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The Troubles

by
Daniel P. Fitzpatrick Jr

 

© All Rights Reserved

Fact with a thread of fiction woven through it so as to give you a general picture of the way I saw it all take place myself in those troubled years, back in the dim and distant past, when I was young.

 

I am a writer who has tried to paint a picture, to a new generation, of what it was like during "The Troubles" in the '70s and the early '80s, in not only Northern Ireland but in the rest of the world because some of it boiled over into the systems of other governments in this world. I'm certain that a good many will not like my finished portrait and to them I can only say that the original, that I saw myself, wasn't very nice either. But, to all my friends, I have to say that this is a pretty good picture of the way I saw it all take place.

No war is an island, neither was this one and it was linked inexorably to the Arabs with their mid east oil and to the American-Russian conflict in Afghanistan.

There is no way that I can put down in a few hundred pages all that happened during those many turbulent years of "The Troubles" and there is no way that I, or anyone else for that matter, could even know it all. I have tried, by using this method, to give you a glimpse of that river of misfortune, along with some of its tributaries and many of its various currents and eddies, so that you also can get an actual feel of the war and the constant cold war churning that was going on during that period. I hope you too can catch a glimpse, of those times, similar to the one that I knew.

 

* * * *

 

 

IRISH-ENGLISH AMERICAN

 

 

Battery

Aluminium (Al-you-min'-ee-um) Aluminum (Al-lum'-in-um)

Armour Armor

Bonnet (automotive) Hood

Calibre Caliber

Cumann na mBan (pronounced. koman-na-mahn) Woman's group of the IRA

Dáil Irish Parliament

Defence Defense

Earthed (electrical) Grounded

Flat Apartment

Gaol Jail

Gelignite Dynamite type substance

Holiday Vacation

IRA Irish Republican Army (illegal)

Lorry (motor vehicle) Truck

Navvies (used mostly in England) Irish road builders

Paraffin Kerosene

Petrol Gasoline

Provos (Provisionals) Branch of the IRA

Sinn Fein (pronounced. shinn fayne) IRA's legal political arm

Spanner (tool) Wrench

Superannuation Retirement

Taig (Protestant's contemptuous word for the Irish Catholic) Catholic

Tele (popular abbreviation) T.V.

Torch Flashlight

Tyres Tires

Windscreen (automotive) Windshield

* * * *

 

The New York Times printed it out day by day and if you take the time to go through all the microfilms of that newspaper then you will also get a glimpse of what I saw.

And you must remember, while many of these people that I talk about herein may no longer be here causing all these problems, you can be absolutely sure that their sons and daughters are most certainly still around..

As the year 1980 begins in Northern Ireland, several British paratroopers are shot and killed by their own men only a mistake of course and then before the week is up, a land mine explosion kills three men of the Ulster Defence Regiment: There is no mistake about this though because the land mine was set out by the Irish Republican Army. These last three put the ten year violent death toll in Northern Ireland over the two thousand mark. In the week after this, police find almost a ton of explosives in an old abandoned house near the border of the two Irelands, and then in the third week, three more people die when a bomb blows apart a commuter train as it goes through a tunnel. In the fourth week Anne Maguire commits suicide.

Nothing to do with all of this violence one would think as he reads the notice but it most certainly is. All Anne Maguire wanted in life was to bring up her three children. She didn't come to Northern Ireland so she could get millions for her new airplane like Mrs. Lear, or millions for a new car like DeLorean: She wasn't in their league at all and Anne Maguire only wanted to be a good mother. She was neither interested in the money game nor the war game but she did happen to live here in Northern Ireland and she happened to get caught up in these other people's games. For four years now tears had been in her eyes every day of her life: Not a day went by that she didn't think about that British soldier and it wasn't his fault, he was doing exactly what he was sent there to do and the IRA man that he shot had instantly died from the bullet and couldn't be blamed, but the motor car that he was driving went out of control and crushed to death all three of Anne Maguire's children.

Betty Williams brought many people to the children's wake and while she was there, one of the children's aunts, Mairead Corrigan, got together with Mrs. Williams and formed the "Peace Movement" and it caught on with both Catholics and Protestants organizing into peace groups. One fine day the Catholics came from one side of the river and the Protestants from the other and they both joined hands when they met in the middle of the bridge. Oh, Anne Maguire was proud of Mairead and those thousands of people who marched that day all because of her three children but Anne, herself, still cried every time she thought about them. She and her husband then left Ireland and went to live in New Zealand to try and start life all over again. This new country was so different from Ireland. Some thought that maybe there she might forget. Then both Betty and Mairead were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but the year passed without the Peace Prize being given to anyone at all. And then it was in 1977 that word came that Betty and Mairead had actually won the Peace Prize belatedly, and this all happened thought Anne Maguire because of her three children but they were not around anymore for her to tell them about it and the tears flooded back. Anne and her husband returned home to Northern Ireland and it was even worse now: Everyone was back to fighting again. There was no more talk of peace; it had been entirely forgotten now. And at this time Ian Paisley was on the tele more and more stirring up people and the IRA who were quiet when the people marched for peace were now back to using their bombs and machine guns; so no one could even hope for peace anymore. Every newspaper that Anne read had an article about another child that had been hurt or killed. Anne was tired of this game. She wanted no more of it and then in that fourth week of 1980 Anne Maguire said a very final good-by to what, at that time, was commonly referred to as "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland.

* * * *

"We just got the word from one of our blokes at the hospital a few minutes ago. He's dead!" said one of the British soldiers to the soldier next to him.

"Bloody Irish Republican Army! You know what I'm going to do? Those Catholics are going to get a volley or real bullets from me next time instead of the rubber ones," replied the other.

"Don't do it when I'm around," said the first soldier.

"Scared of seein' 'em die?" asked his friend.

"No," replied the first soldier.

"Well, they're going to get paid back for this, and he's dead now so he can't do it. I worked with him all that day clearin' the barricades in the Catholic section and dodging the rocks that those young Taigs are throwin' at us. We were tired William! We were bloody tired! You see what's happening, don't you? These children keep us going all day 'till we're wore out, then one of their fathers, who's been asleep all day building up his reserves, comes out and kills us at night. We've got to kill the ones we can see, William, and we've got to do it now."

"Edward! You'd be doing exactly what the IRA would want you to do. Right now the feeling back home in England is that we have about all the troops here in Northern Ireland that we can possibly afford. A half dozen Taigs killed right now and those papists would be up here from the south in droves. One of us might very well die every night instead of every month. Wait a few years until England starts to reap the benefits of the entire flow of North Sea oil. Then you can kill several dozen of these young criminals and I might even help you. The exchequer will have enough Sterling then to fund a decent operation over here then. Say, let me ask you a question Edward. Who was it that lost the battle of Waterloo?"

"Napoleon, but what--"

"Who won?" asked William, interrupting him.

"Why, we did of course. Wellington rode his horse back and forth in the front line telling them to hold. 'Hold! Hold! Hold! What will they think of us back in England if we don't hold,' Wellington shouted to them. A person would have to be very loosely educated in school if he didn't know that William," said Edward.

"Right you are! Wellington won the Battle of Waterloo by holding firm even though the British Squares were being pounded by Napoleon's artillery. Remember, it was Napoleon who said, 'God is on the side that has the heaviest artillery.' And you had better believe he had it there that day. His cannon were killing Englishmen by the hundreds but England won by holding firm 'till help arrived. That's what we are going to do here in Northern Ireland. We are going to hold firm! You win wars by having more guns and troops than the other fellows. These guns and troops are paid for by the resources that a nation has after it has fed and clothed itself. Remember that the only energy resource that the Republic of Ireland has is peat and it's running out fast. We have plenty of coal in England and the potential for North Sea oil looks tremendous. Our job over here is to stand firm until this oil revenue can help the old lion. We are pretty well assured of victory if we can only hold firm," said William,

"You've been readin' too damned many of those bloody books," replied Edward.

* * * *

Some miles away from where the two soldiers were talking, a far more consequential meeting was taking place.

"Gentlemen, what I'm about to tell you is strictly confidential and must not leave this room. The following things that I shall relate are for your ears only. London has finally come through. I have spent the most enlightening three days of my life in the ballistics laboratories and in Scotland Yard. It is unbelievable how much information these lads can deduce merely from bullets and bullet wounds. All the pertinent information about these night ambushes has already been fed into a computer. I can now give you some facts that we know to be certain and also some suppositions about what we are going to be looking for. Now for the facts: The weapon that we are going to be on the alert for has a calibre of .308 inches or 7.62 millimeters in diameter or a standard 30 calibre in America. Now, even though the bullet resembles one of our own World War ll bullets. It definitely is not a standard bullet. These lads also feel that the weapon firing these is not quite a standard issued weapon either. This bullet being fired is a cast lead bullet alloyed with just enough hardening metal to make it harder than pure lead. These are not copper clad bullets like we are using in the military but all lead alloy and they tumble as soon as they enter the body just like the Armalite bullets. Now, we expect the IRA's Armalite bullets to tumble after they hit, but not this type therefore now this is the supposition London estimates that the twist is about one turn in 15 inches instead of one turn in ten inches like all of our standard military issued rifles. They believe what we may be looking for is a modified World War ll Mark l Carbine," said the speaker.

"Another fact: Six people have died from the bullets fired from this gun and all of them at night. Taking into consideration the amount of light available at the time of these shootings, London feels that with an ordinary gun the rifleman would have had considerable difficulty seeing both his sights and the target, therefore this thing is probably equipped with a night sighting device. London is also certain that this weapon is also equipped with a silencer. Now here is the interesting part: A rifle that fires a bullet at above the speed of sound can only be partially silenced. However, one that fires a bullet below the speed of sound can be effectively super-silenced. The lab is almost sure that someone has taken great pains to produce a bullet that is going slightly under the speed of sound because he wants absolute quiet. If this is so then we also know that in each of these 6 shootings the killer never stood more than 50 feet away from his victim because if he did, then the friction of the air would have slowed down these bullets enough where they would not have tumbled as much as they most certainly did do inside all of these victims. Another analysis: The bullet groupings indicate a fully automatic weapon. One more extremely interesting fact: These lead alloy bullets are exactly the same composition as lead weights normally used to balance motorcar tyres. Keep in mind these bullets are being made by melting down wheel weights. So we are going to be very suspicious of people who have wheel weights in their possession. Now for the kicker: London believes that when this bloke designed this killing tool he may have received an extra dividend that even he is not aware of yet," warned the speaker.

He went on: "Everyone that has been shot with this weapon has died! No survivors! None! Why? This is what we think: This bloke wants a super-quiet gun so he slows down the bullet by using less gunpowder but now the weapon won't operate automatically anymore so he has to increase the weight of the lead bullet so it will, in effect, have more inertia and his weapon will operate automatically as before. Our IRA designer cannot increase the calibre so the only way he can make the bullet heavier is by making it longer, which he does and because he is using less powder he can have this extra length pushed back inside the brass case so the amount of lead that you would see protruding from the brass case would be exactly the same as a regular bullet so he can use the same magazine. Now here's the hitch: In order to be correctly stabilized in flight this longer bullet should be spun faster than the shorter bullet he had before but there is no way for him to do this because the rifling is already built into the gun so he merely uses this unstable bullet and by getting as close as he can to the target he minimizes this unstable wobble which is slight at the higher muzzle velocity but which starts to get worse as the bullet's velocity begins to fall. These bullets then wobble ever so slightly in the air to the target but when it hits the denser medium of the flesh and gets slowed down, then the bullet starts going through the body with a sort of tumbling corkscrew effect. This, considering this longer bullet, has led to some very devastating wounds."

"Although every one of these bullets were fired from a close range, every single one of these bullets has remained in the person's body and what this means is that the entire energy of that shot was dissipated inside the person, mostly ruining various organs while the bullet continuously tumbled and turned inside the victim. This bloke certainly knows his bullet is quiet. We do not want him to know it is effective as well. That is why I have asked that this information be kept strictly to ourselves. If I have anything else then I'll get it to you immediately. Thank you," said the man ending his discourse to the group.

They were right. But the night sighting device was much simpler than they had imagined: It was merely luminous material that was epoxied to the sights and made brighter just before use by a small penlight torch fitted with a special rubber end so that when the tiny bulb was being placed against the sights, no light could escape to interfere with the rifleman's eyes that were now accustomed to the darkness. They were also right about the IRA not yet knowing how effective this weapon really was but they would soon learn.

* * * *

Many miles away to the south in the Republic of Ireland there was another conversation going on between Patrick Day and his friend Michael.

"How much do you know about this American?" asked Patrick Day

"Moran claims that he is one of the best weapon's experts available," said Michael.

"What the devil does Moran know about judging weapon's experts. He could very well be a British spy," said Patrick.

"Lord no! Why would he have gone to all that trouble to set Moran up with that Carbine then? That's one of our very best weapons right now," said Michael.

"That's what the boys have been telling me. It's supposed to be really quiet."

"Faith, not only is it the quietest, but it's the cheapest and most effective machine gun that I have ever seen."

"But that gun is a World War ll relic!" exclaimed Day.

"Yes, that it is using conventional surplus military ammunition. And I would trade ten of them for one good Armalite but this thing is different."

"What the hell makes it so damn good then?" asked Pat.

"That's what I keep telling you. It's the American he knows weapons and when Moran went to the States, he met this chap in a restaurant near the Miami Airport. They gave free beer with the meal and this American chap is sitting next to Moran and he tells Moran he knows he is Irish by the way he talks. The beer is makin' them the best of friends and Moran says that he was really impressed with the American's knowledge of guns--"

I don't give a damn about Moran's holiday! What have they done to that old M-1 Carbine to make it so good?" asked Patrick Day, interrupting him.

"Will you listen to me now it's the American! He takes Moran out on a Sunday morning. This is a Sunday mind you and they go to a Woolworth's of all places. And there, Moran said, were so many weapons that if we had them we could take the Queen right out of Buckingham Palace! What kind of place is the States where you could outfit a small army from Woolworth's on a Sunday morning when any self respecting person would be --"

"The Carbine, damn you, I don't care if the Americans go to the stores instead of mass on Sunday morning," said Patrick Day, interrupting him again.

"That's what I'm getting to if you will only listen. They pick up this Carbine at Woolworth's and the American says, 'This is what you need over in Ireland.' and Moran knows that the Protestants steal the worthless things from British Armories by the hundreds and that they can't compare to the Armalite but he listens to the American who tells him that there are presently two factories making them in the United States today: One is being made by Universal and the other is being made by Iver Johnson. These Johnson people have bought out a small company in Plainfield, New Jersey that manufactured an exact duplicate of the old military model and this is the one to get. Moran said all the American had to do was show the Woolworth salesman his driver's license --"

"Christ, get back to the gun," said Pat.

"This was the one that Moran brought back with him--"

"What, brought a silencer equipped machine gun back here to Ireland?"

"No, just listen. Will ya?" said Michael

"Go ahead," said Day

"There are laws in the States prohibiting the purchasing of guns through the mail. There are other laws prohibiting the purchasing of machine guns and silencers. Moran said then the American showed him how you could do all those things regardless of these laws."

"What?" asked Patrick Day.

"Yeah, they have sort of a Newspaper there that comes out several times a month called the 'Shotgun News' where you can buy guns and related equipment through the mail--"

"You were saying a minute ago that this was illegal over there!" Patrick Day said, interrupting him.

"It certainly is if you don't have a Federal Firearms license but throughout the paper there are small ads by people who have their licenses and will buy anything in the paper for you for a small extra fee and then when the thing arrives you can go to their shop and pick it up," said Michael.

"Beautiful," said Day.

"Now, although it is not legal to own a machine gun over there without going through a lot of complications, it is perfectly legal to buy, sell and manufacture parts necessary in converting guns to machine guns," said Michael.

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph! That is bending the law. What did the extra parts cost for converting the Carbine?"

"Thirty-five American dollars," said Mike.

"And the gun, to start with--cost?" asked Patrick.

"One hundred seventy American dollars."

"God, that's about a third of what we're paying for Uzis and Armalites."

"The Protestants in Northern Ireland are well stocked with those Carbines and they are even buying the smaller pistol type versions. They've been a popular item with the damned 'B Specials' for some time now. They are cheap and Britain seems to be supplying them with all their old surplus ammunition which is not exactly made to U.S. specifications but which functions perfectly well in these new style American guns."

"Good, keep going. Don't let me interrupt you," said Patrick Day.

"And using these bullets the impact energy is almost twice that of the 9 mm Uzi. The Uzi wins hands down though when it comes to reliability when used in all kinds of dirt and crap though. But let me get back on the track again. What the American has done is to take the old 30 Calibre Carbine and couple it with a slower burning powder together with a heavier, longer bullet, and presto: We now have a round that leaves the barrel under the magic speed of 1,100 feet per second," said Michael.

"So?" asked Pat.

"This means it is going slightly slower than the speed of sound and can be made so quiet that it can hardly be heard from far away at all. In fact, the loudest noise is the clacking of the gun mechanism."

"Holy Mother of God! No wonder they are all talking about that Carbine of Moran's. What about that silencer. How did he get that? I thought you told me they were illegal too in the States?"

"Sure now, and that they are, but it is perfectly legal to buy and sell replacement parts for existing silencers and anyone can buy and sell these and it seems most everyone does. This 'Shotgun News' is full of all of these kinds of ads. So you merely purchase all the parts you need for your silencer and assemble the thing yourself. Now this assembling is illegal over there though. But Moran never broke any existing U.S. laws though as far as the silencer and machine gun were concerned because these parts were shipped directly to Moran here in Ireland."

"I don't believe it," said Patrick.

"Well, what can I tell you? It's absolutely true. There is nothing whatsoever in the company's name or in the package or even on the shipping list that would indicate that these are weapon's parts. They came right to Moran's home with no problems," replied Mike.

"Saints preserve us."

"You heard how Moran brought the gun itself into Ireland, didn't you?"

"No, but knowing him I don't see how he didn't foul it up some way or another."

"Well, Tom Dugan, at the airport was--"

"Dugan! I wouldn't trust that man even to open the bonnet on my motor car," said Pat Day interrupting him,

"Yeah. Well, Dugan was supposed to intercept the bag. He's on the baggage crew at Shannon and he was supposed to pull the gun out of the suitcase that had a red ribbon tied to its handle and hide the gun in the maintenance lorry before the suitcase went to Customs. But the ribbon must have gotten lost or something and the gun stayed in the bag right through Customs," replied Michael.

"God!" said Day.

"But Moran feeling that he had nothing to worry about, must have displayed the aire of being the ordinary traveler and had not given the agents any of the tell tale signs of being the worried smuggler and the bag was never even searched."

"Well, 'Luck of the Irish'! Even the dumb ones like Moran and Dugan have it sometimes."

"Sometimes," said Mike.

"But I'd like to see a lot more of this luck on our side Michael. Thank you very much indeed for all of this information. I do believe that you are right and this American is not working for the British. We might be able to coax him into helping us a bit. I'd like to glean as much information out of him as I can without giving him too much insight into our operation. Oh, by the way, don't let Moran order anything else from those American Companies. I want everything that he has from them: Envelopes, shipping papers, etc.. We'll buy from them under our cover name. The Irish Postal Service is jammed packed with British eyes looking for us night and day and trying to put an end to us Michael me boy," replied Patrick Day.

"Yes the British espionage system is forever hard at work. They believe in paying the informers well and they do a much better job of things generally than their Russian or American counterparts. I guess that they are quite naturally suited for it because they are English, wouldn't you say?"

"You might say that indeed."

"Ah Patrick, when will we finally see a united Ireland?"

"Well, we won the South didn't we, and this is the largest part now isn't it?"

"It's only that it seems an awful long and hard struggle," said Michael.

"Yes, but remember this Michael: We are out populating the Protestants and by this method alone we can eventually win. And you must remember that we can always move with relative freedom to get to them up north but they have a hell of a time getting to us down here. We can dish out a hundred times the terror to them up there than they can possibly even hope to inflict upon us down here. It's the Catholic population up there that I truly feel sorry for. They are the ones that suffer the most. When the Orangemen do get to blow up a tavern or two down here then Michael it only serves to strengthen our cause against this Protestant menace. We are all one faith down here, not split in half as they are up there. And even though all of us down here are not as vehemently anti-British as you and I are, none of us absolutely none of us will ever allow that Union Jack to fly above the soil of Ireland again. Yes the struggle has been long and it will continue to be long and hard, but we are assured of eventual victory. What we are doing you and I is to bring that day and that end a little bit closer. Come on old friend, your information has been worth something to me and to Ireland. I'll treat you to a glass of Guinness," said Pat.

"Ah Patrick you are a man after me own heart and I do believe that I'll be havin' that glass of Guinness with you."

The two men sauntered off towards Kelly's Pub. And this was typical of the Irish Republican Army where the old timers stayed in the south and ran the organization. It was the twenty-year-olds or even the teenagers who carried the weapons and explosives and who did the fighting up north. The hard core of the IRA consisted of intensely patriotic men scattered throughout the Emerald Isle who had the ability to keep their activities strictly to themselves while outwardly espousing their Government's doctrine of peace and cooperation with that great and powerful island which lay a few miles to the east and was called England. Very few people knew that Patrick Day was a member of the IRA General Headquarters. Day played the role of only having the faintest interest in these political goings on. Patrick Day had inherited these same qualities from his father that had allowed his father to live out his entire life as an outlawed IRA member without arousing even the slightest suspicion. It was Patrick's father who cooperated with the Nazi Government by helping to keep the lights of Dublin on all during World War ll so it could be utilized by the German pilots as one great navigational beacon. Keeping this city all lit up was of the highest priority with the Wehrmacht. Herman Goring, himself, had actually shaken hands and allowed his picture to be taken with the elder Day in a pre-arranged meeting as Goring so often did with literally thousands of foreigners whose help was deemed critical to Germany's war effort. That handshake was to pay a huge dividend to that illustrious German Air Force Commander when one of his squadrons accidentally dropped their bombs on neutral Irish soil, and that torch, which hundreds of German pilots waited for after hours of flying over the darkness of the ocean and blacked out cities, was in real danger of being extinguished. It was Day, more than anyone else, who got the newspapers to play down the incident and to channel the money that Goring made immediately available to the victims of the disaster. That great lighthouse the lights of Dublin remained on.

"Even if our pilots never even see Dublin," said Goring, "It increases the moral of all of them because they know it is always lighted should an emergency arise."

Patrick Day would never forget the German Luftwaffe Gruppe that, one night, fixed its position by utilizing Dublin's lights: That night the elder Day watched intently, along with his son Patrick and another of his IRA cronies, as the noise of a great many German aircraft 'star motors' evidenced themselves, approaching Dublin from the south-east. There were clouds as usual in the northern sky but the southern sky happened to be relatively clear of cloudy matter, unusual for the Emerald Isle, and although the outlines of the various airplanes were not perceptible, the stars seemed to be momentarily extinguished as each airplane went by and then all at once a lone exhaust flame appeared out of nowhere on one of the airplanes: Either one of the exhaust arrestors had burned through or the plane had banked bringing its troubled exhaust more into view.

"Bad luck for you, son, when the English spot you," said the IRA man who was with Patrick and his father.

"Yes," said the elder Day, "Let's hope for his sake that there are plenty of clouds over Liverpool tonight." And he took a horseshoe nail, that he had in his pocket, and scratched the date into the cement wall of the house.

What Day could not have known was that the German flight commander was well aware of the exhaust flame problem because it was on his own aircraft and he decided this visible flame was jeopardizing his entire group and he had only one choice if he was to remain with his group. He had to shut this engine completely down before the English coast was reached and this, of course, meant that he must jettison his bombs in the sea in order to lighten the plane and keep up with the rest because he could not carry a bomb load with this engine shut down and its propeller feathered.

As he had done may times before over the target, but never over the open ocean, he first threw the arming switch, more by habit than anything else, and then opened his bomb bay doors and then one of these ironies of war took place. He had armed these bombs only because he had been through this ritual so many times before. They did not have to be armed if he was simply dropping them to reduce his load but then they would all be duds and would not explode, but merely by force of habit he had armed them and this electrically pulled a pin on the nose propellers of each bomb and this freed the tiny propeller which then spun in the air going down and removed the final arming safety. No sooner had the lights on his instrument panel indicated that his bomb-bay doors were opened that the entire crew saw immediately below them a phosphorescence on the ocean which could only come from a big ship's giant propellers churning up all the ocean organisms which all glow when they reach the upper few inches of the water's surface. This phosphor glow could be plainly seen against the black void below and the commander now turned his airplane slightly to follow the glowing path.

Now what were those tiny specks of red just ahead?

"Cigaretten! Cigaretten!" excitedly yelled the German co-pilot as he now understood exactly what they were.

The bombing switches were quickly pressed for A then B then C then D in rapid succession as the bombsight crosshairs abruptly passed over the field of red specks below.

Meanwhile back in Ireland the staccato roar of the engines, which had died down as they headed toward England, no longer could be heard and the two Irishmen went inside.

It was several days later when the bodies of dead English soldiers and some flotage from two large English troop ships were being brought in by local Irish fishing vessels that Day had concluded that it was indeed that flight of planes that had caused this huge loss of life.

Patrick Day could still remember what his father told him those many, many years ago: "You see," said the elder Day, after being told by his son Patrick about the entire incident, "our family fought against Cromwell and we fought right here in Dublin against that earlier Churchill, but I have done more, and have helped kill more British soldiers only by quietly working and without ever lifting a sword or a gun. I kept the lights on in Dublin, I did and those planes were needin' it that night, they were, and they turned right over Dublin to go to Liverpool, England, they did. Patrick m' lad always remember that with the proper atmosphere about, it is always easy to get volunteers to go to battle, but great generals win great wars because they are devious and not so much because they are brave. If you don't remember anything else, remember that." And Patrick did. He remembered it well.

Patrick Day also knew, there was a good chance that people like Moran would someday be caught, and Patrick understood that he did not want to ever be linked with any of these people in even the slightest way in the event the law finally did catch up with them. A very controversial law had been voted and passed in the dáil by the slimmest of margins, but nevertheless it was now Irish law, and it stated that if the officer in charge merely suspected a person was engaged in subversive activities, then no other proof than this officer's statement was needed to detain the suspect for as long as the Government of Ireland deemed necessary. So in essence now under the laws of the Republic of Ireland, a suspected person is deemed guilty and the burden of proof is now, in all reality, placed upon this suspected person who now has to prove his own innocence: Some Irish Legal experts have shown that this required 'proof of innocence' could be almost next to impossible to obtain. And one more item of interest in this line is that hearsay can be used as evidence against the suspect. Patrick was well aware what all these laws could do to him in his own country, so he knew that he had to stay extremely well insulated from people such as Moran.

Several days had passed since Patrick Day and Michael O'Brien had their glasses of Guinness together. Then it became known to Pat that the sixth person who Moran had shot also had died. The entire six of them! Effective work had a habit of being relayed back down to the Republic of Ireland rather rapidly. Communications were never a weak link with the Irish. Now Patrick wanted to see this weapon for himself, but he held himself back because experience had taught him that if Moran should be caught then the authorities would start watching Moran's associates and Patrick wanted to be well isolated from any of these people too, especially the ones who were known to be IRA members. No, Patrick Day would not even allow Moran or Moran's close friends to know he even existed, but he must find out more about this weapon. Patrick knew now that he had to take a trip to the United States and visit with this American, or if the people higher up at headquarters didn't want him to go then possibly someone else; that would be strictly up to them to decide. He reached for the telephone, picked it up, and dialed an IRA undercover number that also was an actual bakery.

"Collin's Bakery," a female voice answered.

"Sure and I'd like a square birthday cake for tomorrow," he said.

But those were only code words.

"Would you kindly wait one moment," the female voice replied.

"And what size of a cake would you be needin' now?" a male voice asked.

"About a foot square with a green border," replied Day.

"Could I have your phone number so that I can call you back. We're very busy here right now," said the male voice.

"Certainly," replied Day and he gave them a number and sat back and while he waited he thought about the American and this super quiet machine gun that he had supplied to Moran.

Ten minutes passed and his phone rang. He picked it up and a different male voice now asked, "Would it be all right if we came over about three today to fix your sink?"

"That will be fine," replied Day and he hung up.

* * * *

"Come on in and have a cup of tea," said Day to the two men who bore a slight resemblance to Laurel and Hardy in that one was tall and thin and the other was slightly obese: They were now getting out of their motor car that had arrived promptly at three o'clock in front of Day's house.

"Yes, I would like a cup of tea," said the tall thin fellow as all three of the men entered Day's home.

"So General Headquarters comes to me today instead of me going to it," joked Day as he poured the hot tea that he had ready for them.

"We've got a bit more for you today," said the fat man as he handed Day a brown paper bag filled with five pound and one pound notes of the Republic of Ireland.

"You'll find an extra thirty-five pounds in there," continued the fat man.

"Oh?" said Day in surprise.

"Jim Casey has been captured up north; so that's for his wife. She'll be gettin' thirty-five every week now 'till he gets out--"

"The total that the IRA is paying out to widows and wives whose husbands have been captured, must amount to quite a bit," interjected Day.

"We think the total will be between six and seven hundred thousand pounds this year," replied the fat man.

"Which, incidentally, is double what we will have left to pay for armament," said the thin man.

"I hear that Moran can now claim six British military harps," said Day.

"Yes, we will give him his hundred pounds for the latest one at a little celebration that we have planned for him when he returns and we have plenty in the fund right now so it won't deplete any of the money that you will be handling in your district for the wives and widows," answered the fat man.

"That wasn't quite my line of thought," said Day, "I think that we should obtain some more of those silencer equipped carbines and also perhaps see what other little lovely things this American might have that we can use over here. You know boys if you are on a winning streak then why not run with it fast before your opposition figures how to counter you on it," he added.

The group talked shop together for about an hour and Patrick Day felt good when the fat man turned to him and said: "I think you might be right; someone should see that American; I'll see what I can do about this at Headquarters."

It had not rained for several hours and as Pat looked into the sky he thought about taking an umbrella but the clouds were not that numerous. They were simply beautiful, he thought to himself, and as the sun went down he walked through the streets of Dublin without his umbrella. His old friend Michael O'Brien lived in the direction of the Guinness plant, and although Patrick could smell the Guinness factory sometimes even as far away as he lived, there was no mistaking the fact that the big brewery was nearby as he reached O'Brien's home. Patrick knocked on the door and was greeted by his friend.

"I do believe, Michael, that a blind man could find his way around Dublin by merely sniffing how close he was to the Guinness plant," said Michael as he entered his friend's house.

"I find that if I keep drinking the stuff then I don't seem to notice the smell at all," replied Michael. "Besides, Guinness is good for you," he added.

"I'll tell you one thing that I know is certain: There must be several thousand big billboards spread around this island and on every well traveled road in Ireland you'll find at least one road sign bill board saying, 'Guinness is good for you'," replied Day.

"I understand that those were the only five words that Lord Guinness ever spoke while he spent those many decades in the House of Lords," said Michael.

"Yes, I've heard that story too and I think it may really be true," replied Day.

"Saints Preserve us that would be him. Oh, I see you have brought me something to deliver," said Michael.

"Yes, and there's an extra thirty-five and that's for Casey's wife, they have him now, blast them, but we don't know very much yet about how they caught him. I've also got some messages: Some of these folks have no telephone so they will have to be delivered the old way," said Pat.

"My grandson will take care of them. He's 14 and he has his own bicycle now," replied Michael.

"You've impressed on him that he cannot ever be seen?" asked Michael.

"He's a full fledged IRA Message boy now and a good one. He has to be because I've taught him everything that I know," said Michael smiling.

"Fine, I'd like to be passin' the time of day with you but the sun is going down now and I had better be on my way back," Pat said as he shook Michael's hand; then he left.

That night a middle-aged woman was walking home after finishing her long day of work. Most of Dublin's workers were already at home and this woman was walking under the street lights alongside of the river Liffey. Now she turned to go into a darkened side street---.

Out of the darkness came the voice of a boy of 14, "John is well and sends his love," and not another sound.

"Oh! Thank you! Thank you! God bless you son. God bless you," she said with tears in her eyes as she walked the rest of the way to her flat. She thought about her own son and how he was a message boy once too before he became a full fledged gun carrying member of the Provisional IRA. She now thought about the many wives and mothers who must have had tears in their eyes too when his message in the dark told them that their husbands and sons were OK up north. She was prouder of her son being a message boy than she was of him now that he was an active IRA gunman.

* * * *

The IRA General Headquarters staff had made contact with the American, but like so many other weapon's experts, he was loath to travel to Ireland after the passage of the Emergency Powers act by the dáil. He told the organization that if he were to show them weapons and how they could be utilized to their best advantage then he would rather do it in the United States where this would be perfectly legal and not in Ireland where he could be imprisoned right at Customs for bringing in the literature that he would need. Headquarters then made the necessary arrangements to send Patrick Day to Miami in the United States. One night some IRA men slipped quietly into a few of the pubs in Patrick Day's area and let it discretely be known that he would certainly die unless he went to a warmer climate for a while to live. These men all claimed that they knew someone that worked in a doctor's office who had seen his record.

"Is this true Patrick what I'm hearin' that the doctor said that you needed some warmer weather for your health?" asked a friend.

"Yes, that he has," said Patrick.

Patrick was glad that the IRA had met with a cordial reception when they contacted the American. He had also replied to them that he would be more than happy to help Irish lads who would like to learn a bit about firearms: This was fine. Now a reason for Pat's leaving was being set up with a sympathetic doctor because Patrick wanted the people who knew why he was actually going to the States to be fewer than the fingers on his right hand. He rehearsed the story so much with the doctor that he almost thought that he did have the problem that he was supposedly going to the warmer climate in the States to cure. He was going to be traveling under his own name but he would also be carrying with him another fake Irish passport issued to a Hector P. Sweeney with his photo and all kinds of exit and entry stamps on the various pages including a false Miami entry stamp on the first new page following all the stamped pages. He would also be carrying another fake German Passport made out to a Johann Wolfgang Schmidt. If all went well, this false German passport would only be shown to the motor car rental agency and the hotel where he would be staying. The IRA had figured that America itself might be spying on the American, seeing that his life seemed to be centered around weapons. And if they were then they would only know that he had seen one Hector P. Sweeney whose trail would abruptly end at the airport terminal. The false German passport would even wipe the traces of him cleaner and prevent someone searching from even finding the day that this Hector P. Sweeny's flight landed in Miami.

Now, unexpectedly there was a knock on Pat's door and he opened it.

"I heard that you were sick but--, " said his friend Michael who had come after hearing the news going round.

"I've got to go to Miami," said Pat smiling.

"Oh, I see," said Michael and then he smiled too realizing that there was nothing to the story about Pat's sickness and then he said, "I believe that the warm air will work one of those truly miraculous cures upon you Patrick," and he shook Pat's hand and added, "Have a good trip."

"We may have made a mistake," said Pat,

"Where?"

"By letting Moran go back to Inishowen Pen," said Pat.

"He goes there all the time; he likes it there," replied Michael.

"And from there where does he go?"

"The boat picks him up at Inishowen Head and drops him off in a cave at Portrush so he can go hunting in Northern Ireland."

"Great, right to the same spot where he's killed six people already!"

"Lots of people are getting killed all over Northern Ireland."

"Not with a rifle that shoots cast lead bullets. When he gets back or if he gets back this time, try and keep him here until I return from the States. We may get more of those weapons and he will be far more valuable as an instructor than in using those things himself. He may be able to teach countless others how to best utilize those things. I want him still alive so some others can get trained on the damned things," said Pat.

"He's a free soul, he is," said Michael.

"This may turn out to be an important tool for us. I'm sure a man of your ability will have a few means at your disposal to keep Moran home for a bit," returned Pat.

"I may find a way," said Michael.

Several more days were to pass before Patrick's plane would whisk him across the ocean and he spent the time reading about various new American made weapons because he wanted to know what they had over there and also he did not want to appear to be a novice to the American. It was true that he had very seldom fired these various IRA weapons but he knew all that there was to know about them and he knew which cartridges were for which gun merely by the sight of them and he knew the various magazines by sight too. He was familiar with those spare parts that constantly had to be supplied to keep them operating too, and he wondered what other accouterments in this field that he would see in Miami.

And Patrick left for Florida. Headquarters deliberately sent him from Dublin to London and then at Heathrow in London he boarded a 747 flying from London directly to Miami. On the flight to Miami he happened to sit next to a Japanese businessman who was terrified of the Miami area and who promptly informed him that Miami had the highest murder rate in the entire United States which itself was intolerably high compared to the other nations of the world.

"They are averaging more, mind you, more than two murders per day in Miami right now," said the Japanese businessman excitedly." Then he asked, "Do you know how many people were killed with a gun in Tokyo the entire past year?"

"No, I don't," replied Pat.

"One," said the Japanese businessman.

At least, Patrick thought to himself, I'm headed to the right spot. He then turned out his reading light, adjusted his seat as far back as it would recline and went to sleep.

* * * *

The thing that really got to Patrick with his first visit to Miami was that he couldn't understand the language. As he stood in one of the larger gun shops in Miami, he noticed that while all the signs were in English, the language that was being spoken was mostly Spanish. Patrick saw a clerk show a customer a sophisticated night vision starlight scope and then he observed the customer counting out about $6,000 cash for this item. The entire transaction took only a few minutes and it was done entirely in Spanish. Patrick could not get over the fact that items such as these were not only carried right in stock by the store but sold over the counter much like one would sell pipe tobacco in Ireland. On top of that, the day was Sunday but this store was packed with people like sardines in a can and even the man with the starlight scope had to wait in line with the starlight scope in one hand and a fist full of bills in the other before he could pay the cashier and leave. This place is simply incredible, he thought to himself. If I had not seen this with my own eyes then I simply would never have believed it.

Here, piled high on the counters, were cartridges from all over the world. Patrick had heard about some of these Russian rounds that were made from steel instead of brass and here they were, hundreds of pounds of them all piled up now right in front of him. Pat picked up one of the bullets from a box and examined it. We might have had all these and the weapons that fire them too had not the Saudis and other moderate Arabic governments convinced the radicals that it just was not in their best interests to arm Ireland against the English. London was the bank and it did not make sense arming a nation that was bent on disrupting activities in the world's banking centre especially now that the Arab world was acquiring so much of the world's money. This Arab arms flow to Ireland then stopped almost as quickly as it had started. Pat placed the steel cartridge back into the box and moved on.

It was the following day when Pat dialed the phone number that he had traveled some four thousand miles to dial. As the connection was made and the other phone on the other end of the line was ringing, he noticed a difference between the ringing tone over here and the same tone back in Ireland.

"Hello," a voice answered.

"Yes, this is Hector P. Sweeney from Ireland and I'm trying to locate a Mister John Weiss," said Pat.

"Well, you've found him. It's me."

"I've just arrived from Ireland and--"

"Your accent is so thick that you could cut it with a knife. Where are you now?"

"At the Airport."

"Are you through Customs yet?"

"Yes."

"I'll bet that took more than an hour."

"Closer to two. That was the longest that I have ever had to stand in line and wait for any customs check anywhere," said Pat.

"Well, that may be a sign that we are having more foreign visitors or it may be a sign that our country is on the down hill grade: Maybe a bit of both. It will take me about an hour to get there," said John Weiss.

"Fine, I'll be standing outside Customs. I'll be wearing a brown suit, brown cap and green tie. I'll have three black suitcases on the ground next to me."

"One hour then," said the American.

"Fine," replied Pat.

Pat lost no time in checking out at the airport hotel where he had registered under the name of Johann Wolfgang Schmidt. He also drove his rental car back to the check in spot at the terminal where he had also registered under the German name. Here he received his change because the female clerk who had rented him the car, the late hour that his plane arrived, could not make change and could only take his one hundred dollar bill and drop it into a depository after writing up the rental contract.

The hotel lobby was in a direct line from the car check in spot to the Customs area and he retrieved his bags from the hotel lobby as he walked the final route back to the same door at customs that he had come out of the previous day. The less people know, the better, he thought to himself. the automatic door from Customs opened and some people came out.

"That's a mighty long wait isn't it?" said Pat to the people now emerging through the door.

"Dot's terrible. Vy dey got to take so long? In Europe is nothing like this. Only ven you go to Communist countries is slow like this."

"Yes it's bad. Were you on the Pan Am flight too?" asked Pat.

"No, ve come mit Lufthansa on dot charter flight."

"Oh," said Pat as he turned away from the group. They had given him the information that he needed. If anyone inquired, including the American, then he would say he came via Frankfurt on a Lufthansa charter flight that had arrived a few hours before the American picked him up. He then thought about the endless man hours that these Americans would pile up if they looked for him through all that bunch. But this would only be if the American was a spy or was being spied upon and he hoped neither was the case as he stood close to the curb in front of the Customs door with his three black suitcases piled next to him.

"Mister Sweeney," yelled a man from a car that had pulled to a stop in front of him.

"John Weiss," said Pat as he opened the car's rear door and threw in his suitcases. Then he opened the front door and got in next to the driver as fast as he could because traffic was having to go around the stopped car.

"Stay with us for a while. I've got twenty acres about fifteen miles from here south-west of the airport with my own range. You'll like it," said John Weiss.

Pat then found out that the man's grandmother had come over from Ireland. He was a sort of a mixture of Irish and German, hence the name Weiss. What really surprised Pat was that his American friend was neither in the dope nor armament business and that most of his income came from apartment houses that he owned and rented out. Weapons were only his hobby but they utterly consumed him. They were the only things he seemed ever to talk about.

"My name is really Hector Patrick and they usually call me Pat at home, so just call me Pat," said Patrick to his new friend.

"Pat it is then," said John Weiss and he added, "Did you see that carbine that I fixed up for Moran?"

"I've heard about it. That's one of the reasons that I'm here now. We think that we can use some more of those types of weapons but I've never seen Moran nor your carbine myself," said Pat.

Well, I talked to Moran about the problems that you people were having up there in Northern Ireland. We talked for some length of time and it occurred to me that one of your problems is that the English can respond quickly, efficiently and in force to any IRA attacks up there. Now while talking to Moran, I discovered that there are isolated outposts there where a person could approach fairly close to without being seen. I reasoned that if a swift attack was made during the hours of very low activity, then there was a high probability that at least a half hour would intervene before a discovery would be made and the area searched. With what Moran told me about that particular area, I would consider a half hour to be the very minimum amount of time that he would need to effect a successful escape. I then put together this carbine and silencer arrangement, figuring that it would meet the needs of that particular situation. Now you have to remember that no weapon is ever perfect. This one isn't. For instance I don't like using cast lead bullets in combat situations for several reasons: They cannot be shot at anywhere near the speed of copper jacketed bullets; they also have to be lubricated where the copper jacketed ones don't. This grease generally finds its way into the gas chamber of an automatic weapon and combines with the burning powder to form a rock hard substance that will eventually jam the gas piston. This stuff is extremely hard to clean out. Now I've told Moran all of this and I hope to God that he keeps cleaning that thing but by using the proper copper gas checks on the backs of these bullets, these carbines will fire hundreds of rounds of cast lubricated bullets before they eventually have to be entirely taken apart, thoroughly cleaned and reassembled. I can't say that for a lot of other gas operated weapons though. Some of them simply cannot take too many cast lead bullets before they quit operating."

He went on: "The World War ll, M-1 Carbine has always been a popular gun in the United States. One famous writer said that it's immense popularity resulted from its compact size that made it so easy to steal from the military and since he was from the military then I guess he knew what he was talking about, but the fact remains that it is still popular today and there are no more of them in the military to steal. I, personally, believe that its popularity now is because of the large number of people who are reloading their own ammunition today. If you want to cast your own lead bullets and it's very easy to do right on the kitchen stove then you can make your own ammunition from melted down car wheel weights for about one tenth of the price that the store will sell it to you for. This is something that you can keep in mind yourself. You only need primers, powder, gas checks and some water pump grease to lubricate the bullets with. You don't have to purchase much else really."

"I'm going to talk to our headquarters about it, that's for certain," said Day.

"Training people on automatic weapons costs real money today and that is the cheapest automatic weapon training that you can get right now."

"What about reloading for some of the other rifles?"

"You won't save that much on the guns that use jacketed bullets because you won't be able to cast them, so you won't be getting them for practically nothing, but you can save quite a bit by reloading revolver ammunition. All revolver bullets can be made with cast lead but only some automatics will digest cartridges made with cast lead bullets though because of the tendency of the lead to jam on the feed ramp," said the American.

"That's very interesting," said Pat.

"Now, remember I'm talking about training ammunition, the stuff that you are going to be shooting at targets and wet phone books, not people in actual combat. You will need regular military ammunition for that."

"Wet phone books?"

"They display your terminal ballistics."

"I don't quite follow you."

"OK, If you soak some phone books in a bath tub overnight, take them out and set them on end and shoot into them: This will show you how effective your bullet is when it actually hits. What it does to that mass of wet paper is almost exactly what it is going to do inside a person."

"I understand that our Armalite bullets corkscrew around and really mess a person up inside," said Pat.

"Yes, the phone books will show that to you dramatically. I know many people who traded in their short barreled 38s and traded them in for longer barreled .357 magnums after they had seen both guns fired into wet phone books," said John Weiss.

"The .38 is the same diameter as the .357 magnum isn't it?"

"Pretty close, but the more powder in the cartridge and the longer the barrel on the gun then the greater the force behind the bullet and the more damage that the bullet can actually do."

"But how important is all that extra force?"

"You may want the bullet to penetrate something like a door or the thin metal of a motor car or to expand like a hollow point and all these things require extra force which means a higher speed bullet. I've found most hollow points won't expand much at all if fired from a snub-nosed gun with a 2 inch barrel."

"The wet phone books then will show you that the longer barreled gun will fire hollow points more effectively."

"Absolutely correct. You get a hollow point that hits with a speed of more than a thousand feet per second and just see what it does to those phone books: It tears them up like a shotgun. One good shot from a long barreled .357 magnum hollow point will do far more damage than several shots from a short barreled .38." said John.

"I have read many British accounts of soldiers downing a man every shot with a .45 Webley where it took all six shots to stop a man from a .38 pistol," said Day.

"Big holes let a lot of air flow in and a lot of blood flow out. This is what it's all about Patrick,"

And both men talked for hours, long after the sun had set, about guns and the various ways in which they could be used. At that same instant of time over in Ireland it was the next day and it would be several hours yet before the sun would rise.

* * * *

"The wires have all been buried sir," said a boy, all of sixteen, to Timothy Houlihan.

"You have done a good night's work son. I'm always pleased when we can have everything finished several hours before dawn. Would you like to have several days holiday out of Ireland son? You would be doing the same thing as you did here tonight except that it will be in another country and it will be about several months from now."

"That would be really super sir."

"Fine, I'll get with Clancy, and Headquarters will get you a passport and you will go with us then a few months from now," said Tim Houlihan to the young boy.

"Will I be traveling with you sir?"

Tim Houlihan said: "No, I will already be there. But I will have to teach you how to count in Arabic and you will have to learn a few basic phrases in that language too and you must learn their mannerisms like never allowing the soles of your feet to be seen; never petting a dog; never inquiring about a man's wife or daughter and taking food only with your right hand. You see we wouldn't take any of these things to mind over here but you most certainly could get into a big amount of trouble doing any of these things over there and trouble is something we don't need while we are over there."

"I'll study. I will sir. Thank you sir," said the boy.

Tim answered: "Good, you'll be working with me then and that should settle who my helper will be over there then. Right now we are about finished so I want you to make sure that the water and oil levels are up in both the motor car and the lorry."

"Yes sir, said the boy," and away he went.

Timothy Houlihan then walked over to a man who was carrying a box back to the lorry and said: "Clancy, I'd like the IRA to see that this lad gets a passport. Send the passport the fastest way possible with two extra pictures of the lad to me at this address," said Houlihan as he gave a small card to Clancy. "I'll send it back with the visas stamped on it," Houlihan added.

"I'll see that it's done, Tim," Clancy replied.

Tim then said: "The boy and I will go in the lorry now. Any incriminating evidence is in it. There is absolutely nothing left in the motor car that they can connect to this, so you are going to come back in it when you dispose of things here in a few hours. My signature will be on this thing, Clancy, so I'm the one they will be looking for, not you. Stay calm and simply drive south. If for some reason you are searched and checked, they will find no evidence of explosive on your skin or clothes because I have been the only one who has handled all of that. And that is the reason that I need this two hour head start, to get the lorry and myself out of here. Well, I should be on the water and leavin' Ireland in a few hours. Good by; good luck and you'll get the thrill of thrills when you push that button. I know that I did the first time I pushed it. So long."

Clancy was about to shake his hand but Houlihan shook his head no and smiled and then Clancy realized that with a handshake that he would be acquiring a trace of nitro and then he too smiled and watched as Timothy Houlihan, whose name was known and respected throughout all the IRA, climbed up into the lorry, beside the boy, and drove away.

"I'll be takin' you all home now." said Clancy to the other IRA men who had been helping them and the entire group got into the motor car and they first drove to a nearby farm house where two of the men got out. One of the men would wake up his boys who would take their bicycles and go back to the road leading to where the men had been working that night. At a certain time, they would start turning people back who attempted to use that road. The police would not interfere. They had already been told to stay away. There have been very few policemen in Ireland that have ever claimed to have even seen an IRA man, or at least very few who are still alive. Clancy brought the other men to their houses and then took a winding road up to the top of a nearby mountain and waited. When the first rays of light at dawn allowed him to see, Clancy took the jack handle and dug a deep hole in the ground at the top of the mountain large enough to completely bury the hand held radio transmitter that he now held in his hand. By the time he had finished there was now enough light for him to see the valley below and the river---and there it was, the bridge that all of them had worked on all that previous night. Clancy took the transmitter and now unwrapped a piece of tape that had been wrapped around the device several times that prevented two switches from being switched on. One switch was marked power and he switched this one on. He then pulled out the whip antenna as far as it would go and found a spot where no trees or branches were between that antenna and the bridge. Clancy now looked at his watch.

After a period of time the dawn's light had made the bridge even more visible and Clancy watched the second hand on his watch and then switched the second switch in the hand held radio transmitter. Clancy expected an instant noise but there was nothing the instant he moved the switch but he did see smoke coming out of all parts of the bridge way down below. The smoke kept expanding and then about seven seconds later Clancy not only heard but felt the tremendous noise as the sound of the explosion took those seven seconds to get to him way on top of the mountain. There was no mistaking it Clancy thought, Timothy Houlihan was the very best in the entire world when it came to blowing up bridges.

Clancy then wiped the transmitter clean of his fingerprints and put it in the hole he had dug and covered it up with hands that were now shaking a bit. He found that when he tried to start the motor car, his hand was trembling so much that he couldn't line up the key in the ignition switch hole and had to use both hands together to guide the key in. Now he was able to start the motor car and he headed down the mountain, south toward Dublin and away from that bridge that used to connect The Republic of Ireland with Northern Ireland. Clancy could plainly see now why Houlihan wanted to be safely out to sea after something like that. Clancy was still shaking a bit after an hour on the road and he now wondered what those lads thought that were guarding the road leading to the bridge and keeping people away. They would have been the closest to it. They would also never be treated to anything such as that for the rest of their lives. Clancy certainly hoped that they had prevented any people from the Republic side from being on the bridge when it went. He could have cared less if there happened to be any Protestants coming from the north on the bridge; that would have only served them right. The Lord knew we were going to blow that bridge and he could have kept any of the good ones from crossing from that direction he thought to himself, rationalizing his actions.

The British were the first to start blowing up bridges that they thought the IRA were using to infiltrate into Northern Ireland. Now it was the IRA's turn because they suspected that some members of the hated Special Air Service had used that bridge to kill IRA members in the south and then bring their bodies up north and leave them in Ulster. When some British SAS soldiers were actually caught in the south and claimed to have wandered in by mistake; the IRA was infuriated when the court allowed them to go back home again. The bridge that had just now been blown up was a message to the court and to the SAS Paratroop Regiment that the IRA didn't buy their story.

* * * *

It is the IRA that start out the year 1981 with a big bang by blowing up the large RAF training centre in London to smithereens and this is followed by the Protestants trying to assassinate Bernadette Devlin McAliskey and her husband. This angers the Catholics so much that they murder Sir Norman Stronge and his son after they blow their way into their ancestral fortress residence and then leave this multi million historical gem a burned out worthless ruin. It is not the 24 years that Sir Norman had served as speaker in Stormont Northern Ireland's Parliament that angered the IRA but that he was the leader of that staunch Protestant "Black Order". These murders are followed a few days later by the killing of Philip Barker, a British soldier, and then, as if to end the first month of this new year, the IRA blow up six bombs all about the same time in six different cities that injure quite a few Protestants..

