetres, one every ten seconds.” Decker stood at a console next to the table and pressed a button. There was a very brief whooshing sound, followed almost immediately by a yelp from Nina. From where Andrea was watching, she could barely see the top plate move, but she knew that with Nina already stretched as far as she was, even the slightest lengthening of her body would be incredibly painful. After ten seconds, Decker hit the button a second time.
“Jesus!” Nina screamed. “Stop!”
“Do you plan on asking any more questions?”
“Then I will grant you some leniency. Herr Decker, cancel the third allocation. Now, Agent Strom, let us get down to brass tacks, as they say. I will ask you specific questions about your mission and for your sake, I hope you will answer them completely and truthfully. You now know first-hand how the device to which you are pinned functions, so it would be best for you if you simply cooperate. Who was the woman on the phone?”
“Fuck you!” Nina replied between clenched teeth. Andrea closed her eyes. She knew this was how the feisty brunette would respond. She took a deep breath, and decided to remain as stoic as she was during the brutal interrogation she herself had conducted not long ago. Of course, this one was different. This one involved a friend. Nonetheless, she had no choice but to play the part that Gerber expected her to play.
“Another centimetre, Herr Decker.” Decker pressed the button and Nina shrieked again. The manacles had begun to slice into Nina’s flesh, leaving blood to trickle down her arms and feet. “Agent Strom… your body will extend only so far before your limbs dislocate and permanent damage ensues. For someone as young as you, that would be quite tragic. Once again, the name of your contact? You have already failed your assignment, so what is the point of protecting her?”
Nina said nothing, so Gerber ordered another one centimetre “allocation”. Andrea watched, transfixed by the relentless administration of the torture, as well as by Nina’s ability to resist it. Her initial horror on seeing her friend so cruelly abused started to wane.
Pity slowly turned to fascination. And revulsion turned to… no… she would not let her base desires consume her. Andrea had learned to suppress her darker appetites, summoning them only when the situation absolutely called for it. This was not such a time. She was witnessing the slow, barbaric destruction of someone she cared about. Revulsion was the appropriate response… and yet the feeling in her loins was unmistakable. Lust.
The outstretched, naked body of Nina Strom should have driven Andrea to tears. The woman’s agony should have been hers as well. And yet, like the men beside her, she was drawn to the sexual savagery of the scene in front of her. Stripped and spread out like a mounted trophy, her sweat-soaked body glowing under the bright lights, Nina was the most beautiful, most provocative woman Andrea had ever seen. It was all she could do to resist asking Gerber if she could assist Corporal Decker.
“Agent Baum!” Gerber’s voice broke her reverie. “It appears you have become somewhat distracted.” Andrea apologized and tried to refocus on the interrogation. “It seems our prisoner would rather die than tell us anything. I suggest we administer Sodium Pentothal before we continue.”
“But Captain Gerber,” Eberhart protested. It was the first time he had spoken since the interrogation began. “Given the stress Strom is under, the dosage we must use could prove lethal. Also, you are well aware that truth serums have a reputation for eliciting inaccurate responses from subjects.”
“These are risks I am willing to take. Agent Baum, what is your opinion?”
“I agree with you Captain,” Andrea replied without hesitation. “Use the drug.” She was surprised she was being asked, but chose to support Gerber in hopes of restoring some of her credibility.
Gerber looked pleased. He instructed Decker to inject Nina with ten cc’s of Sodium Pentothal “where the blood flow is greatest so that it spreads quickly.” Decker understood. He started massaging her pussy, sexually stimulating her against her volition.
“Oh god no… You fucking prick… not that… oh… please… cunt!” Nina let loose a string of epithets, but Decker continued pleasuring her, using all the techniques he had been taught. Despite the staggering pain of being stretched, Nina could not resist responding to the corporal’s touch. She tried desperately to ignore the intense sensations rising from her nether regions, but there was little she could do to resist. A powerful orgasm was rising up inside her. When Nina’s efforts to thwart it failed, she slowly let it consume her. At least it temporarily masked the pain.
