The story so far:
The next morning Pierce Connolly arrived at Heathrow in a chartered G5. He slipped past customs, unnoticed and boarded a nondescript black cab headed to his father’s home.
“Mr. Connolly, lovely to see you again,” an older maid greeted him upon crossing the threshold. He smiled genially and allowed another servant to take his overnight bag and leather jacket.
“It’s nice to be home, Gertrude. I do hope this gala isn’t making too much work for you and the staff. My father tends to go a bit overboard with these things,” Pierce said. Gertrude the maid waved him off with a scoff.
“Nonsense, everything is in hand. Friday will be a night to remember, no doubt about it.”
“I’m sure it will be. Tell me, is my father here?”
“No, he’s working from the city office today. He said the ruckus was too much for him to work with.”
Pierce paused to crane his neck and listen. There was nothing but the sound of whispers coming from the ball room, along with muted footsteps.
“Da is losing it,” he sighed. “Very well then, I will be in billiards room if you need me, Gertrude.”
“Yes sir, anything I can bring you?”
“No, I’m sure I’ll manage just fine with the side bar,” Pierce smiled, already walking down the parquet hallway to the paneled billiards room. As soon as the door shut he pulled out his cell phone and walked to the window. “Sam, it’s Pierce, I just got the intel from Heathrow… Looks promising… I’ll have it with me at the gala, we’ll go over it then. Did you take care of the other problem?... Well, it’s no less than the traitor deserved… Alright, see you then. Bye.”
Pierce hung disconnected the call and went to the sidebar to fix a gin and tonic. The door opened to reveal two large security guards in tar-black suits.
“Yes?” Pierce asked.
“Good afternoon, sir. We were wondering if we could have a word?”
“Certainly, Miles, Jeffrey. Care for a drink?” Pierce said.
“None for us, thanks, we’re still on the clock. Actually, this is something that we’d usually come to your father with but as he’s not here we thought we’d better talk to you,” Miles said.
Pierce took a sip of his drink and motioned for the men to continue.
“Last night, around 1:30 am, a failsafe on the roof’s security system went off. We checked it out and found nothing. It looks like there was a short in one of the wires, which is only supposed to happen in the case of a security breach.”
“Did you find a breach?” Pierce asked, setting the rack of billiards balls on the felt table.
“None whatsoever, sir. We swept for bugs, searched every room, we found nothing,” Jeffery replied.
“And you’re telling me this because?” Pierce asked.
“Because the only reason there’s supposed to be a short in the roof-top wiring is if someone is tampering with it,” Miles said. “You designed that fail-safe, sir.”
“Yes, I did…” Pierce muttered. “Very well, double security for the next few weeks. Triple whatever you were going to have at the gala. If my father complains tell him to take it out of my trust. Now, either of you boys fancy a game?”
Across town Emily sat in the living room of the safe house with headphones firmly placed over her ears.
“**** me,” she mumbled as the rapport of breaking pool balls echoed through the headset. “Kate! We need to get Fran on the phone, now!”
Kate stumbled from her bedroom, still in her bedclothes of boxer shorts and a grey Marine Corps T-shirt.
“What’s up?” Kate asked.
“Major traffic on the billiards room bug, I need a secure call to Fran now,” Emily said.
“**** me,” Kate replied. “Jack!”
“Go to hell,” Jack replied from the kitchen, sounding pained. Kate walked to the kitchen to find Dr. Greek stitching Jack’s hand as she sat still.
“What kind of drugs did you get?” Kate asked.
“Hydrocodiene and a local anesthetic for the hand,” Dr. Greek replied. “Can we help you?”
“I, uh, need to make a phone call,” Kate said, looking pointedly at Jack.
“I’m a wee bit busy at the moment,” Jack said. “Get Iris to do it, it’s her agency.”
“Right,” Kate nodded. “Looking good, doc.”
“Thank you, Kate,” Dr. Greek smiled. Kate left the kitchen and walked past Emily on her way to Iris and Emily’s bedroom.
