By reading any further, you state, that you are at least 18 years old.
The following content contains violence and situations, which might be offensive for some readers.
So be warned and do not read on, if James Bond like situations do not appeal to you.
Beth Bailey walked through the offices. Harry had held a meeting with them all and announced that his time as head of the department would soon come to an end and investigations into his past assignments would start tomorrow.
Beth did not expect a brilliant future at MI-5 for herself now. She was rather new and the investigation against Harry would not cast a good light onto her own background, especially after her ‘friendship’ with Lucas North, who alone she had to thank that she was still a member of the section.
Lucas North - what a liar, what an illusionist.
Beth doubted, that what they had been told by Harry of the occurrences and the results of his interrogation had been all there was to the story. Lucas was such a talented man and the story line with Maya just did not ring true to her. She always had the picture of him in her mind, when on the run close to the airfield he had shot into the wheels of their vehicle and not tried to shoot them. Even when he had held a gun to her head in that park she had never had the impression he willingly wanted to hurt her. He cared for her, for the team, for Harry who’s opinion he valued over anything else.
That absolutely did not meet with a John Bateman trying to kill Harry on the roof of a building.
Her long years in private security had taught her to listen to her inner voice and that voice told her now, Lucas had had no reason to lead Harry away from the grid to let him live. Why kill himself when he could kill his opponent? An opponent he had lead to leave all security behind and who was absolutely defenceless? If he had felt hatred towards him, why had he prepared everything for Harry’s demise and then killed himself?
So fine a colleague she had Lucas experienced to be, when he had supported her through her first assignment for MI-5, she still had the impression he had absolutely been in total control of every step of the game. He knew what he did and calculated all his options meticulously.
She had seen how he had craved adventure and had excelled in leading them all along a merry chase, when he had abducted Ruth. That was not a man who did not know his identity or was likely to break down the next moment and kill himself. This was a calculating, well functioning machine, planning far ahead and seeing possible options far in advance. Leaving a love interest behind for 15 years and then breaking down after seeing her picture again, as Harry had told them about the back story, just was totally unbelievable for her. Lucas, the Lucas she had known, would have found a way out, a way nobody would have been the wiser, if he wanted to. But the question for her was more, why had he not wanted to contact his love of his life again and waited 15 years to do so?
No, she had to be certain about Lucas’ death and for that she needed a certain priority access card. She would borrow it for a while and afterwards give it back. To hide her own tracks she would swap her card with Harry’s, so if he did not directly look at the card, nobody would notice the temporary switch. They could have accidentally gotten hold of the wrong card while drinking coffee together and she would make sure that there was enough of a distraction to make that likely.
The swap went without complications, though Beth recognized, partially responsible for her success was, that Harry looked absolutely devastated and was distracted enough to do not care about the security card at all.
With Harry’s card hidden in the folds of her jacket, she went down to the laboratory, where the forensic department was situated. It was late already. She had seen Harry leaving the building some time ago, not recognizing, that he used her card at the doors instead of his own. She would have to swap it back next time they met.
The light in the laboratory already was switched off and when she entered, a flash of light welcomed her, when the lights reacting to movement, went on. Good to know that she was alone in the area. So nobody would question her or ask for a signed permission for her being allowed to enter.
She knew where the bodies were kept, as Harry had brought her and Dimitri down with him to examine the dead body of the Lucas-replacement they had shot during the operation. She had not seen that man before and his face had not meant anything to her. She had no idea where Lucas might have found this man willing to risk his life for him.
So now Beth was here again and searched for Lucas. What a strange feeling it was, to know, her colleague and admired helper was dead. She knew from her private assignments, that attachments were not helpful in the business, but still, she had had the impression that a kind of friendship and prosperous rivalry had formed between her and Lucas. She would have given everything to help him. Why did he not come to ask for her help, when his life fell apart? Had he not seen, how much she was willing to help him after he had helped her reach her cherished goal to remain on the grid? He must have known that he could depend on her.
First she opened the lid, where Lucas’ replacement was kept. Empty ...
That was strange! The report from the full autopsy was only due tomorrow. Where was the body then? Possibly cremated already...
Beth continued to search the occupied lids. Fortunately, the names were placed clearly visible in shrink-wrapped name tags at each lid.
Here, Lucas North.
Beth took a deep breath to get the courage to open the lid. Slowly she drew at the handle. Nothing. She pulled stronger - still nothing.
Who had locked the lid? That was quite unusual. All of Beth’s suspicions were up again.
She searched for a lock, but there was nothing on the lid. They must have some kind of external mechanism. Beth searched the room and found a small control desk in the corner of the room. There she found the numbers for the lids, but when she tried Lucas’ number there was still no reaction, though other lids opened without hesitation. On the control desk she found a slit for the MI-5 access cards. She put Harry’s card in and now the required lid swung open without further resistance.
Good that she had swapped cards. She now was quite sure that her access would not have sufficed to get anywhere near that room, let alone to Lucas’ body.
But why was it so secret, that they had closed down the access? Not that they were usually careless with the bodies, but locking it in, when already the access for members on the grid to the laboratory had to be signed by at least two authorities?
Her curiosity awakened, she eagerly went to the open lid, when otherwise she would have felt hesitancy to go and see a dead body, though accustomed to them she might be by now. She still had not lost her respect for the unmoving, empty shell of a former vivid, living creature.
She saw the tattoos and her hope sank. Oh no, it was Lucas! But when she got closer, she saw the watery end of fading tattoos and smaller body frame of a weaker and less in form body than Lucas had been. When she came to the face, she shrank back. But the recognizable part showed one thing clearly to her. That person lying dead in front of her certainly was not Lucas. If she could have a guess she would say it was the missing Lucas-replacement, but there she could not be certain about that.
She now searched for other clearly distinguishable signs on the body and found dissolved tattoo edges where the forensic must have done some tests. So one further thing became clear to her, the forensic must have determined that it was not the real Lucas North. And if he knew, she was quite sure that Harry Pierce knew that as well. Who else was in on that secret piece of information was unclear to her.
She closed the lid, cleaned off her potential fingerprints she might have left while trying to get the lid open, and carefully brought the room back into that state she had found it in.
Back in the grid, she now also was alone there. With determined steps she went to the bureau of Harry Pierce and turned on his computer. She searched for his last activities and found a list of copied files he had secured externally. She would try to get a further copy of them. Perhaps the access card would help her along, though she did not have the secure passwords she would need and had not the time to let a program crack the heavily secured encryption.
At least she would be able to get a printout of the filenames Harry had taken with him. Perhaps some of the files would still be in the temporary copy for the DVD-ROM, Harry had burned on the computer. Beth was lucky. As Harry had shut down the computer directly after copying the DVD-ROM, the temporary file had not been completely removed and Beth produced another copy of it, before she removed everything that would betray her ever being present in the room and left the MI-5 building.
Now Beth was ready to go.
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