Scorpion's Vengeance, 'Body in the river'
Scene of the crime?
It had been one heck of a day, it felt more like a bloody week, but the watch on her wrist assured her it was only a day, actually less than that, but that didn’t matter, a body turns up in the river right outside the Houses of Parliament and the cops better have answers bloody fast, and so far, the Met had none!
Hell, they couldn’t even tell the name of the body they’d found, all they could tell was it was male, in the late twenties and either southern European or Pakistani, maybe even Indian, but so far nothing, nada, zilch. And the whole mess had landed right in Billie’s bloody lap, she was pissed off about the whole bloody thing!
“It’s the kind that can make a career” her boss, DCI Steve Townsend had told her, what he’d left out was that it can just as easily break a career, and that’s why he’d avoided it like it was bubonic plague, he knew it was a ‘poisoned chalice’ so he gave it to the cop he liked the least in the department, the one who’d told him to ‘piss off’ at the last Christmas party when he tried it on. She’d been ready to drive the point home with a good kick ‘right between ‘em’ but even in his drunken state, he’d seen the sense in backing off, but he hadn’t forgotten, ‘and maybe this is payback’ she thought.
The Coroner had taken the body away about midday, they’d re-opened the scene as soon as they could, but not before marking everything and going through to the last little detail where even the cigarette butts were on the pavement.
BJ was back at the scene, she wanted to see it the way it would have been before anything happened, and the only way to get that idea was to ‘walk the scene’ after everything was put back to ‘normal’ whatever that was, literally to ‘pace everything out’ and see what fit where.
From the report they had so far, it was obvious that the man hadn’t entered the river here, but they had no clue where he’d done that, or even how! Had he fallen? Been pushed? Was he drunk?
‘At least I’ll have some idea on that when the toxicology report comes back’ she thought to herself as she reached for her mobile, she’d been taking pictures of the area, not that it would arouse any suspicion, it was in one of the most popular tourist spots on the planet, if people are lounging around, not taking photos, then you get worried.
Where it was found.
Dialling the number she asked one question, “Any luck?”
“Not so far” the voice on the other end came back, a young copper, still a 'probie’ with C.I.D. (Criminal Investigation Department) but damn good with computers. “I can't find the sod anywhere”
“Tried the D.V.L.C?”
The D.V.LC stands for Driver Vehicle Licensing Centre, the government body that issues everyone's driving licence, it's also the most extensive database of anyone who's got a licence, or had one in the past.
“This boy didn't have one” the voice cut back in, “at least none I can find”
“But” she began.
“Everyone's got a licence right” he cut her off, “this boy didn't have, and before you ask,” he went on, “I've tried customs, no passport, and Interpol, just in case, but nothing, Nada, zilch!”
“Okay” she was more than a little frustrated, but tried hard not to let it come out, 'count to ten girl’ she was telling herself mentally, 'count to ten’ as she went on with her instructions, “keep at it, someone has to know this guy, keep digging” she swiped the screen.
This wasn't good, she had a press conference planned for an hour from now, and all she had was a body, found in the most public place possible, no identification, no record, no idea if it was an accident or not, and no idea where the bloody thing went into the river.
But 'Someone' is listening!
In London, nothing happens without someone knowing! That’s just the reality, there are more CCTV cameras in London than any other city on earth.
The city is fifty miles across, and from the moment you leave the M25 (the London orbital route) every move, every signal, every breath you take is watched by someone or something. BJ knew that someone somewhere would have the answers, but finding them would be like looking for the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack’
And when that ‘Needle’ is being hidden by M.I.6, you have no chance, at least not if they don’t want you to have!
That’s what people were trying to decide right at that moment, ‘Six’ knew from the computer searches that the Met had initiated that they were looking, so far they’d managed to block them without raising too much suspicion, they knew it wasn’t going to last, eventually, someone would get frustrated and ask ‘Those little shits’ as ‘Six’ often thought of its opposite number that dealt with internal security, then all hell would break loose, and someone would need to tell the Met to ‘back off’
“What do you think?” the junior case officer asked his superior, he was the one monitoring the radio frequencies, and illegally wiretapping the police officer in charge’s phone, “Want me to put a block on the information?”
