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From Eroica With Love #19

Poseidon 2000

Summary by Mme Cusack

Chapter I

In a London park, Dorian and Bonham sat on a bench, talking about the superstar ballet dancer of the Royal Danish Ballet company. Being a big fan of Jiri Cosby, Dorian enjoyed their last performance in London the previous night. Then arrived Dorian's longtime mentor, who worked for him as a connection to the underground art world, to deliver to him another fake Judgment of Paris. They failed to get Hans de Jon out of the Russian prison, but the man managed to have another con artist paint a fake for Dorian, who needed it to deceive James.

After the delivery, Dorian happened to meet Jiri Cosby outside the hotel where the dancer was staying. Hiding his face behind the visor of a cap, Jiri explained to the showy Englishman that he had gone shopping and now found it impossible to get back in the hotel, because hyper-aggressive London groupies were waiting for him at the entrances: "They mob me, and some of them throw their bras and panties at me," said Jiri.

Dorian made Bonham scream in shrill female voice, "Eeeeh! There's Jiri!! Wait! Don't go away, Jiri!!" The formidable crowd stampeded in the direction of the voice, leaving enough time and space for Jiri and Dorian to slip inside the hotel. Jiri introduced him to the staff members of the company as his savior, and Dorian introduced himself as Dorian Red, Earl of Gloria.

A man said, "I've heard your name somewhere. You're the famous art collector in London, aren't you?"

Dorian replied, smugly, "I don't know what people say in Denmark, but my collection is no great shakes. Oh, by the way, I just purchased this Cranach today..."

He took out the fake from the purse and showed it off unconcernedly. Jiri and the others were mightily impressed by the flamboyant English earl. To thank him, the ballet company invited him to Jiri's performance at Copenhagen the next month.

Inside the car on the way home, Bonham asked: "Are you gonna pay for the round-trip tickets and hotel bill yourself?"

Dorian said, "It's an aristocrat's vanity. I'll live a frugal life for a while starting tomorrow."

James was, of course, strongly opposed to the excursion plan to see the performance by a man in tights in Denmark. Dorian suggested James go to Kuwait with the Cranach (the new fake he got) and profiteer from Sabaah while he and Bonham went to Denmark. Caught in a dilemma of jealousy and avarice, James came down with a high fever. Bonham unduly worried over the unlikely possibility that they would run into the Major in Denmark. Dorian frowned. "Don't remind me of the NATO German. Now I prefer a supple sapling to a tough tree; a ray of fantasy to the shine of steel."

But Bonham was right in his presentiment.

Russia had reluctantly approved Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland to join NATO, but vetoed the same demand from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (the Baltic Three). NATO was inclined to reject the three nations in fear of provoking Russia. Then, the Baltic nations came to NATO with a request to give them the status of quasi-members, hinting that they might in return offer secret information about Russia's conspiracy to neutralize half the NATO navy force; it was said that the secret had leaked in Riga, Latvia, the port where a former Soviet maneuvering base had been located, therefore NATO couldn't laugh it off as nonsense. NATO had a talk on the issue in its headquarters in Brussels. Germany brought up an idea: have a conference between NATO and the Baltic Three only to discuss their participation, get the information that NATO needs, then officially announce that NATO refuses their participation. The French ambassador commented, "There goes your dirty trick again." "We have done what must be done, and fulfillment of our duty is what we will do in the future, too," retorted Germany. France: "Then, we shall ask Germany to obtain the information as your duty." The motion was accepted unanimously. That was how Germany (i.e. Klaus) was left holding the bag.

NATO Intelligence, Bonn: The Chief assigned Klaus the mission to obtain, or rather snatch, the said information from someone among the twenty Baltic delegates coming to the conference held in Copenhagen. The information was to be delivered to NATO when their request was accepted, but that was not in NATO's scenario. The Chief and Klaus went through the data of the twenty members and discussed the difficulty of the mission: it'd be a wild goose chase (they didn't even know who would bring what), and Russia would desperately try to prevent their secret from leaking to NATO via the Baltic Three. In addition, the Major should not provoke Russia by making any visible actions.

The Major caught Agent A, whom he knew had been exchanging emails with Bonham, and inquired what the Earl was up to these days (on the pretext of making sure that Dorian wouldn't interfere with his business this time). A said the Earl was mad about a ballet dancer lately. "A male ballerina!?" asked Klaus with his eyes wide open, then nodded. "That fits right in with the obscene bastard's tastes. Gut, the pervert is devoted to the pursuit of his right path. We don't need to worry about him."

The location of the new assignment excited Agent A. "You seem to be familiar with Copenhagen," said the Major.

"We honeymooned there," blurted the poor agent, letting an excruciatingly tense, silent pressure from the Major petrify him.

Klaus: Stop smirking over the sweet memory with your wife! Our next mission will be as elusive and difficult as the case we handled once; the one the only clue of which was the key word "the laughing cardinal." We had a hard time, didn't we, A? [glaring at him.]
Mr. A: Yes, sir...
Klaus: You remember what happened to you after the mission?
Mr. A: All of us were sent to Alaska, sir.
Klaus: I hope you won't invite an unfortunate situation this time. Your pretty wife missed you very much during your absence.
Mr. A: [sob]

Moscow, Russia: Mischa's teenage daughter Anna asked her father to get her a video tape of Jiri Cosby, the Danish idol ballet dancer, next time he went to Europe. Coincidentally, he was called to the intelligence HQ and ordered to immediately fly to Denmark. Russia came to know that the Baltic Three would deliver NATO a Russian top secret regarding the Russian lifeline of an ice-free port and a free sea-lane. Major Eberbach was already in Denmark. Mischa's mission was to intercept the information before it was handed to the enemy. In leaving Russia, Mischa remembered Anna's request and asked Polar Bear to get the tape in the black market in Moscow, as he would be likely to forget about the trifles once the race with Iron Klaus started, and the tapes in Europe were not affordable.

[Click here for illustration.]

Denmark: Dorian and Bonham (James was left in London) spent some time sightseeing at Hersingor before Jiri's performances. At Kronborg Slot, better known as Elsinore Castle from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Dorian wore what he called Hamlet's costume (a loose white blouse, black tights like a ballet dancer's, a huge, gaudy cape and a hat with plumes), attracted people's attention and embarrassed Bonham. Suddenly Agent B's voice caught their ears. "Hamlet's castle right from the start! The Major wanted to do the sights, too! And he told us not to bring a guide book."

Watching the pair of A and B, Dorian jumped to the wrong conclusion that the Major was chasing him to retrieve the real Cranach. In a rage, Dorian rushed up to the balcony of the castle overlooking the Øresund straits, where the Major was contemplating what could be the method to neutralize the half of the NATO navy, watching the narrow straits which connect the North Sea and the Baltic Sea: "The ultimate goal of the NATO navy is to block the Russian navy in the Baltic. Then, what could give Russia an advantage?"

"Hey, NATO!" yelled someone behind him.

The Major looked back, and didn't recognize the man in the odd outfit at first. "Who are you? A street performer?" The next moment, his "IDIOT!" shook the sky over the Kronborg Slot.

Chapter II

Hearing the Major's thundering IDIOT!", Agent A and B rushed to the foot of the stairway and met Bonham there. They saluted each other, and agreed to wait for the two to come down to the courtyard; as A said, "Even the Major wouldn't wrap up the Earl in a bamboo blind and throw him in the sea." [A particular Japanese phrase for a form of torture.] But, in fact, up on the balcony, the Major wrapped up Dorian in his Hamlet cape, lifted his body and was about to throw him headlong over the balustrade into the ocean, threatening he'd go ahead if Dorian didn't own up to his purpose in coming to Denmark.

[Click here for illustration.]

Dorian screamed at him to stop the violence: "I came to see the ballet performance of the Royal Danish Ballet! I'm a fan of Jiri Cosby! This has nothing to do with you or NATO!"

"OK, I'll believe you, for the time being. I know you're after a biseinen [good-looking youth in Japanese] in tights." Klaus mercilessly dropped him on the ground. He assured Dorian that he wasn't after Judgment of Paris.

Klaus: The German baron's family is keeping the painting, believing that's the authentic piece. It should be left well alone.
Dorian: ...Then, only I, you and Mischa know the truth...
Klaus: [glaring at him] You... You'll regret it if you're plotting to use it for blackmail! No one will believe a thief's indictment.
Dorian: [angrily] I'm not! Anyway, I'm not here to get involved in your bloody business. So don't you interfere with me, either!
Klaus: I have no reason to get in your way. My mind is at peace while you're after those obscenities.
Dorian: You shouldn't hold a vulgar prejudice against ballet, Major. See it once, and you'll have a different view of the art.
Klaus: I've seen it once on a mission. [He saw Swan Lake in Der Freischutz.]
Dorian: You should see it apart from your job, to appreciate its real value. It's a good opportunity. Why don't you come and see Jiri's performance? The programs are Swan Lake, Giselle, and The Wrath of Poseidon. [Dorian struck a pose of the "attitude devant" in front of the Major, who turned pale.]
Klaus: Do it elsewhere, you sales agent from the ballet shop!
Dorian: For a short-tempered one like you, "The Wrath of Poseidon" may be perfect. It's only 15 minutes long, in which time you'll wake up to the value of the art.
Klaus: I'll fall into a deep sleep.
Dorian: [exasperatedly] So long. Please concentrate on your mission, Major. It's no use talking to an obstinate, perverse man with no sensitivity.
Klaus: Shut the fuck up and piss off! If you get in my way, I'll make you sorry for it!
Dorian: I return those words to you! I'll never see you again, art moron!

Dorian ran down the stairs and disappeared. Klaus resumed his contemplation of the Russian military secret. Dorian met Agents A and B down the stairs and told them about the "mutual nonintervention pact" between him and the Major. Dorian and Bonham left the castle.

Agent A said to the Major that they might need a barrier against the Earl. "That's a good idea. The moment the Earl is detected, a high-tension current chases him away," said he, laughing, then his own words made him think for a moment.

Klaus [to himself]: For the Russian navy to dominate in the Baltic Sea, they must keep the NATO navy from coming in to the inland sea. If they can block only the NATO navy ships at the Øresund... But could such an operation be possible?

The Major headed to Copenhagen with Agents A and B.

On the way back to Copenhagen, Dorian and Bonham stopped at the Louisiana Museum, a contemporary art center, to make sure that the Major would really leave them alone. They witnessed the Major's car passing by the museum and gave a sigh of relief. The two strolled around the museum for a while, but Dorian had little interest in the contemporary art.

At the beach, Bonham pointed at a sculpture of a baffling shape, titled Poseidon. "Which part of it is Poseidon?" Bonham asked.

[Click here for illustration.]

"It's Poseidon, because the artist named it Poseidon," snorted Dorian. "That's the explanation at the Major's level."

"The best Poseidon is Jiri's one, right?"

Eroica was delighted. "Oh, Mr. Bonham, you're looking forward to his performance, too? I thought you didn't care for ballet that much."

Bonham realized that he'd just dug his own grave in an attempt to cheer up the Earl. Apparently Bonham shared the Major's opinion when it came to ballet. Dorian was in high spirits, because Jiri was coming to meet him at his hotel in the evening.

