Scorpion's Vengeance, "Billie's investigation'
From the Author
You know I could use all kinds of excuses for why I haven't posted more of the story, it is written (at least this part of the first draft is) but the truth is while the rest of the world is preparing for winter, here we're getting ready for summer, that means the days are getting longer, there's so much more to do, and last week was the wife's birthday, so we went off doing something that we both enjoy doing, walking in the amazing bush (for the rest of the world read forest) we have in New Zealand, it was amazing, but meant that the novel slipped slightly further back from it's intended publication date.
Having said all that, the story is progressing, and there's much more to write, but we have a great episode for this week, so let's get right into it and see what's happening.
In the last one, the team had got 'Paul' out and to a 'safe house' but someone had actually seen what went on and notified the cops, that caused a major problem for MI6 as they couldn't cover it up! They had to 'roll with the punches' and make sure they stayed on top of things, are they going to try and shut things down, or are they going to allow the investigation to 'run its course?'
Let's see what happens this week.
How MI6 got the 'News'
"Sorry to disturb you sir” the voice on the phone sounded apologetic, Sir Michael knew it was the duty officer at Vauxhall house, and he was performing the task everyone at M.I.6 dreaded, giving the director of intelligence bad news, “but we’ve got a bit of a situation, sir, a code yellow,”
“Casualties?” Sir Michael cut him off, he knew the codes, ‘red’ was an ambush with fatalities, yellow was injuries, green was ‘bloody lucky’ he thought, he already knew all the information, but it was vital he plays the part, they couldn't let the ‘mole’ know it was a setup, and that mole was a part of ‘6’s infrastructure!
“We have at least one injury sir” the young agent replied, “the one they were protecting took a hit, we’re not sure how bad yet.”
“Why not?” Sir Michael asked, doing a good job of sounding alarmed, “aren’t you in contact with the team?”
“Sorry sir” the agent sounded flustered, “I’ve only got the information my superior gave me, the team is mobile to one of our safe houses, one with medical facilities”
“Which one?” Sir Michael already knew the reply, and he knew the team weren’t on their way there, at least not with the ‘target’ but MI6 wasn’t to know that.
“The one they were sent to protect sir” he began to reply.
“What the?” Sir Michael cut him off, “weren't they SUPPOSED to be damn well protecting that one?” he acted angrily, it was pretty convincing, he carried on “what about cleanup, has a cleanup team been dispatched?”
The desk officer was taken a bit by surprise, “negative sir, a call was made to the police before we could respond, armed police are sealing the area off as we speak!”
‘Cleanup teams’ have one job, and that's to remove any trace of an agency involvement. They're often the best forensics people around. The challenge of ‘hoodwinking’ the police is just too much to resist, but there just wasn't time, the ‘plods’ as the cops were often known were on their way.
“In that case”, Sir Michael began again, “we better get a liaison officer down there, I want to know everything they know, and preferably first, I want a lid screwed down tight on this, and I mean NOW!”
'Screw up' A hit gone wrong.
“Just what the hell do you think you're doing?” the acid in the comment was so caustic he could feel the phone beginning to melt, who as for this punk on the other end, “you screwed the whole thing up.”
“We did what we were told!” he spat back down the phone, “we dump the car, find another, clear out, no one follows” he was getting impatient with this person, he wasn't even sure if it was a man or woman as they were using software to disguise their voice, it sounded more like a computer he was talking to, the only thing that gave it away was the anger in the voice.
“ And you screwed up the hit you moron!” the voice came back, “you were meant to take him down, as in killing him!”
“No one says he got protection, we were supposed to get there first, REMEMBER!”
“Never take anything for granted in this game” it was almost a shout as if the person saying it couldn't believe these people, supposedly trained assassins needed reminding of the ‘golden rule’ of their profession. “He’s still alive, and thanks to you morons, they’ve got him stashed in a ‘safe house’ somewhere” the phone went dead as the caller clicked off, the call had taken less than thirty seconds, not enough time to trace it if anyone was trying, which they doubted very much.
They’d done everything they were told, the brief had been ‘make it look like a gang thing’ so that’s what they’d done, a ‘gang drive-by’, but no one had warned them of the ‘protection’ the target had, that didn’t make a lot of sense as they’d been told he was just some ‘geeky’ computer nerd, and they don’t get armed protectors.
