Night

The driver drove swiftly and steadily out of Tokyo and into the country. Anonymous farm towns and flashes of kanji rushed by the windows. We kept the televisions off.

We spoke nothing of the war. Or of the worldwide Array. And I was pleased that Michael didn’t push me for any more information about my activities aboard the Nisshin Maru.

We talked about women—mostly his—and smoked Korean cigars.

When the scotch was spent, Telders pulled another bottle from a little cabinet by his leg. A drawing of Kim Jong-il graced the label. He poured its contents into the crystal decanter, then rolled down the window and the Dear Leader went spinning into a field.

Mike was a seasoned storyteller and he could go on for hours without requiring any input whatsoever. It felt good to relax. To be in the company of an old friend. To hear stories of people and places I knew. And for a time I completely forgot about everything that had happened and just listened. I felt normal again.

I must have dozed off after a while because Telders was suddenly shaking me and the car was silent and still.

“What? Are we there?”

“We’re here,” he said. He put a bottle of water into my hands.

“Station12?”

“Not yet. Take a look out the window,” he said, fingering the switch. I yawned and stuck my head out. The Lincoln’s high beams illuminated a baby blue Bell 222 helicopter parked in an empty field.

“Fancy. Does it have a bar as well?”

“Dumb question,” Telders said. He rapped on the privacy window. “Let’s move out, Jun.”

The privacy glass disappeared into the console.

“Leave the car here?” The Korean driver asked in perfect English.

“Burn it,” Telders replied.

“Yes sir.”

We watched the limo blaze as the Bell ascended into the sky.