Contributed by - Ed
Chapter One: The Arrest
Officer Trnava Stashak was definitely a morning person; she had already
run two miles, lifted weights, finished her paperwork from the previous
day's shift, and gotten cleaned up and dressed for her morning patrol
before it was even seven o'clock. Her partner who had a wife and two
young kids never came in so early; no she wouldn't be seeing Officer
Detynik Andreis for another thirty minutes. He always walked his
five-year-old boy to school every morning before making his way to the
Officer Stashak picked up their assignments from the Chief's office and
then decided to step outside to wait for her partner to appear. The sun
was just rising over the massive courtyard of the Governors Palace; this
was the type of warm bright day that made patrolling Rika Chorna a
pleasure. After a few minutes of relaxing in the morning breeze she
spotted her partner across the boulevard in front of the Ministry of
Public Works. He was having a conversation with a criminal and one of
the grounds keepers.
Trnava just grinned slightly and shook her head. Officer Andreis was a
decorated and experienced policeman who had proven himself on the force
for almost eight years but his friendly behavior toward the city's
collared criminals was a bit strange she thought. He would only require
them to kneel long enough to satisfy protocol, and then afterwards it
wasn't unusual for him to talk casually with a criminal out in the open.
If they got to choose who their arresting officer was, she knew there
would be a line forming outside his office. The judicial punishments he
administers, while harsh enough to satisfy the judge, were nearly always
on the lenient side. Sometimes he even encouraged the criminal during
one of these sessions, whispering for them to be brave and such. Many
times she had heard him say, "Our calling is to rehabilitate the
criminal not to terrorize them. "Yes, Officer Andreis sometimes seemed
too kind hearted for this line of work.
What he lacked as a disciplinarian he made up for with his other skills
though. Trnava didn't think that even the Chief could quote the statutes
of the law like her partner and his ability to negotiate disputes was
remarkable. As a rookie just out of the Academe she was completely
clueless on how to deal with people, but just watching him work these
past ten months has taught her some valuable lessons. "I don't have a
quick draw but I do have a quick mouth," Andreis would say after calming
some quarrel. And he was as well liked by the residents of Rika Chorna
as anyone, often when a crime was reported the victim would request
Officer Andreis by name.
It seemed that her partner had concluded his conversation with the
criminal and groundskeeper so she crossed the street and saluted Officer
Andreis. He returned the salute to his junior partner. " So Officer
Shashak, where do the fates throw us today, I would hope it's in the
direction of a good coffee shop."
“The Chief wants us to head over to the eastern side of the business
district; the city water department will be replacing a water-main this
morning, so they need us to re-rout traffic and keep people out of their
way. They want us over there before the heavy equipment arrives at about
nine o'clock. So have you ever stopped at that little diner next to the
After a good cup of black coffee the officers walked to the site of the
water-main break. It was eight-thirty in the morning already but nothing
was happening. The foreman was furiously barking into his radio about
all the delays, and then he really went off the edge throwing his
clipboard to the ground and stomping off toward his work crew.
“See now that’s what would happen to me if I didn't stop after my second
cup," Officer Andreis observed. With the significant delay in work on
the water main, he decided that it would be best if he and his junior
partner patrolled to the east for a while.
This part of the Business District had rows of office buildings to
either side but at the very end of the street and the edge of the city
was the new Rika Chorna Technology Center. There was a three-story brick
structure, and several smaller buildings scattered about the complex.
Just a few of the facilities were finished though, standing at the main
entrance Officer Andreis could see from the empty bicycle parking rack
out front that hardly anyone was working at the Tech-Center yet.
Curious, he decided to look around the facility.
