7 Days - Chapter 34

To read previously published chapters, click here.

Chris Reich is a New York Times bestselling author. His upcoming book, Rules of Betrayal, will be released in July. For more information visit his website.

Hands trembling, Senator Gordon Becktel laid the single sheet of paper down on the bare, polished mahogany surface of his desk. He’d read and reread the faxed White House press release in stunned disbelief until the scrim of tears clouded his vision so much that he could no longer see.

His daughter was dead.

First it was his wife Laura who, four years ago, died at their condo in Naples, after a long, harrowing battle with cancer. And now it was Ashleigh.

When Laura had died, he’d cursed God, raging against the unfairness, the capriciousness, of an Almighty who could visit such cruel suffering upon a person so good and innocent as his wife. But he couldn’t blame God for the death of his only child.

This one, he knew, was his doing.

She’d died because of him, because of what he had done.

No. She’d died because of who he was.

He was sure she’d suspected the truth about him. She’d glimpsed something on his laptop once, he knew, but he didn’t dare ask her about it. He could never tell her the truth anyway. Someday she’d learn the secret, he’d thought. Nothing stays secret forever.

But he was wrong. She’d never know.

The fax, from the White House press office, described a terrible explosion at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas. Among those killed were Ashleigh and Nicholas Roberts.

Because of him. He was certain of it.

As quickly as his despair had come, it left, transmuted into something cold and hard: an immense rage. With renewed vigor, the Senator unlocked the bottom drawer of his desk and took out the CryptoPhone.

It looked like a conventional cell phone, except that it was slightly bulkier. This was a German-made GSM quad-band phone encoded with the strongest voice-encryption algorithm available. The Germans were good at this kind of technology.

The Germans and the Swiss and the Israelis. Not his native country, though—they were good at other things. But that didn’t matter; his handlers always made sure to invest in the very best, no matter where it was made.

He punched the long series of numbers and listened to the clicks and hums that told him the secure call was going through.


Becktel kept one CryptoPhone at home, locked away in his hidden safe, and another here, in his hideaway office in the Capitol, where no one could find him.

It had taken him two decades in the Senate to acquire this valuable piece of real estate: a small room close to the Senate floor yet concealed behind two unmarked, locked doors; a magnificent view of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial; a full bathroom and working fireplace; high, vaulted ceilings, walls painted dark green; a TV and a couch for naps. Not every Senator

got a hideaway office, and only the most senior — and cleverest — were able to snag a hideaway so desirable.

He was nothing if not clever.

Look how far he’d come, after all. From such an unlikely beginning.

Finally, a voice barked from the other end of the phone: “Da?”

The man’s voice was somewhat tinny because of the way it was digitized

and run through a compression algorithm before it was encrypted. But he recognized it at once.

“Proklyatiy ublyudok!” the Senator hissed. You damned bastard. “Shto vyi sdyelali?” What the hell have you done?

Remarkable, really, how easily his native language came back to him after so many decades of not speaking a word of it.

Gordon Becktel had barely spoken Russian since leaving Moscow at age fourteen, when he was still called Sergei Vladimirovich Akimov. But that was a different life, one that he barely remembered now beyond a few fleeting moments. Like the day his parents told him, when he was twelve, that he’d been selected to attend a special camp for very privileged children.

He wondered why they were crying if this was such an honor.

For the whole summer? he’d asked excitedly.

Longer than that, his father replied. As long as you do well. It’s a great honor. Very few are chosen.

He was sad to leave Moscow, but he liked the camp. It was called The Village. It was an entire American town (well, a replica of a town, naturally) hidden in the remote woods a hundred miles from Voronezh. You weren’t allowed to speak anything but English. You learned everything about American life. The food was great: hamburgers

and hot dogs and macaroni-and-cheese and pizza. And he got to watch baseball! They showed him Super 8 movies of baseball games from beginning

to end, explaining to him how it worked. He rooted for the Chicago Cubs and his favorite player was Ernie Banks.

Within a few months, Becktel’s English was fluent. He even had a Chicago accent since his teacher was an American man born in Chicago who’d defected to Moscow in the 1950s. He memorized his “legend,” as it was called – his invented biography. It was like a story, the names of his fictional parents and friends, old family stories, details of his father’s job at the packing plant. They even showed him photographs of “his” apartment on Sheridan and Touhy and of his “grandmother’s” house on Okauchee Lake in Wisconsin. These places became real to him.

Soon he was even dreaming in English.

He learned that he’d been handpicked from thousands of dossiers to be a member of an ultra-secret, elite unit of the KGB called Department 12 of Directorate S. He was being trained to be an “illegal, a deep-cover sleeper agent. He would live an ordinary American life. Then, someday, a signal would come to activate him and then the great mission of his life would begin.

Gordon Becktel had arrived in Canada with a forged U.S. passport, already stamped with falsified departure stamps from the U.S. and France. At the Ottawa airport, a middle-aged man and woman met him and embraced him as if they were his real parents. A few days later they took him across the border to Rochester, New York.

He learned to call this couple Mom and Dad. He never loved them, but he was grateful to them for taking him in and caring for him.

And if it weren’t for the envelopes, he might even have begun to forget his real parents.

Every year, right around Christmas, one would arrive in his mailbox. Inside was always a recent photograph of his parents. No note, no markings, no clues as to how they were doing…nothing more than a photograph.

But it was enough to tell him that his parents were alive and well. And to remind him to cooperate in full if he wanted them to stay that way.

Yet the signal never came.

After college, he moved to Florida and built a fortune in real estate entirely on his own, without any seed money from Moscow. Enough to bankroll his first successful Senate campaign.

Yet no signal came.

When the Soviet Union collapsed and he was sure the KGB was no more, he didn’t rejoice that he was free. It saddened him. He would never know what his mission was to have been.

