Heir to a Title - Chapter 32

Heir to a title 32

Characters.
Ellie. (Eleanor) The prime Character.
Bill (William) her father, (obviously) Callie (Callista) Ellie’s only daughter. Initially Callum - a transgendered son.
Charlotte. (Nana) Ellie’s Paternal Grandmother
Sandie (Sandra) Ellie’s Older Aunt
Rosie (Rose) Ellie’s Younger Aunt
Henry Ellie’s boyfriend and husband. (Second son of the Duke of Denton)
Molly Duchess of Denton. Henry’s mother.
Bev (Beverly) Ellie’s aunt (Previously Uncle Bernard and brother to her dad.)
Jennifer. (Jennie) Beverly's older adopted daughter.
Beatrice (Bea) Beverly's younger adopted daughter.

Lucy, Henry’s oldest niece, Callum’s cousin.
Eleanor, Henry’s middle niece Callum’s cousin. Same name as Ellie.
Virginia Henry’s youngest niece Callum’s cousin
Julie Ellie’s sister-in-law.
Angela(Angie) Beverly’s wife (kidnapped by pirates and rescued.)
Megan Beverly’s only blood daughter by Angela.
Margaret Arnold.(Maggie) Callie's best female friend. (Eventually to become wife.)
Jane Arnold, Maggie's mother.
James Denton (The Ferrety Denton) Callie's ambitious, uncle.

With the court case settled, Callie concluded she had two major issues that needed to be resolved and both concerned her own personal safety.

The first was determining if the Saudi prince or his 'go-fors' would continue to be a danger to her or indeed any other girls.

The second was to decide how far she would go if there was another effort to avenge her success in the courts.

Sadly she concluded that she was now forced to watch her back at all times; worse still she didn't have the material or psychological resources that the prince had at his beck and call. This being the case she reluctantly decided that she would have to 'play for keeps' if there was a revenge attack. The only benefit for Callie was that 'Q', her mentor at GCHQ, offered to upgrade her security status and allow her a higher level of access to their intelligence concerning the middle east. On learning this Callie smiled ironically to herself. The truth was, she had already hacked to that level of security but at least her upgraded status now meant she ran no more risks of accusations on that level. It was level that gave her ample capacity to keep track of her attacker or 'Abdul' as she preferred to call him.

Six months to the day after 'Abdul' being sentenced, Callie came home to find one of her computers flashing a warning.

“Huh, he didn't waste much time did he?” She told herself for it was the computer she had dedicated to tracking him. It transpired that 'Abdul' had been booked out on a flight to Saudi Arabia the next day.. She did nothing that day for she could never be certain just how aware the Prince's lackeys were protecting him electronically. All she determined was where and when he would land.

The city where he landed had security cameras located all over it's airport so Callie anticipated devoting several days to penetrating the computer security system surrounding their operation. It took less time than she expected thanks to poor maintenance and irregular internal repairs that had been botched or short circuited because of a poorly trained maintenance team. Callie could not believe how easy it was to tap into their immigration facial recognition system that the airport boasted was the most sophisticated in the world.

As far as the facial recognition technology was concerned it possibly was, but the security surrounding the information it gathered was lamentable. Incredibly she had located an 'in' via the personal computer of the national chief of security who, like every other high level government official, was a member of the Saudi Royal family. Incompetence bred from nepotism and arrogance had enabled her to bypass the security precautions and to her amazement she discovered that she possibly had more information about people movements through all the airports of Saudi Arabia than the Saudi Authorities themselves.

Naturally, a secret is only a secret as long as only ONE person knows about it, and, more importantly, keeps that secret only to him-or-hereslf.

Having broken into what was deemed throughout the middle east as one of the most formidable, electronic fortresses in all Islam, Callie was well aware that if others knew, she could be in danger. Silence was the keystone of her operation, 'Omerta' became her code. Even 'Q', her mentor at GCHQ, would not learn of her breakthrough.

