Summer. It had to be Summer. Hannah wiped her forehead again and exhaled sharply. They had dropped her on the side of the road near one of CGTs safe houses and left her to walk.
Hannah had already been walking for twenty minutes in the blazing sun and she had at least another twenty to go. Sounds of a car skidding on gravel behind her grew louder and Hannah jumped behind a large bush.
Peering through the gaps in the leaves, Hannah waited for the car to stop and several people stomped out.
Through the leaves Hannah couldn’t see how many there were, but she was guessing at least three.
“The drone picked up the figure heading in this direction. They have to be around here somewhere.” Stephanie’s voice was distinctive but something was different in her tone. Hannah took a deep breath and raised her arms above her head, moving from behind the bush.
“Steph,” she said as she came into view. Guns were aimed in her direction as Stephanie, Ian and another agent Hannah didn’t recognise stood before her.
Ian and Stephanie dropped their weapons and Stephanie raced to envelop Hannah in a bear hug. Behind them, Ian put his hand on the other agent’s weapon, lowering it and whispering.
Stephanie pulled back and smiled,
“I didn’t see what happened to you at the raid.” She turned and motioned towards Ian.
“I ran into Ian and we fought off as many as we could before some of us retreated. Temporarily.” The emphasis on Stephanie’s last word made Hannah nervous. Her new mission was just starting, and she already had to lie to her best friend.
“I got swept up and taken to some warehouse to be questioned,” Hannah said. Stephanie motioned for their car and pulled at Hannah’s arm.
“Let’s get to the safe house.”
Hannah got into the back seat with the agent she didn’t recognize.
“I’m Hannah Carmichael.” She said, stretching out her hand to shake his. He looked at her hand then back to her before clearing his throat.
“Agent Morozov.” His accent surprised her and she raised her eyebrows.
“Yes, I’m Russian.” He said, rolling his shoulders. “I was called in from our Counterintelligence Unit after the attack.” His eyes were cold and his voice monotone as he turned and looked out the window. Hannah sighed and turned to Stephanie in the driver’s seat.
“How did you escape?” Stephanie asked, looking at her through the rear view mirror.
“They were moving me to another location and there was an accident on the roads. We were stuck in traffic at a standstill and I reached across to a guard’s gun.” Hannah sighed. “What happened to everyone else?” She asked.
Stephanie’s eyes dropped and she moved her gaze back onto the road.
“As far as I know, half our agents were either killed or captured.” She looked back to Hannah in the mirror and shrugged.
“The rest have been scattered between our five remaining uncompromised briefing locations and safe houses.”
Ian turned from the front passenger seat and smiled at her.
“Lucky we were sent to this one.” He said, turning back to face forward.
“What happened to Anthony?” Hannah asked, looking out her window at the passing farmland.
“He’s with us at the safe house.” Stephanie said as they pulled into the discreet side road leading to their five bedroom safe house. As they parked, Ian and Agent Morozov got out of the car and Stephanie sighed.
Hannah moved over to the middle seat, leaning forward.
“Morozov seems like a bit of a dick.” Hannah said, getting a small chuckle from Stephanie. She turned to face Hannah and gave an unconvincing smile.
“We couldn’t go back, so I didn’t know…” Her voice tapered off and Hannah reached forward, putting a hand on Stephanie’s shoulder.
“Let’s go inside and get a game plan.” Hannah said, opening her door and stepping outside. As he got out of the car, Stephanie slapped Hannah’s back and smiled.
“Don’t mind Moroz.” Stephanie said. “Bosses sent him here to make sure any further attacks don’t happen.”
“Good,” Hannah said, hoping her false sincerity was convincing.