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Hebephrenica/ It's Time You Knew
by:  Ken Egbert (aka K. Griffiths), One More Haggard Drowned Man
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February 27, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 332: A new Ear at the Cross?

An Embassy drone knocked on the office door. Once it was opened, he offered, “Sir Lawrence Trier wants a word.”
“He has it. Come on in, sir.” The peer walked in and took a seat. Stills told him, “We’ve appreciated your patience.”
“You’ll pardon if I haven’t the same respect for your priorities. I did an ally a good turn here and my every rosebush is overspaded in the garden because you did not allow me to go back to Vauxhall on my own schedule,” complained Trier. “My wife is going mad.”
“Told you to call her, Larry!” said Gibstein. “We have a dissipator in the building, on the roof. You make a cellular call, the GPS component is scrubbed out. You could tell her you’re in your own basement and she’d have no way to disbelieve you unless she went down the stairs.”
“Regrettably we haven’t another on my roof. I have left messages, though. She has a mobile hidden in the garden shed. No doubt she will call me back again as soon as no one’s watching. Until then, however…!” he concluded with less patence.
“Patrick thinks you may be the ear at the Cross that we’ve been looking for. Al-Adil certainly isn’t playing. You did us a hell of a favor.” Not wishing to change the subject: “If we’ve kept you here past your freshness date, we’ll get you out of it.”
“I’ll have to request that. They’ll be digging up the cellar in my cottage in Devon shortly.”
“We can’t tempt you.”
“For the last time no, Mr. Stills. We’re too much at cross-purposes. If I take your shilling and am rumbled, Sir Harvin will further credit Al-Adil and let fall my own star. She will remain and if I’m not sacked I’ll be farmed out to, oh, Lord only knows what. He may even make me head of Personnel. Unbearable. I can’t be put in a position that will prevent me from my work.”
“You really have a hard-on for that little bitch, don’t you?”
“Not at all, Mr. Gibstein. She is an American and we don’t need them.”
“I think we’d have to oppose her repatriation, Sir Lawrence. I have not just asked her to listen and report,” noted Patrick. “In Prague I offered her the commission at the Agency that she’d originally applied for. Suddenly, it was a big ‘no.’ I even had an assignment in mind.”
“Then she can stay in London and be a post girl, for all I care. Do you need Brits, may I ask?”
“We need an ear at Vauxhall. Fine, it’s not you. Fine, it definitely isn’t her. We still need an ear. Don’t ask why.”
“Your previous ear was amputated, I’d assume.”
“Told you he was sharp,” O’Carlan observed to Stills.
“We’ll work on your problem shortly, Sir Lawrence. We’d appreciate the benefit of your experience here, anyway. Now. We have been cut out of the loop by the client. Yes, Gib, they continue paying us. This may now be hush money. For what, though?”
“How can it be hush money if we don’t know anything we can tell?”
“You know all the obvious bits, I dare say,” Sir Lawrence suggested. He was a detainee, he might as well try to wheel and deal. “What of future plans as opposed to past?”
“Paris was such a failure, though, have they even got anything on the board?”
asked O’Carlan.
“You have heard nothing at Six, Sir Lawrence.”
“Conjecture about Paris, far too much. Per the next target, God forbid, I have not.”
“Last time I talked to Silas, Gib, he was howling about the court case at the Hague,” added Ted. That was his concern. Does not want his name mentioned. He will remain an unidentified co-conspirator.”
“Listen, their half-assed tactics put our country in this pile of crap. After the condemnations we’re getting for Beijing, it’s the last thing we need.”
“Still need their money, though. Will they ask us to drop in on Cambridge and lighten the Physics Dept.’s personnel list? Or will they do it themselves? Sir Lawrence?”
“Whom, now?”
“Leah Bernheim, their Barbie doll physicist.”
“Your ‘client’ may well decide to do that in-house, so to speak. Given that Interpol does not have Patrick to put through the shredder as well. Makesx her more of a concern. They’ll continue to want no hint of this outside the company.”
“Did I hear the word ‘company’ used’ Without a captal ‘C’?”
“You did,” said Trier.
“We do not need to hear it again, sir. Intended with the greatest possible respect.”
“Of course.”
