by Andrew Foote

Chapter 19

I tried to play dead the next morning. Thilo had a mild hangover which normally means he's as horny as fuck, and I was still sore from the previous morning's marathon, but it was to no avail.

"Oh, is your beautiful one-eyed trouser snake feeling poorly? Maybe I should kiss him better!"

That did it.

Up in a heartbeat.

"You're an animal, do you know that?"

"Only for you. Anyhow, I'm doing you a kindness here."

"You are?"

"Sure I am. What's that saying? Oh, right. Use it or lose it.

I don't want you going impotent on me so early in our relationship, do I?"

"I'm still only fifteen, and I'm hardly likely to…… Oh shit that feels good!"


"Mh-hmmm your arse over here. I need you in my mouth too!"


"Please? Before I blow?"


"Oh. Shitfuckyou…… bastard…… I'm…… CUMMINGGGGG!!!!"

Three very sharp raps on our door brought us swiftly back to reality.

"Security breach. Up now!"

"You are fucking joking, right?"

"You might be fucking, but I'm not joking Steve. We were in the kitchen when one of your SAS guys alerted us."

"Two minutes. Give us two minutes."

We heard hurried steps of someone rushing down the stairs, then turning to Thilo in disbelief, asked him to kiss me.

"I'm rather cummy!"

"Just do it. I don't want to find myself in either heaven or hell only to remember that the last thing we did as a couple was have the shit scared out of us.

Kiss me. Kiss me now!"

We dressed hurriedly then chased down stairs to the kitchen where we were confronted by an SAS officer.

"You are Viscount Broadhurst I assume?"

"In the flesh.

What's happening?"

"An armoured personnel carrier, - six occupants we think, have breached the first security gate."

"And what are they doing now?"

"Waiting. They used a piece of wedged-shaped copper bar hammered between the magnets to open the gates. Our guess is they're waiting to see if they've activated any alarms."

"Okay, but now what?"

"We play their game and wait."

I did a headcount. Only seven out of the eight of us in the room."

"Where's Alun?"

Pete turned to me.

"Motorbike, sniper rifle and headed for the high ground Steve."

"The would-be vineyard?"

"Yes. He pushed the bike over the fields and onto the lane before starting it. That way, he would appear to be just another vehicle on the road and no one would take much notice of him."

The SAS officer interrupted the conversation.

"We've given him a radio. He's in position, and if things turn ugly, we are able to alert him.

How good is he with that rifle?"

"I've never seen a better shot. I'm not an expert, but I'd say that from where he's positioned, he'd not have a problem in hitting his target."

"Thank you.

Now, as your rooms overlook the driveway, I want you to go back there and take up your positions, but no firing unless you hear us fire first.

"Jesus Christ. Is this really happening?"

"Yes, it is. We have authorisation, so no messing around. The only way they'll get out alive is if you screw up, so clean shots please."

Back in our room, Thilo peered through a gap in the curtains.

"They don't appear to be in any hurry, more as if they're waiting for backup."

"Don't even think about it. Six is more than enough."

"But they're just standing around as if it's a Sunday School outing. Not a care in the world."

"How well armed are they?"

"I can't really tell from this distance. They're carrying, but exactly what is hard to say."

"Why do I feel so calm? There's a real possibility that today I'll be taking someone's life, yet I feel no emotion."

"Just remember that if they get through, they'd have no hesitation in taking yours. Like that guy in Scotland told us, it's kill or be killed, and anyway, I never finished what I started earlier!

Wait, wait. They're on the move."

I moved across to the next window and noticed that the personnel carrier was inching its way down the drive, but I couldn't see any men.

"Where are the men Thilo?"

"Using the vehicle for cover. They're behind it."

"Cute move."

"Cute not. They don't know Alun has most likely got them square in his sights."

Just at that moment, there was a commotion as two men ran from the rear of the vehicle towards the front with another two running back down the drive towards the road.

