Chapter 4: Reconnaissance By Fire
Sunday May 31, 2026
Stay Deansgate Apartments
Deansgate, Manchester, England
Without realizing it, Sarah has spent a month in England. This morning she wakes up and does her daily exercises. She’d originally planned to visit Poole every weekend but instead she’s promised Michael she’ll spend her first month conducting recces of her routes to and from GMP HQ.
After running around Manchester throughout the day, Sarah decides to try out The Castlefield Spa at the Y Club for her routine skin care. The skin care has made Sarah’s skin glow, which makes her look even more exotic than normal. She looks incredibly sexy in her tank-top, gym shorts, and running shoes.
On exiting the spa and passing through the gym, Sarah sees it full of people working out. She rolls her eyes when several men clock her and make their way towards her. Fortunately, her smartphone rings. It’s Michael number.
“Are you busy tonight?” asks Michael without preamble.
“Not really. Why?”
“I was wondering if we could have dinner together.”
“Are you asking me out on a date?” asks Sarah, smiling to herself.
“Actually, it’s a working dinner. I have an idea that I want to discuss with you regarding our mission.”
“Oh,” says Sarah, disappointed.
“So, are you available?” asks Michael.
“Sure, where are you now?”
“Right behind you.”
Sarah immediately turns around and sees Michael walking a few metres behind her, his signature cheeky grin on his face. She can’t help smiling seeing his silly grin. This is the first time Sarah’s seen Michael in casual clothes. Michael’s wearing a T-shirt with the word ‘Bulmers’ emblazoned across the chest, jeans, running shoes, and a backpack on his back. He looks like he’s just finished taking a shower after a workout. He has muscular arms, covered in scars, and a broad chest and shoulders. Too bad he’s starting to sport a pot-belly. Too bad.
Sarah turns off her smartphone, waits for Michael, and then puts her arm through his while they exit the gym. The men following her look disappointed and scatter. She lets go of Michael’s arm as soon as they’ve exited the gym. Michael knows she only used him as camouflage to avoid being swarmed by the gym-rats buzzing around her, but he doesn’t mind. In fact, he’d felt a jolt of electricity and his heart rate had increased when she’d grabbed him. Sarah actually felt the same way, but neither one shows it. They walk towards the Sapporo Teppanyaki Restaurant near the Y Club. It’s almost empty as it’s not dinner time yet. After reading the menu, they both agree on the Emperor Set, a set meal for two, and large glasses of an Australian Riesling. They watch the chef prepare their food in front of them. The sounds of the chef’s cooking can mask their talk.
“I thought you worked out at the GMP gym?” asks Sarah.
Michael only shakes his head and smiles.
“Why not?” asks Sarah.
“Well, compared to the Y Club, it’s not really a nice place to meet girls, is it?”
Sarah rolls her eyes.
“So how was your recce?” he asks.
“The routes I can take to and from my apartment are almost infinite. All I have to do is change my route and vary my working hours and it’ll be difficult for the opposition to snatch or ambush me, unless they have unlimited resources, which is highly unlikely.”
“That’s excellent, Sarah!” says Michael.
Sarah only smiles at him.
“Do you have a specialty in Densus?” he asks next.
“My experience is mostly in intelligence and EOD, but I was a team leader in the Strike Force before they sent me to Interpol.”
“How good are you in unarmed combat?”
Sarah thinks for a moment before answering him. Besides her training at Brimob, Gegana, and Densus, her dad had also drilled her and her siblings in intensive hand-to-hand combat since they were young. She doesn’t want Michael to think she’s overconfident.
“I’m sure I could give a member of the SAS a hard time,” answers Sarah, giving him a smile and a wink.
Michael’s pleased with Sarah’s answer. “Now let me ask you a question. How much do you know about the Battle of Waterloo?”
Sarah again takes a moment before answering him. Sarah and Tony like to discuss military strategy with their dad, as he’s considered an expert in that field. Truth be told, Sarah and her family probably know more about the Battle of Waterloo than most Brits.