“Sir Lawrence is right. Bernheim,” O’Carlan put in, “never heard the client’s name from me, though I’ll bet she recorded both our conversations on her laptop anyway. I naturally didn’t consider this at the time, but I seriously suspect it now.”
“Assume you can barely turn on a desktop…” grumped Sir Lawrence. “I certainly need help.”
“If I get my reading glasses…”
“Well, that’s not what we hired you for,” Ted admitted. “I’ve already suggested to ‘Silas’ that the least they can do is pay our court costs, so I’ll add on the fine that we’ll no doubt incur by refusing to name our co-conspirator.”
“Our co-conspirator doesn’t exist,” Gibstein insisted. Tell the defense team that. It was a ploy on our part to get Bernheim to talk.”
“Which she didn’t do, Gib.”
“She talked enough. We have her denial. Nobody believes them any longer.”
“As may be,” Sir Lawrence said. “Though it’s clearly idiocy to assert that CERN does weapons research.”
“Be glad you don’t have our constraints, Sir Lawrence. I don’t have the memo yet but yes, Langley will want a report for the benefit of the defense team. So that’s next. Do we recommend attacking Bernheim’s denial and then submitting one of our own? While the client loved you because of your background, Patrick. Figured you’d be just what this project required. He asks about you still; I’ve had no choice but to tell them you’re still in custody. If they had heeded us, there’s a good possibility they’d now have everything they needed from Bernheim and she’d be in an ‘emergency’ room in Geneva under sedation. They knew better, of course! So no, this is not how they wanted the project to wind out.”
“We still have no idea why they wantd this alleged ‘weapons research.”
Hand in the air, Ted answered, “Told not to ask them, so we didn’t.”
O’Carlan said, “Then give Langley what they want. That’s first.”
“Of course. Now about Bernheim’s turnaround from standard atheist scientist to Torah-thumper. Are we sure it wasn’t simple anger?” asked Gibstein. “Look at her dossier. The American press went after her en masse 30 years ago after this little classmate of hers committed mass murder so that she’d notice he existed. They chased her and her family out of the country, just because it was a slow news year. I expect that there’s some serious rage there, someplace.”
“From the way she talked to me before Interpol showed up,” O’Carlan said,
“I would say.”
“Sir Lawrence?” asked Stills. “Further thoughts?”
“Will you continue to pursue the woman?” the peer asked.
“She’s named in the injunction as one of the wronged parties, and as a witness. She is now too ‘hot’ to make disappear, or anything else. No, for now she’s safe.”
“Until the client orders us to go get her anyway,” said ‘Pops.’
“So fatalistic, Gib. We should work for our money.”
“Again, if they don’t remove her themselves,” Patrick said. “They’re just unhinged enough.”
“Silence the witness that can’t conclusively implicate them anyway? Who are we kidding?” asked Stills. “Of course they might.”
“She’s all the ES2 have, that we know of,” said Stills. “The research assistants were not at any of the meetings between Patrick and the Doc, so…”
“What if it is simply made clear to her that the pile of dog-ends in which she found herself at an early age shall be nothing compared to what may be done to her now?”
“Good ploy, Sir Lawrence, but I would think she already knows that.”
“And may no longer care. Hell hath no fury, they say.” The peer nodded. “Would it help for you to suggest to the client that they keep their hands off her? In case they feel otherwise.”
“Good consideration, Sir Lawrence, but they do not ask us for our opinion. While no one asked you to go to Geneva that morning, that I know of, Patrick,” pointed out Stills.
“I wanted to get her reaction to the Paris situation and re-assert the deadline.”
Sir Lawrence said, “I’ve never spoken to your physicist, but…”
“Well, who would we have to send after her anyway? Philomen Leclerc and Securite Marseilles are out, ‘Silas’ tells me, quote, ‘due to an interminable number of idiotic mistakes.’ They were the only subber the client would allow us to use on this. So we can’t rehire them now. If the client finds out, the checks might stop coming. And can we send any of our men? What with how every country’s security precautions have gone through the roof since Belgrade?”
“If you’d been in place, Patrick, you might have been able to talk the client out of dumping Phil.”
“I’d have been talking to you, Ted, of course I would have.”

