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1967, 28 September

            “I have a special project for you today, Jarod,” Sydney said. He gave the boy a photograph. “You are to become this man and project ways in which he will attempt to escape from prison.”

            Jarod studied the photograph. It was one that had been taken for a passport or a newspaper, a simple professional headshot. At first glance the man looked fairly ordinary, probably in his early forties, with a faintly smiling, rectangular face. He was neither handsome nor ugly. He could be anything, a salesman, an actor, a doctor, an administrator. His face gave no clues as to who he was or what he did. And yet—And yet the eyes. The eyes were alive with character. The one thing this man could not hide in an innocuous photograph was the vibrant determination in his eyes. There was razor-sharp intellect behind them. And the mouth, too, with its full lower lip and the smile tucked into the corners, gave away an amused intractability. He sat with his head thrust forward a little, his eyes boring into the camera.

            “Tell me what you think about him, Jarod,” Sydney said when Jarod said nothing for a long time.

            “This is one of the most intelligent men I have ever seen, Sydney. If he wants to escape from prison, he’ll do it. And he won’t stop trying until he succeeds. It doesn’t matter what they’ll do to him. He’ll keep trying. He’s incredibly stubborn. Who is he, and why is he in prison?”

            “He’s not in prison yet. He’s on his way there, and his government knows exactly what you’ve said, that he’ll never give up trying to escape. That’s why they’ve asked for our help.”

            “His government? He’s not American?”

            “No, he’s British. I haven’t been told his name but apparently he is a British secret agent who was discovered to be a Russian agent. They’re going to hold him in a special prison until they discover exactly what he told the Russians.”

            Jarod frowned at the photograph. “He has to be Russian, then.”


            “Because this man’s not a traitor, Sydney. He’s loyal, intensely and fiercely loyal. If he was working for the Russians, it’s because he is Russian. He would never betray his own country, whatever that country is.”

            “That is a good insight, Jarod.”

            Jarod looked up at Sydney. “I need to see the prison, Sydney. I can’t figure out how he’ll escape unless I can see it.”

            “We don’t have footage of the prison yet, Jarod. That’ll come in a couple days. However, we do have some surveillance footage of the man himself.” He nodded across the sim lab to someone, who started up the projector. “This is outside his house in London.”

            The man was just getting out of a car, a low, peculiar little car that looked more like some kind of racecar than anything. The plate on the front said KAR 120C. Jarod paid close attention to the man’s movements as he got out of the car, walked down the pavement, and opened his house door. He walked in a tight, determined stalk, and all his movements were purposeful and efficient.

            “He’s angry about something. He’s going to do something about it.”

            The scene switched to inside a house. The man walked around it, prowling like a caged cat, his face drawn up into a scowl. Eventually he left the house again. The recording looped, and Jarod watched it for an hour, analyzing every movement and expression, working himself into the mind behind the eyes.

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