(Prequel to Take Away)
by Corwalch and Falcone
(Author's note: Lewis Collins's character Captain Robin Wesley is from the movie Code Name: Wild Geese.)
"There he is." Colin identified the dark haired, impeccably dressed man entering the cemetery. "Better tell Joe to get ready."
After passing the information on to their man in the cemetery, Dave couldn't resist commenting, "it's the only damn thing he is regular about."
"Be grateful," Colin advised. "Otherwise it would've been a helluva lot harder - if not impossible to take him."
Unaware of their interest, the man, they'd been waiting for, followed a well known path, his thoughts dwelling on his destination. Reaching Michael's grave, Wesley made a mental note to send the caretaker a gift for taking such good care of his son's grave. His attention on the headstone and his thoughts on the person resting beneath it, Wesley's mind barely registered the presence of the brown haired man standing a few feet away by another headstone.
Knowing he would only get one good shot, Joe Morgan waited until his target was stationary, staring at the headstone in front of him. Firing the tranquilliser gun, Morgan began a slow, silent count, moving off to one side as he did so.
It took the sedative about ten to fifteen seconds to take full effect. It was possible for a well-trained, determined individual to get off a shot in that time. Wesley's reputation made that a very definite possibility, if the drug didn't put him down fast enough. By eight, Wesley's gun was drawn, but his reaction time was much slower as the sedative continued to take effect. Morgan dropped behind a headstone to be on the safe side. When his count reached twelve, he saw Wesley begin sinking toward the ground.
At fifteen, Morgan reached into his jacket for his R/T. "He's down. Come help me get him out of here. We've only got thirty minutes to deliver him to Jamison at the air base and don't forget to clean out his car. London wants everything."
"Let's get him out of these clothes." Jamison told his partner, once the military cargo plane had taken off from Hong Kong.
Within an hour, the unconscious man was no longer impeccably dressed. Faded jeans, a dark blue poloneck, scuffed trainers, and a worn, leather jacket had replaced Wesley's suit and shoes.
Loosely strapping Wesley to the stretcher-like sleeping bunk, Jamison asked. "Have you got that hypo ready, Frank?"
"Yeah," Frank moved carefully across the slightly rocking cargo bay deck, a small box in his hand.
"How long will that keep him out?" Drugs were more his partner's area of expertise.
"On top of what's already in his system," Frank injected the contents of the hypo into a vein near Wesley's elbow, "he'll be out for about sixteen to eighteen hours. He's gonna be very groggy when he wakes up. He's also gonna have one helluva hangover."
"Good. We'll be in London by then 'n he'll be Willis' problem." The last thing Jamison wanted to deal with was an alert, angry mercenary. And Wesley is going to very angry, he had no doubt about that. He will have no qualms about killing us.
"What d'you s'pose Willis wants from 'im?" Frank hooked his thumb over his shoulder toward Wesley as he made himself comfortable.
Dropping the small duffel bag containing Wesley's clothes and personal possessions onto a nearby bunk, his partner shrugged, "dunno. Remmie didn't exactly take me into 'is confidence." He picked up the cards Frank had dealt him. "Then again, Willis probably didn't tell him. That man's real security conscious."
"Paranoid." Frank corrected, looking at his cards. "'E's seen too many James Bond movies."
"Three," Jamison laid down several cards. "Wonder if Willis knows just what kind of tiger 'e's getting in 'is cage."
"Doubt it." Frank dealt the requested cards. "From what I've heard 'e worked the German station, then ran it, until 'e was promoted back t' London. Wesley's never been outside Asia. One thing's for sure, Wesley's not gonna be too thrilled with Willis' method of invitin' 'im, which means Willis is gonna have a hard time gettin' whatever it is 'e wants from 'im."
"That's not our problem." Jamison reminded him. "Our job is just t' deliver 'im - intact - to that warehouse on the London docks."
As Brian Macklin started to come around the corner of the dock warehouse that marked the final leg of the course he had chosen through the docks this week, for his early morning run, a black Renault was coming up the alley from the other end. Something's up. His instincts on alert, Macklin retreated around the corner, before they could spot him. An expensive car like that doesn't usually show up in this part of Town. At least not this early in the day.
As the trainer peered carefully around the corner to see what was going on, two men pulled a struggling third man out of the rear car door. A moment later, he got his first look at the face of the third man.
Judging by the little he could see of Bodie's attire, not his usual immaculate style, Macklin was willing to bet that Bodie had been on an undercover assignment and that somehow his cover had been blown. Must've been a deep cover operation, otherwise his back-up would've tried to get him clear of these two by now.
As his mind slipped into high gear, working on a way to free the agent, Macklin couldn't help feeling a touch of pride in Bodie. The agent had either been drugged or worked over, possibly both, but he was still proving to be quite a handful for his captors. Definitely one of Cowley's best. Not that he would ever admit that out loud. Bodie would either have to be dead, or unconscious, before an enemy could safely turn their back on him.
His captor's had finally gotten a firm hold on him when a loud, off- key song came warbling toward them, and echoing through Wesley's head, making it ache even more. For a brief moment Wesley debated on who he'd rather kill more: his kidnappers...or that damn drunk who thinks he can sing.
He was surprised a moment later, when the scruffily dressed drunk attacked one of his captors. Being surprised didn't keep Wesley from taking advantage of the unexpected help though. While his moves were slower and clumsier than the blonde's, owing to the handcuff's and the after-effects of whatever drug his captors had given him, he still managed to take out his man - without killing the bastard, even though he really wanted to, but you couldn't get information from a dead man. They were notoriously bad conversationalists.
His opponent taken care of, Macklin turned, intending to give Bodie a hand, in time to see him drop his man with a two handed blow between the shoulders. When Bodie turned toward him, Macklin could see that he was a little unsteady on his feet and breathing hard, but the agent was clearly ready to take on his other captor, if necessary. That was when Macklin saw for the first time the handcuffs on Bodie's wrist. He also noted with approval that Bodie didn't relax his defensive stance, until he saw for himself that the other man was also no longer a threat.
However, before the trainer had a chance to find out just what he'd stumbled into, Bodie knelt beside the man, he'd taken out, and began going through his pockets with a single-minded intensity. It didn't take too much guesswork on Macklin's part to figure out that he was looking for the handcuffs keys. Keeping an eye out for possible trouble, just in case these two had friends coming, Macklin rolled his man over and started emptying his pockets.
"Bodie. Bodie!" Macklin had to call his name twice before the agent looked at him. The slightly glazed eyes confirmed his guess that the dark haired agent had been drugged. "Found the keys."
The time it took Bodie to react and take the smaller of the two key rings combined with the fact that Bodie was looking at him like he'd never seen him before, worried the trainer. Bodie had responded to his name so Macklin hoped it was just a slight side effect of the drugs Bodie's former captors had given him. Bodie with partial amnesia was not something he really wanted to contemplate or deal with especially if in Bodie's mind, he was still a mercenary. "Are you okay, Bodie?"
Bodie's head nodded slightly as he concentrated on unlocking the handcuffs. Aware of Bodie's dislike of hospital's, Macklin knew better than to take that claim at face value. Bodie's the type who'll say he's all right, even if he's about to keel over. Which is a distinct possibility especially if these two gave him something meant to put him out for a while.
Once he had the handcuffs off, Bodie climbed slowly back to his feet and stood there motionless. Running on automatic, Macklin was certain, but not for much longer. 3.7 was swaying slightly as the surge of adrenalin began to wear off. His face was also noticeably paler, making the stubble on his jaw stand out. The after-effects of an adrenalin rush, meeting the effects of whatever they pumped into his system. It's going to be a race to see what happens first. Macklin knew that from experience. Will Bodie throw up or pass out?
Since he wasn't one of the few, who could talk Bodie into doing something he didn't want to do, Macklin decided to save himself some time and trouble and tell Bodie that he was taking him to hospital, after he passed out. It'll be much easier to make him see reason then.
One thing was for sure, he was going to need some help to deal with an unconscious agent and two, unconscious prisoners. "I don't suppose you had your R/T on you when they took you?"
"No." Macklin barely heard his softly spoken answer.
Though it had been a long shot, he'd been hoping for a different answer it confirmed that Bodie had indeed been on a deep cover assignment. The only time agents were ever supposed to be without their R/T's was when they were undercover. Since being a trainer was not an active duty position, Macklin had gotten out of the habit of carrying an R/T everywhere he went. These days, he was only required to carry one when they were conducting the training exercises for the Grade 7 Security checks. If Bodie had been carrying his, then there was a chance it would be in their car, since neither of his captors seem to have it on them.
Oh well, Macklin shrugged, I'll just have to improvise, at least until I can get some help. Towser should be at the Training Centre by now. "Let me have the handcuffs, Bodie."
Dragging his man closer to Bodie's, he cuffed them together, left wrist to left wrist. Let's see them move fast, hooked together like that.
Now, let's see who you are. Turning his attention to the wallet he'd taken off his man, Macklin was surprised. MI6. He's part of Willis' mob. That made the trainer very glad he'd interfered with their attempted abduction. What about the other man? It took a few moments to find the answer, another MI6 ID. card identifying the man as Paul Jamison.
Shaking his head in disgust, Macklin stood up. Willis' new in-house training program is very sloppy. On their worst day I shouldn't've been able to free their prisoner. At least, not without a great deal of difficulty. Willis is definitely going to have to refine his training methods, or his men are going to be filling the graveyards.
Aware of Willis' previous attempt to frame Bodie on a murder charge, Macklin couldn't help wondering what Bodie was to being set up for this time. And why bring him down to the warehouses on the docks? Why not MI6 headquarters? It certainly would've been a more secure location. The answer to that came to him a moment later. Willis wants Bodie where he can get his hands on him quickly, but where there's little chance of anyone, meaning Cowley, or Doyle finding out he's got Bodie. Now for the big question - what do I do with these two?
Studying the keys on the other key ring for a moment, Macklin decided to stuff the two MI6 men in the trunk and deliver them and Bodie to Cowley. If Willis was indeed setting Bodie up to take a fall again, then the safest place for him to be was CI5 Headquarters. The way Willis operated, these two wouldn't be able to tell Cowley much, even after he put the fear of God - and George Cowley into them. The old man would even be forced to let them go - eventually. Which won't sit too well with him. Macklin was sure of that.
"Bodie keep an eye on things, while I get the trunk open. I don't think we need any more company." Macklin waited until Bodie took up a watching position against the wall of the warehouse.
