"That's not acceptable."
The tone of voice the comment was delivered in was cool, level, but it still made the Russian lieutenant who had the extreme misfortune of having been assigned to this man's security detail shrink back a little, rattled by the look in the cold gray eyes locked on his face. "Sir," he said bravely, cursing his parents for insisting that he learn English in school - if he hadn't, he might never have been chosen for this duty - "it simply cannot be done. We do not have the necessary troops to ensure your safety-"
The Envoy's reply was in flawless Russian. "~I don't care if your soldiers wet their pants at the thought of driving into Dagestan, Viktor Mikhailovich. We're going to Makhachkala. I have business there, and if I'm not mistaken, the Defense Minister instructed you to do as you were told.~"
The lieutenant straightened abruptly at the snap in the words, and nodded jerkily. "~Makhachkala,~" he said. "~Yes, sir.~"
"Good man," his 'charge' said curtly, switching back to English. "Now, go and get your people together. We're wasting daylight."
As the lieutenant beat a hasty retreat, Nathan Dayspring sighed and scratched at his beard, frowning at the screen of his laptop. Precisely how do I consider these 'updates' when they're five days old? The situation in Dagestan's capital could have progressed past the point where he could do anything, for all that he knew. The whispers that had come to his attention, about the Dagestani government's plans for the mutant communities outside the city, could have translated into direct action by now.
Was he doing the right thing, taking the discreet overland route like this? One phone call could have gotten him into the republic within six hours, but if he wanted to make this look like one of his roving tours, he couldn't diverge from SOP.
He supposed that if he got there and found out that the whispers had turned into open warfare, one phone call would also bring Anika's team riding to the rescue. But do you really WANT Ani scolding you about taking unnecessary risks all the way back to St. Petersburg? The way she acted sometimes, one would think that he'd hit senility with his fiftieth birthday.
Tw of the soldiers were grumbling in Russian as they passed by the Jeep, in low voices that that Nathan imagined they thought he couldn't hear.
"~...crazy old man, this one.~"
"~You know the stories they tell about him. I hear the Chinese want to bar him from the country, but they don't think they can get away with it.~"
"~You don't know the half of it,~" Nathan called wryly, and was vaguely amused to see them go white and scuttle off to their assigned tasks.
Sometimes, the 'Envoy mystique' was highly entertaining.