Copenhagen. Mischa and his men were on bicycles (due to the recent economic difficulties of their homeland, they couldn't afford rental cars, and their assigned hideout was a seedy attic), scouting around the five star Hotel D'Angleterre where the conference of NATO and the Baltic Three was going to be held. Mischa's men were mortified to learn that those from NATO Intelligence were staying in the hotel.

[Click here for illustration.]

The Major's assignment included a security check of the entire hotel as the caretaker of the Baltic delegates. When he passed by the beauty salon in the hotel, a familiar voice from inside stopped him. It was Eroica, who was having his hair (which had been, according to Dorian, damaged when Klaus had thrown him about) fixed before meeting Jiri.

Klaus: [accusingly] Why're you in this hotel!?
Dorian: Why are you here? Do you intend to change your hair style for the new millennium?
stylist: I recommend a crew cut for you, sir. It'll go with your hard-boiled look.
Klaus: No thanks!
Dorian: Power dwells in his long hair.
stylist: Oh, Samson!
[Klaus grabbed Dorian's arm, and took him away from the salon.]
Dorian: I love your long hair, Major. Don't cut it.
Klaus: Don't dodge, bugger! What's your purpose in stalking me!?
Dorian: It's you who's stalking me! How dare you find out my hotel!
Klaus: You stay in this luxurious hotel? You aristocrat pauper!? I see. You're going to bilk the bill and get away with it.
Dorian: [scornfully] Don't underestimate my financial resources. This is nothing if I sell one tiny piece from my collection.
Klaus: Can't allow this...

Klaus dashed toward the lobby, murmuring, "How could they let a thief stay in the hotel when the NATO conference is being held!?" It was Dorian's turn to be shocked; he chased the Major to the front desk. The front receptionist explained to the fuming Klaus that Lord Gloria had been referred by the Royal Danish Ballet Company and his fee had been paid in full in advance. Dorian whispered to Klaus' back not to go after the issue any more than that, if he'd like to concentrate on his mission. Klaus glared at him, and ordered him to change his hotel immediately. Dorian refused.

While they were bickering in the lobby, all the people's attention was drawn to the entrance with open admiration. Klaus asked if the Queen or somebody had showed up. It was Jiri Cosby who had come to see Dorian. Klaus whistled, "Oh, that's your biseinen in tights."

Dorian frowned at the Major and said, "A boorish fellow should go back to his mission, shoo, shoo!" Klaus stared at Dorian.

In the steady gazes of the enchanted spectators, Jiri came straight to Dorian and smiled at him. "Lord Gloria, welcome to Denmark! I'm glad to see you again."

Dorian thought to himself, "What an irresistible young man! Glad I went to the beauty salon."

[Click here for illustration.]

"Could you come to the theatre with me? Our master is looking forward to meeting you," said Jiri. Dorian was soaked in the happiness and pleasure of being an object of envy of all the people around them. Suddenly, Klaus thrust his face in front of Dorian.

Klaus: Hey, let me say hi to him, too, will you?
Dorian: [startled] Waah! You still here!? [In a cold sweat] Don't say any odd things, OK!?
Klaus: Don't worry, I've a good knowledge of etiquette.
Dorian: [reluctantly] Jiri, this is my acquaintance from Germany, Herr Eberbach.
Jiri: How do you do?
Klaus: [standing stiff and formal] Please accept my sincere congratulations on your success, Mr. Jiri Cosby. Let me address my prayer for your further diligence and prosperity, sir.

Jiri thanked him uncomfortably, and Dorian glowered at Klaus. "What the hell was that!?"

"'T was courteous, wasn't it?" Klaus laughed nastily. Then he whispered to Dorian, "Those spectators are an obstruction of security. Take this brat away from here. And vanish yourself, too."

Dorian smiled. "You cannot get rid of me from this hotel, Major. As you can see, I'm a VIP here." Dorian made a V sign to Klaus and left with Jiri. "Sorry I've kept you waiting. Never mind about that German, Jiri."

Klaus snorted at their backs. "What VIP! The thief who shelters himself under the popularity of a brat in tights!"

After Dorian was gone, Klaus went back to his job of supervising the hotel security. He told Agent D that a watch wasn't necessary for the Earl, as "the queer is dead serious about the brat and too elated to play a prank on us. Ignore him, and treat him as a gaudy invisible man." Then, Agent E came to report that certain Russians they knew had fallen from their bikes near the hotel. Klaus ordered E to find out Mischa's and his men's lodging.

In a crowded residential area of Copenhagen, the alphabets spotted one of Mischa's underlings having his head scolded off by some women about the way to dispose of their garbage. In their attic, Mischa's men were whining in unison, claiming that Siberian labor camp was better than the treatment the Russian government gave them in Denmark. Mischa's anger was inflamed by the call from Moscow HQ making an unreasonable demand with little budget. Mischa bellowed at the young Russians to shut up, then was hissed at by the neighbors to shut his foreign mouth up in the middle of the night. Mischa and his men gulped down their tears. They started working out a plan of operation to intercept the secret. The big chance would be when the delegates arrived at the airport.

Chapter III

Next morning, at Kastrup Airport, Denmark: Klaus as a section manager from the NATO executive office (by the alias of Karl Schultz), and Agent A as his assistant (Thomas Philips) met the twenty delegates from the Baltic States attending the NATO conference. Klaus's mission at the moment was to safely take them to the hotel in Copenhagen and, at the same time, find out who brought what for NATO or, if possible, intercept it in advance. Mischa and his men were also there standing by, for the opportunity to snatch the members' luggage.

[Click here for illustration.]

Eleven names were given among the twenty:

  • Lydnel: the head of the delegates
  • Ketler
  • Jakov
  • Greyczeco
  • Samuil
  • Ulmanus: an alcoholic all tanked up, trying to pick a quarrel with Klaus about a German conspiracy at the meeting. (No one believed his words, but what he said hit the mark all the time.)
    [Click here for illustration.]
  • Pavel
  • Rosa Dekrel: a sophisticated looking, classy woman in whom the Chief had expressed a special interest. Straight blond hair. Klaus gave her that sleek business smile of his, which looked quite nice and effective.
    [Click here for illustration.]
  • Lenart Petz: a grim, bald man. When Klaus and the Chief went over the member's list at the Bonn office, the Chief suspected that his abundant hair in the photo might be a wig. Klaus was secretly astonished by the Chief's keen insight. Petz bitterly explained he left his wig, which needed repair, at home.
    [Click here for illustration.]
  • Martha Smetna: another woman, with chiseled features. Curly brunet.
    [Click here for illustration.]
  • Memele

Everyone looked suspicious enough.

Expecting the Russians' attempt to plunder their luggage, Klaus had a heap of dummy luggage prepared. D, E and another alphabet were pretending to guard the dummy to a waiting van, when Mischa and his men raided them and hijacked the van with the luggage. Mischa took advantage of the confusion to smack the head of an alphabet with a suitcase with vengeful spite. Agent D and the others watched the van speeding away in dazed amazement. Apparently, the KGB relied on feats of strength to compensate for the lack of working capital.

The Russians left the airport first, followed by a NATO car pretending to chase them to convince the Russians that they'd snatched the right luggage. The bus carrying the delegates and Klaus departed after them, accompanied by another van loaded with their real luggage and some alphabets. Once the Russians got into the city area, they suddenly scattered several suitcases (ones they had prepared for the purpose, not the dummy ones they hijacked) on the street to baffle the chasers, causing havoc behind them. The NATO bus and van were also stalled in the traffic, which was all according to Klaus's scenario to buy plenty of time so that the alphabets in the van could investigate their belongings thoroughly. Ulmanus jabbered that the accident must be a Russian conspiracy to hinder the conference, and was hushed by another member.

While NATO was checking the contents of the visitors' luggage one by one in the midst of busy city traffic, the Russians came to an idyllic farm and took all the luggage inside an unattended farm shed. Mischa's men complained about every bag being stuffed with shabby, used clothes and bundles of old magazines. "The Baltic nations are poor, too," they sighed. One found a locked small box hidden in the bottom of a suit case, when their lookout spotted a farmer strolling toward the shed with a cow and a flock of ducks. The Russians stopped the search in the middle and fled. The farmer, entering the shed, cocked his head thoughtfully. "...Thought there were some bags of potatoes, didn't they?" "Moo," answered the cow. In the van, the young Russians were elated by the discovery of what could be the target secret box and acquisition of a van, food and the heap of used clothes that they could sell to a secondhand clothing store. Mischa reproved them for their rash excitement, reminding them that the box was not yet proven to be what they were looking for.

The lobby of Hotel D'Angleterre: Dorian and Bonham saw the Major working as a polite tour conductor for the twenty Eastern Europeans. Dorian enjoyed the sight, then spotted Agent G dressed like a nice young lady sitting in an armchair as a secret security check. Addressed by Dorian, he beamed, sprung up, came to hug the Earl, but restrained himself and withdrew tearfully. "No, I can't! You're an invisible man! We must pretend not to see you...!" In bafflement, Dorian asked him if that was the Major's order. "We are strictly ordered to ignore you!" Dorian was offended by the unfairness of the Major's command, turned his head to glower at Klaus, and saw a pretty woman talking to Klaus (he instantly took Martha Smetna as a wooing type).

[Click here for illustration.]

The Major's pleasant smile to her irritated Dorian. To make the matter worse, another intelligent-looking woman came to talk to the Major after the first one left and the two exchanged several words in a friendly manner.

[Click here for illustration.]

Dorian: Treating me as an invisible man, you enjoy the company of pretty women. Is that what you are doing? Unforgivable!
Bonham: [in panic] Me lord, don't forget you're 'ere to see Jiri. You said the biseinen comes before Uncle NATO, didn't you!?
Dorian: That's one thing, and this is another!!
[Dorian dashed toward the Major to protest; Bonham was about to follow him, but an angry Agent G caught him by the arm.]
Mr. G: Hey, Bonham!
Bonham: No, I'm an invisible man.
Mr. G: You're not! Who's Jiri!? What do you mean by the biseinen!??

The Major, A, D and E were discussing the results of the luggage search and the security plan, when Dorian in a rage stood right behind Klaus. Agent D held his breath in surprise and tried to attract the Major's attention to behind his back.

