I’m back home and this story has been sitting on a back burner for a few months, waiting for some more to be written.
The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I’m not very good at prioritizing.
But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.
Chasing leads, maybe
“Who’s coming?” snapped Maury.
“Some nice men in white coats, to take you away to a dark and dank hole somewhere in this city where you may tell us what you know, or you might not survive the experience. You got one shot at the easy way, now it looks like it’s going to be the hard way.”
I had to admire her. She had gone all gung-ho on him and, frankly, it was a frightening side to her that you wouldn’t normally see, or even guess that she had.
“This is a big mistake, Jackson. I suggest you call Severin and get this straightened out very quickly.”
“I’m going to call him, eventually. After I find the USB and see what’s on it. What it is that you seem to be so desperate to get to first?”
“That’s a matter of national security.”
“I suspect it’s a matter that involves you and Severin. O’Connell was working for a man called Nobbin. He runs another department, it’s starting to sound like there are wheels within wheels, who’s part in all of this I’m yet to understand.”
“He’s after the USB too?”
“Of course. If it’s evidence against you, and or others conspiring to do God knows what, he probably needs to know so he can put a stop to it. Apparently, since no one has heard of you or your operation, I’ve been transferred to his department.”
“How do you know the information is not about him? It’s not unheard of for an agent to discovered irregularities against his commander.”
“Then let’s hope I find the USB first. And, just out of curiosity, why did you kill O’Connell. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to capture him and make sure he had the USB before you did anything irrational.”
“It wasn’t my idea.”
“That’s what most of the Nazi’s said at Nuremberg.”
There was a knock on her door.
Jan went over and opened it. It was, I thought, the wrong thing to do when we had a man as dangerous as Maury in the room.
Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, I could say it was the wrong thing to do, but at the time, even I didn’t think Severin would know what was happening to his attach dog.
Apparently, he did.
The door crashed open sending Jan into a fall that saw her head hit by the swinging door. Three men with guns came bursting in, followed by a fourth, Severin.
Severin took in the room with a single sweep, then glared at me. “You need to pick a side, and soon, Jackson.”
One of the other men cut the ties and helped Maury to his feet. He also glared at me as he left with the other two. “You’ll keep,” Maury muttered as he went past, then was gone.
Severin looked at Jan, now a crumpled heap on the floor.
“Don’t play with MI5. They never see the big picture. Maury doesn’t forget, Jackson, so there will be a reckoning later. I suggest you find a way of redeeming yourself in his eyes. Perhaps it would be better if you cut ties with Nobbin and disappeared for a while. This matter is too big for a newbie like you.”
I heard a groan by the door, Jan waking.
“Just keep out of the way, Jackson. And her, if she knows what’s good for her.”
He left, closing the door behind him.
I went over to Jan and checked to see what injuries she had other than to her pride. A gash on the side of the head, with a little blood. It would give her a huge headache though.
“I’ll get a wet towel,” I said, helping her into a sitting position.
She still looked groggy.
“You answered the door before finding out who was on the other side.”
“Gone. He must have signaled Severin somehow that he was in trouble, or they were tracking him. Either way, they got here rather quickly to rescue him.”
“Not here yet.”
I left her to find a towel and run water over one end.
When I came back, she was on her phone, having got up off the floor. She still looked quite shaken.
“Yes, sir.” was all I heard of the conversation before she disconnected the call.
“Did you call off the collection team?”
“They weren’t coming. They said apparently I had rung back to say it was a false alarm.”
“And they believed that?”
“Whoever called had my special code, so yes, they did.”
Call finished, she sat down in one of the chairs and pressed the wet part of the towel against her head.
“Next time you might consider looking first before opening the door,” I said, realizing that it was not the advice she would be looking for.
“It’s a mistake I won’t make again, I can assure you,” she said. “but, we haven’t lost him yet.”
“I slipped a tracker onto his clothes, not one he’ll easily recognize or find, and as we speak, he’s being tracked through outer London. We’ll soon know where he’s going, and perhaps second time lucky.”
She was more resourceful than I would normally give anyone credit for.
Now it was a matter of waiting. Would he lead us to the heart of Severin’s operation? Only time would tell.
© Charles Heath 2020