It took several tries before he found the right key. Macklin hoped that Bodie hadn't passed out yet. It would take less time to tie up the loose ends with his help, so they could get out of the area, before any more of Willis' men showed up. When he came back for the MI6 men, and started to ask Bodie to help him put the two MI6 agents in the trunk, he changed his mind upon seeing that at the dark haired agent was swaying slightly on his feet. Pulling open the rear door, Macklin motioned for Bodie to take a seat. "Here, have seat. I want to check you over." After making sure Bodie hadn't taken a blow to the head, he informed him, "I'll be done in a couple of minutes."
He dragged the handcuffed men to the back of the car and manoeuvred them into the trunk. When he closed the lid on them, he saw that Bodie had vanished.
Macklin checked the area over trying to find a trace of where he'd gone. Finding no sign of the agent in the immediate area, Macklin headed back for the car the MI6 agent's had so thoughtfully provided, to begin a wider search of the area. In a car he could move faster than Bodie could on foot. His one hope, if he didn't find Bodie before reaching CI5 Headquarters with his cargo, was that the fool had had enough sense to head either straight back to Base, or to the Training Centre. It was closer. He'd stop there on the way and alert Towser and call Cowley to alert him to the situation.
Thinking about the Head of CI5, reminded him. Cowley's going to love hearing that Willis is after Bodie again. Macklin made a mental note to hold the receiver well away from his ear after he gave him the news. There was no telling how Cowley would react to the news.
After putting some distance between himself and his former captors, Wesley slowed his pace and began looking for a safe, quiet place to hide for a while. Sooner or later, his former captors, or whoever'd hired them, were going to start searching for him and he was going to need his wits about him, if he was going to survive and get back home. He needed time to recover from whatever they'd given him, plan, and gather information on where he was.
From the little he'd seen of his surroundings, so far, Wesley was fairly certain he was on their homeground, which meant the odds were almost all in their favour. Using governmental help to try and shift those odds back a little more in his favour, was out - at least for the moment. Whoever had arranged his abduction, probably had a few policemen and government agencies in their back pockets. He knew from experience that those who ran any kind of illegal operation usually did have a few government officials in their back pockets, otherwise they wouldn't be able to operate successfully for very long.
Checking the first floor and cellar windows in some of the more abandoned looking buildings, Wesley's thoughts drifted back to the blond stranger who'd helped him escape. He was good, Wesley silently praised the man's skill. Definitely a professional of some kind - maybe even a merc. He was grateful for the man's aid, even if it was because he'd been mistaken for...What was the name the blond had used? Bodie. That's it. He obviously had a twin running around here. Wherever the hell here was. This Bodie must be a professional soldier of some kind since my actions back there didn't make him suspicious. Wesley couldn't help wondering just what this - Bodie did for a living, but he didn't dwell on it too long, having more important problems to deal with.
After several more tries, Wesley finally found an open cellar window. Moving slowly through the broken door, he found a stairwell and another cellar room with an old, rusty looking lock on it. Ignoring that for the moment, Wesley moved cautiously up the stairs, trying to make as little noise as possible, just in case there were other people in the building, maybe dossing down. Even though there were no sounds betraying the presence of people, coming down the stairwell, Wesley faded back into the stairwell shadows, positioning himself so that he could see the whole of the area at the top of the stairs. The large, empty room with an office on the far side matched the grimy, run-down exterior, from the broken windows high up on the walls to the thick layer of dirt and debris on the floor. The whole place had an air of having been abandoned for quite some time. Wesley watched the office for several minutes, before accepting the fact that there was no one here. My luck is improving.
A few moments later, Wesley was cursing his optimism as the throbbing headache and nausea that had been held at bay by the adrenalin rush, finally returned - with a vengeance. He needed to find a place to lie down - before he fell down. There was an element of risk in staying here since it wasn't all that far from where he'd left his former captors, but at this point his chances of finding someplace safer before he passed out were practically nil, so this place would have to do. Isn't exactly the Hong Kong Hilton, but beggars can't afford to be choosers.
The office would give him the best possible chance of his remaining undisturbed, and the debris on the floor was the kind that would give him plenty of warning if his former captors, or anyone else decided to check this place out. Heading over to the office, Wesley stepped carefully in a trail of footprints, someone else had made to it. Obviously he wasn't the first person to take shelter here.
Only a few, large shards remained in place of the three glass panes, that had made up the top half of the office walls. The rest of the fragments littered the floor, crunching under his feet. Over against the back wall was a battered, old sofa. Just what I need. Checking it over, Wesley was pleased to find it free of glass. Must've been swept clean by whoever used it last.
Settling on the sofa, Wesley knew he would be sleeping lightly. Rule One when in enemy territory. Especially if you wanted to live to be an old mercenary.
"It's Laumer, sir," got his undivided attention. He'd been waiting for this call.
"How is my guest enjoying his new accommodations?"
"I wouldn't know, sir." There was a long pause, but before Willis could get impatient and demand explanation, he continued. "There was no one...ah...here..., sir."
Willis' hand clenched tightly around the receiver. "The plane carrying Remmie's agents and my guest landed at the RAF base over two hours ago. It's not that far to London, so where could they've gone?"
"I don't know sir." Laumer sounded a little calmer since he wasn't the one at fault. "When I arrived, there was no one here."
"What kind of idiots has Remmie got working for him?" Willis muttered. "Surely they can read a map!"
"It is possible he managed to get away from them before they could get him to the warehouse. Sir." was added as a nervous afterthought. "He is supposed to be one of the best."
Willis gritted his teeth, clamping down on his anger. "Have you searched the area to see if maybe they went to the wrong warehouse?"
"Yes sir." Laumer assured him. "I found no trace of them anywhere in the area."
"Start searching further out and I'll arrange for the area between here and the RAF base to be checked. If you find them, let me know immediately." Willis ordered before he hung up.
Willis vented his frustration by slamming his fist down onto the top of his desk. Damn! Why did this have to happen now? I had this all so carefully planned.
The first possibility was that there had been an accident and all three were in the hospital. In a way he hoped that was the case, because that would mean he still had Captain Wesley in his possession and there would just be a delay in getting the information he was after.
The other possibility was that Laumer was right and Wesley had managed to get away from the two men Remmie assigned to bring him in from Hong Kong. If that turned out to be the case then the big problem would be getting Wesley back.
Unlocking his top desk drawer, Willis removed a thin file from his locked desk drawer and flipped it open. Looking at the contents, Willis couldn't help thinking, It is a pity that my sources couldn't locate a picture of Captain Robin Wesley. Indeed there hadn't been much information available on the mercenary at all. Not quite the invisible man, but very close.
If Wesley had indeed gotten away from Remmie's agents, then the lack of a photograph of Wesley, was going to make it much harder for his agents to find the man. Wesley's general description matched hundreds of men in and around London area alone.
Working at least for the moment on the assumption that Wesley had indeed gotten away from Remmie's two agents, Willis started thinking, trying to figure out what Wesley would do now. The man was no fool. Having taken out his captors, Wesley would've taken their car; A) To slow down their pursuit of him and B) transportation would enable him to get further away before the pursuit did start, but he wouldn't be stupid enough to keep the car any longer than he had to. Still, since according to my Hong Kong sources, Wesley was born in Hong Kong and has never been further West than Thailand or further East than Japan. Which means I'll have several things working in my favour.
Remmie's men were told to leave his passport in Hong Kong, so he won't be able to leave the country, at least not through any of the legal channels. Remembering Remmie's two men were carrying their own passports, Willis was fairly certain that Wesley would have taken their identification and their wallets along with his own, so he would have their funds available to him, as well. But given the fact that Wesley has no known contacts here in Britain, and no way of quickly acquiring them., he shouldn't be able to get either of their passports altered so he can use it.
It would be foolish to hope that Wesley would remain ignorant of the fact that his two abductors had MI6 ID's. It didn't necessarily mean that he would believe the ID's were genuine, but it would be safe to assume that Wesley would consider going to the authorities an unacceptable risk because of those ID's. At least for now, he amended. Of course, if Wesley does decide to take the risk of going to the authorities then I will have him.
After a few more minutes consideration, Willis decided to concentrate the search in and around London; at least until the car was located. Since Wesley was operating in unfamiliar territory, Willis thought it highly unlikely that he would choose to go to ground in the smaller towns or countryside. He would attract unwanted attention there and his talent for being unorthodox and thinking on his feet, would not be an asset there. In a large city, Wesley would be able to use his skills to try and blend in with the crowds. Large cities also had more places to hide in. Not that he would be able to remain hidden for long.
Another important question was; had he recovered his gun from Remmie's men? If he had, then he could be dangerous since he would be suspicious of any law enforcement or government agency. He would have to warn his men to be very cautious and take Wesley - alive. Dead, the information, that Captain Wesley had somehow managed to get his hands on, would be lost forever and he wanted the list of names. He had plans for those who were on that list.
After briefing the search team on who they were to look for, and issuing the appropriate orders to the Police, Willis turned his attention back to the Wesley file, reviewing the contents one more time to make sure he hadn't overlooked anything major. The mercenary Captain was going to be a tough nut to crack once he was returned to Willis's custody. His record as a mercenary soldier was proof of that, if nothing else. Willis had no doubt that the man would deny having a list of powerful international drug dealers, but he had put together more than enough circumstantial evidence to dispute that claim.
Reviewing the information on the four men, he believed Wesley had killed, Willis couldn't help admiring the efficiency of his methods. Wesley wasn't taking them out all at once, that would have alerted the drug dealers and they would've taken steps of their own. Instead he was exercising a lot of patience, taking them out at widely spaced intervals, and making sure any connection to him was purely coincidental. Wesley could only be definitely connected to one of the four deaths. It had taken his people almost a year to link Wesley in any way to the other three deaths, and that connection was in some people's minds tenuous at best
Charleton, another mercenary was the first, killed in the Golden Triangle by Wesley, but only a select few knew that. To the public, or at least those members of the public that cared about such things, Charleton was missing and presumed dead in the Triangle.
