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Son of perdition, p.24
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       Son of Perdition, p.24

           Wendy Alec
 
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  ‘In the 1960s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan code-named Operation Northwoods,’ Adrian said, sitting down in between Alex and Jason. ‘A scheme involving the switching of planes and committing a wave of violent terrorist acts on American soil – in Washington DC and Miami – then blaming it on the Cubans to justify an invasion of Cuba.’

  Adrian hesitated, his fingers skimming over the cigars. ‘Northwoods never happened. Kennedy refused to implement the Pentagon plans.’

  Adrian paused for effect and placed a cigar in his mouth. The waiter lit it and Adrian began to draw on it.

  ‘ . . . But he could have.’

  Alex glared at Jason in triumph. Jason glared back.

  Alex pulled out his laptop and set it on the glasstop table in front of Adrian. His fingers flew over the keys.

  ‘Take the case of a false-flag bioterror attack. Avian flu. Millions of deaths occur. People are so demoralized they cry out to the shadow government to save them.’ Alex paused dramatically. ‘Then it starts – the real introduction of martial law. A One World currency. Bodies piling up, mandatory vaccinations.’ Alex’s voice rose in intensity. ‘Look at the past. By 2009, thirty-two states had passed laws that make resisting inoculation once it’s ordered by the governor a felony; unlimited quarantine mandated for any who resist.’

  Adrian took a long draw of the cigar, then said, ‘Vaccinations contain the RFID chip. People are frantic – they willingly accept it.’ Adrian looked around at the table. ‘They become the legitimate trackable property of this “New World Order”. All by their own volition.’

  Lily stared at Adrian, appalled.

  ‘You can’t be saying the government is in the know. Surely you’re not in the know. Uncle Adrian?’

  Adrian smiled.

  ‘Alex’s premise is that governments are merely pawns and their strings are being pulled covertly by a shadow government. Bankers. Oil barons. The military-industrialist complex. According to this premise, the dissenters – whoever refuses vaccination – are rounded up by military police into FEMA concentration camps as threats to the health of the community. Quarantined.’

  Adrian looked around the table, his expression grave. ‘It’s completely plausible. With millions of people dead, martial law declared, complete control of the news media, no one will care.’

  ‘Exactly!’ Alex said. ‘By 2008, there were over six hundred FEMA concentration camps in the USA. Multiple sources confirm rumours of prisoner boxcars from China – forty-foot cargo containers, with shackles and a modern guillotine at the head of each one. No windows. Guillotines in Georgia. In Texas. Unsubstantiated rumours that they were ordered under a secret contract through a Congressman in the pay of the elite who met with officials in China.’

  Jason held up his hands and looked at Alex in disbelief.

  ‘Absolute drivel. Exactly who do the global elite intend to put in these box-cars? Little Aunt Betty from Georgia?’

  ‘Constitutionalists,’ Alex declared. ‘Patriots, gun owners who refuse to relinquish their Second Amendment rights. Anyone who rejects the concept of World Government control.’ He looked at Polly. ‘And Christians.’

  He glared deliberately at Jason. ‘Of course, you don’t have to worry about that.’

  He scrabbled in his satchel, then put a thin stack of paper bearing the FBI seal down on the table.

  ‘Sorry, Pol. There go you and your dad. Read this. Project Megiddo – FBI strategic assessment of potential for domestic terrorism in the USA at the turn of the Millennium. Sent to twenty thousand police chiefs. Inconceivable, but true.’

  Polly picked the papers up and studied the first page as Alex got out a second file.

  ‘Second phase. The government issues Executive Order 10990, allowing them to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports. Executive Order 10995 – they seize and control communication meida. Executive Order 10998 – they take over food supplies and resources, public and private, including farms and equipment Look, Uncle Jas.’

  He pushed the top document across the table.

  ‘It’s all here in black and white. Executive Order 11000 allows the government to mobilize American civilians into work brigades under government supervision; even allows the government to split up families if they believe it necessary.’

  Alex rifled through the papers.

  ‘Order 11001 – the government takes over all health, education and welfare functions. Order 11002 – a national registration of all persons. Order 11003 – the government takes over all airports and aircraft.’

