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Requiem for the Dead Part VI
27-12-2011, 08:49 AM
Post: #1
Requiem for the Dead Part VI

16 July 2012
London, the Grid

“Let me get this straight – you’re proposing to break into the safe only the DG is allowed to access and steal some of the files?” Jenny asked, looking between Harry and Malcolm.
They were gathered in the meeting room and Malcolm had just presented his plan for breaking into the Registry safe.
“Yes,” Harry replied.
“Wow, awesome.”
Her boss winced at her choice of words but she didn’t even notice, too tickled by the idea of it all. It appealed to the anarchistic streak in her. She did not realise it at the time, but that was the precise moment in which Harry earned her undying loyalty and respect.
Calum was somewhat more circumspect. “That’s a big risk to take on the off-chance that there might be something of interest in there.”
Harry nodded. “Calum’s right. Which is why this operation is strictly on a voluntary basis.”
“I’m in,” Jenny said immediately and all eyes turned to Calum. Malcolm looked anxious; he really needed both of them if they were to pull this off undetected.
Calum pondered for a moment longer, then shrugged. “Sure - I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to go down in Five folklore.”
There was a general release of tension in the room and Harry smiled. “All right.” He turned to Malcolm. “I’ll leave you to it.”
Once they were alone, Jenny addressed Malcolm. “You honestly think it can be done?”
“Are you as good as everyone says you are?” he asked in response.
“You bet your arse I am,” she responded swiftly.
Malcolm blanched but quickly recovered. “Er, right. Then it should be a dawdle.”
He began to explain his plan in detail.

* * *
18 July 2012
London, Thames House

Malcolm had been down in the registry for an hour, his nose buried in a file. He glanced at his watch. Time to go. He got up, stretched, and began to walk through the aisles. To any observer he appeared to be simply stretching his legs. What he was in fact doing, was making a thorough check that there was no-one else in there but him and the clerk.

Upstairs on the Grid, Calum and Jenny were poised at their stations, eyes glued to the old style walkie-talkie positioned between them. Calum was drumming his fingers on the desk and Jenny glared at him in irritation.
“Will you stop that? As if Harry’s pacing isn’t bad enough,” she grumbled as her boss’ figure once again crossed her field of vision when he passed by the glass panels of his office.
Calum snorted. “Hello Pot, this is Kettle. If you chew that gum any harder you’ll break a molar.”
She opened her mouth to respond, and at that moment there was a clear ‘click’ from the walkie-talkie.
“There it is!”
Calum straightened up. “Right. Watch and learn, Jenny, watch and learn.”
He attacked his keyboard with gusto.

Minutes earlier Malcolm had wandered up to the clerk, empty mug in hand.
“I could do with a tea break,” he declared. “Can I make you one as well?”
The clerk was an old hand that knew Malcolm from way back and regarded him as a sweet helpless man where domestic matters were concerned. On the previous occasions he’d made tea for her, it had been awful. She wasn’t supposed to leave anyone in the Registry unattended, but… It was sweet, harmless Malcolm. And she could kill for a decent cup of tea.
“Why don’t I make the tea?” she offered with a smile. “I can rely on you to keep an eye on things while I’m gone, can’t I?”
“Oh, of course. It’s very kind of you,” Malcolm said bashfully and handed over his mug.
He watched her walk off, aware that timing was now of the essence. As she neared the first set of automatic doors he clicked the walkie-talkie once. The seconds ticked by and she was nearing the outer doors.

“Come on, Calum,” Jenny urged, just as everything suddenly turned dark. Only the computer screens on the Grid continued to glow, powered by the emergency power supply.
“Yes!” Calum exclaimed, unable to hide his relief. “I’ve slowed down the back-up generator; it’ll take ten minutes to come online.”
Jenny wasn’t listening; she was focussed on her screen and what she had to do.
As Harry joined them in the darkness, Calum sighed dramatically. “These localised power failures are getting out of hand,” he smirked. “The mayor really ought to do something about it.”
He was not bothered in the least that they were inconveniencing a couple of blocks of London.
“Just make sure it doesn’t unexpectedly come back on,” Harry said impatiently behind him.
“I’m in,” Jenny announced as MI5’s electronic surveillance system opened on her screen. She expertly manoeuvred to the section monitoring the Registry and set to work.

The power went off, sealing the doors and trapping the clerk in the outer office. Malcolm moved swiftly, finding his way by touch to the aisle where he’d earlier left his holdall. He fumbled inside until his fingers found the infrared nightsight goggles and pulled it over his head. Everything turned an eerie green and he rooted in the bag for the electronic device the three techies had built over the last few days. Once he had it in hand he moved down the aisle to the big safe and glanced at his watch.

