Atlantic Bridge – 6 –
Operational Headquarters, British Army Intelligence, Cheltenham
General Sir George Lacey was a worried man. This was no great surprise. He was always worried. He was paid to worry. But today, he was worried with good reason. He’d just received first-class intel out of France that Al Qaeda’s Holy War Martyr Brigade were planning a vicious sweep of the south, all the way down to the Pyrenees, in an attempt to flush out and execute the principals in the Lumière de Liberté. Whatever lame dog of an uneasy truce had been limping along thus far, it had now shuddered to an ungainly halt. The UK and US had pledged to support L de L, but did so covertly. Was it possible, Sir George wondered, to help them now without showing their hand? He leaned forward in the antique leather chair and studiously clipped the giant Cuban cigar, a gift from Bert Dwyer. How did it come to this? He thought, the King’s own Army in bed with Civil Engineers and architects? “Still, damned fine cigar” he said, to the oak panelled walls, as he teased a flame over the end and blew a satisfied smoke ring upwards to the ornate ceiling. He punched a button on the huge desk. “Miss Haskill? Get me Lieutenant Commander Ben Tobias and Covert Operations Co-ordinator Mark Simmons on conference, YESTERDAY!” he boomed .
PLAZA 24, Atlantic Ocean
Annie was staring out at a wall of rock through the dark Atlantic waters. Her searchlights cut through the gloom, revealing the newborn geology that had so catastrophically and suddenly thrust its way up from the ocean floor. No, through the Ocean floor, corrected Annie, mentally.
“Shall we try the next fifty feet?” enquired her co-pilot in the tiny craft, Deepak Syal, an Indian seismologist who’d joined the team two months ago. Annie liked Deepak, he was eager to learn, and always volunteered for the “messy” jobs. There were too many that coasted, doing the minimum required to get the job done. In Deepak, Annie sensed a shared passion in doing it as well as they possibly could.
“Okay D.P” she said, using his Plaza nickname. Everyone who came to work on Plaza ended up with a nickname. Annie only avoided hers being in common usage as a result of her seniority, but she had little doubt it was used behind her back. Oakley. A double whammy. They’d started with it because of her fondness for the designer shades, and the fact that it turned her into Annie Oakley, as in Annie get your gun. But what really had them doubled over in schoolboy mirth was when they somehow found out that she’d won a Olympic Gold Medal for pistol shooting whilst in college. Oh boy. She allowed herself a wry smile as she remembered how relieved she’d been not to have disclosed her full given name; Anastasia….
D.P. was saying something, she’d missed it in her reverie.
“I said, everything seems stable, shall we prepare to launch the drill probe?”
“Yes, fine, set laser to twenty feet horizontal cut, then fire the probe. The onboard battery will have enough juice to rotate the titanium bit the last five feet.” Annie replied.
“Roger that, Miss Shaw” confirmed D.P. “I’ll set remote recall for five minutes, it should be enough time to collect the sample. Shall we analyse it here or take it topside?”
“No, I want to be thorough, the onboard lab is too limited, we’ll call it a day down here when the sample tube’s re-docked, and take it up”
“Laser cutting commence, firing drill probe in 10….9….”intoned Deepak.
Five minutes later Annie switched on the homing device which activated the cylindrical sample tube. It sped out of the narrow laser cut hole carrying the excised rock and docked beneath the sub in its socket with a soft thunk.
Cassel Residence, Canterbury, Evening of Oct 7th 2062
Dead on 7 pm, the phone rang. “Cassel” Marius answered. He listened to the reply, then said “Go to secure in 3…..2……1…okay Daniel, go ahead, enlighten me!”
“Well, Marius, the thing is, we got round the problem by manipulating the lacquer at molecular level. We’ve tested it a dozen times and it’s coming up trumps every time! The lacquer molecules coat the Polyflex molecule by molecule so the lacquer moves when the Polyflex does, it’s inextricably bonded, and performs beautifully. The salt water has no effect on the treated Polyflex whatsoever, it maintains its integrity. I think it’s safe to say, we’ve cracked it old boy!”
Marius could practically hear Daniel Rawlings beaming over the phone.
“Incredible work Gentlemen, really. It looks like we’re back in business!” he congratulated them. He felt buoyed by the news, and told Daniel so.
“Listen Marius, we may be a collection of odd bedfellows, “ Daniel replied, “but we’re united in seeing this thing through. Just because some of us sit in our ivory towers from time to time, it doesn’t mean we don’t see what’s happening to the world. If this project helps protect what’s left of reason, and the chance to perhaps reclaim some sanity for the world, then we can all be sure we’re doing the right thing. Good night to you from the land of the free!” With that he was gone, and Marius felt a surge of pride at having the chance to work with this disparate group of British and Americans. They did indeed have a different outlook on the world, but they all shared a common goal, they all wanted to save it from the religious madness that was poisoning its soul. Marius replaced the receiver and wandered into his study. He unlocked the long slim drawer beneath his enormous desk and pulled out the blueprints of his dream…..
© Kev Moore 2008 all rights reserved