5

All falls apart

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I

Jane Young looked across at her husband. ‘Who worries you most?’

‘It’s a good question. I know Jenny A is under so it doesn’t really worry me any more – she just has to be got out of it, it’s a task, a job. The two officers who’ve gone under, including the one today – that’s more deeply disappointing, dismaying – they’ll just be caught in a sting. Laura though – she’s right on the edge. She could well be the mastermind of the whole thing, the one who brought chaos to this part of the world and that would make her a despicable criminal but she’s also a victim. How far does responsibility go?’

‘You got too close to her. Don’t worry, I don’t mean you made love to her.’

‘I can tell you now I haven’t but it came damned close. Yes, I have feelings. But I also have anger at her stupidity, at her attitude, at how she did not appreciate what Miles offered. I thought she always did appreciate the new life he’d provided. Pride, ego.’

‘Leyton, you must go after those two men from today – I suppose they were men? Yes. And you must go after Laura no matter what. Jenny A you need to have the story right but if she’s culpable, she goes too … no matter how your relationship with Jenny B is, no matter how much you love her. In fact, she’d think less of you if you didn’t.’

‘Nothing gets past you.’

‘Pretty damned obvious.’

II

The police launch was not as nice as Laura’s, not by any stretch, but it did have some comforts inside – Jenny B and Leyton Young could talk.

He looked at her – the way she held her head perfectly still, the penetrating look in those dark eyes, her dark hair tied back, her air of expectation.

‘I don’t know what to say, Jenny.’ He leaned his arms forward on the table. ‘You’re so important to me both for work and to keep me sane. He told her Jane’s view on each of the parties, verbatim. ‘I know you agree in principle because you’re more an MI5 than an MI6, you’re more police than troublemaker. And yet she’s your sister whom you love. For a start, I’m not sure how much influence Mandy Sobel had on the shot -’

‘I do but would you listen to it, coming from me?’

‘To you, I’d always listen, always.’

‘Thank you. Sis is under their control, I failed to wake up to de Vries in time … time enough for them to take her. I don’t have proof that Mandy made Sis fire the gun, I think Sis might have actually done it and that’s a big statement from me but I’m sure Mandy was right over her, reminding her of what awaited if she didn’t. In my book, that is still Mandy’s hit.’

‘In my book too.’

‘Really?’

‘Personally. But as you know, I’m police. I’m not sure I will be for long, thing I might go freelance.’

‘Honestly?’ She was shocked. ‘You’re one of the best. Why?’

‘Corruption inside, can’t move, can’t do the right thing. Besides, I’ve a few side ventures and … I want to employ you still. That costs money.’

‘It wouldn’t cost too much … at first,’ she smiled.

‘I love Jane.’

‘I know and I’m the first one to want that to continue. It makes Sis and I more secure too. But can Jane handle a platonic female friend who is not exactly platonic, where it could break out, given the circumstances?’

He sighed. ‘We’ll cross that one later. Sarah first. She’s on another launch and it will come here. I need your help and can’t pay you, not yet. You’ll not be out of pocket when it gets adjusted.’

‘You think that’s first on my mind? My sister, yes? What do you need?’

He told her about the two officers and then asked if she was onboard with him in this matter, that she wouldn’t double-cross him? Her withering look was the answer. He now told her the names.

She was gobsmacked, truly gobsmacked. She shook her head.

He went on: ‘I want them and Ms Sobel nailed but not a sniper hit, Jenny. I want them to fire first. Here’s what I have in mind but I’d appreciate your strategic opinion and ideas.’

He concluded by saying, ‘It speaks of justice in a way and will send a message. It also makes us targets from then on.’

‘I already am, you’re the one who needs to adjust his ideas … and his status. How does Jane feel?’

‘She knows, she gave me the idea.’

‘You know, if we put it to those patrons – one or two of them – that this is being done for Miles, if I were to put it to them, not you as you’re still police – I think they might be useful. Now talk about the one person you haven’t mentioned yet, the one you really are weak for. You think she’s guilty … don’t you?’

