Part 10

NINETEEN

 

Sequence

With her emotions back in control and the nerd satisfied she would not expire on him she continued to open files. The word file was of considerably more use. It consisted of a report, the first page appearing to be in an Aramaic language like Hebrew, the following section however translating into English the text, e-mail and voice messages, not that many of them but each in date order, stamped and linked to the messages in the Android files. Joanne read through, transfixed. 

 

MZKM21=(Milton Zakosi)

DK42FUA =(David Kinshasa)

00243 9866 404421 =(Milton Zakosi)

00254 7753 662024 =(David Kinshasa)

00970 9094 326617 =(Tariq Mohammed Wazim)

IDC’s DRC =243 Kenya =254 Somalia=252 Gaza=970

 

Mail 03Jul1655A

To: MZKM21

From: DK42FUA 

Source IP ZF14344782-9565

Message:

Come to town. There is a new project.

 

Recorded conversation 19Jul1253A

00243 9866 404421 to 00254 7753 662024

DK: Greetings Milton. What can I do for you?

MZ: My greeting David. These boys you are giving me. They are not trained. They are not good.

DK: Do you tell me you are not able to lead them?

MZ: They are not ready. I cannot lead children on a mission of this importance.

DK: You have a month.

MZ: It will take a month to get into position.

DK: You have a month to train and a month to position. This must be done by September.

MZ: I have the order. It does not stipulate a time.

DK: Now you have it.

MZ: I would ask why?

DK: It is a political matter. It is not for you to know.

MZ: Everything we do is political.

DK: This is true. It is also true that some things are best concealed until the time is right. This is one of those things. It must be done by September if our plan is to work.

MZ: If I have the boys now there may be a chance. But I will need them now and I need guns. No more chanting and stamping on a patch of dirt. They must have discipline and skill. They must stop being children and become soldiers.

DK: You may have them. 

MZ: Good. But you must give me the weapons, supplies and transport I told you. I need to take these boys to where they will fight. It is no good training jungle fighters in the streets or open plains.

DK: We will meet tomorrow. Mr Zhou has the shipment in his warehouse.

MZ: Guns in a warehouse do not kill people.

DK: Have confidence. All will be well.

 

Mail 26Jul2247A

To: MZKM21

From: DK42FUA 

Source IP ZF14344782-9565

Message:

I will not be there. This is the list. Erase this mail as soon as you have copied it.

Tent, 6man c/w peg set x 8

Tent 12man c/w peg set x 3

Field Ration Meal Pack 60 box x 64

Jacket DPM(Jungle pattern) size 38 x45

Trouser DPM(Jungle pattern) size 34 x45

Boot Combat size 8 x28

Boot Combat size 9 x 15

Boot Combat size 10 x 12

Web and belt c/w 4 pouch set x 45

Rain Poncho & belt roll x 45

Webbing back pack (small) x 45

Entrenching tool 4 box x 5

Clearing tool (machete) 4 box x 5

Assault Rifle Type 50F. (AK47 Equivalent) 7 Crate x8 ea.

General Purpose Machine Gun Type 80/86. (PKMS) 1 Crate x4 ea.

Pistol Semi Automatic Type 54 (Makarov PM) 1 box x4 ea.

Magazine AK 34. 10 box x12

Cartridge 7.92mm 20 box x 500 loose

Cartridge 7.92mm 14 box x 500 belt

Cartridge 9.0mm parabellum. 2 box x 250

You have the trucks. Pick up tomorrow. Mombasa dock Warehouse 14.

 

Recorded Conversation 22Aug0932A

00243 9866 404421 to 00254 7753 662024

MZ: David. I am not convinced of this plan.

DK: It is your mission great leader. These are your orders. Do you question them?

MZ: The orders are clear. I am not now sure who is the giver of the order.

DK: That is beyond question.

MZ: I question.

DK: Why now?

MZ: The visit. What do the Chinese have to do with this project?

