Last time Anatoly found himself getting worried about Bill when he didn’t reply to his radio messages…
Anatoly was to be on shift all night, and found himself growing more agitated as time went on and there was no response from Bill. He tried raising him every fifteen minutes, though he knew that Bill might have given up and gone back to wherever he and the kids were camping. He couldn’t leave the wireless room but he knew that a team would be amassing somewhere downstairs, kitting up and receiving orders. It would probably be a small team at this stage, perhaps half a dozen men, enough to look into these mysterious planes and provide Bill a bit of back up.
More than anything, he wanted to be on that team. He picked up his phone and called the commander again.
“No, sir, no word from Cunningham yet,” he said, and winced as the commander demanded to know why he was being disturbed in that case. “I want to be on the team heading for Scotland,” he said as firmly as he thought he could get away with.
“So, Petrov. Why do you think you should be on the team?” Roscoe asked Anatoly later, having heard about his request. He was a bit put out at Anatoly’s forthrightness, if he was honest. He had been debating about sending Anatoly and had decided he was to go, but given his tone, he could now prove himself as to why he should be sent to Scotland.
“Well, I have been the main contact for Bill’s trip so far, so I am up to speed on the wheres and whys of this case,” he replied. “I have already been looking over maps of the area. And besides, Bill would want me in on this.”
Roscoe drummed his fingers on the desk and wondered if that was a good enough excuse to send such a junior agent. After a moment of silence he said, “All right, Petrov. You can go, but you have to stay with the team unless the team leader says otherwise. Do you understand?”
Anatoly swallowed the urge to ask who the team leader was going to be. It wouldn’t matter as he would be expected to ask how high he ought to jump before the leader asked him to jump no matter who he was. “Yes, sir,” he said obediently.
“I’ll send someone to relieve you and you should go and get your kit together and report to Bennett,” Roscoe said, before putting down the phone with a snap.
“Yes, sir,” Anatoly repeated and almost saluted. He caught himself before his hand touched his forehead and dropped it as he put the receiver down. “Ty durak,*” he muttered to himself. He would have to wait for his replacement so he settled in his chair again. ‘Bennett,’ he said to himself, trying to think who that would be. Frank Bennett – usually known as Benny to his equals – probably. Well, he and Bill liked and respected each other so that should be all right.
It was half an hour before another agent came to relieve him, and although he didn’t know his name Anatoly knew it to be someone more senior than he was. He was pretty near the bottom of the heap, with only the new trainees below him, so that it didn’t take much to be senior to him.
“Anything come through yet?” the agent asked, taking the offered seat and adjusting things to his liking.
“No, nothing,” Anatoly said.
“Well, you’d better be off,” the agent said dismissively. “Don’t know who you’ve been sucking up to but it’s paid off and you’re getting to go out, again.”
He ignored the accusation there, it wasn’t worth starting an argument, though he felt his hands draw into fists. He knew how it looked. An agent as junior as he shouldn’t get to do the things he did. He left without another word and headed downstairs to find his team.
Bill groaned and tried to roll over. His head was throbbing and he couldn’t immediately place where he was, or why he was lying on the hard ground. He tried to open his eyes as he felt a slight breeze on his face but the slightest bit of light hurt his eyes.
The last thing he remembered was waiting for a message from HQ. Had he fallen and banged his head? The boat seemed to be pitching back and forth still, though there were no sounds of a storm. He hoped the children wouldn’t get too much of a fright if they found him lying on the boat with a lump on his head which must have been the size of an egg from the pain it was causing.
It took him a while, but eventually as the rocking lessened and he worked up to opening his eyes a bit further, he realised that he was not in fact on his boat. He wasn’t on a boat at all. He was in a small room with wooden planks for walls.
The wind whistled through the slats of the wooden room so Bill realised he must be in a shack, probably on another island. His head felt like it was splitting in two as he tried to sit up. He lent against the rough wood and tried to see where he was through the gaps in the walls.
He couldn’t see much, though it looked like he hadn’t travelled far from what he could see of the landscape. Focusing he could hear the familiar cries of seabirds and smell the tang of the sea. He could also smell cigarette smoke, telling him that there was someone else about, probably a guard. He knew he would need to think about escaping sooner rather than later as nothing good could come of him being held here, but he also knew he wasn’t up to staging any sort of attempt right now. He would just rest his eyes for a short while and try to regain some strength before he made a more thorough examination of his shack. He might just find a loose board or some sort of weapon. Once he could move that was.
To be continued…