***NOTE*** Thank you all that have reviewed this work!
This chapter has been re-written, but I have left the old draft here for members to see and get a feel for the novel.
Image: Federico Stevanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Surveillance, Intelligence & Special Covert Operations (SISCO) 'Agent Kilo - Undercover'
This story is not intended to represent any real organization past or present. It is not a story about ‘The Increment,' which is rumoured to be a unit operating on behalf on the Secret Intelligence Service (MI5). This rumour has been circulating for years. The Increment is allegedly tasked with the 'black ops' missions that would be repudiated by the government. Plausible deniability of involvement with a ‘black ops’ team is paramount to any government.
Assassination is treated by international law as a war crime.
(From International Committee of the Red Cross http://www.icrc.org)
International Humanitarian Law - Treaties & Documents.
“Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land. The Hague, 18 October 1907.
Art.23. In addition to the prohibitions provided by special Conventions, it is especially forbidden:
(b) To kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army.
(c) To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion.”
“Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field (Lieber Code). 24 April 1863.”
“Lieber Code, paragraph 148 Section IX : Assassination
Art. 148. The law of war does not allow proclaiming either an individual belonging to the hostile army, or a citizen, or a subject of the hostile government, an outlaw, who may be slain without trial by any captor, any more than the modern law of peace allows such intentional outlawry; on the contrary, it abhors such outrage. The sternest retaliation should follow the murder committed in consequence of such proclamation, made by whatever authority. Civilized nations look with horror upon offers of rewards for the assassination of enemies as relapses into barbarism. [Sic]”
Chapter 1 Carnage
March 18th 2005 1:30 pm.
"We have interrupted this program to bring you an urgent news update. Five minutes ago a massive explosion destroyed the First Reserve Bank in Fraser Street, a very wealthy suburb of London. Reporter Susan Alison is at the scene."
The image on the television flicked from the perfectly groomed presenter to a scene of chaos and desperation. Susan Alison wiped dust and blood from her swollen face and smoothed her hair in an automatic gesture.
“If you can’t see me, I hope you can hear me.” She tried to shout, but with a dry throat, she barely managed an audible croak.
In a cloud of seemingly never settling dust, she began her report.
“We were at the First Reserve Bank interviewing security guard Jason Baines; he is the guard we mentioned in our report three days ago about the attempted robbery at the bank.” She closed her eyes and was visibly shaking.
She summoned every ounce of professionalism she could muster, opened her eyes and continued.
“There was a loud bang that seemed to happen after we were blown off our feet. I don’t know much about what happened after that. The next thing I knew was Allan, my cameraman and friend, was helping me to get free from the rubble.” Susan looked slightly off camera and said a heartfelt, “Thank you, Allan.” She wiped away a trickle of blood that was seeping into her eyebrow.
Allan decided to give Susan a momentary break; he swept the area in the background with his camera, trying to avoid Susan’s distraught face in the shot. The scene behind her was incredible. People were walking around in a dazed state, looking for help, and some were shouting loved ones' names. Screams could be heard from the direction of where the bank once stood. The screams were quieting as they faded into a wailing sob. There were several bodies spread out on the pavement - limp, lifeless victims of this cruel day.
A slow nod from Susan alerted Allan that she was ready to continue.
"As you can hear, there are alarms sounding from nearby buildings and every car in London I think! I just can't believe this is real." Susan stopped her report for a moment to try to clear her throat. “We don’t know if it was a gas leak or a bomb or whatever. But we do know the bank is gone! ”
The presenter interrupted Susan’s commentary. “We are getting reports of several explosions spread all over London. We will let you know as soon as we get any more information, Susan; but it now seems more likely to be a bombing.”
“I was hoping it was a gas leak; but I know now that the smell I couldn’t place at first is the same smell I remember from when I reported on a bombing in Belfast. I interviewed some of the survivors at the scene, they were a bit incoherent at the time. The smell is still the same now as it was back then. It’s like burnt pork and car exhaust fumes. I remember I was told the smell was made worse by the burning bodies inside the building.”