Agent D: Major...
Klaus: [realizing] Never mind and continue. Too bad nothing came out of the luggage search.
Dorian: MAJOR!
Agent D: [in a cold sweat] As we thought, the person must be carrying it with him.
Agent E: Our search was scrupulous.
Agent D: The traffic helped us.
Klaus: Mischa did it bloody outrageously this time.
Agent A: [to the Major] They must be desperate.
[The NATO four ran out of topics to keep on ignoring Dorian, allowing an awkward silence to reign for a moment. Klaus glared at Agent E to press for another comment, as it was supposed to be his turn.]
Agent E: ...If Mischa learns nothing comes out of the plunder...
Agent D: ...they'll infiltrate into this hotel.
Klaus: We'll get something before they do so.
Agent A: Isn't it that Mischa doesn't know the information source himself?
Klaus: -- That's possible. [The Major's cell phone rang.] Hello, this is Schultz.
Dorian: Say no if it's an invitation from the women.
Klaus: [totally ignoring him] -- Yes, I understand. I'll be right over. [Closing the handset, to A] That wig prick's started complaining already.
Agent A: That billiard ball's the type to hold a grudge.
Klaus: Gotta go listen to him.
Dorian: [blocking Klaus with open arms] MAJOR!! This is too much even from you. Treating me like an invisible man is an outrage on my human rights!!
Klaus: [with his eyes focusing on anywhere else but Dorian] By the way, we haven't seen the Earl lately, have we?
Agent E: Heard he's crazy about a young dancer.
Agent A: We're glad he's not interfering with our important mission.
Klaus: He's loyally keeping our promise of mutual noninterference. Now I have a higher opinion of him than I did before.
Agent A: [in a quivering voice] Lord Gloria is a person of noble character.
Agent D: [with a desperate look on his face] To tell the truth, I'm a fan of his.

[Click here for illustration.]

The NATO men scattered in every direction, leaving an appalled Dorian behind. When he was trying to recover his normal spirits, there came Agent G. "Hi, Mr. G."

But Agent G snapped at him in tears. "What's so good about a ballet dancer, berk!! Falling for another biseinen than me, you really suck!!" (S)he ran away, sobbing.

In the shock of being abused by even Agent G, Dorian faltered down on a nearby chair to calm himself down. Poor Dorian was too depressed to go to the Tivoli Park with Bonham for a diversion. Sniffing, he let Bonham go by himself and retreated to his suite to sulk. But he didn't forget to warn Bonham not to chum up with the Major while he was taking a nap. The Earl's jealousy about the Major had long been the pain in the neck for Bonham. "Talking about jealousy, where's James now?" Bonham wondered. The object of his contemplation was, at the moment, smuggling himself in a corner of a little tanker, believing that he was on his way to the business with Salim; to the twit, any tanker would head to the Middle East.

The small box the Russians discovered in the dummy luggage contained a diskette with useless information. But it also had a bug planted in it. Mischa and his men's exchange taking place at their hideout was recorded by NATO, which went as follows (note that the bug picked up Mischa's dialogue only, and not those on the other end of the telephone line):

Mischa: "Check the disk at once. [His mobile phone rang; it was known to be from Polar Bear.]
Polar Bear: Heard you're having a hard time with the tight budget. But you'll do fine, Mischa. And I have a little news for you. I got the videotape you requested, at a good price.
Mischa: ...What's that?
Polar Bear: You've completely forgotten, as I thought. You were right to have asked me. The tape of Jiri Cosby, Anna's favorite.
Mischa: Jiri Cosby? -- Oh, that dancer.
Polar Bear: I'll send it to Anna.
Mischa: I appreciate it.
Polar Bear: I saw the tape myself; he's indeed a promising dancer.
Mischa: Jiri is nothing but a punk!
Polar Bear: A father is too critical to his daughter's idol. Do you know that he'll give some performances next week at Copenhagen?
Mischa: Oh, his performance?
Polar Bear: Pay a little attention if you happen to pass by the Royal Theatre.
Mischa: That's a precious bit of information, Polar Bear, and it seems we got some important information here, too. [One of his men showed Mischa that he had opened the file on the computer.]
Polar Bear: Oh, sorry I interrupted your work. Good luck to your mission, Mischa.
Mischa: Thank you, Polar Bear. [Mischa hung up.]
his underling: Was that an important contact?
Mischa: Can't tell you now. What have we got?
[The screen said "The Operation to Blockade the Strait of Dover."]
Mischa: The Strait of Dover!? This is not the information we're looking for! The top secret leaked in Latvia is about the blockade of the Øresund!! All right, this is the Major's doing! Their luggage was replaced by a dummy before we intercepted!

Mischa realized they were bugged, and ordered his men to destroy the small box. As Klaus had guessed, the secret of the Russian navy turned out to be the blockade of the Øresund. But he was alarmed by something else that popped out from their exchange.

Dorian was watching Jiri's video, trying to forget about the unpleasant experience in the lobby, when he heard someone trying to work on the lock of the door. He called, "Is that you, Mr. Bonham?" but it was the Major who opened the door and entered the room.

Klaus: You don't chain the door? Too careless for a thief.
Dorian: [flabbergasted] Oh, that's rich! A trespasser giving me a tip on crime prevention!? Did Bonham let you use his key!?
Klaus: I took it from the front desk telling him that this is for security confirmation.
Dorian: [seriously offended] You're abusing your authority to threaten the safety of a guest!
Klaus: I want a word with you.
Dorian: [waving a hand to chase him off] Please leave. You shouldn't have business with an invisible man. Hmpf.
Klaus: There's a change in the circumstances.
Dorian: What a selfish, insufferable bastard you are! Don't force your circumstances on me!
Klaus: [holding out a handheld recorder] Listen.
Dorian: [covering his ears with palms] There! You're shunned by everyone because you don't listen to others!
Klaus: Be quiet and listen! This has something to do with you, too.
[the recorded voice of Mischa]: Thanks for your call. ...What's that?
Dorian: I've nothing to do with Mischa the Cub.
Klaus: After this. Listen well.
[the voice of Mischa]: Jiri Cosby? -- Oh, that dancer. -- I appreciate it. -- Jiri is nothing but a punk. -- Oh, his performance? -- That's a precious bit of information, Polar Bear.
Dorian: What the hell is that...??
Klaus: Your beloved biseinen dancer is the subject of the former KGB's conversation. We did Mr. Tights's background check immediately. Real name: Jiri Cosbiski; nationality: Finland; birthplace: Riga, Latvia. His father was a navy commander in the former Soviet Navy, who fled to Finland with his family when Jiri was four.
Dorian: Any fan of Jiri knows those facts. What do they have to do with your mission?
Klaus: [angrily] What do you think Mischa and I are after!?
Dorian: [indifferently] Do tell, or I won't know. Hmpf.
Klaus: It's a top secret of the Russian navy leaked in Riga, Latvia. The Baltic States are going to deliver the information to NATO, but we still don't know which one of the delegates has it and how he'll give it to us.
Dorian: [with a mean smile on his face] Being spoony to the female members is a part of your mission, too?
Klaus: [ignoring the comment] Then, another suspicious person came up to the surface. He might be carrying the information himself, or he may be teaming up with one of the delegates. There's no time to waste now that the Russians took notice of him. So my request is...
Dorian: No, I won't. You must be misunderstanding the bugged information. Jiri is an artist who lives in a completely different world from you and Mischa.
Klaus: [facing Dorian only a few inches apart from him] Then I must search around Mr. Tights myself.
Dorian: Don't!! Jiri has his important performances. If an Alsatian is sniffing around his stage, he won't be able to concentrate!
Klaus: You shouldn't be too off-guard against artists. Artists who can move freely in and out of the borders as VIPs can be good spies.
Dorian: My Jiri isn't that kind of a man!
Klaus: [wagging his finger] You should listen to my advice, Gloria. You have no eyes for biseinen. As far as I know, you've been taken in by fakes most of the time.
Dorian: ...You're the last person from whom I want to get any such advice. [decidedly] All right, then, I'll prove Jiri's innocence on my honour.
Klaus: How will you do it?
Dorian: I'll find out what you're looking for from the twenty. In case I couldn't find anything -- then we suspect Jiri.
Klaus: -- Gut. The mutual noninterference pact is terminated.

[Click here for illustration.]

Chapter IV

Major Eberbach spotted the information he was looking for in the NATO navy database: an precedent case of an invasion of NATO territorial sea:

"On 12/23/87, the Swedish and Danish navies detected several small submarines of an unknown nationality in the Øresund straits, Denmark. They attacked and destroyed one; the rest escaped."

"This is it." He called Major Hansen of the Danish navy and asked for his collaboration. Major Hansen promised him to arrange a meeting with the then commanders in charge of the attack during the incident.

[Click here for illustration.]

Agent A and Eroica came to the Major's room for a briefing for the next morning. Klaus and A were to take eleven (out of twenty) Balts on a sightseeing tour of Copenhagen at eight, while Dorian and Bonham would search the members' emptied rooms for the information. Eroica wasn't happy about the method of entry to their rooms the Major had arranged for them, saying "It's banal and distasteful," but his protest was flatly dismissed. "It's the safest and the best," snapped the Major. However, he consented to Dorian's suggestion to bug the two female members who were not going to attend the tour. After several bitter exchanges, Dorian left the room with a parting thrust. "Your lips uttering those nasty remarks are so sexy I feel like licking them."

Covering his mouth with a hand, Klaus continued the briefing with A. Major Hansen called him up about the meeting with the retired navy officers at nine the following day.

Therefore, next morning, Agent A had to guide the unruly twelve's Copenhagen tour all by himself. The Major sarcastically assured him that he'd be able to handle the task with his rich experience in the city. The number of the participants increased to twelve, because Petz, the bald man, decided to join the tour when he learned that Schultz -- Klaus -- would not be coming; Petz was openly hostile to the Major for his abundant hair and whatnot. Some alphabets were ordered to watch the movements of the Russians who would follow the group led by A.

The Balts who had chosen to stay in the hotel commenced their own activities, too. The women went to window-shop the boutiques in the hotel arcade together and some headed to the swimming pool. Apart from the alcoholic, the only member who didn't come out of his room was the timid, indecisive-looking man called Memele. When the Major and Agent E were double-checking everyone's whereabouts in the corridor, Memele approached them, hesitated as if to talk to the Major, apparently changed his mind and left without a word. Klaus ordered E to keep an eye on the suspicious man. Then there came a pair of cleaning ladies, one tall and the other short and stocky, pushing a cart of tools. Their faces were covered by huge masks and the shorter woman complained about their allergy to pollens. "Excellent, looks great on you," mocked Klaus. "Hohoho," hissed Dorian, glaring at the Major through the pair of eyeglasses. "It's you who made me a woman like this."

The cleaning ladies started the search of the rooms of the delegates and the Major left the hotel for the meeting with the former commanders, while Agent A had a tough time shepherding the twelve at the Amalienborg Palace.

A sales girl from a cosmetic store approached Rosa and Martha when they were strolling about the expensive boutiques, and offered them sample products from the store's spring campaign. Each received a nice palette of five lip colors. Agent G winked at us. "Women, you know." Then he tuned his radio to Dorian.