‘I have a theory that Laura and Ms Sobel are not enemies of each other at all.’

She looked straight into his eyes. ‘Finally the scales have fallen. She’s not a bad woman inside, she was also under them. Not now, long ago but they still have a hold … on both of them.’

‘Question 1 – do you know all? Question 2 – how much can you tell me?’

‘Question 1 – yes, as much as can be known by one investigator. Quiestion 2 – you know very well it’s whether you’re wearing the policeman’s hat or not.’

‘The policeman’s hat has access to databases and fellow officers.’

‘The policeman’s hat says you must charge any criminal. If you didn’t, then you would have lost your integrity and be no use to me.’

‘I do believe you’re pressuring me, Ms Daniels.’

‘You know what you must do, you’re resisting it, it’s your only ethical choice now. I do agree it would be nice if you could keep some contacts and you don’t shop us. What are you going to do to Laura?’

‘We now have our plan for these two officers, we have our plan for Sarah. There’s no plan for Laura yet, I can’t think straight. I don’t want her hurt.’

‘Yes, you’ve got it bad. I feel loyalty too. But she must be stopped all the same. Leyton -’ she’d crossed the line – ‘you know she’s the mastermind. You do know that … don’t you?’

‘Yes.’

‘You see – I already knew that the night I took down Amelie. But I know she was in the ‘playing you’ mode and you were gone on her. Wasn’t my place at that time. All I can say is that I’ll do what you need, I’ll not betray you, as long as you don’t hurt Sis.’

‘We’re removing her from their influence, that’s all.’

‘Then you have my full support.’

III

‘Is this where Jenny sat?’ Laura smiled when it was her turn on the police launch. ‘Jenny told me you’re soft on her … and on me too.’

‘Well what do you expect? Did she tell you how difficult I find all this?’

‘Yes. Are you arresting me today?’

‘No. But I am going to tell you everything we know. Before I do that, I’m going to tell you something else you already know – I love you and wish I didn’t.’

He now proceeded to tell her every single thing he had on her, from her early days onwards and her expressions ranged from dropped jaw to smirks and back to wide-eyed wonder. He gave her the lot.

‘So you see my dilemma as an officer … and then my dilemma as an officer who is not going to be one much longer. Out of all of it, the thing which disappoints me the most is the way you were playing Miles.’

‘I … wasn’t playing him, truly I wasn’t. We’re drawn into things, Leyton – you’ve just outlined how I was – it was clear I had interests opposite to his and yet he was drawing me into his sphere and I wasn’t unhappy about a good, clean life. Well, a less unprincipled life, say. I didn’t go behind his back, I was already there – he never thought through Europe, what I was doing there, who the people were who paid me. What they were paying me for. My way of dealing with any of it was to be unemotional, to affect not to care. Deep down I do very much care because now the rock has been overturned and I’ve crawled out from under it, it looks very bad in the cold light of day.

Miles made it so easy – he put me in charge of going around the boats, I was popular, those in the know were delighted they could just come and go with the cargo -’

‘These were young girls.’

‘That’s just the half of it and no, I’m not speaking. Miles cut corners, thought he was naughty, he had patrons as friends, he was dangerous in a corner … but he was naive, especially around me. He believed I’d reformed and you know, in a way I had. The only sex I had was that one time with Ralph. There were countless times on the boats I could have. I didn’t.’

‘According to the rules of your web, you’ll have to arrange my accident. On this boat you can’t, nor can I to you. After you get off this boat, I’m a dead man.’

‘Not with the Jennies around.’

‘Were you continuing Sarah’s ‘training’?’

‘Without the trauma and you know why – if I once faltered, I was taken back there myself. I had my role and as long as I did, I was free from … from that.’

‘Our theory, Jenny and I, was that Sarah went to shoot but rebelled, Mandy made her do it.’

‘More or less. It was Mandy, according to her, herself, who peered down the scope and pushed Sarah’s fingers.’

