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Requiem for the Dead Part III
17-12-2011, 06:32 AM
Post: #1
Requiem for the Dead Part III

21 May 2012
London, the Grid

It was just after seven and the Grid was quietly awaiting the start of another day. Harry was in his office, catching up on paperwork, a coffee at his elbow. The doors swished open and a tall, thin man in his late thirties stepped through. Harry took in the neat suit, the dark brown hair, the look of curiosity on his face as he looked around the space. His gaze reached the Section Head’s office and Harry found himself looking into a pair of vibrant green eyes. Intelligent eyes. He beckoned to the man. Once he entered the office Harry stood and held out a hand.
“You’re early,” he commented as they shook hands.
“Sir Harry,” the man acknowledged. “Och, first day nerves I suppose. I wanted to get going as soon as possible.”
The Scottish accent was heavy, but not impenetrable.
Won’t need that translator after all, Harry thought wryly.
“Call me Harry,” he said instead.

The doors opened again and Erin came in.
“Ah, come along.” Harry strode out of the office.
“Erin, our new senior analyst has arrived. Rory Ferguson, meet Erin Watts, Section Chief. She’ll get you settled.”
Erin looked at Harry with a brief smile and nodded. It was the first time since their argument that she smiled at him and he recognised its significance. She had thought about what he’d said and had made her peace with it. Harry nodded back solemnly before returning to his office, and Erin turned her attention to the new arrival.
“Rory, welcome. You’ll have to hit the ground running I’m afraid. The Olympics is fast approaching and-“
She stopped talking as he smirked.
“Nice pun,” he said.
She frowned in confusion.
“The Olympics?” he prompted, but she remained blank.
Fast approaching, hit the ground running,” he explained, and she rolled her eyes.
“Not another one,” she said, exasperated.
When it was Rory’s turn to look confused she added, “You’ll understand when you meet Calum. Now, this is your station. And these,” she waved at the mountain of files covering it, “are the personnel files of the private security company the Mayor has engaged for the Olympics. Harry’s not happy about that so we need to make sure we have all the bases covered.”
Rory’s gaze drifted back to the man in the glass office. “Not the most gregarious man, is he? Word is that he’s hard to please.”
Erin looked at Harry and her face softened. “He’s a good man,” she responded after a beat. “And yes, he has high standards. But he’s fair. All he asks is that you do the best you can.”
The Scot watched her carefully as she spoke. Her affection and admiration for their boss was obvious. She thought for a moment, then continued.
“Listen, Rory. Harry recently lost someone he cared for very much. She was your predecessor, so… If he’s a little hard on you sometimes, just remember that, okay?”
Rory nodded slowly. “I will.” He looked at his desk and smiled slightly. “Better get stuck in.”

* * *
25 May 2012
London, Olympic Stadium

Harry had requested a tour of the Olympic stadium; he liked to know exactly what he was dealing with in terms of security concerns. As a result, he and Erin found themselves trailing along as the stadium manager explained the ins and outs of building it. He spent an inordinate amount of time explaining to them how the upper tier could be dismantled afterwards, making the stadium a shining example of future sustainable use by decreasing the cost of its upkeep after the Olympics.
“Fascinating,” Harry murmured, straight-faced, and only Erin picked up on the sardonic note in his voice. She turned her face away to hide her smile.
“Did you use any foreign contractors?” he asked, getting down to business.
The manager looked affronted. “No, sir. Only the best England can offer. Even the materials used were all sourced locally. And what we couldn’t find locally we got from Ireland and Wales, like some of these granite blocks.”
He kicked at one of the blocks anchoring a pillar deep in the bowels of the stadium.
“Oh! I haven’t shown you the change rooms yet. State of the art.”
He scurried off. Harry looked at Erin with a pained expression before following.

* * *
28 May 2012
London, the Grid

The doors slid open and the new techie stepped through. It was her fourth day on the team and she was beginning to feel more at ease with the job and her colleagues. In fact, she finally felt confident enough to come to work as she most preferred to look for the first time. However, some of that confidence evaporated when her entrance was greeted by a stunned silence. Calum was staring at her, shock written all over his face. Moments later he was on his feet and bearing down on her.
“Holy shit Jenny, do you want to get fired?” he demanded, taking in her purple hair, nose-stud and black make-up.
“If Harry sees you like this he’ll go ballistic.”
Jenny shrugged. “Come on, what does he care what I look like, as long as I do my job?”
Rory had now joined them and shook his head at her naivety. “Have you met Harry?” he enquired dryly. “He can be pretty persnickety.”

