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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Tragedy Turned Around

This is the scene - the head of the security division responsible for UK mainland anti-terrorist protection, has resigned his commission because the woman he loved, from a distance, a co-worker and vital member of the team, died in his arms after getting in the way of his attacker. What follows is the final scenario in this tale.
The names used are characters created by the author BOB CURBY and there is a guest name, a service cab driver code named MI5Spycab, the name is used with his permission.
I invite you to join me at ANDERSON'S RETREAT:

Anderson's Retreat
07:00 McCardle Bray: Loch Coogan
Parry Anderson banged his hand down on the jangling alarm. It was seven days since Melissa had died, right there in his arms and he hadn't slept properly since. The alarm was superfluous and annoying, but he left it on just the same. Somehow, his resignation from S-5 provided nothing more than extra time to dwell upon those last moments together.

Every night he closed his eyes all he could see was Ryker Dobjek, his eyes aflame and shouting Parry’s name before Melissa tried to calm him and took the knife into her chest as he thrust it at Parry. Parry’s night was full of turmoil, he would awaken, yelling her name, sweat pouring from every part of his body.

"Melissa, oh Melly, why did you get in the way, it should have been me! Not you, not you!" he would cry out, before sobbing into the pillow.
Parry's enemies would love to see the once tough decision maker sobbing this way, but luckily only Charlie, his faithful Labrador witnessed his anguish. This morning he rolled over as usual and sat up, his eyes showing the signs of yet another sleepless night. Somehow he had a feeling that there was something different about this day. Charlie was sitting on the carpet beside his bed as usual and looking at him with those sad brown eyes. He reached out and fondled the ears of the only warm creature left in his life.

"Okay Charlie, I'm up, let me take a shower and then I'll take you out for a nice long walk, we can get some breakfast when we get back, come on, good boy."

Parry went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. He shuddered as the first burst of cold water hit his body and shook his head to rid himself of the wooziness of being tired. He dressed quickly and headed for the door, Charlie joined him as he flicked the lead off the hook by the door. "Come on Charlie."
As he closed the door, the phone began to ring, but he didn't hear it.

Back at Acorn House, Colin looked across at Elizabeth  who had once again taken up the reigns of section head. "Either we're too late and Parry's gone out, or he's in a whiskey induced drunken stupor. I don't think it was a good idea to let him go off into the remote highlands all by himself."
Elizabeth Booth, sighed as she thought of Parry, alone in his retreat, "The choice was not ours, we are lucky he gave us a number." She looked down at the sheet of paper in her hand, it was Parry's resignation letter to the Home Secretary Edgar Murray. At the bottom was a rubber stamp impression;  it was in red and clear, one word, "DENIED".

"We have to let Parry know he still works for us. This letter was rejected because he is the only one who can run this section, and that's tough for me to say."

Colin replaced the receiver and nodded to Danbury, "One of us will have to go."
Danbury smiled, "I've been needing some fresh air, a trip to Scotland would be just the job."

"If anyone's going, it'll be me, I owe him that much." Liz shook her head as she replaced the letter in the brown transfer jacket and handed it to Danbury. "You're in charge, I'm going now."

"Can I help?" The voice from the doorway took them by surprise, it was Tim Kerr. Liz looked at him for several seconds before she spoke. "If Danbury thinks you are going to be useful here, then you are welcome to stay. Oh, and well done in tying up the loose ends after Melissa's death. We would never have convicted Tomascieski of the plot to cause a rift between us and the new Russian initiative. He'll never bother anyone again."
"It was ordered by Mostyn when SIS became aware of the intel, I felt I owed Mel that much. Now I'm here to help."

"Your help is ways appreciated Tim, Colin, update him on the current situation, I must go."
Elizabeth turned and headed for the exit door as Colin and Danbury began to fill Tim in on the happenings of the previous few days. She dialled a number and placed the mobile phone to her ear as she headed for the lift. "Hello, MI5Spycab? Meet me out front in ten minutes, I will need to go to Kings Cross."

