Off the Books - Part 1

[At a second floor flat in Chelsea around 21:00 on a Monday evening.]


“I’m sorry, there is no Roy Meier on this number. I’ve only just moved here so he might be a previous occupant.”

“Yes, I am sure that he does not live here.”

“No, I won’t give you my name. I don’t know who the hell you are. You could be a serial rapist for all I know.”


I put the phone down. I was shaking like a leaf. I had been named this Roy Meier but in a previous life. If the caller really had put 2 and 2 together then I was well and truly up shit creek big time.

[Two and a half years earlier]

“Watch your back,” I said to my colleague.

Two of us were breaking into a warehouse in Southampton.

We were on the lookout for drugs or any other contraband that our target, Daniel Esteban and his organisation might have hiding or stored there. It had taken us three months from the first tiny bit of information to get this far and we wanted to see for ourselves what he was hiding before we returned with the cavalry and went through the front door.

My compatriot in our little adventure was Jemma Castle. Both of us worked for the British Government. Not quite MI6, James bond and all that but well, we are just about as close to that image as it gets. We don’t work for MI5 either or even MI something for that matter. We are attached to one section of a Government Department but if I told you I would have to kill you, and I mean it. What we do is totally off the books, records and anything else you might like to think of. This also gave our bosses total deniability should anything go wrong.

Jemma slowly prized open the warehouse roof-light and peered inside.

She flopped some rather special glasses over her eyes. These enabled her to see any Infra-Red beams that might be protecting whatever was below.

“No IR. Switching to UV.”

I afforded myself a small smile in the relative darkness. No modern city is ever really dark.
The floodlights from the nearby container port had made getting this far easy. The absence of IR beams didn’t mean that there were no IR detectors. We wore special clothing that gave off a very small IR signature but one could never tell if there was some new sensor mounted high on a wall that we hadn’t seen before. This was all part of the risk we took almost on a daily basis for HMG.

I heard Jemma say, “No UV.”

So far, so good, I thought to myself.

I handed her the knotted climbing rope we’d brought with us. Without a sound, she took the end and dropped it down into the blackness of the warehouse. Then she followed it into the darkness.

Just over ten seconds later I felt the rope go slack. Then I felt three small tugs on it. That was the all clear signal. She’d reached the bottom and had scanned for IR and UV sensors. Now it was my turn. I slipped over the edge of the sky-light and into the warehouse.

As I reached the bottom Jemma put her fingers to my lips.

She’d seen or heard something. She indicated towards the front of the building. As my eyes adjusted to the blackness, I saw a bit of light coming from around the edge of a door.

I led the way towards the door. That’s how we do things. Turn and turn alike. She’d gone down the rope first so it was now my turn to tackle the door and whatever was behind it.

I used a microphone device to listen to what was going on in the room. I could not detect any recognisable sounds or at least sounds of people talking or that of a Radio or TV. I gave Jemma the thumbs up. We both flipped up our night vision glasses and prepared to enter the room.

When the door opened both of us gasped in shock, amazement and then horror. The room was full of what turned out to be large dog cages. In every one of them was a young woman. Some of them looked very, very young. All the doors were padlocked shut. Many of the occupants were very dishevelled.

When they saw us, they all cowered back in their cages. They didn’t utter a sound. Then I saw the welts on many of their backs. These poor women were probably ‘sex’ slaves waiting to be sold to the highest bidder.

“Let’s get out of here and call the police?” I suggested to Jemma.

She touched my arm and pointed to another door off to out left.

I sighed, but nodded my head.

Inside this room there were more cages. This time there were two occupants to each. None of the occupants could have been more than 9 or 10 years old.

Jemma took a lot of pictures of the rooms and the occupants of the cages. With that done we made a fairly hasty exit.

Frankly, the place gave me the shivers. I was glad to see the clouds overhead when we climbed out of the skylight and onto the roof once more.

My joy was short-lived.

We’d used an extending ladder to reach the roof itself. I let Jemma go down before lowering myself over the edge and onto the ladder. I’d taken no more than three steps down when the ladder collapsed. I fell into the blackness.

I landed on something and immediately screamed out in pain. My gloved hands reached towards my crotch and became entangled in something sharp. Then the pain became so intense, I blacked out.

The next thing I knew was the vision of a bunch of people peering at me with a very bright light behind them.

