Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Haiti – biting the hand that feeds – a Kev rant, no apologies

Right, I’ve had enough. Every man and his dog now standing on their head, painting themselves green re-recording “We are the World” (did we really need another version of that??) – all in aid of raising money and awareness for the plight of the people of Haiti.

And what do their government do???  Look, I am no fan of God-botherers or misguided do-gooders, but surely, it is clear that these people currently incarcerated by the morally bankrupt ingrates masquerading as the Haitian government on kidnapping charges are guilty of nothing more than religious fervour-driven foolishness. Remember, all the REAL CRIMINALS in Haiti got out of jail free when the EARTHQUAKE HIT, AND ARE CURRENTLY RAPING, LOOTING, AND YES , CHILD TRAFFICKING with impunity.

It is obscene to rob these Americans of their liberty while the true criminals run free, and millions of dollars in aid pour in from the country of their birth. 

The final, terrible irony of course, is that they did all this in God’s name. Your God sure has a sick sense of humour. Disagree? Bring it on.

Kev Moore

February 5, 2010 Posted by | culture, events, Parents and Children, politics, religion, writing | , , , , , | 3 Comments

God, Haiti, and the Americans. Observations.

Kev ponders buying drugs whose side effects may include DEATH!!!

What has become a grim fascination for us, is the terrible catastrophe in Haiti, seen through American eyes. I wanted to do a small stand alone piece to address this in the midst of our travelogue.  CNN’s coverage is extremely timely, in-depth, if not a little repetitive. The American networks also have a curious habit of cutting to ads not only relentlessly often, but also just prior to returning to the Larry King show for him to peer over his spectacles and simply say, “Good night.” Can’t the ads wait until he’s said good night? Or is it so they can cut to yet another load of ads?  Other fascinations include the amount of ads offering drugs, whilst calmly saying WARNING! Side effects may include DEATH!  To be fair, there is also a swathe of ads for lawyers, urging us to call 1-800 BAD DRUG, so I suppose it’s equal opportunity. In fact, on American TV, there seem to be cures for diseases I’ve never heard of. There are also many ads for Churches, which just borderline on the offensive to me, springboarding off the Haiti tragedy to aid recruitment, but perhaps that’s a cultural thing. As a Brit, I am stunned at the sheer number of clearly wealthy churches here in the Bible Belt, all with full car parks. Lil’ old English vicars would (dare I say it?) sell their soul for these buildings and congregations!

This brings me to the thorny issue of God. No-one in the Haiti television coverage has a bad word to say about the guy.  A woman saved after being trapped in a void in a collapsed market thinks she’s alive because of God. No, missus, you’re alive because of an Icelandic rescue team. You wanna talk to God about dropping the building on yo’ ass. This is the same God who saw fit to destroy the prison and spare all but 4 of the 4,500 inmates, who are now amongst the homeless and innocent. Nice one, God – suffer the little children and all that. I suppose it was too much to ask that you direct the epicentre over the terrorist camp in the Yemen? …what?  Have faith? Yeah.

Don’t get me wrong, I am full of admiration for people who use their faith to give them strength to go down there and help those people, not just after the quake, but the tireless work they do in the orphanages, etc for many years before. I truly admire and applaud them. But I would seriously want to have a strong word with a God that has heaped such misery time after time on this battered nation of Haiti. They crawl out, over the dead bodies of their Mothers and children, and they thank him.  I will never, ever understand this. 

I also want to address the use of emotive music on CNN.  This seems to be a very American thing to do. They come dangerously close to turning international catastrophe into The Bold and the Beautiful.  News is information. It is not entertainment.  If it was meant to be entertainment, the BBC News would have put “Drive” by The Cars as the musical backdrop to Michael Buerk’s stunning report on the Ethiopian famine, instead of waiting for the Live Aid concert to do so. I just feel that in their desire to ‘wring the emotion” out of this story, they cross the line, and leave me feeling a little uncomfortable, but once again, I guess it’s a cultural thing.

