The Best Laid Plans – part 6







Monday 6th June

Midnight BST



“And away we go,” Barb said as Charlotte slowly slid the window open, and the small drone flew out, the two women watching as it moved across the road, hovered over the vent opening, and then made its way in and down, lights illuminating the walls as it went down.


“they built these tunnels deep,” Barb said, “but that’s what we built this beauty to…  Oh wow.”


The women watched as the drone emerged into a large, dark tunnel.  Barb adjusted the camera to look down, as they saw the tracks underneath.


“You say this has not been used since the thirties?”


“Not for any publically official reason,” Charlotte said, “how does the tunnel look?”


“Clear where we came in,” Barb said, “which way?”


"North towards Trafalgar Square, the first side tunnel we are interested should be about 80 yards on our left."

"Alright,” Barb said as she manoeuvred the controls, “let's see if Birdie can find the entrance."

Quietly, the two women watched the screen as Barb carefully flew the drone up the tunnel.

"Plenty of rats in there," Barb spoke softly as she looked at the display.

"Yeah, that won't please anyone in the eventual recovery team."

"IF we can find the right shaft first." Barb let the drone hover and started to scan the walls for the opening.


"Okay,” she eventually said, “there is a small opening up near the ceiling."

"Yeah they bricked it up, but that has crumbled away." Charlotte adjusted her glasses.

"I think I can put her through that hole, just give me a chance to computer check the possible dimensions," Barb took a photo with the drone then fed it into the computer.


"The software says she should fit in there." Barb started to maneuver her 'baby'. "let's see."


The two women watched as the drone slowly rose, and then moved slowly forward, moving through the gap and emerging on the other side.


“Goddess,” Charlotte whispered as the camera showed the large room, and then panned down on the skeletons lying on the floor.


“It’s a battle scene,” Barb said quietly, “look – they’re in a defensive formation.”  She moved the drone down to have a closer look.  “Do you see them?”


“Knives – long ones.  I wonder who they are?”


“You said there was a big fight?  I’m no pathologist, but this must be one of the groups involved.”


“Which means we are on the right track,” Charlotte said.


“We need to bring her back – battery is running down.  Let me charge Baby overnight, and then we can continue tomorrow.”


Tuesday 7th June

8 am CET



“Good morning,” Juliette said as Carina and Annie came into the breakfast room, Judith holding their hands, “how are the little ones today?”


“They’ve had their breakfast,” Annie said as Judith sat on her booster chair, and Ingrid handed her a glass of juice, “the nurses will bring them in once they are bathed and dressed.”


“Are we widing again today Grappy,” Judith asked.


“Not today little one,” Klaus said.  “Your mother’s friends will be arriving this morning, and I am sure they would love to see you as well.”


“Aunty Molly and Aunty Kelsey?  I need to get Teddy ready to meet them!”


“Once you have had your breakfast,” Annie said as she sat down, and then saw Sigi looking at her.  “What?”


“You have not read the paper this morning, have you?”


“Do I want to?”


Carina looked at the paper that Ingrid handed her, and read out “Meeting the New Princess – some thoughts on Princess Annie.”


“Reinhard!  What did he write?”


“Gathering at the home of Prince Klaus and Princess Juliette…  The cream of Munich society…  Charmed by the newest members…”


“That’s not the best bit,” Sigi said as she took the paper.  "That the couple should have been married in such a quiet and simple fashion would come as no surprise to anyone who spends even a few moments in the company of the new princess. A quiet, unassuming middle class girl, whose father worked in management for the Boeing Corporation in St Louis, she is the product of academic scholarships both to the leading private school in her home city, and to prestigious Brown University. She currently teaches Mathematics in a private all-girls high school (gymnasium), in New York City, and coaches its Athletics team, where the Princess Carina was at one time her pupil."

"Well they got that all right at least," Annie smiled, "but why Gymnasium?"

"It's what we call high schools here in Germany," Ingrid said as she wiped Judith's mouth.

"That this lovely young woman is nicknamed 'Monster Mama' by her wife, is an act of complete irony, since anyone less like a monster it is hard to imagine."

"Well he is right there Annie darling," Klaus smiled.