‘It’s sick – all of it.’

‘Yes it is – it’s totally sick. Once you’re in, there’s no out. It only gets worse. Humans are flotsam, I’m flotsam, I’ll be cast off one day.’

‘Laura, that was your own husband.’

‘There speaks a man who doesn’t know that physical pain, that nausea – you never want to go back there. It transcends anything. You can be loyal, you can love but that beats it every time.’

‘Heaven help you.’

‘No one else can. What are you going to do with me now?’

‘Ask you a few more and let you go.’

‘Not wise. Go ahead, ask.’

‘That third hit on you – Mandy, was she meant to aim off and miss?’

‘No, she was meant to get me in the side. As she did. It’s true she’s a bad shot but when the rifle is resting on a parapet, like a tripod, it becomes easier. I’d seen that place a few times and had thought about it. At that time, I needed to be under protection, so that they couldn’t really get to me to finish me off – that third shot confused them.’

She stared at him for a few moments. ‘Would you kiss me one last time? You see, I think that as far as I can, I do love you too. You remind me of Miles.’

V

At 8 p.m. the following evening, the air still being warm enough, with only a few spots of rain during the day – Young walked behind ye olde upturned coracles draped in nets, behind the buildings abutting the cobbled Ribble Wharf, down to the unlit end of the track.

He opened the backdoor, a pistol was clapped to his head, at which point he said, ‘Enough of the dramatics, is she all right?’

‘Yes,’ said Jenny as she locked the door behind him. ‘Don’t think you’ll squeeze through the gap over there.’

‘Oh thank you very much. I’ll breathe in.’ He did see what she meant though – the end of the wall between the two warehouses could be prised open so far and that was all.

He got through though and shone his torch on Sarah, sitting between two officers in an old armchair – strapped to the armchair in fact – in her jumpsuit, tape over her mouth but a hole had been made, a straw went through that hole and she was sipping.

He went up to her and hugged her, surprisingly she did not resist in the least, did not react at all negatively.

He squeezed back through and spoke to Jenny. ‘You still prepared to do this?’

‘What do you think?’

‘You’re really very brave you know – you impress me every single time.’

‘Maybe I’m crazy. When will you tie me up?’

‘When we hear the first signs. It’s gloomy in here, the wharf lights give just enough to ease the pitch black.’ He named the other two officers and voices came from the far corners of the warehouse.

‘So now we wait – everyone eaten?’

It wasn’t all that late, they’d thought 1 a.m., 2 a.m. but it was not much past 11 when they heard the scraping on the roof – muffled for sure but still audible. He faux-tied Jenny up, pulled the balaclava over her head and withdrew to a spare corner of the room. They were banking on the intruders wanting to capture, not kill the girls and now they’d find out.

Suddenly, a wrenching noise of corrugated roof was followed by two figures dropping to the floor and then a third, all hooded, they went straight to Jenny and one of them pulled off her balaclava, she acted as if she were drugged, the man seemed satisfied, they moved as if to lift her, she sat up and clapped her gun to the closest head, one of the officers said to drop the weapons and a few things happened at once. The one nearest Jenny went to pistol whip her and she shot him through the head, one of the others went to shoot at the corner from where the command had come and he was taken out, the third dropped his weapon and put his hands behind his head.

Then no one moved. They heard the other two sliding down off the roof onto the track behind, they also heard the exclamations as the rounds from the end of the lane went into them.

‘Kneel, keep your hands on your head,’ spoke the same officer. ‘Slowly now, take your hood off and take off theirs.’ He did. ‘Now kneel down again, hands on head.’ Jenny had her pistol to the back of his head.

Still Leyton didn’t come out of the shadows, the two officers did and one shone a torch on the kneeling man. ‘Effing hell, it’s Ronnie. Why, you stupid bastard?’ No reply. He trained his gun on Ronni too while the other officer went over and shone the torch on the two dead men’s faces.

