A LOMAC Mission Report: The Great Escape Page 4

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“I tell you nothing!”

I spit on the floor at his feet. “Turkish dog!”

He takes no notice, sitting on the corner of the bed. His brown eyes are gentle.

“I have asked you nothing.”

I wait, silently for him to continue.

“Such a beauty. A pity you come as a soldier. I would have liked to know you in peace.”

“Ha!” A cheap come-on. I expected better.

“You mistake me, Lieutenant S. D. Andreevna. But the Imam, he will not be so kind as I.”

“The Imam?”

“Sheikh Muqtadeh.” Did his face twist in… anger as he spoke? “You have been identified. The hammer and sickle markings on your MiG. We know the 586th Regiment flies against us. We know many of its pilots. We know that one in particular has killed many of our men and our friends. Especially, the revered (again, the sarcastic tone!) Abu Jihad. And that one was emblazoned with the hammer and sickle of the old Soviet air force. Yours, I believe?”

I close my eyes. “I tell you nothing,” I say again, wearily.

For a moment, his soft brown eyes turn cruel. “You would… if I asked.” He relaxes. “But I have asked you nothing.”

He lit a harsh, Turkish cigarette, much like those favored by my Commander. My Commander! Vasily! Will I ever see you again? But the Turk, he continues. “I forget my manners. I am Captain Volkan, of what you would call the military intelligence service. And you, my lady, may call me Kemal.”

“I think not.”

He exhales a cloud of blue smoke. “As you wish. But I must tell you something. Your life is measured in short hours. The Imam, he is angry indeed that so many of his plans have been frustrated by a mere woman. His men believe that Islam places woman on a level below man. As such, you are not fit to talk to a man, especially not his martyrs, and you have the temerity to slay them like a Crusader. He is insulted that Putin sends women against him. You are to be made an example of.” The coal on his cigarette glows brightly in the morning gloom. He regards me coolly. I can hear my blood rushing in my ears. Then he speaks, and my eyes widen in astonishment.

“He is a fool.”

I gasp. “You do not…?”

“No. As I told you, my name is Kemal. I am named for Ataturk. I am of his party in Parliament.”

I am ashamed to say that I began to hope, now.

My voice quavers. “What do you want from me?”

“Why, to help you escape!”

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