The pain was intense, almost blinding, and it swept over him in undulating waves of increasing agony. There was no time to savor the experience, the warm wet sensation on his back made it clear that the wound was through-and-through. The shot was in his upper chest, just below his right shoulder. He had escaped death, but not the danger of his situation. Coursing adrenaline kept him moving in spite of the onset of the symptoms of shock. He knew if he stopped, he would die alone in this foreign city.
The streets were deserted, the Cassock leader, Ivanovitz, had taken his wallet, passport and phone. He did not speak or understand the local Ukrainian dialect and with no means of contacting his team, he was as alone as one could be. The only comfort he found was in the ankle holster of the one Crimean he took out before the rebels overpowered him. The Makarov only had four cartridges in the clip, and with his right arm incapacitated, the odds were not in his favor.
Sevastopol was too far from Yalta to travel while wounded and without papers; there would be no backup, no extraction team to save Nastya; it was him and him alone. Necessity was his only plan.
Three blocks in from the water, the streets were dark and quiet. The bars and whore houses crowded the harbor, but here, working class families slept in tightly clustered stucco homes, their whitewashed paint corroded and pealing from the sea air. At each corner, one single, dim yellow streetlamp threatened to reveal his presence. Even with the leather jacket he borrowed from his gun donor hiding the blood from his wounds, his labored gait would arouse the suspicion of any passing patrol of Berkut, the Special Forces in charge of curbing the anti-Russian revolt.
The six blocks sapped his energy. Twice he held his back tight against doorways as headlights intersected the dark street. At one corner, he was forced to lie a dog littered shrub as two police cars, with their two toned sirens blaring, responded to a drunken raucous near the waterfront. Every minute spent hiding meant more blood loss and lessened the chances for Nastya. He needed sleep and he needed a doctor; neither was a luxury he could afford.
The concrete stairway of a warehouse offered an elevated view of the Cassock safe house at the corner Shcherbaka Street. Inside he counted five guards, two asleep on the sofa and three playing cards in the kitchen. In the center of the room was Nastya, tied to the fourth kitchen chair, bloodied and seemingly unconscious. His only hope was that her motionless state was a result of her training and not from the beating she must have taken.
He counted his four rounds again, gripped the pistol in his only usable hand and started across the street. It was a mere four meters from the shadows to the front door. The adrenaline once again masked his pain as he started his sprint.