Confidential Episode 1 – Glorious and Honourable


28th October

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.


Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

London

Walking into work for what seems to be the millionth time, Chris David began to see why he left the desk job in Admin for a career in the police force. Even going and doing paperwork after arresting people seemed like a return to the dreary winter days spent in an office over 6 years ago. At least he had criminals to catch and old ladies to help cross the road today.

And now the real work started. The boss, Neil Winch, with his big eyebrows, bulging stomach and sweaty brow, began to assign cases for the day, and as he scanned the room with his cold grey eyes, he picked out Chris as the guy for a case in the City. Great, thought Chris. Another pickpocket or fraudster, waiting to be caught and bailed by Her Majesty’s Metropolitan Police.

“Okay Chris, it’s not our usual case, but the CoL Police are busy. So we need you to head into the City and track down this man, Andrei Levsko.”

“Russian gangster sir?” asked Chris, wondering why the City Police can’t deal with their own crimes.

“No, he’s a murder suspect. Shot another Russian outside his home yesterday.” Neil wasn’t in the mood to deal with the predictable cheek from the new breed. If only they knew the true dangers of their career in the Met, they might appreciate him more.

Realising Sergeant Winch hadn’t had his morning coffee yet, Chris decided to head off to his desk and do some background checks on Levsko. It’s an obvious move, but could be crucial in learning more about the man who he was looking for.

Dubai

Sitting on a laptop in the lounge of Dubai International Airport, Poppy Brown looked like any ordinary businesswoman returning from a trip to the Emirates. Emailing her bosses back in London, she had a slight smile on her face as she heard her flight being called out over the tannoy system. Packing her laptop into her suitcase, she prepared to get onto the plane back to Heathrow.

“Hello? Yes? No honey, I’ll see you there. I’m just about to get on the plane. Yes. I’ll see you in Heathrow. Bye.”The slight smile on her face disappeared as she turned off her phone and headed towards the plane. She took out her ticket and passport, and walked briskly onto the BA plane to London.

London

Trawling through Government websites and boring search engines, Chris was struggling to find anything to help him analyse Levsko any more. All he discovered was that he lived in Russia for much of his life, moved to Britain a few years ago and lives by himself. He couldn’t find anything about him on any Russian sites, either.

“Any luck?” asked Neil, as he sat down with Chris. Neither had ordered any food from the canteen today – it was the typical slop that was served every day. It was more of a meeting place then a canteen. “No, nothing yet sir.” He replied, downheartedly. Neil frowned.

“What have you tried to do?” More questioning, thought Chris. “I’ve just been doing profiling and background checks so far. They’ve turned up very little.”

“Well keep trying, I’m sure you’ll get there.” Sergeant Winch’s pager had just gone off, and he hurried off to his office, leaving Chris sat alone with his thoughts.

Day turned to night in London, and after his background checks turned up nothing, Chris was stumped as to how to find out more on Levsko. Staring at the newsreader, it dawned on him to ask the security services for a file on him. He stood up and turned on his smart new computer and opened the internet.

But before he could enter the police website, he saw that he had 3 new emails. 2 were spam from sales agents, but one caught his eye. It was from another Russian, a former KGB agent now based in London, forwarded from the Information department.

“To whom it may concern,

I heard recently about your ongoing investigation into the murder of several British gentlemen by a Russian national, Andrei Levsko. Andrei used to work with me in the “Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti”, or KGB to you. He was the grandson of a Russian soldier during the Civil War and World War One, who was part of a small platoon working with British forces in Gallipoli. His grandfather was shot dead by a British soldier, Benjamin Williams, for reasons still unknown. Levsko has always been angry at British people for what happened in Turkey, despite never meeting his grandfather. He moved to Britain 3 years ago, and works in an Anglo-Russian security agency now. He hasn’t spoken to anyone in Russia since 2006, when he returned to visit Moscow. Some people have suggested that he recently returned to Gallipoli where his grandfathers body is buried.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Mikhail Gormanov.”

The name Benjamin Williams stood out to Chris, but he wasn’t sure why. The information on his anger at Britain would certainly be useful later, he thought. But why would an event like Gallipoli, almost 100 years ago, affect someone’s life today? Oh well, it was too late to keep thinking about it now.

The email was spinning around in his mind all night long – what was Levsko up to? Why did he move to the country he hates so much? Eventually he fell to sleep, albeit a bad one.

Sitting alone in his bland apartment, Andrei Levsko was discovering what life in modern Britain was like for those with nobody around them. Sure, he had his girlfriend, but she wasn’t much help when she was jetting off around the world with her international law firm at the drop of a hat. Wouldn’t it be nice just to go home and work for the Soviets again?


If only they were still in control of his motherland, then he might still have a job worth having. Not working for a stupid security company. As he sunk his teeth into yet another tasteless ready meal, the doorbell rang. He dropped the meal in surprise, and swore in his native tongue as half-cooked chicken hit his pale skin.

“Hello, honey.” Standing in his doorway was a slim English beauty wearing a figure-hugging red dress and with perfectly prepared hair. Andrei grimaced slightly, and shut the door behind him, hiding the damp smell and darkness of his dreary home. “Poppy, welcome home.”

“Ready to go?” she said, expectantly.

“I have some work to do here, Poppy. I’m sorry.” Andrei wasn’t in the mood for a night out in some fancy restaurant with a girlfriend who would pay the bill and upstage him.

“Oh.” The tone of disappointment was impossible to hide, and Poppy slightly shrank away from her lover. It wasn’t the first time this had happened.

“I’m sorry. Maybe another time?”

“Erm, yeh. I’ll call you later. Bye.” Poppy was expecting a reaction as she slowly walked away, but got nothing. Andrei opened the door and walked inside, leaving her half stood there.

After his uncomfortable conversation, Andrei left his meal and sat down at his computer. Time for some real work, he thought.

His brain working in overload, trying to think of a foolproof plan, Andrei spent several hours working on his scheme. By morning, his face was gaunt, wrinkled and pale, with coffee mugs surrounding him and the light slowly entering the room after hours of near-darkness.

The question was, who would he hurt?

What would he lose?

What would he gain?