A Request Goes Unanswered
The Anhalter Bahnhof train station brimmed with people to the point of being claustrophobic. Out of the corner of his eye, Pavel picked up on Queenie’s suspicious glance shot in his direction. Is she trying to read me? Or has she already done it? He tipped his cap to her. Queenie stepped in front of him behind Richard and Elsa. If she had, she would have learned that I possess no qualms about destroying both best friend and comrade if the situation warrants it.
Three hours ago, Pavel placed a call from the Harnack apartment to a fellow agent. She and Leopold were lovers. While he waited for her to pick up, he knew their conversation would not be an easy one. The complication was how to explain that Leopold potentially could expose their entire network because of mind control. A reason, he concluded, beyond the pale for her or most to accept. He decided on a different ploy. She, like him, had come to accept the brutality and stern obedience expected by Moscow. So, when she lifted the receiver, he had resolved to focus his attention on her. It was essential that she believed that his orders came directly from Moscow. As her commander in Berlin, he had no reason to expect she would either challenge him or reach out to Moscow to confirm his orders. Her conversation was halting, indicating that Leopold was nearby. He told her to listen. “Moscow has learned that you are about to be exposed.” She held a key position in the press department at Ribbentrop’s Foreign Ministry. “Leopold is a double agent. He must be eliminated tonight, within the hour.” Silence. “Do you understand?” He drew in a deep breath before she said, “Yes.” When the line went dead, he placed a second call to a comrade, codenamed “The Cleaner.” He assigned him the task of eliminating Leopold’s body and cleaning up any traces of his presence.
The poison, curare, would likely be the weapon of choice used by Leopold’s lover. Bullets coated in the curare resin had hit its mark three...