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Scorpion's Reach part five (final part)
From the Author
Before we start, I'd like to explain that this is part of a 'teaser' for the rest of the book. From this point on, if you want to know what happens, then you'll need to buy it, but be warned, the pace picks up considerably!
In the last episode Joey and Sandy realized that to find out what's really going on they needed to get a look at the car involved in the accident, and without the police knowing they'd been there!
That's when the plan was hatched to break into the Police station's compound and take a look, it's also where Joey found a device under the car that was timed to go off and destroy not only the car, but the police station as well!
What are they going to do? Well' if I know Joey and Sandy, whatever it is, you can guarantee, it's a 'white knuckle ride' all the way to the end from here on in!
Join us in the adventure.
Enjoy the story
Sandy's Dad, the 'ex cop'
Peter was waiting for them when they got back, they’d already discussed a lot on the way, and Joey wasn’t happy that Sandy didn’t want to say anything to the family, he thought they should at least tell them something..
“So” Peter started, “Been gallivanting around then?” he half joked with them, he knew they’d gone to get answers, but wasn’t sure he wanted to know them.
“Take a look for yourself Peter” Joey indicated for Sandy to pass the device over. “Simple, but effective, and take a look at the timing device”
“You’re not going to like this” Joey replied, but it was timed to go off in about an hour, “Right when the cops would be knocking off from the night shift, and day shift coming on duty, probably take out the whole impound compound with it, not to mention any cops unlucky enough to be in the back of the station in Thames”
“What the?” Peter was almost speechless, he wasn’t sure what he was seeing, “What is it?”
“Simple incendiary device” Joey cut in, “Designed to ignite and destroy evidence, the car probably still had a full fuel tank, or near enough, imagine that causing a fire and the fuel tank getting in on the act!”
Slowly it dawned on him, just what Joey was talking about, and if he was right, just how much trouble they were in, not just the ‘tampering with evidence, but the fact that whoever it was, could be brazen enough to burn a police station down, and Joey still thought a cop might be involved. He was angry, and let it show.
"So" he asked them, "What is it you're not telling us?" Peter found a chair and sat down, they were still on the front porch.
"What do you mean, not telling you?" Joey asked trying to sound casual, "we've told you all we know"
Peter actually began to laugh, not a hearty belly laugh, but a nervous I'm' worried and I don't know why laugh'. He reached out for something, anything would do. Something to take his mind off the worry. "Don’t Bullshit me" he shot back, "first we get the call there's been an accident and Helen's seriously hurt, then you folks tell us, rather tell me that the police aren't doing things right" he went on. "Then you tell me you're the people responsible to ship the car back to England, now I hear you’ve been under the damn thing pulling bits off. AND THAT’S WHILE IT’S STILL IN THE POLICE COMPOUND!!" He turned and looked directly at Sandy. "So, what aren't you telling us?"
"Dad" Sandy began."I'm not sure you've worked out what I do." She began
"Even I know the 'insurance' bit is a ruse" he cut her off. "Who is it M.I.5?"
"Mr Little" it was Joey took it up. "We can't actually say suffice it to say we're the good guys" he went on.
"Yes" he twirled the stick he’d found, it was only small, about a quarter inch think and four inches long, "but we’re the good guys”
“And I’m the pope!” Peter shot back clearly angry, “You’re telling me half with a big But with a capital ‘B’, now what’s that ‘But’?”
"It's not easy to say, Mr Little" Joey replied. “You’re probably not going to”
"Please Joey," he turned to face him. "It's Peter or Pete okay" the 'formality’ was nice at first, but it was beginning to wear thin.
"And this was no accident err Pete" Joey continued. "And before you ask" he threw the cylinders to him, "here, take a look"
The first in the series
The British Consulate
The British consulate is right in the centre of the city, it took them just over an hour to get there. Finding parking wasn't a problem as the consulate has its own secure facility, but persuading the parking staff to let these two strangers in was another story. The parking entrance had two booths for entry, one was key card entry, but the other was for visiting embassy staff and controlled by remote. Cameras were watching both entrances.
