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Daniel P.Fitzpatrick Jr
who has held a pilot's license for over 60 years and
who visited many of the Caribbean islands and
who spent many hours in the tropical gulfstream in his 35' sailboat.
© All rights reserved
Daniel O'Connell had spoken the words over a hundred years ago and the priest had reused them to explain how Sean O'Brien had managed to acquire Paragon Emerald Airlines, saying, "He took a coach and four and drove it straight through their English law." And there was truth in this. But Sean didn't own it all himself: he had a partner who owned exactly half and her name was Christina Covington. Everyone called her 'Tina' and it was Tina's Airline really. She built it out of a half a billion that Sean had appropriated from the British Government. It was Tina who ran the Airline, but it was Sean with his gift of blarney who sat in the small back rooms with various government officials of different nations working out deals so that Paragon Emerald's landing rights stayed valid. This was a chance partnership that should never have worked and had not both of them been a jump ahead of the law then they both would have surely been jailed, but it did work out and beautifully so, and now they did not even have any stockholders to worry about anymore because they owned this new Airline outright.
Sean was now talking with several members of the dáil and these representatives of the Government of Ireland spoke to him freely, all of them knowing full well that he had previously been an active member of the IRA and even now, they supposed, had close contacts to that illegal organization. In fact, this is exactly why they wanted to talk to him because they knew that he would be interested in what they had to tell him and he would be the one person who might be able to do something about it.
"These boats will carry a half ton of cargo on board and still reach speeds of over 90 miles per hour. Several of our RADAR stations have picked them up and reported them as low flying aircraft because they were so fast, but now MI-6's O.K. Cromwell is having these three built in Florida and they will be built and covered with the latest in 'Stealth' technology. All of us sitting in this room now know full well what he intends to do with them. He is going to use them to bring his MI-6 spies over here whenever he feels like doing it, because they will now be invisible to our RADAR," said one of the dáil representatives.
Sean O'Brien knew that he would help them but in return he knew that he had several items on his list that he wanted from the Irish Government for Paragon Emerald Airlines but he wasn't going to ask now; he would get a better deal later if, in fact, he could scuttle this boat deal. Sean got all the information that this group could give him about these boats and then he went to visit Miriam Malone who was his IRA contact. Together they worked far into the night calling people all over the world and it was almost four in the morning before they had a general picture of how they would have to proceed. Sean had been warned by the group from the dáil that Ireland wanted to stay clear of this so as to keep its friendly relations with both England and the United States, even though these were the two countries who would be responsible for introducing these boats that would shortly become available for making sneak runs to Ireland.
The next day at his Dublin office Sean and Harry Kirk looked over charts of Florida and the Caribbean. They would eventually need at least one airplane in that area and Harry Kirk was the real expert in this field. Kirk did not ask his boss why this was being done; he merely dug in and got the crew and airplane ready and made arrangements with American and British airports in the area so that the crew could get everything that they needed. Sean did more overseas phoning that day and was on a flight that afternoon to London, and there he boarded a British Airways flight to New York. He stayed only one day in New York meeting with a contact that Miriam had waiting for him who showed him how easy it was to both see and hear long distances by combining a Questar telescope and parabolic microphone that would be brought to Florida by some other people who were experts in this field. The next day Sean was off to Florida on an American airline and about this same time in London, Miriam Malone was boarding a British Airways flight to Nassau in the Bahamas.
There was always the possibility, Sean thought, that these boats would not be invisible to RADAR and then his entire team could depart without any action being taken, and even though this was the course that Sean preferred, it was not the one he thought he was going to have available to him. He would only know this when the people with the Questar scope reported that the boat was actually out on the ocean and Sean's crew would have a look at it with their weather RADAR inside the airplane as they flew over it. Now in his bathing suit at a beach on the coast of Florida, Sean talked with another bather, but their talk was not of their vacation, which most of the others on the beach were enjoying, but it was of RADAR, and the person talking to Sean now was an expert in this area.
"Nothing is totally invisible to RADAR," said the expert. "RADAR is a lot like light except that it has a lower frequency, which is the same thing as saying it has a longer wavelength than light. When they wanted to hide our airplanes from searchlights during the Second World War, then they painted the under sides of the wings black because black absorbs light and doesn't allow most of the light to be reflected back. Now it's essentially the same thing again with RADAR because they are looking at you with a lower frequency searchlight and if you want to hide from it then you have to absorb as much of the RADAR energy that you can and reflect back the least that you can. And on top of that if you do like we did before 'Desert Storm' and fill their RADAR screens full of moving crap for weeks on end and then come in suddenly with something that didn't even have the signature of an airplane until it was right on top of them, then you increase your chances by catching them while they are asleep at their RADAR screens dazed by all of these constantly moving patterns," he added.
"You can put your own picture on their RADAR screens?" asked Sean.
"Sure, in fact, we knew who made his major RADAR installations, therefore we knew the exact frequency of all the oscillator circuits in the damned things and if we wanted to we could have painted a picture of George Bush and said 'Hello' in Arabic, But being practical now is something else because there are many different RADAR sets out there looking at us so we have to design an all purpose device that will give you some kind of changing pattern no matter where in the frequency range your RADAR pulse rate is or whatever band your various oscillators are tuned to," he said.
"You have these devices then?" asked Sean.
"Not only does every airplane have one that the pilot can switch on when he feels he needs to, but there wasn't even one minute that there wasn't an AWACS flying and they can generate some real dillies. If Sadam's RADAR screens were in color, then they were all looking like Christmas trees just before those Stealths came in," said the expert.
"So, if a person was going to use Stealth equipment against me then he would also want to mess up my RADAR installations?" asked Sean.
"Absolutely." replied the expert.
"If I was in Ireland say, could they do it from England?" asked Sean.
"It could be done, but let's be practical now. I would want to get as close to your RADAR station as I could because the closer I got then the smaller the device would be that I would need to jam your screen. If it was cheap enough I'd even let you find it and keep it after the damage had been done to you, because by then it would be too late," said the expert. The two men continued their conversation for another hour sometimes in the water and sometimes sitting on the beach, after which the expert left and Sean stayed there for a while pondering all that had been talked about. It was clear to him now that what needed to be done was to turn the tables on the English and steal one of these boats and later mess up their RADAR screens and let them know that one of these stealth boats had come from Ireland to England and then back off and make a deal of some sorts where this would stop. Yes, the more Sean thought about it the more certain he was that this was the correct method to go about solving this little problem. Sean spent the rest of the day at his air-conditioned hotel room making phone calls and that evening the person who would head the team that would keep the boat people in view and listen in to their conversations, drove up. He and Sean talked for several hours while more phone calls were made. After this, both of them went to a local restaurant where they talked again while they ate, but here they were more guarded in their conversation. The man who visited Sean drove away that evening and another car came for Sean the next morning and Sean checked out of the hotel and drove with this new person to the city of Miami in Florida. Sean stayed with this man at a residence that was on a fenced acre of land about a mile from Florida International University. It was on his second day in the Miami area that Sean visited the Tamiami Gun Shop that was less than a ten minute drive from where he was staying. It was hard for him to believe that all those items that were so hard to get in Ireland and strictly illegal, were here in abundance, all perfectly legal and being sold for cash like one would buy food in the grocery store. He simply found it very hard to believe that such a place as this really existed even though he was actually looking at it. Sean said to his host that everyone who comes from Europe is simply amazed at the freedom of availability of weapons in some American cities.
Sean felt certain that these boats, which were now being built in Florida, would make the trip to one of the English controlled islands off the Florida coast and from there be loaded on a large ship bound for England. Sean felt there was no way Cromwell would risk shipping something as politically explosive as this from an American port where he did not have some control over who looked at what. No, Sean figured, they would all make a midnight run on a night of calm seas to one of the Caribbean islands where the British had a long entrenched tie, and where MI-6 would feel comfortable. Nassau, with its splendid harbor was the likely spot, but it could be any of the English dominated islands. This was one of the things that the team with the Questar telescope and parabolic microphone were supposed to find out.
Even though there was excellent telephone communications with Nassau, Sean had elected to use a different route, one that would not possibly be thought of by the American FBI or CIA. Sean had obtained several old but working one kilowatt dual diversity mobile teletype stations that were the latest in technology back in the very early nineteen fifties. Sean reasoned, and rightly so, that very few people would even have the equipment to catch what was being teletyped on this ancient system. One station was set up on the Florida coast and the other on the island of Bimini some fifty miles away across the water. It was the international traffic that Sean worried might be intercepted, not the messages from Bimini to Nassau that would all be safely within the Bahamas itself and neither MI-6 nor the CIA would be interested in any of that.
After only a few days in Miami, Sean boarded an aircraft for a forty minute flight to Nassau in the Bahamas where he was met at the terminal by Miriam, who after a ten minute drive showed him Bay Street and then took him to their hotel room in Nassau where they would both stay while the first phase of their plans were put into effect. An old IRA friend was now a Nassau real estate agent who Sean visited three or four times a day to keep updated on how the various parts of the plan were working. Sean had put all of the pieces into place but there was not much else he could do right now other than make a few minor corrections. He and Miriam swam many an hour in the crystal clear Bahamian water and before a week was up Sean told one of the boatmen selling fish that he believed that he had tasted every single fish that swam in these island waters. Both he and Miriam loved a soup called 'Conch Chowder' that they ate regularly every evening at a tiny eating place on Bay Street. Eight days after he had come to Nassau he got word that their spy team had picked up conversations about Grand Bahama Island. Since this was, indeed, a lot closer than Nassau to the Florida coast, Sean decided to pay a visit to that Island because it too had an airport and in about a half hour both Sean and Miriam were there and they walked over most of the island that day and left on the first flight back to Nassau the next morning. Sean felt that they would not go there because the place was mostly a tourist trap for Americans who wanted to gamble and too many American eyes would be watching. Sean had a feel for these things and he did not think MI-6 would be comfortable operating out of Grand Bahama Island. No, thought Sean it's going to be Nassau or someplace else.
Back in Nassau, Sean received word that O.K. Cromwell had been spotted in San Juan. Sean then left Miriam in Nassau and took the first flight back to Miami so he could catch an early flight out to San Juan. Greeting him at the San Juan airport was an old ex IRA man who Sean had remembered seeing one time before somewhere.
"You're certain that it was Cromwell?" asked Sean.
"As certain as me name is Patrick Higgins," replied the man as Sean got into the car. "We'll be in the same hotel with him and when I spot him I'll poke you in the ribs with my elbow and then I'll be gone because he may remember us when he sees us both. I'm in room 124 and I've got you booked for room 126 because then we have him right between us in 125. I've got his phone tapped. Don't worry, I didn't use a bug because I knew he had something to find those. It's hard wired; that used to be my specialty, you know," he added.
"Who has he been talking to?" asked Sean.
"Who hasn't he been talking to would be more like it. He has made almost a hundred calls all over the world. I've got it all down. I'll show you when we get there," said Higgins.
"Anyone with him?" asked Sean.
"He's alone and never had one visitor yet but he's waiting to meet someone here who will be bringing an airplane to check something," said Higgins.
"Yes, Patrick Higgins you may have helped Ireland far more than you realize and you may have hurt Cromwell more than if you had taken the heavy end of a blackthorn stick to his skull," said Sean.
"Well I've got it all down and you can go over all of it," said Higgins.
"I certainly will. How did you happen to be here and spot him?" asked Sean.
"I'm superannuated, the yanks here call it retired, and in my line of work knowing telephone equipment, there is always some extra bit of part time work coming my way to help me get by on my small pension. San Juan is really a cheap place for someone like me to live and the best thing of all is that I have this cute bird twenty-seven years younger than I am who speaks English and lives with me and just adores me so I suppose I'm living better than a king here. This has been the best time of my life, believe me. That girl loves to drive and I can afford to have a car and keep it up and she takes me everywhere. I love every minute of it," said Pat Higgins.
"How did you know we wanted the information about Cromwell's whereabouts?" asked Sean.
"Superannuated or not I still have my duty to Ireland and since I recognized him I simply reported it back to Dublin and they must have informed you," said Higgins. Sean sat there silently taking this all in and realizing that this was another of those times in life where he had things set up to correctly take advantage of those ever occurring freak circumstances that occasionally happen to us throughout our lives. Now he was one up on Cromwell who never suspected that he would be recognized after traveling half way around the world.
Sean did go over all of Higgins' information and now finally the big picture of Cromwell's plan came into view. The information that the crew watching the boat construction had picked up coupled with what Higgins had caught, now pointed to exactly what had taken place. The phone calls indicated that Cromwell wanted the Royal Navy to load the boats on one of their ships in Bimini harbor at night, but the Royal Navy knew better than to attempt this and they told him that there was a sand bar that kept shifting there and it would cause some bad problems if they happened to get hung up and the locals clustered around to see them get unstuck and they had to remove these boats to lighten things. There would be too many eyes seeing things that just should not be seen. The phone calls indicated that the Naval Officials wanted to load them at Nassau but that Cromwell was adamant that this would subject them to extra risk because of the extra distance that these boats would have to travel on the high seas. But since the naval people weren't involved in this phase, they didn't even care about this part of the operation. Sean's studying of Higgins' log showed him that the Royal Naval authorities finally agreed to load the boats in deep water three nautical miles north-east of Bimini. This would put them close enough to Bimini in case they had problems and just enough distance from the Florida Bimini traffic where they could do what they wanted away from observation. And this wasn't all that Sean discovered.
Cromwell was also interested in seeing if the thing he was buying was as good as they claimed so he had an airplane ready in San Juan to check out his purchase. They would look at it with their own RADAR and then they would know for certain whether it really was invisible or not. This gave Sean an idea. Why not mess things up for them in this regard. With a brand new scheme up his sleeve, Sean left Higgins and went into his own room. So far neither of them had spotted Cromwell on their return from the airport. Sean was immediately on the phone to his friend in Miami that he should inform the people watching the boat construction that they needed to make up a mixture of latex paint that would dry to the same color as the boat covering when one ounce of aluminum powder was added to each gallon of it. Somehow, Sean said, we must get inside the boat construction area with that paint and some rollers and roll that stuff on the roofs of all three of these boats. Sean was gone the very next day back to Miami without ever seeing Cromwell and in Miami, after talking with his RADAR expert Sean told his team to change the mixture to one ounce of aluminum to two gallons of paint because this would tend to cancel about half of the 'Stealth's' effectiveness. This would be just enough to create animosity between Cromwell and this boat group and they wouldn't ever want to work for him again, Sean reasoned.
Sean was at Miami International Airport to meet Harry Kirk and his crew when they arrived from Dublin. Sean told Harry that even though they had just flown the Atlantic that they would need to be refueled and in the air again headed north because he had gotten the word that the first boat would be on the water in a few hours and they wanted to see how effective it really was before they painted it.
Now flying and watching the RADAR in Ground mapping mode, Sean saw that he could spot boats of this size at ten miles away. They flew toward the area where the boats were being built and remained in the air above the facility for almost an hour when they spotted their prey coming out into the blue ocean water and they could not detect it until they were directly over it. They had done a good job. That was enough for Sean. He told them to head back to Miami and when they landed, he was immediately on the phone telling his crew at the boat plant that they needed to paint the things as soon as possible, preferably before Cromwell had his first look at them with his RADAR.
One more thing sparked Sean's interest, and this was the fact that all of Cromwell's calls indicated that he had been working outside of the Pentagon. To acquire this 'Stealth' system, Cromwell had hired four people who had previously worked for the American firm doing this type work. Sean had run checks on these people and found that the American military regarded two of them as malcontents; they may have even been fired from their positions. Sean's information used the term resigned. Sean felt, however, that they had left unwillingly and that the Pentagon would like to know about this little job now being done in their own country where America's secret technology was being stolen. Sean knew that informing the military was useless because Cromwell had enough clout to clear the mess up. Sean needed to get the thing into the news somehow first, then the Pentagon would not be able to help Cromwell. Sean knew they would let Cromwell go down the tube if it meant saving their own skins. Another thing Sean knew was that as soon as those boats were painted, then the game was going to change drastically. Cromwell was no fool and even though there would be much angry interchange between him and the boat people, he would eventually learn the truth and know he was being watched; maybe he would even change his shipping plans and from then on Sean could be certain not to catch Cromwell napping again. Sean felt if he was going to hit Cromwell then he should do it right now and do a good job of it.
Sean was delighted when he found out that his boys did, in fact, roll their special paint onto the tops of all three of the newly constructed craft. They had hired a young prostitute to get the guard drunk and put him into the prone position while they merrily painted away. They had also placed explosive charges in two of these boats. A timer would wait for twenty-four hours then it would click on a radio receiver that would then wait and listen for the radio signal that would detonate the charges. Each was tuned to a different frequency so either one or both could be sunk. Sean intended to take the third boat himself.
In Miami Sean purchased a scope mounted Barrett Light-Fifty and some ammunition for it. Driving out into the Everglades he found a deserted spot and zeroed the scope so that the bullets were right on target when the cross hairs were aimed at a target at a preset distance. A computerized table had revealed that this would also be the zero for a target 800 yards distant at an elevation angle of sixty degrees: a low flying airplane for instance.
Back at the house on the fenced acre in the Tamiami section, Sean computed the average bullet speed and the flying speed of Cromwell's airplane and then worked out various leads ahead of the plane where he would have to sight so as to hit the airplane as it flew over him. When he had this figured out, then he called several people and they worked up a story that would be delivered to the news media at a specified time. Now once more he was lucky because Higgins and the team watching and listening to the boat construction firm both confirmed each other giving a completion date for all three craft and Sean found that Cromwell would have his RADAR equipped airplane fly over them while they were being checked just off shore along the Florida coast.
And now that Sean thought that everything would go as planned, Cromwell spotted Higgins and the picture instantly registered in Cromwell's brain that he was an old IRA agent. Now suspicious, Cromwell checked and found Higgins to be right next door. Cromwell immediately brought in some men and they found where Higgins had hard wired Cromwell's phone. Cromwell vanished, but someone with a similar voice continued to use the phone. Not knowing that this was not Cromwell, Higgins continued to relay these messages back to Sean also. Now it was Cromwell's chance to show his true colors.
Cromwell was on a private jet in less than a half hour and before long the plane was landing on a secret MI-6 field in the Caribbean island chain. Here he was not restricted by foolish American laws and here it was Cromwell that decided the law. He was reading a folder on Patrick Higgins in less than an hour. In less than two hours from this, an airplane lifted off the runway on this small island taking agents to San Juan where they would look for people who had been known to work with Patrick Higgins. They were told not to touch Higgins but to keep him under observation. Cromwell decided to run everything from where he was right now. He ordered a check of the boats and within the hour found that two explosive devices had been found which had been removed to a place where they could do no harm. Cromwell told them that no American law enforcement agencies should be notified and that he would send some agents to take care of the two devices. Everything must remain on schedule, Cromwell told them and he cautioned them to keep looking for other explosive devices especially on the boat where none as yet had been found. This may have been a mistake on his part because while concentrating their attention on explosives they missed finding the paint.
Sean was on the ocean in a boat when the three boats came out from the Inter coastal waterway to the Ocean. Sean was several miles south of where they emerged, but he was in communication with his team who were watching the event like eagles. He then received another communication that Cromwell's RADAR equipped airplane, that had been sitting in San Juan, was now approaching Sean and the boats, and its altitude was about 2,500 feet. This was almost exactly the 800 yards that Sean had set the scope for and he prided himself on a good guess. Now all he needed to do was get the correct lead which would mean putting the cross hairs one airplane length ahead of the flying airplane. If he did this right then the airplane should fly right into his stream of bullets as they were going up.
He could see the airplane approaching and he was certain that Cromwell was aboard looking into the RADAR scope. It was the engines that he had to hit. A single bullet entering the engine and damaging one blade would be enough because the compressor blades and turbine blades traveling at such tremendous speeds would tear each other up when a big enough chunk enters the engine and hits only one of these whirling blades: In a few seconds there would be no more engine. The plane came closer and closer. Sean had a clip of eleven bullets and one in the chamber that was twelve, six for each engine. The plane was close but not quite yet over him when the Barrett spit the bullets out as fast as the trigger was pulled, then Sean put the remaining six toward the second engine as the plane was directly overhead and leaving him. Sean then dumped this six thousand dollar gun into the ocean and started the engine on the boat and headed for the coast. Now, as he looked around, he saw no one else on the ocean as far as he could see.
One of Sean's bullets had found its mark. They had lost their right engine which was a critical loss at that low altitude, but by staying out to sea where there were no obstacles, they managed to climb slowly upstairs. To people on that plane now, altitude was like money in the bank. It would give them time: time to think, time to ascertain the damage and time to prepare for an emergency landing if need be.
At this time also, several newspapers and television stations were given information about a militant Arab group who had stolen 'Stealth' technology and had ordered three 'Stealth' boats to be built in the area. The name of the builder was given and his location. These Arabs— all these reports went on to say — also had a similar airplane. This was the description of the plane that Sean had just shot at. Sean felt it wouldn't be Arabs that they got but it would be an Englishman: They would have Cromwell.
This was Cromwell's finest hour. He was not aboard the airplane, as Sean thought, but he had remained on another island in direct communications with all of his MI-6 group. His spies sent him news of these radio and TV stories blowing his cover on the boats and at the same time he received word on the plane that had lost the engine. But it was Cromwell's turn to win a round. He ordered the boats to head for Bimini and he ordered the stricken aircraft not to land in the U.S. but to head to Nassau. He could control things better from both those points than he could from America.
The magnitude of what had happened now hit Sean hard as he communicated with his team while bringing his boat in to the Florida coast. While he was still on the water returning, he radioed them to have a small single engine airplane ready at the local airfield and have the detonating transmitter aboard.
The 'Stealth' boats were hastily being fueled for their run to Bimini as Sean returned with his boat and jumped onto the dock then ran to a waiting car that sped in the direction of the local airport. All three 'Stealth' boats were on their way as Sean was in the car heading to the airport. When Sean's airplane took off, the quarry was a good quarter of the way to Bimini already, but Sean's plane was faster than the boats and it caught up with them about half-way, and it was now that Sean found that his transmitter had no effect whatsoever. No matter how many times he pushed the button there were no explosions seen below.
Sean wondered if his hand held transmitter was working correctly, and he remembered one of the radiomen saying that one of the frequencies on the detonating transmitter might generate harmonics that could interfere with Miami's ILS, so he said to the pilot, "Switch on your ILS as if you were landing with instruments at Miami International." The pilot then switched on some items and changed some radio frequencies on the digital display and when Sean now activated the device, the Glide Slope indicator on the airplane's instrument panel went hard down every time Sean pushed the button on the transmitter, indicating that Sean's detonating transmitter was, indeed, working. He now knew his hand held transmitter was OK, therefore, they must have found his explosive charges.
"Switch on your RADAR and put it in 'ground mapping mode' and we'll have a look at them," said Sean to the pilot. It took several minutes for the RADAR to warm up and come on but when it did, all three of the 'Stealths' were well displayed.
"Leave your RADAR on and head to Bimini," said Sean, and as the airplane flew on leaving the 'Stealths' behind, Sean noticed that they were still visible up to a bit over a mile away; it was a little after this that they faded from the RADAR screen.
The plane that Sean had hit did eventually land safely at Nassau and the boats did finally get to Bimini. Sean had clearly lost this round to Cromwell.
But they didn't find out about the paint yet! Well, maybe I haven't lost this after all, thought Sean to himself. "Radio in to them at the teletype station to bring their boat over to the dock where that local bus boat takes people away from the airfield. They can pick us up then immediately after we land," said Sean and the pilot complied.
The plane landed at Bimini and Sean sought to expedite his entry through Customs by handing the lone official there several expensive looking cigars, but this may, in fact, have slowed him down because this black official sat examining the cigars with heartfelt appreciation for several minutes while doing absolutely nothing; only after this did he begin the entry procedure that was nothing compared to the lengthy procedure that he, himself, would have to undergo if he was to try to get into the United States or Great Britain. Sean was soon at the teletype station sending his new plans to his crew in Florida who at this time informed Sean that Higgins had been picked up by the Americans for questioning concerning his old IRA activities, some of which were on American soil and proof of which the American's seemed to now have.
Sean sensed, rightly, that this was the work of Cromwell who must certainly have caught on. Now at Bimini, Sean updated Miriam as best he could in a coded way of speaking because all of this inter-island traffic was on radio and could freely be listened to by anyone, so his conversation had to seem to be typical island chatter about meaningless things. There was no such thing as a direct telephone wire between Bimini and Nassau. He could say exactly what he wanted on the teletype to Florida though. There was not even one chance in a trillion that anyone could intercept that.
* * *
A Southern Bell Telephone truck pulled up to the gate at the stealth boat building plant in Florida. The guard checked with the office and found that they had been called because of phone problems and he opened the gate for them and the truck rolled in. People with Southern Bell uniforms then went to work at several spots in the plant on the phone equipment and inside of half an hour they asked the office to check their phones which they did, and with the problem now fixed the truck rolled out the gate again. These, of course, were Sean's people who had installed special devices and were now monitoring the phone system of the 'Stealth' boat builders. Sean knew that Cromwell was going to eventually see for himself and then complain about the things being visible to RADAR, and he suspected that Cromwell would want one of their experts to come over and see what was wrong before he loaded the boats. There was no way, Sean thought, that Cromwell was going to ship faulty boats all the way to England.
Sean's crew did pick up the call from Cromwell to the boat people and they did respond by sending one of their men out on a flight that evening to Bimini. But unknown to them and Cromwell, their man had been replaced by one of Sean's people.
* * *
A radio teletype system that was over forty years old and prone to break down was now relaying Sean's plan of action to his crew in Florida. Sean was now relying on old type Collins 51J Radios that used tubes instead of transistors, but at least this dual diversity system did use two radios in each location and if one went out the other could still carry on without even interrupting the message. It was only after an hour and a half of steady back and forth interchange that Sean could feel that he had covered everything and now it was all up to them to carry things out. He knew there would be some critical moments ahead and he hoped this old system would keep on working until things were finished here on Bimini.
Sean's man, now playing the role of the stealth boat company's expert, cleared Bimini's Customs and paid duty on several gallons of paint remover that the man brought in and an MI-6 agent was there to meet him and helped carry the containers and other equipment to a boat where it headed out into the open ocean toward the three 'Stealth' boats. The MI-6 man radioed in to his group that he was bringing the expert in to check the boats. The MI-6 man found out that this expert was not very talkative but just sat back and seemed to sleep while the boat moved on. The boat with the two men finally arrived at a spot where the three 'Stealth' boats were guarded by what looked like a Royal Navy destroyer, along side of which all the other boats looked like small toys.
"I have to call in to my company on this cellular phone to tell them I've arrived," said the expert and he took his portable telephone device and sent the signal to Sean's team to stop all communications now from the boat factory to Bimini. After being taken to one of the boats, the expert soon ascertained who was in charge and told them about the problem.
"We discovered it must be in the paint and I've brought along paint remover and brushes and when we get this off then it should be OK. We are going to have to get about a mile or so away from the destroyer and these other boats and then there will be a seaplane arriving with RADAR aboard and there will be room for three of you to go up and see the difference after the paint is off. You might want the destroyer to do RADAR observing before and after also," said this expert who without further ado went to work spreading his paint remover on the roof, brushing it in and they all could actually see the paint blistering up and coming off. After a period of time the old paint was flushed off with sea water, then the sea water was washed off with precious fresh water, after which the destroyer reported that there did seem to be a loss in RADAR visibility.
"We need to see if he can still see us a mile away now," said the expert. There was much discussion at this point. There was some talk of communications difficulty, but after about five minutes the decision was made to go out about a half mile. At a half mile out the destroyer said they were decreasing in RADAR visibility but they could still be seen. Their detection equipment was far superior to the tiny aircraft RADAR.
"Another mile and they won't see us and that will prove that it was the paint." said the expert. There was more radio communicating and then the decision was made to go a bit further out. The boat went out another half mile and the destroyer then reported that they could barely be picked up.
"We need to go out another mile 'till he can't see us then the seaplane will be here by then and you can go up and look at the difference between this boat and the other two and report that and I can go home and you can do whatever it is that you have to do," said the expert.
Things turned out exactly as the expert said. They did eventually go out another mile and they no longer could be located by the destroyer and the seaplane did come and three men paddled a life raft from the seaplane to the 'Stealth' boat, saying that at least three men should paddle the raft back to the seaplane for stability and they would merely remain there while three of the boat's crew could now go up in the seaplane and look at the RADAR themselves as proof that things were now fixed. The three MI-6 men left in the raft and climbed aboard the waiting seaplane then the plane went up and took them over their own boat, then the plane went close to the destroyer and the other two boats while everyone looked at these two boats now with the plane's RADAR and everyone agreed that there was a difference in the other boat now that the paint had been removed and that the trouble had to be in the paint. The pilot then radioed the destroyer that three MI-6 men would be coming aboard via a raft. Then he told the men that they were wanted aboard the large vessel to give their opinion of the RADAR. Since they did not have any earphones they could only hear one side of the conversation and believed it to be true, so they all got in the raft after the seaplane landed and they were all paddling toward the Royal Navy ship as the seaplane took off.
Neither the Royal Navy nor MI-6 ever saw that seaplane nor that 'Stealth' boat anymore. They did get two other MI-6 agents, who had remained on the stealth boat, back though; they were discovered in Florida, but the stealth boat that had dropped them off there was never discovered again by the English government that had ordered it built.
Although the Royal Navy had lost a vessel, it did save the other two boats from several elaborate schemes that Sean's group tried to put into motion to eliminate them. The risk with the large Royal Navy warship there was too great for Sean to consider any more of these type attempts.
* * *
Michael Flaherty was one of those people that the IRA recruited in England to do volunteer work. It didn't really amount to much but many people like Michael would volunteer for these jobs because it gave them pride that they were helping Ireland. Today Michael Flaherty wrote down the number of what looked like a Royal Navy destroyer that had just come into Liverpool Bay. Late that evening an alert IRA man spotted that number as one to report as soon as it came into English waters. The IRA then sent this information to Sean because this was the very ship that was guarding those boats in Bahamian waters. As the sailors came off that ship, an unusually larger contingent of ladies were there to greet them. Quite a few of these ladies of the night were IRA and they seemed to be having an unusual interest in where the boys had been. It was from listening to these ladies that the IRA discovered that those two 'Stealth' boats had to be in Cardigan Bay in Wales, and two of these girls who had been talking to Welsh sailors said that the boats headed directly toward Aberystwyth.