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Send author a comment on this post

February 24, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 331: Meanwhile, Back at the Castle

They called it the Castle, and so it did appear to the casual eye. Leila walked past it twice every day and by now, I’d think, had edited it out of her sightline but for that one time she and Dima had dropped off Dennis’ bookmarks. A blocky, mirrored affair half the width and depth and twice the height of the old Grosvenor Square location, its moat had begun to freeze with the final approach of cold weather; the waterfall in the rear eastern corner, though, splattered on.
-Figure they got th’ alligators outta there yet? –W.
-O’Carlan was just being disagreeable, I’d think. –P.
On our way from Geneva to Jerusalem it had occurred. That sweep of Divine
judgment reached us. By then, however, it was a spent tide. We’d given ourselves up to circumstance, but all that engulfed us and quickly receded, were a wash of divine Amusement. That was all!
-Very anticlimactic. –P.
-Nobody takes us seriously any more. –F.
Hard to disagree with that.
-If it took Him this long to send us His ‘lion’s paw swipe’/ so to speak/ where do you suppose He is? –D.
-Simple. Not that anyone will confirm, or deny. Holding every particle in this universe in one place means that it takes extra time for Him to do much else. –P.
-Just crazy enough, etc. –F.
-We did back off Al-Adil. --W.
-True, while we received no censure/ after she heard the recording of the discussion in Jerablus –D.
-An’ it looks like we didn’ get this Philomen guy off Leah’s trail yet… --W.
-All he’s doing is watching, though/ and Al-Adil said she’d have people to get her to London/ --D.
-Let us hope, then, for now –P.
-Another reason why I hate this universe/ we could nearly have been in several places at once/ --D.
-Hope, Petey? Gonna teach us how? –W.
The seeming crisis of Judgment now past if nothing else, I cast my ear and eye back to the Castle to find if Sir Hal and ADG Quecture had got it right. So they had; Patrick O’Carlan sat before Head Economic Attache Red ‘Pops’ Gibstein—
-Sounds like Bronko Nagurski’s football coach -- --F.
-Don’t interrupt. –P.
-An’ yer thinkin’ of Red Blaik. Army, 1940s an’ 50s, I think. –W.
Talk about hidden depths. Anyway, the actual chair of the meeting was not Gibstein but a somewhat jet-lagged man in his forties, the infamous Ted Stills of the Geneva Consulate’s ‘Polycom’ in their upstairs conference room at 7 rue Versonnex, from earlier in the week. No, pardon, rue Versonnex 7. Bleary, he held forth about the many imponderables of the day.
“To say that I don’t comprehend is obvious. I don’t comprehend anything. I believe Langley may have sent me over here to pilot a crashing bomber. We may all be repatriated and stuck in the file room in the sub-sub at HQ to work out our 20 years. Anyone at all, feel free to contradict me.”
“Why is the client still paying us, then?” Gibstein thought aloud.
“After what happened in Paris, your guess is.”
“That was not our op,” O’Carlan said.
“We only suggested it! Via a clueless civilian. Though Silas may think differently.”
“Oh, come on, what other city were they going to hit?” asked Pops. “Amsterdam? Brussels? Nothing in the DDR. Muslims are barely tolerated in Germany. Unless you’re Turkish and are willing to work for pfennig and have your mosque in your basement where nobody can see it…”
“So all we contributed to Paris was what?” asked the old man, who under no circumstance would call Gibstein ‘Pops.’ “The time frame?”
“Well considered!”
“Uh, not well considered…?”
“Considering,” Ted Stills agreed. “So who did the brilliant one tell? The client can’t have leaked on itself. They aren’t that incompetent.”
“You must not use their product,” O’Carlan said. “I informed Bernheim about Paris a little after 7:30 Tuesday morning. You should have seen the look on her face. She had no idea. I doubt she informed anybody.”
“Patrick, she also implied she was armed.”
“I never believed that, Ted. Something did change, though. I nearly had a deer in my headlights Sunday night. She fought back, but not very convincingly. Tuesday morning, she bullied me.”