I lifted my rifle, took aim and gently squeezed the trigger. One of the runners fell forward onto the ground just as his mate fell backwards, then other shots rang out from the house and took out the two men at the front of the truck.

This left only the driver to take care of, but nine millimetre rounds weren't going to punch holes in armour plate, and so it kept coming.

Alun had the call to start the show by taking out one of the blokes at the back of the truck which had the effect of driving the others forward, with two chasing off to find the sniper. I got one of them with Alun taking out the second.

Just then, there was a clatter of machine gun fire. The personnel carrier veered across the drive and rolled over into a storm ditch.

Silence, but then two SAS guys raced across the field, checked that the driver had been killed before declaring the area safe.

A minute later, an army ambulance came out from behind the house and another two soldiers set about the task of chucking the dead unceremoniously into the back of it before the ambulance tore up the drive and out of sight.

We assembled in the kitchen where we were debriefed.

"That was good shooting boys. Five shots only together with help from armour piercing machine gun rounds to tidy things up.

How are you feeling? Any misgivings?"

Alun looked sombre.

"It was surreal being up there. It was as if they weren't real people."

"I can understand that, but are you alright?"

"What do you want me to say? I've just killed two people, so I can't say I feel on top of the world."

"To make a top-rate omelette, you have to break eggs. That was world class shooting young man. Without you being up where you were, things could've been much different, and you should be satisfied with the knowledge that while you took lives, you probably saved innocent ones.

How about you, Viscount?"

"I'm alright."

"Who else fired?"

Pete and Mark held up their hands.

"And you two lads? How are you handling things?"

"No feelings of guilt, so I guess we won't be scarred for life."

"Good. I'll be giving you a number to call if you feel the need to talk to someone, but for now I need you to understand that this morning's incident never occurred. We have removed the bodies and taken them somewhere to see if we can identify them, but whichever way it works out, those remains will be disposed of like they never existed.

We will have the vehicle collected discretely and melted down for scrap. There will be no evidence left to support any rumours that might float around, and if you're asked? You deny everything.

Now, I want those who used their weapons to collect the empty shell cases and give them to me so I can dispose of them."

"What happens now?"

"You carry on as normal. Nothing happened here, remember?"

One day of supreme pleasure; the buying and exchanging of rings, then the next day I kill someone in cold blood with three of my friends doing likewise.

Life certainly takes you places.

We all sat around in the kitchen drinking coffee, and so began the inquest.

Alun had been called by radio and asked to take down one of the men. It didn't much matter which one, it was hoped that the resulting confusion would tempt the raiders to take cover at the front of the vehicle in the belief that any gunfire would come from the hill. It worked, and from there on in, it was a free-for-all. The only time the army had to act, was to use armour piercing shells to take out the driver. But what if those guys had waited until after dark? What if they'd approached the house from the fields?

I didn't want to think about that scenario, but I knew that unless I was able to satisfy myself that counter-measures were in place, my worrying would be picked up by Thilo and the others.

I made some excuse and went off in search of the SAS people. I knew which building they were occupying but it looked very quiet, and with only a rather sturdy Subaru cabman-bodied pickup truck with raised suspension and off-road tyres parked nearby, I threw caution to the wind and knocked at the door.

Moments later, the door was opened by the same SAS officer who had de-briefed us.

"Viscount Broadhurst? How may I be of help?"

"My name's Stephen, but is there somewhere we could talk please?"

"You better come in. We can talk in my office."

He took me through to a small room that contained a desk complete with two computer monitors, four chairs and a water cooler.

"Take a seat.

I take it that the reason for your visit is because you're having feelings of guilt about this morning's events? It's very understandable if you are."

"Actually no, that isn't why I came to find you. Granted, I might think differently once this mess is cleared up and I have the opportunity to think about things, but right now, I'm just thankful that we had a successful outcome and none of my friends got hurt."