DK: They are the providers. Why should they not see how what they are giving is being used?

MZ: Mr Zhou knows of the mission.

DK: And?

MZ: How and why? Are we clearing Africa of an old master to replace it with a new one?

DK: No, we are using a friend to help us.

MZ: Be careful the friend does not become your master.

DK: That is my task. Yours is to complete the mission.

 

Recorded conversation 26Aug1622A

00254 7753 662024 to 00243 9866 404421

DK: Mission leader.

MZ: I hear you.

DK: There is more to pick up. The will be done in the next week.

MZ: What is this? I have what we need.

DK: Rocket grenades.

MZ: I do not need these.

DK: It is done. You will collect them.

MZ: It will be done. Where should this happen?

DK: Juba. Central market.

MK: What? Are you serious? 

DK: We are. You do not need to know.

Pause in conversation.

DK: Do it. These are my orders. There will be a text with detail.

 

Text: 29Aug1433C

0054 9094 326617 to 00243 9866 404421

Juba. 1405 Libreville Street. September 3. 14:00

 

Recorded conversation 04Sep1722A

00243 9866 404421 to 00254 7753 662024

DK: Milton. What now?

MZ: David, this is more confusing. 

DK: These are the grenades?

MZ: David, these people are dangerous.

DK: And we are not?

MZ: They are Muslim.

DK: Half of Africa is Muslim.

MZ: And the other half wants to stay not Muslim. A free Africa is free from tyranny. Radical Islam is as bad a tyranny as white colonialism.

DK: We are obtaining weapons from them. That is all.

MZ: A finger in the door David. Do not say I did not warn you.

 

Text. 25Sep1847A

00243 9866 404421 to 00254 7753 662024

It is done. Seventeen. There will be no signal from here on. Mail only.

 

Mail 09Oct2113A

To: DK42FUA

From: MZKM21

Source IP RC77532814-2988

Attachment: Picfile abantu.jpg

Message:

Numbers are eleven. Names and pictures. Will return to village for further orders in three days. 

 

Mail 10Oct1044A

To: MZKM21

From: DK42FUA 

Source IP ZF14344782-9565

Message:

You said seventeen. What happened?

 

Mail 12Oct2054A 

To: DK42FUA

From: MZKM21

Source IP RC77532814-2988

Message:

Casualties.

 

Mail 16Oct1042A

To: MZKM21

From: DK42FUA 

Source IP ZF14344782-9565

Message:

Beware. Our information is that trackers in platoon strength have discovered your location and are located west of you. The puppet regime has dispatched three companies, so prepare for an attack from the north in four to five days.

 

Mail 19Oct0524A 

To: DK42FUA

From: MZKM21

Source IP RC77532814-2988

Message:

Puppet platoon destroyed. Eleven boys lost. Seven charges lost. Returning to FOB.

 

Mail 24Oct1107A

To: MZKM21

From: DK42FUA 

Source IP ZF14344782-9565

Message:

Now there is movement. Perhaps the loss of seven was the kick the imperialists needed. The one called Grizley will pay ten million dollars US.

 

Recorded conversation 28Oct1704A

00243 9866 404421 to 00254 7753 662024

MZ: I found a signal. We can talk.

DK: This is good. How did this happen.

MK: Chance. The boys were scouting and got a ping. It’s a good hour from camp but I will be there every day at this time.

DK: Tell me what happened.

MZ: They attacked. I was ready. I won.

DK: And the seven?

MZ: Caught in crossfire. Unfortunate.

DK: It wasn’t the plan, but now it has happened the offer is there.

MZ: Offer? Did you take it?

DK: Not yet. The terms are not right.

MZ: Terms? Take them, I do not have time for you to argue. I have three hundred coming for me.

DK: They are delayed. There is time.

MZ: It is nearly November. What happened to September?

DK: The deal will close in three days. Keep your charges alive until it is finished. We will negotiate after then.

MZ: What deal?

DK: The China deal. You do not need to know detail.

