Date: 14 September 1984
Time Remaining: 34 hours 30 minutes
EASTERN EUROPE, USSR, RUSSIA, MOSCOW
UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR LAUNCH FACILITY
TWELVE MINUTES UNTIL TEST MISSILE LAUNCH
The base was drowning in activity as everyone darted around, preparing for the missile launch and subsequent SDI Program Test, codenamed Godstow. Sirens began to whine, indicating the first stage of the missile launch. Eleven minutes. A voice began speaking over the intercom in English, accompanied by a thick Russian accent. “The first stage of the SDI Test Sequence has been initiated. Time to missile launch, T minus ten minutes fifty seconds and counting.” Never had the bunker been swarming with so many engineers, scientists, Government officials… The secret base had become a walk-in rest-stop. “T minus ten minutes and counting.” A klaxon began wailing somewhere else in the base, indicating ten minutes. Scientists and Government officials converged and discussed what the success of the SDI test meant. “So, the SDI program means that the USSR has the capabilities to destroy the USA’s armaments in space…?” A scientist nodded his head in agreement to the summary. “Yes, the USSR will be unstoppable. We must thank the US double-agent for the success of this plot, though.” Another Government official intruded the conversation. “Double agent? Who is this… double agent?” The scientists glanced nervously at each other but decided that they could reveal their secret. “His name is Jacob Crown. We captured him during an event the Americans quickly named ‘The Raid’. With the help of bad luck for the Americans, we tricked their Intel. They thought they had two days before we attacked but…”
“Yes, we know about the attack.”
“Right, of course. Well, those we captured were taken to Russia and became part of an operation known as Black Heart.”
“Operation Black Heart?” One of the officials piped up. “I thought that was a Soviet recruitment program.”
“It was. The fact that they were Americans was left out. Black Heart saw twelve entries from the USA after ‘The Raid’. Only one of these had a strong enough mind to keep himself from breaking under the conditions. We managed to create, successfully, a US double agent. His American name is Jake Crown; his Soviet name is Djorvak Krinshaw.”
“Krinshaw? I recognise that name. I’ve heard it before…”
“Of course you have. Djorvak Krinshaw was the leader of the party opposing the revolutions the USSR was beginning to see…”
“Of course. Krinshaw opposed the revolutions but failed to stop them. But he had proved himself, right?”
“Exactly. Then, a week ago, he was sent to Barbados, where we knew he would be found by the Americans. He would take the fall and Black Heart would remain secret.”
“Wait. The bomb, though. How did you get the bomb in?”
“The bomb was in the President’s suitcase, thanks to Daniel Jones, another of our protégés. The trigger was easy. Professor Schwarz gave it to the President as a ‘gift’. However, we convinced Jake it was him who gave it to the President.” A small, plump man came running over to the congregation of people. “Professor Vorschnitz, you have a phone call. It’s about Jake Crown, sir.”
“What about him?” Vorschnitz asked.
“Apparently, sir,” the man gulped, “he’s beginning to remember.” All seven faces of the group became stone-faced and frozen.
“Who made the call?” Vorschnitz asked, dragging the man to one side.
“Professor Alexander Schwarz, sir,” the man replied.
“Ah, Schwarz,” Vorschnitz smiled. “What did he say?”
“His exact words, sir, were ‘Jacob Crown’s memory patterns are returning at a phenomenal rate. At his rate of recovery, he’ll know everything before the twenty-four hour mark.”
“Then why can’t Schwarz just terminate him?”
“Sir, he is convinced he can make Crown turn. I tried to convince him to find another way, but he won’t listen.” Vorschnitz frowned as he slunk towards his office in the rear of the facility.
“Two minutes to launch,” the voice over the intercom stated.