"Quite possibly. Taking another person's life can be very traumatic, but if that's not the reason for you being here, what is?"

"We were very fortunate today. A daylight raid, their attitude was too relaxed, and we had the opportunity to get Alun up to the vineyard, but what if they try again, but after dark or they come across the fields?"

He looked annoyed.

"We are professional soldiers. Do you honestly think we haven't taken that into consideration?"

I didn't like his attitude. This is my home and I have friends staying, so I told him precisely that.

"I'm not doubting your professionalism, but I'm going to be asked questions, questions I'm unable to answer. I'm not about to go giving away details, but I have to be in a position to reassure my friends that every precaution has been taken to provide for their safety whist on this estate.

This is my home, and I think I have an absolute right to understand what might happen and the counter-measures you've put in place."

"Very well, but what you are about to see has to remain classified information.

I understand that you've signed the Official Secrets Act?"

"All of us have, with the possible exception of Thilo Roker."

"I'm not concerned about the others. The fewer people who know what we're doing the better.

Walk this way."

I was taken through into a command and control centre. Four people; two men and two women were sitting in front of an array of screens, headphones on their heads with sick microphones to their mouths.

"These people you see in here are highly trained members of the Brigade of Royal Signals. In total, there are sixteen of them working six hours on, eighteen hours off. The long rest periods, is because their work demands 100% concentration at all times, so these breaks are essential.

So, what are they doing?

They are monitoring and surveying every inch of your land 24/7. We even make satellite passes every two hours so we can pick up on suspicious activity in the surrounding area, - we managed to track those men from this morning from as far away as Cheltenham.

Now, as for defending the area?

Twenty-four of my men spit into shifts, with eight men on patrol for eight hours followed by an eight-hour sleep break. They are then on standby for eight hours. No sleeping, but they can relax in full combat gear with the entire thing rolling around continuously. Four hours on patrol, four sleeping and four on standby.

Now that you've been told, I'm going to provide you with a radio transceiver.

This will be used to alert you to any problems that might come our way so you can, in turn, alert your friends.

He was told not to tell you, but Mr Rhys-Davies had one. That's how we were able to tell him when to take his first shot.

They work on an MoD frequency that's fed through a computer. These radio's randomly select a code, the radio of the person or person's you are trying to contact, receive a signal that programs the code to theirs, and is only cancelled from the system on pressing the 'CLEAR' button. Hack-proof as there's no internet connection.

Feeling happier now?"

"Marginally so."

"Only marginally?"

"Well okay, completely happy. I just wonder what'll happen once you pull out."

"My orders are open-ended. We stay here until we get the nod that the powers that be are satisfied there's no danger.

Now, if that's all, I have work to do."

I tried to apply reason rather than the anger that had built up inside me. Yes, that officer was an arrogant bastard, but he was only doing his job and I was not making his life any easier by my constant questions.

From what he'd told me, we were very well looked after, and from what I'd seen and understood, most, if not all bases were covered.

I walked back to the house. I needed to talk to Thilo.

I found him in the library reading a book, and on noticing me in the doorway, ushered me inside and gave me a cuddle.

"You okay? I was starting to worry about you."

"Better now I've had words with that officer.

How can you dislike someone who trying his best to keep us out of danger?"

"Clash of personalities probably. You're the son and heir of the owners of this estate, and he's feeling under pressure after this morning's little escapade. Maybe he thinks he failed you what with us doing the lion's share of the damage.

Anyhow, what did he have to say?"

"Apart from being arrogant, you mean?

He showed me their security setup. I was impressed with it to the point where I was going to announce drinks time that bit early."

"Why not? If you feel that confidant we're being looked after, what's stopping you?"


"You've never been bothered about waking with one before, so what's changed?"

"No mine, you idiot. Yours!"

"Oh, I get it. You can't handle my sex drive!"

"More like I can't resist you. Not only can you keep up the pace for like, an eternity, you are just so damned imaginative!"

