Redmayne

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 6 (v.1) - Do What They Are Trained For

Submitted: June 16, 2018

Reads: 37

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Submitted: June 16, 2018

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Patricia was making the most of her extra time in Los Angeles by practising her swordsmanship in her Gym. It was not a normal fencing gym set up, with electronic connections for sparring with foils. It was a Spartan affair with a simple mat and some benches down the side. She trained alone except for those she invited to spar with. Her adversaries were drawn mostly from the stunt world of Hollywood which is what made Los Angeles such a good place to live.

While she was practising, a fit looking man appeared in the doorway. His hair was going grey, and wrinkles had begun to show on his face, but other than that he looked quite youthful. His most striking feature was the scar on his left cheek. Almost immediately Patricia noticed him and stopped.

Simon stepped into the gym and said in his Germanic tone, “I do not remember teaching you to stop when you are distracted.”

“You never taught me about sneaking up on people either.”

Simon stepped forward and said “There are two rules in this life: one is that you never tell everything you know.”

There was an expectant pause and then they both smiled.

Simon walked over to one of the benches along the side of the gym and sat down; Patricia got her towel, threw it over her shoulder and followed him.

“I do not think it is right to call it sneaking when I was invited to come here,” said Simon. “Well to your home at least. When I was told you weren’t there, I thought this would be where I would most likely find you. What is the problem you find yourself facing?”

“What makes you think there's a problem?”

“You called me up after all this time and said you needed my help. It has been a long time since I could teach you anything about fencing, so I think there must be something more.”

Patricia knew she could not hide anything from her coach and mentor. She stood with her back to him looking across the gym. “It’s not so much for me,” she said, “it’s for my cousin’s daughter.”

“In that case she must want to learn sword fighting; otherwise you would not have called me.”

“I want you to teach her everything; I need her to be better than you made me.”

“I do not know whether that would be possible. I have never seen a pupil as driven to be a swordsman as you were.”

“I had good reason.”

“Yes, I know; your mother also was a fine fencer.”

“So my Father told me; so were my Grandmother, and her Mother before her.”

“Your Mother wanted to teach you herself, we often spoke of it. If it had not been for that drunk....” Simon looked down at the floor.

Patricia gave him a moment, for her sake as much as for his. Then she said, “If I had a daughter I would be asking you to train her, but I haven’t so it will fall to my cousin’s daughter.”

Simon looked up again. “Not Julian?”

“No, he has lost too much already, and he might lose more before his sword would be needed.” The thought of her dead husband and possible parentless child brought a lump to her throat and she put her head in her towel in the pretence of wiping the sweat from her face. Having covertly wiped her eyes she continued, “I need to pass the sword on to a younger person, and you are the best teacher there is.”

“I am flattered but why don't you train her yourself?”

“Well, because being a good pupil does not make me a good teacher, and because I might not be here to do that.”

“Now you are beginning to worry me.”

“I don’t want you to worry; I just need to know everything will be all right if I can’t be here to see that it is.”

“I will do as you ask, but only if you tell me what sort of trouble you are in.”

Patricia thought for a moment and then turned her back. “There is no point in me telling you because you wouldn’t believe me anyway.”

Simon got up and went over to the edge of the Gym. He picked up a sword and gave it a couple of swishes through the air. “I am not a man who likes to be told what to believe. I will just have to get it out of you and then decide for myself.” He took a fighting stance in the middle of the gym.

Patricia looked at him incredulously. “You’re not serious?”

“I challenge you for the right to hear the truth from you.”

Patricia strode casually out onto the floor and faced Simon. “Very well; that means I get to choose what I fight for. I accept the challenge for your promise to teach my successor to fence.”

“Then the challenge is accepted.”

As soon as Patricia was ready, Simon attacked, but she easily countered the move. The two fenced, and the contest ebbed and flowed, but only because Patricia let it. She knew he had a few tricks up his sleeve, but he couldn’t match her speed, agility or stamina. Eventually, he succumbed and she stood in front of him, his sword was pointing towards the ground, and she was now clearly in the winning position.

Simon gestured that he'd had enough and he said “All right, all right I’ll...” that's as far as he got before he looked wide eyed over Patricia shoulder and exclaimed, “My god: what the hell are you doing here?”

Patricia looked round but she saw no one. She felt the sword get knocked out of her hand and looked back to see that Simon had his sword pointing straight at her. She stifled a tirade of expletives and said, “You cheating son of a bitch.”

“That is number two. Do not let anyone distract you; not even if it’s someone you trust.” Simon went back over to the edge of the gym and put his sword down. He sat down on the bench. “And now you will have to tell me the truth.”