A beautiful young girl in a bright red sports car pulled up to the military coastal RADAR station near Aberystwyth and, of course carrying her purse, got out of her car and motioned to the lone person on duty who now came out to see what she wanted. This poor creature was not only lost but had to use the toilet as well and what man could turn down this request. She used his facility and he gave her directions and she gave him a big kiss and left. Similar events like this, but all staged differently so as to not bring attention to them, happened at all the other British RADAR installations looking out over Cardigan bay.
In just a few day's time Aberystwyth had more IRA people in it than there were in Ireland itself. As soon as the two boats were located, this group left and Sean had returned to Dublin and was again talking secretly to the representatives from the dáil.
"It has to look accidental. We simply cannot go in there and blow up things or they will retaliate and come over here and blow up our things," said one very respected member of the dáil.
"That will be hard to do," said Sean.
"Nevertheless, it has to be that way," said another member.
"We already have an Irish-English war. We do not want an Irish-Welsh war," said a third member.
Sean got the message as to how things must go. "OK, there will be an accident," said Sean, and he left. He needed time to think. He walked through Dublin down alongside the River Liffey, looking at its brown colour and thinking that it had quite a bit of Ireland yet to wash away before it was finished running. It was a good bit later that he was back to his office at Paragon where he was met by a member of the American CIA, and in a closed room the two had a little chat about his friend Patrick Higgins. Sean saw immediately that this man was interested in a deal.
"Both of us feel our time is valuable so why beat around the bush. Yes, I would like to see Higgins go back to his former life with his young girl friend and you want something from Paragon in exchange. Tell me what it is you need," said Sean to the CIA man.
"Thank you. I hate this preliminary stuff too. Yes, and we'll pay for this as well; your expenses plus ten percent. You have petitioned the U.S. Government for landing rights in the Caribbean. Well, we— along with England — will give you access to a route between the Cayman Islands and San Juan. We will guarantee you maintenance facilities etc in San Juan, but you will have to do your own scrounging for whatever you need on Grand Cayman. We at the CIA will be traveling to and fro and each trip you will be given a number to charge and the U.S. Government will send you your check," said the CIA man.
"And you want me to inform any press people or other American agencies that they do not get any information from us because we are an Irish airline and the American 'Freedom of Information Act' does not apply to us and also we do not record any names of our passengers anyway. We operate under the Irish Government Secrecy rules. The American Press will find that they cannot get any information from us at all and these packages that you will be bringing will be mostly money because that is where the CIA is doing most of its banking now," said Sean.
"You seem to be more aware of the subject than I was led to believe Mr. O'Brien. Well yes, those are the rules of the game, aren't they? You help us. We help you," said the CIA man.
"I accept," said Sean.
"Good, Higgins will be free now to try and get that young girl pregnant," said the CIA man and he left.
Sean then placed a long distance phone call to Patrick's young girl friend in San Juan telling her that Paragon had struck a deal with the United States Government and that Patrick would soon be released. This would let them both know that Sean had interceded for them, because one never knew when the favor might be reciprocated.
Harry Kirk, who had just returned from the Caribbean, was now off to San Juan again, to set up things so Paragon Emerald could begin services on their new San Juan-Cayman flight. Not only did Patrick Higgins join his team but his bilingual girlfriend Theresa also found a spot on Paragon's Caribbean crew. They were both enthusiastic about the travel privileges which on their first vacation, a year from now, would take them to Dublin and London. She was looking forward to her first trip there and he was thrilled just thinking about showing her off to his friends and showing her around Dublin and London. To Patrick this was like the keystone that would complete the arch of his life.
What surprised Sean about this San Juan-Cayman route was that he had to ship in a larger DC-3 to San Juan, so when the number of passengers swelled, as it did at times, then this larger airplane would be flown. The DC-3's initial cost made it a practical plane for this purpose because Paragon did not waste much while it just sat doing nothing. All the other modern airplanes cost so much that none of them could sit on the ground too long without wasting much of the company's money. There were no worries about de-icing equipment in this tropical paradise and maintenance could be performed outside almost all the time except when it rained, and even that wasn't cold. Sean found that his costs there were running less than in Ireland. And if an airplane broke down, parts were available in Miami and since there were planes from Miami to San Juan every few hours it wasn't long before the new part was on the airplane and the airplane back in service. Sean had fewer problems with this run than he first envisaged.
* * *
Nothing was working out this well for Sean on his scheme to scuttle the two 'Stealth' boats at Aberystwyth, however. The one craft that he managed to steal right under the nose of the Royal Navy was now in the possession of the Republic of Ireland and for this Sean was exacting his fee. He did not collect this in Irish Pounds but he collected it by getting Paragon's taxes lowered. When he destroyed the English boats then he would ask for something else that he had in mind. But today in Dublin these things were the furthest from Sean's mind. Today the sun was shining and he was sitting on a park bench with one of Ireland's true heroes who had done something as a youth that few people in history have ever done. He had routed an entire British army with a small group of men. And even more than that: he had halted two more army size units that were marching to join the one he routed. And he had done many more things to the 'Black and Tans' that England had sent to Ireland, but this one event eclipsed all his other accomplishments and put him into the history books. As a youth he, like a great many other Irishmen, joined the British Army in its fight against Germany in the First World War. He tried to learn as much as he could about his new profession and when the war ended he returned back to Ireland and because of his new knowledge and the changing times, he now found himself the head of an Irish 'Flying Column' and suddenly he was fighting against the English. Now the Thompson machine gun had just been invented in America and this boy obtained some of the initial production and he was one of the very first people in the world to comprehend how they should be used to their greatest advantage. The English might have had them too but it took their bureaucracy several years to understand their value, and in this interim the boy carved his name into the history books using that new weapon effectively against troops armed only with simple rifles. This man who had routed an entire British Army with a small group of teenagers like himself now sat, in his twilight years, next to Sean on a Dublin park bench.
"It seems like only yesterday," the patriarch said. "You see I actually read all those British accounts of what the Maxim Gun did at Omdurman. It was incredible. The Maxim gun saved an entire British contingent and not only that but it won the entire battle as well. And these Maxim guns fired black powder cartridges and that horrible stuff would get all through the entire mechanism and the gun would finally stop working. But at Omdurman, by some quirk of circumstances, the Maxim guns kept on, and the rest is history. Do you know that even Queen Victoria wanted to see the famous gun. Hiram Maxim, himself, set one up and then sat down on a seat behind the gun and cut out the Queens initials on the target with hundreds of bullets in a few seconds. Yes, they were the first true machine guns, but it was only after smokeless powder came out that they became a good reliable weapon. I knew all of this, so when I got hold of those first Thompsons, I saw that this was the first lightweight, portable machine gun. Not only could I sit and wait for them and then open up with a terrific initial shock, but now we could pick up these guns and advance and roll them back up onto themselves and the results were devastating to the British who had never encountered anything like this before. Compared to today's guns, the Thompson is an awful weapon because it's too heavy and it's too hard to load and too slow to load and the ballistics leave a lot to be desired, but back then, for a few years, it reigned supreme and we were the only ones who seemed to be using it correctly. If it wasn't for a few teenagers and that gun, then Ireland today would be just like Wales today. It would be part of the British Empire. It was a few boys who wanted to fight, and that gun, that put the Republic of Ireland on the map," the old man added.
"And then you went to the very top," remarked Sean.
"Yes, I ran the military for a few years here in Ireland," said the old man.
"What have you learned in all of this?" asked Sean.
"To respect power and to keep my mouth shut," remarked the old timer. "England is far more powerful than Ireland and she can reduce Ireland back to the stone age in an all out fight. I can see that, but many cannot. I have to keep my mouth shut though and seem to agree with whomever I'm talking to, because I'm wrapped up in politics now," said the seasoned warrior.
"Yes," replied Sean. "I learned early in life that one had to be very careful about what one said. I was young and in England illegally and that was one of my first lessons. I have never forgotten it, and this simple lesson has helped me all throughout life," said Sean.
"The man washing the cement floor with a hose over there in that Guinness Brewery is free to speak his mind, but we cannot, my friend." said the old ex-soldier.
"You have hit upon the very problem that I face today because now that I find myself face to face with important people, I find that each one of them has enormous self interests and that before he says even one word, his mind has rolled the information around like a computer and what comes out is not the truth, but then out of his mouth comes a statement to further his self interests," said Sean.
"Exactly," said the gentleman who then got up from the bench and shook Sean's hand and said good-by.
Sean took another of his long walks through Dublin as he thought about the problems that he had dealing with those two boats at Aberystwyth. His people had installed their devices close to the RADAR units that were now inactive but which would activate at a push of a button, but their batteries would not last forever so something had to be done soon.
The one 'Stealth' boat that now belonged to Ireland made its first run as the Irish coastal RADAR stations tried to pick it up. Several high ranking Irish military officials were aboard as the craft raced along at a speed close to ninety miles per hour. It was a few days after this that the chess game started. The heads of the present Irish military, evidently were not of the same mind as the old gentleman who talked to Sean on the park bench, nor did they seem to have the same intentions as the members of the dáil who talked with Sean. They placed this new craft at Ballymoney. This was a coastal town directly across Saint George's Channel from the two English boats at Aberystwyth. Only one hundred and fifty miles of water stood between the two boats. The Irish military was in on the scheme to place the disruptive devices on the British RADAR units and they wanted to move fast now before they were discovered, so before Sean or the dáil could counter their plans, they sent their invisible boat across the one hundred fifty mile stretch of ocean water and hit the 'Stealth' boat base one evening with rockets and sped home.
The British were clever enough to keep it low key. No lives were lost but one of the stealth boats was totally destroyed. The other had been away someplace else. The Irish Military had not only failed to do their homework properly but now had precipitated events that would lead to extremely strained relations between the two countries. Now the entire situation moved out of the hands of Cromwell and Sean who were both, at the moment, out of this little game. This adventure now passed to the bigger fish and Ireland and England now stood eyeball to eyeball.
"What on earth do you think is going to happen now?" asked Christina as she and Sean were having dinner together in one of Dublin's more fashionable restaurants.
"Tina, I only hope cooler heads will prevail. There is a definite line in these little fights that you cannot go beyond and these boys definitely overstepped it, but at least we are even now; we have one and they have one, so that's 'Even Steven', as they say in America," said Sean.
"It's costing Paragon already. All our flights to England have been delayed on the ground by every conceivable method known to man. Fuel delays, parts delays, you name it and we have had it. One unionized gentleman ran his forklift into one of the aircraft's horizontal stabilizers, tearing it up and another tore a door right off a different airplane by taking the jetway higher while the airplane door was still open," said Tina.
"Oh, it's going to cost us even more money before it's over with, but we will be stronger at the end, and I'll tell you why: I heard the phrase today: 'You must respect power.' America is the one with the power, not Ireland or even England. I knew, that I had Cromwell just where I wanted him when I saw he was not playing ball with the Pentagon and trying to get those 'Stealth' boats built without the Pentagon's knowledge. So what I have done is load the San Juan computer up with all types of information about MI-5 and MI-6 operations and even some trivial IRA data but I didn't give them any facts whatsoever that would compromise Paragon or Ireland. And I did it in such a way so it looks like this is all that I know about. The minute that I heard those lunatics had sent that boat over with those Arab rockets and shelled the MI-6 marina at Aberystwyth, I was on the phone to the American CIA and I spoke to one of their top men and I gave him access to the San Juan computer plus I gave CIA people free space available travel on any of Paragons routes. It will be the lowest space available priority and I told them this, so it's costing us practically nothing, but it's showing them we want to cooperate with them. And then what I feel was the most important thing that I told them was that I wanted no further part of this militant action on the part of the Republic and if they felt that I needed to make a statement to the dáil concerning this then they should inform me and I would do so. An hour ago I got a call from America's Secretary of State who asked me to make such a statement to the dáil, and to also tell them that I was quitting my Irish governmental post at the request of the U.S. State Department, which no doubt was to send a message to the dáil that some one even higher wanted this thing stopped now! You see Tina, what all this does is that it puts us in a better position with the truly powerful. They feel we are trying to help them," said Sean.
"You've told the dáil? " asked Tina.
"Not yet. They have a special meeting scheduled at nine tonight and I've arranged for Miriam to be there because the CIA knows she represents the IRA and you need to come because you represent Paragon, and the pictures of all three of us will send a message to the Americans that we are all pulling together for what they want. I've arranged for plenty of reporters to be there so there will be a lot of pictures," said Sean.
After Sean's speech to the dáil, there were no more doors ripped off of Paragon's airplanes and the 'turn arounds' in England went a lot faster and smoother. Evidently the Americans had sent a message to England as well. The Sinn Fein people, however, now wondered about Sean,
Although the military had struck the blow against England, those in England who really ran things knew perfectly well that the dáil was fairly representative of Ireland where the large majority of people merely wanted peace with England, and ultimately the dáil would prevail over those few in the military who were forever wanting to start a war with England. The cooler heads in England reminded both newspapers and television stations that certain events had happened at a secret military base, and these events were now all classified as military secrets, and under the British Secrecy Law people who publish military secrets generally go to prison. This is unlike in America where anything can be published if it is, indeed, true. These cooler heads in England, therefore, knew how to prevail so as to keep all the clamor down so that mass hysteria against Ireland would not evolve. There were millions of Irish living right in England itself, and something like this, if not checked early, could result in widespread riots or even a form of civil war.
But this turmoil between England and Ireland has been going on now for eight hundred years. It started sort of like the Americans against Vietnam except that the Vietnamese were strong enough to force the Americans out and be done with the war, but the Irish were not, so the problem continues until even today. It is like a pot on the stove that sometimes boils over when the fire underneath gets too hot. The average Englishman or the average Irishman never bothers to pay much attention to it until it boils over, even though people are being killed regularly, every so often, on both sides. It's only when many get killed that he hears the steam from the boiling pot.
Sean's helpfulness to the Americans, in what they considered their divine right to rule the entire world, now paid off on some further small routes in the Caribbean that enabled Sean to bring over some faster turbo-props into this region. Now, he quickly found, the number of passengers increased on every route that these planes flew. They were also better than some of the pure jets inasmuch as they had better takeoff power, which one absolutely needed on these small island runways. Harry Kirk had put all this together and even flew the routes himself as captain until he was certain that the entire thing was nailed down properly with Flight personnel, Maintenance, Customer Service and Stores all cooperating toward a smooth and successful airline operation. Now the 'tin roof' phase of this Caribbean operation was over and the well organized and well-tested Paragon Emerald Airline system was slowly taking over.
Sean never bothered with the computers; that was Tina's area. It was the dramatic increase in passengers as the prop-jets came on the line that made her take notice of the computer print outs of this new Caribbean operation. They had never had an operation with a load factor this high, and all indications were that if they had even some more modern equipment in the Caribbean that the load factor would still climb higher. This interested her very much and she sought even more information from her computers.
At the monthly meeting with Sean she said, "The operation that Pan American Airlines put into service is no more and what has taken its place on the routes that we are now operating, is a hodge podge of various attempts at air transportation undreamed of here in Europe. You simply would not believe what those people are operating out there. Our competition is all piston powered propeller airplanes. That's hot weather down there. Those type airplanes simply cannot be properly air-conditioned; it's impossible. Do you know what some of our competition thinks a waiting room should be? A corrugated iron roof over a Coke machine is about what it amounts to. My information is telling me that we are pulling in passengers who want more than this and who are willing to pay. Now I've talked to some old Pan Am people about this area and the problem that they had is that when one person goes on a flight then the entire extended family comes to the airport to wish them off and we can't afford to give all them the luxury of air-conditioned waiting rooms too, so these special waiting rooms have to be strictly limited to only those passengers themselves who are taking these jet or prop-jet planes that are also air-conditioned, and we will charge higher fares for this. Let's do it on one run for a while and then we can look at what the computer tells us, and we'll go from there," said Tina.
"Oh, you mentioning Pan Am reminded me exactly what you meant. I was entering the Pan American terminal at JFK and the 747 had just taken off for San Juan and there had to be well over a thousand people coming out of that place all at once; there were so many that it was like a movie letting out and I couldn't even get up the steps. I had to step back and to the side and wait for all of them to come out before I could get up the steps and go in. Your approach is sound about separating the two fares. Standard European thinking will not work at all in the Caribbean. Now this thing has to be thought through because both our people and the CIA will want air-conditioning on their vacation space available flights. We simply won't have room got thst, so let's notify them now what they don't get before any problems arise where they think they have a right to something that they don't have rights to, We have both been through this before; I don't think we need to make any of those type mistakes again," Said Sean.
"I wrote a note about that while you were talking," said Tina. "Something else now: Harry says that because rum is so cheap that we are having an alcohol problem. He also says that instead of the natives following the European example of abstaining from alcohol a good eight hours before working, they merely continue their native ways. Also our own people see this and some are beginning to emulate the natives. Kirk wants some strict enforcement of rules right now," she added.
"Plenty of written and verbal warnings first; then go to it," Sean said.
"OK, I've made a note of that. One of our aircraft mechanics was off duty and saw a native cut an artery in his arm and took his own shirt and made a tourniquet and stopped the blood flowing and sewed it up with a regular needle and string and it held when he removed the tourniquet. Evidently the man is doing fine," said Tina.
"If our doctor down there would look at the man and if there are no serious complications then we ought to get some good mileage out of this. There needs to be a reward handed to this mechanic by his supervisor during working hours so everyone can see. Where's the mechanic from?" asked Sean.
"Germany," answered Tina.
"I'd play it up for all it's worth in the German press, especially in his home town, and here in Ireland and England too— not mentioning to the English newspapers that he's German — and play it up especially in the Caribbean," said Sean.
"Yes. that is better than paid advertising," answered Tina. "Harry Kirk wants us to come down there for a few days and see the new little empire that he's built up in the Caribbean," said Tina.
"There are a few loose cannon rolling around on the deck at the dáil and these have to be tied down before I leave or there may not be an airline or even an Ireland to come back to," said Sean.
"Do you have a time frame of when that will be? I need some parameters," said Tina.
"As little as a week, but maybe several months. There are only a few war mongers in the dáil, but they do have considerable influence and I'll have to tread warily right now," said Sean.
* * *
"I never thought that I would be going back to school again at my age," said Pat Higgins.
"You are the best on this telephone equipment and that is why you need to get caught up on some of this more sophisticated equipment," said Harry Kirk. "You are the only one who will be able to see how it will fit in with what we already have. I have discovered that in this business you must stay well ahead of the pack or else you get trampled on," Harry Kirk added.
"If I figure a way to use it so that Paragon gets a jump on these other blokes then do I get first class seats to Europe on my vacation?" asked Patrick.
"Not only that but I personally will make certain that every one of your bedrooms, that you and your young bird occupy, are air-conditioned," said Kirk laughingly. But then his expression changed to sudden apprehension as he looked at the asphalt runway and the plane that was about to land and, as if the pilot could hear him, he yelled out loud: "Gear! Gear!" And then as the plane's belly touched the asphalt, Kirk said, "Damn!"
As fire trucks and other vehicles raced to the scene, Harry Kirk took the small Kubota tractor, that was used mainly to pull their baggage carts, and he pulled the pin on the baggage cart hitch and drove the tractor, now freed from the cart, over to the maintenance hanger telling the supervisor there, "Have someone put that lift platform on this three point hitch and then put the tail wheel jack on the platform and we will both go out to that airplane," said Harry Kirk.
"That's not our airplane," said the supervisor.
"You are right, but we are about to do a favor to the person who does own the airline and maybe he will reciprocate when we need help," said Harry.
In less then ten minutes the two men with the jack very slowly made their way toward the cluster of activity around the downed plane on the island runway. Even in high gear the tractor was not too fast. After they arrived, Harry spoke to the airport manager who was also there by now, and he then ordered men to place the jack under the tail wheel and the men began jacking up the tail of the airplane. The plane did not catch fire, but as one looked down the runway, one could see scoops of asphalt missing as the propeller blades whacked out chunk after chunk each time a blade hit the asphalt runway. And these holes were smaller and smaller the further down the runway one looked. The airport manager and the two Paragon men now went into the airplane's cockpit and they saw that the gear handles had been placed in the down position, and they touched none of these things but now Harry pumped up hydraulic pressure with the emergency hand pump and as he did he could hear the tail wheel door opening and the tail wheel coming down. This was what he had wanted to see.
* * *
In Dublin Sean was talking to Emilio Chavez in Mexico. Chavez had placed a long distance call to Sean and was saying: "I own various silver mines in several countries. Our family has been in this business for years and we hope to remain in it for generations to come. Be that as it may, what I want to do is thank you. You see I had an airplane crash land at an airfield where Paragon has a base in the Caribbean, and the pilot claimed that he had placed the gear handle down before landing and everything showed that it was down so he landed only to find that the landing gear remained up and the plane skidded in on its belly. The reason that I'm calling you now is that one of your men, a man named Harry Kirk proved that the crew must have lied to us. They must have forgotten to extend their landing gear and then after the crash when they realized what had happened they killed all hydraulic pressure and then placed the gear handle in the down position and made up their story that they told after the crash. Your man Kirk proved that the system was working correctly because only minutes after the crash he placed a jack under the tail wheel, then jacked it up and the tail wheel came down as soon as hydraulic pressure was pumped into the system, and that is what I consider good thinking. Now I know exactly what happened; the crew were at fault, not the airplane. When you and Mr. Kirk and your families are in the Caribbean, then you come to Mexico and be my guest. My home is yours," said Emilio.
"We are planning to visit the area as soon as we can get a few items cleared up here in Ireland and we may very well take you up on that offer," said Sean, knowing full well that he would, because being this man's friend might open some more doors to Paragon.
But it was the very next phone call that interested Sean the most and it was an agent from a detective agency telling Sean about one of the dáil representatives who was, in fact, the prime instigator in the attack on the secret MI-6 base at Aberystwyth. "He's got this young school girl who is up in Dingle practicing her Gaelic with the locals who won't even speak a word of English for fear of losing their government money which goes to them for keeping the old language alive. He will be with her this weekend, we think, and if we do it right, with color and sound, then it will cost you between ten and fifteen thousand pounds," said the voice.
"Agreed," said Sean.
It was several weeks later that the dáil member found himself in the company of men he had never before seen, but who seemed to know all about him and his relations with a young school girl, and they had movies in color and sound of the two of them together which they showed to him. They told him that he had exactly three days to resign from the dáil for reasons of health and they would even supply him with a doctor who would give the proper press coverage for him, otherwise he was going to have some problems.
Exactly three days later the Dublin news media carried the story of the resignation and Sean and Tina were on their way to visit Paragon Emerald Airline's new Caribbean Stations. They had decided to go to London then board the British Airways flight to Nassau, and they were now in the London Heathrow terminal waiting room ready to board their flight. They had been forced to take tourist class seats because they wanted the earliest flight out and all the first class seats on it were already taken. This turned out to be a stroke of good luck for Sean. Because there in the waiting room, reading a newspaper and with a first class boarding pass sticking out of his jacket pocket, was none other than O.K. Cromwell. Sean stayed well out of his view and made a brief phone call to Dublin on one of the pay phones informing his own staff about Cromwell being on the airplane and he gave them instructions as to what he wanted them to do. Sean was grateful to British Airways for boarding tourist class first, even though their reason for doing so was that the herd of tourist class would have already passed through the first class section that would now be empty so the first class passengers could take their seats without being hindered by the tourist mob coming through. Sean was grateful that he would not have to pass close to a seated Cromwell and he knew that first class passengers would all exit first and this he was also grateful for because it would put Cromwell well in front of him after the plane landed at Nassau. 'What could he be coming here for?' thought Sean.
During the eight hour flight to Nassau, Sean's people in Dublin were faxing photos of Cromwell to Nassau so that someone could meet the flight and find him at the airport and track him. Sean had originally intended to leave Nassau almost immediately for the short forty minute trip to Miami, which was the hub of flights to the Caribbean, but now he decided to stay in Nassau while Tina continued on the original flight schedule to Miami and to the Caribbean. Sean's plane landed in Nassau and Sean left the airplane and walked through the Nassau terminal.
Not only had the Dublin people faxed pictures of Cromwell, but of Sean as well because as Sean stepped out of the terminal building and entered the area where taxis were located, a black man jumped out of his cab and yelled to him saying, "Sean O'Brien, this way." and when Sean reached him the man said, "We are following your man as Dublin requested but who will be paying us?" asked the man.
"I will pay you every day," said Sean sensing that these people would probably trust him more if they actually saw money at the end of each day. These were local people who had been hastily put in place by a local detective agency when contacted by Dublin. So far they had done wonderfully well in locating both Cromwell and Sean.
Sean decided not to stay at the same hotel as Cromwell, but he was close by and although he could not tap Cromwell's phone, he did get photographs of everyone who visited Cromwell at the hotel, and this time Cromwell had many visitors. In two days time Cromwell was back on the plane to London and Sean was off to Miami with the photos of Cromwell's visitors who he gave to his friend in Miami when they met at the airport. Sean never left the Miami International Airport, but boarded a plane to where Tina awaited him in the Caribbean.
"You are in for a cultural shock Sean. This is definitely not the same Paragon Emerald that we have in Ireland," said Tina as she met him at the airport. Supplying them with uniforms is a waste because the men will not wear shirts when it gets hot and no supervisors wear ties. But if you visit them at their homes in the evening then they all are wearing their uniforms to impress their neighbors that they are working for Paragon Airline," said Tina.
"Well, it's still good advertising," remarked Sean, perfectly aware of the vast difference in operation. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," he added.
"This place really is a vacationer's paradise. The European men would simply go wild seeing all the girls with hardly any clothes on and with bare feet even, shopping at the supermarket right along side them. And I was at one store the other day where a quart of rum was not much higher than a liter of soda pop. I can see where there would be an alcohol problem here," said Tina.
"That is going to be one of Paragon's biggest challenges. We have a responsibility to operate as safely as we can; so they are going to have to bend a bit and we are too, because we have to do with what is already here. We simply cannot change their entire culture. Tina, this Caribbean operation is going to have a higher mortality rate per passenger mile than our European unit, and we are going to have to accept this, and it will all be because of the high accepted use of alcohol here. Harry Kirk has fired some already for drinking but has had to hire them back, because, even though there are many people here, so few are trained in the specialties that we require," said Sean.
"We'll do the best we can, then, with what we've got here," replied Tina.
"That's it," confirmed Sean. "Do you know who put in the lion's share of work, creating and building the effective passenger and ticketing system that we now have? asked Sean; then he answered his own question by saying, "Pat Higgins and Theresa understood what we needed and they knew the local culture and they have spent about a third of what someone from Europe would for passenger facilities, and it all works fine."
"I'll keep that in mind, and I'll be watching them then. We need those kind of people, but they are not the ones who are going to run this operation. I have already decided that this thing here in the Caribbean is going to be run by Meg and Harry Kirk. They both know how we think and both of them together have the necessary composite knowledge to turn this beginning venture into a first class airline and they work well together; I hate to lose them in Europe but this is the place that they have to take over and build up for themselves," said Tina.
Sean had known Meg long before he had even met Tina. If it hadn't been for Meg then there would not even have been a Paragon Emerald Airline, because half a million in MI-6 Dollars that were destined for clandestine operations fell into the hands of a young IRA man who took that money and the vehicle that it was in and not knowing his way out of the huge London Heathrow Airport, pulled up in front of some walking stewardesses and then sat in the back of the vehicle stuffing his mouth full of sandwiches and washing it down with tomato juice from one of those small cans which one finds on the airplanes. He hoped that this way they would not notice his strong Irish accent. The girls, who were tired of walking and very much needing a ride, after finishing up a hard day's work, climbed into the front seat and appointed Meg to be the driver and she unwittingly drove him right out the gate just in the nick of time, before the missing money and van was discovered.
Today Meg was running the entire European Paragon operation in Tina's absence. Meg's one shining attribute was that she was always helpful. And little did she or Tina or Sean realize that it was this simple sandwich and tea she delivered to Sam Coalman one night, that enabled her to be where she was today. Meg did these favors for people at London's big airport while she drove around working for the Foreign Office of the British Government. Sam Coalman had chatted with her a few times and she reminded him of his own daughter when she was young and still at home. One night he found himself with no supper and she brought his sandwich and tea and exact change back to him not accepting even a penny from him. A week later he found that she had been terminated and he worried that his sandwich and tea might have had something to do with it. Sam never met Meg again after that, but he did see her pass by several times and he waved to her, happy to know that she had gotten another job at the airport. Sam Coalman was the guard at the gate who waved Meg through when she drove Sean to freedom. He was asked several hours later if he could remember a white van leaving the airport area and he had said no. He was certain that it was the correct answer because they were looking for a van driven by a man. He had only seen girls with Meg because Sean had lain down in the rear seat as they approached the gate. It was the sandwich and tea that she had brought to him one time when he was hungry, that made Sam Coalman say no. He knew that this girl had been fired once before for helping people. He decided right then and there that it was not going to be him who was responsible for her getting quizzed about a van and possibly fired again. That wasn't the van they were looking for anyway, thought Sam Coalman. He merely said no and the thought never crossed his mind again. Even Sam Coalman never realized how important that sandwich and tea was.
Because Meg was ever helpful and ever working at something and a good friend of Sean's, she was now at the top of Paragon's management team along with Harry Kirk and a few others. Only Tina and Sean, the owners, were above them. Meg had put in many years directly under Tina who taught Meg all she could about how money should be made in the airline business. As the airline grew, both Tina and Meg learned and they both got on well together, which was another plus factor for Meg. The English Government bought the Airline, paying many times what it was worth, and Sean and Tina took that money and started Paragon Emerald Airlines in Ireland, taking Meg and Harry Kirk with them. Meg never knew that Sean had sold the British Government an airline that had been created with their own money. Even Tina did not know this.
Now, if the British got all the facts together and tried to convict Sean, it would only serve to make Sean more of a hero in Ireland. It would then put Sean on the front pages of all the papers and on all the Television screens, and half of Ireland would be mad thinking the British were trying to get him even though he was innocent and the other half would cheer him thinking it great that he actually got away with it.
But all of this was far in the past and the furthest from Sean's mind as he lay on the beach with Tina in the warm tropical sun with the crystal clear ocean water not far from his feet.
"In some places I can see all the way to the bottom, right to my toes," said Tina.
"That's because there has been no development around here. Once the bulldozers begin their work then the crystal clear ocean is soon gone. Exactly why that is, you will have to ask the experts. I only know that it is that way," said Sean.