February of 1981 starts off with riots, fire bombs and constant street battles with the police in Londonderry that go on for hours and hours. On the television comes Ian Paisley: Now he has 500 Protestant paramilitary men in formation saying that they will "fight to the death". Why the IRA takes this occasion to blow up the Nellie M is anyone's guess. It is only carrying coal off the Irish coast but the IRA may want people to know that they are active at sea as well. It is at this time that Ian Paisley makes his error--oh, if you don't know who he is then you are really missing something. He is, to the Protestants, what Bernadette Devlin McAliskey is to the Catholics. Either one of these two great Christian theologians can have their respective religious followers either wiping their eyes with their handkerchiefs or marching and saluting: All of it depending on which type of speech either one of the two are currently delivering. These two arrived into the households of Northern Ireland when television entered and, like the Teles which they are constantly on in prime time, they have changed the war from black and white into "living colour". Paisley behaves a lot better in Parliament than Bernadette Devlin though. She once ran over to the House Speaker and gave him a right hook to the jaw. Both Paisley and Devlin bring to mind what George Bernard Shaw said about the fanatic: "He loses sight of his objectives but he redoubles his efforts." Never, never turn the television set off if either one of these are speaking. They are both wonders to behold. But now back to Paisley's problem: You see, there is a rather strict rule in Parliament that you cannot call a person a liar, but you can say he isn't telling the truth, and Paisley was suspended for a week for not abiding by this rule. Now he is again in the news claiming that British soldiers that could have been protecting Stronge were, instead, being entertained by an IRA sympathizer. Back in England many are shaking their heads at that statement. Before the end of February, British soldiers make a raid in the Catholic section of Belfast and find all those machine guns that were stolen from the National Guard Armory in Boston, Massachusetts way back in 1976. February ends with both Devlin and Paisley again in the news: She has now recovered from the Protestant machine gun attack on her and she leaves the hospital in Belfast, and Paisley leads thousands of marchers through the streets of Portadown.

In March of 1981 the IRA go to Trinity College in Dublin, and as knee capping is the latest terrorist technique, they shoot bullets into the legs of Geoffrey Armstrong, a British Leyland executive who is at the college talking to some of Dublin's business leaders. The IRA also issue a statement where they say they are sorry for killing Gerry Roland and they had gotten mixed up and had meant to kill Maurice Lutton, a former Ulster soldier, instead. Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, about the same time, announces that she will run for a vacant seat in the British Parliament again. It will really be something if she and Ian Paisley can both be members at the same time.

In April of '81 an IRA car bomb kills a police officer and Bobby Sands, who is in the Maze Prison serving time he had spent a good third of his life in prison because of his dedicated IRA commitment manages to win a seat in the British Parliament while he is on a hunger strike and near death. This shakes up that noble institution of the British Parliament so much that they will later study a bill that will not allow people in prison to even run for Parliament. It probably will not mean very much if a Catholic elected to Parliament from Northern Ireland is either in prison or even dead for that matter: Bernadette Devlin claimed that she couldn't get much done. She said that she did get a postal set up for a town in her area; otherwise, she claimed, the Protestants steam-rollered everything else right past her. In the middle of April; the IRA kill an Ulster Defence Regiment member in a Belfast bar and a few days later rioting erupts in Londonderry after a British army vehicle kills two young Catholics. A teenager is killed in the rioting and Gary Martin loses his life when he opens the door on his booby-trapped police van on the final day of the month.

May 1, 1981 the Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID) is told by a U.S. judge that they have to register as an agent of the IRA and they can no longer imply that the money they are collecting all goes to the victims of the fighting. May is the month of the hunger strikers: Bobby Sands is the first to die. He was the intellectual. Next is Francis Hughes--the tough one who used to let fly with anything that he had whenever he saw the British and he was a lad back in school. On May 9th a bomb explodes during the Queen's visit to the British Petroleum oil complex at Sullom Voe, Scotland: The IRA say it's theirs. An IRA rocket blows apart an armoured car killing one policeman and wounding others and then another explosion inside a culvert pipe rips apart another armoured vehicle and kills five soldiers in it. With the feeling of war now ripe, the youths of Belfast and Londonderry take to the streets and hijack vehicles and set fires and then another hunger striker, Raymond McCreesh dies. The month finally ends with the death of a British Army demolitions expert: He makes a mistake and forgets to check for a bomb in his own motor car.

June begins with three men killing an Ulster militia man and then driving the man's lorry to the border. Then eight suspected IRA men escape from a Belfast Gaol. Another man in prison by the name of Agnew now wins a seat in the Irish Parliament and a soldier and a policeman are wounded by snipers. The IRA say their attempt to hit Lord Gardiner failed. Prince Charles is heckled in New York--mainly because of these troubles in Northern Ireland. Finally a policeman is killed near the border and a soldier is shot as the month of June ends.

* * * *

Alexis Morozov had moved up the ladder because he could cut through the red tape that snarled everything in the Soviet Union. In Russia, doing things the right way meant that it would take forever and maybe never even get done at all. The really big men wanted their own pet projects done a lot faster than the Russian bureaucracy would willingly oblige. This was where Alexis played his part. He knew how to get things done fast in Russia. This was why his rise up the ladder was steady and did not have the meteoric ups and downs of so many of the others who had hitched their jobs to a party member who could either be in or out of favor whichever way the tide happened to be flowing. Alexis looked at his watch and hurried his pace down Marx Avenue in Moscow, walking toward the Old University. He was stopped at Herzen Street by one of the older party members who was a personal friend of the Premier. It was decided, he was told, that England was being most uncooperative by being in favor of allowing America to place strategic nuclear missals on her soil. All the rest of the European Governments could be counted on to oppose more nuclear missiles in their countries. England stood alone ready to accept them and she must pay for this snub to the Soviet Union.

The plan was for England to discover the very latest in Soviet weaponry in the hands of the IRA. Then the word would come from Moscow: Put the nuclear missiles out or we will supply these weapons to the Irish in wholesale quantities. They were positive that England would get the message. Part of the consignment was going to be several hundred of the new AK74 rifles which none of the other Communist countries were making and several hundred new infantry ground to air rockets that only Russia itself was producing. Russia wanted the message to be clear that the arms were not there because some other Communist country sold them to the IRA. England knew that some of these countries did, in fact, sell arms to the highest bidder but Russia never did. If Russian produced weapons were found to be in Ireland then the reason had to be a political one and not a monetary one. The Russian bear would swat with her paw and a few British would die and this should get the attention of the people in power in England. The AK74 Rifle had been chosen, not because it had been effective in Afghanistan but because it fired a special bullet with a steel insert and when found inside a British soldier it would tell them exactly which country it had come from.

"If the weapons have all been cleared then I will certainly do my part to see that this shipment is expedited," said Alexis as the older man turned to leave. I wish that all my jobs were as simple as this, Alexsis thought to himself. They could go out on a Russian trawler and be transferred to an Irish fishing vessel. He would have to see one of his friends about contacting the IRA but that should pose no problem as they kept contacts with all subversive groups everywhere.

* * * *

Patrick Day was surprised that he had slept the whole night with nothing but a sheet over him. This Miami climate was far different from Ireland's, he thought. And last night the sky was spectacular with not a cloud at all to obscure even the slightest part of the sky and all the stars were in view from one end of the sky to the other. He couldn't ever remember it looking like this in Ireland and the night stayed warm and it was pleasant even into the late hours. This too was far different from what he was used to. People even came into the stores shopping in their bare feet and the men without shirts sometimes. Pat wondered if this land of new things was going to give him some novel weapons that would play havoc with his British neighbors. As he got out of his bed he could smell the aroma of bacon and eggs. Now this was exactly the same as back home.

"I found some Canadian bacon. I believe that it's more what you're used to. Our bacon over here has quite a bit of fat in it and it's sliced thinner and it's not from as choice a spot on the hog either," said John Weiss.

"Anything is fine with me," said Pat. "I'd like to see that carbine setup that you outfitted Moran with," he added.

"That may be a bit difficult, but you'll see enough. You see I have to obey the laws in this country and even though I do own several silencers and machine guns legally, I do not own a fully automatic carbine nor the silencer for it. I can show you a silencer similar to it and I can show you a semi-automatic carbine."

"I was told that you could not own silencers and machine guns in America."

"Absolutely wrong. This government makes quite a bit of money allowing its citizens to have silencers and fully automatic weapons or machine guns as the man in the street calls them. If you want to own them though you will have a good bit of paperwork to go through and a stiff transfer tax to pay. You can't have a prison record, and thereafter Uncle Sam might want to poke his nose into your affairs. You are the one who has to decide if the ownership of these things is really worth all the hassle. A lot of people, in fact an awful lot of people, think that it isn't."

"But you simply cannot go out and buy a machine gun or silencer as you would a regular gun."

"That's correct and the amount that you would have to pay in transfer tax to the government just to own the thing may well be a lot more than the thing is worth."

"Would we have to pay this fee?"

"No, I'll show you how you can legally avoid this."

After breakfast Pat followed John Weiss into a bedroom which had a walk in closet at one end. One wall of this walk in closet consisted of shelves with shoes and other assorted items on the shelves and then this entire wall of shelves pivoted and the two men entered an air-conditioned room entirely filled with firearms of every description.

"This room has two separate air-conditioning systems used only for itself. This keeps the air dry constantly. A timer alternates the units and runs one unit today and the other tomorrow . If one unit conks out then I get an alarm so I can pull the bad unit out and have it fixed while the other takes over. You absolutely have to keep moisture out of the area where you store your weapons and an air-conditioner does this nicely. Make certain that when your air-conditioner is installed that it is tilted several degrees so that the water runs to the outside and not back inside. That way you are assured of never having moist air in the room. I hardly ever use the air-conditioning in the rest of the house at all. I have all these high shady trees around and this house is designed to take advantage of the trade winds here in Florida that blow right straight through the house most of the time. I guess you know what weapon this is," said Weiss as he picked up one of the many rifles in the room.

"It resembles our Armalite," said Pat.

"Yes, It's a semi-automatic instead of the fully-automatic ones that you have."

John Weiss picked up another weapon and handed it to Pat. "Know what this one is?" he asked.

"God it's heavy! I heard my father talk about these. That is the gun that gave Ireland her freedom when a bunch of young Irish lads used them to roll back an entire British Army and send them fleeing back the way they came from. Here in the States the gangsters used to rob banks with them. I've seen pictures of it with that drum on it." said Pat.

"Yes, that's the Tommy Gun made in 1927. It's almost twice as heavy as your Armalite. I'd hate to have to lug it around all day and that is precisely one of its disadvantages. It's better to use a magazine in it instead of that drum. You almost have to have three hands to get that drum in and out and the bullets will keep clunking against the sides of the drum and give you away at night. The U.S. military would only use magazines in them for those reasons. It was designed for the military but the gangsters seemed to have used it before the military realized its advantages. Do you know who took delivery of the first several months of Colt's production of these guns? The Irish IRA bought all of the first ones ever made, and that's an honest-to-goodness fact," said Weiss.

"I can remember my father mentioning a factory purchase of Thompson submachine guns after the Easter Rising," said Pat.

"Yes, Thompson was the designer and he lent his name to it which will never be forgotten: The 'Tommy Gun'," said Weiss.

"Is this the Mark-1 Carbine that Moran has?" asked Pat while pointing to a carbine.

"Yes, it's the semi-automatic version of the M-1 Carbine, which you folks call the Mark-1. The one that Moran has is threaded to take the silencer and both the front and rear sights are changed so he can sight over the silencer. I knew that Moran could not obtain the bullets that he would need for this so I equipped him with a Lee Bullet mold and a lead dipper and we cooked up quite a few batches of wheel weights in a frying pan on the kitchen stove before he got the hang of molding his own bullets. Now, since those lead bullets had to be loaded together with the powder and primer in the brass case, I got him a Lee Loader and heated and squeezed the bottom of the plastic powder measure until it held the same duplicate amount of powder that my scales indicated was correct. He could then duplicate the exact weight without weighing the powder but by merely measuring it instead. I outfitted the gun with a brass catcher because they don't need to be finding his empty brass cartridges and since he has to manufacture these special bullets anyway then he might as well hang on to his old brass cases since they can be re-used. He also took along a thousand primers and copper gas caps: They don't take up much more room than a few packages of cigarettes. He took several pounds of powder with him too. The only other item he will need to shoot that carbine now will be lead and that can easily be procured from car wheel weights because they have the proper amounts of tin and antimony mixed in with the lead to give it the hardness that will make perfect bullets. I figured that this was one of the best arrangements for that type of operation."

"He's killed everyone that he's hit."

"Yes, I don't doubt that those bullets would do a job on a person. We fired them into wet newspapers and found they were going in sideways and turning. It's a highly destructive bullet but what we gained on that end we lost on the stability end. Those bullets are not accurate. He knows that he has to get really close but he's carrying some other carbine ammo that we also had to re-design too in case he needs to fire at a longer range. It's not the gun that's less accurate, only those special lead bullets."

"What about this new smaller barreled pistol type carbine?"

"Good for the Ulster boys but it's not for you. They don't even have the power of a .357 magnum pistol.

"How can they be better for one side than the other?" asked Pat.

"Simple, they have thousands of men to arm and have to find a way to give most of them something and this is a cheap way to do it. They can steal British Mark-1 ammo for them and you can't. How many men do you keep in the field--several hundred at the most, right? asked John Weiss.

"Right now less than two hundred active IRA men are active in Northern Ireland."

"So, you can afford to give these two hundred an Armalite that costs seven or eight hundred dollars. They certainly can't. I bought one of those pistols on sale for one hundred fifty dollars. I'll bet they even paid less. And besides England is supplying them with her old surplus Mark-1 ammunition for them. You can't get that. So, as I said before: Good for them but not for you. You are using the right weapon there with the Armalite. There is no doubt in my mind about that."

"I understood that the regular carbine bullet has twice the energy as the 9mm Uzi. Couldn't it be used to take the place of that?"

"Buy the Uzi. It's far more reliable and on top of that it uses standard 9mm ammunition that you can get anywhere in the world. The carbine pistol does fire that bullet with more energy than the Uzi but not double the energy. None of these bullets are going to expand anyway so velocity is not the critical factor here."

"Can you silence the Uzi?"

"Yes, but by using a special powder and modifying this carbine a bit we were able to have the final gas pressure reduced to far less than that coming out of the Uzi's barrel at the time the bullet is emerging from the barrel. We therefore got a much quieter gun than you would have normally with a regular silencer. Luck was on our side in this particular piece of engineering and I'd say that since it has proved effective, you need to make some more of these things and train people how to use them exactly like Moran is using them."

"So not all weapons are equally easy to silence."

"That is correct and some, like revolvers, can't be silenced at all. I love it when I see these ignorant people showing someone putting a silencer on a revolver on television. Revolvers just can't be silenced because of the gap between the cylinder and the barrel. Also the larger the amount of powder you have in the cartridge then the harder it is to silence. You can't silence some of these magnums."

"That makes sense."

"Most times the same bullet in a longer barreled gun is easier to silence because the gas is generally at a lower pressure by the time the bullet travels that extra length of barrel."

"I see," said Pat.

"A 22 is very easy to silence providing you use match ammunition."

"What?"

"Match ammunition is used in rifle matches. It is made to shoot slower than the speed of sound. The most popular .22 long rifle ammo shoots above the speed of sound and the bullet has to break the sound barrier as it gradually slows down. Cross winds and gusts will really de stabilize a bullet that is going through the sound barrier, hence accuracy deteriorates. So this faster, high powered .22 ammunition is never used at rifle matches where exceptional accuracy is needed."

"Ah," said Pat.

"That's why you can use a simple Maxim silencer on a .22 while the larger calibers--"

"Maxim?"

"Never heard of the Maxim brothers, Hiram and Hudson? Hiram invented the machine gun and later on he built a monstrous flying machine that actually lifted its own weight and that of several men off of the ground using a propeller turning steam engine. This was decades before the Wrights and it was the first machine that publicly demonstrated that this could be done. It never got too high and even if it did, the controls that Maxim made for it would never have controlled it. Maxim never claimed to have invented the airplane, although he did live to see the airplane, but he did claim that all of them flew using the principles that he had developed and this is partially true. His son Hiram Percy was the one who made the first silencer. Hudson Maxim developed all types of explosives that were extensively used throughout the world. He also invented the first practical torpedo and supplied most of the explosives that the Allies used during the first World War. He owned almost all of Lake Hopatcong, the largest lake in New Jersey and he put the fear of God into the local politicians of that state whenever they wanted to use the water from that lake for the big cities' water supply. Incidentally it has only been recently that the cities have won and that lake is being used to supply water faster than nature can replenish its water supply but that's getting away from things a bit, but anyway the name Maxim is practically synonymous with weapons."

"You sort of got away from what a simple Maxim silencer was, too," said Pat.

"Well the younger Hiram Percy Maxim got the idea for the silencer by watching water running out of a sink, or so he claimed anyway. When the water ran straight out it gurgled and made a noise but when it swirled out it was quiet: So Maxim made the gas swirl out through a series of baffles. You can make something like a simple Maxim silencer for a .22 rifle by punching out .25 diameter holes in the centers of soda bottle caps and stacking them in a long tube and clamping the tube to the rifle. It is not really the swirl that's needed, the many baffles reduce the noise. It's not quite as easy as it may at first seem because the tremendous pressure will try and blow the silencer off the gun and blow the disks out and the arrangement has to be perfectly planned and very rigidly mounted so that the centerline of all the holes stay perfectly lined up with the bore of the gun. Silencers for .22 rifles can generally be clamped to the rifle barrel but with the larger guns it is almost always best to thread the end of the gun barrel in order to attach the silencer."

"I can understand that," said Pat.

"If you attach a silencer to a gun then the gun has to be sighted in all over again."

"Why?"

"A gun barrel actually vibrates when it is fired and this vibration takes place before the bullet leaves; now with this silencer attached and trying to pull itself off of the barrel, this vibration is drastically altered and the bullet ends up in a far different place now with the silencer on than it did with it off. You will definitely have to sight the weapon in all over again once you install a silencer."

"You said before that larger types of weapons cannot use a simple silencer?"

"Right, the one Moran has is a three stage affair."

"What is added?"

"A compression chamber and another stage, also the brass catcher was especially designed to help muffle some of the rifle mechanism's clacking sound too."

"Could I see one of those?"

"Sure, but first, here's a simple small Maxim silencer mounted on a .22 rifle; see how thin it is? It's only a little over an inch in diameter. It's so thin that on this particular gun you can even use the original rifle sights."

"Now here's a three stage silencer," said John Weiss, handing Pat another silencer that was several inches in diameter. "It's so big around that it would block the view of the front sight of most rifles. This is why I had to alter the sights of Moran's Carbine," Weiss added.

"We need some more of those converted weapons," said Pat.

"The British aren't fools. It won't take them long to make Moran and his Carbine obsolete. How many people has he shot with the thing so far?" asked John.

"Six, all British soldiers, and as I said before, all dead."

"They must have at least one thousand troops out of their total of twelve thousand soldiers stationed there doing nothing but looking for Moran. Wow!" said John Weiss.

"We know the British will be on to us with effective countermeasures but we want about a dozen more of those modified carbines," said Patrick not revealing to his friend that already plans were being made in Ireland for Moran to train 12 more Irish IRA agents who had previously infiltrated into the English scene and who all now were traveling back to Ireland to take this crash course in this weapon when Moran returned. Patrick knew that the plan was going to be to hit the English not in Northern Ireland, where Moran was now killing soldiers, but the intense killing would simultaneously start in England itself and last for about three weeks with these new weapons and then these agents would all head back to Ireland again and out of harm's way.

John Weiss said nothing for a while and then agreed to do as much as he could on this end without breaking any American laws.

"As you know it's generally damp in Ireland and we have a terrific corrosion problem with weapons and I wanted your view on these new stainless steel guns that are now coming out," said Pat.

"Well, as of now, as these 1980s unfurl, that little Freedom Arms .22 revolver is a good tiny weapon if you are absolutely certain that a four shot maximum at very close range into a person's head is going to be enough. It holds five shots but it is not safe unless it's carried with an empty space under the hammer. And you have to take it apart into pieces to reload it so don't figure on getting more than four certain shots from it. Ruger puts out a stainless steel Mini 14 but you still would have to keep the regular steel springs and working parts well oiled and you could seal up your ammo and magazines in mylar bags with a hot sealer and store them. As of now though I only hear that the PPK will someday be made in stainless and all the rest of the stainless things that I have seen I wouldn't give you two cents for. I don't doubt that there will be some great stainless weapons made someday though. We have a damp climate at certain times here in Miami too and people tend to flood their weapons in oil to keep them from rusting and here oil is our biggest problem"

"Oil?" asked Pat.

"You are not deluged yet with oil in spray cans and neither do you have an abundance of these synthetic oils in Ireland yet like we do here especially around the airport. Jets use these synthetics and it gets brought home and somehow invariably gets put on guns and bang they will then blow up right in the person's face.

"How is that?"

"When a modern cartridge is fired, it develops, maybe, hundreds of thousands of pounds per square inch pressure, just in those first few microseconds. No gun can withstand this but they don't have to because it takes these few microseconds for the brass cartridge to swell and by that time the pressure has dropped to the point that the gun can withstand it. Ordinary oil only holds up to hundreds of pounds of pressure and gets squeezed out while the brass cartridge expands, but these synthetic oils hold up even under thousands of pounds per square inch. Synthetic oils and Castor oil do not get squeezed out and they start transmitting this deadly high pressure directly to the gun itself thus sometimes blowing it up."

"Good God! And those oils in the spray cans have this ability too?" he asked

"No, they will kill you in a different way."

"How?"

"Most of them are designed to penetrate and free things up and that the clinker here,"

"Oh yes! I know what you are going to tell me. I've read where penetrating oil has penetrated the primers and they fail to fire,"

"That's if you are lucky. But if the oil penetrates in from the bullet end in just one bullet and leaves that primer and everything else unaffected then that primer will have enough force to lodge the bullet firmly inside the gun barrel just waiting for you to shoot the next bullet and blow the gun up in your face. I do not understand the complicated theory of why a gun with an obstructed barrel will blow up but I know that there is always this possibility with a barrel obstruction of mud, grease, rust or a previously fired bullet that still remains in there. If you fire a gun with any of these obstructions inside the barrel then you will damage the gun and perhaps it will even come apart. Once you have seen a gun that was fired with a barrel obstruction then you will become a believer."

"You don't have to warn me about that. I saw one once and it came apart like it was all made of wood."

"People don't realize that when they spray a gun with bullets in it with WD-40 or similar sprays that they have started a slow action and maybe they still will be able to fire that gun in a few weeks but as the months roll by this oil will be slowly seeping into the powder and then when they hear the burglar some night, their gun might send them to the morgue instead of them sending the burglar there. Oil and guns mix. Guns and bullets mix but oil and bullets absolutely do not mix."

"I'm going to note that we put more emphasis on this," said Pat.

"While we're on this subject you might point out in your notes that a part of the training program should deal with these problem situations: Say for instance that you get a squib where the primer fires and the powder doesn't and the lead gets jammed into the barrel. Then lay the gun down for a few minutes with the gun pointing in a safe direction. If you try and get the thing out right away then you may find what you have is a 'Hang fire' slowly getting ready to go off and it may give you a face full of brass particles just when you open the chamber, so let the thing set for a while and cool your heels for a few minutes and this will put the odds decidedly in your favor. One other thing while we're on the subject of squibs: A squib when rapid firing a revolver is one of the most disastrous things that can befall a person because you may fire a cartridge immediately after the squib if your reflexes aren't fast enough to stop. If the gun doesn't blow up, then it will at least rocket back trying to sever your trigger finger or perhaps your thumb from the rest of your hand. You will badly damage your hand if this happens. For that reason alone, I do not like to rapid fire revolvers."

And the two men talked for hours about the pitfalls and the problems that arose as ordinary human beings attempted to utilize these wonderful toys that modern industry had thrust upon them.

* * * *

Moran had come to America and met John Weiss in 1979 which also was a violent year back in Ireland. The IRA had started the year off with explosions that blew up both halves of the world at once. IRA bombs went off tearing up fuel and oil works in Greenwich, England which is right smack on the zero longitude line which divides the world into two halves. Then a bit later the IRA also destroy several million dollars of busses in Belfast in another big blast, but the story of '79 is the story of John Boyle and the British SAS.

To the Irishman of today the British SAS (Special Air Service) has a place in every Catholic Irishman's heart that was, once upon a time, only reserved for another crack British force in Ireland called the 'Black and Tans'. Many glasses of Guinness have connected together each time a member of either the SAS or the earlier 'Black and Tans' were boxed up and dutifully shipped back to be buried in England. This latest English group, The Special Air Service had evolved during the Second World War over in Africa. It had originally been designed to be a commando unit that would sneak into German desert airstrips and blow up fuel depots and airplanes. Later they evolved into an elite anti-terrorist outfit and now the British were deploying them in Ireland so that they could sharpen their skills and keep better in practice and on their toes. This was certainly not the official English version as to why they were being deployed in Ireland but plainly they were not in Ireland now merely to get a rest. The Catholic feeling that these SAS are nothing more than a bunch of murderers is brought to the attention of a good many people in the world as two of the members of the SAS are charged with the murder of John Boyle. You see, John Boyle was a Catholic who had reported to the authorities that he had discovered a large batch of arms near his home in July of 1978. In 1979 when John Boyle returned to the site of his discovery he was shot with a hail of gunfire by the SAS. The British had all claimed they had only shot in self defense after this man had pointed a rifle at them but the bullets that killed John Boyle had all come in through his back. In the beginning of February two British soldiers are told that they will be charged with his murder. Later this same month eleven Protestant extremists, who went around murdering Catholics in their spare time, are all given lengthy prison terms and in Yeoville England a telephone caller warns the British to get their troops out of Northern Ireland while two bombs explode among shoppers in Yeoville's shopping area. Two youths are then killed near the border of the two Irelands as they stumble into a booby trap meant for British soldiers.

In March of '79 all England is in an uproar about a television programme where a leading doctor shows evidence of police brutality in British prisons. The Catholics all want more investigations and the Protestants all want such television programmes banned. March continues with an eight year old girl wounded by gunmen and a mortar attack on the base at Newton Hamilton kills one British soldier and wounds many others. Then come one of the really big ones when Richard Sykes is killed by some Irish freedom fighters after he leaves his home in Holland and is about to start his working day. One man shoots Sir Richard, the British Ambassador to the Netherlands, while another man kills the embassy worker who had helped Sir Richard into the motor car. Alyson Bailes, a secretary from London is also in the car but is not harmed and she along with others give the description of the gunmen to police but the perpetrators get clean away and are never caught. Sir Richard and the embassy worker are rushed to Westeinde Hospital, which is only a few hundred yards away, but there is no hope for either man. Sir Richard, himself at one time, had investigated the murder of Christopher Ewart-Biggs, Britain's Ambassador to Ireland and told all ambassadors to use body guards. Unfortunately, Sir Richard had failed to follow his own recommendations.

Only eight days after these murders came another world headline maker: Airey Neave the leading Conservative Member of Parliament, who was also Margaret Thatcher's right hand man, is blown to bits on the very grounds of Parliament itself in broad daylight not even 50 yards away from that famous clock tower "Big Ben". Airey Neave had been an outspoken critic of the IRA and wanted all of them to be given the death penalty. First on the scene was David Heal who said, "The car was swollen like a balloon by the force of the blast. There was glass everywhere . . ." Scotland Yard came on the television and asked all tourists that were taking pictures in that area to please turn in their film to them so that they could find a trace of the bombers but it was all to no avail because this bomb had a sophisticated timing device on it that allowed the Irishmen who planted it to do so well away from Parliament and from any tourist cameras.

In April of 1979 a building contractor looks in dismay at what is left after two IRA fire bombs start a mammoth fire in his headquarters in Londonderry. A car bomb explodes in Armagh injuring two police officers and some civilians and after this the IRA open up on an armoured car patrolling in the Catholic section of Belfasr: They kill one soldier and injure another one. Then four policemen are suddenly killed when they pull up beside a vehicle and it abruptly explodes. Right after this a prison official and a soldier are killed in broad daylight. The IRA then capture a railway train and blow up the train's engine which then stops all traffic on one of the main routes between the two Irelands. Some more bombs are then found in the Catholic section of Londonderry and the month of April ends with the IRA killing a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment.

May starts out with a suspected IRA man shot in his store and 29 men are brought to trial in Scotland on various charges which allegedly took place at the behest of Protestant paramilitary organizations. Fire bombs gut the entire building that housed one of Belfast's biggest real estate agencies and a teenager shoots and kills a member of the police reserve.

In June the IRA attack the Ulster Defence Regiment Headquarters in Belfast killing one soldier and wounding three others: They then burn up a building after holding their guns on the security guards while they make their preparations. Two soldiers and two former soldiers in the British Army are arrested as authorities look into the murders of two farmers that lived near the border. The IRA then bomb various hotels all at once in six different towns in Northern Ireland stating that this was done as an offensive against colonial rule. Bombs are also exploded in Londonderry

July begins with a bomb in County Fermangh badly injuring three soldiers and a woman and killing another woman. In the same month the Provisional IRA hijack a freight train and many motor cars and other vehicles and use these vehicles to block the roads leading to the border.

On August the 16th a newspaper article in the New York Times notes that this day marks the tenth anniversary of the day that England dispatched her troops to Northern Ireland. About half the month is over and people wonder if August will be the calmest month since these English troops have arrived but then a bomb explodes and slightly injures two policeman and about a week later a vehicle bomb blows apart some buildings in Dungannon. Then the month that started out looking like it might be the calmest turns out to be the most devastating month of them all. The apocryphal "Bloody Monday" arrives! This is an event that covers pages and pages in both Time and Newsweek and all the major world's papers for weeks on end and it is the very worst the British receive from the Provos in a single day; they loose eighteen soldiers and a slice of royalty right at the very top. The great, great grandson of Queen Victoria, Earl Mountbatten and some from three generations of his family are wiped out by an IRA bomb on the Earl's fishing boat the "Shadow V". He was Queen Elizabeth's cousin and a favorite uncle of Prince Charles and his death was a blow to that august family that had originally come from Germany to England many generations ago.

Very soon after the bomb went off inside the Shadow V, a quarter ton of explosives hidden inside a load of hay exploded as an army lorry carrying six soldiers passes by it. All six soldiers die. Then about a half hour later another bomb kills a dozen more British soldiers, bringing the total to eighteen. The British soldiers that are still in the area mistakenly open fire on close by civilians and some bystanders are killed and a youth that dies in this melee and is later found on the Republic's side of the border unmistakably dragged there by the British soldiers is none other than Michael Hudson, the son of one of Queen Elizabeth's coachmen. British military discipline indeed!

Several days later the outlawed Protestant Ulster Freedom Fighters kill a Catholic, who they say is an IRA man, at his Belfast home and then a near tragedy is narrowly averted when a traffic jam delays a British Military band from getting to the huge outside stage where they are scheduled to play. They arrive late and find that an Irish terrorist bomb has totally devastated the entire place. The pope, who had previously scheduled a trip to Northern Ireland, now decides against it and all of England is so caught up with security since Mountbatten's death that the police are kept working extra shifts and are kept on alert and now they even arrest that golden knight from John F. Kennedy's Camelot, Pierre Salinger, while he conducts an interview with a political activist.

In September the IRA kill the assistant governor to the Crumlin Road prison in Belfast and bombs destroy a tavern and a Post Office in a Catholic area. September ends with the Pope's visit to the Republic of Ireland where he begs the people to stop all the violence.

The coming of the Pope to Ireland gives the people some hope that there can be a possibility of peace, especially a few days later when Sinn Fein announces that their top echelon will all meet and discuss the Pope's proposals for peace, however those hopes are quickly dashed when Sinn Fein says that the Pope's visit changes nothing and they reiterate that the British have to leave Northern Ireland. They emphasize their remarks by machine gunning some former members of the Ulster Defence Regiment, one of whom dies immediately. It is at this time that Prime Minister Thatcher calls upon Maurice Oldfield to come out of superannuation and coordinate the police and army in their war against the IRA. Then in the headlines comes the remark from Princess Margaret to Chicago's mayor Jane Byrne that "Irish are pigs." but Lord Napier explains somewhat too late of course that she is only referring to the IRA. What this brings to mind, however, is the typical attitude toward the Irish by the well to do English Now-a-days they only tell their friends what they think but years ago when they were more powerful they told everyone what they thought because they were supreme and they thought they could make the Irish look like animals. Testimony to this are the pages in Punch Magazine which has been published since God only knows when and whose bound copies can be seen in many fine libraries around this world and whose pages contain plenty of pictures of Irishmen depicted with the face of a pig or monkey in their cartoons year after year after year.

November begins with the Chester Park Hotel being blasted to bits as part of a mass of other explosions throughout Northern Ireland and then Michael O'Rourke is arrested in Philadelphia for not being able to show how he got into the United States, but this was a charge that the Americans knew would stick. The British now claim that Michael had sent some of their best people through the pearly gates. They also claim that Michael is one of the IRA's best explosive experts. In November the trial of Frank McGirl and Thomas McMahon begins in Dublin. They are taken to Gaol by a suspicious constable and then while they are there locked up, the bomb goes off on the Shadow V killing Mountbatten and various members of the Mountbatten family. Now these two suspects are retained in custody and are charged with the murder. In the second week of November at a bus stop, where three prison officials have already been murdered, another is killed bringing the total to four. Newspaper reporters now flock to Dublin for the trial of McMahon and McGirl and police are stationed at every intersection along the route that the two will take on their trip from the prison to the court where a three judge tribunal will hear the case. The case opens and evidence of sand and paint from Mountbatten's boat and traces of Gelignite on clothing and footwear is put forward by the prosecution. What has to be remembered also is that these two were found 100 miles from the explosion and on the opposite side of the border from where the explosion took place and so the trial is being held in the Republic of Ireland which is the IRAs home territory, so to speak. Near the border, now, a British patrol sets off a mine killing one soldier and wounding his companion. Then the trial ends with the judges giving Thomas McMahon life in prison for placing the bomb on the Shadow V which they say the prosecution has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt but McGirl is found not guilty, the judges saying that the evidence against him is not only circumstantial but also inconsistent.

After the trial of McMahon and McGirl a Belfast prison official is killed at his own home and the police from the Republic find a bomb factory near the border; then a synchronized set of explosions occur throughout Northern Ireland which ends the IRA's November activity. But the Republic gets in a punch against them before the month is up by giving Desmond O'Hehir 9 years for an armament charge, which if he finishes serving, will make him eligible to be transferred up to Ulster where he is wanted on more than two dozen murder charges.

December of 1979 started with Thomas Mullen and Albert Taylor coming south from their homes in Northern Ireland and then being picked up in the Republic and charged with trying to murder Francis McGirl who the court had recently cleared in the Mountbatten murder. Perhaps he had some evidence that the judges didn't and had decided to be both judge and executioner. A Catholic is then killed while he is at home sleeping and the Ulster Freedom Fighters take credit for the murder saying he was an IRA man. Ireland's Prime Minister, Jack Lynch, is criticized for staying in Portugal on vacation and not coming back to Ireland as soon as he heard Mountbatten was killed. This completion of his vacation makes the North angry. Now as Lynch announces he will quit, the North's anger turns to fear as they realize that Charles Haughey, an outspoken foe of Ulster, will be the one who is most likely to take Lynch's place. Haughey had once been acquitted in an IRA arms smuggling deal. Before the first week in December is over, the British Army Headquarters in Lisburn is leveled and bombs are set off in two locations run by the Ulster Unionist Party. Haughey then becomes Prime Minister of Ireland and the British arrest two dozen people in England and claim that they have foiled an IRA Christmas bombing attempt. A few days later four British soldiers are killed in County Tyrone when a bomb turns their jeep into scrap metal and then two postal workers in England are injured when an IRA bomb goes off in their work places. In Belfast another prison guard is shot to death and Britains are warned about thick packages that the IRA are sending from Belgium that are blowing up after they are being received in England. Demonstrators against the British in Ireland throng to the Bayway Refinery in Linden, New Jersey and here they stay while Exxon gives Margaret Thatcher a grand tour of the facilities. The month of December ends with police still discovering and defusing the Belgium letter bombs and Prince Charles speaks at a memorial for his late Uncle, Louis Mountbatten.

* * * *

In a Catholic farming area, close to the city that is called Derry by the Catholics and Londonderry by the Protestants, a farmer was talking to a boy of about fifteen.

"How often do they come by then?" asked the boy.

'Several times a week," said the farmer and adding: "One week they came by here five times."

"Just Saracens or jeeps or lorries or what?" asked the boy.

"Oh, they know better than to bring any open vehicle such as a jeep up here. They have had quite a few bombs thrown into them even though they were quite a way from Derry. Sometimes a lorry will come by but mostly it's Saracens."

"How many do you usually see when they do come by?" asked the boy.

"They will never allow just a single vehicle to travel alone. If something breaks down then the IRA will be there shortly and can easily kill them all. Sometimes a Saracen and a lorry will come by, but mostly two Saracens, maybe two Saracens and a lorry. They seem to always travel up here in twos or threes," said the farmer.

"Thank you very much for your information," said the boy as he left and started walking down the road and looking at what he knew were the unmistakable tire tracks of an armoured vehicle at various places on the road.

He was one of the many scouts that the IRA had out and he would return with many other Catholic boys and tell what he had discovered about British troop movements in the area. Today when the boy arrived he was a bit frightened by the tall husky red-faced Irishman who he had been told to see. But the look on his face as he looked at the man must have told the man all and the boy saw a smile come over that man's rough red face and the man said, "I'm Jim McGrath, lad," and he offered his hand to the boy adding: "Been scouting for us now, have you? Well lad, you and all the others like you are our eyes and our ears. We need all of the information that you can give us about British troop movements. What have you for me today?"

"Do you have a map sir?" asked the boy.

Big Jim McGrath was taken by surprise but found a road map of the area and spread it out on the table, "Can you read one of these things lad?" asked the large man.

"Yes, and right here," the boy pointed to a spot, "armored cars and lorries regularly go down this road. The farmers say they go this way several times a week and I've seen the tracks myself sir. They are so heavy that they are even cracking that culvert. Could they crack it enough where they would fall in it?" asked the boy.

"Now exactly where is this culvert lad?" asked Big Jim.

The boy looked at the map and said, "Right about here sir," and pointed to a spot.

"How big is this culvert?" asked Big Jim.

"Oh, I can walk through it if I sort of squat, I've done it many times. That's how I know that it's starting to crack. You can only see those cracks from underneath though," said the boy.

"What's your name lad?" asked Big Jim.

"James Kenneley," said the boy.

"So it's Jim too that you are. Well Jim if you see any more armoured car tracks and find any more places that they regularly go, then you will come right to me immediately and tell me won't you?"

"Yes sir," said the boy.

"You have done a fine job Jim," and Big Jim and he shook the boy's hand and the boy left a lot happier than when he had arrived.

* * * *

Jack Lynch ran a metal shop in the Catholic section of Derry and he was instructing his son how to rivet, while over in the corner of the shop an old man sat next to a chunk of scrap aluminium that was clamped in a vise, and he was chewing on seaweed like some people chew on tobacco, and slowly but carefully using a body file, he rendered the piece of aluminium into nothing but tiny filings. Each rasp of the file every three seconds or so brought fourth another half teaspoon or so of aluminium filings. Now and then these filings would all be carefully brushed up and placed in a jar. Every so often the man would spit out some saliva and seaweed juice and empty his jar of filings into a barrel that was directly under the work bench. He seemed to be a permanent fixture in Jack Lynch's shop, forever chewing his seaweed and filing chunks of aluminium in the shop's big vise. Sometimes he was filing aluminium castings, sometimes a piece of thick aluminium sheet metal. Sometimes he was filing aluminium extrusions but always aluminium. Whenever Jack Lynch would need that particular vise, the old man would stop, but then usually he would be engaged in disassembling a junk motor cycle motor or something else whose component parts were made of aluminium and could later be placed in the vise and filed down into filings like all the aluminium before it. Some people said he was an old seaman now over ninety. He was hard of hearing but could recognize different people when they came in and he would give a hearty yell to some of the old timers when they arrived, but everyone just about gave up trying to carry on much of a conversation with him because he could not hear unless the person talking to him yelled into his ear and even then the message would have to be repeated several times before it effected a response from the old man. He seemed to enjoy his work and also seemed to enjoy the people who came in and waved to him. He had been there for years and everyone sort of expected that he would still be there for years more simply filing away at his chunks of aluminium. He stopped filing and waved to a person who had suddenly come in and the big man waved back at him. It was Big Jim McGrath who had come in and gone over to talk to Jack Lynch and these two were talking for a few minutes and then both left together leaving the boy to his riveting and the old man to his filing.

* * * *

A small motor car now stopped at the very culvert that the boy Jim Kenneley had visited that morning. A slim man with curly brown hair quickly jumped out of the motor car and down to the tiny creek that flowed through the culvert and taking a tape measure from his pocket, he measured the diameter of the culvert opening and then the length that lay under the road. He then measured the depth of the water inside the culvert and then he was quickly back up to the road again and away in his motor car headed toward Derry. He arrived at sort of a feed store where both Jack Lynch and big Jim McGrath were both waiting to meet him.

"What do you think Hugh?"

"It's perfect," said Hugh O'Neil, adding: "Give me a few minutes and I'll tell you exactly what I'll be needin'."

"Hugh is one of the best, big Jim. he's even been to England. It was him that blew a big section out of Westminster Abbey and a lot of those English blue bloods were ravin' mad about that. Destroyed their rotten heritage, Hugh did. And right in their own city of London too. He blew up the cannon room in the Tower of London, but a lot of school children were hurt and a person killed in that one; he doesn't like to hurt children and he won't talk about that one at all, but he's good. If he says it can be done then we are going to see some action here shortly. He'll be needin' a reliable, fast way out of here when he's finished." said Jack Lynch.

"I'm going to need a wooden floor for the culvert so the water can run under this floor and not soak the explosives," said O'Neil. "They can be made of inch thick boards 17 inches long. I'll be needin' a total of ten feet of these boards placed side to side. I'll need some ten foot boards to nail them to. I'll be needin' at least twenty bags of high nitrogen fertilizer. It must have a nitrogen content of at least 32% and preferably as high as possible. I want new stuff, not old stuff that has been around gathering moisture. I want a half ton of that fertilizer. I want two pounds of powdered aluminium. I want two bags the same size as those fertilizer bags filled with aluminium filings. I'll also be needin' most of a drum of diesel fuel. Get me the big drum, and I'll need either plastic or roofing paper to cover the whole lot to keep the moisture out it. Drop off eight sacks of the fertilizer to Jack Lynch and he will grind it up and add in the aluminium filings to it and we need another safe spot to add the diesel fuel to that and the rest of the fertilizer." said Hugh O'Neil.

"We'll get a place for you and I'll get in touch with you as soon as we have everything," said Big Jim.

"Meanwhile I'll be getting the Gelignite ready that I need for the core. I believe that I have enough to set this much fertilizer off," said Hugh.

Big Jim was an organizer and he went about getting in touch with the proper people that would put Hugh's plan to work. The road was already under surveillance by many Catholic eyes and Big Jim knew exactly what British vehicles were using the road and when they were moving. He also was making plans for Hugh to move out of Northern Ireland for a few weeks rest, south across the border, in the Republic. After successful bombings the British were always circulating pictures of known IRA bombers and Hugh was best to be situated in the south where this was not done. McGrath felt no Catholic would ever turn Hugh in but he knew every Protestant would if he recognized him from the picture.

* * * *

"Would you like a cup of tea Mr. McGrath?" asked one of the young girls in the family where he was staying.

"I believe that I will Kathryn."

"Here's the paper too Mr. McGrath. Someone blew up another bridge. Why does the IRA keep blowing up bridges? This is the second bridge that they've blown up in the past six weeks; I simply don't understand them," said Kathryn.

"Ah, thank you Kathryn, Well, I don't know why the IRA blows up bridges and things either, but then I'm a Catholic and I believe in God and I don't know why He does all the things that He does. I'm wondering about Him sometimes too, but I have faith in Him and since the IRA is on our side, I'll have to have faith in them too."

Big Jim took the paper and read about the bridge. He knew that after two bridges in less than two months that the British would be very cautious and extremely alert and he hoped that the success of this second bridge would not mean a failure here now. He decided to talk to Hugh O'Neil; they must find a way to camouflage these explosives so even if the British did look they would not believe they had found anything, but how?

There was a knock at the door and then it opened and it was Jack Lynch.

"We're crushing up the eight bags of fertilizer now and we'll add the aluminium tonight and Hugh wants to know when you think that we will be ready to put the entire thing together because if it's going to be more than a day or two then he wants to start sealing the individual sacks up in plastic bags so the moisture won't get to it," said John Lynch.

"Right, let's go over there now; I want to talk to him about that very thing," said Big Jim as he took the paper with him.

"That door is hard to open on your side," said Jack Lynch from the driver's seat as he pushed the passenger door open from inside the motor car. Big Jim sat down inside the car and the two men drove to Lynch's small metal shop.

"This bridge is nowhere near as badly destroyed as that one they did six weeks ago Jack," said Big Jim as he showed the picture in the paper to the driver.

"They should have waited until a whole convoy of British troops were crossing it, " said Jack Lynch with a smile on his face as they drove along the streets of Derry.

Big Jim had never actually seen fertilizer explosive being made before. This was something new to him as he watched the men crushing the fertilizer under rollers in a wooden box and they were adding the aluminium fillings at a ratio of four shovels of fertilizer to one of aluminium filings. He saw Hugh O'Neil looking at a wooden box with two thermometers in it that were lying side by side; one of the thermometers had a wet bit of cotton at its base.

"What is that?" asked Big Jim.

"A wet and dry bulb pair of thermometers," replied Hugh, as he looked at a chart which was glued to the back of the thermometer box.

"What does that tell you?"

"Tells me the humidity in the air."

"How the hell does it do that?" asked big Jim/

"Well the two thermometers are identical with the exception of the one on the left that has the wet cotton wrapped around its bulb so it will always read cooler than the one on the right. The less humidity that we have in the air then the more the water on the cotton will evaporate and the cooler the thermometer on the left will be compared to the one on the right. So I merely take the two readings and then look at the chart and where the lines cross then that's the humidity. This is precisely why I need to know that if we are going to have this setting for a few days then we need to start sealing all of this up into smaller separate individual plastic bags so the moisture won't get in."

"You had better start sealing then because, with that new bridge that blew, the British are going to be extra careful and cautious. They may even have people out checking the roads now and what I'm afraid might happen is that they will find this before we can fire it off. Is there any way that we can camouflage all of this?"

"Yes there is!" Hugh said and he smiled and added: "What you have to do is get some heavy sledge hammers and break some of those curved pieces from around the culvert on both ends. We'll make them think that the entire culvert collapsed one time and then someone threw in a smaller tile drain and then piled fill on top of it. I'll put tar paper over the explosive, then some chicken wire and a light coat of concrete and rocks and with those broken tile pieces sticking out it will look like a collapsed culvert for certain. We did it once before and it looked good," said Hugh O'Neil.

"Quite a bit to this bomb business, isn't there? why do a lot of them fail?" asked Big Jim.

"Mine don't," said Hugh. "The thing that you have to learn is that an explosion is nothing but a fast fire. But you must start it the very same way that you would start a fire. Would you try to get a log to burn by lighting it with a match?"

"No," answered Big Jim,

"Well this fertilizer explosive is a lot like the log." explained Hugh, adding: "A blasting cap won't do a thing to it. But the same blasting cap will set off several pounds of Gelignite and this will burn even hotter with some aluminium powder surrounding it. This, in turn, will set off about twenty-five pounds of fertilizer that I have crushed extra fine and mixed with aluminium bronzing powder. Around this I'll place all that stuff that Jack Lynch and the boys have mixed with the aluminium filings and some diesel fuel and after that comes the lot only mixed with diesel fuel alone. The whole thing depends on your knowing what burns the fastest and how much of each is needed. Just like lighting the fire, you have to know that the match comes first and then the paper and then the kindling and then the logs. It's exactly the same with explosives and if you don't know this then you haven't even started your bomb training. This is where you begin and those are the basic rules."

"We used to have a lot of them going off before they were supposed to didn't we?" asked Big Jim.

"That's right, more than you think too. I figure that more than 10% of our early bombs blew up before they should have, especially the pipe bombs. All you need is a tiny granule of explosive on the threads as you screw on the final cap and your life will end in a split second. This has happened far too many times. Black Powder is another thing that I'm still scared to death of myself. We still use it a lot now and even the slightest spark from some static electricity will set the stuff off. Black Powder, in a confined space, is far more dangerous than most people realize. The IRA now has been able to get some fairly good timing devices transistorized solid state units that simply do not ever fail. We are having a fairly high success rate with our explosives now. It wasn't always this way though," said Hugh.

"You use a lot of these fertilizer bombs?" Quizzed Big Jim.

"Any time that you hear of a motor car or lorry that was packed with explosives and went off, well, that's a fertilizer bomb. Dynamite and Gelignite are far too expensive and too scarce to waste that way. We use those things to initiate the fertilizer bombs," said Hugh O'Neil.

"If you want to blow up a house then you'd use a fertilizer bomb," said Big Jim.

"No, I wouldn't. I'd use five pounds of flour," replied Hugh.

"What?"

Sure, the inside of the house is supplying you with all the oxygen that you need for a good explosion. You are getting that for free so why not use it?"

"I don't believe that I quite follow you," said Big Jim.

"An explosion is simply an extra fast fire. You can either use the oxygen that is available to you in the air or you can provide the oxygen chemically. Gunpowder, Dynamite and those sort of explosives, in fact even our fertilizer explosive, all provide the oxygen chemically. Now, the piston inside a motor car engine also receives a push from an explosion but it uses the oxygen in the air instead of supplying its own oxygen. Now, we can produce an explosion the same way a car engine does. And something that is very important in every air explosion the same as in the car engine we must have our fuel air mixture exactly correct. In other words an engine's power starts falling off if the mixture is too rich or too lean. The same thing holds true for us if we want to use the oxygen in the air for one of our explosions. We have to match the correct amount of fuel with the cubic content of air inside the building."

"How do you do that?" asked Jim.

"Five pounds of flour is about right for a 4,000 cubic foot building; ten pounds for 8,000 cubic feet and so forth up the line."

"Yes, but what do you do with the flour?" asked Big Jim.

"Well, we do need a little explosive to distribute the flour. Take any can that is about a half inch to an inch larger than a beer can and about one and a half inches high and fill it half full of any good detonating explosive then fill the rest with aluminium powder. Put your blasting cap in the middle of it all and set the five pound sack of flour on top of this. When this all goes it will reduce the house to absolute rubble. You will even see the individual bricks and concrete blocks lying all over the place. For a building with double the cubic contents merely double everything. A half gallon of petrol or two pounds of painter's aluminium powder can be substituted for the flour with an equally devastating result. This is similar to a gas explosion. I know a boy in Belfast who took a piece of nichrome stove wire and wrapped it around a bullet and taped the wired bullet to a propane lighter and connected one end of the wire to the ignition switch and earthed the other end of the wire to the motor car. A British Major got in and drove the car for a few minutes until the hot wire cooked off the cartridge, rupturing and spreading the butane gas which mixed with the air inside the car permanently terminating both car and Major from Her Majesty's service."

"Good Lord! Only a lighter?" exclaimed Jim, adding: "Say you people seem to use a lot of aluminium when you make these bombs, don't you?"

"Definitely! Aluminium cans, foil, wire, thin sheets, these all vaporize with the explosion and produce a much hotter flame than we can ever get with only the explosive itself. The Saturn space rocket uses tons of it, by the way. This combination of aluminium and explosive was discovered during World War ll. We'd sure be out of business without aluminium. I can use every bit of aluminium that I can get my hands on."

The two men talked about bombs and the various ways that the IRA had destroyed with these while the entire group worked on the half ton of fertilizer explosive.

