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Bespoke Assassins (Part 6)

Paul Dellit has written some excellent political articles for The AIMN, so it came as some surprise that he is better known for his screenplay writing. Thomas Keneally, in a recent review of one of Paul’s screenplays I wrote: “I liked your screenplay and plot very much” and went on to describe it as “a very interesting and well-wrought script”. This particular screenplay – a spy thriller set in 1992 involving a MI5 mission directed at uncovering the source of stolen Russian radioactive material – has been turned into a novella (with input from Mr Keneally) and prior to publishing in hard copy has been offered to The AIMN.

We are pleased to ‘publish’ Paul’s novella. Being over 40,000 words, it will need be published in weekly instalments.

Today we offer Part 6 (picking up where we left off from in Part 5).

Chapter 4 (continued)

V

Inside the safe house garage, the door is closing as Emma and Oliver drag Venner out of the car. They sit him on the floor and prop him against the wall in a sitting position. He is still unconscious, but beginning to stir. There are now three cars in the large garage. Emma places duct tape over Venner’s eyes and they bind his hands in front of him and his feet with duct tape. She beckons silently to Oliver to come with her and they leave the garage by the side door which leads into the safe house. She closes the door behind them.

“Let’s not begin to question him until we find out what we can from their papers and their laptops. Might be best if we don’t reveal who we are. He would believe we intend to kill him. You’re alone and I don’t exist. You’d better stay in character as a German.”
The two of them in the dining room of the safe house going through the attaché cases of Mayfield and Venner, reading papers, plugging in the two laptops and attempting to gain access to them.

Emma calls to Oliver: “As I thought: both password-protected.”

“They are bound to have shared their passwords with one another in case of emergency.”

“Do you think you can get him to share with you? Before you start, you’ll have to set up one of the cameras. We have to have a record of the interrogation. Very useful to be able to review his answers in detail later … and it might come in useful when we get hauled across the coals for ignoring Glasely’s directive.”

Oliver is in the garage standing to the side of a tripod-mounted camera which is running. Venner is sitting on a chair, conscious but groggy, still wearing the duct tape. Emma is leaning against the wall by the door.

Oliver speaks in English with a German accent. “This must be very unpleasant for you, Mr. Venner. I have placed tape over your eyes so you cannot see me. Mr. Mayfield made the mistake of removing the tape over his eyes and he saw me. Mr. Mayfield is dead. Even if he had answered my questions he would now be dead. Disposing of dead bodies is a messy problem. Now, I am going to ask you some questions and you will answer them. If you do not give answers, I will have to inflict pain. I hate to do this, but I will do it if you make it necessary. The more you fail to co-operate, the more pain I must inflict. The more pain I inflict, the more you become not so well. If you continue in this way, you may become so sick you will die anyway. So now you know the rules, Mr. Venner, my first question is: give me the passwords to your laptop computer and Mr. Mayfield’s laptop computer.

Venner, sweating, nervous, agitated, begins a halting response: “I, I …”

“Oh do not delay, please, Mr Venner. If you delay, I may understand you do not wish to cooperate.”

“No, no. I’m being co-operative. My password is GRINGO7 all in uppercase. I have Mayfield’s in my wallet. It’s like a dog’s name. You’ll find it there in the zippered up section.”

“Thank you, Mr. Venner. So we already become in a friendly way. I will return with more questions when I have opened your two laptop computers.”
Oliver and Emma begin opening files on the two laptops, scrolling through them with furious concentration.

Oliver asks: “Will my German accent pass muster?”

“Flat Australian diphthongs, but he’s American.” She pauses and then exclaims: “Oh,” and pauses again before continuing, “Oh. Oh this is … look at this.”
Oliver leaves the laptop he is reviewing and comes over to look at Emma’s screen. He reads an email which Mayfield has sent to Feint. He asks: “Do you want to stop for a while?”

“No.” She pauses before continuing, “I knew he was dead … it’s almost a relief to have it confirmed, even though we don’t know the circumstances … No names are mentioned – they only talk about a disposal – but the meaning is clear, isn’t it?”

“I’d say. I was going to tell you – I’ve found a handwritten draft of an email with names spelled out. This is the actual email where those code words are used in place of the names. There’s no doubt.”

