It’s a blustery day in NYC, common to those who live here, but I’m acclimated to Southern California weather and wish I had an extra layer of clothing on as I trod into the local coffee shop to meet with Nickolas J.D. Falkov. Upon my arrival, he’s already seated, drinking his black coffee as if he’s ready to smash the cup into the ground at any moment.
The First Eye Contact
If I said I didn’t feel intimidated, I’d be lying. He stands up to greet me, but his eye contact does not comfort me, nor does his handshake. He seems to be sizing me up, determining if I am friend or foe. Instinctively, this makes me question if this interview is worth the risk of creating an enemy out of Mr. Falkov. As an investigative journalist, my goal is to get to the truth, even when it’s unpopular.
I order a cappuccino and pull out my notes. Comfortably seated, the interview begins. He’s trying to get information out of me first. I’ve played this game more than once and he’s mistaken if he thinks he is in control of this interview. However, I’ve learned that, sometimes, I have to let the interviewee live in their delusion. I have my bag of tricks too.
The Missing Accent
According to Falkov, he was born and raised in various areas of New York. However, his accent would not have given that away. Perhaps he has either been trained for theater or possibly CIA. Whatever his training, he has no native accent. Though I have seen research that more of the youth no longer have accents from growing up watching YouTube and TV as their main educators.
Falkov is a mixture of Russian, Polish, and Irish. He is tall, lean, well-shaven, and his crimson-auburn hair draws unwavering attention. Though he has a mixture of nationalities, he is very much the patriotic American. It is clear he doesn’t care for the direction our country has been heading in the last 20 years. Does this make him a rebel or just a concerned citizen?
Quickly, it became apparent to Falkov that I’ve done my homework. When I intruded on his personal life by asking about his attendance in an elite military school, he decides the interview is over. He doesn’t deny it, but he won’t elaborate either. He is truthful in his silence.
He calmly stands up, places a $20 bill on the table, and walks out the door. I quickly gather my notes and pursue him. His steps embrace the pavement, as if he owns the world. I take two strides for one of his. I want to catch my breath, but my curiosity releases the energy to continue.
A Protective Echelon
This military academy has been rumored to conduct physical experiments with the young soldiers who attend. I want to know if the military is chemically enhancing soldiers or working with gene editing? Are we in the midst of creating our own “Protective Echelon?”
I won’t apologize for persisting with tough questions. I’m not even half way through. During my investigation on Benedict Woodsman last year, I came across Nickolas Falkov’s information. Somehow, I know there is a connection here. I’m unsatisfied to return to So-Cal without solving this mystery and getting my story.
Stealing a Rose
As I venture to keep pace, continuing to probe him, he reaches over and takes a purple rose from a florist shop’s outdoor display. He doesn’t pay for it, just hands it to me (with a ten dollar bill wrapped around the stem) as he quietly whispers in my ear, “Some things are better left unknown. Now go pay for this rose before you’re arrested for theft.”
Predictably, here comes the florist in a tizzy, yelling at me in his heavy New York accent for stealing the rose. I attempt to appease him by apologizing and giving him the money. I turn around and Mr. Falkov is nowhere to be found. At the time of publication, Falkov did not return my follow-up calls or emails. His silence speaks volumes.