* * * *

Far to the south of them in the county of Armagh, not too very far north of the border between the two Irelands, another IRA group had already finished their bomb. They loaded it into a motor car along with their Armalites and other incendiary bombs. The leader gathered his seven men about him and said: "Let's go over it again, the last time. No one at the front of the castle until the bomb goes off. Keep your hands tightly over your ears or the bomb will deafen you and you won't be able to hear when we are inside the castle. If you fail to do this and you can't hear then maybe it will be you that gets killed and not them. Immediately after the bomb goes off then it's to the front door and through the breach. Half of you go to the dining hall and the others will come back in toward the library. Both of them must be killed first, then we set the incendiary bombs. We want the shell of that stone built Norman relic to be a reminder to the other people who head up these groups. Whenever they see this burned out ruin then they will know that the IRA will kill them and all the rest of their high class terrorist friends even though they live inside a veritable fortress."

Two motor cars with eight men and Armalites and bombs drove along a winding road in Armagh. The leader held a small hand held radio and was communicating with another IRA group and both were satisfied with the progress of the other. This leader had now received the message that he needed which was that the other group had now achieved its final objective of holding a certain group of people at gun point until the eight men now in the motor cars could achieve theirs. The two cars stopped close to an ancient Norman stronghold that had been beautifully restored and made into a splendid residence for some extremely affluent people. The grounds were immaculately kept and they provided a wonderful setting for this pristine ancestral home. Looking at it reminded one that he was looking back in time some seven or eight hundred years. It was undoubtedly the home of someone who had a great deal of both money and power. The IRA leader and one of his men now carried the bomb boldly up and fastened it directly against the massive front door.

"Damn! That door must be a foot thick," said the man to the leader.

"We're not here to study Norman architecture Jimmy. I've set it! Move to the sides of the building", yelled the leader and he scrambled to one side of the building which was a good distance from the front and right at his heels followed the other man. The noise of the explosion could plainly be heard even though they had their hands cupped tightly over their ears. All eight men now headed back toward the front door and found that the explosive had done its job well enough; the door stayed on its hinges but the breach was large enough for the men to get through, which they wasted no time at all in doing carrying their incendiary devices and their Armalites in with them. The four men who headed to the dining area found no one but they knew from the sound of the fully automatic bursts from their companions' weapons that the quarry had indeed been found. They followed the sound to the library and saw two men both shot in the head one an old man and the other middle aged. They looked like father and son.

"Let's get this God damned place burning," yelled the leader and the men went to different parts of the building and set the incendiary bombs.

"We give you this for shooting Bernadette Devlin you black lying Protestants," yelled the leader as the entire costly, massive residence was in flames. Now, as all eight men emerged back through the hole that they had blown in the front door, they started coming under gun fire.

"They are probably only reservists. Let them have half a magazine for every rifle flash that you see," said the leader.

They had expended half their ammunition and they were still under fire when the leader said: "We can't get to the motor cars men, so it's back over the border by foot, so give them a few last bursts and let's move out now towards those woods before the regulars arrive."

The Ulster Defence Unit was successful in keeping the men from their motor cars but they were not successful in keeping the eight from crossing the border which was only several hundred yards away. That night even the Republic thought that things might escalate too much if they also did not put out a search for the men that killed Sir Norman Stronge and his son and they were looked for on both sides of the border but not a single one of them was ever found.

* * * *

Captain Edward Holmes was thinking about his superannuation. He had started in His Majesty's Service in the very late forties. Egypt was his very first home away from home. Northern Ireland would be his last, and then it was back to England and his pension. He was glad that the British Government was supplying the Ulster Defence Regiment with training and weapons so that they could relieve the pressure on the British troops. He was glad too that Whitehall had decided that the British troops would man the borders now and leave the cities to the police and reservists. Britain, he felt, had borne too much of this problem already, and it wasn't their problem This was strictly an Irish troublesome situation and they should fight it out themselves. He was glad that he was finally out of Belfast and here in the countryside. Here it was peaceful and his mind turned back to when he first went in the service and was sent to Egypt. He remembered the dhows carrying all types of commerce silently along the Nile with their great sail tilted at an angle. The evenings were simply beautiful there. He thought about Ismalia on the Suez and how the natives had all gone on strike and wouldn't wash the clothes or cook. He thought of how sugar cane tasted when you chewed the woody stuff; he had chewed it many times back in Egypt when he was young, yes, that was the best place. He thought of the Sphinx, Abu hole, the native Arabs called it which meant the corn god and the pyramids which they called Ahkrahm. Those were good times that we had in Egypt, he thought, and then he thought how Egypt had changed and how it had become, in the early fifties, like Ireland today and then he remembered his good friend who had died when the mob burned down the Turf Club and Shepherd's Hotel early in '52. Even the king of Sweden had joked that "Egypt is too hot for Britains." But Edward Holmes had managed to survive. Now he wanted to think of more pleasant things and he thought of Hong Kong. There was absolutely no better place on earth as that for a British soldier. Oh, how many trips had he made with the Star ferry from Victoria to Kowloon? Hundreds? Or perhaps even a thousand? It had cost practically nothing. He could still remember some of the names: Morning Star, Shining Star, Northern Star, Evening Star and God knows how many others that the Star Ferry Company had, and they were always kept in first class shape and were run efficiently. God, how he was proud to be English when he thought about Hong Kong. The Queen wore a crown on her head on the pictures that were printed on the bills and stamped on the coins in Hong Kong because this was a Crown Colony which England ruled completely. Once England had colonies like this all over the world. "The sun never sets on the British Isles" was the phrase. He thought to himself that it must have taken soldiers like me to maintain that empire, living their whole lives away from home and then coming back to be superannuated. His thoughts returned again to Hong Kong and Victoria and Victoria Peak. Oh yes, many times had he taken the Peak Tram up, before dark, to Victoria Peak and then watched Hong Kong Harbor from his lofty spot on top of the mountain. Of all the beautiful sights that he had ever seen, and he had seen many from all over the world, none even came close to the sight of looking down from Victoria Peak just before evening and watching all the lights come to life in Hong Kong Harbor below as it got dark. There was nothing to describe it. It simply overwhelmed a person. And the girls, plenty of them and also beautiful. Nathan Road would come alive with them after dark. England had to keep Hong Kong. As far as keeping Ireland, if it was up to Captain Edward Holmes, then he wouldn't have contributed even one brass farthing to keep it, especially the Irish cities. How he hated Belfast, and tomorrow he had to go to another of their abominable cities: Londonderry. He had to bring back two armoured vehicles for the Border Patrol. A lot of good they were now anyway; the IRA weren't firing their Armalites at these anymore because they knew that was useless. Now they were firing thirty calibre armour piercing bullets which would sometimes penetrate and go ricocheting all around inside, bouncing off all the walls and making the thing a death trap. It was far better to be outside than inside when one of those bullets came through and started bouncing around until it came to rest inside a person's body. He'd take his chances in the lorry, he thought. Now his mind drifted: Another good place to be stationed was Malta. That was good duty and now he smiled thinking of the Italian Admiral who was supposed to have shelled Malta with his ships and who had radioed back to Italy that now he was at the correct latitude and longitude with his vessels but that there was no land of any type to be seen so probably Malta no longer existed, in fact It must not exist anymore because it simply wasn't there. And then Captain Holmes fell asleep.

* * * *

While Captain Holmes slept, far out at sea inside a Russian trawler, a radioman listened to a radio that was tuned to 3.65 megahertz. Every now and then he would sweep the frequencies around that point and listen because he did not know how stable the transmitter was on the Irish fishing vessel. the Russian Government took great pride to make absolutely certain that all their transmitters were transmitting on the exact frequencies that they were supposed to but this radioman knew that a good many other transmitters were found to be way off the mark when they were finally found. So he searched the band and then he heard the call that he was expecting. It was being transmitted in Morse Code.

"CQDX CQDX CQDX DE DL4MX DL4MX CQDX CQDX . . ."

Anyone picking up that call and interpreting it would think that it was a German Amateur Radioman wanting to talk to some other long distance station on that frequency.

The Russian radio operator, out of habit, checked the frequency of the incoming signal: More than three thousand cycles off! This was not good for a Russian station but this was fair for the average transmitter, he thought to himself. Now, the Russian operator used his Morse code key and sent the coded reply. Then followed an exchange of messages between the two. Less than two hours later the two vessels were side by side and now out in the open sea, miles from nowhere, the IRA were receiving their very first consignment of Russian made weapons.

* * * *

It was night back in Derry (This is if you are Catholic Londonderry if you are Protestant). Both Catholics and Protestants are all off the streets at this late hour and are now back safely in their own homes. Some are listening to the last nightly news of the British Broadcasting Company which everyone knows simply as BBC. The news is always the last show and it is followed by a portrait of the Queen on the tele screen and music which a German would sing as "Heil Dir im Siegerkrantz, Herrsher des Vaterlandes" and an American would know as "My country 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty". The English, however, have entirely different words for it and many of them know all these words by heart and enjoy listening to them each night as BBC broadcasts them as the final sound to her daily television broadcasts. But at the very instant or even at the very instant just before the Queen's picture and the music come on, every single tele in a Catholic house is switched off lightning fast. This happens in a quarter of a million Catholic homes on both sides of the border and a person would immediately know if the neighborhood was Protestant or Catholic by seeing or hearing if all the teles were still turned on or off after this. Even though it is deemed a mortal sin to miss mass on Sunday, non-the-less it has been known to have been done. What is not done, however, is letting the tele stay on so that "God Save the Queen" will emanate from it if you are a Catholic. In fact some of the Catholics, who have tape players, will even play "The Soldier's Song" which is the anthem of the Republic of Ireland. The news had now ended and Hugh O'Neil, Jack Lynch and Big Jim, all in different locations, switched off their television sets. This was the time they had all agreed upon to get together so that they could place the explosives inside the culvert.

* * * *

A person who did have his set still turned on in Londonderry was Lieutenant William Forsyth-Clarke. The Queen's picture and the accompanying music would instill feelings in him that it could in very few other persons. He was from an old established family who considered him to be the 'black sheep' of the family: He was the outcast who waded through muck and the excrement of sheep and carried a fifty pound pack through the mountains of Wales and not resting until he and his regiment had covered more than forty miles in a twenty four hour period. His more intelligent cousins were attending the very best schools in England while he was in some insane outfit called the 22nd Regiment of the Special Air Service getting real bullets shot over his head and all about him and at the same time being deafened by sirens wailing in his ears. But all of this training was long past and now he sat back and watched the Queen's portrait and listened to the words: "Send her victorious, Happy and glorious . . ." Yes, they meant a lot to him. Of all the Forsyth-Clarkes, he was the only one who had actually spoken with the Queen and, in fact, with the Royal Family as well. That was something that he could never forget! He and nineteen of his comrades were there all in their uniforms, but without the hoods and bulletproof clothing which the television screens around the world showed them in immediately after they had successfully accomplished what they had been trained to do. When they stood before the Queen they had on their Berets with the winged sword and the words across: "Who dares Wins". Lieutenant Forsyth-Clarke and his colleagues had been selected out of his 900 man regiment to stand by in full readiness when the Iranian Embassy at Princess Gate, in the well to do Kensington section of London, was taken over by the radicals. These terrorists were holding 19 hostages. And the iron willed Margaret Thatcher who had recently been elected Prime Minister vowed that she would never allow them to go to a friendly country as so often happened in other lands. Only the Israelis had a policy quite that tough. Every other country was glad to be rid of the radicals that hijacked planes and occupied buildings but Margaret Thatcher was determined to prove to the English people that this was not the correct way to play the game with terrorists. These twenty hand picked soldiers had previously been trained and were considered to be the best of an ultra secret commando unit that itself was considered to be the 'Cream of the crop' in the entire world by many military minds. William Forsyth-Clarke and his friends had been taught how to rescue hostages from every conceivable place. He had been instructed in lock picking and he was familiar with all types of underwater diving equipment. He had parachuted numerous times and knew all the sabotage methods that the military knew about and even knew all the ways to kill a man in unarmed combat.

A scale model of Princess Gate was built as soon as word came that the terrorists had taken over and William and his comrades practiced for several days until they all knew exactly what they had to do if the moment came. It was Home Secretary William Whitelaw who threw the dice and made a decision that if a hostage should be killed then immediately the SAS would go in and take the hostages out by force. But the British government would not fire the first shot. It was the radicals who sealed their own fate when they sent out the first body of their first victim after holding all of them for six days. The British commando unit went in within the hour after that body came out. They did all of the right things at the right time. They killed five of the six radical Arabs while they were still disorganized from the stun grenades and lightning fast attack. Even though the Arabs had their guns in their hands pointed at the hostages, only one hostage was shot and killed and several wounded, which was a small price to pay considering the odds. This event was televised around the world and these 20 commandos were celebrated back at their secret base at Hereford, close to the border of England and Wakes. No one, however, would ever know that William Forsyth-Clarke had ever participated in that raid, no one except a few, that is, because it is the policy of the British Military to keep the identity of all the men in these anti-terrorist squads an absolute secret. These 20 unknown men, more than any other factor, gave the English people confidence in Margaret Thatcher.

This was all in sharp contrast to the American debacle in Iran. Colonel Charles Beckwith, who headed the abortive raid to free the American hostages, a short time before this event at Princess Gate, did exactly the opposite and screwed up badly. It cost Jimmy Carter the presidency.

William Forsyth-Clarke sat watching the tele and thought about all of this and how the exploits of just a few soldiers could make or break the person who sits on the pinnacle of power. The British National Anthem had ended and the picture of the Queen was no longer on the tele and William Forsyth-Clarke switched the set off and went to bed, He had to be up early tomorrow to pick up a new type armoured car in Londonderry.

* * * *

Even if Jack Lynch and Big Jim McGrath and Hugh O'Neil had heard the strains of "God Save the Queen", they would never have had the same feeling of satisfaction of hearing it that William Forsyth-Clarke had. To all the Irish it was the tune of the devil himself and they had other more important things on their minds. These three men had brought two lorries to the culvert. One was loaded with the explosives and the other had other items that they needed to construct their masterpiece. They first brought out heavy sledge hammers and went down to the culvert and broke out some chunks of the big curved cement tube. These would be used later and when cemented to the outside of the explosive mound, would make anyone inspecting the culvert think that it had caved in at one time or another and that the mass of substance that was now partially blocking it was not explosive but fill that had been dumped in over a new smaller culvert so that the road over the stream could again be utilized. When this was done then the wooden floor was laid inside the culvert. Now with the water running under the wooden floor, they had a dry place to work. Hugh already had the blasting cap imbedded in the Gelignite surrounded with aluminium powder, and then twenty five pounds of very finely crushed fertilizer mixed with painter's aluminium powder and sealed in plastic bags was then placed in a domed layer over the Gelignite core. The wires from the blasting cap were run outside where Hugh was now connecting them to a device which lay in the middle of the road and which was connected to other devices, sort of like a spider with many legs spread out in several directions. Under him the other two men were piling the bags of crushed fertilizer, that had been mixed with aluminium filings, in a layer completely covering the earlier components. After this came the remaining layer of bags of fertilizer that had been mixed only with diesel fuel and this was not only on top but on the sides of the previous mound which now almost completely blocked the inside of the culvert. Hugh had made it clear that he wanted the Gelignite core to be dead centre so that the heat from this core would be generated from the inside outwards.

This entire mass was now covered with tar roofing paper and then chicken wire over which a thin coating of concrete was troweled. Rocks and broken pieces of culvert were then added to give the impression that there had been a temporary repair to a cave in. They went up to the top of the road when they finished and Hugh was completing covering up the places that he had torn up in the road with a five gallon can of a black substance which matched the asphalt color of the road and which made the repair less discernible.

"That's it boys. Let's get the hell out of here!" said Hugh and the trio took the two lorries back to Derry. Big Jim was driving one of the lorries and Hugh was sitting next to him.

"What makes you so sure that a big lorry won't set that thing off?" asked big Jim.

"This particular device, that will initiate the explosion, is strictly from "Star Wars" and if I told you how it worked, you wouldn't believe me," said Hugh.

"Try," said big Jim.

"It has a memory and is now going to remember the magnetic field change of the various vehicles going over it. It also contains a clock and it contains a computer. It is now going to compare all the magnetic fields of the vehicles passing over it. It knows that it has to explode a vehicle with a much larger magnetic field than any of the average vehicles passing over it. It is going to be looking for a vehicle with much more steel than the average lorry. It is going strictly by the science of statistical analysis. If its clock and the number of vehicles tells it that it has enough information, it then tries to find something with a much larger field shift, which will be the Saracen. It will then let the first one pass but it will remember it, and God help the second one that tries to go over that culvert," said Hugh.

"Where do you get things like this?" asked Big Jim.

"This happens to be made by a company in England which has been trying to sell them to the military but to no avail. We happen to be their biggest customer and we even sent an American to England once so he could help put this prototype into production. They have some real brains in that organization and it's a shame that they don't have any connections in the Government. I was even considering buying shares in that outfit. Their devices are first rate, high state of the art, merchandise; they haven't been discovered yet is all. If you have some money to spend and you want a stock that will go up--"

"An English company! Are you crazy?

"Well, they always have been investing over here haven't they? Why let them keep making money off of us? Why not let them make us some money for a change?" said Hugh.

"That is certainly weird. But you know it does make sense, I do have a little money that I was thinking of investing. What about taxes? Would I have to pay the British government taxes?"

And the conversation continued while the two men drove back to Derry.

* * * *

In the Protestant section of Londonderry, two men were engaged in another conversation; one was a soldier and the other a civilian.

"What is the difference between it and the regular Saracen?" asked the Soldier;

"The armour mainly. The metal armour is entirely different, It should withstand those high powered thirty calibre bullets that the IRA are now firing and that now occasionally come through the sides of the older Saracens," answered the man in civilian clothes.

"Are you going with it?" asked the soldier.

"Yes, It's still under evaluation and I have to advise the people in the field on different welding techniques because this new alloy is heat treated somewhat differently and I have to show them the new welding practices that have to be used on this new armour."

"I hear it's going to be used on the border," said the soldier.

"Yes, it will be here for several months. Even though we think that it's perfect right now, field tests always show up situations where things should be modified for better results. After it gets a good work out in the field over here then it goes back to England where it will be magnafluxed and dye checked to find even the beginnings of the slightest cracks that may be starting to form. This way we can be assured that our production models will give years of trouble free service."

"You sound like a motorcar salesman--you're not selling it to me mate," joked the soldier.

"Sorry," laughed the civilian who simply shook his head and walked away.

William Forsyth-Clarke had been waiting all morning and was now told that it would be well after one o'clock that another Saracen would be ready to accompany him and the new armoured car to the border where his group, the 22nd Regiment of the SAS would give it the field tests.

One Saracen had been sent that morning but it had broken down so another one was being dispatched. Lieutenant Forsyth-Clarke had been told to ride with the civilian and pick up all the information that he could, on the way to Armagh, about the new armoured car. He was told that, even though they were anxious to put this new vehicle into service on the border, there was no need to rush and that they should proceed with the utmost safety rather than speed. His commander also wanted him to furnish a short written report of his initial findings with this trip in the car through Londonderry, Tyrone and Armagh Counties. He needed a small pocket sized notebook to jot down the things that he observed during the journey and he remembered that his girl friend had given him one but he had never used it because it had a picture of a Koala bear on it and he didn't want to get ribbed by his buddies for carrying around that thing with him, but he needed a note book like that for this trip and now he unpacked his things until he found it and then he put it in his pocket and took it with him. Finally the Saracen arrived and he rode inside it to another part of Londonderry where the new armoured car was waiting along with the civilian who would be taking the trip with him.

"Glad to see that you people could finally make it," said the civilian.

"I certainly hope this new car is better than the ones we are using now," said Lieutenant Forsyth-Clarke.

"Yes, come on over here. I want to show you a few things about it before we start on this trip," said the civilian as he pointed out various new features in this latest vehicle.

"We won't have many of these armoured cars left in the cities if we keep taking them all to the border," said one of the soldiers.

"You're bloody right Jack. I've taken two of them myself, but to the west border, not all the way down to bloody Armagh," said another.

"The Ulster Defence Regiment has over three thousand trained men in it now and they are supposed to take over here in the cities and we are supposed to guard the border so we will all be out of the cities anyway," said a third soldier.

"I can't see why they are sending us all the way to Armagh when they have cars in Belfast that they can send there."

"Ours is not to reason why--Ours is just to do or die," said another soldier.

"Bloody Tennyson himself we have here mates," said the driver as he climbed into the Saracen. "And I think it's do and die , not do or die, Mister poet," he added. He then grabbed his microphone and pressed the button and said into the mike: "I hope you have a radio installed in that brand new thing. We have four on board and will move out first."

"Affirmative," came the reply. We have five; that totals nine, so that's all of us. We will be right on your tail."

"If we leave right now we should be able to get to the first stop in time for tea," the driver of the lead Saracen said into his microphone.

William Forsyth-Clarke who had been speaking to the soldier in the lead vehicle and writing in a leatherette note book with a beautiful multi-colored Koala Bear pressed into the cover, now started up the brand new armoured vehicle and, looking for some place to hold his note book, found a piece of pipe of the right size so that when the note book was curved a bit, it slipped right in. He pushed the note book into the pipe, and now with his hand free he grabbed the microphone and said, "Right O."

The two armoured vehicles now moved into the streets of Londonderry heading into the countryside, with the old style Saracen in the lead and the latest model behind it.

* * * *

Tom Mahoney was the oldest of three brothers and he would someday own his father's small farm. His father had to mortgage the farm each time he sent away one of his brothers and now Tom, being the oldest, would have the responsibility to finance his four younger brothers so that they could now emigrate from Ireland. His one brother John seemed to be inclined to the priesthood so there was a good chance that he would not have to be paying for him but that still made three that he would have to obtain the money for. His father was even yet paying off the mortgage that he had borrowed to send Tom's uncle off several years ago but it would be paid for soon if all went well. He dreaded to think what it was going to cost to send his brothers away and the interest that he was going to have to pay for borrowed money when they had to go, but being the oldest brother meant that the farm became his and sending the younger ones off was his responsibility. He made certain that his children never went without food and his wife had managed to keep them all in clothing with the little money available for that and he was satisfied with all of his children. They all helped out whatever way they could and he never had complaints from anyone in the Catholic school about any of them. They never complained and pestered him to buy them things that he couldn't afford as he had seen happening in many other families. He had impressed upon his entire family that their first and primary goal was getting the farm paid for and not having that mortgage on it any more. It was this farm that gave them their house and their food and what money they did have. Without it what would they do? The farm came first and he was thankful that they all realized it.

One of his daughters was Mary Mahoney; she was eleven years old and she had lost the spelling contest by only one word. She and another girl had outlasted all the other children and then she missed one word and the other girl spelled it correctly and won. Just one word! She had studied and studied for this day and she had prayed to the Blessed Virgin but she had lost. Sister Theresa saw the tears beginning to form in her eyes and held her and said quietly to her: "God never gives us everything that we want, sometimes we get surprised." She didn't quite understand what the nun meant but she took comfort in the fact that Sister Theresa held her close and had understood. The prize had been a set of rosary beads and she had wanted them so much, and just because of one word. Every time she thought about it she started to cry. Mary Mahoney had no idea that she was one of the poorer children in Ireland. She did know that a lot of the Catholic children had more things than she did and the Protestant children who went to their own schools and who no one here ever associated with, had all kinds of things and toys she was told but that never bothered her. She was a perfectly happy and contented child and she never even minded the walk of a mile from the farm to her school unless it was raining hard. Today it wasn't raining but every time she thought about that rosary and missing that word, her eyes became moist again. But this day as she walked home, she saw that there were a lot of people up ahead; they were all over the road. There were an awful lot of soldiers too, and as she approached the large group of men, several came toward her.

"You can't come through here!" said one of the men.

"But I have to go over that little bridge to get home," she said.

"That little bridge is gone. It's only a big hole now!" The man yelled as he came closer. Then he said: "Go out in the field. You'll have to cross the stream over there." The man pointed in the direction of the field and said again to her once again, "Cross over there. You can't come this way."

So she went out into the field and then before she came to the stream she took off her shoes and socks, and then she crossed. There were soldiers scattered all through the field and they were picking up pieces of metal and things and bringing them back to the road. A soldier passed right alongside her while she was putting her shoes back on. He was carrying pieces of metal and one of the things he had, looked like a piece of bent pipe, and while he was carrying it, unknown to him something slipped out and fell where the girl could see it. She ran over to it and picked it up. It was beautiful, she thought, if only I could keep it! Oh, I know what kind of a bear that is. That is a Koala bear, she thought to herself, they live in Australia. About that time the soldier turned around and saw a little girl with red eyes holding a small leatherette note book with a Koala Bear on it and she said to the soldier who was looking at her, "Are you going to take this too?"

The soldier didn't have the slightest idea that the note book was part of the wreckage and he said to the little girl, "No, we'll take your guns and explosives from you when you get bigger but we don't need your school books, you bloody little Taig."

She had forgotten all about the spelling quiz now as she walked the rest of the way home. Every now and then she would steal a glance at the note book and hold it close to her and then when she was well away from all those people and she was certain that no one could see her, she knelt down and prayed and thanked the Blessed Virgin Mary for giving her the Koala Bear.

"I'll keep him forever," she said.

And then she thought about Sister Theresa and what she had said, "God never gives us everything we want, sometimes we get surprised." Sister Theresa was right, she thought.

About the same time that Mary Mahoney arrived home at her small farmhouse, Hugh O'Neil arrived on the other side of the border and was now safely in the Republic of Ireland. Captain Holmes was arriving back at his base with a disabled Saracen that had broken down earlier that morning. He was stunned to hear the news that one of the two armoured cars that was on its way to the border had been blown to bits by a very large bomb. Had his Saracen not broken down, it would have been one of those vehicles. That was the very trip that he was supposed to have made.

* * * *

Another group were now arriving at the border. A small motor car with three Catholic teenagers was now leaving Ireland and crossing the border to Northern Ireland through the woods. They felt that their crossing the border in this manner was to everyone's best interests. They were part of the Provisional IRA--or so they claimed.

Many credited Gerry Adams with making the Provisional IRA, or Provos as they are sometimes referred to in some parts, into an efficient organization that terrified its enemies. While Adams may not admit to this, he would be the first to admit that some of the IRA men were far less disciplined than he would like them to be. The three in the motor car now crossing the border had to be in that category. Each of these young men spoke Gaelic. Gaelic is a mixture of an ancient original language of these islands with Latin. Gaelic is the only language spoken in the high rocky hills and in small settlements of both Ireland and Scotland and on some of those small islands that have been able to stay out of the mainstream of mankind's so called improvements that have been taking place since the bronze age. Many Irish have long resented the fact that they have lost this native language to English, and the Irish Government is committed to keeping the Gaelic language alive. One of the ways that they do this is by granting people a sum of money every year if they swear that they will speak only Gaelic and not even one word of English for that entire year. For most people this would be impossible to do, but for the shepherds and those people up in the hills who only speak Gaelic anyway, this means easy money for almost no extra trouble at all. In some of these small mountain communities where almost everyone is collecting this Gaelic check, a stranger speaking English could literally starve to death before anyone would ever talk to him because they would think that he was a government inspector trying to catch them up speaking English. Each one of these three boys now coming across the border came from communities such as these. All three of them had been collecting this easy money but all this affluence led all three of them into the large cities that had buildings with giant plate glass windows through which they could see all these wonderful items to buy. It was in the purchasing of these items in the city and signing over their Gaelic checks for this merchandise that alerted the inspectors who knew they had to use English to buy from these stores. These three then lost this easy money and their prime reason for remaining in the hills.

The speaking of Gaelic and the IRA seem to be two things that go together. There are over two thousand IRA prisoners in the Maze Prison about 15 miles from Belfast. The only language that these prisoners will speak is Gaelic. Any IRA man who doesn't know it when he goes in, is taught it inside by the prisoners. The Maze has probably done more to keep Gaelic alive than any method that the Irish Government could ever hope to implement.

* * * *

One of these three boys might well have stayed up in the hills around Dingle collecting his government money but one of his rich relatives, over in the States, was his undoing. His American relative sent this boy a black powder pistol which were becoming quite numerous now in the States because they did not have to be registered and could be sold through the mail and were simply not classified as a firearm by the Federal Government even though this large caliber model that the boy now owned would down a person with every one of its six shots. Similar pistols had killed many an Indian in the days of the wild west. Not only that but this boy swiftly discovered that he could manufacture about everything he needed for his new gun right in his own kitchen. This boy then left the hills of Dingle and found the simple recipe for making black powder in the Carnegie Library in Tralee and the ingredients in the chemists shop there. Unfortunately for him though, this is where the government inspector caught him speaking English. This eliminated his easy money that he needed to continue purchasing these various items in Tralee. But he had, in the meantime mastered the methods that he needed to make the pistol function correctly. He was then the proud owner of a firearm that would fire six 44 calibre shots, each one of which carried a mortality potential far greater than what a shot from the local constabulary's weapon could deliver. This boy then left the hills of Dingle and found two other companions and the three of them managed to procure a motor car from an unsuspecting American tourist that they promptly took north with them contemplating heroic exploits as IRA men.

These boys knew well that the IRA would rob Banks and Post Offices in the Republic of Ireland, and then use this money to obtain the necessary items that they needed on the other side of the border to grapple with the British soldiers and the multitude of other unfriendly Ulster Defence groups that the North had put together, These British soldiers and Ulster police types were all put there for one purpose and that was to discover IRA men and deliver them either to the Maze or the grave and preferably to the later.

At one time England had maintained between twenty and thirty thousand troops in Northern Ireland, but the constant killing of soldiers and high government officials by the IRA was having its effect on the English citizenry who were putting more and more pressure on their Members of Parliament to ask in the House of Commons that these troops be brought back home. Recent polls showed that twice as many people in Britain now wanted these troops out as compared to those who wanted them to stay. Parliament had no other alternative but to start the troop reductions, and now the force of British soldiers stood between 11,000 and 12,000 men. But before removing them, Britain had armed and trained various Irish Protestant para-military units in Ulster to take the place of the departing British soldiers.

No doubt that it is this great amount of military preparedness in the north that is the predominant factor for the North having a great scarcity of bank robberies as compared to the Republic in the south. It would be a dull year indeed if the IRA were to get their bank robberies down to a hundred a year in the south. No doubt this causes much ill will in their friendly territory but they would not fare nearly as well up in Ulster, so their preference is to rob banks in the south.

The three young men, inspiring to be heroes, had a day of confusion with their new motor car and they kept getting lost. Intensive concerted mental effort on the part of all three of them finally paid off when they ultimately discovered how a road map worked. After this, they became rather good at navigating the roads of Ireland. The tremendous success that they had collectively achieved in this new field of endeavor now gave them a new confidence in themselves as IRA men and they now felt quite ready for their first bank robbery.

It was nothing other than the hand of fate that sent them to a small bank in Meath County less than a hundred miles from the Ulster border. This bank was run by a clever Scotsman whose last name was Law and who could trace his ancestry way back to a certain John Law whose banking activity in France had been a wonder to behold until it all came suddenly unglued and brought that nation its worse banking calamity ever. This modern Mr. Law did not think much about his illustrious ancestor, but he most certainly did think a lot like him and he perceived that it would only be a matter of time until his own bank would eventually be robbed. Mr. Law had done much thinking of exactly what he would do when this event happened. As he did not feel the value of being a hero was worth anywhere near as much as becoming really rich, his contemplations were more toward the latter effort. There was absolutely no reason, he thought, why he couldn't make more from the bank robbery than even the bank robbers did--that is, if he did everything right and everything was carefully planned.

One dark and rainy morning three teenagers all wearing the IRA garb of black berets and sunglasses, entered Mr. Law's bank and one of them held a rather large stainless steel revolver with the words 'Old Army' plainly stamped in large letters on its side. He pointed this massive gun at one of the bank clerks and demanded the bank's money. Mr. Law himself was soon personally at hand to do the robbers bidding and now it was Mr. Law himself who proceeded to fetch all the bags of money for these robbers to take with them. The teenager with the gun had fired it outside, but never inside, and now that Mr. Law seemed to be taking excessively long in getting all of this money, this impatient robber fired four quick shots at different lights putting them out and instantly filling the small bank with the pungent, caustic black powder smoke which made everyone (including the robbers) gasp for breath. All the money was then handed over and with their eyes watering and their lungs burning, each left loaded down with bags of money. They hastily departed in their small motor car and again headed north while the people back at the bank opened windows and fanned doors back and forth to rid the place of the acrid odor of the sulfur smoke.

Little did those three know that they had made a history of sorts because this was the first time that a black powder pistol had been fired in a bank robbery anywhere in the civilized world now for three quarters of a century.

The boys were shocked to find that their haul which they thought to be in the hundreds of thousands of Irish Pounds turned out to be much worthless scrap paper and all small bills totaling less than three thousand, but even that was welcome. They got a bigger shock, however, after they crossed the border and found that unlike the Republic where both currencies circulate freely and on a par with each other, that this was not the case up in Ulster where their money was not legal tender. Several Catholics had indeed accepted their money but each had warned them that if they spent too much of this Catholic money up here in Ulster then they would eventually be pulled in under the 'Sus' which was a hundred and fifty year old British law whereby a suspect can be pulled in and jailed either in Britain or Northern Ireland if the police even suspect that they may be contemplating a crime.

These boys then left the north as fast as three hound dogs would leave a cage that they were caught in, the minute that the door was left open. Now that they were safely back in the Republic with the racing season at its peak, and the three feeling that they wanted to discover new and greater things, they bet all their money on one horse and went back to watch the result on television in their hotel room. Their horse lost. Their leader then blew the television apart with his revolver and neither the IRA nor any of the authorities have ever heard from any one of them again.

* * * *

The Dublin offices for Sinn Fein (pronounced Shinn Fayne) were no different from any other political party's offices with the usual candidate's pictures and rhetoric plastered on the walls and piled high in stacks here and there, and like the other political parties, Sinn Fein was stronger in some areas of Ireland than in others. Sinn Fein in Gaelic means 'Ourselves Alone'. One thing about Sinn Fein that everyone in Ireland is aware of is that it is the lawful political arm of the illegal IRA.

Now at IRA Headquarters two men were talking. One man was the fat man who had visited Patrick Day at his home and the other was an IRA intelligence man by the name of Liam McGuiness.

"Are you absolutely positive?" asked the fat man.

"Yes," answered McGuiness.

"Then you people put together a plan and figure the approximate cost to implement it and we'll look it over. When can you do this?"

"We have it fairly well worked out now, but how about tomorrow? We have plenty of time on this one," said McGuiness

Liam McGuiness left the IRA Headquarters and walked down the street to another building nearby. He was greeted by a slim, handsome, curly haired man named Cathal McCarthy who was in his late twenties and who represented the new order of the IRA who believed that the men should be grouped together in cells of five or six and all would be specialists in their own fields. The few people in each of these cells would only know each other and that they were all IRA but they would not know any one else in other working cells so they could never give information out on much of the organization. This way the man who made the bomb would never know anything about who planned or who delivered the bomb or, for that matter, who obtained the parts to build it. Cathal McCarthy's New Order were pressing for a more highly specialized, highly cellular, IRA where the bomb maker would never deliver his own bomb and if this technique had been rigidly adhered to when the organization had blown up Mountbatten's boat then no evidence of nitrates would have been found on anyone's clothing claimed McCarthy.

"How'd it go?" asked McCarthy as Liam McGuiness entered.

"I told HQ that we'd have the plan and costs for them tomorrow, and they will decide then. I do believe that they are interested in it though,"

"It would be a feather in our cap if we could kill the Queen of England, Liam," said young McCarthy.

"Of all the possibilities that I have ever seen, I think that this is our best opportunity," said Liam.

"I'll need the latest Harbour Charts, and to set this bomb off, I'd like a fairly sophisticated radio receiver that only our transmitter will set off. The British will be there far ahead of the Queen with everything that one can imagine checking for bombs, and they will have sweep generators transmitting and sweeping all frequencies trying to set off any concealed bombs before she gets there, so our bomb has to be selective to only our transmitter," said McCarthy.

"Yes, I'll have to add that to the cost figures too. All I need tomorrow is the plan and the costs. Do you need the Harbour Charts by tomorrow?" asked Liam.

"Not really, but later on we'll need them to see how far in we can bring the fishing vessel. I already have a fairly good idea where we can come in at because I've mapped out a spot that should be in the Radar's blind path where a mountain lies between the radar and where the fishing vessel will come in. All they should see on their radar should be the mountain. They won't see the fishing vessel approaching behind it."

"You're certain that's the only radar that they have?" asked Liam.

"Positive."

"Alarm system?"

"Installed in the '50s, ancient, a piece of cake."

"How many men are you going to send in?" asked Liam.

"Three will leave the fishing vessel in a rubber boat. One man will deactivate the alarm system. The other two will plant the bomb and return, then the first man will put the alarm system back into operation again. The transmitter will be left hidden for our confederate who will use it to trigger the bomb as the queen goes by."

"What are his chances?" asked Liam.

"Good. He also should have a perfect view and be able to deep six the transmitter in the ocean within a few minutes. He has no record so he should be above suspicion."

"Are the men in the rubber boat going to be armed?"

"Each one will carry a Browning Hi-Power with two extra 13 round clips but we don't anticipate any problems at all there," said McCarthy.

"What type of Explosive?"

"PETN. We happened to get a hold of a lot of it recently. It has double the energy of TNT, and I have a man available who was a real whiz with PETN in the '60s," said Cathal McCarthy.

"OK. Get it all together and we'll see what HQ says tomorrow," said Liam McGuiness.

* * * *

Alexis Morozov had been notified that the transfer of arms had indeed been made to the IRA. This information was passed on to the private friend of the Premier. Later that afternoon coded radio messages were on the way to the British Isles and were being picked up by the Russian Embassy there. One message had come from the Premier himself, and was delivered post haste to the Russian Ambassador. Several hours later the Russian Ambassador was meeting with a Member of the British Parliament who was quietly listening; the Russian Ambassador was doing all the talking.

"You see," said the Russian Ambassador, "our agreement not to interfere was made before England sent a fleet of warships to the Indian Ocean, and this agreement was before Britain agreed to supply Oman with extensive armament and military experts. We agreed prior to your decision to ship all new tanks, armoured cars and planes to West Germany, and this was agreed previous to Margaret Thatcher and the United States Secretary of Defense Brown's agreement to jointly develop new chemical weapons, the feasibility of which you will test at your new secret facility at Portadown which is now being readied. Our agreement was before you agreed to purchase the Trident missile from the U.S., and before you specified the locations in Britain for the Cruise missiles. Since our agreement you have increased your arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait, Jordan, Nigeria and even now you stand ready to supply the very latest in weaponry and electronics to China who will place these right on our border. Now, the Soviet Union first established diplomatic relations with your neighbor, the Republic of Ireland in 1973. At that time England was selling our enemies 10 million Pounds Sterling of armament every year. Since then our relationship with your neighbor has been so good that in 1976 Andrei Gromyko signed an agreement with the Irish Foreign Minister to develop bilateral economic, scientific, and technical cooperation, with particular emphasis on the security of both of our nations. Just a year ago a delegation from Russia, of the U.S.S.R.Ireland Society visited Ireland, and Russian people were met with such a warm and enthusiastic response that we could even feel their friendliness. And you English! What did you do? That same year you sold our enemies over 25 million Pounds Sterling of armaments. Per Capita you sell more armament than any people on this globe. The Soviet Union has never sold any armament, nor will we, but we will gladly give armament to these countries that we feel are our good friends. This is the message that I want you to take and give to the Conservative Government that sits in power right now." he added.

"Could I take it then, Sir, that you intend to arm the Republic of Ireland?" asked the Member of Parliament.

"You can take it that Russia intends to honor its 1976 agreement with the Republic of Ireland and that England has terminated her agreement with us by violating the spirit of the accord, therefore the old understanding between the Soviet Union and England is considered null and void," said the Russian Ambassador and he immediately left the room.

As the Russian Ambassador left, he hoped that the British MP did not have a miniature tape recorder because the language was far too strong, but since this had been a direct order from the Premier himself, it had to be done, risk or no risk, and he had ordered strong language. What did the Premier want? He already had far too many soldiers in Afghanistan, and how had the Premier replied when asked about this? He recalled the exact words spoken by the Premier: "It was the best thing in the world because it would give the Russian soldiers actual war experience." Yes it had; it had also given the Russian coffin makers and grave diggers more experience too the Ambassador thought to himself. Now, did the Kremlin want another European war as well? Some of these old men in Russia who were still in power were absolutely mad. This Irish issue was a molten tempest seething under the surface like a rumbling volcano, thought the Ambassador, and it did not need a Soviet bomb dropped down its smoke stack at this point. He had given this little speech and he knew only too well that Russian bullets, guns and explosives would now emphasize his words, because that was the way Russia did things. The Russian Ambassador now hoped that one side or the other backed down before this expected confrontation actually took place.

This was a sort of informal end to the agreement. The actual end would come when the very first IRA man opened up with a burst from one of those new AK-74s. and that might not be too long in coming either because the IRA's fishing vessel was now nearing Ireland with its cargo of Russian made armament.

* * * *

Liam McGuiness personified the description that Sadat of Egypt, said about his predecessor, Nassar: "He trusted absolutely no one!" Liam knew that the Maze Prison, near Belfast, would not be filled with IRA prisoners unless the IRA itself had been riddled with British moles. The new cell organization, that many attributed to Gerry Adams, was having a profound effect lately of reducing this damage done by infiltration. The IRA now was set up so that the individual members could not see too far into their own organization, and even if a mole got in, he could no longer do much damage unless he got into IRA Headquarters and even here Liam, himself, had unearthed one in his lengthy term with the organization and he had high hopes for a computerized system that promised to better sanitize IRA membership, and he wondered how many more of Sir Maurice Oldfield's spies were still hidden away in the IRA organization. Liam now thought about Maurice who was Britain's master spy and Liam even had a particular respect for him because he had read many of Maurice's own communications where he had asked his own government if they would reconsider utilizing certain methods of obtaining information which was far beneath the dignity of the system that they were sworn to uphold. Oldfield's face was a face that seemed to blend into a crowd, and he was a master of a thousand disguises. He headed England's MI-6 for years, making it the best in the world and then stepped out with his pension, but now he was suddenly back, and worst of all now, all his energies would be directly focused on the IRA. It was both Margaret Thatcher and Bloody Monday that had brought him back.

Bloody Monday, thought Liam McGuiness. How he wished he could have planned that. The worst loss of lives and royalty and of soldiers that the IRA had ever been able to inflict on England in one single day. Eighteen soldiers and a chunk of royalty right at the very top, It was beautiful, thought Liam, simply beautiful. Mountbatten lived on a 1,500 acre estate that was guarded by plain clothes police around the clock; they would even rotate their shifts and they even rotated their posts every few hours too. Yes, they guarded him well. Nothing could possibly happen to Mountbatten. But they forgot about his boat. No one guarded his boat, and that's how we got him thought Liam. Now he went over to look at what the teletype machine was printing out and he read where another of the IRA's opponents had been removed. Sir Maurice Oldfield too was now gone, dead of cancer, but many of his spies are still with us thought Liam.

Liam McGuiness walked through the streets of Dublin engrossed in thought. He knew that even though Oldfield was gone now, his moles were undoubtedly still in the IRA. So, figured Liam, something as important as killing the Queen of England might eventually get back to England's MI-6. Not only might they find this out but they may also discover it will be in the Shetland Islands during the Queen's visit. Now, figured Liam, I have to fool IRA headquarters a bit too.

Liam's plan was to provide a boat that headquarters knew about and another that they didn't. He thought, if a British mole gets a hold of this then he'll get the name of a boat and he will find that it will go right up through the North Channel where Britain controls both sides, where, if it is stopped for some quasi-legal purpose, they will see the crew jettison some items, and they will think that our plan is off or delayed, and that is where I will have them thought Liam.

As he walked, Liam saw the sign of Paragon Electronics, and he opened the door and walked in. A tall man recognized him and said, "I'll be right with you, Liam."

In a few minutes both men walked into a small room that was filled with all sorts of electronic equipment. Liam closed the door and sat down. "Oscar," said Liam, "I have a problem. You know these model airplanes and garage door openers that have radio receivers built into them and are activated by a hand held radio transmitter?"

"Oh yes," said Oscar.

"Well, other transmitters on the same frequency can also operate them. How can I have one that is only actuated by my transmitter?" asked Liam.

"The best way or a cheap way?" asked Oscar.

"A fail safe way," said Liam.

"I'll show you," said Oscar, and he turned on some electronic equipment, and on one instrument there appeared rectangles that looked like different sized books on a shelf. "This is an oscilloscope, and what looks like a set of books is really a keyed set of pulses. Each one of them lasts only for a few millionths of a second but we can build radio circuits that will reproduce them faithfully and exactly the same over and over again; they function the same as indentations on your key. It's the same as the correct key lining up the correct tumblers in the lock. This method is ultra reliable and is used, for instance, when the control tower is talking to flight 456 and now wants to know which one of the spots on his radar screen belongs to flight 456."

"Could you build a circuit like this?" asked Liam.

"It would be like Rolls Royce working up all the engineering and then only building one car. It wouldn't be practical," said Oscar.

"If I could guarantee you orders of several hundred every year, then could you come up with a circuit that would guarantee that only our hand-held transmitter could turn on the device, no matter what another person might conceivably build to try and activate it?" asked Liam.

"I might be able to put something together for you," said Oscar.

Oscar was amazed that Liam was even interested in this area of electronics, and he was more astonished when Liam asked him the next question.

"Oscar are you familiar of Motorola's method of using certain tones as a key to activate an electronic lock?"

Oscar replied, "I know the basics of their system, but I had no idea that you did too."

"I don't really but I do know that it isn't quite as fool proof a circuit as I need. I need something a shade better than what they make because someone can make a device that sweeps both tones and frequencies until it hits the desired combination, and then it too can actuate the device." (Liam had read purloined Top Secret British literature about just such a bomb actuating device being presently used).

Liam continued, "What I need is a modification of Motorola's circuit or an entirely new circuit so that a unit cannot possibly be actuated by any another hand held transmitter except mine."

"I'll work on it," said Oscar.

Liam left Paragon Electronics and thought about the problem of setting off explosives from a distant point. At first the IRA had actually purchased model airplane radios and the transmitters that were used with them and had learned how to hook them up to set off explosions by remote control. The British MI-6 then brought in their own transmitters and they took the IRA completely by surprise. Even Liam himself could remember it well; some of his closest friends were killed. There was a rash of bomb explosions with the IRA getting killed with their own bombs. MI-6 had set up powerful sweep generators that covered the Catholic areas and would set off radio controlled bombs. Some bombs then blew up with the driver; some blew up while they were being planted before the men could leave and others which were to be detonated the next day would go off in the night for no apparent reason. The IRA then realized that the British had transmitters too now that were setting off these bombs early. The IRA countered by installing an extra timer that would not turn the radio on until a certain time. This helped but it did not entirely solve the problem. It was the Motorola circuit that solved the problem because now only the IRAs transmitter would be using these tones that would key the electronic lock to actuate the bomb. Utilizing the Motorola device the IRA had been able to trigger bombs for several years without British interference.

Then it happened all over again: Another nightmare of premature bomb explosions had occurred before the IRA had realized that the British now had something else that was setting their bombs off. MI-6 had brought out a device that could generate a multitude of tones and frequencies and would do electronically exactly what a burglar does when he rakes the tumblers in a lock until he has them all lined up and the lock turns. This was where the situation stood now and this was the reason Liam decided he could not wait for Paragon's design on this next bomb but instead he would have to wire a timer on the radio device that would detonate the bomb for the Queen on the Shetland Isles. The timer would be set for the exact time that the Queen should begin her tour of the oil refinery on the island. Even though the British might be suspicious and would decide to sweep the area electronically, they could not actuate the device until the timer turned it on and Liam did not think that anyone would try to activate a bomb once the Queen had already arrived.

Liam knew that even now his people were monitoring the phones of the oil company and even though MI-6 never would allow the public to know in advance of the Queen's schedule for trips such as these. Liam also knew that there were so many of these functions that the Queen attended, that a rather strict schedule had to be adhered to if she was going to attend to them all. Yes, he was certain that, by the time they were ready, he would know the exact time the tour would be started by the Queen when she visited this new state of the art oil facility on the Shetlands.

Headquarters had now given the go-ahead for Liam's project to hit the Queen in the Shetlands, and Liam had subsequently informed headquarters that his bomb would go out on the Dublin Queen which was being refurbished now and was scheduled to embark in a little less than three weeks. Liam then visited the vessel and spoke with the captain and then he had some items delivered to the vessel but at that very moment 50 pounds of PETN explosive were being removed from a huge stockpile that was hidden on a small island off the coast of Donegal. It would be shipped to Sligo which was on the opposite coast of Ireland than Dublin. The PETN would be taken aboard an old rusty and half rotten hulk of a ship called the Tara and no one at headquarters would find out about this until the bomb actually exploded; at least this was Liam's intention.

The key to Liam's plan was the Tara. It wasn't the ship itself but what it could do with what it now had aboard. The navigational equipment aboard the Tara was the very opposite of the ship's outward appearance. A brand new, latest state of the art, Omega system had been installed aboard which not only gave the captain an up to date read-out of his exact latitude and longitude, but it compared his drift angle and also computed his compass course that the helmsman should steer for, so that the ship could progress exactly along that precise line where the mountains remained between it and the island's radar installation. There is quite a difference between the course that one steers the boat for and the one that is drawn on the map. This difference is often quite large because of the errors of compass deviation, magnetic variation, wind and ocean currents. With the new Omega system installed, the computer could accurately determine these hidden elements and give the person steering a new calculated course that he can steer for using his compass, but which will put the ship on the exact course drawn on the map. The new Omega system in the Tara would now automatically monitor the ship's exact position and then if the wind or ocean currents happened to change then the Omega computer would immediately sense this and give the helmsman a new course to steer for so that the same original course that was laid out on the map could be followed exactly. Without this new space-age marvel of navigation equipment the Tara would never have been able to sneak up on the Shetlands, always keeping in that narrow path where the mountain shielded it from the radar station.

Liam knew that Cathal McCarthy, who was already on his way to Sligo and the Tara, was the correct person for this particular job; Liam knew that McCarthy would do everything in his power to see that the men and components all left Sligo on board the Tara as expeditiously and as quietly as possible. Liam calculated that with luck the Tara would have returned back with all the men, and with the bomb installed in place, even before the Dublin Queen was due to embark.

* * * *

Cathal McCarthy had been barely able to get six hours sleep each night that he had been at Sligo but now he had everything that he needed for his ten day trip safely on board. He felt relieved as he helped with the ropes as they cast off from the wharf. He thought to himself that now it would be the captain who would not get enough sleep at night and not himself because he was finished in coordinating people and things and trying to instill in them a sense of urgency so that the Tara could be on the ocean in as little time as possible. Once the PETN had been taken aboard, every hour that they remained at the wharf increased their chances of being caught. Cathal had been standing on the deck watching the bustling water traffic of Sligo Bay. Now as they moved farther out on a course of north west, the commerce and the Irish fishing boats were all to the east of them and with nothing more of interest going on around him, he sat down on the deck with a warm cup of coffee beside him--He felt a much cooler breeze blowing over him now and his coffee was cold, and he realized that he had fallen asleep. The boat was now turning to the north, and as he looked to the east he saw that everything had changed, and now there was but the faintest sight of land. He knew that it would take the Tara several days before she reached the latitude of the Shetland Isles. With the urgency of the past few days now totally behind him he found his way to his bunk, and even though the steady rhythm of the large diesel could be heard throughout the ship, Cathal was again asleep within minutes.

* * * *

Back in Northern Ireland, a man was in a cemetery looking at the names and birth dates inscribed on tombstones and then he stopped at one particular stone reading the inscription. It was a child's birth date that seemed to interest him most for if the child had lived then he would now be the same age as himself. He copied the information about the dead child on a piece of paper and then he left. He got in his motor car and drove back across the border and in about an hour's time he was at a small bank which he entered and was greeted by one of his employees who said: "Hello Mr. Law. I thought you were gone for the day?"

"No, I still have a few things to do Michael," said Mr. Law and he went into his private office where he looked up some other information and then he made several phone calls. Now he typed a letter, which was unusual because his secretary always did this for him, but he had sent her off for the rest of the day. He then folded the letter and placed it in an envelope and then instead of putting an Irish stamp on it, he took an English stamp from his billfold and affixed it to the envelope. He then left the bank and drove back across the border once more where the postal boxes were painted red instead of green and here he posted the letter in the first round red pillar box that he came to. Several days previously, many miles away in London another man had done precisely the same thing, but he was not a respectable banker like Mr. Law. This other man was known only as 'Carlos' and he was wanted by Interpol and most governments of the world as well. He was considered to be one of the most dangerous terrorists in existence. Both of these letters were mailed to exactly the same place: Somerset House in London.