As Nina’s clitoris enlarged, it became the center of Decker’s attention. He fondled the tiny bud of flesh until it grew and hardened, becoming a miniature monument to its owner’s rabid arousal. Nina was bleating like a wounded animal, caught between pain and pleasure and about to erupt in a climax that she thought would surely kill her. But just as her orgasm was about to explode, Decker pushed the needle of the syringe into the center of Nina’s blood-engorged clit and injected her with the full dose of Sodium Pentothal.
Her extreme bliss was suddenly shattered by an acute surge of agony, denying her the release that seemed just seconds away. In an instant, she lay panting, frustrated, and in more pain than ever.
“You motherfucker,” she gasped, directing all her venom at Decker. “The least you could have done was let me come.”
The corporal ignored her. In less than a minute the drug had completely permeated Nina’s body, breaking down her resistance and sending her into a glassy-eyed stupor. She fought desperately against this latest attempt to rip her secrets from her, but how could she withstand something so insidious? She felt the urge to let it all go, to tell these evil men everything. Then they would kill her, and the pain would end at last. But she could not. No matter what the cost, no matter how great the agony, Nina would not surrender.
“The name of your contact!” Gerber barked. “Tell me! Tell me now!”
“Nooo…” Nina replied weakly. “I can’t… I can’t tell you. Please… god… stop…”
“Extend another centimetre!” shouted Gerber. “No… two! Wait… three… Extend three centimetres! Make the bitch feel it!”
Decker pressed the console button three times. The familiar whoosh of the hydraulic jacks sounded repeatedly, followed by Nina’s equally familiar wails of anguish. The upper plate now was almost six inches beyond its initial position. Eberhart looked on in silent amazement. Andrea writhed uncomfortably, trying to contain her arousal. Gerber could not believe Strom continued to resist. “Three more centimetres,” he bellowed.
“But Captain…” Eberhart interjected.
“Do it!” insisted Gerber. Decker pushed the button three more times, but not without waiting a few seconds to ensure Gerber would not change his mind. This last “allocation” pushed Nina’s pain-wracked body beyond its limits. As the beautiful brunette agent screamed in agony, both shoulders were simultaneously dislocated as her humerus bones were violently torn from their sockets. Nina lost control of her bladder, and a stream of urine spewed from between her thighs.
“Will you tell me now?”
“Yes…. Yessss….” For the three observers, Nina’s ultimate submission was sublime, an exquisite climax to the torment she had endured. For Nina herself, it felt as if the indescribable pain had thrust her over a precipice, leaving her to fall helplessly into the bowels of hell. Her brain addled by the drug, she shook her head back and forth, moaning continuously.
“We’ve broken her,” Gerber said with satisfaction. He raised the microphone to continue the questioning. “The name, Agent Strom… Tell me the name of your contact!”
“Yes… yes… anything… please, no more…” Nina was becoming incoherent.
“Damn. We may be too late.” Gerber worried that he had gone too far – or perhaps not far enough. “Corporal Decker, another centimetre.” Decker complied.
Nina let out a blood-curdling shriek. “Fuchs!” she shouted at the top of her lungs. “Ursula Fuchs! She works for the West… for a secret branch of the Bundeswehr.”
“Yes… yes… West Berlin.”
Gerber turned off his microphone and consulted with Eberhart. “Do we know this Fuchs woman? She is in West Berlin, yet she is not in our division.”
“I haven’t heard of her. Perhaps she is under Major Schmitt. Obviously, she is not a high level operative.”
“Then of what possible interest could she be to the Communists?” Gerber wondered. He raised the microphone. “Agent Strom, what did Ursula Fuchs offer to provide in exchange for the payment you were making to her?” Nina did no answer. “Herr Decker…”
“No… no, I’ll tell you,” Nina quickly interrupted. “The coordinates and design plans for seventeen NATO missile silos.”