The department's specialist taxi was on its way and drew up as Liz left Acorn House.
"Kings Cross you said ma'am, have you a train time? The traffic's pretty bad. I could hack the Met's traffic light control to get us through quicker."
"I need the next available northbound train out of London, and if you think that will help, do it."
"I'm on it. I should say that one of your senior officers in S5, Archie Mellor, has an operative, codename Zarkov, who flies a Lynx helicopter, he could collect you from St Pancras and have you in Scotland by lunch time."
"Get him then, or better still, give me the number."
"Mellor is only contactable via Haversham, and I don't have a number for Zarkov. I can ping him though, I have already done that."
"Thank you, let me know as soon as he responds."

The taxi weaved its way through the rush hour traffic, the traffic lights almost miraculously changing to green as they approached them. MI5Spycab smiled to himself, he enjoyed his work, and the extra bonus of taxi fares.
He heard a ping and saw Zarkov's message, "On my way, ETA St Pancras heliport 17 minutes."

He looked in the mirror at Elizabeth, thought to himself, "How can such a gorgeous chick be in charge of S-5?"
As if reading his very thoughts Liz said, "You're wondering how a woman could be in charge of the section, well, I am. Any reply from Mellor's man?"
MI5Spycab hid his embarrassment and replied, "He'll be on the helipad about the time we get there, it's very fast."

She didn't speak again until she opened the door at St Pancras, "Thank you, for everything."
"You're welcome ma'am." He drove away to hack into the network of dissidents once again.

Liz followed the signs with a large H and a circle with a horizontal line above it, representing a helicopter. After a few minutes of climbing stairs and walking along passageways, she emerged onto the roof of the station. Ahead of her was a red and white Westland Lynx helicopter, its rotors at idle speed. She ducked as she approached it, though she'd need to be eight feet tall to be hit by a rotor blade. She opened the door to see a man whose face she was sure she'd seen before. "Zarkov?" she asked as she pulled herself into the jet helicopter.

"Yes ma'am, are you Charlie one?"
"Correct, do you know our destination?"
"Yes ma'am and our flight plan is cleared, we take off immediately, please fasten your seat belt."
"Why do they call you Zarkov?"
"Ma'am, do you have a valid reason for asking or just curious?"
Liz looked sideways at the pilot, he would be late fifties, early sixties even, old enough to be active during the cold war. "Just curious, you aren't Russian are you?"

He never turned his head as he lifted off the Lynx and turned north eastwards. "Ms er Booth..." he began.
"You may call me Elizabeth, it's okay." She smiled, with that touch of a sparkle in her eyes, but he still wasn't looking. He took another breath and continued, "Miss Booth, I retired from the service when 'The Wall' came down. I speak fluent Russian and I used that name whenever on an operation. It has remained with me. There's nothing sinister." He twisted the throttle and the surge of power pushed them them back into their seats.

Liz felt a tingle of excitement, it was the fastest she she'd been in anything other than an airliner.
"Ooh, that's some acceleration, how fast is it?" She peered out of the window as the ground fell away and the buildings rushed by.
"Accelerates at the same speed as a jet airliner and tops just under 300 knots, a little over 300 mph. She cruises at ten thousand feet and will get you to the Highlands in around two hours. Less if there's a southerly wind."
"That's good Mr er Zarkov, thank you."

He was true to his word, in just under two hours they could see Loch Coogan and the small white house called McCardle Bay, Anderson's retreat.
"Do you want me to set down right by the house? I mean, does he know you're coming?"
"He doesn't know, and I'm trusting that he won't react out of character, so, set down on the gravel driveway."
"As you wish, Elizabeth."

She looked at him sideways again, but he still looked straight ahead.
"Thank you."
The Lynx crunched to a standstill and Zarkov set the rotors to idle and cut the main jets to almost zero.
Liz jumped out and ducked as she headed towards Parry's door.

