The Rogue’s March.By Dave Turner.Disclaimer:
I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the film ‘The Wild Geese’. Neither do I claim authorship of any scripted words found in this fic. I write these stories for fun not profit.Crossover:
The film ‘The Wild Geese’.Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar:
Written in glorious English-English which is different to American-English.Timeline:
A Faith in the Army story, set after the events depicted in ‘Honour, Courage and Commitment’.Words:
12 Chapters each of 2500+ words.Warnings:
Can't think of any, but that doesn't mean you won't find something to complain about if you look hard enough.Summary:
A Faith in the Army Story; Once again Faith and Cordelia are heading back to the dust and flies of Yemalia. This time they are on an undercover mission to save the Raisuli from his evil brother, the Pasha.0=0=0=0These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
And took their wages, and are dead.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.*
*‘Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries’; A.E. Housman.0=0=0=0London Heathrow Airport, England, late June 2010.
Uncomfortable in his jacket and tie, Harry Taylor stepped from the hot, muggy air of southern England into the cool, air-conditioned world of Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5. Pausing for a moment he let the cool almost cold air chill the sweat on his brow before heading across the main concourse towards the arrivals lounge for flights from South East Asia.
Walking up to the barrier that separated the outside world from the arrivals lounge, Harry showed the security guard on duty his ID card. The guard studied the card for a few moments before using his radio to confirm that Harry was who he claimed to be. Waiting for the security officer to get his confirmation, Harry turned back to look across the concourse. It was Wednesday afternoon and there were few people passing through this part of the airport or using the Duty Free shops. This was why the man who he’d been sent to collect had been scheduled to arrive today; no one important arrived on a Wednesday afternoon.
Distracted by the sight of two heavily armed policemen patrolling the concourse, Harry didn’t at first hear the security officer tell him he could go through into the lounge. Shaking his head, Harry thanked the guard, took back his ID card and headed on into the lounge area. Standing for a moment in the entrance, he scanned the tables and chairs of the lounge’s bar area for the man he was looking for. It only took him a moment to pick him out from the Japanese and Chinese businessmen.
Walking briskly over to where the rather forgettable looking man with the sunburnt and weathered face sat nursing a glass of whisky, Harry had difficulty believing that such an ordinary looking man could have done all the things he was reported to have done. Stopping at the table, Harry looked down at the man; up close he looked like a particularly weathered example of a geography teacher and not the mercenary soldier that he’d been told he’d be collecting.
“Colonel Faulkner?” Harry asked in a no-nonsense, business-like voice.
“You’re late!” Faulkner snapped back as he looked up sharply at Harry.
“I’m sorry for all the cloak and dagger business,” Harry apologised insincerely, “but Mr Neidermyer thought it best that your visit to this country wasn’t reported by the newspapers or to HM Customs and Immigration.” Harry smiled, “After all your face is quite well known and these types of ‘unofficial’ visits are difficult and time consuming to arrange.”
Grunting, Faulkner finished the whisky in his glass and stood up, Harry was surprised to note that he was a good six or eight inches taller than the mercenary, he’d looked taller sitting down.
“Well,” Faulkner picked up a small travel bag, “I’m here now, let’s get to wherever it is we’re going.”
“I have a car waiting outside,” Harry gestured towards the exit, “do you have any other luggage?”
“No,” Faulkner lifted his travel bag for Harry to see, “this is everything…I always travel light.”
“Yes, of course,” Harry nodded, “if you’ll come this way?”
Leading Faulkner out through the gate and through the concourse, Harry kept a watchful eye open for anyone paying them any particular interest. No trench coated detectives sprung out at him, but they’d no doubt been picked up on at least a dozen CCTV cameras on their short journey.
Stepping out into the humid English air, Harry waved his hand signalling a long, black Bentley executive saloon to come and pick them up. The car came to a smooth halt next to them and Harry opened the door for Faulkner and took his bag. After putting the small bag in the boot, Harry climbed into the back of the car next to Faulkner and signalled for the driver to move off.
After an initial attempt at striking up a conversation with Faulkner, Harry gave up and watched as Faulkner slowly demolished the bottle of whisky from the car’s mini-bar. Looking out the window, Harry watched southern England roll by as they drove along the M4 motorway towards London. Soon, but not soon enough for Harry (Faulkner made him feel very uncomfortable), the M4 turned into the A4 as they entered London proper. Driving through the busy streets they soon arrived in Knightsbridge. Turning south towards the river the car took them through quiet back streets lined with trees and well kept Victorian and Edwardian town houses. The car stopped outside one exceptionally imposing building.
“Here we are,” Harry opened his door and got out; going around to the rear of the car he retrieved Faulkner’s bag.
Standing on the pavement looking up at the house, Faulkner took his bag off Harry and nodded his head in thanks. Getting back into the car, Harry drove off leaving Faulkner standing by himself in the street. Only moments later the door to the great house opened and an older man in a black, formal suit stepped out onto the doorstep.
“Colonel Faulkner?” asked the butler showed Faulkner inside and relieved him of his bag and raincoat, before handing him on to another man.