“We sent the wrong man to Geneva, did we?” asked Gibstein.
“With the shitty hand that the client gave us to play, nobody would have got a much better result.”
“So what changed, Ted? Her male harem threw her a couple of good ones to stiffen her spine?”
“I doubt it. She got religion?”
Gibstein said, “Bernheim’s been observed attending synagogues in Geneva. No one in particular.”
“So, not like the Haganah did in 1948?”
“In the reverse manner to how I did, Ted…” cracked O’Carlan.
Irritated, Stills cut him off. “Patrick, you are not spreading more of that marmalade about the end of the world.”
“I only reacted to the evidence of the satellite over Patmos. I sounded Bernheim out about it. She didn’t. I still had to report it, didn’t I?”
“’To whom you reported it’ was my beef. It was not well received,” answered Stills. “There is a messianic component in the Agency but you do not report to them. I want big things for you, Patrick. And soon. Obviously. You also came off seriously winded Monday morning during our chat.”
“I have a daughter Bernheim’s age. I’ve got over the comparison. I think I’ve demonstrated that.”
“Not disagreeing,” Stills allowed. “We also know you don’t believe any of this Center For Good Sound Christian Business Administration hooey. Imitating the think-tank gooney birds does not cut it either. We only pay attention to them when we want their money. Right now, thanks to the client…”
“What is this, again?” Gibstein asked. Stills gave him the short version. Once done, ‘Pops’ turned to O’Carlan. “Did you ever actually think the skies were going to fold up?!”
“Become a scroll. I thought it was worth a try? Shake Bernheim’s tree with it.”
“Incorrect answer,” Gibstein said. “I agree with Ted. She’s a nice Jewish girl, Patrick. Now she is. We have no evidence before last Wednesday that she’d gone near a ‘shul’ more than a few times a year. Since then, it’s minyan every day. Why, we don’t yet know.”
The ancient one replied, “I’m a lawyer. I was fishing. What made her do that? Who are this male harem of hers? Just because we don’t see them doing anything doesn’t mean they are. Besides, she aerated at me for some length about how miserable she was until a few days before. Who or what changed her mind? I think we know. Philomen sent one crew after another to get Bernheim. According to this morning’s raw report accompanying news that he’s been tossed by the client, every one of them was rebuffed. One of his dead wet experts showed up, hanging from a balloon. Two miniature ‘search and assault platforms’ were knocked out of the sky. He was conducting remote surveillance Tuesday night and was told to remove himself.”
“He did?”
“Somebody already knew his cover story. Had no choice.”
“Baseline reaction, Patrick,” requested ‘Pops.’ “If any, on Phil’s performance.”
“No wonder Silas booted him. Bernheim’s ‘research assistants’ are her protective detail. They outsmarted Phil’s boys all ways up. Must have been.”
“Certainly possible. Did they wipe the board in Paris?”
“No. They never left their hotel that night.”
“Do we think Phil’s boys did it?”
“’We’ do not, Ted,” replied O’Carlan. “The client would have exterminated them, or had us do it. They have an enemy we are not privy to, so just as well we are sidelined.”
“Problem is, sidelined service providers do not make as much money. We’ll come back to that. As to Bernheim’s seeming conversion, then.”
“Doubt it has more than immediate significance,” the old recruit said. “Sometimes people change their minds for reasons only they understand. In this case? The ‘research assistants’ told her something that made her decide, any spiritual port is better than none in the upcoming gale?”
“Here we go again…”
“I am not saying I knew what they said it was, Ted. Or that I know what it is, now.”
“Oh-kay. While you are doubting, Thomas… what can we do to the research assistants?”
“Wait for instructions from the client,” replied O’Carlan. We don’t know that they want their asses, and we shouldn’t do a freebie anyway.”
“Seems sound,” admitted Stills. “Gib? Your view.”
“We are being kept in reserve,” Gibstein answered. “I agree.”
“Don’t tell me for what.”