“That is impossible,” scoffed Gerber. “Decker… one centimetre!”
“No, it’s true!!” But before she could continue, the metal plate had been extended yet again. Another deafening scream filled the room. The flesh of Nina’s right shoulder was beginning to stretch like soft rubber.
“Nonsense,” Gerber said dismissively. “No one could get that sort of information unless they had access to NATO generals from several countries. How could Ursula Fuchs accomplish this?”
“Her cover…” Nina was losing strength and had to fight for breath. “Her cover is an exotic dancer… at the Bar Rouge…”
This meant little to Andrea or Eberhart, but it seemed to satisfy Gerber. “Of course… that would explain it. And the money… a security deposit for the information?”
“Yes… half while Fuchs was still in the West, the rest after I had escorted her to East Berlin.”
“Where and when were you going to meet her?” This was the last question Gerber needed answered and Nina tried desperately not to give in. Once her captors had all they wanted from her, she would become useless to them… at which point her life would soon be over. Gerber ordered Decker to proceed.
“Captain,” said Decker. “I must warn you that if I extend the plate any further, the subject’s right arm will begin to tear free of her body.” Decker had done his research, and knew the limits of both the hardware and his victims. Gerber hesitated, then decided to give Nina one more chance. “So what will it be Agent Strom? The meeting details… or a very unpleasant amputation?”
“All right! All right, I’ll tell you. Tomorrow. Hotel Adlon. Four o’clock.”
“Thank-you, Agent Strom. Your cooperation is appreciated. Herr Decker, release her and take her back to a holding cell.” Gerber turned off the microphone.
Andrea was breathing heavily, stunned by her reaction to Nina’s ordeal. She was glad Nina had chosen to concede before sustaining permanent injury. “And what are your plans for her, now?” Andrea asked as innocuously as possible.
“Until we have confirmed her information, she stays alive. But once we have intercepted Ursula Fuchs and undermined her plans to defect, Agent Strom will be of little value to us. As an enemy agent, she will meet the traditional fate of a spy.” Gerber looked through the glass and watched Decker pull Nina’s limp, naked body from the table. Her limbs were twisted at odd angles and she was covered with perspiration. Her wrists and ankles were bleeding. But Gerber had to admit she was one of the most bewitching beauties he had seen in the basement. Perhaps her fate might not be so traditional after all, he thought.
“I have confirmed with Major Schmitt’s division that Ursula Fuchs is one of his operatives,” said Eberhart after he and Andrea reconvened in Gerber’s office an hour later. Gerber nodded. Andrea sat on a couch wondering why she was still involved in the follow-up to Nina’s capture. Apparently, the two men thought she may have picked up some vital piece of information during her two days with Nina – information she would recognize as important only when more details of the defection plans were revealed.
“What do we know about her?” said Gerber. “What was she doing at Bar Rouge?”
“Schmitt’s people recruited her there. She was a very popular dancer at the club. Still is, in fact. When she realized she could make some extra dollars as an agent for the West, she signed on. Fuchs has only six months of training and is not exactly locked in, but in two years she’s uncovered a remarkable amount of intelligence.”
“A siren?” asked Gerber. Andrea was unfamiliar with the term, but had a pretty good idea what it meant.
Eberhart cleared his throat nervously. “Obviously, we can’t coerce our operatives into prostitution as the KGB does, but if they are already willingly engaging in such activities, well… let’s just say we are not beyond leveraging such an opportunity. So yes, in the case of Agent Fuchs, Schmitt’s office took advantage of the situation. Bar Rouge is the favourite club of high-ranking Communist officials when they are in West Berlin for negotiations. Ursula Fuchs has slept with dozens of them, securing information using the techniques we taught her.”
