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Requiem for the Dead Part V
23-12-2011, 07:16 AM
Post: #1
Requiem for the Dead Part V

19 June 2012
London, the Grid

“Harry,” Erin appeared in his door. “Dimitri’s report has come in.”
He followed her over to Calum’s station and settled himself against the desk.
“Let’s hear it.”
Dimitri had been undercover a little over two weeks now and sent daily reports via an encrypted cellphone. Calum opened the audio file and Dimitri’s voice filled the room.
“Flannery continues to keep to himself, with only his four mates for company. He doesn’t socialise with the rest of the guards. I’ve made careful enquiries, and it’s clear he’s not a popular man with the others. He’s a relatively recent addition to Fortress; apparently he was brought in once they tendered for the Olympics gig. He mostly goes to work and back home again and shares his flat with two of the blokes who are always with him. As they seldom work the same shifts, I’ve not yet had a chance to bug the place. Yesterday he met Melvyn Smith in a pub, but I couldn’t get close enough to hear what they were saying. The police is scheduled to give a general briefing on procedures to be followed during the Olympics tomorrow – it might afford me the opportunity to get into their flat.”

Harry pursed his lips. He was frustrated by the slow progress they’d made and could tell that his team was beginning to doubt whether an attack was planned.
“Okay,” he said. “Are we monitoring the black market for movement of large quantities of explosives or weapons?”
Calum nodded. “If he tries to buy anything, we’ll know.”
It was Rory who voiced Harry’s biggest fear. “We know the IRA still has weapons caches all over the old Emerald Isle. What if he doesn’t have to buy any?”
Harry rubbed his forehead. “Then we make sure we have all other avenues covered. They still have to get the explosives into one of the Olympic venues. Let’s think about ways it could be done and pre-empt any attempt to do so.”
Calum’s eyes lit up. “Maybe they’ll hide it in the athletic equipment - the javelins, discuses, or the shot put and hammer-throw stuff. It could give a whole new meaning to the term ‘explosive release’.”
A few of the others smiled but Harry remained impassive.
He said archly, “Then we will scan every piece of equipment if needs be, down to the running spikes of Usain bloody Bolt. And I don’t care who complains about it.”

* * *
29 June 2012, late night
London, private club

William Towers was settled in a secluded corner and observed his companion through the cigar smoke drifting between them. They had been to the opera and had come to the club for a nightcap afterwards. Harry’s bowtie hung loose around his neck and the first two buttons of his shirt was undone. As Towers watched, he blew a plume of smoke towards the ceiling and picked up his glass.
“Something on your mind, William?” he asked mildly, aware of the other man’s scrutiny.
“I hear you’ve commissioned a book on the history of Section D,” Towers said.
Harry lifted an eyebrow. “You’re rather well-informed about internal matters of the Security Services.”
“Well, I do have the JIC and Directors General on speed dial, Harry. You’re not my only source of intelligence you know,” Towers responded dryly.
“So you keep saying,” Harry grumbled good-naturedly. He continued after a brief pause. “Don’t worry, the book’s for internal consumption only.”
“Of course,” Towers said but continued to eye Harry speculatively. “I also hear you have Malcolm Wynn-Jones rooting around the archives to gather information for the book.”
“Yes,” Harry responded, unruffled, “I thought it best to use someone that had intimate experience of the Section.”
The Home Secretary put down his drink and leaned forward. “Harry. You’re up to something, and I’d like to know what it is.”

Harry didn’t respond immediately. Even though William Towers had become a friend in the dark months after Ruth’s death, Harry never forgot that the man was also his boss and a politician. Some things were better kept hidden from him, and this was one of them. He was not about to advertise the fact that he was digging deep into Melvyn Smith’s background and his activities during his deployment in Belfast. It was possible that Smithy still had friends within the Service and Harry did not want word of the investigation to reach him. The fewer people that knew what Malcolm was really doing, the better.
“I’m not up to anything,” he lied smoothly.
William stared at him, unconvinced, but it was obvious that Harry would not give him anything. He let it go with a sigh.

* * *
10 July 2012
London, Thames House

Down in the registry Malcolm was buried behind a mountain of files. He’d been at it for close to three weeks and had not found anything of significance. The files covering events in Belfast in June 1978 were somewhat sketchy and as he closed the last one he wondered what he was going to tell Harry. Malcolm could sense that the rest of the team thought their boss was chasing shadows where Melvyn Smith was concerned, and the lack of substance in the files seemed to support that. But he was not so quick to dismiss Harry’s instincts. He had been there the last time these events came back to haunt them in the form of Davie King, and it was that experience which made him give his friend and former boss the benefit of the doubt.