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Send author a comment on this post

February 21, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 330: Team 7 Drops Off

“Which do you suppose it is? Which of the two?”
Thirteen and fourteen were the next to last to be placed. Weeping, the three men aimed themselves toward the Sidcup Bypass, turning left at the Main Road. Joydens Wood extended a few thick fingers toward that street on the left hand side. Two would step off and occupy a tent out of sight of the road, and the last would return for his own assignment.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this…”
“We’re fuckups, Routy. Even in our glory days. Never been anything else. Zenzinger was already dead when we got to him. We should have started right in on the bints yesterday, should’ve given ‘em the backs of our hands before the old nannies arrived.”
“…Mother will be able to retire on what they pay her…” Balthuss muttered. It had all been too much for him.
“And they will pay her. My folks as well. You’ll make sure if it’s mine, I’ll make sure if it’s yours.”
“What about me?”
“…I think you’ll craft a proper response, Tyrell, that’s what. They’re going to send you out with a belt as well. I think you will figure it out for us. I think you will
know what to do.”
The dropoff point approached.
“Will I?”
“I don’t want to leave you here.”
“If you refuse to, Tyrell, they’ll know. These belts don’t transmit unless they’re in the correct grid area. Remember? They told us.”
“So somebody else will blow up Al-Adil.”
“We can hope. The Gate doesn’t care. You know that. If there’s justice, however…”
”Why did the og twitch have to come here? Why? Screwed up everything.”
“Yeah. Everything.”
“Do you know? If she had lain down in my room and said, hand it over, I would not have done it.”
“Really.” Tyrell slipped off he road and parked on the verge. “You seemed interested enough at the time.”
“I have since swotted up. No more American girls. Sid? Still with us?”
All Balthuss could do was nod.
“Don’t blame you, lad. No, Tyrell. I wanted right of second refusal. Who wanted all that hair, anyway.”
“Possibly the remainder of it would not have been where it could have got in your way.”
Balthuss opened the passenger side rear door, pointing into the trees. “If this is the right place, the tent is about 100 meters that way.”
“Eyes on the other prize,” Tyrell said. “That’s our Balthuss.” The young men began to debark.
“These are so heavy…”
“Pregnant women are heavier than they usually are. Makes it easier to fake it. I’d assume.”
“We’ve faked it this long…” Without looking, Tyrell opened the driver side door. A car swerved, horn blasting, and stopped a hundred feet up. Tyrell moved around the Land Rover and grasped for his friends. “This is wrong.”
“‘Ere, now,” said the approaching motorist from the other car. The three young men embraced.
“I know it is,” Balthuss agreed, but could say no more than that. Routledge
elected to let his arms speak for him.
The footsteps in the brush ceased behind them. “Oh, bloody well get a room,” the man said, turned back and trudged away.

