Atlantic Bridge – 17 –
American High Command 10pm, EST
“Do you know if they made it?” asked Alberstein of General Lacey.
“I’m afraid its radio silence until we know the outcome of the mission, General” answered Sir George. “I’m sure you understand that the need for secrecy is paramount.”
“Hmph, I don’t hold with all this pussyfootin’ around, Sir George”
“General, we didn’t want to alert the Alkies that we knew that they knew of the location of the Resistance H.Q.” explained Sir George patiently.
“Jesus! It’s like a goddamned John Le Carre novel” shouted Alberstein down the phone. Sir George held the receiver a little further away from his ear. “Believe me Thomas, I know how you Americans are keen on going in gung-ho and shooting up Dodge, but I really feel this has to be handled with kid gloves for the time being. There’ll be plenty of time to shoot everybody later,” he added drily.
Alberstein had a grudging admiration for his British counterpart, but he struggled to keep his natural instincts in check. He’d been harangued in the Senate and the Press for being a warmonger, but he stood by his principles. If it hadn’t been for all those goddamned laissez-faire wolly-assed liberals giving ground over the last few decades, they wouldn’t have to contend with this terrorist shit-storm now. The whole of the Middle East would be a freakin’ ashtray, and everyone could get on a plane or work in a tall building in peace. Nevertheless, the professional soldier in him saw the wisdom in what Sir George was saying.
“George? Do me a favour. Just call me when the team reports mission complete, will ya? And let’s hope to God its good news.”
“Good news for whose God?” answered Sir George, before adding, “Goodnight Thomas, I’ll be in touch.”
Henri got up and strode across the vast hall, clasping Ben firmly by the hand. “Quelle Surprise!” he beamed at Lieutenant Tobias and his men, before his expression darkened. “Your message said ten men…”
Ben Tobias told of the loss of the two men, one dead, one missing.
“I am truly sorry, Monsieur, rest assured that they will be remembered, as your countrymen were before them, in the two great wars. I’m sure you know, since the occupation, the War Graves Commission no longer have access to the Cemeteries of your dead, but the French people continue tend them lovingly, and fiercely protect their memory. It is a matter of honour.”
Ben nodded. “Merci, Henri. Now, let us get to work. I’m sure you have an inkling that your Malachi may have revealed your location to the enemy, just as I’m equally sure that you have a contingency plan. You know this area, I think it best if my men augment and support your own preferred defensive positions. I believe we will still have the element of surprise. With the exception of two men, whom I’d like to station outside the monastery as advance look-outs, my men are at your disposal.”
“Bon,“ said Henri “but first, we eat!”
Polyflex Industries Biomolecular Culture Shed Number 1
The dark shape left the sanctuary of the shadows and ran in a low crouch across the compound. Just beyond the huge steel entrance gate, a pool of light from the security flood illuminated the beginnings of a river of blood, spilling from the fatal head wound of the gate guard, lying prone in the darkness. The running man never looked back. Reaching the airlock door of the culture shed, he inserted a magnetic card attached to a decoder. A small red glowing panel on the decoder showed the microcomputer processing thousands of combinations, until, abruptly, the display turned to green and the airlock opened with a whoosh. The man slipped inside, closing the outer door and adjusting the pressure correctly so as not to trip the alarms. He replaced his silenced H & K, still warm, in the holster in the small of his back, and took out half a dozen packs of what looked like kiddies plasticine from a small holdall.
Each had a small digital timer attached, and a peel-off base. The man stared down the length of the vast, two kilometre shed. A narrow walkway stretched out ahead of him, and to his right, the giant roadway section, incomplete, raised up on an enormous endless metal workbench and under strange lighting, growing silently.
The man discarded the holdall, peeled the backing from the base of the packs, and hooked them onto his belt. He began jogging along the walkway, every three hundred metres or so, in a fluid motion he would whip a pack from his belt, set the timer and expertly stick it beneath the workbench. He reached the end of the culture shed, a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead, but breathing steadily, surveying his handiwork. He smiled thinly, and set off at a sprint back to the airlock. He was about twenty metres from the door when the alarms sounded all over the compound. Someone had found the body. He willed himself to run faster. He heard the airlock double click as he slammed into the door. Retrieving the card and decoder, he re-entered the access code. The light remained a continuous, mocking red. The man let out a long slow breath. He removed his black lightweight leather jacket, and folded it purposefully, neatly, placing it on the walkway. He sat, cross legged, bowed his head and closed his eyes.
“Allah’s will” he said, as the first of the timers counted down the final seconds…
© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved(Atlantic Bridge 18)