"I still wish that Reinhard hadn't written this," Carina sighed.

"Well I invited him. and I knew he wrote the local society column, so I guess the fault is mine," Sigi looked up from her coffee.

"Why are we complaining?" Juliette asked, "it's actually very charming and complimentary?"


“True – but what do I know,” Annie said quietly.


“Forgive the interruption,” Frau Strecher said, “but I have just been informed your friend’s flight has landed.  They should be here by ten.”


“Thank you Frau Strecher,” Carina said, “I will come out to meet them.”




10 am CET



As Carina waked out of the doors of the townhouse, she smiled at the two women who got out of the back, wearing Yale Rowing Club tracksuits.


“Welcome,” she said as she walked down the stairs.  “Good flight?”


"Hey Specs," Molly Kerrigan greeted her friend as she and Kelsey Widdowes carefully lifted the crate carrying the racing shell down from the roof of the limousine. "Thanks for the transport, it's a touch classier then we are used to."

"Just glad to see you and the boat made it here safely,” Carina said as they placed the crate on the ground, while the chauffer took their bags from the car.

"Auntie Molly! Auntie Kelsey!" Judith called out as she carefully climbed down the steps and ran over.

"Hey Little One." Kelsey swept her up in her arms, "have you been a good girl?"


"Yes," Judith nodded and giggled at the same time.  “Welcome to Grappy’s house.”


“Nice place – small,” Molly said as she saw a woman in a grey coat dress walk down the stairs.

"Molly, Kelsey, can I present Frau Strecher, our steward," Carina made the introduction.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, and we are sorry for the disturbance," Molly spoke as both rowers shook hands.

"It is a pleasure for us to have two friends of the princess here as visitors," Frau Strecher smiled in return.

"Where can we put the boat for now?"

"A couple of the footmen will..."

"Ummm we'd rather move it ourselves," Kelsey smiled.

"Well,” Frau Strecher said, “we can put it in a spare cellar room, if you ladies will follow Thomas."

"Thanks," Molly spoke, "and sorry she's our baby so to speak." 

"I understand," Frau Strecher gestured for the two very tall young women to follow her.  “We will have your bags taken to your room.  Good morning your highness.”


“Good morning – welcome to Munich,” Annie said as Kelsey and Molly looked at each other.


“Oh yeah – news flash for you guys.  We got married last week.”


“You did?  Well that’s a new one on us,” Kelsey said with a smile.  “Let us get this down, and then we’d love some coffee.”


“Of course – this way please.”




10am BST

Xavier International


“It feels strange looking at it,” Shirley said as she watched the film from Baby, “like seeing a war field after the battle.”


“Indeed,” Charlotte said, “but at least we know two things.  One, we can get the drone down.  Two, it’s not that room.”


“Three things,” Penny said as she tapped the table, “they died in a battle – I imagine the one Juliette mentioned.  Which means we are on the right track.”


“Indeed – excellent work Charlotte.”


“One thing – I told Barb the purpose, but that it would benefit the Sisters,” Charlotte said.  “She accepted that, and will ask no further questions.”


Shirley nodded as she said “I understand, and trust your judgement on this Charlotte.  Now, do you not have an appointment?”


“Oh yeah – with my midwife,” Charlotte said as she stood up, “I will be back this afternoon.  We will continue the search tonight, Madame.”


“Thank you Charlotte,” Shirley said as the young redhead left the room.  As the door closed, she said “Penelope, ensure extra surveillance at the site tonight.”


“May I ask why Madame?”


Shirley rewound the film and looked at a still.  “I think those are Japanese swords – I do not want our mutual friend to be watching as well.  Have this sent to Cathy on the secure network, and ask her opinion as well.”


“Of course Madame,” Penny said as she stood up.  “I understand Maddie and Emma are flying in next week to meet with Cassandra Craig?”


“Indeed,” Shirley said with a smile, “and Emma will be staying for a few days afterwards.”


“I must make sure to meet with them,” Penny said as she smiled, “I’ll get onto this right away Madame.”


As she left the office, Penny caught Angela’s eyeline, and looked in the store cupboard.