Upstairs, Harry did the same. “Three minutes elapsed,” he murmured and glanced at Jenny.
She frantically typed codes into her computer and selected certain areas of the Thames House floor plan displayed on her screen. Green lights began to flash in the areas she’d chosen and she nodded at Calum. He picked up the walkie-talkie and gave Malcolm two clicks.
“Up to Malcolm and his gadget now,” Calum said over his shoulder, then added under his breath, “Let’s hope it works.”
“It’ll work,” Jenny said confidently. “The old guy is a genius.”
Behind her, Harry smiled.
“Start overlaying the fake surveillance footage, Calum,” he instructed.

Malcolm attached his device to the code panel and activated it. He took a stethoscope out of his pocket and pressed it against the locking mechanism and listened carefully. As his device ran through the numbers he could hear the tiny beeps when it ran over the correct ones. When he had them all, he detached his device, punched in the code, and held his breath.

On Jenny’s screen another light suddenly turned green.
“He’s done it!” she exclaimed and let out an exuberant whoop. By now Erin and Rory had also gathered round and they shared relieved smiles.
Calum’s computer bleeped a warning and the smiles disappeared quickly. The techie sprang into action.
“Oh no you don’t,” he mumbled as he typed furiously.
“Calum?” Erin probed, trying to keep the apprehension out of her voice.
“Nothing to worry about – just some bright spark from the power company trying to turn it back on.”

Malcolm swung the safe door shut behind him, pulled off the goggles and switched on a small flashlight. It revealed rows of boxes, neatly ordered by date, a fact for which he was extremely grateful. He hurriedly located the box he wanted and swapped the files inside with random ones he’d collected from the shelves outside. After he’d shoved the files into his bag, he made sure that everything looked neat and undisturbed before killing the torch and preparing to leave.

Harry glanced at his watch again. Their ten minutes were almost up. Once the back-up generator kicked in the clerk would be able to enter and Malcolm could be caught red-handed. Calum was furiously jiggling his leg as he replaced the actual security surveillance with the recording they’d made earlier, showing Malcolm sitting at the clerk’s desk for the whole ten minutes. When the ‘click’ from the walkie-talkie finally came, indicating that Malcolm was out and back in position, it sounded like a gunshot in the tense silence.
Jenny glanced at Calum. “Ready?”
He nodded, and she turned the surveillance systems back on. As soon as she was done he turned the power back on as well. They blinked at each other in the sudden brightness.
“Well, that was fun,” Calum declared, and relieved laughter broke out. Even Harry smiled as he went back to his office.

* * *
One hour later

Malcolm was slowly working his way through the files he had purloined, searching for the ones pertaining to Melvyn Smith.
“Bloody Nora!” he exclaimed softly as one interesting file caught his eye. Apparently it had been British Intelligence that had assassinated communist activist Henri Curiel in Paris on 4 May 1978. For a moment he was tempted to read the whole file until he remembered that it would probably be better for him to get out of there sooner rather than later. He put it aside reluctantly and moved on to the documents covering June 1978. Towards the end of the pile his eye caught Melvyn Smith’s name in a lengthy report, and he began to read it from the start. His face grew grimmer as he progressed and by the time he finished, he knew it was what they were looking for.

Twenty minutes later he walked into Harry’s office and wordlessly laid the report in front of him. Harry looked up at Malcolm and his troubled expression made him pause. He slowly drew the report to him and gave it his undivided attention. The heading stated in bold lettering:


* * *
Late that night
London, Harry’s house

He drifted aimlessly through the house, restlessly picking up random objects and placing them down again. A statue of a horse, an ornamental ashtray (he didn’t like people smoking in his house), a well-thumbed book (Shakespeare’s Hamlet). He gravitated back to his favourite armchair and sat down, all the time aware of his blood roaring through his veins, throbbing in his temples. The desire to take action - cold, calculated, vengeful action - was overwhelming and it was only the possible impact on the operation that held him back. Instead he paced the house like a caged animal and allowed the hatred to permeate every cell in his body. His eyes fell on the book again and he reached for his journal.

Dear Ruth,
‘Tis now the very witching time of night,
when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
and do such bitter business, as the day
would quake to look on.’

