The classic team role-playing game of conspiracy and strangeness

The Eater of the Dead
Chapter 4

December 24th 2000, 1pm

Sean slips into gear and slides out into the traffic after the Bentley, his mind still working. He wonders whether Arabella is in as much trouble as the group think. He has his doubts about the scene at the flats. Maybe she’s in hiding, or maybe another group warned her – grabbed her to stop her getting kidnapped. Might explain why Jo’s flat was turned over – Arabella not found, so they go downstairs and look for clues? But in that case, why the ransom note? On the other hand, it would explain why no severed pieces of Arabella seemed to have tuned up just yet.

The big limousine is nosing through the traffic, turning left at Charing Cross, onto the Mall. Heading west. Then there is the Egypt connection, Sean continues to think. Wonder if Lordy went and found some long-lost family members and has brought them home, hence the flat? And it has to be a woman!

As he waits in traffic coming onto Hyde Park Corner, he pages through the documents again. The sequence of expenses as the flat – must be because someone was in town, visiting. The pattern is irregular – every couple of months on average, but sometimes quite close together, sometimes longish gaps. The last set of documents date from early December, when it looks like there was a week-long visit.

Well, it looks rather like some of this speculation may be resolved soon. The Bentley has headed along Knightsbridge, and turned into Queen’s Gate, down the back of Imperial College. Queen’s Gate Place is a very quiet street two turnings back from the main road, and it is outside number 23A that the Viscount emerges from the car. He does not enter the building, but stands impatiently on the pavement – where he is very quickly joined by a young woman, with blonde hair, who climbs out of a battered old Renault Five parked across the road. There is a brief conversation between the two, during which the Viscount uses his fingertips to count off a list of points while the young woman nods attentively, then he hands over to her a small bunch of keys. She curtseys politely as he walks back to the Bentley, then returns to her own car, retrieves from it a small suitcase and two carrier bags, climbs up the outside staircase to the first-floor landing, and lets herself into the flat.

The Bentley cruises back out into the traffic.

Sean reflects for a moment, then hops out of the van to a phonebox he saw on Queen’s Gate. He calls Rupert to fill him in on the flat’s exact address. ‘Getting someone to watch the place would be good. There’s a girl in there now – no, not Arabella – and it looks like she’s staying. Might make it a bit tricky to have a look around.’

‘I think that Donald and John plan to come down and see the place,’ says Rupert.

‘Oh, well, I wouldn’t want to be going in by myself,’ says Sean amiably. They might think I was being horrid, he adds to himself.

Donald meanwhile is standing in a callbox, while John waits outside, hugging himself against the chill wind. ‘I want to get hold of a couple of things for George’s dinner party,’ Donald had said. ‘In case this Daphne isn’t quite what she appears.’

He is talking into a scrambler: John can only hear his end of the conversation. ‘Hi Mickey, it’s Donald… Yes, it has been a long time, what nearly two years now. Well I’m back in the picture for a while. I need you to get me some bits and pieces… Egypt, me, naah, Too smelly for me Mickey… Yeah, charge it to the account. Can you deliver, I’m going to be in Knightsbridge shortly, I’ll phone you when I arrive, can you arrange for Pluto to drop the stuff off?… Right, I haven’t used this phone for a while, so I don’t know if it’s secure. I’ll give you the list in code… I need some Snow Whites, a Grumpy, a Doc and some heavy duty Bashful… Oh yes, one more thing, I need a bottle of wine… No, I’m having Turkey so it better be white, fairly dry, not too cheap either. and some fags… OK, I’ll call you later.’

John, who has seen more than his fair share of oddness, is in tears of laughter. ‘If I didn’t know you better I’d think you were on the happy pills.’ He doubles up with mirth. ‘HAPPY, please tell me that’s a code for something.’

‘Yes, it is,’ replies Donald now laughing himself. ‘I never realized how bloody stupid all this sounded until now. HAPPY is code for Sniper Rifle.’

The laughter stops. ‘Sorry, that’s not very funny, is it. C’mon, let’s go check out this place.’

Marty enjoys some tea with Doudi, making conversation about ancient coins. They are a passion of the Egyptian’s. At about 1:45 pm, he leaves the embassy and decides to scratch his plan to approach Rupert’s father. He indulges his curiosity by wandering past the family’s town house in nearby Bruton Street, in Mayfair: the tall, elegant Georgian building appears currently inhabited, although only an aged pair of servants can be glimpsed shuffling about behind the tall bay windows.