Both Jenny and Calum turned to stare at the analyst.
Persnickety?” Jenny snorted. “Is that even a word?”
“Yes it is, Miss Palmer.”
Harry’s unexpected voice behind them made the other three jump.
“Oh crap,” Calum mumbled under his breath, earning a glare from Harry before he turned his attention back to the young woman.
“It describes someone who is fussy about small details or demands great precision,” he explained helpfully.
“It can also,” he said as his glare turned to Rory, “be used to describe someone who has the characteristics of a snob.”
The analyst shifted uncomfortably but kept quiet.
“Oh,” Jenny said feebly, drawing his attention back to her.
“Most erudite, Jennifer,” Harry retorted as he looked her up and down.
“Have you been, or are you about to go undercover at a rave?” he inquired mildly, but there was a dangerous glint in his eye.
Jenny glanced at Calum beseechingly and he shook his head imperceptibly at her, trying to warn her that this was not a good time to be a smart-mouth.
“No, sir,” she responded softly, dropping her eyes to stare at Harry’s immaculately polished shoes.
“Look at me,” he said sharply, and her head snapped up.
“I don’t care what you look like when you’re not at work, but when you step through those doors,” he swept an arm behind him, “you will look like a normal human being and not something that escaped from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Yes?”
She nodded. “Yes, Harry.”
“Good.” He disappeared into his office and shut the door firmly behind him.

Jenny stared after him, trying to unpick her feelings about her new boss. By rights she should find him annoying; an irritating old fogy that was way behind the times. She should resent the stentorian manner in which he spoke to her, and yet… She found herself wondering what it would have been like to have someone like him as her father rather than the drinking, womanising bastard she had the misfortune to get. Someone who called her Jennifer, who didn’t let her get away with anything, but who she could sense, underneath it all, truly cared about her well-being. She sighed and trudged off towards the Ladies.

* * *
One hour later

They were gathered in the meeting room for a routine update briefing. Jenny’s face was scrubbed clean, her hair was back to its normal colour and the stud was gone. It made her look absurdly young and Harry’s heart clenched. She reminded him of his daughter when Catherine was twenty-two and he sighed morosely. His first reaction when Calum had brought her file to him was to protest that she was too young, but Calum insisted that she was the most talented hacker of her generation and they should bring her into the fold before she turned to ‘the dark side’.

Rory burst into the room, interrupting his rumination, and waved a file around excitedly.
“I’ve found something.” He was triumphant and started speaking rapidly, the Scottish accent thicker than ever. The team frowned at each other in confusion as they struggled to figure out what their analyst was on about. Calum was the first to lose patience.
“Hey, William Wallace. Calm down, and repeat in the Queen’s English.”
Rory smiled sheepishly. “Sorry.”
He took a deep breath and spoke more slowly. “I’ve been working through the personnel files of the private security company and I found something. One of the senior guards,” he picked up the remote and brought up a photograph of a man in his early forties, “is not who he claims to be. He is not from Wales, and his name is not Mark Jones. He is, in fact, from Northern Ireland. And his name is Ronan Flannery.”
Dimitri studied the face on the screen. “Any links to one of the radical Republican groups?”
“Er, no. Not that I could find. But there is this: his sister died in an IRA bomb blast in Belfast in ’78.”
Erin frowned. “That’s hardly a reason to assume a false identity. And surely his sister’s death would turn him against the IRA, if anything?”

Before the analyst could respond, Harry spoke. “Rory.”
There was a focused stillness to their boss and all eyes turned to him.
“The bomb blast; when in ’78?”
Rory consulted his notes. “June.”
“The O’Mally’s bomb?” Harry asked again.
“Yes,” Rory responded, his curiosity piqued. “How did you know?”
Harry took a beat before responding. “I was stationed in Belfast at the time.”
He seemed to gather himself and looked around the table. “In that war things were seldom black and white. It is quite possible that his sister’s death could have radicalised him. So I want you to pull this man’s life apart. I want to know everything there is to know about him, down to his favourite breakfast cereal.”
He looked at Erin. “And I want you to find a way to get Dimitri into this private security company undercover. You’ll have to make it bloody convincing – the Head is a former intelligence officer and won’t be fooled easily.”
As they filed out Erin turned back to look at Harry. He was staring at the photo of Flannery, deep in thought.

* * *
Same day, late night
Harry’s house

He was ensconced in his favourite armchair. A CD of cello concertos was playing softly in the background, but otherwise the house was quiet. It was late, close to midnight, and he was tired, but there were too many thoughts running through his head to allow for sleep. He reached for the journal.