“Oh…  Ah… Just looking for some paper for the photocopier Penny?”


“Well, that is usually kept with the photocopier – and while I don’t mind the odd box of pens and other things, the spare coffee machine and the Turkish coffee stays.  Go to Covent Garden instead.”


“Gotcha Penny,” Peri said as she slipped back to her own office, as Francesca came out.


“Are those the papers for the briefing tomorrow, Peri?”


“They are indeed,” Peri said as she picked up a folder, revealing the front page of one of the redtop papers.


“Oh dear,” Francesca said as she saw the picture of an angry Piet.


"Did you see the picture of Piet on the front page of The Sun Boss?"

"I have now Peri," Francesca shook her head, "they didn't capture him at his best."

"I saw the bloke he hit on the Beeb last night, talk about a shiner!"


“Indeed – when Hannah returns, ask her to step in please,” Francesca said as she walked back in.  A moment later, Hannah came back in.


“You’re to go in,” Peri said as Hannah nodded, and went into the inner office.




Noon CET



"Where are our guests?" Klaus asked as Annie came into the drawing room.

"Cari is showing them the weight room and gym...They were going to get changed and give it a go."

"Renate had the equipment installed, but its barely been used...soon after she discovered she had..."

"Cancer," Annie nodded,"Ingy told me about her Mom."


Klaus nodded as she said “I am glad it is finally being used.  So, I understand you and Carina spoke to the Cardinal’s aide this morning.”


“We did – we wish to hold the christening at the end of July, after the wedding and before we return to New York.”


“I approve,” Klaus said with a smile. 


10.30 am

New York County Criminal Court

100 Centre Street


Katy sat between her grandmothers, Adam and Janice next to Katherine, as the judge took his seat at the front of the court.


“Miss Perez, are you ready to begin?”


“I am your honour,” Rhoda Perez said as she stood up, “I call to the stand Daniel Morgenstern.”


“Here we go,” Adam whispered as Daniel limped over to the stand, and took a seat before swearing the oath.


“All right Daniel,” Rhoda said as she walked over, “will you tell the court when the first time you met Katy Carter was.”


“I first met Katy earlier this year,” Daniel said, “at a shoot in Central Park.”


“This was after her appearance in the ‘Lolita’ outfit at the Fashion Week show?”


“Yes – I wanted to see this beauty as she was.”


“Did you meet anyone else at the time?”


“No – but a week later, I was asked if I would be willing to undertake a new job – to watch over Katy, and then make sure she was kept safe from her mother.”


“Someone asked you to do this – do you know who?”


“No – but I was glad to do it.”


“Miss Perez,” Judge Markovic said, “where is this line of questioning leading?”


"I intend to show, your honour, that far from being the unwilling victim of the defendant, that Katy Carter and her family colluded in the so-called kidnapping, and encouraged it even."

"Well she's mot mixing her words," Adam whispered, "she's going to go straight for the heart it looks like."

"I will seek to establish that Katy Carter's modelling career has been aided by a series of stunts that have all been devised with the purpose of establishing her as a prominent figure and celebrity, whilst upping her earning power by huge amounts."


“I’m gonna kill her,” Katy whispered as she clenched her fists.


3.30 pm CET



“All settled in,” Annie asked as Kelsey and Molly came in.


“Yeah thanks,” Molly said, “we’ll get into serious training tomorrow.”


“So what event are you going for?”


"Well the coxed pair is not an Olympic event Specs, but we are being considered for the World Championships."

"Oh? coxed by who Kelsey?"

"By you Specs, who else?" Molly grinned.

"But I'm a complete novice girls,” Carina said, “no way US Rowing would agree to that."

"Why not? Lynn Stillman had only been coxing for a few weeks when she coxed the 'Red Rose Crew' to a silver at the 75 World Championships?"

"I've read the book Moll, but she had Harry Parker to coach her..."

"Well you have us," Kelsey laughed. "Believe it or not Specs, we believe in you...Together the three of us can do this."

Annie shook her head and smiled as Carina said “I need my head examined – all right, let’s see what happens…”




2.30 pm BST

Xavier International


Shirley sat back and looked at Susan on the screen as she contemplated the proposal that had just been made.