Watching the news tonight, I was shocked to see a number of Haitians complaining that the biscuits being handed out were ‘out of date’, unhelpfully shouting this at the crowd, causing them to drop the biscuits and the UN truck to leave. I had a series of conflicting emotions. Firstly, if  I’d been stuck in rubble for 72 hours with no food and water, I’d eat a scabby dog, and secondly, how about  a little bit of gratitude for the people who brought the biscuits to you? But perhaps, on reflection it just shows just what an  uneducated underclass form a large part of the population, and just how much work will be needed there to really rebuild and re-educate that poor country from the ground up.  If it’s not a majority, then the loudmouthed bullying minority need to be silenced by the UN forces so that the poor and the weak get the food they need.

I want to say a word about President Obama also. When he came out to address the people following the Earthquake. Miki and I were stunned at his eloquence, passion and determination. Seemingly speaking with no notes, he was strong, decisive and clear. What a great leader you have.

Now, on a daily basis, we have found (something I already knew but wanted Miki to experience) that Americans are friendly, outgoing and genuine. It is a pleasure to walk into a restaurant, or an IHOP and interact with people who have a smile on their face. This skill in the service industry is sadly lacking in Spain, and to a lesser extent in the UK. I also have two burning questions:

Can you, or can you not, turn right on a red light in the U.S.A?????

And who the hell would christen anybody Wolf Blitzer???

Kev Moore

January 16, 2010 Posted by | culture, death, education, events, God in our life, life, religion | , , , , | 8 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 21 –

vascodegama

(Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 20)

Operational Headquarters, British Army Intelligence, Cheltenham

General Sir George Lacey drained the last vestiges of his innumerable cups of coffee and stared at the phone, willing it to ring. Where’s the sense of being sat at the heart of the intelligence community if I haven’t got a damned clue what’s going on? He thought bitterly. He ran through the events of the last few hours in his mind. At least the Stealth support for the team at Millau reported nothing untoward, so it would seem Tobias and his men had so far executed their plan to the letter. But what was going on in Ambialet? The loud, insistent buzzing of the phone abruptly dragged him from his introspective reverie.
“General Lacey.” The General listened impassively as he was fed the latest intel on the situation in Southern France. It seemed there had been reports of several large explosions in the town of Ambialet within the last hour.
He replaced the receiver. “Good luck, Ben” he said to himself, staring at a map of the town. He hardly had time to marshal his thoughts when his phone buzzed for a second time. It was General Alberstein.
“George? We got trouble.” He proceeded to brief Sir George on the suicide mission against Polyflex. By the end of the conversation Sir George had promised his opposite number a rigorous enquiry to try and route out any spy in their midst. It was unthinkable that they had been compromised so easily.
“They must have a sleeper, Thomas, it’s the only answer” said Lacey.
“It’s a damned scary one, George” said the General, “Let’s flush the bastard out” .

Main Entrance, Ambialet Monastery

Bakti and Iqbal were pressed hard against the rock, only ten meters from the Monastery doors. The great studded oak structures silently mocked them, daring them to enter. Anwar was some twenty meters further down, urging his comrade on. “Sunil, now! Join me on this side, there is cover!”
Sunil delayed, just a fraction of a second. Stephenson was lying uncomfortably high inside the facing wall above the main entrance, his Hauser falcon crossbow pointing through the ancient archers slit in the old stone wall. His target had hesitated. That moment was all he needed, the deadly steel bolt rocketed down, burying itself in the chest of the hapless invader, who fell in the dust at Anwar’s feet. Stephenson rolled away, just as a burst of machine gun fire blasted his position.
“Anwar, run!” yelled Bakti, breaking cover with Iqbal, their machine pistols jumping in their hands, directing fire above the great entrance. A stray round caught Stephenson in the leg, and he screamed in agony. The three Fundamentalists charged forward, nearly at the gates, when suddenly, from either side of them, emerging from hidden stairways that led into the crypt, the dust covered figures of Bryan and Thompson ran, machine pistols at their hips firing as they went. Bakti, Anwar and Iqbal seemed to go into a grotesque dance, riddled with hundreds of rounds that slammed into their bodies, and continued on, splintering the great oak doors behind them. Blood issued from their mouths as they fell, as one, in a bloody heap in front of the Monastery.
“Thompson, go check on Stephenson, I’ll recce the immediate area, see if there are any more of the buggers.” Said Bryan, slamming a fresh magazine in, wiping the dust from his eyes.