“All right,” said Patricia as she walked over and sat next to Simon. She had lost and was now duty bound to tell him although she was not sure he deserved it, having cheated to secure the victory. “All right I will tell you, but not here. It might take a while so we should head home where the seats are more comfortable than those benches.” Patricia was not lying, but she also knew it would buy her more time to think how best to tell Simon the truth but perhaps not all of it.

*****

It was the early hours of the morning when Desmond came out onto Page Street. He was still shabbily dressed, but he now carried with him a briefcase. Sid watched him go, and though she speculated as to what he might have in his briefcase, he was not the focus of her attention. She would sooner let the minnow swim away, and continue to wait for the big fish that was still in his room.

As she watched Desmond go around the corner into Regency Street she got her flask and poured herself another drink. She carefully fastened the lid on her mug, even though she didn't really like it. It always reminded her of a baby's cup, but she'd raced off after a quarry once before and spilt coffee everywhere, and that was not something she intended to repeat. She sat back and continued watching the building.

Around the corner Desmond was making his way down Regency Street. Trevor waited for the right distance and then began to follow his quarry, as he had done many times before. It would probably lead to nothing, but he would be happy with that. Police work was as much about eliminating avenues of investigation as it was about following live leads. He knew that by following this suspect he could tell Sid if there was nothing to report. That would free her to carry on the investigation where needed. He felt useful again, and that eased his mind.

He moved forward keeping the lone figure in sight, and was relieved when they moved to roads that were busier. It meant keeping an eye on his target among other people, but it was easier to follow unnoticed.

*****

Any passers-by looking into Patricia's living room would just see two people sitting, drinking coffee and chatting. They would have no idea of the enormity of the situation that weighed on their minds as they spoke. Perhaps they would notice the long silence that fell after Patricia had finished relating her story.

It was a silence that Simon broke. “So this Sword fighting in the family has been handed down since that Viking warrior?”

Patricia ran a finger around the rim of her mug. “That’s right and there is always one in our family who must be ready if we are to be called on again.”

“And you are needed now?”

Patricia nodded.

“In England?”

“Yes; I was on my way over there to meet Jason when my car was trashed by a mad man.”

“What happened? Did he run into you?”

Patricia could see the wide-eyed look of concern, “No, he shot out the tyres,” she said. Realising this had done nothing to allay Simon's concerns, Patricia continued “I just wonder whether he has any idea what he’s done?”

“Perhaps he does, whoever this enemy is that you are going to go up against must have some influence. If they have been around since the Vikings, there must be quite a network out there by now.”

Patricia leant forward on the leather sofa and put her mug down on the table. “That’s what worries me; I don’t know how far the influence has spread.”

“If their influence reaches this far they must fear you. I’m sure you’re not telling me everything, but they must be afraid of you if they wanted to prevent you from going to where they are.”

“Or I could be worrying over a mere coincidence. After all, LA is not short of mad people with guns.”

Simon drank the last of his coffee and cradled it in his left hand. “Well if it’s not a coincidence, and it is indeed a threat from your enemy, why did they just shoot the tyres?”

“Whatever the reason for it, I'll stand a better chance if I seek my enemy out and fight them on my terms rather than wait for them to find me.”

Simon put his mug down next to Patricia's. “Well it all sounds unbelievable, but you know that I will be with you all the way. So when do we leave?”

You don’t” said Patricia as she got up. She went over to the window and looked out. “I can’t risk having you along.”

“But I...”

Patricia would love to have him there, but she knew that Erik Redmayne alone of his people had the ability to withstand the effect of the Evil One. She was not sure that she’d inherited the ability, but if she had, she knew that anyone with her could be turned against her without them even knowing what was happening. Much as she would love to have Simon alongside her as an ally, she would hate to have him as an enemy. “No Simon, I cannot risk you being there, you’re far too important; you must train the next sword wielder if I should fail to return.”

Simon wanted to argue, he was on the verge of protesting, but nothing came forth. Finally, he stood and said. “Very well, but if I cannot be there, I will have to make sure you are ready. How long have we got?”

Patricia turned back from the window. “The car will be ready tomorrow; they had to keep it a couple of days.”

“A couple of days; just for the tyres?”

“If only it had just been the tyres. That was all he was aiming at, but he hit the brakes as well. I’ve been waiting for that to be fixed and wrangling with the air company trying to get them to transfer my flight.”

“Do you think they will?”

“I don’t know,” said Patricia as she brushed the hair back from her face. “I can’t really afford to buy another ticket and get the car fixed. Besides I’m wary of flying, knowing how far the Evil One is already able to stretch his influence.”

Simon turned to face her. “How will you stop them then?”