* * * *

Back in London some members of the Conservative party were trying to get a confirmation from the Russian Embassy of what the Russian Ambassador had purportedly told the Member of Parliament, but they had not been able to confirm this story, nor would they ever, for he certainly would deny that he had ever said such a thing and this was the way that the Kremlin wanted it. This situation was different and they were playing for higher odds. A few words and then a few bullets was the way Moscow intended that this message should be sent.

Also in London at Heathrow Airport, two old friends happened to meet in the Customs area after they had checked in and were waiting for their international flights. There were no crowds of people here as in the main terminal because sight-seers and friends were excluded from this area by security and only those people with international tickets and passports were allowed in. Both of the men were discussing the situation in Ireland and Doctor Karl Meyer said to his friend Professor William Jensen: "If there was any time that the situation might have been resolved then that would have been the end of 1977 and most of 1978."

"Yes, things in Ireland were certainly the best and quietest then and it looked good. People on both sides looked as if they had enough of the killing," said William Jensen.

"What surprised me," said Meyer, "was that so many Catholics in Northern Ireland supported the Peace Women: Corrigan and Williams. They even got the Nobel Prize."

"Yes the peace Movement was started at that funeral for those three children who were killed by an IRA get away car. They had thirty thousand people in one of their marches and the rabble rousers on both sides had to shut their mouths for quite a spell."

"They were the ones who came to the States and even got the Senate to listen to them ," said Meyer.

"Yes, the IRA certainly got a shock that Saint Patrick's Day didn't they?"

"It was Ted Kennedy and Tip O'Neill and Daniel Moynihan and--who else--?"

"Governor Hugh Cary," interjected Jensen.

"Oh yes!" said Meyer, "and this was a first too because no Irish politician had ever dared to speak out against the IRA, and now here were the top four giving them an unexpected broadside on Saint Patrick's Day."

"Well they criticized both England and the IRA."

"Yes, but it hurt the IRA the most because when Americans heard this then they drastically cut the money that they were contributing to NORAID."

"NORAID was even forced to register as an agent of the IRA weren't they?"

"Yes," said Meyer, "and then people contributed even less again because that was almost proof that the money NORAID collected was going for arms and not, as the people were being told, to feed needy victims of the disaster."

"It certainly was a shame that those two women had to spend so much time in the United States. When they returned to Ireland again the demagogues on both sides had things right back to fighting again. The girls found out that they only had about a thousand supporting them then and I would say that the last chance for stopping the fighting in our time was over. A solution to the Irish problem had vanished forever," said Jensen.

"Well, I don't think that there will be any solving of that problem. The hatred has built up over too many years and is being schooled into the children. You know, I came into Dublin by train one evening and I happened to need a room for the night because I had to catch a train to Cork in the morning and every hotel across from the railway station was full, but one man ran after me as I was leaving one of the hotels and he asked me if I would take the sitting room and I was tired, and I told him I would. They put some things over the glass on the door and fixed me a bed but I was so close to the desk that I could hear some of what was going on and one thing that I will never forget is that I heard the Irishman at the desk bellow to a person who had entered and was inquiring about a room: 'And what language is that you're speakin' now?' I couldn't hear the answer but the person must have been English and then the Irishman at the desk howled at him: "English! English! English is it now! No, we have no room for the likes of you!' No, William there is too much hatred built up over the ages there for anything concrete to come about suddenly," said Meyer.

"Well, it's possible that the British may be at the end of the road as far as Northern Ireland is concerned. It's costing them several billion dollars a year to stay there. If you figure the cost per person in Northern Ireland then the British government last year paid out over $3,000 per person to stay there and that's simply astronomical."

"I heard that the population in Britain want the troops out but what I didn't know until recently was that not all Catholics in Northern Ireland want union with the Republic," said Meyer.

"That's absolutely true," said Jensen, "A great many Catholics in the north want to stay with Britain, but they want representation, and they want Britain to ensure that they have some say in the government which they absolutely do not have now. Not all of them want to join the south. This is a fact that not everyone is aware of."

The two men went on to talk about other things and then both of them watched as the Concord taxied by in front of their waiting area.

* * * *

Back in Ireland in the countryside, not far from the city of Derry or Londonderry, whichever you prefer, a young boy was looking in wonder at a gigantic hole now filled with water in the road where at one time there had been a culvert. Now it sort of resembled a crater on the moon. What a terrific force that must have been to do that thought James Kenneley. His schoolmates had been talking about the big IRA bomb that had blown the armoured car high into the air with pieces being blown off of it and being found hundreds of feet away, and now as he looked at the hole he knew that he himself had initiated this destruction by informing the IRA what he had discovered about the Saracen route. He had not said even one word to any of his mates at school about his suspicions when he thought that this might be the place he had told that man named Jim about, and now he was sure. He had been through that culvert many times and now there was not the slightest trace of it left. He knew that he could never mention anything about this to anyone ever, because he realized that he was now a part of the IRA and they had listened to him when he told them about this place, and now he knew that they trusted him not to reveal who they were. He had never felt this important in his entire life and he felt like he belonged to the team now, and the enemy team was the English, and this was the team's first victory. He had helped by doing exactly what they had told him to do, and it had worked. Yes, that was it! It was like the soccer team at school: When he and everyone else did exactly what the coach told them to do, then they usually did win and he had felt good there too because he had contributed to those victories also. But now this was a far, far, greater team that he was in now, and these victories were real, much more real than a soccer victory. And even though he had not yet learned all the rules to this new game, they had let him play and he would never forget that. Yes, he would learn the rest of the rules and he would work like he never had before for the IRA. He liked this brand new game and he wanted to go on playing and winning.

* * * *

On board the Tara, Cathal McCarthy was watching the digital readout of the Omega system. The digits 09000W never changed, which meant that the ship was traveling north on the 9 degree line of west longitude that ran up and down the globe from pole to pole. The figures that were changing and were very slowly counting up higher and higher and which now said 55597N indicated the ship's latitude or how many degrees north they were from the equator. This reading meant that they were now exactly fifty five degrees and fifty nine and seven tenths minutes of arc north of the equator. While Cathal was watching, the number changed to 55598N indicating that they had progressed another tenth of a nautical mile. At one time, only the American and British navies were equipped with this sophisticated system of navigation which tuned in to many large and special transmitting stations spread around the globe and found its distance from all of them, and this information was processed by a small computer in the unit and then displayed the ship's position to the captain. And this was not all it could do: It could tell the operator how well it was receiving all of the stations. It could give the precise time. It could compute new routing and it could compute the actual speed that the ship was making toward the destination, taking into consideration the wind and the ocean currents. It also could tell what angle a ship would have to be turned to offset the wind and ocean current that were trying to move it off its course and it would do many, many, more things too, and it would even tell the maintenance people what part of it was bad should a malfunction occur. It would also blink a warning to the operator if it thought one of its readings was in error: So it even checked itself. This fabulous device had been available to civilians only since the very late seventies, but once it came out, there was an explosive demand for this type of equipment from every airline and maritime company in the world. The system that was used before this, and could give the navigator similar information, was the inertial guidance system with complicated gyros and stabilized platforms which cost many of the airlines well over a million dollars per plane per installation and whose upkeep was also fabulously expensive. With many companies now in the business of producing this new Omega type navigational equipment, people who could not even afford to keep up the old inertial guidance system, could now own a completely trouble free Omega system for twenty to thirty thousand dollars. The young men who now ran the IRA were quick to see the advantages of any item which this field of solid state electronics was offering to them, and they had purchased many of these units for their gun running vessels. The digits 55599W were now displayed on the Omega panel.

The plan was that Cathal McCarthy and Seamus O'Reilly would go in with the bomb and Tom Higgins would take care of the alarm system. Higgens was an expert with these systems and O'Reilly, who was now in his fifties and considered old for jobs like these, had been attracted back recently because the IRA had come across a very large supply of PETN which he was one of the most successful utilizers of back in the 60's. He could do things with it that were virtually impossible with TNT and other similar explosives. Cathal had tried to persuade him only to construct the bomb while on the Tara but when Seamus found out the bomb was meant for the Queen then he insisted on going in and planting it too. It was all or nothing he had told Cathal and since Cathal needed his expertise, and since the risk was not considered great if they could land undetected, Cathal acquiesced to Seamus O'Reilly's demands. This morning, since weapons were not either of Higgins's or O'Reilly's strong points, Cathal would go over the procedures for utilizing the Browning Hi Power Pistol. Cathal met with his two friends and he brought with him three of these automatic pistols and extra magazines of ammunition.

"I don't expect any trouble," Cathal told them. "If this was a mission where we thought that there would be people waiting for us then we would be going in with far more firepower than this," he said as he handed each one of them one of the Browning pistols.

Cathal told them: "Even as of today, these are the most reliable automatics that have ever been produced and more mercenaries choose them than any other side arm. It is the standard military pistol in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England and a lot of other countries. The Arabs swear by it and you will find it easier to get parts for and to have it repaired in most of the out of the way places on this earth than any other side arm. It is one of the very best, and that is why these Brownings are going with us. We will be carrying them 'combat ready' which will be with one round in the chamber and thirteen more rounds in the magazine and the hammer back and the safety on. To bring it into action the only thing you must do is flip off the safety and pull the trigger and you have fourteen shots as fast as you can manipulate that trigger. It does not have a grip safety like the Colt 45 automatic but instead has a magazine safety which will not allow the weapon to be fired if the magazine is removed. Other Brownings have this feature as well so if you ever hand a Browning pistol to anyone, press the magazine release before you hand it over. This may save your life whether the person you give it to is your friend or enemy. But never, never rely on this safety being on all Brownings because many people remove them so they can have a lighter trigger pull for more accurate target shooting."

Cathal continued: "Each of us will be carrying two full extra clips. Count your shots and shove the new magazine in after the thirteenth shot. If you wait until the gun is empty then you will lose valuable time because you will have to pull the slide back manually to once again get a bullet into the chamber, whereas if you had done this one shot earlier, then the gun would have done all this for you automatically, and this incidentally pertains to all automatics: Always reload before the final shot. The magazine is going to be just as empty then as it is going to be one shot later when both gun and magazine are empty, so change the magazine as soon as the magazine has emptied its last bullet into the gun, not one shot later. If you count your shots and do it this way, then the gun will never know that you have swapped magazines, and it will keep firing as long as you keep pulling and releasing the trigger. Only a fool waits until his automatic is empty before he inserts in a new magazine."

"Now back to our mission: If any shots at all are fired, then the mission is aborted and we scrub the entire project and everyone goes back to the rubber boat as fast as possible and we leave. This plan can only work if no one realizes that we have been here. What's more, we have reason to believe that there are British moles in our HQ who will inform the bastards about this attempt to place the bomb, so they will be looking this place over, hopefully after we leave, of course. If they find any evidence at all, even the slightest, that we have been here, then they will put out an intensive effort to find a bomb. I don't have to tell you how detailed they become where the safety of the Queen is concerned," said Cathal.

Cathal continued his class with the Browning pistol, and the Omega now read 56000N 09000W which meant that they were at that point on the globe where the 56th degree line of north latitude intersects the 9th degree line of west longitude.

* * * *

Near Belfast one of the IRA's bomb makers had taken a brand new light bulb and screwed it into a socket to see if it worked. He watched it for a second or two then unscrewed it again, then with a tiny blow torch he melted a hole in the bulb, taking great care not to injure the filament. After the bulb cooled it was gently filled with black powder until the black powder covered the filament and then special detonating explosive was added to the remaining space inside the bulb until the bulb was full. A layer of plastic explosive about three quarters of an inch thick was then added to the outside of the bulb and then tiny concrete nails were pressed in on the surface of the explosive and this whole mass was carefully placed in a small plastic bag which was then taped at several spots and trimmed clear of the bulb's screw in socket which still remained bare. The bomb maker took a ruler and made some measurements to make certain that none of his critical dimensions were exceeded. He now smiled as he was satisfied with his work and he now placed it on a shelf with other specialty bombs that he was building. All through the day people would arrive and another or sometimes several of his devices would depart with these delivery men. Later on that day this particular bulb bomb left, and was delivered to three men in a waiting motor car. They lost no time in inserting the bomb into the shell of a plastic wide mouth thermos bottle that already had its glass interior removed. It fit perfectly, and then the plastic cup was screwed back on the thermos and one would believe that the unit contained hot tea or coffee of some sort. It was then placed inside a lunch box that accommodated it along with a sandwich and a few cookies and a bar of candy which were already inside. It would have to be an extremely suspicious constable indeed who would now believe that this lunch box contained a bomb.

This trio drove to an address in Belfast and two of the men got out of the motor car and walked to the front door of a flat. One man carried the lunch box and the other had in his hand a small thin device that resembled a thin bobby pin with a sliding tongue inside of it. This mechanism was quickly inserted into the keyhole in the door latch and was now raking the tumblers while also putting a slight torque on the lock so that each of the tumblers would continue to be held in the correct position as the gap in each tumbler was lined up with the outside of the lock cylinder. The door was open in less than four seconds and both men walked in and closed the door behind them. This house had been constantly watched for several months and the men knew that at this particular time, on this particular day of the week, their quarry would not be home, and neither would be his neighbors. The two men went straight to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door. One man rearranged all the food so that none of it stood in front of the light bulb and then the other man pulled the refrigerator plug and then unscrewed the light bulb that had gone out when the plug was pulled. The bomb was then removed from the lunch box thermos and then screwed into the empty light bulb socket inside the refrigerator. The fridge door was then shut and checked to make certain that it remained tightly closed, and then finally the refrigerator was plugged back in again, The two men left the house, and climbed back into the motor car, and the three drove away as quickly as they had come.

That night another guard at the Maze Prison died when he returned home and opened his refrigerator, and the entire top portion of his body was instantly embedded with concrete nails. The IRA had warned prison guards that they were high on the list of people who were going to die; many had already been killed and now another had been added to that long list.

* * * *

Liam McGuiness listened to a recording that had been made from a secret tap on a pay telephone near the IRA Headquarters in Dublin. This call was a call to London, England and it had aroused suspicions of the IRA people who constantly monitored nearby telephones illegally. Liam ordered a voice print to be made of the caller's voice and this checked against the voice prints of all IRA Headquarters' personnel, without their knowledge of course. These voice prints were as good as fingerprints in establishing a person's identity.

The man who made the call was indeed a British mole who had snuck into the IRA's Headquarters and who had sent London much information about the Irish organization through a safe but slow method devised by MI-6. He had now bypassed this safe system not only because the importance of an attempt on the Queen's life would justify him to do so, but that this being such an attention getting event, it would be wise for London to know from him personally and not for some paper shuffler to obfuscate the fact that it was he who had uncovered this dastardly plot. He had made the call during his lunch time and went back to work feeling that no one was the wiser. He suspected that London would have to pull him out now because an investigation of a bomb in the Shetlands would make the Irish look for someone in the IRA Headquarters who leaked the information.

Liam knew that no British mole would have taken the chance to contact London directly unless he had discovered something of the utmost importance like the attack on the Queen. The IRA could not decode the message but Liam knew what it must have said. It would have told the British Secret Service about a bomb for the Queen on the Shetland Islands at that modern oil complex that she was going to visit. Liam knew that he had to get to this mole and make him talk fast because the Tara was getting further away from the IRA's transmitter site on the hills of Donegal. Once the Tara turned to the east and had the mountains of Scotland between her and that transmitter then there might be no more communications with her. Liam now cursed Maurice Oldfield and this nest of spies that remained even after Maurice himself had left this earth. Soon Liam thought this mole would be joining Maurice immediately after the questioning which would be similar to the questioning that the British imposed on Irish prisoners at Long Kesh Prison which now to the Irish had assumed the more popular name of the Maze.

It was several hours later when Liam was notified that they had their man now and he was being given the 'British treatment' of constant questioning and absolutely no sleep. A little more than a day later the agent spilled all and Liam knew that the man had notified MI-6 of the bomb at the Shetlands but did not, in fact, tell them about the Dublin Queen so his ruse had failed and London would not be waiting several weeks to look for the bomb; they would be on the alert sooner and most certainly catch Cathal and his men in the Shetlands. Cathal then had the transmitter in the mountains of Donegal send an urgent message to the Tara in code to scuttle the Shetland mission, and proceed to an area east of the Firth of Forth in Scotland. They would then deliver the bomb and transmitter used to set it off to a group of IRA men in a smaller boat who were working for British Petroleum at the new refinery at Sullom Voe near Inverness. This would be another stop that the Queen would make and it would be Liam's next best chance to have another go at the Queen. Trying to do anything now at the Shetlands would be like sending his men into a suicide mission. Liam even doubted that the Queen would ever be allowed to leave her vessel which was supposed to have sailed to the Shetland Islands for a ceremony there. Liam knew that McCarthy would be raving mad when he read the message but sometimes even in war the best of plans go wrong and it's the good general that can switch to a successful alternative.

Liam thought about Cathal wanting to have the chance at the really big one and how hard he had worked a this venture only to have someone in Headquarters ruin it for him and now he had to hand his bomb over to people in a small boat that he didn't even know. Liam knew how Cathal would feel and he felt truly sorry for him missing this opportunity of setting the bomb for the Queen. Liam felt no remorse whatsoever for the Queen or for that matter any others of the royal blood that had been sending their murdering bands into Ireland now for hundreds of years. Ireland had only been able to strike back at their henchmen in the past but now with the Mountbatten killing, it had been able to hit the much hated royal family. This was where it counted, Liam thought. These are the ones that pull the strings for the puppets. Killing the puppets is not nearly so good as eliminating those who are pulling the strings on the poor stooges.

Three days had now past since the British spy had been discovered and the Irish did exactly as their British teachers had taught them. They believed in the golden rule that said do unto others as they do unto you. He got exactly what the IRA prisoners got from the British. He had given Liam the information that Liam needed after only one day but then after absolutely no sleep whatsoever for three days with his hands tied behind him and being forced to stand with earphones taped to his head emitting voices and noises into his ears while constantly blindfolded, with people on shifts solidly questioning him around the clock, he gave up all of his heroic efforts to resist his captors and now he told them everything they wanted to know. He had given them the names of three more of his associates right in Dublin and after two hours the IRA had the two of them also, and even now they were close on the trail of the third. The two that were captured were at this time getting the same treatment that had started three days before for the first miserable wretch, and which had been investigated by the United States when the British had done it to the Irish and had pronounced it 'utterly inhumane'. The captors of all of these unfortunate moles, however, did not intend for them to be around to talk to any world organizations about their inhumane treatment. The IRA had no intention of making the same mistake the British did. The penalty for an informant on the IRA is death. All Ireland knows this and all those who trespass into this domain know well what lies in store for them if they are caught and these were the thoughts of Liam as he questioned this thing that had once resembled a human being. Killing him now would be doing him a favor, at least that is what the people said who visited and talked to the IRA men who were subjected to this 'British method' of treatment at Long Kesh. None of them were ever the same again after that.

Liam had no sympathy for this man or for any other Englishman for that matter and he had killed plenty of them. Both Liam's father and his father's brother, Liam's uncle, had been killed by England's 'Black and Tans' and Liam had started from a very early age to pay England back for their murders. Liam had started out as an IRA message boy and he had a part time job cleaning up in a shop that sold, rented and repaired bicycles. He would spend several hours in the shop every afternoon when school was over and on weekends his employer would even let him do some work on bicycles. But bicycles were not the things that held his interest for long. He had gotten hold of some boxes of 9mm ammunition and wanted to shoot it, and quickly saw that a 25/64 drill bit would drill a hole in a quarter inch pipe which would allow the cartridge to fit perfectly inside the pipe like in a real gun. He also found that if he drilled the threads out of a quarter inch pipe coupling to a depth of 3/8 of an inch using a 9/16 drill bit then this coupling could be turned around and screwed on the pipe with the bullet in it and completely surround the bullet like the bolt of a real gun. It was then a simple matter to drill a tiny hole in the middle of a quarter inch pipe plug that would now be screwed into the coupling and would guide a nail, that would just slide in and out of the hole to the center of the cartridge like the firing pin on a real gun. His single shot gun worked perfectly but it made a lot of noise which he didn't like. He had plenty of pipe and plenty of time so he experimented and found that if he drilled 4 rows of quarter inch holes 3/8 of an inch apart in the final six inches of his pipe that he could wrap cotton and rags around these holes and he had a very effective silencer. Some weeks later he found an old flashlight whose shell was the perfect thing to hold the cotton around the pipe and to camouflage the entire weapon. When he showed the weapon to his superiors in the IRA they were amazed and actually copied the thing, and Liam even heard that some English were shot using these things up in Ulster. Liam had never killed anyone with any kind of weapon until one day when an old man came into the bicycle shop and told him that there was an Englishman in town with a yellow motor car who he had recognized as being in Ireland following the First World War, He wasn't a tourist at that time though. He was a member of the British police force called the 'Black and Tans' by the Irish because their uniforms were the same color as a popular hunting dog of that name. Liam left his job early that evening and did not arrive home until late. He found where the Englishman, with the yellow car, was staying and he planned to follow him the next day with his bicycle. His mother was waiting up for him when he arrived with not only his supper but with a severe scolding which he quietly took without saying a word but yet eating his supper. His mother had quieted down and was about to go to bed when he grabbed part of her dress and tugged at it stopping her.

"I need your help," he said to her.

His mother was astonished and turned to him and asked: "What on earth have you done, lad?"

Liam said, "It's not what I've done but what I'm going to do."

"What on God's green earth has got into your mind son?" she asked.

"One of those men that killed father and Uncle John is right here in this town now and I plan to kill him," answered Liam.

"Oh Blessed Mother in heaven! those days are passed, son! the British are gone! Oh no!" she exclaimed.

"Tomorrow I'm not going to school and I'm not going to the bicycle shop either: I'm going to follow that man for as many days as it takes and then kill him and I'll need you to tell people that I was sick in bed," said Liam.

With this statement he received another tirade from his mother which he calmly took and then quietly but resolutely told her that she could not change his mind. She then realized that she had seen the same look of resolve in her husband's eyes and she wept. For she too had been involved in the early fighting and had met her husband when she was a Cumann na mBan girl and he was an IRA man that she had helped. Before she went to bed she told her son: "I'll be praying for you. Let me know what I can do for you Liam," and with that she went in to her room.

Liam was not able to do anything the first day, but on the second the yellow motor car drove to the strand and a man got out and slowly walked along the beach for a bit and then laid down on the sand and went to sleep in the warm sun as a space in the clouds opened up and let the welcomed rays down. He lay there thinking about his twenty years in the British army and how well he had been treated. He had risen rapidly in the ranks during the First World War but was out of a job with everyone else when the war ended but police were headed for the trouble in Ireland and he had applied as an Auxiliary Policeman but had been turned down because he was not an officer. He had, however, been granted a job at half the Auxiliary's pay as a regular policeman with the black and tan uniform. After this he was able to get back into the service again where he finally did become an officer mainly because he had gunned down a bunch of Arabs who had broken through the lines and had killed the original gunner. Now he was back in Ireland again. He had come here first in 1921 when he, himself, was 21. Seventeen years had now gone by and he was 38 and now the year was 1938. He remembered that it was here on this very strand that he had chased two men that looked like brothers and they had held up their hands to surrender but when he found a Mills bomb on one of them he instantly put three bullets from his Parabellum into the head of each because he knew they were both IRA. Yes sir, England built an empire by having us young fellows put the fear of God into these savages, he thought. She always supplied us with the best and most modern weapons. That was the secret: You were respected when you mowed a bunch of the bastards down. And the Army must have appreciated it too he thought because most of my promotions came immediately after strong actions that I took against the natives where I was stationed. England always told the world that she condemned these practices but she always promoted those officers that kept the natives in line. You had to understand what your commander really wanted and not what he had to write on a piece of paper that could be read by the press and God knows who else. He had instilled his attitudes into his sons too and they would be in the service soon and they would carry on his work and tradition. There was one thing that troubled him now and then though: He sometimes wondered why it was that England had lost her great empire. Now in 1938 it was far smaller than when Queen Victoria was on the throne. He looked around him and the beach was practically deserted; there were only a few cows walking where the sand was hard near the water and in the distance he saw a boy on a bicycle also riding on the strip of hard sand that lay at the ocean's edge. As the boy turned toward him and the sand where the man was resting was too soft to ride, the boy got off of his bicycle and pushed it along side of him as he came nearer.

"Hello!" the boy said, "Are you a tourist?"

"Yes, sort of," he answered, "I was here many, many years ago and I'm visiting some of the places that I've been during my life----"

The boy was next to him now, holding something that looked like an electric torch; he raised it swiftly to the man's head and there was a muffled sound that did not even disturb the birds nor did it disturb the cows that continued walking down the beach now with their feet several inches in the sea water at times. The boy now quickly took two pairs of pliers from a pouch on his bicycle and unscrewed the coupling on the pipe and removed the spent cartridge and replaced it with a new bullet and this time he placed the front of his homemade gun at the very top of the man's head which was now motionless on the sand. He pulled back the rubber strap and let it snap and another muffled explosion was heard. The boy looked all around and saw only the birds and cows. Looking through the man's clothing he found a .32 caliber pistol with the German word 'Selbstlader' on it together with an extra magazine of ammunition. The boy dug a hole in the sand and put all these articles and the man's wallet and his own homemade gun in the hole and covered it up. He got completely undressed and piled his clothes over the spot where he had buried the other things and drug his bicycle and placed it over the clothes to keep them from blowing away. He dragged the man to the ocean and swam out with him until he was quite far away. He returned cold and completely exhausted about a half hour later. After getting dressed, the guns and wallet were dug up and placed in the satchel on the bicycle. He rode the bicycle on the hard sand back the way he came. He called the IRA and told them that they had a motor car if they wanted one and they lost no time in acquiring it. The man's whereabouts forever remained a mystery.

Many months later after much listening and extremely cautious investigating and subtle inquiring from some of the old timers, Liam became convinced that he had, indeed, murdered the very man that had killed his father and his uncle. When Liam was young he had asked many of these old timers why they hadn't done anything to these 'Auxiliaries' and 'Black and Tans' but it would be many years later when he was finally involved with the IRA that Liam then understood the formidable power that England presented. Even though the Irish murdered them, England simply sent more of her troops to Ireland many of whom made up for these English murders by murdering Irishmen. A lot of them got away with this and went back across the water to the protection of England. Liam had been only able to get back at this one because he had returned and Liam had the resolve to get the job done himself. As Liam grew older he saw more and more of the ways that England dominated Ireland, even after Ireland became a free Republic on its own. Ireland still fed England just as they always had been forced to do and that certainly had not changed thought Liam. Food was the money crop to Ireland and though Ireland produced food, it did not seem to stay in Ireland to feed the skinny children that Liam knew were in abundance throughout the Emerald Isle, nor did it stay to give the proper diet to the many girls who would have been beautiful at eighteen had they not lost half their teeth because of improper nourishment. Even the tourists who came to Ireland were appalled by this. Liam saw that Irish factories, right here in Ireland, should be processing all this Irish milk into Irish chocolate and the same with all the other food that Ireland grew. Ireland should be processing all this food herself and selling England this higher priced processed food but she wasn't. Ireland was shipping all the basic foods to England where English factories gave it added value and even sold these added value products back to Ireland thereby worsening Ireland's problems. Liam saw Ireland as England's farm, with the Irish supplying food to the English table while her own people's tables went empty many times. If Liam could have had his way then he would have poisoned every blessed ounce of Irish food that left for England.

During World War ll the border was an active place with both Catholics and Protestants forgetting a lot of their past problems and working together to smuggle things both ways across the border. Southern Ireland was desperately short of manufactured items that England refused to sell them now with the war in Progress and these items had to come via the black market and that was across the border with Northern Ireland. Liam had gone back and forth many times and had never been searched so he took a chance and started carrying the .32 calibre pistol with him. He had seen people who had been in British prisons; a few of these he had known before they went in and they had been completely changed after they had come back out. He was certain that something terrible had happened to everyone who had ever entered one of these institutions and swore to himself that they would never put him into one of their gaols.

The IRA was active in smuggling and usually they made their runs in the busiest times with women driving and with children so it looked like a family and not a gun running or contraband operation. When Liam was young he had usually ridden with a woman and some much younger children and they usually had no problems. There was one trip that Liam did not like; this woman driver was far too nervous and this time there were no younger children, only himself. Liam did not know what was loaded in the motor car this time but he suspected that it was more than contraband goods. It was a bit too late in the evening Liam thought to be crossing the border but this was the way things had worked out this time and it put them at the border at this later hour than Liam liked. They would definitely not have the advantage of crossing with the crowd now and both Liam and the woman were worried when the large iron gate simply stayed and remained in place and no activity whatsoever could be seen as they looked at the guard house. Liam looked at the woman and now she was starting to tremble and sweat profusely too and he thought that if ever anything had been bungled, then this had to be the worst that they had ever done and he was sure now to be caught because as soon as they saw this frightened woman with him they would know something was up. Liam walked to the guard house and was surprised when the door opened in his hand and he was able to walk inside. A man in civilian clothes was showing the guard a brand new pistol that he had brought back from Germany. It was called a PPK and was being made by the German firm of Walther and unlike other automatics, the civilian was showing the guard how pulling the trigger would pull the hammer back like a double action revolver and on top of that the hammer was not lined up with the firing pin unless the trigger was pulled which meant that it could be carried ready for action with a bullet in the chamber and the safety left off. All of this Liam listened to intently because this meant that here was a weapon that could be brought into action faster than anything anyone was using up 'tll now. Liam saw that this was a far better weapon than the one he was carrying. It was then that the guard noticed him standing there listening to all of this and the guard got up and looked out the window seeing the car with the woman in the driver's seat.

"Tell your mother to open the motor car all the way up and to open all of her bags. I want everything open that will open," said the guard to young Liam.

"Yes sir," said Liam to the guard and went back out the door and closed it behind him so the two in the guard house couldn't see or hear him and he removed his .32 automatic from under his shirt and snapped the slide back which threw a cartridge from the magazine into the chamber and readied the gun. Now he took off his jacket and put it over the gun and opened the door to the guard house and went back in and walked over to the two men.

"She wants to know if you want her to open those packages that are tied up too?" said Liam as he slowly brought up the gun.

"Look! What did I just tell you to do, you God damned stupid little Taig----"

It was about a half second after the guard saw the gun that the bullet went into his head. The civilian got about a second and a quarter's notice before the second bullet penetrated his head which was too fast for him as well. Liam then alternated back and forth until each head contained three bullets. Liam then pocketed the PPK and several clips and a box of bullets for it that were on the table and then used the front of his own gun to operate the switch that raised the iron gate over the road. He put his own gun back under his shirt and folded his jacket around the PPK with its extra clips and ammunition and walked back to the motor car. The woman had all her windows still up on the motor car and since the guard house was closed up as well she had heard nothing, while Liam's ears were still ringing from the noise.

"They are listening to a speech by Churchill and said to drive right on through," said Liam as he opened the door to the car and got in next to the woman driver.

As the car drove across the border, Liam now realized that the gun he had killed the men with, that was now under his shirt, had one more bullet in the chamber and the slightest tug on the trigger would fire it, and this gun had a concealed hammer and no way to lower it to make the gun a bit safer, also this particular gun had no way to put the safety on with a bullet in the chamber. Now Liam slowly manipulated the gun so that it was pointing away from both himself and the driver so that if the thing did go off it would at least shoot away from both of them. Only now did he start thinking about what had happened and realized that the guard had two loaded guns: The one in his holster and the PPK he was handling, but he couldn't react as fast as someone who had a gun already pointed at him and who was now pulling the trigger. Liam was sure, though, that if he had not taken the time to go outside and cock his own automatic and have it ready, then they would both still be alive and he would be the dead one. He was certain about this. A person could not cock an automatic as fast as one could fire that new double action PPK that he now owned. It was certainly one fine weapon and so much smaller than the .32 that he had and on top of that it shot a larger bullet and used a more powerful cartridge too. That civilian certainly was a good salesman thought Liam; he sold me on this new automatic right away. I knew that if I was going to beat him then I was going to have to be damned fast, thought Liam, but when I came back and saw the guard now had both guns and he was holding the PPK and when I saw it was not pointed at me, I knew I had won the game because it would take him a full second to turn toward me and pull the trigger, and he'd be dead by then.

Liam had actually been asleep when the car arrived and since no one had asked him any questions he had not volunteered any information. Liam was even suspicious of many people in his own organization. He had talked to too many people who had come out of prison and who had claimed that were it not for an informant then they never would have been caught. From what he had seen, Liam was certain that a person was only safe if he kept his mouth shut to absolutely everyone. Friends were the ones who could harm you the most: They were the most dangerous people to confide in, thought Liam.

Several days after his border crossing Liam was visited by two IRA men who asked him what he had seen when he crossed over the border and he reiterated exactly what he had told the woman, telling them there were two men there listening to an Englishman making a speech on the radio and they told him to drive right on through. The IRA men seemed to be satisfied at his answer and they left.

Several months later when he was in Cork, Liam sold the gun that had killed the two men at the border. The shop that he sold it to was run by another IRA man who bought and sold these things on the sly and most of his trade were merchant seamen. Liam knew that this gun would never see Ireland again and would be gone in a few weeks to some far away land. He used some of the money to buy quite a few boxes of 9 millimeter short ammunition for his PPK. He wanted to practice with it to see how far away he could stand from a target and still put every shot inside a four inch circle. This distance, then, would be the maximum distance that the pistol could be safely used. Because this would be the maximum distance he could be from a person and still put all of his bullets into the person's head. Liam knew these small pistols would only disable someone fast if they were used to make head shots. He had talked to enough people who had warned him that the only immediately disabling shot from one of these concealable pistols is a shot to the head. He had heard numerous arguments and he had listened to various experts discuss the best methods of using various pistols and as he had gone through life practicing with various pistols and firing thousands of rounds in all conceivable types of situations and on all types of targets, Liam, in all those years, had not found a small gun that surpassed the Walther PPK and he always knew exactly how far away he had to be to take a certain aimed shot, and he also knew how much closer he had to be to make a certain fast unaimed shot to a person's head. In 1982 Liam still carried a PPK and forty years of active use had not altered his way of using it. That he was able to survive, and many others were not, attested to the fact that he had come across the best pistol and hit upon the very best method of using it when he was a teen aged boy. He was also certain that other people in other situations would be better off with other types of weapons but for a person in plain clothes, who needed a small concealable weapon, and who was willing to take the time to be proficient with the gun, then this weapon was the very best life insurance that one could buy. Every British Secret Service agent was issued one and Liam was a firm believer of carrying two extra full clips along with it, and carrying a bullet in the chamber and seven more in the magazine. He had drilled into himself the habit of counting each shot so that even in time of stress he knew exactly when the seventh shot had been fired and this was the time he inserted his new clip; he had never waited until the entire gun was empty.

* * * *

On board the Tara, Cathal watched as the Omega read 59000N and 09000W, and he read the deciphered message again. It was all too clear that something major had gone wrong. He did not know exactly what, but he trusted Liam, and if Liam had told him to abort than he must have found some concrete evidence that MI-6 had discovered far more than the IRA had anticipated. Cathal was thankful that Liam had penetrated MI-6 when he did, or they all might have gone into a complex where he and his two friends, armed with only Browning Hi Power pistols would meet more than their match with the very latest British fully automatic weapons firing at them with floodlights and possibly flares all around them to light them up good. Cathal hated losing this round, but he could see the outcome clearly, and he knew exactly what would have happened had not Liam discovered that MI-6 was on to them. He was thankful Liam saved him from the jaws of the English, but he was wasting valuable time. A new course must be figured out and the fuel supply checked against it to see if it would last for this new destination.

* * * *

Brian McCloskey was sucking the palm of his hand where he had cut it when he closed the scissors like dust cover that kept sand and dirt out of the bolt of the new AK-74. "God damned piece of Russian crap," he said.

"Haven't you ever fired an AK-47?" another man asked and he added: "They're all the same. You have to watch your hand when you close that cover, that's all."

"I don't need a gun that's out to get me. I want one that's going to wound the other poor bastard," said Brian as he put his palm back into his mouth again and threw the Russian rifle to one of his comrades.

"You'd better never fire an M-1 Garand," laughed one of the older men in the group, and then he added: "If Brian fired the M-1 then he'd only have four fingers left on his hand. He'd be sure to get his thumb caught in the bolt after he pushed the clip of bullets in and the bolt suddenly snapped back. The 'M-1 Thumb' we used to call it, and this was the standard GI issued rifle that was used during World War ll. Once you got the knack of keeping your thumb out of the way of that bolt when you pushed that clip in, then it caused you no grief. You also had to remember to rap the clip of bullets on something hard so that all the bullets were seated in the clip before you pushed the clip of bullets into the rifle. If you always remembered those things, then it became a top notch weapon."

Another soldier came up to Liam McGuiness who was also with this group testing these brand new Russian weapons and this soldier said to Liam: "Mr. Cummings of Interarms will give you six or seven thousand American dollars each for these things because they are still a novelty. I only know of one such weapon in the west and that was bought by Soldier of Fortune Magazine and they must have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get it because they had to send people over to Afghanistan to buy it from one of the rebel tribesmen who captured it from a Russian soldier. That is the only place that the Russians have ever used this particular rifle. The AK-47 is made by almost every Communist country now but this new AK-74 sure as hell isn't."

Brian McCloskey was listening and said: "All I can see in it is that the Russians wanted to build something that fires a bullet similar to the Armalite. It's a Russian Armalite is what it is. We can probably sell these for twenty times what we are paying for Armalites. Right now in the field our primary need is for more of those Starlight scopes. We need more night vision equipment. So I say, sell these things and buy more night vision equipment with the money." And then he licked his hand like a dog would lick a cut paw.

"That makes sense," said another soldier.

These were all active IRA members who had been up in Ulster recently, and many of whom had over fifteen years experience with the Irish Republican army. Some of them had fired the Russian AK-47 but this new Russian AK-74 fired a much smaller caliber bullet, a bit smaller even than the Armalite and it seemed to them that what the Russians were trying to do was copy the Armalite's small high speed bullet but use the same AK-47 mechanism that the Russian soldiers were already familiar with operating, and which had proven itself utterly dependable even when used by those people in the world whose knowledge of mechanical things was not much higher than the animals they lived with. The consensus of this group of experienced men was that the weapon was very good but so was the Armalite and not only were all of them used to the Armalite but they could always get ammo for it. There was always the possibility that one day there might be no more ammo for these things if Russia so desired. The only place where ammunition for these things had ever been seen in the free world was Afghanistan.

Liam listened to all of this and later that night he sat and talked to three other men who ran things in this outlawed army, and he gave them the facts as he saw them, and reiterated what the men had said about the new weapons on the firing range. Liam then told them that there was a good possibility that the United States Government might even be willing to purchase these at an extremely high price because the CID right then were making large purchases of communist armament and shipping it to the rebels in Afghanistan. The United States did not want to ship American made weapons there because when these were inevitably captured the Russians would parade them around for all the world to see just to show that it was the American warmongers who were really at the root of all the trouble in that problem spot of the world.

Liam then told this official: "I am certain that an ex CIA official that we have communications with can arrange an undercover trade and give us Starlight scopes, which we desperately need right now, in exchange for all of these new Russian AK-74 weapons and their ammunition, especially if we sweeten the deal with some of those Russian ground to air rockets. The CID have been paying twenty thousand dollars for every Communist rocket that they can get their hands on now. The Afghanistan Rebels are in extremely short supply of these and if you let them have a smell of these, then the CIA will deliver us our Starlight scopes right to our doorstep. Now, even though America has a treaty with Britain that she will not sell the IRA anything, I'm still certain that this CIA man will fix it all up for us. The Americans need this equipment right this minute in Afghanistan, especially those rockets and their commitment to that country will take precedent to any agreement with Britain. I say, lets try to trade. We've worked out things like this before with them. The CID have various secret corporations that they can claim they know nothing about who will give us our scopes and so the commitment with Britain will still be intact. I think that we should keep at least a third of the rockets and let all the rest of that stuff go in exchange for night vision equipment. You guys are going to have to study the market price of all of this stuff and work out a satisfactory deal for us. Since the Russians are expecting to see this stuff used, then let's not disappoint them and we'll use our third of the rockets up all at once in some general overall offensive against England and that will probably satisfy Russia that they did well by sending us these things. You know that she didn't give us this hand unless she wanted us to play it. Maybe more arms will be forthcoming and maybe not, these Russians are hard people to figure out. Anyway, if we use these things piecemeal and only one or two helicopters get shot down then the Brits will be certainly hard at work looking for these rockets, so I say let's make the trade and get them out of here and use our third of these rockets all at once and then let the Brits hunt all they want to for more of everything. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if a Russian agent hasn't already supplied the Brits with a complete shopping list of what they've given us. Russia is up to something that we don't completely understand, so this would be the way I would play the game."

Liam left the group and went back to his own office. He had plenty to do this day yet. There were four agents in England who he had to have false passports made for and they had to have tickets too so that they could go to Miami, Florida and train on a silencer equipped weapon, and he also had to work out the details on getting a dozen of those weapons back safely through the underground to England where they could be put to use. He had the unfinished business of the Tara still pending, and he had to get this passport off to Libya for a visa; the name was--It was that boy, anyway, who was going on that bridge deal with Timothy Houlihan. He had talked to Tim about training more young lads to do all that specialized work. How Tim had avoided gaol this long and also how he hadn't blown himself up with one of his bridges was in itself a miracle. Liam knew that the IRA needed more young men trained to take Tim's place before Tim went either up or inside prison, whichever was to happen first. Tim, himself, had taken out a good half of the bridges that the IRA had destroyed. Tim claimed he didn't feel comfortable in Ireland anymore. And when he wasn't in Ireland, which was most of the time, he was being employed by one Arab country or another in severing the transportation systems between two bellicose neighbors. There were enough of these angry neighbors to keep Tim constantly busy doing bridge after bridge and planing his next great event. He used the tactic practiced so successfully by Cummings of Interarms where if he worked for one of the parties in a dispute then he absolutely refused to work for the other: This he felt, made each one of them want him first. Some of them, of course, wanted him dead.

* * * *

Over a month earlier up in Northern Ireland a letter had arrived at a small flat. Another similar letter arrived at a small flat in London also. Both of these places were rented by people who didn't really live there but only came by every few days to pick up mail. Both of these letters came from Somerset House in London.

* * * *

Jack Dixon knew a good deal when he saw it and he had made a lot of them for the CIA. He would be getting several hundred of the brand new secret AK-74 Russian assault rifles, that even the American generals had not yet seen, and on top of that more than a hundred new Soviet ground to air infantry rockets that the CID was desperate for. All this they would get for fifty of the latest Starlight scopes and several dozen mountings for them to go on the Armalites and some test equipment, shop manuals and spare components so that a small shop could be set up to maintain the night vision equipment. The items were to be traded off the coast of Ireland.

Dixon had figured that it would be best to show his superiors that used Starlight scopes were actually worth less than they would have had to pay for the rockets alone so they would, in effect, be getting the new AK 74s for free. At least this is the way he would set it down for his superiors. He would neglect to mention the added shop material that the Irish would be getting because this could be hidden if need be. He would also fail to mention that they would have to do all the transportation needed in the trade. Sending a ship to Ireland and back would be no problem. The Afghans really needed those rockets right now he thought.

Jack Dixon knew the CIA man who had brought him this deal and he had no regrets with any of his previous arrangements and this exchange looked especially good right now. He looked through an IBM run and ran his finger down the pages and then his finger stopped on one of the lines and then he thought a while and then he went to a line on a different page and then he made several phone calls. He found that because of an agreement with Great Britain the shipment of night vision equipment would not be able to be shipped in a government ship but it would have to go out in a ship that belonged to a company controlled by the CIA. When Jack Dixon's day ended it looked like the trade was going to be approved. What neither Dixon nor Liam knew was that the CIA was actually going to steal the equipment from several U.S. supply depots, some of which had been slated to go to El Salvador. Only a few high ranking officers and CIA men would really know about the situation and reports of the theft would be made to England because the American Government would tell them that IRA operatives were suspected in the theft and the British Government would be given all the serial numbers of the units involved. The American Government always fully cooperated with the English on thefts of a military nature.

* * * *

There was a knock on Liam McGuiness's door and another member of the IRA security hurried in. "You had better come in and talk to one of these moles that we've caught. He's from an English prison and he helped rob a Dublin bank," said the man.

"I don't believe it," said Liam.

"It's true," said the man.

Liam followed the man back to where the British agents were being held and read the report. The man had confessed to being approached while he was serving time in an English prison. Some men offered him his freedom and a job in British Security if he became a spy in Ireland. The part that held Liam's attention was where the agent claimed to have participated in a Dublin bank robbery that was ordered by British Security.

"How long have you people been questioning him?" asked Liam.

"Less than a day," said one of the men who seemed to be in charge of a group of men who were compiling the information that they were slowly obtaining from the captured spies.

"Does he know the other two Dublin spies who we've already killed?" asked Liam.

"No, but the man that we are still looking for is his brother," said the man in charge.

"He's just had the regular treatment then; dark, noise and kept awake standing--you haven't harmed him in any way?" asked Liam.

"No we haven't harmed him yet," said the man in charge.

"We may have a little different situation here now than we have ever had with the others that have come this route," said Liam. "I'm going to need your cooperation until I can get together with the top brass and a decision can be made with these men. You see, if he has told us the truth, and if we can find another who can back up his story, and admit to the authorities that the British Secret Service actually instigated a Bank robbery here in Ireland, then we have started a commotion that could possibly shake the British Parliament off of its foundations. This could be a big one, but we have to turn this man over to the Republic's police and we don't want him telling them that we are Running a Long Kesh torture centre here," said Liam.

"I see exactly what you're talking about--we could give him some rest until someone makes the decision," said the man.

"I'd appreciate that, and maybe even give him some soup and tea; I know this is quite out of the ordinary but we might use this one to a great political advantage," said Liam.

"We'll explain to him that we thought he was a person who had been directly responsible for the murders of several dozen IRA men and that's why he was so harshly treated. We'll tell him he's been cleared now and that we know he isn't the one we are looking for," said the man.

"Fine," said Liam. "I'm going to G.H.Q. right now and you will be told by your superiors what they will decide in a few hours, I'd say," Liam added, and he left.

It was like a bomb had hit at Sinn Fein Headquarters. An agent of the British Government that was sent to rob a bank in Dublin! This was something incredible. The IRA had already turned the man loose and had kept a careful eye on him until the police of the Republic had picked him up, but not before all of the places that this man knew about were hastily vacated by the IRA. The Republic now knew that they were on to something really big because the very next day the agent's brother was also picked up and after intensive questioning and an incident happening in the Mountjoy Gaol, he too claimed to have been put on the British Government's payroll while both he and his brother were serving time in an English prison. The more that the Irish police probed, the more that they knew that they had something that was going to be dynamite once the press got a hold of it.

That night Liam was discussing the case of the brothers with a man who was his liaison to the Irish police and whom he had found to be entirely reliable and trustworthy and therefore Liam had no qualms in revealing to him what the IRA had discovered and what the political implications would be if the police could get the proper confessions from both of these fellows.

"This thing may make the largest headlines since the Rising in 1916," said Liam. "But this was originated right at the top in England. This man has handed over to the British Defence Ministry the locations of some of our arms dumps, some of our assassination plans and given them information of our importation of weapons. Now, do you honesty think that we would have let him stay alive if we didn't think we had something much, much better going for us now if we let him live? A personal friend of the British Defence Minister himself, I believe, acted as a go between to insulate the Defence Minister from these two idiots. From what I can see, it was none other than the Defence Minister himself who authorized these two not only to rob the bank but to blame it on the IRA. If you people would get this information from them and then let the press have a field day with them, then all England would be in an uproar. There are an awful lot of Irish living over there you know: Almost a million Irish are living right in London itself. Some of them are a generation or so removed from the old sod but they will raise hell with this, and now Parliament will have no other choice but to investigate this. And let me tell you: This was badly botched up. It did not originate in MI-6. This was a stupid emotional act by that pompous Lord that heads their Defence Ministry, and it won't stand much investigation. I'll lay my life on it. This is going to be a world wide bombshell for England if you people can get these two to talk," said Liam.

* * * *

Not only was Liam convinced that this thing would blow up in England's face, but so was the British Defence Ministry who by now were well aware of these two being held in Dublin. They knew the same things that Liam only suspected, and they knew them to be absolutely true, and they indeed, were worried that this thing would leak out into the press. One other thing that they suspected was that the IRA may have gotten hold of these two first and subjected them to the very same methods that were commonplace at Long Kesh, and that the British had used themselves for years on captured prisoners who they wanted to get information from. Now their informants were telling them that this bird of theirs had not only sung out to the IRA, but had chirped out a lively tune indeed.

"Those two brothers have been captured in Dublin and Lord C. suggests that MI-6 and the Defence Ministry get together and work out a plan so we can get them back to England or we may have trouble if they start telling everything that they know," said a Defence Ministry man to another man from MI-6 as the two talked together right in sight of Big Ben near the Houses of Parliament in London.

"Lord C. should have consulted us at MI-6 before he decided to play James Bond himself," replied the Secret Service Agent and he added, "What exactly do you want us to do about it?"

"We have no plans--We thought that you could possibly--?"

"Really! You sent these men in without any plans of quieting them in case they were caught? My, my!" exclaimed the MI-6 man.

"Well we would appreciate some plan of action that would keep--"

"We make our plans at MI-6 before the men are caught or hadn't you people found out that similar things, as has now occurred, do happen?"

"We need your help on this and either we get your cooperation or we'll have to proceed through channels; it doesn't really matter," said the Ministry man.

"Well, when my superiors found out about this meeting, they guessed what it would be about and what do you think they told me?" said the MI-6 man.

"I haven't the slightest--"

"They told me to tell you, without mincing any words, that you got yourself in, so now you can get yourself out," said the MI-6 agent as he put his hand into his pocket and pulled out the exact change that he would need for the automatic ticket dispenser for the train and then he turned and walked toward the Underground station which was right across the street from Big Ben.

* * * *

Cathal McCarthy scanned the horizon with his field glasses and then he picked up what he thought looked like a small boat coming from the west on an easterly course, but it was a bit too far to the south. The Omega showed that if they went south to meet him then they would lose their mountain shield which kept the British Radar from seeing them. His radio transmitter was on and tuned to the proper frequency and he spoke an uncoded and simple message into the microphone, "We're further north than you think."

"Advised," came the answer over his own radio

Cathal kept watching the tiny craft and it seemed to be there one moment and gone the next. It was a good five minutes before he was certain that the small vessel had turned toward him. That made him feel better because now he knew that they should both be together soon. There were no other radio communications from either craft. Cathal would not even have made that short transmission but he felt the other craft was going to miss him. He felt the transmission was short enough to be of no consequence if someone received it. Cathal was also sure that there had been no time for anyone to even get a bearing on it, let alone a fix.

The bomb had already been constructed and Cathal had written out precise and clear instructions as to how to set the clock for the time that they expected the Queen to arrive so that then it could turn itself on and start listening for the radio signal that would tell it to explode. Cathal then thought about Liam back in Dublin and he wondered what could have possibly happened. The radio messages that he had received before the Tara had turned to the east, had only told him what to do and where to proceed to and only contained the information that the situation was drastically changed so that the original plan was no longer feasible. After they had come around the mountains of Scotland, there was nothing more to hear and that had been almost four days now.

* * * *

So far, the proof that would involve the British Government was not to be had from the second brother despite the vigorous attention of the Irish Government, but now at the time Liam was meeting the small boat, a necktie party was being held at the Mountjoy Gaol by a large group of Irish prisoners and the guest of honor was none other than the second brother who, along with his brother had robbed a Dublin bank of close to a hundred thousand pounds and now so far, had refused to talk. An alert guard, however just in the nick of time, discovered what was happening and prevented this industrious group from dispatching this English spy to his eternal reward.

This necktie party had the same effect on this second brother as the Long Kesh treatment did on the first and now he too started to sing like a canary in a cage. Now the press were brought in to listen to their statements. The newspapers of the world loved it! All of them were full of the news of these two brothers and the people of Britain started to ask a good many questions about those in charge of their Defence Ministry. Reporters of the London Times hounded Lord C. night and day, and then they discovered that the go between who connected lord C. to the brothers was none other than a titled Lady. All of the newspapers in England had a field day with that one. The pressure was kept up on Lord C. and reporters from all over the world flocked to the trial in Dublin to see what other important person would be implicated next. The opposition party demanded an inquiry in Parliament and eventually Lord C. even appeared on television trying to put things right.