Having created a reasonably secure safety fence around her, Callie resumed her normal humdrum life studying maths and assisting GCHQ with their algorithms. Eventually Michaelmas term approached Christmas and Callie arranged to meet Maggie on the King's Cross to York train at Peterborough. The arrived home together where her mother Ellie and her mad Great Aunt Beverly greeted them at the station.

“You're mum's first is it?” Ellie asked Maggie.

“Yes please, There's a load of family who've come over from Canada and the States. It's a big family reunion because my Gran is very frail and this might be the last time she will see all her issue together.”

“Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, is she very ill.”

“Cancer I'm afraid. We've been warning her for years about the smoking but, well, you know how it is. She always seemed to think she was bomb proof but, -”

Maggie broke down in tears as they were approaching her farm and Auntie Beverly pulled over for Callie to give her a comforting hug. After copious tears and almost a box of tissues, the tears finally ceased and the make-up was repaired. Maggie's mum met them at the door when they arrived and all the usual celebrations were entered before introductions were made. There were some twenty relatives over from across the pond some American but most being Canadian, three extended families in all. Callie was invited to stay for supper and her mad aunt Beverly agreed to collect her later that evening.

As the afternoon extended into early evening Callie found herself chatting to a tall American in his forties. It turned out he was Maggie's uncle once removed and he turned out to be very interesting. When he discovered that Callie was reading Maths at Cambridge he quickly revealed that he had studied maths at M.I.T.,

“So young lady, have you considered what you'll be doing with your degree.”

“No much, I'm afraid. I will be expected to run the Denton Estate.”

“Estate you say. Surely that doesn't take a maths degree?”

“No, but it takes a lot of other skills to deal with all the problems. I won't be spending much time on maths.”

“Why that's such a pity! Good maths degrees are priceless in my profession.”

“And what profession is that?” Callie asked, thinking banking or actuarial work.

“Oh sorry, can't really say much. Government stuff you understand.”

“Oh, like cyber warfare and all that stuff.”

His expression clouded slightly as his eyes narrowed.

“Why, d' you know much about that stuff?”

“Well it's so closely allied to hacking and stuff, I think just about every maths student is aware of it to some degree.”

His expression darkened further.

“Do you hack then?”

“Well sometimes, out on Denton Moor. Now I'm down for Christmas, my horse will be glad to see me provided the weather stays fine.”

He chuckled at her reply as he caught on.

“You know very well I was talking about hacking computers not riding horses.”

“Oh that?” Callie replied amusedly. “What I.T., student hasn't?”

“You just be careful young lady. Remember the penalties for hacking can be applied across borders. If you hack a computer in America or any other foreign country, then the authorities can demand your extradition from your home country to that other country.”

“Yes, I had heard,” Callie admitted gracefully as she tried to step away but he had now latched onto the hacking issue and he refused to let her go.

“Believe me young lady, my advice is don't do it. There have been several very clever students who've fallen foul of the cybernetic misbehaviour.”

“But everybody does it,” Callie argued. “Even the CIA or MI5 are doing it. That's how they gather half their intelligence. That's how they all do it.”

The uncle stiffened slightly then nodded resignedly.

“Well I suppose you're right. Sometimes it's the only way forward.”

“Well to tell the truth sir, I'm more interested in research, mathematical modelling and stuff, you know, algorithms and such like. Computers lend themselves so readily to such activity. The internet is too much of a give-away or my liking. Using it leaves you open to people trying to steal one's ideas and stuff.”

“Do you go online much?”

“Not as much as my peers.” She countered, knowing her reply was very ambiguous.

With that they were interrupted and Callie did not chat to him again until dinner. He had become engaged with another family member about spying and their conversation had got around to the middle east and the closed societies of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Callie was not paying much attention as she savoured Jane Arnold's excellent roast beef until she was drawn into the conversation by a question directed at her by Maggie.

“Isn't that right Callie?”

“Eh! What? What's not right?” Callie wondered as she came out of her introspection.

“Haven't you been listening?” Maggie demanded.

“Uuhm, sorry, not a lot. I was away with the birds.”

“We were talking about Saudi Arabia and their censorship of their internet in their country.” The American uncle explained.