“Well I’ll have to fly over in the end; but so far we don’t know what their plans are. Jason is keeping his eyes and ears open for any news that might give us a sign of where they are or what they are up to, but so far they have gone to ground.” Patricia almost stumbled and said he instead of they, but since Simon had filled in his own scenario about an organisation Patricia went along with it.

Simon looked into his mug, checking that all of his coffee had gone. As he stood up he said “That gives me time to show you just a few more tricks.”

“But what about my successor; you will teach her for me won’t you?”

“When you get back we will teach her together.”

Patricia stared straight at Simon. “What if I don’t come back?”

Simon stared back. “You will.”

The silence returned to the room. The two of them stood looking at each other, as if the argument was continuing without the words to accompany it.

Finally, Patricia spoke, with an insistency rarely heard from her. “What if I don’t?”

Simon bowed his head, and said as he sat down “Then I will teach her.”

Patricia sat next to him and hugged him, as they sat in silence once again.

*****

Trevor knocked on the door of the small flat, not so loudly as to wake any neighbours who were sensibly in the middle of their slumber. As he saw the door open slightly he said “Hello Omni.” The well kempt middle-aged man seemed wary, but Trevor was not surprised at this reaction to a night time visit from the policeman.

“What are you doing here at this hour?” Omni said.

“Don’t sound so put out. I know the hours you keep. I’m here because I need your help.”

Omni let him in. The living room was neat and there was little in it, but it was functional and the two old friends sat.

“What’s the problem then officer, have you forgotten your password?”

Trevor sat back in the seat. “Funny you should say that; it’s more a question of the password losing me. You see I need to get into the police records system.”

Omni shuffled in his seat. “You want me to break in to the police computer? I’m afraid I wouldn’t know where to begin.”

Trevor said nothing; he just looked at the man in front of him. He knew that Omni could break into any system, and that was just what he did when Trevor first came across him. Now he was on the straight and made a good living, but he was always helpful when the official channels were a little too slow. Cyber-crime was growing, and Trevor had been helped by Omni to thwart some of them.

“Why don’t you just go in and find out what you want?” Said Omni.

“It’s not that easy, you see I’m on suspension at the moment, and my password has been revoked.”

“You’ve been suspended and you want me to get involved helping you?”

Trevor smiled and said “Don’t make it sound so melodramatic, it’s only for health reasons.”

Trevor left Omni to think for the best part of a minute.

“Okay,” said Omni, “I can’t risk getting the information out for you, but I might be able to get your password temporarily reinstated. No-one will spot that in the log.”

“Good enough,” said Trevor.

“I’ll let you know once I’ve got you back on. In the meantime, you might want to get your head down for a while. You must mind your health after all.”

Trevor began taking off his shoes. “You just don’t want me seeing what you get up to in your computer room do you?”

Omni denied nothing; he just smiled and went through to where his life was mostly spent.

*****

Sid sipped at her now tepid tea. She took a brief glance down from her vigil to her flask, wondering whether a new one would keep the contents hot for longer. She didn’t let the thought linger long, and she looked again along Page Street, to the building into which Ryan had gone.

She slumped down in her seat as a van came past, but it did not pass as she expected, it slowed and stopped. Unable to sit up, for fear of being noticed she stayed low and cursed these white van men that just parked where they liked. As if any delivery driver or workman should know they were obscuring a surveillance in the dead of night.

Idly she reached out a finger to the mobile phone she had in her coat pocket. “One call and I could have you nicked,” she mumbled to herself. She took her hand out of her packet without the phone. She knew that by the time the local police got there the van would most likely have gone. Even if it were still there her surveillance would be seriously compromised. She tried to get a look over the dashboard but between the steering wheel; knowing that all she needed to do was be patient, and record the time her view of the front door was blocked. Not that it would make very much difference, she should have finished the surveillance almost an hour ago.

*****

Ryan came out from the building as soon as he had seen the white van pull up, just as he had been told would happen. He saw the door slide open and a man, wearing a suit tight across his huge frame, got out. The man gestured with his large hand for Ryan to get in to the van. Ryan felt as though he was almost a different in scale to this figure as he looked up at the cauliflowered ears just below the close-cropped hair.

As Ryan stepped in to the van, he was directed to a racing car type seat facing forward. Without hesitation Ryan sat in it as the huge man followed him in and went to a seat further to the back.

Ryan thought he had seen another man in the rear as he got in, but he paid little attention to the who was behind him; it was the man sitting directly in front of him that had his full attention. His name was Kropotnyev; a Russian, probably in his fifties. He was in a similar seat to Ryan, but to his right he had an intercom for conversing with the driver, and to his left a laptop on a docking station.

Ryan was not as tense as he usually was around the Russian and he spoke first. “This is a strange choice of meeting place all right,” he said.