  Jason turned to Adrian.

  ‘Look, in the USA the Executive Orders exist. They have their equivalents in Europe and the UK.’ Adrian said, matter-of-factly. ‘Think about the strategy. The international banking cartel achieves its objectives. Eliminate all opposition. Reduce, then chip the population. Unimpeded survelliance and control. Further centralization of their financial pyramid scheme of money as debt. A complete destruction of the US constitution.’

  Alex looked triumphantly at Adrian.

  ‘That’s exactly right, Mr President.’

  Adrian looked at Alex gently.

  ‘This stuff’s been doing the circuit for decades, Alex,’ he said in a fatherly tone. ‘It’s disinformation, son. You and a million others get sucked into a deliberate accumulation of disinformation. Security agencies have investigated all of these issues since the 1950s. Majestic Twelve. James Forrestal’s supposed suicide. JKF conspiracy theories. Underground bases. Roswell. Area 51. 9/11 conspiracy theories. HAARP. Chemtrails. Black helicopters . . . martial law. It’s all blatant disinformation, Alex. The fodder of Hollywood screenwriters and B-grade graphic novels. I’m sorry, pal. Take it from one who’s in the know. There’s really nothing there.’

  A deep red flush spread from Alex’s face down his neck.

  ‘The Executive Orders?’ he muttered.

  ‘They’re there as a last resort. A protection for the American people. The same in Europe. They’ll never be used, Alex. There will be no martial law. Trust me.’

  Shamefaced, Alex closed his laptop.

  ‘He’s going to be a great journalist, Jas.’ Adrian winked at Alex. ‘I’d snap him up and start him in the VOX newsroom if I were you.’

  ‘But you have heard of the Mark of the Beast, Mr President,’ Polly said, softly.

  Adrian looked at her strangely.

  ‘And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name,’ she quoted, her voice soft but full of strength.

  Jason, Alex and Lily all gazed in amazement at her.

  ‘Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.’

  ‘Polly!’ Alex frowned at her.

  ‘The Book of Revelation, chapter 13,’ Polly said, an icy note in her voice that Jason had never heard before. Adrian loosened his collar.

  ‘And in the latter time of this kingdom,’ Polly continued, ‘a King shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes.’

  Six Secret Service men moved out from the shadows of the garden room and surrounded Adrian.

  ‘Your car is here, Mr President, sir.’

  Adrian stood up, strangely pale.

  Polly continued, her ethereal features set.

  ‘He will be broken, though not by any human power.’

  ‘You okay, pal?’ Jason asked.

  Adrian was ashen-faced, staring down at Polly.

  ‘Now, Lily,’ he said, kissing her perfunctorily on both cheeks, ‘visit me – you promised.’

  Lily nodded.

  Adrian looked at Polly, who returned his gaze steadily. ‘And bring Polly,’ he added.

  Jason’s
mobile rang. He picked it up, saw Julia’s number, then answered with a sigh.

  ‘Hang on, Julia, Adrian’s just leaving.’

  He handed the phone to Lily ‘Find out what your mother wants,’ he growled.

  Jason clasped Adrian’s hand. ‘See you back in New York, pal.’

  ‘Yes, Mom,’ Lily answered. ‘Alex’ll drop us at Chelsea before going back to Nick’s. Okay. He won’t like it. But I’ll tell him.’

  Lily held out the phone to Jason as Adrian and his entourage walked towards the door.

  ‘She says it’s urgent. She won’t speak to anyone but you.’

  ‘So she gave me the silent treatment for two years during the divorce proceedings, but now she’ll speak to me.’

  Jason took the phone back.

  ‘Yes, Julia,’ he snapped. ‘What is it? . . . Impossible! Run that by me again . . . From France?’ He frowned. ‘He sent you something from France? You’re sure you’ve got your facts straight?’

  Adrian turned at the glass and gold doors and waved goodbye.

  ‘Not tonight.’ Jason looked at his watch. ‘I’ve got to be somewhere in half an hour. Can’t you drop it off at the house?’

  Lily glared at him. Jason sighed.