Callie shrugged and wagged her head before replying.

“Anything those idiot do would not surprise me. They're all a bunch of misogynistic bigots.”

The American uncle nodded again.

“Well you're not wrong there young lady, did you know they've got one of the tightest security set-ups in the middle east, if not the world. Even we, the Americans have trouble with it.”

“Yes, I had heard,” Callie responded, “I believe it's partly to do with their using an ancient version of early Arabic to write some of their code. There are virtually no scholars outside of Saudi Arabia who know of it and it never had a written form. The language was essentially a Bedouin lingua so it's almost a code in itself and nobody's come up with a Rosetta Stone.”

The uncle's demeanour immediately straightened.

“How in the heck did you know that Callie?”

“I heard one of Abdul's military cronies using it during my assault trial. I had secretly learned classical Arabic simply to make sure I could understand what they were saying to each other but this guy was using some other language and I couldn't find anything about it at first. Eventually I began to understand what he was trying to hide because he occasionally had to use proper Arabic to explain himself even to his Saudi Colleagues. By extrapolation I eventually worked out how this old language worked because the grammar is unlike any other Semitic language.”

“Who's 'Abdul'?” The uncle pressed.

“My nickname for the bastard who tried to assault me.”

“Oh. And this language, do you understand it?”

Callie paused thoughtfully. Having broken into the Saudi Cypher Fortress, she had inadvertently entered into field that western intelligence agencies were still agonising over. Her phenomenal ear for languages had taken her there and she had learned huge amounts about the Wahhabist entanglements in terrorist plots worldwide. She decided it would be risky to reveal what she knew for it would invite all sorts of unwarranted interest and that might compromise her own personal intelligence gathering system as it concerned 'Abdul' her attacker. She decided to make some smoke with her reply.

“No, I don't understand it much, I only know of it's existence. Why? Have you come across it in your work?”

This reply immediately set the uncle's guard up. The CIA's inability to penetrate the fortress was a source of embarrassment ameliorated only by the knowledge that none of the other intelligence agencies had got very far with it either. Unfortunately he knew that Callie already knew that they knew so he would have to tread very carefully. This care was Callie's ladder out of the hole she had dug.

Then the uncle mentioned something much closer to home and it was Callie's turn to shiver.

“The Saudi Charge de Affairs in Washington did mention recently that they were upset by somebody trying to hack into their security. Apparently they got very close but it fell short because they apparently gave up trying to decipher the Bedouin travelling tongue..”

Callie struggled to maintain her composure as she feigned complete disinterest while she reached out and cut a few more slices of delicious roast beef off the joint. Her effort almost worked except that Maggie's uncle noticed her silence. He said nothing more at the table but later he approached her as she was organising her lift home on her mobile.

“I could offer you a lift home, there's no need for your aunt to go to any trouble.”

“Oh that's okay. My aunt was already preparing to leave to collect me.”

“How long will she be?”

“B'out twenty minutes. It's not far.”

Having engaged the girl again, the uncle seized upon his opportunity.

“Your British intelligence agency has got good sources out in the middle east.”

“Yes, I've heard that; it's hardly surprising since they've been there for over a hundred years. You know, Lawrence of Arabia and all that.”

“No, I mean quite recently, in the last six months. They've shared some pretty useful stuff with us. We believe they've got a mole pretty high up in the house of Saud.”

“And?”

“Well, after what you just revealed at the dinner table, I suspected that mole could be you.”

“Excuse me, I've never been to Saudi Arabia and I've no intentions of going. Apart from being vulnerable because of my gender issues, I've got no wish to wear a Burkha or anything else.”

Her revelation about her transgenderism shocked Maggie's uncle but he was well trained in hiding his feelings and he let the issue pass without comment. Instead he returned to the issue of the supposed British mole.

“Oh. I got that wrong then. But you do seem to know an awful lot about Arabic and this ancient dialect of theirs.”

“Only what I've listened to and researched on the internet.”

“There's not much there. Believe me, we've searched. Would you be prepared to tell us what you know and how you came by it?”