“Let me guess,” said Gerber, anticipating what went wrong with the operation. “Lovely Ursula has not been very discriminating when it comes to the loyalties of the men she beds. I understand that Bar Rouge is also favoured by senior officers from the West.” It did not surprise Andrea that Gerber knew the place was popular with the Western brass as well – most likely his knowledge was based on first-hand experience. It would explain why he believed Nina’s confession when she identified the club.
“That’s it exactly,” sighed Eberhart. “Fuchs got greedy and decided she could make even more money selling to both sides. She began sleeping with generals from the West, drugged them, borrowed any documents they were carrying and made copies before replacing the papers. The men woke up a few hours later with pounding headaches, attributed their grogginess to excessive drinking and never realized they’d been scammed. She got away with it for several months. We have no idea how many generals she targeted, but it’s possible dozens from several NATO countries were compromised. Fortunately, she made contact with the KGB only recently, and has not yet had the chance to pass on what she has stockpiled so far.”
“Schmitt’s people finally caught on to what Fuchs was up to last week. Someone alerted her, so she bolted from Bar Rouge and vanished just before they came to take her in. She knows she’s dead if she’s caught, so Fuchs is counting on the East to provide sanctuary. But she can’t get there on her own without risking identification at a checkpoint. That’s why she contacted the KGB: to get safe passage, and to sell them the information she has.”
“And that’s where Strom comes into the picture…”
“Yes. From what we learned this evening, her job was to make contact with Fuchs, and take her across the wall using a covert route. As Strom told us, the money is a security deposit. Fuchs would put it in a secret account in the West. Once she crossed over and revealed the location of the documents, she would receive the other half of the funds. She gets two million marks in total, and a new life in Eastern Europe, the Communists get information which will change the balance of power in the cold war.”
Gerber raised his eyebrows. “For a stripper with six months of intelligence training, this Fuchs woman has managed to cause us a lot of trouble. Did you tell Schmitt’s people anything about Strom or what she has revealed to us?”
“Not yet. Should I toss this to him?”
“No,” Gerber paused, then smiled deviously. “When this gets out, it’s going to cost Schmitt his post… leaving me as the logical choice to replace him. Now that we know where Fuchs will be, we’ll bring her in and get the credit for her capture. Schmitt will be out on his ass for hiring the bitch and causing this mess.” Gerber’s laugh grew louder. “This entire snafu is going to work to our advantage.”
Of course, most of the advantages were going to be Gerber’s alone. But Eberhart realized that if his boss was happy, life would be easier for him as well, so he suggested a plan to capture the rogue agent. “Since we know Fuchs has never met Strom, she will not know what she looks like. We can have one of our operatives sent in Strom’s place. Fuchs will come along willingly, thinking she is being taken across the wall, and our agent will simply drive her here instead.”
“Excellent idea,” said Gerber. “Simple and sweet. But we will need to have a picture of Agent Fuchs to identify her.”
Eberhart pulled an eight by ten glossy from a folder and handed it to Gerber. “This is a promo photograph she was using at the club. She dances under the name ‘Uschi’.” [See Ursula pic]
Gerber whistled. The picture showed a spectacular blonde, no more than twenty-five, wearing a white trench coat, open to reveal her perfect body. Her remarkably generous breasts were barely encased in a black mesh bra that did little to conceal its contents. The woman looked like she was built for sex. “I can see why Uschi had no difficulty luring her targets to the bedroom. Too bad her charms will not help her once we bring her in. Instead, I fear they will most likely work against her after she is delivered to Lieutenant Metzger and his team. Sadly, Ursula Fuchs will soon discover that being so attractive will be a major impediment to her health and well being.”
“Lieutenant,” pleaded Andrea, “I want to do this and I can do this. Gerber doesn’t trust me. He thinks I screwed up Fuchs’ call to Nina… I mean Agent Strom. I need to set things right.” After their meeting with the Captain, Andrea had walked with Eberhart to his office. Eberhart needed to select an operative to take Strom’s place at the following day’s rendezvous with Ursula Fuchs, and Andrea desperately wanted the assignment.
