I assured Nicolai that before I would be back at our beach, the work would most likely be already progress. "Your task," I said to Nicolai, "begins at the very moment we know which satellite is involved. You have to find a way to get it shot down. So, you better start working on that tonight."
"What do you think I have been doing for the last two weeks?" Nicolai replied, and grinned. "You are asking for miracles."
"Hey, Nicolai, nothing less will do," I countered him, "unless you have a better idea. It has to be done by you. The U.S. doesn't have any anti-satellite capability. The only thing we can do is send the Space Shuttle up and attach a mine to the death star. I can also guarantee that hell will freeze over before congress provides the funding for such a project. Whoever did this, will surely have links into the US Congress, too. This means that any funding request will be stalled there until the disaster becomes irreversible. Russia or China are the only nations who can help at this stage."
"Or France, or Japan," Anton added.
"It will have to be Russia," Nicolai agreed.
Once the business at hand was completed and all the arrangements were made that needed to be made, Nicolai pointed out that there was a twenty-four hour restaurant nearby. He invited us for breakfast. At the restaurant, his vision of our wedding was discussed and plans drawn up. For lunch, he had a 'secret' place reserved; for something special. Sleeping had to wait. We had no time for that. "That's what airplanes are for," I remarked jokingly.
We remained together for the rest of the day. We discussed wedding dates, and who to invite to the great event. After breakfast Nicolai showed me his favorite spots of Moscow, and after lunch, the best place for dancing. He had even obtained permission for us to see the great hall of the Kremlin, briefly before dinner. Normally, I would felt that this was a waste of time. Now, just being together as we were, was time well spent.
The time to say fare well did come all too soon, as it always does, but not until late in the evening. The flight that I had been booked on, the only one that was available on short notice, was the Aeroflot red eye special to Montreal. Anton and Nicolai came right to the gate we me. We waved to each other briefly as I entered the security area. Then I saw them no more.
It had been a hurried good-bye, though long enough for a few kisses and hugs. Little did I realize, as I entered the security area alone, that I would never see their faces again, be warmed by their smile, feel Anton's kiss and Nicolai's gentle embrace. All that I realized at that moment was the urgency of our situation that was in the back of all of our thoughts - the overriding urgency of the hour, that we had to find a way to get this thing destroyed before it would be unleashed to destroy us all.
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|| - Exit -