"You and I ought to do this more often Sean. I had Meg all trained to take over and I could have finally left and gone on a permanent vacation, but now I'm stuck back there again until only God knows when," said Tina.
"And then Meg and Harry will be out here together on this beach looking at this clear ocean while we, in Dublin, look at the brown water of the River Liffey and smell the delicious aroma of the Guinness Plant whenever the correct breeze happens to blow it our way," said Sean.
"Damn you, Sean O'Brien. Shut that Irish mouth of yours and massage my back," said Tina Covington and Sean obeyed and all was quiet except for the lapping of tiny waves upon the beach and the occasional screech of a bird.
* * *
Sean's people in Dublin were studying the photos that had been taken of Cromwell's visitors in Nassau. The Miami group had managed to link up several names with photos before they were forwarded to Dublin and now the intensive work had begun. Dublin had even taken a chance and faxed some of the pictures to several places about the globe for further information as to names. It was John Moran who first spotted the real significance of the business that all these visitors were engaged in, and he said to the other members in his group, "These people all have connections in some way to the production end of the gold, silver and platinum metals. Why is he talking to them and why in secret?"
It was several days later that John Moran, again, cleared up more of the mystery by talking to a professor at Trinity College who told him: "All nations that issue paper money are, in a sense, competitors with one another until they are threatened with even a greater threat; then they will cooperate together. This is like the Japanese manufacturers who fiercely compete with one another in Japan itself but who immediately cooperate with one another once they are up against foreign competition. Gold, silver and platinum can fast become a refuge for the world's people in times of currency crises. Not only this but if the price of these metals starts a gradual rise where people around the world sense that they can do better by holding these metals than by getting interest in the bank then every country has a big problem because the people start purchasing the precious metals en mass which in turn leads to even more speculation in the metals. So all countries have a common interest in keeping the lid on precious metal prices. They will team up together in various secret ways to do this. If a country engages in even more secret negotiations with the precious metals people then it signifies that they, somehow, are planning to circumvent the group of countries in favor of themselves."
Further investigation by the Dublin group found that not only was this true but Cromwell was acting for a group of conservatives who were out to prevent Germany from gaining any further inroads into controlling a common currency for Europe's Common Market. All of this information was sent to Sean in the Caribbean.
Sean received all of this and then realized that it would also not be in America's interests to have Germany control the Common Market's currency, but there were absolutely no Americans involved in this. There was something more to this and one piece of information that interested Sean very much was that one person seen with Cromwell was a representative of Emilio Chavez's silver mine group.
Sean contacted Emilio Chavez and made arrangements for Harry Kirk and himself and Tina and Meg to visit Chavez at his home in Mexico. Sean then discussed the upcoming visit with Tina and then made arrangements to have Meg come to San Juan. Tina and Sean would end their tour in San Juan and then from there they would travel with Harry Kirk and Meg to Mexico.
Sean could not figure exactly what Cromwell was up to. He decided, at this point, that he was going to inform his friend at the American CIA, but before this he was going to talk to Emilio Chavez about this little matter.
After they had looked over their new domain and were ensconced once more in a luxury hotel in San Juan with the big city amenities once again available to them, Tina said, "I'll return to Dublin after Mexico and leave this enchanted land, of fifty-five gallon drums and corrugated tin roofs, to Meg. I dare say that I will miss the beaches and the wonderful strolls in the moonlight at night. The days are a bit hot but those nights are simply divine. The beaches and those wonderful nights will be what I will miss the most."
"I thought you would remember it as an excellent return on investment," said Sean.
"If it is all still here after the next hurricane then possibly I will," said Tina.
"Are you pessimistic about its chances?" asked Sean.
"No, not at all, but I'm just being realistic about wind and water damage. We are going to have more of that here, but how much more? No one can tell me that," said Tina.
Tina, Sean and Harry Kirk were at the airport in San Juan to meet Meg, who was able to have one full day in San Juan before she was again in the air and whisked away to Mexico. "Doesn't anybody sleep at night here?" Meg asked Emilio after they had come into the Mexican airport well after dark. As they drove through the city at night everything still seemed to be open and many businesses all continued running until a very late hour where in Europe they would all be closed down tight.
Emilio laughed and replied, "They sleep in the afternoon and are unlike you in Europe where you come home at night; here, people go out at night."
Emilio was the perfect host to them while they were there and it was not until the third evening of their stay that Sean found himself alone with his host and told Emilio about seeing his representative meeting with Cromwell and that the CIA would also shortly know.
"Where and when are you going to meet with them?" asked Emilio.
"In Dublin, the day after we get back," said Sean.
"I'll come with you to Dublin and we will both tell them what we know," said Emilio. "You see, I was told that a few wealthy English families wanted to accumulate a large amount of silver and it needed to be done quietly and with discretion. But my friend, I have been in this business all my life and I know that if those families filled all their stables and barns and houses up with silver then the amount that was involved would still need more room, so I realized that what I was being told was— as they say up in el norte — all hogwash. Wealthy people hoard gold, not silver. It's relatively easy to hoard a million dollars worth of gold, but do you know how many tons of silver that would be? Where are you going to find a space for it all so that it won't be discovered? No, this is something that the very wealthy prudent person would not do. If you are talking about hoarding around one hundred thousand dollars, then silver is ideal for the job, but not when it starts getting into the many pickup truck loads, because that's just plain foolishness. I produce it and I have problems with sulphation and oxidation. You have big problems storing it. Gold and platinum won't tarnish and blacken like silver will," he added.
"What do you think they are up to then?" asked Sean.
"I'm glad you said think. You have to remember that silver is more oversold than gold so when all the precious metals begin to rise, then silver rises a lot faster than gold at first, merely because there isn't as much of it around. Traders are more sophisticated today and they have computers that watch all of this and I think what this is, is a more sophisticated approach by the British Government to defend the pound by selling off these stockpiles of different precious metals for pounds when they deem it necessary. I had no idea that the British Government was involved in this until you told me your story today," said Emilio.
"You don't think that it will interest the CIA then?" asked Sean.
"On the contrary, if we give them only the facts and not our opinion, then they will be intensely interested and we will both be in their book as being trustworthy. It will only be afterward when they see what has happened, that they no longer will be interested, but they will not think anything less of us for that; we will still be in their good graces, and that is all we want anyway," said Emilio.
Sean was beginning to like this Mexican. He thinks exactly like I do, thought Sean. "Fine, then you and your family shall be our guests in Dublin," said Sean, very much relieved that this problem seemed now to be satisfactorily resolved to the benefit of both of them.
"Mr. O'Brien, what do you think is in store for the world? Do you think these good times are going to continue or do you think that this cycle of business will start its decline?" asked Emilio.
"I have to be optimistic. The great strides made, particularly in electronics, now have given us ultra reliable navigating equipment that twenty years ago no one would have even dreamed possible. And this is only one area. Communications are ultra reliable now. The warning systems are all computerized and virtually foolproof now. On these most modern planes the computer flies it now; it even lands and takes off. The Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8, which ushered in the jet age are as ancient compared to these new Jets as the Model T Ford is to a modern car today," said Sean.
"And you are forced to buy these new planes so that you can stay ahead of your competitors," said Emilio.
"You have to keep buying modern equipment in your business too for the same reason. Right?" asked Sean.
"Yes but in the silver business one has to be a pessimist and not an optimist," said Emilio.
"Why, on earth, is that?" asked Sean, astounded at these words.
"Because that is when we make our big profits. When people fear their currency or their government, then they buy the precious metals and there is not nearly enough gold, silver and platinum to supply the needs of the world during these crises and the price rises considerably and we make considerably more money then. So you see, my friend, you make your best profits during good times and I make my best profits during bad times," said Emilio.
Emilio lived in that part of Mexico called the Yucatan that was the northern part of the old Maya Indian Empire. He showed his guests some of these ruins, saying, "When I was a boy they could not read these stones, but now they can, and even though we cannot understand everything yet, we are getting a clearer picture of their culture. To see all this happening in my own lifetime and to hear some of the stories told by these stones, that I never thought would talk, is to me, simply incredible, These were my ancestors and now they are finally able to tell me about themselves. Some of them have turned out to be a lot crueler than I had imagined when I was young," said Emilio. It was this part of their stay in Mexico, viewing these old ruins, that impressed his guests the most.
But now the vacation ended with Harry and Meg heading to take over in the Caribbean and Emilio going to Dublin with Tina and Sean. They were not even back in Dublin one whole day before the CIA representative was taping their stories and eagerly looking at the photos of Cromwell's visitors.
Sean was very much surprised at Emilio's actions in Dublin. Before a week was past Emilio had sewn up several large deals where his company would be shipping various religious silver products to companies in Ireland.
"So you've managed to sell some of your silver while you are here," said Sean.
"It is not my silver, my friend. Everything in the ground belongs to Mexico. This is the law. I have sold some of Mexico's silver. Of course I do make a slight profit on the sale," Emilio said as he laughed.
Emilio was about to return to Mexico when the CIA representative called Sean one evening wanting to see both of them, so Emilio stayed, and both Sean and he could not believe what the CIA wanted from them now.
"It looks like we are faced with a foreign scheme to use the precious metals in our hemisphere for the fortification of foreign money against our own currencies. What we have suddenly realized, from this information that you have given us, is that we not only must have a handle on gold to protect our currency, but on silver and platinum as well," said the CIA man.
"This is exactly what I told Sean, here, a while back. The game is being played with computers now and is getting more sophisticated. You have got to use more than gold in today's game; you have to use other currencies and other precious metals as well," said Emilio.
"Yes, this is what I was told too, and since I was the one who brought in this information, I was the one who was handed the responsibility to set up some sort of temporary remedy in the form of a corporation that could do this until something more permanent could be set up," said the man from the CIA.
"And you need our help in this," said Sean.
"Yes sir. I took the liberty of checking on Mr. Chavez and he certainly has the expertise needed here," said the CIA representative.
"If such a company was formed and Mr. Chavez and I acted as the front men, then what is the highest percentage of the company that we can have?" asked Sean.
"I knew I was going to be asked that so I checked with my superiors and the CIA must retain fifty per cent plus a thousandth of one per cent. We must control it," said the CIA person.
"Essentially what will this company be doing?" asked Sean.
"It will be buying future precious metals contracts from various mines in this hemisphere," said the CIA man.
"That's too risky. In fact, it's absolutely insane!" said Emilio.
"What if we indemnify you against these risks?" asked the CIA rep.
"And we keep the profits?" asked Emilio.
"The CIA will have a quiet half interest in the company and we'll divide the profits," said the man from the CIA.
"I'll need to have a Mr. Covington and several of his friends come to the meeting where this all gets set up," said Sean.
"I'll need names and addresses and they will have to be fingerprinted and photos made of them, but we'll take care of all of this," said the CIA man.
"I will need to bring three people from Mexico too," said Emilio.
"OK, so for the record each side has about a half interest in this then and we'll work out the details later," said the CIA man and he was gone.
"We have made a pact with the devil himself," said Emilio.
"No, the devil himself is right across St. George's Channel to the east. I'm still dealing with him. We haven't signed anything yet; let's see what our people think of it, You might tend to see the Americans as your enemy, but what I saw here was a working man who had a problem which I solved for him and who has given me a one in a million shot at something Paragon Emerald desperately needs: a flywheel or stabilizer; another sister enterprise that will make us money in the recessions. You, yourself told me that silver made more money in bad times than good. Paragon needs something that brings in money to her during the bad times as well. We need to know how they plan to indemnify us against loss. We need to know how much money we must put in to this. Our people need to tell us exactly how much is to be made here. If they tell us that it is a good deal then we have to see that it is not something temporary and that they need us permanently. This is an ordinary working man who has offered us this; he doesn't understand that he may be giving away a small fortune; he doesn't have the experts to tell him; we do. Let's wait and see what your devil proposes," said Sean.
"I did not come to Dublin to get further entrenched into the silver business, but this has given me a splendid opportunity also. You take my share of this CIA business and I will set it all up and get it working for you, if you come to the Yucatan and set up Maya Airlines for me and get it working for me," said Emilio.
"You don't think that much of it then," said Sean.
"Yes, I do, but I have a prejudice against working with these people. I tend to see the Americans in the same light as you see the English; they have this arrogance of power. I simply do not intend being in business with them, but if setting this up is what it takes to get an airline started, then so be it. We both win, because I too need something that will bring in money when silver is not in high demand in the world, which is most of the time. I need to be balanced better as well," said Emilio.
"It might work. Meg and I and Harry Kirk could put the thing together, and I'd have to have Tina come over from time to time to run a check on us. The whole thing is going to depend on the traffic volume. Is there going to be enough traffic to support the airline. We've got the computer setup that will give us an early yes or no on this before you pump too much money down the tube. Since the Yucatan is right in the Caribbean then it would fit in well with our buildup in that area; we will even be able to link up connecting flights. This will be a definite plus for both of us. I believe I'm going to enjoy this because I've never built up an airline before on my own; Paragon Emerald is mostly Tina's doing. What I supplied was the seed money and the lubrication of government officials, which, by the way, you will have to take care of in Mexico. But 'not to worry' Emilio, I believe I have learned enough by now to put this little thing together for you. I'm going to enjoy creating and building this airline on my own, sort of," said Sean.
"Now we have a deal, and my mistrust of the Americans will make me scrutinize their methods so when you do take over, there will be no hidden devices to trip you up. Yes, I do believe this is a deal where both of us will benefit," said Emilio.
Emilio stayed in Dublin several weeks after the CIA deal was completed. Then, with several of his people in Dublin and New York to finish setting things up, he and Sean flew to Mexico to begin working out the plan for Maya Airlines.
It was several months later, after much hard work, that Sean showed Emilio a computer print-out. "You'll be losing money 'til about next year at this time, then you will be out of the red and into the realm of profitability. You have the potential for a great airline here. We'll both make money feeding into each other's routes too; I'll send them over to you so they can see the Mayan ruins and you can send them to the Caribbean to drink rum," said Sean.
For the next year Emilio was constantly in touch with either Sean or Harry Kirk. Maya Airlines did start to make money a year later, and in two and a half years it had paid Emilio back every cent that he had invested in it. Sean had not done nearly that well in his silver venture. Here it was Tina's daddy, Mr. Covington, who had made a small fortune in the company supposedly assisting America to support her Dollar, by buying and selling silver futures. Mr. Covington now retired to one of the more English oriented islands of the Caribbean where his daughter's airline had a major terminal and he set up one of the most complete yachting centers in the Caribbean. He was continually taking his yachting customers on trips to the Yucatan to see the Mayan Ruins. He even became quite knowledgeable about the subject. But nothing substantially had changed in that lengthy time period with the English-Irish stealth boat problem. Both sides sent them out occasionally to scout the other's shipping and to see how close they could get to the other's RADAR installations before they would be spotted. Cromwell had put something in place that put each side on edge just waiting for the other to do something first, but there seemed to be nothing anyone could do about it. Those two stealth boats were like the sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of both the Irish and the English.
The Caribbean operation was the most profitable gem in the Paragon Emerald Airline crown. Sean had spent a considerable amount of his time in seeing that the feeder runs to and from Mexico worked flawlessly, and this meant much talking with Mexican, American and English and Irish officials so that the passengers could go through customs with a minimum of delay.
One delightful Caribbean evening, Mr. Covington and Tina, along with Sean, Meg and Harry Kirk were at the Covington yacht basin talking to Emilio about a certain airplane that he was thinking about purchasing, and Tina said: "We are not quite certain about that one yet, but this is where the computer will help us. We are feeding all available information into our computer about this aircraft and we will soon be able to predict its cost of operation per passenger mile. Paragon Emerald is simply not big enough to take chances and to put orders in for an airplane that we are not absolutely certain will return us a similar profit to what our other craft are earning for us."
"Sometimes even a good airplane will wreck an airline. Pan American's early orders and down payments on an unexisting airplane turned the Boeing 747 from a possibility into a reality. If everything had gone right, then Pan American would have had exclusive use of the first 747's for a good year before any other airline had them. If this would have happened then we might still have Pan American with us today. But everything went wrong with the early engines and the airlines who did not sponsor its development, in some cases, got even better airplanes than Pan American did," said Harry Kirk.
"Eastern Airlines is another example of an airline that bet on the wrong airplane and the wrong engine. It bet its future on the Lockeed 1011 and the Rolls-Royce RB-211 Engine. The first RB-211s were coming off the production line when several birds wiped out several engines. The engine had ceramic turbine blades which all disintegrated when a bird was sucked in. That was the engine that bankrupted Rolls-Royce, and eventually helped sink Eastern as well. The blades were changed back to metal blades but these could not stand the heat that the ceramic ones could and that engine was continually plagued with overheat problems," said Sean.
"On the other hand you have KLM which gambled on the Douglas DC-2 buying all they could before everyone else and they came out on top and so far ahead of everyone else that they remain one of the big airlines even today. But why gamble when the computer will tell you, if you wait a bit," said Tina.
"Different routes are suited to different airplanes too. We have several DC-3 s still flying where the runways are short and traffic sporadic," said Harry Kirk.
"Yes, that's another story: the DC-3 is an excellent training airplane, and here in the Caribbean we shove the trainee into the right hand seat during regular trips. We couldn't get away with that in Europe. When we set up our DC-3 parts department our computer pointed out something else to us: that selling DC-3 parts was very profitable in this hemisphere. And that's something else again: if a thing makes money then stay in it regardless if you are in that business or not. Also, get out of any business immediately when signs point to a reduction of suitable profitability. Sean and I sold the English Paragon Airline immediately when we saw rough going ahead. Of course we owe my father quite a bit because he figured a way for us to make the airline seem worth a lot more than it really was," said Tina.
"One more thing, that is important, Emilio, you have learned how to make money and then make that money work for you. Only one in several hundred can do this. Do not make the mistake of thinking that people with degrees can all make money. The vast majority of those with even advanced degrees simply cannot. Having a degree proves that the person will fit into your organization and take orders and execute these orders with suitable above average probability, and they mostly will work well with others; you'll get less static from them. You can bring in some professor and ask him to figure out why a certain something is failing or to suggest improvement. But only you can run your company. They cannot," said Sean.
"This I have learned," said Emilio. "And in these several years that I have been in this airline business, I have learned that it is a business that needs a much higher percentage of key people than the mining business. These key people are people that are hard to replace because of their sophisticated skills; these are the ones you try to hold on to, no matter what. By the way do you know what we have here tonight? It is a group from various countries who all are keenly interested in business. Kirk is American; Tina and her father are English; Meg is English-Irish and Sean is Irish and I'm Mexican— partly Mayan and partly Spanish. But our common interest is business and this is what brings us together. You teach me things and I teach you things. What all of us here tonight have in common is the knowledge that any business is a complicated system of people in their designated places, all doing their different types of work so that the end result is sold at a profit after paying all the expenses involved. We understand that this means eternal vigilance and keeping up with the latest in technology and not getting carried away with some esoteric principles," he added.
"I certainly understand that, but would you please tell that to Sean. He doesn't see it that way Emilio. Tell us what you think is most important in business Sean," said Tina.
"Getting the team together so it works, and showing people how important it is for them to do these things that they have to do so it all gets done, and picking the right people and putting them in the correct jobs," said Sean.
"You see Emilio, he never had to worry about the profit part because I always took care of that. Even when he was putting together your airline Emilio, I still had to worry about that. He has never worried about the bottom line Emilio." said Tina.
"I would say to you Sean, if you lose Tina then you should sell Paragon Emerald immediately," said Emilio laughing, and he added, "Tina if you lose Sean then you better also sell right away because what he said is as important as the bottom line. Both of you need the other; neither one of you built Paragon Emerald by yourself and neither of you may be able to keep it alone, I'm afraid. You both need each other," said Emilio.
"And if we are going to stay here in the Caribbean then all of us here right now needs each other," said Meg.
"I deem that to be the truth," said Harry Kirk.
"Yes, we do all need each other. This was something that my family learned too late because they fought the Mexican Government when it laid claim to the silver in the ground that the family owned. My father learned that the Government was too strong to resist and he worked with them and I also have learned that we all need each other, and although they do have the silver, they need the sophisticated operation that I have set up to get it out of the ground and marketed profitably, and they have to pay for this, so in essence we both get paid. Yes, we all need each other," said Emilio.
"Business is different in every country. Just because you made it in one country, that doesn't guarantee you success in another place on this globe," said Sean.
"Well, here comes Janet," said Emilio, as a tall good looking, well-dressed girl approached the group. Janet's grandparents had come to the island from Greece and she had inherited from them a gene that turned her abundant locks of hair gray when she was only in her teens. This made her seem older than she was and she seemed to always gravitate into managerial positions with whoever hired her, and in this capacity she always did extremely well. She knew how to handle both men and women. Although she only had the typical island high school education, she instinctively knew what was required of her in the business world. She was obsessed with clothes. And even though she had to wear the same uniform of the car rental agency as the girls that she managed, her's were all carefully proportioned and tailored to fit her exactly. She still lived with her parents in their house and because she was in management, the car agency always furnished her with a free car, and even though fuel was supposed to be paid for, she managed to get it free too. Her only expenses in life were her clothes that she spent her entire salary on. If she saw a new fashion that was not yet in the island, she took a plane to Miami and got it. The car agency loved her; not only did she get enough work out of her girls but they were the best looking, and most helpful of any agency on the island. Janet was no call girl; she stayed well within those moral bounds set by the culture of the island; there was no word of impropriety ever associated with her, but none-the-less she always seemed to be the partner of the wealthiest man available at that particular time. Tonight her profuse gray hair seemed to make her look an elegant partner to Emilio who was twenty years her senior and who now pulled over a chair for her as she sat down next to him.
"You need to get married Janet," said Emilio.
"Emilio," she said, looking straight into his eyes. "I do not believe that I could ever stay with one single man for more than five years, and even that would be the ultimate maximum." she added.
"But you need to catch a man now while you are still young and attractive," said Emilio.
"I'll do like the rest do and go to Miami and have myself fixed so I keep looking good," said Janet.
"They can't perform miracles Janet," said Emilio.
"Here, Emilio, look at me good and I'll even open my mouth and you can look inside like they check a horse, See these teeth? They were all smashed when I got hit in the mouth with a bottle of rum. I was back and forth to San Juan for months and it cost me thousands. You are looking at one of their miracles Emilio," said Janet.
"What's new on the island Janet," asked Meg who had been working quite a few hours lately and had not had time for the island's night life.
"Oh, one of those British Airlines brought in an entire steel drum band, and are they good! They play classical music and they sound exactly like a big orchestra. They will be on the island an entire week and you have just got to hear them. They are absolutely the best that I have ever heard!" said Janet.
"Shall we go see our competition's steel drum band, Sean?" asked Tina.
"Daddy, why can't you get them to come over here? If they are as good as Janet says then the people will want to hear them for more than a week," said Tina to her father.
"Come on Janet, you and I are going to do some telephoning," and Mr. Covington and Janet headed to the phone to see if they could make a deal to extend the stay of the steel drum band. After a few minutes Janet alone returned and sat down again next to Emilio saying,
"We found them and he's trying to work out something with them now," said Janet.
"If he gets them then there will be many more people sitting here and I will have to supply him with a good many Green, Paragon Emerald folding chairs that we have ready and waiting, just for occasions like this," said Sean.
"It is simply amazing how they get such beautiful music out of those old oil drums," said Meg.
"Steel drum music is like me. We were both born right here in the islands," said Janet.
"I've got them for three days and it has cost me plenty," said Mr. Covington as he returned. Then he turned to Janet and said, "You have an instinctive ability to know what the public likes, and I know if you love it then so will they. Oh, by the way, I did have to agree to one minor concession. There can be no Paragon Emerald banners behind them when they play here. We can probably use some of Paragon's green chairs though," said Mr. Covington.
"So Janet found them for you," remarked Emilio.
"That's not all she's found for me: she found me this land, right here, that the marina is on. Three families owned all of this and they all wanted to sell out, and all knew as soon as they put this much land up for sale it would depress the market. Janet came to me because she knew that I wanted some land, and we all made out because I did buy a bit under the market but they got close to what they wanted. Janet now has a lifetime membership in the yacht club, and gets free rides to Paris with Paragon so she can buy her clothes," said Mr. Covington.
"I only did that once, but I do go to San Juan and Miami a lot. It's space available, but my terminal is tapped into Paragon's computer and I can always find out instantly how things look. If I can get the really empty flights then I even fly first class where I can meet exceptionally interesting people. That was the very best deal I ever made in my entire life, Mr. Covington," said Janet.
"A bit too much crime in Miami, isn't there?" asked Emilio.
"Yes, at the airport terminal they have dogs with yellow collars sniffing for drugs and the dogs with the red collars are sniffing for explosives. I don't know what the dogs with the blue collars are sniffing for, but they even have a robot sniffer that has two different tanks of gas and valves and meters and it sniffs something too. The policeman, say with the yellow collared dog, has a yellow ball with the drug smell, that he hides in one of the many lockers and when the dog eventually finds it then he gets a bone to chew on for his reward," said Janet.
"People and animals all work to get rewards," said Mr. Covington.
"Daddy, what kind of reward was Sean getting when he was young and trying to sabotage us English?" Tina asked her father.
"Approval, that's a form of reward," answered Sean.
"We didn't approve of it," said Tina.
"Approval from my people, the Irish," said Sean.
"Why can't people see that? I have to keep drumming that into my girls' heads. Every contract is supposed to end with a thank you statement from the girl to the customer, and even though it comes from the lips of a living human being, they make it sound as if it's coming from a robot tape player. I have to sit them down and patiently explain to them that this person has just put money into their pocket, because without these rental contracts they, in turn, would get no paycheck. I have to tell them that if they are rushed then look at the first name— it's right there on the contract — and say 'Bill' and then when you get his eye look him in the eyes, smile and say 'Thanks' and maybe a hand gesture, but make it human, then go on to the next person. This shows him you approve of what he has done for you. It only takes a few seconds and it costs nothing. To be successful in life means that you must learn to express your approval as well as your disapproval, but ninety nine out of one hundred will not do this," said Janet.
"Janet, where did you learn these tactics of dealing with people? Emilio asked.
"When I was young, I had to make the chickens and pigs do what they were supposed to do. I couldn't allow them to do what they wanted. There is not that much difference with people when you stop and think about it. My own problem, though, is that I am not a fighter like Sean, Tina and her daddy here. If you demand something, then this usually means a fight, and I come out badly in fights, so I don't ever demand. I smile and take whatever reward the smile brings. I suppose, though, that the fighter who is good at winning, comes out better by demanding. I was told that I was a fool for not paying a bribe and getting a Realtor's license, then nailing Mr. Covington for a fat fee when the property deal went through. The man who told me that was a fighter and had one of the best houses on this island. Now he has lost everything and I am leading a much happier life than he is and, at the moment, I can fly all over the world free, so who is to say who is right and who is wrong," said Janet.
"You have her on Paragon's payroll?" asked Emilio while looking at Tina and Sean.
"She's Paragon Emerald's Appearance Consultant; she gets a whopping big salary of one dollar a year. We had to set it up that way because of some laws," said Tina.
"I have heard, by way of the grapevine, that you have had a great many wealthy suitors," said Emilio.
"Oh she had one who was not only both a doctor and a lawyer but he owned several hospitals and had a helicopter, and I advised her to marry him," said Mr. Covington.
"Why didn't you?" asked Emilio.
"He didn't like doing the things that I liked to do. He didn't like to go out dancing and his work was everything to him. I believe in working but I don't believe in putting every minute of my life into my profession. Yes, I could have married well many times, but right now I probably live the best life of any thirty year old female on this island and I am perfectly happy. Why, on earth, would I want to change that? Why would I want to go to something worse? Of the four groups, the happiest is married men and that is followed by single women; the next in line is single men and the most unhappiest is the last— married women," said Janet.
"Janet likes her freedom," said Mr. Covington.
"Yes," replied Janet.
"Janet understands people better than anyone I've ever met; Mr. Covington is an expert in the securities and commodities markets. His daughter Tina knows about these too but her real expertise is in understanding the intricacies of a big company like Paragon Emerald. Meg does well in this area too, but basically Meg and I are airplane people and troubleshooters: we're both good at locating problems and correcting them. Emilio is a mining expert who has recently become an airline expert as well. What great things will this tremendous team do in the next few hours as we sit here and ponder the enigmas of life?" asked Harry Kirk.
"You can ponder but Emilio and I are leaving," said Janet and she and Emilio were soon gone hand in hand strolling along one of the many piers and looking at the varied assortment of ocean going craft in the well-lit yacht basin.
"Janet, when you see all of these luxurious yachts, doesn't it make you wish you owned one," said Emilio.
"You're talking to an island girl, Emilio. Whenever I see a big boat, I think of a lot of work. I don't need to own one; I know several people who have their boats here and if I want to use one all I need do is ask. Most of the people who own these yachts are hardly ever on them, but they keep a crew aboard so that when they do want to use them then they immediately can," said Janet.
"I could look at these things for hours," said Emilio.
"I know that; that's why I come out here with you," said Janet.
"Don't you like looking at all of this too?" asked Emilio.
"I ought to; I helped build it," said Janet.
"You did the land deal," remarked Emilio.
"A lot more than that Emilio. You see a water hose going to every boat, well, there is not enough water on this island for all of them and Mr. Covington had the choice of having either a DuPont or Millipore desalinization plant to make fresh water from sea water. I was able to talk to the men from both groups without them knowing that I was connected with Mr. Covington. It was my decision to go with Millipore and that water is being filtered with Millipore equipment and filters now," said Janet.
"What did you learn from those men?" asked Emilio.
"Saudi Arabia uses DuPont equipment because DuPont has world wide distribution centers and parts are immediately available close to them, but Mr. Covington is a much smaller fish and a smaller outfit would deem him more important as a customer than a large corporation would. I also decided, after talking to the men, that Millipore had a much better filter than DuPont," said Janet.
"You are a rascal," said Emilio.
"I could be really helpful to the right man, Emilio," she said, turning and looking directly into his eyes.
"For five years?" he asked.
"I could lie like the rest of them and tell you it would be forever, but I know men and after a while they want to put the collar and leash on, but I'm not a dog Emilio; I'm a perfectly normal female human being who thrives on the attention of men. I'd work hard for a man who understood that and would not try to put a leash on me," said Janet. But Emilio did not respond with words but he took her hand and they walked together along one of the main wooden piers, stopping to observe each of the expensive yachts that were situated there.