“Are you trying to recruit me or something?”

He paused thoughtfully for he had not even considered such a possibility up to that point.

“Are you offering to work for us?”

“No.” Callie replied flatly.

“Would you be prepared to accept our offer, if we made one. We could make it worth your while.”

“No to that as well. Besides, I'm not even American. Anyway, I don't want to get tangled up with these Islamic fundamentalists any more than I have done, my gender issues alone would invite my death if they found an opportunity.. Would you want to get involved with them?”

“I'm already tangled up with them Miss.”

“Yeah, well I'm not and I don't intend to start.”

Even as she said it she felt a tiny twinge of guilt about her lie. The truth was, she had penetrated so deep into 'The Fortress' that she probably knew more about Arabia's dirty secrets than anybody else on earth. This had happened inadvertently but inevitably because 'Abdul' had been sloppy with his emails and on line security and allowed Callie to create a secret portal. Callie concluded even as her conversation ended, to remain absolutely shtumm about her portal. One of the biggest failings amongst hackers and other computer whiz-kids was often a degree of conceit that led to bragging. Callie remained tight-lipped.

Her endeavours to remain secret however were not to last forever. For the first two years at Cambridge her work developing and improving algorithms and other cyber warfare techniques served to keep GCHQ off her back, Q had already established with the Maths professor that his protege was not prepared to work full time. Apparently, the young lady felt it made her vulnerable to attacks if her existence became known too widely at GCHQ. Consequently only 'Q' and his immediate superior knew of her existence. She was right of course, no organisation is totally leak-proof.

Unfortunately her endeavours to remain anonymous were stymied during her summer vacation prior to returning for her final year. By this time her Arabic was more or less fluent and her knowledge of the ancient dialect was sufficient to alert her to anybody using it, or any words included in modern Arabic. She was on a month-long summer holiday with Maggie in Paris and happily lazing in a pavement cafe while Maggie was across the street studying some beautiful paintings of assorted tropical birds with their many coloured and varied plumages. Callie was sipping her third cup of coffee and smiling while watching Maggie haggling over the prices across the street when a group of young people sat down next to her and started talking in Arabic.

For want of any other interest, Callie fell to eves-dropping on the group's conversation and was intrigued to hear some words from the ancient dialect. Immediately another member of the group scolded the culprit in modern Arabic quite forcefully.

“Shut up you big mouthed idiot. You never know who is listening!”

“Oh don't be daft who is there that speaks Arabic here let alone the old tongue? There's only that dumb blond bitch on the next table and those Yanks across the aisle.”

As other members busied themselves on their mobile phones the conversation between the first two got more heated. Callie realised there was a serious argument as more old dialect words popped up. Intrigued by the developments, she casually started fiddling with her mobile phone just like countless other modern girls.
What she was actually doing was activating her lap-top which had been lying idle in her back pack.

With few deft strokes of one of her own specialised programmes she was soon monitoring the wi-fi and the phone texts of each of the Arabic group sat around the table.

What she found alarmed her but she was too far away from her home computers to easily download the information and furthermore, her 'stand-alone-Saudi' computer was completely disconnected from the internet so she could dig no further.

Instead, she copied each of the Arab's email addresses then encrypted the messages as she recorded each conversation and resumed finishing her coffee. Next she casually took out her lap top and started recording the conversations across the aisle. This while she pretended to be busy writing up some university notes.

While the group were still arguing and inadvertently revealing priceless snippets of information (while being recorded by Callie's laptop), Maggie returned with a set of four beautiful paintings.

“What-choo think babe's?”

“They're lovely.”

“They're Lyre birds.”

Callie took hold of them to examine them more closely.

“Are they hand painted?”

“Yes.” She pointed across the road. “That guy with the blue paisley scarf did them. They're original. He gave me a good deal for the four of them.”

“For your study I suppose, but they are beautiful.”

“Thanks, shall we resume our tour.”