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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February 18, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 329: The Temporary Lash-up

In a small cubicle on the main floor of CERN, Leah sat at a makeshift desk. The desk was indeed there, although for the near-immaculate piles of printout and data sticks, computer equipment and so forth, it could barely be seen. A security officer wandered past. “Dr. Bernheim,” she wondered aloud.
Orbiting some massively distant concept at many removes, Leah at first didn’t hear. “Oh. Sorry. Yes, officer.”
“Is everything in order, ma’am?”
On edge a bit, Leah replied, “…Yes, thanks. Pardon me, I – I was–“
“No, it is I who interrupted you. Please.” And off she went for another round of whatever she herself orbited.
Trying to recall what she had been doing, Dr. Bernheim turned to her CERN e-mail program:

Dear Leah:
Many thanks for the great news! You are always a welcome addition to my day, as you know, and may I say, my relief at your associates’ full recovery is not to be articulated. They are, of course, welcome to stay as long as they wish; only please inform when they do decide to depart. They appear to have caused no disruptions in the building, so I see no reason to bar them until they
are ready to leave. Circumstances being what they are, of course, your need to remain on site unfortunately continues. Regret that from the look of things, your office will not again be habitable until you are with us again in December; should your temp quarters be inadequate, let me know.
It appears that in order for the research through which you are now sifting to eventually be published it may be necessary to request that your
associates sign releases. I will check with Jacqueline. If you are not otherwise busy – with other than work, anyway – perhaps you will join my wife and me for dinner tonight? We will need to do so on site, naturally, so what would you say to the cafeteria at seven-thirty? We will naturally have
something ‘kosher’ brought in. Dr. Semmel and his wife may join us also, while your associates are also welcome if they wish. Please get back to me
or call my office when you can so we may arrive at a final head count.

There was also an e-mail from Dr. Schneider:

Dr. Bernheim:
Now that we’ve survived yesterday’s ordeal I’d like to ask if we can make another appointment for a second incursion, this time without the swords and the swashbuckling? No slight to your fighter pilots, but if we could isolate several slots and instead of entering them, take digital photographs of them and what can be seen inside them, this may help convince some. Given what’s happened to the explorers, I don’t suggest that anyone actually cross over, but I think that the photographs, and further instrument readings, may be helpful. Please give this some thought and get back to me. If your associates will be able to take the tour this afternoon, they are welcome any time.
Very truly yours,
Victor Schneider, Chief Engineer

Not the worst idea she’d heard today. Though given what can be done with CGI in movies of late, and Photoshop VI (whatever all that might be)… yes. That was where she’d fallen off the starship. So to speak. Another note for her laptop. “Why,” she typed on her open notepad program, “have there been absolutely no reports of anyone running afoul of the slots and stones? Do they only ‘exist’ or ‘register’ enough to indicate on our satellite arrays, and no more? Is it at all possible that one has to intend to enter it for it to be accessible?”
Leah viewed this entry after completing it, added, “Too anthropic?” and returned to her comparisons and calculations. A shadow passed in the office window, one cubicle over; another security officer doing perimeter check. Like the dozens of others working away at desks in the same large room she occupied, she did not look up. Until the MI6 mobile rang in her bag.

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Send author a comment on this post

February 15, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 328: Suicide? (Team Six)

“After the operation is complete," Sir Hal noted. "You’ll give yourself over. To them.
“Or before it’s complete. They can do what they like with me. And I will ask now that no one attempt to get me back. If it distracts them long enough so that Five can capture or eliminate them, it's worth it."
“Given their track record, Al-Adil, I’d think it certain that the ‘Horsemen’ will consider you dead weight, and do away with you.”
“Then it is G-d’s will.”