* * *
"I don't care what you think you need," said O.K. Cromwell.
"I'm telling you that we need extra silent weapons for this next operation. The silenced Sten Mk II S is a good reliable weapon, I've used it and I know, but we are going to be distinctly heard from ten yards away and for this operation it is simply not good enough," said the British Special Air Service Officer.
"You will be at least fifty yards from your quarry," said Cromwell, with a smirk, showing the officer that he had read and knew the plan of attack.
"It is not the Quarry that I'm worried about. The people that we hit with our silenced bullets will be utterly confused to our whereabouts; even the people on our flanks will be confused to our exact position. It will be the ones on the road at our rear that will be able to pinpoint us exactly. That road to our rear will be less than ten yards from our main contingent; this operation, you must recall, necessitates our using standard Government of Ireland issued 9mm ammunition, so that these will be the brass cases which will be found after we leave. Remember, we are not firing the specially made subsonic rounds and if they have only two people on that road then they can get an immediate fix on us and take us all out instantly," said the officer.
And now as Cromwell looked at the map, he immediately saw the defective part of the plan. They did have the road to their rear and even though the silencer would muffle the muzzle blast, the bullet itself would emerge from the gun at slightly above the speed of sound and it was this noise of the bullet breaking the sound barrier that would allow people to their rear to pinpoint them exactly, while people forward and to the sides of them would still be confused as to their exact whereabouts. This should be a well-known fact to everyone in MI-6. Why had this gone as far as it had without someone seeing this problem before a junior field officer detected it? Cromwell then said to the officer, "You are correct and I will assure you that as of now this plan is dead, however, we will still be using the Sten MK II S because it has been the preferred silenced weapon in three major wars now and it still remains the standard by which the others are judged. The ones that your group will receive will all have been sanitized and have the serial numbers stamped on them in Arabic. Only the patent can be proved to come from England if one is found," As the officer wheeled around to go, he caught a glimpse of Cromwell writing across the plan with a big red marking pen and he was now certain that he had come to the correct person with his problem.
Cromwell was soon in touch with the MI-6 planners explaining to them that either subsonic cartridges had to be substituted— this he told them he preferred not doing — or the plan had to be drastically changed if they were going to attempt to use regular standard Irish issued 9mm bullets. Cromwell wanted this to work correctly because this was going to be his master stroke of sending these silencer equipped troops to the Republic of Ireland and hitting the IRA one of the hardest blows ever.
* * *
A beautiful ocean going sail boat had left Caracas in Venezuela after some work had been done to its keel by its owner dressed in scuba gear. Robert Mitchell, the boat's owner, was aboard as the craft was docked in Caracas and a night delivery of emeralds had come to him from mines in Columbia and these, whose value was many times what the beautiful yacht was worth, were now safely secreted inside the lead keel. This was Mitchell's fourth yacht and his most expensive to date. He had been working in the Venezuela oil fields and made enough money to own a small ocean going sailboat when he was approached by some Colombians who had long been shipping uncut emeralds out of Columbia by various unorthodox methods and avoiding taxes and fees set up by various governments. They felt that they had the right to do this so as to avoid the government leeches who would cut into their very meager profit. They had met Robert Mitchell and needed him because all shipments from Columbia were now suspect of containing drugs and as more and more Colombian items were searched, some of their emeralds were also uncovered. Since Robert Mitchell was an American oil man in Caracas, Venezuela, he would not be suspected. Mitchell saw it was a golden opportunity that he could not turn down, and he sailed his little ship with the emeralds hidden in the keel. It was the perfect spot; no one ever thought to check there under water. He continued hiding them there as they trusted him with ever increasing quantities, and his yachts kept getting larger and larger so as to deal with this increased payload. As he guided his boat into Mr. Covington's yacht basin this evening, he spotted Janet on the pier and waved to her. It was Janet and Emilio who now caught the ropes that Robert Mitchell threw to them. Janet now gave Emilio his first lesson in docking one of these expensive pleasure crafts. For the rest of that evening Janet and Emilio talked to Robert Mitchell and the talk was about silver and emeralds and it was Janet's interest in the combination of emeralds and silver into jewelry. When that evening ended, the three had decided on a partnership in a new venture that would be called 'Caribbean Creations' a jewelry manufacturing company that would design, produce and market silver-emerald combinations for the yachting class. Even though Janet had no money to put into this venture, she still would own four per cent of the corporation with Emilio and Robert each owning forty-eight percent.
Robert Mitchell had not disclosed to his new partners his unorthodox methods of shipping these uncut emeralds. He had never been known as one who supplied this type of information when it was not called for. Now he was faced with a brand new problem. His importation had to look legal and also now his new partners would be looking to him as their expert on the machines that cut and faceted these stones. He would supply the experts they needed to plan all these cuttings because emeralds, unlike diamonds must each be examined and the type of cut determined that will give the entire finished stone the deepest possible color displayed as uniformly as possible with the defects as inconspicuously displayed as possible. With a diamond, fire was what one wanted but the refractive index and dispersion of emerald is so low compared to diamond that emeralds have none of this sparkle and fire. The deepest, clearest and most uniform color is what is most sought after. Robert Mitchell knew all of this and he knew that the people who cut and set these stones had to be people experienced with emeralds in the way they were cut and in the way they were displayed in their silver background. Mitchell saw it was to his distinct advantage to vertically integrate and become like Henry Ford who took the raw materials in one end of his factory and sent the finished product out the other end.
While 'Caribbean Creations' was being delineated and its course plotted out by its three founders, the situation on both sides of the Irish Sea had drastically changed. The majority in the dáil had suppressed the militants. Sean's group had prevailed and it looked as if a more peaceful period of time was now on the horizon between Ireland and England.
What they did not realize was that the militant's attack at Aberystwyth had precipitated the movers and the shakers inside the English Government to provide Cromwell with an enormous sum of money to hit these IRA militants hard with a triple dose of their own medicine. Cromwell was never short of plans in this respect, but his preferred scheme was still being held up in the higher echelons of MI-6 by a decision of whether to use low speed, super-silenced bullets or not.
Now Cromwell, using the exact same devices that the IRA had placed close to the British RADAR facilities at Aberystwyth— with new batteries of course — now managed to place these same devices — using almost the exact same methods — inside the Irish RADAR stations that could look at the approaches of Dundalk bay. The northern part of this bay was controlled by Northern Ireland and posed no problem, It was the southern lowlands that were particularly of interest to Cromwell because the area was flat, targets could easily be located and this particular bay was an IRA haven where this illegal group bided their time until they decided to cross the border to Northern Ireland and blow up whatever at that time they particularly fancied.
Cromwell knew that the hand of England could not be seen in any of this and the attack would have to look like a job done by the illegal Northern Ireland militants. This meant that airplanes and big fast moving boats were out because these groups had none of these. But these RADAR jamming devices would function long enough for a large medium speed vessel to be able to get completely out of the bay and around the two mile strip of mountain range that jutted into the bay and separated the Republic from Northern Ireland.
His spies well entrenched in the Dundalk area reported back to Cromwell all the positions of the suspected IRA and their daily and weekly activities. Cromwell had all of this information; in addition he also had statistical information as to the targets that the Northern Irish militants would be most likely to hit and the manner in which they would be most likely to hit it.
The Irish RADAR stations that had to be disabled were spread quite a distance apart and this necessitated sending several other people with small triggering transmitters who would be in the area and transmit the pulse that would activate the RADAR jamming transmitters that had already been placed in position. They would each receive a simple phone call telling them exactly when they would have to activate the devices. These people would simply go into hiding until they could later be taken back to England while the people who carried out the attack would all leave immediately after the attack. Cromwell would have preferred a simple remote control bomb but this would not have had the signature of the Northern Irish militants.
Cromwell's attack in Dundalk began shortly after nightfall on a Friday night. Men with automatic 30 caliber silenced carbines opened up on a pub and several residences and then sped away in motor cars to their escape boat. It was at this time that the Irish RADAR stations were all disabled so the boat that took them back to Northern Ireland and safety was not detected. Cromwell also was able to surgically remove several Northern Irish prisoners from a small jail south of Dundalk Bay but these people too went into hiding and drifted slowly north until they eventually were able to cross the border to Northern Ireland. The police in the Republic really did not put their heart into the search for these men because it was thought that they all left during the RADAR disabling. Police and Newspapers both attributed this to the Northern Irish Black Hand terrorist group. This was exactly the way that Cromwell had it all planned to go.
The IRA suffered a bad blow in this attack. One would never grasp this by reading the newspaper accounts of the slaughter because this seemed like another in a series of revenge killings that each side periodically inflicted upon one another. The IRA leadership, who were usually careful, were caught together by Cromwell at Dundalk Bay. Nine of the IRA's top echelon were either killed or seriously incapacitated there that evening. The actual number of active people running the IRA is small and this, for the IRA, was a stunning setback.
Cromwell's freeing of the Black Hand men from the small jail was the act that pointed the finger— as far as the news media was concerned — at that organization. And this is the way Cromwell expected things would go. It was only very much later when investigators found about the radar disabling devices, that the IRA and a few key people in the Republic realized that MI-6 had to be entirely or partly responsible for the attack.
A full week after the attack a young police officer, in the town of Balbriggan, stopped a motor car heading north because of a description of a similar car being used in a bank robbery. It was not long before he saw he was mistaken about the car but now he began to realize that the two Irish occupants, whose papers showed them both to be County Meath residents, did not speak like County Meath people at all. The two were held in Balbriggan over the weekend so that their records could be thoroughly checked on Monday morning. A preliminary check turned up nothing wrong, and both had claimed their extensive traveling had modified their speech somewhat from that of the natives.
The policeman who had made the arrest did not like this turn of events and took all of this information about these two and the type car they were driving and made this all available to a friend who he knew at one time was an active member of the IRA. The IRA did not wait until Monday morning to do their checking.
Jim Grogan was one of the very few people who once had been a messenger boy for the IRA— they had given him his first bicycle — and then later he had participated actively in that organization and had been able to retire. He had never even been to jail once in his life. Most of his life he had worked in the record keeping section of County Meath's extensive ledger inventory. Now he had received a call this Friday evening and he had come back to the place where he had put in many years and at this moment he sat alone looking for two names on old death records. It was at one o'clock Saturday morning that he had the two names and birth dates of two infants and the information about the subsequent two death certificates for the same babies and he made a telephone call to an IRA agent in Balbriggan. He then turned off all the lights in the building and locked the doors and went home satisfied that he had performed another useful service for his beloved country of Ireland and against her hated enemy England.
Monday morning at the Balbriggan Police Headquarters all the requested record checks of the two men came in from the various agencies indicating that these two men were, indeed, who they claimed they were. They were subsequently released and they continued their journey to the north satisfied that they had evaded capture by the Republic of Ireland. What they did not know was that the IRA were never out of sight of them. One of the men, now out of gaol and in the car heading north was Cromwell's agent who had used a radio triggering device to start the RADAR jamming and then this man had gone into hiding. The other man had been sent to pick him up and bring him back to Northern Ireland where he would be safe. Cromwell had made absolutely certain that if their records were ever checked by the local authorities that they would be found to be OK.
But the IRA did not check records like the authorities, because the IRA falsified so many records themselves, they knew exactly where to check to see if someone had made up false records. Jim Grogan had found the death records of two male children who had died when less than a year old and they both had the same names and even had been born on exactly the same day, month and year of the supposed birth dates of these two men.
People in a van traveling north from Balbriggan kept watching the road traffic that was getting less and less away from the big cities and now at a spot before where the river crosses to Laytown, the van and a car behind them were the only two vehicles on that strip of road going north. In the van was a box full of 'crows' feet': these were nails all welded together so that whatever side they rested on, one nail stuck directly up and would penetrate a vehicle's tyres. These crows feet were now dumped from the van, and the van slowed down as the car behind them ran over these crows feet and the car's tyres were immediately punctured. The car slowed down and then pulled off the road and stopped because of its flat tyres. Another vehicle looking exactly like those of the road maintenance crew now appeared to the south and people in it were quickly out of their vehicle putting up caution signs and then they went about speedily cleaning up the scattered 'crows' feet' back off of the road before too many other autos came by.
The van then stopped and backed up to the car and the two men in the car with the flat tyres were now forcibly pulled into the van while several IRA men emerged from the van with a set of new wheels and tyres and these men now stayed with the car quickly jacking up and removing the old wheels and exchanging these with the serviceable wheels and tyres. Then they drove off with the captured car in the same direction the van had gone.
* * *
Tina and Sean lay back on their plastic webbed aluminum folding chairs underneath a coconut palm and watched the sun sink beneath the horizon on a small Caribbean island.
"You have been deep in thought," said Tina.
"Yes about how ironic things are in this world," replied Sean.
"It has something to do with that phone call from Ireland," said Tina wanting affirmation.
"Yes, here's the IRA now phoning me because they know that I have connections with the CIA and the CIA can inform MI-6 in England of some things that England does not know is going on and then it will be stopped and the end result is that this not only helps England but the IRA as well," said Sean.
"Could you run all of that by me again," said Tina.
"Yes, you see the IRA caught these two MI-6 boys who, to save their own skins, related a tale of how the Northern Irish militants are stealing weapons from British units stationed in Scotland. Then this armament is shipped to Northern Ireland for the militants to use. Since the IRA are not on speaking terms with England, they want me to connect them to the CIA so that the CIA can give their counterparts— the English MI-6 — all the necessary details to thwart this activity," said Sean.
"Are you going to do this?" asked Tina.
"Certainly, because this helps cement our good relationship with them," replied Sean.
"Will they believe this?" asked Tina.
"Sure, They know what's going on. The Boston Irish are always stealing American armament from the U.S. soldiers stationed there and shipping it to Ireland and the Protestant militants steal it from the British troops in Scotland and ship it to their side. They know that," said Sean.
"And this information will stop the British armament from being stolen?" asked Tina.
"Yes, I'm certain it will, for a while," replied Sean.
* * *
In Northern Ireland Richard Bell had become one of the best known civilian crime fighters who on his very own had discovered a huge cache of illegal arms. He had seen various night time activities at a house in his neighborhood. Then during the next day he himself investigated finding the armament that he notified the police about. For a month now Bell had appeared on numerous Television news programs and talk shows in Northern Ireland. It was beyond all human comprehension that in spite of the entire world knowing about this discovery of arms, a high government official, quite out of touch with reality, ordered a stake-out of the house to catch the people when they returned to pick up their weapons. The New York Times along with other news media now were able to report to the people that Richard Bell's body had been riddled with a total of 57 bullets from this trigger happy stake-out group when he went back to the site of his discovery one evening to see if there had been any more activity there.
* * *
"This Caribbean venture has resulted in the highest return on the amount invested, as anything that we have ever done so far and this includes our rapid rise in England when we first started as well," said Tina to Sean one evening as they sat at a table of a small restaurant in the open air of Palm Passage close to Charlotte Amalie Harbor in Saint Thomas.
"I would have thought that everyone in the world would rather live here than in Europe and this would have made our going tough, but it has been the opposite," replied Sean.
"You do like it here don't you?" asked Tina.
"It's the ideal place to live in this world. You seem to like it too," replied Sean.
"Sean, do you know that we are the only people sitting here that have shoes on. Everyone else at these other tables eating are barefooted Sean. Look around you!" Tina suddenly exclaimed, abruptly changing the subject.
"We can take our shoes off if that's what you want," replied Sean.
"No I have always tried to fit in with the community that I was in and here I see that even if I wanted to I couldn't because the bottoms of my feet are not as tough as theirs. This is a lesson that, as much as I like it here, I can never really be a part of this area," said Tina.
"I'm sure they don't care if we wear shoes. Many of them also wear shoes," said Sean.
"That's not the point. We are so out of touch here. I am out of touch with my airline and I'm out of touch with this society here. The climate is perfect; the evenings here are simply divine; the ocean is always warmer than Europe and far more pleasant to swim in. Yes I do like it here, but I feel I don't belong here. I'm needed somewhere else Sean," she told him.
"I need you and I'm here," said Sean.
"Do you know that this is the longest time we have ever spent solidly together since we have known each other?" Tina asked him.
"Is that good or bad?" he asked her.
"Neither good nor bad. It's merely different," said Tina.
"I really don't know how to take that," replied Sean.
"I need you when I need you; every month is fine with me. I hate to tell you that I love my airline more than you, but it seems that I do Sean. I need it and I need you. I need both; I really do," she said to him.
"You would never consider staying in this tropical paradise then?" asked Sean.
"It certainly has its many advantages but I'm so out of touch with everything over here. In my office now in Dublin I could instantly ask the computer for any up to the minute information that I need to run this airline. I don't have all of that here Sean and I miss that," she said.
"Meg and Harry will run this end then?" Sean asked.
"They will for now and they are training Pat Higgins and Theresa and several other people too. They will stay here until we are certain that the people they set up can effectively operate this part of the airline over here, Harry and Meg know the entire system and I have now decided that I simply cannot spare them to be gone from Paragon itself permanently," said Tina.
"Changing the subject a bit, you realize that all of our route structure over here depends on our obedience to the United States," said Sean.
"I certainly hope we are not building up something here for an American to take over," said Tina.
"No, because of the lack of a secrecy law in America, the CIA cannot chance to ship their people on an American Airline. As long as we don't directly threaten a large American carrier then we will be OK. But there is a definite limit to our expansion here in the Caribbean. We have to be careful about adding any new route structure to what we already have. I have to have some talks with our American competition. If there can be some Quid-pro-quo where they get something from us elsewhere for a route here, then that might be the way we should expand here. We got into trouble in England for getting too big on the other man's turf; let's not make the same mistake here," said Sean.
"You intend to stay here in the Caribbean a bit longer then?" asked Tina.
"I told Harry Kirk that I would polish up our Mexican interchange a bit. The difficulty of getting both sides that speak different languages to click it off perfectly together, has become more of a problem than I had originally thought," said Sean.
"Things in Ireland have simmered down now so I suppose you can stay here a while longer," said Tina.
"Yes, but even a worse problem has arisen in England now. Unless this problem is checked then we will have another nightmare soon," said Sean.
"I hadn't heard of anything," said Tina.
"That's because people kept their mouths shut for once. If all of Ireland had really known what MI-6 recently pulled then they would have thrown my friends out of the dáil and put the militants right back in," said Sean.
"Good God, doesn't it ever stop?" Tina asked.
"Not for eight hundred years, it hasn't," replied Sean. Then another person, whose suit and tie showed him plainly not to be a native, came toward them.
"Are you Mr. Sean O'Brien?" asked this strange European dressed man with an Irish accent who had approached the table while Sean and Tina were eating and talking.
"How on earth could anyone find me here?" asked Sean.
My name is Tim O'Reilly and I've come half way around this good earth to talk with you. They told me at the airport that you might be eating at an open air cafe in Palm Passage and I could see that all the other tables have natives sitting at them, so I almost knew this was you right here," the man told him.
"While you two talk, I'm going back to the airport," said Tina and she left Sean and the Irishman sitting together at the table.
"Mr. O'Brien, my brother was killed at Dundalk Bay by a group of Protestant extremists or so the newspapers said at the time but now several friends have told me that the English government might be involved. I want to find those people who were responsible, whatever it may cost," he said to Sean.
"He was in with the IRA then?" inquired Sean.
"I am not certain," said the man.
"You want correct information from me but then you tell me you are not certain about your own brother," said Sean knowing that he had a delicate problem now with this man who he knew probably had more money than brains and would soon be head over heels into something that he could not possibly get back out of after he got in.
"He may well have been with the IRA," said the man correcting himself somewhat.
"He may well have been---the people who attacked him may well have been either from Northern Ireland or England or both. Does it really matter? Can anything really bring him back again?" asked Sean.
"That is not the point," said Tim O'Reilly.
"When I was younger I was well entrenched with the IRA. That's no secret; everyone in Ireland knows that. Now all I do is help the women and children of the men still held by the other side. I'm afraid that this younger generation does not trust anyone but themselves with the actual goings on in the field," said Sean.
"I see pictures of you in the news all the time talking to the big wigs. You must know what is going on," said the man.
"Yes, in generalities like I know what's going on in Paragon Airline, but I cannot tell you if they are all sitting down to lunch right now or working," said Sean.
"You mean to tell me that you never discussed the Dundalk attack with any of your IRA friends and never even questioned where the attacking force originated from?" asked the man.
"If your brother were still alive he would tell you what I am now telling you: you do not ask questions. I still do not ask questions. I have received absolutely no valid information as to where that attack originated from, and I will tell you again what I first told you: it could have originated either in Northern Ireland or England. What exactly do you think your money is going to do against either the Black Hand or MI-6?" asked Sean.
"They are going to pay for what they did to my brother," said the man.
"If you find them then make them pay. What those people now want you to do is for you to spend that money on revenge and send some boys up north with explosives so that they can get picked up and put in the 'Maze' for the rest of their young lives. Is that what you want your money to do?" asked Sean.
"What would you do?" asked Tim.
"I do not know. You can plan to take a trip and that will work. You can plan to build a house and that will work, but when you plan revenge then that never works out right. This much I can tell you," said Sean.
"There has to be something that I can do," said Tim O'Reilly.
"I too have seen my relatives and friends killed and I too have tried to make them pay and if God would show me how to do it then I would surely go after them, but I have seen the innocent women and children killed by these revenge killings and I, myself, have refused even a penny of my money for that sort of thing any longer. Stay here with me my friend and we'll talk about your brother," said Sean while he and the man continued their conversation.
* * *
Janet turned out to be the best advertising that 'Caribbean Creations' could find. She knew how to wear the silver-emerald creations that the group was now making. She had even replaced the rental car logo with a silver-emerald company logo that she stunningly wore every day at the airport. One business man who saw it put in an order for several hundred silver-emerald copies of his own company's logo. Neither Emilio nor Robert was certain that Caribbean Creations would make money when they started out. It was the enthusiasm that Janet seemed to generate by wearing these that convinced them they might have a real winner here. Now they pushed ahead for all they were worth.
Mr. Covington ordered his yacht basin logo in silver-emerald for his wife. Then he had to order some more for others who wanted one, then he finally kept them in stock as a regular item for sale. These were not cheap by any means but there were people who always seemed to want them and who could afford to pay the price.
Even though Janet had only four percent of the stock in the company, she made more money in the first year of operation than the other two partners because she received a sales commission on all those items that she sold. Seeing the potential here, made her partners put more of their own money into the company faster than they had originally anticipated.
* * *
Tim O'Reilly was not the only person who had located Sean on this tourist frequented island. Doctor Nessuno's staff had already contacted Paragon and found that Sean was now on the Island of Saint Thomas and Dr. Nessuno, himself, was en route to the Island in an amphibian aircraft. Nessuno had discovered a business that he loved and that had made him a veritable fortune. He had concentrated in the area of small arms' ammunition. Nessuno, people said, never rested unless his bullets killed people far faster then his competitors. Nessuno did not waste his time on designing heavy hitting bullets for big game or for the smaller species of animals like rabbits. Nessuno specialized in making bullets that effectively killed people. His companies were set up around the world in places where they could operate with a minimum of interference from the authorities. Nessuno had found the perfect niche where his business interests perfectly matched his personality. He loved being in this business of killing people; it utterly fascinated him.
Nessuno's people knew that their boss did not like to have to wait so they had contacted a private investigator on the island who had sent his daughter out to locate Sean O'Brien who might now be eating at a small spot in Palm Passage. She immediately set out and was soon at the eating establishment where she spotted the two well-dressed men talking.
"I'm Mary Moor and I'm looking for Sean O'Brien," she told them and immediately saw Tim O'Reilly point to Sean.
"They seem to be able to find me here as easily as in my office at Paragon," said Sean with a smile.
"I've been sent to tell you that Doctor Nessuno is flying in to meet you," said the girl.
"Well, I'd better leave you two while you attend to your business. It's been good talking with you Mr. O'Brien," said Timothy O'Reilly, and he rose and left.
"Doctor Nessuno will be arriving any minute now by seaplane and if we walk toward the harbor, we and the seaplane will both be arriving at the bay at about the same time," said Mary Moor.
Sean paid for his meal and immediately joined the young girl. As they neared the end of Palm Passage and headed toward the wharf they noticed a launch at the mouth of the bay leaving a seaplane and the launch was also headed toward the wharf. Sean and the girl were at the end of the wharf only a few minutes before the launch pulled up.
"Doctor Nessuno?" the girl called out as the launch came up to the pier.
"Yes!" answered one of the men in the launch and he was the first out on to the wharf and soon had his hand out shaking Sean's hand.
"I have a good friend who swears by your ammunition Doctor," said Sean as he shook the man's hand.
"I know you are a busy man Mr. O'Brien, but I have ordered a special computerized heat treating unit and I can save myself many weeks time if it can be brought directly in here by air," said The Doctor.
"It will have to go to your island by boat anyway from here," said Sean.
"No, I have a helicopter large enough to take it to my island but it doesn't have enough range to bring it all the way from San Juan, so I want to know if you can bring it to this airport here from the San Juan Airport on one of your Paragon Emerald planes," said the Doctor.
"I'll have to check with my chief pilot and give him the weight and dimensions," said Sean.
"It would be faster for you to go out to my airplane and radio them than it would for you to go to the nearest phone and then maybe have to wait too. If you have two hours of time free I will be glad to take you over and see my little island. You can talk to them from there too. There is room for both of you on the seaplane," Nessuno said while looking at Mary Moor.
Sean would not have missed an invitation to Nessuno's island for the world, and he knew Nessuno liked pretty women around him all the time. Sean figured the girl Mary was part of the reason for Nessuno's request for them to visit his island. Sean figured the girl might know of The Doctor's reputation and be afraid to go so he turned to the girl.
"I'll be right with you all the time, and I'm certain this visit will interest you," Sean said to the young girl and she nodded acquiescently.
The launch sped out toward the seaplane and Sean and Mary Moor went aboard and it was not long until they were in the air headed toward Nessuno's Island. Sean was able to contact Harry Kirk from the plane exactly as the doctor had said and before the plane landed again at Nessuno's island, the Doctor had been assured that the equipment would be able to be landed at the island with no problems whatsoever,
"I first had to make bullets that would penetrate bulletproof vests because people started to wear those. Now I am forced to make bullets that will go through car engines because the car must be stopped to give my customers the ability to get at these people inside these cars. These bullets must be accurately heat treated, hence the new machine," said the Doctor to Sean
The girl went as far forward in the airplane as she could go and now she was standing up midway behind the captain and pilot. Perhaps she wanted to get a better view out of the large windshield or she might have heard the many rumors about the good doctor and his many women and wanted to get as far from him as possible.
With the seaplane now headed for Doctor Nessuno's island Sean thought of the vast profits available to these merchant's of death. Nessuno now left Sean and was quickly alongside the girl, trapping her in that spot and he was standing right next to her pressing against her and squeezing her into a position where she could hardly move.
"What's your name?" he asked her.
"Mary," she told him.
"Mary O'Brien?" he asked.
"No, Mary Moor," she told him.
"Are you a relative of Mr. O'Brien's?" he now asked her.
"No," she said.
He now rested his hand upon her shoulder and squeezed even closer to her as he spoke to the two flying the seaplane. Sean then got up and also came forward.
"There's the island coming into view now," said the doctor pointing to a spot on the ocean ahead as all of them looked at the panoramic view that the seaplane's windshield gave them. Sean then took hold of the girl's hand.
"I guess we had better sit back down in the seats behind so that not all the weight is up here when they land this," said Sean and he saw the girl wink at him as she went to the rear and sat down fastening her seat belt because one of the flight crew had switched the belt sign on.
"Thank you," she softly said to Sean as he sat down and fastened his belt as well.
Doctor Nessuno merely braced himself and kept standing up behind the crew while the plane came down cutting into the water and then plowed through the ocean like a big boat. They headed toward a ramp where the engines stopped and a crew on shore now pulled the plane up by a motorized ramp. The door was opened and Sean and the girl could see mobile steps being moved toward the plane. The Doctor was first to go down the steps. The girl and Sean followed.
"Mr. O'Brien I am going to show you some things that a few friends of yours would deem very interesting," said the doctor as he took the driver's seat in a small electric vehicle and the three of them drove toward his house that seemed to be only slightly detached from a building that looked to be his main office here on the island. A large manufacturing complex was about a fifth of a mile away from his home and office.
"Do most of your employees live right here on the island?" asked Sean.
"All of my manufacturing employees live here. I provide them with houses, food and all the essentials of life. A few even have retired from the factory and now have valuable concessions fishing and selling this to the workers. That's free enterprise and they do as they like after they have retired. The rest see this and know that I am a just and humane man," said Nessuno.
Sean could see two parallel fences at least fifteen feet high in the distance separating the home and office from the manufacturing area. Sean could not be certain from this distance but it looked as if the tops of both fences and the ground between each was covered solid with razor wire. Then suddenly a small helicopter appeared patrolling the perimeter of the double fence that it flew above, then just as suddenly it was out of sight as it evidently flew over the portion of the fence on the other side of the island. Nessuno smiled at Sean and Mary while all three watched the helicopter.
"Not everyone that I have working for me is as honest as I am," said the doctor as he saw Sean and the girl looking at the fence and helicopter.
"I suppose that there is always the temptation to steal some of your ammunition and sell some of it themselves," said Sean.
"They wouldn't even know where to sell it profitably. I don't want them to steal any bullets and hurt themselves. I do not even provide them with any sharp knives. They have to be treated like children you know," said the doctor.
"This is different from Europe; isn't it," said Sean as both he and Mary Moor watched a completely naked girl walk out of the house and go down the walkway toward the beach.
"You both noticed that she had no clothes on. She's modeling and she needs a full tan all over. I am a very easy going person and I let people do what they feel they have to do. If you would like a full tan young lady I will arrange for my crew to bring you here and sunbathe if you'd like," he said looking at Mary.
"You had some ammunition to show me," said Sean.
"Yes, come into my office building," said the doctor and he led them into an area that contained small portions of the products that he sold.
"Good Lord, look at the variety." said Sean.
"Yes, the very latest are the composite Teflon sabots. You see this twelve gage shotgun shell. This is high tech. It fires a composite Teflon sabot inside of which is a hardened cobalt steel core that will go completely through an automobile engine," said Nessuno.
"That's what you need the heat treating equipment for?" asked Sean.
"No these are heat treated somewhere else. We only assemble them here. But the shotgun is only accurate up close so now I am making a copper clad hardened cobalt steel bullet for high powered rifles that will also go through engine blocks," said Nessuno.
