Part 48: Master of DisguiseUpdate 22 - Master of Disguise
Someone just walked into our room with a dead body.
You've been busy.
Satisfied, I trust. Comrade colonel Galushkin told me you had a talent for attracting trouble; judging from this fellow, he was not mistaken. Now, I wonder where he came from, eh?
A dangerous-looking dandy.
May I have the gun you took from him?
You don't need a gun, Rukov! Your mission is discreet surveillance. You'd do well to bear than in mind if you intend making a career with us. Might I suggest you take a look at our late hoodlum friend?
Inspect the dead body
He is of about your height and corpulence. From the unnatural position of his head, his neck would appear to be broken. A telephone number has been written on his left palm: 48366. He has no papers. His features, hairstyle, and clothes suggest he was probably a Soviet citizen.
We take the photo.
Inspect the photo
A small mugshot of you. A reproduction of your KGB ID photo.
So that just confirms it. He was after me. Probably a hitman. Based on the photo used, he was probably sent by someone within the KGB. Probably someone from Department 7. At least comrade major Savinkov was here to save me. Anyway, the number on his hand is familiar.
What are your orders for me, comrade major?
You have a phone number! You also have a phone! See what I'm hinting at?
Bit of a smartass, isn't he?
I know this number. It's the booth in the street.
Excellent, comrade. Very good. There's a man standing by that booth. He's been there for some time. Seems nervous!
We dial the number from the corpse's hand.
That's not the plan! Is he dead?
So there's a problem?
Small problem. Come up. Now!
I don't like it... OK, I'm coming.
I guess my voice sounds a lot like Viktor's.
Here's my plan: I'll wait behind the door and you make sure he comes in. As soon as he's inside, I'll slug him from behind. Let's avoid making too much noise.
He moves over to flatten himself near the corridor door and gestures at you to prepare the reception.
I want him to think I'm Viktor. The best way to do that would be to dress up like him, and hide his friend's body.
We take both the hat and the raincoat.
We put Viktor's clothes on.
We put Viktor's body in our closet.
We turn out the lights for good measure.
A few minutes later...
We wait to see what happens.
I'm impressed, Rukov! An elegant piece of reasoning! Our guest should wake up in a few minutes. We'll talk to our sleeping partner when he comes round.
I trust him. He did save my life, after all.
We tell him about the Cut-throat affair.
Excellent work! The Chapkin angle clearly points to Kusnetsov's guilt. All we need now is to establish exactly what Kusnetsov's game is. I'm not surprised you saw Agabekov talking to the gang member at the Syevyernaya Zvyezda. That confirms what I've already learned: Agabekov is also investigating Kusnetsov. We must solve the case before he does!
This Cut-throat business is amusing, don't you think? I'm surprised that Kusnetsov should try such an old ruse on you. He clearly underestimates your intelligence, Rukov, which gives you an advantage!
Must I attend the clandestine meeting with Cut-throat?
Tread carefully! If you run the risk of meeting him and you survive, you must press him for his evaluations of Kusnetsov and Chapkin, and their links with your investigation into the export of these videos. What interests us is not the misleading information he gives, but what he doesn't say!
Can you find out about Victor Matsnev?
I shall make inquiries.
Could you find out about Yakuchev?
I shall make inquiries.
May I trouble you for a cigar, comrade major?
A filthy habit, Rukov! Give it up.
What direction should my investigation now take?
Everything seems to lead to Kusnetsov. My own investigations confirm this. Time is running short and we must learn more. Follow clues that point to him. Now to more pressing matters!
Your colleague Viktor has left us permanently, I'm afraid.
The man stands up.
You killed him?
Indeed I did. His neck snapped most agreeably.
Why don't you kill me too?
I may! It rather depends on how quickly and satisfactorily you explain yourself. We'll start with your names.
I am Burlatski, Piotr. I came here with Sliunkov, Viktor. We was looking for stuff to steal... Western watches and suchlike...
Major Savinkov breaks one of the man's fingers.
AAH! All right! We was sent to kill your friend.
Don't stop please! We'd like the complete story.
Viktor gets a message saying to go to the hotel Syevyernaya Zvyezda. So we goes, see. The message says room 304. There's a man waiting, but we don't see his face. He gives us a picture and a hundred dollars and says we get another two hundred when the job's done. That's it.
You say you didn't see the man's face. What did you see?
He's sitting behind a light, see. Which is pointing in our faces. He had black hair. That's all I see.
Interesting. Later this evening, you will go to the hotel in question, Rukov. Find out what you can. Need I remind you that we cannot achieve success here in Leningrad without discretion. Avoid causing an uproar and kill nobody! Our immediate concern is to get rid of the dead! Comrade Burlatski will come with me. Give me 5 minutes to leave quietly.
You will make sure that Sliunkov's body disappears from this hotel. Do it now, before you do anything else. Our enemies may well send the militia here to hunt for cadavers! Should you be mixed up in a murder investigation, our efforts will have been in vain! We'll meet here in an hour, captain. Make sure the body has gone. Why not throw it in the canal at the end of the street behind the hotel? By the way, the militia often patrol beside the canal; you'd be wise to find a way to pass him off as a drunk. Be here in 1 hour!
I almost feel sorry for the poor bastard. Who knows what Savinkov will do to him.
As grateful as I am to Savinkov for saving me, I'm not sure I trust him. He seems too eager to cover for Agabekov, while pinning all the guilt onto Chapkin and his father-in-law. I suppose Agabekov could be undercover. For that matter, maybe Chapkin's undercover. Everyone at Department 7 is looking very bad, except maybe Drobnista. Anyway, no time to worry about that right now. I have a body to dispose of.