“Greetings, Captain Lebedev,” the man said, without standing. “I am Colonel Grigoriy Sergeyevich Berenty, of the Second Chief Directorate. I trust that, as a military man, you know what that means.”

“I am in MORFLOT now,” Lebedev said, sitting behind his desk. “Naval affairs do not concern the merchant marine, nor do the activities of the KGB. They did once, but no longer. Please tell me why you’re here; I am a busy man. The Marshal Nedelin is to depart in one month’s time.”

“Yes, I know,” said Berenty. “Officially the vessel is to conduct oceanographic research on currents and the like. But you and I both know that is not the case; this is only a front for Project Narodnaya Volya.”

“I wouldn’t know anything about that,” said Lebedev. He uncorked a bottle from the left drawer of the desk and poured himself a glass. “Now, as I said, I am very busy. Thirty days is hardly sufficient time for my assignment.”

“New orders have been issued,” said Berenty. “You are to depart immediately.”