Authors: Bill Carson
John Kane searched the BBC news web site on his mobile and gawped in surprise at the headlines which read.
Breaking news: update in the missing judge kidnap drama. It is believed that the High Court Judge William Morris Denton is being held against his will by an extremely dangerous man who is understood to be holed up somewhere in the London area. The name of the man the police wish to speak to in connection with the Judges disappearance is John Kane. The public are advised not to approach him as he is likely to be armed and extremely dangerous.
How on earth did they get my name? John thought as he scrutinised the tiny black and white photo of him that they had uploaded. He quickly checked the street outside through the net curtain. There was nothing unusual going on and it was more or less quiet except for the customary sounds at this time in the evening – just the usual wail of the odd police and ambulance sirens above the drone of the relentless traffic – the newsflash had stirred him into action. He quickly checked the backyard through the small kitchen window and could see nothing untoward. He then glanced at his wristwatch, which told him there were four hours to go before detonation.
Perhaps I should prepare for a last stand, just in case?
Doris Clarke of MI6 sat behind her desk in a large office on the top floor of the strange Lego-like building on the bank of the Thames in central London. She swivelled her chair around and looked out at the bustling city beneath bathed in gold from the dying rays of the setting sun. She was a staunch patriot and genuinely loved her country and would if necessary give her life to protect it, as she truly believed with all her heart that this country still had something worth fighting for. The phone gently warbled and she waited for a moment until it had done so three times before picking up. She was expecting the call. It was a Whitehall messenger boy on the other end, asking her to attend an emergency Cobra meeting at Downing Street.
The upshot of the very short meeting with the Prime Minister and his colleagues was for her to resurrect the Violent Crime Directorate Team for an important mission. This was to find Judge William Morris Denton at all costs, and also to capture the kidnappers and dispose of them with extreme prejudice. The lights in the top floor office burned into the small hours and a list of operatives was drawn up. ‘Deniable operatives’, they call them within close knit circles. They were in actual fact a mixture of ex and serving members of the elite Special Forces – or top drawer mercenaries, as some would say.
“Hello, this is Clarke. The code word is Poseidon, repeat Poseidon,” she said with her razor sharp English accent.
The airwaves on the radio receiver were silent for a moment while the operative on the other end checked the code book. A few moments later he asked her to continue.
“I need to request that 765 941 Ryan is to be withdrawn, repeat withdrawn, from active duty with immediate effect and is to report back to HQ in London ASAP.”
“Yes, understood, ma’am, he’s on leave in London and will contact ASAP the distant voice on the other end of the transmission said.
Doris Clarke’s briefing took place an hour later in a purpose-built, bomb-proof room that they called ‘the bunker’. She was dressed in her usual brown two-piece tweed suit, and her grey hair was pulled back tight against her small round head into a little bun at the back. Doris was in her mid-sixties and kept herself fit and trim with tough daily workouts. Everything from the top of her head to the shoes on her feet screamed ‘old school’.
“Right, gentlemen, you are all as from this moment newly indoctrinated members of the re-formed unit known as the Violent Crime Directorate, or the VCD for short. Our sole purpose is to clear up what the police can’t, won’t or don’t want to do. Now, this is going to be a tricky assignment. We have been given the go-ahead from the highest authority in the land to find and rescue the kidnapped high court judge that I’m sure you have all heard about. Now, he was snatched from right in front of his own home, and the police have established, with the help of some new evidence that has just surfaced, that the suspected kidnapper is a chap called John Kane. I have had a dossier on him prepared for you all. There’s not that much to go on – he is of average height, dark hair, muscular build and forty-seven years of age. He seems to have had a run of bad luck of late by firstly losing his wife due to a street robbery, and then the next woman he was involved with committed suicide… Ah, Mr Ryan, you are exactly twenty-five minutes late.” Doris checked her watch as the lean rugged figure of Andy Ryan stood in the doorway. With his crew cut, sun-bleached blond hair, bronzed skin and aviator shades tight black T shirt and sky blue Levis he looked every inch the badass warrior that he was.