‘Neil Wexford and Tim Madders,’ he reported. He now went up to Ronnie. ‘We’re going to let you go, Ronnie, nuffing’s happened tonight, nuffing at all.’

‘You want the passwords.’

‘Very quick, son, very quick. If they’re wrong, you know we’ll send this girl for you. She’s good at this sort of thing. You wouldn’t last the week.’

‘You’re bluffing.’

‘You saw her. Look at the hole in Tim Madders’s head if you’re not sure.’

‘Fucking maniac, she wants locking up.’

‘Nice one, Ronnie. That’s the deal. Cough up and you can go, no questions asked.’

‘They’ll do for me if I do.’

‘No they won’t, Ronnie, they won’t be alive.’

He knew this scene, they’d done it a few times, he knew not to hang about. He gave the words and explained they had to go in from two directions. One was the companionway but the other was the hatch on the foredeck, it would be open.

‘Which boat?’

‘You don’t know, do you? Fucking amateurs. They’ll do you two.’

‘You going to tell us or -’

‘It will be Laura’s boat,’ said Jenny, quietly.

‘Brighter than you lot, isn’t she?’

‘Getting tired of this, Ronnie. You’ve seen me when I get tired. Here are the two scenarios – you heard the commotion and lay flat on the roof, the other two slid off and got shot. You stayed up there until everyone left, then slipped away and raised the alarm. They’re not going to buy it and I think you might be marked but you leave here alive.

On the other hand, if you actively assist us now, give us the whole lot as you know it, we’ll go out of our way to keep you alive, we’ll get Young to arrange it.’

‘He’s for the chop anyway, the boss doesn’t like him.’

‘Thanks for the heads up. Your alternative now is we still let you escape but there are two at the end of the lane and she -’ he indicated Jenny ‘- she’s got free rein to come after you, now, tonight. And she’s keen on this sort of work, you saw that. You’ve got one minute to decide, my son.’

He saw a slight chance in singing and none in the other options so he got straight down to describing the crew onboard, that Laura would be there, also van Agt, also another bird Ronnie didn’t know. He then described how they were meant to carry Sarah, how Tim Madders would give the first password at the top of the ladder and how he, Ronnie, would give the second at the hatch. He didn’t know where they planned to go with the launch, maybe to Ireland and plane from there, whatever.

‘Good boy. Take off your outer gear, your hood too.’ He did. ‘Now take the kit from one of the others too, maybe Madders.’

That done, ‘Off you go then, we’ll give you a bunk up. Stay on the roof until we’ve gone out the back, OK?’

The two officers dressed in the dark gear, the second officer pretend-tied Jenny up the same way as Sarah and heaved her into a fireman’s, they both went out the front and there was the dinghy.

One of the officers from next door with Sarah now squeezed through and went to the far corner, gun trained on the drop point.

At the launch, the first officer went up the ladder as ‘Tim’ and gave the password – he was allowed to carry Jenny downstairs, ‘Ronnie’ went round to the fore hatch, gave the word and was also allowed down.

It all happened quickly – van Agt smelt a rat immediately, his torps went to fire and were removed, he ran and was removed himself but the woman escaped, Jenny going after her at a rate of knots, the woman dived in, Jenny aimed and let off a round, the woman was hit, Jenny let off another at the head.

She went downstairs, took in the scene and said she had to get back. The dinghy had a 6hp, she started it and off she went.

Leyton Young still waited in his corner, there was no sound next door.

He waited.

A silent figure dropped down through the torn roof to the floor.

‘Hello, Laura.’ No light but she could hear where he was.

She froze. ‘Leyton.’

‘Thought you might not trust them.’

‘Always best to be sure. What now?’

‘You depart through the back door.’

‘Those two at the end of the track.’

‘Not there now, they’re on a second job.’

‘Just you and me, yes?’

‘Just us.’

‘And Jenny on the launch, killing people.’

‘Something like that.’

‘You’re not going to disarm me?’

‘You’re disarming enough.’

‘That worries me. That worries me a lot – your mind’s as devious as mine.’