“Which is precisely why I shouldn’t pick you,” Eberhart replied. “First, Gerber would think I was nuts for giving you another chance, especially on something this important. And second, you’d be doing it for the wrong reason – to prove yourself – and that will impair your judgement.”
“But Gerber would go along if you recommended me. No other female agent knows as much about this affair as I do, nor would any be as well briefed in time for the meeting.” Andrea’s arguments were compelling. “And I’m not volunteering for the wrong reason. I want the treasonous slut caught as much as anyone. The fact that I can prove myself to Gerber while catching her just sweetens the opportunity.”
Eberhart sighed. “All right, I’ll recommend you – but if Gerber turns you down, there’s nothing I can do.”
What Eberhart didn’t realize was that Andrea had a third reason for wanting the job, and it was the only reason that really mattered to her. If she played her cards well, this assignment would present her with what she wanted more than anything: a chance to escape.
In her mind, she had already started developing a plan.
* * * * *
It was three o’clock in the afternoon. Eberhart asked Andrea to go over the instructions one last time. She rolled her eyes and grudgingly did as she was told.
“After I arrive at the Hotel Adlon, I ask the desk clerk to ring up Ursula Fuchs and tell her to join me in the bar at one of the secluded booths toward the back. I wait there until she arrives. If she requests to see the money – and it is expected she will – I open the case briefly and show it to her. Fuchs will want to transfer the funds to her account, so I will agree to stop at a bank along the way. When I am ready to leave, I signal Tom and Jerry here by requesting the bill.” Andrea nodded at the two dark-suited operatives who would keep an eye on her – and the money – every step of the way. “I lead Fuchs to the limo and keep her distracted so she does not see the escorts follow. I join her in the back seat and tell the driver to go to the bank, at which point he takes us here while Tom and Gerry tail us.”
“And you are never to leave their sight without authorization,” said Eberhart sternly. “Gerber was quite insistent.” Andrea nodded. “Good luck Agent Baum.” She smiled, picked up Nina’s attachè case and accompanied her escorts to the large Mercedes that would drive them to the hotel.
* * * * *
The driver parked directly in front of the Adlon’s main entrance and waited in the car while Andrea and the two men entered the lobby. They were fifteen minutes early, so Andrea sat with her escorts in the bar. The male agents selected a table from which they could see the reception area. Just before four o’clock, Andrea walked up to the desk clerk, confirmed that Ursula Fuchs had checked in, then asked the clerk to call her. Once Ursula answered, Angela asked to speak with her, and the clerk handed her the receiver. From where Andrea’s two overseers were sitting, all appeared to be going according to plan.
On completing the call, Andrea handed the phone back to the desk clerk. But instead of returning to the bar, Andrea suddenly ran toward the elevators, which were less than twenty feet from the reception area. She had just heard an elevator arrive, and quickly joined a dozen others waiting for it. In an instant, Andrea and the one million marks were gone.
“Son of a bitch!” One of the male agents cursed and jumped up to chase after her. “Wait here in case she comes back this way.” Leaving his partner behind, he approached the desk clerk.
“I’m sorry to bother you, but my wife and I are meeting a friend who is staying here. Our friend’s name is Ursula Fuchs. Could you please ring her?” The clerk complied, but Fuchs did not answer. The agent sighed. “I’m afraid I don’t know her room number. Could you provide it for me?”
“I’m sorry sir, but I cannot give out that information. Your wife was just here and is on her way to meet Fraulein Fuchs. I’m sure they will contact you shortly.” The agent cursed. There was nothing he could do but check each floor in hopes he would run into them.
* * * * *
Ursula had told “Agent Strom” that she was in room 509. Andrea had warned her that Western agents were not far behind, so she must ignore further calls to her room. Andrea had feared that Ursula would recognize that she did not sound like Nina, but neither woman’s voice was all that distinctive, so the ruse seemed to have worked. Nonetheless, as Andrea knocked on the door of room 509, she kept a tight grip on the small Glock in her jacket pocket.