William Brenner had been the next killed. While Brenner had a reputation as a philanthropist and had acted as the supposed front man for the raid to destroy the opium, he had long been suspected by certain people of being a major drug dealer. Brenner had been killed by an unknown assassin in his office, shortly after Wesley's raid on both of General Chen's opium processing plants. The public believed that Brenner had been killed supposedly in retribution for the raid that had taken out a large chunk of General Chen's drug operation in the Golden Triangle
When his people had questioned Brenner's staff, they learned that only one person had ever gotten in to see Brenner - armed... Robin Wesley. They had also learned that Wesley and Charleton were the only two who had known Brenner long enough to be aware of any secret ways in to or out of his office. The same select few who knew that Wesley had killed Charleton, also believed that he was the one who had killed Brenner. Not that he would ever be brought trial for it, there was no real proof. It was Wesley's personal knowledge of Brenner, and his desire for vengeance against the drug dealers who'd killed his son, that made them 99% certain that he was the assassin.
The third death had occurred about five months after Brenner's. George Mayfair, a drug and weapons dealer had died when he lost control of his car on a winding road, during a storm. MI6 had been working with the Hong Kong Police, trying to identify all of his suppliers. Mayfair's death had been ruled an unfortunate accident, but one of Remmie's people who'd been following Mayfair had seen Wesley coming out of the Peninsula hotel's underground garage shortly before Mayfair had left there on his last drive.
The most recent death had been a drug dealer named Don Beatty. Two months ago, he had been killed by a car bomb in the carpark of a fashionable Hong Kong restaurant. His death had irritated the Hong Kong Drug Squad no end, especially since they'd finally gotten enough evidence to put him away. Rereading Wesley's statement to the Hong Kong Police, Willis couldn't help admiring the mercenary's thoroughness - and his nerve. Few people would arrange for an airtight alibi several weeks in advance, that would provide them with a ringside seat for the event. The Police investigation had finally put Beatty's death down to a power struggle within his organization.
All in all at least four known or suspected drug dealers had been killed since Wesley's raid, and in each case the mercenary had either been in the immediate area, or had access to the victim. That was too much of a coincidence for Willis. Given Wesley's well known hatred of drug dealers, Willis was certain that the mercenary had managed, somehow, to get his hands on General Chen's list of buyers and was using it for his personal war. Willis had plans of his own for that list and he was going to get it. No matter how stubborn Wesley proved to be in the beginning, Willis knew he would win in the end. He'd had plenty of experience dealing with stubborn sources of information.
Cowley's private line buzzed, "Cowley."
"You've got a problem, George. I just rescued Bodie from two of Willis' men a little while ago." The training instructor came straight to the point.
"You what?" That took Cowley's attention from the report he was looking at and centered it on the phone call.
"I came across two of Willis' men trying to take Bodie into a warehouse down on the docks." Macklin explained. "He was acting like he'd been drugged. Either Bodie is slipping, or Willis' men are improving. Which makes it the only area they are excelling in."
"Bodie has been in Records all morning."
"Are you sure, sir? Maybe he left for some reason." Macklin was positive it had been Bodie, he'd rescued. After all, there is only one of him. Thank God! "I'm certain I interrupted two of Willis' men when they were trying to put Bodie on ice down in a warehouse on the docks. Bodie took off before I'd finished stuffing Willis' men in the trunk of their car. I searched for him all the way in to the Centre, I wanted to let Towser know what was going on so he could keep an eye out for Bodie, and alert you to what was going on, but I never saw him. Considering the shape he was in, I'd be surprised if he made it back to Base. I'd planned on to taking him to hospital, once I'd dropped Willis' men off there, but as I said he took off before I could."
"Just a minute," The Head of CI5 put in a call to Records, to be certain.
"Is Bodie there?" Cowley wanted to know.
"Yes sir." Jessup added. "He just got back a few minutes ago."
"Back from where?" Cowley demanded.
Jessup looked over at Bodie. "From the crumbs, I'd say breakfast, sir."
"Tell him, I want to see him in my office, immediately." Cowley ordered, before returning his attention to Macklin. "He apparently made it back here in one piece. Where did you leave Willis' men? "
"They're still in the trunk of the car, and I haven't heard a peep out of them, so I'd say they're still out. I've got Towser keeping an eye on it, just in case they wake up." Macklin informed him. "I figured you'd want to talk to them, even though they probably won't be able to tell you much."
"Thank you for alerting me to the situation, Brian. Please bring your 'guests' to HQ. I'd like to talk with them" Cowley dismissed him. "I'll look into the matter."
As Macklin hung up, he knew that those two, flatly delivered statements did not bode well for either Bodie's or Willis' immediate future. Knowing Cowley as he did, the trainer was willing to bet that Bodie would soon be raked over the coals for not reporting the attempted abduction to Cowley as soon as he'd gotten back to Headquarters. In fact, knowing Cowley, Bodie would be lucky to get out of his office in one piece.
That wouldn't last long though. Cowley's usual punishment for a screw- up like this, was a two week refresher course with him. A slight smile on his face, Macklin began to plan the next few weeks of Bodie's life.
"Oy, Bodie!" Jessup shouted at the sleeping man.
"Huh," Bodie jerked awake. "What?"
"Shift your arse, Bodie." Jessup told him, keeping out of range. "The old man wants you. Now."
"Why? What's Doyle done now?"
"It's you, 'e wants." Jessup countered. "What'd'ja do? Fiddle Accounts?"
Bodie gave him an innocent look as he got to his feet. "Who me? I wouldn't do anything like that." Heading out the door he muttered, "at least not bad enough to get caught."
Taking the quickest route to Cowley's office, Bodie wondered just what it was the Cow wanted to see him about. He doubted it could be his last job. Even though he hated baby-sitting ops, especially when he was without his partner, and the man had been a large pain in the arse, Bodie was certain he hadn't mucked anything up recently. So, it has to have been Doyle.
Betty looked up as he entered her office. "Go on in."
Yeah, go in and lay my head quietly on the block. Bodie thought, opening Cowley's office door. What's Doyle dropped me in now?
As Bodie took up parade rest stance in front of his boss's desk, Cowley's attention remained firmly fixed on the papers in front of him. Bodie remained silent, determined to out-wait his boss - this time. After ten minutes, Bodie conceded the game to a long-time master again. "You wanted to see me, sir?"
"Where have you been this morning?" There was a sharp edge to Cowley's voice.
"Well sir, I came...Doyle and I signed in at 0700. I went with Ray as far as Medical, then I went down to Records."
"Did you stay there? You knew I wanted the report from that information compiled on the Reichman Gang."
Cowley's questions and tone had Bodie confused. "No sir...missed breakfast, so I went to the canteen for a bit."
"Macklin just called." Cowley watched Bodie intently.
"Sir?" The abrupt change of topics confused Bodie, but then this whole conversation hadn't been making any sense.
"He told me, he rescued you from two of Willis' men this morning."
"He what?! I haven't seen that...that...man in a fortnight!" If he hadn't known his boss so well, Bodie would've thought Cowley was playing a very bad joke on him.
The expression of shock and surprise on Bodie's face was very good, but Cowley knew him too well to be fooled by his acting ability. Still, Bodie didn't look as though he'd been in a fight, or drugged. "You're sure?"
"Yes Sir." Bodie responded stiffly.
"That will be all." Cowley dismissed him.
"Yes sir." Bodie paused, curious. "Sir, what's going on?"
"That's all. And Bodie, I want that report before you leave this evening." That should keep Bodie in the building until he either found out what Willis was up to, or else Doyle was out of Medical and could watch his partner's back once Cowley had alerted him to what Willis was up to.
Once the door had closed behind Bodie, Cowley sat back to do some serious thinking.
One: Macklin claims that he rescued Bodie from two of Willis' men and he isn't the type to make mistakes.
Two: Bodie denies the incident ever occurred and Bodie normally isn't one to tell me lies, especially after being confronted with the truth, or if the matter were a serious one. The connection to Willis makes the matter serious for Bodie and CI5.
Three: Even if Bodie were foolish enough to lie to me, there is no way he could've recovered that quickly from a beating or a sedative. Willis would've had to use a strong one, just to have a hope of containing an angry Bodie. Given these facts, Cowley was left with only one possible answer - Skellen.
Skellen was the only person, he knew of, who could possibly be mistaken for Bodie, even up close. To the best of his knowledge, Macklin had never met the SAS Captain, so it would be very easy for him to make that kind of mistake, especially if Skellen hadn't stayed around to correct his misconception. The fact that they were nearly identical twins had been something both Cowley and Colonel Headley had taken advantage of from time to time.
The problem now was to find out just what kind of an operation Willis had borrowed Skellen for, so he could protect his agent from being mistaken for Skellen while it was going on. He was also curious enough to want to know why Willis would feel it necessary to stage a kidnapping of Skellen. That was a bit much even for Willis' sense of the dramatic. He knew Willis wouldn't tell him what was going on, but Headley might.
Cowley dialled the number for SAS headquarters. "Please connect me with Colonel Headley." He requested. "Tell him, it's George Cowley."
Headley's voice came over the phone a few moments later. "George! This is a surprise."
Cowley came straight to the point. "Why didn't you let me know that Skellen was going to be involved in an operation with MI6 here in London?"
"Skellen in London. Impossible!" Headley contradicted sharply. "He's on detached duty to the MoD."
"I realize you have to say that, especially with Willis," Cowley's voice was filled with disgust as he said the name, "involved. But I do wish you had told me Skellen was going to be operating in London, so I could get my lads out. Neither of us want Bodie or Skellen being mistaken for each other."
"That's highly unlikely George," Headley disagreed. "Skellen's on light duty at the moment and has been for several weeks now."
"He's in London." Cowley insisted. "Brian Macklin saw him this morning, only he mistook Skellen for Bodie."
"Look George, I'll get on to the MoD, find out where they've sent Skellen today, and I'll have him stop in and see you." Headley offered. "All right?"
"Thank you Colonel."
"An unguarded weapons cache - here. Willie's either gone 'round the twist, or he must've had a snootful last night." Lucas couldn't resist commenting as he looked the abandoned warehouse over.
"He may be a drunk but he's still pretty good with locks, and his information has always been reliable. And it may be guarded, he just said there wasn't anyone about when he dossed down here last night." McCabe defended his informant. "When I checked with Records, they said this place belonged to an IRA sympathizer. 'E's doing a bird at the moment, but that probably wouldn't stop 'em from using it. I mean, can you think of a better place to use as a temporary dump?"
"If this cache is for real, then they must plan on having Guy Fawkes Day a little early this year." Lucas put in as they got out of the car. "D'you remember to bring something to pry the boxes open with?"
McCabe patted the bag hanging over his shoulder. "Right here, along with the tracers."