The two officers walked through the central courtyard and up to the main
door of the largest building. It was dark inside and the door was
locked, so he decided to walk to the other end of the complex where
there was a one-story brick building. A sign outside read
Computer-Modeling Center. As Officer Andreis moved toward the entrance
his police radio went off. It was the dispatcher; the water-main repair
would occur in about an hour. He was just turning back to tell his
partner when the door opened and a man walked out. This man carried a
thin briefcase in his left hand but his right was fully extended toward
Officer Stashak watched as a man in a business suit walked toward her
partner; there was a flash and Andreis's body jerked violently and then
crumbled toward the ground. He's shot, she realized. She drew her pistol
just as she had trained countless times before, aimed and fired three
times. One bullet hit the gunman's right shoulder, the other two missed.
The shooter retreated behind the low brick wall that flanked the
entrance and returned fire over the top. Stashak took cover and reached
for her radio.
"Officer down, there's an armed suspect at the Tech-Center. Request
Soon two vans full of police arrived. Although the shooter was wounded
and surrounded by police he rushed out with his gun drawn. All ten
officers emptied their weapons into the gunman's body; he collapsed into
a bloody mess on the sidewalk. One officer approached and checked for a
pulse anyway, while Officer Stashak hurried over to where her partner
A policeman shouted. " There's someone inside! He's got a partner!"
Officer Stashak gasped when she turned Andreis onto his back. His eyes
were rolled back in their sockets and the hair on the right side of his
head was saturated in blood. "Detynik, she cried patting his cheek.
Detynik!" She drew close to his mouth and listened … he was still
The head wound wasn't his only problem though; there was blood soaking
into his uniform from underneath, darkening the blue cloth an appalling
purple. She opened his shirt. He had one bullet wound in his right
shoulder that wasn't bleeding much but also a wound in the upper abdomen
that gushed in quick spurts. An artery was punctured, she realized, he
would bleed to death if its not slowed. She probed the wound with her
finger until she found the ruptured artery. Clamping down on the wound
firmly she could see the blood flow had greatly diminished.
After her partner was loaded into the ambulance Officer Stashak turned
and looked at the scene near the building's entrance. There was the
gunman all shot full of holes and lying on the crimson stain of his own
blood. Near the building's entrance several police officers had the
gunman's young partner handcuffed and on his knees. She however didn't
feel anger or terror or anguish. Standing there covered in her partner's
drying blood she felt nothing at all.
Her senior officer approached. " Trinova, I'm having a driver take you
back to the station so you can get cleaned up and give your statement to
the inspector. As soon as you're through with that you'll be dismissed
for the day, I'm sure you want to go to be with Officer Andreis at the
"Don't concern yourself with this suspect, I guarantee we can make him
talk. This partner of the gunman is going to have a very unpleasant day.
We're going to take him over to the old shop and get him ready for the
inspector." He put his hand on her shoulder. "Detynik has a strong
spirit, he's going to make it."
Arthur had been kneeling on the sidewalk for several minutes when a
policewoman got him up and removed his handcuffs. Twenty cops formed a
rough circle around him. This woman glared at Arthur and issued a
command, and even though he couldn't understand she meant, his failure
to comply angered the woman. She slapped him hard across the face.
"I don't know what you want."
She grabbed a fist-full of his shirt and pointed to the ground.
Bewildered, Arthur glanced where she had pointed but there was nothing
but concrete there. She slapped him again then motioned as if taking off
her own shirt.
"You want my shirt?" Arthur unbuttoned the shirt and looked at the
policewoman. She nodded.
Arthur removed the shirt and placed it on the ground. Then the
policewoman pointed to his shoes. As Arthur removed his shoes he had a
frightening thought. This woman surely wouldn't demand that I take off
all my clothes. As if in reply she pointed to his pants.
Arthur stood at the center of a ring of angry cops wearing only a thin
pair of boxers now. As he expected the policewoman demanded he strip off
the last of his clothes. In front of twenty police officers, half of
them women, Arthur reluctantly pushed the waistband of his shorts down
over his hips and let them fall around his ankles. The expression in the
face of the policewoman changed to a malicious smile when she noticed
him trying to cover himself with his hands.