Callie nodded for she had enough evidence on her computer to send to GCHQ however, as always, she wanted to do it anonymously. Consequently, she bought a cheap second-hand laptop, visited an internet cafe and downloaded all the information in encrypted form to GCHQ. After completing the task, she ditched the lap-top in the Seine.

“No names, no Pack-drill.” she told herself.

In Cheltenham 'Q' received an unexpected message almost the length of a short novel. It had originated apparently from a server in Morocco but the information was sourced probably from Saudi Arabia and would prove vital to the French authorities. The message also promised to deliver hard irrefutable evidence later. Two days later a disc duly landed anonymously on 'Q's desk with a recording of the arguments that Callie had recorded plus a written list of the ancient dialects and terms that Callie had translated first into modern Arabic thence into English.. The information proved explosive and 'Q' almost wet her panties when she had finally absorbed everything.

“Who the hell was this source?” she asked herself as she took the information to the highest level.

“I don't know,” she replied to her boss's similar question, “but whoever he is, he's given us some priceless information. Listen to the translation he's made. I've double checked it with our own translators and it gives us dates and locations. Whoever our friend is, he's a good ally and whoever these bozo's are they're a loose lipped bunch of fools. Time to tell the French I think.

Three days later, while Callie and Maggie were preparing to catch the Eurostar train back to London there was a failed terror attack on the Gare-du-Nord rail station. The pair heard the gunfire from their hotel even as they were having breakfast. On learning of events from the local radio, (Maggie spoke French fluently) she turned to her girlfriend-cum-fiancée.

“My God darling. It's a good job you changed our departure times, we could have been in amongst all that.”

“Yeah,” Callie agreed whole-heartedly, “let's be thankful the French were on top of it.”

“It was a big operation apparently, “ Maggie continued, “they say they've captured over twenty attackers and killed seven! Apparently they are seeking more. Will it be safe to travel?”

“I should think so.” Callie opined,. “After all, the terrorists have just received a devastating blow. They'll be at sixes and sevens over this and wondering where the leak came from. What puzzles me is that they caught so many alive. The gendarmerie must have some bloody good moles buried deep so as to prepare such a good ambush. We'd better phone our parents and let them know we're going to be a day or so late. Scenes of crimes people will be all over the place.”

“I can't be late,” Maggie explained why. “We could cancel the train and take a plane to Manchester. I've just checked, there's one this afternoon.”

“Good thinking Batwoman. Let's get onto it.”

After rearranging their travel plans, they arrived home late that evening.”

Callie had got away with a direct communication without revealing herself. However she slipped up when she returned back to college to complete her final year.

After she had settled in she received an invitation to her Professor's study. It simply said 'Algorithms for the coming term' and Callie thought nothing more about it. However on the following Tuesday when she entered the professor's study she was surprised to find 'Q' and Maggie's uncle already seated. 'Q' spoke first.

Good afternoon Miss Denton. I believe you've met Dr Arnold, a colleague of mine in the CIA?”

The American was forced to admire the young lady's fortitude for she did not blink or flinch on discovering him at the meeting. Instead, Callie went on the offensive.
“I don't understand Professor, I thought this was a private meeting between you and me. You did not mention others.”

“Well it was a bit of a surprise to me as well Miss Denton. Dr Arnold and your controller have a few things they'd like to discuss with you.

“Controller? Might I remind you professor that I am not working as a spy for GCHQ., I am simply helping them with innovative mathematical algorithms to help them improve their predictive techniques. I am not a 'James Bond'!”

“You signed the official secrets act and that leaves you open to military and civil law. Dr Arnold has got some concerns about certain aspects you briefly spoke to him about during last Christmas. Would you like to discuss these concerns?”

Callie turned Dr Arnold and shrugged. “Fire away?”

Dr Arnold hesitated as he checked his prepared questions.

“Ahem, well Miss Denton, firstly we are curious to know how you came to be so informed about the Saudi secret language.”

“What? D' you mean 'Vetus iter lingua Bedouin'?”

“The what?” 'Q' interrupted.

