The Next Emergency – 2

“Worried about Kolya?”

Andy glanced over at Leon with a faint frown. “I’m worried about all of them,” he said, his voice soft. He heaved a sigh before giving a slight shrug. “Perhaps more about Kolya than the others, because I consider him a friend.”

Leon nodded. He’d noticed that the pair had become close in the last couple years. When they worked in the field with the members of Section three, Kolya kept a close eye on Andy. When Leon had asked, Andy had said something about training, but he’d been vague on the details. Leon trusted Andy, so he pushed any feelings of jealousy to the back of his mind. They were friends, nothing more.

“What kind of training did they give him?” Leon asked, his voice soft.

For a moment, Andy didn’t answer. Then, when he spoke, his voice was soft and Leon knew it was something he shouldn’t mention to others. “He was part of the Program, like my cousin. They trained him as an assassin,” he said. His brows furrowed. “When the Program folded… he was transferred into Vector, where he acted as a security agent.”

“Like he does now, then?”

Andy grimaced and shook his head. “Sort of, but not really,” he said. Glancing at Leon, he said, “I’ve told you that I wasn’t previously trained to protect myself, outside of the Conditioned Response?”

“Right,” Leon said, nodding. “You were meant to do your job without anyone noticing, so they didn’t feel the need to give you firearms training or self-defense training of any kind.”

“On jobs when there might be the need,” Andy said, nodding, “they’d send a security agent with us.” He looked over at Leon and chuckled. “Kolya was called upon to watch my back more than once, Leon. I knew him before we met on this side of the Pond, as they say.”

That was news to Leon. They’d acted like perfect strangers when he’d introduced them. “Does Nate know?”

“Daresay no,” Andy said, chuckling wryly. He shrugged. “With Vector… you didn’t let your superiors know someone was a friend. If you did, they made sure you never saw each other again.”

“It’s not like that here,” Leon said, shaking his head. When Andy frowned at him, his expression one of doubt, Leon scowled. “It’s not.”

“Right,” Andy said, turning his gaze back to the road ahead. “Except when you’ve been trained together. Then, they tell you point blank not to try to contact each other… ever.”

Leon blinked at Andy’s words and then chewed at his thumbnail for a moment. He remembered being told that very same thing at the conclusion of his own training. In fact, he’d never seen any of his fellow trainees again, not even after a decade with OWL. “I wonder why that is,” he mused.

“Friendship can be a liability in our line of work,” Andy said, his voice soft. Then, he shrugged and sent Leon a warm smile. “It can also be an asset.”

Nodding, Leon reached out to pat his knee. “They’ll be all right,” he said, his voice soft.

“From your lips to the Great Father’s ears,” Andy murmured in reply.

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