“Nah” the reply came back, his superior was actually younger than he was, but a university education still got you a good job with the security services, how good you were determined how far you went, “Better flag it and send it on its way upstairs, let them decide what to do with the whole damned mess!”
It took less than five minutes to transform the whole conversation into a written ‘transcription’ that could be sent as an email, with a little red flag noting that it was priority, a name added, the audio file attached to the email and sent on its way, no need to encrypt the file as it was internal, and ‘Six’ had never been breached.
'Big brother is always watching you"
"The enemy of my enemy 'IS MY FRIEND"
Sir Michael had actually worked on the whole affair since he first got word about eleven am that morning, things had been winding up, though it was a bit strange they hadn’t heard from the team, “probably just a precaution” he’d told himself, but part of him didn’t totally feel at ease.
A light flashed up on his screen as he was reading a hard copy report, it was Farid Akbari’s service record, Farid was the one that had been killed, a blow to the service, and gut-wrenching to him, he knew the family well.
Mohammed Akbari was an Egyptian who’d fled Egypt during the ‘Arab spring’, born into a Muslim family he’d been raised in one of Cairo’s most conservative areas, even went to the great Al Azhar University studied Arabic literature and got a PhD in Islamic studies only to fall foul of the Egyptian authorities for his progressive views.
Egypt had tolerated him for a while, but when he renounced Islam and Married a Christian woman, all hell had broken loose.
Farid had been in England at the time, studying ‘Oriental studies’ at Oxford, compliments of his father having a good friend in the Embassy, Sir Michael was simply ‘Mike’ then, and was ‘officially’ the M.I.6 ‘officer in residence’.
They never ‘officially’ found out what happened to Farid’s father, rumour had it, he was dragged into the street, beaten to a pulp, then forced to watch while the local firebrand Islamic fundamentalists repeatedly raped and mutilated his wife and Farid’s younger sister before they were killed, then finally he was put out of his misery by a bullet from a police gun, the body disposed of somewhere in the desert, and the police hadn’t just watched, they’d joined in, it had been done with the blessing of the government! “One less trouble-causer to lead people astray” had been shouted.
Sir Michael knew about it through a mutual friend, the ‘Babba Butros’ the assistant to the Coptic Bishop of Cairo, he told Michael all about it, hoping to get Michael to warn the boy not to come home, he’d done a little more than that, Farid had wanted revenge, and Michael had given him a chance to work towards that, the old Arab saying, “The enemy of my enemy, is my friend” came back with a vengeance.
Death of a friend
‘And now he’s dead’ was all Sir Michael could think, ‘and no idea if it’s linked to the Islamics, or could it even be the drug barons?’ he was really hoping it wasn’t linked to the ‘mole’ but nothing could be ruled out at this stage.
He reached out and touched the screen with his right index finger, the screen came alive with a picture, it was Cairo, the secure room at the Embassy, a call he’d been expecting as soon as he’d sent word of Farid’s death.
“Michael” the youngish woman at the other end of the line addressed him, he was still surprised it was a woman in charge in Cairo, he was surprised he had been able to get that appointment made, the Middle East is still a very male-dominated society, and as the ‘head of station’ Rachel had to deal with a lot of men who thought they were better than her, what they never got was the fact that, if you want to know what the President of Egypt is thinking, you don’t talk to his aides, you talk to his wives mistresses, and that Rachel was very good at. ‘Thanks for the heads up, sorry to hear about Farid, any news?”
By ‘any news?’ he knew exactly what she meant, “How are we affected? Are we in the proverbial?”
“All the above” he replied, “and none as well” he stood and walked over to his coffee machine, a Nespresso machine, there were capsules, 'Ristorante Andretti, he took one, slid open the top and dropped the capsule in, there was already water the machine's reservoir push of the button and a coffee to rival the best of any cafe was ready, only then did he continue.