“I’ve read about it…” she answers carefully.
“Now, disregarding the outcome of the actual battle, who would you rather be? Field Marshall Sir Arthur Wellesley, who was the ultimate master of defensive warfare? Or Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, the ultimate master of offence?”
“I’d rather be Sir Arthur Wellesley,” answers Sarah without any hesitation.
“Why?” asks Michael, giving her another smile.
“Defensive warfare means we can choose the battleground and force the enemy to come to us, minimizing our losses even against a superior force. I’d rather not go on the offensive unless I have, at the very least, a three-to-one advantage to ensure a decisive victory.”
“What if you’re on the offensive, but you don’t have superior numbers?” asks Michael.
“Besides having good intelligence, a good strategy, and good officers under my command, I would need to have speed, surprise, and violence of action to overwhelm the enemy.”
“Wow! That’s very good!” says Michael.
Sarah smiles happily at being praised by an officer from the finest special forces unit in the world.
“Anyhow, here’s my idea…” he continues.
Sarah listens attentively as he tells her his idea, which is to provoke The Cartel into coming out of their hideout. Michael’s idea sounds audacious and will need meticulous planning, but she likes it very much. At least they can be more proactive instead of just acting as liaison officers and waiting for other people to do their job.
“Well? What do you think?” asks Michael.
Sarah considers her answer before replying. “Actually, your idea reminds me of the Battle of Agincourt more than Waterloo.”
Michael becomes speechless. It takes him a moment to answer. “You’re absolutely right, of course.”
Sarah is right. Michael’s idea is more similar to the Battle of Agincourt. But Michael hadn’t expected the Indonesian policewoman to know about Agincourt, which was why he’d compared it less accurately to the more famous Battle of Waterloo.
“Any other comments?” he asks.
“How come you don’t seem particularly concerned about being snatched by them?”
“Well, they’d more likely slot me on the spot than snatch me if they knew I was from the SAS. It would be utterly daft for The Cartel to snatch and torture to death an SAS trooper, let alone a squadron OC. I’d hate to think about the consequences for them if they really did that,” he explained.
“What would happen to them if they did?” asks Sarah.
“Nothing,” answers Michael, winking. “However, their mates would probably have a hard time finding them because they would have somehow vanished without a trace.”
Sarah smiles. She had heard rumours about how the SAS prefer to make disappear those who cross them. A perfect murder is a murder with no dead body. Without a dead body, the police don’t have a case for murder.
They discussed Michael’s idea until late at night. Overall, Sarah enjoyed her dinner with Michael.
Monday June 1, 2026
Murphy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta, Jakarta
Frank Llywelyn is picked up at the airport by Santoso. He’s needed to execute Phase Four of their plan, which is to dominate the supply chain of ecstasy. He has also been asked to design and supervise the development of an escape tunnel at the rear of the factory.
Frank has an appointment with someone this afternoon at one of Jakarta’s Irish pubs. All the tables are full of foreigners, even though it’s not yet dinner time. Frank waits for his guest, who finally turns up almost fifteen minutes late. He stands to shake hands with the man, who appears to have brought four bodyguards with him. The five men keep their jackets on. Frank doesn’t need to frisk them to know these men are armed.
“Thank you for seeing me, Nafiri,” greets Frank in fluent Bahasa Indonesia.
Nafiri only nods.
“Would you like to order some food?” offers Frank. “The Celtic Chicken here is excellent.”
“Get to the point! Why do you want to see me?” asks Nafiri, sharply.
Frank only smiles at being treated like that. Nafiri has positioned himself as someone needed by The Cartel and not the other way around. Nafiri is the largest importer of raw materials for ecstasy in Southeast Asia and he doesn’t like being summoned like this, even though The Cartel is his biggest customer.
“We need more raw materials than before, not just for our factory in Indonesia, but also for Ireland. We also need them to be delivered according to our agreed schedule. There’ve been a number of times where they’re delivered late and this has disrupted production,” says Frank.