“Am I dead yet?” I groaned.

“Not if we can help it,” replied a voice from somewhere.

Gradually my vision improved and I realised that I was in some sort of hospital.

Then the pain kicked in. Right from where it really hurts (for men) and down.


“It hurts then?” asked some wag.

If I could have killed them there and then I would have.

“What happened?”

There was silence.

“Where am I hurt?”

More silence.

“Won’t someone have the balls to tell me what’s wrong?”

There was a muted titter from one of the people around me. All were wearing surgical scrubs and face masks.

Eventually someone said,

“We understand that you fell off a roof.”

Then it started coming back to me.

“What happened then?”

“You landed on top of a fence. The fence was topped by razor wire.”

I sank back onto the bed. I knew then that I was in serious trouble.

“Won’t someone please give me the bad news?”

“If you would just lie back, we are trying as hard as we can to save it.”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a nurse put a syringe into my IV feed and within a few seconds all went black again.

It must have been several hours later that I came around again. This time, I was in a proper hospital bed.

I could see that the sun was setting (or was it rising?) and I felt a numbness from my waist down.

I closed my eyes and tried to get my brain into some sort of order. When I opened them again, the sun was a bit lower in the sky. That told me that I’d probably been out for well over twelve hours.

I raised my head and could see two feet at the end of the bed. I moved them and they responded. Then I noticed the large bulge in the bed near my waist.

Immediately, my hand went to investigate. I couldn’t. My hands were restrained. Now I feared the worst possible outcome.

The arrival of a cheery nurse didn’t help my ever-deepening depression.

“How are we today then?”

“Go away. I want to die.”

“That is no way to behave. I’m here to make sure that you get better.”

“Then you can release my hands and tell me why I’m strapped down like this and more importantly tell me what has happened to me?”

Then my stomach let out a huge rumble.

“And you will want some food as well I take it?”

I just glared at her.

“The Doctor will be around soon. She can tell you what has happened.”

I just groaned at the thought of why might have happened.

Her ‘soon’ turned out to be more than three hours. I’d not had any food or drink for at least the past day. Years of experience had taught us never to eat or drink for the 12 hours before a job.
I’d drank a little just before the job started but I’d had nothing since. There is nothing worse than being ‘caught short’ in the middle of a job. Now, my throat was parched. I reckoned that this was partly due to the drugs I’d been given since my fall.

I lay there for some time pondering my future. If my fears were correct then I’d lost all chance of being a father. Not that that in itself ever worried me, it didn’t but it would be nice to be able to if the circumstances… well, if the right woman came into my life.

Don’t get me wrong about sex. Jemma and I were intimate but not in that way. We used each other for pleasure but not love. Not that I didn’t love her but our jobs were, well not really suited to long term relationships. We both knew the risks of our job and had lived with it for a long time. Still, our job was never boring.

It was clear to me that from then on, my life would be very different. I allowed myself a little smile. So far, my life had been nothing like I’d planned at all.

I’d been recruited into the ‘organisation’ at University. At first, I thought I would be working for MI5 or MI6 but after the selection process had finished, it became abundantly clear that it wasn’t. If you think of the SAS as the elite of the Armed Services then my bunch (it didn’t have a formal name for obvious reasons) was the elite of the Security and Law Enforcement Services.

We did stuff that was on the whole very illegal but we got results and that was all that mattered. We also were often sent in to clean up the mess that other departments had made. Not very ‘James Bond’ with guns and explosions but an essential part of maintaining diplomacy and the semblance of a democratic government.

Modern day gangsters like Daniel Esteban were deliberately trying to destabilise governments all around the world. Economic Terrorists we called them. We had a direct order from the Prime Minister to go after them and do what was needed to bring them down. We didn’t play by the same rules that all the other departments had to and that’s what kept us going and on the whole very successful.

The past eight years had been fun, a lot of fun. Sure, it was not without its risks. The predicament I was in now was more than enough proof of that but as they say, ‘all good things must come to an end’. Laying there in this bed, was enough evidence that my luck had run out at last.

I drifted off to sleep with the big questions still unanswered but resigned that my time as a functioning male had reached the end of the line and
I was going to be heading in a new direction from now on. Quite what that direction is and where it would lead to are separate questions entirely.

[to be continued]
[Authors note]
This is a thriller and not strictly TG but I hope you enjoy it.

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