 

Recorded conversation 07Nov1712A

00243 9866 404421 to 00254 7753 662024

MZ: I have called every night for a week with no news. Is there news?

DK: There is no change.

MZ: Give me the number. I will call myself.

DK: That will not happen. Be patient. The imperialist Grezly will call you.

MZ: When?

DK: Soon.

MZ: What have you agreed? What should I say?

DK: They are alive and well. Do not talk money.

MZ: What is the offer?

DK: Two million for the males, three for the woman.

MZ: Is that now?
DK: It is now. The fee has increased because so few remain. 

 

Recorded conversation 09Nov1722A

0044 260 408747 to 00243 9866 404421 

MZ: This is the Kiongozi Muku. Who is calling?

JG: This is Sir John Gresley. I am advised that you can vouch for the lives of my people.

MZ: Who are your people surgeon grizzly?

JG: I am told that you have four of my people in your custody. You had eleven. I need complete assurance that these four are alive, well and will be protected from future harm before I commit to your outlandish ransom demands.

MZ: There are four non-African people in my charge. All are well.

JG: I will need proof.

MZ: Call tomorrow at the same time. I will give you proof.

JG: All four. Pictures and voices. All now.

MZ: All four. I can not and will not bring them to where I get signal. It is too dangerous. You will have pictures and voices. 

 

Recorded conversation 10Nov1719A

0044 260 408747 to 00243 9866 404421 

MZ: This is the Kiongozi Muku. Who is calling?

JG: This is Sir John Gresley.

MZ: I have sent you pictures. I will play the voices now.

JG: Not video?

MZ: No internet here.

JG. Right.

MZ: The recordings will play.

(female voice) My name is Joanne Fletcher. I have been held captive for around fifty days. I have not been harmed and am in good health. I am told it’s November the tenth.

(male voice) Adam Tomes. Alive and unharmed. What Joanne said. I believe that it’s the tenth of November.

(male voice) My name is Alan. We have been taken hostage and a number of our party have expired. It’s been so long I have lost track of the date but understand it’s early November. I am surviving.

(Male voice) Ryan Lithgow here. I could do with a better cuisine but I’m OK. Oh and its November the tenth so they tell me. 

MZ: Now you have this. Now you should do as you promise or you may not see these people again.

JG: Is that more of a threat?

MZ: It is a promise I will keep.

JG: I have to make the arrangements. This may take time.

MZ: You have none. I will have word in three days or the foreigners will die.

JG: Three days.

MZ: That is my promise.

 

 

Spread 

Joanne copied the file and sent it to Ryan. “What do you think?” She top lined it. Joanne had serious misgivings about what she interpreted from the file.  What was the ‘Chinese Deal?’ Who were David Kinshasa, Mr Zhou and Tariq Wazim? How could she find out, how could anyone find out? On the internet there were hundreds of thousands of Mr Zhou’s and more than fifty Tariq Wasseem’s. Where did anyone get phone numbers and names? A call to Richard Vere was in order, excepting Joanne had not retained his contact details. She knew the boys had.

Hi Ryan, She wrote. Re: last mail. You got Richard Vere’s number? He got the files. His contact may tell us who the protagonists are.

 

It was late afternoon when her new cellphone rang. At her desk Joanne was reluctant to answer. She noted it was an overseas call and picked up.

“Hi Joanne.” It was Ryan’s voice.

“Ryan!” Genuinely surprised and glad to hear him Joanne excused herself to a stairwell. “How are you?” She asked. “Where are you?”

“On leave.” Ryan told her. “Back home in Ireland.”

“How long have you got?”

“Another ten days here.” Ryan answered. “And a week before I have to go back.”

“That doesn’t make sense.” Joanne told him. “Is it a week or ten days?”

“Ten days here then I need to find somewhere else for a week.”

“Why?”

“Tax. Too many days at home and my tax bill goes crazy.”

“You could come here.”

“London?”