Liam had missed his shot at the Queen but he had hit the British Government head on and right on the target as far as this was concerned and he felt good as he saw the mass media of newspapers and television painting a picture of the English now, exactly as Liam had felt they really were all along.

Later the brothers actually escaped from Mountjoy Gaol, but for one of them freedom was short lived and he was right back. If the British were behind this breakout, then they were too late: There had been immense damage already done to the credibility of the British Government and even all the angels in heaven would have had a hard time restoring the people's confidence in it for quite a while.

* * * *

One night two men in a lorry with the British Petroleum logo painted on it, pulled up to the main gate at the brand new refinery at Sullom Voe in Scotland. The guard shined his torch around the back of the lorry and saw the usual pipes and fittings and various bits of hardware scattered about and the tool boxes of the men. He could see that the way the men were dressed that they were either pipe fitters or millwrights, so he opened the gate and flagged them through and went back to finishing his crossword puzzle.

The lorry drove directly to a pumping station room that was left purposely unlocked so that the men from all the shifts could store their tool boxes there. The two men then lifted a very heavy tool box from the back of the lorry and then placed it in the room with all the others and then shut the door to the room and climbed back into the lorry and drove out of a different gate than they had come in through.

"I looked around that place and that was the only wooden tool box there," said the driver.

"Well it had to be wood so the radio could pick up the signal and it's got the right amount of age on it so anyone thinking of messing with it will think that they are foolin' with somethin' that belongs to a person with a lot of union seniority and the boys will stay clear of it, believe me," said his partner as the lorry drove further from the oil complex. This particular room had been selected because it had been built out of a sort of fiberglass shed which had been added to the permanent structure later as an afterthought. This shed fronted on the main road that the Queen would almost have to take on a tour of the complex when she arrived in a few weeks for the grand opening of the new oil facility and the fiberglass portion unlike reinforced concrete would easily allow the radio signal through to actuate the bomb.

The Queen's yacht was now on it's way to the north and the British Secret Service was very much alarmed because they had only been able to get one message from their agent about the IRA attempt to kill the Queen on the Shetland Islands. They had no further contact with this man nor with another and still a third was now in Mountjoy jail and he was the one they now wished the IRA had silenced.

* * * *

Back in London, the most wanted fugitive in Europe, a man by the name of 'Carlos' opened the door to his flat and found a letter from Somerset House and removed a birth certificate from it bearing the name of Reginauld L. Miller. A package of business cards and other items had also arrived for Mr. Miller.

* * * *

In Northern Ireland Mr. Law also picked up his new identity. The letter from Somerset House brought him a birth certificate bearing the name of Robert Lithgow. He too started opening other letters all addressed to Robert Lithgow at the flat's address. One letter that held Mr. Law's attention was one addressed to Mr. Lithgow from a driving school and they told Mr. Lithgow that it should be no problem at all learning to drive in the city even though he had only driven in the country where there was no traffic. They recommended that he pay them a visit so that all the steps could be taken so that he could finally obtain a driver's license and that his driving could now be done legally. He would need to give them a birth certificate and proof of address in Ulster and their people would provide the motor car for his training and for the test and they would also take care of everything else for him.

* * * *

Cathal McCarthy and the Tara had arrived back in Ireland and several weeks had gone by without any IRA agents picking up the location of the Queen's yacht. Then the agent in the Shetlands reported that a vessel next to the royal yacht was searched and there was a bomb hoax on the islands attributed to the IRA.

"IRA hell!" said Liam and he added, "We have only one agent there and he doesn't know anything about it, so you see what that means Cathal?"

"No," said Cathal.

"They don't know about the bomb being at Sullom Voe and we still have a good chance at her. Don't you see that Cathal?" asked Liam.

"I don't see--."

"Look," said Liam. "If none of us called in the bomb threat then who else would have done it? It wasn't the islanders, most of them haven't even arrived in this century yet. They don't care about politics. It was the British Security that had to phone in the bomb threat so that they would be given a legal excuse to search that yacht. When you have dealt with the British for as long as I have, then you will find that those people, and especially the royalty always have to have a smoke screen so that their actions can be judged as being absolutely impeccable. No, the Queen would never have allowed the vessel next to her to be boarded and searched unless there was a bomb threat so they provided her with the bomb threat and probably phoned it into different places on the islands. Cathal, it would not look right in the newspapers if the vessel alongside the Queen's yacht was boarded for no reason, and they sure as hell aren't going to tell the entire world that one of their agents in Dublin told them about the bomb. They thought that other boat had the bomb on it, and now they must think that we have it already planted on the island. I would bet anything right now that she never gets off her own yacht."

Liam was right. That day the Queen was host to a group of people celebrating the opening of the new installation. The party was not at the installation but aboard her yacht. Liam pointed out the article in the following day's paper telling about the bomb hoax and the party aboard the yacht.

"We are go, on Sullom Voe," said Liam.

"I wish that I could have planted it," said Cathal.

"You delivered it and were responsible for constructing it, and if it is successful then I can always phone your name into British Security and tell them your part in it so you won't be cheated out of any of the publicity," laughed Liam.

"No thank you," said Cathal now smiling broadly from ear to ear.

* * * *

Carlos was a lot faster than Mr. Law but, of course, he had much more experience at this sort of thing. He had his British driver's license, his passport and his tickets, and was now waiting for his flight which would take him out of England to Canada and later to Mexico where he would plan how he was going to kill some more people.

Mr. Law took his driver's test in a small town in Ulster about fifty miles north and on the other side of the border from his bank. He decided not to go to their school because that would involve more people and a higher risk that he might get caught. Needless to say he passed his driver's test and now in addition to his real driver's license in the Republic, he now had this other driver's license in Northern Ireland in the name of Robert Lithgow. Mr. Robert Lithgow also held tickets and a reservation on a British Airways flight to Miami from London and also on a Cayman Airways flight from Miami, Florida to the Cayman Islands.

* * * *

The time clock in Mr. Robert Williams' Electrical Department at Sullom Voe indicated a minute after midnight and also told that the day the Queen would inspect the British Petroleum Complex at Sullom Voe had now arrived. This complex would help refine the valuable North Sea oil which the people of Britain hoped would make their nation financially secure for the future and no longer dependent on Arab oil. The prospect looked bright that North Sea oil would raise the standard of living in the British Isles. It had already been the leading factor in helping to stabilize the British Pound and it was fitting that the Queen should visit this new oil installation.

The British had indeed been cautious and had searched for anything strange. They had even impressed on the employees to report any new items that had been recently delivered but they had given the men the impression that they were looking for any items that had arrived in the last few days, not in the past several weeks, and the tool box was never even brought to the attention of the police or security forces. Now, hours before sunrise, a special electronics van crept slowly about the entire complex sending radio signals of all sorts out to try and activate a portable hidden radio which they knew the IRA used to detonate their bombs. The bomb was there all right but its timer had not as yet turned on its radio. The two men in the van were not regular British security men but because of a canceled aircraft flight Robert Williams had made two of British Petroleum's electricians available to drive the security van around the complex. The two men in the electronics filled van drove about the complex for more than an hour and some streets they had covered dozens of times. They had all been working a lot of overtime lately and when the driver found a dark place and parked on one of the roads away from the bright mercury vapor lamps that were used throughout the installation, he got no objection from his assistant. The engine was stopped and the power was switched off and within ten minutes they were both fast asleep. During this time that they were sleeping and now unknown to them, the timer in the bomb now activated the radio receiver and it was now waiting for the series of tones on a certain wavelength that would instantly activate the bomb.

After several hours of sleep the driver awoke and looked at his watch and yelled to his assistant who was now sleeping in the back of the van: "The day shift will be coming in soon and will be watching us so I'm going to start moving this thing around a bit. You can stay back there and sleep for another hour or so."

"Good," said his helper who now rolled over and tried to get some more sleep with the van moving slowly along the roads.

When the power for the van was turned back on again the radio receiver inside the bomb received the radio signal from the van and now it waited for the sequence of tiny pulses of sound which would trigger the bomb. It did not hear this yet because the helper who needed a place to lay down had unplugged a small box manufactured by the Motorola Corporation and he had wrapped his jacket around it and was using it as a pillow. As long as this device remained unplugged then the bomb could not be detonated from the van. About an hour passed and the driver yelled back to his helper, "I'm going to pull in to the office area soon so you had better get up front here again."

The helper then stumbled over various pieces of equipment and was in the front seat when the van stopped in front of their electrical department. The equipment inside the van was operated by a large engine driven alternator and when the driver stopped the engine, the alternator also stopped. Now the helper remembered his jacket and went back to get it and unwrapped it from the Motorola Company box and plugged that box back in again. All it would take now to blow up the bomb would be for someone to crank up the engine in the van again.

Both of these men now reported in to a large Scotsman by the name of Robert Williams who ran his department as if it was his very own. He did not like either of these two men coming in to see him now for he had given them many jobs only to have to send other people in their path to fix the things that they had messed up. If he needed a job done where dependability counted then he always managed to send someone else but today this job was on overtime and the union was strict about overtime being distributed evenly among the men and since these two were the lowest on the overtime list, Williams had been forced to call these two in to work this job but one thing he was not going to do and that was give them any more overtime than he could help.

"Is that a hot pot of tea you've just made Mr. Williams?" asked the driver.

"Aye," said Mr. Williams and he went to the time clock and pulled out their time cards while they were pouring their tea. He saw that both of these men would soon have been here for twelve hours and after that both of them would go from time and a half to a double time rate of pay. He knew he wasn't going to let them do that.

"Are the windows up and the doors all locked in that security van?" asked Mr. Williams.

"No, we'll be going out again," said the driver.

"No you won't," said Mr. Williams. "You are getting twelve hours and not a minute more. Make sure the van is all locked up, then punch out and go home," he added.

"I thought they wanted this area swept for several more hours." said the assistant seeing his easy money at double time rates going down the drain.

"Do you see those people starting to trickle in through the gate now that dawn has arrived?" their boss asked.

"Yes," answered the assistant.

"That's why you were out there early sweeping, so that you could trigger any bombs before those people got in here today and not now that they are already coming in here. You're getting twelve hours pay and no more, so just punch out and go home," said Mr. Williams.

Everything in the van was now ready to activate the bomb as soon as the engine was started. The man who was helping the driver now came out to the van and then locked the doors to the van and went back into the office and put the van's key back in his boss's desk drawer and took his time card and punched out and went home.

Liam McGuiness and Cathal McCarthy could not help wondering, when the day had passed and no word of any type had come, as to what had happened at Sullom Voe. Even the next day there was nothing in the news, but then came a report from one of the IRA men at Sullom Voe that the bomb had indeed blown up when the Queen was closest to it on her route through the complex but this was about two hundred yards away. But why nothing in the newspaper? It was a full thirty hours later that a news service mentioned a small explosion that had occurred at Sullom Voe during the Queens visit and that British Petroleum said it was caused by a routine mishap but that none of the Queen's party had heard it.

Liam showed the report from the agent, together with the news item, to Cathal and he said: "If this is correct then this is the closest that we have ever come to blowing up the Queen."

And if that bomb exploded two hundred yards away, then that entire group not only heard it but I'm willing to bet they felt it as well," replied Cathal.

"That's probably why the initial report was delayed, while they decided what type of an announcement to make," said Liam.

* * * *

"Seat 3C is right here," said the stewardess on the British Airways Jumbo 747 jet to Miami, and pointing to a seat while talking to Mr. Law who was now traveling under the name of Robert Lithgow.

He took his seat in the first class section and the stewardess asked, "Would you like something to read?" as she offered some magazines and a copy of the London Times.

"Thank you," he said and he took the copy of the Times from her. The past month had been a hectic one for Mr. Law and he now sank back in the soft seat and adjusted his seat back as far as it would go.

"These seats are more comfortable if you put a pillow between your lower back and the seat," said another of the first class stewardesses handing him a small pillow. He put the pillow down as far as it would go and then laid back again and was pleasantly surprised to see that she was right and his back felt fully supported now as he laid back again. Now he thought about those three bank robbers. They had made three thousand pounds and he had made forty times that from the same robbery. And where most citizens of Britain avoided paying British taxes by taking money in small notes, he knew that the bankers in the Cayman Islands thrived because they kept things like serial numbers to themselves. Mr. Law, therefore, was carrying the largest bills that he could obtain from any country that had come into his bank lately. The money was evenly distributed in his clothes, shoes, jacket, carry on bags and even in the suitcases that had been checked in and were now riding in the belly of the airplane, or so he hoped. He felt relieved as he reclined in his seat for he had passed the first test here at London and even though the money might be found at the United States Customs, he would not be violating any of their laws and his chances there would be far better than in England if he were caught. They might keep it for a while but he knew if he got a good attorney that they would eventually be forced to return it to him, but he was hoping that even they would not discover it. He had heard that they would have dogs sniffing for drugs and it was these bags that the dogs detected that Customs really went through. He did not think that the dogs could detect the money. Even though half of his suitcases were lost, he could still purchase his spot right on the ocean front. the Caymans were the perfect place he thought. There was no income tax, no property tax and best of all, the bank secrecy laws were the very best in the entire world, even as good as Switzerland and in some respects even better. And on top of all that the people spoke English.

"Would you care for something to drink?" asked the stewardess.

"Yes, I would," he said. "Give me a rum and Coke," thinking of the island that he soon would be visiting.

It was less than a minute later when the seat belt light came on and the crew announced their departure and he had to raise the seat back to its full upright position but he didn't mind this minor inconvenience. He had gotten through British Customs and that was his biggest worry, and now it was past. He might have clear sailing from now on. As the plane soared off into the sky headed for the tropical sunshine, the seat belt light went off and he again reclined the back of his seat and now he was resting comfortably again. He left the tray in front of him out ready for his drink. It wasn't long before it arrived and he drank it down and was thinking about what the Cayman Islands must be like.

He had fallen asleep and now here was the stewardess again along side him asking, "Would you like another drink."

"Make it another rum and Coke," he said.

It arrived and he sipped this one a bit slower as he thought about getting that name from the tombstone in Ulster and then the birth certificate and then the driver's license and then his international drivers license and then finally the passport. I hope those chaps never get caught and tell how little they actually got at my bank, he thought to himself. Then he was asleep again.

He awoke to see the stewardess who again asked, "Would you like anything sir?"

"Yes, another rum and Coke, please," he told her. Now he thought to himself, if I have another robbery, I might even get enough money next time to build a small hotel on the land and have it all paid for, and now his eyes closed and he never even saw his third rum and Coke arrive.

* * * *

There was a choice spot open on the border and the names had been narrowed to two: Captain Edward Holmes, an amiable person and Major Charles G. Gordon who had not been on speaking terms with his previous commander. Major Gordon was a highly religious man and because of this most of his fellow officers kept their distance from him, but he had demonstrated to his superiors that he was a person that could be depended upon to work tirelessly twenty-four hours a day if he thought the project was a worthy one. Now he impressed his superiors with the fact that this was a job he really wanted. While Major Gordon now utilized every spare minute to try to obtain this position, Captain Edward Holmes did not and therefore his was the name that lost and Major Charles G. Gordon was then given the job that he felt the Lord, himself, had provided for him.

Gordon had been at his job on the border for well over a month now with these men and he wondered how England could possibly survive with these school children that she was sending here in soldier's uniforms. He was supposed to be their commander but instead he felt like a mother dog who had far too many litters of puppies all around her and all actively doing what they wanted to do. Their primary objectives in their young lives seemed to be women, alcohol, food and sleep. Service to their country was either on the end of this list or not on the list at all.

This outfit's previous commander had prided himself in the fact that this unit had the very lowest casualty rate in the entire Regiment. He cited the high 'Esprit de Corps' of his troops and other such things as keeping their moral high which he claimed could only come from their commanding officer. This may have been true but Major Gordon suspected otherwise. Gordon had studied the border situation and several important facts stood out above all others: One of these was the extremely low casualty rate of this particular outfit. Was there another reason for this very low rate which remained year after year?

To the east of Gordon the border was being guarded by the Special Air Service and they had high moral. They were the best troops in the world and they were taking a higher than average mortality toll. Gordon knew that the IRA were not doing much crossing of the border in the section of the border that they patrolled. Gordon knew that the Special Air Service were real killers and had no qualms about killing people on either side of the border. Some SAS were even found in the Republic and had been arrested and then claimed to have made a map reading error at their trail. Since he knew that the SAS simply do not make those kinds of mistakes, Gordon could only conclude that someone high up in England had made a deal with someone high up in the Republic therefore they were released. Now, the outfits west of Gordon's were having a higher than normal casualty rate lately and this made Gordon conclude that the IRA were doing all their ambushing where they were not crossing and they were simply not ambushing the soldiers where they were crossing. This all made perfect sense to Major Gordon and he suspected this even more the first day he took over as their commander because that first night he had actually taken the rifles away from two border guards while they were asleep. Both of these soldiers were from London. The ones from the big cities were the worst, he thought to himself, he liked the farm boys the best. They made the best soldiers. Well, these two could go back to their hamburger making jobs at Wimpy's after they were drummed out of Her Majesty's service, and making hamburgers would be the only jobs anyone would give them now with the kind of discharge they were going to get, thought Gordon.

Major Gordon had finally finished a two week tour of the border. He had taken most of his high ranking people with him, He had pointed out to them the vehicle tracks that had actually made trails through the forest. He showed them where vehicles were fording the river and showed them where the river had been widened so that it was only six inches deep and tons of hard rock lie directly under all this water so that vehicles could drive right over the river with the water merely sloshing at the tyres. Gordon found a place alongside the river where it looked as if a vehicle had recently been stuck in the mud and he ordered that the dirt carefully be dug out of where the wheel marks were because he knew that people would have first tried to shove boards under the wheels to get it out. In one of the wheel holes they dug out some wooden boards that at one time had been part of a box, and stenciled on them were the words: Manufactured by PMC, Republic of Korea Caliber .223 Distributed by PMC Patton and Morgan Corporation, New York, N.Y. 10022. Each one of his men read those words in utter disbelief. They all knew which rifle used that calibre, and it wasn't one of theirs.

Gordon now went over the maps of this area with his men and showed them that while the map made it look like there were an infinite number of places to bypass the border guards, the topography of the land was such that there were in reality only a few spots that could be used to do this. He now showed them where these places would have to be. His many years in the service had allowed him now to instinctively mark red routes on his map which his officers now copied. When his two week border tour was finished he called his entire group together for his final border speech to them:

Gordon told all of them, "We will be in these hills and fully operational in one month's time. All leaves for the next month are canceled, no passes, nothing. No one leaves the base. For the next month, night and day, I shall be working along with all of you and we shall make British soldiers of lads that are now only wearing the uniforms of British soldiers. And when we are finished with these lads a month from now and we occupy these hills here, then two things will be certain: These lads that you have under you will know that there is a real war going on up here and the IRA will know that this border region is held by the British Army."

As all of them drove back to their unit, they all felt a sense of duty and they felt that they now were being led by a commander who knew exactly what to do. He had already showed them where the enemy convoys were coming through the border. Soon they would be bringing back a disciplined unit that would put an end to these Irish ammunition haulers. When these officers and men went to their beds that night they were all tired, but now each of them felt that they were, in fact, going to make British soldiers out of these boys. A month from now they would start inflicting some casualties on the IRA.

* * * *

Mr. Law, the banker now using the name of Robert Lithgow, did not even have to go through Customs in Miami. The British Airways 747 had arrived early enough in the evening that he and his baggage could remain at a special international arrivals area which was an entirely separate complex from the domestic terminal entirely, and which was connected to the domestic terminal by a monorail which only those passengers would use who were going to be cleared into the United States. Since the Cayman Airways flight would be leaving from this international area anyway, Mr. Law could board it without ever legally entering the United States, thereby avoiding her Customs agents, and this he had previously elected to do. His bags all had attached to them a Cayman's Airways transfer tag, and as the baggage handlers unloaded more than a thousand suitcases from the 747, by an enormous bit of luck these labels had still remained on all of his bags throughout their long journey on conveyer belts and roller mergers and on fork lift pallets and in baggage carts until they were finally on the correct airplane. Some bags might even travel on all cargo aircraft where they are jammed into a massive curved container which the airline people call an igloo, that was usually fashioned out of aluminum or fiberglass so that it fit perfectly to the inside contour of the aircraft's fuselage and could speedily be loaded inside the all-cargo airplane. Each day at both the Miami and Heathrow terminals literally hundreds of suitcase handles, locks, tags and other parts of passengers baggage is swept up at the end of every day. Thousands of these bags, stripped of all identity, remain in the unclaimed areas of all the major airlines throughout the world and each is opened to see if its owner thought about putting a label in the safest spot of all: Inside the bag or suitcase. John Law had another stroke of luck in Miami and no pretty girls had wandered out of the air-conditioned passenger area while the baggage handler was processing the 747's many suitcases and, thus not distracted, the man handling the bags actually spotted all of John Law's tags and every one of his money laden suitcases was pulled out of the line of bags destined to go to the Miami Customs where they would await their owners and the U.S. Customs men who never failed to open each and every one. Instead of this, all of John Law's bags were properly transferred to the correct Cayman Airlines flight. This was indeed a bit of luck that both John Law and all of his bags both stayed in this international area. Had John Law decided to remain in Miami for even a single day, then he would have had to go through U.S. Customs where someone would have undoubtedly opened the bags and then may have found the money concealed in the suitcase linings and then would have seen John Law had a ticket to the very spot where the drug dealers all were banking their illegal funds. Any foreigner leaving Miami, and going to the Cayman Islands would be highly suspect in the eyes of any U.S. Customs agent and they would undoubtedly have discovered him if he had taken this detour, but happily for him he did not.

Mr. Law could have transferred the money electronically or by the use of bearer bonds or a letter of credit or by many other types of instruments but by using any of these methods he would be taking a chance that this could eventually be traced to him later on and he would always be worried forever about being caught. He therefore opted to take the money with him and hide it and have a go for it all at once. If he made it, then he would not have any future worries about the money ever being traced back to him.

Mr. Law was apprehensive as he boarded the Cayman Airway's plane because this was his final test and he did not know as much about what he would face here as he would have like to have known. The white, thin, red haired stewardess who now asked if he wanted a drink spoke English but with a distinct Island flair which told John Law that she was more at home in the Caymans than in the United States. Some of the airways staff were black but they were extremely friendly and hospitable not only to the passengers but with each other and the black mingled with the whites and there was no grouping into colours like he had always seen in London and Miami. Skin colour seemed to make no difference to the island people who he knew had to be from the Caymans because of their sing song way of speaking English and the emphasis they put on certain endings. These natives all seemed overjoyed when one of them met another who he had not seen in a while. Their faces would also light up with smiles when they would find out that the person who they were talking to also knew another person who they also knew on the island or outlying islands.

"I love the way you talk," said John Law to the slim red haired stewardess as she came by with his drink.

"I had a school teacher that spoke exactly like you do," she told him. What she didn't tell John Law was that she had a crush on this Scotch-Irish school teacher even though he was older than she was. Now as she listened to John Law talk it was as if she was transported back in time and was listening to him once again.

He too was fascinated with her and as she poured his drink, he ever so lightly touched her wrist as if to steady her hand, and they looked into each others eyes for several seconds and then she was gone. As he sipped his drink, his mind now forgot about the problems that he might have getting the money through Cayman Customs and he watched this red haired stewardess constantly and made it a point to engage her in some sort of trivial, short bit of conversation every time she came by. During the flight when she had about a five minute lull, she even came over to John Law and both of them simply talked together about England and the islands but both of them noticed that each always seemed to be looking directly into the other's eyes. She had given him a snack and once again he had touched ever so lightly as she poured his second drink and now she smiled as she looked at him.

Now he could hardly believe his ears. His freedom might be all over. The pilot now announced that they would be soon landing in Grand Cayman. This entire flight had gone so fast--he touched his red haired stewardess as she came by him and said, "Could I have another drink, beautiful creature before you close it all up."

"Certainly!" she exclaimed while radiating a big smile and she even presented him with two miniatures of rum and a full can of coke.

"Thank you," he said adding, "I really do love you."

And the girl left with her head held up high like Prince Charles himself had looked into her eyes and spoken those words. But now she was busy and gone and he saw her pass by no more.

John Law poured most of one miniature and some Coke into the glass of ice trying to estimate the right mixture because this time the girl did not stay to mix his drink for him and he was not certain if she had too much other work or if this was the end to this bit of stratospheric romance. What would a young girl of nineteen or so want with a man of almost forty anyway, thought John Law and now his mind went back to all of his money.

He drank his mixture right down and then filed the glass a second time and drank all of that. Only a bit of ice remained in the glass now and he poured the remainder of the rum and the Coke into it. He even went into the seat pouch in front of him where he had deposited the other rum miniatures and took their caps off and let the last remaining drops fall into the glass too. I'm going to need every drop of this to get through Customs here, he thought. This was the end of the road and the next hour would tell it all. He sipped his last drink slowly thinking to himself that if he delayed drinking this last bit, then the alcohol might be getting into his blood stream about the time when he would be going through Customs when he would be needing it most. He let the full glass stay in front of him as he raised the back of his seat and fastened his seat belt to comply with the lighted command directly above him which had gone on a few seconds before and whose message was controlled by switches on the pilot's panel, and which was switched on as one of the pilots read aloud to the other, the landing check list, as they approached the field.

John Law was sitting in his seat finishing his drink when the wheels hit the runway. The alcohol was at work inside him now making him feel more relaxed which was certainly what he would need while passing through Customs. He had to remember to take everything and not leave anything on the plane. The jacket and the carry on bag were the most important and he could not afford to part with either of them for even one minute, and he must get all those suitcases too, he thought to himself as he finally left the plane. The alcohol was affecting him even more now. In Miami he remembered how his feet hurt and were hot from those, no longer printed, $500 American bills that he had inside his socks and under his feet, but now with all those drinks he could hardly feel them as he walked to the baggage claim and Customs.

Mr. Law felt alone and without a friend in the world as he waited for his bags to arrive from the airplane's cargo compartment. They eventually got there and he was glad that he was neither in the very front nor in the end of the line of the people who were now going through Customs. Every minute now that he stood in line was like an hour of agony and worry but the line in front of him gradually got smaller until only a family or group of people all talking together were between him and the portly middle-aged black Customs man who was slowly but methodically checking the passports and declarations of each of the passengers.

Just then the Cayman Airlines crew, along with the stewardess, who had given him the drinks, also came through the same area but they merely showed their identification and the guards saw their uniforms and allowed them to go through without waiting in line with the passengers. John Law's red haired girl friend stopped right in front of him and started talking with a black girl in the group getting their passports examined. Now John Law felt that he had to talk to her to if only to get his mind off of the customs man who was now only three persons from him.

"Do you know of a good hotel close by? I need a room tonight," he said touching his red haired friend.

"Yes," she said. "I know one that has really delicious food and I'd be eating there tonight if I could afford it, but I'm broke," she added.

Only one person, the black girl that the stewardess was talking to, stood between the Custom's man and Mr. Law now and he was so glad that he had someone to talk to. He would have given her a hundred pounds to just stay there with him and talk as he went through Customs. What had she said now food broke?

"Let's go and I'll buy you and your girl friend there a meal," said Law to the stewardess.

"Are these all your bags sir?" said another man who evidently was another Customs official. He noticed that the people in front of him had been evidently all been cleared and now they were closing up the last of their bags and gathering them up to take with them. The black girl in front of him left with them and the portly black Customs man had asked for his passport and declarations form, both of which he handed over.

Now his red haired friend turned to him and said: "She can't go but I'd love to go there tonight with you. Do you like island food? They will be having plantains. Oh, they are delicious the way they fry them. And do you like akee? Oh, yum, yum, yum the way they make it," she said to him paying little attention to the Customs officials.

He hadn't the slightest idea what she was talking about, but he said, "That sounds fine," with a sort of disbelief that a pretty girl half his age was going to have dinner with him tonight that is if nothing happened in the next few minutes.

"OK, you can go on through," said the Customs official who now went to the next person in line.

The portly black man stamped his passport and handed it back to him and now the red haired stewardess was alone with him. She was helping him with all of his suitcases and even before he realized it she had engaged a porter who now had all his bags stacked on a two wheeled frame. Then Law remembered that he had almost forgotten his jacket. He grabbed it and followed the girl and the porter out of the terminal.

The stewardess had found him a taxi and it only seemed a very short drive to the hotel where the driver accepted his British money without so much as a quizzical look. He checked into the hotel and gave the clerk a five hundred dollar American bill and made certain that he put the receipt in his wallet so he would not lose it. This payment was particularly noticed by the young stewardess who was more certain than ever that she might now actually have found the truly substantial person in her life that she had always known she would someday meet and fall in love with. He had not made the payment to impress her. He made it because he wanted to keep well ahead of any hotel charges so that they would have no reason to check on Robert Lithgow from Ulster.

His pretty stewardess friend then said to him, "Why don't you take all your things to your room and take a shower and leave that heavy English suit there--look at these other people. Leave your shirt unbuttoned at the top like them. You don't need your tie anymore here on Grand Cayman, and I'll meet you here with dinner ordered when you get back."

"Certainly," he answered and thought it was a splendid idea, and he was gone. The first thing he did in his room was to remove all those American bills from under his socks, they were starting to hurt his feet again and now he was glad to be rid of them. The shower felt wonderful after about fifteen hours in terminals and airplanes, and then as the water splashed over him the whole situation hit him. He had done it! He had actually done it! And the people here, even though four fifths seemed to be black, seemed to trust each other implicitly whether they were black or white. This was a far cry from anyplace near the Border of the two Irelands where a person of your same skin colour might kill you without even so much as worrying about you. He now ran the water over his sore feet; he would never put money inside shoes anymore, this much he had learned. God, he felt so much better after that shower. He selected the lightest pair of pants that he had and then found a short sleeved light shirt and put them on and felt very much like a native as he sat down to dinner with a pair of beautiful young eyes smiling at him from across the small table.

"What are these," he asked. "They look like fried bananas."

"Those are plantains," she said. "You have never eaten plantains before?" she then asked him. It seemed absolutely incredible to her that a person could never have eaten plantains in his entire life. This was a staple food all over the Caribbean. She now looked at him wondering what else here on the island that he might not know about.

"The television in the room must be bad because I switched it on and got nothing," said Law to the girl trying to find something to start the conversation.

"Oh, silly, there are no stations here in Cayman. You have to ask the hotel clerk for the cassette of the movie you want, or you can trade with your neighbor. Most of us trade cassettes. I just traded with another girl on the flight. She had the new James Bond film, 'For Your Eyes Only,'" she told him.

As they ate their meal she told him about the akee they were eating and how they were very poisonous if they were picked too soon and for desert she cut him a piece of mango and put it into his mouth.

"Delicious, it tastes something like a cross between a peach and a plum," he said. He looked at the pretty girl across the table from him and thought. yes, I'm going out tomorrow and buy that land and then if I have another robbery I'll come back and build my hotel. All of this was a far cry from the border in Northern Ireland.

* * * *

Mr. Law was not the only one who made money because of the problems in Northern Ireland. At the beginning of 1975, many years ago and almost forgotten was an enterprising entrepreneur who was the proud winner of about one hundred and twenty thousand dollars for several minutes work. England, you see, had not come to grips yet with the reality of the situation in Northern Ireland until the end of 1974. They scolded the Republic of Ireland for allowing the IRA to operate there, but yet the IRA was not yet an illegal organization in England, whereas it certainly was in both Irelands. Not only were the IRA holding their many fund raising rallies in England, but they triumphantly carried the body of their hero Thomas Gaughan through the streets of London, followed by an eight man honor guard dressed in their military attire in the beginning of June of 1974. About a week later the beautiful Rubens painting, the world renowned 'Adoration of the Magi' was destroyed with the letters IRA cut through the middle of it. The IRA thus announced its entry into England, and the bombs followed a few days later. The first blew up the oldest section of Westminster Hall and the second explosion a month later was a deadly one that went off in the Tower of London while it was filled with tourists, and this told all the people that the IRA was certainly a reality. But the one that impressed on every Englishman's mind that the IRA was something to be reckoned with, were the double explosions on the 21st of November of 1974 in the pubs of Birmingham, England that killed 19 people and injured 184. It was this event, more than anything else that awoke the populace of Great Britain and Parliament to the fact that something had to be done. Parliament then speedily passed new laws that not only made the IRA illegal in England but a person could be jailed for even contributing to them or dressing up like them. There was also a bitter debate in Parliament to restore the death penalty to these people. The IRA's answer to all this was another bomb in London which exploded in Harrods, which is one of the most exclusive of the department stores in London, and it started a fire on the third floor of that establishment.

With another bomb exploding a day later at the residence of the former Prime Minister, it was no wonder then that the manager of another large department store in London listened intently to a telephone call that he received from a person who identified himself as Scotland Yard Inspector 'Basset' who told him that there would be a peaceful IRA demonstration outside of his store. Then about ten minutes later the manager got another call from a Mr. Muldoon who said that he was an IRA man and that his people had planted a dozen incendiary devices throughout his department store and that he wanted the entire receipts that the store had taken in that day or he would let the bombs explode without revealing their locations. The money, a hundred and twenty thousand dollars worth, was actually handed over and the person collecting it was evidently content with having made this much money for only making two phone calls in ten minutes, and possibly then he hastily departed the British Isles, because he has never been heard from again.

* * * *

"What exactly do you think that you are doing?" asked Major Gordon to some members of one of his units that he had spotted coming down the road.

"These men are in my patrol sir," answered a corporal who was leading the group.

"Corporal Wilkins is it?" asked the Major.

"Yes sir," said the soldier.

"Didn't your sergeant give you and your men instructions not to use this road?"

"Yes sir, but there was all this mud sir and we had to come back on. We have been traveling under cover of the woods on the side sir."

"Haven't you and your men all been issued boots so that you can walk through the mud Corporal Wilkins?"

"Yes sir."

"In a few weeks we are all going into an area where any people who use the roads are going to be killed and the ones who stay off to the sides are going to be doing the killing. These roads belong to the IRA. Let them use the roads so we can spot them and kill them. I want you well off the road and I don't care if you have to travel through mud, water, bushes, trees or what have you. You are never to use the road. Do you understand?" asked the Major

"Yes sir," said the corporal and the group went into the cover alongside the road and continued their journey.

Major Gordon wondered if he would ever have them ready to meet the IRA. He could also have told them that the IRA would booby trap the roads too, but he did not tell them this because two miles further down this road in the direction that they were headed was an even worse spot that he was certain that they would not endure for long and they would once again return to the road where they would trigger stun grenades, and those would affect them enough that they would be afraid to walk down a road even after they returned home to England.

One of Major Gordon's officers would be coming by soon to relieve him because he had been here for five hours because he wanted to see for himself what these men would actually do. He had caught nine out of the ten patrols walking down the road. Only one had gone through the mud on their own. If the corporal who headed that particular patrol could also keep his men from triggering various stun grenades enroute, then Major Gordon would start the paperwork for his promotion to sergeant that very evening, and everyone in the outfit would be made aware of it too. All of his officers had set this thing up and were doing this same thing in various spots and the entire unit was being tested that day. They would all have something to talk about that night but before they ended their day he would have some pretty gory slides to show them of people who had stumbled into IRA booby traps. Also in the slide show he would introduce them to a device that he had the men in his machine shop turning out for him. It had been invented by an Australian soldier and it held a NATO rifle cartridge, and a string of wire was attached to it and run several inches off the ground, and when the string of wire was tripped, the shell would go off and warn that the area had been penetrated. The Major felt that there was no way that a unit could be surprised if they properly used these warning devices. In all parts of the world these simple and effective gadgets had saved the lives of Australian and British soldiers. Major Gordon believed in them.

* * * *

Liam McGuiness was talking to Michael O'Brien and he said: "Tell Moran that we are going to need him in the States again more than we need him up north. I understand that he got another one."

"Yes, and they almost got him this time. He had to hide in one of those caves at Portrush eating nothing but fish until he was able to signal one of our boats with a mirror. It's a miracle that he's back and alive it is," said Michael.

Liam said: "Here's his passport and tickets. He's to go to Miami again and help that fellow that he got the carbine from. They are going to train some of our people on how to use that thing and make those bullets. We've got a little project coming up where we'll be needing something like this. We want him to stay in Miami until the last one gets trained then we want him back here immediately. Understand?"

"I'll try and impress that on his Irish brain," said Michael trying to get the idea across to Liam that sometimes Moran did not do exactly what everyone wanted him to do.

"We are going to have something very important ready and it will require his expertise. Try and impress upon him that we will need him back here right away on this one," said Liam.

"I'll do my very best," said Michael.

"Here's another envelope. In it are tickets and a passport with all the visas for a young boy that will be meeting Tim Houlihan in Egypt. He'll meet Tim at the airport in Cairo. It's all written down there but you had better go over things with the boy and try to explain to him that he is going to be leaving civilization for a while and he is going to have to do without fresh milk and things that you need refrigeration for. He's going to get sick for a bit there regardless of what he does so tell him that. Yogurt is good for the runs and he'll be able to get that. He's going to have a real shock at some of the places that Tim will drag him to; so sort of prepare him for it," said Liam as he handed the envelope to Michael.

"You would think with all that oil money that those Arabs would all be richer than we are," said Michael.

"It all depends where you go over there," said Liam. "If you get off the plane at some of those Saudi Arabian cities then you will see buildings that you will know cost a lot of money and although food will be quite higher in price than here, you will be able to get anything you want with the exception of alcohol. You won't be able to get any of that over there. But Michael, my friend, no one in this country has seen poverty the likes of which is over there."

Liam wondered how Cathal McCarthy was doing. Cathal had taken the AK-74s and the rockets out to meet the CIA's vessel, and even though he could depend on Cathal, Liam knew that he could not entirely trust the CIA. Oh, they would deliver the goods, but they could also set things up so that everything would be found by the British after they had delivered it. He hoped that this would not be the case and that Cathal would bring those new night vision scopes back with him. The British only had infrared scopes in Northern Ireland and they could not pick up someone using a Starlight scope but the person using the Starlight scope could instantly spot some one using an infrared scope. The more he talked to the men who had used the few that they now had, the more Liam realized that these were items that were desperately needed and if he got them then he could equip every active unit with them and they would have the advantage over the British at night for years.

* * * *

Major Gordon had been watching his men going through a simulated situation which they would later encounter on the border and that noon he called the entire unit together and spoke to it over a portable loudspeaker system.

He said: "This morning I notice many men resting their rifles on rocks or limbs of trees to steady them so they could get a better shot at their target. Has anyone here heard the phrase 'A rifle will shoot away from a rock'. does any one here know what that means?" Now he waited but he heard no reply.

He continued: "Well, I'll tell you. the instant that you pull the trigger on your rifle and the firing pin hits the primer and the bullet starts to move down the barrel, then the rifle begins to vibrate before the bullet leaves the gun. Now if you rest the rifle on something hard like a rock or a solid piece of metal or even a piece of wood such as a window sill or tree limb, then this vibration will bounce the rifle away from the solid object just as surely as a ball bounces away from something hard. You will never, never hit what you are aiming at if you rest your rifle on something hard. If your rifle is resting on a window sill then you will find that your shot went much higher than you aimed and if you pressed your rifle against a tree for support and the left side of the rifle is against the right side of a tree then your shot will go well to the right of where you have aimed. The vibration of the shot will always bounce the rifle away before the bullet is finally out of the barrel. Let the rifle rest on your arm if you are going to shoot out of a window and let your arm rest on the window sill and not the rifle. The rifle needs to have something soft like your arm under it before you fire it. Any one who doesn't understand this?" he asked them.

"Why didn't they tell us this during out training?" asked one of the soldiers in a loud voice.

"You may not have heard this in your training because maybe you had an Irishman teaching you and he didn't want you to know about that!" replied Major Gordon and the entire group laughed.

And this was exactly the response the Major was looking for so that he could impress on them the rest of his instructions, so he replied, "This may not be as funny as it may seem, because the people that you will be going up against in the next few weeks and it's not might be going up against, it's will be going up against they do know about this aspect of firing a rifle and a lot more too. Each of them has had an average of eight to ten years experience of killing Englishmen and unless each one of us has his head screwed on right when we get up there then we are going to die and this is not supposition, this is fact. Now I know all of you wanted the weekend off but I'm not taking the weekend off and neither are you, and do you know why? I'll tell you why. It's something an American General told his troops once: 'I don't want you to die for your country. I want you to make that other poor bastard die for his.'"

Major Gordon had told all his officers that he wanted no one to leave the firing range until they had demonstrated that they could consistently keep all their bullets inside a five inch circle at one hundred yards. This wasn't asking a lot from the men because he himself had taken that same model rifle and kept the bullets inside a two inch circle at one hundred yards and he had done it many times. On a day with no wind and if he could rest the rifle on sand bags and if he had a good rifle that was properly bedded and if he had a smooth trigger pull, then he could keep all his bullets closer to a one inch diameter circle at a hundred yards. But this was the best that the best rifle could do under the best of conditions and it could not possibly be hoped for in the field. If they could all keep their bullets within five inches of each other then he would be satisfied. It was surprising though how many of his soldiers could not even accomplish this simple task. Gordon knew that if his officers wanted to get home that night then they were going to have to cheat on some of the scores but he wanted his officers to see this for themselves and become aware of these hopeless cases who were in the army but had no idea of what was really going on. The American Army recently had been making a real effort of getting them all out. The Americans were discharging the hopeless and the deadbeats for several months now and Major Gordon thought that it was time for England to do the same so that British officers wouldn't have to work around these people when they shouldn't even have been here in the first place. These people had to be kept completely away from any combat situation; even if their weapons were taken away from them they were still not safe to be around. If the entire group was lying in wait for an approaching enemy who was slowly coming into view then these were the ones who could be counted on to stand up and stretch themselves and let the enemy see them and thus expose their entire group. These people were dangerous and they seemed to leak into every group that he had ever commanded. Any British officer that he knew that was worth his salt paid particular attention to men like these and made certain that they did not even have a ghost of a chance to jeopardize the rest of the unit.

Gordon knew that most of the IRA's materials were being shipped up to Ulster right under the noses of the border patrol in private motor cars that were driven by women and accompanied by young children on Sunday afternoons. This was the busy time for such traffic and the IRA took full advantage of the situation, but there were certain items that could not be delivered in that manner and they would have to come in by lorry and these would be the ones his group would concentrate on and try to get.

* * * *

Cathal McCarthy carried a silencer equipped MAC-11 with a thirty round clip in the gun and several more spares on his belt. The MAC-11 didn't fire a full sized 9 millimeter round like it's big brother the MAC-10 but it used the .380 cartridge otherwise known as 9 millimeter short or 9mm kurtz in German or 9mm corto in Italian. This shorter cartridge developed less chamber pressure than the larger 9mm and thus this weapon designed around this lowered chamber pressure could be reduced in size greatly and so the MAC-11 was one of the most compact submachine guns made. Cathal carried it easily under his overcoat without any evidence whatsoever being displayed that it was there. Even with the silencer attached it was small and that could not be said for most silencer equipped weapons.

The CIA vessel was approaching and even though Cathal anticipated no problems with the exchange, he had worked with Liam long enough to trust no one. He had one man stationed by the radio transmitter to instantly get a message back to Ireland if anything went wrong. All of the men had their life vests on and he had several men who would not be needed in the ship's operation standing by with rocket launchers aimed at the other ship just in case things did not go as planned. Two rockets hitting at the water level would send it to a quick grave he thought to himself.

Cathal, himself, did not know enough about these new Starlight scopes but he had found an expert and this man was now with him on board and it would be this man who would look over the equipment that he would get. Cathal had intended to actually check five units from the shipment of fifty and one of these would actually be mounted on an Armalite which they had brought along for that purpose. If the five randomly selected units functioned and the mounts fit the rifle then the exchange could take place. He would exchange them the same courtesy of inspecting the Russian equipment. He had no doubt that they would want to fire some of the AK-74s and he had some magazines already loaded and ready for them. They would have no problem with his side of the deal, he was sure.

The proper coded signals had already been exchanged with signal lights and several hours previously they had exchanged short radio messages and so far things seemed normal. Cathal hoped that this situation continued throughout the deal.

It wasn't too long before the two ships were side by side and it was agreed that each side would first send their experts to the other ship to at least see if the items were on board. Cathal's man was the first to return with a functioning Starlight scope and Cathal told the man from the CIA to take one of the AK-74s with some extra clips and fire it aboard their vessel if they desired. It was less than five minutes that they heard one clip being emptied and then shortly later a few shots in bursts of four and five and even some single shots. Both sides realized that this had broken the ice and everyone came to the conclusion that the intentions of the other were honorable and the subsequent checking and moving of weapons and scopes from ship to ship went without a hitch. It was during the transfer that Cathal signaled to his radio operator who knew what the prearranged signal meant and he sent out a radio message.

The trade had been made and the vessels left each other and Cathal's ship headed straight for Ireland but she would not unload her equipment there because at that moment several faster motor boats were coming out to meet her, and the spot where they would meet should put them out of Radar range of the CIA vessel just in case the CIA had already informed the Republic about a suspicious ship now headed to Ireland. Liam and Cathal both knew that the scruples of even the best of illegal armament traders was not too high and that this business abounded with all imaginable types of double dealings.

* * * *

"Everyone needs to learn a trade," said Timothy Houlihan to the young boy that he had met at the airport this past hour outside Cairo. Now Timothy was driving with the boy next to him and they were heading to Cairo and Tim said, "Did you know that I came to this very airfield when I was your age. I answered an advertisement in a Dublin newspaper that wanted a boy with radio and electrical experience. I thought I knew a lot about those things because I had fixed a few radios, mainly because I found out that the valves were all hooked up in series and when one would go out then they all would go out and the set would die. The trick was to find out which valve it was that was bad. I didn't have enough money for a meter, let alone a valve tester, but I found out that all I needed was a battery and a piece of wire. I used my tongue instead of a meter--."

Used your tongue?" asked the boy.

Yes indeed, if you take two wires and connect each of them to a pole of a battery and put the other ends in your mouth then you will taste a sour taste and this is what I would do, but also between one of the battery posts and the wire that went to it, I would insert the filament pins of the valves being tested. Whenever I got a sour taste then I knew the valve filament had to be good and the valve that failed to give me the sour taste had a burned out filament. In fact it was when I showed the people in Dublin this trick, when I was a boy your age, that they hired me and sent me here to Cairo. I didn't know at that time that my job was going to be rigging up detonators and explosive devices. Well I learned to like the Arabs and their way of life and they have been keeping me busy out here lad and now I need some help. You should think of it as learning a trade. You wouldn't believe at the people wanting bridges removed these days. It's the perfect occupation because you are your own boss once you get to doing them yourself. The work is somewhat the same with every bridge because you are using the same basic rules, but each bridge is distinctly different and there is enough of a challenge every time so that the work doesn't get boring. I used to like to watch them go but I've done so many of them that now I sort of get a kick out of letting the other guy push the button, and I'm usually safe miles away but I still get a thrill out of thinking how it feels when he sees the damn thing go. I can still remember when I first came here after Naguib had overthrown King Farouk, and when I was asked later on where I came into the country at, I kept saying Farouk Field and the Arab kept correcting me and saying Cairo International Airport. I thought there were two fields and I kept saying Farouk Field and then the significance hit me and I said 'Yes, Cairo International Airport' and the man stamped whatever it was I was having done, I forget now. Yes, they erased Farouk's name from everything after he was gone. I have always loved Cairo. It's a city where one can hide from the world. Oh yes, they are very sensitive about their bridges here. Don't take any pictures of them or even look at them as if you are studying them. They may think you are a Libyan spy and these people are paranoid about someone destroying the many bridges here in the delta.

"Have you made much money doing this?" asked the boy.

"More than I'll ever spend, and I travel all over the world and I do about anything I want and I can enjoy all these pleasures on this earth that God has put here for us to enjoy. This is an occupation that has enabled me to spend freely enough, but in this business it is wise to limit your spending and then you blend in better with the rest of the group. If I live in an area then I allot myself the same amount of money as another salaried person also living on a wage. Lad, I have more money in the Union Bank of Switzerland than I will ever spend in my lifetime. This business has been good to me lad. I don't do this because of the money well I shouldn't say that. No, money is security and the more money that one has behind him the more security he has also, but the money isn't the main reason I do this. I do it because I'm good at it and this feeling of doing something better than anyone else can do it counts too and it really makes me feel good when I do a good job at taking one out. You'll see. You'll get a real feeling of satisfaction of having accomplished something. You see lad, this is my profession. This is my job. This is what I know best and it's the thing I simply do. Well, here's the hotel. We'll get you checked in and you can get some rest and tomorrow I'll show you the museum here in Cairo. You'll love it."

And all of this was true. Tim Houlihan somehow had felt that he was not one of the wealthy even though he could walk into the greatest of all banks in Switzerland and walk out with so much money that he wouldn't be able to carry it all. He identified with the people who hid him and sheltered him when he needed to be hid and sheltered and he in turn, had remembered these kindnesses and had helped them when they ran into bad times. There were hundreds of small homes in various countries where Timothy would be greeted with open arms and the children would stare wide eyed and entranced while he told them stories of far away lands. To them he was Uncle Timothy who came by every few years or so to visit them. Timothy only thought that his occupation was blowing up bridges. His main occupation was traveling constantly around the world and visiting people in various countries and telling them about things, which he could in a dozen languages, none of them learned in school. His grammar in some of them was atrocious but he always managed to get his ideas across. His secondary job was blowing up bridges, but the two complimented each other and he was extremely satisfied with his life, and how things had worked out for him. He would keep traveling and removing a bridge every now and then for as long as God gave him the strength to do it. There was no happier or satisfied man on the face of this earth than Timothy Houlihan. He was a person who was doing exactly what he wanted to do. His employers were always grateful and paid him handsome sums in tax free money and praised him highly for his work and his many friends would break out with shouts of joy when he would arrive at their homes after an absence of a few years. What more could anyone ask than for a life like this. Even if I was locked up now for the rest of my life, he sometimes thought, they could never erase the beautiful memories that I have had with so many wonderful people in this entire world.

Timothy Houlihan had been happily engaged in his chosen profession for a third of a century now. Many were the times he had thought that the man who works in a factory and has to be tied down like a rat in a maze, can never hope to realize and discover what a beautiful world there is out there. He knew he was lucky that he had gotten the right breaks and that he could see and enjoy it all. He also knew that only a very few people in this world would truly relish all of this like he did. Yes, the IRA had constantly been after him to train someone to take his job, but try as he might he could never find a person who, he thought, would be truly happy doing all of this, but this new boy that he now had, seemed to have all the necessary qualifications, not only to do the job, but to lead the necessary inconspicuous life, and constantly move around the world so that he was always one step ahead of anyone out looking for him, and not only would he do these necessary things but he had the same Houlihan spirit that would enable him to enjoy this entire obligatory life style as well. Yes, Houlihan, thought to himself, as he dropped the boy off at the Cairo hotel, I may have finally found my long sought after replacement. I can't blow this, thought Tim, and I have to plant the fire so he want's to stay and see this world.

The next day bright and early Tim had the boy up and they were off to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. What the lad saw there that day he would never forget. The huge museum covering many acres right in the middle of Cairo was built around a colossal statue which was still as pristine as the day it had been carved from stone, of a Pharaoh and his wife and small daughter. Tim and the boy had to go up to the top floor inside the museum where they could go out to the railing that ran all around, and from high up there, they could look the Pharaoh right in the eye. To a person who has not seen this, the first sight is simply breath taking. And the Pharaoh also knew this thought Tim because that's the reason he had it made.

"This is better than anything Hollywood has ever been able to put into film," said the boy. "It's so well done and so well preserved that I almost feel that I know him and would want to talk with him," he added.

Tim said, "He might have been only a small time chieftain but about five thousand years ago something was invented that gave them such enormous power that they could create a civilization in which things like this could be built."

"What invention was that?" asked the youth.

"Something great," replied Timothy, "and they were the first to see the practical uses for it and they took it and harnessed it to tremendous advantage," he added.

"What was it?" the boy asked again.

Tim pointed at the huge statue and said, "Writing was the invention that made things like this possible. They found that accurate records could now be kept on methods of production and they concentrated on making these production methods more and more efficient both in agriculture and in building. With writing, the method was no longer lost when one or two experts died. It sort of reminds one of a great gear with ratchet teeth that will turn in one direction only. Their efficiency now, after the discovery of writing, could only get better and better. Henry Ford is not the inventor of mass production. That was invented five thousand years ago by the Pharaohs. With writing, the production of all types of items could be analyzed and the specialization of each worker learning a task in the production line came about with a strong central authority now able to plan, and production per man increased a thousand fold over what he could produce if he tried to be self sufficient. The Pharaohs completely eliminated self sufficiency because everyone could see that those people stayed too poor.