Inside, Parry had watched the helicopter approach and set down. He'd seen Zarkov before. He knew that someone from S-5 would be the passenger.
Liz reached the door and tapped on it. Parry poured some whiskey into a glass and sat by the fire, facing the door; he ignored the tapping.
Liz peered through a window. Parry saluted her with his glass. She returned to the door. After tapping again she turned the handle and opened the door.
"Hello Parry."
"Hello Elizabeth, this is a pleasant surprise. Just passing were you?"
"Parry, you're needed back in the network."
"I resigned my commission remember. I don't work for the service anymore."
Liz stood in the flickering firelight, her head on one side. "Parry, you never resigned, we never heard a word. There is nothing on your file."
"You know I handed that letter to Murray myself, so go on what happened to it? I'm sure you're going to tell me?"
"Yes Parry, your letter is in my file, stamped 'DENIED', he did not accept it."
"Okay, so, what is so impossible that you can't manage without me?"

Liz stood up and gestured towards the door, "Can we talk in the chopper, time is not our friend right now."
Parry took the final gulp of his whiskey, grabbed a jacket and was tying his tie as they sprinted to the helicopter.
"Good afternoon Zarkov."
"Good afternoon Sir Parry, it's a pleasure to see you again."
They buckled up and Parry gave one last look at his house. "Just get us to London."
"We're on our way sir. What about your dog sir?"
"He doesn't fly too well. My housekeeper will look after him."

MI5Spycab was waiting as they touched down on the roof of St Pancras station just after 1:30.
"Back to Acorn House please, quick as you can."
"Certainly ma'am, good afternoon Sir Parry, welcome back."
"I'm not back, but thank you anyway."
Parry watched the buildings slip by, familiar scenes he thought he'd seen the last of, and grimaced. "So, Liz, what's that there in front of the office?"
"What, the black four wheel drive?"
"That's your driver, Peter."
"Why is he there when MI5Spycab was sent to collect us? Or rather, why was MI5Spycab sent when my driver's here?"
"He's waiting because you are going to need him, now. We have recent and code red intel; you will want to deal with it yourself. As soon as the team have brought you up to speed, you'll need to go."

They swiped into the building and took the lift up to the Network ring. As she swiped to open the security door, Liz smiled at Parry. He noticed the twinkle and gave a half smile back, in that sophisticated way everybody loved.
Colin and Danbury stood up as Parry entered. "Welcome back Sir Parry." Colin called, followed by Danbury's "Good to see you," and Tim's thumbs up sign. 
Parry just nodded in acknowledgement. He looked at Danbury, "So, what's going down?"
Danbury handed Parry a folder with some photographs, "Do you know Ernest McIntyre?"
"McIntyre, the industrialist? Yes." He ran his eyes over the pictures.
"He's called a meeting at four o'clock with ministers and security representatives. Intel shows that there is a major risk to national security and as yet we haven't determined what. Elizabeth felt that we, the team should get on to it without hesitation and that you would want to go to Saddlers House, McIntyre's home, as the head of the Section. Tim Kerr is back here to help with the strategy when it comes down to it."

Parry looked at the pictures again. "Who's this?"
"Armand Bergoff."
"Bergoff?! The Bader Meinhof butcher? I thought he was executed."
Colin pointed to his screen, "CCTV footage from Heathrow Terminal 3, here's Bergoff getting his baggage after flying in from Munich. Look, we zoom in, that's where that picture came from. He's here okay and right now MI5Spycab is following his cab."

Parry closed the file. "Stay on it, Elizabeth, I suggest you get Commander John Wilmott from Special Branch and Archie Mellor, they both have come up against Bergoff before. You'll find their numbers in my carousel. Right, I'd better get out to Saddlers House. Keep me posted."
Liz nodded, "We will Parry, Peter's been briefed, he'll get you there before four o'clock."

