Two weeks ago we posted the first chapter of our new fanfiction which takes a look at what happened to Bill, and Anatoly, once the children boarded the wrong aeroplane.
Anatoly thought better than to answer the comment as he leant against the radio hut wall in exhaustion. “What do we do now, boss?” he asked eventually when no one else said anything.
Bill shrugged and fumbled in his pockets for his pipe, his jaw set in a determined manner, as if he was guarding his words. “I shouldn’t have brought them,” he muttered to himself. “I suppose I must start by calling their mother,” he added more clearly, striking a match to light his pipe.
Anatoly winced inwardly. He did not relish the thought of telling a woman that her children, grown as they were, had vanished into the night with two gun-toting criminals.
He removed a rather crushed packet of Woodbines from his own pocket and, hastily checking they were a safe distance from the spilled fuel, eased out a precious cigarette and lit it. Most of the other agents were lighting up too, glad of the comfort and respite of a quick fag break.
He could tell the others were thinking of their beds, and he couldn’t blame them. He was about dead on his feet after a full day of work and a night of it too. However, he wouldn’t go until he had done whatever he could to help Bill out of this situation. He owed him that much and more.
Bill went to the phone and furiously demanded the operator connected him to Allie Mannering’s home number. Knowing the sound of an angry superior on the phone, the operator connected him as quickly as he could. Bill waited impatiently as the phone rang, for Allie to answer.
“Bill?” Allie sounded pleased to hear from him at first, but then her tone changed. “It’s barely half-past seven, has something happened for you to call me this early? Have the children managed to get themselves into some sort of trouble?”
Bill rubbed his face. “Well I’m not entirely sure if it was them or me this time,” he admitted slightly bashfully. He then bravely went on to explain about the gunfight the previous night. When he finished he steeled himself for Allie’s reaction.
There was a long pause first. “I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand, Bill. The children are on an aeroplane, somewhere, piloted by two criminals that had just been shooting guns around the airbase? Is that what you said?”
“More or less,” he said cautiously, still waiting for an explosion from her.
“Then what are you doing on the telephone to me?” she demanded “Why aren’t you out there, looking for them?”
“We have been searching all night and trying to find any clue as to where they have been taken,” hedged Bill. “Every airport, base and landing strip in the country is on alert for the plane and the children. We’ve even contacted several European authorities so they will be on the lookout too.” He waved an arm, beckoning to any of his agents to come to him.
The moment Bill did that Anatoly rushed over, eager to be of any assistance. Even he could hear Allie’s reply, though he couldn’t quite make out the words. Just the fact she was clearly very unhappy.
“We are in constant contact with all the likely airports, Allie. The minute they land, we’ll hear about it.” He looked at Anatoly and mouthed “Get me updates, now”.
“Yes, sir,” Anatoly said softly, and went to each agent who was stationed at a radio or telephone, checking for any news, any hint of news, but the answer each time was negative. No trace of the plane anywhere. He trotted back to Bill and shook his head demonstratively. “Nothing,” he mouthed, just to be doubly clear.
Bill’s shoulders slumped. “So far we haven’t turned up much, but you know I won’t rest until the children are back, Allie,” he reassured her. “I need to go and get some more things moving, I’ll be in contact at lunch time,” he said, before hanging up. He looked sideways at Anatoly. “How are your languages, Petrov? I think you might be good for advanced field work,” he said grimly.
“I have been given a pass on French and German, and I am working on my Italian, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Czechoslovakian…” he trailed off, realising too late that it had probably been a rhetorical question, his mind had been too busy repeating the phrase advanced field work.
Bill nodded. “Good, get back to base, Petrov, I need you all out there as soon as possible, especially if we get a lead on the aeroplane’s direction.”
“Yes, sir,” he replied respectfully, his feelings conflicted. He was thrilled by the prospect of getting out there, to show off his newly acquired skills, and of course to help Bill in any way he could. He saw Bill as a sort of father-figure now, though he could never replace his own father. Perhaps he was more of an uncle. Either way, he was dismayed to see Bill so worried and wished that this new mission wasn’t necessary for his sake.
He headed towards the aerodrome exit, and upon showing his ID badge was allowed to take a car back to HQ. Driving still made him feel a bit giddy, especially when it was such a sleek car. It wasn’t one of the best ones, those were kept for the top brass like Bill, and those had a driver. Still, it was a very nice car and he enjoyed the drive back to the centre of London.
There would be a debriefing when he arrived, perhaps he would even get to do part of the briefing as he had been present at the aerodrome. He hoped there would also be time for something to eat – even the canteen food sounded appealing to him at that very moment.
To be continued…