Agent G: Lord Gloria, it's set. You can listen to them on #5.
Dorian: Thank you, Mr. G.
Agent G: No need to thank me. I only obey the Major's orders.
Dorian: [sighing] He's still pouting. [Searching through the drawers] I understand, Mr. G. Your heart is with the Major. You'd sooner forget about a flirtatious thief like me.
Agent G: What!?
Dorian: Good-bye, Mr. G. I'll miss your lovely smile.
Agent G: No, Lord Gloria! Don't say that to me! [In tears] I love you even if you're a flirt! Don't say good-bye, I promise I won't be mad at you! Lord Gloria!!!
Dorian: [in a sweat] ...Mr. G, aren't you gathering people? [which in fact he did]
Agent G: Oh! [cut]
[Dorian tuned the radio to #5.]
Rosa: Wish that drunkard would kick the bucket soon!
Martha: I hate that bastard Petz! Poor Mr. Schultz. He'll have to listen to his silly complaints all the way through the end of the conference. Rosa, did you realize Mr. Schultz was not wearing a wedding ring? Think he's single? [Dorian guessed that was the wooing one.]
Rosa: Be careful, Martha. Guys pretend to be single and fool around with girls. Like my husband.
Martha: Oh, rats. A tough guy like him is just my type. My current boyfriend is a fat jellyfish.
Rosa: Think Schultz is a bit too dangerous to have as a boyfriend. He may look nice, but didn't you realize his eyes never smile? He's an office worker, right? But his body language is totally military.
Martha: Gee, that never occurred to me. Then, what do you think he is?
Rosa: Well... it's just my imagination, but how about an agent dispatched by NATO to block the intervention of Russia?
Martha: An agent... Like 007?
Rosa: Yes, the German James Bond, so to speak. A boorish Bond, but it's kinda exciting, isn't it?
Martha: He must be wearing a tux under the suit.
Rosa: That's hysterical. Can't help laughing when I see him next time.
Martha: Oh, he'll forgive us. He's our errand boy.

That infuriated Dorian. He detested both, but Rosa, the blond who guessed the Major's identity correctly, particularly got on his nerves. Presuming Rosa was the top secret carrier, he rushed into Rosa's neatly organized room for an exhaustive search. They found several brochures on Jiri's performances. Bonham reminded him that both Rosa Dekrel and Jiri were from Latvia. Dorian took Bonham by the collar and growled at him, "Are you insinuating that Jiri is a spy in conspiracy with that bitch!?" Watching Dorian rummaging through her belongings, Bonham sighed. "'e becomes as nasty as a ghoul to the people 'e 'ates."

Peeking out the corridor nervously, Memele saw the cleaning cart sat close to his room. "The maid is coming..." He grabbed a shoulder bag and sneaked out of the room. Agents D and E started to tail him. The man at the front desk recommended the Rosenborg Castle to Memele as a quiet garden in a walking distance. The procession of Memele, Agents D and E and the Russian agents headed to the garden.

In a pub, Klaus and Major Hansen of the Danish army met two navy ex-commanders (a Dane and a Swede) who had been involved in the attack on the submarines when the invasion of the territorial sea had taken place thirteen years ago. They revealed the following facts:

[Click here for illustration.]

It's been a matter of common knowledge that the submarines they attacked were Soviet ships engaged in a certain underwater operation. During the six months prior to the incident, the Soviet Union invaded the straits thirty times. Denmark and Sweden finally destroyed one submarine, but deliberately let the others escape, because surfacing Soviet ships might have triggered a war. The veterans believed that the submarines' mission was to plant highly directional microphones on the bottom of the straits.

Klaus asked if the microphones had been set for the purpose of a blockade of the Øresund straits. They were skeptical. "Possibly; but then, it'd blockade the passage of Soviet ships through the straits, too, which would bring more damage to the Soviet Union than to us."

But Klaus had another theory.

Each model of ship produces its own screw sound. If high-performance microphones are planted on the bottom of the straits, it would be easy to compile a database of every model of NATO ships' particular sound prints. Supposing that the Soviet Union at the time of the invasion had successfully developed a system which would instantly recognize the enemy by analyzing passing screw sounds and command to attack them, and the system is installed in the underwater mines, they could have destroyed only NATO ships.

His speculation appalled Major Hansen. "You really believe the Soviet Union had such an advanced technology thirteen years ago?" "It's possible," replied Klaus. "'Cause Russia is said to have the means to neutralize half of the NATO navy, which is the leaked classified data the Russians and I are after. That could be the blockade of the Øresund."

The Major's cell phone rang. It was from Agent E, who had lost track of Memele in the Rosenborg Castle. The man ran away from the tails, tightly holding his bag as if something precious was in it. Mischa and his men were already there chasing Memele, too. Klaus and the Major Hansen hurried to the Rosenborg Castle.

Agent A and the sightseeing Balts were also in the Rosenborg Castle when Klaus arrived there. Mischa was the first to spot Memele, and the Russians pounced upon the poor man. Klaus heard his cry for help and rushed toward the voice. Mischa snatched Memele's bag and was about to escape when Klaus tackled him. In the picturesque garden, the two started a fistfight, struggling over Memele's shoulder bag.

"Please stop!! Don't swing it about like that! You'll kill Triton!"

At Memele's shriek, the two stopped the fight and stared at each other. Something was scurrying inside the bag. They slowly opened the zipper and looked inside. After a second, Mischa yelled at Klaus. "I'll give this damn thing to you!" "Thanks." The Major reached to the bottom of the bag. In rage, Mischa left with his men.

"Mr. Memele, is this weasel your pet?"

[Click here for illustration.]

The man looked at Klaus reproachfully and corrected it was a ferret, not a weasel. Klaus held the animal upright and glared at it. "Looks like this one entered the country illegally, without going through the animal quarantine." Memele didn't want to put the ferret in the animal cage on the plane, and he only tried to let the illegal alien play in a wide, open space. "Why did those men want my bag?" "Because you carried it as if it was something very important." Klaus held out the ferret innocently nibbling at his fingers and said, "Here, get your precious weasel." The next moment, he deliberately let it go. "Ah, it ran away." Half-crying, poor Memele went after the ferret.

Petz, among the sightseeing group, witnessed the entire episode.

Later, Dorian was in the Major's room reporting about the day's futile search. He consoled the irritated Klaus that there were at least no more animals in their rooms. "You look tired." Dorian took out a "health ring" which would alleviate stiffness and tension of the neck and shoulder muscles, and held it out to the Major. "Wear this on the ring finger of your left hand. A wedding ring substitute. You shouldn't encourage the women's insolent fantasies."

Klaus said, "I'm not gonna be put off with such rubbish! What came out of your search today!?"

"It's an important prop," Dorian replied. "You need to hide your identity, don't you? Anyway, I think Rosa Dekrel is the most suspicious."

Then Bonham came and told Dorian there was a call from the police. Dorian scowled at Klaus. "You, Major!" "I haven't called anyone yet," Klaus snorted. Bonham said it was only an inquiry about someone's identification. "They caught a smuggler on the North Sea, who told them about this hotel and your name, me lord."

Mr. James didn't understand why it was getting ever colder. No wonder, because now the tanker was close to the North Sea oil field, rather than the Middle East, his original destination.

Chapter V

Dorian went pale. To his knowledge, James was supposed to be heading to Kuwait. How come he got caught on the North Sea? The news of another smuggler after the weasel, and this time a living garbage at that, upset the Major as much as it did the Earl, who was just about to relish a brief, luxurious vacation free from the disturbance of James. According to Bonham, James had been transported to the quarantine facility on the Julan Island. Dorian frowned. "Is he... sick?" Bonham thought James would be the last one to get sick from contagion, but couldn't be sure. "I'll get a helicopter for you. Go and check how he's doing," said the Major. The unfortunate Agent A who happened to come by was ordered to accompany Eroica and Bonham to the facility and collaborate with them to keep James confined there. Before leaving the Major's room, Dorian held out the ring to Klaus one more time.

Dorian: Don't forget to wear the wedding ring.
Klaus: [reluctantly taking the ring] It's only a nuisance.
Dorian: Act like a married man, Major. That's more appropriate for a bloke of your age. This is professional advice. The women get nosy because a good-looking office worker seems unmarried. A domesticated family man doesn't interest them. They'll stop calling you a boorish Bond.
Klaus: [fuming] Don't patronize me! I don't need your instructions for disguise!
Dorian: You're still a poor actor.
Klaus: Get lost! Go dispose of the garbage! Humph!

But once they disappeared, he put the ring on his finger. "A domesticated office worker... There's more room to learn, hmm."

In the corridor, Agent A commented that, if they were lucky and Bonham's speculation of James never having been immunized in his entire life was true, they might be able to have James locked up in the quarantine station for the duration. "But if there's no symptom of diseases they'll release 'im. It's not easy for 'im to get sick, you know," Bonham sighed. Dorian whispered into Agent A's ear, "...Mr. A, can you get us a germ weapon?" Bonham was terrified by the Earl's insinuation. "Wh-why don't we decide what to do after actually seeing 'im!?" "I know, Mr. Bonham." Dorian smiled. Dorian and Bonham hid in Agent A's car, and they left the hotel for the heliport.

The Russians on the watch for the hotel called Mischa about A's departure. But they couldn't follow Mischa's order to tail the NATO agent due to the lack of money. They didn't even have small change to rent bikes. "Give us money...." When the operative on the phone was wailing into Mischa's ear, the other two who went to follow the Major to the meeting with the ex-navy officers in the morning finally came back to their hideout. They were ragged, bruised and sobbing miserably. They spent all their money chasing the Major to the pub by taxi, stole bikes to come back, got caught and beaten up, narrowly escaped from the police and barely returned alive. One of them wept, "That's why I said we should ask the Major to give us a ride back..." "He might have given us some money for a taxi." That did it. Mischa couldn't stand it any longer. In a towering rage, he called Moscow HQ.

HQ: Mischa, has there beeb any progress in your search?
Mischa: It's a state of emergency.
HQ: What!?
Mischa: Our operatives went on strike because of this outrageous lack of funds. I warn you, they may raise a riot.
HQ: You can't be serious...
Mischa: Listen, some of my men are seeking the way to betray us for NATO.
HQ: Wait, Mischa. Are you threatening HQ?
Mischa: It's impossible to accomplish this mission unless you provide us with working capital at once, or replace all the men under me.
HQ: You're not allowed to abandon your duty at this moment! The NATO conference is starting tomorrow! There's no time to waste!
Mischa: We have neither time nor money. Deliver us money by tonight!
HQ: All the accounting staff are gone.
Mischa: Then there'll be a riot!
HQ: Don't be rash, Mischa! I'll see what I can do. I'll talk to my boss and call you right back. You manage to keep your men under your control till then.
Mischa: Um.

Mischa cut the line and snorted. "These lads don't even have guts to raise a riot. Don't they know poverty dulls the wit?" He looked out of the window and thought about the series of ludicrous events since the beginning of this mission. The stupidest of all was the knockabout at the park in the morning. "That damnable animal," he cursed, "the weasel that made fools out of me and the Major, we should have wrung its neck!"

At the lobby of L'Hotel D'Angleterre, the object of Mischa's thoughts suddenly tensed and raised his head with its eyes wide open as if it sensed an approaching terror. "Triton, what's the matter with you?" asked Memele, picking up the ferret from the floor. "Don't worry, no one will swing you about any more." Petz, who was reading a paper, called Memele from the couch. "I happened to be there in the park and saw the brawl. The Russian who was fighting with Schultz... Who was that big, bald man?" "Mr. Schultz said he may be the boss of a gang of thieves," was the Memele's answer, when that very Schultz cleared his throat behind him and Triton froze with terror in his arms. "Mr. Memele. We finished the formalities for your weasel's entry in the country." Memele was genuinely grateful, while his ferret was clinging to his neck frantically. Watching them coldly, Schultz continued, "Please use your discretion, because there are people who don't like weasels." Memele promised he'd be very careful, pulled by Triton on the floor desperately trying to leave the lobby. "Triton, why are you hurrying like that?" They were gone. Klaus turned to Petz and threw him a leading question. "Mr. Petz, seems like we have different opinions on that Russian, don't we?" Petz stared at him. "Do you want to talk about a bald man with me? That's why I dislike you." The Major cursed the dismal bastard inwardly.