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

Next instalment: Sunday April 19th

April 13, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 20 –

vascodegama

(Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 19)

The Presse shop, Ambialet

In the bedroom down in the village, Akbar was readying the fourth grenade. He had barely put his eye to the viewfinder when a single high velocity round exploded through the lens and buried itself in his brain, causing immediate and catastrophic damage before exiting in a pink cloud of matter and bone debris. Already dead, Akbar’s body crumpled to the floor, in a grotesque parody of a pilgrim at prayer.

Back in the devastated monastery, Ben Tobias was marshalling his men.
“Okay, the RPG’s neutralised, but we don’t have much time. A small task force has made cover beneath the Monastery and will be seeking incursion to mop up any survivors. There are at least five of them.” He turned to Henri, who had jumped down from the table and was shouldering his weapon.
“Henri, I think you should get your people out the way we came in. We’ve two inflatables hidden beyond the tree line by the river fifty meters upstream. You can use them to get out of the immediate area. My men and I will try and neutralise this invading force. You can’t be caught. You need to get out and regroup.”
Non!” Henri was indignant. “We will not run and leave you to fight our battles, Lieutenant!”
“Henri!” said Ben desperately, “You have intel that these people will extract from you, one way or another. If we’re captured, we can’t tell what we don’t know. It’s better that way,” he said, his face an unreadable mask.  Henri thought for a moment.
“An honour, Lieutenant” he said, extending his hand. The men held a firm grip for a few moments.
“Now go, Henri, get to safety, and send a transmission to British Army HQ when you’re secure.”
Henri ushered Marie-Christine and the others into the passageway Ben and his men had used earlier. He turned and called over his shoulder as he was disappearing into the darkness within the great stone fireplace.
“Live to fight another day, Englishman, and we will endeavour to do the same”. He raised his hand, and was gone.
Ben spun round, all business now. “Corporal Vann, take Bryan and Thompson with you and cover the lower levels. We need to try and contain them down there. We can’t be sure how many of them there are, and I don’t want them having the run of the place.”
“Sir” replied Vann, as the three men took off down the relatively undamaged staircase.

Bakti had watched the devastation wrought upon the Monastery with satisfaction. The incursion team were all pressed up against the face of the rock, covered in the dust and debris that had showered down following the attack. They prepared to crouch and run zigzag up the exposed path leading to the Monastery entrance. Bakti checked his watch. Why hadn’t Akbar fired the fourth grenade? He activated his comm. link. “Akbar? Come in. Fire the fourth grenade! Repeat, fire the fourth grenade!” Static was his only reply.
“The infidels have neutralised the RPG. There will be no cover fire for our assault on the entrance. Allah will protect us. Mustafa, return to the bridge and maintain position in case we need cover fire for our departure. Anwar, hold a position at the base of the path, count off thirty seconds then follow. We will zigzag in two pairs, thirty seconds apart. Iqbal, you’re with me, we’ll lead off. Go!”

Henri and his ragged band made their way slowly through the tunnel, reaching the steep gradient that would take them beneath the River Tarn to safety. The further they went, the more they could taste the dust in the air, irritating their eyes, sticking in their throats. Suddenly, in the darkness, they saw it. A huge rock fall had collapsed the tunnel dead ahead. There was nothing for it. They would have to dig through with their bare hands.
“The torches, Dryden, bring them here, we have work to do!”