"Well Madame - do I have your permission?" Susan finally asked.

"I don't truly like the plan, but yes you and Dominique have my permission to proceed," Shirley nodded at the screen.

"Thank you."

"So have you sorted out your crew?"

"Myself and Dom...obviously."


"Dominique wants to bring Sharon along, she thinks her 'special' talents might come in useful."

"Without Carina, Penelope, or Annie being there I concur."

"Jan and Katy need to let off some steam."

"Yes,” Shirley said, “I heard the trial was getting rough."

"Doc flies out at the weekend, so I suspect she'd like to do this before she goes to London."

"Then invite her to join you by all means."

"Pamela, Leonora, and Chelsea from my staff."

"That's 9 women...who for the tenth?"

"I was going to think on it, but Sandy and Heather to do the driving."

"Yes." Madame paused. "Well it sounds like you just have small decisions to make?"


"So which club? and which night?"

"I was thinking the one we discussed, and Thursday."


“Very well then – I await the report Susan.”


“Thank you Madame,” Susan said as she ended the call, and then picked up the telephone.  “Caroline – can you drop by for a minute please?”


She put the phone down and went back to reviewing her notes, before looking up at the knock on the door.


"Well Susan?" Caroline smiled as she came in and closed the door.

Susan sat back, smiled and said "She's given us the green light."

"Good...I was getting bored, I need the action."

Nodding, Susan said "are you sure about Sharon?"

"If we need to demonstrably hurt people, then she's our girl. Sharon has a distinct bent towards torture and pain."

"Alright,” Susan said, “well I'll book a private dining room at Daniel for tonight, can you issue the invites please Caroline?"

"I can."

"We can go over the plan then."

"In the meantime I'll organize the guns, grenades, etc."

"And I'll make sure we have the outfits in everyone’s size."

"This could be fun you know?"

"Well it will give me a chance to use my knuckles again, and it should once we make our point create a highly profitable revenue stream."

"Gangsterism the old fashioned way," Dom smiled, "well I better go start making arrangements."  As she stood up, she said “oh – the tenth person?”


“Not sure yet – I may have an idea by later.”


Nodding, Caroline walked out of the room as Pamela looked over.


“Pamela – are you free tonight?”


“I can be – why?”


“Join me and Susan for dinner – she’ll tell you when, but it will be at Daniel’s.  Dress appropriately.”




6.30 pm

West Central Park


“So where are you two going tonight,” Katherine asked as Janice emerged from the shower.


“With Adam going to Tom’s new place to set some furniture up, Katy and I are going to have a night out,” she said as she went into her room, emerging a few minutes later in a black satin evening dress that hugged her body.


As she went into Katy’s room, she saw her daughter adjusting the straps of her green dress, with a low neckline.


“Dinner at Daniel’s?  What's this meeting about Mom?" Katy asked as she applied her lipstick.

"Caroline didn't say, but she said treat ourselves to new dresses, and put on the style, that it would all be covered."

"Well I think these cocktail dresses are Dolls," Katy admired her reflection, "and since I can't kill 'his' lawyer, it will at least take my mind off the trial."

"It will take both our minds off it."


“Well, Gran’s got her Daughters of Erin meeting – so let’s have some fun.”



6.40 pm

The Richmond Mansion


“Hey Holly,” Heather said as she opened the door, “come on in, and thanks for babysitting Sands.  George, let us know when you’re on your way back tomorrow.”


“Got it,” George said as he ran down to where his father was waiting, Holly looking at Heather in her long sea green dress.


“Must be a hot date tonight, Heather,” she said as she stood in her leggings and top.


“It is,” Sandy said as she came down, adjusting her earrings as she came down.  She had on a grey silk slip dress, that hugged her body.  “Come on through.”


As they went into the front room, they saw Sands sitting in a chair, smiling at Holly.


"Will you and Holly be okay Princess?" Sandy asked as she put on her coat.

"We will Mom,” Sands said quietly, “though I do resent you calling her my babysitter."

"That was for George's ear, so he could explain to his father why he's staying there tonight."

"Well don't be shocked if when you come home you find Holly and me asleep together."

