The Terrorist’s Game
“What I’m saying is that I tried very hard to give them my reality and my reality is kind of interesting.”
Talia’s mind froze. She couldn’t process the information she received in that moment. Percival couldn’t have known where they were. How could he have known? What if he was lying in wait for them in Reykjavik? If he was there, then the satellites and the timing wouldn’t have been an issue, so it simply could not be. Should they have focused on the satellite tracks over Iceland? Were they chasing their tails like a dog? Could he track them? She ran everything through her mind as she twisted her wedding ring around and around her finger.
Cameron couldn’t believe that Percival could best him in a technology battle. No one could do that, at least no one ever had. The events and the timing didn’t add up. How could he have known about the sat phone and its capabilities? He couldn’t have. He thought about it. He may have tracked the sat phone, but he couldn’t be in Iceland. Because of the timing and its relation to the satellite schedules, he had to be in Eastern Europe. He had looked at all of the schedules for the satellites. The skies over Iceland were not clear at that time. If the satellite theory wasn’t accurate, then they had nothing. From what he was experiencing, he believed that Percival may have had technology advanced enough to counter anything that Cameron could provide.
Or, did he actually trace Percival’s location to Reykjavik? Who was winning the game? What was the missing piece? Every time Cameron pondered one missing piece, he got several more pieces to an ever expanding puzzle. Dmitri hated his wife and was leaving her when he had been killed, or disappeared. Leonid said ‘disappeared.’ Talia mourned a man who hated her. What was missing?
If Percival was in Iceland, then where was Anya? Was she in Reykjavik? Did Percival truly believe that he could rule Russia using Eduard as a proxy under duress? How crazy was the man, and more importantly, where was he? They needed to know his location so they could rescue young Anya. He realized that the time had come for the whole group when they had to deal with the Alder Nation once and for all. From everything Cameron had seen, he believed that the Alder Nation needed to cease to exist. The world could use one less separatist group, and he believed that the one torturing Talia, was deplorable enough to be wiped from the face of the Earth.
He stared at Talia, deeply concentrating as she thought and twisted that wedding ring on her finger. Why did she care about this man? They need more information to solve the puzzle, and if she was blocking things out, she may be blocking something that could give him a clue. She was the one who lived with Dmitri and learned counter terrorism from him. Whatever her husband knew about Percival, he may have told her. If she had information, she needed to remember it. Inside her mind could be the answers that she needed.
“Talia, we need to talk,” Cameron said.
“What?” she muttered.
“Come in the kitchen with me,” he told her. “It’s personal and important.”
Once in the next room he turned to her. “I was talking with Leonid. He told me that you and Dmitri had a terrible fight before he left that last time. Do you remember it at all?”
Her lip started to quiver. “I try not to.”
“He told me what he heard. I think that you may have some information that could help us.” He waited for her reaction, but there was no response. “I know you don’t want to remember, but did he say anything about Percival or the Alder Nation? Anything specific? We need information, and Dmitri was the only person that we know of, who knew anything concrete about this group and their leader. Please, think carefully. I know it’s painful, and I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t believe that it’s the only way to solve this. You might have some information tucked away in your mind, that you don’t wish to remember, however, it may be exactly what we need to help us find your daughter.”
“I don’t know,” she sniffed. “I’ve blocked it out. Anything about Percival is bad.”
“I know,” he said. “I can’t find him, even with my best equipment. I’ve never been bested before. This is what I do. I design this equipment for tracking people in situations just like this. He’s besting me. I’ve thought of everything I can. I’m at a loss and need clues, so if you can remember anything that might rattle him during the Q & A, maybe he’ll screw up. I’m afraid that if he doesn’t accidentally say something, we may never figure out where he is. It’s the only way I can think of at this point. If we can catch him off guard, we might be able to find him.”
She stood, tears rolling down her cheeks. “I don’t know what you’re looking for. What happened between me and Dmitri was of no consequence to the group or their leader. It was personal. Everything between us was personal and private, and I don’t want to think about the bad things.”
“I know,” he said. “I’m so sorry. But, did he ever say anything about Percival to you Anything at all? It could have been something that seemed completely pointless.”
She concentrated as hard as she could. All she could think about was the horrible fight and all the terrible things that her husband said to her before he left for the very last time. She remembered that he had nothing nice to say about her. She had trouble remembering anything that he may have said about anyone or anything else. His words cut her to the bone that day. That was exactly why she blocked the whole incident from her mind.
As she concentrated, she pondered as much as she could remember, word by word. Suddenly, something struck her. “Oh my God.”
“Do you remember something?” he asked.
She walked into the living room where everyone else was. The sun was shining through the windows, casting a red glow as it set in the early evening; fall in Iceland. Cameron followed her. Eduard spun around to see her tear stained face.
“What is it?” Eduard asked. He looked at Cameron. “What have you done to her?”
“I don’t know,” Cameron answered him. “I asked her to tell me if she could remember Dmitri telling her anything about Percival.”
“How could you do that?” Eduard snapped. “Do you have any idea how painful that is for her?”