“And from the way the emails are worded, it’s also clear that Feint is in charge, right? So ASIS will have to track down Feint’s computer server to complete the formal link with Feint so they can throw him into gaol.”

“I suppose you don’t equip your safe houses with white boards …?”

VI

Oliver walks back to his pile of papers and Venner’s laptop when there is the sound of a front door buzzer. Oliver looks at Emma who gets up immediately and goes upstairs to the main bedroom of the house where there is a group of monitors and an intercom. Oliver follows. One of the monitor screens shows a man standing at the front door. He presses the intercom buzzer again. Emma doesn’t respond. The man pushes the intercom buzzer again and speaks.

He speaks in English with a German accent, German diphthongs. “Good afternoon Mr. and Mrs. MI6. I am Klaus Kleinsdorf. I have some information for you. I want to talk to you. You will be very pleased to receive this information but I cannot say it out here. If you let me in we can talk.”

Emma and Oliver are transfixed by the sight of this visitor on the security monitor screen. They haven’t pushed the intercom button to communicate with Kleinsdorf.

Oliver asks: “Any idea who he is?”

“No.”

Kleinsdorf pushes the intercom button again. He is becoming a little impatient. “If I say, I meet with Mr. Clements, then maybe you change your mind and let me into your safe house?”

Emma pushes the intercom button to talk to Kleinsdorf. “Put your hands out in front of you, palms facing out.”

Kleinsdorf does as instructed. “Like this?”
Emma pushes the intercom button again so that Kleinsdorf cannot hear her. She speaks to Oliver. “Get your gun and wait near the entrance corridor out of sight. I’ll watch him from here and call out if anything is amiss. We don’t want him to know who you are, when you speak. If he hears an Australian accent . . .”

Oliver asks, with raised eyebrows: “The man who met Phillip …?”

Emma dispatches him: “Quickly.”
Oliver leaves to get his gun and take up his position. Emma pushes the intercom button again to speak to Kleinsdorf and also pushes the button to open the front door. “Push the door open very slowly with both hands; walk in keeping your hands in front of you and kick the door closed slowly.”

“Okay. I make every move very slowly so you don’t have to shoot me,” and he laughs as he follows Emma’s instructions.

Emma watches the monitor screen which shows Kleinsdorf inside the entrance corridor slowly kicking the front door closed and walking slowly forward with his hands still in front of him, palms facing forward. Kleinsdorf is smiling. She issues her next instruction. “Now very slowly take off your overcoat then all of your clothes including your shoes. You may leave on your socks and underwear.”

“This is the first time I am inside a MI6 safe house while it is occupied.”

Kleinsdorf takes off his clothes and shoes as instructed and leaves them on the floor. He motions towards the pile of clothes. “I have a gun in my overcoat. So now you see I want only to talk.”
Oliver walks into the entrance corridor pointing his gun at Kleinsdorf.

Oliver speaks with an Oxbridge accent and motions to Kleinsdorf to enter the living room. “Come forward, walk in there, then sit over there, if you would.”

Oliver follows Kleinsdorf into the living room with Kleinsdorf’s clothes under his arm. Emma joins them. She also has her gun with her. Kleinsdorf sits in an armchair and Oliver and Emma sit on a sofa facing him. Oliver checks his clothes and shoes, removes all items from them including the gun, and then throws them, except his overcoat, to Kleinsdorf. Kleinsdorf begins dressing himself.

Emma begins. “Mr. Kleinsdorf.” and pauses to allow Kleinsdorf to explain his presence.

Kleinsdorf ignores Emma and addresses Oliver. “Please, Mr … How do I call you?”

“You can call me ‘Darcy’ and my colleague ‘Miss Bennett’.”

“In my coat pocket you miss a piece of paper. It belongs to you.”

Oliver takes a piece of paper from Kleinsdorf’s overcoat pocket. He recognizes the paper they left on Mayfield’s body on which Emma had written ‘CIA’ in large capitals.

