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The Traitor's Story
Author:Kevin Wignall

The Traitor's Story by Kevin Wignall





History

Kaliningrad—early March

Harry Simons was dying—there was no question about it. The medics kept working, but even a brief look at that stricken face was enough to know it was pointless. He’d always been so easy-going, a young guy full of laughter, smiling eyes, and yet now his features were waxy and unresponsive, registering no pain or discomfort, his eyes flickering about but fixing on nothing.

Harry Simons was dying. And still the medics kept working, and Perry wished they’d stop and let Harry die with some dignity, because there was nothing more unsettling than the violence done to a man to keep him alive when he’d been critically wounded.

Johnson walked up and waited until he’d got Perry’s attention before saying, “Jack Trelawney wants a word when you’ve got a second.”

“I’ve got a second now. Where is he?”

Johnson pointed across the darkened dockyard to the ambulance where Trelawney was being treated.

Perry nodded, relieved to have a reason to walk away, but crouched down, ignoring the medics, and put a hand on Harry’s cheek, which was cold and wet with sleet. He wished he could say something, but there were no words, and Harry looked too far away to hear them anyway, alone in some quiet descent.

He stood again and Johnson said, “Do you think he’ll make it?”

“No.”

Perry walked from the shelter of the warehouse, briefly exposed to the squall that was still blowing in across the docks—this small part of the Baltic refusing to acknowledge the early arrival of spring. He glanced up at the floodlights as he walked; the illuminated sleet looked like the grain in an old film.

Trelawney had taken a bullet to the hand. Not bad considering the complete bloodbath that had taken place here—not only Harry but two FSB men down, three of the local police, half a dozen of Karasek’s men. Of course, Karasek hadn’t been among them, and there was nothing to prove they were his men or that he had any connection to the shipment that had been intercepted. To that extent, this joint operation, the much-vaunted Sparrowhawk, had been a complete failure.

Perry looked at Trelawney. “What have you got for me, Jack?”

Trelawney shook his head, unable to form an answer, then said, “What about Harry?”

“They think the bullet bounced around inside his ribs, hit an artery.” Trelawney looked devastated. Everyone liked Harry, but it was important they stayed professional, so Perry repeated, “What have you got for me?”

“If Harry dies, someone should take Finn Harrington and blow his brains out.”

Trelawney used the hand that wasn’t being bandaged to reach inside his coat. The medic continued working on the other hand, not giving way. Trelawney pulled a sheaf of papers free and thrust it out.

“Ed, this was in their truck. Take a look. Harrington’s rotten—he’s been working for Karasek all along.”

Perry looked at the top sheet—a printed email—tipping it out of his own shadow and trying to protect it from the sleet at the same time, struggling to take in the information printed there. It wasn’t so much that he hadn’t known about Harrington, but that he hadn’t even suspected, and he was technically Harrington’s superior, so this would inevitably look bad on him.

He heard a voice—Louisa Whitman saying, “Let me see that.” He turned. She was dressed as if going on a shoot at a country house: waxed jacket, matching hat. She also seemed unfazed by the cold and the wet. He handed the paperwork over, and as she took it she smiled at Trelawney and said, “How are you feeling, Jack?”

“Like crap.”

“Good.” She turned to Perry. “The FSB are less than happy, and it is just a little embarrassing for us, particularly as it seems half the shipment is missing. Now, what have we got here?”

“I’ve only just seen it, but it looks like what Jack says is true—Harrington’s been working for Karasek, probably tipped him off about us being here tonight.”

She studied the papers, shaking her head in ever-greater disbelief, then looked up and said, “But he and Harry Simons are best friends.”

“In Harrington’s defense, I very much doubt he thought it would end like this.” Trelawney let out a single derisive laugh. Perry looked at him, then back to Louisa as he said, “He’ll have to be dealt with, of course. By the letter of the law he’s a traitor.”

“He’s a bastard,” said Trelawney. Louisa looked at him in admonishment but he wasn’t about to back down. “I don’t care. If he was here right now I’d shoot him myself, but he isn’t here right now, is he? How convenient is that?”