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 21)

April 5, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , | Leave a comment

Atlantic Bridge – 19 – (apologies for the delay!)

vascodegama

(Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 18)

The Presse shop, Ambialet

Two more of the incursion force brought the RPG launchers and the grenades themselves up into the bedroom. The other two immediately began to assemble the long tube and tripod in expert fashion.  It took just three minutes to assemble it, calibrate the laser night sighting, and draw a bead on the old monastery looming high on the rock across the river. The man who had been first into the shop touched his communicator. “Commander Bakti, RPG launcher in place and targeted. Awaiting instructions.”
Bakti was down at the Northern end of the bridge with his number 2, checking the approach up to the Monastery via the winding road.
“Leave Akbar with the launcher, the rest of you assemble here by the bridge. We will advance on foot along the road.
“But why not use the Humvee, Commander?  We will be well protected by its Kevlar coating” ventured the soldier.
“Cowardly dog!” spat Bakti, “You think about your own pathetic self-preservation! The Humvee will surely struggle to cope with the switchback road to the target, it will slow us down, make us a vulnerable target. As a foot force, we are many targets, and more manoeuvrable. Some of us may die. That is Allah’s will!”
“Praise be to Allah” mumbled the soldier, chastened.
“Now, tell Akbar to be ready for my signal. Get the men down here now.”
Bakti turned his attention to the Monastery, the lights glowing within its ancient stone walls. The dawn was fast approaching, the first fingers of light teasing the eastern horizon. Today will be a glorious day for us, he thought, the infidels will die for having the temerity to resist the word of Islam. His eyes sparkled with religious zeal. Meanwhile, the four men had assembled behind him. He touched the communicator. “Akbar, fire when ready, four grenades, a minute apart. We should have reached cover by then.”
The last vestiges of the night were ripped asunder as a great plume of smoke and fire erupted from the bedroom window arcing murderously across the river and slamming into the ancient building. A huge explosion rocked its foundations as rubble cascaded down the hillside. A huge pall of dust and smoke began to drift across the town. The houses of Ambialet remained resolutely shuttered, wanting no part of what was being visited upon them.

The five men were already running across the bridge, machine pistols sweeping the area ahead of them. As they reached the other side of the bridge, still on the open road and exposed, another rocket propelled grenade followed the first, this time arcing higher, dropping into the roof from above. The top effectively blew off the Monastery. Ancient beams cracked and gave way, sending their deadly weight down into the chaos below.
The great hall was in disarray. Resistance fighters were running everywhere.
“Henri!” shouted Ben. “We need a location for that grenade! Grab that table!” Henri ran over and they heaved the great oak table over to the wall. They jumped up onto it, smashing the great stained glass window with their weapons.   Ben raised his night sight and scanned the village below. He could see five figures, down in the roadway, they’d obviously crossed the bridge, but they were only carrying machine pistols…he tracked back to the village.
Suddenly, flaring bright green in his night sight, he saw it, streaking towards them, a third RPG!!!! “Incoming!” he screamed.
Henri and Ben leapt down and took cover beneath the table. Marie-Christine and Dryden  leapt into the kitchen and hid beneath the benches. Then it hit. Or more precisely, it entered the gaping hole left by the first grenade, blasted through the ground floor and exploded in the crypt. The world seemed to shift on its axis. Enormous cracks began to appear in the floor of the great hall, and just then, one of the ruined beams came crashing through the ornate ceiling, pinning two fighters to the floor. Trying to ignore their screams, Ben shouted, “Henri! We have to take out that bastard, or we are all dead.”
Henri looked to his compatriots in their suffering. “Merde, you are right.”
They clambered from beneath their hiding place and back up onto the table.
“Henri, it’s the upper window of the Presse just before the tunnel I think. Can you hit it?”
Henri looked at him. “How do you say? Has the Pope got a balcony?” he smiled a thin smile and raised his weapon, poking the barrel through the gap left by the great window.

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 20)

March 31, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, politics, religion, writing | , , , | 7 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 18 –

vascodegama (Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 17)

Polyflex Industries Biomolecular Culture Shed Number 1

00:03….00:02……00:01…..

The security team that were just about to override the security lockdown outside the airlock were only afforded the privilege of hearing the first enormous explosion, the first of six beats of a terrible tattoo, that obliterated Culture shed number one. It incinerated the building, anyone nearby, and the strangely calm occupant, head bowed, within. An incandescent fireball shot into the night, accompanied by the last of the tremendous explosions, and if Bert Dwyer hadn’t already been on the phone, red-faced with anger receiving news of the sabotage, then it surely would have woken him.