"I'll try not to be." Sandy smiled.



7 pm

The Village


“Good evening Sharon,” Ama said as she opened the door, “please, come up.”


“Thank you,” Sharon Kennedy said as she came up, the front of her long coat open to reveal a black cocktail dress.  As she came into the front room, she saw a selection of clothes lying around.


“Trying to decide what to take for your trip?”


“Indeed – she is worse than me,” Caroline said as she came in, wearing a blue shift dress.


“I will go and find my sports things – enjoy your evening,” Ama said as she went to her room.


“So – what’s the occasion?  Not that I’m complaining,” Sharon said, “but Daniels?”


“We’re meeting a few friends, to have some food, some chat – and discuss a job for tomorrow,” Caroline said as she checked her purse, “but before we go in, I need to tell you something.”


“And that is?”


"Sharon,” Caroline said quietly, “you will tonight learn some secrets about people, people you may think you know, but who you really don't know all about."

"Sounds mysterious Boss." Sharon nodded at Caroline.


“Trust me – after tonight, you may have more questions.  But for now, accept this – everyone who is there is there for the right reasons.  Now come on – let’s go.”




7.15 pm

Times Square


Eleanor walked up from the subway station, watching Anna Carlton in her black short dress and heels.


"Alright Anna, where are you off to tonight, and all dressed up like that?" Eleanor mumbled to herself as the blonde genius hailed a cab then eased herself into a rear seat.  Hailing a cab just behind her, she said “follow that cab – and no questions” as the driver looked in his rear view mirror.


As it wove through the streets, Eleanor was trying to figure out where it was going, but when it stopped at E 65th Street and Anna got out, she told the driver to stop.


“Daniels?  Who invited her here,” Eleanor thought – and then she saw a second cab pull up after Anna had gone in.


“Caroline – and Sharon Kennedy?  What’s going on here?”



“Ah – good, you made it.  Thanks for agreeing to join us Anna.”


“Well, you made it sound intriguing,” Anna said as she came into the private dining room.  “I like the dress – APCO?”


“Not tonight,” Susan said as she looked at her gold off the shoulder dress, “you know Pamela of course?”


“Good to see you again,” her PA said as she stood in her red strapless dress.  “I have no idea why we’re meeting here though.”


“Privacy, for one thing – Caroline, Sharon, come in please.”


“Thanks for…”  Sharon stopped as Anna slowly turned and looked at her.  “Well now,” she said with a smile, “I wondered when we’d be meeting again.”


“I told you that you were going to learn a few things tonight,” Caroline said as she took a glass of wine, “no time to start like the present.   Sharon Kennedy, I believe you know Anna Carlton.”


“Yeah,” Sharon said as she looked at her, “but that would mean…”


“Best not to say it out loud,” Anna said with a smile, “but no hard feelings?”


“I guess not,” Sharon said as she rubbed the back of her head.  “And you say this is just the first?”


“Oh yes,” Sharon said as two more women came in.  One was tall and thin, with long black hair that fell over her shoulders and the capped sleeves of her gown, the other a redhead wearing a grey cocktail dress.


“Leonora, Chelsea – welcome, both of you.  I think you know almost everyone here so far, but this is Anna Carlton.  Anna is one of a number of associates from outwith Xavier International who will be joining us tonight.”


“Nice to meet you,” the redhead said as she shook Anna’s hand.  “Sharon – you’ve been invited to this meal as well?”


“Yeah,” Sharon said quietly as she looked to the door – and nearly fainted as she recognised the mother and daughter who walked in.


“Janice, Katy – so glad you could make it this evening,” Susan said quietly.  “Have a drink – we’ll get started in a few minutes.  I’ve taken the liberty of saying we would all have the taster menu.”


“Hello Sharon,” Katy said as she walked over, “I never got the chance to thank you properly – or you Caroline – for the evidence you gave.”


“I heard Perez is building a defence of you were behind it all the time – I cannot wait to see how she gets us into that one,” Caroline said with a smile.


“Well, you fly out with Ama, Doc and the others Friday, so you may have to wait and see,” Janice said with a smile.  “So, Sharon – still keeping up?”