“I think we should have demanded more” the driver, a big bearded guy with an East European accent said, neither of them knew each other, and neither asked any questions, they just did the job they were paid for and went their own way, that was much safer, too many questions can get you killed.
“Nah” the passenger had a strong cockney accent, which was strange to the driver, he looked Indian, or maybe African, “better stay alive than ask too much”
That was true, these people didn't take kindly to greed, they paid well, but don’t try asking for too much, the only addition you'd get from them was about 9mm diameter and travelling at about four hundred feet a second.
“We better get outta here,” the eastern European said, “before someone turns up” he was out of the vehicle and moving, he didn't even turn round, “come on, get moving!”
"Got 'em" but not as you think.
We got ‘em” Smithy’s Geordie accent came through pretty strong as ever. “We got the bloody sods,”
“Have we tracked ‘em then?” Joey fired the question they were still mobile, driving to the rendezvous point, Sandy was at the wheel, Joey was ‘prepping’ for whatever came next, and that meant anything could happen.
“Nah, not tracked” he replied over the phone, they were using the ‘Bluetooth’ technology in the car, it was coming over the car’s speaker system, “I’ve got an idea where they are on that though.” the phone went silent for a few seconds. Just as Joey was about to ask Smithy to go on he came back on. “Got a mugshot of the shooter” he sounded excited, that was unusual, Smithy was only ever excited when he’d made a kill shot from over a mile, then again, taking a ‘usable’ mugshot of a shooter with an Ingrams took a special kind of skill, one that most professional photographers don’t have, even Police sharpshooters struggle with it, Smithy had it in spades.
“I got the shot” Smithy went on, “put it into the Interpol database like Sandy showed me, and we got a hit, bloody Russian, sending you the details!”
“Thanks” Sandy was still driving, “Where do we need to go?”
“Sending you the details now, the car pulled in there ten minutes ago, so it’s likely they did a swap, and might not be there.”
“Roger that” Joey came back on, “We’ll check it out.’
“Wait until we confirm” a third voice, one instantly recognizable came on the line, Mildred had been following everything they said.
Mildred may have been twelve thousand miles away, but the clarity on the phone made it sound like she was in the next room, even the delay was so small as to hardly be noticed that the signals had travelled at least 24,000 miles, if not further, “We lost the signal as soon as they went into the building, but we’re working on finding out, as fast as we can.”
“Any chance they’ll torch the vehicle?” Joey asked, knowing the answer beforehand, but still needing to hear confirmation.
“Only Amateurs and desperate people do that” Sandy cut in, “These people have the resources to make the vehicle totally disappear, my guess is it’s going to a ‘chop shop’ in a few days.”
Movies often portray the villains as getting rid of evidence in a fire, but the truth is, fire doesn’t always destroy all the evidence, sometimes it gets preserved, and the fire draws the wrong kind of attention, the fire service puts the blaze out, then the police or fire brigade go through it with a ‘fine tooth comb’ and any evidence you tried to destroy is going to send you for a long stretch in prison! Those with the resources make sure they get left in a place the cops aren’t going to look for them, then in a few days pick ‘em up and take them to be dismantled. Simple, easy, and you make money off it as well!
One of the world's most secure places, and it's a CARPARK!!!
"A friggin' carpark! STAND DOWN!"
“It's a bloody car park!” Joey let out a frustrated shout as they came into the street where signal disappeared, “multi-storey, paid and monitored by the looks, security cameras on the outside”
“Shit” was all Sandy replied, they could barge in, demand camera footage, and if the perps were still there it would be like arriving with the sirens blaring, “any chance they’re still there?” she demanded.
“Still working on that” the terse reply came back, “meanwhile stand down, repeat stand down, do not approach!”
“What?” Joey wasn’t sure he was hearing right, “What about a recipe?”
“You go in there and they’re still inside, you could blow the whole thing” Mildred cut him off, “We’re trying to confirm either way, but you stand down, even if they’ve left we’ll pass the info on to the cops, they can't take this side from here! GOT IT?” the last part was more a command than anything.