The Bridge at Ambialet

The black Humvee was parked behind a stand of trees. The six men were already out of the vehicle and busy. Bakti and his number two had taken up position by the old stone bridge across the River Tarn. Two men were unloading equipment from the rear of the Humvee, and two were stealthily approaching the Presse at the end of the village.
With practiced ease, the first to the front door produced a small diamond cutter and created a hole in the glass, pulled free with a suction cup. He reached in and undid the deadbolt from the inside. The pair ran inside, and in doing so, activated the old-fashioned tinkling bell above the door.
“The bedroom! Now!” barked the first intruder. The murderous pair rushed through the Paper shop, all caution abandoned, sending racks of magazines and sweets flying. They were halfway up the stairs when the owner appeared on the landing, half-asleep and confused. A small whup sound emanated from the silenced machine pistol, set to single shot, and almost immediately a tiny dark red hole appeared in the forehead of the shopkeeper, his eyes briefly registering surprise before the light faded from them and he fell to the floor. The two men were instantly leaping over his body into the modest bedroom above the shop. The shopkeepers wife, covers pulled up to her chin, gasped in shock as the men appeared. She leapt out of the bed towards the bathroom, taking a single step before three red flowers blossomed in her back.
“Take the bodies to the cellar” said the first intruder. He raised his communicator. “Commander Bakti, RPG position established, send in the hardware.”

Dwyer Residence

“Godammit! I’ve given you my security clearance code, now get Alberstein on the line NOW!!” Bert Dwyer was shaking with rage. What the hell was happening in this country? You couldn’t even take a leak without some goddamn towelhead trying to blow your ass to kingdom come.
“General? Some wiseass has just reduced my Number One Culture shed to ashes. This is gonna seriously impede the project, but you know what? That’s the least of our worries. How the hell did they get wind of this?”
The General let out a long sigh. “Casualties, Ben?”
“Five. All security, and good loyal men, all blown to pieces, except the gate guard, Ted Akerson, he’d been with the company twenty years, Thomas, they shot him in the head.”
“Jesus.” Alberstein ran his hand across his buzz-cut. This was a major worry. Someone close to the project was leaking like an old fishing boat.
“There’s a containment team on the way. I’ve got local law enforcement to cordon the area, but I guess they’re long gone.”
“I’m gonna need protection down at the works, General, I have to build a new shed, we can’t work with less, and if we lose another, we’re in real trouble.”
“Bert, whatever you need, it’s yours. I’ll put Ed Newsome on it right away, he can liase with your people. In the meantime, I need to find out who the hell is blabbing. If we can’t plug this leak, the project’s dead in the water.”
“I’m not sure I like your choice of metaphor, Thomas” replied Dwyer bitterly. “I know I wasn’t the biggest fan of this project and the whole limey co-operation thing, but I gotta tell ya, Thomas, nobody puts Bert Dwyer out of business. Get Newsome to call me at the works. I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”
Alberstein was left holding the receiver, lost in thought. Where to start? Career histories. Everyone that worked in the immediate loop. He needed to go through them with a fine toothcomb. He called his secretary at home.
“Donna? Sorry to wake you. I need you to get on to night shift in personnel. I need classified background files on everyone associated with the Unity Project, and I need it yesterday. Also, when you get into the office, put a request in to the British Government, we’re going to need the same from them.” He replaced the receiver, turned to the red phone that sat on the right of his desk. The Presidential hotline. He envisaged a sleepless night. He picked up the phone. “Mr.President, we have a situation…..”

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 19)

March 23, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , , | 2 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 17 –

vascodegama (Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 16)

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”
complained Alberstein.
“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…
00:03….00:02……00:01…..