Dear Ruth,
Jung’s concept of synchronicity. We once discussed it during one of those late night chats in my office, when it was just you, me and the ghosts still on the Grid. I loved those nights and can remember them all in detail. I’ve been thinking about it all day. Synchronicity, I mean. ‘The experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance and that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner.’ So how about this: The mayor insists on using a private security company for the Olympics, and it happens to be headed by a man who worked with me when Davie King bombed O’Mally’s to revenge the death of his father. And an Irish man, who lost his sister in that very same bombing, is one of the senior guards in this company, under an assumed name. Are these events causally unrelated? I wonder.

You would have known, I suspect.

I miss you, Ruth. In these nights when sleep is elusive in particular. I try not to wallow in it, but it’s hard not to in the quiet of midnight. Last night I dreamt of you – the same dream I’ve had quite a few times now. It always amazes me that one can dream so vividly about something that you’ve never experienced. The feel of your skin sliding against mine is so real that I forget for a moment we never made love. I experience a few minutes of true happiness, but then reality intrudes. The dream always ends with your blood staining my hands, and then I wake up. Sometimes I think it would be better to never have the dream again, but other days I think it’s worth it for those few minutes of bliss. I wonder what the psychologist would say about that.

She did get one aspect right though. I do feel better writing these things down, as if I’m talking to you. It helps me order my thoughts – you never were impressed by a poorly structured argument. I think I’ll take Smithy out for a drink, get him to reminisce about old times. See if I can find out whether synchronicity is, in fact, at play here.

Harry went upstairs, stripped and lay in bed, staring at the dark ceiling. He wished sleep would come but at the same time feared what dreams it would bring with it. Would there ever come a time when he would dream about her without it ending with her blood on his hands, his clothes; so bright red, so vivid? He fervently hoped so.


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17-12-2011, 06:52 AM
Post: #2
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part III
Another great chapter - I can see how the story is starting to come together and the new people on the Grid already have quite distinct personalities. Harry writing his thoughts to Ruth to get them clear in his head makes sense, as does the idea that he's had to see a psychologist.

The bit at the end was very touching and the thought of Harry's dreams gave me a lump in the throat!

I'm looking forward to the next part!
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17-12-2011, 06:53 AM
Post: #3
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part III
Another intriguing chapter ... liked Rory - he's got big shoes to fill but I'm glad that Callum warned him re Harry. Jenny - I'm not sure but I hope she will grow on me. And the plot with the synchronicity re NI, IRA and bombs and Harry is something I'm looking forward to see where you're heading with this. Well done .

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17-12-2011, 01:28 PM
Post: #4
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part III
Poor poor Harry.

I so want Ruth to reply to him. The silence is deafening.

Good chapter and nice introduction to the new characters.

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17-12-2011, 04:21 PM
Post: #5
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part III
Ooohh...the thought plickens! Loving this.

Like the new characters. So glad to have a male analyst and a female techie.

Looking forward to the interactions between Calum and Rory. And you had to name him Rory!?! Are you trying to make me cry? Wink

I LOVE Jenny. My kind of gal. I did purple hair once. Cool If she leaves that stud out for too long, the hole will close up. They can be done tastefully. Sans purple hair and Goth make-up. Wink Have you ever met Abby from NCIS? She jumped into my mind when you described Jenny. She is a FAN-tastic character. I wouldn't underestimate Jenny's individual style - might come in handy at some point. Angel

"I wonder what the psychologist would say about that."

I dunno, but it would probably be in Latin!! Big GrinBig GrinBig Grin

Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet [Spooks];
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

~Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet
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17-12-2011, 05:44 PM
Post: #6
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part III
Yeh, I thought NCIS as well AC. Wink

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18-12-2011, 07:57 AM
Post: #7
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part III
Hah! Oops, see that's what happens if you go for the cliche... Tongue

I've never seen NCIS, so any similarity to that character is unintentional.

Thank you for the reviews all, I must admit I expected about two people to continue reading once it became clear that Ruth would not be making a comeback.

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18-12-2011, 10:04 AM
Post: #8
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part III


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18-12-2011, 09:45 PM
Post: #9
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part III
The last bit of this chapter is heartbreaking and lovely, Silktie. You're right, TeaLady, the silence is deafening.

Thus let me live, unheard, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lye.
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19-12-2011, 02:17 PM
Post: #10
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part III
Wouldn't miss it for the world, Silktie! Of course, I daresay that I am one of the two.... Blush Lord knows there is not a dearth of "Ruth lives" fan fiction out there. Some of it quite well done IMHO, but it is nice to have something with a different vibe to it. So, lead on MacDuff!

I've never seen NCIS, so any similarity to that character is unintentional.
Just more proof of your brilliancy. (Brilliant minds, and all that.) Yahoo

Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet [Spooks];
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

~Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet
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