Fifteen minutes later Marty stops walking and uses a pay telephone to leave messages about what he has learned for Sean, John and the rest. He does not bother passing on the legend of the medal owner being betrayed. The tension in the group already is high enough.

He takes a taxi to a luggage shop in Covent Garden. The owner is well known to people in Marty’s trade. She sells things, including weapons, the London police would normally severely restrict. In this case, Keyes just wants a couple marginally illegal items: two sniper scopes. They will show up on his American Express card from SITU as ‘luggage.’

On the way to London Donald stops off to buy a digital camera – Dixons in High Wycombe is packed, coming to the end of the Christmas Eve last-minute rush for presents. ‘Would you like me to wrap that for you, sir?’

‘Eh? Er, no, thanks, that’s all right.’ Donald impulsively snatches up a Pokemon Yellow GameBoy from next to the till and buys that as well – the other kids have probably got them already, and he doesn’t want Mahmoud feeling left out at school. ‘Bloody Sean certainly ain’t getting his hands on these photos,’ he tells John as he gets back into the car. ‘I’m sure I can charge it to SITU.’

When they arrive in Knightsbridge, Donald sends a quick text message on his mobile phone. ‘Right now, we wait, Oh, look out for an ice-cream van – that’ll be, um, Pluto.’

Rupert, Karyn and George meanwhile have remained at Heathrow to coordinate and plan. Karyn, whistling thinly between her teeth, is busily assembling a large packing-crate, while the others talk.

Rupert seems by now to have got a large proportion of his humour back, at least when Sean isn’t around. Maybe it is the feeling that the group are getting somewhere… probably. ‘I think I can piece together a little now, even if it’s only two or three pieces of a thousand-piece jigsaw. My father went to Egypt researching our ancestor Anthony de Montfort. In his research he got trapped in with Abdel Essawi, and somehow Essawi managed to blackmail him, or get some unbreakable hold over him. He’s definitely not controlled, but he is in deep shit. Why else would he be continually worried? When my father returned from Egypt he destroyed all documents relating to his research, bought this secret house in Knightsbridge, and cut me off, God knows why.’

‘We need to find out about that flat,’ says George. By now they have heard the news of its occupation. ‘What it contains. If we had a thief in the group,’ he continues, with slightly unfocused eyes and forefinger tapping his temple, ‘he, or she of course, could perhaps have a look around. If we had a thief, that is.’

Karyn raises one eyebrow. ‘And where exactly is Mr Keyes, anyway?’

Rupert shrugs. ‘No word from him. Anyway, another thing – about Arabella. Since when did someone who was going to be cut up have the luxury of clean clothes and makeup? They don’t! – it’s total bollocks. So that note must be, too.’ He would probably not be quite so forthright if he knew that Sean had had similar misgivings. ‘To my mind there are four possibilities. Either Nefertiti and her followers have Arabella held because they want to protect her or the baby. The other possibility is that someone else is keeping her safe from the “baddies”, and Nefertiti et al want to find her. Hence they get us to search for her, and follow our every move. Or Arabella has made a run for it herself, and again the baddies want to find her. Or else she went off on her own for a few days holiday to think over the pregnancy, totally unaware of anything. Anyone have any better theories?’

‘That all sounds like maybe we shouldn’t be looking for her at all, then,’ says Karyn warily.

‘Maybe so! All the same, I’ve called the university, where she works, and they said she hasn’t been in to her office or her rooms there in the past week or so – and nor has anyone else. I even phoned her rooms directly, and the phone just rang and rang.’

‘Well, what’s the next plan, then?’ inquires George. ‘I think that we should search the outbuildings on the de Montfort estate. Sean is quite right that any of them could harbour ’Bella and the kidnappers, so we can’t afford to overlook them. In fact, I think we should do the job tonight.’

‘Very well, although I warn you it’ll be a very big task,’ warns Rupert. ‘I suppose if I’m there I can help speed up the process a little. Although how my father would react to my taking part in such a search, I don’t know – if we’re caught, that is.’ He sighs. ‘Anyway, while he’s away this afternoon, I propose to return to the estate once more – you two can come along if you like, but I’m quite happy to go by myself, now he’s not there. I’m not worried about Mother and Charlie.’