“My place even. I have a spare room.”

“Why Joanne?”

“Why not Ryan? You need somewhere to stay far a week. I want to talk to you.”

“On which.”

“On which what?”

“I called Richard.”

“And?”

“His source is Mossad.”

“Oh.”

“Oh what?”

“Oh that might make things difficult.”

“How?”

“You a closet Jew? You know any Jews?”

“No but Richard does.”

“Did you ask him?”

“I did.”

“And he said?”

“He’ll phone me.”

 

 

Ryan

Gatwick Airport was convenient for Joanne. The train from Crawley stopped there but a taxi was quicker. A day off work was a little more difficult. It wasn’t as if she couldn’t take a break. The phased back to work schedule had concluded in disarray a month ago but despite the lag in her schedule Joanne was till the go to person and again Jason had put her on a time deadline. It was entirely conceivable that he either didn’t understand or didn’t care. Either way Joanne was on a tight schedule and would compensate for this time by working the week-end. 

Ryan’s flight came in predictably late. It was the norm for hopper airlines to under estimate turn round times. Just like the emergency exit drills that got everyone out of an aircraft in ninety seconds the standard turn around times were calculated in a perfect world. Most people, and most particularly Joanne, Ryan and Adam would testify that the world was considerably less than perfect so it was no surprise that a plane that had already done a Cork to Manchester return that morning was unlikely to meet its Gatwick slot. The flight, already forty minutes late by mid day did not bode well for the evening sectors but delivered Ryan, already worse for wear after a late night binge and top up while waiting in the airport lounge, into Joanne’s arms.

 

Back in her flat and three stiff coffee’s later Ryan was at least coherent. “The man has not called me I swear it.” He drooled. 

“Did he say when he would?” Joanne queried.

“I don’t think so.” Ryan answered. “Maybe when he had more information.”

“We should ‘phone him.” Joanne stated. “It’s been nearly two weeks.”

Ryan looked her in the eyes. His were still bleary, hers were sharp. “Don’t bug the man.” He told her. “He’ll get back to us when he has something.”

“How can you be sure?” Joanne asked. 

“I can’t.” Ryan returned. “He owes us nothing. We’re not paying him but I have a gut feeling on this one.”

 

Having taken the day off, Joanne had time and the inclination to cook a Beef risotto. She’d thought that she and Ryan would just sit and talk. Joanne needed to. The so-called therapy sessions had ended in the same manner as the return to work programme, they too had been a failure. Joanne didn’t trust her therapist and accordingly could not open up. In the weekend all three were together after their captivity she’d tried to talk. Adam had clammed up and Ryan become frivolous, pretending it hadn’t affected him. With Adam still across the Atlantic and Ryan at least available it was he that she unloaded to.

 

Maybe it was the residual drink in him but this time Ryan was serious. He listened, really listened as Joanne talked her issues out. Maybe it was because despite the false bravado, he too had underlying mental trauma. Where the two differed was that Ryan had managed to put his angst in a box and it stayed there until he got drunk. Joanne could not do that and suffered random flashbacks that would have her crying at the most inopportune moments. At work they had dealt with it by giving her room and although the incidents were happening less often Joanne knew it wasn’t good enough. She needed something to hold onto, something other than work that might make it all seem worth it. 

 

Out of the blue Mike had called a week ago. Mike was his usual irreverent self, a user from her past. He’d not been there for her and wasn’t going to be in future. Joanne told him his fortune. Mike was history.

 

 

TWENTY

 

Answers

Two days on and it was Saturday. Joanne had spent the day in catching up her domestic chores, getting the weeks washing done and grocery shopping. Evening came and there was nothing worth watching on Joanne’s television. The bars in town had been packed to the gunwales, no room to move, too loud to hear yourself think let alone carry on a conversation. One drink and they both needed out.  All the cafe’s and every eatery was filled to capacity. They’d eaten hastily in the little pizzeria Joanne used as a regular haunt and gone back to her flat. A couple of glasses of wine and one thing led to another. In bed and relaxed, the cell phone rang. That is was a ring tone was indisputable, but it was unfamiliar to both of them and for a moment neither was sure whose phone it was. Both naked and scrabbling around the living room for the source of the electronic buzz Ryan located his phone and without thinking took the call. 

