Chapter 6: CIA (1)
The phone next to the bed rang loudly.
Youngho looked at the clock. It was 6 AM. It was frustrating, but he contained himself since he did not know who it was yet. It must be something urgent, to call at this hour. It turned out to be his friend Cho Sangchun from Korea.
“Sleeping? You’re able to sleep when I’m dying under the workload?”
“Sangchun, what time is it now?”
“Why? It’s 11 AM in Korea now.”
“You’re crazy. Do you even know what ‘time difference’ means?”
“I don’t have the extra time to consider that.”
This must not be bad news since he sounded bright.
“Anyway, you’re not starving yourself as you work, right?”
“Yes, my beautiful Yunsuh takes care of me well.”
“What a romantic.”
Youngho could hear Sangchun turning pages.
“Youngho, do you even know what the total amount is for the whole order?”
“5.3 billion in Korean won*. What about it?”
“Don’t be stupid, I’m talking about the production cost.”
“It’s your job to calculate that. I just signed the deal, you deal with all the math.”
“Don’t be shocked. The production cost for the mountain-climbing gears is 4.3 billion won. And we’ll also make more than 50 million won for the laptops and security systems. Are you sure this order is correct?”
“I know you’ve always been skeptical, but are you doubting me?”
“It’s just... It feels like I’m dreaming, man.”
“Don’t get too excited. They might order more in the future. If it’s not too damaging to our profit, tell suppliers to make them the best quality and don’t consider the production cost.”
Youngho said that because he was confident that he would get more orders coming in the future. It did not feel like it was going to end after one business deal.
“Okay, I’ll pressure the suppliers, don’t worry.”
Youngho felt like a ton of weight was lifted from his shoulders after the uplifting call.
He was fully awake already. After staying in his bed for a while, Youngho suddenly got up. If he stayed in bed any longer, he would only waste time daydreaming. He went out to the lobby in his tracksuit.
The fireplace in the lobby had been lit even though it was late summer. There were some early bird guests who were already having their morning coffee in the lobby lounge. It was somewhat chilly in there even in the late summer because the city was located at an altitude 800 to 900 meters high.
The sun was rising as Youngho left the hotel entrance.
He stretched his body and started sprinting. At about three kilometers, Youngho felt out of breath. He changed his stride and started walking at a rapid pace to catch his breath.
It was strange to feel the same discomfort from undergoing U.D.T. training in the navy, when his drill sergeants kept pulling his legs underwater, in a faraway country. He was a fast learner, so he did not get drowned as much as his comrades, but he would not forget that feeling of discomfort.
He moved nearer to the buildings on the roadside and walked at a speed close to running. The safest defense was having one side blocked. It was better to defend oneself having one side blocked than having all sides freely open.
Some bakeries were open already, but other stores were still closed. A butcher shop ten meters ahead caught Youngho’s attention. As he was stepping into the shop, he heard lousy footsteps behind him. Without looking back, he reckoned that the footsteps belonged to two people. Stepping inside, Youngho looked at the owner and put his index finger on his lips. The owner grinned and stood near the canopy at the entrance.
The smell of gunpowder arose. One of the guys must have pulled out a gun. If one did not clean the muzzle or breechblock after shooting, a gun would smell like that for a while. Especially in the case of pistols; it was worse since they did not import them within the region often. This guy must not be skilled. The smell of gunpowder told Youngho that they were enemies.
If Youngho hesitated now, he might have to take bullets or get abducted again. The one who was walking along the outer walls of the store just turned around the corner. At that moment, the side of Youngho’s hand struck the guy’s Adam’s apple.
Hrrrk! he made a choking sound. He grabbed his neck and his eyes rolled back. Youngho did not hit him too hard to be life-threatening, but the extreme pain dumbed his senses, stopping him immediately.
The second guy looked inside to see who made the choking sound, and he flipped back as Youngho’s fist struck his temple. He fainted at the shock from the attack on his vital point. His big body fell backward, and the back of his head hit the floor hard.
Margos the militia commander immediately came to take care of the incident. Fortunately the two men were not in bad condition, and they seemed like excellent toys for Hulk.
Whoever these men were, it was obvious that Youngho became a target for somebody. Edward, who showed up after a few hours, also worried Younho.
“Lee, this is not good. You’ve been made a target of special police of Azerbaijan already. This is our mistake.”
“They’ve been staying in the same hotel as you. They were drinking coffee and saw you walking out alone, so they initiated contact with you. Now, you can’t freely roam around in Azerbaijan and in here.”
Hearing his complicated words, Youngho felt woozy.
‘You are done here.’ It was as simple as that, but Edward kept on using all kinds of words to tell him that he could not be free here. Frustrated, Youngho burst with a question.
“Ed, may I use the pistol I obtained this morning for self-defense?”
Edward smiled at Youngho’s words, as if his question was not even worth asking.
“I’m asking if there are any legal problems with that.”