“How can you expect prompt delivery with that kind of price? Do you want to do business with me or extort me?” asks Nafiri, looking mean.
“Of course we want to do business with you, Nafiri,” says Frank, patiently. “We just want assurance that you can and will fulfil all our needs.”
“What if I just say no?”
“That’s your call, but my boss wouldn’t like that,” says Frank.
Nafiri gives a loud laugh. “So what if your boss doesn’t like it?”
“If you won’t cooperate with us, we’ll be forced to take over your business,” says Frank calmly.
Nafiri stands up angrily. “Who do you think you are?”
His four bodyguards start to open their jackets to reveal their pistols. The other people in the pub look at them quizzically.
“You only have two options, Nafiri. One, you can voluntarily hand over your business to us…” says Frank.
“Yeah, right!” shouts Nafiri angrily.
“Or two, we can force you to hand over your business,” says Frank.
Nafiri starts to reach for his gun under his jacket, followed by his bodyguards. The five men don’t get the chance to unholster their guns before all the other patrons pull out assault rifles from under their tables. They immediately overpower the four bodyguards and start to beat them with the butts of their rifles. Nafiri is shocked that all the other patrons are Frank’s accomplices, but there’s not much he can do about it. Once they’re finished beating the four bodyguards into bloody pulps, the rifles are pointed towards Nafiri. The M4 Carbines look so frightening that Nafiri can only freeze in fear, while a couple of the men frisk him and take away his weapon.
“Decision time, Nafiri,” says Frank.
Nafiri keeps silent. He’s not about to let go of something that took him fifteen years to build. Frank takes out a folder that Richard had given him. Inside are photographs of Nafiri’s wife and his four kids in various activities.
“You don’t want anything bad to happen to your family, do you?” asks Frank.
Nafiri starts to turn pale, but he is still defiant. “You Brits wouldn’t dare hurt women and children.”
“Maybe you don’t know this, but one of our colleagues is a psychopath. An absolute, bona-fide psychopath. He doesn’t care who his victim is, whether it’s a man, woman, or child,” says Frank. “In fact, he enjoys hurting women and children.”
Frank turns on a video on his tablet and puts it in front of Nafiri. Lukas is seen strapped to a chair, in front of a pretty girl strapped on top of a table. Nafiri knows Lukas well because he’s one of his customers and it’s Lukas who always orders raw materials from him. Lukas had withheld information regarding Nafiri, just so he could have some leverage with Patrick. Lukas became more and more demanding until Patrick finally decided that Lukas was more of a liability than an asset. Richard succeeded in getting Lukas to reveal the name and contact number of their supplier and then Lukas was no longer needed by The Cartel.
Nafiri sees the pretty girl scream in pain when Niall stabs his knife into her navel and eviscerates her. The next scenes are even more terrifying, especially when Niall starts to finish off Lukas with a wooden board embedded with nails. Niall roars with delight when he hits Lukas, who is still alive, as bits of his face start flying off from the blows. Nafiri is forced to watch until he can’t take it anymore and begs Frank to stop playing the horrifying video.
Over the next few hours, Frank ‘coordinates’ with Nafiri the details of handing over his business to the Irish Drug Cartel. The biggest supplier of raw materials for ecstasy will now fully supply The Cartel’s drug factory in Indonesia and Ireland.
If no one stops them, the Irish Drug Cartel will become the largest crime syndicate in the world.
Tuesday June 2, 2026
Central Park, Manchester, England
The downstream investigation by Arthur, Matt, and Liz shows that the MDMA is sold at its lowest prices in three places; in North West England, in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, and in County Derry in Northern Ireland. This tells the team where The Cartel’s factories most likely are.
Broussard, Paul, and Arthur will concentrate on investigating North West England, while James, Matt, and Liz, who are Irish, will focus on County Donegal and County Derry. Sarah has to stay in Manchester to work on finding the factory in Indonesia and Michael still has to liaise with the MoD on the missing PE4s. The others will deploy once they’ve presented their plans, including all the necessary budgets, to Broussard, who asks them to present to him within the next three days.
