that when they found out what they'd got, there would have been some pretty unhappy gentlemen at Tuwaithah.

'The story put out was that he had got himself involved with a lunatic fringe outfit called the Animal Liberation Front and that rather than face the shame of exposure he took his own life,

'We were quite good about it to his family. We cocked up some story about a promotion having just been agreed, so ins widow gets a better pension, and more importantly she doesn't holler her mouth off. She's left the district already and the house is up for sale.

'It's the old story, it never happened. There was no Colt, there was no Bill Erlich, there was no Frederick Bissett…'

The aircraft cabin was filling.

There was the frantic stampede of passengers along the aisle of the aircraft. For the life of him Tork could not understand why it was that grown men and women, all with their own seats, needed to behave as if there were one last place at the back of a Moscow bread queue. Noise all around them, shouting dinning in their ears.

Tork said, 'You'll be working at Dimona, I suppose. We're just a little way back from the seafront in Tel Aviv. Do stay in touch, this is my card…

'The sadness of it is that what you do, I do, may only delay the work at Tuwaithah and Mount Karochooq. It's a dangerous world, and I doubt that we have made it less dangerous for more than a few months. What my masters and your masters will do with those few months, God knows. My guess is that my masters will wake up to the threat when it's too late, to the terrifying reality of a nuclear capability in Iraq. But then, that's the sort of people they are…'

The engines were on, gathering power.

The Swede slept.

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