There was nothing she enjoyed more than humiliating a young man,
especially a foreigner who was unused to public nudity. She would enjoy
herself today, it was even better since the suspect tried to cover his
nakedness, by forcing him to expose his naked body in front of a crowd
she could embarrass him twice.
While another policeman gathered up his clothes she pulled out her baton
and stepped behind him. Arthur felt her hand grasp his wrist; she issued
another order then forced both hands behind his head. He felt the tap of
her baton on the inside of his right calf; she was ordering him to
spread his legs. The policewoman wasn't satisfied until his feet were
set almost a meter apart.
Arthur felt the cold metal baton drag over his right thigh and up across
his buttocks as she circled back in front of him. The woman seemed to
feed on his humiliation, while the other cops looked angry she had an
almost hungry look in her eyes. Arthur trembled a bit as she examined
his face then her eyes went lower. He felt the baton move slowly up his
right thigh until it touched his testicles. She applied just enough
upward force to be painful while she made what must have been a series
of crude comments about his manhood. Arthur stood completely exposed and
under the merciless policewoman's control as her audience enjoyed his
After several minutes of this degrading treatment Arthur was forced to
his knees. She cuffed his hands behind his back and put another pair of
restraints on his ankles, then pulled him to his feet. The policewoman
smiled as she prodded Arthur forward with her baton, toward the entrance
and the busy street beyond.
Arthur was mortified as dozens of people on both sides of the road
stopped to examine the naked young man in chains that the police
escorted down the street. Men and women stared, teenagers laughed, and
children pointed as he shuffled awkwardly in his shackles. Five minutes
later the police reached their destination: an old masonry structure
that had a garage door at the front. After seeing the cruel looks on the
cop's faces Arthur feared the worst.
After spewing what must have been a series of insults the policewoman
left Arthur alone. Then the lights were turned out. Arthur found that
with his arms hoisted behind his back so high in the air he was unable
to rest in any way. He couldn’t stand up strait without wrenching his
shoulders out of socket but his hands were pulled too far off the ground
to even allow him to rest on his knees.
Every muscle in his back and shoulders was burning, and the soreness in
his arms and legs intensified with the slightest movement. The cool damp
air in the room was also taking its effect. While the temperature wasn’t
exactly cold, being naked and standing on the concrete floor certainly
made the cool air feel frigid. As hours passed he shivered
uncontrollably, shaking from both the pain and the cold.
After an excruciating wait the door banged open and the lights came on.
Startled by the noise, Arthur flinched and twisted sideways but somehow
managed to keep his balance. Some of the same cops were back, but along
with them there was an older policeman dressed in a more elaborate
uniform. As this man walked in front of him, Arthur struggled to rotate
his head upwards enough to look him in the face.
“So you are Arthur Liggett, from America. Is this so?" The man asked in
strangely accented but understandable English.
"I am Inspector Marchik. As the head investigator for this crime you
were involved in, it is my duty to understand exactly what occurred
today at the Tech-Center and have no doubt I will find out everything
“You are in a great deal of trouble Arthur Liggett, but if you cooperate
I might help lessen your suffering. Will you answer my questions or do
you want to spend the night here?"
“I'll tell you anything you want to know Inspector." Arthur pleaded.
"Just let me down."
“First you answer all my questions to my satisfaction. This dead partner
of yours, who shot one of our officers who is he?"
“Peter Rumak, he hired me."
“Hired you to do what?"
"Access and copy files from the database... anything having to do with
natural gas or oil deposits... I copied it onto the disc that was in my
“What was he going to do with this data?”
“He told me there was some business deal that he was putting together
for his clients."
“And how much did he pay for your services?"
“Five thousand dollars before and five thousand after."
“So for ten thousand dollars you will break our laws, steal from us, and
try to kill a police officer. Is this right?"
“No… Inspector, I didn’t know… I didn’t mean to break your laws, I
thought he was a legitimate businessman."