As he stretched his back muscles wearily, his thoughts went back to the night three weeks ago when he’d opened the door to find Harry standing there. It was the first time they’d seen each other since Ruth’s funeral and Malcolm had been relieved to note that Harry looked much better than he had on that occasion. The waxen complexion and the rigid posture had gone, but the shadows behind the eyes were still there if one looked closely enough. Perhaps that was the reason he had agreed to undertake the investigation; it would allow him to see Harry on a regular basis. Once he’d started, it soon became their habit to end the day with a chat in Harry’s office. They shared a drink and talked about everything and nothing, trying to ignore the ghosts as the rest of the Grid lay in darkness around them. Harry seemed grateful to have someone to talk to other than that journal he was always writing in and Malcolm, in return, was happy to support Harry in this small way.

As he walked down the long, dusty aisle to return some of the files to their place his eyes once again fell on the new walk-in safe at the end of the room. On his first day here he had asked the registry clerk what was in it, and she’d informed him that it held the files that only the DG was allowed access to. He glanced around, but there was no-one else in sight. After a moment’s hesitation he walked up to the door and inspected the locking mechanism carefully. He nodded to himself; he was sure that he could beat it. But he would need help to pull it off.

* * *

That night he mooted his plan to Harry, who looked hesitant.
“It’s risky. What makes you think there will be anything in there pertaining to Smithy?”
Malcolm trod carefully, solicitous of Harry’s feelings. “Because I also looked into the files surrounding Bill Crombie’s death.”
Harry’s eyes flashed and Malcolm continued hurriedly. “Basic paperwork is missing, Harry. When I compared it to the paperwork in other files where officers had been killed, it was obvious that the ones for the time period you are interested in have been sanitised. I think the stuff they removed is in that vault. And if it’s sensitive enough to be put in there, then it might just hold the answer to this whole riddle.”
“Christ, Malcolm,” Harry sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I didn’t bring you back to get you in trouble.”
“But you brought me back to find the information you need to safeguard the Olympics,” Malcolm said emphatically. “It’s the only way.”
His conviction was evident, but there was also something else in his look: a hint of excitement. It was that which decided Harry.
“All right. Use Calum and Jennifer to help you. But let us be clear about one thing. You’re doing it on my orders, and any repercussions will be mine to endure.”
Malcolm nodded and they lapsed into amicable silence, contemplating the possible fallout if things should go wrong.

Eventually Harry spoke. “It’s good to have you back here, Malcolm.”
The other man smiled. “It’s good to be back,” he said as his eyes roamed around the empty Grid fondly.
“Do you miss it?” Harry asked, genuine curiosity in his voice.
Malcolm considered the question carefully. “Some days. But then I open the paper and read about another attempted terrorist attack and I get that familiar clutch of fear in my stomach, and the feeling passes.”
He paused, then added with quiet certainty, “I left at the right time.”
Harry acknowledged the answer with a slight nod as his eyes drifted to Ruth’s old station. “Ruth once told me that we’d forfeited the chance for a normal life. Perhaps she was right, but…” his voice broke slightly, “I wanted to try. With her.”
And suddenly the tears came. Malcolm looked away delicately as Harry covered his eyes with a hand, and for a few minutes the only sound was his quiet sobbing.

Malcolm waited until he’d once again composed himself before speaking. “I suspect you would have made it work, you know. You’d have to search far and wide for two more stubborn people than the two of you.”
Harry laughed softly. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.”
“You’ll know when the time is right, Harry. To retire,” Malcolm said gently.
When Harry stared at him in surprise, he added, “You’ll know when you’ve paid your dues. As I did. When that time comes, have the courage to walk away. You’ve earned it.”
He watched as Harry breathed deeply, and merely nodded once.

* * *
13 July 2012

Dimitri sat in his car two blocks away from Flannery’s flat and watched on a small monitor as the little green dot began to move.
“So where are we off to today, mate?” he muttered quietly to himself. The dot was moving slowly; the Irishman was obviously on foot. Dimitri let him get a healthy lead before starting the car and following.

As he kept an eye on the dot, his mind wandered. He was not enjoying this assignment. He missed Erin and Rosie, and he loathed these men he was now forced to work with every day. In his view most of them were simply playing at being soldiers, but did not have the discipline required to be a good soldier. They were frankly a menace to society.

The dot had stopped just around the corner and Dimitri pulled into the kerb. He got out of the car, moved to the corner and peered around cautiously. Flannery was in a public phone booth halfway down the block. Dimitri fished out his mobile.
“Calum, our man is making a call from a public phone booth.” He gave the location before moving back to the car. With any luck GCHQ will pick up the call and they could finally get some worthwhile information.