“I’m not sure,” Sharon said quietly as she held her glass, “if you’re here, then you must know…   But that would mean…”


“She’ll catch up eventually,” Caroline said with a smile as she looked to the doors.  “Sandy, Heather – thank you both for coming tonight.”


“Thank you for inviting us,” Sandy said as she kissed Susan on both cheeks, Heather smiling as she came over.  “So, Sharon,” she said with a smile, “how are you feeling now?”


“You and Sandy Richmond…  Janice and Katy…  Anna…  Who are you all, and why are you here?”


“I’ll explain later,” Caroline said as Susan called out “Well, shall we sit down?”




Eleanor looked round as she opened the service entrance, and then made her way slowly along the corridor, looking out for staff as she skirted past the kitchen entrance.  The last thing she wanted was to be discovered here, like this, but this was something she was very, very good at, as she slipped into the staff locker room.





“This is exquisite,” Sandy said as she put some of the Four Story Hill Poularde and Foie Gras Mosaic into her mouth.


“Can I… Can I ask a question,” Sharon whispered to Heather as they sat side by side.


“Why are some of us here?”


“Well…  Yeah.  I mean, we have a socialite, a certified genius…”


“You mean Doc?”


“Okay – two certified geniuses, and a FBI agent and her barely teenage daughter.  How do you know what we do?”


“Come back to our house afterwards for drinks and I’ll explain,” Heather said as the first course was removed, and replaced with plates of Maine Lobster Salad with Coconut – Fennel Panna Cotta, Coral Cream and Pickled Buddha Hand Lemon.





Eleanor joined the waiting staff as they ferried plates to and from the station to the tables.  She had managed to procure a uniform, and a glance at the table seating plan meant she could at least pass for a waitress without too much trouble. 




“Now then,” Caroline said as the Roasted Veal Sweetbread with accompaniments was placed on the tables, and the waiting staff withdrew, “let us get down to business.  We’ve asked you here tonight to ask for your help with a potential business expansion for our organization.  Susan?”


"I presume all you ladies know what a good old fashioned protection racket is?" Susan asked as she looked round.

"I've seen enough old episodes of 'The Untouchables',” Katy smiled, "it's one of Mom's favorite shows."

“Telling any more of our secrets, little one,” Doc said with a smile.  “Besides, I’ve only ever seen the film.”


"Well, anyway,” Susan said, “we at Madame's organisation run a few of them. We shake down bookies, fences, some illegal casino's."

"It's a very profitable line of business," Caroline nodded.

"We extort money from people in return for not hurting them, their family, or their businesses. In return we make sure they aren't 'disturbed' by other gangs."

"That's Mob 101," Janice spoke, "but what does it have to do with all of us?"

"We are extending the kind of business we offer 'coverage' to,” Susan said, “but first we need a little what I call, demonstration of power."

"Oh?" Anna asked, "what kind of demonstration might that be?"

"The type that will leave a certain prominent new nightclub faced with a fortune in repairs Doc," Caroline smiled at her.

"Sounds Interesting," Doc grinned.


“You KNOW what we do,” Sharon said as she looked at Doc, “and Katy does as well?”


“Oh yes,” Janice said as she looked at Caroline.  She nodded, put her knife and fork down and wiped her mouth before she said “remember when Penny and I first talked to you, Sharon, and about what we said then about your past experiences?”


“Yes – and…”  She suddenly looked at the other five, and whispered “no…”


“No – not all of us,” Sandy said as the door opened, and the waiting staff came in to clear the plates.  The conversation turned to plans for their summer vacations, as plates of sole and lamb were brought in, and the wine glasses were charged.



“So,” Pamela said, “a business expansion?”


"We are expanding our business ladies, and to make a point to club owners I want to put on a little demonstration of just what might happen if they don't pay up." Susan looked round the table at faces. "Dominique and I have picked a target for us to use as an example."

"The owners are shady, and the club moves drugs," Caroline looked serious. "We don't really approve of that, but more to the point though, IF we are going to let them stay in business, then like all clubs they need pay Madame a substantial tribute."

"We approached these people and they turned us down," Susan laughed lightly, "this is to prove why you should never say NO to Madame."