He grabbed a handful of hair and pulled up so he could look Arthur in
the eyes. "You had better be able to prove what you say." Then the
Inspector turned to his subordinates and gave an order.
That order, Arthur discovered, was to clean the suspect up by spraying
him with a water hose and let him hang there shivering till he dried.
A half hour later two policemen unhooked the chain and let Arthur down.
He was thrown into the back of a van and taken into the modern steel and
glass building that was the Police Headquarters. The officers forcefully
brought their weak and shaking suspect to the Inspector’s desk. He
motioned for Arthur to sit and then had a subordinate start filming with
the camera in the corner.
The Inspector asked Arthur questions having to do with the timeline of
events, and many concerning the transfer of the data. Eventually the
questions turned to his prior knowledge of Mr. Rumak and the nature of
this job that he offered. The Inspector asked if Arthur knew that Rumak
was armed, or if he knew of Rumak's criminal past. Sometimes Inspector
Marchik would ask the same questions more than once, trying to catch his
suspect in a lie, but Arthur at this point had no reason to mislead.
“You say you didn’t know Rumak was hiring you for criminal activity, is
there any evidence to back up your story? Ten thousand dollars for one
day's work doesn't sound so legitimate to me,"
“Mr. Rumak said that he needed the data quickly and that no one here
could help him because of the holiday this week."
“Holiday? And what holiday might that be?"
"He said there was some kind of religious holiday that kept the
technicians away from work. So he hired me to transfer the data
instead." Arthur realized that this was all sounding rather suspicious.
"There is no such holiday in Danubia, so you are either a liar or a
fool. If you don't give me any reason to think otherwise I will be
forced to regard you as Rumak's partner in this crime."
Thinking desperately for a moment Arthur Remembered "Mr. Neal, my old
boss at the oil company helped me get this job and he didn’t expect
anything either. He can corroborate my story! My cell phone had the
phone number in it."
"Perhaps I will speak with this Mr. Neal." He gave an order to a
subordinate who quickly came back with a copy of the phone’s contacts
The Inspector dialed the phone number but then had to wait for about a
minute before someone answered.
“This is Inspector Marchik of the National Police Force of Upper Danubia.
I need to speak to one of your managers; a Mr. Neal, concerning a
He looked offended. " I do not understand, Miss I do not need to speak
to a lawyer. I need to speak with Mr. Neal. This is concerning a former
employee of his that is now in our custody."
“Very well let me speak to him then." There was a pause. "Yes, Mr.
Murphy I am an Inspector for the Danubian Police and... " He was
“Yes, but I need to interview Mr. Neal since he is the only one who can
verify the suspect's story. I don't think that I…" Again the Inspector
“I see, then we have nothing further to discuss." The Inspector angrily
hung up the phone.
“It seems this Mr. Neal is not taking our phone calls, just his cursed
lawyers. This does not help your case at all. The Prosecutor will no
doubt charge you with unlawful entry, espionage, and maybe more. Perhaps
if you can think of some information that will help us catch any
associates you have or alert us to any other crimes you know about he
might be more lenient."
“Inspector, I told you all I know; I don't have any criminal
The Inspector stood up. "Then it seems we are through here, are we not?
At least until trial."
Here Arthur was put into a jail cell to spend another sleepless night.
Early the next morning two police officers came to retrieve him from his
cell. He was handcuffed, pulled out of his cell completely naked, and
taken down a long hallway on the fourth floor that had offices on either
side. There were people all around, but after going two days without
sleep or food and with his whole body sore from the previous day’s
abuse, Arthur didn't think much about modesty.
Arthur was taken into one of the spacious offices at the end of the hall
and was forced to his knees in front of a secretary at her desk.
Strangely the she glanced at him as though nothing unusual was
happening, then spoke with one of the guards. In a perfectly ordinary
manner the secretary picked up the telephone and made a brief call.
Arthur thought she mentioned his name.