 

“Richard here Ryan, can you talk?”

“I can.” He looked round to see Joanne wrapping herself in a sheet. “Hi.”

“Sorry it’s taken a while. I’ve been busy and my contact awkward. Favour for favour, you know the drill except I didn’t have a favour to give.”

“So you owe him one.”

“Yes.” Richard drawled. His Africans accent awkward with the elongation of the word.

“Is it money you’re wanting?” Ryan enquired.

“Good grief. No, especially not from you. So what you wanted to know.”

“Go ahead Richard.” He’d spoken Richard’s name for Joanne’s benefit. She was all ears as Ryan tapped the speaker icon then raised a finger to his lips.

“Start with the easy ones.” Richard opened. “David Kinshasa. Active leader in the Free Africa Movement. Their declared aims are to clear the continent of non-native peoples. To all intents and purposes a classic racist African Black Power movement. I reality it’s just another front for criminal insurgency. Operates primarily out of East African bases where he can’t be touched for his dealings in West Africa. 

Tariq Wasseem. Arms dealer out of the West Bank. Strong links to ISIS, Hamas, Al Shibab, Boko Harem and pretty much every other armed Islamic movement across the globe. Gets his stuff mostly from ex Warsaw Pact stocks, sells to whoever but only discounts to Islamic causes.”

“Sounds a nasty piece of work.”

“Very. Amongst others, Mossad would like him shut down.”

“But they haven’t.”

“Shady character, difficult to get close without it being obvious. They even tried a drone strike but it failed.”

“What about the others?”

“Ah. Now this Mr Zhou was a little harder to find. Turns out he’s a broker for the Chan Yen Corporation.  They in turn are a ropey concern and in this case working through the back door for the China Light Oil and Gas Corporation.”

“And the significance of that?”

“You know that Forward Oil lost their concession.”

“I heard it.”

“Guess who got it.”

“But it’s crap. There’s nothing there.”

“Not the one you were working, the off shore concession.”

“Jesus.”

“And to add insult to injury, it seems China Light did not have to pick up the on shore liability. All completely above board of course. Word is that Chan Yen made sure Forward missed their deadline and then greased some palms.”

“Do Forward Oil know this?”

“Nothing they can do now.”

“Do they know?”

“I haven’t told them.”

“I want them.”

“You want them to know?”

“Not what I said. I want them. Kinshasa, Zhou, Chan Yen, China Light, Wasseem. All of them. Bastards killed forty odd people for money. I want them all dead and unlike our people, I want them to know why.”

“Hold hard Ryan, I understand how you’re feeling. It’s not an easy thing to get at these people.”

“Not easy doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.”

“Ryan. Trust me, you have to let this go. What’s done is done. You can’t change it.”

“You’re right. “ Ryan conceded reluctantly. “I can’t change it.”

Voicing his thanks and the assurance that he’d pass the information on but take no precipitate action, Ryan hung up.

Joanne was incredulous. “What did you make of that?” She enquired of Ryan.

“Well it’s what we wanted to know, it’s what we asked him for.”

“But we can’t use it.” She returned. “You heard what he said, no precipitate action.”

“I can just pretend I don’t understand the word.” Ryan answered. “And it wouldn’t be precipitate anyway. I’ve been thinking about bumping the bastards for some time. Just didn’t know their names before now.”

“Ryan.” Her voice hard.

“OK.” He conceded. “But we get to tell Adam and he might in the circumstances drop a line to Forward Oil. Maybe they will do something precipitate.”

Joanne leaned over and kissed him. “Not now.” She said and still naked under the sheet opened it and wrapped it around them both. “You’ve got other things to put your mind to at the minute.”