"Before we proceed, who in this room wishes to leave?" Dominique looked at each woman in turn, each of them looking at the others but not moving.


"Excellent,” Susan said.  “We are going to make a point to all club owners of how badly we can hurt both them and their customers."

"Do you want a mess made Susan?" Chelsea asked.

"Yes," Susan's voice was flat and calm, "Madame has authorized us to kill as many people as we find necessary."

"Oh Good," the words escaped Katy's lips as Sharon looked at her.

"We also want though to inflict some pain, hurt people so that words get round  that we can torture you as well if you don't pay up." Susan glanced across the dining table at Dominique's intern.

"Which I guess is why I'm here," Sharon said softly.

"It is a skill of yours Sharon," Doc nodded, "if I remember you once wanted to try some things on me."


“True,” Sharon said with a smile, “and I do sometimes feel the urges – so this would be a useful safety valve.”


“Precisely,” Caroline said.


"How much of a mess do you want us to make Susan?" Jan asked very quietly.

"Just kill anyone who even looks at you wrong ladies. I want this to be a massacre that this city never forgets."

"And Madame authorized this?" Heather asked.

"Heather there was a time as you know when killing innocents appalled both Madame...and myself," Susan's mind went back to a certain bank, "but this is New York, if we are to grow the business we need use an exemplary level of violence to do so, because if we don't you can be sure another gang will."


“And you are the benign face of the protection business?”


“With dignity and style, Sharon, always,” Susan said as she sipped her wine.


"So,” Doc said, “the outfits?"

"Mens suits..."

"A gangster classic Susan," Pamela smiled.

"Spike heels, your hair under fedoras, gloves, and silk scarves to act as masks. Plenty of eye makeup so they just remember your sexy eyes," Susan finished. "they should know we are women, but get no ideas as to your heights, etc."

"Gotcha," Katy nodded. "Can you get a suit that fits over my tits?"

"Already procured."  Jan shook her head as she looked at her daughter.


"We wear kid gloves ladies,” Susan continued, “but inside we have an iron fist, these club owners need to know from the start that you cross Madame at your peril."

"So weapons Susan?"

"Caroline's department..."

"I have clean automatic weapons,” Caroline said as she put her knife and fork down, “and all of you will carry a .44 in a shoulder holster as well."

"Sounds good to me," Katy grinned again.

"In addition Janice and I will carry grenades that we will use as we leave."

"What about going in, how do we announce our presence?" Leonora asked.

"Get creative." Caroline laughed.  “Freestyle it.”

"You want me and Heather in the cars outside?" Sandy asked.

"Yeah I think we will need a slick getaway."

"I think so too," Sandy nodded.


The women went back to small talk as the waiting staff came in, half taking the plates as the others laid out the two desserts.  Katy watched them all and then as they left the room, before she turned and whispered to her mother.


"There is a question that needs asking," Susan paused, "Sharon have you murdered anyone yet?"

"No,” Sharon said as she looked round the room, “and I'm not sure I could..."

"Well that makes you the only person in the room who hasn't..."

"You mean even Katy?" Sharon interrupted Susan.

"Oh yeah," Katy grinned, "four, just maybe five."

"SHIT!" Sharon looked unnerved, "and you Doc?"

"A couple more then Katy."


"Sharon let me just say that there is a very small jump from what you do to your captives to murder," Dom interrupted.  “That is why we reeled you in when we did – but you need to be aware this can be part of our work as well, when the reason is justified.”


Sharon slowly nodded as Anna wiped her chin, and said “So when?”


“Ten tomorrow Doc – you and I have a flight to catch Friday, so not too late.”


“Did you hear that Gran?”


The room turned and looked at Katy as she said “twelve waiting staff came in, eleven left.  I know you’re in here Gran – come out, please.  We all need to talk to you.”


Susan and Caroline stood up as Eleanor came out from behind the curtain, looking at the assembled group.  “Jan, Katy,” she said quietly, “tell me this is a joke…”


“Eleanor,” Janice said quietly, “I can’t.  You see, we are all Sisters.”


“All of you…”


“Yes we are,” Sandy said quietly.  “We support the Heart and the Strength as well.”


