EX/WHI :: Part One

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Arrival Minus One

This hotel room is beyond his normal range: the British government are now paying for a polished, understated testimony as expert witness, so it makes sense that they’d offer the best. There is no time to worry about jet-lag either: Mark can sleep all afternoon, once the initial briefing is handled and his part in process outlined. To get this man to court at all was a miracle, and to then gather sufficient evidence to formally convict the bastard… normally, professional scumbags like Mehdi Alami were simply removed from the equation with a carefully-placed bullet in theatre.

This time however, the Moroccan’s handiwork with C4, a 747 and a bribed airport official had murdered innocent British and American lives: for that reason alone everybody got to wear their best suits and string him up to dry. The Brits had pursued this bomber, hoping to find him alive for close to a decade: Chambers had discovered him in a Russian brothel completely by accident, on CIA intelligence that suggested he was somebody else entirely.

All that had ever been seen of London before this was Tower Bridge and the Tower of London: as his holster is adjusted under the Tom Ford jacket, SIG not even removed, there’s a mental note to maybe do some sightseeing this time. His liaison will be meeting him outside, before driving them to Court, where he’ll be briefed on what will happen in the days going forward. If this all goes to plan, a couple of hours testimony is all it will end up being, and he can take his MI6 shadow out for a nice dinner at the best Dim Sum place in Chinatown.

Once his own barf had been cleaned up, her file made entertaining reading on the descent to Heathrow. Amelia was something of a folk legend amongst his community of professional assassins: if you asked certain Americans they’d laugh, making a convincing pitch that this woman doesn’t even exist, simply a PR stunt to make the Secret Service look good. You can’t have physical and mental brilliance and still be alive in your mid 40’s. There’s something wrong with that picture: she’s an amalgam of other’s statistics, never as good as her male colleagues, because that would just be wrong.

Mark knows better. This was the right way to do his job, an example in planning, execution and dedication to task. Other men would be jealous, or aroused by her pedigree. Not him. Ami is just the best at what she does, pure and simple, and if you let stuff like that intimidate, there’s never a chance to try for redemption. Instead, failing agents need to be inspired by brilliance and not look like a fucking loser when you tell her that she’s an inspiration.

There might be a decade between them in age, but she is fitter and smarter than Chambers will ever manage. It is time therefore to ignore the tiredness, go find her in the Hotel’s underground car park, and not fuck this first impression up.



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EX/WHI :: Prologue

The night before They came, she dreamt of a child that would finally happen.

This body was broken, damaged beyond repair, and nothing could be salvaged from the broken wreckage of ovaries. It was, the Doctor had suggested, scans in slim, dark fingers, just unfortunate. Missing a birthday was unfortunate; forgetting Parmesan on Lasagne night. All those years of spotty periods and acne breakouts had been the warning, but there’d never been time to fix the underlying issue. Career mattered more. In many ways, that was still the case.

Amelia Bishop lies, sweat-drenched, crying into darkness.

Blood rushes in ears which won’t hear any more truths: what remains in this existence is a lie, impossible to deceive. Deep down, she knows conception will happen. Maybe it won’t take place inside her body, but everything else is possible, even if she cannot provide the raw materials. A vessel is what she has become: home, simply waiting for a family. Money is no object, and once today’s Court Case is concluded there’ll be holiday enough to make everything happen.

To add insult to injury, this Thursday was when girlfriend left for good.

 


The night before They came, Flight BA145 hits turbulence, just before breakfast.

Almost thrown out of the bathroom, Mark’s having to scrabble for a handhold as the plane drops, sickening lurch that wakes many passengers screaming. He’s struggling back to First Class, fighting desire to throw up, pastrami bagel eaten in the departure lounge at JFK earlier feeling uncomfortable and stodgy in body which aches in a way he can’t remember from countless physical beatings. There’s been too many nights of hotel rooms and bad take out and when this Court case is done, he’s putting in for vacation time, because being a secret agent fucking sucks.

Mark Chambers sits, wondering why life won’t just cut a decent break.

His son had cried as ex-wife had picked him up in Brooklyn, look of disgust that meant he’ll be paying more alimony and seeing the boy less going forward. Little Pete was perfect, the only thing he’d done right in ten years. Fact remained that Dad was a tool to him and treated mom like dirt. On reflection, Cassie’s threat to reduce visitation rights was probably as good a deal as could be expected. On the scale of 1-10 of shitty male behaviour, Mark hovered permanently in low 60’s, showing no sign of reducing the average. All those promises to not be the Navy Brat like dad had been lost, ignored in the clamour of CIA notoriety. What a fucking joke he was.

To add final insult to injury plane suddenly drops: pastrami on rye ends up all over his lap.



Before scheduled arrival, a suitable match was determined.


Next Part of EX/WHI can be found here.