They all object to the timetable, but Broussard disregards their objections. “Three days. That’s all you have.”
Sarah is baffled by her teammates, but Michael only smirks at their behaviour.
“The team seem pessimistic about the work assigned to them,” she comments after the meeting.
“No, they’re just full of shite as always,” says Michael.
“How is that?”
“What do you usually say when your boss gives you a challenging job?”
“I say ‘Yes, sir!’ as always,” answers Sarah with a raised eyebrow.
Michael shakes his head. “The secret to becoming a legend in the workplace is to always remind your boss how impossibly challenging your job is. Once you accomplish the impossible task, your boss will appreciate you more because you achieved ‘the impossible’. This way, your boss won’t take you for granted anymore. So even though our friends said that they can’t finish their work in three days, I wouldn’t be surprised if they submit tomorrow.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” says Sarah, trying not to smile.
After lunch that day, Michael invites everyone back into the meeting room. Once everyone is present, Michael passionately presents his idea.
“Rather than splitting the team and having them investigate different areas, we can all go together on this. All this time, we’ve been passive in our search for The Cartel members and it’s high time we do something more proactive. Although we haven’t proven it yet, we know that The Cartel distributes their goods to the dealers by way of Gwilliam’s. Frankly, we might never prove that. It’s better if we take the initiative so I propose a more active method to provoke the members of The Cartel into showing themselves.
“In military terms, this is called reconnaissance by fire. In essence, the plan is simple. I go inside Gwilliam’s, identify the dealers, and then ‘ask’ for members of The Cartel to meet me. Before that, we should blanket the area with the police and even military. If any members of The Cartel take the bait, all I have to do is lure them into our ambush positions. It will be just like the opening of the Battle of Agincourt…”
Michael tries to present his idea with gusto, but his enthusiasm makes him look silly. Nevertheless, his plan is solid. Basically, he’s suggesting provoking The Cartel in all the Gwilliam’s clubs in Great Britain and Ireland. Using a map displayed on the briefing screens, Michael presents all the locations of Gwilliam’s clubs and also places where they can conduct an ambush. Michael then presents a detailed plan using the Five Paragraph Order, right down to the budget needed for this to work.
“So… that’s my idea,” says Michael proudly. “What do you think?”
Everyone is silent. Sarah and her teammates are trying hard not to laugh after seeing Michael’s presentation. Broussard, on the other hand, has gone red in the face.
“Michael, are you on the piss?” asks Broussard, angrily.
“Of course not,” says Michael. “What’s wrong with my idea?”
“Surely you can’t be serious about this?” asks Broussard, giving him an incredulous look.
“I’m serious… and don’t call me ‘Shirley’!” quotes Michael, pretending to pout.
It’s a line from the old movie “Airplane!” and the team finally laugh out loud. Broussard still looks angry, but Sarah can see that James and Paul are interested in Michael’s idea.
“This sort of thing is not the mission of the Interpol IRT! Our mission specifically states that the military is involved only when we have found Cartel members, drug factories, or distribution centres. They are not involved in locating them. That’s our job,” explains Broussard, trying to be patient.
“I’m still in this team, am I not?” asks Michael.
“Indeed. But that doesn’t mean you can intimidate people, beat them up, and break their bones. Not to mention breaking half a dozen civil laws in the process!”
“The drug dealers, or even The Cartel, can just sue me for that, Chief,” says Michael, grinning broadly. His teammates smile and Michael becomes even more confident he can bring Broussard round to his way of thinking.
“And there’s no way you can go inside Gwilliam’s alone, either,” says Broussard, starting to get impatient.
“Sarah will be my immediate backup,” says Michael.
“Sarah was from the Traffic Management Centre before she was transferred to Interpol. How the devil could you choose her as your backup?” asks Broussard, frowning.
“I don’t think anyone here believes that, Chief,” says Michael, smirking.
The others laugh while Broussard glowers at Michael, but he only grins at his boss.