As he starts to rise, he pauses, hands on knees. ‘And, something that’s been puzzling me, what in the hell’s name is the relevance of this Ammit creature? I mean, I’ve seen some women in my time with bums the size o hippos, and who have crocodile-like smiles. Still, what the hell is going on? Is it like that Monty Python “mouse” sketch? Does Daphne dress up like a hippo in her spare time…’ On seeing the look on George’s face, he breaks off hastily.

Keyes has already returned to the hotel at Heathrow, but has not bothered to check in with his comrades. Instead, he telephones Patricia Wright at Cambridge. ‘Yeah Trish, I’m still in London. No, no, no I’m not lookin’ for another job. You know I only got where I am by being lucky. I can’t take my experience anywhere else.’

‘So, are you on for Christmas dinner, Marty? I’ve got a lovely big turkey that needs stuffing…’

‘Look, I can’t be back in Norfolk for a few more days,’ Marty says quickly. ‘After we talked yesterday, I tried to work things out at this end. But, you know you get paid a lot to work during the holidays.’

‘Oh. OK then.’ Patricia sounds distinctly disappointed. ‘What are you doing?’ she asks. She’s obviously had a little Christmas cheer while waiting by the telephone.

‘Courier work, you know moving valuables for people who don’t want to attract the attention of thieves or insurance companies,’ he answers. That should keep her quiet. ‘Look, about these ancient Egyptian beliefs you were explaining last night, what do you know about punts or prayer discs?’

‘Punts? You mean like those boats that the students ride on?’

‘No, I don’t think so, something to do with some priests who came to Egypt.’

‘Oh, right, the kingdom of Punt. It was a mysterious land to the Egyptians, they didn’t even know quite where it was. Somewhere in Ethiopia is what they say these days. But it was jungle back then, the home of dark magic and sorcery. Magicians from Punt were very much feared. And they were ruled by a Queen, of course – I don’t know if they always were, but the only time we hear much about them, they are. You can imagine it’s probably a matriarchy – the feminine principle dominant. The moon – that was what their prayer disks were based on, I think. That was probably why the Egyptians feared them so much, because the Egyptians were people of the sun of course – Amon, Ra and most of all the Aten, the strange sun god to whom Akhenaten and Nefertiti were High Priest and Priestess.’

‘What sort of protection would one of these disks offer the holder?’

‘I don’t know, it could be almost anything I suppose, depending on how it had been enchanted. The obvious thing though is it might protect you against the sun.’

‘Or maybe against the sun’s followers…’ Marty adds thoughtfully.

The ice-cream van, when it turns up, is playing God Save the Queen. Donald walks over to it, collects the equipment he asked for in a holdall, and bring them back, with an ice-cream for him and John.

At about this point Sean returns, also with a bulging bag: he has been on a shopping trip. He eyes Donald curiously as the van pulls away. ‘Ice-cream? In December?’

‘Well, they wouldn’t have a kebab van in a posh neighbourhood like this, would they?’ Donald points out reasonably.

The sound of hovering betrays the continued presence of the young woman.

‘I guess she’s the maid, cleaning the place out?’ suggests John.

‘Maybe making it ready for another visit from Rupert’s dad’s lady-friend,’ says Donald.

Sean nods. ‘Although it’s still pretty close after the last visit – it’d be unusual to have two so close together.’

‘Kidnapping Arabella’s pretty unusual too.’

‘You’re not wrong there, man.’

‘Hey, we’ve got company,’ says John. All three fade into the cover of Sean’s van.

A solitary man has driven up, in a black Vauxhall Vectra, and is parking a little way down the lane. He sits quietly in his car, watching the door and windows of the flat for a while, and then climbs out. He is dressed all in black, wearing a black woollen hat and a thick overcoat. Incongruously, he is carrying a large bunch of flowers.

He stops at the flat door and calls into the intercom  ‘Special delivery from a, uh, Mr de Montfort!’

After a few minutes the door is opened, by the young woman Sean saw earlier, her hair tied up in a scarf and her hands covered in lather. The man exchanges a few words with her, all the while peering round her at the interior of the flat – fortunately she seems not to notice. Eventually she takes the flowers and closes the door, leaving him standing on the outside landing. He glances out searchingly across the street, then his gaze comes to rest on the van. He walks quickly down the steps, and comes over to where the three are lurking behind it.

‘SITU, right? My name’s Matt Culver – you might have seen some of my emails. I’ve been an operative for a few years now.’