"The first efforts of these mass production systems are still with us today painted on the walls of the tombs of many of these same men who ran these production systems. They wanted the gods and everyone else to know exactly what great things that they had achieved. It was this invention of writing that allowed a widespread use of the division of labor and the specialization of tasks. This made mass production truly possible on such a grand scale that it must have seemed to be a miracle to the people of that age. But now as time went on this system of writing was showing the Pharaoh something else of great importance," said Tim.

"What was that?" asked the boy.

"They found that if ten percent of the people were needed to grow the food for all, and if another ten per cent or so were needed to manufacture all the other items that the people considered necessary in their daily lives, and another ten per cent of the people were needed to distribute everything, then that left a very large portion of the population for the Pharaoh to harness in ways that he thought best, like building great cities and things like this statue here and for manning his armies. Yes, that man you are looking at right there now, would be able to tell you exactly how important writing was to him. We take writing for granted because we have always had it. What is it they say: 'In the world of the blind, the one eyed is king.' It was indeed a blind world back then but even though the written word was still in the developmental stage, it made that man right there, king of kings," said Tim.

The two made their way through the enormous museum and Tim stopped at a rough looking stone that was not at all impressive and said, "Look at this and read the translation."

It was a recording of the words of a Pharaoh to his workers who were carving some gigantic image of him out of a cliff some thousands of years ago. It told the workers how he was bringing food to them from both Upper and Lower Egypt and that he had provided them with sandals for their feet and other implements so that they could create this great work which would be pleasing to the gods and therefore all of them would greatly benefit.

"Same bull shit that the poor worker gets today son," said Timothy. And time has destroyed almost everything that they built. And if you can learn how to destroy some of their things a bit faster than time can do it, then some people are willing to pay you handsomely for that, so why not oblige them and collect their money. That's what I say," he added.

* * * *

As 1976 opens and January begins, five men are before a Federal Court in America and are being tried for making an illegal arms purchase for the IRA. In England 14 prison officials are also charged by the court, but these are charged with assaulting a half dozen IRA men who the British claim are responsible for the bombs that made headlines around the world when 21 people were killed and almost 200 injured as two large bars were blasted to pieces in Birmingham, England in 1974. Up in Ulster as the new year comes in, 2 people died and almost 40 are injured as bombs go off in three pubs. A group that is called the Irish Volunteer force sets a fire bomb off in Belfast's largest shopping center and this ends the first twenty four hours of the new year. What follows then is hard to believe.

A Protestant death squad shoots 7 Catholics, 5 of whom die, and this happens on January 4th. Immediately on the very next day Catholics kill 10 Protestants outright and an 11th is almost dead. The British then decide to send more troops into Armagh where the worst of the killing is happening, and Prime Minister Wilson says that these troops will be of the crack Special Air Service. Another bomb goes off in Belfast killing 4 people and injuring 20 in the middle of January, and Britain announces that bombs went off at the homes of prominent government officials in that country. On January 17th another bomb kills 2 Catholics and injures 16 more and then some members of the IRA kill a British soldier in Londonderry. The Provos then kill a man who they suspect of being sent over from England and his body is found with a bullet in his head lying on the side of the road. The month ends with James Kelly getting 5 years for trying to conceal explosives, and two men are killed and 4 wounded when Catholics shoot up a Protestant pub in Dunmurry.

February 1976 begins with 3 people blown up and killed when a hidden bomb goes off inside their car, and the Loyal Orange Order offices are totally destroyed by an IRA firebomb. Catholics riot in Belfast because of the death of Francis Stagg who died in a Yorkshire prison, and twenty pounds of high explosive is found in the London Underground Railway System that handles millions of people every day. Three women are shot and killed and a man left dying in a house in Belfast and four bombs blow up in the Belfast Post Office in the middle of the month. Then two bombs in both Belfast and London explode: The one in London at Sefridge's Department Store injures 5 people but the car bomb at Marble Arch luckily goes off when no one is nearby. The British then send back the body of Francis Stagg and 1,600 police and soldiers still cannot stop the IRA from firing a volley of shots in his honor as six or seven thousand people throw rocks and stones at the police and soldiers at Stagg's funeral. And even in far away America, as February ends 3,000 people march through New York City and over a thousand attend a special mass in Boston for Francis Stagg.

March begins with a motor car blowing itself to bits in London injuring over a half dozen people, and also the discovery by police of an IRA bomb factory in that same city. Talks between the British Government and the Catholics and Protestants have all but broken down. The British have taken away from the Protestants, the right to rule Northern Ireland until they agree to allow the Catholics to have some say in the leadership of that country, but the Protestants would rather die than give the Catholics even an inch more of ground in either land or prerogatives, therefore Merlyn Rees, the Secretary for Northern Ireland, tells Parliament that he is dissolving the group that had been set up to try and work out something between the two factions and that England will have to run Northern Ireland directly for quite a while in the foreseeable future; this is something that neither the people in England nor their Parliament want to hear. The Protestants then charge that Britain had failed to listen to the will of the majority (which of course is them). Airplanes are diverted from Belfast's airport as it comes under mortar attack on the 6th of March. On the London Underground Railway an engineer is killed by the IRA and one of their bombs injures 9 people. Scotland Yard counters by rushing 1000 police to the city's Underground System. Every British eye is now looking for suspicious packages on trains and one is actually found on Saint Patrick's day and defused by police before it can go off. Then another IRA bomb factory is found in London complete with five men and a woman. A bomb in London injures 80 people and another kills a soldier, and then 3 soldiers are killed in Armagh as March ends.

April finds United States Custom officials in London being briefed by the British Government on the problems of the arms flow from America to the IRA, and while they are there 7 bombs go off in Belfast hotels, but one of the men planting one of the bombs is shot by a reservist and dies, and a woman also working with the bomber is captured. Six suspects with their explosives are caught on April 6th and David O'Connell alleged former leader of the IRA is released from prison after serving his term in jail in the Republic. Four soldiers are injured when a bomb explodes in Londonderry and 7 people are hurt when another bomb goes off in County Armagh. A policeman is shot in the head in Craigavon and 4 soldiers almost leave this good earth when they trigger a land mine in Londonderry. The IRA then blow up the Customs Post at Newry, after which the Protestants retaliate by killing 2 Catholics and wounding 18 others in more bomb explosions. And all of this happens in the first ten days of April. On April 18th the police have to use two armoured vehicles to break up a throng of people who have been bombarding the police station in Belfast with rocks and other hand held missiles, and IRA men in full dress uniforms with their rifles, fire volleys of shots over the heads of a crowd of people who have come to Milltown Cemetery to pay their respects to the IRA men who have been killed in action. Then on April the 21st, the Republic does something new and it bans the IRA from having its scheduled parade through Dublin. They stand ready to hand out a three month gaol sentence to whoever tries to march in the IRA parade. The IRA also gets rebuffed in America where John Jankowski gets three years for shipping them weapons. His friend Frank Grady gets only two years for doing the same thing but the judge said Grady had been motivated by a false sense of idealism and not for money as had Janiskowski. One should take note on how to plead. The month ends with thousands of people marching with the IRA through the streets of Dublin regardless of the three month gaol term and in Belfast a bomb blows up and injures workers at a building site.

May 1976 begins with an entire city block being taken out by IRA fire bombs and on May 15th all hell breaks loose as Protestant terrorists hit Catholic pubs killing and wounding those inside. Catholics retaliate and before the day is over 9 people are dead and 40 are injured. It doesn't stop there either because on the 16th of May the total rises to 11 dead and 55 wounded and the slaughter continues with May 17th bringing the total dead to 15. May ends with a bomb blowing up amidst students from Queens University with one dead, five close to death and 14 wounded in lesser degrees.

In June, things slow down a bit. A man in a taxi is killed and the driver seriously wounded. A British Army camp is attacked by the IRA and a bomb goes off in another bar killing one person and injuring dozens more.

In July of '76, a sniper's bullet almost takes the life of a British soldier but he clings to life in the Londonderry hospital. In the Republic bombs go off in four different hotels and one hotel is blasted in Londonderry. A bomb also goes off inside the British Army compound in Londonderry and kills a soldier. Then comes one that makes the headlines around the world: A land mine blows up under the motor car of Chrostopher Ewart-Biggs, who is the British Ambassador to Ireland. He and his secretary both die and his chauffeur and Brion Cubbon the Under Secretary of State to Northern Ireland are both seriously injured as the IRA shows itself to be alive and well.

In August another British soldier walks into a booby trap in Armagh and dies and in Belfast a policeman is injured by rioting youths. Also in Belfast, Gerard Fitt, a British Member of Parliament, holds off dozens of angry people at his home using his revolver, and snipers send some bullets in the direction of some soldiers in Belfast; later 2 soldiers are wounded in another engagement. And now in the second week of August, rioters grab 70 vehicles of all types and start setting fire to them in Belfast's streets and another man is killed in a shooting incident. In Londonderry about 20 vehicles are hijacked and set on fire. Also in August comes a very controversial debate over the dual school system that keeps Catholics and Protestants separated from each other, and very effectively so, and which has been the case now for over half a century. There is quite a bit of agreement that this segregated education is one of the dominant factors leading to all of the violence between these two groups later on in life. No one, however, will agree to any changing of the educational system so it stays exactly the same way as it always has been. The three Maguire children are buried in a cemetery in Belfast and nearby in the same cemetery is the grave of the IRA man whose motor car killed them. In the middle of August a girl is caught between the IRA and a group of British soldiers as they shoot it out. The only fatality is the girl. Protestants take a motor car and load it with several hundred pounds of explosive and set it off next to a bar in the Catholic section; two die and 17 are injured. Several days later the IRA kill an employee in a vehicular garage and leave a bomb which explodes when the police and soldiers come to investigate. The police then chase three IRA men in an explosive laden lorry completely across the entire city of Belfast to a large house that they feel will offer them protection from the other side's bullets, and a long siege is on. They finally surrender to a Catholic priest. An Ulster constable dies in a burst of automatic weapon fire in Belfast and in the same city 5 people are hurt in a bomb blast and a man is wounded in his own home. Then something strange happens: The Women's Peace Movement springs to life and grows larger each day with more and more people joining and now both the Catholics and the Protestants are forming peace groups and telling the militants of both sides that they are through with this war. Then some 50,000 march for peace in Belfast and this is followed by another extraordinary event: Both Catholics and Protestants march together 30,000 of them marching in unison and demanding that this insane bloodshed be ended, and all of this happens in less than a month after the three Maguire children have died. Even south in the Republic of Ireland there are parades of the women for peace. The IRA, who only a few weeks before had promised to kill the women for playing right into England's hands, are now silent. August ends with the most optimistic view toward peace that the Irish have ever had in a long time.

The peace movement has one immediate effect. It allows the Government in the Republic of Ireland to greatly stiffen prison sentences for terrorist crimes such as the IRA's They had always wanted to do this but the Republican and Sinn Fein voices were far too strong and numerous to allow them much freedom in increasing gaol terms for those persons many regarded as the only true heroes left on God's beautiful Emerald Isle, but now with the opposite voices plentiful, the Government made its move. Not only are these meaningful sentences passed for these crimes, but the groundwork is set up to institute emergency legislation to more effectively deal with both the Catholic and Protestant extremists.

September of 1976 is now here and in the first week some 30,000 women meet on a bridge that divides Londonderry into Catholic and Protestant sections; the groups meet in the middle of the bridge and clasp hands. In almost a thousand years of religious strife there has been nothing that has signified the solidarity of resolve to eliminate the religious animosities as that group shows that day in Londonderry. It is truly a momentous occasion and one that greatly displeases both the Protestant militants and the IRA. Now, people all over Ireland, and England too, start breathing a bit easier. The violence continues however with a bomb going off in the newspaper plant of the Belfast Telegraph hurting 9 people. A girl is killed and her father left for dead at their home in Belfast and Bridget McKenna, who is active in the Women's Peace Movement, is shot and left to die with a warning from the IRA to the women in the Peace movement that cooperation with the police will make them informers and then they will be shot, the same as any informer. And by the way, one of the most health endangering things that a person in Ireland can do is to inform on an IRA man. The average Irishman knows full well that if he ever informs on one of these men then he will never have a good night's sleep for the rest of his entire life, which will undoubtedly not turn out to be a lengthy one.

In October the women turn their attention to America where all the money seems to be coming from to keep the IRA going, and now with Libya's Khaddafi no longer aiding the IRA and publicly stating so, they feel that if they could dry up this fuel for the war machine, then in a matter of time, perhaps there could be peace. Perhaps, but back in Belfast a woman and a man are killed in their house and a bomb in Ballymena kills one and injures four. The IRA now organize a clever campaign of propaganda against the 'Peace Women' and they are even successful in getting some mobs to attack them and destroy their motor cars while the women are protesting the deaths of a boy who was shot and killed with a British plastic bullet. The Republic is able to hand out a gaol term to David O'Connell of 18 months for belonging to the IRA. This may seem a bit harsh but David allegedly was the leader of that infamous group a while back. An explosion in an old house kills a policeman and wounds his five companions in an area near Dublin. Two men are found dead and a gas tank is set on fire at the Belfast gasworks with police suspecting a bomb that went off too early their supposition being that given more time, more gas would have leaked and instead of a fire there would have been a far more devastating gas explosion. Seven soldiers are wounded in a section of Belfast and a Catholic man is killed in another. Then Maire Drumm, active Sinn Fein member is shot and killed and these activities bring the month of October to a close..

In November the IRA have 20,000 people marching through the Catholic sections of Belfast mourning the loss of Maire Drumm who was shot while he was in bed in Mater Hospital, Belfast. People came from all over, and even Vanessa Redgrave was there representing the Worker's Revolutionary Party of Great Britain. A week later 4 officials of the Maze Prison (Long Kesh) are ambushed by the IRA. Then in England, William Baker and James Bennet get 20 years and Bernard McCaffery gets 16 years under Britain's Explosive Substance Act, with the Government claiming that the target these men intended to blow up was none other than the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth ll. In Trafalgar Square, London 15,000 people congregate to join in the peace movement as November ends, but this is London; back in Northern Ireland two more die and two more are wounded.

December opens with a reserve policeman shot and killed by the IRA but the worst is the massive incendiary bomb thrust which the Provisionals hurl at Londonderry which destroys a good half of that city's shopping section. There are, however, better signs too, as in Drogheda where 10,000 people from both sides of the border shake hands and embrace on a brand new bridge that has been built over the river that divides Ulster from the Republic. Like the aroma of the many roses that abundantly grow throughout Ireland, now too can the smell of peace be sensed in the air. But this scent vanishes when a bomb explodes in a hotel in Portadown injuring 47 people and a soldier is killed in Londonderry. Several bombs go off in Belfast killing a man and injuring other people and Norman Campbell, an Ulster constable, is shot and killed by the IRA in Portadown. Then an article in the New York Times issue of December the 21st of 1976 reports to the world that the four and a half million dollar Irish 'Europa' Hotel will be re-opened again for business as usual some time in March of next year. Repairs will then have been completed which had to be made after the last bombing attack. The 'Europa' had been bombed now twenty eight different times!

The total dead for this year of 1976 in sectarian violence is 296, which includes 14 British soldiers, 24 policemen and 15 Ulster Defence Regiment members and which is augmented by the 1,342 people violently injured during the year. But this is not a loss of life as bad as that which occurred in the slaughter of 1972.

* * * *

Major Gordon had brought his newly trained force to the border and was setting up his command post in the centre of where he figured the IRA were doing all of their traveling. He had also sent several of his officers to spots nearby that looked to be on the path of previous IRA visits, and he was assured by his officers that they would not only be set up, but their underground telephone cables would be buried and connected to his headquarters by nightfall. Gordon could not possibly hope to set up along the entire border right away, but the wanted any installation that was set up, to be fully functioning and ready by the time night came on. He was now supervising spots where his men were digging in the armoured cars, leaving gently sloping ramps in front and behind, much the same as Rommel had dug in his tanks back in Africa almost forty years previously. When these vehicles were driven in to their pits, it left only their gun ports above the ground level.

"This gives us the added protection of the ground and even helps conceal us and the vehicle can still be driven out either way if need be. When you place your armoured cars, do it this way. You lose nothing as far as mobility is concerned and your gain is immense," Major Gordon explained to the officers that were with him.

Before night time came, the communications with the outposts was functioning perfectly. Not a vehicle nor a man could be seen on any of the roads and even the Irish farmer who was slowly coming down the road with a lorry full of small pigs, had no idea that a good size force of British soldiers was encamped close by, and that his progress was not only being watched, but was being communicated to the outposts in the direction that he was headed.

That night a sentry watched and reported that he could see a Volkswagen through his infrared scope. The time was 2:30 am and less than a minute later all units had received the command to intercept. Armoured cars now blocked the Volkswagen and cut his escape route in back of him. A parachute flare was fired which lit up the entire area around the Volkswagen, which now abruptly turned and headed back. An order to halt came from a megaphone but the car continued as riflemen in several armoured cars now fired their rifles at its tyres. Even with two tyres punctured the car tried to evade the flare lit area and almost was in the safety of some darkness when another officer in an armoured vehicle that it was now approaching also fired up a parachute flare which enabled his riflemen to also shoot at the small car. The car finally came to a halt and all the gunfire stopped and now the tiny car was approached by the armoured vehicle. The men were ordered out and two men emerged from the small car with their hands on top of their heads. They each possessed an Armalite automatic rifle which they did not fire because they were now aware that they were greatly out numbered and they opted instead for early retirement courtesy of the British Government.

That night Major Gordon and his officers opened and counted fifty six thousand English Pounds all in One and Five Pound notes. The money was all in small bags each of which had something in coded Gaelic written on them. The Major and his officers were certain that they were looking at an IRA shipment all in small denomination notes so that it could easily be spent by various IRA groups in Ulster without arousing the least suspicions whatsoever. Major Gordon figured rightly that it was the sheer bulk of this shipment which made the IRA pick this method to convey it across the border. His unit had begun to intercept the IRA and so far they were ahead. He hoped that this luck would continue.

* * * *

Meanwhile in Dublin, Liam McGuiness was sitting next to Oscar inside the test equipment room of Paragon Electronics and both of them were watching the green screen of an oscilloscope The picture looked to Liam like individual blades of grass.

"These pulses will remain stabilized between 40 and 90 degrees Farenheit, which means both your hand held transmitter and the receiver must both be held inside this temperature range or the transmitter will never be able to unlock the receiver circuit." said Oscar.

"And no one else can unlock it either?" asked Liam.

"Guaranteed!" said Oscar.

"Not even with pulses that can vary and sweep some way?" asked Liam.

"No way! Unless, of course, you let them get a hold of one of your transmitters or receivers and then I'd say that they could duplicate it exactly, but if this happens we can change a few things in our circuits to a new combination and start over again. They can not sweep this like they could the Motorola circuit. They will need a modern miracle to best you with this one. Their skeleton key or burglar's lock pick isn't going to do them any good on this lock. Only your key will fit.

"Can you make us up about hundred receiver circuits and about ten transmitter circuits?" asked Liam.

"Yes," answered Oscar.

"Get me an estimate of the total cost on that and I'll let you know," said Liam.

"I'll get one worked up as soon as possible," said Oscar.

* * * *

On the border Major Gordon had put in his fifth day and on his fifth night he was the proud possessor of a lorry loaded with almost a hundred pounds of Gelignite and other bomb making equipment along with two more human additions to the H blocks at the Maze. But of more importance, British Security had told him, that the factory wrappers were still on the Gelignite, and it was not often that Gelignite was found in its original wrappings because the IRA usually are clever enough to remove these. The factory code along with the other numbers would not only point to the factory that produced it, but to whom it was sold. Major Gordon's splendid success on the border was being discussed by his superiors who even now were making the first steps that would lead to his promotion. This information was relayed to him and the Major then thanked God for all that He had done for him.

* * * *

Liam had a problem in Dublin. He had fifty new Starlight scopes and most of these he wanted to ship up north along the safest route possible but in the past few days this route had turned out to be the most dangerous way to ship such equipment. If he had obtained these scopes just five days sooner, then he might have shipped them all out the same night the Volkswagen was captured and the British might have gotten them all instead of that shipment of fifty-six thousand British pounds. A few of these scopes would go out each Sunday with the women and children, but what was happening in that sector of the border was another thing that was troubling him. He had to have a meeting of the minds in Headquarters about that situation.

* * * *

Hugh O'Neil was giving a class to some eager young students whose ages ranged from sixteen to nineteen. After the armoured car blast he had left and crossed the border into the Republic where HQ was sending him around giving classes to those youths who had been selected for bomb manufacturing classes.

"Always keep these old wine bottles with the cone in the bottom of the bottle," said Hugh as he produced such a bottle for the group and wrapped a string around the middle of it several times and then soaked the string with a brush that he constantly dipped in a paraffin and oil mixture.

"Soak the string in anything that will burn," he said. then he lit the string with a lighter and let it burn. the bottle was now surrounded by a ring of fire al about its middle. He held the burning bottle by its neck with one hand and with his other hand he lifted up a bucket of water that was on the floor so everyone could see it. He then placed the bucket of water on the table in front of him while the string on the bottle continued to burn. After about a minute and a half he plunged the burning bottle into the water and the fire went out.

'Now watch," he said to the group. He removed the bottle from the water and brushed away the charred remnants of the string and passed the bottle around to the boys.

He said, "If you look closely at where that string was burning and where the glass was very hot and then suddenly cooled off, you will find thousands of tiny fractures in the glass."

He then took the bottle back from the boys and hit it on the table and it broke neatly in half, He threw the top piece away and held the bottom half up and said, "All you see here is the bottom half of a wine bottle, one that was made with a cone shape depression in the bottom so that it could be held in a wooden pegged wine bottle rack. but I see something else. do you know what it really is?"

He then took his time and looked at each one of his students and waited for one of them to give him the answer that he really wanted, but all was quiet and every eye was on him

"This is the most deadly device that can be manufactured. With this you can blow a hole through three or four inches of the best armour. Using this you can not only blow a hole in the largest tank but the hot slivers of molten metal flying around inside the tank at the speed of sound will finish off the occupants, Have you ever heard of a shaped charge?"

Again he waited for answers but there were none so he continued, "A shaped charge is a charge with a cone shaped hole exactly like the one in the bottom of this bottle and this is why we need the bottle with this cone shaped depression in it. An empty cone like space in the bottom of an explosive charge does the same with explosive as a magnifying glass does with the sun's light. They both will focus the waves. While the magnifying glass focuses the sun's rays on to a small spot, the empty cone will focus the explosive shock waves enough so that they will penetrate right through the best of steel. These waves will focus at about three or four inches away from this cone, so you will get the best result if the charge is spaced three or four inches above or away from the metal that you want to penetrate."

* * * *

Major Gordon had no further incidents on the border for several weeks, or so he thought. Some farm animals had managed to get loose and his troops had made contact with the animals and their owners while these were out looking for the animals. The men were pleased that all the farmers were Protestants and each had expressed his pleasure in seeing the troops that were trying to protect him from these terrorists. Unknown to Major Gordon, one of these farmers actually gave a pig to the men in one of the outposts and showed them how to roast it on a spit by building two small fires on each end of the pig and then turning the pig slowly on the spit above the two fires. This whole operation took about twelve hours, but since the men weren't going anywhere anyway and there were plenty of them available to do the turning, they soon delegated a schedule to everyone and everyone was overjoyed with the end result. And that wasn't all because there were still plenty of lost pigs to be found in the area where they were encamped and the word got around the entire unit rather quickly about this wonderful discovery.

Major Gordon was more of a tactician than a strategist. He knew how to employ battlefield tactics. He knew exactly how to utilize all of his weapons to their best advantage. He also felt that he knew what the enemy had and he set out to deploy his forces so that the enemy's weapons could never be fully utilized against his unit. Major Gordon was not a strategist nor did he think he had to worry about the IRA having any who could cause his unit any harm at all.

Several more weeks passed and still there were no further signs of the IRA. Major Gordon was eating a delicious roast pork sandwich that one of his officers had given to him, and it was really good. It was better than any army food, he thought. But that sandwich was to cost him dearly.

In Dublin, Liam McGuiness and several other men from HQ were looking at a map of the border and some other secret reports from their agents up in Ulster.

"How do you know that all these outposts are surrounded with trip wires?" asked Liam.

"It's all in here," said one of the men, handing Liam one of the reports and adding, "You can read it later, but what it amounts to is that when they became suspicious, they posed as farmers and sent some horses and cows into the area. At first they thought the soldiers were shooting at the animals but then they found the animals were tripping these alarm devices that had been set up. They wondered how many more of these devices existed so they brought in several hundred pigs, and the pigs really started them popping. What's more, the soldiers started roasting the pigs and the fires are easy to spot. Now we think that this is an accurate, up to date map of the spots that the army holds."

"This would be a good place to start using those Starlight scopes," said Liam.

Another HQ man replied, "Yes, lets get plenty of them up there to our people in that area and then I'm going to move those people back off that have been tangling with the 22nd SAS. They'll come back home and then we'll send their replacements up with the Starlight scopes to meet this new fellow. From the pictures that they've been sending back, he's dug himself in like he's rebuilding the Maginot Line."

With that, Liam gathered the material that he needed and left the group. He was anxious to get busy with expediting the delivery of the scopes and plan some of the offensive measures against this new border enemy.

* * * *

Several weeks had passed and near the border some of Major Gordon's soldiers walking in a field near one of the outposts noticed a lorry that had pulled off well to the side of the road. It was locked, and the license plate was from across the border in the Republic. A fan belt, water pump and hoses could be seen through the front windscreen and the front side windows and this seemed to indicate that the driver had been having some sort of trouble and might be coming back soon with the parts to fix it. The license indicated that he could well be an IRA driver. The patrol leader radioed this information back to his outpost and also told them that they had found that even though all the doors and windows were locked, one set of hinges on one of the rear doors had nails in place of the tight fitting hinge pins and these could easily be removed and the lorry searched before the driver returned. They could then replace the nails and stake the vehicle out if it did contain armament. He received an answer to go ahead but only to open the door far enough to shine in a torch to see what was inside, and then to radio back.

Three soldiers were in this group that had found the lorry. The soldier who had the radio had found communications were better higher up on the hill so he now had to return to his mates who were looking at the lorry further on down the mountain. He told them they had permission to open the rear door and shine in a torch. He took his radio with him and was returning to his hill top perch while the other two proceeded to remove the nails that had been used instead of the correct hinge pins. The nails were then pulled from each hinge and the door was slowly moved so that they could look inside, but the door had not even been moved an inch when a thunderous explosion cut the two men opening the door into pieces and stunned the man walking away with the radio. When he finally pushed the button on the radio he was crying and thought that the radio also had been broken during the explosion because he got no response back. The radio was working fine. He could no longer hear.

* * * *

Cathal McCarthy left the machine shop with a package under his arm. They had produced a mounting so that one of the special ruggedized weapon type Starlight scopes could be mounted on a 30-06 rifle. There was a very good reason for this. Liam and his group had discovered that although the armour on the British armoured vehicles would stop every bullet from their Armalites, it would not stop the old more powerful 30-06 armour piercing bullets that were used in World War ll. These old heavy weapons were more powerful than these newer lighter rifles that had gained in popularity during the various Asian conflicts. This lighter breed of rifle was then developed and even NATO adopted a cartridge that was considerably less powerful that the old 30-06 work horse. Many people had forgotten this old powerful round. The British armour designers seemed to. But the Irish friends of Liam didn't.

Irish agents had been purchasing old boxes of cartridges with the faded yellow label and a wide orange band with a blue center that signified 'Armour Piercing' to the American soldier in World War ll. Most of these were manufactured in the early forties and the corrosive primers would rust hell out of any rifle that they were fired in, but that meant a person shooting these had to clean his weapon as soon as possible after firing these, and even for several days afterward it would have to be cleaned again and again, but that didn't matter to the people who now sought these bullets in the surplus sections of the gun shops throughout the United States. These bullets were being bought and shipped to Ireland because they would penetrate right on through the British armoured vehicle walls that the new modern bullets would only dent.

* * * *

It was exactly one week after the booby trapped lorry took the lives of two of Major Gordon's men that a man equipped with a Starlight scoped Remington model 742 rifle in a calibre of 30-06 was now cautiously approaching one of Major Gordon's armoured vehicles. The weapon had recently been discontinued by Remington because the nine locking lugs that held the bolt had been costly to manufacture; Remington had brought out a new model now that was also eye appealing and whose bolt had fewer but more massive locking lugs and whose manufacturing costs had declined as expected. His rifle had been bought at a clearance sale along with several others by Patrick Day in Miami who had used a false Florida driver's license and who purchased each of them for less than $180.oo, while the governments of England, America and even Ireland were spending anywhere from ten to a hundred times this on each weapon they bought which could not even come close to doing the job that this rifle was about to do. Patrick Day had also sent some magazines, especially made by D&E Magazines in California, so that this weapon now held 13 rounds and was a veritable assault rifle. Patrick Day could have shipped the old surplus American armour piercing ammunition just as he bought it in the store, but he and his friend John Weiss had very carefully removed the bullets and the primers and the powder from the brass cases and then they replaced the primers with a new non corrosive primer and they replaced the powder with a new type powder with a slightly higher powder charge which John Weiss had determined by firing the weapon and analyzing the bullet's speed with a chronograph and by checking the amount of primer flattening with a magnifying glass as he very carefully increased the powder charges of the various bullets that he shot.

Thus this IRA man was now equipped with a weapon that would put 13 bullets through even heavier armour than the original bullet and he could put all thirteen of them into the Saracen in less than four seconds which should give no one any chance whatever inside of the vehicle.

That night the Remington passed its field tests killing three British soldiers almost immediately even though they felt relatively safe behind all that armour. It was several hours later that Major Gordon was aware that it happened. He had issued rules that the vehicles were supposed to check in each half hour but one of the men in the vehicle was a good friend of the man on the other end of the radio and he had felt that his friend and the others had gone to sleep and he did not want to report them so he had not notified anyone of the missing half hour calls.

A few days later on the border, an IRA man watched through a telescope and saw where a soldier, every now and then, would leave the outpost and walk down a path some distance from the outpost to a spot that seemed to be a latrine. That evening the same IRA man, using his Starlight scope, now walked down the same path as he had seen the soldier walk several hours before during the light of day, After he was certain that he had located the path, he took a hand grenade, with the pin still in it that held the side lever down, and tied it to a stake that he had driven in to the ground several feet from the path. He then placed a small can over the grenade and pulled the pin on the grenade. The safety lever tried to spring away and start the time fuse but it could not because the can held it in place. He then, very carefully, pulled a string, that was tied to the bottom of the can, and he pulled this string across the latrine path and tied the end of the string to a tree on the opposite side of the path than the grenade was staked. He then gently felt the string and it had just enough tension that it was about to pull the can off the grenade. Satisfied he left.

About an hour later another soldier walked on the path to the latrine; he felt his foot catch on a string of some sort. Four or five seconds later the grenade went off. He didn't die because those few seconds let him get further away from the grenade, but he did become the unit's sixth casualty.

That weekend another booby trap exploded in the same area where Gordon's unit was encamped on the border, but it killed two boys about seventeen years old who were going to a dance in a nearby town. It was evidently meant for some more of Major Gordon's men.

This was the situation a few days later when Major Gordon dictated a memorandum to his men emphasizing to them that there was an enemy out there that they had to be constantly on the alert for, and this notice was probably read by almost every one in his unit by the time that the evening meal was served.

That night one of the sentries spotted two civilians in a motor car and ordered them to stop, which they did. Then one of the soldiers spotted a weapon in the car with the men and gave the two a burst from his automatic rifle killing them instantly; too many of his friends had recently died by not reacting fast enough and he had intended that this would not happen to him, so he got them first this time. They turned out to be two British soldiers in civilian clothes on a special mission.

For Major Gordon, this desire of a lifetime had become a nightmare and he searched his soul for the answer. He became more withdrawn now and prayed for hours at a time. Both his men and his superiors were worried about him and the situation. His men were not in a position to do anything about the state of affairs but his superiors were and they replaced him with Captain Edward Holmes who had been in the running for the job originally. It was felt that a change absolutely had to be made and Holmes could be counted on to follow orders while some more clever minds might be made available to direct how this predicament could be corrected.

It was Major Gordon's last night as commander and all that day he had asked his God what he had done wrong, and now in the evening he sat alone pondering his life in the British Army and all of the battles that he had come through and how hard he had tried to do everything right as both his parents and grandparents had taught him. He thought about some of the great people who had also failed. His thoughts then turned to a great hero in France who later commanded the artillery at Dien Bien Phu, He thought of Colonel Piroth, who even though a success in the Second World War, saw that he had failed that day in Indochina, and that night Major Gordon followed the example that Colonel Piroth had previously set. Major Gordon put his pistol to his head and pulled the trigger.

* * * *

"History," Napoleon said, "is a fable agreed upon." And this is particularly true in Ireland today. Catholics learn their history in Catholic schools that teach them that the Gaelic language was once universally spoken over all of these islands that are now called the British Isles, and that English has only lately been brought over by the foreign invader. They learn all about the Easter Rising of 1916 and how it led to freedom from the English for those people now living in the Republic.

The Protestants must learn an entirely different fable. They are taught about the glorious 'Apprentice Boys' who closed the gates of Londonderry and thus saved it from the cruel Catholic King James and his French Army in 1690. This lesson of history is reinforced every year when these Protestant children see thousands and thousands of their elders marching resplendent with their orange sashes while they hear the explosion of that great cannon 'Roarin' Meg' being fired off just as it was centuries ago. The Protestant children are taught that they are not Irish at all, and one had better not refer to them as Irish either. They are taught that they are English, and they like to read English comic books where the heroes are all from MI-6 and Scotland Yard or in the British Army. They leave the American comic books to the Catholics who crave them and who wouldn't even think of looking at an English one at all.

The beginning, which every Englishman knows, and which the rest of the world could care less about, was in 1066 when the Normans came and took over England and convinced one hundred per cent of the survivors that they were the ones who would now rule. One hundred and eight years later, the ones then in control in England tried to extend their control to Ireland by sending 30 knights and 30 archers and 100 men at arms, but this group never was able to change much in Ireland. In fact, there have been constant problems ever since.

One of the lessons of history that seems to be an almost inviolable truth is the one that points out that the more complete the victory then the more complete is control after the victory. Without a complete victory, there is seldom complete control. This force that was sent out in 1174 was far too small to convince all of Ireland that the people in charge of that larger Island to the east were in charge of them now too. The same thing can be said for the forces that were sent out after 1307 by King Edward ll, and for those sent out after 1327 by Edward lll, and for those sent out after 1377 by Richard ll who never should have gone to Ireland because he lost his throne to Henry lV who had Richard locked up when he returned.

The only thing that these small forces could do was restore order in 'the pale' which was the English region inside Ireland whose area would increase or decrease depending on the fortunes of the soldiers that were sent over. It was this establishment of 'the pale' that became the cornerstone for the polarization of the inhabitants of Ireland. Any person 'outside the pale' (which is still a very common expression in England) did not enjoy the right to own property or much else for that matter. For many hundreds of years there was a dual status system for the inhabitants of Ireland.

Until the time of Henry the Vlll, most of the English monarchs would send over troops to quell disturbances and then bring them back again, but this soon changed. Henry the Vlll had taken on the Catholic Church and now he saw Spain eyeing the Catholic population in Ireland and making the initial moves for a possible Counter-Reformation against him in Ireland. Henry had no other choice than to send loyal Protestants to Ireland supported by a military force. Edward the Vl continued on the same road as Henry but the upkeep of the province was costing the crown a thousand pounds more each year than the crown received from the province. A decade later this difference swelled to fifty times this per year and by the time Queen Elizabeth came to the throne the amount had become too large for even the crown to pay.

Elizabeth came up with a solution. She started the greatest land confiscation that any English monarch had ever engaged in. She confiscated land from those outside the pale and sold it to her loyal subjects, and this money was used to pay the upkeep of the military forces that were needed in Ireland. The year that this first happened was 1556 and then year after year this land confiscation continued and was used to pay the ever increasing numbers of soldiers that had to be sent to Ireland so that order could be maintained. In 1603 the last of the Gaelic Kings surrendered and his land was confiscated as well. Once the crown had such a good thing going for it, they did not want to lose this method of revenue merely because now all the lands had been taken away from all those 'outside the pale' so then they started to confiscate English lands in Galway in 1637. The process had now come full circle.

Henry the Vlll and his predecessors ruled Ireland by the force of the long bow. Even the first guns that Henry's forces were beginning to use were no match for it. When correctly used it was one of the most formidable and deadly weapons ever devised. King Edward lll had taken several thousand archers equipped with the long bow to France where it was his intent to plunder, then quickly return before he got caught, but he was cornered by Philip and forced to fight. The English long bow, at the battle of Crecy met the cross-bow in battle for the first time. The result was one of the biggest surprises and the most devastating the world had ever witnessed by the use of such weapons until that time. The French greatly outnumbered the English and they were ignorant of the long bow and poured themselves on to the field in full view of the English archers who stood and brought down an arrow hail on top of the French who were heavily armoured in front to protect themselves from the powerful straight line shot of the shorter ranged cross bow bolt, but these English arrows shot at a 45 degree upward angle, came down from above on to the French where their armour was too light to stop them. All ten thousand of Philip's cross bow men were the first to go down under the deadly arrow hail, and still ignorant of what was happening came the rest of the French Army riding into the lethal rain of arrows that descended from the sky upon them from a range of about two hundred and fifty yards and penetrated their mail and killed them at a range that neither their cross bows nor anything else could hope to compete with. The entire French Army was completely destroyed in as the archers continued to bring down their arrows upon French troops who even days later were still marching to the battle area in ignorance of the massive defeat. England then decided to remain in France with her long bows and remained almost a hundred years until Joan of Arc came along and put an end to them. Although she died by their hands, they had been positively defeated by the tactics she had taught the French, and the English left France never more to return.

Even with their long bows, England could not completely subdue Ireland during the reign of the Tudor's. During the reign of Elizabeth, the last of the Tudors, Ireland was contained by a mixture of force and deals made with the crown. One of these deals by which Blarney Castle, with its eighteen foot thick walls, was supposed to be turned over to the Queen's forces is remembered as the one that gave the word blarney to the English language. When Elizabeth said she wanted no more 'blarney' and wanted the castle; the word stuck and was brought to America by the Irish Immigrants who frequently worked alongside Italian immigrants who did not understand what blarney was but understood what sounded like bologna and the Irish term of 'full of blarney' changed in America to 'full of bologna'.

It must be remembered that after Elizabeth died, England was still not a great power like France or Spain and only a stormy ocean had helped her keep her freedom when the entire country was drained of the last ounce of gunpowder as her ships fought only a very tiny portion of the great Spanish Armada.

Both Henry the Vlll and his daughter Elizabeth were strong rulers and when Elizabeth died without an heir, a vacuum was created that led to a civil war in England. A struggle ensued between Parliament and the crown to see which could obtain the real power of government. Neither won and England got Cromwell.

Cromwell utilized about the same process to capture power as Hitler would years later. He rode along as a functionary of the legitimate governing body and then dissolved it when it carried him as far as it could, and his strength then was such that he no longer needed the trappings of legitimacy. Neither King nor Parliament was he, the 'Lord Protector'.

Of all the names that the Irish hate, there is no name that evokes as much wrath, even today, as the name of Cromwell. "May the curse of Cromwell be upon you" is still heard throughout Ireland today. On one of his triumphal returns to London, even Cromwell showed that he knew how much his own people loved him. When one of his aides on looking at the crowds said to him, "Look at the many people who have come to greet you sire!" And Cromwell is reported to have replied, "There would be twice this many here if I were being brought in to be hanged."

Cromwell killed Englishmen, Scotchmen and Irishmen, but his campaign in Ireland was particularly brutal and there is probably no single person more responsible than Cromwell for the present polarization of Irish Catholics against Irish Protestants.

But from 1164 when the first troops were sent to Ireland, right through until Cromwell, there has never been that complete victory as in 1066 that enabled the Normans to unconditionally rule England, but instead in Ireland there has been nothing but continuous fighting for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Things were relatively quiet in Ireland after the second World War until the mid fifties when the IRA was a bit active again for five or six years until they wore out their welcome and they practically faded away. The next trouble came from the United States with the Civil Rights movement that seemed to appeal to the Catholics in Northern Ireland who thought that they could do the same thing in Ireland as the negroes did in America and they copied this and they started marching in Northern Ireland and singing "We Shall Overcome". Well, the Protestant reaction to this was particularly violent in 1968. It was this violence that brought in the IRA to oppose the Protestant violence with some of their own in 1969. Now all of a sudden the IRA were heroes again to the Catholics in Northern Ireland when they all had practically been written off a few years before that. These Catholics had felt the heavy hand of both the British soldiers and the Ulster police types and had no one else to turn to. So it is this period from '69 on that this story mostly concerns itself with, because this is the time frame of the picture that I witnessed, I heard about and I knew, that was happening during that period known to the Irish as simply 'The Troubles'.

* * * *

Wassily Lomonosov and his wife left the Shevchenco Opera and Ballet Theater and strolled down Vladimirskaya Street in Kiev. The name of the street reminded his wife of their son Vladimir who was now serving in Afghanistan with a large contingent of Soviet Troops who had immediately gone to the aid of that small country on the border when its government requested help to combat the subversive elements of imperialism who were trying to overthrow that legitimate power. Wassily Lomonosov was now retired and he felt as if he was at last beginning to enjoy the city of Kiev where he had worked all his long life. He was finding things now that he never knew before even existed. That theater tonight he would never have gone to on his own, but his wife had kept after him to go, and now that he had seen it, he enjoyed it somewhat and it was something else that he had never seen before. His wife always wanted to see everything that was going on. He could never understand that. He had worked his last day in the arms factory several months ago on the final assembly line for the AK-74 rifles and he had completed his last one just before the whistle blew for the last time as far as he was concerned and as the other men were leaving he took a bit of red paint and rubbed it into the lettering that was stamped into the side of the rifle: '5.45mm Avtomat Kalashnikova obr 1974' and then he too left.

Wassily Lomonosov had remembered Kiev after the Germans had captured it, luckily for him the Germans had to withdraw and he was never captured. Many of his friends were, and only 3% of those captured ever returned to mother Russia. Fully half of the housing was destroyed during the war in Russia and here in Kiev it was far, far worse than that. And the lives that were lost were one hundred times what America lost. He could never make his children understand the loss of life that the war brought. Only his generation could understand that. If the German, Japanese, American, English and Jewish lives that were lost were all added together, they would not even come close to the tremendous Russian loss of life during that great war. No one in his generation ever balked at the production of weapons even though these had to be produced at the expense of consumer goods. Never again would this tragedy occur thought Wassily to himself. Russia must always have plenty of weapons and trained soldiers. If the Soviet Government would have told Wassily Lomonov that more automatic Kalosnikovs were needed for the defense of Russia then not only Wassily but most of the people in his generation would have volunteered to work seven days a week and twelve hours a day to turn them out. The people of his age were paranoid with Russia's defense.

* * * *

Captain Edward Holmes took over as Commander on the border that he regarded as enemy territory regardless whether the language spoken here was English or not. He did not regard this place as part of England even though some of its citizens did. He saw that his outfit was spread thin over enemy territory and he started making the first moves to get it consolidated back into a unit again. It took Captain Holmes several days before the men realized that their new Commanding Officer did not see the situation in the same light as Major Gordon. And some of the more enterprising of his officers took it upon themselves to inform the Captain what Major Gordon had found here and what he was trying to do. It was to Captain Holmes's credit that he listened to them and he tried not to be surprised when they told him about the various IRA routes through the area that they had seen. He had no idea that anything such as this was actually going on up here, but he didn't let on to them that they were telling him something new, and when they were finished he made his speech to them.

He told them: "Look! Something has gone wrong up here. It's gone very wrong. I do not know how we will eventually stop the IRA from coming through, but we will. Let's let some better minds than ours give us the solution, but meanwhile we are going to have to regroup so we can all offer each other a bit more protection while this thing is thought out."

After the last of his officers had left he started making phone calls to his superiors about the situation here, that this area evidently had been proved to be a major IRA supply route and he now threw the ball to them. What surprised him was why Major Gordon had never alerted his own superiors to all that he had found; at least everyone he had so far called had been astonished at all this new information, but perhaps he had notified someone higher? This made the Captain think about all this because Gordon certainly seemed to have had a free hand up here setting all this up.

* * * *

Over in America Patrick Day had been working with John Weiss and for several days now they had been very carefully pulling the bullets out of American 30 caliber armor piercing cartridges; the powder and the brass cases were then kept for some other distant project. They were only interested in the bullet portion of the cartridge. John Weiss must have tried over a dozen different types of powder in the two days that he had perfected the load that he wanted. Pat had seen all types of gunpowder in cans: DuPont, Winchester, Hercules, Hodgdon, and others and John would start by entering the powder type and the amount that he had accurately weighed on his scales. The powder was then poured into a 300 Weatherby brass cartridge case that was much larger than the military cartridge. Only the bore of the rifle was identical and it was the same .308 inches or 30 caliber, but the new brass cartridge looked as if it would hold twice as much powder as the original military armor piercing shell, and which, of course, could not be fired in the old weapon but had to be fired in John Weiss's 300 Weatherby bolt action Magnum. It was made to withstand this much larger and much more powerful cartridge. Many trips were made back and forth from the range to the loading room with its powder and scales and large record book which Weiss religiously entered the results of the chronograph reading that told the speed of each bullet, and where he also noted the group size of the bullet holes on the target. Sometimes the bullet holes would all be closer together than at other times. This had to mean that the change in type and amount of powder was causing these to vary because the rifle and the person firing it were the same. Weiss would then increase his powder a tenth of a grain of weight and then fire another group of bullets with this new increased charge again recording all the data and very carefully examining the fired cartridges for primer flattening that would indicate excessive loading. When they were finished they had developed a load that, when fired from a hundred yards would provide groups whose separate bullets would all measure within 2 inches of each other, and not only that but the original NATO .308 cartridge would fire the original armor piercing bullet at 2,100 foot pounds of energy and this new cartridge doubled that. The new 300 Weatherby Magnum load that they finished with would now impart 4,200 food pounds of energy to the very same armor piercing projectile. This was impressive indeed.

John Weiss said: This is your answer to their light armoured helicopters. You might take out quite a few of them with this setup. It has enough zap to not only penetrate their armor but penetrate their engines as well. It's going to do some real damage to their whirly birds. I wouldn't waste it on ground targets though because you really need an automatic weapon there, but one good shot from this will do some material damage to their copters. You'll have to wait 'till they're pretty close and right overhead, but it'll be worth the wait.

* * * *

Two big forklifts had to be used together to lift the heavy R-2800 aircraft engine from the big flat bed lorry up to the cargo deck of the large freighter aircraft that would take the engine to an airfield in Asmara, Eritrea. The engine had been recently overhauled here in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, a country that previously had been called Rhodesia. This particular engine had originally been put together in the 1940s and this type engine was one of the largest reliable wartime radial aircraft engines ever massively produced during the war. The Americans had designed it during the Second World War and an awful lot of them were produced. There were plenty of them still running faithfully in different places all over the world. Larger radial engines had been designed and built but none ever came close to the reliability of the R-2800. So many of these old engines were still powering aircraft and businesses in many places in the world were still overhauling them. It did not pay to do this anymore in America, but it certainly did here in Africa.

The plane that was waiting for this particular engine was a C-46 aircraft that used two of these engines. The C-46 became a popular airplane in Africa because its wheels were the largest that had ever been made for any production type airplane and were perfect for the grass landing fields of Africa. This aircraft had a rugged tail wheel instead of the more modern fragile nose wheel that restricts such airplanes to the hard concrete or asphalt for fear of hitting a soft spot and having the nose gear torn away. Nose wheels, on the heavier transport airplanes, and grass, many pilots have found to their dismay, do not go together.

The C-46 that now waited for its new engine at Asmara, Eritrea; had first started its flight from Cairo, Egypt. It had flown uneventfully to the south and had refueled at Khartoum in the Sudan where the Blue Nile and the White Nile meet. The plane then had taken off and flown east and in the vicinity of Asmara the oil pressure in the right engine had started to drop and both of the crew watched this needle and as the needle dropped to zero the captain was already feathering the propeller. The co-pilot, at the same time, was closing the firewall shutoff valves that would cut off both fuel and oil to the engine. The engine abruptly came to a stop and now the co-pilot's face was pressed against the Plexiglas side window looking for the first sign of fire. His hand was on the fire extinguisher button ready, but as no fire developed he relaxed and removed his hand and went back to his other duties. Meanwhile the captain had to maintain the pressure on the control column and on the left rudder pedal as he now cranked in more rudder trim to relieve himself of having to push hard on that left rudder pedal to counteract the dead engine. He then rotated the elevator trim wheel until the control column needed no more excessive pressure to maintain altitude at the reduced airspeed. Now he could relax a bit as the flight controls were again balanced with the dead engine. The C-46 could carry a full load with only one engine working just so long as it had already gotten itself well into the air. If one of its engines had failed on takeoff, however, then the chances for those on board were not nearly as good.

Aboard this particular airplane was Timothy Houlihan along with the boy and four other people, all of whom were necessary for the successful completion of this mission. All six of them had been watching that right engine and the two crew members through the open doorway to the cockpit. All six were very much relieved when the crew members showed little apprehension after those few minutes were over and things again quieted down. What the passengers didn't know but the crew did, was that jet engines had one twentieth the in flight failures that piston engines did, so there were good reasons for having four engines on piston engine airliners. This old piston engined airplane, though, only had two engines.

In less than an hour after the airplane had landed at Asmara, Timothy and the boy were in a taxi heading into the city. Timothy and the taxi driver had first been talking to each other in Arabic but this soon changed to Italian after Timothy had found out that the man had originally been born in Italy and had come when his father moved the family there during the Italian occupation in the late thirties; most Italians had returned to Italy since but he had stayed. They drove to a residential area and the taxi stopped in front of a house whereupon Timothy had no sooner gotten out and was paying the driver when he was spotted by one of the children who had announced his presence and soon the mother and the children and even the taxi driver were all sitting in the small garden behind the house and listening to Timothy tell them about the outside world and what he had recently seen out there. Only the boy who came with Timothy couldn't understand what was being said and now he realized, for the first time in his life, how handicapped one was in this world who only spoke one language.

* * * *

A man was kneeling on his prayer rug facing Mecca and praying to Allah to allow him to slay el Dajjal and those other English infidels who even now in the valley below were desecrating this land of Allah's with their blasphemous worship. This man was known to his followers as El Mahdi. El Mahdi was a very ruthless and effective leader with a devotion to Mohammed that included putting both swords and bullets into these non believers. The thing that had never even entered the mind of El Mahdi was why he was being so generously supplied with these brand new and expensive automatic weapons and all this very costly ammunition. He had considered that it had been provided by Allah who with his infinite wisdom had provided the earth, so why not these weapons also? That he and his men were merely pawns in a chess game going on between some men in London and Dublin was something that would never have occurred to El Mahdi. He merely thanked Allah that He had given all of them the necessary means of slaying more infidels. And El Mahdi knew these English were even worse. They were Christian infidels too, and everyone knew that while the fires were heated for the infidel, the fires were seven times heated for the Christian infidels. El Mahdi had quoted this passage many times to his band of followers. Surely Allah was great because He now was going to use the wicked against even worse wicked in a way that would allow El Mahdi and his men to even kill more of these English infidels. These friendlier devils that would be aiding him would soon come in from the sky, and then El Mahdi and his men would sneak them off to the bridge where they would plant their special explosives and then they would leave because the Mullahs had told him that this was Allah's wish. El Mahdi would have killed them too but if they were going back to kill worse infidels then he could see where Allah would want them to safely leave so he had provided this for them.

El Mahdi then lifted up his eyes and prayed to Allah and thanked him for all the many benefits that Allah had bestowed upon him. He now asked Allah to bless him when the appointed morning came and he slayed the English devils and the bridge was blown to prevent the other English from mounting any type of meaningful pursuit until everyone was gone and safely hidden back in their respective mountain communities. He had now received word that the devils would be delayed for a few more days, but this too was Allah's work because all of El Mahdi's men had not yet arrived and Allah had seen fit to delay the devils too so that the outcome was assured. One could not go far wrong if one believed in Allah.