“Awfully sorry, ma’am, I just couldn’t get away,” Ryan said in an exaggerated, snobbish accent.
“Please take a seat, Ryan, and we will continue with the briefing. This man,” she pointed to an enlarged photo on the huge plasma screen, “is John Kane and he is the chief suspect in the kidnapping of William Morris Denton. After the trial of Lynda Jackson, who was John Kane’s partner, Lynda Jackson Kane’s partner hung herself in her prison cell; the theory is that Kane has now sought revenge on the judge who had sentenced her. As you can appreciate, time is of the essence here so get out there and find the Judge and illuminate Kane. Those are my orders. Now I must make it clear that we don’t want him to be taken alive. He must disappear, do I make myself clear on that point? Good, now the Police Commissioner will liaise with you all, and will be conveying all new
directly the moment he receives it. Do we have any questions?”
“Yes ma’am if I’m not mistaken he looks very much like the person we were after for those vigilante murders?” Ryan said.
“Yes you are quite right Ryan it appears to be the same man and now we have a name to put to the mysterious face, and we have another shot at him, he’s a very dangerous man and needs to be taken off of our streets, anything else?”
“What weaponry do I have access to?” Ryan said.
“You will have access to anything within reason. You may go from here to the basement armoury and withdraw anything from the vaults, as I have already given instructions for you all to do so.”
“Groovy, some new toys to play with,” Ryan muttered under his breath.
“The briefing is now concluded and Sergeant Ryan is your team leader. He will lead and you will follow; his orders are my orders and time is of the essence gentlemen is that clear?”
“Yes ma’am,” they said in unison, as they stood to attention.
“Good luck, Ryan,” Doris Clarke said, as she left the ops room.
“Right, listen in, fellas, the first thing I need to do is to establish
. Now we’ll need a shit hot switched-on coordinator here at HQ, so who’s in signals?”
“Me, sir,” a young swarthy man said as he stepped forward.
“Good, you’re our lifeline out there, so don’t fuck up. I’ll take the rest of you down to the armoury and we’ll go get ourselves some
. Next we’ll go over our tactics and then, gentlemen, we’ll be going to work straight away. I’ve got a feeling that we can get this one over with quickly and quietly,” Ryan said as they trooped after him.
Ryan and his black-boiler-suited gang of state killers explored the vast armoury beneath the MI6 building. They chose their close-quarter weaponry and the rest of their kit. He, like most of the others, chose the small but deadly Heckler and Koch MP5k 9mm submachine gun, which was fitted with an integrated suppressor. He also found a shortened version of the sniper rifle that he’d been using in Afghanistan.
Debbie Webster reclined into her favourite comfy armchair in the corner of her neat and spotlessly tidy one-bedroom flat. She was dressed in her freshly laundered pink pyjamas and sat alone as usual at the same time as she did every other evening becoming lost amongst the dreary dialogue of her favourite TV soaps.
However, she had not been herself of late and had been dreadfully upset by the rebuff of her advances from Terry Jackson. In her mind she had been heartlessly rejected. As she was about to doze off, the stern loud voice of the news announcer came on the TV and grabbed her attention with the reference to the Old Bailey.
The news reporter went on to announce that the police were searching for an Old Bailey High Court judge who had gone missing, and whom they suspected had been kidnapped. He went on to say that the man they would like to question in connection with the incident was a man called John Kane. A photo of John came on screen, the one taken of him outside the court after Lynda Jackson’s trial. Debbie immediately recognised him but, to make absolutely sure, she put her face right up to the screen.
“That’s not John Kane, that’s Terry Jackson,” she cried out pointing to the screen and immediately rang the police.
The police response was swift, and a detective was tapping on her front door within ten minutes of the call.