‘I remember the name,’ says John. ‘Nice to meet you. I’m John Hamilton.’ He offers his hand, a little warily, first dropping the remains of the ice-cream cornet.

‘I’m on a mission after the Ylid Sophia, also in this country, and it struck me that there’s a few parallels between that and what you’re doing. I thought we should talk.’

‘What were the flowers for?’ asks Sean curiously. Donald is remaining wary of the newcomer.

‘The card says “Stay away. Sophia.” Hopefully whoever it is stays in that flat’ll think it’s a present from the Milk Tray man.’ Culver indicates his melodramatic garb, with a grin. ‘Let’s head for a pub and chat, eh? I feel a bit conspicuous out here.’

In the end George offers to drive Rupert to the estate. This time Rupert is far more confident about the matter in hand: he identifies himself at the gate and, once they reach the house, strides firmly up the steps. Lady de Montfort and Charles are in the drawing room, and both glance up surprisedly at his return. ‘Look, you two, I have some very important stuff to tell you, and it must not go any further than the three of us, particularly not father. Is that clear?’ Rupert says rather briskly.

His mother looks distinctly nervous. ‘Surely it can’t be that terrible, dear. Would you like a cup of tea?’

‘Yes, calm down, old chap,’ gulps Charles. ‘I can understand you’re upset, of course, but…’

‘Never mind that! I know mother is clued in on some of this, but you, Charlie, definitely aren’t, so be quiet and listen for a moment. Father is in deep trouble.’

Rupert lets this sink in, while the spout of the teapot in his mother’s hand chatters edgily on the lip of the cup, and Charles flushes deeply. ‘What sort of trouble?’ he asks meekly.

‘Someone, or some group, is pressuring him into doing work for them. Whether it is blackmail or what I don’t know, but it is all linked to Egypt.’

George has remained skulking in the doorway: his gaze goes to the fireplace, above which a full-length portrait of the current Viscount glares down into the room. It is almost as though his minatory presence is in the room.

‘Mother, you yourself said that every time he went to Egypt he came back more worried. I believe part of his enforced work is his current role inside the Ministry of Defence. You may notice that all his work is linked to the Middle East. None of you saw his reaction when I mentioned the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping of my girlfriend – it was clear that he recognized the symbol!’

‘What symbol, dear?’ asks Rupert’s mother timidly.

Rupert swiftly sketches it on the tablecloth. ‘It spells the name of Nefertiti, in hieroglyphs. It’s a mark used by… this conspiracy, the people I think are after Father. That “nice Mr Essawi”, as you put it, was the head of an extreme religious cult out in Egypt. The same cult who left this symbol on a note saying they had kidnapped my girlfriend. Father met Essawi in Egypt, and here as well. There is a definite connection here.’

‘This all sounds rather farfetched, Rupert, but it’s a fact that the old man has been rather odd just lately,’ says Charles musingly, as though dawn is breaking very slowly across the uncharted hinterland of his mind.

‘Well, I need both of you to think hard, and keep your eyes open. What have you seen or heard that might help me? Some throwaway remark, that now suddenly is important. Think, please think. Father’s life, and that of Arabella, may be at risk if we cannot help him.’

Leaving his family to brood, Rupert strides up to the library, George trailing along behind him. He systematically removes from the shelves everything to do with Anthony de Montfort, with Egypt, with gods, and with the family history. ‘Come on – let’s get to work. Father might be back this evening.’

‘Basically, I’ve been trying to keep up with all five SITU missions, over the Internet,’ Matt says, running a hand through his short bleached hair – very Rutger Hauer. ‘There’re two groups in the UK at the moment – our lot have buggered off to Avebury, in Wiltshire – and the parallels in our missions are pretty striking. Since the shit’s gonna hit the fan come Millennium Time, I reckoned it was time for a little, ah, cross-referencing.’ He knocks back a shot of brandy.

‘Both missions are involved with female Ylids – Sophia and Nefertiti – who’ve taken the guise of fertility goddesses. Pretty ironic really, since Sophia’s been trying to conceive for centuries. Anyway, both groups are chasing stolen babies – one born, one unborn – and at least one of them’s reckoned to be a possible new Messiah, the Future of Mankind.’ He smirks wryly. ‘Add the Egyptian ‘rough beast’ thing and it all gets very Millennial. Any of you know “The Second Coming”, W.B. Yeats? “Things fall apart”?’ He takes a more measured sip of his drink.

