to create a temporal disruption that could endanger their own timeline and their money-making operations, correct?"
"Correct." said Forrester.
Hunter nodded. "In that case, General, there's something going down in colonial Boston and if it's not you, and if it's not my people, and if it's not the Network, then who does that leave?"
There was a brief moment of silence.
And then Delaney voiced what all of them were thinking. "Nikolai Drakov," he said.
"Yeah. that's what I figured. too." said Hunter.
"I think you'd better tell us what you know, Captain," said Forester, tensely.
Hunter gave him a steady stare. "Let's talk about a deal first," he said.
"No deals!" said Steiger.
"Colonel, I said
as you were,"
"Yes, sir. I'm sorry. sir."
"I'm listening. Captain, Hunter." Forrester said.
"I appreciate that, sir.' said Hunter. "And as Col. Steiger said, I realize that I'm in no position to make any demands, but I'm asking you to consider that I came in voluntarily. I didn't have to do that. I was also in a position to create a temporal disruption of my own, but I didn't do that, either. Now I've already given you a lot for free." He glanced at Steiger. "I realize that you could probably get the rest of it out of me through your interrogation techniques, but on the other hand, you just might wind up setting off one of those subliminal triggers and that would be all she wrote. I'd be a vegetable and you'd be right back where you started. You know there's something going down in colonial Boston in the 1760s, but that still leaves you with a lot of territory to cover doesn't it?"
“Very well. Captain." said Forrester. “What did you have in mind?"
"Safe conduct through a confluence point back to my own timeline." Hunter said.
“If your information's good. I think that might be arranged," said Forrester. “But not until your information has been thoroughly checked out."
"That's fair." said Hunter. “But I want one other thing."
Forrester raised his eyebrows. “You're already asking quite a lot. Captain."
“I want in on the mission," Hunter said.
"What?" said Steiger. "You're out of your mind!"
"Back off, Steiger." Hunter said. 'I helped save your bacon in 20th-century New York, remember? You owe me. Nikolai Drakov poses a threat to both our timelines. Besides, this has nothing to do with the hostilities between us. This is strictly personal. I've got unfinished business with that man. And I've already established connections in that temporal scenario. I could make things easier for you. Without me. you'd be going in cold.” He turned back to Forrester. "What's it going to be. sir'?"
They all looked at Forrester expectantly.
The old man thought about it only for a moment. "All right. Captain.” he said. "I'll take a chance on you. You've got a deal."
The last time he had been to Boston was in 1867, but that time would not arrive for about another hundred years Nikolai Drakov had known nothing about time travel then, only that his father, whom he hated, had come from the far future. Moses Forrester had met his mother, loved her, and then returned to the future once again, leaving her to give birth to their child alone as Moscow burned during Napoleon's retreat.
The infant Nikolai had survived the savage Russian winter while grown men around him died. His poverty-stricken mother married a kindly Russian army officer who took them in, but the man was a Decembrist and Nikolai was just thirteen when they were exiled to Siberia. He survived Siberia as well, only his family did not. His adoptive father had died of influenza in his prison cell and his mother had been murdered by a rapist. Nikolai had been too young to save her, although he had tried. He still bore the mark the murderer had left him with, a knife scar running from beneath his left eye to just above the corner of his mouth. In years to come, it would be taken for a dueling scar and thought quite dashing. In still later years