‘You didn’t come back to check this warehouse, there was nothing for you here.’

‘You know there is, we both know who you’re protecting and I was going to complete the job. But as I now can’t, I may as well go.’

‘That would be best.’

‘Just out through the back door, yes?’

‘Yes.’

She suddenly moved to fire, there were two thuds and she dropped to the floor. Jenny dropped to the floor from the roof, holstering her gun on her chest. Leyton stepped forward for the first time in a long while, legs cramping.

‘You saved me from shooting. Thanks. And thanks, Paul.’ Paul went through next door again – squeezed through.

They went through too.

Jenny went straight to Sarah and kissed her on the cheek, kissed her hair, reached out for her hand and they both squeezed hard. She whispered in Sarah’s ear that she loved her, that everything was all right, that anything she, Jenny, would ever do would never be to harm her, Sarah, then she took a plastic envelope out from her calf pocket, took a cloth pad out of that, put it over Sarah’s mouth and Sarah was out within 30 seconds.

The men got Sarah through the gap, she was carried in a fireman’s down the track at the back, Jenny following and both into a police van, ‘Tim’ and ‘Ronnie’ already had the launch in the next harbour about 3.5 miles off.

The officers came back and it was clear the cleanup and repairs were their job, Leyton thanked them and that was that for the night.

VI

Leyton Young came through the companionway and down inside the police launch some three days later. The boat was far out to sea, he’d been lowered from the helicopter.

‘Sarah.’

Noncommittal but not hostile.

‘Jenny.’

Jenny came over and kissed him on the cheek. Then, in the greatest shock he’d had for a year, Sarah came over and kissed the other one.

‘Tag team, yes? You both armed?’

‘I am, Sarah’s not.’

‘Safe to arm her?’

‘Don’t know, I think so.’

He passed his pistol to Sarah, butt first. She took it and just stood there, cogitating.

‘I’ve told her everything, the lot,’ said Jenny. ‘Everything we ever talked about, everything you promised, all about Laura, Mandy, the lot. She’s not out of danger yet but she’s not too far away.’

‘Enough to give her your own gun?’

Sarah looked at her sister, intrigued and Jenny felt trapped. Finally she unholstered it and passed it over. Sarah stood there with the two guns, one in each hand.

She looked down at the guns and they could see the cogs turning in her mind. They knew the trauma training, plus Jan were weighing heavily. She could force them to take her back to Amsterdam, to that which she knew, she could kill Leyton here and now … or even in his sleep.

‘Can you keep them away? Can you keep them from me? Will I go to prison?’

‘If I stay on the force, I can have influence that way. If I become a civilian, I can take better measures but I have no official say. The major question for me … and I think for Jenny too … is will you turn on us.’

‘Jenny told me about the people at your station who can harm you. I know of some of them, I communicated with them.’

‘If I leave the force, I need protection and some of Miles’s patrons are the way to get that. I’ll be seen forever as a crooked cop.’

‘You’d do that for me? For us?’

‘Not just for you two, not only. For Jane too, to be able to make a new living, to employ both of you if you wanted.’

Sarah thought a few more moments, then handed over the guns, they were taken by Jenny and holstered. Leyton stepped up to Sarah and tentatively placed a kiss on her cheek, then a quick one on her lips.

He turned to the smiling Jenny who’d puckered her lips, so he planted one there. ‘Everyone lunched?’

By the late afternoon, they’d covered most of the ground. Jenny came back to the key question. ‘It comes down to self-defence on Laura or not. As an officer, how do you see that?’

‘Line ball and depends who conducts it – that’s the situation these days. We can call our colleagues but would they wish to testify? They need their careers. I’d say that because I’ve been allowed to come here with you two and occupy one of the launches, that counts for something. As the officer in charge, I’m not preferring charges. We come back though, to after I leave the force. I think I’d have to catch Stevenson out in some naughtiness but he’s on his guard against that.’

