The Range Rover drew to a halt outside New Scotland Yard. Captain Bridgeman and Sergeant Smelton got out of the vehicle and entered the building.
“Can you tell Commander Jameson that we are on our way to his office?” Bridgeman said, as he passed the receptionist. He had no intention of waiting for permission to see the Commander.
They entered the lift and pressed the button for the floor that they wanted.
As soon as they entered the Commanders office, both soldiers seated themselves in front of Jameson.
The commander rocked forward on his elbows,
“We’ve still had no reports of an explosion,” he informed them.
“Well, I suppose that’s, at least, good news,” interjected Smelton, “What’s Barry Rush had to say about it. I bet that he’s not looking so smug now, his devices aren’t so foolproof, after all.”
Jameson didn’t answer. Instead, he looked down at the pen that he was rolling between his fingers.
Bridgman’s eyes narrowed as he leaned towards the Commander. He knew that there was something wrong. Slowly he asked,
“Where’s Barry Rush?”
Jameson coughed to clear his throat. He had known for the last hour and a half that he would be asked this question, but he still dreaded the answer that he would have to give. He looked at the captain, took a deep breath, and said simply,
“I don’t know.”
Bridgeman was astounded, “What do you mean, you don’t know?”
Jameson held his hands up in mock surrender, “I don’t know where he is,” he answered sternly.
“About ninety minutes ago, he asked if he could have some lunch. So I had a Constable accompany him to the canteen. I know that this sounds feeble but, you have to understand that we have had to have a mutual trust between us, and this was just one way of showing our trust.”
Smelton could hardly contain his anger,
“You mean to say that you gave a self confessed terrorist, free run of the building?”
Jameson decided to ignore the remark, not least because he now knew how stupid it was.
“On the ground floor he asked to use the toilet. The Constable, quite rightly went in with him. Once inside Rush produced, some sort of home made, ‘Taser’ which was used to incapacitate his guard. Then he changed clothes with the Constable and, seemingly, walked out through the front door.”
He could feel his face reddening with embarrassment.
“Before you ask,” he continued, “Yes, I have instigated a search of the building and the surrounding area. His description has also been circulated.”
No one spoke for some time. Each of the three people had their own thoughts, which were best kept to themselves.
“Well, it could be worse,” observed Smelton, breaking the silence.
Bridgeman and Jameson looked at him as though he had suddenly grown another head.
Slowly, deliberately, and with exaggerated movements, Smelton opened his jacket and reached into his left inside pocket, and pulled out an exercise book. Flicking through the pages, he said,
“I don’t think Barry Rush will be doing any more damage without this.”
“Is that the book with the frequencies in it?” asked Bridgeman.
“Indeed, it is,” smiled the Sergeant.
Everyone heaved a sigh of relief. Especially Jameson, although he realised that Rush was still at large.
“Can you imagine,” asked Bridgeman, “What would happen if Rush still had it?”
Jameson shook his head, he didn’t even want to think of the consequences, but still smiled, more with relief, than happiness.
He was still smiling as the telephone rang.
He was even smiling as his secretary said,
“It’s him.” The smile faded.
“Who?” he enquired.
“Put him through,” he ordered, sternly.
“It’s Rush,” he informed the soldiers, as he pressed the button to transfer the call to the loud speaker.
“Barry, where are you,” he asked, trying to sound a little happier than he actually felt. But, he couldn’t stop the feeling of dread, churning in the pit of his stomach.
“Do you really expect me to tell you?” mocked Rush.
”Fair point,” conceded the commander, “But, I thought that the agreement was that you were going to give us full details concerning your equipment?”
“I’ve changed my mind,” Rush informed him.
“That doesn’t matter,” observed Jameson, trying to take any stress out of the conversation. “Because we’ve got your transmitter, frequency code book, and tracker.”
“How can I put this?” Rush said in mock indecision, “No you haven’t.”
Jameson was, once again, confused.
“I’ve got all of your equipment in front of me as we speak, and our technical lads will start examining everything as soon as they can. So I have to ask, how can you say that we haven’t got them?”
“Easy,” Rush sneered, “You, simply have a school book, in it is what you think, are locations and frequencies. But I have to tell you, they are just random numbers. Did you really think that I would let you get your hands on ‘the real thing’? No, Commander Jameson, I have the genuine article in my possession.”
“What about the transmitter?” shouted Bridgeman.
“Ah, the efficient Captain Bridgeman,” Rush answered sarcastically.
“Tell me, Captain,” he mocked, “How is Ian Caplan?”
“Dead,” he replied.
“That’s good to hear, you’ve done me a great favour getting rid of him.” Rush continued, “I knew you wouldn’t let me down.”
Captain Bridgeman was feeling uneasy. Something was very wrong, and he didn’t know what it was. He leaned towards the speaker.
“Barry,” he started, “Something tells me that we’ve been duped, but for the life of me, I can’t see how. As far as I’m concerned, we have your codebook. We have your tracer. And, as the commander said, the tech, bods will be taking your transmitter to pieces any time now.”
He thought for a few moments, trying to find the right words.
“Barry, you’ve lost. We’ve won. You’ve got nothing. We’ve got everything.”
He leaned even closer to the microphone,
”That is, of course, unless you can prove me wrong.”
Barry Rush laughed, as if he were making fun of everyone in the room.
