Devil's Fork, p.1Spencer Adams
By Spencer Adams
Copyright © 2013 All rights reserved.
This book, or any portion thereof , may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
In this work of fiction, the characters, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or they are used entirely fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Nothing is intended or should be interpreted as expressing or representing the views of any department or agency of any government body.
Printed in the United States of America
Cover design by Elizabeth Mackey
Also by Spencer Adams
The Four Hundred Conspiracy
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The SAD is a real unit in the CIA. Most of its missions are unknown to the public.
The NIS is South Korea’s intelligence agency.
A number of intelligence agencies have an “illegals” program.
Other organizations described in this novel are real or based on real groups.
All technologies described are real or are derived from existing technologies.
“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking.”
RWMUW XTPIY GTSPN PPEZ
Pyongyang, North Korea
Officer 1414 knew he was going to die. He peeked through the curtains of his apartment, catching a glimpse of the bleak capital. On the street several military trucks pulled to a stop and soldiers jumped out with urgency. They ran towards Officer 1414’s building.
The apartment in which he had spent almost five years was on the seventh floor of a nondescript concrete building. He could see the soldiers clearly on the street, although their faces were difficult to make out. A few officers were giving orders. One was motioning to a squad to run to the intersection to the right of the apartment block. To another squad he motioned to run to the intersection on the left.
They are trying to cut off my escape.
1414 was an officer in the National Intelligence Service of South Korea, known as the NIS. Fourteen-fourteen was his code name – to be used for communications and in any documents related to the mission. He was an “illegal,” meaning he was not officially working at an embassy or agency while gathering intelligence. This was a moot distinction because South Korea had no embassy or agency operating in North Korea. The two countries were still officially at war. The term illegal referred to his being in the country illegally. Americans used the term deep cover. The North Koreans would consider him an illegal and that is how 1414 preferred to view himself. He had been in the North for about a decade with forged papers, a false identity, and more cash than an average North Korean earned in a lifetime. His job in Pyongyang was in the Transportation Ministry. His real job was to make friends with military officers, government bureaucrats, and members of the state news agency. Each contact he made was either a source of information or a ticket to meet someone closer to the regime, with more precious information. All of this was done to accomplish the mission he had been given back home. Each of the illegals in North Korea worked separately, and the NIS gave each a mission that they expected to take a decade to complete. But each task, including 1414’s, was paramount to the South’s survival.
One squad along with three plain-clothed men entered the building below. The plain-clothed men had the markings of secret police. They looked better fed than the broad populace. They looked more confident than anyone around them. They also nonchalantly held pistols in their hands – a strictly forbidden item in this country.
1414 knew the secret police were not making an ordinary arrest. If a family was discovered with crumbled pictures of the leaders, they were guilty of a crime punishable by an unknown-number of years in a prison camp. But the secret police arrested those families in the middle of the night, precisely so nobody would see. This put maximum fear into the people – either those being detained or those not. But now it was 9AM – long after such an arrest would have been made. The apartment raids that happen at this time are for those who must be arrested immediately – foreign spies.
I only have a few minutes.
There was little time to think. The door to the apartment was locked, which provided an extra minute of security. Luckily the elevator never worked in the building, so the arresting party would be forced to use the stairs, which might add four minutes. 1414 lunged for his couch and started pushing it towards his door. He could bench press 250 pounds and now was thankful more than ever for his strength. He aligned the couch right in front of the door. It was the perfect height to block the handle from turning. He picked up his small dining table and put it on the couch.
But he did not barricade his door to try to escape out of another entrance. There was none. 1414 needed extra time to send a message to Command. He knew death was inevitable. He underwent two years of training to be an illegal, and psychological preparation for the possibility of death was an important part of the program. He had learned not to cling to life as if wildly treading water to catch the ledge. Death would be a time for the rest and peace he was not able to get while in the South Korean Marines or as an illegal. It was not to be feared. His training was working: 1414 was not shaking or panting. His movements were methodical. He looked like a farmer going through his tools in his barn as he searched for his phone. He calculated that his guests were probably about halfway up the stairs by now. In the bathroom, he reached through some piping that was visible through a small hole in the wall. He pulled out a bag with his phone. It was a Samsung device that connected to Command through a satellite. The NIS modified it to encrypt his voice and any typed messages he sent. He used it just last night to tell Command that his decade-long mission might be completed today, but he still needed to put the phone back each time he used it.
Then the knocking started. His door vibrated with each fist that hit it. The knocking soon transformed into banging.
Do they really think I’d open?
He pressed the power button on the phone. As it loaded, the banging on the door became more violent – they were trying to kick it down now. The kick’s percussion reverberated through his small apartment. This message must be sent, 1414 thought. He was now focused on completing the last leg of his mission.
An hour ago, he had met with one of his contacts. They bought newspapers and cigarettes together and then walked along the south side of the Taedong River, just north of 1414’s apartment. 1414 amused himself thinking about the difficulties meeting someone in Pyongyang which his counterparts in Japan or even China never had to worry about. In the rest of the world there were many bars, clubs, cafes, bookshops, or malls to meet with a contact. In Pyongyang there were so few of these places that meeting to buy newspapers and cigarettes was almost the only possible activity. His contacts of course had no idea that he was a South Korean officer. An intelligence officer of any country might have a number of contacts who were really unsuspecting sources of information. They thought they were talking to a curious friend. Many only needed a drink or two at a meal before information flowed like water out of a fountain. This morning was different. After spending a decade on his mission, 1414’s meeting this morning was the culmination of everything he had been striving for. Contact after contact, piece after piece of information collected from the moment he crossed the Ya
1414 entered his final message into his phone and quickly sent it:
41.160167, 129.612440. Mission accomplished. Officer 1414 compromised. Last resort will be used. Error in how we think about Jewels.
He wished he could just say what he found out. The NIS misunderstood North Korea’s activities. But he had to stick to the code words and procedure he was assigned. If the message was discovered, intercepted, or later hacked then his holiday in this country would have been for nothing. The message had to be specific enough so Command could understand it, yet vague enough to keep mission security.
1414 pressed a small button on the side of his phone four times in succession. Smoke started to come out of the phone as the circuitry inside started melting. Command had modified the phone with chemicals that could be discharged if it needed to be destroyed.
The secret police were beating the door wildly now. It moved at least half an inch inward with each hit. 1414 could hear voices on the other side.
1414 sat in the far corner of his bedroom, his legs stretched out in front of him. He thought about the summer days he used to spend outside as a child. The sun was so bright that he felt that it was giving a kiss to him and the grass around him all day. The sun was what he missed most in North Korea. He saw the sun here too, supposedly the same sun he saw growing up 300 miles south. Yet it was not the same.
1414 took out the item of last resort Command gave illegals: a pill. He saw his door break open. The couch and table were now all that kept the visitors away. He bit the pill and closed his eyes for the final time.
Devil's Fork by Spencer Adams / Thrillers & Crime have rating 4.5 out of 5 / Based on36 votes