This was a remote mountainous land where none other than the natives were safe. Any other lone traveler would most certainly have ended up in some lonely spot being shot and killed, and if the person who shot him did not find any money on the dead victim then the shooter would have felt sorry for himself because he had wasted the bullet.

* * * *

Vladimir Lomonosov had seen things change for the Russian soldier in Afghanistan. At first the Russians swept through the country and they seemed to be welcomed in the cities and in the countryside and they were pushing the rebels back into their mountainous regions. The natives were caught by the awesome fire power of the Russian Kalashnikov assault rifles that sprayed out their bullets at lightning fast speeds and mowed dozens of Afghanistan soldiers down in a single burst of fire, Vladimir could not believe at the ancient weapons that these natives were using to try and oppose the modern Red Army. Some of the guns were actually made by hand by these natives themselves. The Russian soldiers sent them back home where they would be displayed on the walls of their homes as mementos of their army years.

But after Vladimir was in Afghanistan for a while things began to change. The natives learned how to use even these old weapons more effectively. They would find a spot in the mountains and one would watch with a telescope while an other fired, and in this way they better learned how their rifles had to be sighted in so that all bullets would land on the road below. Then the group would sit and wait until the Russians came by and then they opened up with a few volleys and disappeared. Things like this began to happen more and more until the Russians learned to bring in helicopters to flush such men out, but then the Russians started having other problems. Suddenly the Afghans had modern weapons. The Czechoslovakian Samopal vz58 appeared and these were the first Russian killers. It was a copy of the Kalasnikov and some said it was even better. Vladimir Lomonosov was very much surprised to find his friends being killed with a weapon manufactured by another friendly Communist country. Then came a veritable onslaught of Communist weapons into the rebel hands with the most numerous now being the Yugoslav Model 64 which was another copy of the Russian Kalashnikov that had won world wide acclaim as the most trouble free assault rifle that has ever been produced. All of these weapons had been purchased in Europe and shipped to the Afghans via Pakistan. The American CIA had provided these and later many more weapons that all used the very same ammunition that the Afghans could steal from the Russian troops right inside their own country. The decision to buy Communist weapons that used Russian ammunition was one of the better decisions that the CIA made. It really paid off well in Russian deaths in Afghanistan.

Then the Russians introduced the smaller calibre Automatic Kalashnikov, the AK-74 to Afghanistan, and it was an instant success mainly because this new rifle had far less bullet drop than the AK-47 at the longer ranges and its bullets did not ricochet as badly either, and the Russian doctors who had treated Afghan wounds from this new riffle claimed it made a devastating twisting corkscrew path through the body.

Now landing at a Pakistani airfield were the weapons from the IRA trade. It was a CIA shipment of Soviet ground to air rockets and the very first brand new AK-74 Russian rifles for the Afghan rebels to fire back at the Russian soldiers, who up 'till now had the exclusive rights to this new weapon. Soon the Russian doctors would get to see these same corkscrew wounds in their own Russian soldiers.

* * * *

Many miles away another airplane, that only hours before had been outfitted with a newly overhauled right engine, was descending to land, and from the cockpit the crew could see two rows of fires suddenly appear in the black void below as El Mahdi's men hearing the airplane, now lit the petrol and oil mixture in numerous tin cans that lined each side of the grass landing strip where the twenty-two ton airplane would soon be landing. This valley was well away from British eyes but as a precaution El Mahdi's men stood by with covers to cover the cans and extinguish the flames as soon as the airplane was safely on the ground. Although the English would never see the fires nor would they hear the noise of the airplane's engines; they would find out about all of this later from some of the natives who were now watching and would tell them all about this strange event. This was a land to which telephones and other modern methods of communications had not yet arrived and so it would be several days before the English would be told all of this. But this was Allah's land and his self appointed vicar El Mahdi had every intention of inflicting Allah's divine retribution upon one selected bunch of these infidels well before any warning messages could get out to save them.

On the ground, El Mahdi's men were surprised to see this sudden movement of a dark massive object along the field that they could hardly see because their eyes had been watching the fires. After many commands in Arabic the fires were all extinguished and the men were rolling dozens of drums of aviation fuel over to the airplane. Each of these drums had been brought into this valley individually and over routes that would defy the credulity of a sane, civilized mind. Money alone, even a great amount, could never have accomplished it. Much money and a strong conviction that Allah's will was being done were the two vital instruments that brought all these drums of gasoline to this remote part of the world. Over a thousand gallons of fuel were now being rolled toward the huge airplane. Hours would go by before it was all hand pumped in and this would be going on while Timothy Houlihan and his party prepared for the bridge demolition. Since most of the night would be spent traveling to and from the bridge, Timothy and his crew would only have a little over a half hour at the site, but they had prepared to use this limited time well. This bridge was a suspension bridge where the entire weight of the bridge hung on two massive cables that were suspended across the chasm and securely anchored into rock walls on each side. The plan was to place two thermite devices on the cable mounts where the two cables were anchored into the sides of the cliff on one side of the gorge. The thermite would not explode but would burn through the iron mounts that held the two cables. On the opposite cliff, the cables themselves would be blasted through with shape charges timed to wait until the thermite had burned most of the way through the iron mounts. The bridge would probably be unusable if only one of these devices worked. If all four worked, then the bridge would be nothing but scrap metal lying hundreds of feet below in the gorge.

Hour after hour aviation fuel was being slowly hand pumped into the C-46 in this country and a bit faster into the CIA plane in Pakistan; both airplanes were being refueled from 55 gallon drums and both had a native working the hand pump while the American flight crew religiously checked each drum and closely monitored the refueling process. Natives had been known to roll out 55 gallon drums filled with other things beside aviation fuel. Most couldn't read English so it was up to the flight crews to make absolutely certain that only the correct fluid went into their planes.

Both the CIA airplane and the C-46 were in the air at the crack of dawn and no one in either plane would witness the devastation and deaths that would result because of both of their trips. It was an English gun and English ammunition and an English soldier who made El Mahdi an orphan more than a quarter of a century ago. Allah lost that round. But these two airplanes that day had a profound effect in changing the order of things. Now, many English children would lose their fathers and Allah would win this round. Allah would win in Pakistan too now because these rockets would start bringing down helicopters faster than Russia could afford, and it would show Russia's Achilles heel. It would show the CIA that they needed to bring in more of these rockets regardless of where they came from. The English people killed were all engineers that a large English Firm could not afford to lose. The Scottish-English head of the firm lost his entire family's wealth when it went belly up shortly after this. His large contributions to the Ulster Militants were all suddenly ended. And this was what the IRA had intended when they sent Timothy Houlihan and his crew.

But the war would go on and on. Both England and Russia had yet to learn that pitching a nation a square deal might be worth more than pitching round bullets at them; both seemed to forget that fear only controls people as long as one particular party remains the sole dispenser of the fear.

More than a week had gone by since the CIA airplane had left Pakistan and Vladimir Lomonosov had to leave again. Another Russian helicopter had been downed by a rocket. It had barely been five hours ago that they had been at the site of where the first one had been shot down. Where did these ignorant savages get these rockets? There was even a rumor circulating that this was a new disposable one shot rocket that had been made in Russia and that the Afghans had left the disposable launcher right where they had fired at the earlier helicopter.

The Afghans were well hidden and a distance from the helicopter crash site but several telescopes were constantly trained on the Russians at the first crash site. They had thought that the strong heavily armed helicopter force that initially came to view the crash would all leave together and they were fairly well astonished when only one helicopter and a small lightly armed group remained. Every move Vladimir and his friends made at that crash site was observed and all of their movements were of interest to the eyes that watched this one remaining group. Now the Afghans knew what to expect when they shot down the second helicopter.

One person had survived in the second Russian helicopter that was downed by a rocket. Even though the engine was dead the automatic auto rotation device worked and reversed the pitch of the main rotor blade thereby keeping it rotating the same way, maintaining the heavy blade's speed and angular momentum as the helicopter descended. The well trained pilot had managed to pull up on the collective pitch handle just before they hit and this made the main rotor bite harder into the air. Thus the main rotor blade's inertia alone lifting into the air managed to cushion the impact with the ground somewhat but then the same rotor that had saved them now cracked when they hit and a portion of the blade came through the cockpit and decapitated the pilot. The helicopter did not burn and one person slightly injured and stunned but still very much alive now slowly emerged from the machine and sat on the ground nearby still dazed from all that had so suddenly taken place.

Almost a dozen Afghans now watched from the rocks that they knew would hide them from the view of the many helicopters that would soon come to this crash site. They were not seen by the survivor nor did they make any attempt to kill him for he was going to be their lure. These people did not know about the many finer points of warfare but all of them knew how one tethers a goat so as to lure in the wilder mountain creatures so it can be shot and killed as it comes for the goat. The Afghans knew the Russians would think that no one was around if they saw one of their own men still alive. Now with their brand new AK-74s that they had just received, they got into their positions and hid and waited just as they did for the wild creature to come so it too could be killed. This was one game that they knew very well.

In no time the first Russian helicopter had landed at the crash site and more followed but then after several hours they had all gone and only Vladimir's group remained and they too were now getting ready to depart. Vladimir and another man were carrying some final rescued electronic black boxes from the downed helicopter because if they left them the Afghans would ruin them because they too knew that they could be used for spare parts. Suddenly out of nowhere bullets hit every person in the group. They had knocked Vladimir completely off balance and now even though his Kalashnikov was still by his side, it was of no use to him because a bullet had tore loose his spine and he could no longer move his arms or legs nor could he even turn his head. It seemed ages that he lay there listening to all the shooting and the explosions of grenades and seeing the flames as the Afghans burned his helicopter as well. He could smell the burning petrol and oil but he could only look straight up. Then for a time there was silence interrupted by a lone Kalasnikov burst now and then. All at once the face of an Afghan came into his view and they were looking at each other, then he saw more of the Afghan as the man bent over him and he also saw that the man carried a Russian made AK-74 and the weapon was so close to him that he could even read '5.45mm Avtomat Kalashnikova obr 1974' that were imprinted into the steel but which on this particular weapon stood out because someone had rubbed red paint into the lettering. Vladimir realized that the man was going through his pockets and removing what he wanted. Soon there were voices to be heard but they were not speaking his language and then some other faces came into his view and these certainly were not Russian faces. The gun with the red lettering was finally pointed at his head, and a burst from the AK-74 with the red lettering broke the silence, and the Afghan with the weapon now moved on closer to the burning wreckage to see if there was anything else of value that he might obtain.

* * * *

Back in Ulster Captain Edward Holmes had been having the worst weeks in all of his entire military career. He had not yet had a man killed but several had been wounded and he was certain that if he had not consolidated them, then he would have had a veritable disaster on his hands. He had been informing his superiors that the IRA must now be equipped with sophisticated night vision equipment but they had not believed him at first but later he had been visited by some of the higher ranking brass and they had talked to his men, and they were now convinced that he had been right all along. One of these officers confided in him that he had seen a top secret report of night vision equipment stolen in the United States and that they could pick up the rays put out by infrared British units too.

Now he knew what was happening. When his men were turning on their infrared units, they were instantly being spotted by these new IRA devices! They were giving their positions away as soon as they turned on their own night infrared units. The Irish could see him and he could not see them. An alert had to go out immediately telling his group not to use their own night vision equipment because the IRA was picking up their infrared beams.

What kind of a topsy turvy world was this, he thought, when the terrorists could have better equipment than the duly appointed guardians of society. If he was in some other damn country then they would merely mine the border and let them blow themselves up when they crossed, but that was not possible here because of the danger to civilians. He was being held in check until his superiors could get better equipment to him.

Captain Holmes now thought about the magnificent arms presentation that he had recently attended that had been given by an English arms producer for some Arab arms purchasers. The colour cinema productions had been the very best, explaining to the Arabs, much even in their own language, that by buying English armament, they would be buying the very latest in scientific design that would not be matched by their enemies for years to come. He thought about all of this now as he sat and wondered if it had been fifteen or even twenty years now that this starlight equipment was being produced and he had never seen any of it himself yet in the field. He had waited for it to come many times but all he had ever received were the same old infrared night vision scopes that he was used to seeing. An English built helicopter had been shot down a few days earlier by only one shot that had penetrated the armour underneath and also the engine forcing it to land near his unit. His own troops were frightened to ride in the armoured vehicles which they considered rolling coffins. In the cinema production of the armament show this same company that produced these same armoured vehicles claimed that they were practically impervious to anything that the enemy might throw against them and the color cinema showed them all with the people inside firing all their guns from them and victoriously they would emerge from the smoke and explosions and the soldiers would jump out unharmed and energetically run to kill the enemy. But this was only on film. Captain Edward Holmes and his men knew well what they were really worth and it wasn't much.

That very same helicopter had also been given much adoration by the armament people because they were selling many of them to not only the British Government but to the Arabs as well. In the film thousands of bullets were being fired at them from the ground and it didn't even phase the occupants nor did it seem to have any effect on the helicopter. Holmes had studied a the path of a bullet, on this particular type of helicopter, and he was absolutely certain that only one bullet had caused it to come down. Holmes thought, if the Arabs believed all this propaganda that these armament companies were putting out, then when their enemies came and moved against them, they were going to be in for one whopping big surprise.

Holmes also knew that for any given time he could only count on two thirds of his armoured vehicles to be available for extended use and his talk with the helicopter pilot enlightened him to the fact that less than half of the helicopters that they had, could even be flown at all. The rest were all sitting and waiting for parts or for maintenance or were undergoing extensive work of some sort. The arms company sales people had evidently forgotten to tell this to their armament buyers. This British equipment was not the worst that was being sold either, in fact it was probably above average. Holmes had seen some equipment that was unbelievably bad and was still being sold to ignorant purchasers who had plenty of money to spend.

Holmes was not happy with his present situation, nor was he happy with the lethargic way in which his superiors seemed to operate, but he knew that eventually they would get the necessary equipment into the areas that needed it the most and they were the ones who would decide where the priority would be determined. If they felt that his situation took precedence over some others then he knew that he would get the necessary night vision devices and if not then he would be forced to sit and wait. He could do either, and now he was preparing for both of those eventualities in what he would do if he did get the equipment and if he didn't, because he had been in this British Army long enough to know that one could not always count on Whitehall seeing the situation in the same light as the field commander.

* * * *

In Dublin, Liam McGuiness was overjoyed with several events that had recently taken place. Houlihan's bridge had gone to the bottom of the ravine and had prevented a contingent of British troops from coming to the aid of a large group of British Engineers that the Arabs massacred. Houlihan had also carried with him one of the Russian ground to air infantry rockets, and Liam blessed those Russian designers who always made their devices so simple to operate that even the most unenlightened of the world's population could easily use them, because one of the Arabs had even shot down a helicopter that had started to cross the ravine after the bridge had been taken out and no more had attempted to follow it. It would be a great setback for not only this British company but for England herself. Troops were expendable but not these highly trained specialists. Liam knew that he had hurt the English more on this one than if he had killed their Queen. Also Liam knew that he now had a rifle that could down a helicopter with only one shot. In Northern Ireland one more British copter went down to this new weapon sent back by Pat Day in Miami who wanted it field tested. Well, the field test worked, and he had informed Day of such and ordered more of those weapons and that special ammunition.

* * * *

Two events took place within a month of each other and should be related because of the well-known people who were involved. The first deals with the author of that famous 'Guinness Book of Records' and the second with Caroline Kennedy.

Ross McWhirter along with his brother Norris thought up the idea of the 'Guinness Book of Records' and together they both edited it year after year. Ross McWhirter, however, decided to take on the IRA and he often spoke out against them, He knew that money would make people inform on others when all else failed. He asked the public to send him money that would be given as a reward to people who would furnish information which would lead to the arrest of the London bombers. The public sent him money and then he announced a $100,000 reward would be paid for such information. He then told friends that he knew that he had made himself the foremost target for the IRA who never let anything stand in their way of killing an informer. But Ross McWhirter lived in London and not in Ireland.

One day, as his wife watched, Ross McWhirter was shot and killed right in front of his home in London. It was probably the event of a bit less than a month earlier that caused the public outpouring of money to McWhirter so that he could offer the reward.

Caroline Kennedy missed getting blown to bits by a matter of some seconds and her life was undoubtedly saved because of a telephone call. She was attending an art class at Sotheby's and while in London she was staying at the residence of Hugh Fraser, a member of Britain's Parliament who by habit left his house every day at the same time, only this particular day the IRA had decided to place a bomb under his motor car because he had been speaking out too much about their terrorism, He was delayed because of a telephone call and today Caroline Kennedy was going with him, so she too waited. One of the world's leading cancer specialists Professor Gordon Hamilton-Fairley was walking his dog past the motor car when the bomb went off killing him. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis then promptly moved her daughter and Scotland Yard assigned a guard to guard Caroline for the rest of the time she was in London.

Ten days before this bomb, but totally unconnected, life ended at 92 for Eamon de Valera. You might say he was the one who started it all. He headed the IRA when it first was formed but then came back into the fold and became Prime Minister of Ireland and then later President.

* * * *

Liam was a part of the IRA's headquarters but he was never one of the really top dogs because even they sensed something about Liam that frightened them. His last little project went off well but Liam had neglected to inform his superiors that the people to be killed were all highly respected engineers, His superiors knew what the public's reaction to this would be and so publicly the IRA voiced horror at this atrocity and even though England's MI-6 had suspected the IRA, nothing could ever be proved.

The greatest surprise that Liam now received was that one of his moles, who Liam had helped pay college expenses for so that he could study chemistry at a British University, now had not only graduated but was starting his job in a new secret English-American facility at Portadown, England. The reason that America had decided to do their work in conjunction with England in Portadown was because of the British secrecy laws. These laws were stricter than American laws. In general one who divulges secrets in England goes to jail even if all his facts are true.

IRA Headquarters knew a bit about Oliver Heath, one of Liam's brand new moles at this secret lab but not even anyone at the IRA headquarters knew anything about this second new lad that Liam had secreted in the same place, only Liam did, and therefore this boy could never be caught by any infiltrator into the IRA. This was an accomplishment of the greatest importance and Liam had good reason to be proud of this achievement. Liam knew that the laboratory that this student would be working in was experimenting with toxins. They also had connections with the military. Now Liam thought to himself that he might soon have within his grasp the potential of killing hundreds of thousands of English. Even Liam's superiors would have cringed at this had they known anything about it. Liam knew that all of this had to be kept hidden even from his own organization.

Liam sat and thought about the Portadown Lab. He knew that he needed to know the exact layout of that new secret complex and Oliver Heath was attending to that. Liam had no assurances that the Portadown facility would in fact harbour such an agent that would kill enormous numbers of people, but if they were spending these vast amounts of money on this chemical complex, and the military was involved, then perhaps they were doing so because they believed that they were hoping to evolve some highly toxic chemical weapons.

Now Liam thought about how he should proceed to maximize his advantage with this secret laboratory penetration and his mind turned to one man, Oliver Heath.

* * * *

"You must be new here," said the guard to the employee that was leaving the new heavily fenced and patrolled British installation at Portadown.

"How could you be knowing that now?" asked the employee with a smile on his face and now he cut his engine, which was unusual because most people did not want to tarry even one minute longer than they had to here at the gate.

"I've been a guard here since the first day this place opened and I know about everyone. I can even tell you what shifts some of them are working on," said the guard in a talkative mood.

"Well, you are right," said the employee. "I'm one of the new electricians and I've only been here a few days now, and if you need anything fixed then just call for Oliver Heath, that's me, and I'll fix it for you," he added.

"Well, Oliver you can tell by your name that you're not a Taig," said the guard.

"Oh, they wouldn't let any Catholics work in a critical place like this would they?" quizzed the employee.

"Oh yes, they have a few, but very few indeed. Say, you wouldn't fix Teles would you? I have a small one here that I plug in after the first shift goes home, only to keep up with the news and those sorts of things of course, but now I get only the sound and no picture anymore," said the guard.

"Do you have it here now?" asked Oliver.

"Yes, right here," said the guard as he removed a small television from under a wooden box with a cushion on top of it that doubled as chair and hid the television from his superiors at the same time.

"Here," said Oliver, removing his pass with his picture on it and having a yellow border around it that indicated that he was with maintenance and not one of the chemists who had a red border around theirs. Handing it to the guard he said, "Hold this so you'll know I'll be back and give me the set and I may have it back to you in time for the news tonight."

Oliver then handed the guard his pass and took the television without even asking for an affirmation from the guard. He threw the tele in his motor car and drove off directly to the centre of Portadown where a boy not much older than twenty was working on television sets behind the counter.

"Ten pounds for you lad if you can fix this right now while I wait here," said Oliver taking a ten pound note and laying it on the counter.

The boy stopped what he was doing and picked up the set and plugged it into the bench where he was working and where all his instruments were. "Is it completely dead?" he asked

"It has sound but no picture," said Oliver.

The boy unplugged the set and took off the back and plugged in a cheater cord that can be plugged into a tele to cheat the safety device installed on all sets so that they cannot be plugged into power if the back is removed. The boy put a probe from his meter to several spots and now turned to Oliver and said, "Give me the ten pounds,"

Oliver picked up the ten pound note and handed it to him whereupon the boy placed some extra insulation over a wire and unsoldered a fuse and soldered in a new one saying: "I've insulated the high voltage wire that was arcing over and replaced the high voltage fuse which finally blew from the arcing. That's a common problem on this model."

He then replaced the back and reinstalled the original cord and plugged the set in and sound and picture both worked.

"Thanks for the ten pounds," said the boy smiling.

"It was well worth it," said Oliver, thinking to himself, if only you knew how much.

Oliver then took the set and drove back to the installation and seeing that the guard was all alone, he drove to the gate and handed the guard the tele. He said to the guard, "It was only a high voltage fuse blown and I put in another one. I get them free, so no charge."

"You fixed it already?" asked the guard and now he took the set and plugged it in while looking all around to make certain that none of his superiors were about. He was delighted to see the picture again and he immediately unplugged it and returned it to its hiding place in the box type stool. He handed Oliver back his pass and thanked him and Oliver was gone.

Liam McGuiness knew that Oliver was the best person for this job because Oliver had the same zeal as Cathal McCarthy but also Oliver had a way with people that enabled him to penetrate through some of the tightest security systems that Britain had put together. His name really was Oliver too and this was a distinct advantage because it threw the Protestants off balance. Names are an important revelation of a person's religion in the British Isles. Although Oliver would be a perfectly normal upper class Protestant name, absolutely no Catholic would ever name a child Oliver. This would be the same as a Protestant woman naming a child Seamus which is a distinctly Catholic name, If a Protestant woman ever named a child Seamus then she would certainly find herself scheduled for a free mental evaluation all paid for by the National Health System.

* * * *

John Atkins had been on the road for almost twenty minutes and if he had been driving his own motor car, he would have already have arrived at the suspicious vehicle, but he was driving this old bomb disposal lorry that was loaded with sandbags and was not built for speed. He had been told that the suspicious vehicle was on the side of the road as if it had broken down and the driver had left but it looked suspicious and regulations said not to touch it but to call the bomb squad. Well, the old worn out lorry was almost there and John Atkins would soon see. John Atkins thought about the many friends he had known on the bomb squad in Belfast and other places around Northern Ireland. A person always seemed to be traveling with this job. Many times there were no bombs at all. Other times there were bombs that were simple to deactivate, but now and again one of these IRA bastards would build something really sophisticated. John Atkins had lost some good friends because of these complicated and well-constructed devices. Atkins slowed down the bomb lorry as he saw some police on the road up ahead. Now they spotted him too and they waved him over. There it was on the side of the road, a small van with no windows in the back. Did someone have a problem and leave it here or had the IRA stolen one with no windows because they had a good reason, thought Atkins with his first look at the van.

"Look, I don't like the fact that it's got no windows so I'm going to park this thing down the road a bit and we'll set up camp behind all these sand bags," said John Atkins to the closest constable.

At their new location, well away from the bomb, John Atkins talked to all of them and learned several things that were of importance to him. Some children had actually touched the lorry before being ordered away from it by the police, but police had questioned them and none of them had pushed hard against it or kicked it or threw any rocks or anything at it. None of the police had gone within three feet of it.

With most of the police remaining behind the lorry loaded with sand bags, one constable helped John Atkins carry some items as they both walked back to the suspicious van, but stopped about three feet from it. Atkins paid particular attention to the grass around the van and he could see where it indeed had been trampled down by the children. He now knew that there was probably no proximity device set up but this was only a probability because it could be hooked to a timer and could come on later. There was nothing certain in this bomb disposal business.

Atkins now walked all around the van always keeping several feet between himself and the van and looked at the van and the tyres didn't look too flat which was a good sign because the van would have to be pretty well filled with fertilizer explosive to be effective and the first sign of an excessive load is flattened tyres. Now Atkins looked under the van and saw that the vehicle's springs were bent way down as if they were carrying a heavy load, but why weren't the tyres a bit flat? He went back to where the constable and his tools were and took out a special tyre pressure gage made from a plastic tube that allowed him to stay several feet from the vehicle while he took the tyre pressure and found 60 pounds of air pressure in the tyres. Now John Atkins was certain that he had an IRA van here and they had purposely inflated the tyres double so that they would not appear flattened and thus not arouse police suspicion.

"We don't want to touch this thing or even come next to it or jar it in any way because it's probably a fertilizer bomb of at least 800 pounds and it would kill both us here right now if it went off," John Atkins said to the policeman as he kept several feet distant but slowly walked around the lorry again that he at this time thought contained a rather large bomb.

John Atkins knew that he might have a long day ahead of him. Now with the police well down the road and away from the bomb he used a long plastic tool that allowed him to remain well away from the van while he cracked the tyre valves in each of the vans tyres. Now with the air hissing out of all of the van's tyres he and the constable walked down the road to where all the rest of the police were waiting.

Atkins then said to the group of police: "It's probably a good sized bomb and if it has a leveling sensor or a shock sensor and one of those old rotten over inflated tyres would have blown out while we were all there, then it would have gotten all of us. The air is coming out of the tyres now and I'll have to contact Belfast to inform them about it."

Almost a half hour later, after establishing communications with Belfast, Atkins now walked back to the van alone with some special tools and a hand held radio telephone. On the other end everything he said was being recorded which was standard procedure during a bomb inspection.

With the van now a bit lower, John Atkins noticed something on the roof. The roof had been dented at one time next to the side gutters and must have held water and it eventually rusted through and it looked like someone had done a cheap patch by putting a bit of paper over the hole then tarring it. Yes, the more Atkins looked at the repair the more certain he was that it was definitely an old repair and not new. He would take a chance on this one now. Still remaining a few feet from the van he spoke into the telephone telling Belfast all that he was doing and he used a tool that probed at the old tarred spot until he now had what he wanted most of all. He had a hole big enough to insert another tubular device with a tiny spot light on it that he could use to look and see what was inside the van. Now what he saw convinced him that they all were very lucky indeed. Not only did he see the bags of fertilizer but wires ran everywhere. They ran to switches on the rear doors. They ran to switches on the front doors. More wires ran to several sensors on the windshield and there were sensors on each of the front door side windows and on various spots on the sheet metal walls and ceiling of the van and more wires went to what John recognized as leveling switches on the floor. He saw where all the wires ran into the pile of fertilizer bags and so they had probably covered the battery and device up with the explosive itself and he told all this to Belfast over the phone reminding them that if they had gone to all this trouble then they had probably rigged the device itself. He had no idea how to proceed with this one, which he promptly informed Belfast.

For hours that day this van continued to have its police patrol detouring traffic well around while the various experts from Belfast examined it using the same device that John Atkins used and various others that they brought with them. The hole in the roof was slightly enlarged and pictures were taken of the inside of the van, but at the end of the day the decision was made to bring in many tons of sand bags and stack them around it and simply blow it up where it stood. This was one IRA bomb that no one felt was safe to try to disarm.

John Atkins returned to Belfast tired early the next morning. It had been 3 am when they had finally detonated the van. But thought Atkins it was only sand bags that the IRA got this time. What made people build things like that? He thought about his first bomb disposal training when he was only a kid as World War ll came to a close and as he drove back to Belfast he thought about driving those lorries back then. In fact that was what he was doing when the war ended. Those were the good old days; he was young then. What was that popular song they all used to sing? Oh yes, and he remembered:

There'll be blue birds over

The white cliffs of Dover,

Tomorrow, just you wait and see.

And children's laughter,

And peace ever after,

Tomorrow, just you wait and see.

But what happened? -- Where was the peace?

* * * *

Knowing that he now had not one, but two moles inside the English Portadown Facility, Liam felt certain that he might get his hands on something extremely toxic. Now as his mind ran along the possibilities of using poisons, it always ended up thinking about London's water supply. Yes, thought Liam, the head of the creature is in London and now Liam was convinced that he was going to work out some method where he would use a deadly poison from Portadown and use their own poison even to poison London's water supply.

Liam McGuiness was talking with a doctor about the contamination of a city's drinking water and he asked if it would be possible for some terrorist to come here to Dublin and poison the city's water supply.

"Possible, but not very probable," said the doctor.

"What would prevent someone from poisoning our water supply?" asked Liam. "He would merely have to dump some poisons into the reservoir," Liam added.

"Many industries are doing that right now and it hasn't killed us off yet," said the doctor.

"There must be a lot of really potent poisons that could be dumped in that would definitely poison the water," said Liam.

"Yes, there are but this is exactly what the purification system is designed to exclude. Probably 90% of the poisons wouldn't make it through the system. You have to remember too that tests are constantly being made on the reservoir water and if a poison got through then it would show up on one of the tests and the system would be shut down to rectify the situation. There is almost nothing that these boys can't remove from the water once they know it's there. Even if a person did slip in a poison that the filters didn't get and that slipped by all the tests, once a dozen or so people died from it then it would be traced to the water immediately and the system would be shut down and studied. You might even get hundreds of people dead but you could never make much of a dent upon the population of Dublin by poisoning the water supply. I'm certain of that," said the Doctor.

"What about some poison bacteria that would grow and thrive in the reservoir itself?" asked Liam.

"Bacterial poisons are the very things that water systems are designed to exclude. The reservoir itself is the first place where they are eliminated and even if they could survive this, they would probably be filtered out in the filtration system. It would have to be an awfully small bacterium to get through the filtering system, Remember that bacteria are living organisms and the ones that do get through would certainly get killed by the chlorine added to the water later on at the plant. No, I don't think any one would ever get to poison a tremendous number of people by putting various types of bacteria into the water system." said the doctor.

"You mentioned a small bacterium that might get through the filters; if there was such a bacterium that was small enough to get through the filters and also impervious to chlorine, then isn't it possible that it could kill off a large section of Dublin?" asked Liam.

"You have to remember," said the doctor, "that all bacteria can be seen under a microscope, and microscopes are being used 24 hours a day looking at Dublin's water. No. they'd spot it; I'm certain that it would be detected and very certainly it would be detected after a few people died," he added.

"So there is no poison that you know of that could be used to poison a large city's water supply?"

"That is true, but the Russians may have something," said the doctor.

"What makes you say that?" asked Liam.

"They are probably ahead of us all in experimenting with deadly viruses."

"A deadly virus could be used to poison a large water supply?" asked Liam.

"If the Russians have a suitable one, very definitely. You asked me if I knew of anything and I don't know of any, but that doesn't mean that there isn't such a thing out there somewhere," said the doctor.

"What makes a virus so superior to all other poisons?" asked Liam.

"Viruses are tiny, very tiny. They are so small that they cannot be seen under a microscope. They can only be seen under an electron microscope," said the doctor.

"The City of Dublin or London wouldn't have an electron microscope?" asked Liam.

"There are some at Trinity College but I don't think the city of Dublin has one and even if they did find a virus that they knew was bad in the water supply, they might not be able to do anything but use a different water supply. You can't filter the things out but the chlorine would most probably kill them," said the doctor.

"Only probably?"

"Well that is what you will have to ask the Russians about," the doctor said with a smile. "And I don't think that they will tell you the answer," he added.

"I see," said Liam, and the two departed and went their separate ways.

A virus impervious to chlorine, thought Liam to himself. Would the British have that at their laboratory in Portadown? Liam wondered if it was indeed possible to find out.

* * * *

A motor car drove down through the Catholic section of Londonderry and stopped in front of a chemist shop and a man got out and the car sped away. The man went into the shop and waved to the clerk who evidently knew him. The man then entered through a door marked 'Private' and went into a small dark room and up a flight of stairs to a room over the chemist shop. A trial was about to begin.

"The both of you are charged with stealing 20,000 pounds of money belonging to the IRA. How do you plead?" said the man who evidently was the judge. Now the man who had just arrived took a seat next to the judge.

"Not guilty," answered both men in unison.

"I have records showing that both of you were disbursed a total of 40,000 pounds for your group. You, Francis Grogan are group leader, and you James Doherty acted as the treasurer of the group. Is this not true?" asked the judge.

The two had no comment for they knew that the record was correct.

The judge waited for then to reply and when they did not he continued: "We have statements from each of your men as to the items consumed and it looks to us that it must be about 15,000 pounds, and at the maximum it could never possibly have exceeded 20,000 pounds. You are both free to give any testimony that will prove it was more than this," and the judge waited for a reply and there was none.

"Now," said the judge, "here before me is evidence, some even from your own men indicating that both of you spent considerable money betting on the horses. Have you anything to say about this?" asked the judge.

"We won some and we lost some. We probably came out even." said Doherty.

Early the next morning in the middle of the Catholic section of the city, Francis Grogan and James Doherty were found tarred and feathered and tied to a lamp post. This was the standard punishment for this type of infraction that has been handed out by the IRA and will most probably continue to be handed out into the future until the IRA can staff its entire organization with leaders who can operate their groups more efficiently.

* * * *

Oliver Heath was slowly piecing together what was going on in each of the separate areas of this new facility at Portadown. The colour of the border on his badge excluded him from certain places in the installation, but in spite of this, the big picture of what was happening here was slowly building in his mind. His superiors loved him because he was always ready to do a new job and did not take all day to do a single piece of work like most of the electricians did. They kept him busy with new jobs in new locations. Little did they know that this was exactly what he wanted. They thought he was striving for a position in management, and so did most of his fellow workers. Oliver was one of those very few Protestants in the IRA. This might seem a bit incongruous, but this was a nation of incongruities. The Republic of Ireland, which is overwhelmingly Catholic in every way shape and form on May 31, 1973, elected E. H. Childers as its President. Now mind you, Childers was an English born Protestant! And Childers ran against and defeated T. O'Higgins who although a Catholic stemmed from a family who one might say were pro English during the bitter Civil War. People in the O'Higgins family fought against people in the Childers family; so here were Catholics fighting on the side of England and Protestants fighting on the side of the IRA. Childers' father, even though a Protestant, was outspoken on the rights of the Irish and he even ran guns for the IRA when Ireland was under British rule. He was caught and executed and became one of the martyrs in the cause for Ireland's independence. If people think of this as only a religious struggle then they could not be more wrong. Religion plays an important part in it but this is the struggle two Islands: One has always been the master and the other has always been told by the master what they must do.

* * * *

One of the greatest tragedies of all of this warfare is the effect that it has on the children. There is a case on record of children being brought from Derry, away from all the violence to a quiet abbey in the Republic of Ireland on the other side of the border. A Catholic organization financed this, and the priests in the abbey had a nice football field and a track for running and various other things set up for these children thinking it was something that these children having never had, would very much enjoy, but these particular children never used any of these splendid things because they were simply not accustomed to any of these types of sports and then one day the priests were all surprised to see all the children all in a group really enjoying themselves. One of the priests went over to get a closer look at what they were doing and he saw that they had built a mockup of a British Armoured car called a pig or a Saracen. This was something constantly seen in the Catholic section of Derry, because the British never dared to go into the Catholic sections in anything but an armoured car. Now all the children were hard at work pelting this home made pig with rocks in exactly the same way that they pelted the real ones back in their home land on the other side of the border. This was a sport that they all knew and understood, for they had done it almost every day of their life for almost a decade now. It was an activity that they sorely missed after being brought over into this quiet country south of the border.

* * * *

Pamela Hayden started off her young life learning to be a nurse at Wittington General Hospital in London, but then she went on to college and there started specializing in those same areas that the germ warfare people of both England and the United States were also interested in. In her young life she had dated Americans and Canadians and even a Russian and had kept up writing to some of these and she put these friendships to work for her in a way that only she could have thought of.

She knew the British law stipulated prison terms to those who divulged state secrets but she also knew that these laws were worthless outside England. Her work took her into the Germ Warfare labs and she was given a security clearance and she worked on many top secret, germ warfare weapons projects. She had no problem doing the work but she did have problems with some of these more male chauvinist types whom she constantly found herself working under. Whenever she had a truly unbearable boss then she had a little trick up her sleeve. She would send the man's entire top secret project, that he was currently heading, to one of her former friends who managed to get it into the proper hands where it got printed up in either an American or Canadian newspaper. She found that usually the very next day after this printing she would immediately have a brand new boss.

Now she was working in the new facility at Portadown but her latest achievement was not one that she made under the microscope. It was her crowning achievement that she initiated with a letter to her former Russian boyfriend. Now in the latest Soviet Encyclopedia that were printed not only in Russian but English and many other languages, and which were found in Universities all over the world, here now for the very first time was an article telling about this brand new top secret British Germ Warfare laboratory being built at Portadown.

* * * *

Seamus Nolen felt very uneasy sitting in the Protestant restaurant in Belfast. He hoped that no one would sit in the seat across from him and he had moved the table over a bit so that someone would be very uncomfortable squeezed into that spot now, but if someone did, in fact, take that seat then Nolen would make believe he was hard of hearing and merely grunt at the person. It would only take a very few words and they would know he was a Catholic by the way he would talk and then it would be all over. Another man had come by and mailed a package in the large red round pillar box that sat far on the opposite side of the intersection. That had made three since he had been siting at the restaurant and he hoped that no one had noticed this increased activity at that particular postal box that stood where people were now waiting for the next bus to arrive to take them to one of the larger British military installations in the area. Nolen's head ached from nitro poisoning because he had not used rubber gloves when he had ripped off the wrappers from the gelignite and pressed it into the various packages so they were just small enough to be placed into the round red postal box. The headache Nolen knew was the price one had to pay if one wanted to do a better job than if one wore gloves but now he wished that he had worn gloves because his head was pounding and hurting something awful. Then he saw the boy jump out of the lorry and put a package into the box. That was the signal. It was the last one. As the waitress came by he handed her several pound notes, without saying anything, because he knew the dinner would be slightly over a pound. He finished eating and sat back trying to see how many soldiers were in the crowd next to the pillar box waiting for the bus. He hoped that the girl would return soon with his change because to leave without it would cause suspicion after what soon would happen. It was essential that no one else mail anything because the boy mailing that last package had left the door slightly opened with the antenna in the opening so that it would receive the signal from the transmitter that Nolen now had in his pocket. The girl now returned with his change and he gave her a few coins without saying a word. Now he lit his pipe and continued to sit at the table and look at the people waiting for the bus next to the red pillar box. Two soldiers were now next to the box and a third was moving toward them. This was what he wanted to see and he got up and walked out of the restaurant and pressed the button on the transmitter. Across the intersection there was a terrific roar, as Nolen quickened his pace down the side street and got into a waiting motor car, the car sped off in the opposite direction from the explosion.

"Scratch three British soldiers and some assorted Protestants," said Nolen to the driver as they drove through the streets of Belfast toward the Catholic area.

The IRA had won this round but the Protestant Militants were about to win an important one. At first it looked as if they could only lose as the highest Ulster Defence big wig now sat in court on a firearms charge, while the Catholics waited smiling, knowing that he would soon be convicted. But then all at once 40 to 50 young boys ran into the court yelling 'Bomb!' 'There's a bomb!' The court was hastily cleared and after the confusion the defendant could not be found anywhere.

* * * *

On the border Captain Edward Holmes had received a shipment that was supposed to be the latest in night vision equipment for six of his soldiers. He was eager to see these things for himself and he now walked to the building where the packages had all arrived several hours ago where a group had been detailed to mount one of the units on a weapon and have it ready for Captain Holmes's inspection. When Captain Holmes came into the room he saw the front half of all the units but the rear half with the eyepiece was missing.

"Why did you take these apart?" asked Captain Holmes angrily.

"We didn't take it apart Sir. This is exactly the way they sent it," said the man in charge.

"Where's the rest of it?" asked Holmes.

"They never sent that," replied the man in charge.

"Good God!" exclaimed Holmes.

"I think I see what happened sir," said the one in charge. "Look at this parts book," he added.

He then opened a book that contained the pictures of the unit and its various components and he said, "We couldn't understand why this front end would have exactly the same part number as the entire unit but it seemed that it did. But now as I look at the part's book, I see the problem. The part number for the entire unit seems to be here on the bottom of this page but when you turn the page, here is this -01 all by itself at the very top of the next page and I guess if we wanted the complete unit then we were supposed to add that -01 to the part number that we sent in."

Yes, thought Holmes, it was Murphy's law again. The person who printed the book had run out of space for the part number on the bottom line and simply put the last -01 on the top of the next page without saying continued or showing that there was more to follow. This was typical though of the service where everything had to be done through a chain of command and one weak link in the chain and it became worthless.

"Give me the correct number and I'll order them this time myself," said Holmes.

"Yes sir, shall I send all these back?" he asked.

"You bloody well better not! Never send anything back." said Holmes angrily. "Order six of the rear eyepiece assemblies to go with these and I'll order the other six and maybe we'll end up with twelve complete units," he added.

"Yes sir," said the soldier in charge as he copied down the complete number that Holmes had asked for. He handed Holmes the number and the Captain took it and left.

* * * *

"Never put a new calf in with your other animals until you see that it's going to stay healthy for a month or so," said the veterinarian to the Irish farmer.

"I kept it all by itself for a few days after I bought it," said the farmer.

"You know that's not long enough. You gambled that it was going to be OK and this time you lost. I don't know what it died from but now it's spread it to all your other cows and you may lose them too," said the vet as he injected one of the cows whose nose was running and whose eyes were watering but who was still on her feet.

"Those antibiotics you gave them will help them though won't it?" asked the farmer.

If it's a bacterial infection, yes. If it's a viral infection, no. We have no medicines that will help a viral infection. And that's the same in humans too. Cancer and colds, they are both viral infections and there is no magic bullet for them.

About the same time that the farmer and the vet were talking together on the small farm about viral infections, two others were talking about the same thing but these two were using a scrambler so that anyone listening in could not possibly eavesdrop on the conversation. When this conversation was over Liam McGuiness knew that there was a deadly virus at Portadown that England was storing and perfecting. It could be water borne and most important, it was impervious to chlorine. Liam would learn more later but these were the essentials.

Liam then did something that he very seldom ever did. He went into a small pub in Dublin and ordered a glass of Guinness and sat in the corner by himself. He sipped his Guinness and thought of all the Irish people who had wanted revenge on the English. Fate had bypassed them all and it had thrown him the ball. And there was no doubt what Liam was going to do with this ball that fate had thrown to him. Liam now had a clear shot at the English goal. He now intended to boot that ball with all his might, right smack into their goal and finish this 800 year old game.

* * * *

Oliver Heath had finally done it. He had gotten in to the offices of security itself during his work on the midnight shift at Portadown. He was using their own copiers to copy various tests on the new virus, but a memo about a woman worker named Pamela Hayden made him check her file and it was her security file that now held his full attention. What he saw there amazed him.

There in front of him was the beginning of a case that security was building up against her. MI-6 had put together the picture of how she was sending information about this secret Portadown base out to various countries and Cathal knew that these people would soon finish their inquiry when they had everything that they wanted and then it was only a matter of time before they would have her. Meanwhile they had said nothing to her and were letting her do her work as usual. Cathal wasted no time in copying all these records on her too.

Since she worked the first shift, he found her desk later that evening and left a rose that he had stolen from the front gardens of the complex along with a simple note giving her his number and asking her to call him.

Later, after leaving work, as Oliver was reading the reports on the virus, he thought that Liam was going to be disappointed because after reading all these reports it surely did not seem to be all that devastating a poison. Now the virus paled in significance compared to the girl. He had seen many photos of her in the security office and he had even made copies of them and was looking at these now. He was thinking of the various ways that he could approach her because he knew that he absolutely could say nothing about this over the phone. He had to approach it as an endeavor of romance on his part with an offering to take her someplace really special. After all she was a pretty thing and the report claimed that she had been romantically involved with many of these men that she was now sending this information to in various parts of the world. He wouldn't mind a little temporary romancing himself as long as it could all be kept hidden from the eyes of these Portadown sleuths, and he knew how to do that.

Oliver was fast asleep when she did call but he had everything well planned as to what to say and he was pleasantly surprised to find that she was receptive to a date with him that evening. Oliver knew that he was taking a great risk merely by seeing her, so any meetings had to be well away from Portadown and fairly well concealed. Now she called him a second time and wanted to talk again. And then she woke him up the third time for one last call with more small talk and curious female questioning, but after this last call the date was still on, and he went back to sleep to be aroused not by another of her calls but by his own alarm clock.

It was after their meal together that Oliver broke the news to her about what security was about to do to her and he handed her some copies of several of the pages he found in the security file on her. He didn't tell her he was IRA but he did tell her she had serious problems that would require a hasty exit from Northern Ireland and England and that he might be able to assist her in this but he was going to need some help from her for these favors.

She knew immediately, when she read those few pages, what they were going to do when they got her. Her entire world then collapsed but she was strong enough that she didn't break down and burst into crying but her eyes were misty and in deep thought. She looked at Oliver and said sadly, "What do I do now?"

Oliver told her: "Your place is probably bugged so I'm never going to come there but I'm going to need some help with something that I'm working on at the facility. You'll be able to help me quietly so no one else knows. They are not going to move against you quite yet until they have all they want against you. But it's either leave soon or go to prison. There is no other alternative now. I can help you leave though and I will."

"You're here about the virus aren't you," she told him and this startled him so much that he simply looked at her astounded.

Finally after a while he said, "Yes, but nobody is to know."

He almost couldn't believe the story that spilled out of her then. And he didn't really see the entire picture of what she was telling him until she was almost finished and then it all hit him and he saw what had really happened and it changed his opinion immediately on the problems he now faced here at Portadown. He had to question her as much as possible this evening and then all of this had to be related immediately to Liam in Dublin.

She said: "I'm the one who has been sending in the letters about the virus that they have been hiding. I know Doctor Butler has been checking them and he will see that I am right. Will sending in those letters help me?" she asked him.

Oliver didn't understand what she was talking about, but he knew nothing would help her so he simply said, "No."

She told him, "They recorded everything about the first virus that was discovered but then later when that new virus was discovered, I saw that they were not making any of that information available, but I wasn't stupid. I could see their reactions when increased amounts of chlorine didn't kill it and I saw it worked faster than the other virus on the monkeys, and after that the safeguards that they used working with it were more than I'd seen before. I knew they had discovered something worse, and that's why I started writing the letters."

"How many people know abut this?" asked Oliver.

"Four Doctors, and probably more," she said.

"And they don't think you know about it?" he asked her.

"Men are not good at sensing what women don't want them to sense," she said.

"Where is this virus now?" Oliver asked her.

"It's not in our area anymore because things are more relaxed now," said Pamela Hayden

"Could it still be in the Portadown facility somewhere?" asked Liam.

"Maybe, the vast number of people here are loyal to Northern Ireland, not to England," said the girl.

"Your life might even be in danger from these people. You know that don't you?" he asked her.

"Yes, I thought about it and that's why I wanted to appear uninterested in all that they were doing. I kept talking about the latest movies that I'd seen whenever any of them were around," she told Oliver.

"You said someone got your letters and is inspecting things here?" asked Oliver.

"Yes, Doctor Butler," she replied.

Oliver was the only friend in the world that Pamela had now and he sensed how shattered she was. He could see she didn't want him to leave her that evening so he found a place and they talked together for hours and he had intended staying with her. He also had intended to call in to the Portadown facility to tell them he was sick and couldn't come in. He did, however, phone Liam using a scrambler telling him all that had evolved. He then collected all the papers up that he had shown to Pamela. He had no intentions of her keeping any of that. It would all go out tonight with a courier across the border and, with any luck at all, Liam would be reading it in Dublin in a few days along with those other papers that he had copied about the first virus.

After the phone call to Liam he returned to his new found girl friend and now with all the information that he could possibly obtain, sent to his superior in Dublin, the talk was of a more natural nature.

"I know what I'm going to do now," she said.

"And what's that?" asked Oliver

"All my life I've been running around looking for Sir Galahad to come and sweep me off my feet. None of my boyfriends were quite the knight in shining armor that I was hoping for. My hopes for any type of a vocation are suddenly gone so I guess it's time now to move out to somewhere else and just get married and have children and play mother instead of career girl. I guess I need a husband now Oliver. Want a wife?" she suddenly asked him.

This changed everything for Oliver. He was stunned by this. Yes, he wanted to go to bed with her tonight but no, he didn't want a wife now, especially one who didn't want to work anymore; was probably headed to many years in prison and never was able to keep all the other guys who stayed with her. Why did they all leave? He thought about all of this and how he had left the rose and how they both had spent the last few hours talking and looking steadily into each other's eyes. Damn. Why couldn't it have gone right along like the rest of her boy friends? Yes, he wanted her. No, he wasn't about to have all of her troubles abruptly dumped on to him. It would finish him as an agent. He saw he had no other choice but to kill this romance right now,

He told her, "I think you have asked the wrong person that question, Pamela. Yes, I'd like to get involved with Pamela Hayden. No, I don't want to marry Pamela Hayden. In fact, I don't think you should ever get married. It would only lead to disaster. See all these pages here. They're all about you. Look at what they are telling me. Did she ever engage in sports or any kind of activity where teamwork was involved when she was young? No. Did she ever even volunteer to join any organization where there was teamwork? No. Not only that but the whole essence here in these many reports is that you are not a team player. Pamela Hayden does not even want to learn about teamwork. Marriage is teamwork and you haven't the foggiest idea of how to make it work. I saw that tonight when you picked the most expensive items to eat, because Pamela wasn't paying for it. Somebody else was. Your life centers around you Pamela. We've been here for several hours now talking about nothing but what Pamela Hayden does or what Pamela Hayden wants. Well, I've got to get moving because if I go now then I'll just have time to make it back for my job on the third shift."

"Oliver," she said.

"Yes?" he asked.

"Stay," she replied.

"Sorry Pamela, maybe next time. I like you, I really do but you are not the one I'm going to settle down for good with. You are no different from half the girls out there; I'm sure that a good half of them are just like you. That's about the percentage that I've found who were all wrapped up in themselves. Like I told you, I'll help you get out of here and I'd like to stay your friend, but I'm a team player and I'm heading back now," he told her, and he left and got into his car, leaving her at the hotel and thinking to himself that if she hadn't tried to nick him so much on the food tonight that he might have left her money for a taxi, but now she could worry about that herself. He was certain that if she hadn't dumped all that marriage stuff on him that he would have called in sick, and they'd both be in bed together now.

* * * *

A man in a Mercedes drove slowly up to the large iron gate that kept the public from the thousand acre estate of Lord Ashton-Foxxe.

"Doctor Butler to see Sir Charles." said the driver to the guard who took the identification proffered to him by the driver and called the main house from the guard post at the gate. In less than a minute the guard hung up the phone, returned the identification to the driver, apologized for the delay and opened the gate.

The Mercedes went through the large gate and toward the stately and magnificent mansion of Lord Ashton-Foxxe, or Sir Charles as he was called by his friends. No sooner did the motor car arrive at the front of the residence than the doctor was graciously escorted into the house and his car was driven to the garage.

Many great families had to sell their large holdings to pay the taxes that now were enormous on these huge estates. Other families kept them by turning them into museums and charging admission to the public, but Sir Charles dealt in armament and not only could afford this residence of grandeur in Ulster but he had several more of equal opulence throughout the world. Sir Charles's grandfather had discovered, and passed on to his heirs, the simple fact that the truly big arms sales are not made in the offices of Krupp and Vickers, who produced those arms, but most of the armament was purchased and agreed upon when heads of state met over tea, and Sir Charles was ever present to listen to these great men and then offer them helpful suggestions as to how they could put the fear of God into their enemies. Only hours before, Sir Charles had saved a huge sale and even increased it when all hope looked lost. He had gone to the company involved and looked over their personnel records and found some workers who were Moslem, and Sir Charles had called them himself and talked to them. On the midnight shift he then found a man who was not only a Moslem but who was from the same country as the Prince who was now arriving in England displeased with the last arms shipment from this very same company. This particular Moslem had been the leadman of a crew of oilers who came in at midnight and oiled the equipment and did minor repairs. They had all but been forgotten by everyone except the payroll computer. Now Sir Charles was at this man's house and personally dragged this man out of bed and had him properly attired to meet the Prince shortly at the palace at afternoon tea where Sir Charles emphasized to the Prince that this company thought so much of this man that he was put in charge of even English workers. And now Sir Charles asked the Prince if this man could be put in as sort of a liaison between his country and all future arms sales between the company and his country. The Prince was so taken aback by the fact that one of his own countrymen was here working for a company that actually put Englishmen working under him, that the Prince immediately gave his approval as the go between and even increased his purchases from the company. Sir Charles was an excellent arms salesman. He sold second and third rate arms with first rate salesmanship. Now walking down the path to see him was Doctor Butler.