“Colonel Faulkner? I’m Thomas Belfour, I’m one of Mr Neidermyer’s assistants,” the thirty-something man in the expensive suit shook Faulkner’s hand, “If you’d like to come with me I’ll introduce you to your prospective employer, Mr Simon Neidermyer…”
“Simon Neidermyer the CEO of Nabisco Industries?” Faulkner asked.
“Yes that’s right,” replied the expensively educated Englishman.
Leading Faulkner into a large, lavishly decorated room, Belfour made the introductions before stepping back and becoming inconspicuous.
Faulkner found himself shaking hands with a tall, American man in his late fifties or early sixties, he had neatly trimmed grey hair and manicured finger nails. He wore a business suit that probably would have cost more than Faulkner had earnt in the last six months.
“Faulkner,” Neidermyer smiled pleasantly enough as he shook hands with the mercenary officer.
“What do I call you?” Faulkner asked as he returned Neidermyer’s firm handshake.
“Mr Neidermyer will do well enough,” Neidermyer gestured to an over stuffed armchair indicating that Faulkner should sit down, “Whiskey?” he asked, “From my personal stock.”
“Thank-you,” Faulkner sat down and watched as Belfour started to pour two glasses of whisky, “large, no ice or water,” Faulkner added.
Once the Colonel and Neidermyer had their drinks Belfour started to fade away into the background again. He was stopped when Faulkner drained his glass in one swallow and called for a refill.
“Feel free with my whiskey,” Neidermyer commented sarcastically.
“Don’t worry I will,” Faulkner passed his glass to Belfour before looking back at Neidermyer, “don’t worry I’m dry when I work.” Faulkner accepted his whisky and looked up to where Neidermyer stood by the ornate fireplace, “So, Mr Neidermyer, if you wouldn’t mind signing this cheque for £10,000 which I assume is for my time and to compensate for the rather rushed meal on the aircraft over here, what can I do for you?”
Neidermyer took the proffered cheque and signed it without bating an eyelid, he handed it back to Faulkner who carefully put it away in his jacket pocket.
“Tell me what you know about Yemalia,” Neidermyer asked slowly.
“I’m sure you’ve not called me here to give you a lesson in the politics of north east African countries, but if you insist,” Faulkner paused for a moment as he gathered his thoughts. “The Sultan, Prince Feisal was very pro-western and allowed the US to station troops in his country on the understanding that they would help him put down the local warlords,” Faulkner paused and sipped his whisky. “This all went as planned until the Pasha, Auda Abu Tayi, who is also the Sultan’s uncle, seized power and told the Americans to get out and invited the Chinese in, with me so far?”
Neidermyer nodded his head.
“Next the Sultan’s other uncle, Mulai Ahmed el Raisuli, launched a Jihad to drive the Pasha and his Chinese backers from power,” Faulkner shrugged, “unfortunately he failed and was captured by the Pasha’s forces, he was reported killed attempting to escape.”
“You say unfortunately,” Neidermyer asked, “why?”
“For such a staunch Muslim,” Faulkner continued, “El Raisuli was oddly pro-western, it’s rumoured that had he deposed the Pasha he was going to ask the American’s back into the country.” Faulkner eyed Neidermyer shrewdly, “Now I’m wondering why the internal politics of a dust-bowl country like Yemalia is of interest to an important man like yourself?”
“Copper, Mr Faulkner,” Neidermyer replied, “copper…” the American explained, “…before the Pasha sized power I had a deal with the Sultan to develop the copper deposits in the west of the country,” Neidermyer sipped his own drink. “When the Pasha came to power those mining rights were confirmed by the new government and everything was fine until about six months ago…”
“When?” Faulkner prompted.
“When the Pasha,” Neidermyer’s voice rose slightly in volume as he explained, “started to transfer my mining concessions to pay off his new Chinese backers.”
“Ah,” Faulkner nodded sagely, “money eh?” he finished the whiskey and put the empty glass down on a nearby table, “So, what do you expect me to do about it?”
“El Raisuli isn’t dead,” Neidermyer announced, “the Pasha is holding him at an army barracks in the south of the country near the town of Zimbarla…”
“And you want me to spring him?” Faulkner thought about the operation, it might be possible under the right circumstances, “But I don’t see how that will help your situation.”
“The Pasha told everyone that El Raisuli was dead,” Neidermyer smiled nastily, “if I have him I can threaten the Pasha with releasing El Raisuli. The tribes will think he has risen from the dead and the Pasha will be faced with another Jihad, one which his Chinese backers will probably think is too much trouble to fight.” Neidermyer smiled as his mind counted all the money he was going to make. “Whatever happens I will stand a better chance of getting back my mining rights with El Raisuli out of prison than with him inside.”
“So you want me to take a force into Yemalia to this Zimbarla place and spring the Raisuli?” Faulkner wanted to get the mission straight in his mind.
“Yes,” agreed Neidermyer, “but it needs to be done pretty soon.”
“Because in six weeks time, maybe more, perhaps less,” Neidermyer explained, “the Pasha is going to execute El Raisuli as a sort of birthday present to himself, can you do the job?”