They moved cautiously around the dilapidated looking warehouse, looking for a way in as well as signs that the building was in use. The front doors had a huge rusty looking padlock on it that upon close examination, showed signs of recently being opened. The windows on the sides were too high up to get through gracefully. Turning down the nearest alley they headed toward the rear of the warehouse, looking for a rear entrance or cellar window. Moving cautiously, in case Willie's information was no longer up-to-date, McCabe led the way toward the cellar windows that dotted the back of it. Finding one that was open, they entered an empty room.
"See, no cache," Lucas couldn't resist telling his partner who was checking out the area beyond the door
"He said the room, he'd found the cache in, had a lock on the door." McCabe pointed out from the doorway. "And the one next door has a lock on it."
Watching his partner manipulate the lock tumblers, Lucas asked. "Willie teach you that?"
"Yeah, comes in handy, if I get locked out of my car in the middle of the night. Violá!" McCabe pushed the door open cautiously, only to encounter no one on the other side.
Turning to survey the contents of the cellar room, Lucas whistled softly. Impressive - especially if they all contain arms. He guessed that there were fifteen or twenty boxes and crates of various sizes stacked in this room. Lucas softly commented. "Hope we've got enough tracers for this lot."
"Should," McCabe told him. "Let's just get 'em planted and get outta here, before the IRA shows up to claim 'em."
"Let me have the wedge." Sticking the small wedge-shaped bar under the lid of the nearest box, Lucas slowly, carefully loosened it. Lifting the lid off, he whistled a little louder in appreciation. "Oh nice," he sighed, lifting a Berretta 92 out of the crate and after rummaging around a little in the crate, he found a full clip that would fit it. "This group's either got connections, or some serious money."
"Put it back, before you get too attached to it." McCabe advised his partner as he slid a homing device into the box. Picking up the pry bar, he started on the crate next to it. "Who knows, maybe Father'll get you one for your birthday."
"Fat chance." Lucas glared at his partner for a moment before returning the 9mm pistol to the box it had come from. As he was replacing the lid, he heard a loud creak followed by another. A quick glance at his partner's frozen stance told him the noise hadn't come from McCabe's trying to open the crate, that left upstairs.
Wasting no time, Lucas dropped into a crouch near the door and pushed it carefully closed. Pulling his gun out, he hoped the person was just a guard checking on things and not someone here to remove the cache. A few moments later he heard a low murmuring come down the stairs. While he couldn't understand any of the conversation, Lucas noted there were at least three different voices. Moving the stuff then. They were going to have to switch to Plan B, planting a homing device on their van. Providing they could get out of here unseen.
He knew without looking that McCabe was edging carefully down the row of boxes and crates toward the window at the rear of the cellar. It served two purposes, even though they intended to remain unseen, the more area they could cover between them, the better and he could also see if they could get out that way.
When Cowley had found out, they were on the trail of a possible IRA cache, he'd made it very clear that if, the cache existed it wasn't their main goal. While the Old Man wanted these weapons off the street, he wanted to know where they were going just as badly. There were only two obstacles to accomplishing that goal at the moment. One was the opposition noticing the lock was undone and not concluding that they had left it undone and getting out of here, unseen. A moment later Lucas knew they were out of options as the people on the other side of the door slammed the door open and burst into the room.
The squeal of a door hinge woke Wesley. Knowing he would be safer remaining where he was, broken glass made a lot of noise when it was stepped on. Wesley listened carefully as the intruders moved through the warehouse.
The voices didn't belong to kids playing. Kids would be running around, probably shouting so they could hear the echoes. They weren't searching for him, or one of the voices would've been moving toward the office by now. That only left the locked door in the cellar, he'd noticed when he'd come in. Somebody must've been using this place as a supply dump and now they'd come to get their stuff.
If his luck held, they wouldn't even bother checking the office, and he could remain undetected. Wesley didn't know how long he'd slept, but it hadn't been long enough. His head still felt like he had a colossal hangover and his stomach still felt like a storm tossed sea.
Wesley's hope of remaining here disappeared when echoes of gunfire tore through the warehouse and his head. He didn't know what had caused the firefight in the cellar, but gunfire would definitely bring the authorities, if not more reinforcements.
Letting his survival instincts dictate his actions, Wesley wasted only a moment deciding which way to go. Outside the large front doors whoever was doing the shooting downstairs, might have friends waiting, putting him in an unknown and possibly worse situation. In the cellar there were a limited number of people - and while they had guns, sooner or later they would either run out of targets on one side or the other, or all be dead. Assuming that the locked cellar room was the same size as the one he'd come in through earlier, there shouldn't be more than half a dozen people down there. All he had to do was wait for the shooting to stop and he might be able to acquire a weapon from one of those who no longer needed it. Wesley hoped that at least one of the dead had been nice enough to bring along a spare clip.
Moving carefully down the stairs, Wesley stayed in the shadows as much as possible. He wanted a chance to size things up, before committing himself to anything. His continuing freedom was riding on it. He had nearly reached the bottom of the stairwell when an armed man appeared suddenly in front of him. Before Wesley could make a move to defend himself, the man was shot in the back and keeled over, dead. Wesley could tell that without having to check, having seen enough death as a mercenary, to know when he was looking at a corpse.
It was the gun the man had been carrying, and that Providence had practically thrown into his lap, that interested Wesley the most. A quick grab and the gun was no longer resting on the step. Unfortunately a quick check of the chamber and the clip revealed that he'd acquired an empty gun and he couldn't risk exposing himself just now to see if the dead man had a spare clip. Though since the man had been running from the fight, it was highly unlikely that he had.
Lucas' shot took out the escaping IRA gunman as he reached the stairs, but he received a shock when someone on the steps quickly grabbed the gun that had fallen from the gunman's hand and recognized him. Bodie! What's Bodie doing here? He was obviously unarmed since he'd gone for the gun on the steps, instead of his own. From the brief glimpse he'd had, Bodie looked like he'd just finished one of Macklin's refresher courses, so Lucas was willing to bet he wasn't in great shape either.
Wondering why Bodie hadn't started firing, to help tip the odds in their favour, Lucas risked another quick glance in time to see him shake his head as he returned the clip to the gun. Must be empty. How long before the two on the other side of the room realize he's there and try taking Bodie out?
Counting on McCabe to keep the opposition busy for a few moments, Lucas took steps to correct Bodie's little deficiency. Shoving the loose lid aside, he grabbed the Berretta with its full clip that he'd stuck back in the crate a few minutes before and shouted Bodie's name before throwing it.
That name again. Startled, Wesley looked in the direction the shout had come from as a man he'd never met threw him a gun. Being mistaken for this Bodie had gotten him his freedom before and now a gun. He couldn't help wondering what other things being mistaken for this Bodie would get him. Not that he would risk pushing the resemblance too far, since it would be too easy to run into somebody who knew Bodie well enough not to be fooled.
Quickly thumbing the safety off, Wesley chambered a round, and snapped off a quick shot at the man who was getting ready to take a shot at him. Needing better cover, he followed the shot with a diving roll over the body, only to come up into silence.
McCabe had been surprised when his partner shouted Bodie's name, but it didn't stop him from taking advantage the momentary distraction to get closer to the remaining terrorists. Bodie's quick actions further rattled the youngest gunman, when his other companion dropped to the floor, clutching his shoulder. Another quick move and McCabe was a few meters away from the third gunman, who was getting ready to shoot Lucas. His partner had exposed himself to give Bodie some covering fire.
"Drop it." McCabe ordered, putting his gun against the terrorist's back.
The terrorist froze, but didn't relinquish his gun.
"Drop it." McCabe repeated softly, adding, "or I'll do it for you."
The gun was slowly set down on the box in front of the gunman, then McCabe ordered, "get your hands up."
Seeing that McCabe had his hands full, Lucas went over to check on Bodie. He was sitting on the floor, looking like death warmed over. He reached out to touch Bodie on the shoulder, pulling his hand back at the last moment, remembering Bodie didn't like to be touched.
Wesley looked up as the man who'd thrown him the gun, pulled his hand back before it could make contact. Since they thought he was Bodie, the guy must not like being touched. He'd have to remember that.
"You okay, Bodie?" Lucas inquired.
There was one shot nod before Bodie lowered his head back into his hands.
"You look like five miles of bad road." Lucas disagreed, "you sure you're okay?"
"Mm," Bodie mumbled.
"When you're finished Lucas," McCabe interrupted before his partner could push the point, "you might wanna call for an ambulance. The one Bodie shot, is bleeding all over the floor."
"We're gonna need a coroner's van for the other." Lucas added.
McCabe tsk-tsked, "Father's not going to be too happy with you. He'll probably send you to see Macklin."
"He's not gonna like it that the whole thing went bust." Lucas pointed out, after calling in on his R/T.
"Well that's not our fault."
"Have you ever known him to take that for an answer?" Lucas wanted to know.
"No." McCabe admitted, watching Bodie move slowly over to the stairs and sit down. Worried, he asked, "Bodie, are you sure you don't want to go to hospital? Just to get checked out."
"No." While Bodie's voice was low, there was a note in it that warned McCabe not to press the issue.
Keeping his voice low, Lucas asked his partner. "Think we should make 'im go anyway?"
McCabe stared at his partner as if he'd suddenly gone insane. "You wanna explain a wrecked ambulance to Cowley?! You've already gotta explain a body."
"No I don't." Lucas knelt down to check on the wounded terrorist, "you do. I'm going to hospital with this one."
"I prefer to think of it as a survival tactic." Lucas countered cheekily as he got to his feet. Looking around for Bodie, he saw the dark haired agent was still sitting on the stairs. "Look," Lucas suggested, keeping his voice very low. "If he doesn't pass out on the way back to Base and he still won't get checked out, tell Doyle what happened. He'll see that Bodie gets checked out."
"He's the only one, besides the Cow, who could do it." McCabe agreed in an equally low voice.
CI5's clean-up team and the ambulance arrived outside the warehouse at the same time. McCabe waited until the ambulance, containing his partner and the wounded IRA terrorist took off before returning to his car. Bodie was leaning against the passenger door, keeping an eye on the handcuffed prisoner in the rear seat.
Giving Bodie a discreet once over, McCabe noted that his colour had improved a little, but he was still going to have a quiet word with Doyle. From what he could see and had seen earlier, McCabe was willing to bet that Bodie had been worked over pretty good by someone, even though there were no obvious marks. It would take someone as stubborn as he was, to get Bodie to see a doctor, and Ray Doyle fit that category perfectly. Sometimes, he could handle Bodie even better than Cowley.