  ‘Yes. Yes, all right. I know it’s late. Look, I’m going to the country estate to pay my respects to father tomorrow morning before I fly out. Pick me up at nine at Belgrave Square. Don’t be late.’

  He flipped the phone shut and stared silently up at the roof. Then he looked at Lily strangely.

  ‘It seems there was a note with information for me.’

  He stood up and the waiter put his coat over his shoulders.

  ‘From Nick.’

  * * *

  Adrian walked out of the glass and gold doors of the Lanesborough and walked towards the Mercedes.

  ‘She wears the Seal,’ he said. Perspiration flowed from his forehead. He wiped his brow with a handkerchief as the constriction across his throat eased.

  ‘It is strong in her. The power of the Nazarene.’ He slowly rebuttoned his collar and turned to one of his men.

  ‘Get me a strategic assessment from Guber. Internment camps. Termination gas chambers in the UK. FEMA in the US. As soon as martial law is declared the first lists will be activated.’

  ‘And the girl? Red or Blue?’

  Adrian smiled slowly.

  ‘Black. The Black List.’

  Chapter Twenty-seven

  Cryptic

  Jason sat at the scratched melamine table, two coffee cups already stacked in front of him. He remembered Dylan Weaver from the summers at Cape Cod. Pragmatic. Hard-nosed. A geek. Weaver had been insistent they meet. But why?

  He looked at his watch, then peered out of the window through the drizzle at the wall across the street plastered with seedy posters.

  ‘I hate this weather.’

  A pert Cockney waitress, her red leather mini-skirt hiding little, stood over him with a notepad, chewing gum.

  ‘So, mister?’

  ‘I’m waiting for someone.’

  She laughed. ‘Sure you are, mister. You’re all waiting for someone.’

  Jason looked at his watch again, then glared up at her.

  ‘Get me another coffee.’

  ‘Not very friendly – are you?’

  She looked at him for a moment. ‘You on TV? You remind me of someone.’

  Jason shook his head and watched her walk away without taking the dirty cups. He coughed and pointed to the cups.

  She leaned over him. ‘You ask for a lot mister, don’t you? Bleedin’ Americans.’

  The dilapidated door creaked open and Dylan Weaver walked in, dishevelled and drenched. He had changed out of his black suit but kept the ill-fitting yellow anorak.

  Weaver sat down heavily on a frail wooden chair and leaned over the table, breathing heavily. He looked Jason up and down impassively.

  ‘I thought brothers were supposed to look out for each other.’ Weaver took out a well-used laptop from under the anorak, pried open the lid with plump grimy fingers and booted it up.

  He looked furtively around. ‘They’re after me. I can’t stay long.’

  ‘Who is after you?’ Jason asked.

  Weaver hesitated. ‘I don’t know. I’m being followed.’

  ‘So what did Nick tell you?’

  ‘That’s the point. He didn’t tell me anything.’

  ‘Look, Weaver,’ Jason said, ‘if you’re here to waste my time . . . ’

  Weaver stared at Jason grimly. ‘If it was up to me, I’d never see you again. This is the thing. Nick emailed me the night he died. He was trying to send me something – a file. Some-thing he’d filmed. Lily told me he’d left you a message on your answering machine the night he died. I need to know. Did he say anything about what he filmed?’

  Jason sighed. ‘No, he didn’t tell me anything – just some drug-induced ramble about the Ark of the Covenant. But he was scared. Really scared. It sounded like one of his trips.’

  Weaver fished a hard drive out of his anorak and placed it on the table. ‘Well, then I can’t help you.’

  Jason frowned. ‘But the file he sent you?’

  ‘It’s blank. I’ve applied the public key. I know Nick’s private key – it should be a cinch, but it’s not reading. I’ve gone through ten million combinations – it’s an encryption I’ve never seen before. A deadlock.’

  ‘You’re sure?

  ‘It’s my work, De Vere. Clients pay me lots of money to be sure.’

  ‘There has to be something on there – he obviously figured you’d break the code.’

