Ten hours before having sex with the “Black Russian” (See the preceding chapter for details.), Lance Mannon walked into the Washington headquarters of S.H.E.L.L. Of course, on the outside it looked nothing like the headquarters of the world’s most secret spy agency. Which of course is a good thing, seeing as how they were really secret and wanted to keep it that way.
Mannon opened the door to the Chairman’s office. His secretary, Karen Bedwell, looked up and smiled at him. “You’re late; he’s waiting for you inside.” She pushed a button and the light above the big door behind her changed from red to green with a buzz. Lance gave her a wink and moved toward the door. Miss Bedwell watched him walk by, never noticing the wink. This was the problem with a man who wears an eye patch, was it a wink? Or was it a blink? Who the hell could tell?
On the other side of the door, the Chairman sat behind a large wooden desk; he wore an all white suit and his bald head reflected the desk lamp. He appeared not to notice Lance Mannon, his best agent enter the room. Lance waited for him to look up. The Chairman closed the folder he was looking at and slid it across the desk toward Lance. “Ben Turnankoff.”
“Pardon me sir?”
“Dr. Benjamin Turnankoff, scientist.”
Mannon opened the folder and looked at the picture clipped to the top page. It was a man in his mid fifties with a gray mustache and glasses. He appeared to be playing beer pong with several young coeds at a “Girls Gone Wild” shoot.
The Chairman continued, “He was working for a European company called Walmex. Apparently he has gone missing, along with the only samples of “White Heart”, a virus that he had engineered.” He slid another file across the gigantic desk. “Everyone is looking for him and, more importantly, the “White Heart” virus. Your job is to find out what happened to Turnankoff and the virus. Did someone take him? Is he trying to sell it? We need to know.” He pointed at the second file. “Every agency in the world is going after this one. CIA, MI-6, U.N.C.L.E., IMF, T.H.R.U.S.H., IBS, ED, VH, JFK, LBJ and anyone else using a random string of letters in their name. Walmex did quite a bit of business with the Russians, so your best lead may be your toughest competition. Have you ever met the Black Russian?”
Lance had heard of the Russians top agent, but had never seen a picture of her. Inside the folder, he did see a picture of her. The Black Russian was just that, a black Russian. Mannon’s eye scanned the dossier. It contained the usual information, military experience, martial arts training, small arms expertise, spoke six languages and had two semesters of accounting classes under her belt from St. Petersburg community College. “Do you really think she knows where Turnankoff is sir?”
“Before he went missing, the Russians had him under surveillance. So I would say they have a better idea where he might be than anyone else at this point.” The Chairman removed a cigar from the box on his desk.
“How do you want me to handle this sir?”
“I want you to pump her for information of course.” He leaned back in his chair as he clipped the end of the cigar and put it in his mouth.
“You mean pump her full of drugs to interrogate her? Or find out what she knows and pump her full of lead? Or do you want me to pump her, like, you know, really pump her?”
“Whatever gets the job done Mannon.”
“Well sir… It’s just that I have never… gone… you know… “
“Afraid you won’t come back? Don’t worry son, if you find the grass to be that much sweeter on the other side, then you’ll have found that sweet, sweet grass in the service of your country!”
Lance left it at that. Something about the exchange between the two men had made him feel guilty and mildly racist.
“Your plane leaves in an hour.” He lit the cigar and took a puff. “Miss Bedwell has all of your paperwork” Lance rose from the chair he had gotten so many mission briefings in. He had quite an ass groove going in that chair. As he turned away from his boss he heard him say, “Good hunting Mannon.” Lance returned his gaze to the desk to see the Chairman giving him the thumbs up, with both hands no less. Mannon returned the gesture, and walked out of the office. He had a plane to catch.
And a black Russian to pump.

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