Prelude
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8 October, 1986

For the desk of N. Vasilov, GRU Division “P”, Kabul Office:

Numerous retrieved objects from site. Fire appears to be deliberate, if clumsy, attempt at obfuscation—if the agents of the Foundation have made inroads, as you say, then I suspect that they are not fielding their best, or have been driven to drastic measures. Reconstructions have been obtained by our forensic assets to approximately 99.5% accuracy. Samples enclosed below.


Item #1: Internal documentation, handwritten, nonspecific format. Designations suggest Foundation origin despite nonstandard terminology.

Asset profile: Pashtun male, indeterminate age, medium height. No identifying marks. Further identification difficult owing to circumstances of his transport. Accompanying convoy of estimated 50 armed individuals, supported by embedded logistics network.

Asset capabilities: Unknown. Trace signatures suggest similar nature to botched Andhra Pradesh project—refer to attached files.

Asset location: Triangulated to approximately 20 kilometres up the Hajigak Pass from Kabul. Refer to BLINDSIGHT report for details.

Notes: They’re moving him up to Bamyan, though their treacherous choice of route suggests other plans. WANDERING EYE does not think they intend to move fast, indicative of a specific rendezvous mid-route. Call in our favours with the branch office: we’ve got a long and winding road ahead.


Item #2: Typewritten draft, unsent.

28-09-1984: SUPPLY CONVOY, UNAI HIGHWAY. 28 INJURED 2 DEAD. CAUSE: EXPLOSIVES (INFERRED).

03-10-1984: SUPPLY CONVOY, ALINGAR HIGHWAY. 52 INJURED 7 DEAD. CAUSE: EXPLOSIVES (INFERRED).

21-10-1984: SUPPLY CONVOY, UNAI HIGHWAY. 30 MISSING, PRESUMED DEAD. CAUSE: UNKNOWN.

11-11-1984: ARMOURED CONVOY, UNAI HIGHWAY. 38 MISSING, PRESUMED DEAD. CAUSE: UNKNOWN.

07-12-1984: ARMOURED CONVOY, UNAI HIGHWAY. 27 MISSING, PRESUMED DEAD. CAUSE: PSIONIC (INFERRED).


Item #3: Field report, typewritten, Soviet letterhead. Indicative of surviving intelligence capabilities despite operational fragmentation—to investigate further.

18 January 1985

The sergeant said it’d be a fucking touch-and-go. The sergeant fucking lied.

Bodies in the windscreen, glass sectioning their insides. Bodies stuck in the fucking rocks. There were bodies folded inside the passenger seats, for god’s sake. And not a single one of those mountain rats in sight.

And the smell, the fucking smell. Whoever said the cold preserves bodies didn’t anticipate the bodies being fucking inside-out.

Improvised explosives, my ass. This war’s taken enough out of us. I’ve told my men to take the rest of the week off; god knows they’ll need longer than that.

In the meantime, you can tell the sergeant to explain his secrets, or you’ll have my resignation too.


Item #4: Transcript of communication between unknown parties reporting to the 388th Independent Special Company, Peshawar Branch.

INDIGO: There is a pattern, clearly, both geographically and what they are willing to achieve. And your leadership has made it clear that collaboration has been lacking as of late.

ALFA: [unintelligible]

INDIGO: We entirely understand. But the fact remains that what you’re talking about, recruitment, it takes time. Six months of conversion, boots on the ground. We don’t have that luxury here.

ALFA: [unintelligible]

INDIGO: I am saying we can be willing to strike a deal, Director. To do what your people are best at—secure the threat, contain it, and protect us all.

ALFA: [unintelligible]

INDIGO: Your standing in the region indicates otherwise. How many men and women have you had, trapped behind the border when the curtain fell? How many sites? How many assets? The commies won’t be as patient as we’ve been, Director.

ALFA: [unintelligible]

INDIGO: Safe passage, contingent on your support of this operation. And personnel and additional terms, if you help us get our man alive.

ALFA: [unintelligible]

INDIGO: I understand. You have our word.


Item #5: Typewritten communication, unsent. Assumed to be part of a longer document to be encoded.

30K TO 32B AWAIT EXPLICIT INSTRUCTIONS W SECURE CHANNELS. AIRDROP ARRANGED. LAMPLIGHTERS ENROUTE 45K BY 25.


Item #6: Facsimile, typewritten, Foundation internal documentation.

Description: Object is a modified M2 Browning .50 calibre machine gun manufactured between 1965 to 1967 by the experimental ballistics division of General Motors. Electromechanical components have augmented the firing mechanism to permit round acceleration via a poorly-understood consequence of the Hall effect on beryllium-bronze alloys, allowing for barrel velocities of up to ten times of the original’s design.


Item #7: Handwritten note, context unknown.

From one of our repository sites. Don’t ask me how we authorised this.
- A.C.


Item #8: Transcript of communication between unknown parties of the Foundation.

To: “PATEK”
From: “LARSEN”

The operation is a go. You’ll have vision support from our scry teams, and a few other treats and tricks we’ve picked up since the South Asian office folded. Even I’m a little horrified at the improvisations we’ve had to go through to make them work. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Meanwhile, you’ll have a number of teams playing fire support—the exact numbers don’t matter, it’s the intent—all double-blinded, as per your advice. The 388th insists on observers, and I can’t blame them for that, so I had to play a little bit of musical chairs with the groupings. I hope you don’t mind.

We’ve been running for far too long. This is our one chance to get a fighting foot forward. The Director’s deploying everything we’ve got, and our interference will keep the Americans out of our hair for as long as we’re able. But even so—an operation of this magnitude, with this many moving parts—I’d be lying if I told you we know what we’re doing. And even with the best of estimates, BLINDSIGHT only gives us a twenty-five percent chance of success.

Still, you’ve always been a gambling man, haven’t you?


Please find the remainder of the evidence at our analysis branch. It's nothing we haven't already known, but I recommend we comb through them to be sure. The loss of the dushman’s asset changes nothing—though a reassessment of their infiltration would be helpful for the war effort.

Yours in confidence,

Lt. D. Zhukov, KhAD Second Liaison, Kabul Command


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