While Nessuno avidly talked to Sean about these various types of bullets that he was making, he quite forgot about Mary Moor who now yawned every five minutes or so quite bored with this entire ammunition tour. It was a good hour later that Sean told him that he and Mary would have to be getting back. It was only now that the doctor brought his attention back again to the girl.
"You call this number," he said handing her a card. "My people will come and pick you up," he added.
Doctor Nessuno was true to his word and called his people who took Sean and Mary back to the airplane. On their way back they saw Doctor Nessuno and the naked woman heading toward the house together. In another half hour they were back in Saint Thomas.
"I've always wanted to see what he had on that island," said Sean. "I'm sorry It wasn't much fun for you so you've got a free trip to Europe, space available, on Paragon. Get your passport, save up some money and go, I'm certain you will not be calling Doctor Nessuno back, so I wonder if I might have that card with the phone number on it, that he gave you," said Sean.
"You don't have to give me that free trip," said Mary Moor handing him the card he requested.
"No, you have earned that trip. He likes the girls. I don't think he would have really invited me if I was alone," said Sean.
"He's awful. I would have been scared to death if you weren't there with me," said Mary Moor.
"He's a little jewel; isn't he?" asked Sean.
"At first he was interested in getting me undressed but then those bullets seemed to press some sort of 'activate' button in his brain to concentrate solely on bullets; they simply consumed him," said Mary.
"It takes all kinds of people to make and shape this world that we live in," said Sean.
"'Would you like to get a tan all over,' he says to me. He simply must not know much about women to say something like that," said Mary Moor.
"I noticed that the two of you were close together in that seaplane cockpit," said Sean smiling.
"He had me pined in there so tight I could feel him breathing and his heart beating. Do you know what I was thinking then? I thought: I'm hanging from the sky in this cage with a real live animal next to me. God!" she exclaimed.
"I hope you weren't frightened," said Sean.
"I would have been if I hadn't noticed how frightened he was of you. He and the crew both talked and looked at each other; I watched that and he was always looking into my eyes, but he never even once looked into your eyes. Something about you terrifies him. I noticed that right off and the longer we were at his place and he still avoided your eyes, the safer I felt," said the girl.
"Yes, I noticed that avoidance of eye contact. I didn't feel he was frightened of me though, but I'm certain that I could never have gotten a visit to his place without you being with me and I'm sorry for putting you through all that. You have a free trip to Europe. It will be on the computer as soon as I get back. Just call in and they will tell you the good times to travel, when you are certain of getting a seat," said Sean.
"How about a job at Paragon instead." said the girl.
"Your father may not like that, besides, here on this island of Saint Thomas we only have a few flights each day and we do not need very many people; most of those are only part time employees. What are you good at? What do you like to do?" asked Sean.
"I don't work all that much for my father. He needed some one fast on this thing and I was available, so out I came. See how reliable I am. And even you yourself said that you could not have gotten in to that place without me. I knew he liked the girls and I knew what you were doing too, by bringing me. I'm not stupid. I did this for you before you even offered me any reward because I sort of like you and I would really work hard for you, honest I would," said the girl.
"Lord! Well, come in Monday morning to our ticket counter here at the airport. That will give me enough time to make certain that this Saint Thomas group has all the necessary questionnaires and they'll give you some tests to find out what you're good at. I'm not promising you anything, and even this would most certainly only be part time, but I will schedule an interview for Monday morning and if anyone needs someone with your qualifications then you might get a job," said Sean thinking to himself that this girl might even turn out to be as valuable to Paragon as Tina or Meg.
"Wonderful," she said and then she hugged him and kissed him right on his lips and then she pulled away to go, but Sean held her hand.
"Look, it is best for both of us, if we keep this little trip to Nessuno's as a secret only to ourselves. Neither of us did anything bad there but people who go there automatically get their reputations tarnished. Even if you tell your parents or your best friend, the word will get out and hurt both of us. Do you comprehend this?" he asked her, still holding her so she stayed and listened to him.
"You are my best friend now," she said as she pulled her hand from his grasp then replaced her hand in his so that both his and her fingers interlaced together and kissed him and hugged him again and then this time she was on her way.
"You still have the trip to Europe!" he yelled to her as she scampered off.
Sean immediately made arrangements to meet Miriam Malone. She would make the necessary IRA contacts where they would now be able to deal directly with Doctor Nessuno in ordering the specialized types of ammunition that they might need for odd miscellaneous occasions. Sean would, for all appearances, be entirely removed from any IRA involvement whatsoever. Nessuno would know that the huge IRA order of various specialized bullets that he had shown to Sean would have precipitated the order, but no one else would ever know and Sean was absolutely certain of that.
Sean knew that this was not the only house or, in fact, the only island that Nessuno owned in this world. Probably he would never again ever meet this famous arms dealer, but he was grateful that he had, and he was also indebted to Mary Moor who, even though she was afraid of the man, did what she could for Sean. Back at Paragon, the next day, Sean put into motion Mary Moor's free trip and testing; he also left a notice that he personally wanted to see the results of her tests after she was finished taking them.
Back now at Paragon's main Caribbean base, Sean was talking with Janet about something she said Emilio seemed extremely concerned about.
"Emilio said this man was run out of Mexico and now he has set up his laboratory on one of these nearby islands in the Caribbean," said Janet.
"What did you say his name was?" asked Sean.
"It's pronounced War-roo-ee, but is spelled W-A-R-U-I," said Janet.
"And you say he is experimenting with viruses?" asked Sean.
"Extremely deadly viruses," said Janet.
"What else did Emilio tell you about him?" asked Sean.
"He made several very lucrative sales to people in the Mideast and was in the process of vastly expanding his Mexican facilities when he was put out of the country," said Janet.
"And he's around here now?" asked Sean.
"Yes and Robert Mitchell thinks he knows the island. If you are interested then call Robert; he's still at the Marina, but he'll be gone by tomorrow," said Janet.
"I certainly will call him," said Sean and he picked up his phone and after he and Robert talked a while, Sean then took a red pen and circled an island on the Aeronautical chart now spread out on his desk in front of him.
"Robert and I are going to take a fast ride out to see that island, Janet. Want to come along?" Sean asked her.
"Naturally," eplied Janet.
Shortly the three of them well equipped with cameras and film took off toward this mysterious island not too far away from their own.
"Think this guy has connections with Nessuno?" asked Robert as the airplane now came within sight of the island.
"If he has, then I'm certain neither he nor Nessuno would admit it," replied Sean.
Janet, who had been up in the cockpit talking to the crew who were flying the plane, now came back to Robert and Sean.
"Those two up front say they are getting blips on their RADAR indicating some sort of RADAR activity emanating from the island which they said they have already reported back to Paragon," said Janet.
"You know why they reported that back in don't you," said Sean.
"No, Why?" asked Janet.
"All we have on this airplane is a simple weather RADAR that showed them a few blips from that place. We don't have any sophisticated military RADAR that can tell us anything about those blips. It could very well be an automatic anti-aircraft device locking on to us ready to shoot us down. The reason that those boys called that in was so that someone will come out here looking for us if we don't come back," said Sean.
"Good God!" exclaimed Janet.
"I'm beginning not to like this guy Warui already and I haven't even met him yet," said Robert Mitchell.
"Better get all those pictures on our first pass of the island because I do not believe this crew is going to stay long in this area after getting those RADAR blips," said Sean.
The plane continued flying a straight course and did not turn until about ten miles further out in the ocean past the island so as not to alarm any one on the island that this airplane was out to particularly look at them.
When the plane landed, all five got together for a good discussion of what could have possibly caused these RADAR blips. From the type of blip seen, both of the crew were certain that the airplane had been locked into the RADAR sights of some sort of anti-aircraft weapon. Sean told both of the crew to write up their reports of this and armed with these and the information that Janet had given him, Sean now went to his CIA friend.
Sean told about the flight and the RADAR blips and gave his friend the location of the island. Sean received absolutely no information from his friend in return, and expected not to. Sean perceived he might get money from the CIA but getting information out of them, he knew, was next to impossible. But he felt he had done his duty to them by reporting this incident.
As Sean talked to others about Warui and his island, and as he examined the pictures taken from his airplane flight of the island, Sean realized that an extensive building project was going on there. In the photos, gigantic prefabricated wood roof trusses could be plainly seen lying alongside of long wooden buildings presently in the construction phase. Vessels could be seen unloading even more lumber for this massive construction project on Warui's island.
America had the dominant claim to islands in these particular waters but neither she nor any of the other governments whose islands also lay in the Caribbean, saw any cause for alarm about Warui and his island construction program. The merchants in the area who were selling him items were glad he had come and so were the many workers that now had jobs on his island.
Emilio had flown in and he and Janet had finished their evening meal. They had then joined Sean and Tina who were at the marina. Now Emilio was telling Sean about some of the problems that Warui had in Mexico.
"There had been an outbreak of a sudden new virulent virus that got into people's lungs and killed them in a matter of days In the western part of the United States. As soon as the U.S. officials discovered that it was, indeed, a virus then Warui went into action and traced two people, who had contacted the virus, back to Mexico where they had come to visit their family. One of these persons died soon after he came back and Warui had him refrigerated. The other person actually survived and Warui hired him and used his blood to make a serum to vaccinate people against this virus. Warui then found out how to place the virus into artillery shells that had been specifically designed by a Mideast power. He made his fortune by designing a system whereby these Mideast people could put this live virus into their shells and fire them at their enemies. This was at the time that the U.S. was publicly declaring its eliminating all viral compounds in the event of war and the Mexican authorities were afraid that the American press would soon discover Warui's company and this would ruin Mexico's chances of the trade pact with the United States and it was decided that Warui had to go," said Emilio.
"And now he brings the virus to us here in the islands," said Janet.
"It's safer here than in Mexico, Some viral agents are like the Aids virus and have to be kept moist or they immediately die. Other viruses like the common cold can dry out and survive for very long periods perfectly dry until they are sniffed into someone's nasal passages and then infect that person with a cold. The virus that Warui had in Mexico was like that. It transferred better in dry desert like conditions. That's why they wanted it in the Mideast. From what I hear of Warui's virus, is that enough Ocean water will sterilize it so we should not have anything to worry about here. But is Warui going to stop with only this virus?" now asked Emilio.
"I'm against any more flights over Warui's island," said Tina and she listened for a few seconds and when she did not hear an objection from Sean, she added, "If I hear no objection from my partner then I will post a directive to the effect that Paragon's planes will stay at least three miles from that island."
"You might as well include the reason for your actions in the directive. Tell it like it was: 'A Paragon crew found their aircraft to be locked on to a RADAR equipped antiaircraft weapon pointed directly at them from that island.' That's the way it should read," said Sean.
"That's the way it will read then," said Tina.
"I was really frightened when you told me they had radioed here, in case we didn't come back," said Janet.
"I'm certain they were alarmed too, but both of them knew that their best plan of action was to keep flying straight like they never even knew the island existed. The people on the island probably thought it was a test flight that happened to come their way," said Sean.
"In the photos it looks like they have built huge vats and they are putting the wood inside. It must be some sort of wood preservative treatment," said Emilio.
"He'd better treat it with something because there is one variety of termites running loose here now that can completely ruin a wooden rafter roof in five years," said Sean.
"Yes, in this type of hot climate the preferred method of construction is cement block walls with metal termite shields separating the roof from the cement of the walls because the termites will build tubes on the cement walls as a passage way to get to the wooden roof beams and plywood covering so they can eat it. They can't go through a properly constructed metal termite shield though, but wood is a constant bother here in the tropics. The way I feel is: the more cement that you construct with here in this climate, the better," said Emilio.
"The Caribbean used to be beautiful with only the hurricanes to worry about. Now we get people here like Warui who can kill us all off by making one little mistake," said Janet.
"Should we try and keep this viral knowledge down so as not to frighten people here?" asked Tina.
"Too many people already know what's going on. If they talk, well then that's a mixed blessing because then maybe that will get picked up by one of the major powers and, in that case, perhaps even they will be afraid; that is when something will be done," said Sean.
Changing the subject being discussed, Tina said, "It seems everyone except Paragon Emerald has one of those stunning silver-emerald logos like Janet's wearing."
"You are the chief decision maker in that area," said Sean to Tina.
"I've been waiting for you to do that," said Tina to Sean.
"Janet dear, please put one of your very best people to work on designing a silver-emerald logo for Paragon Emerald Airlines. See Miss Christina Covington for all the details as to how many and how much she wants to spend, etc," said Sean.
"Thank you," said Tina.
"I hope you noticed that the order was given to me personally Emilio, so I get the commissions on all of these that we produce and sell to Paragon," said Janet to Emilio.
"Yes, if I had been a woman and was wearing one then I might have saved much money by getting the order first," said Emilio smiling.
"You can wear one of your mining business, as a tie clasp. Want me to design you one? Of course I might have to take a commission on all of those produced too," said Janet with a grin.
"You are now going to pay out a lot of your hard earned money to Janet," said Sean to Tina, who did not reply but then Janet spoke up.
"Yes, and I'm going to spend it before Warui kills all of us," said Janet with her convincing smile that told everyone there that she would do exactly as she said.
"I'd give anything to be able to dress like you do Janet," said Tina.
"We all work on what is most important to us. To you, the airline is the important thing. To me, the way I dress is the important thing," said Janet to Tina.
"I'm going out and look at the yachts, if Janet will join me," said Emilio.
"Tina and I might join you," said Sean, and with that all four rose and strolled out to the piers to enjoy the wonderful evening that God only provides to those that venture to the tropics.
* * *
Construction on Warui's island continued: Everything had been carefully worked out and standardized. Massive wooden trusses that could span eighty feet were now hoisted by cranes atop these eight foot high parallel wooden building walls, each pair of which had the windows and doors already installed and were five hundred feet long. Hundreds of people now nailed sheets of roofing plywood down onto these trusses. Gangs of workmen were quickly behind these others laying down the special waterproof roofing felt and nailing down circular tin caps every few feet to keep the stiff tropical breeze from tearing it off until the next group of men could nail down the wooden shingles.
"I simply do not understand the wooden shingle bit. We always used fiberglass or asphalt in Miami," said one of the workmen to another.
"He's from California and that's what they all use out there," replied his friend as they nailed the wooden shingles, through the tarred felt, on to the plywood roof.
It was really weight and air-conditioning costs that made Warui select these wooden shingles over all else. A far greater span could be achieved and far cheaper cooling costs would result using these light wooden shingles. The later factor was of prime importance to Warui because he would have to air-condition most of these buildings and he would have to produce his own electricity from oil, every drop of which, he had to bring in to this island himself.
The viruses that Warui intended to bring in to this complex and costly laboratory did not worry Warui in the least because he did not intend to live anywhere near his new factory. California was more to his liking and he anticipated remaining there while his hired help operated this Caribbean venture.
The virus that Warui planned to bring to this new Caribbean island was exactly as Emilio had stated: enough ocean would sterilize it. However, a few more good sales of this viral agent and then he could do as the car manufacturers did and change models so as to allow the customers to upgrade to a far better model. This was the heart of Warui's deadly virus production scheme. This complex had been designed to continue to produce even greater deadly agents as the years went by, and he was able to acquire and manufacture more of these death dealing substances.
* * *
The American CIA had contacted Sean. They had processed the information that Sean had given them with much other information they had obtained about Warui and now they asked Sean to do them a favor. This, Sean knew, was not a request but an order, which if he failed to obey meant the probable loss of some of his Caribbean routes, because the CIA could move business either to or away from Paragon Emerald Airlines in this Caribbean sector.
"We will furnish you with a device that you can wire into your aircraft that will record the time, radio frequency and type of all transmissions emanating from Warui's island," said the CIA representative to Sean.
"I have no problem with that, but now my own people expect us to install devices that help the airline. If we are wiring something new into the airplanes then they will want to know what these things are for. If these things will also pick up RADAR blips— something they are very frightened about right now — and if they have a schedule for removal of this information such as we have on the flight recorders, then they will not think this is CIA's doing," said Sean.
"You have a very good point there. Our people evidently hadn't thought this one out completely. I'm certain that we can come up with something that would perform those tasks as well. So we have a deal then?" asked the CIA man.
"You agree to pay for all the time that these men are punched out wiring these things in the planes?" asked Sean.
"Naturally," answered the CIA representative.
Sean extended his hand and they both shook hands knowing that such a revised plan would then be put into effect by Paragon's maintenance technicians. No sooner had this meeting taken place then Sean set up a meeting with Emilio in his home in Mexico. Several days later Sean and Tina were together in Emilio's house discussing this new turn of events.
"Look, if it doesn't cost too much, why not duplicate one or two of these devices and the equipment we need to read them ourselves and you people can do it when these planes interchange with Maya Airlines here in Mexico. We will be able to read all of their information and will be able to also read the info we get from other special flights that we want to send out like near Nessuno's place for instance. If Nessuno is transmitting on similar frequencies at the same time Warui is, then we know they are talking to one another; it's as simple as that. I'll send you one of these devices as soon as I get it and you see if it can be duplicated here in Mexico; they'll be watching me," said Sean.
"OK," said Emilio, and the rest of their evening was spent with more pleasant things to talk about.
Tina and Sean then spent several days in Mexico with Emilio and took several trips that he suggested on Maya Airlines where both Tina and Sean noticed several things that they were doing that might also be incorporated into Paragon Emerald's Caribbean division.
"You see Tina we are from Europe and we would never have thought of things like this, where here in the tropics this is commonplace," said Sean.
* * *
The gigantic work force on Warui's island had departed leaving a vastly changed island that resembled a cross between a factory and something the military might build. Telephone poles were on the edges of roads that ran to a de-salinization plant and then on to the leeward end of the island, to a massive jet-engine driven electrical power unit.
* * *
The CIA equipment finally did arrive at Paragon and a unit was immediately sent to Mexico and several copies were produced that were quite a bit larger but that produced exactly the same results as the originals they were cloned from. Other support equipment was also manufactured in Mexico so that the proper readings might be made from both the CIA boxes and the others as well. The Mexican models of the device were mounted on several special Paragon aircraft and gave almost immediate results when the information was collected by Emilio in Mexico. Where the CIA devices had shown no correlation between Nessuno and Warui, the Mexican clones flown in a far different sector of the Caribbean had shown a distinct transfer of information between Warui and Jamaica. Now Sean knew something that even the American CIA did not know. Jamaica was in British waters and here Sean knew his loyalty to Ireland was far greater than that to the American Government. Sean spoke to his friend Patrick Higgins about the problem they faced.
"We know there is radio transmission traffic between Jamaica and a very dangerous bunch that England might employ against any number of her enemies. We need you to go to Jamaica and find exactly where this transmitter is located. Nothing more than that. It will all be perfectly legal and above board but we do not intend to disclose to the governmental officials in Jamaica exactly why we are there," said Sean to Higgins.
"Will I be working with people from here?" asked Higgins.
"Why don't you and your girlfriend let us put you on a plane to Mexico and there we will see just exactly how much you two can learn about the small radio direction finders and other portable equipment that you will need. I'll make my judgment after I hear the school's recommendations about you two," said Sean.
"Thank you Sir. I believe we can pull it off for you Sir," said Higgins.
"It will depend on the recommendations that I get," repeated Sean.
"I know Sir," said Patrick Higgins and he was gone.
Now Sean had another appointment to make. The young Station Agent at Saint Thomas had given his two weeks notice that he would leave his job because his Father, who flew for another Airline, had been transferred back to the United States Mainland. Mary Moor had taken her tests and had been hired part time. She had been doing every thing imaginable that needed doing for those few flights that came into Saint Thomas. Now Sean prepared to board the first airplane to Saint Thomas. He had looked at all the other employees records that worked at Saint Thomas and now was of the opinion that he should allow both Mary Moor and a male employee to be trained as Station Agents by the outgoing employee. He wanted to talk to all of these people this day in Saint Thomas.
At Saint Thomas Sean told both trainees that they would be working as Station Agent at various times and he would be watching how each did their jobs. Sean then talked to the other young man that was leaving and found out where his father was being shipped.
"I'm going to personally phone several people there. Now I can't promise you anything but I will apprise them of you abilities and will tell them that you will soon be available in their area and you are highly recommended by me," said Sean.
"Thank you," the lad said.
"Train those two the best you can in this short time and I will see you before you leave and I'll get your opinion of both of them," said Sean and he left.
Sean traveled back and forth to Saint Thomas several times in those two weeks checking on the progress of his two trainees. He had also been able to give the young man training them, the name of a person to see who would undoubtedly hire him. That young man would then be again working at the same airport in the U.S. as his father.
Sean found that both of the trainees showed initiative and a plan of action was worked out with Mary Moor and her male counterpart that they would both work together for several weeks when one would be Station Agent on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the other Station Agent on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. They both would work a bit over half of the day on Sunday with an hour overlap that they were to use to coordinate things between themselves and work out any problems that their individual posts had created. Sean never explained to the others why he had chosen these two over the rest at the Saint Thomas base. He felt that they could examine the weaknesses in their own work records and see for themselves why these two had been promoted. Sean did not publicize that he had learned his leadership methods a long time ago and two important ingrediants of his style of management came from a certain queen who had once said, "Don't complain; don't explain."
When Higgins and his girl friend had returned from Mexico with their radio direction finder and related equipment, Sean then had them visit with some people who had lived in Jamaica. The two also studied Jamaican maps until they became as familiar with that island as was possible. It was only then that he decided that he would send Mary Moor along with them.
"You are going to take a young girl along with you when you go to Jamaica," he told Higgins. "She is one of our Saint Thomas Station Agents. I will talk to her and tell her about our particular problem there. She is no fool Higgins. She knows nothing about this equipment that you two will be using but I'm counting on you giving her the basics of that when she comes here for a week. After that then it's off to Jamaica for the three of you," said Sean to his friend Higgins.
Sean was then off to Saint Thomas where he met with Mary Moor on her day off and they ate dinner together at the delightful open air restaurant in Palm Passage.
"I want you to come back with me to Paragon's main base here in the Caribbean where you will stay and learn about some new radio devices from one of my best teams. You will live with them for a week and then you will travel to Jamaica with them on a special job for Paragon that needs a special person with brains and the discretion that I also know that you possess. I imagine your friend can delegate some authority and run things full time here for a few weeks," said Sean.
"Have I done something wrong?" She anxiously asked him.
"On the contrary, you must realize that there is far more to Paragon Airlines than this base here at Saint Thomas. I do not want you to tell this to your male Station Agent friend but I see in you the same abilities in dealing with people that I have, and also I believe you have the spirit in you that tells me that you might someday become a very valued asset to Paragon. So tag along with these people on this trip and learn as much as you can. You will then come back here to your regular job, but now and again I will be pulling you away so you can see how other parts of the company work. Mary, it's hard to find people like you who not only get along with everyone and work hard but who also have enough brains to at least try to do what they are told and who know when to keep their mouths shut. You have proved to me that you can do these things. You have shown me that I can rely on you," Sean told her.
"I do these things because I like you, maybe love even," she said to him as now she reached for his hand and held it in hers.
"If I was a lot younger and didn't have all these commitments then I'd be hustling a beautiful creature like you off to bed right now even before we both finish this meal, but can I tell you how I actually feel and see things?" he asked her.
"Oh Yes," she said.
"Men, and that's me included, simply do not fall in love the same way women do. We tend to have the same feelings but it seems to be on one of the back burners where nature seems to have impressed this love feeling into the females mostly so they will protect their children. You have only to look at all the animals where the female has this love instinct with her children and the male doesn't have nearly as much. Mary, I would be lying to you if I told you I did not want to go to bed with you, but this is in the very nature of man, he wants to go to bed with as many females as he can. And the younger he is the more females he seems to think he needs," said Sean.
"I know what you are telling me is true. I don't want to believe it though," she said to him.
"I cannot offer you Sir Galahad, simply because he does not exist, but I can only hope to steer you into the realm of Paragon Airlines' management structure. Yes, I need you. Paragon needs you," he told her.
"You say men still have this love feeling but it's on the back burner?" asked Mary.
"It's there, but quite subdued compared to what a woman feels," said Sean.
"I simply have never sat down with a man and discussed these things openly before, like we are doing now. I feel relaxed more with you, and I can speak my mind to you. You said that you wanted me and I know that all men want the women but I don't feel that you are after me like Nessuno was. I hate it when men even give me that look and I know immediately what they want. That's awful," said Mary Moor.
"That's life," said Sean.
"We have to get used to it don't we?"
"I imagine you do because that's the way nature made it," replied Sean.
"And besides wanting to go to bed with me there's a little love there for me too?" asked Mary.
"A bit more than a little, but what I really came here for was to get you, not for myself, but for Paragon," said Sean.
"A bit more than a little love though?"
"Yes and I love your mind too. I want you to put that to work for the Airlines. Can you go back with me tonight on the last flight out?" he now asked her.
"Wow! You certainly knew how to pull me out of that dreamy mood, didn't you. Yes, I can go back with you tonight," she told him.
"Nessuno would have asked you a lot faster than I did," said Sean.
"Yes, but I'm coming with you, and that's the difference," said Mary Moor.
They talked about Paragon Airlines for a while then she went to pack her things for the trip and Sean did some other errands on the island, then he went to the airport and visited the Paragon counter where he got together with the male Station Agent and together they worked out an arrangement where he would work forty hours each week covering the most critical times and one of his other men could act as Station Agent during the remaining hours that the counter stayed open during the week. Sean informed him that Mary would be gone for several weeks on company business but she would return and they then would resume the old schedule.
Sean and Mary Moor were on Paragon's last flight out of Saint Thomas to their main base. The two sat together on the plane and talked.
"I know Christina Covington is President of Paragon Airlines, but what is your actual position in the company," asked Mary Moor.
"I'm her assistant. I helped her and her father during the takeover of the original Paragon Airlines in England. That was sold to the British Government and I helped in that too," said Sean.
"Her father? I knew her father owned the marina. He owns Paragon too?" asked Mary.
"No I have given you the wrong impression. Mr. Covington's knowledge is in the area of international corporate financing. It was in this area that he was able to set up Paragon Emerald Airlines for some people who wished to remain completely unknown. This can be done if a corporation is formed in a certain country, There is no doubt also that Mister Covington helped procure the top position at Paragon for his daughter. He did have some money tied up in the English Paragon but he has no interest whatsoever in Paragon Emerald Airlines. Christina Covington's position though is secure here in Paragon Emerald Airlines. I can tell you that much," said Sean.
"If it was an English Airline once then why is it an Irish Airline now?" asked Mary Moor.
"It's not really Irish: it's only quasi Irish. A corporation in one country holds control of a corporation in another country that controls an Irish corporation. One of those countries has a law that gives secrecy to the people involved and the other country gives secrecy to certain money involved. We ran into some problems in England. I presume we stepped on some rich people's toes. Since my home was Dublin, Ireland and I knew we would be more than welcome there, I launched a small Airline, under the corporation's control, named Paragon Emerald and when the English sale to the Government was complete it enabled the small airline to expand into what it is now," said Sean.
"Will I meet Christina Covington?" asked Mary.
"I imagine you will," said Sean.
* * *
Early one morning in London a man went into McNeil's restaurant and had breakfast with a group that were all speaking with some Irish accent in their speech. This man, however, was English and the other men who were an Irish minority in this city perceived this immediately and he was not shown the usual sign of being welcome at their table.
"Now why would one of you want to sit with one of us?" asked one of the Irish.
"I promised someone that I would give you some information," the Englishman said.
"That will be the day when an Englishman gives something of value to the Irish," said another of the Irishmen.
"Please hear me out. The man who told me to come here is Irish. He is dying. He cannot come. He worked for many years in a secret laboratory in Portadown. He want's to reveal certain facts to you but there is only about an hour each evening when his nurse partakes in some romance with her boyfriend that he can tape what he wants to tell you and even then we turn up the radio and place the tape machine in a special cork box that he speaks into so that it cannot be picked up by microphones in the room. I may have more tapes for you later but here are some he has already made. You are supposed to give them to Michael Powers who was from County Connaught," he said.
"He's dead," said one of the Irishmen.
"I'll take the tapes," said another of the Irishmen and he reached for the package on the table. They will go where your friend intended they should go to," he added.
"Thank you," said the Englishman.
"Why are you doing this?" asked one of the Irish.
"Certain very wealthy people are in control of something that my government will not prevent. Perhaps someone else can," said the Englishman and he got up from the table and was gone.
It was several days later that Miriam Malone contacted Sean in the Caribbean and he was immediately on a plane back to Dublin where he and Miriam were discussing the situation.
"It all checks out. His name is Adam Pearlman. He has worked in the secret British viral laboratory at Portadown which is slated to close down now that America and England announced their total elimination of viral war toxins. His claim is that certain wealthy English people are financing a secret movement of a good portion of the lab somewhere else in the world outside the Crown's direct authority," said Miriam.
"No doubt to Warui's island," said Sean.
"It certainly ties right in with this," replied Miriam.
"I'd like to talk to him but I would surely be recognized and that would only be notifying them that we are on to them. I need to meet with this Englishman. I'm glad he only came to McNeil's that first time and other methods were arranged for the other tape transfers. MI-5 watches McNeil's like a hawk," said Sean.
"Yes, we have to keep debugging it and we were lucky that we had done this the very night before this man with the tapes came, so we are certain that no one from MI-5 heard what he said that morning," said Miriam.
"Got any idea how I should meet with the Englishman?" asked Sean.
"Yes, he likes to listen to the retirees play their music in the park bandstand in the afternoon. We will bring in about twenty of our own old people and they will entirely surround you while you talk to him and the music is playing," she told him.
"Good," said Sean.
"You also said you had something else up you sleeve. What else are you planning?" asked Miriam.
"I owe McNeil and his friends a vacation in the tropics. Paragon will fly the group to Miami and some MI-6 spies, I am certain, will tag along to see what is up. I have already arranged for them to stay at a certain motel in Miami where we have several units with hidden cameras and microphones all ready for the MI-6 spies when they arrive too. These are all hard wired in so they cannot be discovered by electronic means. McNeil's group will be able to monitor their MI-6 friends and when they are certain about them, then McNeil and his group will head off for more southern ports in the Caribbean and these spies will be found sunbathing in the nude on Miami Beach and locked up by the local police along with plenty of newspaper and television coverage. I think this might reinforce upon the English the fact that they do not own the United States any more," said Sean.
"I believe this same group pulled off something like that once before," said Miriam
"Yes, in London itself," replied Sean.
"Were you in on that too?" she asked smiling.