‘You’re forgetting us,’ said Jenny. ‘And I do mean us. Once you’re back on your feet, we’re going to milk your help, you’ll be sick of us … but not for now.’

‘How OK are you, Sarah? Can you judge that?’

‘Sis was a huge factor – I’d never let her be dragged into it under any circumstances, I’d fight the trauma. They could trigger me but – I was one of their lesser successes. I really was wavering on Miles. Do you know it wasn’t Miles I was going to kill – it was Laura?’

‘I gathered that – neither Miles nor I knew, you both knew. Am I right that Mandy squeezed your hand?’

‘No, she took the rifle, I turned to jelly. She killed Miles and she was a good shot. Laura was lying.’

‘I see. Have you learnt anything about handsome young men who see only you?’

‘That’s cruel. I’m susceptible, I’m susceptible to you now but I fear Sis.’

‘They’ll come for both of you, you both need to be armed, I have to talk with Jane about all of it now.’

‘We’ll take care of any weapons, don’t you go near this topic,’ said Jenny. ‘May we have supper? I’m starved.’

‘Me too,’ said Sarah.

VII

Two of the patrons, the ones who’d probably been closest to Miles, were happy enough in their own way – they saw the possibilities of inside information, of also hiring the Jennies now and then.

It was pronounced self-defence in all cases, even Stevenson had not objected – he probably saw the chance of Leyton gone as a good thing for his operations. They’d had a session with Mr. Pendlebury already and were due for another the Friday of this same week. There was also the funeral to arrange.

VIII

Mr. Pendlebury coughed, adjusted his glasses, the teas were brought in before they’d even been asked if they wanted any but no matter.

‘To business,’ he said from his side of the enormous table, piled high with papers. ‘The reason you’re seeing me is that though we did not act for Mrs. Forrester in the matter of her last will, a new one had been made and we are acting for her on that. There is no executor, it is being handled by us directly as trustees. It’s a relatively straightforward will, I can’t see complications in any but one area.

Essentially, she observed Mr. Forrester’s wishes, though they were not binding on her own bequests and there were people he had left bequests to, not the gifts to the skippers and the other parties but actual bequests. Those people received those bequests but she wanted to leave them more, so she’s detailed 15% of her estate to them, evenly divided.

Now, she has also left 15% each to the girls and the remaining 55%, Mr. Young, to you. Our fee is taken before the disbursement.’

When Leyton recovered, he said, ‘I don’t like the split. I feel we already had more than sufficient from Miles’s will and this is on top of that. There is also the little matter of how Ms Laura met her end.’

Mr. Pendlebury coughed again.

Leyton went on. ‘We weren’t to know things would end as they did, though we knew they’d probably actually end. If she’s bequested something to us, then I see it as a way to set up our business in order to fight the baddies even more and I feel Laura would approve of that. She couldn’t change things herself but her money might.

I’d like to suggest that, before your fee, those people she felt she owed get 18%, ditto to each of these girls, 18% to me too and 18% to a fund we’ll set up today for our future employment, the girls and I, anything drawn from that requiring four signatures. That leaves 10%. 4% of that goes to the firm, which should cover the fee and 6% to you, Mr. Pendlebury, with the stipulation that it was requested by three of the beneficiaries. You are the trustee, it can be done.’

Mr. Pendlebury gave a little smile. ‘It’s possible, it’s irregular, all parties must agree. I really don’t know what to say, Mr. Young, it’s most generous of you but might I suggest 5% to the firm and 5% to me. As I was the one who set up the firm and there are tax considerations, that would suit me better.’

‘Leyton turned to the girls. Well?’

‘Stunned. Such generosity,’ said Jenny. ‘Stunned. Yes, naturally we agree.’

Sarah was almost in tears. ‘We’ll make this work, I promise we’ll make this work.’

‘Jenny turned to Mr. Pendlebury. ‘Sis means she agrees.’

‘You see,’ added Leyton, ‘it really is so important that the money works for Laura – I think you understand why. She’ll have a sumptuous funeral and memorial – the girls and I will discuss all this with Jane and it will be appropriate. Expect a letter, Mr. Pendlebury.’