"Look, Petz is harassing Herr Schultz again." It was Rosa, who had come back from sightseeing with Martha. They called Schultz to rescue him from the grim attack of the billiard ball. Martha told him they had heard about the discovery of Memele's unlawful companion. "You have so much work to do," Rosa sympathized with him. Klaus assured that everything had been taken care of, demonstrating the size of the weasel with his hands. The sparkling ring on his left hand instantly attracted the women's attention. Schultz asked what caused their surprise with an innocent look on his face. The two started laughing.

Martha: A weasel? That must be a ferret. I have five of them at home.
Rosa: My pet is a Yorkshire terrier. I bet Mr. Schultz has a dog, don't you?
Klaus: Mine is a German shepherd and my wife's is a beagle. We walk them together every morning.
[The women exchanged glances and smiled.]
Rosa: Sounds like a lovely family.
Martha: Does your wife work for NATO, too?
Klaus: [gently smiling] She's a midwife.
Rosa: What a wonderful job. You share the house chores?
Klaus: [widely grinning] Of course. My wife works me very hard; I do cleaning, laundry, cooking, gardening and house repair all by myself. I take a day off when the supermarket has a special sale. I know a lot more about sale prices than she does. Ha ha ha ha ha!
[Rosa and Martha stared at the office worker in blank dismay.]
Klaus: [excitedly] I'm particularly good at keeping the house meticulously clean and tidy. I like everything neat and orderly, you know. [His eyes started gleaming uncannily] I don't overlook any stains or even 1 mm particles. They should be completely removed. I take extreme care in arranging the folds of draperies so that they fall straight down at an exactly equal space apart [showing them how far apart the interval between the folds should be with his hands]
[The women's jaws dropped.]
Klaus: [still smiling] Oh, I'm afraid I've been talking too much. Excuse me. Please feel free to call me whenever you need my assistance.
Rosa and
[uncomfortably] Nice talking to you, Herr Schultz. Ho ho ho ho!

Klaus snorted leaving the lobby. "What a creep the domesticated Schultz is. But this is to expand the scope of my skills for my mission." He watched the ring on his finger.

Martha was upset. She complained to Rosa about her former assessment of Schultz. "What about his eyes never smiling? Didn't you see that besotted face? Folds of draperies! Unbelievable! Is that a Bond!?" "Forget what I said. It's sickening!" retorted Rosa. Petz, who had witnessed the entire scene behind the paper, talked to Martha. "Anything about Herr Schultz?" "Rosa said he's a NATO spy, so..." Rosa interrupted Martha impatiently, "I only said 'he could be'!" Petz sneered at their naivete. "You don't know what real-life spies are like. A conspicuous man like him wouldn't be qualified as a spy. They are not the heroes in action movies. Authentic secret agents are indistinct and shouldn't attract people's attention." "Oh, then you can be a perfect spy, can't you?" came the jeering response from Martha. Rosa had no sympathy either. "Petz attracts others' attention. He's impressive in his own way." With a reproachful look, the bald man watched the cruel women leaving the lobby.

On the terrace, three Balts were leaning forward round the table, cheerfully absorbed in a plan to visit a cabaret (go-go-club) in the evening. One of them suggested asking Schultz to guide them. "He seems tight-lipped. He'll keep our privacy." Then, the sight of Petz approaching suddenly hushed them. Apparently they didn't want him in the plan. But the shunned man poked his nose into the cold ambience as if he didn't realize their annoyance. "Rosa and Martha said Schultz could be a NATO spy. What do you think?" One (who looked like Sigmund Freud) answered him bluntly that that would be possible. "Really!?" Petz seemed surprised. "But what do they need to sniff out from us?" The three gazed at the bald man incredulously. The second one asked to the other two, "Wasn't Petz informed?" Petz asked what they were talking about. The Freud explained that there was classified information that the Baltic nations could use as a trump to persuade NATO to approve their participation. "What's that?" asked Petz. Freud frowned at him, "We know no more than that." Petz was upset for being left out from such a critical issue. The third one tried to pacify him by saying that not all the twenty delegates needed to be informed, and produced a contrary effect. "I see. I was a member who didn't need to know. Thanks for telling me that." The wet blanket left them, slouching his shoulders. The three were also discouraged by the possibility of Schultz being a NATO spy. Now it was out of question to ask him to take them to the entertainment quarter of Copenhagen. The Freud spit his words in anger that he didn't understand why Petz had been selected as one of them.

At the quarantine facility in the island, a young doctor of the ward explained to Dorian that the patient had a serious-looking fit right after he was taken to the station despite his mysterious vigor during the travel on the sea. They were investigating if the fits were the result of some kind of contagion. Covering his mouth with a cloth, the doctor held out a couple of pictures of the smuggler taken right after he was discovered. "Look. His filth has reached a criminal level." Just one glimpse at them made Dorian retch and shiver in fright. In the first one, James was covering himself with a blanket apparently in a vain attempt to hide from the crew members; from the edge of the blanket, countless number of rat tails were sticking out as if they were decorative fringes. The second one was James without the cover (they took out the blanket to reveal him), but instead, he was literally covered all over with rats. The doctor said it was a miracle he could co-habit with them without being devoured. Bonham said to Agent A, "He became the king of rats." "Tha-that is a märchen." A felt a chill creep over him. The visitors were given ten minutes to see James through the thick glass window of the isolation room.

It was a hospital clean-room he was locked in. Purified air and the smell of disinfectant. No wonder he had a fit. For James, whose paradise was the dim cabin filled with foul smell and filth of rats, the environment was nothing other than a hell. The moment they saw James wiggling on the clean floor and groaning in the agony of hygiene, the three immediately understood what was causing his fits, which of course they had no intention of letting the authorities know. They called his name through the glass hesitantly. James charged at them and accused Dorian of staying in an expensive hotel, but the news of Copenhagen becoming the battleground between NATO and Mischa settled him down; he'd rather remain a sick person in the hospital room. Dorian promised James to bring rotten bananas next time he'd come. It was lucky for them that the facility staff suspected the possibility of an unknown pathogenic organism affecting him; he'd be safely locked up while the medical inspection continued.

Seeing the incarnation of filth made Dorian crave to refresh himself by seeing the clean, sunny, dancing biseinen. He decided to invite Jiri for dinner. Agent A reported to the Major about the relieving news of Mr. Garbage. The Major told him to come back to Copenhagen with Dorian and Bonham. Watching Dorian talking on his mobile phone happily, A said to the Major, " -- It looks like Lord Gloria will go out with Jiri tonight, sir."

Klaus: What about the search on the Latvian woman?
Agent A: Don't know, sir. This is another whim of his, sir.
Klaus: He may leak our information to the Tights. Go along with him.
Agent A: [bewildered] Ah, yes, sir.
Dorian: [to Bonham, humming] I'll meet Jiri at seven in front of the Royal Theatre. [To Agent A] If the dinner is on NATO, Mr. A, you can come with us. It's a good opportunity for you to observe Jiri.
Klaus: [to A] Don't let him pick an extra-fancy restaurant. After all, the faggot will end up digging his own grave and squalling.
Agent A: Sir.

A report came from a pair of alphabets on the watch at Mischa's hideout: Mischa was about to leave in suit (which he never did since the operation had started) and by taxi. His men saw him off with a cheer. Klaus ordered them to follow Mischa.

Through the Major's wireless receiver, multiple reports from the alphabets came in, revealing an interesting coincidence: Mischa and Eroica seemed to be heading to the same destination, at the same time. After confirming Mischa getting out of the taxi in front of the Royal Theatre, the Major took advantage of his position as the dinner sponsor and ordered Dorian to change the rendezvous spot with the Tights. "We may be able to witness an interesting scene."

D and E followed Mischa to a place called Café Emma. According to the Major's instruction, they checked where Mischa sat and took a vantage seat to observe him. Then, Klaus made Dorian call Jiri to ask him to come to Café Emma instead of the Royal Theatre. "Seven at Café Emma, and the window seat in the back, right? Yes, I'll be there, Lord Gloria," answered Jiri.

Dorian, frowning, asked Mr. A: "What's the Major up to?"

"Don't ask me," replied A.

"You'll know, when we get to Café Emma." All of a sudden Klaus was right behind Dorian. Utterly taken aback, Dorian gasped.

Dorian: Heavens! When did you get here!?
Klaus: The hotel is right over there. Hey, let's hurry to your date."
Dorian: What're you plotting, Major? I won't forgive you if you do anything awful to my Jiri.
Klaus: Won't do a thing. I'll just lurk and observe him.

Café Emma, a little before 7:00 p.m.: The seat D and E took for Dorian and Klaus was by the second floor balcony looking down at the first floor. In the window seat of the back, there sat Mischa, crossing his arms, obviously waiting for someone. Dorian snarled, "You took us in! How dare..." But Klaus pressed down Dorian's conspicuous mass of curls below the balcony level. "It's seven."

Jiri came in the Café at seven o'clock sharp. He went straight to the window seat of the back, saw that the assigned seat was taken by an octopus with dark glasses, exchanged mutually indifferent glances with the subject, and took a seat of the next table.

Hiding their faces behind the menu, Dorian and Klaus were watching every movement of the two from the upstairs.

Dorian: Jiri is indifferent to Mischa.
Klaus: Too early to tell. Mischa and Polar Bear were talking about him. There should be some kind of reaction.

A middle-aged man approached Mischa's seat. He had a Chanel shopping bag containing $50,000 in cash (he explained to Mischa it was the first payment, and the rest should be on installment). Mischa thrust his hands deep in the bag and started counting the money. Jiri clasped his hands behind his head and stared upward boringly.

Dorian: Look, Mischa pays absolutely no attention to Jiri!
Klaus: [ignoring his comment] Seems like they've got an activity fund. He's counting the money.

Mischa was absorbed in counting the bills inside the bag. The delivery man took notice of Jiri and whispered to Mischa, "...Hey, the young man there..." "Shut up. Don't talk to me," snapped Mischa. At the same time, Jiri took out his phone and pressed a certain number. Dorian's cell phone rang. Jiri and Mischa looked up at the general direction of Dorian, the former with innocent curiosity and the latter with vague irritation. Hiding behind the baluster, Klaus barked at Dorian in muffled voice, "Idiot! You call yourself a pro!? Keep it on silent mode!" Dorian thought Jiri was more impatient than he had imagined.

Dorian: [still hiding low, in a hoarse whisper] Oh, Jiri. I'm sorry I'm running late. I've been caught in traffic.
Jiri: You sound strange. Are you all right?
Mischa's contact: Hey, you should take a look at the young man next to you. He's a famous dancer.
Mischa: Are you trying to muck up my counting!?