"You have been very poorly trained sister Miriam to ever ask a question like that from a person you might suspect to be a fellow agent," said Sean with a grin on his face. Then after a pause he added: "I might have forwarded some financial assistance to some of them. I could never have guessed, of course, what they were even contemplating."
"I'll bet," she replied. "MI-6 ought to steer clear of McNeil's if this works out the way you plan," she added.
"I doubt that, but it will at least brighten the otherwise dull lives of some of our people," said Sean.
The meeting was made with the Englishman, as planned, at the bandstand and Sean gave him some specific questions to ask Adam Pearlman. Sean received the answers, a few days later, on a tape and Sean met with the Englishman only one more time with some additional questions. After these were answered, Sean continued to give his full attention to the group at McNeil's. These were friends that he longed to see but he knew that he would have to wait until they finally came to the Caribbean. He had to be certain that he had shaken MI-6 off their tail. The group spent a day in New York City and then flew to Miami where they registered in a motel. Sean had done his homework well because this was the height of the tourist season and all rooms for miles around were already taken. The MI-6 boys were there as Sean suspected and they had no other choice but to take two of the four rooms already wired for them. The motel manager convincingly explained to them that they were lucky that another group that had already reserved these units was smaller than anticipated making these places available for them.
This Irish group spent six days in Miami after which they all boarded a plane for San Juan while the MI-6 people following them were detained by the local authorities exactly as Sean had predicted while the news media— more of Sean's work — gave these English nudists plenty of free publicity. It was several days after this that a CIA representative met with Sean in Dublin.
"We know that you provided these people with funds and airline tickets so you were behind this thing where these MI-6 boys got busted by the locals in Miami. You'd better level with us about what is going on here," said the CIA agent to Sean.
"It's no secret. I used to live in London and these people are my friends. Why can't they come and visit me without the English MI-6 shoving their noses into what we are doing? We have never killed anyone or even harmed anyone but we have pulled our little pranks on them in the past. We have only done similar things to them before as what you saw happen in Miami. They deserved it," said Sean who knew that he'd better tell it like it was because he was certain that they would check his story out. He also knew that if he didn't tell them, then they would find out anyway, so this Sean figured was the best route to go.
"You are going back to the Caribbean then?" asked the CIA man.
"I'm leaving in a few hours. I haven't seen some of these friends in years," said Sean.
"Well between you and me, I think they got what they rightfully needed. My superior has to write up a report and this will look good enough. I hope for your sake this is the way our investigators find it too," said the CIA representative.
"That's the way it is," said Sean.
Sean was on the airplane and the next day was back at Paragon's island base in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. He was talking with Tina in her office.
"I'm eager to meet some of my old friends," said Sean.
"Well I've already met one, the latest addition to your harem. This one is pretty young, Sean," said Tina.
"Mary Moor?" asked Sean.
"Yes," said Tina.
"I think Paragon needs to hold on to that girl, Tina. If we do it right, then she'll be one of the key people running things here when both of us are out to pasture. Let's slowly add the responsibilities and progressively let her in on the perks and privileges so she doesn't want to skip off to greener pastures," said Sean.
"She's not an accountant," said Tina.
"No she's not at all like you. She will be more like Meg trying to fix things but she'll be a lot better than you or Meg in dealing with people. I see some of my own instincts of dealing with people in her and she's sharper than me in some of those areas already, said Sean. She has to find out that what we do is not all above board; that is why I've put her in the Jamaican project with Higgins. She has to know that a bit of skullduggery is in this line of work too. She has to know that we are going to give all their laws lip service and we will obey the law as long as our competition also does so, but when it comes right down to survival then this company becomes far more important than any law. How is that boy doing by himself as Station Agent in Saint Thomas?" asked Sean.
"I had to talk to him several times to clear up some things that had gone awry. I don't believe he is any mental giant but he might make a good line manager. I'm watching him. You want to send Mary Moor back there with him when she is finished with Higgins?" asked Tina.
"I told them that; let's let them work a while longer together so that we are certain both of them can work as coequals harmoniously. Then bring him here and let her hack it alone and watch her for a while," said Sean.
"She certainly seems enamored with a certain Sean O'Brien," said Tina.
"Young girls tend to have those feelings for their father. I'd say right now she sees me as the perfect father figure rewarding her. I had always wanted to see Nessuno's operation and she made that possible. Nessuno was trying to get her in bed with him right on the plane ride to his place and even though she did not like this, she played her part well because she knew I wanted to see that place. How can I not reward her. And Tina it is best for Paragon that this image of me being the perfect father figure is retained because then she will do all she can to help this company. I wish I could instill that feeling in all of my employees. This is essentially what the Pharaoh's of Ancient Egypt did, and what the best leaders of countries and businesses still do. Tina, you understand how people's love of money and fear of losing it affects their actions in the marketplace; your daddy taught that to you well. I grew up having to get my younger brothers to work when there wasn't enough money to give as an incentive to get them to work. I gave them approval and a respected position in the system. Tina, you know how this gaining and losing money affects human behavior and I know how the gaining and losing respect and approval affects the same human beings. It's only together that we are able to give our people all these things that enable us to have a superior team than all these other airlines. Tina, I believe that this girl is the closest that I have seen so far, as the person who can replace my abilities when I leave this airline," said Sean.
"Do you know that it was you who taught my father that this is equally necessary. Even though he made tremendous amounts of money in the market, he never could own a business like the marina until he met you and saw how important that side of human nature was too," said Tina.
* * *
In Jamaica, Patrick Higgins and the girls had behaved exactly like tourists for several days and then quickly located the mystery transmitter in only two days of searching. It was not all that complicated because there had been no remote transmitter involved and it had been in the Kingston area. This transmission was directly from a person's residence. The house was on several acres and all protected with high fencing and laser beams and dogs. Higgins and the girls could plainly see the transmitting tower as they drove by. Since there was only one home anywhere near there so well protected, Higgins and his team had an easy time merely mentioning the well-protected house to the natives and the name of the owner was quickly obtained. The team spent several days in the area photographing all the license plate numbers of cars that they could find parked there and then left the island of Jamaica as happy and contented tourists finishing their vacations.
Sean was there to greet the group when they arrived back from their trip. Their film was taken and immediately processed and soon a computer was storing not only these many license numbers but the names of the people who owned these cars. Sean was receiving other information too about Warui's English friends. The computer also held facts received from interviewing many of the workmen who had built the complex on Warui's island. Now slowly a picture emerged of exactly who these people were. Their names disturbed Sean because he now knew that even if he could destroy Warui's stronghold then these people were people who had money and power enough to destroy both him and Paragon Emerald Airlines if they so desired. He now knew if Warui's stronghold was destroyed then it had to look like an accident. This seemed like an impossible thing to do, but Warui had built these low one story buildings entirely out of wood. It might burn, Sean thought, but how could one arrange for the entire place to go up without arousing suspicions. Sean did not have the answer to this question. He was to spend many subsequent hours pondering this.
It was a few days later that Sean got a call from Mary Moor.
"After we had returned from Jamaica you were talking to Higgins and us about someone using wooden shingles in the tropics and you wondered how they would hold up. Well, since I knew you were interested in them I did some research and guess what I found?" she asked him.
"What?" he asked.
"Two gigantic U.S. Naval dirigible hangers south of Miami Florida were covered with wooden shingles and they both burned up during a hurricane. The huge reinforced concrete front and rear portions were all that survived both structures. Know what the probable cause of the fire was?" asked Mary.
"No?" asked Sean.
"The wooden shingles. The fires started on both of the roofs. The only answer was that the vibration of the shingles themselves during the peak of the storm caused many of them to vibrate like a reed in a musical wind instrument and the friction started the fires," she told him.
"Beautiful! This discussion is also something that must be kept secret. I swear you're the best. I do love you beautiful creature. Thank you," said Sean.
He now had his answer as to how Warui's complex could be totally destroyed and made to look accidental.
* * *
It was Janet who gave Sean another bit of information that took Sean's mind completely off of Warui and his island. A yacht had moored close to Robert Mitchell's craft and its owner and Robert had immediately struck it off together. It was one of the passengers on this vessel who sparked Sean's curiosity. James Campbell Junior was 17 and his father had a financially troubled airline in Northern Ireland that flew into many of the English airports that Paragon Emerald also flew into. What interested Sean was that James Campbell Senior was known to be associated with the UVA that was the Protestant militant secret, illegal organization equivalent to the Catholic IRA. Now Sean was discussing the boy with Tina.
"Mitchell tells me the boy has quite a bit of flying time under his belt. Tina we absolutely must get the confidence of these people. I have to remain out of sight because the boy would never work for us if he knew I had anything to do with this, but you and your daddy are both English Protestants and can easily get his confidence. They are going to be here in the Caribbean for a few months so see if you can shove him into the copilot's seat on one of our shorter runs and get him on the payroll. We have the simulator in Dublin and I'll bet the boy's never seen the inside of one of those. His dad's airline doesn't even have the use of one. If the boy works out flying with us for a few weeks then let's ship him to Dublin and put him on the simulator before he returns back home so he can tell his father about it. You know that the father is then going to get in touch with you to see if the simulator might be available for some of his other pilots. We can spare enough time for two of his people every now and then. We won't take many of his men but since he seems to be strapped for cash right now, we'll work out something with him for the few that we do train. No one in either Ulster or England would give him a deal anywhere near what we can afford to do. Once his men start coming to Dublin then we can start talking about other arrangements that we might make like sharing spare parts in emergencies and things like that. If you can demonstrate to him that you will treat him fairly then we will have made real inroads into a good start toward a potential piece of the Northern Ireland pie as well because it will only be a mater of time before he is looking for a white knight to save him from total bankruptcy and he has to come to you Tina. You then lift this heavy load from his shoulders and take his airline but let him keep his prestige: give him the trappings of authority by keeping him in as President, but with no real power and he will still be able to roam around there and be seen to be running things but we will own it and that's all we want anyway. We must begin this long process by demonstrating to these people that we are their friends. I'll bet the boy is pleasantly surprised when he finds out that Paragon Emerald Airlines in the Catholic Republic is run by a Protestant woman," said Sean.
"You want me to paint the picture that we believe like he does, but we have to play this game according to the Republic's rules and that I have to hire that notorious Sean O'Brien to keep us in good standing with those who reign supreme in the Republic," said Tina.
"Precisely," said Sean. "And while you sit here and work Tina dear, I am going out to see some of my old friends who I haven't seen in years. I have some Guinness Stout for them and I may have a glass or two of it myself but I'm not as avid a drinker as in my youthful days in England when I first arrived in London full of both ambition of what I inspired to do and terror of actually being in enemy territory. It is these days Tina that I'm about to live over again. We shall talk about those times and all the things we did together," he added.
Sean then did meet with McNeil and his group, unobserved by the world on a small deserted Caribbean island where all the people and supplies arrived by helicopter. The CIA and MI-6 and even the Mossad knew about this meeting, but none of them had obtained even so much as a single photo of it.
"What we have done by all of us meeting again here today is that we will now get the British Government to start investigations about all of us and our work in the IRA. But none of us has ever killed anybody or has even hurt anyone. We weren't a real substantial, working part of the IRA. Let them spend their money investigating us. They will only find we did pranks like putting that MI-6 bloke in front of Big Ben in the nude and Clancey here dressed like a Bobby and holding his hat over the man's private parts so the photo could be reproduced by the millions in the tabloids the next morning. You will find that all your legal expenses with any of these forthcoming problems with the English government will be taken care of, so don't worry about it and when the television cameras come around and it points your way, give them all that mischievous smile that they are used to seeing from small children who know they have completely gotten away with something. So laugh at them right on their own television screen as if you know you are getting away with everything. It will make them look like fools for not being able to get us and it will take the heat off the real IRA who are ready to really shove it to them somewhere else," said Sean to his old group of friends.
"To a united Ireland," said McNeil now raising his glass of Guinness while old friends shook each other hands and retold what they had remembered and this in turn re-sparked the memories in others of those past times.
"Now before you all get drunk, and now that we are away from any hidden microphones, I'm going to tell all of you of a sudden change in our plans. We are going to make this a working holiday as well. You are the only group in the world who I know can keep quiet for as many years as it needs for this next direct frontal assault on some of our most hated English enemies to take place. You people are going to plant the seed of their sudden demise and you are going to do it right here in the Caribbean. Our enemy has built a secret island complex a few miles from here in the Caribbean. Top Secret English war material costing many millions— perhaps even billions — will be soon installed in these buildings that you will be working on. It will be quite some time before he gets it fully operational, so what we do now is going to have to be done well so that it can withstand the sun and wind and rain of perhaps even many years before we activate it. This enemy, working for his ultra wealthy English clients, has signed a contract very recently with a firm to coat all the roofs of his many one story buildings with a snow white sun reflecting coating that will save him much money on his airconditioning costs. All of you are going to have a chance of being part of that work gang and I'll be reviewing with you, as the time gets ripe, what each of your special jobs will be," said Sean.
Sean had definitely not brought this group here for the purpose of using them on Warui's island. Time had presented Sean with this splendid opportunity for them to take part in this scheme. The real reason that he had brought them here was that he hoped that the English press would pick up on it and cover the television screens all through England with it. He had already sneaked them copy of what they had done to the MI-6 personnel. Sean wanted the news media to start covering them and their zany exploits as much as possible right now because there had been an increasing amount of news surfacing lately in both the English press and television about Sean O'Brien's unsavory youthful past when he first arrived in London. But evidently they had not yet discovered what he had really done or they would certainly have printed it and put it on the tele for it was much more newsworthy than the things they already had publicized. Sean knew this and wanted now to make his escapades look more like a circus act and to keep this running in front of the TV screens for a while, He knew they might shortly discover the real meat and potatoes of what he had really done in England and he wanted the large number of viewers to be so filled up with the antics of Sean O'Brien and his group by then that they would switch to something else by the time his real problems were surfacing. Sean knew his genuine problems would come from the majority of the masses in England wanting something done. He knew that there were enough influential people who would not want their dirty linen aired and who would be able to keep things down providing the news media could not get the mob stirred up against him. Saturating the English public now with the bizarre but seemingly harmless undertakings of Sean O'Brien and his group seemed to Sean to be his next best move on this chessboard of international intrigue. The general English public did not know about Sean O'Brien yet. He was not talked about in England yet even a fraction of what he was in Ireland. Now England would discover him via the news media and by the time any bad things were aired, the English public, who are far more sophisticated than their American brethren, would put this all down as 'sour grapes' on the part of the English bureaucracy that could not nail him on their first attempt. At least this was the way Sean hoped it would go.
It was a few weeks after this get together that the group did join a larger work crew who went to work on Warui's island painting all of the new wooden roofs a brilliant white. When their work was finished the entire Irish assemblage was on another airplane heading east across the Atlantic and back home.
* * *
Tina and her father, who were very much English, had spoken with the son of the owner of the Northern Irish airline, The boy had jumped at the chance to fly and in a few weeks had taken his very first trip to Dublin where he was escorted by two of Sean's Protestant pilots who also were scheduled for their simulator training. Several ardent pro IRA people were pulled off the simulator crew and sent to America before the boy's arrival. Sean wanted no problems with this first Northern Irish simulator student.
Even Tina was surprised to see things work out exactly as Sean had predicted. In nine months six other pilots from Northern Ireland, besides the boy, had taken training on the Dublin simulator. Sean, himself, had talked to these six. Now even James Campbell Senior had reluctantly scheduled a meeting with Sean O'Brien. They would be meeting in Northern Ireland.
Sean met with Mary Moor one day while she was working as Station Agent in Saint Thomas.
"I need you on a very important trip to Northern Ireland," Sean told her.
"When do I start?" she asked him.
"As soon as you can get someone here to replace you," he told her.
"That will take about fifteen minutes while I explain everything to Alex," she said and she was gone.
In a little over fifteen minutes she was back again and said, "I'm ready, but what clothes do I need to take?"
"I'm afraid you Caribbean folks don't have the clothes that will be needed in Northern Ireland. I'll buy you what you'll need," said Sean.
The speed with which she was able to have someone take over her position was a test that Sean regularly applied to his people. A person who was truly working for the company would train others in all aspects of all the jobs including their own without being told to do so. In this respect Mary Moor had passed admirably because even without being asked, she had trained someone to do her own job. Sean knew that a person only interested in themselves would have trained no one.
It was on the long flight over the Atlantic that Sean explained her purpose in being with him on this trip.
"I'm going to see a person who doesn't really trust me. You see, religious hatred has played a very ugly part in this area of the world for hundreds of years and it is very much still with us in everything we say and do in these new islands that you are about to visit. In some of these cities that we will be visiting, Catholics and Protestants never ever mix together all their entire lives: they are born and grow up in separate neighborhoods; they go to different schools and they do not even work together later in life. About the only thing that they do together is kill each other. This man knows very well that I am fighting to bring the six counties of Ulster under Dublin's control. He is fighting to keep everything the way it is now because he feels this is to his advantage. We both belong to illegal organizations that have killed people on the other side. Some of my friends have killed some of his friends and some of his friends have killed some of mine, so the least he sees me the better. You are not only pretty but I see in you some of my own abilities in persuading people to actually put in a good day's work at Paragon. Now you are going to play in the big league," said Sean,
"What on earth do you want me to do?" she asked.
"You are going to play a rôle like in the movies," said Sean.
"I was never good at acting; I could never memorize all that stuff," said Mary Moor.
"That's the beauty of this because there is no memorizing. You merely play the part of a young secretary who is really trying to do her job but hasn't the vaguest idea of how to go about it. You are going to ask him for help," said Sean.
"I really don't understand what you want," said Mary.
"Look, here's a list of the things we want to share with his airline: they are all more to his advantage right now than to ours and normally he would jump at the chance to get all of these but he thinks of me as a snake. He will feel if I do not want it, then it must be because there is an advantage to him and Ulster. I am certain that he will be only interested in it if I seem not to be in favor of the whole thing," said Sean.
"And how are you going to make him believe that?" asked the girl.
"My performance is going to tell him that. I'm not going to spend very much time with him. Maybe I won't even have to spend any time at all with him. I'm certain from what I know about this man, that it would all be nonproductive anyway, so you are going to work out as many of these things as you can with him. You are going to have to do a lot of phoning back to Tina so that he is not able to get the better of us on any of these things. You will have to clear every single agreement on each item with her. I will read everything you two have put together, and I will check what you have done each evening when you return. The only thing we will not negotiate with him is the manner in which we accept his debt instrument. Either he accepts it exactly our way or there is simply no deal. Oh, I might be with you now and again with him, if it is absolutely necessary, but I won't be with you much. Don't worry about him taking advantage of you. I have checked on him and he is not at all like Nessuno," said Sean.
"You are really going to depend on me, aren't you?" she asked him.
"If you do all of this well then I'll keep you," said Sean.
"Keep me to love, honor and obey till death do we part?" she asked as she now held his hand.
"I have a long list of those that I've made some sort of deal like that with," said Sean.
"So I've heard. There is a grapevine at Paragon you know," said Mary Moor.
"What do they say?" asked Sean.
"You and Tina have something going but it's not only her: you have a few others hidden around too," she told him.
"Thank you for being truthful," he said.
"I will be added to the list now," she told him.
"Yes, people are awful sometimes in the way they speak of others," said Sean.
"I think it's neat," said Mary squeezing his hand.
"I'm too many years older than you are, Mary Moor," he told her.
"If I make your list then will I be the youngest?" she asked him.
"Good God !" he exclaimed.
"Oh, you're worried about the age difference! Don't even think about it. To me it doesn't make that much difference; really it doesn't. See, I knew something was making you hesitate. Sean, there comes a time in a girl's life that she feels an intense need for a man. When she has this feeling and she's in the presence of a man who has treated her good then she lets him know in some way that anything that he wants to do will be OK. You have treated me better than I really deserve," she said as she loosened her seat belt and bent over and kissed him. "Thank you," she added.
"Really, I did not bring you on this trip to make love to you," he said.
"That's your conscious mind telling you that but your subconscious mind is thinking about it, I know. Well, if you will not bodily do that to me then can I at least ask you some questions about it?" she asked him.
"I guess," he said.
"Do you feel closer to the woman after you've done it to her?" she asked.
Well, I suppose so," he said.
"Did any woman tell you she felt closer to you after she had done it with you," asked Mary. Moor.
"Yes that's the thing that every woman gets out of it even though she may not even get a climax," said Sean.
Why didn't they all get a climax?" asked the girl.
"I don't know, but try as I might, it was not humanly possible to give them all a climax," said Sean.
"It certainly sounds like you tried. What do you have to do when they are slow?" asked the girl.
"Women are all generally slower than men. It's up to the man to slow himself down or speed the woman up," said Sean.
"How do you go about doing that?" asked the girl.
"There are various ways," said Sean.
"Are some women better than others?" asked the girl.
"Definitely!" exclaimed Sean.
"Why?" asked the girl.
"Some respond more than others," said Sean.
"The ones who respond are better?" asked the girl.
"Naturally," said Sean.
"There is no physical difference though?" asked the girl.
"There definitely is although it may be that some girls are better at using certain muscles than others," replied Sean.
"Tell me what the perfect partner would do for you if you had one?" asked the girl.
"She would sit back quietly in her seat and not ask so many questions," said Sean.
"Do I get on your nerves?" she asked him.
"No you would never do that," said Sean.
"I've proved to you that I can keep my mouth shut too. No one yet knows we went to Nessuno's island together. I didn't tell and you didn't tell anyone either: the grapevine hasn't even mentioned me as one of your conquests, but this trip is going to be different because now quite a few people at the airport know we are on this plane together and when we return, after this thing is finished, we will be as good as married in their eyes. I don't mind, and the age difference doesn't bother me either. I think it's all neat. I want to tell you one more thing before we get down to work: I would never, never, never try and break up that relationship that you and Tina have together. Whatever we do together would be strictly our business and no one else's. I would never try and hurt you Sean. Now, let's go over all these things you want me to do for you," she said taking the typed list that he had previously shown her.
Now they went over each item in detail and he told her exactly what he wanted and she listened attentively and made written notes of everything he said.
In Dublin Mary Moor saw the main Paragon base for the very first time. The couple remained here for a day and then flew to England on another Paragon flight. Sean and Mary Moor then left the airport and walked around a small English town for about an hour.
"I wanted you to be able to tell them you were in England too, when you get back," Sean said.
A few hours later the two were on a flight to Northern Ireland where they disembarked. A car was waiting for them.
"Mary this is Rory Kilpatrick," said Sean introducing her to the driver. "He is going to be your driver and assistant in whatever you need here in Northern Ireland," Sean added.
They first went to their hotel then Sean had Mary call Mr. Campbell and make an appointment to meet with him.
"You tell him I wasn't feeling too well and see what you can work out by yourself. You can trust Rory so I'd keep him close by," said Sean.
When Rory and Mary left, Sean immediately called Tina in Dublin to tell her that the meeting was on and that she should remain around to answer Mary's calls. Tina called Sean about an hour later and told him that substantial progress had indeed been made.
"One very important thing was that he wanted me to give Mary authority to sign this agreement for Paragon. You were right Sean, he feels he'll get more from Mary than you would ever give him. I told him I might consider it if you didn't get better. You should double check every single line of what's agreed to in there if we go along and do that," Tina said to him over the phone.
"I have an expert handy who will read what she brings back and he will put in any modifications that we will need. She won't sign anything until both of us go over it," said Sean.
"I hope you are right," said Tina and she hung up.
When Mary returned that evening, Sean made copies of what had been agreed to and sent them with Rory to his legal expert. Then he went over the agreement with Mary as she told him of her experience with Mr. Campbell.
"I had a terrible time at first understanding everything he said and he was always asking me to repeat things also so I guess he had trouble understanding me too. He couldn't believe that I had never even seen an Episcopalian Church and that I had only seen a Catholic Church from the outside but had never been inside one. He couldn't understand that I didn't give credence to any of it. I told him my grand parents on both sides were Baptists and believed in total immersion. That got him going that the Moors had to be either Catholic or Church of England when they left, but he kept on wanting to know why they changed religion and I told him that neither the Catholics nor the Church of England saw how to operate effectively in the wide open spaces of this new country but it was the Baptist circuit riders who rode around to all the spread out farms who got all the religions changed because he was all they could find so they had to take him. So over a long period of time they all became Baptists. He seemed to understand that when I explained it to him. I don't think he will ever get over the fact that I don't really care to find out if my people were originally Catholics or Protestants. He just couldn't seem to believe that I didn't care what they originally were," she said.
"Beautiful creature, you did astonishingly well," Sean told her as he looked over what they already had his agreement to.
"I knew you'd be proud of me when I brought all that back to you the first time out. But this was the easiest; tomorrow's work is going to be much harder and I'm going to need a good night's rest and with all these things on my mind right now I don't think I'll ever be able to get any sleep unless you make love to me and give me that explosion that will blur all of these thoughts out of my mind. Sean, I swear I won't say a word about it and I won't give you a bit of trouble with your other girlfriends. I'm going to really need you tonight Sean if I'm going to be any good at all to you tomorrow," she said as she held him close to her and kissed him, and this time he stayed together with her and did not offer any further resistance to her.
It took another two and a half more days before Mary Moor, Sean and his legal advisor were satisfied with the agreement, then Mary Moor proudly signed her first contract as a Paragon official. The two were on an airplane out of Northern Ireland several hours after the signing. They spent several days in Dublin then returned together to the Caribbean where Mary Moor returned to her prior position in Saint Thomas, but now she was certain that she had a future at Paragon Emerald Airlines. Sean O'Brien had been correct in assessing her ability in understanding people and getting them to do as she wanted.
Sean was absolutely certain now that he had to train this young girl as best he could in all aspects of Paragon Emerald's Operations. Sean at first was merely a friend she could actually talk to, then she looked upon him as someone who would protect her and reward her for the things she did for him. He was a male who stimulated her mind at a time when her body sensed that it needed a male and this male had been extraordinarily good to her. She had responded by doing for him the things he wanted. Now she could almost read his mind. When she got the response that she did over the phone, it pleased her immensely because the reference to the wooden shingles had been fleeting but she had caught an urgency in his manner that he did not know enough about their application in the tropics and now she had given him the information that he wanted. As she thought about it, a thrill went all through her body as if he was right there holding her and kissing her.
The next day was her day off and she met Sean when he arrived in Saint Thomas on the first flight that day.
"Look, I think that if I take care of you now then you might be able to help me take care of this airline later on in my life when I am forced to slow down," said Sean.
"What does all that mean?" she asked him.
"You are going to San Juan for a semester of college, then you'll work here for the next semester, and we'll alternate it that way," Sean told her.
"You really are good to me," she said to him.
"It's always a reciprocal deal. If I find someone who helps me then I don't mind going out of my way to help them. At this time of your life young lady you need to learn both how Paragon works and how to communicate with the people in this world who do the moving and shaking, and for that you are going to need some higher education," said Sean.
"I'll do the very best I can," she said.
"I'm sure you will. Let me tell you something first about all Universities. You get out essentially what you put in. I feel that there is a possibility that you may be one of the people running this airline some day. So what are you going to need? You are going to have to be able to utilize the English language perfectly in both writing and speaking. You may also have to address other groups in Spanish or French. It pays to be able to make a short speech in their language. There is no song as sweet as the words one hears in his own native language. One more thing that you will absolutely need will be a good grounding in the sciences if you want to be able to talk to the engineers here at Paragon. What you get your degree in is not half as important as if you learn things that will help you later on in your life. You will find courses on birds and fish but the only birds we are concerned with are those that get sucked into our engines and we certainly hope we don't mix with any fishes here at Paragon. I'm not against someone who studies these things, but do you see what I'm getting at?" he said to her.
"Yes," she said.
"Neither Tina nor I could run this airline effectively if we could not communicate effectively with the educated class in both speaking and writing. We always have to give a short speech from time to time in Spanish or French. We both need to know what the pilots and engineers are talking about too. This is what your college training must be geared to," said Sean.
"I understand," said Mary Moor.
"It will take a bit longer going to college this way but this was the way I did it on the farm in Ireland and it was the farm that showed me that I could use my time best directing and planning and getting people to work together. I saw college as the way to fine hone these skills. That's what you have to do. Study so you can put a sharper edge on these things that you do best. You said you couldn't memorize; neither could I. Both of us would have gone down the wrong road working where that was required. You and I understand people. We need them and they need people like us; together we run an airline where all of us do far better than the average working man in this world of ours. And you have to get this message out to them too. You have to constantly prove to them that in this business we all have to keep learning. We are always getting the very latest state of the art products in our planes and we absolutely have to know how to operate and repair them. I don't know of any successful person with Paragon who hasn't done a lot of studying of these new items on his own time at home. These people aren't all mental giants, but they all specialize in certain things and they work hard and that's all I ask of them. They are all pieces of a big jigsaw puzzle that we have to keep assembling every day. That's our job. We have to keep our eyes on both the big picture and all those individual pieces too," said Sean.
"You seem to have instilled this philosophy of constantly learning and working together into all of Paragon's staff because everyone seems to want to help out when a problem develops. People, from the other companies that I come in contact with, are always fighting among themselves and with the company they work for. To a lot of people, working right here at this airport, the company they work for seems to be their biggest enemy. I can't understand that," said Mary Moor.
"That's why you are working for us. Look, most companies are poorly managed— not just some of them — most of them. You have no idea of the cost and effort Tina and I have put into this airline merely to achieve that feeling among our people. They don't only think they are better off; they know they are better off here at Paragon. First of all, we don't hire that type of person who is for himself rather than the team; or if we accidentally do then we get rid of him fast. That will be another of your jobs, pinpointing these people and eliminating them before they poison the atmosphere for those who do want to work. But then we offer substantial rewards for the people we keep. Even though Paragon is a privately held company, it still contributes ten per cent of its yearly profits to the employees who elect to take advantage of a savings plan. Right now as an employee you can hop on a space available flight to a certain country and purchase stock in a bank that makes loans to Paragon for its fleet of airplanes. Only Paragon employees are stockholders. You are guaranteed the prime rate of interest on your money plus you share ten per cent of the airline's profits with the rest of the group. You also pay no interest or tax on the money you make this way either. Now there are certain disadvantages to this too because as far as Paragon is concerned this is some business that you have with one of this country's banks and under Irish Laws we have nothing whatsoever to do with that. Our deal is only with the bank to borrow money for our airplanes. You may be breaking some of your own country's laws but you certainly will be accumulating a lot of money fast where no leeches can nibble their tax teeth on it. If you keep your mouth shut and the bank correspondence from coming in to your own country, then you are perfectly safe because your own country can do nothing about it; no lawyers or courts in the country you live in can ever latch on to it either. Tina's father set up that plan in England and less than five percent of the employees took advantage of it, but do you know that one hundred per cent of those who did, quit the English airline and transferred to Paragon Emerald when we changed airlines and they are still with us and also in the plan today. If we would not have had those people with us at that critical time then we could never be where we are today. Right now a little less than twenty per cent of our people are in that plan and this twenty percent know they are better off working for Paragon Emerald. You don't have to convince them. But not everybody can save their money Mary, so we have to have other means for making this a better place to work for them too," said Sean.