“Miss Webster, I’m Inspector Graham from the regional crime squad,” he said as he flicked open his small black wallet, “may I come in?” He didn’t wait for her to answer, and just pushed his way past her. “You say that you think you know the man that has been shown on the news broadcasts, is that right?”
“Yes, I’m sure it’s the same man who came in to find a job at the agency where I work a few weeks ago. He called himself by a different name, Terry Jackson, but that’s definitely him, I’d know him anywhere.”
“That’s good. Did he register with your agency by any chance, Miss Webster?” said the detective.
“Please, call me Debbie, and yes we did manage to get him a position at the Old Bailey. He was working in the kitchens, which all makes sense now, doesn’t it? I have the address here somewhere, ah here it is, 43 All Saints Road,” she said as she gave the detective a cheeky little smile.
The detective couldn’t believe this massive stroke of luck, and immediately phoned the Yard with all the details.
Ryan listened to the message from the commissioner.
“OK, listen in, guys, we now have an address for John Kane and the authorisation, so let’s mount up. While we are in the van we’ll get the layout of the building sent through. This should be a straightforward job, but you never know so stay switched on.”
One hour had now passed since John had seen the news report, and had suffered the added awkwardness of having his photograph broadcast across every TV in the land. John had been forced to bring his plan rapidly forward, and he’d had to take some drastic and immediate action and he decided that it was definitely time to disappear. He checked the street through the net curtain and then dashed upstairs and grabbed the judge by the scruff of the neck and cracked him with a perfect right hand punch to the jaw which knocked him out cold. He then rolled him up in the old carpet again, bundled him over his shoulder and jogged back downstairs and went out through the kitchen.
He stepped into the yard and dropped the poor old judge to the ground like a sack of spuds. He responded with a deep groan as he hit the hard, lumpy dirt face first. He turned around and closed the back door slowly and with great care and then backed the van up to the side of the fence, lining up the side door of the van with the back gate, bundled the old carpet and its contents into the vehicle and pulled out into the heavy traffic. To say it was a close call would be a gross understatement, and unbeknown to John, at the very second that the tail end of his van merged with the busy traffic, a black box van containing the VCD team, together with a dark green Range Rover with Ryan in the passenger seat, swung around the corner.
They stopped fifty feet from the property, and Ryan observed the small house through his thermal imaging binoculars, which gave him nothing. He then jumped out of the Range Rover and thumped on the back of the box van and hopped in as the shutter quickly opened.
“OK, this will be a simple simultaneous double entry front and back: you two, Bravo One and Two, on the front door,” he said as he pointed to the two closest to him, “and Three, Four and Five will be on the back door. Are we all clear, any questions? OK,
check first, and then in three minutes I want those big fuck-off tear gas canisters through the bottom and top windows, front and back. As the gas goes in we’ll have the doors off and flash bang every room before entry, and shoot to kill. I’ll take care of anyone who tries to escape. Right, thirty seconds. Respirators on and arm weapons. Ten seconds – stand by – stand by – stand by, go! Go! Go!” Ryan commanded, as he checked his wristwatch.
The kill team suddenly burst from the back of the van. Ryan stayed put and took aim with his sniper rifle, zeroing in on the top floor bedroom window as the gas canisters smashed through the lower windows. The whole area had now been sealed off and there were road blocks at either end of All Saints Road. Nothing was coming in and nothing was going out, except for the innocent looking white van that had just managed to slip through.
The three men at the back door went in just ahead of the front door team, and Ryan felt the tremendous warm blast wave across his hands and face as they crashed through the back door. The detonation of the simple but deadly improvised device had killed all three of the men instantaneously: a nail bomb at close range is a murderous device. The front door team smashed the lock with a dynamic hammer at the same time, but despite Ryan’s quick reactions to try and stop them, they both tumbled into a shallow pit which Kane had dug out and then covered with some thin strips of timber and an old rug. A vicious pit of razor-sharp thin steel tubes that he’d made from the legs of the old kitchen chairs. He’d hacksawed them off and had hammered them into the ground, and then run the angle grinder over the protruding ends to form jagged two foot long spears.
