A Devil is vaiting
It was late afternoon on Garrison Street, Brooklyn, as Daniel Holley sat at the wheel of an old Ford delivery truck, waiting for Dillon. There were parked vehicles, but little evidence of people.
Rain drove in across the East River, clouding his view of the coastal ships tied up to the pier that stretched ahead. A policeman emerged from an alley a few yards away, his uniform coat running with water, cap pulled down over his eyes. He banged on the truck with his nightstick.
Holley wound down the window. Can I help you, Officer?
I should imagine you could, you daft bastard, Sean Dillon told him. Me being wet to the skin already.
He scrambled in and Holley said, Why the fancy dress? Are we going to a party?
Of a sort. You see that decaying warehouse down there with the sign saying Murphy Son Import-Export?
How could I miss it? What about it? Holley took out an old silver case, extracted two cigarettes, lit them with a Zippo, and passed one over. Get your lips round that, you re shaking like a leaf. What s the gig?
Dillon took a quick drag. God help me, but that s good. Ferguson called me from Washington and told me to check the place out, but not to do anything till I got a call from him. He glanced at his watch. Which I m expecting just about now.
How kind of him to think of us. Brooklyn in weather like this is such a joy, Holley told him, and at that moment, Dillon s Codex sounded.
He switched to speaker and General Charles Ferguson s voice boomed out. You ve looked the place over, Dillon?
As much as I could. Two cars outside it, that s all. No sign of life.
Well, life there undoubtedly is. I made an appointment by telephone for you, Daniel, with Patrick Murphy. Your name is Daniel Grimshaw, and you re representing a Kosovo Muslim religious group seeking arms for defense purposes.
And who exactly is Murphy and what s it all about? Holley asked.
As you two well know, several dissident groups, all IRA in one way or another, have raised their ugly heads once again. The security services have managed to foil a number of potentially nasty incidents, but luck won t always be on their side. You ll remember the incident in Belfast not long ago when a bomb badly injured three policemen, one of whom lost his left arm. Since then another policeman has been killed by a car bomb.
I heard about that, Dillon said.
Police officers are having to check under their cars again, just like in the bad old days, and some of them are finding explosive devices. We can t have that. And there s more. Attempts have started again to smuggle arms into Ulster. Last week, a trawler called the Amity tried to land a cargo on the County Down coast and was sighted by a Royal Navy gunboat. The crew did a runner and haven t been caught, but I ve firm evidence that the cargo of assorted weaponry originated with Murphy Son.
Was your source MI5?
Good Lord, no. You know how much the security services hate us. The Prime Minister s private army, getting to do whatever we want, as long as we have the Prime Minister s warrant. At least that s what they think. They just don t appreciate how necessary our services are in today s world
Holley cut in. Especially when we shoot people for them.
You know my attitude on that, Ferguson said.
Getting back to Murphy Son, why not get the FBI to handle them? We are in New York, after all.
I d rather not bother our American cousins. This comes from Northern Ireland, and that s our patch. Part of the UK.
I ve always thought that was part of the problem, Dillon said with a certain irony. But never mind. What do you want us to do?
Find out who ordered the bloody weapons in the first place, and I don t want to hear any crap about some Irish American with a romantic notion about the gallant struggle for Irish freedom.
Lean on them hard? Holley asked.
Daniel, they re out to make a buck selling weapons that kill people. He was impatient now. I couldn t care less what happens to them.
Wonderful, Dillon told him. You ve appointed us to be public executioners.
It s a bit late in the day to complain about that, Ferguson told him. For both of you. What do they say in the IRA? Once in, never out?
Funny, Holley said. We thought that was your motto. But never mind. We ll probably do your dirty work for you again. We usually do. How do you want them? Alive or dead?
We re at war, Daniel. Remember the four bastards who raped your young cousin to death in Belfast? They were all members of a terrorist organization. You shot them dead yourself. Are you telling me you regret what you did?
Not for a moment. That s the trouble.
Dillon said, Leave him alone, Charles, he ll do what has to be done. Have you seen the President yet?
No, I m sitting here in the Hay-Adams with Harry Miller, looking out over the terrace at the White House, waiting for the limousine to deliver us to the Oval Office. We ve prepared to brief him on the security for his visit to London on Friday, all twenty-four hours of it. As far as I can tell, we ve got everything locked down, including his visit to Parliament and the luncheon reception on the terrace.
Westminster Bridge to the left, the Embankment on the far side, Dillon said.
Yes, you ve got experience with the terrace, haven t you? Ferguson said. Anyway, the Gulfstream is standing by, ready and waiting, so the moment I m free, it s off to New York for this UN reception at the Pierre. I want you two there, too.
Any particular reason?
I ve got someone new joining the team from the Intelligence Corps.
Really? Holley asked. What have we got?
Captain Sara Gideon, a brilliant linguist. Speaks fluent Pashtu, Arabic, and Iranian. Just what we ve been needing.
Is that all? Holley joked.
Ah, I was forgetting Hebrew.
Dillon said, You haven t gone and recruited an Israeli, have you?
That would be illegal, Dillon. No, she s a Londoner. There have been Gideons around since the seventeenth century. I m sure you ve heard of the Gideon Bank. She inherited it. While she pursues her military agenda, her grandfather sits in for her as chairman of the board.
You mean she s one of those Gideons? Dillon said. So why isn t she married to some obliging millionaire, and what the hell is she doing in the army?
Because at nineteen, she was at college in Jerusalem brushing up on her Hebrew before going up to Oxford when her parents visited her and were killed in a Hamas bus bombing.
Ah-ha, Holley said. So she chose Sandhurst instead of Oxford.
And in the last nine years has served with the Intelligence Corps in Belfast, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and two tours in Afghanistan.
Jesus, what in the hell is she after? Dillon said. Is she seeking revenge, is she a war junkie, what?
Roper s just posted her full history, so you can read it for yourself.
I wouldn t miss it for anything, Dillon said.