Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Requiem for the Dead Part IV
20-12-2011, 08:50 AM
Post: #1
Requiem for the Dead Part IV

31 May 2012, early evening
London, Cricketers Pub

Harry sat in a booth, keeping an eye on the door. He’d considered meeting Smithy at his club but feared that the ostentatious setting would inhibit the man and put him on his guard. He needed to be relaxed if he was going to let anything slip. The subject of his thoughts entered and Harry stood up.
“Smithy,” he greeted and held out his hand.
Smithy shook it. “Harry. Or should I say Sir Harry?”
Harry laughed, embarrassed, and moved on swiftly. “What would you like?” He nodded towards the bar.
The other man’s gaze dropped to Harry’s scotch. “Same.”
He settled into the booth and waited for Harry to come back.
“They do a decent steak, egg and chips if you’re hungry?” Harry said as he placed the drink on the table.
Smithy considered briefly. “Sure, why not. Medium all round.”
Harry waved the barmaid over. “Two steak egg and chips, one medium all round, the usual for me.”

He waited until she had left before lifting his glass. “To old times.”
Smithy smiled. “Old times,” he repeated.
Harry observed him as he took a sip and noticed a muscle twitching in the other man’s cheek. There was an awkward silence as Smithy looked around the pub, trying to think of something to say.
“So, a Knight, huh?” he offered finally. “Who’d have thought that cocky young whippersnapper I met in Belfast would get this far?”
Was that a note of resentment in his voice? Harry couldn’t be sure.
He shrugged. “They dole them out like candy nowadays,” he said self-deprecatingly.
“Oh, I’m sure you deserve it,” Smithy responded and smiled. “I’ve heard you’ve had quite the career.”
And there it was again, a hint of venom underlying the innocent words.

Harry did not want to spend the evening talking about himself and changed tack. “And what about you? Who would have thought you’d turn into Mr Big Business? Winning this tender for the Olympics is quite a feat.”
Harry’s voice was warm, complimentary. “Did you go straight into private security after leaving the Service?”
“Come on,” his companion laughed, “don’t pretend you haven’t looked into every nook and cranny of my company. I know how these things work. I used to be a spook too, remember?”
Harry smiled slightly and conceded the point. Before he could say anything Smithy continued. “And? Did you find anything of concern?”
Harry was aware of the other man’s keen, probing gaze.
“Why do you ask?” he responded lightly. “Is there something you want to confess, Smithy?”
They stared at each other until Smithy suddenly laughed and shook his head. “Same old Harry,” he chuckled. “Always on the job.”
The comment stabbed at Harry and he looked away, but was spared the need for a response when the food arrived.

They made small-talk while they ate, feeling each other out all the time. As he dipped another chip into the runny egg yolk Harry nudged the conversation back to the topic he was most interested in.
“Have you ever been back to Belfast?”
Smithy put his fork down and took a long swallow of Scotch. “No,” he said shortly.
Harry watched the play of emotions on the other man’s face, intrigued by what he read there. He changed direction.
“I was wrong to punch you in that meeting. You had every right to say what you did,” he conceded.
Smithy stared at him in surprise; he had never pegged Harry Pearce as someone who apologised for anything, and he wondered whether the man sitting opposite him was sincere.
He responded cautiously, “Maybe. But I admit that I could have been more tactful – you’d just lost your best friend, after all.”
They fell quiet, both thinking back to that harrowing period in their lives. The expression on Harry’s face left Smithy in no doubt that Bill’s death still weighed heavily on him.
“Why did you leave the Service, Smithy?” Harry asked suddenly into the silence.

The question caught the other man off-guard and he looked up sharply. Harry appeared genuinely interested in the answer, as though he was baffled by the concept of anyone not wanting to serve their country. It angered Smithy and caused him to snap, “That business with Davie King’s father showed me that I didn’t have what it takes to be an intelligence officer. I could never have done that. You need a heart of stone to do that.”
He glared at Harry, all pretence of civility gone. Harry’s mouth twitched as he gazed back steadily. He said nothing. Smithy reined himself in with difficulty and dropped his gaze to the table.
“Sorry,” he mumbled.
When Harry spoke his voice was carefully controlled. “You never married?”
“Er, no.” Smithy’s eyes slid away from Harry’s unwavering attention. “Never met the right girl,” he added lamely.
“Hmm,” was all Harry said.
Desperate to shift the focus off himself, Smithy looked at Harry’s left hand. “Divorced?” he enquired with a note of relish.
“Yes. Jane shared your view of me – said she’d married a nightmare.” There was a note of anger underlying the words which somehow scared Smithy. He feared, for a second, that Harry would physically attack him, but then the spook leaned back against his seat and smiled.
“Maybe you were smarter than me – staying away from marriage all these years. You spared yourself a lot of trouble, my friend.”
Harry signalled to the bar for another round of drinks, and Smithy knew he was in for a long night.

