It was good to hear from you. It’s been a long time since we wrote. I was a little confused after what General Calrissian did. I mean, I’ll admit it to you that I wondered if what the Commission said could be true. I wrestled with it for quite some time.
I was in Skopje waiting for a contact before heading to Orhid. I was in a park playing chess with an old man. He spoke of the old days in that wistful way that citizens of the former Eastern Block speak of the old regime while the gypsies sold watermelons at the crossing and children played on the statues honoring the partisans from the War -- when it hit me.
You couldn’t have done it. You were in Kirkuk when the whole thing went down. McKinzey was with you.
The fact that McKinzey hasn’t been seen since Operation Blind Salamander is… disturbing. Could there be a mole in the Commandos? It’s happened before.
I was so preoccupied that the old man took my rook and put me in check. His toothless smile and little cackle made me want to smack that cigarette filled with cheap Kazak tobacco out of his hand.
Some of the younger men in their blue jogging suits shared his amusement. “Take his knight” one advised.
His knight? But then my bishop would be exposed! Hmm.
I stared out across the park at the men fishing in the Vardar River, wondering if the fish were biting.
Bait the line. Spread the net. Catch the man.
But why you as the fall man? Are you the bait?
You are the bait. You are the exposed bishop. I took the knight. I lost my bishop, but I won the game.
A thousand possible combinations.
Could I have afforded to keep my bishop and still win?
I cannot leave my post here. I am sending you a package to Dar-el-Salam. It will be with the crippled cumin salesman who smokes the clove cigarettes. Ask him for 100g of cumin and a cigarette. He will ask if you would like a glass of water. Take the water, but ask if you may have a slice of cucumber in it before you drink it. He will ask you if you want to buy a crate of clementines. Buy them. The package will be inside. You will know what to do.
Be safe. And watch your back.