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 installments.
Today we offer Part 7 (picking up where we left off from in Part 6).
Chapter 4 (continued)
Emma and Oliver return to the main bedroom.
“I’ll call Julian and make arrangements for someone to come to interview Kleinsdorf. It’s getting late. You resume with Venner and get what information you can. Run the camera. I’ll join you after the call.”
Oliver resumes his questioning of Venner. “Mr. Venner. Now I do not feel so bad that I killed Mr. Mayfield. You and Mr. Mayfield killed a Mr. Plessey, and you told Mr. Feint about it in an email. Okay, Mr. Venner, I speak to you as one killer to another. I want to know why you must kill Mr. Plessey and why you must tell Mr. Feint. And who are these two gentlemen, this also. You cooperate before, so you cooperate now and we can avoid any problem.
Venner is sweating profusely. “Yes, I want to tell you all you want to know, but when I do, you’ll kill me. The only way you won’t is if we cut a deal where there is an incentive for you not to kill me. Can we discuss a deal, sir?
“Oh, I do not believe you are the one who can make such a deal, Mr. Venner. Mr. Feint is your boss, yes, and Mr. Mayfield also. You must get Mr. Feint to come here and we can see if there is a deal I like.”
“Mr. Feint is in Australia and I’m dammed sure he won’t get on a plane to meet a man with a gun. I can get him to agree to a deal by email. I can get him to deposit money into any bank account you nominate, half now and half when I email him again to tell him I am safe.”
“I get for you some water, Mr. Venner.”
“Could you make it a bourbon or scotch?”
Oliver joins Emma by the phone in the safe house. “Julian?”
“He’s back at work but not well enough to fly, although he would like to. Glasely is coming, ready to take the credit if Kleinsdorf proves to be the prize he seems to be. He’ll be here tomorrow.”
“We’re about to find out why they thought they had to kill Phillip. He wants to cut a deal with me to ensure I don’t kill him after he tells all. He’s going to email Feint to deposit money into my bank account – half now and the rest when I let him go. We haven’t discussed how much.”
“But what about Mayfield and how will . . .”
“I know. Leave it to me.”
Oliver walks back into the garage carrying two bottles of beer. Emma walks in behind him noiselessly.
“Open your mouth, Mr. Venner. I have beer for you.”
Oliver guides the beer bottle to Venner’s mouth. Venner drinks. Oliver steps back, and drinks from his own bottle.
“So Mr. Venner! We make this arrangement. First you tell me what I want to know. Then I tell you how much Mr. Feint must pay. I check that half the money arrives into my bank account. When I know it is there, we drive back to your apartment and I take you to your apartment and I wait outside. You send another email to Mr. Feint to send the rest of the money. I wait and make a phone call to my bank. If the money does not arrive, you will see me maybe one more time, or maybe I just shoot you when you do not see me. So now you have to trust me about the second half of the money. If I have to trust you, that will not work.
“Okay Mr. Venner, but first you must tell me why Mr. Feint will pay this money. What reason do you give him?”
Venner visibly relaxes. “Oh, Feint will pay alright. It won’t come out a his pocket. There’s a couple a Vatican Cardinals picking up this tab. I’ll tell him that the KGB guy leaning on their guy is now leaning on us – Feint was half expecting this to happen. I’ll tell him the KGB guy sent you. Who knows – it could be true. It doesn’t matter to me either way.”
“Okay. So now you tell me why you must kill Mr. Plessey and who is Mr. Feint who is in Australia and why you now come back to Berlin. I believe the Vatican Cardinals and KGB must be part of this story.”
“I’m guessing you’re a former Stasi officer, so we’re talkin’ about your kind a game here, am I right?”
“You talk, Mr. Venner, and I listen.”
“There’s this KGB agent – former KGB – who’s got his hands on a load of radioactive material for making dirty bombs – a big load. He sells it through some contact he has in East Germany – again I’m guessing Stasi – hey, it could be you. He uses the head of a Roman Catholic orphanage to deliver the stuff to the salesman. The KGB guy is blackmailing the orphanage guy that he makes these deliveries or he tells the newspapers about the brothel he is running. We think the KGB guy probably doesn’t know what kind a leverage he really has – what kind a church big shots use the – otherwise he would ask for much more than a courier service. If he knew he had a couple a Vatican Cardinals by the balls he . . .”
Oliver interrupts. “Okay Mr. Venner. Stop. You make a fantastic story. I do not give you a second warning. If you do not tell the truth, I will know there is no money and you are playing for time.