* * *
1 June 2012, morning
London, the Grid

When Jenny entered, Harry was already in. She wondered sometimes whether he actually went home. He seemed to always be there. She poked her head around his door and called a cheerful greeting.
“Morning, Boss.”
It was only when he lifted bloodshot eyes to hers and mumbled a reply that she noticed how terrible he looked. If she wasn’t mistaken, her stuffy superior was suffering from a hangover. And she should know. She smirked to herself and left him to suffer in peace.

Harry wasn’t sure how much time passed between her leaving and Erin walking in, lost as he was in his thumping headache, raging thirst and sluggish brain. He looked up to find her regarding him with concern and he knew what she was thinking. He didn’t blame her. It wasn’t as if there weren’t precedent for it.
“It’s not what you think,” he stated firmly.
“I had dinner with Melvyn Smith last night. There is definitely something underhanded going on, and it is somehow linked to events in Belfast in 1978.”
Erin looked dubious. “I just don’t see it, Harry. Are you saying that Flannery blames the English for what happened to his sister? It was an IRA bomb that killed her. Why would he blame us? And why would Smith help him achieve his objective?”
Harry considered, unsure how much he would have to reveal to convince her. In the end he settled for some of the truth.
“The O’Mally’s bomb was revenge for the Security Services framing an innocent man and causing him to be killed by the IRA. Two Military Intelligence officers were killed in that blast. I have no doubt that they were the real targets – the rest were just collateral damage.”
He met Erin’s eyes. “Someone blames us for that bomb, and I would wager good money that someone is Ronan Flannery. And Melvyn Smith was there when the decision was taken to frame that innocent man, so perhaps this is his way of atoning for his sins.”
He paused and took a breath. “The threat is real, Erin. Get Dimitri into Fortress as soon as humanly possible.”
She nodded. “Okay. We’ve found a way. He can be in place by Monday.”

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

Dear Ruth,
It’s been a while since I’ve had to sacrifice my liver in the defence of the realm. It takes me back to the days of Jools Siviter, when this sort of thing was a somewhat regular occurrence. At least Jools was a worthy opponent. Clearly Smithy does not have my experience in consuming large amounts of alcohol. I feel terrible today, but for a change it is not accompanied by the usual guilt. Thankfully it wasn’t all for nothing – I now know that Smithy is definitely up to something. What, I don’t yet know. One thing is for sure – he hates me. It all seems connected to the O’Mally’s bombing somehow. I’m convinced that Smithy is helping Flannery and that they are planning an attack on the Olympics. Smithy must have told Flannery his sister died in an act of revenge on British Security Service personnel. It is less clear to me why Smithy would go to the lengths of targeting the Olympics. Is it simply to atone for his involvement in the death of Davie King’s father? If so, it is a little extreme. It was my order, my decision. He merely helped spread the rumours. Is there something more personal at play here? I have requested a full audit of Smithy’s time in Belfast.

At least Erin and Dimitri have sorted out their differences. I saw them kiss in the corridor before Dimitri left to start his undercover stint. I am happy for them. And I envy them as well. I can’t help thinking about what could have been at times like these. But that way madness lies. I’ll have to try harder to focus on the many good memories I have of you and let go of the if-only’s.

* * *
4 June 2012
London, Fortress Inc Headquarters

Dimitri stood at the back of the room, surveying the hundreds of guards assembled. They had found out that Melvyn Smith had a cooperation agreement with another private security company by which the other company would provide replacement personnel to Fortress Inc if needed. As providence would have it, four of Smith’s regular personnel were in an accident and he had requested replacements from the other company. It had taken one phone call from Harry, after which the somewhat pale CEO of the other company accommodated Dimitri among the replacements he’d sent.