"That's the hangover talking alright. I throw caution to the wind and go with my feelings for you."

"What are you feeling right now?"

"I feel we should have ourselves an early night!"

"Drinks first followed by supper. We can't just abandon the other's?"

"Then brace yourself for a frantic first light."

"Then I definitely need a drink, but not before you kiss me!"

Tony was quid's in when James walked with me to fetch more drinks. I was down by around thirty pounds, and I thought I was a mean poker player.

"He's good. Too good for me Jim!"

"Every bit the hustler. He has to be at least a ton up by now."

"I'll have to pawn the family silver if my luck doesn't turn soon!"

"Look on the bright side Steve. He might make enough to buy a half-decent set of wheels!"

"That isn't very comforting. I have visions of him turning up at school next term driving a bloody Porsche just like the one Thilo's been salivating over, and all at our expense.

Oh, fuck it. It's fun!"

"Yeah. Nice way to forget about this morning, but I'd cry off even before he had enough to buy a tyre for something like that, but I think Winterton needs your attention."

I looked towards the door just as Winterton knocked.

"I'm sorry to disturb you Sir, but you have visitors."

"At this time in the evening?

Who are they, and what do they want."

"Government officials Sir. Both accredited."

"Okay. Thanks, Winterton. Can you show them into Dad's study please?"


I turned to James.

"What the fuck? Can you apologise for me? If supper's ready before I get back, then dig in 'cos I've no idea what this is all about."

Shoeless, sockless, a pair of shorts and a white cotton shirt only buttoned up as far as my tummy button and doing sweet nothing to hide the fact that I was armed, I walked into the study and closed the door.

Both men stood, so I asked them to take a seat.

I sat with authority behind the desk, placing my drink in front of me, - a pose I'd seen Dad use when not impressed by being disturbed.

"How may I help you Gentlemen?"

"I assume you're Viscount Broadhurst?"

"I am he, but who are you? We don't normally accept visitors we don't know without a prior appointment?"

"Yes well, we're sorry to interrupt your evening.

My name is Johnathan Askwith and I'm with MI6, - my colleague here is Andrew Parker who's with MI5."

"Winterton told me you had credentials. May I see them please?"

They passed me their identification, but in all honesty, I wouldn't have had a clue if they were the real deal or not. My one comfort was, their eye's kept looking at my shoulder holster.

I handed them back, nodding my acceptance.

"Thank you.

Now back to my original question. Why are you here?"

"That incident this morning."

"What incident was that?"

"The incident that never occurred Sir."

"Oh, that incident.

What of it?"

"Do you own this estate Sir?"

"Are you blokes like, for real? You're Spooks, and Spooks should have the background information before they arrive.

No, my parents own it!"

I suddenly remembered about the rudeness that the SAS officer had shown, so I modified my stance.

"I apologise, but today has been difficult for everyone on the estate, my friends included."

"We understand. No offense taken, but here's the thing.

What occurred today was something of a game-changer. We managed to gain vital information about who those people were, and then tied it up with those that tried to attack you with machetes.

We know the tribe, we know a decent amount of background and we know who's backing them, but what we don't know, is why you're being targeted.

We have to understand the reasons behind why they're taking so many risks. There's one thing spiriting a few men into the country with sufficient funds to buy knives you can get from any shop, but this last episode saw them carrying AK47 assault rifles, enough money to sustain them for a long period of time, and then in the back of that personnel carrier, we find a grenade launcher. Nothing adds up.

You visited Africa some weeks ago. Were there any problems?"

"There were no security problems, but as to everything else, I'm not the one you should be taking to as I only know the outlines."

"Would it be possible to talk with them?"

"You could talk to him , but how much information he shares with you is debatable.



We can put you up if you like."

"Thanks, but we'll find a hotel.

What time tomorrow?"

"Ten-thirty. I have stock anxious to breed, and they do it best at first light."

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