 

 

Endgame

Again the phone rang with the unusual overseas call tone.

“I know what is happening. I don’t know how you’ve orchestrated it but I know it’s you.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Ryan. Maybe it’s you and Adam, maybe you’ve got some help but it’s you. Just too coincidental not to be.”

“Richard.” With that accent it had to be Richard. “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Murder, assassination, shooting and bombing.”

“That’s more your line I would have thought. I’m a mechanic.”

“You said it Ryan. You wanted them dead.”

“I don’t follow.”

“Kinshasa, Zhou, Chan Yen, China Light, Wasseem. You said you wanted them dead, and most of them are.”

“Coincidence.”

“Bullshit. You know your way around explosives. That was clear back when you made your escape. What wasn’t clear was how good you were or how you could get hold of military grade stuff.”

Ryan said nothing.

“As to Tariq Wasseem,” Richard spoke into the silence. “Mossad were well pleased with his demise. I got to hear about it in a congratulatory manner. An insider told them Wasseem had a message on his phone purporting to be ‘from the 14’ they deduced it was me who took him out. It wasn’t, and I still haven’t figured how you did it.”

“Well it wasn’t me.”

“It was one of you.”

“Not guilty on all counts.”

“What I really want to know is how you got close enough.”

“Like I said, not guilty.” Ryan reiterated. It was a lie Richard could never prove. Guilt was an intangible. Ryan had not done the deed, but he had set it up. He was not there and felt no guilt, but it lay square on his shoulders. 

“Zhou Chin.” Richard continued. “They, that’s my Mossad contacts, understand Zhou Chin received a similar cryptic message just before he and his car were blown up in Mombasa. The car bomb, and that was no small time device, outside Chan Yen headquarters in Shanghai that destroyed the building and the senior management had a prominent number 14 on the side. Hung Zhu Ping, chairman of the China Light Corporation shot by a sniper through his office window. They found a letter on his desk postmarked in the Chinese Hubei district that quoted a Chinese proverb loosely translated as what you sow so you will reap. Curiously Hubei has a Chinese ZIP of 40112. 

I’m particularly intrigued by the letter bomb John Hagman in Houston got. Highly amusing, shit and PETN. Now where did you get that? My sources say he’s out of hospital and got the message loud and clear what the sender thought of him. He’s having difficulty seeing and hearing but the smell is ingrained.  I also understand the device was posted somewhere in Louisville Kentucky. Like Hubei it seemed a strange place to send a device from and after the Zhu Ping bomb I looked up the ZIP. Again 40112. Very interesting don’t you think? I don’t think anyone else made the connection, but I did. So who’s next? David Kinshasa?”

“Richard. None of those were down to me.”

“Bullshit.”

“I can prove it. I was nowhere near any of those incidents. I was at work here for all of them.”

It was as good an admission as any. Richard had not mention dates and most of the ‘incidents’ had not made the news. 

“OK, I have no option but to believe you.” Richard told Ryan. “But whoever you’ve got on the case, tell them Kinshasa knows and is taking extra security measures.”

“I know.” Ryan said. A further admission.

“Your man need help?”

“Again Richard. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Where are you Ryan?”

“Nigeria.”

“We need to meet up.”

“Why Richard?”

“I think it’s me who needs some pointers.”

 

It was true that Adam had taken a golfing holiday to Hong Kong and the Pearl River delta along with a couple of friends of an old friend of Ryan’s. 

It was also true that Joanne had taken a holiday abroad for the first time in ages and she’d gone to Jordan.

It was also true and Ryan had lied about it, but he’d taken a short break mid contract to visit Mombasa.

 

Just as Richard had friends, so did Ryan. The troubles in Northern Ireland may be history but the central figures were still around and so was their expertise. A little rusty they may be, but a chance to come out and play, maybe for the last time, was not something to be sniffed at.

David Kinshasa had reason be running scared.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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