All of a sudden Mischa stood up and bellowed at the young man talking on his cellular phone. "Make a call somewhere else! It's annoying to other people!!" Boggled, Jiri apologized.

Dorian: Oh, poor Jiri! Haven't you seen enough!? Jiri has nothing to do with your affair.
Klaus: Wait until Mischa leaves.

Mischa was professional enough to feel uncomfortable staying in the café. To Mischa heading to the exit, the contact said that he had just yelled at the big star Jiri Cosby. Acknowledging the name, he left a huge "Humpf!" behind him.

Dorian: -- So, nothing came out, Major. Mischa wasn't watching Jiri, nor was Jiri on his guard against Mischa. The conversation between the Russians must've been some sort of mistake. Jiri is innocent.
Klaus: [not looking at Dorian, not happily at all] Go.

Watching the good-looking pair (Dorian and Jiri) going into a restaurant followed by another pair of Agent A and Bonham ten feet behind them, Agent E asked the Major if Jiri was just another sensational weasel. "If not a weasel, he must be an amazingly well-trained professional," grunted the Major. According to Agent D, there were two more exiles from the Baltic nations in the ballet company Jiri belonged: a choreographer and a costume staffer. "Suspect everything suspicious, that's our iron rule. Don't be discouraged by only a couple of weasels. Too early to give up!" Though, Klaus himself seemed considerably discouraged even to the eyes of D and E.

Back in his hotel room, a tired, disheveled Klaus was on the phone talking to the Chief. He took off his shoes and his tie was hanging loose. The Chief was rather perplexed by Iron Klaus making complaints.

Klaus: We can make a good bet that the half neutralization of the NATO navy would be the blockade of the Øresund by advanced underwater mines. It's in the confirmation process. But the search for the information carrier is... Weasels are all over.
Chief: ...You're tired, Major. The representatives of NATO nations will fish for the information at the conferences. After all, they are the ones who coerced this job on us.
Klaus: Give us the information, but nay to their participation in NATO? The Balts won't listen to such an opportunistic demand.
Chief: Conferences are the showplace of their negotiation skill.
Klaus: Then, how come you didn't leave the job in their hands right from the start? Germany was taken in by France.
Chief: Don't be so angry, Major. Speaking of France, was his wig made in France as I thought? Did you ask him what the make was?
Klaus: I've had enough of the subject of the billiard ball!

Klaus cut the connection, murmuring, "Glad you're a cheerful ball." He gazed blankly in front of him, holding a pillow in his arms. " -- Something isn't right. Am I missing something critical?"

Morning dawned; it was the day of the conference.

Chapter VI

Klaus and the alphabets busied themselves with a security check of the conference hall and the conference participants. The press was under strict surveillance to prevent the Russians from creeping in among them. The Major reminded Agent A that they shouldn't lower their guard, now that the Russians were provided with an ample activity fund.

"The hotel is hijacked by NATO," said Dorian, approaching the Major and Agent A in the corridor. Klaus snorted and warned him not to hang about in the hotel. "Get out of the hotel, or shut yourself up in your room today." Dorian assured that he'd leave soon. It was the opening day of Jiri's performances, and the premiere program was Swan Lake. When the Major was about to shoo him away, Dorian took a small device out of his pocket and looked at Klaus disapprovingly. "Before I leave, here's something I want you to listen to. The bugged conversation between the domesticated office worker and the women." He turned on the recorder, and a frivolous man's voice prattled on:

" -- My chores are cleaning, laundry, cooking, carpentry and gardening. I take a day off when the supermarket has a big sale. I know a lot more about sale prices than my wife does, ha ha ha! -- "

Klaus scowled at the blanching Agent A. "Don't take it seriously, idiot! It was play-acting to hide my identity from the nosy women." "Your acting was a great success," Dorian agreed disdainfully. Klaus was satisfied with Dorian's feedback, then realized that his acting adviser was rather displeased. Dorian criticized the Major for overplaying the domesticated man's role. "When I heard this, I got gooseflesh all over and almost fainted. Never ham it up like that!" Klaus reminded Dorian that it was his idea in the first place. "I love you as a hard-liner, not as a family man. Don't ruin my romantic image of you!" Klaus took to flight, and yelled at the Earl from behind the corner, "Your romance is with the Tights, isn't it!? Go away to see him now! Creep!" Klaus, though, didn't forget to warn him to be cautious. "Don't be discovered by the Russians around the hotel." Dorian promised that they would sneak out from the back entrance.

After they left, the Major and Agent A listened to the rest of the recorded conversation among the women and the others. Somehow impressed, Klaus suggested Agent A to bug his wife and her friends every once in a while. "You'll change your view of life." Then, the voice of Petz cutting into the women's conversation caught the Major's attention.

"Martha, anything about Herr Schultz?" "Rosa said he's a NATO spy..."

"That billiard ball, was he watching us?" Klaus became tense.

"You don't know what real-life spies are like. A conspicuous man like him wouldn't be qualified as a spy. They are not the heroes in action movies. Authentic secret agents are indistinct and shouldn't attract people's attention."

Agent A interpreted Petz's comment as another expression of jealousy, but Klaus pointed out that he sounded as though he was trying to deny their suspicion of Schultz being a spy. "You mean, he knows who you are?" asked A. The Major ordered a thorough investigation on the man's past history. If NATO failed in getting hold of the information from the Baltic States at the negotiation table, the mission of the Major and alphabets would have to go on. No corners could be cut yet.

Schultz (Klaus) went to the waiting room of the Baltic delegates to inform them that the conference would start in thirty minutes. "I'm confirming the members. Where is Mr. Petz?" asked Klaus to the Freud. Another answered, pointing at Petz in the corner, "He's sulking over there. Feeling alienated, so to speak." "Is he isolated among you folks?" asked Schultz unconcernedly. "Well, yes. We don't even know why he was chosen as one of us, to begin with. Don't mess with him, though. He dislikes you," came the nice advice from the Freud. "I guess so," Schultz caught the hostile gaze from the bald man and nodded at him. He wondered if his obnoxious attitude was some kind of message to him.

At the back entrance of the hotel, three Russian agents disguised as handymen were looking for a chance to sneak inside with the help of a bribed hotel employee. All of a sudden, a man's scream caught the attention of everyone around. "I said sorry! Let me go, please!" A stocky man with a moustache, in casual attire, stumbled out, thrust by a tall, blond woman in a black suit and wearing dark glasses. "There wouldn't be any need for SP, if saying sorry solved everything!" shrieked the intimidating female SP. A security guard stepped in and asked what the problem was. "Can't you see it!? He's a trespassing paparazzo!" The SP ordered him to tell which publisher hired him. Then, in a flash, the photographer held his camera, pressed the shutter, and started running away, with the cry of, "I got a shot of the demonic female SP!" The SP dashed after the cameraman, while the surprised security guards were wondering whether they should cooperate with her in catching the paparazzo, and the Russians were flinching at the idea of being discovered by such a formidable SP. Running after Bonham, Eroica suggested stealing the bikes parked there (the Russians' newly rented bikes) to continue the fake chase. One of the Russians radioed their colleagues watching the front of the hotel and asked them to retrieve the bikes. The ones on the other side of the hotel spotted the concerned two pedaling the bikes merrily, now in reverse order, and held out a binoculars to take a good look at them. The familiar face of Bonham and the female SP, who had taken off her sunglasses, took them by surprise.

The report that apparently Eroica had been hiding in the same hotel as the Major also gave Mischa a considerable shock. His agent on the phone asked him, "...Does this mean that the Major finally stepped into the forbidden world of...?" "Don't make an inappropriate comment, idiot!" bellowed Mischa. To him, the collusion between the Major and Eroica was more than obvious. Eroica must be after the Russian navy secret, as a tool of the Major. "Follow him, and leave the culprit at large," commanded Mischa to his agents.

At the anteroom for the NATO delegation, the high officials held a quick preliminary talk and confirmed that they would demonstrate NATO's monolithic solidarity and stimulate the Baltic States' instinctive fear against Russia.

The first round of the conference was opened by the statement of the leader of the Baltic delegation.

Lydnel: The Participation of the Baltic Three in NATO will further reinforce the security of all Europe.
Another Balt: Our countries and the NATO nations are under the same threat.
UK: Please explain to us, then, an example of the urgent and critical threats against NATO nations.
the Freud: Certainly we will, when we come to bear the same rights and obligations as your countries.
France: Are you certain that NATO will benefit from your participation?
Rosa: We believe we can offer you information of critical importance to NATO security.
France: Then, isn't it more beneficial for you to reinforce NATO's defense first before joining us?
Germany: It will be meaningless for you, if NATO confronts a threat after you gain membership.
Belgium: It is more realistic to give priority to NATO's security now.

The Balts took a vote if any of the three countries gave precedence to NATO's interest over their own. Of course no one showed their hand.

Intermission. Klaus was sitting properly with the irritated German ambassador and listening to the progress of the negotiation. The high official complained about the toughness of the Baltic nations. Klaus sighed at their egotistic demands, but refrained from exhibiting his usual insolence. The ambassador vented his ill humor on him. "Isn't there any way to fish for the information, Eberbach? It was you who was assigned to get hold of the information, wasn't it!?" Klaus said it was possible, but they must approve their participation eventually. The ambassador barked at him, "If we could do so, I wouldn't consult the likes of you!" Klaus pacified him with his ideas. "First, exchange a secret protocol to approve the future participation of the Baltic States. Then, issue an official statement to the effect that the negotiations broke down. You can discuss the time of their participation later. The Baltic nations will be satisfied and Russia won't be offended." Beaming, the ambassador snapped his fingers. "Right! we shall treat them as quasi-members until they are officially admitted. I flatter myself that I came up with such a great idea." The high official left the room.

Klaus's phone vibrated in his chest pocket. It was from Major Hansen calling to report that Klaus's assumption about the Russian secret was proven right. The existence of advanced underwater mines of the Russian navy, which would react only to certain screw sounds and attack, was confirmed; "The code name is 'Poseidon,'" added Major Hansen.

In the second round of the conference, NATO announced that they were ready to approve future participation of the Baltic Three. The delegation of Baltic nations accepted the ostensible rejection as a necessary measure to avoid possible tensions. The phrase "NATO shall observe the security of the Baltic States with serious interest" would be appended to the official statement as the collateral. All being happy, it seemed like the conference was brought to a close with great success, until France requested the top secret in exchange for the official announcement of the communiqué. There was a brief silence, then the leader of the Baltic delegation confided that they neither had it, nor knew what it was about. "It's supposed to be delivered when our participation to NATO is approved in the joint statement. We don't even know how, so it's up to you to get hold of it," was his impassive answer.

The German ambassador stormed into the waiting room for the German staff members, looking for Klaus. He yelled at Agent A, "Tell Major Eberbach to report to me at once! The information search has been put back where we started." But the Major had already had a certain person in his sights.