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 18)

March 16, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , , | 2 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 16 –

vascodegama (Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 15)

The Monastery, Ambialet

Henri had returned to the main hall.
“Henri, what did you mean by…” began Dryden. Henri cut him off.
“It seems, mes amies, that we have been afforded some assistance by our friends and allies in the United Kingdom. To be specific, I expect to be joined for dinner by ten of his majesty’s finest fighting forces. It seems that our fears about poor Malachi were well-founded. We are threatened, and soon.”
Henri grabbed a coffee from the pot and sat down at the end of the long table, lost in thought.
Dryden looked a little confused. “So, I should really prepare a little more food?” he asked, dubiously.
Henri smiled at him, a weary smile. “Of course, my friend. One cannot fight on an empty stomach, non?”

“I’ve found it, Lieutenant!” exclaimed Percy. A curious grinding sound filled the recess they were standing in. Percy had his hands in the air. It looked as though they ended at the elbow, but closer inspection revealed he had pushed a great stone upwards into the ceiling. Evidently counterbalanced, it was now operating some unknown ancient mechanism.
“Look!” said Vann. In the right hand corner of the recess, a whole section had slid back and sideways to reveal a narrow, smooth-stoned passage heading steeply downwards.
“Let’s move” said Ben. The men filed in, ducking their heads, into the darkness beyond. “How did you find it?” asked Ben of Percy.
“I noticed a faint inscription on it sir, just like that one.” He pointed to a stone protruding out of the otherwise smooth wall.
“Clever” said Ben “The reset. Let’s keep the Cathars’ secret, shall we?” he pushed the stone, and, protesting, it eventually slid flush with the wall, and the huge stone door slid sideways and out to block the entrance once again, plunging the passageway into total darkness.
“Flashlights” ordered Ben. ”Let’s move!”
The passageway wound its way down quite steeply, and rivulets of water sparkled on the walls in the play of their beams.
“We must be moving under the river” said Corporal Vann.
“Yeah? Who’s to say the River hasn’t flooded this passage further down?” said Withers, nervously. A tough soldier, he nevertheless fought a constant battle with claustrophobia. Ben answered him.
“Unless it has flooded in the last two years, I think it’s safe to say the intel from L de L is sound. They’re hardly likely to give us an emergency incursion route and then drown the cavalry, are they?” He kept it light-hearted, knowing Wither’s fears. He’d read the files on all his men. He liked to know who he was taking into combat.
“If you say so, Lieutenant Commander” replied Withers. With some effort, he pushed his fear back down, and moved on.
Eventually, they felt the passageway bottom out and begin to head upwards. The rock became drier, the air fresher. At some point, Ben noted, they seemed to have emerged above ground, and he sensed they were within the Monastery walls. Suddenly, the passageway abruptly ended. Dead ahead, at shoulder height was another rock with a faded inscription. Here goes nothing, thought Ben as he pushed hard against it, and the passageway filled with light. Another stone doorway had slid out and sideways, revealing a large hall.
Bonsoir” announced Henri from his chair in greeting, as Dryden, Marie-Christine and the others stared open-mouthed at the eight black-clad soldiers emerging from the fireplace. “A glass of wine, peu t’etre?”

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 17)

March 8, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , | 3 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 15 –

vascodegama (Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 14)

The River Tarn, Ambialet

Down by the River, Corporal Vann was about to complete his watch, when suddenly, as the moon briefly appeared from behind the clouds, he saw movements on the monastery roof, silhouetted against the pale light. He scampered over to the sleeping figure of Lieutenant Commander Tobias. “Sir, movement on the monastery roof. I think it’s a gunman, Sir.”
Ben was instantly awake.
“Get Stephenson, he knows what to do.”
Corporal Vann disappeared back into the trees. Moments later, he reappeared with Stephenson, who was already putting the finishing touches to a futuristic stainless steel assembly. It was known as the Hauser Falcon, the most powerful and deadly accurate crossbow ever built. Laser sighted with Hydraulic reset, it was a formidable weapon, silent, and deadly.
Tonight, however, Stephenson planned to use it in a much more benign fashion. From his tunic, Ben produced a long slim aluminium message tube, like a cigar holder, but threaded at one end. He nodded to Stephenson, who offered up one of the vicious-looking arrow tipped crossbow bolts. Ben slid the message tube into the specially hollowed-out bolt and screwed it firmly into place. He handed it back to Stephenson. “Don’t miss” he said. Stephenson smiled ruefully. He’d retained Gold in two successive Olympics. He wasn’t about to miss out on the medals now. Supremely confident, he moved forward to the waters edge and fixed a bead on the Monastery roof.

