The Sum of Things

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Chapter 6

Hereford, England. 1st July 2001

Placed in the Personals column in the Classifieds, the advertisement stated:

An international security company is recruiting experienced Special Forces soldiers for overseas tasks. Ex-SAS Regiment troopers will get top priority. If interested please send a comprehensive CV to:

P.O Box 372

Guildford

England.

Simon Pierce circled the advert with a pen and closed his copy of the Sunday Observer. “Nice one, James,” he said. He reached for his glass and took a long pull on his beer.

Across the table facing him, James Fallon smiled. “I placed it in all the Sunday broadsheets. That’s its second appearance. It will run for a month.”

“What’s been the response?”

“So far, favourable. There’s more coming in. Several came from ex U.S. Navy Seals. We got CVs from two Italians, four French applications and very interesting one from an Israeli. As one must expect, most are from dreamers, nutters and wannabes. I’ve got Tom Collins sorting them out. I’m optimistic.”

They were in the snug in The Volunteer Inn in Hereford, a quiet pub that had been a favorite hangout in their SAS trooper years.

“So, James, tell me about the new headquarters.”

“It’s in Guildford; in the quiet courtyard of a historic stone building.” He grinned. “I share it with specialist doctors and expensive lawyers and other law abiding professionals. It’s perfect.”

“Why in Guildford?”

“It’s a beautiful town I know well. It’s close to London, but far less expensive. I’ve also got the use of a house in a nearby village with an option to buy.”

“How about the credit line; did the bank agree?”

“Not yet. But I’m confident. The manager’s on my side. It seems his grandfather was with the Long Range Desert Group in North Africa in World War Two and fought alongside David Stirling’s boys. He’s an SAS junkie. He likes my business plan; he just needs approval. But as things have turned out, Simon, I don’t need it. In the beginning, as you know, all the money flowed out of my pocket. Now, into our second year we’re clearing a healthy profit.”

“Well that’s good to hear.”

“The breakthrough came from my decision to get into combating sea piracy. We’ve now placed armed security units on a host of vessels with several shipping lines going past the Horn of Africa with great success and put a serious dent in the operations of Somali pirates. And the word is spreading. I’m hoping for more work in Asia where Malaysia and Indonesia have piracy problems. And for the past six months I’ve been in negotiations with the Thai Government on training their Special Forces. It looks good. If it goes ahead I’ll need a lot of manpower, hence the newspaper advert.”

“I wasn’t aware the Thais had Special Forces.”

“They do have, but they’re woefully inadequate. According to General Dance, they requested training help from the Special Air Service, but the MOD said no and they were denied. It was Peter Dance who connected me with them. If it goes ahead I’ll open an office in Bangkok. I’ll also need help from you. I want you in on it, Simon.”

“I’m ready when you are.”

“Good man. But, I’m looking for more serious stuff and it’s in the offing.”

“You mentioned hostage rescue ops?”

“Yes. In time that will come about.”

“I’m up for that.”

“I wouldn’t be without you, Simon.”

Pierce grinned. “Thanks, James.”

“What we need is a mission, a successful mission, something that makes headlines and shows we mean business. And, of course, a happy satisfied client. A hostage rescue would be perfect. I have a meeting with Peter Dance in London tomorrow which is encouraging and could be promising. His memo was very interesting.”


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