Monday, 29th May 2023 - 15:16:36 pm

Edward Camacho! That came from right field. The tumblers clicked in Kincaid's brain. "Yeah, I remember him," he said lazily. "Sergeant. Special Forces. Viet Nam. Two corps. Hell of a good man. What about him?"

Whalen nodded.

Cattle were grazing in fields on both sides of the road.

"Right now he's a CIA agent in Iran passing as an Iranian. He is a very, very good agent, I understand. He is so good that our side had to blow his cover.

"This is the irony of the situation. Things are so crazy there that he was picked up by chance and accused of anti-revolutionary activities. They had no idea that he was one of ours. They were going to put him before the revolutionary court and then shoot him as an Iranian dissident. Well whether they shot him as an Iranian or as and American agent, he would be just as dead, so we asked the Swiss Embassy to intercede for us."

They were coming up on the San Diego Freeway it didn't make any difference so Whalen turned south. There would be less traffic that way.

"Now, in normal times, this is a cut and dried affair. Your agent gets caught, you make an exchange and get him the hell out. You give them what they want. But these people are uncivilized. There's no talking to them. All they want is to kill Mohammed Parsee. That's the name they know him by. They know now that he's one of our agents and they want to rub our noses in it."

Kincaid noticed a blue sports car that had been keeping the same distance behind them for several miles.

"Take the next off-ramp."

It was only a half mile ahead. Whalen did as he was told without comment.

"Go straight across." Kincaid told him at the bottom of the ramp.

The light was green. Whalen drove across the intersection and onto the freeway on-ramp.

The blue sports car hadn't varied its speed. It was now a hundred yards ahead of them. "Stay in the slow lane for a while."

As the blue car gradually pulled away from them Whalen continued. "The President has expressed interest in this to say the least. They have discussed their options from a military strike in regimental strength downward, but eventually they came to the decision that their best bet would be to keep it small." He kept his eyes straight ahead.

"And anonymous?" The Beretta under his belt was beginning to pinch his skin. He pulled it out and put it on the floor under his legs.

"That occurred to them of course."

"I'll bet it did." He could remember aircraft burning on an Iranian desert. "You want me to get him out, huh?"

"I understand that the President wants it bad. Given our ongoing history with those people, you can see why. He's willing to lay on whatever you need, no questions asked."

There was an accident blocking one lane on the northbound side of the freeway. There wasn't enough traffic for it to interfere.

"If I get him out, you guys take the bows. If I get burned, you never heard of me."

Whalen drove on a full minute before answering. "That's the way it works. That's the only way it can work. You know that. Will you do it?"

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