"Miss Little and Mr Metcalfe here for a conference call" Sandy spoke through the intercom as soon as they'd pulled up.
"One moment please" a disembodied voice came back, "no, there's no one at the consulate by those names" the reply came back.
"No." Sandy came back, "that's because we're in the car, but we're expected for a video conference call with London, she paused so they could check any paperwork, “check your logs!"
"One moment please" the disembodied voice spoke again. "No, we have no information on a video call happening today."
"Please check that with the consul general" Sandy replied, "She was notified three hours ago. This is urgent!" She added for emphasis.
"Please wait a moment." This time they were kept waiting.
"What are the odds someone forgot to tell the security staff?" Joey asked half joking.
"Bloody good" Sandy replied with a hint of frustration, she was one who liked to be organized and hated it when things weren't as well run as she liked. Joey'd learned the hard way that sometimes the Army isn't as well organized as people thought, especially with some officers that as Spike Milligan the comedian once put it "Shouldn't be trusted with a water pistol!"
It took a full ten minutes before the voice came back, “Sorry for the delay, consular staff will be with you presently," the barrier arm lifted and they proceeded in.
They parked the car as a sheepish looking staff member came out of a side door, he went straight to the front of the car. "What's the odds he's the one forgot to pass the message?" Sandy asked Joey just before she opened her door..
"Dead certain" Joey replied smiling as the young man approached, he was probably late twenties; slightly overweight, but not by much, one of those who thought he was fit. He extended his hand to Sandy "Paul Smith," he greeted them both but his eyes were fixed on Sandy, clearly thinking he'd make a good impression.
Joey wondered if the guy actually knew what he was doing! 'This should be good' he thought to himself. It took him a moment to remember that while the guy clearly 'had the hots' for Sandy he'd followed protocol as she officially worked for the government where he was a 'consultant'. He smiled to himself.
Sandy wasn't so impressed. "Just point us to the secure conference room, get us coffee and some breakfast" she didn't even add a "please".
'Paul Smith's face was as red as a beetroot, obviously not expecting to be 'blown off' and put so thoroughly in his place, a part of Joey had really enjoyed seeing the way Sandy had done it.
He led them without another word to the elevators; they went straight to the fourth floor of the building. "The conference room's in the third," he explained, "but the elevators only stop at the fourth, security reasons" he carried on explaining.
"We get the picture" Joey cut him off, "just show us the way, and don't forget the food." He sounded just like an NCO barking out an order, which is just the effect he wanted. The elevator doors were fully open now, they stepped out into a light coloured reception area complete with bespectacled receptionist busy typing away at her keyboard, phones going off in the distance, and full length portrait of the Queen sitting regally on her throne, draped in the full regalia of monarchy, there just in case you forgot this was the British Consulate.
"Just at the end of the corridor there's a door leading to a flight of steps" Paul Smith spoke up, "the conference room, is at the bottom on the left" he pointed off to the right where the corridor was, "I'll have someone bring breakfast down for you" he made to leave but was stopped by Joey's voice.
"You'll need to bring it" Joey wasn't 'barking' the order' anymore, they’d begun to 'soften up' a bit as the staffer had probably had enough punishment for one day, so he spoke a little more softly, "The less people who see us here the better!" He didn't explain.
"Oh" that took the consulate staffer back a bit, "Who exactly are you calling?"
"Actually" it was Sandy replied. "We’re not doing the calling, he's calling us, and you better not ask, then we won't have to lie!"
'Back to bite us in the arse, and BIG time!'
Every Embassy, and some consulates have these rooms, usually not on any of the ‘official’ plans for the building, but hidden as an extra large ‘broom closet’ of something like that, some strange soundproofing and interesting electronic devices built in, this room had all that, along with plain carpet and a huge hardwood (Sandy thought it looked like Rimu) table with two large leather office chairs. There was a laptop on the conference table connected to the large screens, Sandy booted the laptop up and opened Skype. Then taking a flash drive out of her bag she installed a few things they were going to need.
