In case you forgot...
"This is your bedroom and office. We do not have very much space, so I hope it is big enough for you."
"It's fine, yes."
"Would you like something to drink? A tea?"
"Tea would be nice, thank you."
"I'll be back soon... Your Highness." Leo winked and stepped out of the room, closing the door on Elizabeth Prior. She sank into the chair in the corner of the room and put her head in her hands.
What on earth was she doing here?
The journey across to Hamburg had gone as well as could be expected; the Air Force had scrambled a search helicopter to follow her boat, of course, but the moment she entered German waters, it had to turn back. States of the European Disunion, as some commentators liked to call it these days, tended to respond very seriously indeed to border violations. She'd been handed a forged German passport on arrival and bundled into a car which had driven her away at some speed.
And now Elizabeth Prior found herself alone in a stately home somewhere near Hanover, lost, confused and in shock. She thought back to the Opposition headquarters back in England and the identical sense of distress she'd felt then, but couldn't really appreciate the parallel enough to smile at it. Over the past week, her world had been torn apart more times than she cared to count, and the whole time she'd been just a passive agent being shuttled from one safe house to another. A real-life helpless princess, always in need of rescuing. She'd had time to consider the situation carefully, and decided it was utter bullshit.
She was going to cry again, she was certain of it. But there wasn't time. The door creaked open again and Leo peered through from the hallway. "May I come in?"
"Sure." Elizabeth waved him in. Leo had been introduced as her assistant on the way here; she was pretty certain he was really her minder. Now he was carrying a tray with two cups and a clear plastic teapot.
"How are you feeling now?" he asked.
She shrugged. "I'm okay."
"Tea will help, surely." He poured a cup and handed it to her. The tea was lukewarm and tasted nothing like any brand Elizabeth was used to. Something herbal, maybe? She gulped down a mouthful and nodded. "Very good, thank you." Pause. "Just like home."
Leo smiled broadly. "Good! I'll always keep a pot ready for you. Very English, or?"
* * *
"Morning, Sarah. All right?"
"All right, yeah. I spoke to Mark last night."
"Oh, that's good. How's he doing?"
"Oh, you know. Mustn't grumble."
The tone of her colleague's voice made Rebecca Martin put down her mug of cheap instant coffee. She knew what Sarah really meant, and her eyes flicked involuntarily over to the office's CCTV camera. "No. You mustn't. Does he know when they're letting him out yet?"
"Not yet. They're still keeping him in for questioning. Keep asking him about that guy who was shot."
"Jesus. Do they think he did it?"
"No, they know it was a terrorist. But they think maybe Mark saw someone? I don't know."
"It's horrible. I can't believe people do things like that. How messed up do you have to be... to shoot up a police officer?"
"Did you hear about those guys that blew up the police station in Manchester?"
"Yeah." Rebecca shivered. "Bunch of thugs. Adam wants to film a feature about it."
"Wow. Do you think you'll get permission?"
"He thinks so. We're going down to Scotland Yard today to talk to the guy in charge of the investigation, try and talk him into it. On which note..." She looked at her watch and pulled a face. "I need to get moving. You free at lunchtime?"
"Yeah. Meet you at Embankment?"
"Okay. See you."
* * *
When word of Graham Mitchell's death reached Terence Wells, the colonel very calmly leaned back in his chair and lit a cigarette. It was his first in seven days.
"What about the girl?" he asked, after a long silence.
"She got away," reported Daniel, the Opposition's IT guru, as he tried to avoid inhaling the smoke. "Berlin say she's reached the Residenz and we can talk to her as soon as they finish setting up a secure connection."
"Is there any sign that we've been compromised?"
"None yet. Mitchell wasn't carrying anything incriminating, and... well. You knew him better than me."
"He wouldn't be taken alive, no." Wells tapped the ash out of the cigarette impatiently. "Damn it. I shouldn't have used him."
"Our source says there were several ambulances at the scene. I think he gave as good as he got."
"Well, that's exactly the bloody point, isn't it?" snapped Wells, regretting it as soon as he'd said it. "I'm sorry. But we are not supposed to go around shooting people willy-nilly. It's bad PR."
Daniel knew better than to say anything.
"All right," Wells said, finally realising the man was still there. "Schedule a call to her. Tomorrow or something."
"To-? Right, okay. Anything else?"
"No, that's it. Dismissed."