My mind was racing. Were the reappearance of the Poacher and the noise behind the Buzzer related? And what were they talking about over in Povarovo, anyway? Bill and Marianna were both on so I discussed it with them for awhile.

The Counting Station—a numbers station that had been traced to Remington, Virginia, from a site with ties to the State Department—began transmitting as per its normal schedule. The time was 1400 UTC on Saturday, which was 6:00 PM Saturday here.

3 4 7. 2 4 6. 9 8 9. 1 5 7. 1 5 6…

The message went on as it usually did, until the end. Rather, it went on until what was supposed to be the end. The Counting Station never gave more than two hundred fifty-five groups.

3 4 7. 2 1 9. 1 6 8. 4 6 5. 4 0 3…

It went on for triple its usual length this time. Obviously, whatever they were saying was important.

The message concluded, and we chatted about things for half an hour. The others went to bed, but on a sudden whim I randomly dialed in channels on the shortwave.

Then I heard it.

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