As McCabe slid into the driver's seat, he made one last check of the rear seat. Satisfied that their fish wasn't going anywhere, McCabe picked up the radio mic. Time to report in. "8.2 to Base."
"Go ahead 8.2." McCabe recognized the voice as Gwen's.
"Tell Alpha One we got interrupted. One terrorist killed. One wounded. 7.5 has gone to hospital with him. 3.7 and I are bringing a third in for interrogation." Knowing that Cowley would want the story, in detail, and not wanting to repeat it any more than he had to, McCabe just hit the high points.
"Anything else 8.2?"
"No. Thanks luv." Now there was a bird worth pursuing. "8.2 out."
When they were clear of the warehouse district and he could afford to relax a little, McCabe glanced over at his silent companion. Bodie's eyes were closed, but he could tell from his posture that Bodie wasn't asleep or unconscious. Probably concentrating on keeping the contents of his stomach right where they were and his head from exploding. Having been worked over a few times himself, McCabe knew that being used for a punching bag combined with an adrenalin surge, either before or after, was inclined to make the victim's head and stomach want revenge. All it would take was the right stimulus, like a car ride, and Bodie would lose it.
He wasn't worried about Bodie's being able to take care of himself, if they ran into trouble. Macklin's refresher courses had seen to it that they all would continue to fight until they were unconscious or dead. All McCabe hoped was that Bodie would be able to keep things under control, until they got back to Base. The last thing he wanted was to have to clean up that kind of mess in his car.
"So, what happened 3.7? How'd they get their hands on you?" McCabe finally asked, wanting to take Bodie's mind off his head and stomach and because he was very curious. "I heard the Cow was going to stick you in Records to keep you out of trouble while Doyle was going to be stuck with the quacks."
McCabe wasn't really surprised when he didn't get an answer. There was a forbidding air about Bodie that McCabe didn't feel brave enough to try and breach just to satisfy his curiosity. Unless it was of major importance to CI5, McCabe doubted he would ever really find out how those IRA gunmen had gotten their hands on Bodie. That didn't mean he couldn't have a little fun though. "Cowley's gonna do 'is nut when he hears about this. Probably send you back to Macklin for a refresher - if you're lucky."
Keeping his eyes closed, Wesley was relieved when the man, who had been called Mac by his partner-companion, finally shut up. The man's chatter had been aggravating his headache and it wasn't doing his stomach much good. Though, Wesley decided after a few moments consideration, by now it's probably more hunger pangs than nausea. Especially since his last meal had been at the Compound. He just hoped this place they were going to had some food.
While he hadn't really been paying attention to Mac's chatter, one name had caught his attention because it sounded vaguely familiar. Macklin. After trying for several minutes to place it, Wesley gave up on it, for now. It had nothing to do with his current problems.
All things considered, Wesley was a little surprised by his companion's willingness to accept silence from Bodie. This Bodie bloke must be the silent, moody type, for which Wesley was very grateful. It wouldn't take much to expose him as an impostor to someone who knew this Bodie well. He knew it was probably extremely foolish to go somewhere where he could be easily exposed, but since he hadn't been able to simply disappear this time, the moment their backs were turned, Wesley decided to go along with it for the time being. Not that he really had much choice. When they got wherever it was they were going, he was going to have to keep on his toes and avoid groups. Others might not be as willing to accept silence from Bodie. Not that he planned on staying long enough for them to find out he was an impostor.
Shifting the sling on his right arm a little, Skellen headed across the empty rest room for a cup of tea. He was glad the room was empty because once he got his tea, he'd have a chance for some peace and quiet before someone started in on him about his broken wrist.
It was bad enough to have broken it in the first place, but he couldn't even claim it happened in the line of duty. Falling down a flight of stairs because of my daughter's doll doesn't qualify, even in the broadest sense of the word.
Damn this thing! Skellen cursed, as the plaster cast hit the edge of the counter. Shifting the sling again, he tried to find a more comfortable and less awkward position for it. Bloody cast's uncomfortable. Makes my shoulder hurt. And the damn thing itches! Seven more weeks of this will drive me crazy.
Skellen grimaced as his knuckles brushed against the hot side of the tea urn. Handling things left-handed was still an awkward process for him, even after a week of practice. Simple tasks he'd done without thinking right-handed, he now had to pay close attention to.
"Skellen!" A booming voice disturbed his concentration. Skellen's left hand jerked, spilling hot tea over the far side of the mug and onto the steadying fingertips of his right hand.
"Thought that was you." Skellen winced as Moseby's cheery voice filled the room. The man doesn't know how to talk softly. "Haven't seen you in a dog's age. Heard you'd been...busy though."
Skellen wasn't really surprised that Moseby knew about his accident. John Moseby was well known for having some of the best sources of information in the Army. Before joining the SAS, he served with Moseby and had gotten to hear him relating interesting bits of gossip to the others in their barracks.
Moseby's hand descended on Skellen's sore shoulder, patting it as if he were a dog or something. Skellen gritted his teeth, keeping silent as Moseby looked over his shoulder and saw what had happened. "Better let me do that. You don't want to do yourself another injury."
Skellen just growled. "Where's a towel?"
"Over there," Moseby pointed toward the sink. "What do you take in your tea?"
"Three sugars and milk."
"Heard about your accident..." Moseby paused.
Skellen remained silent, waiting him out. He knew from experience that Moseby had an extremely black sense of humour and wouldn't pass up a chance to needle him. Especially if he knew how he'd broken his wrist.
"Hope you gave as good as you got. I hear those dolls are fearsome hand-to-hand fighters."
The phone on the rest room wall rang, saving Skellen the trouble of coming up with an appropriate response. Moseby handed him a mug of tea as he headed for the phone. Picking it up, he said, "Rest room, Moseby."
After listening for a moment, Moseby held the phone out. "It's for you, Skellen. Colonel Headley."
Putting his mug down, Skellen went over and took it. "Yes sir."
"What are you doing, Skellen?" Colonel Headley wanted to know.
"Waiting for some papers, sir."
"Well drop by Cowley's on your way back to the MoD." The Colonel ordered. "There's a bit of a flap on."
"And it concerns us?" Skellen couldn't see how.
"It apparently concerns you."
"Me, sir?" Skellen couldn't have been more astonished. He hadn't had contact with any of Cowley's mob in quite some time, and preferred to keep it that way.
"Just stop by and see Major Cowley." Headley repeated his earlier order.
Since Bodie was supposed to be helping his companion escort his prisoner somewhere, Wesley followed him through the security checkpoint and down several flights of stairs to a sub-basement. Security in this place is lax, which surprised him. From the little he'd seen and heard so far, Wesley was fairly certain this was some kind of police organization, like INTERPOL and that made the lax security even more puzzling,
The man on the checkpoint had just said 'hello' and let them through without making him sign the check-in book, like he had Mac, or he now knew his name was McCabe. It didn't make any sense, even taking into account the fact they thought he was this Bodie, but he wasn't about to look this gift horse too closely in mouth.
After securing his prisoner's left wrist to the cot, McCabe looked over at his silent companion, worried. While Bodie no longer looked like he was going to be sick at any moment, McCabe could tell from the way he was moving, Bodie was still in pain and trying to hide the fact. The stupid berk. Unfortunately with the don't touch me signals Bodie was sending out, it was highly unlikely anyone, other than Doyle, would notice there was anything wrong.
"I need to talk to Charlie for a minute. Think you're up to watching 'im for a bit on your own?" McCabe wanted to find out who was going to be interrogating the IRA gunman. He also wanted to see if Charlie had any anadins.
Wesley nodded slowly and carefully, so he wouldn't aggravate the dull throbbing pain in his head. As the other man left, Wesley kept an eye on the prisoner, while his mind tried to piece together the few bits of information he did have.
One: This group isn't like INTERPOL. It's more like Britain's MI6. No police organization, I ever run into, goes out of it's way to hide, unless it's a government secret. And from what I saw of the outside and what I've seen so far of the inside, this group definitely wants to avoid attracting attention.
That's good...and bad. If this place is like MI6, they should have access to all sorts of information. Providing I can find a way to get to it, I should be able to get the answers to some of my questions. On the flip side, if they figure out I'm not this 'Bodie' before I can get outta here, then the odds are I'll disappear - permanently. Either into a cell somewhere - or a body bag.
Thinking about MI6, Wesley finally placed why the name Macklin had sounded vaguely familiar - Brian Macklin. Though he'd never met the man personally, he knew about him from some of the contacts he made in the Hong Kong Security Services, when he was first looking for those responsible for his son's death. Macklin's reputation had been an impressive one.
Brian Macklin had been one of MI6's best agents in Hong Kong, until he'd almost lost his life on an assignment. It had been the talk of MI6, when Macklin had gone missing and that had been a few months after Michael's death. From what he'd heard, Macklin had been found a few days later floating in the harbour, barely alive. The last he'd heard, Brian Macklin had been medically retired back to Britain. Rumour had it that he'd lost his nerve. Brian Macklin wouldn't be involved with a place like this. So, the only thing Mac's Macklin must have in common with Brian Macklin, is the same last name.
Realizing that speculating about Brian Macklin wasn't going to solve his more immediate problems, Wesley turned his attention back to a much more important matter; just where the hell am I? Though he didn't have the major pieces to this puzzle yet, Wesley put what he did have together, hoping it would give him a general idea of where he was.
From the accents, he knew he was in a country that used to be part of the British Empire, but he wasn't in Africa, because the blacks did not outnumber the whites here. Combining that with the warm clothing his kidnappers had dressed him in, the cool weather, and the brief glimpse he'd had of Mac's driving on the left hand side of the road, before he had to close his eyes to avoid being sick in the car, Wesley was able to narrow his choices down to two possibilities; Australia, where it was now early spring and Great Britain, where it was fall.
"Here Bodie." McCabe offered the seated man a couple of aspirin and a glass of water.
Bodie eyed them for a moment before looking up at him, suspicious.
"It's only aspirin. Believe me, I'm not feeling particularly suicidal today and getting done for putting you down so you can be dragged to Medical, is not how I plan to go out. I prefer to leave that kind of risk to your partner. He's just crazy enough to try it."
As Bodie took the aspirin, McCabe breathed a sigh of relief and continued. "The Cow's out on an op and I've got Stephen coming down to keep an eye on our guest with me, so there's no need for you to stick around down here. Go on get outta here."
As Bodie headed for the door, McCabe heard a low, "thanks Mac."