‘“The centre cannot hold,”’ Sean continues the line. ‘“Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”’ He takes a gulp of Guinness as the others look at him in surprise. ‘We’re not all up from out of the bog, you know!’

Matt nods appraisingly. ‘Maybe Yeats had some idea of these times that were coming upon us. He was a pretty mystical kind of guy, wasn’t he? Anyway, thing is, I’m buggered if I know how the two missions are connected. Stonehenge is important, a ritual sacrifice – by beheading, I think – and I’m guessing that’ll take place at the stroke of midnight on the 31st. Could be Sophia and Nefertiti are working together to harness the power of the Apocalypse Myth – or maybe they’re in opposition.’ He shrugs.

‘From what we heard about Nefertiti when we were in Egypt, she doesn’t get on too well with her brothers and sisters,’ says John. ‘Of course, that could have just been a line her people were spinning us.’

‘Do you know, or would Rupert know, if Arabella ever visited the Bradshaw Clinic, in Oxford? Fertility place. And I heard that her toiletries went missing with her – I don’t s’pose you know whether she used a particular perfume? Only, we know another woman is helping Sophia – and John Stone, our resident sniffer dog, picked up traces of scent.’

‘We’ll get Rupert to give you a call about that,’ says Donald, the first time he has spoken.

 Matt opens his mouth, as if to say ‘It talks!’, but clearly thinks better of it. ‘OK…’ Finally finishing his drink, he stands up. ‘Hey, you know where we are, and you’ve got my ’phone number and email address, yeah? Anything turns up, let me know. We need to work together on this one. Oh, and Merry Christmas, every one!’

‘Rupert, dear, there’s a telephone call for you,’ comes Lady de Montfort’s thin voice.

Rupert bounds down to the hallway – his father has no truck with the modern habit of telephone extensions in every room of the house – wondering who might know he was here but would not call his mobile number.

It turns out to be the police. ‘We’ve had a bit of a development, sir – another note.’

‘What does it say?’ Rupert clutches the receiver desperately.

‘It’s got one of those symbols again, and it says “You are brave, but foolish. Return the ship, and the girl will not be harmed. The seed she carries is precious to us as well as to you.” Sounds kind of wacked-out to me, sir, if you know what I mean – kind of nonsense these loonies always write.’

‘Maybe,’ says Rupert grimly. ‘How was it delivered?’

‘Motorbike courier – Lynx Couriers, a local firm. It was handed in to their office in Oxford. Thames Valley boys are going to call in and have a chat with them this evening – you might want to head over to Oxford and see what turns up. We’ve given them the original of the note, too – Chief Inspector Seymour’s handling the case from their end.’

Rupert thanks the detective for the news, and turns to George. ‘Well, we’ve not found a great deal here. It seems as though Anthony’s fascination with Egypt didn’t predate his assignment there, and he didn’t bring back anything of note – he was lucky to bring back his skin intact, it seems. And apart from him and my father, none of the rest of the family seem to have had any contact with the place. Anthony’s only son George was already a grown man before his father was posted overseas, and he didn’t go to Egypt himself. If Antony had further children over there, maybe by this native woman Shareena el-Ahmar, there’s no signs of it here. It looks as though we may as well head to Oxford and try and make some progress on that end of the investigation.’

‘I can call in at home and help Daphne with preparations for tomorrow’s meal,’ says George enthusiastically. At the back of his mind is the thought that he could be instrumental in setting up an entire SITU team for Nefertiti, but his heart tells him that Daphne is a charming woman, who could not be involved with anyone of her sort. Could she?

Rupert nods distractedly, dispirited that there is not more to be learnt here. But he knows his father is a very clever man, who will have worked extremely hard to remove any clues. Glancing up the stairs, his eye falls on the portrait of Anthony de Montfort, the only one in the house, which stares wistfully out towards the great front doors. Painted after his return in disgrace, it shows a broken man, thin, with a deep sorrow in his soulful eyes. The de Montfort strength of feature has in him turned to a mere sketchy framework. He is clad in Arabic-style garb, but simply, with no ostentatious ornaments. Except one. Frowning, Rupert steps up the stairs to peer closely.

Under Anthony’s left hand is a large, carved coin, or medal, only its forepart visible. But just that much is sufficient to identify it – it is the prayer disk currently in the possession of Martin Keyes.