Ten minutes later, back at Thames House, Calum received a recording of the conversation from GCHQ.
“Harry!” he called, and the older man swiftly made his way out of his office, Erin and Rory in tow.
“We got something.”
He played back the recording:

Flannery: I think we should bring things forward to the opening ceremony.
2nd man: No. We stick to the plan as agreed, damn it.
Flannery: Are you losing your bottle? Are you going to weaken on me?
2nd man: No! I think we have a better chance of succeeding if we wait till the closing ceremony, that’s all. Everyone will be relaxed, including the Security Services. They’ll think they’ve pulled it off, security-wise; that they got to the end without incident. Their guard will be down and that’s when we strike.
Flannery: Fine. I’ll see to it. And what will you be doing?
2nd man: Oh, I’ll be making sure that Harry Pearce is right in the middle of it.

All eyes turned to Harry, who stood motionless, lips pursed.
Calum cleared his throat. “The, er, second man...”
“Melvyn Smith,” Harry supplied evenly.
“Harry-“ Erin started, but he cut her off.
“We now know when the attack will take place. Let them run until we have more information. Tell Dimitri to stick with Flannery – we still don’t know what they’re planning, and where.”
He began to walk away when Erin spoke. “What about Smith?”
Harry turned back to her, a steely glint in his eyes. “Leave him to me.”

Back in his office Harry sat down behind the desk and fiddled with his pen, thinking things over.
“You and me, Smithy,” he said softly, “time to finish this. It’s always been between us anyway.”


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23-12-2011, 07:36 AM
Post: #2
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part V
Fantastic update! Malcolm back in the thick of things and piecing things together, a cameo from the HS (who you have bang on) and Harry slowly starting to find out exactly what's going on! Harry being reduced to tears also brought a real lump to my throat! Very well written (as all your stories are) and I'm looking forward to more!

Since this is probably the last update before Christmas, have a fantastic Christmas and Silktie, thank you for all the wonderful stories throughout the year!
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23-12-2011, 07:43 AM
Post: #3
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part V
Terrific chapter. Loved Malcolm and his thoughts and his friendship with Harry. The scene where Harry sobs was very sad but poignant. This was very well written. And I'm looking forward to Malcolm's spookiness and Harry's confrontation with Smithy.

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23-12-2011, 02:19 PM
Post: #4
Harry RE: Requiem for the Dead Part V
Glad to see Malcolm back - I was hoping it would be him. The scene between he and Harry in Harry's office brought tears to my eyes. I also liked the line about having the JIC and DG on speed dial, as I could hear SRB in my head saying this.

Silktie, you are the best of the best when it comes to these stories. I have yet to be disappointed in one of your stories, even if you did make me cry a ridiculous amount during one of them. Thanks so much for sharing and Happy Holidays to you!

Zaf: "Shouldn't you be in prison or something?"
Ros: "This is the something."
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24-12-2011, 02:00 PM
Post: #5
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part V
"It was Rory who voiced Harry’s biggest fear."
Good boy, Rory! Yahoo

“Then we will scan every piece of equipment if needs be, down to the running spikes of Usain bloody Bolt."
If you can catch him. Big Grin

Fantastic exchange with Towers. Again. It is really comforting to think that Harry has some kind of support behind him.

And on that note, thank you so much for Malcolm.

I teared up right aboooooouuuuttt here:
"Perhaps that was the reason he had agreed to undertake the investigation; it would allow him to see Harry on a regular basis."

As for their exchange, I don't know where to start. I loved the echo of the "good to be back" exchange, Malcolm averting his eyes while Harry broke down, Harry's candor with Malcolm re: his missed chances with Ruth, the smooth transition between the personal to the professional and back to the personal tone of their conversation, and especially Malcolm's gentle joke re: their mutual stubbornness and advice to be brave when it's Harry's time to retire. Just full marks all around. Thhug

I'd especially like to see Malcolm interacting with Calum and Jenny. I wonder would Malcolm be a legend to Calum or another Old Foggy? I can't help but think that Malcolm would respect Calum's brilliance but not be able to resist knocking him down a peg or two in his own inimitable way? And what would Malcolm make of Jenny's sense of individuality?

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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27-12-2011, 02:45 PM
Post: #6
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part V
Best chapter yet Silktie.

How's Malcolm going to get the safe open then? Dynamite? Ramming it with a Sherman? Mice nibbling away? The mice have 7 months until the olympics. They may make it.

As an aside Silktie, Santa got me Seven Pillars of Wisdom for Christmas. Smile

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