Bravo One fell into the pit face first and was impaled through the throat and died at once. Bravo Two, who followed immediately behind, stumbled over his fallen comrade and his right boot was speared clean through. A small fountain of blood spurted from the appalling wound as the spike took his full bodyweight. His screams were loud and quite sickening, but at least he was alive.
John Kane had successfully outwitted them.
“Fucking hell,” Ryan said, as he cocked his MP5 and pulled his radio receiver from his ear. He decided on a one man gung-ho assault on the building. He stepped over Bravo One’s body and ignored the screams and flailing hands of Bravo Two and crept along the edge of the hallway, glancing at the carnage outside the back door as he went. Thick, choking white smoke filled the kitchen and the place had now also caught on fire, but he could just about see into the small garden where he saw Bravos Three, Four and Five lying motionless. Their twisted black shapes no longer resembled the human forms that were so full of life moments beforehand. They were now lumps of mutilated, burnt flesh.
He slowly made his way up the staircase, pressing his back hard against the wall as he ascended. On reaching the landing he opened the door of the first room a fraction, pulled the pin and tossed in a flash bang grenade. The grenade exploded with a deafening crack and a flash of blinding light which lasted for a millisecond. He quickly booted the door open, stepped inside and swept the room with the barrel of the machine gun. The room was empty so he stepped back out onto the landing and then crept toward the strange door of the chamber. The door was slightly ajar and Ryan slowly nudged it open with the muzzle of his weapon.
He kicked the door open and burst into the strange room. He stood in the centre of the bizarre smoke-filled black room and switched on his torch. He shook his head.
was good, but we were too fucking late
, he thought to himself. He ripped off his respirator and made his way downstairs, and then called in the medics to patch up Bravo Two. Doris Clarke had been informed of the failure and was now on the line. She was not best pleased.
“Ryan, what the bloody hell happened out there? I need an explanation and it had better be a good one, as I have got the PM breathing down my neck,” Clarke said.
“Sorry, ma’am, the place was rigged with traps. We had no reason to believe that the target had any knowledge of explosives or this kind of urban warfare. This was
supposed to be a simple breach in and rescue.”
“Yes, it seems you have met a worthy adversary, Ryan. Now, I am giving you one last chance and also one last simple instruction, and that is to find this John Kane and eliminate him quickly. Both of our necks are now well and truly on the line. Do you understand what I am saying, Ryan?”
Ryan went back to the van and sat in the back to gather his thoughts for a moment. There was then a sudden stroke of luck, and the CCTV operators radioed through a message saying that they had spotted a white transit van leaving the scene just before the extraction team had arrived. After enlarging the photo of the driver they were convinced that it was John Kane.
The registration and description had now been circulated, and Ryan and every police officer in London were now combing the streets for it. Ryan got into the driver’s seat of the box van and headed toward central London, which was where the CCTV had tracked the van thus far.
Ryan contacted HQ and was immediately patched through to Doris Clarke.
“Go ahead, Ryan.”
“May I make a request, ma’am?”
“Within reason, yes, what do you need?”
“A drone, ma’am. We need a drone to get up there and find that white van ASAP. It takes too long with the CCTV; there are too many vehicles to search for at this time of night, and I don’t think we have much time.”
“Your surveillance drone will be airborne within the hour. That’s good thinking, Ryan, now get this mess cleared up.”
“I’m on it,” Ryan said, as he went around a corner on two wheels.
John Kane had indeed headed for central London, but later decided to pull off the main drag to avoid the CCTV cameras. He doubled back and, instead of going into central London and to Westminster Bridge as planned, he opted for his old stomping ground. He may have had to change the destination, but the plan in his head would remain unaltered.
