This is a sequel to “Invisible” at https://www.abctales.com/story/marandina/invisible
The walls looked as dull today as they had yesterday. Paint peeled in light green whorls watching as a shaggy-haired man stared down at the grey, soulless floor. Time stood still when penned in a cell. The only furniture in the room was the functional bed he was sitting on which had a steel frame and a used, thin mattress. There was no clue as the time of day. The prisoner gazed at words scrawled within eye focus. It translated from French as “Macron wuz ‘ere.” He flinched at the sound of digits on a keypad being pressed on the other side of the olive-coloured, solid metal door that kept him from the world outside. With a click, light spilled in from the corridor. Two slender guards dressed in combat fatigues now stood in front of the lonely captive. They wore face visors; leather buffed gloves made the image of henchmen from a Bond movie complete. The entrant on the left raised his hand and motioned to follow as they both spun on their heels and headed back out of the small chamber. The escorts waited, standing ramrod upright as the reluctant hostage rose gingerly, his body suffering minor cramp from an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
There were times that Ursula hated her job. Days like this were not what she signed up for. She shuffled over to the Chippendale sideboard that boasted a silver drinks tray upon which was a cut glass decanter and tumblers. Behind it on the wall was one of her favourite pictures – Herr Flick from the French Resistance comedy “Allo, Allo!” peered back at her from the frame; riding crop in hand along with a mischievous Bavarian grin. She turned to hear the sound of muffled footsteps approaching. A knock on the door was followed by the entrance of the guards who accompanied her guest of the next hour or so. A blonde-haired man was delivered unceremoniously into the leather chair that sat at the other end of her huge desk. She bade them leave with a wordless nod of the head. For a few seconds nothing was said. Ursula sat down facing her counterpart while he adjusted himself, fidgeting as he did. He stared at the grand name plaque on the corner of the bureau. It read “Commissaire de l’Union Europeene”.
“Ve have vays of making you talk”. It was the female interrogator that broke the silence. In her head she crashed a riding crop into her hand, screwed her eyes smaller and grimaced. In reality, she just smiled thinly. Once again there was a pregnant pause, both parties simply staring at each other. The man was wearing a crumpled, tie-less white shirt and black trousers; his hair unkempt. This may have been due to the basic settings he had endured the previous night; alternatively it may have been its natural state. His inquisitor was bedecked in a cream jacket, white blouse and an immaculately coiffured mane that was in steep contrast to the man opposite.
“Do we always have to play out a scene from a Victor comic, Ursula?” the man blustered. “I think we have all moved on, y’know” His diction was all Eton even with the bumbling that went with it.
The high ranking official regained her composure, breathing in as she considered this. She liked those torture scenes from old movies. She imagined binding and gagging her victim in a chair then applying ever more creative methods of extracting the truth. One of her favourites was the scene from the movie Marathon Man where Laurence Olivier threatens with a drill, asking “Is it safe?” over and over as Dustin Hoffman squirms in a dentist’s chair and pleads ignorance.
“So save us all a lot of time and tell me where you have hidden it?” The questioner stared inscrutably, metaphorical lasers firing into her charge’s eyes.
“Hidden what, Ursula? I’ve no idea what you are on about.” The defendant looked down at his shoes, admiring how buffed they still looked despite an overnight stay in the cooler. One must keep up appearances at all times. Anything else simply wouldn’t be British.
The room filled with tension. Ursula pulled back one of the ball bearings on the gizmo on her desk and watched it collide with other ball bearings on strings inside a metal frame wondering whether it really would go on forever unless she intervened.
“We have a factory missing, Boris. I rather think you know something about this.” It wasn’t a question which was always fatal at the best of times bearing in mind how politicians rarely (if ever) answered questions at all.
The standoff continued with the man scratching behind his ear whilst the woman fiddled with a cigarette on the end of a holder. She thought about lighting it. Both twitched their heads sideways at the faint sound of whirring that was getting louder.
“I can’t be held responsible for EU policy shortfalls, Ursula. I mean, it’s hardly my…um…..fault that you have….have…. misplaced a factory. Maybe the Australians have taken it in…in….retaliation for you blocking their vaccines.” Boris stumbled his words as was his wont but he felt that this was an endearing quality and didn’t make him sound like a blockhead at all.
The whirring noise was really loud now.
whup whup whup whup whup whup
Ursula looked over to the window. She had spent many hours standing there whilst mulling over strategic decisions. It overlooked grand gardens and grounds that were filled with flowers and bushes – roses and hyacinth blended with bees and butterflies. She wished she could just sit on one of the wooden benches and ponder life and the Universe. Instead, she was constantly assailed by ambassadors, MEPs, bureaucrats and all manner of intelligentsia constantly lobbying her for airtime. She stood up and glided elegantly towards the view from the room. “Do you expect me to talk?” Boris imagined himself as James Bond talking cool and hard to his latest nemesis – Goldfinger.
Ursula continued to gaze out at the alluring view that beckoned her away from this servitude and drudgery,
“No Mister Johnson…..I expect you to d….”
They were two stories up so it was a picturesque panorama from this side of the glass. As she took another step she winced at the sudden sound of panes smashing.