‘Found anything useful?’ Donald asks John, who has been using Sean’s portable computer to search for information.

‘Not really. The Egyptians knew about this constellation Aquila that the Master was observing – they called it the Cowherd, though, not the Eagle. Apparently this cowherd was in love with a spinning-maiden – her father banished them both to the sky, separated by the river of the Milky Way. She’s the constellation we call Lyra, the Lyre. Every year, on the seventh night of the seventh moon, their friends the magpies fly up and form a bridge across the river so that they can be together for a night.’

‘That’s fascinating, and rather charming, but I can’t really see how it’s relevant, can you?’

‘No, not really. But what’s more interesting maybe is that one of the stars in it, Theta Aquilae, is quite similar to the Sun. You can’t see it with the naked eye, it’s too far away, but it’s not really very far in cosmic terms, just a dozen light years. It’s one of the stars they think there might be planets around.’

By now, it is quite dark outside, and the moon is full. ‘You’re not leaving are you, dear, so soon?’ asks Rupert’s mother. ‘I had a call from your father – he’s staying in London overnight. Work, you know.’ Her voice is almost pleading.

‘Well, something rather important has come up in the investigation, mother,’ Rupert says patiently, although he is not certain it is a good idea to leave her with just Charles, in her rather worried state.

‘Oh, Rupes old fellow, by the way, I did manage to think of something rather odd that the old man said, just last week,’ says Charles proudly, emerging from the drawing-room. ‘I was asking him if he had any work trips to the Middle East planned in the new year, you know. Because there’s some things around the estate that need his attention, renewed contracts and so on. And he gave a rather curious look, and said that he wouldn’t be going back there for a little while. So I of course said Gosh, whyever not, you seem to be doing rather well there, don’t tell me you’ve already solved the peace process single-handedly – you know the sort of thing. And he gave an odd little laugh, more like a bark really, and said that his work would be coming here in the New Year, he wouldn’t have to go out there after it.’

‘Here, to the estate?’ demands Rupert.

‘No, I think he meant to this country, not here specifically. Maybe to London. I don’t know, I thought perhaps there was some delegation or trade fair or something.’

‘And is there?’

‘Not that I know of, no.’

Sean’s tracker has revealed that the Viscount is ensconced in the townhouse in Bruton Street – presumably he uses this as his London pied-à-terre when working at the Ministry, or attending the House of Lords. ‘All it needs is for that dopey Charlie-boy to disappear, and Rupert’ll be sitting up there after his father, passing laws,’ Sean mutters to himself. He shakes his head in disgust at the iniquities of the British system of government.

Back at the Knightsbridge flat, all is quiet until about eight o’clock, when the young woman – presumably she is the lady’s maid referred to in the invoices – leaves, carrying a handful of empty carrier bags. She gets into her car and drives off, leaving the flat empty.

‘Maybe going shopping?’ speculates John. He has taken advantage of the wait to nip over to SITU’s training centre and pick up another dose of ytterbium serum – never know when it might come in handy.

‘That’s our cue, then,’ says Donald. ‘You ready?’

‘As I’ll ever be,’ sighs Sean, who has just got comfortable in the cramped cab. He hefts the bag of surveillance equipment he purchased earlier.

Martin Keyes meanwhile is heading north in a hired car, approaching Montfort village. When he reaches the estate, he finds that with the bright moon he does not need to use the infrared to spot the dogs –  they are thrown off the track fairly easily by a combination of blood from a butcher’s shop and hot chilli powder. No one comes out of the house to investigate the barking, although lights are on.

The infrared scope does reveal something Keyes did not expect to find. Power sources are spread around the outside of the house. They are primarily low voltage transformers, probably supporting cameras outside the house, except he cannot spot the cameras. He works himself towards the house, and examines the wires from the transformers. They all run into the house, and then back out to some junction in the woods. Keyes taps into one of the lines and hears conversations among servants and someone he assumes to be Rupert’s mother. Other lines are video lines, but Keyes does not have the equipment to view the output. The whole house is bugged: by the look of the wires the bugs have been installed for months.

The only thing Marty can assume is that everything that goes on inside the house, including the visit by his comrades the night before, has been transmitted elsewhere.

December 24th, 8 pm
Rupert, George – in the de Montfort mansion
Marty – outside it
John, Donald, Sean – outside the Knightsbridge flat
Karyn – at Heathrow

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