  ‘Look,’ Weaver said, packing up, ‘whatever Nick filmed – it’s gone – there’s nothing. There’s some high-powered intelligence encryption involved. Some agency has tracked his email to my address, used a covert-action program, an encryption application with trapdoors, and encrypted Nick’s email. This is high-flyer intelligence stuff, De Vere. These hackers kill people.’

  He stood up and walked towards the door.

  ‘And they’re tracking me. I just needed to know what you knew. Which is nothing.’

  ‘Weaver, you can’t just leave it there.’

  Dylan Weaver talked quietly without turning.

  ‘There’re some high-flying hackers on our payroll in China. Should have been put away years ago but they feed us the information we need. I’ll see what they have to say.’

  ‘We’re not finished,’ Jason said, getting up.

  ‘Time’s up, De Vere. I’ll be in touch.’ Dylan disappeared into the rain on Shaftesbury Avenue. The door slammed hard behind him.

  * * *

  Alex parked Polly’s Mini Cooper in the underground parking space. He eased his lanky frame out of the car and looked over to the reserved sign that read NDV. He sighed, then grabbed his satchel, slammed the car door and walked towards the express lift.

  A black Range Rover accelerated out of nowhere and shot straight past him.

  ‘Watch where you’re going!’ Alex shouted after the fast-disappearing vehicle. He dusted himself off. ‘Idiot,’ he muttered, walking towards the lift.

  A minute later he stepped out into the sky lobby of the London apartment block.

  ‘Hey, Harry,’ he greeted the balding middle-aged concierge.

  ‘You just missed them, mate.’ Harry gestured to the lift.

  Alex frowned.

  ‘Missed who?’

  ‘Your college mates. Hadn’t seen you for months. They passed on their condolences for Nick.’

  ‘You let them in?’

  ‘Nah. Didn’t need to. They had their own key, mate. They stayed about half an hour, then got tired of waiting.’ He looked down at his watch. ‘They left five minutes ago.’

  ‘No message?’

  Harry shook his head. Alex stared at the concierge, perplexed. He got in the penthouse elevator. A minute later he exited into the lobby of the huge hedonistic bubble that was Nick’s London penthouse. The lights switched on automat
ically. As did the music. He walked straight out from the elevator onto the wrap-around terrace, glancing out at the London Eye and Canary Wharf glistening through the glass walls and continued around past the hot tub into Nick’s bedroom.

  He stopped in mid-stride. The sleek black drawers of Nick’s dressing room had been ripped from the wall, his vast collection of Levis and shirts strewn across the room. Alex walked out into the open-plan living area, his heart beating violently.

  He stared at the image in the enormous mirror that covered the entire living-room wall.

  The Chinese lacquered bar was overturned and the padded, cobalt-leather wall of the dining room had been slashed to ribbons. Every drawer had been ripped open.

  The penthouse looked as though a tornado had been through it.

  Alex looked over to the digitally secured safe, normally concealed under Nick’s numbered print of Edvard Munch’s Vampire. The canvas had been torn from the wall and the steel door of the safe swung open.

  The safe was empty.

  Alex reached for the phone.

  * * *

  ‘Damn,’ Jason muttered, looking down at his watch for the third time in five minutes. He should have got a cab. His schedule was tight and Julia was late. His jaw tightened. ‘As usual.’

  A loud hooting broke the silence of the tranquil neighbourhood. Jason looked out of the drawing room’s huge Georgian window.

  It was Julia all right. She was sitting smugly in the driving seat of the compact Jaguar, parked on the kerb, wearing a scarf and dark glasses. Jason slammed the oak front doors behind him and walked over to where Julia was parked. He leant over the passenger door and glared at her.

  ‘This is Belgravia not Chelsea,’ he hissed. ‘You don’t have to wake the whole neighbourhood.’ With bad grace he opened the low door and jammed his six-foot frame with difficulty in the passenger seat.

  ‘Couldn’t you have found something more functional?’ he said. ‘And you’re late.’

  Julia’s mouth tightened in a thin line ‘If you don’t like it, get a taxi.’

  Jason fumbled with the seat belt as Julia roared away from the kerb. He clutched his bare head, the winter winds freezing. Julia, plus scarf, was well protected.

 
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