A tall man in a business suit walked into the room. He briefly spoke to
the secretary and then made some gesture to dismiss the two policemen
standing guard. The man, who looked about thirty-five years old, turned
his attention to the detainee on the floor in front of him. With his
friendly expression Arthur was sure he wasn’t a cop.
"Arthur Liggett, I am Spokesman Ralkliv, I have your custody."
His accent was so odd that it took a few seconds for Arthur to realize
that the man was speaking English.
When he took Arthur’s handcuffs off Arthur remained on the floor almost
too sore and tired to move. Motioning to Arthur "Get up now, come
inside, have coffee, have food." Arthur managed to steady himself with
his arms just enough to get off the ground and move toward the
The man poured a large cup of black coffee, and offered biscuits and a
bowl of oatmeal. Then he left the room to allow his client time to eat.
When Spokesman Ralkliv returned Arthur was feeling a bit more lucid.
“You feel better now I see." He pulled out a folder. "I am being… I mean
I am your spokesman for criminal. I am Spokesman Ralkliv." He paused
searching for words. " I represent you in court."
“Spokesman. Does that mean you’re my lawyer?"
The Spokesman leaned back in his chair and smiled pleasantly. "Arthur,
you don't need lawyer, you guilty. You admit entering office illegal,
you admit take data, and you partner with criminal. You will be
sentenced. I try making sentence better. Less suffering."
Arthur was alarmed by the implications of what this Spokesman had said.
" Your not going to say that in court are you? I mean, you would be
admitting my guilt."
"I try get you less sentence for crimes, less punishment."
Arthur was horrified that this was his defense attorney. Even with all
the bad things he had heard about lawyers he would have given anything
for a crooked American lawyer right then, this guy wasn’t going to
contest the facts for god's sake!
"Arthur, we charge you and do trial today. I need to know what you know
about partner and break in. Maybe argue for better sentence if you
Arthur repeated all the information he had told the Inspector, and made
the point that he had been unaware that his employer hired him for a
The spokesman calmly explained "In Danubia ignorance no excuse to break
laws. Know, or not know… no matter. Sentence same. We try getting less
“Spokesman", Arthur was almost afraid to ask. " What sort of a sentence
will I be facing?"
"Arthur, our criminal justice is divided in two parts. The first part is
for capital crimes such as murder, treason, armed robbery, and other
very serious offenses. If a criminal is convicted of a capital offence
he is executed by firing squad."
"The second branch of our system is the reserved less serious crimes
such as theft or vandalism. Criminals found guilty in this system serve
sentences. My first task is to convince the prosecutor to try you in
Arthur hoped he didn't hear his spokesman correctly. "Spokesman…I…uh…do
you mean…that I might be executed?"
“Yes, the charge of espionage is usually a capital crime, you may also
be charged as an accessory in the shooting of Officer Andreis which may
also be a capitol offense."
"However, I will argue that there is no evidence to show that you had
prior knowledge of your employer's criminal activities and that there is
no evidence to prove intent on your part to commit either of these
"There are three other factors in your favor. You had no prior criminal
record and you had no weapons in your possession at the time of arrest.
Prosecutors may also be wary of executing an American for the damage it
might do to international relations."
“If I can convince the arraignment panel to try you in criminal court
you get maybe three or four years for break in, maybe five or ten years
for steal… data. Espionage might be fifteen or twenty years. Other
charges maybe more."
Alarmed, Arthur tried to understand what he meant. " Are you saying that
I'm either going to be executed or put in prison for over twenty years?"
“No, no prison. You stay as criminal, wear collar."
“Wear a what?"
He motioned to his neck." Criminal wear collar to track position."
Arthur started to ask more questions but he was cut off. " Arthur we…
not want to be late, go in bathroom, clean up." He pointed to a door in
After cleaning up he found Spokesman Ralkliv at his desk putting files
into his briefcase. "Arthur, the police will come and then we take you
to arraignment panel."