“It’s okay! God!” she yelled at everyone. “At least Cameron isn’t tiptoeing around me. I do have to remember. It’s the only way to fight Percival. I should have forced myself to remember it a long time ago.” She looked at Cameron. “Dmitri knew him.”
“Wow,” he said, stunned. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she sniveled. “I remember an offhand comment. He said that Percival was right, and that all women are Guinevere. Women are a distraction and have no real loyalty. Percival believed that all women were born traitors, and anyone who trusted them would be betrayed. If he knew that, he must have known him.”
“Indeed,” Eduard replied.
“It’s coming back. Oh, my God, Dmitri said that he was going to kill an old friend when he left that day. That old friend must have been Percival.”
Everyone sat and stared at each other. No one said a single word for quite some time.
“So, he knew Percival for some time. It could have been anyone, but he specifically said old friend. It was someone he knew, so they might know a lot about the family,” she reasoned. “We used to meet my mother for visits here in Reykjavik, because she didn’t like the paparazzi. Iceland is quiet in the press world.”
“Percival could be getting information from someone who has known the family for years,” Eduard said.
“He may have known we are in Iceland,” Leonid suggested.
“Jesus, he may be right here in Reykjavik,” Cameron said, grabbing his laptop.
He typed frantically and swore under his breath until finally, he stopped and turned to the group. “If this transmission truly comes from Iceland, then he’s on a boat in the old harbor, not far from Harpa Concert Hall.”
“That’s right there!” Talia exclaimed, pointing out the window at the old harbor, which for all intents and purposes started right across the road. “We have to check it out. Now.”
It was dark out, and the old harbor was poorly lit, since the tourist season was over. Harpa Concert Hall with its brightly lighted musical patterned glass exterior was the brightest spot in the area.
In the summer, which was also the natural height of the tourist season, the sun barely set, providing light 24 hours a day. The restaurants and shops at the old harbor provided most of the light in the area the rest of the year, which didn’t account for much. Being fall, there were very few boats in the harbor. Talia counted ten various vessels in the old harbor from the window of Eduard’s apartment.
Minutes later, the group was at the head of the old harbor area. Talia walked ahead of the men. She felt that she could identify a boat that belonged to Percival if she saw it. She carefully evaluated each boat she passed as she carefully placed each foot one in front of the other as quietly as she could, believing that someone may hear her if she didn’t. Which boat was it? Was it any of them or a wild goose chase?
Percival scared her. Was he there? If so, where? She looked at two small freighters. No, and it couldn’t be the military ship from days past permanently berthed. It wouldn’t be a tugboat. It had to be one of the leftover yachts. But which one?
The men watched her. They believed that she could find him provided he was actually there. She was incredibly graceful. The more she went through emotionally, the stronger she seemed to become. Percival was testing her inner fortitude, and she was standing up to the stress, but she would need the strength of a thousand souls if she found him.
Suddenly, Talia stopped and stared at a yacht. “This is it.”
It was a beautiful 60 foot luxury yacht that reflected the closest lights in its shiny polyurethane coating. The cabin towered over her and the rails were level with her eyes.
“How do you know?” Cameron asked.
“Shh, he could be in there,” she said. “This is definitely Percival’s yacht.”
“Are you sure?” Eduard asked. “How can you tell?”
“The name,” she whispered.
“I can’t read the name,” Cameron replied.
“It’s in Icelandic,” she said. “Morgana. She was Arthur’s sister. She betrayed Arthur and gave birth to Mordred who was the eventual downfall of his own father, Arthur.” She waited for a reaction but got none. “Percival is obsessed with King Arthur. This has to be his yacht.”
“How would Percival learn to speak Icelandic?” Cameron asked. “And why would he letter it in the local language?”
She analyzed the situation. “He planned this from beginning to end. He probably keeps it here so he can discreetly monitor our activities when we are in Reykjavik. He could Google the translation to make the yacht fit in. It would only take a couple of minutes. We come here at least twice a year, and apparently, he knows that.”
“Perhaps he anticipated this visit in the wake of my victory in the election that he insisted I be a part of,” Eduard said. “We all know that Russian elections are merely a formality. Perhaps he is here waiting for us.”
“You believe he was waiting here, and wanted me to track him?” Cameron asked. “Why would he do that?”
“Showdown,” Leonid muttered.
“But, why here?” Cameron asked.
“Why not?” Leonid returned.
Talia stared at the yacht for a moment. “So, now what do we do?”
“I guess we go in,” Tyrell said. “I’m ready.”
“No,” she said. “He wants me. I’m going in there to face him.”
Cameron stepped up beside her. “Not alone. I tracked him. I get to go with you.”
She rolled her eyes. “You could be killed.”
“I don’t care,” he argued. “Do you want to stand here and bicker, or would you care to get this over with?”
“Get a gun,” she said. She took out her 9 mm Beretta. “Are you ready to play with the experts?”
Tyrell handed a Beretta 9mm to Cameron.
“Let’s go,” he said.
Talia stared at Cameron. She was worried she would get him killed. He was the best thing that had happened to her in years, but she knew that he wouldn’t let her push him aside.
“Follow me,” she whispered. “Try not to get killed.”