“Sarah is here as a liaison officer to locate The Cartel’s factory in Indonesia, not to conduct offensive operations against them,” says Broussard firmly.
James seems to want to say something, but then shuts his mouth. Broussard notices this.
“Do you have anything to add?” he asks, turning his glower on James.
“Ye could’ve asked for anyone from the INP for a liaison officer, but I found out ye specifically asked them to send someone from Densus-88,” says James. “Ye have a couple of highly-trained individuals in this team, Chief, so I suggest we make use of them to our advantage, rather than merely employing them to liaise.”
James is right and Broussard starts to calm down. He thinks hard for a few seconds before continuing. “Sarah, what do you think of Michael’s plan?”
“It’s audacious, but I like it,” answers Sarah. “The Cartel members are in constant seclusion so I don’t think we’ll be able to flush them out without provoking them. As in any defensive warfare strategy, if they do come out and try to attack us, it would be on our terms rather than theirs. I think we need to be more unconventional in our tactics against them and this is one way we could do it.”
Her teammates nod in agreement except their commander, who still looks hesitant. He has already lost one team member on this mission and Michael’s plan carries high risks.
“What do you think, Paul?” asks Broussard finally.
Paul shrugs. “The opposition won’t expect it. It’s such a bone plan, but brilliant enough that it might work.”
“Why not just say it’s brilliant?” asks Michael, frowning.
“Whatever,” says Paul, smirking.
“Arthur? Matt? Liz?” asks Broussard.
“All these months and we’ve yet to succeed in apprehending core members of The Cartel. I think we have to try something different,” says Arthur.
“There are still a lot of risks involved, but I agree with Arthur,” says Matt.
“Concur,” says Liz.
Broussard again thinks hard for a moment. He has promised Police Brigadier General Prasetyo he’ll keep their best police officer out of danger. But James is right; it would be a waste of talent to have people of Michael and Sarah’s calibre on his team without utilizing them to their full potential. Broussard knows that he might regret this decision, but he and his team have been unable to show any results these past few months and the Home Office and his superiors at Interpol are starting to breathe down his neck.
“All right then, we’ll do it your way. However, we will only do it in three cities. Letterkenny, Derry, then Liverpool, in that order. If we don’t get any reaction from them in those cities, then we will never get any reaction from them. Let’s also leave the military out of this operation for now, except for Michael. Matt, Liz, and Arthur can deploy immediately to coordinate with the local CT units. Michael, I want you to brief the non-Irish members for deployment to Ireland,” orders Broussard. “Could you please have your material ready to present to us first thing tomorrow morning so we can all depart at noon?”
“I still have to coordinate with the Royal Military Police today regarding their investigation in one of our army bases,” says Michael, stealing a glance at Sarah. “You’re asking a lot, Chief, but don’t worry. I’ll get it done.”
Sarah stifles a laugh when she sees Broussard roll his eyes. It looks like he already knows his team’s bad working habits.
Tuesday June 2, 2026
Letterkenny Court Hotel
Letterkenny, County Donegal, Republic of Ireland
They all check-in at the Letterkenny Court Hotel at An Phríomhshráid (Main Street). Michael immediately conducts a CTR, or Close Target Reconnaissance, of the local Gwilliam’s. After Michael is finished with his recce, it’s then Sarah and Liz’s turn. They walk leisurely to the club and although Sarah has spent a month with her team, she seldom chats with anyone bar Michael.
“So, who are you married to, Liz?” asks Sarah.
“My husband is a Scotsman, actually, and a Captain in the British Army.”
“Really? Which regiment?” asks Sarah.
“He’s in the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police. We met during one of the joint investigations we often conduct together,” says Liz. “What about ye?”
“I’m still single,” answers Sarah.
“How are things with Michael?”
“What about things with Michael?” asks Sarah, smiling.
“Well, I can see that ye’re attracted to him,” comments Liz, giving her a knowing smile.