The spook located Flannery near the front and unobtrusively made his way towards him. The Irishman was surrounded by four other men and none of the other guards attempted to talk to them. Dimitri placed himself within easy reach of the little group. He reached into his pocket and located the small tracking device Calum had supplied him with, then scanned the man in front of him for possible locations for it. Slipping it under the collar of his jacket seemed the best option; it was the piece of clothing the target would wear most often. Now all he had to do was wait for the right opportunity.

Melvyn Smith came onto the podium and addressed the assembly. He wasn’t a particularly good orator and Dimitri watched the men around him fidget and shuffle around in boredom. What he needed was a diversion. He took a pen and paper out of his pocket and flipped the cap off the pen, dropping it. As he stooped to pick it up, he pricked the man next to him in the leg with the tiny needle at the back of the pen. His neighbour didn’t even feel it. He waited. It took five minutes before the man suddenly swayed on his feet and collapsed unceremoniously. During the hubbub that ensued Dimitri managed to slip the tracking device under Flannery’s collar unnoticed.

* * *
6 June 2012
London, the Grid

Harry stalked out of his office and came to a stop in front of the two techies.
“What’s this?” he demanded, waving a folder about.
Jenny apprehensively looked to Calum for guidance.
“That’s the information on Melvyn Smith you asked for,” Calum said, unperturbed by his boss’ evident displeasure.
Harry scowled. “No, in fact the information I asked for is conspicuously absent from this abject effort.” He flung the folder down on Calum’s desk.
“I asked for details of his service and life in Belfast, and you give me his date of appointment and resignation?”
He gave Jenny a baleful look. “I thought you were supposed to be the best hacker of your generation.”
She bristled. “I can’t find information that’s not there, Harry.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Harry demanded.
“It means,” Calum intervened, “that the events you are interested in happened back in the Stone Age. We can’t find it if it’s not on a computer.”
Harry processed this. “So you’re saying it’s not available anywhere?”
“I’m saying it’s not available in a digital format, yes.”
“But it should be in the paper archives.” Rory, who had watched the exchange with interest, came over and explained, “MI5 has not yet digitised all the old files, but they’re all kept in the Registry. Someone with enough patience and time should be able to find what you’re looking for.”
He turned to Harry and said hopefully, “I don’t mind doing it. I love rooting through all those old files.”
But Harry shook his head. “I can’t spare you. I need you on the main thrust of the operation full time. No,” he added thoughtfully, “I have someone else in mind.”

He walked off without further explanation. It was time to visit an old friend.


[Image: cheersignew.jpg]
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
20-12-2011, 09:17 AM
Post: #2
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part IV
Terrific chapter. The Harry and Smithy encounter was tense with both testing each other out but there is more going on and I'm looking forward to reading more.

[Image: regnumdefende3.jpg]
Thanks to TygerBright for the wonderful sig.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
20-12-2011, 02:43 PM
Post: #3
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part IV
Yeah, I agree with pookster. Very well written exchange with Harry and Smithy. Some great Old School spying going on on both sides. I haven't a clue what Smithy's motive is yet. Although I have a strange hankering for egg & chips now.... Silba

"If she wasn’t mistaken, her stuffy superior was suffering from a hangover. And she should know. She smirked to herself and left him to suffer in peace."
Hah! Good instincts, Jenny.

"I can’t help thinking about what could have been at times like these. But that way madness lies."
Mmm...indeed. (King Lear - my favorite.)

"I can’t help thinking about what could have been at times like these. But that way madness lies."
Methinks Harry is rising out of the abyss of abject grief? After all, there is only so much of it the human psyche can tolerate. Have you been reading Jung? "Embrace your grief. For there your soul will grow."

You are a ridiculously insightful author, BTW. Thhug

Your voice for Calum is spot on - audaciously presumptuous as ever. And not a bit afraid of Harry. Love. Him!

Rory was very generously analyst-like to offer to dive into the paper archives, but who does Harry have in mind? A new character or an old character? (Malcolm, please say Malcolm...???Angel) I'm intrigued. Cool

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

~Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
21-12-2011, 05:37 AM
Post: #4
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part IV
Oh I do hope the old friend is who I think it is Wink Loving this story (despite the absence of Ruth Blush) and I especially loved Harry's conversation with Smithy! Looking forward to more
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
27-12-2011, 02:28 PM
Post: #5
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part IV
My goodness, you would have to be one strong person, not to keep thinking of the "if-only's." Keep going Harry.

Not sure I like Smithy much. Can't quite put my finger on it.

[Image: Banner106smaller.jpg]
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply

Forum Jump:

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)