“Feels more like an episode of ‘Star Trek’ than a bloody room in an Embassy” Joey commented as they ‘booted the system up’. “Just waiting for Captain Kirk to show up!”
“That’s not a nice way to talk about our new friend” Sandy was laughing a little as she replied.
“What him?” Joey shot back, “He’s a green blooded Alien, and I don’t mean Mr Spock! Spock’s too intelligent!”
As soon as the system was ‘up and running’ Sandy typed in a series of commands, then they waited. A few moments later the screen came alive with a picture of a conference room with two men sat at the conference table, just as the picture came on there was a tap on their door, Joey got up and went to it, a few seconds later he was back with a big pot of coffee, a plate of Croissants, butter and Jam.
“I can see you’ve got your priorities right then!” one of the men on the screen spoke, it was Sir Michael.
“Sorry” it was Sandy spoke up, “We’ve been on the go since four am this morning, this is the first chance for a ‘refuel’ we’ve had” she took a croissant, cut it in half, she wasn’t going to tell him about the little stop at the Bombays, that had been more of a ‘get things straight’ type of stop anyway, they could see the heat rising off the pastry, the aroma was wonderful, she spread a ‘noggin’ of butter on one half, then taking the Jam (it was Strawberry, her favourite) she put a big dollop onto the other half then put the two together. Coffee and croissants, it was heaven, but they were here for a reason. “We were kind of expecting them to bring this after the conference call sir.” She lied.
“You called for a conference Sir Michael; we’ve got quite a bit to report” Joey jumped in to carry on. “Here we are” he was pouring the coffee.
Sir Michael smiled a little, “So have we, I’ve called on Steve for some forensic accounting help looking into the car driver’s accounts.
“Good to see you two again” the ‘Steve’ was Steve Chambers, the guy they’d gone into Iran to rescue in the first mission. “Though you ARE supposed to be on holiday you know!” he wisecracked a little, he knew them both pretty well and knew they had the sense of humour that would appreciate it, “I guess someone forgot to tell you”
“Well, it was great, while it lasted.” Joey replied. “That is until the accident!” he carried on, “anyway, we’ve got a few things that might throw some light on things.”
“First of all” Sandy interrupted, “The car is going through it’s serious crash inspection as we speak” she saw Sir Michael begin to interrupt, she cut him off with a holding up of the hand, “They’re not going to find anything, other than a few smudges in the brake pipes, we got there first, then it’s on its way back to England, it should be leaving the country within a few days, all the paperwork has been filed.”
“What did you find then?” Sir Michael wasn’t known for ‘beating about the bush’.
“Take a look for yourself” Joey replied as he lifted the device onto the table, he plonked it right in front of the camera, “Can you see it clearly?”
“Looks like a Bomb of some sort?” it was more a question than anything, and it was Chambers asked the question.
“Yes, and no” Joey replied. “The first part wasn’t, that was this cylinder” he pointed to the one of the left, “filled with acid of some kind, probably Sulphuric, activated by a timer like so” he gave a demonstration. "This bit here," Joey pointed to a small valve on the end of the first cylinder, "is the control mechanism, open it and the acid pours out.”
“How long would it take to work?" Chambers asked the question.
"It was right above the brake master cylinder," Joey carried on. "Probably no more than a couple of minutes before the first holes, about ten minutes and you've got catastrophic failure!"
That explains the brakes." Sir Michael spoke up, but wasn't the car accelerating?"
"Yep, she was" Joey replied, he reached down and pulled what looked like a rectangular rubber tile out of the bag, "hope the McLaren boys and girls don't mind we kept this back" he placed it on the table, "it's the accelerator pedal, SUPERGLUED TO THE CARPET!!" She waited a moment for the statement to sink in. "Crude but works every time!"