"They get ten per cent of the profits plus interest at the prime rate and only twenty percent of them take advantage of something like that?" asked Mary Moor.
"A bit less than twenty percent, yes. Not too many people have the ability to save or to even understand the basics of accumulating capital; they think that what a person wants is money and that's exactly what you do not want because the transfer can be located and taxed. You want to increase your capital because there is no tax that I know of that taxes an increase of capital. If you never sell it then you even avoid the capital gains tax. The average person is totally tax blind, if they weren't, then we'd have many more in this plan. See, you island people are not used to paying income taxes. These people have to pay their mother country taxes on all their income as well; the ones in America are accustomed to even paying taxes on interest they get in the bank," said Sean.
"I've heard them talk about that; it's unbelievable. How do they get away with taking some of the person's wages that these people work hard for?" asked the girl.
"People get conditioned to anything. The leeches have known how to separate people from their money now for thousands of years and have passed all this information on to the present group of money siphoners," said Sean.
They had been walking along the waterfront while talking and then they turned into Palm Passage; now they sat down at the same table where they had met, and ate their dinner in the open air on a beautiful breezy sunny day.
"I am a very fortunate female. I feel needed. Even though I know you have your other women, I know that you need me, and I will always do my best to please you. I appreciate the opportunity you are giving me. Mormon women and Moslem women know what it is to share their man. A good many Christian women share their man too but do not know about it. My father has investigated many men and always finds them with extra women, so I'm only going to say to you if you hang on to me then I will stay with you and Paragon. I'll try my best not to interfere with your situation at Paragon," she said.
"That's all I ask," he told her.
* * *
Back in England now, O.K. Cromwell was examining the latest plans that the MI-6 think tank had placed before him. They had satisfactorily resolved everything this first time and in this plan there seemed to be nothing like the problem of the road directly behind the silenced weapons that resulted in a misfire of that other previous Dundalk assault even before it got out of the planning stage. There was absolutely no doubt now that the target was somewhere again in the Republic of Ireland. In this attack Cromwell intended to do far greater damage to the IRA than he did at Dundalk Bay. Now he folded up the plans and stepped out of his office and into the elevator and left the building and when outside he lit an expensive hand rolled Havana cigar that had been given to him by a member of the House of Lords. He savored both the cigar and the thought of what would happen when his MI-6 Team hit the IRA this time. A smile came over Cromwell's face now as he walked along one of the busy streets of London.
Tom Sharkey got ready for his evening janitorial job in the MI-6 building in London that Cromwell had vacated. He had been selected for this job by the IRA because he had an absolutely clean record and neither he nor any of his family had ever been caught for any serious violations of the English laws. Tom Sharkey had been taking lie detector tests with the IRA's experts a good year before he ever applied for this janitorial job. Different people can use different methods to fool lie detectors and the IRA had found that Tom's best method was to immediately get a picture in his mind of a lake resort that his family used to visit when he was a child; it was a place he had loved, They found if he could plant this picture in his mind fast enough then it would relax him and the detector could not tell he had lied. After a good year of practicing this and other techniques he applied for the janitorial job and past all the MI-6 lie detector tests with flying colors. One of his IRA instructors was skeptical of his ability to keep passing these tests and claimed if a really good, top notch person questioned him then he could possibly be caught but every year he had again passed his regular tests so MI-6 had evidently been using their very best people somewhere else on jobs that they considered more important than checking janitors.
Cromwell broke one of his own rules by leaving that map on his desk, but he could not smoke inside the building and he had intended to return immediately after he had finished his Havana cigar but upon his return to the building one thing had lead to another and Cromwell had gotten involved with some other important items and never got back to his own office before the day ended. Everyone else who worked under Cromwell had people checking them and would not have been able to leave top secret information unlocked overnight. No one, however, checked Cromwell and there the map remained folded on top of his desk overnight.
The doors of all the rooms were always checked and this night Cromwell's door was closed and the person closing the door thought he heard the lock snap but a plastic ball point pen had gotten caught in the bottom of the door and the snap of the pen was the noise he heard. Since he had many doors to check he kept on going not realizing this particular door was not really locked tight.
Tom Sharkey was polishing the hall floor with his machine and he purposely had nudged the TV camera by tiny increments each night so that it could not see him when he reached and checked each doorknob as he ran the big polishing machine down the hall. Now he came to his lucky door behind which one day he had copied a calendar memo on which the writer had mentioned he would be absent for that particular group of four days to visit at a wedding. This discovery had led the IRA to one of their best penetrations up to that time of the London MI-5 and MI-6 groups. Tom Sharkey had not had any more luck for several years now but tonight he could not believe what he felt. The doorknob had now actually turned in his hand. He knew the door would open now and this was the same room that he had been lucky in before. He also knew it was time for him to take his lunch so he walked, with his lunch bucket toward the TV camera so it could see him leaving with his lunch bucket and then he came back hugging the wall on the monitoring camera's blind side and he slipped behind his machine being careful not to move it because half of it was very much in the camera's view. He now entered the room and immediately found the map and was even able to photocopy it on the copy machine in the same room. He quickly left and securely locked the door and eased back along the same wall that was hidden from the camera and then went to have his meal with the rest of the workers.
* * *
"Get your things packed and be at the airport in an hour with your passport, I have some urgent business in Dublin," Sean said to Mary Moor over the phone. "We are going to fly from Saint Thomas to Nassau and then catch the London flight out of Nassau. It looks like we'll be traveling first class to London. I'm going to leave you in good hands in London and you will be able to spend two whole days there while I take care of these things in Dublin. See, you get all these perks and privileges when you join Paragon," Sean added.
"London! I've always wanted to see London," said Mary Moor.
While Sean and Mary were crossing the Atlantic several Key members of the IRA and a high government official were discussing a copy of Cromwell's map.
"It certainly shows us where it's going to happen. Now we have to find out when it's going to take place," said the government man.
"If too many government people find out then word will leak back to them and it will not happen," said the IRA man.
"Only the minimum that need to know will be told anything. There are a few of us who can put together the necessary repulsive force needed before the dáil even gets a whiff of what's going on," said the government man.
"All of our available people are now working to bring to light more information on this," said the IRA man.
"I'd say it's only a few months from becoming a reality so that doesn't give you much time. We'll be ready for them now regardless but if we knew when and the exact force then that would be so much better," said the government representative.
"We are concentrating our attention on a Special Air Services unit that was in Northern Ireland a while back and is now in the London Area. I've moved some of our distinguished women operatives there to see if they might pick up some information from the top ranking officers. Those gentlemen are known to like their alcohol and women," said the IRA man. "We know MI-6 likes to get feedback from this group when things are in the planning stage, so some of the officers will definitely know," he added.
"Good, now I have something for your ears only. If we know the date and if they are coming from one of England's coastal bases, then we will be able not only to stop them here but then we ourselves will return to England in like uniforms. If it's the SAS— then we will be dressed exactly like them — and wipe their entire base off the face of the earth and then return via our stealth craft. This time we are not going to play games with those bastards. We are taking enough mortars and rockets to take out thirty or forty thousand of them and if their base doesn't hold that many then we'll take out the surrounding civilian population," said the militant government man. "This time we'll have enough corpses and captured English troops right here in Ireland to prove to our own people what they have actually been doing to us. Then the Irish population will have no other choice but to bring back into the dáil, the good solid, no-nonsense, anti-English people that we need running this country," he added.
Even the IRA man was taken aback by this statement, but he knew every bit of it could be done. As he left, he now wondered if all went as this man planned, then would a state of war exist between Ireland and England?
One small map, left by Cromwell on his desk and copied by Tom Sharkey now was the spark that had already ignited the tinder box and would soon be setting the war fires ablaze as tiny ultra militant groups in both countries presently set about, without the knowledge of the majority of their citizens, to put into place the necessary forces on both sides of the Irish Sea to begin what could possibly end in a major conflagration.
At the very time that these men had ended their conversation, Sean's plane was touching down at Heathrow Airport in London.
"Before you do anything else in London you must travel the Underground System and get off at the Tower and walk across Tower Bridge and back. Then go back on the Underground and get off at West Minster and see Big Ben, Parliament and West Minster Abbey. When you have done this, you will begin to appreciate the Underground System and see how much better it is than any guided tour could ever be. Everything in London will be right at your fingertips then; you can zip right off to anything you want to see," said Sean
"And you are going to leave me here?" asked Mary Moor.
"That's right. You remember Rory. He'll be here to meet you and take you to the hotel. If he isn't, then go via the Underground. There is a station right here at the airport and you have the route to follow to the hotel. You're a big girl now. I have a plane to catch and I'll see you again in two days and we'll fly back home together," said Sean and he left her and headed away from her.
She watched him go off in the distance not really believing that this instant had actually occurred. Then it struck her that she was all alone here thousands of miles away from her home, She pulled herself together and now hunted Rory who was waiting for her exactly as planned. He drove her to her hotel while Sean's plane was taking him to Dublin.
With Mary Moor behind him, Sean now put his entire mind to the task of resolving this impending threat of disaster which he knew seemed imminent. Sean had received a coded message in the Caribbean and he was one of the very few who knew about both the map and the response that would be set up to counter the English force. It was a good half hour into the flight when Sean came to the conclusion that there was absolutely nothing that could be done about this situation and it looked to him now like all the militants would be back inside the dáil as soon as all of this boiled over and then as before, whenever Paragon Emerald airplanes landed in England they would be having holes punched in them by forklifts and seemingly accidental meetings with an assortment of airport vehicles, thereby damaging them, as the feelings between England and Ireland worsened.
Now in Dublin Sean studied the load factors and the various problems he had before when the two countries were having bad relations. He then met with Paragon's line maintenance supervisors and came up with a plan to thwart similar aircraft vandalism in England as had happened before when friction arose between the two countries, Now he set up things so Paragon Emerald's airplanes would be fueled and loaded only by Paragon's own people and the necessary extra people and equipment were all shipped to England to accomplish this. Next Paragon Emerald instituted legal claims in the British courts for multi millions in damages for previous destruction to Paragon's airplanes. This was in direct violation of a former agreement that he had worked out with the British government and various English trade unions. He knew that Britain would retaliate by cutting off some of his routes but he also knew that he could eventually settle this and he wanted the British Press to shake up the various unions and scare them so that they would now stay clear of Paragon's airplanes when more trouble between the two countries arose.
Sean spent his two days in Dublin making similar arrangements so that if hostilities with England developed then Paragon would not be adversely affected. Now with all of the loose ends tied up he boarded a plane to London. Here he met Mary Moor and in several hours their British Airways jet was lifting off the Heathrow runway and heading back to Nassau.
"You will get to see different cities at various times. The problem will be you won't always be able to pick either the cities or the times that you will be visiting them," said Sean to Mary Moor.
"Did you get everything done that you wanted?" she asked him.
"I got everything done that I could for Paragon, but there are some other problems out there that I can not do anything about, that need to be solved," said Sean.
"Northern Ireland?" asked Mary.
"That is part of the problem mainly because a few groups over here and a few groups over there and in England can push enough buttons now and then to precipitate a crises even though the vast majority on all three islands want peace. I guess I have been guilty of doing my share sometimes to push a few of the buttons on the Irish side, but as I grow older I have begun to worry about what could possibly happen sometime if things get really bad," said Sean.
"I had heard where things had been going well between Ireland and England now and there was real hope finally for peace," said Mary.
There is not so much of a problem anymore between England and the Republic of Ireland. These two countries have solved their really dire problems. It is all up in Northern Ireland. Certain small groups here in Ireland and also over in England and Scotland take to supplying the various factions fighting in Northern Ireland and here is where the trouble starts. It doesn't really matter that both England and the Republic of Ireland want peace. You cannot have peace until the groups in Northern Ireland stop fighting and the small militant groups here and in England stop supplying them with what they need to keep killing each other," said Sean.
"But right now the Prime Minister of Ireland is working out peace arrangements with the English in London where the IRA will cease fighting," said Mary Moor.
"Look, some day if you run the gamut of all the tests and prove yourself then you may be running things here at Paragon. I'm going to give you a bit of what is really going on over here. The IRA gets weaker every year as time goes by because these new people do not have the hatred of the English that the old timers did. But now that both England and The Republic of Ireland have agreed that popular vote will determine the real unification of Ireland then the Catholics all know that if they only hold the line on eliminating birth control then they will out populate the Protestants eventually and win in the long run. The Northern Irish at Stormont know this too. They are running scared now because they know that they will have real problems if Dublin takes over. So I think that we are going to see a lot more UVA activities in Northern Ireland. I do not think that this will help Stormont though, providing— and this is the big proviso — that some wealthy English or Scotch militant group isn't able to stir up things again between England and the Republic of Ireland," said Sean.
"How would that be possible?" she asked.
"Young lady, I do not confide in very many people but so far you have passed all my tests as the one person who I can confide in. I'm going to tell you right here and now that this is the very reason for this trip we have both made and I have found that the only thing that I could do was prepare Paragon Airlines for the eventuality when the event takes place. I simply do not know how to stop this particular event from happening," said Sean.
"I simply don't understand at all. Sean, I have been reading every scrap of printed matter about Ireland because I feel that I'm a part of both you and Paragon now, and everything that I have read makes things between England and Ireland seem better every day," said Mary Moor.
"Yes, but you must understand that certain very rich families in England and Scotland are able to pick the key people in particularly crucial governmental areas. There is one such wrong person heading a major piece of the English clockwork who has now put into place a plan of action that can jam the entire peace mechanism all at once," said Sean.
"Good God!" exclaimed Mary.
"Mary, sit back now and forget about this Irish-English problem. Let's get on a new subject: this airline business. Let me explain this aviation business to you. If there is something that you don't understand then interrupt me," Sean told her.
"Go on," she said.
"Never ever go into any business unless you have something that gives you a definite edge over everyone else. I have made certain that I have the Government of Ireland solidly behind Paragon Emerald Airlines. The English disaster pointed out to me how important this is to an airline. Paragon is looked upon as a part of the Irish Government. If someone harms us then they harm Ireland as well. This is our edge over the competition. On top of that every successful business needs someone at the top who understands people and who understands profit and loss. In this airline I am the people person and Tina is the number cruncher. I make certain that the dáil gives us the proper assistance and protection that we need for unobstructed expansion and Tina keeps patching all those holes where the money tries to leak out if one is not extremely careful. I am a fighter, not a quitter, but I would quit Paragon in a second if we lost our ability in these two areas. If you don't have these two things then you are better off with your money in the bank drawing interest than with it working for you in an airline," said Sean.
"That's what my father says, It's both what you know and who you know that counts in business," replied Mary.
"Exactly. Business is a never ending struggle to become more efficient at what you do best. All our competition is getting newer and better airplanes and we also have to buy these new planes merely to stay even with them but we have to do them one better so Tina and I continually travel our own routes and even some of those of our competition when we hear about something new that they have offered. In this business the person at the top has to be like the people flying the airplanes: we have to keep our heads on a swivel constantly looking around us for possible signs of trouble," said Sean.
"Do you know that some of the girls at the other airline counters never even try to listen to the customers. They spout out their pat speech and hope that it covers everything possible. If you listen to people's problems then maybe you can easily help them. Sometimes you can't, but a good many times you can and then you have won the airline a steady customer," said Mary.
"Right: we absolutely cannot survive without the repeat business. Even when you are very busy and you cannot help them, at least you can give a word or two to show that you at least did listen to them. The majority of people that you see at the ticket counter are like the majority that you meet while driving on the road: they are experienced and they don't need much help but if you give that added help to the inexperienced then you probably have won that person over to Paragon and he or she will pick us over the competition next time they travel. If all our people try and help these new customers then, as you can see, it becomes a very important way in which we attract our business. Very few of these people that fly with us will ever know how really complicated a thing these modern airliners are. It takes many millions of lines of computer programming just to work all the necessary equipment. The passengers who fly with us don't know that. The only thing they see is that girl at the counter and the stewardess. They don't see the other ninety-eight people who also have worked to provide them with a safe flight. This is why good people at the counter and in the airplane are absolutely necessary," said Sean.
"What exactly does it feel like to run something like Paragon?" she asked.
"Well, in ancient Egypt the tombs of bakers show how they had baking organized and the tombs of land owners and brewers and builders all had their groups working on mass production lines long before Henry Ford. At Paragon I feel sort of like the Pharaoh watching over the heads of all these groups and making certain all the gears mesh properly and seeing that the entire thing goes in the correct direction, Both the Pharaoh and I have something else in common too: he knew, and I know, to hire experts in the areas where we ourselves lack sufficient knowledge," said Sean,
"Doesn't all this worry you?" she asked him.
"Does driving a car worry you? No, this is merely a different sort of vehicle with different controls that I have to move. I don't have to worry about the controls that Tina is moving because I know they are in very capable hands," said Sean.
"It's all such a massive undertaking," Mary Moor replied.
"That's correct but as long as you keep it functioning correctly then it returns many times what the same amount invested in a bank would return, so it stays running. And if you get to run it some day, then that will be the criteria upon which you will be judged," said Sean.
"You think that someday I'll be able to run this?" she asked.
"I don't know. I merely think you may because you seem to have my ability in getting along with people and organizing them so the work gets out. If someone else shows me as much possibility then they will get training too. I'm looking for someone who can eventually replace me. Neither Tina nor I can quit outright. We both have to find suitable replacements for ourselves first," said Sean.
"Has Tina found someone to replace her too?" asked Mary.
"Oh yes, several. Her's is more a science where the colleges have all that financial training down pat. It's the working with people that universities can't seem to correctly teach; they can't even get along together themselves, much less train other people to do it. It's harder to replace people in certain areas than others, that's why you must always refer a person who you think needs to be fired to your supervisor. There's quite a process that we go through before someone is fired here at Paragon. If someone causes something bad to occur then they will get fired if they were disobedient but if they were merely stupid then we'll probably keep them but they will undoubtedly loose their chances of getting promoted. If someone needs to be fired then we want to know exactly what we did that was wrong, and why we didn't catch it sooner etc; there's a lot more to it than merely letting someone go. If I let every supervisor fire everyone they felt like firing, then I'm certain that Paragon Airlines would have a serious morale problem before very long. If a man shows me that he has worked and gotten along good with several supervisors and then one wants to get rid of him, then I'm very skeptical," Sean said.
"If someone leaves, will you hire them back?" asked Mary Moor.
"Generally no, because if they have quit then this tells me they are dissatisfied here and these are generally the people you get the problems from. Paragon pays enough that it is assured an ample supply of workers so it is not usually necessary to take back those that have quit, but like everything else there are no absolute rules because each situation is different. If we hire someone then we will not hire other members of the same family; there are several good reasons for this, but we won't go into the whys and wherefores about that now, but if that person remains with us several years and he fits a certain profile showing us that his parents have programmed their other children in the same manner then we may hire one of his brothers or sisters. Hiring people is getting so much easier now because of the wealth of computerized information available. We continually cross check this information by sometimes hiring a person that one of our department heads may have OK'd but which the computer rejected. We used to find a few good people that way but now the computer has gotten so good, in the past several years, at rejecting applicants that we rely on the computer now more than we rely on a supervisor's questioning and acceptance of that person. The vast majority of applicants for jobs are simply unemployable either because of their parental upbringing or a certain gene in their stock or by a lack of education," said Sean.
"There are some sharp people who will work but who cannot work as a team. What about them?" asked Mary.
"I believe our Avionics Department is full of them, and if I have to take them sometimes, I will, but I prefer the team player over the isolated type. But this is not where the company's top person has to concentrate. There are plenty of people working here that already are doing all that checking for me. The person who runs Paragon has to see the big picture. I have to look at the world picture; I have to look at the situation in Ireland and then map out a grand strategy where Paragon Emerald Airlines is making the correct moves to take advantage of a business horizon that is forever changing. I have to be certain that Paragon's people all work to the best advantage in that environment," said Sean as the two continued their conversation inside the airplane now headed back to the tropics.
* * *
Some of the Ultra militarists on the English side were the Broadwater Worthings. This family had prospered generations ago by lodging the more affluent of the nobility during the nights of their travels and these clever Broadwater Worthings managed to marry into the noble class until they, nowadays, had both money and power in England. The family's purse strings were presently in the hands of Oxford Educated, Neville Broadwater Worthing, who today was on his way to see Oliver Cromwell. Neville had one burning desire in life: he wanted to leave all of his children as much money as his parents had left him, and this would necessitate a very rapid increase in the family's wealth; this he hoped to accomplish with one rapid stroke by convincing Oliver Cromwell of the infallibility of his plans by which MI-6 could attain a substantial amount of wealth hidden away in a secret MI-6 account so that even the British Exchequer would not know about it. Neville's great grandfather had enjoyed telling the very young Neville how he used to "Shear the sheep" before English laws were passed making it all illegal. Even at that young age Neville listened to his great grandfather explain each step of the operation and how it never failed even though it was repeated over and over again year after year.
"This is a golden opportunity that we now have," said Neville to Oliver Cromwell. "Soon there will be laws preventing this from being done on an international scale so now is the time to play this game out on the International Marketplace," he added.
"We do not gamble with the Crown's Money," replied Cromwell.
"There is no gambling to it. It's a sure thing. Commodities and currencies are traded on these International markets with small margin requirements. The computer tells us exactly how much has been borrowed against which positions and it also tells us when to hit them thus triggering margin calls against these other people and forcing their banks to liquidate their positions on these commodities or currencies. We know which way things are going to go because we make it go the way we want. The little man is forced to borrow money to play the currency and commodity game; we monitor all this borrowing and when it gets heavy enough in a certain area then we strike and knock the props down from under it. Every trader knows that if he takes ten thousand Pounds and borrows all he can at ten per cent margin, then he controls one hundred thousand Pounds worth of the commodity. If the price rises ten per cent then he has made an additional ten thousand Pounds so he buys another hundred thousand Pounds worth of the commodity or currency. But now with his larger holdings, the price only has to rise five percent before he again has made another ten thousand. If he again buys more at this time then well before the commodity or currency rises another four per cent, he has taken another ten thousand profit and added to his holdings again. If he pyramids like this continuously then he is the winner of well over a million Pounds by the time the price of the commodity doubles. Our job is to take those winnings from him and keep them ourselves, and that we can do when we raid the market causing the bankers to liquidate all those borrowed holdings," said Neville.
"I will talk to someone about this," said Cromwell.
"You and I both know enough people where we could put together something that we could use to shear the sheep that are coming into these new international markets hoping to become millionaires with other people's money," said Neville. "I got word that one of these people that is fooling around in the silver market is that Sean O'Brien of Paragon Emerald Airline. How would you like to take him down to size?" Neville asked.
"Where did you hear that?" asked Cromwell, knowing full well that he also had similar information, but now wanting to know Neville's source.
"Both of us have been around the important people to find out the really valuable information," replied Neville not wanting to reveal who it was that informed him of this.
"So you believe this Sean O'Brien has caught on to this method and is now already using it?" asked Cromwell.
"I'm absolutely certain of it. And remember it is always the biggest fish with the most money who always wins in these types of games," said Neville. Are you aware that certain English colleges receive yearly grants from Paragon Emerald Airlines when they increase their scholarships to poor Irish Catholics? Where do you think that money is coming from?" he then asked.
"I've often wondered why he does that. It would seem to me that if we can educate them and program them to our culture then they will be on our side," replied Cromwell.
A child's basic idea of who and what is right and who or what is wrong is implanted in the early years until about twelve. You get your foundation then. All we're doing by educating them is providing the world with more Sean O'Briens who will try to put us under. I wouldn't spend a penny on even one of the bloody Taigs," said Neville.
"Well, I'll have to talk to some people about this before I even think of considering it," said Cromwell hoping to imply it was a useless idea, but thinking that if they did use it they might not even inform Neville unless they needed his assistance. But these were words enough to let Neville know that Cromwell had taken the bait. Neville knew that Cromwell could never go this alone and now he left feeling that soon he would be on the road to an even greater method of exploitation than his beloved great grandfather had realized. And if this Sean O'Brien was indeed using Paragon Emerald Airlines' money to back him in this speculation then it might soon be Neville Broadwater Worthing who would replace Sean O'Brien at Paragon Emerald Airlines. These were the thoughts that now were running through Neville's mind.
* * *
It was August in the Caribbean and hurricane season; The natives had a sort of rhyme that told when the hurricanes arrived; it went:
June— too soon;
July— stand by;
August— look out, you must.
October— nearly over.
Sean and Tina had watched several storms develop west of the African coast and travel east toward the Caribbean, but they had all dissipated or turned before they would endanger the area; here now was one truly big storm developing right in hurricane ally and it had steadily increased in strength and remained right on the dangerous path toward the Caribbean islands. There were several airplanes grounded at the Caribbean base undergoing engine changes and other repairs; now Sean authorized all the overtime pay necessary to get them airworthy again as soon as possible and ready to be flown either to Mexico or Texas or anywhere out of harms reach in the event that the storm did arrive.
Tina's father along with most of the luxury yacht owners totally avoided the Caribbean during the four months of July, August, September and October. And now that this storm was in the Atlantic. Mr. Covington's marina was a hectic din of activity with the remaining yachts now leaving in haste for safer ports on the South American coast.
The following day when the storm continued to increase in strength, Sean, himself, toured all of the island bases inspecting their preparations for the impending winds; the storm was now less than two days away and Sean had little sleep as everyone did all they could to get the remaining airplanes ready to leave and to secure everything the best that they could before the storm hit. When the last of the aircraft were finally out of the hangers, many gigantic steel cables, as thick as a man's wrist and weighing over a ton each, were now hoisted to the top of the inside of all of the hangers with a powerful crane and attached to the roof beams in the hangers and tightened securely to anchors embedded in the cement floor by massive turn barrels. This method was supposed to allow these buildings to withstand the wind of even the worst quarter of a severe hurricane. But this was wind only and not ocean water as well, for if the wind brought a good deal of the ocean with it then all bets were off what would survive. Thus an awful lot would depend on whether the storm hit at high or low tide.
The next day only one scheduled flight was made to islands in the area and after that, the planes were all refueled and sent away to Mexico, Only two larger airliners remained to take the remaining Paragon Staff off the island if absolutely necessary. This was going to be Sean's longest day, watching and waiting because no one really knew precisely what the storm would do or exactly what path it would finally take.
The noon advisory was such that Sean ordered the first airliner to depart the Caribbean base carrying Tina and the vast majority of the Paragon Caribbean staff, leaving only himself and a skeleton crew and the last remaining airliner.
That afternoon Sean and Harry Kirk temporarily wired a special electronic box into the wiring of the remaining airliner. Some checks were made and the panels were replaced covering the installation.
As the hurricane got closer, gusts of wind measuring twenty to thirty miles an hour would occasionally be felt on the island. Then, after listening to the latest hurricane advisory, the decision was made for the last of the Paragon team to leave.
"When do you think the highest winds will get here?" asked Sean.
"A good guess would be about sixteen hours." replied Harry Kirk.
Harry Kirk flew the plane out from the base but their flight pattern this time was a bit modified and it took the airplane directly over Warui's island, and when directly above it, Sean actuated the concealed electronic device. Then the airplane headed toward safety in Mexico while they hoped that their preparations on the island would be sufficient so that they had an operating base to return to after the storm.
On Warui's island various cleverly concealed solar charged battery operated radios received the signal transmitted by the device that Sean and Harry Kirk had wired into their plane. This signal from the plane had told the devices to ignite in sixteen hours. Now a sixteen hour time delay was set into motion on all of the units hidden in the wooden shingled roofs.
In Mexico the assembled Paragon team monitored the hurricane's progress. Several things now gave them some assurance that their base may have been spared. First: the storm did not get up to the 'Severe' Hurricane strength that had been predicted. Second: the island was not in the worst quarter of the storm and at least thirty miles from the eye of the storm itself. Third: was the fact that the storm hit at about low tide. These three factors assured them that they would have a Caribbean base to return to. But now they had to think of quite other matters.
"We've lost communications with the island so we don't know exactly what to expect. We know, however, that we are not going to be returning to the same happy island that we left. They've had eighty mile an hour winds there and certainly some of the island's housing has been destroyed and possibly some lives have been lost. How many of their fishing boats are now gone? All of us on the island rely on those for the island's food supply. We can also be certain that all of our employees are not going to be able to come back right away and work for us, in fact, we should bring in a few doctors and some food and tents or some sort of fast temporary roofs to keep the rain off of not only the families of the people who work for us but some of the others as well. Many of our own employees won't even be able to put any type of a roof over themselves right away," said Sean to his assembled group. "I'm going to send a group back there as soon as possible to first set up some sort of communications with us here and then secondly they will access the situation, and then when we return it will be with all the extra supplies and equipment that we will be needing," he added.
* * *
Several weeks had passed since Neville Broadwater Worthing's discussion with Cromwell. Now Neville had received an urgent message from Cromwell for an immediate meeting. As Neville traveled to London he felt assured of his place in the family history as another great member who would be looked upon in later years as mightily contributing to the family's wealth.
Neville thought that he was going to have to press Cromwell for at least a fourth of the pie but was very much surprised when he found the Broadwater Worthings' portion was slated to be even more than that. Now, as Neville sat listening to Cromwell, he saw that on this particular venture it was going to be Cromwell who would be calling the shots and not one of the Broadwater Worthings.
"Your mentioning Sean O'Brien comes as no surprise to us," said Cromwell. "We have been watching him and we know what he's been doing in spite of his elaborate corporate shielding screens surrounding him. We have computers now that can see right through all that paper camouflage. We have every intention of nailing him and if all goes well then his little skimming operation is going to go up against a new more powerful corporation composed of The Crown's and Broadwater Worthing's money. Although most of the money will be the Crown's money, it has to stay entirely out of the picture and you will be the visible person who people will see running things. When we are finished with this then I would like you to be installed in O'Brien's place at Paragon Emerald Airlines. The Crown needs all the loyal help it can get with large foreign companies these days. Also I expect that you will have to mortgage most of your property to come up with your share of this operation; you can do this yourself or we will set it up. I believe your great grandfather did precisely the same thing once in a deal with the King. I wish you the same splendid success." said Cromwell.
