Mad Dog, page 28
-Sir all four eliminated, -said Baker turning the lights back on.
-Well done! Did you discovered what they were intending to do? -
-They were trying to remove an inspection cap on the main pipeline Sir, There are some bags of liquid on the floor, what do you want us to do with them? –
-Hold on a moment, - Harvey switched his attention back to the TV screen as he saw Hari rise from his seat immediately giving the order that Court was just about to anticipate him with, -GO! GO! GO! – Everything happened in an instant but he thought that he had seen and heard the flash and sound of machinegun fire just before the moment the explosives were detonated.
-Are the bags intact? – Harvey asked Baker.
-I’ll check Sir. –
-Have you got your masks on? –
-Yes Sir its standard procedure you know that! –
-Yeah just checking. –
-Sir, there’s a problem. One of the bags is leaking and another appears to have exploded. –
-How much liquid is there? -
-The leak is not significant but the other bag is empty and there is no sign of leakage. –
-Baker, I’m sorry but you need to quarantine the room, the liquid has turned to gas, we cannot afford for it to escape. I’ll get the boys from Porton Down over there as soon as possible. DON´T TAKE OFF THE MASKS AND DO NOT TOUCH THE LIQUID! I don’t think the gas is skin absorptive so you should be relatively safe. Make sure none of the other teams enter the stairwell. Are there air ducts in the room?–
-No sir it seems pretty well sealed. –
-Okay you know what to do, keep me informed if there are any changes. –
It took three days for the Porton Down scientists to clear the room and permit Baker, Bryant and Collins to be rescued, three days in which they neither ate nor drank, three days during which their resolve to keep their masks in place was sorely tested and three days during which only their incredible discipline saved them.
Mustafa, Abu and Khalid waited impatiently on the observation balcony as Miguel Santillana the twelve year old geek that had been asking inane questions during the whole of the tour, asked his fifth question about the crack that had appeared in the dam wall some years earlier and that according to him and the more alarmist press at the time, constituted a real danger to the overall structure. Abu showed his watch to Mustafa, it was twelve twenty five local time, and whispered to Mustafa that they needed to move on and that as it was their intention to kill hundreds of thousands that day he could see no problem with throwing little Miguel over the balcony wall and starting their account off a little early.
Fortunately their guide was equally tired of Miguel and decided that they had to move on to the pump rooms informing Miguel that if he required further information he could contact their web site and receive full and complete analysis of the structural stability of the dam and the comprehensive repair and improvement work that was undertaken following the appearance of the crack over thirty years earlier.
They were just about to re enter the Dam when the familiar sound of helicopters drifted towards them and all of the children rushed back onto the balcony. Moments later the first of the combat helicopters appeared over the Dam wall dropping ropes onto the balcony. It was as much as Mustafa needed to see as he, Abu and Khalid turned and rushed into the Dam wall closing and bolting the door behind them. Carlos Riquelme the security guard on duty that afternoon withdrew his pistol and took his first tentative steps towards them, shouting at the top of his voice, -STOP, SECURITY! UNLOCK THAT DOOR!, - they were his last steps and his last words as Abu put four bullets into his advancing body.
-INTO THE LIFT! - ordered Mustafa, pressing the pump room button as Khalid sprung through the door. The doors started to close at the same moment that the balcony doors burst inwards, the first shots from the armed response team burying themselves in the far wall of the lift scarcely missing Khalid and clipping his rucksack as Abu pulled him out of the line of fire. The lift started to descend to the sound of further bullets impacting in the outer doors.
-That was close, -coughed Mustafa, starting to feel the tightening in his throat, -Not much air in here, -he continued as he struggled for breath, -I’m feeling dizzy, - he added as his arms went limp and his legs gave way beneath him, desperately he watched as Abu and Khalid collapsed limp at his side, aware of what was happening but unable to respond as the paralysis entered it’s final fatal stage. Khalid knew exactly what was happening to them, he was expecting exactly these symptoms to appear in the lives or rather deaths of hundreds of thousands of the residents of Madrid as they inhaled the gas that poured from their water pipes. The bullet that had clipped the backpack had perforated one of the bags turning it’s deadly contents gaseous and in the closed and confined space of the lift they had quickly inhaled a more than sufficient lethal dose. Their painfully paralysing struggle for air finally concluded some five minutes later with them as the only victims of their deadly cargo.
Sergeant Garcia, commanding officer of the armed response team, watched their slow and twitchy death on the video screen, immediately understanding that they had somehow been poisoned.
-Are the lifts hermetically sealed, -he asked.
-Yes Sir. -
-Then shut that lift off between floors if you can. -
-No problem Sir.-
It took two weeks to remove the sealed lift with its dead and deadly contents from the building under the supervision of the Regimiento de Defensa Quimica who buried it in fifty feet of concrete at their base in Acer, Hoyo de Manzanares, without it ever seeing the light of day.
The rescue of the four hostages caused a sensation in the media but more so still the fact that neither Scotland Yard nor MI5 would release any details of the operation. The Prime Minister when asked, limited himself to confirming that the CRW Division of the SAS had successfully completed it’s rescue mission and had dismantled in its entirety the Al Qaeda terrorist threat relating to this incident. He requested that the media treat the hostages with the respect that they merited and allowed them to return to their normal lives unmolested, reminding them that the hostages were underage and that the persecution of minors by the press was illegal and would be severely punished without exception. The leaders of the opposition parties had been privy to the details of the operation and had without exception accepted the governments stance on the matter.
The repair work at The Honor Oak Reservoir following a structural collapse in which, unfortunately, an employee, Mr Haazig Hamidi, had died, was worthy of no more than a minor footnote in the local press. The fact that the work was undertaken by the Ministry of Defence never even merited a mention.
The temporary closing of the Iranian Embassy for repair and refurbishment work meant that the Ambassador and his staff were required to temporarily return to Iran. Ambassador Hamid Al Khazaei was later tried and found guilty of failure to defend the cause of Islam and was subsequently beheaded. The repair work which in reality took less that a fortnight to complete was not officially completed for a further five years by which time the trading conditions between Britain and Iran had been greatly improved, above all from the British point of view.
The Spanish press, fuelled by vivid and exaggerated information from the Ministerio de Defensa focused entirely on the operation that had resulted in the elimination of an imminently dangerous ETA cell and the elimination of two of its most active members. The training operation that was carried out at the nearby Atazar Dam in which a group of school children had become unintentional witnesses to the realisticity of these operations was worthy of no more than a comic mention in the majority of newspapers and a half page article highlighting the concerns and complaints of several of the parents of the children that witnessed the operation in the ABC newspaper.
Harris, Brock and Agent Evans returned to Britain unnoticed and unheralded on the Sunday 16th July. On the 17th July the recently promoted DSI Charlie Clarke travelled to the Childwall area of
William Fegan, Mad Dog