On the terrace, Schultz (Klaus) calmly talked to the back of a lone man in a black suit. "Mr. Petz, may I have a word with you?" Caught unawares, Petz turned around and looked at Schultz suspiciously. Schultz spoke in a low, hesitant voice as if to avoid being overheard by the others, "Perhaps I shouldn't say this, but please let me ask you. My superior is particularly interested..." Petz stared and sniggered at him. "Don't forget I am the one who wasn't even informed of the existence of the top secret. If you're trying to pry the information out of me... I can't have a high opinion of the NATO spy." Schultz's eyes went wide with surprise. "...What're you talking about? You must be taking me amiss." "What?" flustered Petz. Schultz touched his own abundant hair and said, "I was to ask you about your wig. My superior insisted that it's made in France. Could you tell me its make?" Vexed, Petz protested in a trembling voice, "You... tricked me -- !" Schultz went on, now with a cool, intimidating manner, "Besides, it was you who denied any suspicion of my being a NATO spy. If the outsiders come to know our line of trade, it will be a hindrance to our mission, won't it?" Infuriated, Petz reiterated how he loathed Klaus right from the beginning. The Major warned him coolly, "You shouldn't allow your personal feelings to hamper your mission. Now that the joint announcement was made, there shouldn't be any delay in the delivery of the information." Petz pulled out a daisy from a nearby pot and toyed with it for a while. He smiled and said, "Don't talk so big. I'll give it to you." The Major almost held out his hand. Spinning the daisy with his fingers, Petz sneered at the Major, "But it's against my will that I'm delivering it to the person whose guts I hate. So I'll do it in my way, and you'll have to show me your famous ability. If you fail in catching my presentation, you're incompetent. Too bad NATO didn't send another agent; it would have been much simpler." Petz threw away the flower and left the terrace scornfully, leaving the Major in fury.

"The beauty is beyond all description, don't you think?" Mesmerized by Jiri's Swan Lake, Dorian in the royal box of the theatre turned to Bonham, who was sound asleep. "Oh, all right..."

Outside the theatre, Mischa was briefed by his agents about Eroica:

1) Eroica occupies a royal box.

2) The ballet company gives Eroica preferential treatment, because he is a close friend of the star dancer Jiri Cosby.

Mischa was startled by the name, and ignored one of his agents' suggestion that Jiri might only be Eroica's friend in the forbidden world. "I should have known better...! The dancer could have had some intention in sitting right next to me in the Café."

3) According to Jiri's fan club newsletter, his real name is Jiri Cosbiski, born in Riga, Latvia. His father is a former Soviet navy officer who was exiled to Finland thirteen years ago with his family.

Naturally, the Russians deduced that the shrewd Major was using Eroica as a tool to seduce the dancer and fish for the leaked information. Mischa's eyes gleamed ominously behind the dark glasses. "Um. We must put the screws on this dancer," he said.

Chapter VII

Back in his room, Petz logged on to a secure chatroom through his laptop computer; he asked his organization what Major Eberbach's weakness could be. The contact was puzzled by the inquiry.

the contact: He's not an enemy. Why do you ask such an unnecessary question?
Petz: To deliver him the information without fail. I don't want to confuse him by a means he's not familiar with.
the contact: Rumor says he's no good at art in general. At any rate, we recommend that you take a simple and direct measure.

An idea occurred to him and Petz chuckled to himself. He called a certain person to make an arrangement.

Meanwhile, A and B were in the Major's room with a couple of items to report about Petz.

Petz used to have plenty of wavy long hair (they brought a photo of Petz from high school days); he was one of those artistic, romantic type of youngsters who were often the target of bullying by hard-liner boys like Klaus. A and B said his reluctance to deliver the information could be attributed to a present grudge against the Major's abundant hair and the past traumatic experiences of being bullied by Klaus-like classmates.

Klaus snorted, but he was well aware of the danger of underestimating an insidious man like Petz. It was safer to probe into the core from the scratches of knowledge they could get rather than try to pry open the man's mouth.

"What we know so far is that the underwater mine's code name is 'Poseidon.' Poseidon shakes the ocean, neutralizing half of the NATO navy force," said Klaus.

"In Greek Myth, Poseidon is accompanied by a merman called Triton," said B seriously. "The pet. I smell a weasel." Klaus bristled at B's seemingly silly comment and left his room.

His job as the caretaker of the delegates wasn't over yet. Most of them became chatty and in good humor, released from anxiety over the outcome of the conference. They were to leave Denmark the following morning, but the leader said he and some others would postpone the flight half a day to see Jiri Cosby's performance. Memele insisted he couldn't wait until the next day; he wanted to take his sick ferret to a vet as soon as possible (Klaus was rightly convinced that the animal's ailment was a reaction to being close to himself). Petz's request to join the theater-going group alarmed Klaus. In the hallway, the Major was stopped by Petz and reminded that he shouldn't forget there was no knowing when, where, and how Petz would present the information to Iron Klaus.

Petz left the hotel, followed by Agent E and G.

The evening's program was over and people came out of the theatre. Mischa sent his men inside the theatre to check on Eroica and Jiri Cosby. Bonham was wakened by an attendant and realized he'd slept all through the program. The attendant told him his lordship went to meet Jiri in his dressing room. The Earl might be angry at him. Bonham leaned on the balcony and sighed, looking down on the almost-empty hall, and witnessed two Russians with dark glasses also being wakened by a cross attendant. He followed them and spotted Mischa.

Dorian and Jiri were talking in the flower-filled dressing room. Jiri told him that he would probably have to spend all night mastering a completely new choreography of the following night's program, the Wrath of Poseidon.

Dorian: An iconographic Wrath of Poseidon? What will it be like?
Jiri: I have no idea.
Dorian: I'm afraid your choreographer is being quite unreasonable to change it the day before the performance.
Jiri: He's a nice, quiet person from Latvia also. He said an inspiration burst upon him.
Dorian: Poseidon must be a special piece for him, then.

Dorian encouraged Jiri and left the room to find Bonham crouching in the corridor guiltily. Dorian's sarcastic remark was interrupted halfway by the report on Mischa's appearance. They hurried to the backdoor to avoid the Russians, then slowed down their pace trying to appear equable to a man walking from the opposite direction. The bald man stopped, looked daggers at Dorian's face, and was gone. "Is there anything wrong with my head?" Dorian asked to Bonham. "Just lots of hair, me lord," he answered.

They opened the door to get out of the theatre and bumped into Agent E and G. E questioned if they had seen a bald man; Dorian told them that the man was inside, and added that Mischa was taking his stand at the entrance of the theatre. E decided to call the Major.

Agent G: It'll be a disaster if Mischa comes to know about Petz.
Dorian: Is Petz the bald man you're after? Is he a crucial person?
Agent G: That billiard ball is the information deliverer. He grudges carrying out his mission, though, because he's jealous of the Major's beautiful black hair.

Dorian recalled the tapped conversation between the women, while E was talking to the Major on the phone about Mischa's appearance at the theatre.

Agent B stopped the Major who was about to dash to the theatre. B thought he detected a Poseidon possibly relevant to this case. "This is the Poseidon, sir," said he, presenting a photo of a sculpture of nonsensical shape to his superior who had a great interest in art. "It's in the Louisiana Museum." Klaus left the hotel in a huff. B and the other alphabets lost the chance to point out to him that there was another Poseidon occasionally visible from the beginning of the case: The Wrath of Poseidon, a ballet title.

At the theatre, E and G reported the Major that 1) Mischa, under the assumed identity of the Earl of Gloria's butler, had been guided by a lobby staffer to Jiri's dressing room, and 2) Petz sneaked backstage. Dorian and Bonham hid behind the corner and followed Klaus to watch the development of the affair.

The man leading Mischa saw Jiri coming out of his dressing room for the night practice. Jiri told him that the Earl of Gloria had left a while ago. When he turned around to talk to his butler, there was no one.

"Good evening, Mr. Jiri." On the corridor to the practice hall, Jiri was stopped by the big bald man whom he remembered had yelled at him in the Café the other day. Mischa stood in Jiri's way, glowered at him through the dark glasses, threatened that he'd suffer if he did not own up at once. Mischa grabbed Jiri's shoulders. Not knowing what the menacing man was up to, Jiri went pale in fear. Then, there came Klaus to the rescue of the biseinen. "Oh, Herr Eberbach!" cried Jiri. "Good evening, Jiri. Glad you remembered my name," said the Major.

Klaus: [to Mischa] Aren't you ashamed of behaving like a stalker? Let him go at once.
Mischa: My purpose is the same as yours.
Klaus: [to himself] Mischa has his eye on this brat. Good, I can use him to divert Mischa's attention from Petz.
Jiri: [confused] Wha-what're you talking about!? Let go of me, or I'll call someone.
Mischa: [wagging his finger] You'd better keep your voice down, sonny. Wanna go to hospital with compound fractures?
Klaus: [snatching Jiri away from Mischa] No use threatening this child! [To Jiri] Run, quick!
Mischa: You can't!
Klaus: He's not a weasel! Don't treat him roughly!
Mischa: Then, you let him go!

Mischa was holding Jiri with his arms around his waist, while Klaus grabbed one of Jiri's arms, trying to pull him away from Mischa. At the sight of the tug of war, Dorian decided it was time to give Jiri a helping hand as they did in London. Dorian and Bonham screamed in female voices for help, claiming that Jiri was being attacked by two thugs. Klaus kicked Mischa in the confusion, pushed Jiri away, telling him to run. Klaus and Mischa escaped together. Dorian rushed to Jiri, on the pretext that he had a hunch that something would happen to him.

Dorian: Are you all right? Did they do any harm to you?
Jiri: Mr. Eberbach rescued me.
Dorian: [with an air of innocence] What? Was he here?
Jiri: He and a big bald man fought over me. But their conversation didn't make sense. Who is Mr. Eberbach?
Dorian: ...He has lots of secrets that I don't know of. Rumor says that he belongs to some kind of a public security organization.
Jiri: But then, why, me...?

Dorian took notice of a group of men rushing toward them with worried looks, and hushed the young dancer. Jiri explained that the middle-aged man in a dance outfit among them was the choreographer. Dorian and Bonham witnessed Petz talking with the choreographer unconcernedly a little apart from the group. That gave Dorian the entire picture. Impermissible, he thought.

Klaus and Mischa were walking side by side, bickering with each other, in the courtyard of the theatre. Mischa reproached Klaus for contemptibly calling him a stalker. Klaus asked if he should have revealed Mischa's identity. Mischa's mobile phone rang. It was from HQ in Moscow.

HQ: I need to give you an important instruction, but you seem to have some problem getting it now.
Mischa: Iron Klaus is trying to provoke me right by my side.
HQ: Leave him at once, and call me back once you're in a safe zone. An agent in Latvia finally got the rightful information!

Mischa left the place immediately, which didn't concern the Major, because he only wanted to keep the Russian away from Petz. Klaus called out his coward subordinate hiding in the nearby bush. Not only Agent A but Eroica came out from behind a hedge. Agent A reported to the Major that Petz had gone back to the hotel in an exceptionally good humor. Dorian told him that he'd got at Petz's trick to use the ballet stage for the information delivery.

