Arthur Moyler received a wire and not a call. It read that a Maldivian woman was held in detainment by the RAF in Gan for stealing things from the premises. Moyler grabbed the Beefeater and took a sip from the bottle. “She stole a film reel.” He spurted his mouthful and read it again. It was the film he clumsily left behind in Gan along with the original lease agreement.” He swallowed a large quantity of gin to dry his throat.
Moyler had connections to high places. He began to make calls. Moyler called Group Captain Newton. He made calls to London and Singapore. Afterwards, Moyler got connected to Dirk Wyse Dwire.
Vice Admiral Vaughan Stone in Singapore knew the saga behind HMS Mellow. He did not know about a film reel. He ordered H D Newton to send that woman and Cooper to Singapore where this investigation would take place due to the delicateness of the matter.
Dirk Wyse Dwire sat down beside the Defence Minister at Doshi Màine Malam. “Spy cameras, Kalashnikovs, listening bugs, darkroom equipment, transmitters, Russian naval ships…you’ve been extremely busy recently,” he articulated, “I come to collect the tape. Give it back to me and we can perhaps forget about an intrusion and bloody espionage that has categorically occurred.”
“What tape?” uttered Defence Minister Rock.
“You know well what I’m talking about. That tape you stole from the RAF. It belongs to the British.”
“We have a lot of British tapes,” he said, “all stolen, rather. What exactly is the tape you are looking for?”
“Don’t try to be smart,” Dwire cleared his throat, “You want to act imprudently. This tape was stolen. You breached the agreement, trespassed into our property and committed theft. You have been eavesdropping on us. Do you understand the gravity of the actions you executed? For what purpose?”
“Where is the girl?” asked Manan Rock.
“Girl!” sighed Dwire, “Are you going to make a bargain? She is fine. She has to answer a lot of questions. She will be free once you give us the tape.”
“Why is this tape so important? What is in it?”
“I know you’d be asking that. It is about the sinking of HMS Mellow.”
“Wasn’t it a German sub that sank the ship? Why should it be with us or with you?”
“Will a copy do?”
“No. We want the original tape.”
“Return the girl first.”
“I heard no.” Defence Minister hit a bell and a clerk attended, “Call him!” A long-haired Saeed wearing a blue plaid sarong entered the room. Rock said, “Give him the tape.”
Saeed extended a package. Dwire did not accept it. Defence Minister added quickly, “Perhaps we should take a look! Is everything ready?”
Saeed nodded, “Yes sir.”
“Then we go to the British theatre to look what’s in the tape. Shall we!” asked Rock.
Dwire grunted, “You are making a big mistake.”
“We’ll find out which came first, egg or chicken. Here is the argument, if the English blood has the patience to listen to an explanation, of course, we found flaw in type-letters of the Gan Lease Agreement that could not be possibly typed on a typewriter in Ceylon when it was supposedly typed in Gan.”
“What are you getting at?” asked Dwire.
“The Gan Lease Agreement was a fake. Whoever did it, we ought to know. Show him!” waved Rock.
Sayye Saeed extracted the articles from the folder he carried and showed two different sets of agreements. One that of the Gan Lease Agreement sent by the Governor of Ceylon to the sultanate in 1944 and the Commonwealth Agreement signed in January 1953 in Kandy.
“Silly!” ridiculed Dwire, “They always carry a typewriter wherever they go.”
“Then we take a look at the film. Shall we!” insisted the Defence Minister getting up from his chair.
“I see! I have little choice here. Let’s see the tape,” agreed Dwire.
They crossed the sand-filled roads to the British-donated Olympus Theatre on Majeedi Magu. As he came to the site, he noticed dark skinny guards wearing KDs and carrying Kalashnikovs. It was a show bigger than the silver screen. “They don’t know to carry a rifle properly,” uttered Dwire contemptuously.
The hall of 500 seats was empty. They sat down somewhere in the middle closer to the front rows. Few in the audience and Moosa Manik, recently promoted to a corporal – the one they call ‘the Doctor’ – among them.
Lights went out. A black and white film began to roll on the screen. In 3 min 40 sec, it ran over. Again, they spooled back and played on. Dwire knew that face of Sir Arthur Moyler and the outfits of British naval officers. Prince Mal Vatta was tied down on the taffrail.
“And the submarine dived,” elaborated Mannan Rock, “What do you think?”
“Do you understand that you will lose the woman?”
“You will bring her to me and take the tape or else this thing goes viral in the British media.”
“Blackmail!” Dwire thought fleetingly, “I will talk to Moyler and then call on the Prime Minister. I don’t know a thing about this movie you are showing but I know we are entering hot water.”
Dirk Wyse Dwire contacted Sir Arthur Moyler on radio from Doonidoo to find that woman had been flown to the Far East Station. “It’s a pity,” said Moyler worriedly, “It’s out of my hand.”
Prime minister summoned the British Representative. At Golden Court, he told him, “Bring the woman and we will return the tape.”
Dwire sat with his chin rested on his chest. Then he raised his head high and passed the message, “Sir, your woman has been transferred to Singapore under orders from Vice Admiral Stone. If we fall late to settle this matter, we are late. I cannot bring the woman. I’m afraid.”
“You cannot take a Maldivian out of the country without our permission,” said Prime Minister Virgo.
“Sir!” cried Dwire, “Do you understand that you have violated our agreement in every manner!”
Prime minister rose from his cane seat adarada-gondi and walked out into the garden ignoring him. Dwire turned to Lily, the First Secretary, who put his face away.
Dwire knew Prime Minister Virgo well. That look on his face told him that he meant it. This man, Dwire knew, would take the extra mile. He was smart, brilliant and brave. His brains worked like electric sparks. He commandeered a ship full of armed guards to the Suvadives to overthrow the uprising. He gave orders to shoot, he got blood in his hands, not to mention that kind of torture implemented on his people.
Dwire sighed knowing this man won’t give a damn about the woman he exploited.