“Gentlemen,” he said, “I’m going to put you out of your misery.”
Smelton looked across at the Commander and frowned. All that Jameson could do was to shrug his shoulders.
Rush continued, “Let me start at the beginning,” he said.
“The majority of the details that I gave you were correct, but I missed a few out. Ian Caplan did come back from Iraq a totally changed person. He had terrible scars on his head, I think that whatever happened to him, he had become, mentally scarred as well. He was always saying that he was going to get his own back on the people that had deserted him.”
“We didn’t desert him!” shouted Smelton, “We thought that he’d been killed, there was no trace of his body.”
“I’m not interested whether you thought he was dead or not,” Rush said, coldly. “I’m only telling you what happened. Anyway,” he continued, “As well as the episode in Iraq, he wanted the authorities to pay for, what he called, the abuses over there, whatever they may have been?”
He collected his thoughts before saying,
“As you know, we hatched a plan to put bombs in as many buildings as possible, and, I might add, with great success. I’m still surprised at how easy it was. As the months passed, Ian began to, mentally get worse, almost day by day. He started to get headaches, each one seemed to be lasting longer and more severe than the one before. To put it bluntly, he became a liability. Especially when he said, that he thought that we shouldn’t be interested in the money but, instead, we should just start destroying London, until the ‘authorities’ told the truth about Iraq.”
He raised his voice slightly, “I’ll tell you one thing, Commander, and you said that I was just greedy but, Ian Caplan was a nutter. I had to ‘make’ a few explosions just to prove that I could do it but, I wouldn’t blow things up just for the hell of it, but Ian Caplan would. He had, as I’ve already said, become a liability, and he had to be got rid of.”
The three listeners in the room realised that there was a cold side to Barry Rush, as well as being very calculating. He was even more dangerous than they had first thought.
Chris Dante entered the room. As he sat down next to him, Smelton leaned over, and whispering, brought him up to date about what Barry Rush had been saying. The Policeman took a piece of paper from his pocket and, after writing a few words, handed the note to the other three people. It simply said, TRANSMITTER NON-OPERATIONAL, ALL PARTS ARE FUSED, IT’S A PIECE OF SCRAP.
Rush admitted, “I couldn’t get rid of Ian, not with his training. But, Captain Bridgeman could.”
The captain shook his head,
“Nice to know that I came in handy,” he commented.
“Yes quite, “ acknowledged Rush. “I suggested to Ian that we should move the transmitter to a new location, just for added security. He set about finding a new address, and told me when it had been done. In the meantime, I constructed a new transmitter, which would work only once, before completely destroying itself. Ian insisted, as I knew he would, that he had a copy of the frequency book, just in case anything happened to me. What he didn’t know was, that there was only one code that was of any use. That was the first code in the book. It was logical that the first one that he entered, was going to be the first on the list. The rest were all fake. I then proceeded to ‘give myself up’ to you.”
You could, almost, hear the smile in his voice as he said,
“What I didn’t tell you was that, I had phoned Ian and told him that the police had discovered my address, and that they were breaking in, and that he was now on his own.”
“That’s why he phoned us,” interrupted Dante.
“Ah, Dante, nice of you to join us,” Rush said.
“You’re welcome,” he answered, wishing that he standing in front of him. “But,” he thought, “My time will come.”
“The hardest thing to do,” continued the bomber, “Was to convince you that I had made a machine for tracing, untraceable, phone calls.”
Once again he laughed, this time it was long and loud. As it was tailing off, he said, mockingly, “My god, some people will believe anything.”
He calmed himself, then continued. “The easiest part was to make a little noise. Just enough for Caplan to hear, and knowing how paranoid he is, or was, “ he said with a laugh, “I knew that he’d think that there was something wrong, and that he’d go off at the deep end. All I had to do then, was to give you his phone number which I already had in my possession, where he could be found. You would find the address, and the rest, as they say, is history.” Rush sighed, “It was all so easy.”
Jameson’s feeling of dread was getting stronger by the second.
He knew that Rush would, once again, be making demands. He also knew that, in a roundabout way, both he and the SAS had put themselves into this position. There was no one else to blame.
Then he stopped. He was blaming everybody, including himself when, in actual fact, there was only one person at fault, and that was, him.
He alone had trusted Rush. He alone had allowed himself to be duped. The more he thought, the more he could feel his anger grow.
“Rush,” he shouted, in a totally uncharacteristic outburst,
“You may have got away with this but I promise you, I will hunt you down with every power that I have. You will never know a seconds peace for the rest of your life.” Before he could say any more, Barry Rush interrupted him.
“Commander Jameson,” he began, speaking in a flat serious tone.
“Listen very carefully to what I am saying to you. I still have the codebook and transmitter. You are, therefore, in no position to make any threats to me. I would also advise you to beware of your surroundings. Ian Caplan and myself, as you know, did an enormous amount of work on all sorts of buildings.”
He hesitated, as if he was trying to choose the right words to use.
The Commander’s face paled and his blood ran cold, as he heard Rush’s final words.
“Including New Scotland Yard.”
He began to laugh. It seemed to echo round the room.
Each person that heard it felt the same fear.
They seemed to still be able to hear it even when Barry Rush ended the call.
Chris Dante, in a state of shock, stated the, seemingly obvious,
“The bastard’s won.”
THE END…FOR NOW.