In Dover, Charlie returned to the office from an assignment and found Samantha busy at work tapping away on the keyboard of her laptop. Samantha had been trying to concentrate on work but as the afternoon wore on, she had become lost in thoughts about the exciting prospects that lay in store for the weekend. She glanced up as Charlie came in.
‘Hi Sam, I can’t wait for the weekend.’ he grunted in reply, glancing up at the clock on the wall.
‘It’s not far away.’ said Samantha, grinning.
‘Charlie, I’ve found out more about the Rolls Royce used in the hit and run.’
’I went to see Aunt Miranda last night and when I asked her if she knew anything about it, she became rather vague, which is unlike her, although I suppose it happened a long time ago. She was more interested in why I wanted to know, but in the end told me she had taken the car to drive to work at the ambulance station in Dover for her night shift. She left it in the carpark overnight and came out in the morning to find it gone.
‘Did she report it stolen?’ asked Charlie.
‘Yes she did and said that her father, Lord Barker, went ballistic when he found out! She agreed with what I found in the archives that the police had found it parked in a lay-by later that day. She really was insistent why I wanted to know.’
‘What did you tell her, Sam?’
‘That I was doing some research for a story on Uncle Johnny. She got upset and told me I should let sleeping dogs lie and when I said I wanted to try to clear his name, she became furious and refused to answer any more questions.’
Charlie mulled over what Sam had just told him, wondering who had stolen the car and whether the squadron leader’s death had been an accident. Could someone have murdered him to stop him giving evidence on Faulkner’s behalf at the trial, as the entry in the diary had suggested?
James Britton left the underground car park of Thames House in his Porsche and joined the traffic heading out of central London. Acting as any good intelligence officer, he kept his eye on the rear view mirror as he drove through south London. He soon spotted the large black Audi A4 saloon a couple of cars back that was keeping pace with him. He lost it by speeding up over a junction on an orange traffic signal that halted the following cars on red. Keeping a constant look out for any other tails, he got on the M25 motorway, satisfied that everything behind appeared normal, although he knew that MI6 surveillance officers were just as skilled as his lot at keeping a low profile, using many different vehicles, depending on the target’s priority. He kept thinking MI6 might be involved in some sort of skulduggery, and began wondering if anyone in MI5 was involved. He mustn’t get paranoid, James thought, but something was developing.
Charlie finished work for the afternoon and was just about to leave when reception buzzed telling him he had a visitor downstairs. Surprised on hearing who it was, he was just about to tell Samantha when she beat him to it.
‘Is that James downstairs? I’ll get him.’ she beamed and shot across the room and out of the door. Charlie winched as it crashed against the wall, almost coming off its hinges, and wondered how she knew it was James.
Two minutes later James Britton walked in followed by a smiling Samantha.
‘Hello, bro.’ James greeted Charlie, hugging him.
‘What’s this, Jimbo, a flying visit?’ he asked, noting Sam’s keen interest in seeing his brother again, as she stood close beside him.
‘You could say that, Charlie.’
‘Great! How’s about we go down the Nelson for a drink, Jimbo? Do you fancy one Sam?’
‘Yes, but I’m going to pop home first and get some things.’ said Samantha, looking at James with a twinkle in her eye. As she went out the door and slammed it behind her, Charlie asked James, ’Things? What’s she going on about?″
‘I’m sure all will be revealed later.’ replied James, leaning against Samantha’s desk.
Walking down the street on the way down to the pub, James brought Charlie up to speed.
‘I tried to find out today why that court martial you’re interested in got restricted again and drew a blank. It’s been classified right from the very top. Something strange is going on, Charlie, there’s a lot of unrest in the air with the way MI6 are acting. They’ve always been aloof when dealing with MI5 but now it’s like they’re on a different planet.’
Glancing behind him, James looked at Charlie.
‘I reckon someone’s put a tail on me, Bro.’
’You’d better be careful, Jimbo, but what puzzles me is why all the cloak and dagger stuff over a trial that happened seventy odd years ago?″ said Charlie, worried about his brother.
‘It’s got to be something big, that’s for sure. Have you found out anything more?’ James asked Charlie.
‘Maybe, have you heard of a society called the Link? The deputy pm mentioned them in his speech at Oxford just before he died. I’ve found out it was a British right wing society at the start of the war with connections to Nazi Germany, but couldn’t find out anything else.’
‘No, I haven’t, but I’ll check it out for you when I get back to the office.’
‘Find out what you can, Jimbo, even if it means rattling someone’s cage.’
‘Sounds like a good idea to me.’
‘Where are you staying tonight? You’re welcome to stay at mine but all I can offer is the settee.’
‘Don’t worry, bro, I’m not staying that long.’ said James as they arrived at the pub.
Inside, the saloon bar of the Lord Nelson was busy with early evening drinkers and Charlie ordered two pints of draught London Pride for them.
‘Cheers!’ said James, clinking his brother’s glass with affection.
At that moment Samantha entered the bar, carrying a sailing jacket and a canvas bag slung over her shoulder and joined them.
‘Oh, those things.’ said Charlie looking at the sailing gear.
‘You going sailing for the weekend on your mate’s boat down in the harbour, then?’
‘No, I’m going sailing for the weekend with James on the Solent.’
‘What!’ spluttered Charlie in surprise, feeling hurt.
‘That’s why I came down, to collect Sam.’ said James.
Charlie pulled himself together and they chatted as the drinks flowed, laughing and enjoying themselves. Later, James, thinking he might have had one too many, decided not to drive down with Samantha to the Solent that evening. Turning to the proprietor behind the bar, he asked if she had a room free for the night, when Samantha interrupted.
‘Don’t be silly, James, you’re welcome to stay at mine, but all I can offer is the settee.’ she laughed, not realising she was mimicking the exact words Charlie had said to his brother when they had arrived at the pub.
‘That sounds good to me, Sam. I’ve slept on worse.’ thanked James with a smile, noting the frown on his brother’s face.
They finished their drinks and went out of the pub, as a man sitting at a table within earshot pulled out his mobile phone and sent a text.