Confidential Episode 3 – Dolce Et Decorum Est

 

1915

 

 

Spitting into the rough, sandy Ottoman soil, Sergeant Ben Williams glared into the eyes of his Russian colleague.

Biting his tongue, Kamal Levsko stared fearlessly into the eyes of his British counterpart.

“Well then? What are you waiting for?” Williams paced around Levsko, beads of sweat dripping from his dirty hair. Constantinople had been harsh on him so far.

“I cannot kill this man.” Kamal continued looking out over the coast. Odessa was a boat trip away, yet he felt so far away, facing this English brute.

“What was that? You can’t kill a bloody traitor? Really? Would you like me to show you how to?” Ben was taunting Kamal – He knew where the Russians’ weaknesses were, surrounded by these foreigners, in a foreign country. And raising a gun and shooting was what this English soldier was trained to do.

“This man is Russian soldier. He not deserve death.”

“This... man, betrayed you, and your people and most of all, us. He told the Turks and the Germans where we were going to strike them!” Ben spat again, his eyes bulging and his blood boiling in the harsh winter sun. Even in November the hills near the Ottoman capital were roasting. Men were dying of thirst and heatstroke more than bullet wounds out here.

“Leave this man alone. He suffer with guilt and heartbreak for the rest of his life – he kill many. Do not become like him. Please.” Levsko was begging.

“If he doesn’t die, you will.”

Williams raised the revolver, his words echoing in Levsko’s mind as he flicked the trigger effortlessly. Kamal fell to the ground, writhing in pain as the blood spread across the rocky ground. A second bullet raced from the gun, hitting the double agent, who the argument had been about in the first place, in the forehead. The British troops packed up and left the vultures to feast on Russian skin.

 

85 YEARS LATER

 

The guns sounded overhead, and the chimes of Westminster could be heard in the minds of everybody stood there. Remembrance Sunday.

Memories of the wars are still raw in the minds, even for those that never saw it first hand.

The wars affected everybody’s lives. Even today, they change lives. Change the world.


“Hey, Andrei.” Poppy smiled, sitting down next to her boyfriend. The cold winter had finally set in, and snow continued to fall. Andrei looked up, and smiled meekly.

“Hi honey. How’s things?”

“Good, thanks. I saw you at the memorial today. Why were you there?” Poppy frowned as Andrei shuffled nervously.

“Oh, you know. Just paying my respects to my grandfather. He’s really helped me make choices recently.”

“I thought he died in Gallipoli?” Poppy questioned.

“Yes. Yes he did.” An awkward silence descended over the couple, and Andrei stood up, looking to get away.

“I’ll see you later then.” Poppy grabbed a quick peck from her so-called partner. He recoiled sharply afterwards.

“Yes, yes. Later.” Andrei hurried away, leaving Poppy standing there, alone.

“Noreen? Yes, it’s Poppy Brown here. Cancel my meeting for this afternoon. I have some fieldwork to do. Thank you.”

 

“What do you think he did then?” Poppy was anxiously looking around the police station entrance. She didn’t want to know what Andrei had been doing behind her back, but it was her job to find out.

“I didn’t think you would talk to me again, Poppy.” Chris was surprised – he was close to giving up on MI5’s assistance in this case.

“Chris, just show me the file.” She held her breath. He smiled, and loaded his computer.

“Now do you see why I need your help?”

 

Andrei entered the shiny new lift, and headed up towards the restaurant. He was calm and collected, just like in his plans. What would happen had already started, and he couldn’t turn back now. It was too late.

He had been patient for months, and could barely contain his excitement at fulfilling his duty. Life had been dull and depressive for years, the rush of adrenaline he had now was like a new life to him.

The final piece of the puzzle was in place – the work could finally begin. “Hello Poppy. How is everything?”

“Erm... Fine Andrei. But I need to talk to you about something...” He smiled slyly, unaware of her newfound knowledge of his plans.

“What’s wrong?” Poppy cast her eyes sideways for a second, nervous about asking him for the truth.

“Are you... Are you planning anything... dangerous?” His smile evaporated and eyes sharpened as Poppy raised her line of vision expectantly. His hand twitched slightly.

“Well?”

“Dangerous? Erm... what do you mean, dangerous?” He glanced away from Poppy, his ecstatic mood now a distant memory.