Ursula answered and quickly let Andrea in. She was understandably nervous, but seemed to trust her visitor without question. This was one na´ve spy, thought Andrea – she’s obviously in way over her head. It was easy for Andrea to play the role of Nina, and one glance at the contents of the attachè case was enough to convince Ursula she wasn’t being set up.
“And another million when I cross the wall?”
“As promised,” Andrea reassured her. “My boss tells me you want to deposit the first payment in a Western account for security reasons. If that is correct, we can do so on our way to the transfer point.”
“That would be ideal.” Ursula looked even more incredible in person than she did in her promo shot. She wore a white halter dress with a wide, plunging neckline that revealed as much of her abundant superstructure as the law allowed. The dress barely came past her ass, showcasing her mile-high legs, which were tanned and bare except for a pair of stiletto heeled shoes. The dress was so tight, it was obvious that aside from the shoes, Ursula wore nothing else.
“You know, Fraulein Fuchs,” said Andrea, trying not to sound prudish. “It would be wise of you to dress as inconspicuously as possible if you are trying not to be noticed – especially while you are still in the West.” Ursula glanced at herself in the mirror, and appeared confused. Andrea realized that for Ursula, the white dress may well have been among her more modest outfits. “Never mind,” she continued. “Even if you did have something more appropriate to wear, we don’t have time for you to change. Grab your suitcase and let’s go.”
Ursula tried unsuccessfully to pick up four pieces of luggage, then looked forlornly at Andrea. This woman was unbelievable, Andrea thought. “One,” she said emphatically. Ursula deliberated for a few seconds, before picking up the largest suitcase and following Andrea out of the room and toward the stairwell.
“The stairs?” Ursula asked in disbelief. “The elevators are just over there.” She pointed in the opposite direction.
“The men who followed me will be waiting for us in the lobby.” Andrea felt like she was talking to a child. “We need to go out the back way, and the stairs allow us to get there without being seen. Besides, our ride is waiting behind the hotel.”
Ursula grumbled. She struggled with her oversized valise as she wrestled it down the five flights, only to fall over it when she finally reached the ground floor. The blonde was sent sprawling, her dress riding up to expose her naked buttocks. Ursula staggered to her feet and pulled her hemline down as far as she could, all the while failing to realize that her left nipple was exposed. Andrea rolled her eyes and said nothing.
Andrea breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the familiar cab parked across the street that ran behind the hotel. She couldn’t be sure that her handler had received the coded message she had called in on the emergency line just after Midnight. But it seemed he had. He’d also had enough time to contact Chernin and get approval for a pick-up. Such improvised forays into the West were always risky. Apparently, the prize she said she would deliver to them was worth the gamble. Suddenly, Andrea felt much better about the choice she’d made.
“Hurry up,” she barked at Ursula, who was dragging the oversized valise across the road. She turned to the cab driver, the same man who had ferried her to the tunnel entrance over a month ago. “How far is 27th street?” she asked.
The driver smiled. “East …. or West 27th Street?"
“East,” Andrea said with conviction. The driver jumped out and helped Ursula lift her luggage into the trunk. Andrea held on to the attachè case, and along with her disheveled companion, climbed into the rear seat of the cab. The driver got in and looked at his passengers in the rear view mirror. His eyes locked on Ursula, who was still partially hanging out of her ill-considered outfit.
“Consider it a fringe benefit,” Andrea told him. “Just don’t let it distract you too much on the way.” She turned to Ursula, who had no idea that she was the topic of conversation. Andrea reached into her jacket pocket, the one without the gun, and withdrew a tiny hypodermic needle. Before Ursula could react, Andrea plunged the syringe into her neck, injecting her with 200 Mg of Propofol. Within seconds, Ursula’s eyes glazed over, her head dropped onto her chest, and she collapsed sideways onto Andrea’s lap.