“The ancient travelling language of the Bedouin. It's a sort of travelling 'polarie' that Caravan traders used to use to keep their business affairs private. It's pretty much extinct these days except for a few academics in Egypt and the Arabian Peninsular.”

“So why have you developed an interest in it?”

“I came across some Arabic emails with some unknown words when my lawyers and I were preparing my case against the Saudi Prince who attacked me. I just got curious because I thought they were some sort of code. For a few weeks I had absolutely no idea what the language was or where it came from so I had to dig very deep into Bedouin folk lore. I found most of my information online in some obscure documents archived in the National Museums of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

I have a gift for languages that I don't brag about and this stuff just piqued my interest. Most of the stuff came from the Yemeni archives but sadly the library at Sana'a was obliterated during a recent Saudi missile strike. When I last tried to find out some information, the web site was dead. I've since seen U Tube pictures of the library, there's absolutely nothing left except a huge crater. So much for the Arabic concerns about their history. Even one of the earliest Korans was destroyed. I downloaded lots of stuff but there's still mountains of history lost forever. Fundamentalist vandals, the bloody lot of them.”

“I remember you telling me that you thought the Saudi's were using this -what did you call it Veritas lingua Bedouin?”

Callie nodded as she corrected Dr Arnold.

“ It's Vetus iter lingua Bedouin. Yes, and I reckon the Saudi's deliberately destroyed the library because they didn't want anybody to catch on about their employment of the language in concocting this new Cyber fortress they've built. There are only a few brief trading notes transcribed to paper in Jordan and Egypt while Saudi had some ledgers mostly dealing with business arrangements. By far the biggest source was to be found in Sana'a and that's gone.”

Dr Arnold nodded as he followed Callie's reasoning.

“Do you remember me telling you that the Saudi's had intimated that some mole had tried to break into their fortress.”

“Yes.”

“Well our endeavours now point to somebody using that language to try and break into their fortress.”

“And?”

“Well it seems a coincidence that you seem to be one of the few people who's got any sort of handle on this lingua Bedouin.”

Callie shrugged again in true Gallic style. “Coincidences happen. I'm certainly not the only one, I can think of several Egyptian and Jordanian academics who have better skills than me.”

“Yes, but you're the only western individual we know of and further more you've got an axe to grind.”

“If you mean the sexual assault by bin Saud, then that's over and done with,” Callie lied, “unless he wants to take it further.”

“Does he?”

“How would I know?”

“How indeed, now for the other coincidence.”

“Oh do tell. Am I on trial or something?”

“No but you were in Paris when the attack was thwarted. Do you think it was an attack aimed at you?”

“Bloody hell! How would I know?”

“It was timed to take place at exactly when the train you had booked was due to leave. If it had been successful you could have been killed but you altered your plans, why?”

“I noticed we had been getting up later than anticipated throughout our stay so I changed the train for a later one in case we missed the early one.”

“Any explanations as to why you were getting up late?”
“Oh don't be bloody stupid. We were having a romantic bloody holiday in Paris. What d'you bloody think kept us in bed?”

Dr Arnold's face turned red either with embarrassment or anger, Callie knew not which but he quickly changed tack.

“Tell me Miss Denton, here's a hypothetical question. If you did stumble upon some sort of terrorist plot would you report it and if so, how would you report it?”

“Of course I would report it, I'd go to the police. I sense this question is less hypothetical than you are prepared to admit. Do you seriously think I'd let it go unreported, what d'you think I am?”

“I don't know what to think but there are too many coincidences between the attempt to hack into the Saudi fortress and your seemingly extensive knowledge of this 'Vetus iter lingua Bedouin'. The Saudi's tell me that they are convinced the hacker must have an extensive knowledge of modern Arabic as well as the ancient form. Might I ask, is your computer secure from Cyber attack?”

“As best as I can make it. My access connection to GCHQ makes that an imperative. Are you somehow trying to connect me to the terrorist attack?”

“I think you must agree it's plausible.”

“In what context; as a terrorist aiming to attack the west or as a mole exposing Saudi duplicity.”

“What makes you think the Saudi's are duplicitous?”

