It was a short drive from the airstrip to her home outside Saint Petersburg, but after last week’s “breach”, Katya’s security was not taking any chances.

“The Breach.” That was the euphemism everyone was using. For the most tense, terrifying five minutes of her life, Katya’s crucial work had slowed to a crawl to repeat her story in excruciating detail to packs of hounding acronyms; the FSB, SVR, GRU- even Interpol had been allowed to debrief her, though their interest had waned quickly after they established that the closest she’d come to the Widowmaker was a sniper-bullet that had passed scant centimeters from her head.

“What about the woman in purple?” Katya had asked them, eager for even a scrap of information. There’d been no trace of her in their computer networks, nothing on the cameras. If not for the surviving guards that had caught a glimpse of her, she could have been a figment Katya’s imagination. If only she were that lucky. 

Except all they had to offer was a long-winded explanation about unsubstantiated rumors, high-profile cybercrimes, and pattern recognition that boiled down to the bureaucratic equivalent of a shrug. 

Of course there was nothing. Like chasing a shadow.

“Chairman Volskaya? Is everything alright?” 

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