Yes, Cromwell had been right and Sean had been skimming or shearing some of the people who had come into the Silver Commodities Market, but it was not only him. It was an operation that was being participated in not only by Sean but also in it was the American CIA and Mr. Covington who was teaching the American CIA some of the elaborate tricks of the trade. The reason that the CIA kept it going was not to protect the American Dollar, which ostensibly it had been originally set up for, but it was bringing in to the CIA a steady supply of money totally unknown to the American Congress to which it always had to go on bended knees and beg for money. This way it had its own secret funding going for it.
Neither Sean nor Covington nor the CIA knew about this brand new threat to their operation that was being set up many miles away in London. And it most definitely would be a serious threat because the amount of capitalization behind that amount of money would be considerably more than the present CIA setup had.
Not knowing about any of this, Sean basked in the good news that not only had Warui's complex been utterly destroyed, but Sean's team had the necessary information readily available to various media groups and now almost everyone knew that the very same thing happened here as had happened before many years previously in a hurricane in Florida when the wooden shingles caught fire completely destroying the dirigible hangers at Perrine, Florida.
Sean just now had found out that a number of his own people were in on the crew Warui had selected to go into the area after the storm, and they had completely deep-sixed all of what remained of the units that had created the fire. So now there was nothing left but for anyone to assume that it had indeed been the wooden shingles again burning down another complex during a similar storm.
Mr. Covington had come back after the storm to repair his damaged marina and one evening as all of them sat together he spoke of some new activity in the silver commodities market.
"I do not quite understand yet what exactly is going on, but I do know that we have recently purchased many silver futures contracts from a new London Firm. I like to know all the really big players that are also in the game with me and these people do not seem to want to be intimately examined," said Mr. Covington.
"I'll see what the CIA knows," said Sean.
"I wish that you would, and soon because they are pretty heavy players; they might give us severe trouble if that is what they are here for," replied Covington.
"I'll contact Emilio about it too and have him get in touch with you and all of us, along with the CIA will keep watch on them," said Sean.
Emilio checked, but could find out nothing much about the firm except that it had an excellent rating with all the English Banks. The CIA's check was a disaster. It came as a request right to Cromwell himself who wrote that the group represented a silver mining consortium that always sold futures in the same amount as they mined to ensure a modicum of profitability. Unfortunately this answer satisfied Mr. Covington who thought that this would be a natural thing for some mining companies to do especially if they felt the price of silver might be falling as they produced. This way they would be assured of paying all their labor and their bills.
Thus Sean fell ever deeper into the trap that Cromwell had laid out for him. Now with the price of silver slowly rising Covington made even more purchases of silver futures, many from this unknown new London firm. Covington would sell all of this when he figured the price had risen high enough. What he didn't know was that Cromwell was going to knock the price of silver down to unseen lows long before then, and Sean's profits would rapidly change to huge losses— which the CIA had guaranteed to pay — but would they really? This was not quite the original agreement. The CIA had originally intended to run things, but when Mr. Covington showed them how he could do it so much better and the profits kept coming in, they let him keep doing it. Why wouldn't they?
* * *
In England Cromwell had patiently explained his complicated plan of action with his loyal super militant cronies working for the Exchequer. The money that Cromwell was using for this scheme had already been allocated for MI-6 use as it was really already his group's money. But in reality it was still English money and it still belonged to the Exchequer and It was they and not Cromwell who were the final arbiters of who spent what from the Crown's purse. The Crown was not adverse to Cromwell's MI-6 group taking a profit especially if the scheme added a double gain to MI-6 as well.
Now suddenly— at the worst possible time — the Exchequer was hit with a problem of epic proportions. The British Pound was under sudden and massive attack. A classic run on the bank had started. But this was a world wide run and the people of Europe were betting for the German Deutsch Mark and against several other currencies that they felt lacked strength — one of which was the English Pound. To the British Exchequer this was a fight much like the fight at Waterloo and the English would win if they only held their ground and the Exchequer firmly resolved to support the Pound with every possible weapon they had at their disposal.
Many proud English soldiers died at Waterloo defending their squares against the advancing French columns, while accurate and massive French artillery firing over the heads of their own army also shot the British squares to pieces. Wellington marched his white horse from square to square exhorting them to hold, while Blucher arrived on the French flank just in the nick of time.
Now the Battle raged again, but this time it was fought with money and unfortunately for Neville Broadwater Worthing the money that was slated to knock the props out of silver had to be immediately spent to defend the British Pound. Neville's own money had already been spent selling silver futures that he had hoped to buy back at ridiculously low prices when the silver price collapsed, but now all of Neville's money vanished in a flash as silver rose in price and people grabbed it and the rest of the precious metals to protect themselves from several of these weak Euro currencies. Like the battle of Waterloo, now economic casualties lay prostrate on this new battlefield, and Neville Broadwater Worthing became one of them.
Cromwell, however, did not lose any sleep over the misfortunes of his friend. What had to be, had to be. Besides, now Cromwell's people were putting the finishing touches on his latest plan to crush those evil IRA over in their own country.
Cromwell was now perfectly satisfied with this new plan of action that would pit some of the best of England's Special Air Service specially trained troops against the IRA right in their own home territory. The attack would be made to look like a struggle for control in the war of illegal drugs. Cromwell was not aware that the IRA now knew exactly where he would hit. Nor was Cromwell aware that when he issued the order for the Special Air Services Unit now in the vicinity of London to be placed on the ready and all leaves canceled, that this information would then inform the IRA exactly which outfit would be coming. Now the IRA planned to send in some special women spies to this particular unit. They would soon also finally find out— from these women — almost exactly when the force was coming.
While the Special Air Service troops were now practicing on special built mockups of buildings that existed far away in Ireland, Irish troops were lodged in these same buildings practicing their own defense of the forthcoming attack. Special armor plates over an inch thick were being installed at strategic points of these buildings while cement trucks were continually coming in and out of the area and pouring their concrete into various massive molds that held extensive networks of steel reinforcing bars.
Underground communications cables were being deeply installed in the area connecting the various heavily armored positions. One of the most essential of these underground trenches now being dug was the one from the building, which was high enough that it would be the central observation post, to the underground command center some distance away where the high ranking officers would be directing the Irish defense force. No uniforms of any kind could be seen and signs were put up indicating an Irish construction company was engaged in reconstructing some of the area's buildings.
More work was going on in another part of Ireland as a group of special intelligence operatives pieced together information received from IRA sources in London. Now the Irish team had put together enough of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to suggest that these troops were going to leave and return from a large naval ship now anchored well out in Liverpool Bay. No information could be obtained on what type of vessel they would be transported in but the size of the contingent suggested to the Irish that Cromwell was going to use the stealth boat for this run to Ireland.
Using all of this information, the decision was now made by the Irish to hit the English naval craft awaiting the return of the raiding party. All of them knew that this was going to be an exceptionally dangerous task especially when it sat in the mouth of Liverpool Bay on the English coast.
"They have one brand new RADAR station with some state of the art exotic equipment that might possibly pick up the stealth boat on it's return trip. We are not worried about them seeing us on the incoming trip because they will think it is their own bunch returning; we'll time things that way. If this can't be done then that RADAR station will have to be taken out," said one of the men.
"Look, if we can jam or blind that station for twenty or twenty five critical minutes from a small area of an angle of about thirty degrees west, then it won't see us leaving. But when they figure out that it was our stealth boat that caused this, then if our own group messes up and doesn't sink or capture the English boat, then when it returns— we know it's going to return a lot later than they think because things are not going to go as smooth as they think — they may sink it themselves, thinking it's ours still in the area," said another.
"Yes, that's the way we'll try to go," said the person who seemed to be in command. Has their stealth craft still been adhering to radio silence?" he then asked.
"Yes," answered one of the others.
"Good, then we won't have to worry about transmitting anything at all when we come in; they, themselves, have made it that much safer for us," said the one seemingly in command.
"They are going to have a lot of SONAR gear on that naval vessel. What is our actual chance of sinking it?" asked one of the men.
"Excellent, we will have a bunch of private boats filled with, what will be accepted as, a rowdy bunch of drunken civilians that will be throwing themselves and bottles and beer kegs into the water just above where our scuba divers are attaching the charges on to the hull; these boats will be banging and scraping each other and the naval hull too," replied the one with the aire of command.
* * *
Near London, Special Air Service troops embarked on their short trip to Liverpool. Cromwell himself was there to emphasize to the commanding officer and his staff, the importance of adhering very strictly to certain aspects of the plan so that neither the SAS nor England would seem to be involved.
* * *
Across the Irish Sea from Liverpool Bay, about a hundred and twenty miles to the east on Lambay Island, an ordinance officer took delivery of many specially constructed shape charge devices that had tiny magnets all around the rims to hold them tightly underwater to the steel hull to which they were attached. These charges were exactly shaped where the conic empty space next to the hull would act to focus the blast from a specialized explosive compound into a hotter and more concentrated fire ball that would instantly melt through the thick hull and spray the molten meteoric type debris inside the ship itself. There would be many of these charges all going off at once near the bottom of the ship on one side, piercing the special naval steel with many holes, several inches in diameter, along half the length of the vessel. Not all of these devices looked the same; several were gigantic wheel like devices that were reputed to be the latest state of the art design. In these big wheel like units there was no charge at all in the center of the wheel but around the rim was what was referred to as a linear shaped charge: a cone like hollow space would exist all around the rim of this device between it and the ship's hull. The molten metal from these would not be one gigantic fireball like most of the units but the molten metal would be in a big circle near the rim of the device, and when these were detonated a circular piece of cold steel, the size of a manhole cover, with a molten red hot liquid rim, would be punched out of the hull in less than a second. This would ensure that the rush of water into these particular areas would already be flooding other watertight compartments well before any action to close the water tight doors could possibly be taken.
When the Irish discovered the actual date and time of the intended raid they decided that two stealth boat trips would have to be made. The explosive devises alone weighed about a half ton and if they wanted a top speed of about ninety nautical miles per hour from these boats, then the weight had to be limited to about half a ton. The first trip, however, would not be made all the way to England but would meet with some boats that resembled English fishing vessels and a transfer of the special explosive charges and a few key men would be made about thirty miles off the English coast and out of range of the new English RADAR station. The stealth boat would then go back to Ireland until after Cromwell's attack when it would return with the full complement of scuba divers and the scuba equipment they needed with them when they sank the English vessel.
When Cromwell's 'day of reprisal' came, the Special Air Service troops were all on the British vessel in Liverpool Bay awaiting nightfall. Anticipating them in Ireland were the well armed well-fortified Irish force who also awaited nightfall and the coming British opponents. There was still no inkling anywhere in MI-6 that their plan had been discovered and so as the evening drew on, the English raiding party was loaded into the English stealth boat that had pulled in next to the large British naval vessel under the cover of darkness.
* * *
At this very same time in Ireland the explosive charges and three key men were loaded into the Irish stealth boat. When everything was well secured the sleek speedy craft now headed east toward England at more than ninety knots. Also at the same time the English stealth had cleared the last of the fishing boats that it saw on its RADAR and had cranked up its speed to over ninety knots and headed west toward Ireland.
* * *
Both the Irish and English captains of these stealth crafts had learned to constantly look for any RADAR blips ahead of them. They found out that they did not have to slow down for these blips because eventually every blip— which is essentially the transmitted pulse of another ship's RADAR — would finally reveal itself as the outline of a ship when the boat got within range of the return signals of the boat's own RADAR and could print the picture of the craft in its path, being approached, on the screen.
Both stealth captains knew that their RADAR could pick up a picture of even a tiny rowboat from nine miles away. So even when traveling at the top speed of over ninety knots in the darkest of nights this would give at least six minutes warning from the time one saw the picture painted fully on the screen until the stealth craft was also in the same spot as the other boat. Since this was plenty of warning time neither captain of either boat hesitated in crossing Saint George's Channel at top speed at night. Neither would have dared do it without their RADAR working though.
Both captains knew that a picture was what they got when their RADAR was looking at another boat and a blip was what they saw when their RADAR was seeing another RADAR. They both knew that in the past all of the blips in their path had eventually turned into a picture that gave them plenty of time to turn— if they really had to — to avoid the other craft in their path. So to the crew of both stealth boats, a RADAR blip was something that did not concern them as much as a picture did. When they finally got the picture then they were getting close. A blip could be hundreds of miles away. It could even be an airplane so far out that it looked as if it was on the horizon. There was no way any RADAR could estimate the distance of a blip because distance shown on the RADAR screen was really the time in micro-seconds that the RADAR's own transmitted pulse takes to go out to the object then bounce off of it and return. Since a blip was not a return pulse, there was no way it could tell the operator the distance of the blip that it painted at various places on his screen. All a blip was was a segment of dots that would appear at different places on each RADAR sweep. You could not tell anything at all about a blip. All you knew was that it was the signal of another RADAR. The operator who saw a blip knew there was another RADAR set out there somewhere using the same frequency band as his RADAR, but that's all he knew.
The crew in both stealth boats had been watching another blip that seemed to be rapidly increasing in power now for the past thirteen minutes. This meant that they were rapidly approaching another boat's RADAR but could not yet see the other boat on their own RADAR. Both patiently watched their own RADAR screens for the tell tale RADAR picture that would shortly tell them if they had to change course or not.
Because the captains in each of these stealth boats had only ever seen boats before that were visible to their RADAR, neither had ever contemplated what would happen if they approached something at over ninety knots that was actually invisible to their own RADAR.
Both captains had entirely overlooked the posibility that they would not have time to turn if they approached at their top speed, an object that was virtually invisible to their RADAR.
Neither had either captain thought of meeting another stealth boat let alone be on an opposing course. Since nothing is entirely RADAR invisible these two craft were able to finally see each other's pictures on their respective screens when they were about three hundred yards apart but at a rate of closing of close to two hundred knots this three hundred yards shrank to zero in three seconds after each saw each other's picture on their respective screens. No one on either stealth boat survived the explosive head on crash.
The chances of this ever happening were only one in many millions, but it did happen. The English force never got to Ireland and the Irish explosives never got to Liverpool bay and only some small pieces of debris were found from the terrific crash. The depth of the ocean under the crash site was some six hundred feet deep and neither Ireland nor England ever learned what had happened to their stealth boats and the people aboard. They could guess, however, because in less than a week after the crash, each side knew that the other had lost their stealth craft too.
Thus with this loss of these magnificent toys— the people didn't really matter, they had plenty more of them — the ultra militarists on both sides of the Irish-English conflict thereby lost their advantage in upsetting the apple cart and Irish-English relations took on a more peaceful trend with both sides now engaging more in talking than in killing.
This peaceful situation seemed to come at about the same time as a disaster was now taking place in Northern Ireland for Campbell and his Airline. Immediately upon hearing about it, a group of financial experts in Dublin were getting together with all the information that they could find out about the situation. Sean called Mary Moor and both once again found themselves on the British Airways flight to London.
"We are flying back to London, then to Dublin, but this time you are coming with me to Dublin where we are going to talk to my financial experts and then you and I will fly again to Northern Ireland where you are going to try to buy an airline," said Sean to the young girl.
"Me? Why me?" asked Mary Moor.
"You and Mr. Campbell hit it off well before so you are the one for this job," said Sean.
"I don't know a thing about buying an airline," said Mary Moor.
"That's really not important. I'm thinking of Campbell. Right now he is in dire circumstances. He will not trust me, but you will be able to approach him and simply tell him that Tina, who he knows to be English, has offered to take his airline and his problems off his hands and pay him. They are working out this figure in Dublin right now— an X amount of money — and he will retain the title of President and can continue to roam around the airline the same as he does now and have flight privileges for himself and his family the same as before. We can give him these things where the rest won't and if it comes from you, then he might just grab at it to get everything all settled and over with," said Sean.
"Do you think that he will make a deal that big with me?" asked Mary.
"Let me tell you something: sometimes astonishingly big deals are made with simple statements. J. P. Morgan was intent on building U.S. Steel and he went to Andrew Carnegie who had let Morgan know that he might be willing to sell the business, and Morgan asked Carnegie what he thought Carnegie Steel was worth. 'Nearly half a billion,' said Carnegie. 'I accept,' said Morgan and with those few words and no exact amount of money stipulated, the largest steel company in the United States at that time was sold," said Sean.
"Do you really think it's going to be that simple," asked Mary.
"Maybe, Maybe not, but I'll tell you something: we're certainly going to give it a try," said Sean.
"And I'm supposed to come in as the angel of mercy and buy his business?" asked Mary.
"You have no idea what he's going through right now. He knows he doesn't have enough money to keep operating. You come in and say Tina is willing to pay X amount of money to him in cash for his business, and he retains the title of President with those privileges I spoke about," said Sean.
"And if he says 'yes,' then what do I do?" she asked.
"I'm going to try to have a very simple one or two page document for him to sign. Whenever you refer to it, simply call it an agreement. Say to him, 'Could we both sign this little agreement then as to what both of us agree to do?' You'll have two copies. Both of you sign both copies. He gets one and you keep the other and bring it back here. We are not going to have it witnessed or anything else, unless he wants to, then sure, go ahead because that's even better. But I would rather have it simple than perfectly legal. What I do not want is one of his attorneys looking at it if I can help it. Once they get themselves involved with these things then the whole process generally comes to a screeching halt while they make money out of the delays. The paper will be simply worded so that both of you can read and understand it. The paper will grant you the authority to sign for Paragon Emerald Airlines provided no changes are made," said Sean.
"I'll certainly try," said Mary.
"That's all I ask. You have the best chance of anyone that I know because he received a good deal from you last time so he'll trust you again," said Sean.
"I would think you would want professional people to get everything perfectly down pat," said the girl.
"And by that time somebody else would own the airline. No thank you. This is the way it gets done. A pretty girl that he trusts makes a simple agreement with him. Our attorneys and his will take it from there. His lawyers can't do very much harm after this is signed. They will only have a simple job to do after that: merely process the agreement," said Sean.
"I thought important things were always supposed to have two witnesses sign them," quizzed Mary.
"You are perfectly correct, and if he wants to have witnesses sign, then do it, but if you ask for this, then it becomes more than a little agreement in his mind and he begins to think of it as something his lawyers should look at first; if he makes even a single phone call to one of them about this then we are finished. They are absolutely not going to let him sign this. They'll want something several hundred pages long that they can argue in the courts. This will be simple; it will be proof to even the dumbest juror that this agreement was made and no sane lawyer will even think of disputing its terms. Mary, there are ways the law says things should be done and there are also other equally effective ways to do things. While this piece of paper might not be construed as the correct legal method of transferring this airline, even his own lawyers will tell him, after he has signed, that he had better adhere to the agreement. The courts have occasionally ruled that a simple handshake has meant there was an agreement, so we are far better off with this explicit, simply written piece of paper that everyone can easily understand," said Sean.
"So this is really a verifiable handshake that the correct papers will be signed later," said Mary.
"Exactly," replied Sean. "If you can pull this off, then I want you to remain up there with me because I am going to bring up Harry Kirk and some others who are the real experts in all of these matters and we are going to transform this monstrosity into an efficient airline. And it may well be that when they are all finished and they leave, that Mary Moor will really be the one in charge. I can't give you a for certain yet because I do not know exactly how bad certain things are up there.
"Why me?" she asked him.
"Why not you. My biggest problem is going to be this damned religious issue. You can't take sides because you haven't been programmed to take either side and that's the person who they have to see running the place. Above all things, they have to see you as somebody impartial to either religious dogma. Religion is going to be one of your biggest problems because we are going to slowly but eventually bring Catholics into this airline and this will not be easy; this is something that only you and I and Tina will discuss and no one else need know our plans about this. But the handwriting is on the wall. The Catholic population will eventually out populate the Protestants in Northern Ireland and when that happens Paragon Emerald wants to be in a position that they can expand and buy out the failing Protestant competition. So this is your far off goal that you will eventually be striving for. You need to look amiable and friendly to the present Protestant government and later you have to be able to say to the emerging Catholic government, 'Remember, we were the ones who broke the employment barriers and had Catholics employed alongside Protestants when no other airline dared do it.' I may only be able to bring Catholics in as garbage men at first, and I expect a fight over that even, but they will be slowly coming in and we will have to take our hits on that and still return a small profit. I will not be looking for expansion or big profits in the first few years. My main concern is that we must make a definite beginning to integrate the work force. Give me an airline that returns an investment similar to interest that one gets in the bank. You will be able to do far better than that after my experts set things up if you do not bring in any Catholics because this will cause slowdowns and work stoppages and maybe even sabotage, but it must be slowly done and a tiny profit made too. I want all the other airlines to view us as a screwball outfit that's not making much money, and that they do not regard as dangerous competition. Your objective will be to make a small profit and slowly sneak a few Catholics in. Campbell, believe it or not, may even help you with this in the beginning as long as he feels you are being pressured to do this by the Irish Government and the jobs are only few and menial. In the long run, however, he will probably resign when the Catholics begin to get some good jobs. But Mary, we really need him for the first few years. You are going to need him. He can teach you a lot about his airline," said Sean.
"Why are you picking someone as young as me?" she asked him.
"Because both the religious problems and the business problems are going to require some new original thinking. No Catholic Irish airline has ever attempted to take over a Protestant Northern Irish Airline before. You are the first person who will learn how it is to be done. Then when the time comes for us to expand you will be ready and still young enough to take on some stiff competition. First, I want them to laugh at us for letting a young inexperienced girl take over. I do not want to scare them right now. I also need Campbell to stay a few years; you certainly will not intimidate him, If I keep you in there then I also will keep him," said Sean.
"So you want me to ask Mr. Campbell to show me how to run the airline?" asked Mary.
"Exactly. He'll teach you. What does he have to lose? He hired all those people working there. If he doesn't teach you then they all lose their jobs. You know he won't want that. But by the same token, we will be showing you how to make it more efficient. Remember Mary, this is his airline and only he can teach you all the various aspects of running this particular business, so listen to him and do what he says. We will be changing some equipment and we will give you some pointers but even we do not know all the ramifications of running this entire thing up in Northern Ireland. We simply don't even know all their laws. So you must learn all this from Campbell. It's going to take you a few years," said Sean.
"Wow!" exclaimed the girl.
"Tina and Meg will be visiting you from time to time and will be showing you what reports they will require and they will help steer you in the right direction if there is a difference between what Campbell tells you and in the way we must do things. I have to play an extremely low profile up here, so I may not even visit the airline at all for a good many years. I represent the enemy to these people and there is no use in my stirring things up by visiting the airline itself. When I come up here to see you, I will always meet you away from the airline itself," said Sean.
"As long as you do come to see me," remarked Mary Moor.
"I've got a lot of money riding on you kid, so I have to stay in touch with what you are doing up rhere," said Sean.
"What exactly do you see in me that you would trust me with all of this?" asked the girl.
"You said the word; it's trust; it's your character. You are one of the very few who will work; who doesn't run her mouth; who doesn't steal and who can be trusted and you also do exactly what I tell you to do," said Sean.
"I do that because I love you Sean O'Brien," she said to him.
"Well, I love you too beautiful creature. Now as two airline executives let's talk about this business of running an airline," he said to her and they talked about the problems that one saw in the airline business as the plane sped them across the Atlantic toward London.
If there had been a flight directly to Dublin then Sean would have taken it but the fastest routing was from the Caribbean to London. From there they had to fly to Dublin via a small Paragon Emerald plane that waited expressly for these two but which did also carry a few other paying passengers who happened to be at the London terminal at that time and who were flying to Dublin too. It was a short flight that took less than an hour and as Sean sat down with Mary he thought that he recognized one of the passengers who was a priest. The priest looked at Sean too, and for a few seconds both realized that they had met somewhere before.
"Sit down with us," said Sean. "Now I remember who you are. You are the one that taught Sibyl Hall her Latin," he added, and with that the priest's eyes lit up as he now knew who he was speaking to.
"It's Sean O'Brien!" exclaimed the priest. "How the Lord does work in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. I've got a story to tell you. Do you have time to listen?" he asked.
"If you are long winded like some of your fellows and it takes more than forty-five minutes then you might not have time to end it," said Sean smiling as the two shook hands.
"Well, you have heard of the Broadwater Worthings?" the priest asked."
"I don't believe I have," said Sean.
"Well they certainly have heard of you and they credit you with their demise. You have heard of the term 'Primogeniture'?" the priest asked.
"Yes it's still used somewhat in Ireland because the farms are too small to divide so the eldest boy gets the farm and he pays off his other brothers in cash to get them started somewhere else," said Sean.
"Well it was somewhat similarly used by the Broadwater Worthings who figured out how to get around the English law that ended it in England in 1925. You see the Broadwater Worthings managed to hold their tremendous estate totally intact because they kept the title in one man's name and did not continually divide it into smaller and smaller pieces as each of them died. Their entire wealth was in the hands of Neville Broadwater Worthing who, just in the past several weeks, lost the entire family fortune and the entire landed estate by selling silver futures to a group they claim was headed by none other than Sean O'Brien. Could this possibly be true?" the priest asked.
"Yes, it is possible," said Sean.
"Well then you most certainly have done a favor to humanity because the Broadwater Worthing clan is the most despicable bunch of rotten people that I have ever seen. It is bad for a priest to speak like this but that family did more to de-humanize the working men and women of this world than any family that I know of. The first time that I got thrown out of a town it was for organizing a group against what we called 'The finger factory' where young girls were regularly losing their fingers to the metal stamping machines. The factory was owned and run by the Broadwater Worthings who continued to chop off the fingers of young girls after I was shoved into another parish far away. And this was not the only time in my life that I ran into that family. In every case of mass victimization of the working poor— that English family — the Broadwater Worthings were somehow involved. Sean O'Brien, you have done the Lord's work by bringing them down. How, in God's name, did you do it?" asked the priest.
Normally Sean would never have even bothered to answer a question such as that, but he knew this man and trusted him, so for the remainder of the flight he explained to him in as simple a way as possible what had most probably happened to them when they had bet their entire fortune on the price of silver and when they were about to realize a profit, something else came out of the blue— a totally unexpected run on the English Pound — and completely destroyed their best laid plans. The priest listened but did not believe a word of it, so certain was he that Sean O'Brien had purposely destroyed the infamous Broadwater Worthings.
The plane landed and Sean and the priest again shook hands before they departed and then both Sean and Mary Moor were whisked away to Paragon's Dublin Headquarters where they were briefed on the latest happenings to Campbell in Northern Ireland. Both then were off on a private jet to Northern Ireland.
Sean stayed in a hotel and was constantly on the phone with his Irish group in Dublin as Mary Moor talked to the elder Campbell. Three hours had past and Sean still had heard nothing. He knew the girl was having a hard time persuading the old man to disentangle himself from the mess he had created, but Sean knew that there was still hope. This girl was a worker, and not only that; Sean sensed that she really wanted this airline so she could prove herself to him and to the world. Today would prove how well she could fight for something that she desperately wanted. It was another half hour before he received a call from Mary indicating that she felt he was thinking the thing over, but still couldn't quite make the move. He had asked her to come to dinner with him.
"Go," said Sean. "That might be the very atmosphere that will relax him and get him to commit. Let him drink but don't you drink even a bit," he added.
It was another interval of three more hours before an astonished Sean got a call from Mary.
"I've got it. Two waiters have witnessed it. I think it was a few drinks that helped me push him over the line. We're old friends now. I'll stay with him another ten or fifteen minutes— I owe him that at least — then I'm out of here," said Mary quickly and as she was taking the phone from her ear to hang it up she heard a few words from Sean.
"Kid you've got yourself an airline," he said.
Sean notified Dublin to start their planned acquisition at once and to wire the multi-million sum to Campbell's bank in Northern Ireland immediately. The banks had not yet closed and even Mary was astonished when a well-dressed banker arrived at their table and told Mr. Campbell there had been a wire deposit of many millions into his account, and they wanted to make him aware of this. The banker knew he must have sold the airline.
"Who will be running the airline now?" he asked.
"Mr. Campbell and I will be running this airline now," Mary Moor broke in and told him.
"Who are you?" the startled banker asked not even knowing where a person came from with that type accent.
"She's our salvation sent to us from the colonies Nigel," said Mr. Campbell, and at which time Mary did not want to answer any more questions, so she took her leave of both of them and hurried back to Sean astounded that so much money had been transferred so fast simply on the strength of her short phone call to Sean. But Sean knew that by doing this he had now irrevocably clinched the deal. The airline was a part of Paragon Emerald the second that money was wired to Campbell's bank. It was even more tightly secured when Campbell admitted to his banker that the money was his. There was no power in the world that could thwart the deal with Campbell's airline now. It belonged to Sean and Tina. They would run it, simply because the girl in charge of it would do what she was told.
"I can't believe you are putting me in charge of this entire airline," she said upon her arrival at the hotel where she and Sean were staying.
"Well, you got it, so that proves to us that you are worth the gamble. Tina will be up here tomorrow and probably what she shows you and Mr. Campbell will undoubtedly make more sense to him than it will to you so you will have to stick with him and have him keep going over these things with you. He'll enjoy that anyway. I'm glad that you two are getting along. Since Campbell is an airline businessman, he will immediately recognize some of our cost cutting measures and welcome them while other changes will make him mad, but it is our business now and he will do as we say. We are certainly not going to anger him so much that he feels like quitting. We need him now as much as you do. Learn all you can from him Mary. It's really your airline now. It's our money backing you. We know this learning process is going to take several years, but as long as there is a minuscule profit then we will be happy." said Sean.
* * *
The plane that brought Tina in the next day made its approach over a crowded section of this Northern Irish city and because of its noise, the Special Air Service Officer had to stop questioning the priest that he had in front of him. Then another official came up to both of them and the priest saw that the family crest on his suit was none other than that of the Broadwater Worthings and the priest, after spotting the family crest, smiled a broad smile.
"What are you grinning at, you bloody Taig?" asked This official named Broadwater Worthing.
"I was just thinkin' to meself what lovely weather and everything we've been suddenly havin' here," said the priest.
If you liked this then you must also readhttp://www.amperefitz.com/Sean.htm (Sean) which precedes Caribbean
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Daniel P. Fitzpatrick Jr.
Daniel P. Fitzpatrick Jr.
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