The sign on the door said: Locker Room. Locker Rooms were usually equipped with showers and he really needed one. Wesley went in, hoping that the room was empty. If it wasn't, he wouldn't be able to get his shower. They would be expecting him to use Bodie's locker and the moment he started looking for it, he would be exposed as an impostor .
He got his wish, the room was empty. A quick search provided him with a bottle from the trash that still had a small amount of shampoo in it; a couple of clean towels from a bin; and a small scrap of soap that was sitting on the wall around the shower area. After adding a little water to leftover shampoo, Wesley stripped and got in the shower.
Ambling into the locker room, Stuart heard the water going. After collecting a change of clothes, his toiletries, and a couple of clean towels from the bin, he headed over to see who else was using the shower.
It was Bodie, but there was something different about him. Then as Bodie turned around under the stream of water, and saw him, he seem to freeze for a moment and that didn't make any sense. As Stuart got undressed, he watched the dark haired agent out of the corner of his eye, trying to put his finger on just what was different about him. He still hadn't pinned it down when Bodie finished his shower.
When he saw that Bodie was putting on rumpled clothes that had been sitting in a pile on a bench near the shower, Stuart asked. "Did you forget to pick up your laundry, Bodie?" He knew enough about Bodie, to know that putting on dirty clothes after a shower wasn't his style at all. "Why bother to clean up at all, if your gonna hafta go back out in those clothes?"
The glare, Bodie directed at him, warned him to back off. Stuart, wisely, didn't push him any further, recognizing that Bodie was in a BAD MOOD. Since he didn't come into CI5 Headquarters that often, Stuart couldn't help wondering what had caused the dark haired agent's foul humour.
Aware of how close Bodie and his partner were, Stuart was certain that his mood hadn't been caused by something happening to Doyle. The desk watch would've warned him to tread carefully around Bodie, if that were the case. As he got in the shower, Stuart idly wondered if he should check out the rest of the building for damage. Bodie on a tear was not something to be taken lightly.
The Cow's angry about something. McCabe thought as he finished his report on the warehouse op. But what?
Doing a quick, mental review of the last few days, McCabe couldn't think of anything he'd done that would have his boss this angry. Maybe the op he's just come back from went wrong. If that were the case, McCabe hoped it hadn't cost the lives of any CI5 agents or civilians.
"I didn't realize it required three agents to handle such a simple operation." Cowley spoke for the first time since bringing him out into the corridor outside the cell, to get his report.
"Why was 3.7 with you?"
"Oh. He came along at the last minute, sir." McCabe hoped that he sounded calm and matter-of-fact. After all, it wasn't exactly a lie and he had no doubt Cowley would get the whole truth out of Bodie. All he wanted to do was buy the dark haired agent a little time to recover from whatever the IRA had done to him, before Cowley tore his hide off - in strips. A dressing down by the Cow was one of those things that should, if at all possible, only be endured when you were feeling well. Otherwise you wound up feeling like you were flattened by a roadroller, instead of just being hit by a lorry.
"I see," From Cowley's flat tone of his voice, McCabe knew Bodie was going to have to do some very fast talking to avoid the full force of Cowley's wrath.
What does that fool think he's doing?! Cowley's anger toward his headstrong agent flared up. I purposely moved up the time on the Reichman report to keep him in the building and what does Bodie do? He goes out and makes a target of himself!
Well that report had better be complete, or Bodie will find himself spending the next six months in Records. Cowley decided, entering the holding cell with McCabe following right behind.
As his eyes met the icy blue ones of the sandy haired man coming into his cell, the IRA gunman mentally crossed himself. Today definitely wasn't his day.
Wesley sank down in the first comfortable chair he'd found in this place. It had taken him over three hours to find the rest room. He'd tried to find the same entrance he'd come in at, but finally gave up trying to find it directly and just settled for wandering the corridors trying to find one that looked familiar that would lead him there. This place is a bloody rabbit warren! I'm surprised people don't get lost around here.
One thing's for sure, the person in charge is either running this place on the cheap, or else this shabby building is one of the greatest covers I've ever seen. Lifts don't work. Offices that are nothing more than cubby-holes with old, rickety desks. Though there do seem to be a few more modern areas, Wesley conceded, remembering the few sets of swinging doors, with security checkpoints, he'd seen before and after leaving the locker room. It was a pity he hadn't been able to investigate those areas. The answers to his questions were probably behind one of those doors, but his being mistaken for Bodie would only take him so far - without questions being asked. That fact had also kept him from breaking into desks when he ducked into unoccupied offices to avoid people. Bodie would've had no reason to do so.
All in all, Wesley felt a lot like a rabbit playing hide'n'seek with hounds, who didn't even know they were chasing him. A very hungry rabbit, Wesley added, taking a biscuit from the open packet, he'd found in the back of one of the cupboards.
Stale. Still they're better than nothing. The three remaining biscuits barely took the edge off his hunger, even when they were washed down with a mug of highly sweetened tea.
That's all there is, Wesley told his still growling stomach. Having already gone through all the cupboards, he knew that for a fact. His stomach gave off a few more grumbles before subsiding into silence.
When he went to throw the empty biscuit packet away and refill his mug, Wesley found one of the things he'd been hoping to find since his arrival in this odd place. In the trash was a newspaper section. Pulling the crossword puzzle out of the trash, Wesley unfolded the section, hoping that it was a paper not available in Hong Kong, that would mean it was probably a local one.
The top line read: London Times, Monday, October 19, 1978. Damn. It would be an international paper and one that was four days old when those bastards grabbed me. Crumpling the paper up into a ball, Wesley was about to throw it away when he remembered that their Times crossword looked like it had been finished. True, the bet with Jonas is a very minor issue at the moment, but it would be so nice to be able to wipe that smug, all-knowing expression off his face when I get back to Base. It wasn't often he had the chance to and collect some cash at the same time. Smoothing the paper out a little on the table, Wesley scanned the puzzle. It was obvious just by looking that several different people had had a hand in finishing it.
"Taking another break 3.7?" A slightly disapproving voice broke the silence as Wesley found the answer to 43 ACROSS.
Schooling his face into an impassive mask, Wesley turned around to get a look at the speaker. While not physically imposing, there was an aura about the slight, sandy haired man that told Wesley this was the man in charge - the...What was the name Mac had used for his superior? Cow. That was it - the Cow. Obviously a nickname, but Wesley didn't allow his curiosity about its origin to divert him from a more important fact. As the head of a government intelligence service, this...Cow could make him disappear - forever.
"Sir?" Wesley's instincts told him this Cow was a force to reckoned with. Especially, when he was holding all the cards, which he was at the moment, since Wesley didn't belong here. It was imperative that he get away from this man, before he figured out that, he wasn't talking to Bodie.
"You must be planning to work late. Remember, I expect that report on my desk, complete, before you leave this evening." As Bodie nodded and passed by him out the door, Cowley couldn't help wondering why he was acting so subdued. It wasn't at all in his nature. Then he realized that Bodie had probably been expecting a dressing down for his escapade with Lucas and McCabe earlier today. Well that was just going to have to wait, he had more important concerns at the moment. Bodie will just have to wait - and worry.
Finding Bodie in the Rest Room had been a bit of a surprise, especially when he'd seen him less than fifteen minutes ago in Records, hard at work on the Reichman report. Records was in the basement and he'd only made two, short stops since leaving there, so how did Bodie get up here so fast? Shaking his head, Cowley decided that he must've found a new shortcut.
Halfway back to his office, Cowley stopped suddenly as he realized that Bodie had been wearing denims. How did he find time to change between Records and the Rest Room? And into denims? Shaking his head again, Cowley finally put it down to Bodie's trying to irritate him for being stuck in Records today.
Wesley took a left down the first corridor he came to, then a right at the next one before stopping for a moment. That was close! I'd better get outta here, before my luck completely runs out!
Still lost, Wesley chose a direction at random, hoping it would finally lead him to an exit, or else a corridor he recognized. A few moments later he heard voices coming toward him. Looking around for somewhere to hide, Wesley spotted the MEN's room sign and ducked quickly inside. Then he had to take cover in one of the stalls as the door started to swing open.
"Anson told me everybody's giving Bodie a wide berth. Said 'e's in one of 'is mad merc moods again." One voice was saying. "'M just glad 'e's stuck down in Records this time. I was paired with 'im last time 'n it was like bein' around 'n unexploded bomb."
"I heard the Cow gave 'im a real dressing down this morning. That's probably what did it." Another voice put in. "Shouldn't have to worry about 'im too much longer though. Quacks 'll be done with Doyle soon 'n he'll jolly Bodie out of his bad mood. 'E's the only one who can."
"True," the first voice conceded. "Best thing Cow ever did was pair those two. Lord knows I wouldn't want to be either one's partner long term."
Great. Wesley thought as he heard the door close with a gentle thud. He'd known from Mac words just before he left the cell that Bodie had a partner, but he'd been hoping that the two of them were out of the building. This Doyle's gonna know I'm not Bodie probably from the moment he sees me.
Knowing that whatever safety he did have in this place by being mistaken for this Bodie, was rapidly running out, Wesley moved as quickly through the corridors as he could as he could, without actually running. The few people he encountered, made no attempt to delay him, proving the truth of that unknown man's words. Apparently very few people were willing to cross paths with Bodie when he was in a bad mood. Something else I have in common with my double.
Rounding a corner, Wesley collided with a slender, curly haired man.
"That's it, just run right into me, Bodie. I just got done in Medical and you want to put me back in there." The man complained before Wesley had a chance to get away. "'M just glad no one else saw it. They would'a thought you were tryin' t' sneak a quick grope and that wouldn't've gone down too well with the Cow...or me."
When his partner failed to respond to the teasing, Doyle looked at him, concerned. Something's wrong. "Bodie, are you okay?" As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Doyle knew what it was. Body language is all wrong. This isn't Bodie. "Skellen?"
Skellen? Who the hell is Skellen? Surely there can't be third person running around with my face! And why would this curly haired bloke think I'm him instead of Bodie? As a look of suspicion crossed the other man's face, Wesley suddenly knew. - Bodie's partner...Doyle.
The quickly concealed look of surprise in the dark eyes was enough to send Doyle into action. Drawing his gun from his shoulder holster with his left hand, he pointed it at the intruder. Then without taking his eyes off his prisoner, he took his R/T out of his jacket pocket, to alert the Radio Room to the fact that there was an intruder in the building. No telling how many people this impostor has managed to bring in with him or what they've been up to.
Stepping in front of the secretary's desk, Skellen told her, "I'm Captain Skellen. I believe Major Cowley's expecting me."