“Oh come on, they pose the biggest threat to modern democracy than any other force on the planet, thanks to naive politicians.”

“How?”

“Wahhabism and their efforts to spread its poison with all these extremist Imams being paid for by Saudi oil money or what ever.”

“Do you think it's dangerous?”

“Very!”

“Why?”

“I've just told you; we're going around in circles here. There's an old saying that 'No force on earth can defeat an idea who's time has come. For the wahhabists that time is now and they've got the idea plus the ears of one and a half thousand million Muslims. - Thanks to Saudi oil money and modern communications.”

“Are you Islamophobic?”

“Yes; that is in the strictest literal sense and not in the conventional, sloppy sun-reader, sensationalist parlance that sells headlines.”

“What do you mean by that?”

Callie sighed impatiently.

“Oh come on Dr Arnold, you know exactly what I mean. Phobia is more a rational fear not an irrational hatred!”

“Can you give any reasons?”

“Yes, take a walk with me around the campus and check out the looks I get from ethnic students now that the sensationalist rags have splashed my transgenderism all over the media since the trial. You'll see the reasons and hear them and occasionally feel them! Especially after dark.”

The professor felt forced to intervene.

“Are you serious Miss Denton? Here – in Cambridge?”

“It's not a function of intellect professor, it's a function of culture. They've been brought up to believe their bullshit literally and that means many would prefer to see me dead.”

“I am definitely justified in fearing them and reasonably justified in hating them except I don't let my feelings run away with me.”

Dr Arnold was squinting thoughtfully as he sensed the girl was on the verge of giving something away but the professor inadvertently created an escape route. Callie had decided she had said enough and was not going to reveal any more.

“If you've nothing more to ask, might I be allowed to leave now?”

“Well, we haven't discussed the real reason you're here, namely algorithms.”

“Another day perhaps professor.” I've had enough of unfounded accusations. Just leave me your written intentions and I'll deliver what I can when I can.”

She stood up and moved towards the door to test their intentions. Nothing happened as she grasped the door handle so she apologised for the impasse and left.

“Well! What d'you think of her? 'Q' asked the American.

“She's a strong willed individual.”

“She's one tough kid!” The professor added. “Not surprising seeing as what she's been through. For any kid to surmount her transgender problems at school and then still get into Cambridge is the mark of one determined little cookie.”

“I still think she's the mole.” Dr Arnold insisted.

“Well even if she is,” the professor argued, “she's causing the Saudi's more problems than us and if somehow she did report in the attack at the Gare-du-Nord then surely she's on our side.
“But what else does she know, what else isn't she telling us?”

“I'd just be thankful for small mercies, 'Q' insisted, “if she's on our side, then she'll most likely tell us the next time if there is a next time.”

“I'd dearly like to know what she knows. If you'd let me lean on her just that little bit more, -”

“I think the words kill, goose, gold and eggs spring to mind here,” the professor cautioned. After all, she's made no secret of her feelings towards the religion of her attacker, if that is all that concerns her then lets leave it there.”

“And if she was the one that sent me that disc,” 'Q' declared, “then long may she continue. So far she's done nothing that would indicate a danger. At least not to the UK.”

“Well,” Dr Arnold surmised. “I still have reservations about an individual who won't come clean and I'd advise you Brits to be on your guard concerning her.

Some weeks later, 'Q' received another disc that proved to be a golden nugget. A massive truck bomb bound for Basrah central market square in Iraq was thwarted on a seemingly random desert security stop. Fortunately the joint patrol had been secretly forewarned and in the nick of time, the Iraqi platoon and four American Marines escaped with their lives, - just!. The crater in the desert road exceeded fifty metres diameter.

A series of brief, secret and amusing but ironic exchanges between UK and US security forces touched upon desert moles and transatlantic phobias but Callie was thereafter left strictly alone.

Two more well organised terrorist attacks were intercepted before Callie finally completed her university career and then the unproven mole seemed to disappear as Callie and Maggie went down from their respective colleges for the last time to pick up their lives as Duke and soon-to-be Duchess of Denton Hall.



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