Hamlet knew a thing or two about the desire for revenge. Revenge: somehow such a passive word to describe something so dark. I prefer vengeance – to me it encapsulates the emotions behind the act better. Tonight it is all I can think about. Everything that is happening can be explained by it. Malcolm found a secret report that indicates that Smithy had sold Bill out to the IRA. The Service covered it up to spare itself embarrassment and quietly fired him. He told the IRA exactly who Bill was and gave our position in the pub to them on the day that Bill was snatched. It was an act of vengeance for the death of a girl he was in love with. Her name was Andrea Flannery and she died in the O’Mally’s bomb blast. So you see how it is all connected by a desire for vengeance: Davie King bombs the pub to avenge his father’s death and kills the Flannery girl in the process, so in turn Smithy betrays Bill and I to the IRA to avenge Andrea’s death. Unfortunately for him the IRA didn’t take us both – how that must have grated, as I’m sure he blamed me more than anyone else in MI5.

But Bill’s death is apparently not sufficient. His hatred seems to have grown over the years to now encompass everyone in England and even the world. How else does one explain the plan to attack the Olympic Games with the help of the girl’s brother? Not that I don’t understand the desire to avenge the death of the woman one loves, of course I do. My biggest regret is that I did not get to kill Levrov personally – if he hadn’t known who I was I could and would have. It’s the sheer scale of Smithy’s plan, the willingness to kill hundreds of innocent people in this cause that baffles me. It’s unfathomable.

Well, I will have my vengeance too. For my friend, who died the sort of death that haunts one’s dreams. My God, what agony he must have endured as they systematically disfigured him. With a blowtorch of all things, Ruth. I searched for him, and one time I reached an abandoned farmhouse just after they’d left. The stench of burnt flesh still hung in that stuffy room. It turned my stomach. The thought of it still does.

Apart from you and my children, my friendship with Bill was probably the relationship I cherished most in my life. His death was an early lesson in the need for self control and self denial if I wanted to survive as an intelligence officer. I had become quite good at it, I think. But then you came along and suddenly it wasn’t so easy anymore. Often I question if part of the reason you refused my proposal and kept me at arms length afterwards was your belief that the Service would always come first for me. I don’t blame you; I didn’t do a very good job of convincing you otherwise. It wasn’t true though. I wonder if you truly understood how deeply in love with you I was. Am. And since we started off talking about Hamlet, did you have any idea how often I looked at you and thought of these words:
‘Doubt thou the stars are fire,
doubt that the sun doth move,
doubt truth be a liar,
but never doubt I love.’

Enough of these maudlin thoughts. I have a feeling this operation is going to come to a head soon. There’s a symmetry to events then and now that makes me uncomfortable. Will the first morally questionable decision I ever made lead to my last one – my vengeance for Bill? Will there be this link between the start of my career and the end of it? Or perhaps a more permanent end for me? It would be fitting in a sense.

Whatever happens, I don’t intend to go quietly into that good night.


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27-12-2011, 09:17 AM
Post: #2
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part VI
Terrific chapter .. loved how the team came together to get Malcolm into the safe. Jenny was great. Some great banter in there. But then the bombshell with Bill and Smithy. No wonder Harry quoted Hamlet and his thoughts went to vengeance. Well written and so wonderfully paced. Thanks and looking forward to more

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27-12-2011, 02:49 PM
Post: #3
Ruth RE: Requiem for the Dead Part VI
Poor Harry - I can see him pacing around his house as clear as if it had been on the screen. Loved Malcolm, Jenny, and Calum working together as they make quite a team. Another terrific chapter in this gripping story. Thank you for sharing.

Zaf: "Shouldn't you be in prison or something?"
Ros: "This is the something."
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27-12-2011, 02:58 PM
Post: #4
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part VI
Be careful Harry. Smithy may not be after hundreds of innocents. Perhaps just the one??

Great chapter again Silktie.

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27-12-2011, 06:57 PM
Post: #5
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part VI
Yet another fantastic chapter, I feel I'm repeating myself each time, but this story is getting better and better!

From the breaking into the safe, to Harry's shock to discover what's actually going on! The way you use Harry writing to Ruth to explain not only what's going on in his head, but also advancements in the plot and by extent conversations with other characters is brilliant!

I think TeaLady could also be right though, in that Smithy might not be after hundreds.... but rather one certain individual!
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31-12-2011, 04:58 AM
Post: #6
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part VI
Wow! Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas. Rage, Harry! Rage against the dying of the light.

Sweet, harmless Malcolm, my foot! Especially when he doesn't have anything to lose. It's not like he actually works for 5 anymore. Good to see him being his brilliant self.

Jenny is very vivid and your voice for Calum is spot on.

Nice touch having Harry slip into the past tense re: how much in love he was with her. Is. Wink Seems he is starting to heal?

I think what I like most about this fic is that Harry is working through the loss of Ruth, whose death he was not able to avenge, by avenging Bill's death. They are the two most valuable colleagues/friends of his career. Very clever you!

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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