Kleinsdorf continues: “BND already know that the men using the names Mr. Mayfield and Mr. Venner are CIA. They work out for sure that MI6 have killed Mr. Mayfield if you leave that message for them. We don’t want BND to know that so soon, do we. I know you must write this note so the Polizei will tell BND and BND will keep it out of the newspapers. There is no problem. BND will keep that secret for you. And they do not even know yet that Mr. Mayfield is dead. They will know this only when someone
complains about the bad smell.” Kleinsdorf laughs.

Emma asks: “Are you from the BND or some other part of the German secret police? I think you should start from the beginning, please, Mr. Kleinsdorf.”

“Of course. This is why I am here! I am formerly an officer of the Staatssicherheit. No more Stasi, so now I am a freelance ‘consultant’.” He smiles and continues, “and I also have contacts in BND – but I am not from BND. So … I arrange to meet Mr. Clements and we come to an understanding about a deal I wish to make with the British Government. He agrees to talk to MI6 about my deal and he promises to arrange a meeting where we sign an agreement. But soon after I meet with him, he is killed by Mr. Mayfield and Mr. Venner – you must know this, I think so because you”, he looks as Emma, “killed Mr. Mayfield and you have Mr. Venner here – and you must also know they use false names. So, Mr. Clements is dead and I have to start again with you.” He pauses, and looking directly at Emma begins to laugh unselfconsciously. “You give me a day of so many amusing … things. I think I am watching a funny movie.”

Emma responds: “How do you know Mr. Clements is dead, and what is this deal you want to make?”

“I tell you the deal first. I know who is selling radioactive material for making dirty bombs. There is a lot of this material so there can be many sales – only two so far. I know about how this is delivered to the buyers. I know where these deals are made. I tell this to the British Government and they must take me to England, they give me a new identity, they give me a comfortable house – I am not too greedy about this – and they must give me my living expenses for the rest of my life – and a motor car, and I am not too greedy for this also.”

“We need to know more about the information you wish to sell, but perhaps you can move on to the death of Mr. Clements.”

“This is a longer story. Mr. Clements was meeting with a number of companies who have shareholders under false names, but they are formerly KGB. I have contacts at three of these companies who tell me about Mr. Clements asking such questions about shareholders, so I make my enquiries about him. I find out he is a freelance journalist from Australia. He is writing an article about the new East Germany and how industry grows in the new East Germany, and he writes also about companies which are becoming successful. But I think maybe he is working for MI6.”

“What made you suspicious?”

“I think he does not need to know so much about the shareholders to write his articles. But MI6 would like such information. They must know that formerly KGB officers want to form a group who become influential in new East German companies so they can use them for hiding what is their real purpose.”

“Okay. About Mr. Clements … ?”

“Okay. So I make contact with Mr. Clements and I tell him I want for us to meet. I tell him it is about radioactive dirty bombs materials. Otherwise, I do not think he would be interested. We meet and of course he will not say he is MI6. I tell him if he can contact MI6 I will tell my story to MI6, only MI6. Mr. Clements tells me he can contact MI6. I tell him my terms for the deal. Mr. Clements says he will pass my message to MI6, but I know this was not possible so I think my retirement plan is kaput – until now. I am here to ask you to please make arrangements for my offer to be sent to the British Government so that I can make this agreement. Will you also be agreeable to this as Mr. Clements?

“You said he was killed.”

“Yes, he was killed – after we have our meeting – before he had the opportunity to talk to anyone.”

“How do you know that?”

“We meet in a deserted building. After he leaves I watch him from the shadows. He is walking to his car and I see a car pull up alongside him. Mr. Mayfield and Mr. Venner are in the car – I find out this later. One gets out and talks to Mr. Clements. He gets into their car with no objections. I remember the number plate and get into my car and follow them. They drive to a place where they burn rubbish from hospitals.”

“A medical waste incinerator?”

“Yes, and they meet a man there who brings a trolley to their car. He has a big bag. The two men put Mr. Clements into the bag and the man and the two men from the car lift the bag into the trolley. One of the men gives the man with the trolley a small bag which must be his payoff for disposing of the body.”

“I see. Excuse me.”

Emma gets up and hurries from the room.

Oliver takes over. “She knew Mr. Clements. We can continue. How did you know about Venner and Mayfield and what makes you believe we are MI6 and this is an MI6 safe house?”