“What do you want us to do?” Sandy cut back in, they’d parked the car a couple of hundred yards from the entrance, they were both watching the entrance.
“Head for the RV point like we agreed” Sir Michael’s voice came through clearly, he’d been following everything, but not interfering, the agreement was that Mildred and her people would take them so far, but after that he’d take over, this was that time. “You have the mugshots, use them to identify the perpetrators, after that clear the mess your way” the less he knew about what the team did the better it would be, but he was positive it wouldn’t be pleasant.
“And the trackers?” Joey was concerned they were leaving evidence behind.
“Are standard MI5 equipment” Sir Michael replied, he knew Mildred was still listening, but it was important that he takes over now, if there was any fallout he had to be the one to take the ‘crap’ as the politicians would be annoyed MI6 was running an op on British soil, but they’d be ‘baying for blood’ if they found foreign involvement, even if it was an ally! “When the cops see those they’ll get really nervous, and that’s going to work in our favour, also our friend will find out and realise it’s a multi-horse race, they’re going to be looking over their shoulder all the time now, watch your backs”
For the 'doubters' (article was published in 2004)
- BBC NEWS | UK | Car park makes top ten for safety
A car park in Derby is one of the 10 most secure places in the world, according to a study published in science magazine Focus on Wednesday.
Cops get a break, but don't know where from.
“So” Billie spoke into the phone as soon as the voice answered, “you’ve got my attention, how come you know so much?” she was looking round to see anyone watching, trying to spot whoever had the phone, there were a couple of people there talking on their phones, but they’d been on them since she arrived three minutes before, there was another guy in a corner using his like a writing tablet, no one stood out.
“All in good time detective” the voice said, “all in good time, there's a package taped to the underside of the table, when we finish this call take it home, use your own desktop to access what's in the files, but DON’T connect to the web, you’ll see why when you open it” the voice preempted her next question.
This was weird! No other way to describe doesn't Yeah, as a copper she was used to informants not wanting to be seen talking to the cops but going this far? Weird was the only word she could think of.
Someone didn't want the cops to know who the victim was, you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to work that much out, but who? It would make sense if it was the killer, but they would have hidden the body better, ‘the killer doesn't give a crap’ she thought, in fact, it was almost as if the killer had sent a message with the body being by the river, so close to Parliament, no, someone else didn't want the identity known to the Police, and that really didn't make sense.
One thing was obvious, she was being watched, and they knew more about her than she was comfortable with, hell they'd got her private mobile number, only three people had that, two were family, and the other, well the boss never called, he texted, and my boss, not the idiot who’d given her the case, he was just a link in the chain, she meant the man who’d recruited her for the ‘Met’ Townsend’s boss.
Slowly moving forward, left elbow on the table, she made look as if she was fighting a losing battle with the dreaded sleep, meanwhile the right hand went under, searching for the package that was meant to be there, she found it, actually it felt like two, the first one felt to be just as thick as her finger, and about as long as going to her middle knuckle, but it was stuck on top of something larger, but a lot thinner, and flatter.
It was about the length of her hand, as wide as the width of her hand, but about as wide as a woman’s nail file, she had an idea what they were, but this was no place to stop and look.
As soon as the items were free, she guessed it was bluetacked to the table, she dropped them into her pocket, she had a handbag, but never trusted the really important stuff to it, too easy for a thief to make off with the thing while she wasn’t looking, or worse, while she was bowled over in the street as they came hurtling past on a skateboard or something, they went into a pocket.
The hand came back up as she reached for the drink, a hot chocolate, downed the drink and got up to leave.
And that's all for this week folks
Don't you hate it when a writer does that? Truth is I set a goal of about 2,500 words for these hubs, and by the time I've built a bit of tension I'm pretty much there (that and the fact that I still need to go and buy stuff for dinner tonight)
The team has a lead, not the one they were expecting, but a lead on who was involved in the shooting, and it's not good news! They also know the car is parked in a damned car park, one that's probably got cameras everywhere, and they don't know what might be waiting for them if they 'go in'.
What happens next, well you'll just have to turn up at the next hub and read about it, I can promise you're going to like it though.
Bye for now, and please let me know what you think of the story, feedback is wonderful.