Chapter 10 of Silent Vector

Chapter 10, in which the DCI contemplates life after a career in service to his country

CHAPTER 10

ONCE MORE BEFORE YOU LEAVE

He knows it’s not the sort of career that one gets to slowly wind down as he anticipates retirement. But he also knows he’s having an increasingly difficult time maintaining the pace expected of the Director of the free world’s largest intelligence agency. After more than seven years on the job, years that are a capstone to a lifetime spent in service to his country, he let the young president know that he is ready to step down. He will stay on through the end of the year, but it is his intention to be a private, anonymous civilian, ready to play golf at least five times a week by January 1, 1963.

After allowing himself a brief vision of life after the CIA, he returns his focus to the one-page report, really not much more than a page of notes, on his desk in front of him.

He picks up his telephone and dials Bill Johnson’s extension.

“How can I help you, sir?”

“Bill, I’m looking at your notes on Kenya. How’d this land on your desk?”

“A nice bit of analysis by Hugh Ridgely, our man in Cairo. Everyone had the Mombasa bombing, but he saw an embassy cable on the Voi murders and decided to dig.”

“Is he sure about the attaché?”

“He spent a little money in Mombasa and got what he needed. The attaché had an appointment with some guy named Hartmann. Not exactly a Russian surname.”

“I saw that, but what about the murders?”

“German nationals. Put that together with a Soviet Cultural Attaché blown to bits in a car bomb moments before he was supposed to meet with another German national and that’s how it ended up on my desk.”

“East or West German?”

“Looks like the East, at least the guy who was supposed to meet the attaché.”

“What the hell were they doing in Voi?”

“That’s just one more thing we don’t know. Ridgely wants to go back to Kenya, see what he can stir up. I thought I’d run it by you first. I don’t think the Brits or the Kenyans want CIA sniffing around Kenya’s interior right now, so maybe Ridgely’s the wrong person to send.”

“State must have some contacts in Nairobi through the Brits. A local is best. I’ll see if the UK can help us out. Murdered Germans in Kenya. Got to be more there than meets the eye.”

“I’ll see what I can do. Anything else I can do for you, sir?”

“That’ll do for now. Thanks, Bill.”

The Director hangs up. As he does he privately laments the Agency’s lack of resources in Africa. He’s made the pitch on more than one occasion, but in spite of the region’s clear vulnerability to Soviet influence his pitch has consistently fallen on deaf ears. Money for Asia, more for Europe, some for the Middle East, and precious little for the entire continent of Africa. It’s a familiar story. The hell of it is that he hates going hat in hand to State and the Brits. But if the Germans and Russians are up to something, even if their focus is Kenya, the Director has to do what he can to ferret it out.

He presses a button on his intercom.

“Cheryl?”

“Yes, sir?”

“I need to speak with the Secretary of State.”