General Trinh is delivering papers
by: Walter Guest
Important information came in from Washington. It was the military records of several Steven Kincaids, all of whom had served in Viet Nam. It was not difficult to single out the one involved in this situation. One on these Steve Kincaids had gone to Viet Nam as a sergeant in Special Forces. He had received a field promotion to … colonel!
How could that happen? From sergeant to colonel?
Rudmetkyn was staggered. There was little in the record to explain what had happened, just the cold facts. He plumbed the depths of all he knew about the US Army field organization. Ah, yes. A piece of the puzzle snapped into place. The promotion was probably after the fact. It was to justify his taking command of a large group of men. A very large group of men. This Kincaid had been a leader of irregulars.
The rest of the service record was a mixture of citations and reprimands. The reprimands were the more revealing.
Charges had been brought against Colonel Kincaid accusing him of the assassination of a South Vietnamese Province Chief. The charges had been made by the South Vietnamese government but he had not been charged by the Americans.
In another incident the South Vietnamese accused Colonel Kincaid of allowing one of his units to attack and wipe out an ARVN patrol in his area. No formal charges were brought against him because of lack of evidence.
Colonel Kincaid was formally reprimanded for disobeying orders when his men did not make and attack in a specific place at a specific time.
Colonel Kincaid and several of his American subordinates again did not obey a direct order when then refused to join the general American pullout from Viet Nam. He was first listed as missing in action, then absent without official leave and finally as a deserter. He was still officially a deserter.
Most of it was beginning to make sense to Rudmetkyn. He thought he knew why the Justice Department was not interested in prosecuting Kincaid. It was for the same reason that the Los Angeles police Chief did no wish to catch him. Kincaid was not a vigilante. He was working for some portion of the government. Probably the federal government.
Rudmetkyn could see the potential of another common denominator. He gave the puzzle brief periods of thought for two more days. Each time he went back to it a little more fell into place. Then, suddenly, he had it! The whole plan laid itself out before him.
The common denominator was simple. If Kincaid was working for the government, let him move up in class. This US President had often expressed sentiments which showed admiration for men like Kincaid. Perhaps the two should meet. It would not be hard to plant the idea. That might be all it would take. But, just to make sure, he would also plant a complete plan for a different source. Rudmetkyn liked it. The idea could be so popular in Washington that it might reflect credit on his people there. What could be better than that?
While those wheels were set in motion Rudmetkyn started looking for a catalyst and, even more important, co-conspirators. Finding a catalyst merely required hard work. He got his assistants busy on that. A man at Tass also agreed to help out and another man at the KGB.