Two men propelled feet first into the chamber leaving shards and smithereens of wreckage all around. Both were dressed from head to toe in black military attire including balaclavas along with assault rifles strung over their shoulders. They looked like rampaging ninjas on the end of guide ropes. One of them wore glasses.
“By Gove!” Boris exclaimed as the rescuer sporting eyewear declared “You will be safe now, PM.” His accomplice swung his gun from his body and pointed it at Ursula. “Down. Shut it. Not a word now.” The unnamed soldier growled menacingly while the spectacle wearing assassin fumbled in his pocket. Bringing out a wooden wedge with a union jack painted on it, he quickly shuffled across the room thrust it into the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor so that it couldn’t be opened. Turning to look triumphantly at the man he addressed as PM he declared “Latest technology, sir, it’s amazing what the boffins can come up with.”
Ursula had dropped to the floor knocking a book off a small table that sat next to the window. On its cover it declared “How to be a Brilliant Politician despite what others think” by Bo Johansson. The man called Boris noticed the spillage. Noting the book title he skipped over and scooped the tome up and into his arms. He wondered whether anyone would ever rumble his writing pseudonym (his profile picture at the back may have been a giveaway).
A spare rope swung through the now cavernous opening sent from the helicopter outside and attached firmly around Boris’s waist, hooking securely onto a metal clip that now permeated the PM’s lower back. Gove’s partner was clearly the lead in their partnership and having finished trussing the blonde-haired maiden, he barked into the audio device on his watch “Silent Stooge this is de Pfeffel 1: Now in position and ready for extraction. Please acknowledge. Over” For a few seconds there was no reply until “Copy that de Pfeffel 1. Please signal from the window. Over.”
The ninjas took an arm each of the man now to be rescued and took him over to the window. The authoritative soldier who was covertly leading the mission motioned upwards to the hovering helicopter with a circling gesture using his hand. Looking at the others he instructed “Hold tight now.” With that, all three were pulled into the air as the aircraft banked away. They were reeled in to the hold like strings of spaghetti being sucked into a child’s mouth. The Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma streamed upwards and off into Belgian airspace, its latest inhabitants secure in the hold.
“How did you find me then, Michael?” queried the rotund premiere.
“It was the signal pulsing from the microchip that was implanted in your neck when you had your vaccination, PM. It was flagged at every vet in the land. We may need to tweak it as you are logged as a two year old highland terrier.” The glasses wearing, pudgy faced minion looked bashful as he revealed how his boss had been tracked down.
“So where to now? Are we popping to the pub for a cautious but irreversible pint?” Boris grinned at that. His dutiful colleague thought that he never had really understood that quote. Surely you simply drank a pint. Reversing the drinking process would lead to regurgitated disaster.
“Oh I have a surprise for you, PM. We should be there in half an hour or so.”
The helicopter glided across fields, puncturing the European coastline and scything its way over choppy waves from the North Sea below. It arrived at its undisclosed location and set down outside a factory setting. Grey buildings sprawled out dotting the landscape outside the circumference of a silver, circular building that looked like a giant wheel covered in tin foil.
whup whup whup whup whup whup
The blades began to slow as those on-board readied themselves to disembark. Ducking, Michael and Boris jumped to the ground and scampered towards a small checkpoint with a barrier that stood as the gateway to the buildings beyond it. Inside a shadowy figure shifted about. As they neared, the occupant emerged.
“Dom? Is that you? I rather thought I’d got ri…erm…you had moved on to pastures new?” Boris bumbled in astonishment as his furtive, former aide looked back at him quizzically replete in construction safety helmet and orange, hi-vis overalls.
“All part of the master plan, if you recall sir. We wanted everyone to think that we had fallen out. In the meantime, I have been working on the latest stealth technology up here at Barnard Castle. It enables us to move whole structures from one place to another through cyberspace without anyone realising what’s happening. The laboratories are camouflaged as Specsavers eye testing units. It’s been quite handy actually as I have been able to keep my sight in reasonable nick as well after last year’s shenanigans.” Dom spoke in a low, serious tone. His hair had receded over the years exposing a large forehead area.
“Oh…I seeeee.” The PM blustered looking vacant and confused. “Do remind me what the master plan was about again, would you?”
Both Gove and Dom subtly rolled their respective eyes.
“Of course, PM. Our latest telekinetic technology has enabled us to transport the drug manufacturing facility at The Leiden in the Netherlands facility, the one run by AZ's drug substance manufacturing partner Halix. The plan was that you announce to the Public a new vaccine making facility in the North, take the plaudits and we then pinch the existing one from Europe and call it our own.”
Dom remembered the good times when he and the PM were closer than an 80 year old tailgating an 81 year old at 30 miles an hour. Those days were long gone and despite this subterfuge, their relationship had foundered on metaphorical rocks in the sea some time ago. Times of power and influence now reduced to skulking about attending to secretive matters of State.
“Ah yes, it is a good plan isn’t it?” Boris’s eyes lit up as the idea now had a resonance that underlined his time in charge. “Rob from the rich to feed the even richer. Just call me Friar Tuck”
Dom glowered at the PM and muttered something under his breath that sounded just like “Friar Tuck”…..but wasn’t.
This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents
are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a
fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental
Image free to use at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vial_examples.jpg