“This is the truth, sir, I swear. When I first heard about this setup, I thought like you: this must be some kind a joke. And it gets worse. This brothel – it’s no ordinary brothel. It’s a brothel for paedophiles. They use the orphans! And the two big bosses are two Vatican cardinals. They’re making money out a this operation would you believe – and not only from their visiting rights. They make videos and take pictures and they supply a very private group, people in the know within the Roman Catholic Church. They got Cardinals and bishops and priests making visits and other big shots, ordinary guys not in habits but with big money. Feint is a Roman Catholic in the know and that’s how he got involved. Mayfield got involved the same way. Somehow they hooked up and found a way into the deal. They got themselves some kind a contract to run interference for the orphanage – make sure it stays secret – and they get money and visiting rights and all the videos and pictures they want. They are some sick bastards!”
“So they like little boys.”
“And little girls. I got a tell you: it makes me want to throw up!”
“So what is your reason to work with these sick people?”
“Well . . . Mayfield caught me taking money from someone for a favour . . . to pay off some gambling debts.”
“So he tells you he will not report you if you help him. Why does he need your help?”
“Mayfield only ever works on straight intelligence-work. He’d never worked at the sharp end where it gets a little rough. He needed help with a personal project – people had to be taken out. He knew that I had the experience and contacts. He said there was a lot a money in it for me – more than I needed to get out a trouble. I said okay but only if I knew who else was involved and what was this personal project – you gotta know what you’re dealing with. So he tells me.”
“Where from does he get these orphans? He must take a big risk if he kidnaps them.”
“Oh no. No kidnapping required. The guy running the orphanage, the priest, goes to Croatia where he picks up war orphans – mostly Muslims, some gypsies. The Vatican big shots arrange with a guy there to visit war refugee centres to find the kind a orphans they want. My KGB guy knows the guy rounding up the orphans. That’s how he found out about the orphanage. So he catches up with the priest, the head of the orphanage, next time he is in Croatia and tells him that he is about to make him famous unless he does what he wants. And that’s how the orphanage priest got to add courier to his CV.”
“Why do these Roman Catholics think it is okay to use these children in this way? This must be against their religion.”
“Mayfield says the orphans get fed and looked after better than in the refugee centres where they starve and get sick and die. And they get the opportunity to be converted to become Roman Catholics – like that’s some big deal! He makes out that the orphanage is doing these kids some mighty big favour and they’re little pagans who would go to hell anyway – it’s like he thought it was kind a their duty to do what they had to do to pay their board. Anyway, that’s the kind a line he ran with me. I just wanted to punch the guy but he held all the cards so I had to go along. I talked to Feint on the phone and we made a deal. Straightaway he wanted the names of some people who could fix a car to crash and explode. He needed them in Sydney, Australia like yesterday. I told him they would have to come over from the States and they would cost, big time. He said okay. Then he said I would have to go Berlin with Mayfield, but on separate flights, the next day at the latest.”
“Why did Feint need such car experts?”
“Feint had a message from his own ASIS guy on loan to MI6 – you know, Plessey. His mission was to find out about former KGB operatives setting up criminal networks in East Germany – that’s the executive summary. He picked this guy, Plessey, because he thought the guy wouldn’t get anywhere and take forever to get there. No chance he’d ever find the KGB guy selling radioactive stuff, so the orphanage would be out a the picture. But then Feint gets a report from Plessey to say that some guy has set up a meeting and was going to give him some kind a breakthrough information about dirty bombs. All the bells went off for Feint so he sent Mayfield and me to Berlin to dispose of Plessey before he could do any damage, and then find out who his informant was and do the same to him.”
“The exploding motor cars in Australia . . . ?”
“Part a the same picture. The big bang was meant for Plessey’s wife. She lived in Australia. She was ex-MI6. Plessey told Feint that he called his wife every night. Feint thought Plessey might have told her more about his meeting than he told Feint in his report. She could have been as dangerous as Plessey. The guys I gave to Feint set up her car to crash and burn, but someone else borrowed it. Her kid was in the car plus the woman driving and her kid too. This is one hellava mess that I wish I never got mixed up in!”
“You don’t seem happy in your work, Mr. Venner.”
“I mean if you need to take out some guy who plays the same game as you, well it’s kind a like in war: same rules both sides. But I got no stomach for when you get kids involved. I’m gonna find a way to get out of this when we finish this deal with you. With kids involved, it’s not for me.”
“Continue please, Mr. Venner.”