“Iris, Emily needs to make a call,” Kate said from the outside of her door. There was no response. Kate knocked again and waited for a moment before opening the door. Iris sat in full lotus position with her eyes shut and her earbuds in. Kate leaned over and pulled an earbud from Iris’ left ear. “Yo!”
Iris jolted to alertness by snatching Kate’s hand and pressing on a pressure point between her forefinger and thumb. Kate gasped and fell to her knees in shock and pain.
“Don’t ever interrupt my meditation again, understood?” Iris said, her voice placid.
“Gaa, **** ow! Okay, fine, never again!” Kate gasped. Iris released Kate’s hand, which dropped limply to her side. “Jesus! What was that?”
“Pressure point, I’ll show you sometime,” Iris said, standing in one fluid movement. “Perhaps not… Now, what did you need?”
“Emily needs to make a call,” Kate said.
“Very well,” Iris sighed, grabbing her cell phone from the bedside table. She walked out of the room and tossed it to Emily in the living room.
“Listen up! I’d really prefer not to repeat myself,” Emily called out.
“Listening,” Kate said, flopping on the sofa.
“Go ahead,” Jack called from the kitchen.
Emily dialed the security code on the phone and then her agent ID number. She waited for thirty seconds and then punched in Fran’s secure number and put the phone on speaker mode.
“This is Fran,” Fran said from her cramped office.
“This is Lucky requesting a secure connection,” Emily said.
“Granted,” Fran replied after a moment.
“We have major traffic on our billiards room mic. The initial intel on Seamus Connolly is wrong. His son, Pierce, is running this operation.”
“How do you know that, Lucky?” Fran asked.
“Because he mentioned acquiring the quote ‘Heathrow intel,’ he said that he’d have it at the gala and he mentioned something about a traitor. Security has also informed him of the failsafe going off last night and he’s ordered the security at the gala to be triple,” Emily said.
“Sod it all!” Fran yelled. “Do you know what’s worse than having a Knight in a security scandal?”
“Having a Knight’s son in one,” Iris replied.
“Correct… We need to be inside that gala. Money, can you arrange it?”
“I’m already attending as my father’s escort,” Iris said. “We can get one more invite but someone’s going to have to work.”
“Is there going to be a bar?” Emily asked.
“Certainly,” Fran said, over the phone.
“Get me in as a bartender,” Emily said.
“Money, do you know this Pierce character?” Fran asked.
“Unfortunately yes, we went to the same school until he was kicked out during our final year,” Iris said.
“What for?” Jack asked from the kitchen.
“Dealing drugs I believe, either that or attempting to bribe a teacher into giving him a better grade,” Iris said.
“So he’s been a sod since he was a teenager, lovely,” Fran said. “Iris, what’s his type?”
“I haven’t seen him since I was seventeen, but according to intel… he likes blondes.”
Iris and Emily glanced at each other and then Kate.
“Well we only have one of those. Money, confirm that intel, Killer, you’re probably going to be on point for a honey trap in two days, can you handle it?” Fran asked.
“Yeah, I’ve got it,” Kate said, pinching the bridge of her nose.
“I’ll call back when I have more details,” Fran said and disconnected the call.
“If you don’t think you can handle it, Kate, I can always wear a wig,” Emily said, grinning.
“You’re not the only spy with game, Em,” Kate said.
“Fair enough,” Emily said.
“Guys, we have a bigger problem than Kate’s sex appeal,” Jack said, leaning against the doorframe between the kitchen and living room. “I can’t run surveillance with one hand. I mean, I’m good, but I’m not that good. We need help.”
“How long until you can use your hand?” Kate asked.
“At least two weeks,” Dr. Greek said, standing next to Jack.
“We need someone in two days, doc,” Kate sighed.
“Understood, but I just put ten stitches in the palm of her left hand. She won’t be using it for at least two weeks.”
“Jack, do you have any old contacts you trust?” Iris asked.
“No, I wasn’t at FBI long enough to garner any favors,” Jack said.
“We’ll figure it out when Fran calls back,” Kate said. “Until then, Iris work on Pierce, find out everything about him. Em, I’ll take over on the listening station, and Jack… go sleep off the drugs. We’re going to need you to be very sharp when you wake up.”
“Roger that,” Jack said.