This story is now on the list to be finished so over the new few weeks, expect a new episode every few days.
The reason why new episodes have been sporadic, 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.
Things are about to get complicated…
With Jan safely in custody, probably for about 15 minutes when Dobbin discovered she was in police hands, Jennifer and I were free to chase up O’Connell and maybe we would also find Anna.
It was a long shot at best.
But we had to find out more about Anna Jacovich. For that, we would have to go back to the office and talk to Joanne. I told Jennifer what I intended to do and dropped her at the safe house for some much-needed rest before we went after O’Connell.
Then, back in the car, I called the number I had for Joanne.
“Memorised my number?”
“I like to know who’s calling before I answer.”
“Then this isn’t a restricted line?”
“I found your little toy?”
Did I hear a sigh?
“You know the world we live in Sam, trust no one not even your mother. Hard for me to trust or not trust her, she passed away when I was seven. Monica said you were good. What can I do for you?”
“A full workup on Anna Jacovich. I’m coming into the office now, and will be there in about half an hour.”
“No pressure then?”
“Not at all.”
“Try not to irritate security this time.”
I’m sure I saw a grim expression on the face of the soldier that had been there the last time I tried to run the gauntlet, and then disappointment when my card worked. I signed in and put the name of the department I was visiting down as Research.
When he asked for a name, I gave him Joanne’s. No doubt he would call her long before I got to her.
She met me at the second level of defence and then took me to a room where two folders sat at opposite ends of a table, two desk lamps shining light down on them. The rest of the room was in darkness.
When she shut the door, I said, “Please tell me there in;t a firing squad in black camouflage just waiting to shoot me.”
She smiled. “If it was more sensitive information, I’d let you read it, then have you shot. Not today.
That was a relief. Oddly, I believed that she would if the circumstances warranted it. Joanne was scary, nor scary than Jan. It’s the quiet ones you had to worry about.”
“Read. Then I’ll answer questions.”
For the ten minutes, it took me to discover that Anna was a biochemist herself, and had worked in a not-so-secret government laboratory that had been unmasked with disastrous results, adding another dimension to the problem. I was beginning to think she might be the one who created the monster and had set her husband up to take the blame.
If that was the case, she was never going to pass it on to O’Connell or sell it to him, other than to take the money and run. If that was the case, Severin knew it was her all along, and how dangerous she was.
But and there was a big but in all of this. She needed an accomplice to get to England, which was O’Connell. Now he was no longer needed…
Yes, she would also need both Severin and Maury off her tail, and that had been taken care of.
Jan? Unless I completely misread her, it was not possible she could be the accomplice; she was doing what Dobbin requested. Or had she? Dobbin did say she was able to make executive decisions on the fly.
“The threat isn’t O’Connell. He’s just a pawn.”
“Not just a pretty face then?”
“I never regard my face as pretty.”
She shook her head. “It’s Anna. She played Severin and Maury, she played Dobbin, and she played Dobbin’s little toy soldier, O’Connell. Or Quigley I believe his real name is. I hesitate to say O’Connell played you.”
“Call a dog a dog, Joanne. If I had more experience and more information I might have seen that. You can’t keep people in the dark, and then expect miracles.”
“I’m the messenger, Sam.”
“I’ve been known to shoot messengers, just because I can.”
“Save your bullets for the bad guys.”
“How do I know you and Monica are not the bad guys?”
Another shake of the head. “OK. You’ve passed the scepticism test, Sam. Now put it away. We have to work together on this. It’s a condition for continuing to work on the case.”
“And if I don’t?”
“I don’t need to answer that. But, I get it. You’re a self-starter and will keep at it, with or without us. I can see why people like you. To me, your just another dangerous amateur.”
There were words I could say, but judging by the reek of self-aggrandisement, it would not penetrate the thick hide.
I smiled. “Not noted for your charm then.”
“No. Where is Jan?”
“Don’t play games, Sam. They don’t become you. You went to see Severin, but he ended up dead, and she shot him. Why?”
“You read this file?” I picked it up and dropped it on the table.
She was the sort that read the first page, the preamble, and the last page, the result or desired result.
“Then you know why, as for Jan, if you know I was there when Severin was shot, you’d know where Jan is.”
“She disappeared into the trees. And no doubt in the wind. You should know she’s a trained MI5 assassin on loan to Dobbin.”
Who was now in jail somewhere pending the Detective Inspectors leisure, unless she filed a report. If she did, she would be out now, and looking for O’Connell and Anna.
“Then how should I know?”
She shrugged. “I thought I’d ask. I’m not sure I like having to peel away the layers of this story one by one.”
“Be more forthcoming.” I stood. I had what I needed. “If that’s all, I’ll go on with the job.”
“He’s probably dead by now, but I have to find him, one way or another.”
“Keep me in the loop. Monica wants to know.”
© Charles Heath 2020-2023