“He's one of us” he went on, “that means all bets are off, but otherwise, we've no-no all we know is he went into the river, but at this point, no idea where, or how” he'd ambled back to his desk, slowly sinking into his chair he went on, “ what was Farid dealing with?”
“Nothing major, least not as far I'm aware” Rachel replied, “just doing some tracking our usual suspects, nothing too high risk, mainly tracking the money”
If it caused any alarm, he didn't show it, then again, Rachel, and just about everyone else in the Embassy knew, you don't play poker with Sir Michael. The 'poker face’ was out and on the show, that told her to be worried, but don't show it.
“You think he was a target then?” she asked, trying not to sound too concerned.
“Can't say right now” he replied, “could be any number of things, got a few things going on, they could be connected, but which one? I just don't know!”
“So,” it was more a statement than anything, “not an accident then?”
“Hell no” he replied, “not an accident”
Rough day at the office
Closing the door, he activated the silent alarm, that one was linked to the ‘control room’ in another part of the building, if that went off, the offenders would need to start praying, getting arrested for ‘breaking and entering’ would be the least of their worries, staying alive would be their top priority, and even that would be doubtful.
The lift was waiting, but he didn’t use it, there wasn’t much chance for exercise in his day, so, making the most of the chance of some exercise he headed for the stairs, and the car park six floors below.
There are three stairwells, two are on the outside of the building, and used as fire escapes, they’re on the plans, but the third is in the middle, and isn’t on any plans, it’s there as an emergency for if there’s ever a ‘breach’ insecurity, that’s the one he was using.
The good thing about the inside stairwell is it takes the user directly to the secure underground car park, one that’s totally sealed off, try and get in this one from the outside and you’re going to get a nasty shock, passkey controls allow you to get as far as the guards checkpoint, facial recognition by both a Human and a computer allow you further in, fail any of those two and let’s just say the parking attendants are the only ones in Britain that carry L85A2 semi-automatic rifles.
The original L85 was a piece of junk that was first made by the Royal Ordnance depot in the UK, but when Royal Ordnance bought Heckler and Koch the first thing they did was give the plans over to HK to remodel the L85, the result, the L85 A2, a seriously underrated assault rifle, and ideal for close quarter combat, also close enough to look like a standard police weapon in the UK but badass enough to scare the shit out of anyone fool enough to try their luck.
Just got a whole lot worse.
The car park looked deserted, that is all except for the vehicle that had just started up, and was heading towards the doorway he’d just come out of, it was his Bentley, Sir Michael relaxed slightly, it’s been a long and damn difficult day, no word from the team in NZ, that was only partly expected, they still had a mole, and from the last intel they’d got, the mole knew they were in NZ, the team had ‘gone dark’ and he had a good idea why.
He couldn’t see the driver, but in a place this secure, there wasn’t any question as to whom it would be, Sir Michael made his way to the car, he noticed that ‘Barry’ was wearing a cap, he didn’t normally do that, he started to close the door and step away.
Out of the shadows stepped another, he felt his arms pinned in two vice-like grips, a voice he recognised spoke through the balaclava that the ‘shadow’ had pulled over his face, a blunt Scottish accent said, “Now Sir Michael, Now we have your attention, we need to have a wee word wi ye”.
The driver pressed a button on a console, the rear passenger door opened, “Get in”
“What the hell” he instinctively started to struggle, hoping it was being picked up on camera, and the security teams were watching.
“Dinnae argues with me laddie,” the Scot said, forcing him into the car. “Not here, now get in!”
From the Auhor
Sorry folks, but we have to cut things there for the moment. Has Sir Michael been kidnapped? that question will be answered hopefully next week.
Clearly, something is going on and all isn't well at MI6, but why would they hinder the police investigation?
At the moment I don't really have a clue, except that my muse told me to write it that way! Sure is going to be an interesting read, and I can't wait to find out!
Hope you enjoyed this week's episode, and don't forget to leave a comment.