Venner sighs and appears exhausted. “We go to Berlin. We get rid of Plessey but the other guy, his informant, we had no chance of finding. And it gets worse. Plessey’s wife rejoins MI6 and the husband of the woman in the car – his kid in the car too – both of them now in Berlin following down the same trail Plessey was following. And these two are no dummies! She’s MI6 trained and he’s one of these hotshot banking entrepreneurs who was building his empire in Berlin before he knew anything about MI6! So they’re not gonna take any time to get to where Plessey was up to. But Feint sees this as a positive. He figures that if this high profile banking guy – you might a heard of him, Oliver Pymm, got his picture in the paper a couple a times – if he disappears and it gets leaked to the press he was working undercover for MI6, there will be a big stink. So then their mission gets delayed, they have to find a new way to get it running again, and Feint buys time to get the KGB guy and the radioactive stuff out a the picture – maybe Feint sets up another courier for the KGB guy, someone not connected to the orphanage.” Venner pauses. “So I guess that’s it.”
“You have not had time to dispose of the two MI6 people?”
“Where is the orphanage?”
“I never knew that. Mayfield and Feint, they used to go there. I never went there. They never told me. Maybe they thought it would give me some kind a hold over them if I knew.”
“And what do we say about Mr. Mayfield? Mr. Mayfield sent most of the emails to Feint. The emails you send are about details but not to discuss how they make decisions.”
“Yeah. I’d thought a that. I can say in my email to Feint that you worked out that Mayfield was Feint’s right hand guy and that I was kind a just a support act. You think that Mayfield might have some code he could use if he sent the emails so you’re not gonna let him anywhere near his laptop and you’re only gonna use me and my laptop. So I say to Feint that Mayfield is here but ‘unable to communicate’.”
“Okay. We stop for a moment and I think how much Mr. Feint must pay.”
Oliver walks back into the kitchen of the safe house followed by Emma. She is putting her shoes back on. His expression is dark with rage. He begins pacing up and down. His eyes are glistening with tears. He speaks with a pathetic sadness in his voice.
“Those kids. Those poor kids. We’ve got to get them out of there. We will get them out of there! You can back that in! I don’t care what it takes, those kids have to be taken away to a safe place and looked after. That’s why I am here! That’s my mission.” He pauses. “So, looks like we need Feint to tell us where the orphanage is – or maybe Kleinsdorf.”
“Feint might be our only chance. I don’t think our KGB target would have told Kleinsdorf where the orphanage is and it would be in the interest of the head of the orphanage, as well, to keep that from Kleinsdorf. Why don’t you ask him.”
Oliver returns to Emma after questioning Kleinsdorf.
“Phone contacts only. Our KGB man is making sure nobody knows how to find him. Klaus doesn’t even know his real name – just Oleg.”
“So that leaves Feint. I’ll call Julian.”
Emma is speaking to Julian, Oliver standing beside her.
“. . . so we have to find the head of the orphanage if we want to find our target . . . Precisely. Feint is our only option. . . I don’t see how . . . Feint will use the location of the orphanage to negotiate a reduced prison term, surely. The bargaining process could take far too long, and in the meantime, Kleinsdorf won’t be at home to take calls from Oleg, which could make Oleg very suspicious. I’d hazard a guess that it’s a matter of a week, or not much more, before he decides something is up and abandons all links with his current arrangements, including his orphanage courier. We’ll be back to square one.
Oliver cuts in. “Can we put him on speaker?”
Emma pushes the speaker button.
“You’re on speaker now Julian. Oliver wants to join in.”
Julian’s voice on the speaker phone: “Hallo Oliver.”
“Hullo Julian. I hope you are on the mend. Pondering in the background, what do you think of the following: I tell Venner that I want him to send an email to Feint to advise that he and Mayfield have disposed of Pymm and Mrs. Plessey in the usual way. We get Andrew, soon after, to send Feint to Berlin to claim my body, which has been discovered during a raid on the hospital incinerator. When he arrives in Berlin, he is brought to the safe house for an intimate chat with Emma and me. If I’m any judge of character, Mr. Feint will tell us what we want to know in no time at all. And he will be out of Andrew’s jurisdiction so he won’t have to be responsible for the way we deal with Feint.”
Julian responds: “That might work . . . but I’m not sure that you and Emma should conduct the interview. I think we should leave that to our security people. What do you think, Emma?”
“Yes . . . it seems like a good idea. It should work.”
“Okay, that’s what we’ll do. I’ll make the arrangements. I’ve activated security for you. Use the number I gave you, Emma, and touch base with them as soon as you hang up. They’ll let you know when they plan to detain Feint.”
“Oliver, get your Venner email off to Feint post haste and I’ll call Andrew.” Julian pauses. “You can congratulate yourselves on a very productive day. For your reward: Glasely should be with you tomorrow, mid morning. Hah!”
To be continued . . .