Sarah only laughs and ignores her question. They both finally reach and enter Gwilliam’s, which is almost empty, and they order two sparkling waters. They continue talking, discreetly conducting their recce.
“It’s all right and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Look at me, I used to date someone on my team and ended up marrying him,” says Liz. “Michael is very much attracted to ye too, ye know.”
“Really? What do you think of him?” asks Sarah.
“In a nutshell, he’s one of those ‘adorable arsehole’ types,” says Liz dryly.
Sarah laughs. “What sort of a person is that?”
“Well, he’s charming and funny. He’s really fun to be with, but there are times ye just want to throttle the cheeky bastard instead.”
Sarah laughs louder. She knows exactly what kind of person Michael is because he’s like her brother. When Tony was courting Lydia, who is a former Miss Indonesia, he sometimes made her feel so exasperated that she felt like throwing both hands around his neck and choking the life out of him. However, Tony’s personality intrigued Lydia so much that she finally picked him to be her partner, even though there were hundreds of other men trying to win her heart.
“He’s one of those ‘bad boy’ types, isn’t he?” asks Sarah.
Liz thinks for a moment before answering her. “No, I don’t really think so. A few months ago, he told me he was looking for a committed relationship. He wants to find the right girl, settle down, get married, have kids, et cetera, et cetera.”
“Oh,” says Sarah, a bit disappointed.
Sarah’s too engrossed with her work and has no intention of getting married. She hasn’t found a man yet to win her heart, anyway. Although Sarah is interested in and enjoys hanging out with Michael, she still hasn’t really connected with him yet. Looking at his style and behaviour so far, she can’t entirely believe that he’s a squadron commander in the SAS. For now, she just considers him her friend and co-worker.
After an hour observing the interior of Gwilliam’s, they walk back to the hotel. The Interpol team, along with the commander of the Garda ERU, a man named Clive who immediately looked smitten on being introduced to Sarah, then meet at the Lemon Tree Restaurant, not far from the hotel. Liz has reserved the whole restaurant for them and the small but luxurious place can only accommodate their team. They eat and compare notes from their recce.
Gwilliam’s has a dance floor half the size of a football field in the middle of the venue. The dance area is surrounded by lounge seats with long bars on the four walls. Clive tells them that dealers usually offer MDMA to people seated at the lounge seats.
Michael’s plan is simple. Michael, supported by Sarah nearby, will identify the dealers. Michael will then intimidate and provoke them so The Cartel will start looking for him. Michael hopes The Cartel will try to snatch or kill him, just like they did with Karen. However, the Garda Emergency Response Unit (Garda ERU), the counterterrorist unit of An Garda Síochána, will prevent this from happening when they apprehend or kill Cartel members who show up. One weakness of Michael’s plan is that he might be recognized as someone hunting The Cartel. However, The Cartel couldn’t possibly identify Michael because of his status as a member of the SAS, which means his identity is classified as Top Secret.
Clive ends his briefing. “By 22:00, all Garda ERU personnel will be ready at their assigned positions. We’ll be close to ye, but probably not close enough if they attempt to kill ye on the spot.”
“Right. That’s why Sarah will be nearby as my immediate backup inside the night club. She’ll only be a few metres away from me,” explains Michael.
“Sarah’s yer immediate backup?” asks Clive, looking doubtful.
“She’s from Densus-88, Clive,” explains Michael.
“Oh, okay,” says Clive, nodding. “But will she be yer only backup?”
“Indeed,” answers Michael. “Why?”
Clive gives Sarah a wide grin. “She’s not exactly inconspicuous, ye know. How can she be effective as yer backup when she’ll always be surrounded by fellas offering to buy her a Guinness or two?”
The others also start staring at Sarah, making her feel awkward and sheepish. Clive has pointed out a major flaw in Michael’s plan. If Sarah goes to the night club alone, she’ll most definitely be swarmed and this will prevent her backing up Michael effectively. Michael winces as he hadn’t calculated for that, but then Clive offers a solution.
“So, Sarah, how about if I join ye as Michael’s backup?” suggests Clive. “Ye can go inside as my date, ye know.”