Dorian: Pay close attention to the program of tomorrow night, The Wrath of Poseidon.
Klaus: Poseidon!? Why didn't you tell me?
Dorian: Think I told you.
Klaus: Humpf!
Agent A: Then, just as we suspected, the Tights is...
Klaus: ...The Latvian spy conspiring with the billiard ball!
Dorian: Don't get it wrong! The spy is the choreographer! He suddenly changed the movement of the program to use the stage as a means to pass the information to you!
Klaus: I'll put the screws on the choreographer!
Agent A: We can't, sir! Offend Petz, and it'll be even harder to get it from him!
Klaus: [fulminating] How am I supposed to do it, then!? I don't get a thing from a ballet stage!!
Dorian: ...Seems like this is where I come in, Major. [Toying with a rose in his hands] I won't allow someone like Petz to ridicule your ignorance of art; and Jiri is also the victim of their conspiracy.
Klaus: Are you gonna poke your nose in our business again, Lord Gloria!?
Dorian: Your weakness is my forte. Better put up with me for your mission.
Klaus: ...
Dorian: [to himself] An utterly unexpected, marvelous opportunity! It's like a dream come true to appreciate Jiri's performance with the Major!
[to Klaus] I'll offer my knowledge and experience as an art expert. I'll explain what the stage is trying to say to you.
Klaus: What're you asking for in return?
Dorian: Nothing this time.
Klaus: I don't believe you. There must be some evil intention in your offer. Tell the truth! What is your demand!?
Dorian: -- Then, just one request. Don't fall asleep during the performance.
Klaus: ...
Chapter VIII

The instructions received by Mischa: "Mischa the Cub, the agent in Latvia finally picked up the key word which had been lost during the confusion after the fall of the Soviet Union. Your new mission is to open the system set in the Øresund, and replace the old chip with the new one. This is to disable any third party from disengaging the blockade. Avoid Iron Klaus, and accomplish your task immediately."

Mischa received the chip in a park, and led his troops to their hideout. They would wait there till the evening to deceive NATO on the watch.

The theatre. We find Dorian and Klaus together in the royal box. Klaus looked down on the head of Petz among the audience, and cursed how he wished to burn up all the downy hair left on the skull. He also fussed about the way Dorian should explain the stage to him.

Dorian: Shut up and leave it to me. Stay awake while the light is off. Keep in mind Jiri's performance is a message only to you.
Klaus: How can I fall asleep right next to a queer?
Dorian: I'm happy to share this moment with you, darling. This is like a dream, to have Jiri on stage, and you next to me.
Klaus: This is torture!
Dorian: Watch! It's starting!

The curtain opened. On the stage, two nymphs were waiting for the appearance of Poseidon in front of a scene of three sailing boats. Dorian whispered excitedly, "Oh, this is Rubens! So easy to read!"

Klaus: The painter who did those triple-deck bellied ladies.
Dorian: Rubens did Poseidon, too. He took the subject matter from one chapter of the Aeneid by Vergil. The Trojan army was defeated by Greece in the Trojan war. They escaped to the ocean; Hera, who stood by the winning Greece, had Aiolos, the god of the wind, produce a storm.
[Click here for illustration.]
Klaus: Get to the point!
Dorian: Wait for 30 seconds. The painting is the scene in which Poseidon, who supported the Trojans, is threatening the storm in rage, "Quos ego -- I will destroy you." That's the title of the painting.
Klaus: [jotting it down on the program] "I will destroy you," that's a perfect key word for an underwater mine.
[The two nymphs came close to Jiri's Poseidon, twined around his body in certain poses and they went to a standstill.]
[Click here for illustration.]
Klaus: Bunched up together and stopped. Must have forgotten their next move.
Dorian: You... But what an interesting pose. I've never seen it before.
Klaus: That's suspicious. [Sketching their shape] Hey, they started to rotate in that pose! Explain it to me, quick!
Dorian: Two turns to the right, three to the left, five to the right...
Klaus: I see. A rotating key. That pose has the crucial meaning, then.
[Jiri jumped high, and The Wrath of Poseidon was over. In exhilaration, Dorian urged Klaus to applaud. Klaus clapped his hands half-heartedly.]
Klaus: What was that pose?
Dorian: [Too busy enjoying the sight of Jiri to care about that] ...Dunno.

Dorian took a brief look at the sketch Klaus did on the program, and snatched it from Klaus's hand out of curiosity. He was about to chuckle at the awkward picture looking like a strange object, when something crossed his mind. "This shape... I've seen it before."

Dorian exclaimed in excitement. "Oh, that's it! Your intuitive power did it! I couldn't get the message, blinded by the beauty of the scene. This is the Poseidon in the Louisiana Museum. Jiri and the nymphs represented that contemporary sculpture!"

Klaus remembered the photo Agent B had shown him at the hotel.

They deciphered the information delivered by the choreographer of The Wrath of Poseidon as:

The underwater mine -- Poseidon -- installed in the Øresund is operated by rotating the sculpture titled Poseidon in the Louisiana Museum. Two turns to the right, three to the left, and five to the right is the order. The key word for the computer is "Quos ego."

Klaus thanked Dorian and was about to leave the royal box.

Dorian: Wait. Never suspect Jiri of being a spy any more. If you violate my treasure, I won't forgive you.
Klaus: You actually have an eye for biseinens. Be careful not to let Mr. Tights know your true profession.
Dorian: Let's see Jiri's performance again together.
Klaus: Don't push your luck, idiot!

[Click here for illustration.]

Klaus left the program with his scribbles on it to Dorian, who thought the poor sketch was more precious than da Vinci's dessin. Unfortunately, Bonham had to come ruin the smug pleasure of Dorian with the news that James had run away from the quarantine station and remained at large. The days of wine and roses would be over once James spotted their whereabouts. Dorian urged Bonham to hurry and enjoy the rest of the vacation free from James until the final performance of Jiri on the following day.

At the theatre, Agent A thanked Petz that the Major had received the information with ease; Petz hung down his head low in disappointment.

Klaus and his men were going to wait until the museum was closed and free of employees. An alphabet watching the Russians radioed the Major in panic: being alarmed by the Russians' quietude so long, they broke into the room and discovered that the Russians had sneaked out already through a hole on the back wall. "It's your negligence, idiots!" bellowed Klaus. He ordered everyone to hurry to the Louisiana Museum.

An oncoming car signaled and warned them that a turned-over truck was blocking the street completely. It was Mischa's obstruction. Agent A requested Major Hansen to get them a helicopter. Klaus took notice of a couple of bikers watching the scene, borrowed a bike, and started pumping the pedals toward the museum.

Louisiana Museum: While one operative of Mischa was on careful watch of the ships passing the straits lest NATO navy's ships happened to approach, the Russians struggled to turn the ponderous sculpture as instructed. The designated turns being completed, the circuit that connected the underwater mine and computer was activated. The sculpture came off the platform and fell on the ground with a thud, revealing a keyboard underneath. They punched in the keyword. A computer box hid behind the title plate "Poseidon" slowly came out. They successfully replaced the old chip with the new one. "Quos ego" was again input, and the box was retracted inside the platform. Mischa ordered his men to put the sculpture back to the stand and turn it the opposite way, which would conclude all of their mission.

"Hold it," a voice warned. It was the Major, aiming his gun at Mischa's back. The young Russians ran away in all directions. "Get away from the sculpture, Mischa." They started an exchange of shots, when one of Mischa's men spotted a Norwegian navy's ship approaching. "Mischa the Cub, a NATO ship is coming this way! The mine will attack it, if we don't turn off the system!!"

Mischa and Klaus stared at each other for a moment, then started working together frantically to deactivate the system. They reset the heavy thing up on the platform and began to counter-rotate it. "Two to the right, three to the left, and five turns to the right. Got it!?" Mischa reminded the Major, who was not listening in panic. The vessel was approaching rapidly.

"Stop it, Major! You overdid it!" exclaimed Mischa. "Get it back to the starting position! We have to start it all over again!!" Klaus retorted that it was Mischa who miscounted.

Klaus interpreted that the opposite of "2r, 3l, 5r" was "5l, 3r, 2l." But the Russian organization instructed Mischa that "2l, 3r, 5l" was the combination to deactivate the system. "Shut up and do as I tell you, Major! Russia cannot afford to go to war against NATO!" Klaus believed Mischa's word, and they started rotating the sculpture like hell (for some mysterious reason, Mischa's men didn't help them at all). The ship was dangerously close, and it would be attacked by the former Soviet mine any moment now. All of a sweat, they kept on turning the thing together in silence.

[Click here for illustration.]

The ship passed by and nothing happened. The two stopped the motion.

Mischa: The system is still on!
Klaus: [wiping his forehead with back of a hand] One explanation is computer malfunction.
Mischa: The Y2K problem!? That fuss was over, wasn't it?
Klaus: There are still some cases in which old model computers make errors of unknown causes. It's not strange if a Soviet computer made in the '80s came down with a bug.
Mischa: [clenching his fists] This is outrageous!! What did we rotate the bloody sculpture for!? To hell with Poseidon!!

The moment Mischa kicked the title plate (the box containing the computer) hard, there was a towering explosion in the middle of the straits. Klaus, Mischa and his men blanched in shock.

The system was still on, because the last two turns were left undone. They finished the rotations in a great hurry. "Will you kick it again to make sure it's off?" scoffed Klaus.

Klaus: The buggered Poseidon is useless.
Mischa: [in rage] I'll report it to HQ and denounce the bastards who designed the system thirteen years ago!
Klaus: We could avoid the worst, thanks to them. It's the luck of the year 2000.

Mischa snorted loudly, then realized Major Hansen's helicopter was approaching. Mischa and his men escaped in a bunch. The outcome aside, they accomplished their mission as they were told.

Klaus left the disposal of the mine to Major Hansen, and was about to get back to Copenhagen, when Agent A whispered to him the news of an escapee from the quarantine island. He changed his mind at once and asked Major Hansen to dispatch another helicopter to take him directly to Germany. A was given the assignment of settling the remaining issues in Copenhagen, along with permission to enjoy half a day of sightseeing with the rest of the alphabets.

On some bridge in Copenhagen. Dorian and Jiri were walking side by side, cherishing the precious little time left for them together. Dorian explained that both Eberbach and the big skin-head had left Denmark and would never come back to bother Jiri again. "Forget about them. I'll protect you from the wicked people." Jiri thanked him with a bright smile and left, promising that he'd let him know first when the next performance in London was scheduled.

Dorian heard an eerie creak coming from under the bridge. It was James, the king of rats sitting on the raft with his vassals and looking up at him. "Welcome back, Mr. James. I was waiting for you," Dorian smiled resignedly. It was truly the end of Dorian's marvelous vacation.

Bonn, NATO Intelligence. The Chief brought up the idea of recruiting Jiri as a contract agent. Klaus opposed to it, because: 1) Jiri was the apple of the eye of a certain English criminal, and that thief would poke his nose without fail whenever they would commission him to work for them; and 2) Mischa the Cub hated his guts for personal reasons.

In Moscow, Mischa's wife and Anna were talking about Anna's wonderful father who hadn't forgot to send her Jiri Cosby's video tape.

The Wrath of Poseidon was never put on the stage thereafter. It became a legendary performance by Jiri Cosby.


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"Poseidon 2000" summary copyright Mme Cusack.