When he asked what clothes he's supposed to wear, the Spokesman glanced
at him. "Criminals not wear clothes," then went back to organizing
Incredulous Arthur asked, "You let people walk around naked in public?"
“Yes. Criminals naked, always."
Before all of that had a chance to sink in two police officers arrived.
True to his word Arthur was soon lead through a busy lobby wearing
nothing but handcuffs.
Arthur faced a three-person arraignment panel that included two
middle-aged women in robes and one older man. All three sat behind a
tall desk and looked down at him.
While a guard took off his handcuffs Spokesman Ralkliv told Arthur that
the three officials would determine what charges he would face at trial.
Once the panel was ready he turned to Arthur.
"Stand in criminal stance, face panel, hands behind head, feet apart."
Impatient with Arthur's hesitation he warned "You don’t want panel
Arthur quickly moved in front of the panel. He folded his hands behind
his head, and stood with his feet set wide part.
The official in the dark suit spoke first. He read a series of
statements from a document in his hand before turning his attention to
Spokesman Ralkliv. He would serve as both spokesmen for his client and
translator during the hearing.
Arthur answered a series of questions; most of which were identical to
the ones he had been asked by the Inspector the day before. The panel
only asked two unique questions: 1) Are you currently or have you ever
been a covert agent for the US or other government? 2) Are you a member
of an organized crime syndicate?
The first question was ridiculous, Arthur thought. A spy who admits to
being a spy every time he's asked, wouldn't be a very secret agent now
would he? The second question had more merit. Arthur already admitted to
working for Mr. Rumak, and it was clear from the panel's question that
they considered Rumak to be a card-carrying member of the Russian mob.
The amount of cash that Rumak paid for the one-day job also seemed far
in excess for any legitimate business. Arthur could but hope that the
prosecutor would require more than this circumstantial evidence to press
“No sir." Arthur answered to these final two questions.
Then his spokesman and the three officials on the panel had a lengthy
discussion. Even though Arthur didn't understand a word of this dialogue
it was clear that Ralkliv was a gifted speaker in his native tongue.
Spokesman Ralkliv and the woman on the right side of the panel talked
for several minutes while the other two officials were mostly silent.
Eventually the conversation ended and the woman on the right turned to
Arthur and gave the decision of the arraignment panel.
Spokesman Ralkliv who was obviously pleased with himself translated.
"Arthur Liggett panel recommends you face charges of espionage and
unlawful entry in criminal court." With their task complete the panel
stood and made a gesture across their chests before leaving the room.
Arthur was handcuffed and marched back up to his spokesman’s office.
After the police left the Ralkliv explained the charges and upcoming
"Arthur you are very, very lucky; you just face two charges: espionage
and unlawful entry."
"You get no more than thirty years, could be much worse."
Arthur felt like throwing up but he managed to smile.
“Ah, you feel better now I see. Good, trial in two hours. First you need
know what to do at trial. First we go to court, you stay by me, next
judge enters and defendant kneels. Place forehead to floor and you stay
until I say get up. Then you stand on the platform in front Judge. You
stand legs apart, hands behind head. Always stand like that; always look
at Judge. When Judge stands you kneel again."
Arthur just sat there trying to keep up with all these heavily accented
“Then we have break before judge return for ruling. When Judge returns
you kneel on platform, when Judge says you stand in criminal stance. You
hear sentence. Then you get collar put on neck."
Spokesman Ralkliv had gotten up and was gathering some documents in his
briefcase when his phone rang. After a short conversation he turned to
Arthur and continued.
“Oh… Where was I? The collar, after you have collar, you kneel before
police officer… Then they switch you, then police give you back to my
custody." He looked at the clock and picked up his briefcase.
"Switch me with what?"
"These police switch me with someone else?"
On his way out the door Spokesman Ralkliv shook his head and in a
frustrated voice answered. "You find out later, I'll be back to take you
trial soon. Here read newspaper."
Not so Secret Agent - Chapter 2