Susan realized what she had just said. I can smell burning flesh. Tears welled up in her eyes, but she called on her determination to finish the report. "There are people wandering all over the road, dazed and confused. I really know how they feel this time, as I am one of them." She licked her lips, tasting the fine dust tearing at her tongue and feeling the acrid smoke that filled the air invading her lungs. She tried to gather her thoughts. Why has this happened to me? What have I ever done to deserve this? What about…
She looked directly at the camera. “Jason… Oh my God! He had his back to the bank door; he didn’t stand a chance,” she said as emotions overcame her and she broke down. Allan did the decent thing and flicked the red switch to end the live feed.
Back in the newsroom, tears rolled silently down the pale cheeks of the presenter and his production team as they struggled to regain their composure and continue their work.
Images flooded the TV channels, scenes of utter carnage throughout London. Instead of a calm British resilience, panic was widespread throughout the streets of London.
“Ten bombs all placed at Banks in and around London have exploded simultaneously. We are getting reports of casualties estimated to be in the thousands with hundreds already feared dead.” The presenter was struggling to keep his emotions in check, his bottom lip quivering out of his control.
A helicopter appeared overhead as Susan managed to open her eyes; she could just make out the markings on the side of the helicopter, ‘C44 News’.
The pilot could not believe his own eyes; three Banks within a mile of each other, reduced to rubble. The helicopter cameraman continued feeding live shots of the devastation unfolding beneath back to the newsroom. He was pleased to see that Susan and his good friend Allan were on their feet and alive. Around them were probably a hundred survivors in the street, all either running, staggering or sitting on the ground. The dust and smoke was making it hard for him to get any clear pictures.
Speaking to the pilot via the helmet microphone, he commented, “Can you believe this shit? This is London, right?”
The pilot was speechless.
“Swing around and I’ll try to get all three plumes of smoke in one shot. This looks like Beirut back in ’83 when I covered the bombing of the Marine barracks.”
The pilot, trying to suppress a slight grin, replied, “I was only three years old in ’83.”
From the studio the presenter announced, “The Prime Minister has arrived at Number 10 and will be giving a statement soon.” The picture changed to an image of a Lion's head on a black background. The camera panned-out to reveal the door-knocker of number 10 Downing Street.
The door opened and the Prime Minister stepped outside and proceeded to read his hastily prepared statement.
“Terrorism has shown its ugly face again on mainland Britain, and this time it is, without a doubt, the worst atrocity we have ever seen. The Government is doing all it can at this time to ensure the casualties are our first priority.” He looked tired and drained but tried to hide his anger.
“Heads of state from all over the world have sent messages of support as they are appalled by today's events.” He took a deep breath and continued, “I will keep you informed of any developments. As soon as we know who is responsible, we will bring them to justice. We will use any and all means at our disposal to track down and destroy this evil.” The Prime Minister turned sharply and hurried back into Number 10.
As he entered, he shouted to his private secretary, “Get me Watson from MI5 on the phone, NOW!”
Allan was packing away the camera equipment into its metal cases in the back of the van. Susan had lit up a cigarette and was leaning against the van door.
“I believe you had done some filming just before the bomb went off?”
Susan jumped and turned around to see who had spoken to her. She saw a tall, muscular, middle-aged man, wearing a black suit and a light green shirt and tie. He must be a detective, Susan figured.
“Who are you?”
“Sorry, I should have introduced myself. Agent Lima, MI5,” he said as he showed her his MI5 identity card. “I need to have a look at any footage you shot from when you arrived here.”
“Allan, give him everything. I want these bastards caught!”
Allan looked very shocked; he had not heard Susan swear before now.
“Sure, I have it all here, but I want a receipt; this is the Channel’s property and I signed for it,” Allan said as he handed Lima four digital recording discs.
“No problem. And here is my business card; call me if either of you remember anything about today that might help us. A small detail is sometimes the clue we need,” Lima said while handing a receipt and card to Allan. “We might need to speak to you both after the police have taken your statements; is that okay?”
They both nodded.
“Thank you. We’ll be in touch.” Lima headed off toward the bank’s remains.
Susan turned to Allan and said, “I’ll get these bastards if they don’t!”
Somehow, Allan believed her.