Henri was scanning the road beyond the tunnel. Several lorries had rumbled through the town and off into the night, but all seemed quiet…
Thunk! He felt something fly past his head and slam into the flagpole in an explosion of splinters. Still clinging to the rifle, he hit the floor and rolled away from the edge. He looked across the roof. The flagpole was still rocking gently back and forth with the force of the impact, and there, about three feet up, was a shiny metal rod protruding at right angles from it.
Cautiously, he pulled himself closer. He reached up to pull it from the pole, but it was embedded fast, the barb on the arrowhead making it impossible to remove. “Mon Dieu, what that would have done to me!” he exclaimed
softly. Looking more carefully, he noticed the end of the projectile, beyond the flights…he reached up and experimented…his fingers found purchase and he found himself unscrewing the end, drawing a long slim tube from the body of it.  Careful to keep below the parapet, he put his rifle to one side and examined his find. He withdrew a tightly rolled piece of paper, covered in writing. Normally extremely taciturn, Henri nevertheless couldn’t repress a gasp of astonishment at what he was reading.

To: Lumiere de Liberte C in C
From British Army HQ
Message Reads:
Malachi compromised. Attack on your HQ imminent.
Squad of 10 in River Valley stand ready to assist.
Codeword for veracity: BERLIOZ
Fly flag at half-mast to indicate our squad may approach.

Henri pressed CALL on his communicator. “Dryden, make extra Cassoulet this evening, we have guests.”  Without waiting for a reply, Henri stood and lowered the tricolour.

“Okay lads, that’s the signal. Make for the road tunnel, but quietly, we don’t know who is out there just yet.” Ben organised the team quickly, as each gathered their weapons and climbed over the rock wall and began making their way along the path that followed the river. They silently climbed the stairway up to the main road, crouching behind a wall until they were sure they had a clear run for the tunnel. Ben sent them in pairs, sprinting through the town and into the darkness of the road tunnel. Finally, Ben and Corporal Vann brought up the rear.
Breathless, Ben briefed the men “Right, about twenty meters in there’s a recess for service vehicles on the right hand side. No flashlights unless absolutely necessary, use the tunnel wall as a guide. The men moved swiftly, the wall damp beneath their fingers as they traced their path along it. A distant rumble sounded from the other end of the tunnel, and a light began to grow, washing the tunnel walls. “Quickly!” urged Ben, “Get out of sight!” The last of the men leaped into the darkness of the alcove as the lorry came thundering past only inches from them. The noise of the engine receded quickly; just the strong smell of diesel fumes betrayed its passing.
“There’s a keystone” said Ben “It opens a door to the passage that leads up to the monastery.”
“What’s this then, James Bond?” joked Stephenson.
Ben smiled. “A lot older than that, it was used by the Cathar Parfaits as a means of escape during their persecution by the Catholics.”
“It’s always been about bloody religion, hasn’t it?” grumbled Stephenson, as they set about looking for a way in.

The Black Humvee pulled up in front of a sign that read; Ambialet 2km.
Bakti pressed the button on the comm.. panel.
“Paris HQ? This is Bakti. We are one and a half kilometres from Incursion point. ETA Five minutes. May Allah protect us. Initiating Radio Silence.”
Bakti shut the communications link down. He turned to his men.
“We only communicate with our short range units now. Let us make the words of the prophets a reality” They nodded their assent. He tapped the driver on the shoulder and the Humvee shot into the night.

