Monday, 29th May 2023 - 15:39:23 pm

The choices for his co-conspirators were obvious. Rudmetkyn picked up one of the two phones on his desk. It was one of the few phones in Russia that was equipped with a scrambler. It was also hooked up to a tape recorder. He started the recorder.

He was put through to the head of the FSB immediately.

“Comrade,” he made his voice its most friendly and trusting, “do you have a moment? I have the most interesting story to tell you.”

The FSB man was not fooled for a moment by his tone, but he could not help feeling flattered that Rudmetkyn thought it necessary to speak in this manner. The head of the FSB would, of course, have the time to hear him out. When Rudmetkyn spoke everyone listened.

Rudmetkyn told him the story, holding nothing back except for his sources. Of course he told him nothing of his plans for solving the problem. “It seems to me,” he summed up, “like an excellent opportunity to penetrate the drug business in that area, and through the drug business we could penetrate the aero-space industry. I am told that there is widespread use of cocaine among industry executives.”

The head of the FSB had many objections but only one that he could voice. “I would not want to be tied in with drugs. That could be very bad for us.”

“My friend. My friend,” Rudmetkyn purred. “Would I put you in such a position? Of course not. It will be I that will take the risks. Your fine organization will not be mentioned in any of this. But,” he paused dramatically to emphasize what he was going to say, “should something come from this, something of importance, it goes straight to you and the FSB. That is the way I work. You know that. I have always worked that way.”

There was little more that the head of the FSB could say except, “Thank you.” It would be days before he could figure out why the call had been made, and even then he wouldn’t be sure.

Rudmetkyn, on the other hand, knew precisely the reason for the call. If any of this was an FSB plot to ensnare his, he was now covered. It was insurance that had cost him nothing.

A second scrambled call, also recorded went to the Russian President. Rudmetkyn told the president nearly the same things he had told the head of the FSB, except he hinted broadly at the steps he planned to take to solve the problem. The president was greatly amused as Rudmetkyn knew he would be. Rudmetkyn was careful to mention that the head of the FSB knew all about the situation and approved. The president also approved. Rudmetkyn had his co-conspirators.

That same day he found his catalyst.

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