Michael hastily adds. “The Cartel knows who you are, Clive, so they would probably slot you instead of me. You’re right about Sarah being surrounded, though, so she should be my date instead. That way, we can support each other.”
Everyone laughs as it’s crystal clear Michael would be jealous if Sarah goes out with someone else. Only Broussard doesn’t laugh along.
“That puts both you and Sarah at risk of being identified by The Cartel. I don’t mind if you risk your own arse on this bone plan of yours, but I won’t risk Sarah’s,” says Broussard.
“Sarah’s what, Chief?” asks Michael with his cheeky grin.
“Sarah’s ar… I mean, Sarah’s life,” says Broussard, with a voice that suddenly sounds curt.
The team laughs, but Broussard does not. Sarah sees how serious he is and how close he is to getting angry.
“We’re already committed to doing this, Chief. I don’t mind providing close protection for Michael,” says Sarah.
“But The Cartel will most likely identify you!” protests Broussard.
“That’s highly unlikely unless they know I’m from Densus and they have someone there in their payroll.”
Broussard thinks for a moment before commenting. “You’re taking a lot of risks here.”
“I can take care of myself, Chief,” says Sarah.
“That’s exactly what Karen said!” says Broussard, emotionally.
Everyone goes quiet and looks away at the mention of their deceased teammate, except Michael, Sarah, and Clive, who give sharp looks at Broussard. They’re all silent for a few seconds.
“Karen didn’t have backup at that time, Chief,” says Michael softly, but giving his commander a hard look.
It’s Broussard’s turn to stay silent. He wants to abort this plan, but he doesn’t have a better idea. They are committed to the operation, especially since they have already deployed the Garda ERU.
Broussard sighs. “Fine. The plan is a go, but let’s take it one step at a time.”
Everyone is relieved, but they then tense up when they realize that two of their members are about to enter one of The Cartel’s strongholds. Broussard asks for the bill, but it turns out Liz has already taken care of it.
“What’s the occasion?” asks Arthur.
“This afternoon I got an e-mail from Garda HQ. I’ve been promoted to Cigire,” says Liz, proudly.
“That’s bloody marvellous, Liz! Congratulations!” says Broussard. He shakes her hand, followed by the others, who are also happy for her.
It’s a happy ending to a tense meeting.
Tuesday June 2, 2026
Letterkenny, County Donegal, Republic of Ireland
Michael and Sarah walk leisurely towards Gwilliam’s. Both Sarah and Michael have a radio receiver and transmitter implanted inside their ear. Michael’s call sign is Mike, Sarah is Sierra, Broussard is Zero, and Clive is One.
“Thanks for backing me up back there,” says Michael.
“Well, I’d rather pretend to be your date rather than Clive’s,” says Sarah, making Michael laugh out loud. Clive is even more unattractive than Michael.
They keep on walking and enjoying Letterkenny’s main street, which is quite hot this evening. Despite the heat, Sarah’s wearing a long-sleeved shirt so her toned arms and shoulders won’t attract too much attention. Michael, on the other hand, prominently displays his muscular arms and broad chest and shoulders in a Polo shirt. When they pass other girls, lots of them smile at Michael and he always smiles back. Sarah feels something strange whenever Michael does this. Never in her life has she felt something like this and it confuses her.
Sarah suddenly remembers the first time she talked to Michael. There was something about him that intrigued her, even though he wasn’t good-looking and his face was full of scars. At that time, Sarah thought that Michael was interesting as an officer of the SAS. However, it turns out that other girls who don’t know him also find him attractive. Sarah still doesn’t understand why she, and apparently other girls also, are so drawn to Michael.
Unconsciously, Sarah grabs for Michael’s arm. Just as it had been at the Y Club, both Sarah and Michael feel a jolt of electricity when they touch. Just as it had been then too, neither one shows it. Girls who pass them no longer smile at Michael, but instead flash Sarah unfriendly looks. For some reason, this makes Sarah satisfied.