“Sorry darlin’. I’m afraid this wouldn’t have turned out very well for you no matter how things went.” Andrea looked at the driver, who was still staring at the now unconscious blonde’s chest. “You know where to go,” she told him.
“I can’t believe it… I just can’t believe it!” Eberhart stared at the television monitor which displayed the dark, grainy image from the videotape playing in the VHS recorder. There was no sound, but as far as Eberhart was concerned, there didn’t need to be. He had seen enough brutal interrogations in his day to know what was going on.
The three women being tortured were of little interest to him. He recognized Agent Krause, and though he had never seen the other two before, he knew who they were. All three were dead of course, the tape merely confirming this while providing gruesome details of how each met her demise. No, the event itself was old news. What stunned Eberhart was the fourth woman featured in the video. With her red hair, perfect body and cold demeanour, Andrea dominated the proceedings in more ways than one.
Both Gerber and Eberhart sat flabbergasted in the media room, watching the tape for the second time. Lena stood behind them and wondered what the men were thinking. Were they turned on by this display? Certainly the sight of exquisite Andrea parading about in black lingerie must have affected them. And she knew Gerber well enough to guess that he likely sported a raging hard-on watching the three naked beauties slowly and systematically tortured to death. Or were the men angry? After all, this was compelling evidence that the agent they supposedly turned had been hoodwinking them all along. Probably both, she thought.
“When did you say you received this?” Gerber asked Lena.
“First thing this morning, but I didn’t watch it till Noon. As the package arrived without any indication of what was on the tape, I didn’t think it was important. I still have no idea why someone would send it to me, but once I saw what was on it, I tried to show it to you right away. Your secretary said you were preparing for some emergency mission for most of the afternoon, so I was only able to get it to you now.”
“We have to call Baum in right away,” said Gerber. “Who knows what she’s up to out there.”
“Let’s not be too hasty.” Eberhart always tried to take the positive view. “We’ve got two men watching her every step of the way. The tape doesn’t even confirm that she’s still working for the KGB. She told us herself that she was forced to kill the three women. Maybe she was also coerced into conducting their interrogation. Maybe she didn’t want us to know the amount of suffering she caused them. Perhaps her only offence is that she didn’t tell us the whole story. Perhaps this was as much an ordeal for her as for her victims.” Eberhart sighed. Everything was maybe and perhaps.
“Ordeal?” Gerber asked incredulously. The monitor was showing Schneider being dropped onto the red hot grill. Even with the poor image quality and the perpetual long-shot point of view, Gerber could see Schneider’s flesh sticking to the iron grate as her body was removed. He looked at Andrea, who seemed to be staring at the mutilated remains of the woman’s once impressive chest without the slightest hint of concern. “Ordeal, my ass! It looks like she’s enjoying herself at a pig roast.”
Eberhart knew that this time he was not going to convince his boss of Andrea’s innocence. He turned to Lena for support. “Lieutenant Klammer, you knew Baum better than any of us. Was there ever any indication that she had these… um… tendencies… that she enjoyed or was aroused by acts of sadism?”
“None whatsoever,” Lena lied.
“Did Baum ever acknowledge that she’d had training as an interrogator?”
“Then her actions on this video would seem to be completely out of character. Captain, for the sake of this mission, I urge you to reconsider.”
“Whether or not she had it in her to do this doesn’t concern me. In fact, given Baum’s unexpected talents, I’d have been happy to reassign her to Metzger’s team. She’d have done well there. The point is she lied to us, or at the very least, withheld information. She cannot be trusted. I’m calling off the Fuchs mission, if it is not already too late.”
Just as Gerber was reaching for it, the phone rang. He answered it. As he listened to the caller, his complexion grew first red, then suddenly very pale. “I understand,” he said before hanging up.
Gerber looked first at Lena, then at Eberhart. “Apparently, it is already too late.”
To be continued in CHOICE ALTERNATIVES 4