“There’s no problem. I’ll also personally protect you because you’re going through so much trouble caused by our people.”
From someone who didn’t even know that I was getting beaten.
Edward’s looked relaxed, as if this situation was interesting.
Youngho was still alarmed like a porcupine with quills, but Edward explained the current situation in a business-like manner.
“What I’d like to suggest now is that you must hide your identity by enrolling as a temporary CIA field agent.”
What he was saying was total bullsh*t. Just because Youngho was targeted by the special police of Azerbaijan, he needed to change his status? He needed to become a CIA agent?
“Ed, I’m not in the mood to joke around. I’m serious.”
However, Edward kept on insisting that he was just suggesting it because he was worried about Youngho’s safety, and Youngho needed to do that if he wanted to carry out the deal.
“The headquarters wouldn’t approve of this even with my recommendation if you were a regular civilian, but since you have some background in the special forces, and you’re the person we need to seal the deal for this district, we can make a fake identity easily.”
“You’re saying that if I keep my Korean identity, I won’t be able carry out the deal with you, not to mention securing my safety.”
“You are looking at it right.”
There was no other choice to consider.
“If there is no other way, please get me a temporary cover.”
Smiling at Younho’s words, Edward continued, “All right, then. You are now under the watch of Azerbaijan, and that is why we are temporarily taking action like this. Our organization has a lot of people who can be quite flexible and rational.”
Dude, please. I’m just busy taking care of my situation. I’m not interested in your organization.
“Very well. Since the situation is so dreary that I can’t even go jogging by myself, I’ll take anything, whether it’s a fake passport or temporary agent; but promise me that it will not affect my country or family. If you can promise that, I will take whatever you offer.”
There, he said it, and there was no other way for Youngho.
“I have the right person, Lee. I’ll report this to the headquarters and we’ll see how it goes.”
Youngho was not so pleased with Edward’s attitude. He sounded like he was bragging when he said that he was going to make Youngho a fake passport.
Youngho studied the pistol by disassembling and assembling it again and again. It was an Italian Beretta pistol, used for practuce drills in America.
Beretta pistols were so famous worldwide that even high-standing American weapons dealers acknowledged them. They were also one of the US Army’s favorites.
Weighing around a kilogram**, the pistol could load fifteen shotgun bullets and 380ACP bullets, which were recoilless. The pistol was a product that made Italy world-famous in the firearms industry.
Now, it was in Youngho’s hands. Youngho put it in the front pocket of his suit. He was now able to assemble the pistol with his eyes closed. If he wanted to live, he needed to carry one. Didn’t they say that he was a target of the Azerbaijan special police? He wanted to return to Korea immediately, but the deal was stopping him.
With Edward’s recommendation, Youngho stayed in his room quietly for several days. At the seventh day, Edward came to his room. He was lively as he told Youngho that he had just been to Germany, where there was a European chapter.
“Lee, congratulations! You have been specially appointed as a field agent by the European chapter. Please keep this with you at all times. This is a US passport.”
What is he talking about now? Is he insane?
“Ed, did you just say that I was approved as a special field agent? You said that you would just make a temporary ID.”
“Mr. Lee, you are a veteran who was trained under the special forces. You have already taken down policemen under cover with your bare hands and proven your skills. As a head of the local chapter of the US CIA, I wanted to recommend you as a field agent. This will not be a minus to you ever. This ID is not fake; it is a diplomat’s passport issued by the United States.”
Youngho could not think straight.
“Why on earth do I need to keep this?”
“You are officially not Korean here now. You can check out from this hotel and find another one to stay in.”
Youngho felt like he was caught in something.
Well, there was nothing he could do now. Why would the CIA make him a fake passport? It felt like Youngho was tricked into Edward’s plan all along, but he could not do anything because of the deal.
“With this passport, the US Embassies in any country will do favors for you.”
“Mr. Edward, you are pulling me into something.”
A field agent was a person who carried out missions locally. In fact, you would be a field agent only after undergoing a harsh training period in the States, but allegedly, an agent in a high-ranking position could specially appoint someone as an agent in necessity.
“I will not deny that. If you want to withdraw now, we will act as if nothing happened, but I’m telling you that this kind of opportunity does not come often. I guarantee that it will not be of any harm to you.”
Youngho’s mind was filled with a thousand thoughts in an instant. If this was his destiny, he wanted to take it. Rather than going back to a small country and competing just to live in there, he wanted to go experience the crazy life in the vast world.
Edward was not forcing him to be a CIA agent, but was convincing him to make a rational judgment by making him see from a realistic point of view.
Youngho had a chance, but it was like walking on a tightrope. If he was successful, he would live and gain wealth; but if not, he might get killed in vain.
Putting all his thoughts aside, he already had the answer.
*won- Korean currency. $1 equals to 1124 won as of 10/16/18
**kilogram-measurement of weight. 1 kilogram equals to 2.2lb
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