“And you claim that you are not a CIA plant…”
“I applied to them but they wouldn’t take me, sir.”
“What was that about cannon fodder?” observed Sir Hal. “You were not before, but you may have rendered yourself as such now.”
“I fully realize that, sir.”
The head of Five scanned each person in the room. “I agree, then. Dr. Bernheim will be given her protection for as long as is needed, and she may return to normalcy and live out her natural lifespan after the book is closed on ‘Sputnik’ and all action against guilty parties is concluded in Den Haag or elsewhere. If all goes south, depending, your fate shall either be Five’s or the Horsemen’s to decide. All have heard.”
“We have, Sir Hal,” Edith managed. The men assented also.
“Well and done. You, Al-Adil, will also hand in a sound recording of your communication with Pestilence to me, personally, once you have completed his call to you. No copy will be retained by anyone other than myself.”
“Yes, sir.”
“That being decided… Harvin, what’s the latest in regard to locating and rescuing Sir Lawrence?” This made no small impression on Leila: how Sir Hal switched off his negotiation with her and switched on his query about his old friend with almost no shift of emphasis.
Sir Harvin made an indication to Quecture, who said, “As it’s our thought that the Castle is detaining him, along with O’Carlan, naturally given the delicacy of other matters we’re casting an ever-widening net of acquaintances, relatives and such, and will continue to do so. We have no choice but to make the US Embassy our very last port of call.”
“Indeed,” said Prestell. “Much as it pains.”
“Here also, Harvin. Any sharing on that with the Agency?”
“No, Sir Hal. We don’t believe that we can be seen as suspecting them just now. ”
“I’ll make an inquiry when next I ring up Gibstein or his betters, if you like.”
“Appreciate the offer, Hal,” said Prestell, “but best not.”
“I gather also that no mention of anything Sputnik-related has been or shall be divulged to them?”
“Heavens, no, they’ll learn as we might have done. Considering of course that it's all but certain they're eyeballs deep in it already.”
“I’ve assigned Mackover in Counterterrorism a modicum of busywork to keep him out of the soup,” said Sir Hal. “Believe I’ll add an order to inventory locations and deportment of all known Agency personnel from 48 hours ago, forward.”
“Will you order to detain, Sir Hal, if it smells as if they’re participating?”
“Every damned one of them.”
“Very good, Sir Hal,” Quecture agreed.
“Then we wait,” concluded the head of Five. “At six PM GMT, at which point the original window will have shrunk to 7 to 24 hours, the operation goes live. Everyone shall at that time without exception be in place and ready,” Sir Hal added with a glance at Leila. “Code structure remains as is. Philip and Edith will mastermind it here, they will hand out operational names and all necessary materials not already distributed come the time. I will be on site around the clock, unless I am required in the field, and… if we make it, as the poet says, we can all sit back and laugh. Al-Adil, see Sangeeta now, please. Get the process moving.” Weston and Sir Harvin shook hands with the Five personnel and made to leave.
“Philip, Edith, Sir Hal, I’ll need your cell, um, mobile numbers…” Having received them, Leila promised updates.
“Welcome aboard, Leila,” Philip said, and moved back towards his temporary desk.
“…Thank you. Edith?”
“Yes, Leila…?”
“…Nice speed-reading on the ‘Silent Running’ file, by the way.”
“Best stimulant on the market,” the older woman replied. Something about both her and Philip’s aspect seemed different. She decided against wondering.

Eleven and Twelve found themselves dropped off at a large semi-derelict lorry
on the lip of Harold Wood Park, north of the South Arterial Road. Once they
were let in by their handler, the two middle-aged men from rural Bulgaria found clean bedding and packs of food. Enough for three days. Neither decided to voice a why.
“I was waiting for someone to come by and hire me,” said the first. “There is a depot where unemployed day laborers wait, on the Sofia-Thessaloniki Highway. Not far from the Rila Monastery, do you know it?”
His companion shook his head. “Now, I wish that I did.”

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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"A good writer is an expert on nothing but himself. And on that subject, if he is wise, he holds his tongue." --John le Carre

Exactly how interesting can the author be, anyway, when nobody has any idea where their creativity comes from or how the mechanics of inspiration works? Maybe it's something we all have access to. Maybe it's a sluice that empties into your head when you're facing in a particular direction and thinking a particular series of things. Then again, maybe not.
However benevolent inspiration really is, to say nothing of what it is, I suspect that any good fictional character is a lot more interesting than the person who dreams it up. So mine speak for me here.

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