"Just a moment Captain." Betty picked up the phone. "Sir, Captain Skellen is here."
"Send him in." Cowley ordered.
When Skellen entered Cowley's office, he saw that the man's attention appeared to be focused on the papers on his desk. It was an old trick, designed to make the person standing on the other side of the desk nervous. Well Major Cowley, you're going to be disappointed. That particular tactic has never worked on me.
As he finished skimming the third page of the new budget, Cowley decided that Captain Skellen had stewed long enough. Looking up, he intended to demand answers, but the sight of the cast and sling on Skellen's right arm forced him to do some rapid, mental back-pedalling. Skellen wasn't the man Macklin had rescued earlier today. Not unless he broke his arm after that confrontation. So what the hell was Willis up to and where did he find another double for Bodie?
"We seem to have a dilemma, Captain." Cowley's flat statement answered none of his question. In fact, it only added to Skellen's confusion. It was evident from the Major's suddenly readable and rapidly changing expression that his cast had thrown the man off his stride, but why? He can't want me to impersonate Bodie again! Colonel Headley would've told me if that were the case.
Unfortunately an alarm klaxon began sounding before Skellen could ask any questions. When he saw Cowley pull a gun out of his desk, Skellen knew the situation was serious and pulled the sling off his cast. Even though the mobility in his right arm was impaired, Skellen knew the plaster cast would make quite an impact, if it became necessary to use it.
Hitting the intercom button, Cowley asked, "Betty, what's going on?"
After a few moments her answer came over the intercom. "An intruder has been found near the Medical section, sir."
"And just how did he get past Security?" Cowley's muttered question wasn't really directed at anyone.
"Bodie and Doyle are bringing the prisoner to your office." Betty continued, unaware of her boss's comment.
"I want this place swept from top to bottom," Cowley ordered, "in case our 'visitor' left any surprises behind."
"Already being done, sir." Betty told him.
His luck had finally run out. As the alarm began sounding, Wesley held his hands out away from his body, making no threatening moves as he leaned back against the wall.
"Face the wall," Doyle ordered, "hands and feet spread."
Complying, Wesley placed his palms flat against the wall before Doyle told him to. The search was quick and thorough. The only thing Doyle found on him was the gun Mac's partner had given him earlier.
Doyle's good. The professional in Wesley couldn't help admiring the man's speed and skill. Wesley also knew from experience with others of the same type that Doyle's fragile seeming appearance would be an asset, since it tended to lead into people underestimating him.
"Turn around." Doyle ordered when he was done. "Now - who the hell are you?"
Wesley never got a chance to answer, not that he would have, as people began pouring out of the woodwork. His admiration for Doyle's professionalism went up another couple of notches. The man never relaxed his guard, though he now had more than enough backup to take care of one intruder, no matter how dangerous.
"Have you gone 'round the bend, Doyle?!" A tall, slender, dark haired man wanted to know as he came to a halt. "Is this your idea of a joke?! Pulling a gun on your partner, then sounding the alarm! Cowley's gonna have your hide for this."
"He's not Bodie." Doyle interrupted the tirade calmly, never taking his eyes off the impostor.
"You've lost it mate." A dark man insisted. "'Ve got eyes. That's Bodie."
"No, it isn't." Doyle countered just as firmly.
Before another round could begin, they heard the sound of running feet. A moment later, a man skidded around the corner and Wesley was facing a younger version of himself. - This has to be Bodie.
"Skellen. What the hell are you doing here?" His younger twin used the same name Doyle had used earlier.
"He's not Skellen." Doyle told his partner. If the situation hadn't been so serious, Doyle would've enjoyed the shocked looks and dropped jaws of those around him as they looked back and forth between Bodie and his prisoner.
"Then who the hell is he?!" It was bad enough that that smug bastard, Skellen, had his face and now to find out there was a third!
"Haven't had a chance to find out, 'ave I." Doyle told him after he finished speaking into his R/T for the second time. "They kept trying to tell me 'e was you."
Bodie glared at the men around him. "You couldn't tell the difference?!"
Several of them quickly took off for other places, while the rest suddenly found the floor and ceiling of great interest.
"We'll settle this later." Bodie finally growled at the surrounding men. "I think Cowley will want to see him."
Doyle nodded. "I told 'em that's where we'd be taking 'im."
"Jax 'n I'll go with you." It wasn't a totally altruistic offer of Murphy's part. He wanted to be there when Cowley got a look at this man.
The word was obviously being spread, because closed office doors were opening in front of them, people wanting to get a look at the unusual sight. The reaction's of the people who saw the prisoner and his escort, varied between being stunned speechless and rapid double takes, as if they couldn't quite believe their eyes. Bodie just glared at them as he kept his gun trained on his unwanted double, discouraging others who wanted to join the little procession to Cowley's office.
After a moment of startled silence from Betty, she told them, "he's waiting for you."
Bodie glared pointedly at Murphy as he followed them to Cowley's office door.
"I'll tell you all about it, mate." Doyle promised, knowing full well why Murphy wanted to go in with them. The expression on the Cow's face was bound to be one for the books.
Cowley couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the prisoner Bodie and Doyle had brought into his office. Another double for Bodie! Willis' Double maybe? A second look shocked Cowley even further. This was the man he'd spoken to in the rest room, believing him to be Bodie!
The stunned expression on Cowley's face exceeded all Doyle's expectations. Doyle saw disbelief in his eyes as they travelled from Bodie and their prisoner to the seated man and back again. Then Cowley looked heavenward for a few moments as if he were asking, 'What did I do to deserve this?'. Or maybe, 'Why me?'
Skellen nearly choked when he got his first good look at Bodie and Doyle's prisoner. Having an ex-mercenary for a twin is bad enough. At least Bodie has one - slightly - redeeming virtue he's served in the SAS. Skellen was willing to bet, this scruffy, mangy individual has never done an honest day's work in his life.
Having a ringside seat for the event, Doyle was finding it very difficult not to burst out laughing as he watched the glaring match between Skellen and their prisoner. It was quite evident from the way Skellen was looking the man over that he didn't approve of him. What made the whole thing so funny was that Skellen's older double had also looked him over and had quite clearly found Skellen wanting as well. To top it all off, both men were ignoring Bodie completely and he wasn't taking that too well.
"What's going on?" Cowley finally asked.
"I found this intruder near Medical, sir." Doyle was definitely going to enjoy telling Murphy about the Cow's being stunned speechless for several minutes by the sight of their prisoner.
"Who are you and how did you get in here?" Cowley wanted to know.
The mercenary decided the best course of action for the moment was to give honest answers at least to those questions he was willing to answer. A little cooperation would buy him some time and maybe even some answers. "Captain Robin Wesley. Who are you?"
"Captain of what?" Bodie muttered.
"Mercenary group out of Hong Kong." Wesley told him.
"That's another thing 'e's got in common with you." Doyle commented softly.
Hearing it, Wesley looked over at his younger double. Now the 'mad merc' comment made sense. "Really? Where?"
"Africa." Bodie did not elaborate. "You?"
"Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, around." Wesley was beginning to warm to Bodie.
"Not exactly picnic spots." Bodie commented dryly.
Cowley attempted to regain control of the situation. "Let's return to the matter at hand."
"Who are you?" Wesley spoke up before Cowley could say another word. "And where the hell am I?!"
To save himself some time and no doubt a great deal of aggravation, Cowley decided he would trade this Captain Wesley answer for answer, at least for now. The man struck him as someone who could probably out- stubborn Bodie. "I'm George Cowley and this is CI5 Headquarters. How did you get in here?"
A historic event. That was the only thing Bodie could think to call it. He could count the number of times he'd seen the Cow stunned speechless on the fingers of one hand and still use it, and yet Captain Wesley had managed to accomplish it - twice. A pity that this occasion would never be recorded in the History books, Bodie reflected, but it would definitely go down in the annals of CI5.
Bodie found himself warming toward his mercenary twin as he never had to Skellen. Watching Wesley and Cowley square off, he could see that while Wesley was willing to respect Cowley's authority, he wasn't going to be intimidated by him.
Bodie was so busy trying to figure out why Wesley wasn't afraid of Cowley, he almost missed Wesley's next question. "What country am I in?"
"You're in England, mate." Bodie told him as the chimes of Big Ben began ringing. "Didn't you know?"
"Haven't had a chance to really see the sights, have I. Last thing, I remember, I was at the cemetery and ..." Wesley suddenly shut up, as if he realized he'd said too much.
Wesley's abrupt silence, told Cowley a great deal. Certain he had all the pieces now to the puzzle that had been baffling him all day, Cowley asked, "you're the man Brian Macklin rescued from Willis' men, aren't you?"
There was a blank look on Wesley's face for a moment. "You mean the blond?" As Cowley nodded, the name he'd used connected in Wesley's mind. "That was Brian Macklin?"
Doyle grinned at the sight of Wesley speechless as the Cow nodded again. He had a feeling that like Bodie, it didn't occur all that often with this man.
"We were never properly introduced. Heard he'd retired. Still fights well." Wesley observed.
"Well Willis' men aren't much of a challenge for Macklin, or anybody else for that matter." Doyle told Wesley in a matter-of-fact voice.
"Doyle." Cowley spoke sternly. He would not have his agents publicly criticizing another department. "Captain Wesley, you said you walked in here. Were you by any chance with Agent McCabe when he brought in his prisoner earlier today?"
Wesley nodded. "He thought I was Bodie and since I needed a safe place to stay until I could figure out where I was and how to get back where I belong, I saw no reason to tell him otherwise."
"And the guard on the checkpoint never asked to see your ID?"
Ah oh. From the expression on Cowley's face, Doyle knew that guard was gonna get it, but good.
"What did Willis want you for?" Doyle asked, curious.
"I have no idea what this...Willis wanted, but I intend to find out." The anger in Wesley's voice and the expression on his face did not bode well for Willis' immediate future or his continued survival.
"The only thing that will accomplish is that you will wind up in prison, Captain Wesley." Cowley pointed out, trying to deter the man from his desire for vengeance. True, Willis had brought it on himself, the stupid ass, but he was obligated to try and stop it.
"Besides," Bodie put in, "you're gonna have to queue up for that privilege. When the time comes, I get first crack at him."
"And I'm next." Doyle added. "You can have what's left."
Looking into Bodie's eyes, Wesley saw a hatred for this Willis almost as great as his own for drug dealers. Nodding slightly, Wesley acknowledged Bodie's prior claim to Willis. "Just be sure to invite me."