In front of them walk a pair of sexy girls. One is wearing a crop top and low-rise jeans. There’s a pinstripe tattoo on the small of her back and Michael keeps staring at it. That is, he’s either looking at the tattoo or at the girl’s firm, rounded arse. Michael keeps looking at the girl’s lower backside, which makes Sarah’s strange feeling rise again.
“Enjoying the view, Michael?” asks Sarah.
“N-N-Not really,” stammers Michael. “I don’t fancy girls with tattoos.”
Sarah starts to pout, as she knows that it’s not exactly the tattoos that grabbed Michael’s attention. “Why? It looks sexy to me.”
“Well, if you’re already hot and sexy, you don’t need tattoos to show off,” answers Michael. “It’s like putting bumper stickers on a sports car. I mean, you didn’t put bumper stickers on your Huracán, right?”
“No,” answers Sarah. “But wait! How did you know I have a Lamborghini?”
“Tony once told me your mum bought you a car to go to work after you graduated from the police academy,” answers Michael, trying not to laugh.
Sarah’s proud of her supercar, but embarrassed that Michael knows she couldn’t afford a car on her own. She wants to pinch Michael’s arm for embarrassing her but unfortunately, they’ve arrived at Gwilliam’s. The music is deafening as they enter the club. There are still several empty tables so they immediately take a seat and order Guinness.
“Zero, this is Mike and we’re in position,” reports Michael.
“Zero roger,” answers Broussard through the receivers inside their ears.
Michael and Sarah observe the people dancing while looking out for dealers. They don’t have to look hard, as one soon comes up to them. He’s tall and huge, built like a boxer.
“Want some Mandy?” asks the dealer.
“Sure, how much?” asks Michael.
“Twelve quid a pop.”
“Bullshit! It costs less than ten quid.”
“Okay, I’ll sell it to ye for eleven quid then.”
“Tell your supplier to meet me here!”
“Fuck off!” curses the dealer, giving Michael a mean look.
Michael suddenly stands up while punching him in the solar plexus. The dealer folds in pain and Michael slams his face hard into the table. The dealer’s nose is smashed and blood starts spouting everywhere. He takes out something from his pocket, but Michael seizes it and slams his face again into the table. One of his teeth was left on the table top, now splashed with blood. Michael hands Sarah what he’d taken from the dealer, which turns out to be a cheap switchblade.
“Tell your supplier to meet me here, right this second!” orders Michael.
The dealer looks absolutely terrified.
“Now fuck off!” snaps Michael.
The dealer staggers away with his nose and mouth pouring blood. A number of people saw the whole thing and they keep looking at Michael and Sarah, who ignore them and go back to drinking their Guinness. Michael looks at Sarah and she just looks back at him, smiling.
Sarah’s not remotely bothered by Michael’s actions, as she often treats the criminals she catches the same way. Her friends at the Direktorat Reserse Kriminal (Criminal Investigations Directorate) are even more ruthless as they would happily shoot the legs of suspects who were ‘escaping arrest’. It’s almost impossible to shoot a running man in the leg and most Indonesian policemen are shitty pistol shooters so those suspects were allegedly ‘shot in the leg’ while in custody. This is a violation of the law and human rights but Sarah thinks those criminals deserve it, especially dealers who sell their drugs to minors and get them addicted. If her conscience starts bothering her, Sarah only has to remember her close friend who OD’d. Michael is right. If the dealers object to his treatment, they can just sue him.
Michael and Sarah wait to see whether The Cartel will react. Although they act cool and seem nonchalant, they are on high alert and are aware of their surroundings. They drink their Guinness with their left hands and keep their right hands hidden from view. After more than three hours without a reaction from The Cartel, Michael and Sarah finally exit the nightclub. They execute counter-surveillance measures, backed up by plain-clothed members of the Garda ERU. After walking around Letterkenny for an hour, it’s determined that no one is following them so they return to the hotel.
The Interpol team has just initiated their first offensive against the Irish Drug Cartel.