“ I don’t want to know how you know that!” Sir Michael shot back, “Back to the original question, “How’d you get your hands on this, if it was supposed to be in the police compound?”
“Oh it is in the compound boss” Joey replied, “ and the cops still have one, that wasn’t part of the killer's plan, take a look here” he pointed to the second cylinder, “Filled with white phosphorus, that was timed to rupture a couple of hours ago, while the car was in the compound.”
“And don’t tell me” Sir Michael cut in, “above the brake cylinder, brake fluid is chiefly alcohol based which ignites, that starts to burn, which in turn reaches the fuel tank right?”
“And you have a very crude, but effective bomb levelling most of the station” Joey finished off. “Not to mention how many cops hurt in the blast, last thing they’ll be thinking about is what caused it! Least not for weeks.”
"The killer knew Cavell wouldn't be able to 'floor it's until he got to Thames, then he wouldn't be able to resist" Sandy broke in. "Thus he knew roughly where it was going to happen" she took another croissant, cut the pastry and spread a thin layer of butter then Jam on it and took another bite, she went on. “It was planned down to the last detail”
“So” Chambers spoke again, “We’re all pretty convinced that you weren’t the target, that sort of fits with what we’ve found out at this end.” He brought the meeting ‘back to the point’
"Hold on" Sandy spoke up, she tapped a few keys on the laptop, "I've just sent you an enlarged picture of what he's talking about." She nodded slightly in Joey's direction.
Joey continued running through the details of the device, but that didn’t answer the big questions. It was Sir Michael asked the obvious, he hadn’t spoken much to Chambers beforehand.
“But it doesn’t tell us why though?”
"I think I can help a bit with that," Steve spoke up, he pulled out a small keyboard from the desk he sat at, Joey and Sandy's second screen came alive, one half showing the two men, the other showing an 'employee identity badge from Barclays Bank. "Meet junior exec James Cavell" he went on. "Remember about three years ago Barclays got stung for a billion pounds in fines for screwing the mortgage rates?"
"I remember that" all three said it almost at the same time, it was Sir Michael continued. "Old Bob Diamond resigned over it, if I remember correctly"
"Yes sir he did," Chambers glanced over at Sir Michael, "we gave him an ultimatum 'resign' or face jail time!" He let that sink in, "anyway it wasn't the only shady dealings going on, we couldn't prove things, but there was a strong link with some unsavoury characters at the time and one name kept cropping up!"
“Don’t tell me he was involved there” Sir Michael didn’t like this, he was the one had pushed for letting Diamond walk away with just a resignation.
“Unfortunately that’s exactly what I was going to tell you sir” Chambers continued, he half turned to Sir Michael and carried on, “at the time there wasn’t enough evidence to bring it to anyone’s attention, let alone try and prosecute, just little rumours and suggestions at the time, mostly linking to the Yakuza and the Triads, but nothing concrete!”
“You folks really know how to ‘mix things up don’t you?” Joey almost forgot where he was and whom he was talking to, “I mean probably the two worst criminal elements there are, and you happen to ‘forget’ that he was in league with them! Jesus, what else?”
“As I said” Chambers shot back, “There was no evidence, and when he moved on a few months later they seemed to disappear, so we didn’t follow up!”
“And now it’s come back to bite us” Joey couldn’t resist the comment. “In the arse and big time!”
Bye for now.
Yep, that's right! Drugs, Murder and all the other kinds of stuff the Yazuka and Triads (Japanese and Chinese Mafia) would be dealing with, and they're right in the middle of the whole mess!
And don't forget, the rest of the team haven't shown up yet! (got to keep some things back)
Now for some good news, I got an email this morning, from a foundation in New Zealand, and they want me to enter the book for next years 'Ngaio Marsh New Zealand Crime writers award'!!
I was stunned, but apparently they like the book, and I'm making the most of it.
The book is on Amazon, so enjoy reading and don't forget to let me know what you think.