“Perhaps,” Faulkner got slowly to his feet, “can your people hold the Pasha in Mogador while I grab the Raisuli?”
“I think something can be arranged,” Neidermyer nodded and glanced at Belfour who nodded his head almost imperceptibly.
“What’s the minimum lead time for this mission?” Faulkner wanted to know.
“Four weeks,” Neidermyer admitted, “but we may be able to stretch that a little.”
“Good,” Faulkner nodded, “I’ll need time to plan, recruit the men and for training.”
“So can you do it?” Neidermyer asked eagerly, “When do you want to discuss your fee, I know you get paid for risking your life but I do hope that you don’t put too higher price on it.”
“Well, first,” Faulkner started to head for the door, “I need to see if the mission is feasible then I’ll send you my account, I don’t get paid a ‘fee’ I get what I ask for.”
“Well that seems straight forward enough,” Neidermyer sneered, “we won’t meet again, which will be a pleasure for both of us I’m sure. All further contact will be through Belfour here,” Neidermyer gestured to his assistant, “Goodbye Colonel Faulkner.”
Dismissing Faulkner from his mind, Neidermyer turned to study the painting over the fireplace. Faulkner was soon joined by Belfour who ushered him out into the hallway.
“We’ve booked you into a small hotel in Kensington,” Balfour explained as he handed over a brown envelope to Faulkner, “that contains some cash and a credit card for expenses along with a false passport, driving licence and a phone number where I can always be reached; you are to deal directly with me.”
Faulkner opened the envelope and put the money, credit card and driving licence into his wallet.
“My job is to provide you with everything you need,” Belfour added.
“Good,” Faulkner nodded, “then you can get to work immediately; I want a scale model of the barracks at Zimbarla…”
“You can have it by tomorrow afternoon,” Belfour confirmed.
“…plus maps of the local area and all the details you can find about the local troops,” Faulkner added while Belfour nodded his head.
“I’ll have them couriered over tomorrow morning,” Belfour assured him.
“Good,” Faulkner almost smiled, Belfour seemed to be efficient, “now I want you to find me two men; Rafer Janders and Shaun Fynn.”
“Janders shouldn’t be a too difficult,” Belfour explained, “but Fynn could be more of a problem.”
“If you can’t find them the deal's off, understand?” Faulkner replied briskly.
“I’ll do my best,” Belfour agreed, “now I’ll show you to your car and you can get settled in at your hotel.0=0=0=0London Heathrow Airport, the following day.
Standing outside the arrivals terminal, Faith and Cordelia watched as the rain came down in drenching sheets.
“Lets get a cab,” Cordelia gestured to the waiting lines of Black Cabs; she’d been to London once or twice before accompanying her parents on business trips or on vacations.
Of course then she’d been more interested in the Westend shopping, but she remembered going everywhere in the famous London Black Cabs.
“Nah,” Faith shook her head, “we can’t afford it, remember were supposed to be two, poor American women down on their luck and desperate for work.”
“So how do we get to our hotel?” Cordelia wanted to know.
“We could try this Underground thing,” Faith suggested.
“Oh yeah,” Cordy’s face fell a little; she’d been on the Tube before, it tended to be hot and crowded, “okay if we must.”
Picking up their back packs they headed along the pavement towards the Tube station entrance. Stepping onto the escalators they disappeared down into the bowels of the earth. The journey into London wasn’t as bad as Cordelia had feared. The carriage was almost empty and they were able to sit down as the underground train moved them quickly and efficiently to their destination. They didn’t even get lost when they had to change lines at South Kensington so they could get to Victoria which was their final destination.
Finding themselves outside Victoria Tube station, the two young women looked around; they had no idea how they were supposed to get to the hotel they’d been booked into. Leaving Cordy to guard their luggage Faith headed towards a news-stand, moments later she was back standing next to Cordy as she flicked through the pages of a local street atlas. As it turned out the hotel was less than a mile away, swinging their packs up onto their backs and with Faith map reading they headed off in search of their hotel.
After only getting lost once they found the Europa Hotel on St George’s road and booked in. A Spanish porter who spoke almost no English showed them to their room. It was small with two beds an en suite bathroom and a TV. After dumping their packs on the beds they stood and took in there surroundings.
“It’s too small,” Cordelia complained almost immediately.
“Hey,” Faith bounced on one of the beds as she lay down, “its cool and we’re not here on vacation.”
“Thank god,” Cordy agreed, “if we were I’d pay for a better hotel.”
Cordelia had recently been left a large amount of money by her Grandmother; she could have probably bought the hotel they were staying at.
“Remember,” Faith called from the bed she’d laid claim to, “we’re supposed to be two, disgraced ex-members of the US Armed Forces looking for employment of the not so honest kind.”
“Yeah,” Cordy started to unpack her back pack, “how could I forget…?”
Before she could say anything else there was a soft tap at their door.
“Who’s that?” Cordy asked, she turned to whisper to Faith, “You don’t think it’s that Spanish waiter guy come back for a tip do you?”
“We could always open the door and find out,” Faith grinned.0=0=0=0