Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 15 April 2013

Parallel Lives chapter 84

Simon looked around the secure room provided by the Defence Procurement Agency at Abbey Wood, in Bristol. Turning to Gerald he observed on the degree of overkill it appeared to provide.
‘Apart from the fact we are trying to prevent the public knowing about the mutated bird flu samples, most of what we’re going to talk about here could be carried on in the local pub without any loss of security,’ he observed. Gerald agreed.
‘We don’t have a lot to go on, but I thought you’d like to see this before you start,’ he said, passing on a sheaf of e-mails and faxes that he had picked up from the secure registry on arrival. Simon flicked through the notes, irritation creeping up on him as he drilled back in time through the correspondence.
‘We don’t deserve breaks, we’re bloody amateurs,’ he spluttered. Looking around he saw that the room had filled up, with his top team members sat around the oval conference table that filled most of the room.
‘Right, listen up,’ he began, his second such briefing in under seven hours to the same group, give or take with two notable extras. ‘Not much has changed since we transitioned from London HQ, but there is some additional information. I want to review what we know, including these updates, then brainstorm our options.
‘But first,’ he continued, holding the sheaf of pages aloft, ‘I want to find out why we aren’t covering the bloody basics. According to this report, Watson’s Porsche has been found parked up in Kidderminster, in a multi-storey car park. Ten minutes of research by the local bobbies has revealed that a man answering his description hired a car from a rental agency two minutes walk away, using Staple’s credit cards. How the bloody hell did we miss those checks?’ he demanded. Martin, sat to the rear of the room, raised his hand sheepishly.
‘I think I may be responsible for that. We stripped Staples of all his identity documents on arrival at Fylingdales, so when I was asked about his credit cards I advised they were secured. Watson must have taken them with him before we left this morning,’ he said, feeling his face glow. Simon looked around the group.
‘Gents, ladies, my apologies for not introducing the two extra members to our team, Martin Loftus and Dr. Sam Jackson, a civilian on attachment to the DTRU.
‘I hear what you’re saying Martin, but in this game we don’t assume anything. Surely one of you guys should have followed it up earlier, regardless of what Martin thought,’ Simon remonstrated the group.
‘As it happens, the car he hired is fitted with a tracker device and once the hire company were told that the credit card was stolen they released the tracker code to us. We now know the car is headed towards North Devon.
‘One other piece of information, we have arranged for a Sergeant Jim Forsythe, Royal Air Force, to be brought to us, hopefully by military helicopter. He may have overheard some information this morning that wouldn’t have made any sense to him, but could be vital to us. It’s a long shot, but we’re going for it.
‘So, bollocking over, what’s the opinion from the floor?’ he asked. Simon was a great believer in tapping into his subordinates’ ideas, it got things done and generally it had enhanced his career over the years. One hand shot up.
‘Sir, are we going to get the civil police to pick up Watson? If Staples is with him then they could hold him while we catch up.’ Another hand.
‘How do we know its not a decoy? We know they had at least two vehicles and they clearly had sussed us out in Bristol. If that was me I’d run one car in the wrong direction and the other to wherever I wanted to go. They know enough to avoid the motorways, so they probably know about the tracker devices fitted to hire cars. In that case I’d use the hire car as a decoy,’ suggested one of the other agents. Martin stood, sliding off the edge of the side table he had been perched on.
‘Good point about the decoy, but at the moment it sounds like our only lead. I wouldn’t engage the civils, though, not at this point. If Staples is in the car then, based on his condition the last time I saw him, the police are likely to ship him off to a hospital. It could take days to get access through legitimate means, and we would risk exposing the project to the public eye. Get Special Branch involved, by all means, but not your ordinary bobby, it would be more trouble than its worth,’ he stated, to general assent.
‘What about the Howells? Any more intel on them?’ asked another voice. Martin wasn’t leaving the floor now he had taken it.
‘Nothing firm, but we do know they are aware of the research DTRU were undertaking. Its my view that they have brokered a deal, probably with the Yanks. Michael Watson is just misguided.’ The voice returned.
‘Have they made any demands? Do we know if they have a rendezvous?’ Simon took this one up.
‘No, they probably think they’ve got away with it. If we can intercept them then I’m authorised to negotiate a bounty of up to seventy thousand Euros, cash, in return for Staples. But if they take the cash, they’d better have a good escape route out of Britain handy, because I won’t let them leave with it if I can help it.’
‘Will Euros be any use to them, if they are skipping to America?’ asked another voice.
‘Can’t really say I care, that’ll be their problem,’ replied Simon. He scoured the group for any other comments, none were forthcoming.
‘Right, final intel for this briefing. We’ve got two teams scouring London and the surrounding areas for trace of the missing people. We’ve located two of the vehicles we were looking for and have Home Office forensic scientists combing them for clues as we speak. At present we still don’t know if this is something that will happen on our patch or someone else’s, and we certainly don’t know if its an Al Qaeda plot, a Jewish extremist group or what. Christ only knows,’ he said with deliberate irony
‘OK, people, one last thing. The weather is turning against us. The snow and wind that has been racking Scotland and the North is now making its way down here, so make sure you’re all prepared for it. Come on, let’s roll.’


Copyright Ray Sullivan 2011

The characters, places and events described in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons, places or events, past or present, is coincidence.  All rights reserved

Parallel Lives is published in paperback and as an eBook


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