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…
Joanne let me get away far too easily.
When I got back to my car, I ran the scanner over it. One tracker was easily found, another that took a full half hour to find, and some very strange stares from people on the sidewalk.
I put them both on another car and then went back to the safe house. Knowing O’Connell was just a pawn meant there wasn’t a hurry to find him. Anna had everything she needed from him, and now he was of little use to her. The only question was whether he was still alive.
Jennifer had taken my pyjamas and my bed in the master bedroom, so I was relegated to the spare.
We needed a plan. In all the excitement I’d forgotten O’Connell had three places, the original apartment with Herman, his mother’s house in Peaslake, and the apartment in Bromley.
I was up before Jennifer, making coffee, when she came out.
She made my pyjamas look good. And there was the distraction factor Maury was prone to banging on about.
“How did it go at the office?”
“Turns out Anna Jakovich, the apparent seller of the USB, is a biochemist herself, one who was involved in a laboratory disaster, and discharged as part of the problem. Make of that what you will, but it looks like her husband was just the fall guy.”
“Of course, it all makes sense then. Gets the husband to steal the data on the pretext they’re saving the world, then kills him, and pins the blame on him if anything goes wrong. gets us to stump up several million pounds, then ditches O’Connell and runs with the money, and the USB, to bilk another unsuspecting government, like the Russians, or the Chinese.”
“Can you read minds?”
“No. Got a call from Dobbin, though I have no idea how he found my number since it’s a burner. Seems he finally found the file on Anna, presumably the same one you got.
“He doesn’t know you’re involved.”
“He does now. He figured you’d seek help from your classmates that were still on the books. There’s two of us, me and Miss Desirable, Yolanda.”
“Didn’t she leave the Severin School of wannabes before qualifying?”
“And went straight to the city office of the department and offered up all details on our once fearless leaders for a second chance. On the books, and back in training, training we might be able to use.”
“Possibly. The question is, of course, whether she knew what they were planning…”
“Dobbin says she was fooling about with Severin, or perhaps that was Maury…”
“Then Dobbin or Monica or both knew in advance what was going to happen and could have prevented a tragedy if that was the case. I don’t think she quite knew everything.”
“Well, what I know now is that we’re simply pawns in a much larger game, dancing to a tune that is completely out of key. Makes things all the more interesting, don’t you think. By my estimation when we complete our mission, we’re likely to end up like Severin, we just have to work out which one it is before we reach our expiry date. That coffee smells divine, by the way. We’re not going anywhere until I’ve had a cup.”
At least she hadn’t decided to go back to her old life. Not yet anyway.
We tackled Peaslake first. It was a free-standing house, and we had reasonably covered access that gave us entry to the property with minimal chance of observation.
When we were close, I was nearly run off the road by a fire engine, in a hurry. Closer still we could see a plume of smoke rising from behind the trees, and when we reached the top of the street, we could see where the fire engine was going.
O’Connell’s house was on fire.
I parled the car and we went to join the throng of nearby residents, all with nothing better to do.
“What happened?” Jennifer asked one of the residents.
“There was an explosion, a fireball, someone said they thought it was a gas tank, and then a fire started. It was fully ablaze by the time the first fire engine arrived.”
The firefighters had most of the blaze subdued, and we could see the house was destroyed.
Was it Anna or O’Connell, or both covering their tracks? The house had become compromised when Jennifer and I turned up.
Five minutes later the Detective Inspector and her Sargent arrived.
“Should I be worried now you’re here,” she asked when she saw me.
“It belonged to the mother of one of our officers who is involved in the case I’m working on.”
“He has the information?”
“No, or maybe. We don’t know. We do know there’s a woman involved who was working with our agent.”
“Oh. I’ve been told there are two bodies found inside, one man and one woman. Nothing else yet, but I’m going to talk to the forensic team waiting to see if they know any more. Don’t go anywhere, I may need to talk to you.”
“Just a question. You didn’t let Jan out, did you?”
She looked puzzled. “Jan?”
“The girl who shot Severin.”
“Oh, her. MI5 came and took her away the moment my back was turned. Why?”
“She probably did this.”
“You might have told me she was dangerous. Who is she?”
“An MI5 assassin.”
She sighed. “You people are a law unto yourselves. Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be back.”
We watched her stomp away.
“Well,” Jennifer said, “that just made our life a little more difficult.”
© Charles Heath 2020-2023