As the turbo charged Range Rover made its way across to the A2, Parry read all the information in the file and looked again at the pictures of Bergoff. Something wasn't right. He just couldn't put his finger on it.
He reached into his pocket, withdrew his mobile phone and punched in a number. After a few seconds he spoke, "Colin, get onto Heathrow, talk to a man called Palliser in scheduling. Ask him for the full manifest on Bergoff, I want to know where he was before Munich, did he fly in to Munich or over-land?"

The Range Rover slowed up and then turned off the road. It stopped in front of a pair of gates. Peter leaned out and pressed a button. There was a crackle and almost indiscernible speech and he responded, "Sir Parry Anderson."
The gates swung open and the Range Rover tossed up a small cloud of gravel dust as Peter headed up the long drive. A minute or so later it stopped in front of the door. Parry got out and looked at his watch, it was three forty five, Peter had made good time. He rang the doorbell and turned around to survey the rolling lawn and shrubs. He heard the sound of a jet helicopter, but couldn't see anything. For the briefest moment he though he saw Zarkov's Lynx. Behind him the door opened. He turned back to see a charming young woman with a big smile. Her lips parted, "Sir Parry, welcome, come in, come in."

"Where is everyone?"
"Oh, it's early yet, they'll be here I'm sure."
Parry followed her in and into the room she ushered him towards. "Please have a seat Sir Parry, I'll advise Mr McIntyre you are here."
"Thank you, miss, er..."
"Mrs Thomas, Angela, you're welcome."
Parry sniffed, the scent was familiar, "Er, Mrs Thomas, what's that perfume you're wearing?"
"Golden Angel, why?"
"Oh, nothing, it's just that someone I knew once used to wear it."

The door closed and Parry was left to his thoughts. He stood by the window and thought about how much Melissa would have enjoyed being there. His thoughts were interrupted by the jangling of his mobile phone. "Parry."
It was Colin. "Sir, Bergoff flew from Stockholm to Munich, he had been seen with Orlof Edeljik on more than one occasion."
The door opened behind him and a maid came in with a tray. He looked at her briefly as he continued, "Then it's definitely a bomb, where is he now?"
"He's on the underground, the Jubilee Line, going south, he's not carrying anything."
"Okay, stay with him, let me know if anything develops."
"Yes sir."

Parry was aware that the maid was fussing over the tray with her back to him. He realised that the perfume smell was even stronger. "You don't wear Golden Angel as well do you?"
The maid turned slowly round as she replied, "Yes Parry, I always do."
He gasped. "Melissa? MELLY!" In a second she was in his arms, their lips met and he held her tight. "But,  on the cliff? You died in my arms!"
"That's what everyone was supposed to think, but the department thought this was the best way for both of us."
"But Dobjek stabbed you with that bread knife, I saw him, saw the wound!"
"We fooled you, yes, the illusion was perfect. Ryker made sure you saw the knife, but he actually injected me with Sodium Di-Methyl Acetate in solution, for twenty minutes it simulates death. The wound was in a canvas bag of pig's blood across my chest, looked pretty good I think."

Parry kissed her forehead, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Darling if you believed it, the world would believe it, and they did."
Parry was puzzled, "What about McIntyre and this security issue? What about Bergoff.... Hang on!"
Parry looked at the picture again, "I knew something was odd! This was taken when Bergoff came here the last time, they're old pictures!"
"Yes Parry."
"Is S-5 in on this?"
"Yes Parry!"
"But Elizabeth says my resignation was not accepted, it's back in her file, stamped 'DENIED' so how can this work?"
"This letter you mean?" Melissa held out the resignation letter, "It's not the real one, that's in the Home Secretary's file, and approved. You are free, and you're mine!"
"I do love you Melly."
"I love you so much Parry."

Parry's mobile phone rang again. He looked down at the screen, it displayed 'HS'. He dropped it into a flower pot and they left the room together.
Parry and Melissa now live with Charlie in a small cottage on the Sussex downs, with a climbing rose around the door and pastel wallpaper. They have a turtle in the garden pond.

(Written as tribute to [spooks] - with a change of names you could very easily imagine it as an alternate ending to the final episode of the final series)

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