‘Well, let’s leave it at that and I’ll get to work,’ said the old man. ‘A pleasure to see you again, although the circumstances were unfortunate.’

He stood, they did too.

Having taken the circuitous route from the solicitors, they were in a random pizza house or rather it was more like a cafe which happened to do pizzas. They were famished.

While they waited at their table, Leyton addressed them. ‘Miles had many business interests which ceased when he died and it was assumed they passed to Laura. If we run these businesses properly, the way Miles was doing, we’re going to be very well off and we’ll have the luxury to do some side projects.’

‘Side projects?’ asked Sarah.

‘The type of work you two like to get your teeth into.’

‘It sounds a bit too good to be true.’

‘It’s nothing like you were getting, Sarah.’

‘Are you kidding? We’re your girls.’

Jenny was more circumspect. ‘I know what riches do to people. These are riches to us, we have to build this business but I fear greed creeping in. Plus we have one major issue – staying alive.’

‘Patrons, right, understood. I need to get to them and show them I’m leaving, that we wish to continue as Miles left off.’

‘Do you want to make love to us?’

‘Sarah!’

‘I want to know.’

‘Laura asked me that. Of course I want but I’m not going to, not with my partners, plus I have a wife.’

‘That’s all I wanted to hear,’ said Sarah.

The pizzas arrived.

IX

It had been a month, the funeral would have made Laura proud in Jane’s estimation, the memorial stone had been placed at the dock [for a consideration], the meetings with the clean skippers had taken place, the others long gone.

‘How are you going to keep the EU off our backs?’

‘We do have a cunning plan, part of that plan is in operation now. It really depends on your catches, which would mean we’d have the cash to pay for good muscle, the type with no beg pardons.’

‘And the girls?’

‘They’re mine, they won’t interfere. I know of Miles’s talk with you.’

‘Sounds all right to me.’

And so it had gone.

There was a different meeting in Amsterdam, along the lines of making Leyton Young an offer or sinking his boats.

X

There was a meeting of the four of them plus one patron on a boat of the latter’s choosing.

‘Leyton,’ spoke the patron, ‘I sometimes gave Miles advice and it was that we had to be ruthless with any challenge. Are you on board with that or are you an appeaser?’

‘The former. Look at the girls.’

‘Then I judged right. You can use our resources over there, the girls won’t be able to get close enough for that information. Once we know the names, it will need to be meticulously planned.’

‘You’ll stipulate what you need from it?’

‘Oh yes but it will be well within reason. We’re doing our own demarcation negotiations, saves the government the job.’

There was the noise of a helicopter hovering above and a minute later, someone came down to the deck. Another minute and she was inside the wheelhouse, being offered her regular schnapps.

They were introduced to Gabby by the patron. ‘Gabby runs a fleet up and down the Dutch coast in a similar way to Miles but the scene is a bit more cut throat over there. Let’s thrash out the details now so that they’re satisfactory to all of us. Gabby, tell us who’s making a play for Leyton’s fishing operation?’

‘Top of my head – van der Haar, Schmelling, Dotty, some others perhaps.’

‘Listen to this.’ He put a disk into the player and she listened attentively, then indicated that he pause.

‘That’s van der Haar’s man. He only plays one way. It’s going to need some persuasion from us.’

‘Now or later?’

‘Oh now. Pre-emptive.’

‘You can do that?’

‘Yes.’

‘Your terms?’

She laid them out, they were steep but not undoable. Leyton and the Jennies just listened, amazed. That’s how someone’s business was wiped out, just like that. Said Gabby, ‘We want the right to use Leyton’s Yanmar modifications, plus your Roger Wayne for a month, Leyton, plus your Peter Doyle.’

‘He’s armaments.’

‘Yes.’

The patron looked at Leyton, he nodded, the other three did, lunch was served by Jane.

Chapter 2-4 hereChapter 2-6 here

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