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 16)

March 1, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, politics, religion, writing | , , , | Leave a comment

Atlantic Bridge – 14 –

vascodegama (Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 13)

Cassel Residence, Canterbury.
The languid vocals of Donald Fagen filled the room, as Marius poured them both a Californian Zinfandel Rose.  The track was Home at Last from Steely Dan’s masterpiece, Aja.
“Is that how you feel, when you walk into this house, Marius?” asked Annie, nodding appreciatively to the music.
“Home at last?” said Marius. His eyes took on a faraway look. To Annie, it looked like he was deciding something. Eventually he turned to her, eyeing his wine, holding it up to the light. “ I could be arrested you know, a Frenchman drinking a Californian wine” he sighed. “Yes and no. I feel at home here. But I never feel as if I’ve come home. There’s a subtle, yet important difference.”
“It’s the soul” offered Annie, mysteriously.
“Are you sure it isn’t the wine?” he said, smiling softly.
“It’s a lot easier to rest your mind and body” continued Annie, “but where the soul rests, now that has to be a special place.”
He looked at her. How did he get into this conversation? He didn’t really want to go down that particular road. Not yet. Music felt like safer ground.
He went over to his shelves of vinyl, his finger tracing the spines until he found what he was looking for.
“Are you familiar with Alphonse Mouzon?” he asked, brandishing the Mind Transplant sleeve in front of her face.
Annie, sensing she’d probed a little too deep, went with the flow.
“I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be. Is he French?”

“No, he’s an African American Drummer, popular in the mid-seventies, early eighties of the twentieth century. I want to play you Golden Rainbows, it features the legendary Tommy Bolin on guitar. Enjoy, and I’ll do some pasta. ”  He tossed her the sleeve, the virtuoso guitar music filling the room, and headed for the kitchen.
“Sounds French to me” she muttered, leaning back and closing her eyes, losing herself in the music.

Twenty minutes later, they were enjoying Tagliatelle Carbonara, discussing the project animatedly between mouthfuls. Annie was stunned to learn of the Biomolecular properties of Polyflex, which Marius had disclosed to her following her questions regarding speed of manufacture versus deadlines.
He in turn was captivated by her tales of a life researching the Oceans of the world.
Inevitably, talk turned to family.
Around 1 a.m., Marius was persuading Annie to finish the third bottle of wine.
She gently placed her hand over her empty glass.
“Nope” she said, firmly, but kindly. “A girl’s got to know her limit. I need to get to bed, if you’ll show me my room, kind sir.”
Marius put the bottle down.
“I wasn’t trying to get you drunk…”
“Itsh too late for that” she slurred, rolling her eyes comically. She looked him in the eye. “Seriously though Marius, I like you, but I can’t get into anything right now, I just cant. You would be doing me a great honour if, at least for the moment, you could be my friend. I need a good friend. More than you know.” She looked away, biting her lip.
“Whatever else I may or may not become, I’ll always be that” he said softly, kissing the top of her head. “Come on, your bedroom awaits.”
He led her upstairs, showing her the door to the spare room. He headed off to close up the house. As she turned to go in she called after him.
“Marius?” He looked up. “Thank you” she said, meaning it. The bedroom door closed, and Marius secured the doors and windows and set the alarms. As the clock struck 2 a.m, the house was in darkness, its occupants alone with their thoughts.

The Monastery, Ambialet

Henri cast his expert eye down the barrel of his high-velocity snipers rifle.
He’d spent the last two hours disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling it with loving care. He checked the extraordinarily powerful telescope night sight mounted on the top. He was supremely comfortable with this piece of hardware; it was like an extension of him. It had also saved countless lives. Fifteen years previously, he’d received a citation (secretly of course) from U.S. High Command for taking out a suicide bomber with a head shot before he could detonate himself in a busy shopping mall in Toulouse, which was filled with American Exchange Students.

He slung the rifle over his shoulder and climbed the stairs to the roof, emerging into the starlit night. Dark clouds drifted solemnly in the blackness, obscuring the moon for minutes at a time. He crouched down in front of the low stone parapet that encircled the roof. “Allez, Come then” he growled, and began to systematically scan the approaches to Ambialet down the barrel of the gun.

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

( Atlantic Bridge 15)

February 22, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, random, religion, writing | , , , , | Leave a comment