On the trip back to the cabin the following morning, Kathy and Jack talked about what the intruder could have learned in the house before he planted the bomb. Kathy looked through the papers she took from the house, and told Jack the bomber now had a very thorough description of him. “He has your social security number, the transcripts of your education, records from the Marine days, sports awards, bank records and employment with the Pittsburgh Police Department. He also knows your ex-wife’s name and the name of her lawyer. If that isn’t enough, the stuff left in the medicine cabinet provided doctors’ names, addresses and some treatment history.”
Kathy said, “Altogether too much information to ignore and hope for the best. I bet forensics won’t give us much about the person who tried to kill you. We have got to take this very seriously. I saw nothing that would lead to the cabin, but our next move has to be well planned. I’m almost sure these people will try again.”
“Okay! So let’s get ready for them. First off, we’re going to get you acquainted with more basic weapons and a deeper exposure to Hapkido. We can work on the weapons at the cabin. Then, we’re going back to McLean, and my old friend Paul Kim is going to teach you some basic defense and attack moves. That is, if you’re willing to spend a number of hours in the Dojang. Once you get started, I can add to your repertoire. Paul is one of the best there is. What say you?”
“Jack, remember that long flight from Delhi to Honolulu, I was still recovering from the shock of having to kill that al Qaeda gunman who was going to shoot you in the back. I knew then I need to improve my reaction time and use of weapons if I’m going to hold my own. So, yes, I’m ready to commit to some serious training and conditioning.”
“I’m glad to hear you say that. You’re already very good. We just need to make some small improvements. Mostly, improving reaction and shooting discipline. The gunman who came out of the kitchen closet in Ali’s house is a good example. Two things, you were a little slow to shoot, and then you emptied your .38 revolver into him. In a perfect redo, you would shoot as soon as he stepped out of his hiding place, and you would have saved at least three rounds for a possible other immediate target. Okay?”
“Yes, I can see that now. I guess I can’t expect to be lucky every time.”
“Luck is good, but tomorrow we begin a bit of weapons training. First, I have a story for you.”
“Great, I like stories. Is this a good one?”
“It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell you when I first fell in love with one Kathleen Grayson. It’s a story you need to hear before you marry me. My father told me this story when he knew his heart condition was terminal. In case he died before he could tell me, he made a recording and put it in a safety deposit box for me to find later. Now I want you to hear the same story.”
When they had unloaded the car at the cabin and finished a very late lunch, Jack led Kathy out to the porch and asked her to listen to his father’s story. Before Kathy put on the earphones, he said, “Please, no questions until you’ve heard the whole story and, to take away the temptation, Shadow and I are going for a walk.”
Jack knew he had to give Kathy the privacy and time she would need to deal with his father’s unbelievable story.
Kathy adjusted her earphones, slipped the DVD into the small player and heard a deep raspy voice of a man she had never met. She could hardly believe what she was hearing. Jack’s father was a KGB agent who was smuggled into the country across the Canadian border when Jack was not much more than an infant. As she listened further, the story became even stranger. Jack’s father built his financial fortune from money he stole from the KGB. Neither he nor Jack was a legal US citizen. She heard this disembodied voice telling her how they had escaped from KGB teams sent to hunt them down. My God! Jack’s mother and baby sister were killed by the KGB. That explains a lot. This hidden cabin with the incredible supply of weapons, the hidden escape tunnel and the training in the form of games that his father put Jack through. No wonder Jack is so attuned to impending dangers. He grew up with it. His father’s relationship with Frank goes back decades. He has been working for the CIA the entire time he’s been in the US. This has got to be one of the best kept secrets. Talk about deep cover, this family is deep cover. Now I see why Jack wanted me to hear this story before I make any legal commitments. I don’t know whether I’m angry or honored that he is sharing this history with me now.
His father’s relationship with Yuri, the terrorist killed last year, extends back to the time they were both up and coming KGB officers. Yuri led the team that killed Jack’s mother and sister. No wonder he was so focused on killing Yuri and his entire network.
As Jack and Shadow walked along the mountain trail, Jack remembered how much his father’s story had shocked him. He hoped Kathy would be able to handle this situation better than he had. To find out that he had been using a false name his entire life and was not even a citizen of the country he served shook him badly. Not to mention his father was a former KGB agent, still on their wanted list. Maybe CIA could cope with these facts but the FBI would slap both he and his father in the lockup at the first opportunity. He loved and admired his father and was proud to be an American. After all he was no different than the millions of illegal aliens living in the US, many of whom earned their citizenship by serving in the armed forces. He wasn’t a spy or a counter-intelligence agent but he was a damn good cop. He had no doubt he could continue his father’s legacy.
Nearly an hour had passed. Shadow had grown tired of romping in the small brook. Jack gave Shadow the signal to move out. Arriving back at the cabin, he saw Kathy was still on the porch. She looked up, saw Jack and ran down the steps into his arms. “My God! Jack, what an incredible story! You’ve known this for over a year. Why tell me now?”
“My dad thought this story was better forgotten. He almost decided not to tell me. I trusted you from the beginning but believed it was unfair to ask you to marry me without telling you this story. So I did. Are you angry?”
“At first. I got over my hurt feelings as the story unfolded. Your father essentially lived the life of a deep cover agent and carried his story to the grave. I suppose you and I can carry it on. The best way to do that is to follow your father’s wish and just forget it and live a normal life. I don’t see how his story can ever be uncovered. Let’s destroy the evidence now. I’m sure Frank made no records of your father’s past. Is this DVD the only record?”
“As far as I know, but we had better search all the files in the hidden room in this cabin.”
Jack and Kathy spent two days in a complete search of Peter Brandon’s secret files. They found three documents that would lead a reader to suspect a further search was needed. Those documents were destroyed along with a number of outdated files.