"Edward! How are You?" said Sir Charles with a big friendly smile on his face and offering his hand. Sir Charles always had a habit of smiling and offering his hand and his wife once made a remark to him that it might be a bit too ebullient and he had promptly informed her that it alone was bringing in 100,000 pounds of the money she was spending every year. She had made no further remarks to her husband about his habits since then.

"What brings you here today Edward?" Sir Charles now asked.

"There is something that I want to talk to you about. It's Top Secret information," said Doctor Butler.

"I'm cleared for Top Secret so you can talk to me about it Edward," said Sir Charles, but this was not quite true. It was true that he had been cleared for some Top Secret information, where it pertained to some weapons but he did not have a blanket clearance and would not have been cleared for what he was about to hear. He reached for a handkerchief to wipe his nose and at the same time turned on a hidden miniature tape recorder. Butler was always using technical terms that he could never remember and it was best to get it all on tape.

"I believe that some people of responsibility should be told of what we have at Portadown," said Doctor Butler.

"And what is that, Edward?" asked Sir Charles.

"Well, for some time now our group a Portadown has been experimenting with different viruses. We generate mutant viruses strains by mutagenesis."

"By what?" asked Sir Charles.

"Mutagenesis, the creation of mutant varieties of viruses."

"How on earth do you do something like that?"

"Well the virus that we had the best results with was a picarnovirus of Hepatitus A, so because it contains RNA we treated the particles with nitrous acid, hydroxylamine."

"Good Lord, tell me in English," said Sir Charles.

"You know what Hepatitus is don't you?"

"Yes, the people turn yellow."

"That's right, you can get it by giving blood if the needle isn't properly cleaned, but that is generated by the large Hepatitus B virus. We were mutating the much smaller Hepatitus A virus which came to our attention after the entire football team of Holy Cross became very ill after drinking from a water fountain that was on the field. This water actually had some chlorine in it and this particular mutant had learned to live with some of the chlorine. We immediately saw that this was the answer to a debilitating virus that we could add to the water supply of other nations that might become our enemies in the future. We then worked on this virus producing mutants and we came up recently with a mutant that had a greater resistance to chlorine and that produced a worse reaction in humans than Hepatitus A. It was immediately classified as Top Secret and the Defence Minister knows about it."

"I fail to see any problem here," said Sir Charles.

"But what if I told you that a deadlier strain had also been produced which was more resistant to the chlorine that we are presently using in our water systems and that was probably more toxic to humans and the Defence Minister had not been told about it, then what would you say?"

"Tell me what you know about this Edward," said Sir Charles

"I have been receiving anonymous letters from someone in the Portadown facility telling me to investigate a certain group of Protestant militant doctors had discovered a far more deadlier virus than they had disclosed but I never took the letters seriously until I was reviewing the work of this doctor who had given us this Top Secret virus. It seemed that his loss of marmoset monkeys was far too large at the time of the discovery and was questioned but a letter from several other doctors seemed to give plausible reasons so the matter was dropped. But since then I've had new letters pointing out certain other things to me and as I have checked these things out, they have shown me that the person sending me these letters was absolutely correct and now I'm certain that we have a big problem there. I have graphed the marmoset deaths and they show two distinct peaks. The smaller peak corresponds to the time we were informed of the discovery. But then there was a huge peak three weeks later and this corresponds only to the first letter that I have received telling me about a deadlier virus. Further checking showed me that all of the doctors working on this project have ties with the Ulster Black Hand militant bunch. There is plenty more that I can tell you too, but it's all technical and you wouldn't understand it but it all proves the same thing. They have something that they don't want us to know about. I'm going to give it to you straight without mincing any words. We have a extremely militant bunch there who have taken the Queen's money to produce for themselves a very potent substance. I think if someone doesn't act fast, those blokes may soon have it in Dublin's water supply."

"Good Lord!" exclaimed Sir Charles.

"At this point I'm really frightened at what I have found and I know this is something for the Defence Minister himself and that's why I came to you because you have access to him. Frankly I'm glad that the matter is now out of my hands and I feel better already for telling you this," said the Doctor.

"Come with me Edward and I'll phone the Defence Minister. You and I will undoubtedly have to fly there directly after tea. I want you to give them all that technical proof that you said you have and I want you to tell the people there exactly what you have told me. Agreed?" Sir Charles asked.

"Absolutely," Sir Charles, said the doctor.

As both of them walked toward the main house, Doctor Butler's mind was free of thought but Sir Charles was planning. His daughter and the Defence Minister's son had always hit it off together, and Sir Charles had brought up the idea of a possible match but the subject had been discretely brushed aside and he knew why. Sir Charles had never been able to aid the Defence Minister as much as the Defence Minister had been able to help Sir Charles. Sir Charles had made the money available to the Defence Minister but the stubborn old man never helped himself to the available funds, because of patriotism, respect for the law or some other rot. Sir Charles hoped that if there ever was a union of the two families then it would be his desire that none of those traits ever appeared in his grandchildren. OK now he would be offering what the old man wanted. He will become even more important as a Defence Minister with this new substance when they go in there and take hold of it. But now he would appeal to the old man's patriotism, that was it. He'd have Barclay run some emotional, patriotic phrases from the computer and some historical information with it and that would be his opener. If he played his cards right, thought Sir Charles, then there soon might be a marriage. This certainly was an opportune eventuality. What Sir Charles did not know was that his daughter and the Defence Minister's son had already gotten together and did still occasionally spend a night together, but both were still out hunting for someone they each felt would make a better long term companion.

"Would you care for tea now?" asked the servant as the two entered the house.

"Yes, and could you bring it into the study," said Sir Charles.

"Yes sir," said the servant.

Although the Irish Sea separated Ulster from the southern part of England that contained London, the call was through in a minute and Sir Charles arranged a meeting with the Defence Minister in London assuring him that the matter was of extreme urgency to Britain's security. After several more phone calls, a helicopter took off and a private jet aircraft was being made ready to whisk the two to London.

"Your tea sir," said one of the servants who had entered the room and was now pouring the tea while yet another servant now entered with an assortment of pastry.

"Have some tea, Edward. They'll have a meal for us on the airplane so leave some room for that," said Sir Charles.

"How long do you think it will be before we'll be in London?" asked Doctor Butler.

"Ten minutes from here to the airport; thirty minutes in the jet to Heathrow and another ten minutes from there to where we will meet the London officials. I've made this trip hundreds of times, perhaps even a thousand times." said Sir Charles.

"These things are simply delicious," said Butler eating one of the pieces of pastry.

"They are made with fresh cream by our own baker and if you eat enough of them then you will look exactly like him. He is as wide as he is tall," said Sir Charles.

In the distance the chop of helicopter blades could be heard and Sir Charles hearing it turned to the doctor and said: Well, they've come for us. Let's not keep them waiting."

Sir Charles then walked to a big red cement square that blended in as part of the garden but was in effect the helicopter pad. Sir Charles must have indeed made this trip a thousand times as he said because the two men arrived at the pad at exactly the same moment as the helicopter. Sir Charles's timing was impeccable.

* * * *

Captain Edward Holmes finally received his six modern pieces of the very latest in night vision equipment. These did not emit an infrared beam but used the available light from the moon and stars and amplified it. So when his soldiers used these units, their positions would not be given away.

On top of that Holmes had procured thirty 4.85mm Light Support Weapons. These weapons had been tested and found to be a good reliable submachine gun, but now NATO wanted the same gun design but in a larger calibre that would be standard for all the countries and now this gun was no longer being produced because the factories were all being retooled to produce the larger calibre model. But Captain Holmes was well ahead of them this time because he had procured a very ample supply of ammunition for this discontinued gun. Holmes now had his light machine gun a year ahead of all the NATO troops, and these had been especially designed to be used with optical sights and they had emergency sights that could be snapped up in the event the optical sights failed. This was a radical new design that allowed a much shorter weapon to be manufactured without sacrificing barrel length. Not only was it well balanced but its shorter overall length made it easier to be carried in vehicles and to be out of them again and firing should an emergency arise. Holmes now had his six night vision scopes attached to six of these new machine guns. Now he felt he was ready for the IRA.

* * * *

Sir Charles and Doctor Butler had disembarked the jet at Heathrow and were escorted to the waiting helicopter thus entirely avoiding British Customs where herds of people traveling the same route were stalled and waiting, while inspectors examined them and their luggage.

The helicopter carrying Sir Charles was now arriving in London and the Defence Minister eyed it and said to his colleague, "That mercenary bastard better have something good for putting me to all this trouble."

Now from the helicopter came Sir Charles with a smile on his face and his hand outstretched and ready to shake hands as he said, "I felt as the signal man did on board the 'Victory' when he heard Nelson give the order to signal 'England expects that each man will do his duty'."

"I thought the signal was every man not each man," said the Defence Minister, because merely being in the presence of Sir Charles irritated him.

"Oh yes, you are correct in that the signal that was finally sent out was every man because the word each was not in the group of signal words and would have to be spelled out individually whereas the word every was one of the standard signal words and could be sent by merely raising two flags" explained Sir Charles.

"Oh my, we are a fountain of information today," said the Defence Minister. "I didn't know that you had that much interest in things not connected with the armament business but perhaps Admiral Nelson was a good customer of your grandfather's," said the Defence Minister still mad about being called out to this meeting that he considered to be of no importance whatsoever.

"There is a deadly virus at your plant at Portadown that could kill all of mankind and this secret has been kept from you," said Sir Charles, greatly exaggerating the efficacy of the virus he knew practically nothing about, just as he greatly exaggerated the efficacy of the third rate armament that he sold and also knew practically nothing about.

"That's not possible!" exclaimed the Defence minister.

"Doctor Butler here has all the proof and will explain it all to you if you care to listen," said Sir Charles.

"Good Lord! Come with me then and we'll talk. Does MI-6 know about this yet?" The Defence Minister asked.

"No, we came here first," said Sir Charles.

"Good!" said the Defence Minister, and they walked toward his Rolls Royce.

"I'm sorry that I snapped at you Charles. I've been under much pressure lately," said the Defence Minister in an apologetic tone.

"Quite all right," said Sir Charles smiling and thinking about his daughter's wedding that he might now be able to bring about if he moved his cards about the table in the right order, but now was not the time nor the place to start the marriage game. Now he had to play the patriot.

"I have to commend Doctor Butler here in his devotion to England. It reminds one of the spirit of Lord Byron who was offered a drink of water as he lay dying on the battlefield and he said, 'No, give it to one of the soldiers who are still fighting, he needs it more than I do.'" said Sir Charles, who had just glanced at the computer print out that Barclay had handed him before he left Ulster.

"I didn't know you knew about Gordon turning down that drink on the battlefield. Sometimes you amaze me Charles," said the Defence Minister as he drove his Rolls down the road in what was a more affluent suburb of London.

"Doctor Butler," the Defence Minister said, "why don't you begin telling me the full story while we drive," And Doctor Butler began relating the same information that he had given to Sir Charles, as both men now listened to the account of what had transpired at the plant at Portadown. This time it was the Defence Minister who switched his tiny hidden pocket recorder on.

* * * *

For John Weiss in America the IRA connection was his lucky break. He had learned to delegate authority in the operation of his real estate investments so that other people ran each of his properties for him while he kept watch over them with a magnifying glass. Since he had this task of supervising them all perfected, he delegated this job of supervising them as well and then swung hard into the weapons area that he had always loved best. He went into the business of teaching businessmen and corporation executives the art of anti-terrorist methods and defensive tactics that they could use overseas. Many people the world over came to his school and the popular statement about John Weiss's school was: "When you got through one of Weiss's courses you'd even make a good mercenary." Since the course was tax deductible, many corporations and businessmen began to reward their star employees with a trip through John Weiss's thousand acre spread in the Florida everglades, where he now moved his growing operation to. Because learning about guns and weapons now was a hot item in the States, this course was in demand as employees talked to their friends about it. Now upper management handed it out to their better employees as they would a bonus and in many cases it was doubtful that the employee taking it was even going overseas; thus the more ingenious company directors had found one more way to drill a tax free hole into the disbursements that leaked out to their favorites. The Internal revenue Service had not yet plugged this leak and John Weiss was constantly expanding to catch more of this company money.

The IRA lost a few good men to Weiss as he built up his organization. Moran was the first to join him, being philosopher enough to be content with his victories in Northern Ireland and feeling that his standard of living would be far greater with the wage that John Weiss could now afford to pay him; teaching was also far safer than doing.

Now something ironic then happened in America. While John Weiss and his group of ex IRA men continued with their training of corporate executives and these executives were shown the latest in anti terrorist activities, it just so happened that English made engines were being used on an American built airplane and since many of these airplanes were being used in Miami, the English engine manufacturer decided to bring his executives to Miami and while they were there somehow they managed to get enrolled in John Weiss's school. The hands on the clock had now come full circle for John Weiss and his IRA experts. After the contract had already been accepted and it was too late to cancel, these IRA men found that they had to teach these Englishmen how to avoid their own tactics. John Weiss had been on edge all during the period that these Englishmen were at his camp. His full time presence was very much in evidence and he was amply rewarded for his extra efforts when the same number of live Englishmen left at the end of the course as had begun. After this one episode, he corrected his application procedure to firmly exclude people from certain nations whose citizens might have considerable difficulty in staying alive through this intensive course where the bullets from automatic weapons flew as thick as the mosquitoes that arrived as soon as the sun went down.

* * * *

Another irony was taking place over the lights at Newry. The IRA had discovered, and indeed put to their advantage, a strange aspect of the lights at Newry. Every child soon learns that sunlight shows up some colors differently from artificial light, and women soon learn that they look very much worse under certain types of fluorescent lights that turn red lipstick to look almost black. The lights at Newry, for some reason, made the colours in the British combat uniforms stand out like the tail of a resplendent peacock and what's more, the bright light did not blind the men who sighted in on these uniforms with their rifle sights. It became a wonderful opportunity for IRA snipers who now arrived almost daily from Dublin to take advantage of this newly discovered phenomenon. The news of what was actually happening evidently traveled to London much slower than it did to Dublin with the result that a great many British soldiers died at Newry. The initial British response when they started losing soldiers was the usual: 'When you have trouble send in more troops', which pleased the IRA immensely because it meant more target practice. Soon London learned what was really going on and the British Army then took over control of the city's lights with the intent of some radical surgery. The IRA, now sensing that the circuit breakers were about to be pulled on their happy hunting grounds, raised a storm of protest and swore that they would start to shoot the electrical workers who tried to modify the lights. A three week blackout then followed with the wind of protest turning from storm strength to hurricane force and reaching even to England. Now it was none other than the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees himself who finally announced that the British Army would hand back control of the lights to the local officials of Newry. With most of the troops gone, the death rate of British soldiers at Newry therefore dropped and the British government issued a report that they had accomplished something and the IRA who still were able to get an occasional soldier, did not feel that they had lost. So it is always nice to be able to see a compromise taking place during these 'troubles' in Ireland. This may seem unbelievable, but it it's all absolutely true.

* * * *

In Captain Edward Holmes's unit everyone had been through the training course using the new night vision equipment. This had all ended several days ago; now every night they were sitting perched in their enclosures of armour or rock and waiting like the night owl for their enemy to come by. Each night they had been in a different spot along the border hidden alongside a route that they knew the IRA were currently using. Tonight they had selected another spot next to yet another of the IRA's secret trails. A sandbag enclosure was built for the man who would give the order to halt and then fire at the vehicle's tyres. Captain Holmes had made it well known that anyone who fired those first shots any higher than the tyres would be brought up before a military court to face charges. They were ordered only to fire into the vehicle if they themselves were being fired upon by someone in the vehicle, and they would see the muzzle flashes of the other weapon at night if this was the case. The soldier inside the sandbag enclosure knew he would need those sand bags all around if it he yelled halt to an IRA man, because they only used their Armalites to answer these commands. But these soldiers up here this night were still apprehensive because they all knew that even with the flash suppressers installed on their new 4.85mm weapons, that the flash still could be seen even in their own night vision scopes and this made all of them realize that the IRA could also see them, that is, if there were any of them around. This group tonight had the only four night vision scopes left because two had been put out of service during training. Captain Holmes made the decision to go with the four remaining scopes that he had left but four would be the absolute minimum he felt he would need before he would allow such a group to stake out a spot on one of these IRA trails. These men here that night were far better equipped than the average border unit. Major Gordon might be dead but his spirit still survived in this unit and not one person had fallen asleep as they lay in hiding waiting for their enemy and this was a far cry from what might have been had Major Gordon never been their Commander; this process had been very well understood by Tennyson who emphasized it in his classic Ulysses: ". . .I am a part of all that I have met. . ."

One of these British soldiers looked at his watch; it was 3:15 in the morning. Now a rhythm of the exhaust from a motor car engine could be heard from far away and four soldiers pushed four buttons on four night vision scopes that were attached to their weapons. Soon all four of these weapons were locked on to a small motor car that was approaching them. Each man who watched had the same thought and that was to fire the instant they saw anyone in the car firing at the man behind the sand bags. Closer and closer the motor car came and then the order to halt came over the megaphone followed by a burst of the British 4.85mm at the two tyres on one side of the vehicle. Then came the answer, a burst from an Armalite directed toward the sandbag enclosure. Then three light machine guns opened up in unison on the vehicle. The fourth machine gun in the sandbag enclosure that had fired the first shots at the vehicles tyres, however had been silent after that first burst volley into the vehicle's tyres.

"Are you all right Richard?" shouted one of the soldiers to the man in the enclosure.

"Yeah I'm OK," he answered.

"We didn't see you returning fire. What happened?" asked the first soldier.

"My scope must have gone out. I couldn't see him anymore," the soldier inside the enclosure replied. "Any sign of movement out there?" he asked.

"From what I can see here we've got two dead ones. I can smell petrol so be careful," said the first soldier.

Later they looked over the motor car and its occupants. There were holes all through the vehicle. They all knew they were very lucky because the vehicle had not burned, and that had been a miracle in itself. The soldier who felt the luckiest of all was the one inside the sandbag enclosure. His scope had stopped because it had taken a hit from one of the IRA Armalite bullets. This particular bullet had been first slowed down by passing through the edges of several sand bags then it penetrated the case of the night vision scope and passed entirely through the tightly packed electronic section inside the unit until it was barely stopped by the rear portion of the case itself which now protruded to show everyone what had happened. Many months later a British General would keep this particular night vision scope in his office to show visitors how close that his soldiers on the border come to getting killed.

Captain Holmes was soon at the scene holding an electric torch and saying: "All their property goes in a box and I want an inventory made of everything carried inside the vehicle. Any identification or paperwork of any kind I want now. Each of you men here have a three day pass coming. good work; I'm proud of you. You are worth a much greater reward than that but that's the maximum that I can give you without my superiors putting me on the rack."

Captain Holmes then turned to the soldier that was inside the sandbag enclosure and said, "You were damn lucky Richard."

"I know sir," replied the soldier. "Sorry about the scope," he added.

"I don't mind losing equipment that way. I do mind losing those two that are now in the shop because of training though," the Captain replied.

Holmes knew he needed a minimum of four scopes to continue and now he was down to three. A full half of his scopes were out of service but his shops were working on them and if the eyepieces came in that he ordered for those front pieces on those earlier model scopes then he'd be in business again. It was a shame, he thought, that we can't use the eyepieces of these ruined ones on the others. He made a mental note to ask someone in the machine shop if it might be possible to make some sort of an adapter to do this. Now he thought about the IRA man: For a man to get one bullet into a hole in those sand bags that was no bigger than five inches in diameter, was an achievement of the highest order. He was firing at a pinpoint of light from a moving vehicle and did rather well. It was too bad that he didn't live to see how well he did, thought Holmes. That's a real problem with these things too. We just can't seem to hide the flash no matter what we try. I'd still have four scopes if we could have hidden those muzzle flashes better he thought.

* * * *

In Dublin, Liam now learned of the loss of the IRA motor car and he knew that it had not burned moreover he knew that it was bringing him things that Oliver had copied about a different virus but Oliver had also told him he didn't think this second virus would be all that effective either so with these papers and those security papers about the girl all now in English hands they would immediately look for the girl and use her for bait to get the person who was so interested in shipping these papers back across the border. Liam knew that the girl had to be brought back to the Republic as soon as possible. If they had seen Oliver with her then he had to come back too. It was best to bring them both back immediately thought Liam and he made a phone call.

* * * *

A preponderance of both American and British military people now descended down upon the Portadown complex which was guarded by uniformed guards in Her Majesty's Service, two of which were now talking to each other.

"Looks like the bloody war is on again the way the Yanks are floodin' in to this place," said one guard to the other as he cautiously looked around to see if any eyes were watching because talking while on guard duty was a punishable offense in Her Majesty's Service.

"We invented Radar and gave it to the Yanks, and we invented penicillin and gave that to them too, and it certainly looks like were givin' them somethin' else important now. Did you see all those high ranking officers comin' in here now?" asked the other guard who had timed his walk so he would end up at the end of his post at the same time as his buddy so the two of them could exchange a few quick sentences before they would both have to turn around and start marching in opposite directions covering their respective areas again.

"Well this place was set up as a joint effort with the Yanks. Much like marriage is a joint effort. You do the work and she gets the benefits,"

"Bloody well got that one right, you 'ave. We better kip out mate."

"Right O," answered the other guard, and they both faced in opposite directions and began their march back to cover their respective areas again.

* * * *

Oliver had been working when wave after wave of soldiers and high ranking officers of both the American and British Armies came into the Paragon Facility. He figured that they had come to find the missing virus that the girl had written to them about. He did not like all of this activity and he was glad that his shift was ending and now he went into the men's room and washed up. Then he went to his locker and took off his dirty uniform and threw it into the soiled uniform bin and put on a new uniform and walked over to the line of men waiting for the time clock to click on the hour. When it did the men all punched out their cards and headed to the parking area for their cars. When Oliver got to his car a man motioned to him giving him a sign that only the IRA knew.

This man now said, "Leave your car here. We've got it packed with explosives and there's a body in there that they'll think is you. We've got your girl friend and you are both going back to the Republic right now. Get in this car. We can't waste a bit of time.

Oliver got in and asked, "What happened?"

The man started the car and before he turned into the street he pushed a button on a hand held transmitter and said, "Your car will go up twenty seconds from now and we should be just entering the main road then. About your question as to what happened, I can only tell you I lost a good friend who was a courier on the border and if it's possible that he might have been carrying something that would put you in jeopardy then you know what happened. But if you do know or you don't know it's best that you don't tell me because I don't want to know anything about it. When the car turned onto the main highway, Oliver did hear the explosion in the direction that they had come from. The IRA would now issue a statement that they will kill selective people at the Portadown facility. This, of course, is a screen to make it appear that they killed Oliver merely because he worked there. Now they would see that both Oliver and the girl went across the border and Dublin would determine the next step, but both would now have to disappear from circulation.

Oliver and the man finally arrived at a house where the man driving hooted his horn and out came a woman with Pamela Hayden and both of them walked to the car. As soon as Pamela recognized Oliver she moved even faster toward the car and Oliver opened the door for her.

"Who are these people Oliver? They said I could either go with them quietly or they'd shoot me through the head. It was my choice they said and they said they really didn't care which I chose either," she told him as she got in to the car next to him.

"They are taking us across the border to the Republic, Pamela. Things have gotten too hot for us both up here in Ulster. I'll have you know that you got everything you wanted because I saw most of both the American and British Armies today at the Portadown facility when I handed them my resignation today," Oliver told her.

"That's why you're leaving too?" she asked him.

"That's why we are both leaving Pamela. Both our jobs are done here in Ulster. When you do a good job Pam you are entitled to a holiday. We are about to take our holiday in the Republic," he told her.

"How long of a holiday?" she asked.

"A rather extended holiday I presume," he answered.

The car drove on for quite a while and then the driver stopped in front of another house and left the two in the car while he knocked at the door then he came back to the car.

He said: "Both of you will have to come in here. They are going to take your pictures for your new drivers licenses and Passports."

"Why do we need that?" she asked.

"Just do what they say please," said Oliver.

"Do I have any choice?" she asked.

"Yes you do and I believe you already know the choices," Oliver told her.

"No I don't believe I do," she said adamantly.

"Long Kesh Prison or get shot through the head. You had better do what you're told Pamela," he said to her. If these people have the slightest idea that you are going to jeopardize any of us then you are simply going to die. There is nobody to write your letters to about this one Pamela," he added.

"You hate me don't you?" she asked him.

"No, I'm sort of fond of you Pamela and that's why I'm going on holiday with you, and Pamela darling please try to memorize your new name and your new age and birthday that will be on this new identification. The Ulster police have Long Kesh Prison full of border crossers who couldn't remember their full names or their age or their birthdays," he said to her.

"Why can't I just cross as myself?" she asked him.

"Half the British Army is out looking for you right now sweet thing. That's why," he said.

Their pictures were taken and in less than an hour they were back on the road again with their new credentials, and Pamela did what she was told and was hard at work memorizing her entire new name and age and birthday as the car headed toward the border.

* * * *

The people who had practiced with their silenced carbines were now all in different areas of England and all had their new weapons with them. Dublin had decided that their targets would be mostly known informers and the people who worked with them.

Somewhere in England Tom Reilly sat on a park bench in a small park and in a few minutes he was joined by the owner of the metal plant in which he worked.

"I want to thank you Tom for all that you have been doing in gathering this information. You are a credit to the Irish race and not like this scum that is bent on sabotaging everything that they can lay their filthy hands on. You'll find a little something extra in your pay check this week Tom. Have you anything new for me this week?" said the elderly well-dressed man as he slowly took a seat on the park bench next to Tom Reilly.

Neither of them noticed a man approaching wearing a raincoat who constantly swept his eyes from side to side making certain that no one else was nearby. He came up from behind the men and then took one last look about him and seemed satisfied, then from under his rain coat he pulled a silenced M-1 Carbine and put several silent shots into each head that was above the back of the park bench in front of him. He returned the gun to its hiding place under the raincoat and slowly waked away.

Another Englishman who had given the courts the critical evidence that they needed to send a London bomber to prison for life, now walked from the bus stop to his home as he usually did. It had been raining again and the streets were deserted except for a man coming the other way carrying a long package that looked like it contained flowers because some of them were sticking out the end. He passed the man with the flowers. He was found about an hour later with several bullets in his head and nobody in the neighborhood could remember hearing a shot.

In Kingston Hull a man was returning with a new sailboat. He could never have afforded it on his regular salary but the government had been willing to pay him for much good information about the 'Micks' that were working at the shipyard with him. So he had been friendly with every one of them and had gained their confidence and he was able to make more extra money this way over the years by providing information on the dangerous ones. Now he had taken down the sail and was slowly drifting in as the water slowed the momentum of the boat. He stood ready to throw the rope over the post and secure the boat as the boat neared the dock. Several silenced carbine shots penetrated his body and he slumped to the deck of his boat. A motor car now pulled away as the current took the boat back out into the middle of the Humber.

In York, a woman had finished cooking supper and was putting it out on the table while her husband, a prominent judge, was sitting by an open window watching the news on the tele. He had sentenced many IRA men to long sentences. He hated them with a passion but never showed the least animosity against them when he was being filmed or interviewed by the press. His wife now called him to his supper but he never moved. She feinted as she saw the holes in his forehead.

Another Englishman had financed his holiday every year by being an informant as to who the militant Micks were in the automotive plant where he worked. This year he left for Cornwall on his holiday and he laid on the shore in the sun. The sun was now setting and an old man walked over to the person who was still on the shore at sunset and the old man was astonished to see that this man on the shore had several bullet holes in his head.

It had taken many men to do these things but the signature of only one man was in all of this planning. His name was Liam McGuiness, and everything that he planned from Dublin usually worked and they usually worked well.

Up in Ulster a young Catholic boy with a bucket of white paint and a paint brush had finished his masterpiece. Each letter was a foot square and the whole sign was at least six feet high and ten feet wide and it was painted on the side of a building and could be read plainly by the English soldiers through the slits in their armoured cars. "Touts will be shot" the sign proclaimed. Liam McGuiness had sent the same message to England.

* * * *

"Patrick Day!" said Liam McGuiness as he opened the door to his office after he heard the knock. "Come on in," he added as he walked back to his desk. Patrick Day was following him and then abruptly stopped as he looked at his wrist watch; what Day did then made absolutely no sense to Liam. He motioned to Liam to come out with him, and at the same time he started to talk.

Patrick said: "I haven't seen you in many months Liam so I thought I'd stop in to see how you are doing. Let's have some lunch together."

Liam thought to himself, he'd been here two days ago. Something is amiss, and so Liam said, "Sounds good I'm ready right now," and both men left the office while Pat kept looking at his watch and put his finger over his lips as a sign to Liam to remain quiet. The two men walked down the stairs and away from the building and then it was that Pat finally talked to Liam.

Pat said, "Your office is being bugged by a hidden transmitter."

"What!" exclaimed Liam.

"Do you see this thing that looks like a wrist watch? Well, I picked it up in Miami. All the drug dealers use them now. It's like a scanner and it scans all the frequencies automatically and will light up when it finds a transmitter nearby. Now, if they would have taken the time to place a microphone and run the wires to wherever they are listening from then this little device could never have caught it, but they evidently didn't have time to hard wire your office and maybe only had time to plant a hidden transmitter. It wasn't here two days ago. I know that for certain, so it's been put in since then," said Pat.

"Someone here at headquarters must suspect me. I sort of did something on my own Pat. I guess it's all over now so I'll tell you about it. HQ must have gotten wind of the Portadown project somehow. Damn! Well, the Brits have a secret chemical warfare lab in Portadown but how secret can it be anyway with the Russkies telling all about it in their latest encyclopedia? I figured that they might have a poison that we could use but now I'm almost certain they don't have anything just yet, but I got mud in my eye on this one Pat and I'm going to have to go to HQ and 'fess up as that black yank used to say. I guess I'm going to need some of HQ's money to set a couple up in New Zealand for a while. They've crossed the border and will soon be here but it's even going to be too hot for them here so I've got to ship both of them on out fast. Thank's for the warning old friend," Liam said. But Liam had no intentions of telling anyone that he still had one person, the student, still up there.

"Life is a battle; isn't it?" asked Pat.

"Yes, but we've won a few too Patrick. All those Carbine people are back safely. They'll be checking for years to find those things in England and if they don't, then in a few years time we'll dig them all up and if the preservative has worked OK and they haven't built some big building over all of them, then we might even have another go at them Patrick," said Liam smiling at his old friend.

* * * *

Only Oliver and Pamela had crossed the border together. The other man had gotten out a few miles from the border and wished them both luck and the two had no problems whatsoever at the border crossing and were passed right on through. The two drove south as it was turning to evening and they were many hours into their trip when a radio station's news program, on their car radio, told about the IRA killing two Portadown residents in a car bomb explosion, The news report said that the car of Oliver Heath had blown up with him in it and they also suspected a girl he was dating named Pamela Hayden was also in the car with him when it went up, since both now are missing and are presumed dead.

"They thought that was you and me in that car," said Pamela to Oliver when she heard the news.

"It's best that they keep thinking that too. You do not want them hunting for you down here in the Republic because the laws here are such that no one is quite safe from extradition even here in the Republic. If the Republic finds that you are wanted up there for a crime and it is not of a strictly political nature, then they are apt to ship you back to them," replied Oliver.

"Yes, but what are you going to do. You were also supposedly killed in that car blast. Are you going to remain dead too. Because if you are not and you suddenly come to life, then they will expect me to be alive too," she said to him.

"I'm going to have to see what my superiors want to do about this; I'd say though that in my particular case that they will use it to their advantage and that I will stay dead too. I believe that you can put those worries to rest. Both of us I'm fairly certain are going to stay dead, so you had better keep remembering that full name and age and birthday; you may have it for the rest of your life now," he told her.

"Do you know what I see wrong with you Oliver Heath?"

"Tell me great, beautiful oracle of wisdom,

"You told me that I am self centered but you are just the opposite. You are so caught up in this male emotion oriented system of yours with its levels of hierarchy and triumphant celebrations of each of its great victories, that you have quite forgotten that it is Oliver Heath that is most important. Your system, Oliver, will always be here to build pyramids or to fight wars or to do some other stupid things," she told him.

"The great and wondrous Oz has spoken," he chided her.

"See, that was a system that gave us the movie that you just quoted from and other systems give us our food and these systems are OK, but others are not and you have to be able to think for yourself and not be trapped by them," Pamela said.

"You think I'm trapped inside a bad system?" he asked her.

"You were trapped, at one time, but I believe that when we get to wherever it is that you are taking me, that you are going to find that you are no longer trapped in this system," she replied as she now got closer to him and put her arm around him.

"What on earth are you talking about?" he asked her.

"Oliver, Oliver, Oliver, you really don't see it yet do you?" she asked him.

"See what?" he asked.

"Oliver, I have been in cars from early this morning until now that it's getting dark and I'm hungry and tired, Stop at the next place you can find where we can eat and find a place to sleep and then I want to talk to you where I can have your full attention. I know you hate me as a female but I want to speak to you tonight agent to agent," she told him.

He was dumbfounded as to the meaning of this and there was no way that he was ever going to admit that he was an agent of anything, but he was curious as to what she wanted to talk about and he too was getting tired and he was definitely hungry too, so they looked for a place on the road until they did spot a town where they stopped and found something close to what they were looking for. While they were eating, he questioned her about what she had meant about being an agent but she put him off and merely said, "Tonight, Oliver, tonight."

After they ate they wandered through the town hand in hand looking at this and looking at that, she said, "Oliver, what if they didn't want you anymore. What would you do?"

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Well, if they don't want you anymore Oliver, just remember that I still want you. Can you remember that?" she asked him.

"You are not making any sense," he said.

"Oliver, I know you hate me and you feel that because you stopped to help me---and you have helped me---you feel you got messed up don't you?" she said.

"Yes," he answered.

"I'll pay you back," she said as she kissed him lightly on his lips and while he didn't pull away from her, he didn't make any further advances toward her either and this told her more than his words could.

"Agent to agent then, tonight," she said as they continued their stroll, still hand in hand, through the small town.

It was later that evening while they were together in their room that she told him her story.

"I was up there working for Green Peace because we knew they had all kinds of destructive things up there and this way we knew that if we could let in some of the sunlight that it would sterilize a lot of what they had. It's not secret anymore and I did that so I've accomplished something with my life and maybe some of the information that we have obtained on the various things that they have there will do some more good, Of course, I did some of those things on my own too," she said

"So you were an agent with Green Peace," he reiterated.

"Yes, and the Sir Galahad that I was hopefully looking for all these years finally came and rescued me, but now I find he hates me," she said.

"I don't hate you," he said.

"Will you do me a favor?" she asked.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Look, these people that you are working for know that I know about you. Your friends in Ulster were perfectly willing to kill me right there. Well, your friends here might figure I'm better dead than alive. After all I did write all those letters and they are not going to like me being able to talk about you. And you are not going to be much use to them now and they won't want you talking either but they will probably send you off somewhere rather than kill you. Let's stick together on this and we tell them if we go somewhere out of the country, then we go together and that way we can watch each other's backs," she told him.

"Pamela Hayden is thinking like an agent," he said.

"Is Oliver Heath your real name?" she asked.

"Yes," he replied.

"Pamela Hayden is mine too; you see we are both finished because for operations like we were in, you need people who have real identities because these real identities can stand intensive checking by the largest organization because they are real but these new names that we have now are OK for most things but I'm afraid we'd both be found out if they ran a good security check on these new identities. You know that yourself. They used us for our real identities and they can't afford to give us these types of jobs anymore. Promise me you will tell them that we go away together," she said.

"You're probably right," he said.

"I'm always right. Yes, I'm self centered. You are absolutely correct on that one Oliver. All women are self centered. Not just the half that you noticed. It's just that the other half do a better job of playing up to the male's ego. Want me to lie to you Oliver? Oh, Oliver you are so strong: Oh, Oliver you are so smart: Oh, Oliver you are so good to me. I wasn't brought up that way. I don't like doing that all the time, and people can see into it eventually anyway. You don't do that and I respect you for it. Oliver, you can't change the way I am and I'm not so stupid that I think that I can change any man. But Oliver a man does not pick a woman. It's exactly the other way around. A woman picks the man. They come to us in droves Oliver, and we decide who," she told him.

"Yes, I've read the report they wrote up on you, they came in droves all right but you never kept any of them," he said.

"So that's why you're over there by yourself sulking, you don't think I'll stay. No, I didn't keep any of them Oliver, but I sure wanted to, but I had made a commitment and I kept that commitment until the very last day that I was there Oliver and if I make a commitment with you then I'll honor that just as well. OK, I've found that you disprove of the droves of men that came. What else is on your mind Oliver. There's a lot more that you're displeased with about this female that you are staying several feet away from, even though we're securely locked away from the world," she replied.

"This female, that's now trying to dump all her problems on me, has a long prison term staring her in the face and not much else going for her," he replied,"

Pamela Hayden now started laughing, almost hysterically at times even so much that she had tears coming out of her eyes with her laughing. He was on the couch ostensibly reading a newspaper while talking to her. She pushed away his newspaper and threw herself on top of him still laughing with the tears dripping on his face while she kissed him. He made no attempt to move away and even kissed her back now and this continued until she regained her composure and then she continued her conversation with the face that was now several inches under hers.

"How much do you have in the bank in your name?" she asked him.

"Several thousand pounds." he replied.

"Now that you are dead, that's gone. I hope you realize that," she told him.

"Damn, I never thought of that!" he exclaimed.

"My bank, darling is on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich Switzerland and I made a lot more working for who I did than you made working for who you did, and I have far more there than several thousand pounds. I knew that I wanted to give my children a good education and I didn't want another one of those damned systems ripping me off with their confiscatory taxes, and I can still get my money out and they don't divulge anything to anybody either. It's you, out of work IRA agent; I guess that's what you are, who is dumping yourself on me," she said, as they both looked into each other's eyes.

She then continued: "Yes dear friend, there have been droves, and you would never even have been a choice had I been able to pick, but a woman cannot go back and recover what is lost. I think this happens to every girl. So male friend, and you have been a true good friend who sacrificed his career to save me from prison; my offer still stands," she said to him now kissing him and now getting the responses from him that she knew she should be getting.

* * * *

The losses of far too many motor cars carrying things across the border now troubled Liam. Some vehicles got through and then another following through the same area and using the very same road would be caught. If it were just some of these new drivers, then he might understand but he had lost some experienced people recently all in the same sector and this was not a sector controlled by the Special Air Service either. Liam felt that he had to get these people through safely and he had to know exactly what was happening now up there in that sector on the border.

Liam had warned Cathal about the hidden transmitter in his office but Liam had decided to let it stay there and allow Headquarters continue to think no one had found it. Late one evening they were both in Liam's office talking together.

"We've got to find out what's happening up there on the border," said Liam to Cathal. They both knew that HQ was taping them so they kept to the subjects that would be normally discussed.

Cathal then said: "We had better find a brand new area for them to cross. This was good for a long time but it has served its usefulness now. What do you say. I say move our border crossing operations somewhere else."

Yes, you are right. But we won't stop with doing just that. We want them to keep right on increasing their forces here where we won't be crossing anymore, so it would behoove us to start hitting them here hard, seeing as were not going to be crossing here again. I need one of those aeronautical charts that we have of the border that shows the terrain exactly," said Liam.

"I'll get one of that area for you, I know where one is," said Cathal and he left.

Liam sat back in his chair, engrossed in thought, and when Cathal returned with the map, Liam said: "Some people get through and some don't. There are ten distinct and separate routes through that area and bang we'll lose one and then a dozen will get through safely and then bang and we'll lose another one on an entirely different route. Want to know what I think, Cathal?" Liam then asked.

"Shoot," said Cathal.

"They've got all our routes down pat up there and they have one strong highly mobile armoured unit with sophisticated night vision capabilities, moving from route to route every so often. And I'll tell you how we can prove this; we'll simply send ten different farmers down each of the ten separate routes all in the same night and see what happens. If nine get through without a whimper and one gets caught, then we know it's only one unit that moves around. Now, once we know this, then we can plan how to effectively hit them," said Liam.

* * * *

This exact same evening on the border Captain Edward Holmes was serving his last day in command of his unit. He was finally going home to England to receive his superannuation from a grateful Queen and country to which he had served many long years. They all had a party of sorts with all his men wishing him well and they had even brought in an old clock that chimed the hours. Then at the stroke of midnight the new commander shook Captain Holmes's hand while Captain Holmes received cheers from officers and men alike almost all of which, who were not on duty, attended this going away party that was held in his honor that night on the border

At two hours after midnight when this new commander had exactly two hours of sole command of his new outfit, he was alerted that his men had shot and killed two IRA men and they had an entire lorry full of weapons. This time the lorry had burned but the pile of charred weapons served as positive proof that this was an IRA armament supply vehicle. The new Captain went to the scene immediately and congratulated the men and then returned to a sound sleep.

* * * *

"I need people with nerves of steel for this project," said Cathal McCarthy to Frank Burns. "I can assure everyone that nobody will get killed or even hurt but they might be coming eye to eye with crack English troops who will in all probability shoot out their tyres, and they are going to have to continue to act out their part even after this happens," he added.

"How can I help you?" he asked.

"We need people who are true residents of the border area on the Ulster side and we will need ten of them. Now, if we are successful in this, then one of these ten who meets the enemy that night must report this to us immediately and we will take him to the Republic and he will never be able to go back to Ulster again," said Cathal.

"Could he be extradited back?" asked Frank Burns.

"No, they will have nothing on him but they will be wanting to ask him questions about why he was there that night and it will be in our best interest not to have them ask these questions," said Cathal.

"Tell me exactly what you want me to do," said Burns.

It was several nights after this meeting that ten lorries, well after midnight, began their separate trips across the border. Each of these lorries had either some goats or pigs or some sort of farm animals in them. Michael Dwyer drove a dilapidated lorry over a narrow but still discernible road that night on the border. His sole passenger was a cow who was still giving milk but who had seen most of the good years of her life already passed by. She had been driven about so many times in her life that now she merely resigned herself to the vehicle's rocking back and forth under her and she did her best to tear out some hay every now and then from the large bale next to her and munch it down. She had no idea that she too was about to play a role in another of Liam McGuiness's schemes. Michael Dwyer now turned off the road and drove his lorry with cow down a dirt trail that was visible in his head lights as only two tyre tracks, He drove slowly down this trail for about twenty-five minutes with the old cow swaying back and forth even more now than she had done on the better road. Now all of a sudden came the loudspeaker command to halt and then machine gun fire at his vehicle that now stopped.

"Don't shoot! Don't shoot!" Michael Dwyer now yelled as loud as he could. "What's happening?" asked Michael Dwyer as he stepped from his vehicle now with his hands on top of his head.

"What are you doing here?" asked one of the soldiers shining a light on him.

"I'm looking for my other cow," said Michael Dwyer. They both got out and so far I've only been able to find one of them," he added.

"Let me see some of your identification; use one hand only, and keep the other on top of your head," said the soldier as Michael Dwyer very slowly put his hand in his pocket and pulled out his papers and driver's license and handed them to the soldier. The soldier then radioed all of this information in to their base and in about thirty minutes the word came back that everything checked out and he could be released. One of the soldiers even helped Michael jack up the old lorry and replace the front wheel, that had been all shot up, with the spare wheel in the back of the lorry.

"See if you can still drive it," said the soldier who had been helping him. "If you have any problems then wait and we'll have someone come out and fix it," the soldier added.

Michael Dwyer turned the lorry around and saw that he had no brakes; they must have shot out a brake line too, but he did have emergency brakes, and he had no intention of waiting around here any longer so he left and drove back the way he came.

* * * *

The very next morning Liam McGuiness was reading the report of Michael Dwyer who was now in the Republic. All the other nine lorries made it across the border without incident. Liam knew what he was going to do now on the border but he did not know what he was going to do now with Oliver Heath and Pamela Hayden. She had demanded to see him and finally he had agreed. She then gave him a list of doctors who she claimed would cooperate with a clandestine organization provided that they thought it was a Protestant militant organization aimed against Dublin. This was an interesting idea and Liam liked this. But now this same girl wanted the IRA to reimburse all the money that Oliver had lost in his bank account by now being dead and she wanted the IRA to buy them a farm in New Zealand. She had asked for this in his office and he knew that HQ was aware of it. Now as he pondered the idea of the fake Protestant organization, he saw that it might someday give him his ultimate doomsday weapon against England. He had to do some more checking and this would only take several more days and if this all looked feasible then he was determined to push HQ to give them the money and ship both of them out to New Zealand.

* * * *

"I would have bet my life that he would never have agreed to see you and especially in his own office. I still can't get over that," said Oliver Heath.

Pamela said, "I knew he would because I had something he wanted and he knows too that I'm holding out on the keystone part that he won't get until we get our money," said Pamela.

"You simply amaze me. Maybe I will marry you after all," he said laughing.

"We'll get it done on the boat. It takes too long here in the Republic and I just don't think that we are going to be here that much longer Oliver. Oliver, that is a very dangerous man that you work for. He would kill both of us in a second if it would get him what he wanted. I've worked for those types of people. I know them well. And they have always paid me well too because they thought that I was always getting them what they wanted. We are going to have a farm in North Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand, you and I, but it's going to be all paid for including all the equipment. Taxes are high in New Zealand and we won't make that much money there but we'll have all ours before we get there, if I have your boss figured out right. I guess we'll have to stay there and be buried there, Oliver, so let's go out and walk through Dublin a bit and we'll have our last look at Ireland and we'll say good by to this side of the earth.

"I'll miss Dublin," said Oliver.

"You'll live a lot longer where we're going though," she told him.

"I'll miss the fight too," said Oliver.

This statement had to make Pamela think. Yes, she thought, men did enjoy fighting. That was strange and she never could understand it. I'll be extra good to him and maybe I could change and tell him how strong he is or how handsome he looks to make up for what he's leaving here because I'm the one that's leaving absolutely nothing behind. I don't like the fighting. I don't like the system. I don't even like reading their history books: Here's an engraving of the man who first built this city and here's the General who destroyed it. And here is a painting of the person who rebuilt it and here is a beautiful well-preserved picture of the next General who destroyed that one and it keeps going on and on, she was thinking to herself.

"You can fight with me," she told him.

* * * *

"We need at least ten different routes in this new area. Then each one of them stays looking seldom used. That's the key," said Liam to the man at Headquarters.

"OK we'll get four more of them finished; I thought six of them would be enough but I believe you are right about that," the HQ man said.

"Everything has checked about those doctors and I believe that a fake Protestant Organization for them to funnel their secret information into is going to work. I'm in favor of giving those two that money for their New Zealand farm and getting them the hell out of here," said Liam.

"You kept that whole Portadown thing from us and used your own money. Why?" asked the HQ man.

"Because if I acted fast then just maybe I could get the ingredient to allow Ireland to make the strike that it has waited almost a thousand years to make. That's why," said Liam.

"And you think that one day these people will produce it?" the HQ man asked.

"I don't only think, I know they will and if we don't get it first then this info that Oliver sent us and plus what the girl has given us proves the Protestants will steal it first and where do you think they are going to put it. They are going to dump it right into Dublin's reservoir. We have no other choice. I knew that then; that's why I went with it. You have all the proof now, so you see I was right," said Liam.

"The girl is holding out on something, isn't she?" the HQ man asked.

"Yes," answered Liam.

"What?" asked the HQ man.

"Didn't you see those notes scattered through there BM 305, BM807, etc.?" asked Liam.

"Yes, but I didn't see any explanation for them," said the HQ man.

"She was working as an agent for Green Peace and she was collecting things she could later blackmail those Portadown bastards with and she has pages and pages of copies. She has already hinted that if we give her 10% of the money then she will send us 10% of those copies and so forth up the line," said Liam.

"That is one dangerous bitch," said the HQ man.

"She is the most dangerous woman that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I knew as soon as I read her invitation to meet me, that I was dealing with someone extraordinary," said Liam.

"You want us to pay her then?" asked the HQ man.

"You do what you want. But I'd say you can easily get all that money back by blackmailing those Protestant bastards, and then you have the entire fake Protestant outfit set up for free that might even deliver on the poison," said Liam.

"What do you think if we gave her a fourth of the money and you have a look at a fourth of the pages and we go from there?" asked the HQ man.

"Sounds good, and when will those four roads be finished because I need to know that before I make my next border move?" asked Liam.

"I'll let you know as soon as possible," said the HQ man and he left.

* * * *

"How did you find this particular farm?" asked Oliver looking at a map of the Northern Island of New Zealand.

"I worked with this super old gent. He's dead now, who went to New Zealand and he knew I wanted a farm there and his job was appraising farms in North Auckland. He gave me quite a few pointers in picking out farms. I was interested in this one because he said it was reasonably priced and the people would go even lower if they could get cash and have most of their money deposited in an account they had in a London bank because you can't get your money out of New Zealand. I'm glad now that I never contacted them before in my real name and today I got a faxed agreement with them for the farm as soon as this part of the purchase price is deposited in their London account. I negotiated with them until this first payment that your friends will make to us today is exactly the amount needed and they are wiring it to their account today," she said.

"But they are only paying us part of it today? Will that be enough?" he asked.

"Well that's what I told you. I negotiated with them some. Money here is worth far more than money in New Zealand to someone who wants to get it all out. And that's another thing. We don't ever want to take too much of our money to New Zealand. You might take quite a loss getting it all out. The farm is the only thing there that we are buying.

"When do we have to pay the final amount for the farm?" he asked.

"A years time and they have agreed to stay a year and show us how to run it all. We get three-fourths of the net profit the farm makes this year because we own three -fourths of it as of today when the bank deposit is made," she said.

"Wow, so you'll get more from the IRA than that farm costs," he said.

"Considerably more, and it all goes to Switzerland" she answered.

"What money are we going to take with us?" he asked.

"You take that two thousand pounds that they have agreed to pay you, That ought to be plenty. After all, the farm is going to pay its own taxes and we are not going to have to pay rent or buy food. It will make me feel nice to know my husband will be there with some money if I need some," she said.

"Is this all for real?" he asked her.

"I hope so Oliver, because I'm really tired of dealing with killers and demagogues and Prima Donna doctors who are trying to create something that can kill the entire world," she said.

"Oh yes, we leave Dublin, Thursday at 10 am on a small freighter that also carries a few passengers on it," he said to Pamela.

"Oliver, you are the best thing that ever happened to me. This horrible system took a young girl's mind and molded it into an efficient diabolical female demon that did the system's bidding. Now Thursday at 10 am a freighter will miraculously remove this wicked spell and I will return once again to being what nature had intended that I should be," she told him.

"Are you feeling all right," he asked.

"Oliver, I have never felt better in my entire life," she said.

* * * *

Late Thursday afternoon, just before it got dark, a light airplane flew along a section of the border and its occupants could see some armoured cars now arriving together at a spot just on the Ulster side of the border. The plane flew straight on and was gone as quickly as it came.

Not too long after midnight that same Thursday the entire area where the armoured cars were encamped was lit up brighter than day with parachute flares. Then mortar rounds started exploding all around and rockets whooshed through the air and blew apart all the armoured vehicles. The soldiers that were able to escape the immediate area were mowed down by bullets from many Armalites. When it was all over an IRA man now took a sign and planted it in a pile of sand that had once been a sand bag enclosure. The sign was painted in green and said: "Will return on holiday again next year -- 1st Flying Column, Cork Brigade". Now finished, the IRA group departed for the border.

* * * *

At that same time on a freighter well out to sea from Dublin, a man was asking a woman a question.

"Will we actually really be married now if we get married under these new names?" he asked.

"We are really two new people now. We left the evil ones back there in that wicked world of the troubles," she answered.

Daniel P. Fitzpatrick Jr.

 

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