“I know, Andrei. About... the bomb.” Voice trailing out to a whisper, Ms Brown was sensing she had found the truth. An awkward silence descended over the dinner table.

“I...”

“Just tell me the truth, Andrei. Is it true?”

“Listen to me...”

“Yes or no?” The waiters gave stern looks towards the agitated Poppy. She already knew the answer.

“How did you find out.” Levsko had dropped his voice and his face was like thunder. This wasn’t in his plans.

“Is that a question?”

“Answer me, Poppy!” The awkward silence had now spread to the entire restaurant, as nosy strangers became intrigued in the argument. Poppy sighed.

“They’re onto you.” Andrei nearly jumped out of his seat. The day was getting worse by the minute.

“And you’ve got a lot of questions to answer.”

Poppy grimaced as her so-called boyfriend stood up and hurried away. The calm Levsko had been replaced by a paranoid wreck. She also rose up out of her chair, and returned to the shared suite.

 

Chris David was on the move, tracking down the man who had out manoeuvred him once already. Now he was onto him.

“Gotcha. Sergeant, he’s on the move.”

He got ready to go after the international terrorist.

“Okay Chris. I’ll let you know when he arrives.”

 

Andrei was ready, despite the earlier setback. A few minor changes to his plan and everything was fine, at last. He would avenge his grandfather and Britain would mourn.

“Sergeant Winch?”

“I’m rather busy Lucy...”

“You need to know this, trust me.”

“Levsko has changed his route – he’s heading back to the hotel. I think you need to get Chris back there, fast.”

“Are you sure? What if the bomb is already here?” A businessman stared shocked at Neil, who waved him along.

“He must have another trick up his hand. Has he met with Brown?”

“I’ll tell him now. Thanks Lucy.”

Chris? Chris?”

“Yes Neil?”

“Turn around, now! Lucy thinks he’s changed the plan.”

“Do you trust her intel?”

“Do you?”

“Are they back at the hotel room?”

“He is at least. I’m not sure about her.”

“I’d better check anyway.”

Chris pounded the brakes and rushed into the hotel, hoping to stop Andrei and find Poppy, wherever she was.

He ran up the stairs and had his gun ready and loaded. Slowly he turned the doorknob of the MI5 agents’ room. Levsko was nowhere to be found.

Poppy was lying unconscious on the floor. Andrei had clearly been here and was close to taking her out the room. Out of the corner of his eye, Chris saw the bedroom window wide open, so he knew the Russian was nearby. But his priority now was getting Poppy away from him. As he turned her over, he saw a suicide vest under her suit. He froze.

“Neil? Yeh, it’s me. Levsko has knocked her out and attached a suicide vest to her. How do I get it off?”

“Oh god... Can you see the black wire and the red wire of the detonator?” Chris fumbled around, and soon found a remote detonator in the bedroom.

“Yes.”

“Okay – cut the red one. Do not cut the black one at all – that will set it off. Just the red wire – and fast.”

Chris slowly sliced the red wire and took the vest off, placing it on the chair. Special Branch will have to come and remove it later.

Quickly Chris woke up Poppy, and placed her on the sofa. “Are you okay?” She drearily opened her eyes.

“Yes... What happened?” Her head slumped as Chris managed to keep her upright.

“You had a bomb attached to your back. Don’t worry – I’ve got it off you now. But I’ve got to stop Andrei.”

“You were right.”

“Right? What do you mean?” Chris didn’t have time for this – he had to stop Levsko.

“He is a murderer. I should’ve listened to you.” Her eyes closed slightly, but Chris nudged her awake.

“We have to go. Now.” He lifted her up and half-carried her out of the hotel.

Poppy and Chris ran out of the lobby and towards his car. Suddenly a stream of bullets was fired towards them, sending people jumping to the ground.

“Neil! He’s here! Get the ARU now!” Chris shouted into his earpiece, and the scream of sirens began as police rushed closer from their nearby waiting point.

Andrei panicked as soon as he heard the police and sprinted to his car. The tyres screamed as he sped away from the police, who were seconds behind him already.

 

The roar of turbocharged police engines filled the air, and the police officer and spy stood up, watching in awe as his colleagues chased after her now-ex boyfriend. Chris snapped out of the trance as the dust from the bullets settled. “We have to get to MI5, in case he tries anything again.”

The pair climbed into a car and joined the chasing police.