Alana Shankov slipped into the open window of the non-descript house on the non-descript street in a non-descript city. Alana Shankov was on a mission. She didn’t work for any government. She worked for herself. Alana Shankov was not only the hunter, she was the hunted. The house she had just entered was empty. The “For Sale” sign in the front yard marked it as unoccupied. The window that had been left open was a fortunate mistake for Alana. Slipping across the floor silently and slowly, she made her way to the stairs. The house was completely furnished, it being on the market in an upscale neighborhood. Upstairs was a bed. It had been a long time since Alana had slept in a bed. But first, a shower. It was a risk she was willing to take.
* * * *
The room was dark, lit only by a desk lamp that shined down upon the desk at which two men sat. A file folder was in the middle of the desk. In Russian, it said “Top Secret – Eyes Only” in big red letters across the front cover. There rest was standard FSB text and information.
“Her name is Alana Shankov,” one man said, in heavily accented English, flipping open the folder.
A picture was displayed. A young woman of about nineteen looked out at the two men with emerald green eyes through raven bangs. Her features were of a woman of European descent. She would be considered pretty by anyone the world over.
“What has she done?” the other man asked, his British accent noticeable.
“Nothing. We just need to know where she is,” the first man said.
“Why ask MI6?”
“We are asking all our…friends,” the first replied.
“Comon Alexei, there is more to this. You and I know…”
“Fine, fine. She is…she…we raised her, educated her and trained her…”
“For what kind of work, Alexei?”
“Comrade Gordon, you know I can’t tell you that.”
“Fine, then what happened? How did you lose her?”
“We didn’t lose her as you so bluntly put it. She was complacent and accepting her training right up to the day of her first assignment. Then she just left. We had no reason to suspect she wouldn’t return as she had hundreds of times before. She was at liberty to go into town and interact with the people there. She was closely monitored…”
“Except for that last time she shook her tail, which you taught her to notice and how to do, and disappeared into the night?”