Kropotnyev looked around at the opulent inside of the van, then at Ryan. In his strong Russian accent, he said “It suits me well, I can keep on the move and it makes me harder to track.” He leant forward in his seat and pointed at Ryan's chair. “You had better put your seatbelt on.”

While Ryan was putting his seat belt on he said “I’m surprised you care that much about my wellbeing so.”

“I don’t.”

Ryan was a little taken aback by the abruptness of the reply.

Kropotnyev's eyes narrowed. “Do not pretend to be hurt; you must know that you are not liked.”

“Ah well now, arms dealing is a not a job for those who want to be liked.”

“That is true, but there are few who enjoy the effect of weapons, the way you do.”

“You trade far more than I do, so you do.”

“Indeed, but not for the love of it; all I care about is the business.”

“Well in that case you'll like this, because I’ve got a big one for you.”

“Then let me hear it, I am a busy man.”

“I'm needing a nuclear device.”

Kropotnyev held up his hands and let them fall on his lap with a resounding slap. “You are mad, I cannot deal with madmen.”

“No, I'm serious so I am. You say you know my reputation; then you also know I'm serious about keeping it.”

“Then why do you come to me?”

“I trade weapons just as you do all right, but the weapon I need is larger than I can get hold of; it’s out of my league. I'll be needing to go through a big-time arms dealer, and you're about the biggest there is so you are.”

Kropotnyev studied his guest for a moment. Then he smiled and said “You are wise to try and flatter me.”

Ryan also smiled, humouring the Russian. “Yes, and we both know you can get hold of the kind of device I'm after having.”

There was silence while Kropotnyev weighed up the situation. “First answer this: what good would it do me to supply it? I suppose you want a dirty bomb to cause many civilian casualties? So, you tell me which civilian centre is going to be hit?”

Ryan's brow furrowed. “Does it matter?”

“Absolutely, I will want to get family and friends out of the way. There may be also some sentimental satisfaction, or then again it might be bad for business.”

Ryan knew his place but he did not like his own reputation being ignored. “Don't be forgetting that I too deal in arms so I know the value in arming both sides. Letting one side get too far ahead leads to a victory to one side and an end to the wars; I know how it works.”

“Indeed you do, and few can match your lack of morals, but you have still not told me the target.”

Ryan could tell he was going to have to say something but he did not want to, nor could he tell the whole story. “It is not a civilian target and I am only interested in the explosive power of the device. The cleaner it is; the better.”

Kropotnyev now sat slightly forward and patted his chin with a single finger. “So you need a huge explosive device but it isn’t for use on a civilian target. This is an interesting proposition. You are not intending to supply it to a humanitarian group are you?”

“Would it matter to you if I did?”

Kropotnyev smiled and said “Not at all; in fact it could open up a whole new market.” After tapping his chin for a while, he continued. “Very well, I will source this device for you; just to satisfy my curiosity.”

Ryan relaxed back in his chair slightly. “Thank you.”

“As your people say, I have some in stock, but you will have to be quick.”

Ryan answered immediately. “That won't be a problem.”

“No, but we have not talked about the price; it will be very high.”

Ryan sat forward and got out a map. “I will transfer all my funds to you straight away, and then I'll give you the balance on delivery of the device to this location.” He handed Kropotnyev the map.

Kropotnyev looked at the map. “You didn’t wait to hear the price.”

“No, that's right I did not. My client will be there to take delivery personally.”

Kropotnyev, still looking at the map, raised his eyebrows. “Tell your client the device will be there in 48 hours, for a price of five million dollars.”

Ryan was shocked at the sudden decision and the short time scale. “48 hours?”

“I do not want to have this device on the move for long. There will be an opportunity in 48 hours, after that the wait will be a very long one. However, if you do not want it…”

Ryan said instantly “No, no; that’s fine I’ll take it, so I will.”

Kropotnyev leant towards Ryan. “And you had better warn your client about trying to break a deal with me.”

Ryan looked Kropotnyev square in the eye and said “Don’t you be worrying about that, I already have.”

Kropotnyev seemed surprised, at Ryan’s attitude. Ryan knew it must be the lack of effect the Russian’s threat had achieved. Ryan himself did not know why he was not concerned, but he wasn’t and that made his negotiations easier to conclude.

Kropotnyev spoke into the van's intercom. “Stop as soon as it is convenient.”

Ryan looked around as he felt the van stop. The door was opened and Kropotnyev said “This meeting is over.”

Ryan looked out of the door to see where he was. “Are you not you going to drop me off back where you picked me up?”

“I do not run a taxi service; I have concluded my business.”

Ryan got out of the van and the van door was closed.


© Copyright 2019 Kevin Broughton. All rights reserved.

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