Cross is a CIA field agent, most of his tasks as an assassin. He has just returned to Washington DC from working on a case in Paris, he accompanied by Jean Laurier, code name Scorpio, a Frenchman who has long been mentored by Cross and who works as a freelance assassin. Scorpio pulled the actual trigger on the target in the just completed Paris case, and because of the nature of their work, Cross and Scorpio part company at Dulles Airport, neither having ever seen the other if questioned. Scorpio currently also lives part-time in DC with his girlfriend Susan and his flight attendant sister Anne. Cross' superior McLeod is surprised to see both Cross and Scorpio return to DC as the agency, through McLeod, had unofficially contracted Scorpio to eliminate Cross in Paris as it is well known within the agency that Cross plans on quitting, the threat that he could sell out to the Communists with the amount of knowledge he has too great a risk for the agency to take. Scorpio was seemingly the best man for the job in knowing Cross better than anyone else professionally. Scorpio is able to absolve himself in not carrying out that Paris mission on Cross on a loophole, he further able to renegotiate the contract to meet his goals more fully, namely to take over Cross' position within the agency. Cross discovers not only about there being a contract hit on him, but also that Scorpio is the hired gun. With a wide, loyal and diverse network both domestically and internationally, Cross is at least able to make it out of the country, he using that network to set up somewhere undetected and hopefully to bring his wife Sarah by his side once his new life is established. In the process, Cross will discover just how loyal his network is to him, with some former adversaries in his work, such as now Vienna-based Sergei Zharkov a former Soviet Communist agent, or if some are not who they purport to be in having a separate agenda. If it gets to that point, another question is whether Cross or Scorpio can pull the trigger on the other, each who may see the other as a mirror image of himself.
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