Cowley refrained from making any comments. Bodie had deterred Wesley and he knew his agent wouldn't make good on his threat until Willis crossed the line. Bodie had never forgiven the man for setting him up or for getting Marrika killed.
Before Cowley could ask his guest another question, he heard a low rumbling sound.
"Bodie." Doyle chastised his partner. "Didn't you have a big enough lunch?"
"Wasn't me." Bodie was quick to deny it.
"It was me." Wesley sounded slightly embarrassed. "All I've had to eat were some biscuits, I found in the back of one of the cabinets in your rest room."
"So that's where you hid 'em." Bodie commented to his partner.
"They were stale." Wesley complained.
"Well 'e hid 'em in there over a week ago."
"How long has it been since you had a decent meal, Captain?" Cowley inquired before Bodie could draw the mercenary Captain into their double act. The man looked like he would be more than willing to participate.
"What day is it?"
"Friday." Bodie told him.
After a brief pause, Wesley answered, "early Thursday morning."
"Bodie, Doyle, take Captain Wesley and get him something to eat." Cowley ordered, "then bring him back here."
"Major Cowley, now that your emergency seems to be over, can you tell me what it is you wanted to see me about?" Skellen spoke up for the first time since Bodie and Doyle had come in.
"Oh. Sorry, Captain Skellen." Cowley looked a little embarrassed. This was turning out to be a day of first's. Doyle couldn't ever remember seeing that expression on the old man's face before. "The matter I wanted to speak with you about seems to have resolved itself. I want to thank you for stopping by and please pass on my thanks to Captain Headley."
From the stiff nod Skellen gave Cowley, Doyle was willing to bet that Skellen was very irritated with Cowley. Bodie sometimes made the same jerky movements when he was irritated at someone or something.
"This could take a while," Doyle observed as he and his partner escorted Wesley out of Cowley's office.
"What'd ya mean?" Bodie inquired, puzzled.
"I'm willing to bet that 'e's got another thing in common with you - that bottomless pit of yours," Doyle explained, "'n 'e's missed at least four meals."
As Bodie glared at his partner, Wesley commented. "Irritating little sod, isn't 'e."
"Yeah," Bodie agreed, "but he does have his good points. Problem is, you have to look awful hard to find 'em."
After telling his secretary he didn't want to be disturbed, Cowley took a few moments to plan the opening volley in his attack on Willis. The trick was to keep him off balance so that even if you didn't get the whole truth, you'd get enough to figure out the rest.
Before Willis could do more than identify himself, Cowley demanded angrily. "All right Willis, what are you setting Bodie up for now?!"
"Bodie?!" Willis sounded completely baffled. "I'm not doing anything to, or with Bodie."
"Macklin told me two of your agents had Bodie this morning." Cowley countered, a note of anger in his voice.
"No." A bewildered Willis denied Cowley's accusation. "I haven't seen Bodie since that Marrika business."
"Macklin rescued him from your men this morning."
"The man, Macklin freed, is a drug dealer named Wesley from Hong Kong." Anger had replaced the bewilderment. Good. Cowley was curious to hear the tale Willis had concocted to cover himself. "I went to a great deal of time and trouble to bring him here."
"I find that very hard to believe. Why go to all that trouble over a simple drug dealer?" Cowley prodded, letting his disbelief show in his voice. "It's up to the Hong Kong police to handle him. After all it is their jurisdiction."
"I've linked him to the deaths of three major, international, drug dealers in the last two years." Willis told him. "It's obvious he's planning a major move up and I want whatever information he's got before they can eliminate him. With that, I could eliminate most if not all the major international drug rings."
Knowing his aid would be refused, Cowley offered. "Do you need help in recovering him?"
"We'll manage just fine. We did manage to get him here and if Macklin hadn't interfered, I'd be draining Wesley dry right now." Willis pointed out sarcastically.
The time had come to pull the rug out from under Willis's little fantasy. "Interesting. Very interesting. You might be interested to know that we have a gentleman here by the same name."
"Cowley, I demand the return of my prisoner - immediately!" Willis growled.
"Willis, my guest is most definitely not a drug dealer, he's a mercenary. Captain Wesley." Cowley contradicted him. "He doesn't strike me as the type to deal drugs...and you know what a good judge of character I am. My sources tell me, he has committed no crimes on English soil, so he can not legally be considered anyone's prisoner. However you, by your own admission, are guilty of kidnapping, which is a crime. I'd watch my step if I were you, Willis."
Done, Cowley hung up before Willis could come up with a response.
"It took you three hours to get Captain Wesley something to eat." Cowley glared at his two agents as they brought Wesley back into his office.
"We thought 'e deserved better than the canteen sir." Bodie explained. "Besides he was very hungry."
"Did you manage to find out why Willis wanted Wesley, sir?" Doyle wanted to divert the old man before he started asking where they'd taken him.
Removing his glasses, Cowley stared at Wesley for a moment. "It seems Willis wants some information from you, Captain Wesley."
"Well, I don't think much of his method of asking." Wesley muttered, sitting down.
"Willis never does anything by the direct method." Bodie put in. "The man's mind works like a corkscrew."
"Bodie." Cowley silenced his agent.
"Just what is it this...person...wants?" Wesley inquired.
"From his claim that you are a drug dealer and that he can connect you to the deaths of three drug dealers, I would assume he's after information on a major drug cartel." Wesley's reaction or rather his lack of one, told Cowley he was indeed probably connected in some way to those deaths. Hong Kong was out of his jurisdiction and since the Hong Kong Police were very competent, Cowley had decided not to pursue the matter.
Especially since, there must've been some very compelling reason why the Police in Hong Kong had chosen not bring charges against him. They wouldn't just let a murderer walk around free. Unfortunately, because of the time difference between London and Hong Kong, Cowley hadn't been able to learn much about their unexpected guest at all. Whatever information there was on Captain Robin Wesley it was in locked files that government underlings were unwilling to release over the phone without their superior's approval.
"Mr. Cowley, how would you like to best this fellow, Willis?" Wesley inquired calmly after studying the Scotsman for a few minutes.
"What did you have in mind?"
"A trade." Wesley told him. "In exchange for returning me to Hong Kong, I have the names of one or two drug dealers, you might be interested in."
From experience, Cowley was willing to bet that Wesley had more than just a few names to bargain with. "What if I say I want all the names in exchange for returning you to Hong Kong?"
"Then I'd say you've got a problem." Wesley countered confident, that given the time difference, there was no way Cowley could've learned that much about him from official Government sources and unofficial sources wouldn't have told him a damn thing. "Anyway you don't need the whole list, but I am willing to give you the section that pertains to Britain in exchange. These two told me that your brief only covers the British Isles, not the world."
Watching the verbal duel, Bodie couldn't help being impressed by the way his double was handling Cowley. "How'd you manage to get hold of something like that?"
The mercenary shrugged. "I picked it up on a job I did a while ago."
"And the owners believe it destroyed," Doyle concluded, "otherwise they would've been after you."
"There wasn't much left of the place where I found it." Wesley agreed.
"What makes you so sure the list isn't a fake?" Cowley asked.
"I know it isn't. Also, before you ask, I'm the only one who knows where it is and the only one who has access to it."
Cowley didn't like paying in advance for goods, but he was going to have to do just that, in order to get the promised information. Unfortunately once Wesley was back in Hong Kong, Cowley had no real way of insuring he kept his side of the bargain. It was very evident that Wesley had plans for that list and the only reason he'd even offered Cowley a part of the list was because he needed help getting home.
"Bodie, what do you think of Captain Wesley's offer?" Bodie's more extensive knowledge of the mercenary world and the fact that he'd just spent the last several hours with Wesley, should provide him with the answers he needed.
Knowing a little of the way the old man's mind worked, Bodie had a good idea of what he really wanted to know. "If you accept his offer, you are hiring his services, so to speak. As long as all the terms of the contract are kept, he will complete the job."
"The reputation of a mercenary company depends on how well they fulfil their contracts." Wesley put in calmly, not offended by Cowley's doubt. If their positions had been reversed, he would've been just as suspicious of that kind of offer and given the fact it was very early in the morning in Hong Kong, Cowley wouldn't have been able to find out too much about his reputation as a mercenary. Yet. Well, if the wily old man goes along with my proposal, he'll have his chance and I should get a chance to see a little of Britain. "Well Mr. Cowley, do we have a deal?"
Cowley nodded. He would be a fool to pass up a chance at gaining information on major drug dealers in Britain. "All we have to do is work out the details. It will take a few days to sort everything out, so we'll make arrangements for you to be put up at a hotel until then."
"I need to contact my people and tell them what happened." Wesley put in. "And tell them that I'll be back in a few days, that way they won't do anything foolish while I'm gone, like tear Hong Kong apart looking for me. Also, would you please pass two messages on to this Willis. One: I want the things he took from me back. Two: he'd better damn well leave me alone while I'm here and especially when I get back home, or he won't like the results."
"I will pass on your messages, but I don't think Willis has your things. When Macklin left that warehouse, he brought their car here and your things were probably in the boot, with Willis' men." Then Cowley asked. "I assume you had a gun on you when you were taken?"
"I will keep it until you leave." Cowley told him
Wesley nodded his acceptance of the condition. "Just so long as I get it back, I had it specially made just for me."
"You know they do feed you on the plane." Doyle commented, looking over at Wesley. He still couldn't believe the amount of food the man had put away. He'd eaten as if he were expecting to go a long time between meals.
"Have you ever eaten airline food?" Wesley countered from the passenger seat.
"Yes," Doyle made a face, remembering some of the things he'd had to eat while in hospital.
"Airline food tastes about the same."
As they entered the terminal at Heathrow, Bodie looked at his watch. "Your flight leaves in about twenty minutes."
Since Wesley's things hadn't contained a Passport and he had been given back his gun that morning, the two agents showed their ID's to the Security guard and Customs man at the Security and escorted Wesley around the Security checkpoint to his gate.
As they were waiting for his flight to be called, Doyle told the mercenary, "Cowley has arranged for a Sergeant from the Hong Kong CID's Drug Squad to meet your plane."
Wesley nodded in acknowledgment as the announcement for his flight came over the loud speaker. "Bodie, do me a favour?"
"The next time you see Willis, tell him that if he ever comes to Hong Kong, I guarantee that he'll get a very warm reception."
Watching the plane pull away from the gate, Doyle told his partner, "I knew there was a reason why I liked him."