The odd shaped rotor-driven craft that had been launched from a secret location in London was equipped with all the latest military grade surveillance technology. This included an experimental number plate and facial recognition system, and it also had a digital uplink capability and could send real-time live data capture. This particular drone could stay up for hours. As Ryan crawled through the busy city traffic, the small black drone above was scouring the darkening London streets for the old white transit van.
“Fucking traffic,” Ryan shouted, and blasted the horn at the evening rush hour commuters who were dawdling along after another mind numbing day at the office.
Fifteen minutes later, the spy in the sky spotted a likely vehicle heading toward west London and sent the real time images through to Ryan’s
, which he had secured to the dashboard with some sticky tape. Ryan’s
came to life a second later, and a jerky image popped up on screen. The staccato images were live and the drone was now hovering over a van which was parked in a salubrious side street of Kew in West London.
He suddenly spun the large VW box van around in the middle of the road, which shook the idling commuters from their autopilot comas. They stared from their cars with wide eyes and mouths agog as the tyres screeched and the diesel engine roared its disapproval. Once the van was facing in the opposite direction he slammed it into gear and floored the accelerator.
Twenty-five minutes later he arrived at the location. The roads had already been sealed off with a convoy of police vehicles, and thin strips of blue and white crime scene tape.
An EC2 police helicopter had been scrambled and was now concentrating the beam of its powerful SX5 starburst spotlight onto the suspicious vehicle. After the last encounter Ryan decided to take no chances this time, and adopted a more stealthy approach due to fear of the van possibly being rigged with explosives. Ryan pulled up a little closer and reversed the box van towards the target, which was now roughly a hundred yards away.
As the last of the inhabitants of the surrounding grand, upmarket houses were being evacuated, Ryan climbed up onto the bonnet of his cab and then hauled himself onto the roof of the van. He inched forward, and lay as flat as possible as he set up the bipod on his sniper rifle.
Kane’s Transit was parked at the end of a cul-de-sac, so there was only one way out, and that was through the police cordon and into the sights of Ryan’s sniper rifle.
Ryan was extremely cautious and shot out three of the tyres with some precision shots.
You’re going nowhere
, he said to himself, as the next round shredded the wall of the remaining tyre. He waited for a moment, observed the van through the scope, and then put another round through the side window.
He was hoping that the impact of the high velocity bullets would detonate any would-be explosive devices, but there was nothing, so he gave it another thirty seconds then clambered down from the van. He asked the police chief to lose the chopper above them as it was far too noisy; for the next part of the assault he would need all of his senses.
As the police helicopter slowly peeled away, Ryan slung his MP5 across his back and slowly crept to within twenty feet of the van. He pulled the pin and hurled a tear gas canister through the shattered side window of the van. He ran and then dived for cover behind a sturdy brick wall of a front garden.
He lay flat on his face with both hands clasped around the top of his head. There was nothing, so he waited and let the gas fill the interior of the van before making a move. He pulled his FM12 respirator gas mask over his face, cocked his machine gun and crept toward the rear doors of the van with his index finger pressing against the trigger and the barrel pointing directly at the centre of the rear doors.
There was no sound except that of his exhalations into the respirator filter. He let the MP5 drop to his right hand side on the harness and carefully jemmied the door open. As he had expected, it was empty, except for some strips of gaffer tape, a black patent man’s shoe and an old carpet.
Ryan pulled off the mask and called for the police tracker dogs. A huge manhunt was now put into action as the target was almost certainly on foot. After the bomb squad had declared the van safe, it was winched onto the back of a police lorry and taken away for forensic analysis. Within an hour the street was pretty much back to normal.
“Fucking hell,” Ryan said quietly, as he lent against the cab of the box van.
He must still be quite close by, but why all the drama? Why not just kill the judge and leave him in the van? He could have done that easily and had the chance to escape at least a couple of times tonight? What’s he trying to prove?