It is 1993 as the head of a secret section of the British Ministry of Defense begins to execute a masterful plan he feels is the only way to break the cycle of violence in Northern Ireland and pave the way for a united country.
Major Kevin MacAllister is not the man everyone believes him to be. Because he is a highly regarded expert on small-scale nuclear weapons on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as a well-respected family man, no one suspects that MacAllister is planning to implement in just seventeen days the first act of nuclear terrorism on the world-or that he has had a beautiful mistress for quite some time. As MacAllister's plan unfolds, emotions run high and tensions mount as he prepares to sacrifice his friends, upstanding career, and the love of his life-all to pursue his dream. Now only one question remains: Will he be successful, or will his dream die with him in the open sea?
In this international thriller, an extraordinary nuclear terrorist unfurls a plan with the power to instill fear in millions of Londoners and bring the British government to its knees.
CHAPTER 7 It was twenty minutes to eight on Tuesday morning, September 7th, and Sir Ian Sinders was pacing around the small dining room just off the Officer's Mess at the barracks at Warminster. As head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sir Ian was not accustomed to being kept waiting and indeed was, himself, always a very punctual man. But on this occasion, Sir Ian was more perplexed than angry. As in all the years that Major Kevin MacAllister had worked for him as Chief Nuclear Coordinator for the British Armed Forces, Sir Ian had never known the Major to be even one minute late to a meeting, yet this morning he was already ten minutes late. Sir Ian's patience ran out and, opening the door of the small dining room, he went out to the mess and called in Kevin's second-in-command, Captain Rodney Smithers, who was waiting there. "Captain Smithers, please come in here." "Yes, sir!" As Captain Smithers closed the door behind him, Sir Ian, looking concerned but with a tinge of impatience in his voice said, "Captain, I would like you to go right now, personally, and check Major MacAllister's bungalow to see if he is there. On the way, you might step into Colonel Barnes' office and find out if he knows anything. I know the Major must be here somewhere because when I arrived last night, I noticed his Jag parked alongside the last bungalow." "Yes, sir! I'll see to it right now, sir!" Captain Smithers was glad to leave the dining room in a hurry, as he never felt comfortable around Sir Ian without Kevin's presence. Captain Smithers hurried through the mess and out onto the parade ground, where he headed straight towards Colonel Barnes' office at a brisk walk. Anyone who knew Rodney well would know that the serious expression on his round, freckled face looked even more serious than usual, as he was deep in thought. He had worked for Major MacAllister for several years now, and he also knew that the Major was always a very punctual man, and Rodney couldn't think for the life of him what could have happened to make him late this morning. When he reached Colonel Barnes' office, he learned that the colonel had already left with his regiment for Salisbury Plain, where the exercises were to commence at 0800 hours. He did learn from a corporal in the colonel's office that Major MacAllister had indeed arrived the previous evening, and had taken off in a Land Rover he'd requested a little before 6 o'clock. As Rodney left the colonel's office and headed over to the last bungalow at the end of those reserved for visiting senior officers, he was more perplexed than ever. In two minutes, he was knocking on the door of the major's bungalow, but got no answer. He knocked again more loudly - nothing. He tried one last time with an almost irreverently loud knock, but still, all was quiet. Captain Smithers stood for a moment wondering what he should do next. He was in a dilemma, because if he went back to Sir Ian with no concrete answers, Sir Ian would think rather poorly of him. But, on the other hand, his military training made him hesitant to try and enter his senior officer's rooms without permission. In the end, fear of disappointing Sir Ian overcame his qualms and Rodney tried the door, it was unlocked. He went in, calling "Major, Major!" Rodney looked around the room - the bed was already made, or maybe it hadn't been slept in - he didn't know. He saw the Major's briefcase on the table by the window. He walked over and saw a folder on top of the briefcase entitled ‘Washington Trip Report for Sir Ian Sinders.' There were some personal items on the dresser and on the nightstand by the bed. He looked in the closet and saw several uniforms hanging there. Finally, he looked in the bathroom and saw shaving gear, toothbrush, toothpaste all laid out neatly by the wash basin. It certainly looked as if the major has moved in, Rodney thought, but where the hell could he have gotten to? It was most odd. There wasn't anything else Rodney could do there, so he left and headed straight back to the mess and entered the small dining room where Sir Ian was waiting. Sir Ian was eating breakfast; he hated being angry on an empty stomach. He looked up quizzically at Captain Smithers as he came in. "Well, Captain? Speak up, man!" Sir Ian's tone of voice made the young Captain Smithers a little nervous and, almost inclined to stammer, he answered rather hesitantly. "Well, sir, I can't find any trace of him. Colonel Barnes is already out in the field and I learned from his office that the major did check in yesterday evening and at a little before six, left in a Land Rover for some last-minute inspections. I then went to his bungalow, and when there was no answer to my knocks and finding the door open, I ventured in and had a look around. It certainly looks as if he has moved in, but his briefcase was still sitting there along with his Washington trip report which I know he had planned to give you this morning. Everything appeared normal, sir. . . . . I really don't know what to make of it, sir!" "Okay, Captain, you did what you could. But I can't wait around here all morning, I have to get over to Field GHQ right after breakfast. In the meantime, I would like you to track down Colonel Barnes and find out what you can and then try and track Major MacAllister's movements yesterday evening and find out who spoke with him last. None of this makes any sense so I want you to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible. And Captain, as soon as you have anything to report, please come over, in person, to Field GHQ. "Yes, sir! I will do everything possible to track down the major and will then report to you at Field GHQ. If there's nothing else, sir, I will be on my way." "No, that will be all for now, Captain Smithers. Just report to me the minute you have anything concrete." Captain Smithers saluted and left. He jumped into his Land Rover which was parked outside the mess, after deciding his best bet was first to talk with Colonel Barnes who, he knew, was with his Yorkshire regiment in the vicinity of Trowbridge. The military exercises were now in full swing, and as he drove north to the Field HQ of the Yorkshire regiment, Rodney could hear the sound of distant gunfire across the Salisbury Plain. When he reached the tent serving as Field HQ for the Yorkshire Regiment, he found Colonel Barnes busily directing the operations of his troops in the field. The colonel was not pleased to be interrupted by a Junior Staff Officer from the general staff, but learning that Sir Ian was so anxious to establish the whereabouts of Major MacAllister, he told young Captain Smithers all he knew. The colonel reiterated what Rodney had already learned earlier at the colonel's office but did add that he heard that Major MacAllister had visited the Third Battalion of the Royal Welsh Guards regiment sometime yesterday evening and had moved an MML to another location for today's exercises. Other than that, the colonel told Rodney he hadn't seen or heard of the major since. Rodney thanked the colonel and immediately got into his Land Rover to go the three miles over to the Royal Welsh Guards Third Battalion Field HQ. He found the place in a state of feverish activity, as they were shortly scheduled to participate in a mock battle a couple of miles away. Rodney quickly located Captain Craig who was in charge, a man about his own age with a very brusque manner and who clearly displayed impatience at having to deal with a staff officer when he was getting ready to move his men out. Rodney stated the purpose of his visit. "Captain Craig, I'm sorry but I must talk to you right now - this cannot wait!" "Okay, Captain Smithers. What can I do for you?" "I understand that some time between six and seven yesterday evening, Major MacAllister visited this Field HQ. What can you tell me about that?"
Ray Vernon grew up in Ireland as the youngest of eight children. After graduating from Cork University, he lived in London, Germany, Italy, and eventually the United States, where his sales and marketing career took him to more than eighty countries. He is now a real estate broker who serves Boston's South Shore and Cape Cod. Ray resides in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This is his debut novel.