“I tell one of my contacts at BND about the disposal of Mr. Clements’ body and the number plate of the car. Of course I make up a story about my meeting with Mr. Clements. My contact tells me later that the car is hired to an American and he is with another American. He makes some more investigations and informs me they arrive in Berlin on different flights on the same day, both from New York. It takes another two weeks but my contact comes to the conclusion that the two Americans are CIA. He is able to get their photos and he makes sure if they arrive again in Berlin, he is informed. They arrive yesterday using new names and he tells me about it and where they stay in Berlin. I offer to follow them and give him a report. I am waiting outside Mr. Mayfield’s apartment block to see what he may do next. I notice you and Miss Bennett arrive in a car. Miss Bennett enters the apartment block then she comes back to your car and she is very sick into the car. Now I am interested, and I become more interested when I see Mayfield’s car come out from the apartment under-parking. You are driving. Miss Bennett gets out and gets into your car and you drive away in the two cars. So then I follow you to here then from here I follow you to Mr. Venner’s apartment, then back to here where you stay. I think you have finished driving for some time so I go back to Mayfield’s apartment, where I find his body – no clothes. He is nude? Do you say nude for this?

“Naked.”

“And you have taken all his possessions. There is nothing – just the naked body with two bullets and a lot of blood. And there is your ‘CIA’ piece of paper. That makes me sure you are MI6 and this is a safe house. So I go then to Venner’s apartment and find he is not there and all of his possessions are also taken away. This is how I conclude you have Mr. Venner here. Do you make him also take off all of his clothes?”
Emma walks back into the room.

“No. He is fully clothed. I heard your story Mr. Kleinsdorf. Why do you think Mayfield and Venner wanted to kill Mr. Clements?

“My BND contact also wants to know this but cannot find out, so far. He suspects that they have personal reasons and they are not following CIA orders when they kill Mr. Clements. It is against the rules for the CIA to kill MI6? I think so. Maybe?” He pauses before continuing. “But you killed Mr. Mayfield – but I saw the bullet hole near the door, so maybe he shoots at you first.” He pauses again. “So, you have Mr. Venner here. He can tell you why they kill Mr. Clements. You should find this out before you shoot him.” Kleinsdorf laughs as he continues, “Perhaps I can help you to get this information.”

Emma takes control again. “Back to the information you wish to trade. How do you come to have this information? And what prompts you to make this offer now?”

“Oh, Miss Bennett. I have been very good at my work for many years. If MI6 begins to make such investigations with Mr. Clements, they will send another man and in the end they must find the KGB shareholders. If they find my business associate before I have an agreement with the British Government, then it could be that I have no pension and I no longer can make money.” He smiles. “So now I trade information for my pension. You can see I am no longer a young man and I am too old to make a new way of working, so I must have a pension from the British Government.”

Emma replies with a wry smile: “That would be the blue form 72B, ‘UK Pension Plans for former Stasi Officers’.”

“Yes, I see you are making a joke Miss Bennett, but if I stay here after I sell this information to your government, I also do not have long to live.”

“Please continue, Mr. Kleinsdorf.”

“Yes, I tell you enough so you know the information I have is true. My business is with one former KGB – we are not partners – I just do work for him. He does not work with other KGB; he is not part of a KGB group. He wants only to operate with me and the Roman Catholic priest – the priest does not know anything about the business I do with the KGB man – he makes deliveries only. The KGB man does not want anyone to know his business, not any other KGB, not anyone, only me. If other KGB find out, they will take over his business. This would make a big problem for everyone – for MI6 also.

“The information you wish to trade is about your associate’s business? Are we heading in that direction? And I assume that the deliveries you refer to relate to the radioactive material.”

“Miss Bennett, I think you have enough now. When the British Government brings an agreement in German, if it has all of my terms written, then I answer all of their questions.”

“Mr. Kleinsdorf, we will have to detain you securely until we arrange for someone else to discuss your offer with you. It may take one or two days. We will take you to the bathroom now then lock you in a room. We will provide you with meals and allow you to go to the bathroom when you need to. At night you will take a sleeping draft. Mr. Darcy will now escort you to the bathroom.”

To be continued . . .

 

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