And then, one day, as abrupt and frightening as a clap of thunder on a sunny afternoon, an encrypted e-mail arrived in his personal account. A message from an anonymous sender, clearly routed through an anonymizer, untraceable. No text.

Just a photograph of two frail people sitting on a couch he recognized, the familiar pine wall of the dacha behind them.

His parents. They were alive.

Shortly after that the call came at last. A clandestine meeting was arranged.

His new control was a man named Fyodor Popov. Popov told him that although the KGB had been renamed the FSB, nothing else had changed. In some ways, the FSB had grown stronger, extended its reach. Popov now worked directly with a Kremlin official named Vladimir Putin, who had begun to reactivate the network of


Now Popov and Putin had an assignment for the Senator.

A sudden knock at the door to his hideaway office startled Becktel. He disconnected the call, placed the phone in the bottom drawer and locked it.

“Yes?” he called out.

Only his chief of staff knew the location of this office. Well, his chief of staff and his late daughter. He stood, opened the door.

And gasped.

He almost crumpled to his knees when he saw Ashleigh standing there. He flung his arms around her and, for the second time that day, he sobbed, this time with relief.

His eyes were closed, so he didn’t see Ashleigh’s furtive glance.

Nor did he see his son-in-law, Nick Roberts, slip quietly past them and enter his office.

“We need to talk,” Ashleigh finally said. “But not here.”


<< Return to the July/August 2010 Index of Fusion

How does a sports writer know how to fix America, and America's racial dilemma?

In a special edition of the "Glenn Beck Radio Program," Outkick sports columnist Jason Whitlock filled in Tuesday for Glenn to explain how we can bring America back together, lean into racial harmony, and restore the values of our Founding Fathers. Because if not us, then who will?

Jason started out by explaining how, during a recent appearance on the program, he felt a spiritual connection with Glenn, regardless of physical differences, as both share a common passion for God and country.

"Glenn and I share a kindred spirit. A kindred passion," Jason said. "We have two things that we love and are passionate about: God and country. I am not a minister. I'm a flawed sinner just like Glenn and just like you. But I am a believer. Believers share an energy that connects them, that cuts through our physical differences and makes those differences irrelevant relevant. That's what I felt when I met Glenn, an energy and a spirit that connects us. We are broadcasters, media personalities, operating in separate spaces, trying to talk to Americans, who share our passion."

Jason went on to say that he believes there are forces operating, both outside of and inside America, that are working to separate America from God, and that much of what we've witnessed in 2020 — from the racial division stirred by the mainstream and social media, to the rioting and looting by Antifa and Black Lives Matter, to the "remaking of the sports world into a shrine that celebrates resisting criminal suspects and denigrates this great country at every turn" — are symptoms and consequences of America's enemies separating God and country.

"We are one nation under God. We are nothing without Him," Jason continued. "The flawed sinners who founded this nation baked God into this country with their Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among those, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The foreign and domestic enemies of this nation are baking a new American cake. God isn't an essential ingredient in this new cake. He isn't an ingredient at all. The removal of faith is sewing the disharmony that is terrorizing and destroying the United States of America.

"Why am I here today? I'm here to tell you how we take our country back, how we restore the freedoms and the liberties our enemies seek to remove in their remaking of a godless America."

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One of the most shocking things British journalist, political commentator, and author of "The Madness of Crowds," Douglas Murray witnessed during his recent stay in America, was how many Americans are acting as if they live in 1930s Germany or behind the Iron Curtain, afraid to stand up and speak out because they're afraid of the consequences.

Murray joined the "Glenn Beck Podcast" this week to explain why he believes the state of America is actually worse than we realize, and how the Left's obsession with rewriting history has ushered in guilt, fear, and a "silent majority."

Murray said he's particularly "fed up" with those on the Right who are afraid to voice their opinion because they don't want to become the target of leftist mobs on social media.

"Do you think anyone in history who told the truth had an easy time? You've got the easiest time that any opposition movement ever did in history," Murray said.

"You cannot have these people in America living in a free society — which is for the time being free — pretending that they live under the circumstances of Jews in 1930s Germany," he added. "Speak up. Speak out. Don't be a silent majority; be a very damn noisy majority. And don't put up with the oppression of people who are totally insincere ... they want to make money. They want to win. Nothing more. Call them out ... and get back to what you should be doing as a nation."

Watch the full interview with Douglas Murray below:

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New York City shut down its schools over the coronavirus with barely any notice. But even before that, Governor Andrew Cuomo apparently wasn't in the mood to be asked about it, and he made that very clear to reporters.

Asked on Wednesday whether parents could expect schools to be closed as soon as Thursday, Cuomo mocked reporters for their "obnoxious and offensive" questions and accused them of not paying attention. Watch the testy exchange for yourself here.

On Thursday's radio program, Glenn Beck and producer Stu Burguiere had plenty to say about Stu's least favorite governor and the decision to close schools. But Glenn also offered his own theory on why coronavirus restrictions have become so political: Americans refuse to be forced into submission.

Watch the video below to catch the conversation:

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Everything comes down to the two Senate runoffs in Georgia. If we lose both races, we lose the country. Democrats know this and are pouring in millions to usher in a Marxist agenda.

As the Left tries to hide how radical the two candidates really are, Glenn takes us inside the Democrat war room to expose the wolf in pastor's clothing, Raphael Warnock, and America's Justin Trudeau, Jon Ossoff. Socialism, the Green New Deal, and "defund the police" are all on the table. And Glenn warns of what's to come if conservatives don't activate: Chuck Schumer will weaponize the Senate, and the radical Left will launch an all-out assault to ravage the Constitution.

Watch the full special below:

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