“That is why Madame sanctioned this operation,” Caroline said quietly.  “Yes, we are to attack this club to set an example, but it was also one run by Boronov – and they have not stopped trading.”


Eleanor looked round the room, and said “I knew Madame was in this area, and I guess that is her business, but you Anna?”


“I was recruited a year and a half ago,” Anna said, “to provide some tech support – and yes, I have done some work that has meant people died.”


“And you Katy?”


“It was to stop a friend from being killed, Gran,” Katy said.  “Do you know how old the youngest Sister to die in battle was?”


“Thirteen,” Eleanor whispered as she looked round.


“Eleanor,” Susan said, “we do this to cleanse a sore on the city.  But I think there is one way we can prove this to you – join us, and make sure no innocents get truly hurt.”


Eleanor looked round the room, and then said “all right – to protect my family, I’ll join you, and I’ll bring my own suit.  But I would like to talk to Jan, and Katy, and Anna if I may.”


“Excuse us a moment,” Jan said as the three of them stood up, and walked out of the room with Eleanor.


"Why do I suspect what you just told me was bullshit Jan?" Eleanor spoke as they walked outside, "yes you might be sisters, but it also makes sense that you belong to Madame's criminal group...Having a member in the FBI must be some help to her."


“Actually,” Jan said as Doc closed the door, and they stood in the corridor, “I don’t work for Madame, not in that sense.   I do support her from time to time, but I’m not on her payroll.”


Looking at her, Eleanor nodded and said “I actually believe that.  Are you a Sister?”


“Yes – I was one of the team that helped bring Kimba down.”


“She was Gran – I came in when I figured it out.”


"You and Katy, as well as young Anna here are professional criminals." Eleanor paused, "I thought you were just lucky in your friends, but you really all hide the secrets that you are 'bad girls'."


"And if we are? What are you going to do about it Captain Ball?" Anna said as she put her hand in her Jameson bag.

"Are you carrying Anna?"

"Never leave home without it," Doc pulled out a small, but lethal, pistol. "As you heard I'm not afraid to use this."

"No I guessed you were some kind of 'enforcer'."


“Only when I have to be – but what clued you in?   Looking at my records after you saw me help Katy and Sands.”




“So the fact we’re trying to help her get out of an even bigger mess now?”




“Gran,” Katy said, “someone is trying to blackmail Sands and Holly into being prostitutes.  Doc is helping out because…”


“I used to be a madame, and a prostitute,” Anna said.  “Now I help out the group Jan belongs to.”


"What made you do this Jan?" Eleanor looked hard at the younger woman.

"Oh the usual reason,” Jan said, “greed, I wanted nice things for me and Katy, crime seemed an easy way to get them."

"Does Adam know?"

"No, nor does my Mother."


Shaking her head, Eleanor said “she really does have fingers everywhere…  Let me guess – you also get to mete out justice outside the confines of the law as well.”


“Just as you do, Eleanor – I heard what you and Veronica did in Marseilles.  The only difference is, we do it to support those who cannot fight back.”


“So, Captain Ball,” Doc said, “what are you going to do?”


“I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t say I know what you mean,” Eleanor said, “and yeah – I’ve killed outside of the law in self-defence as well.”  She suddenly looked at Jan, and said “Juliette…”


“Eleanor,” Jan said quietly, “what are you going to do?”


“Look after my family,” she said quietly, “and that means I’m joining you tomorrow, and I won’t tell the others.  But we talk after this, and you answer my questions.”



“Agreed,” Jan said as Doc slipped the gun back into her bag.  “Will you join us for coffee?  We can bring you up to speed then.”




Susan looked over as the door opened, and said “so, Eleanor, I know you have questions – but this is not the place to ask them.”


“Agreed,” Eleanor said, “but for now, I want to offer some advice for tomorrow – a way to maximise the damage and minimize the collateral casualties.”


“While still giving the same message?”


“Indeed – if you are not going to kill me?”


“No, Eleanor – I feel there is no need to do that,” Caroline said with a smile.  “So, what are you thinking…”


As they talked, inwardly Eleanor digested the situation.  Susan and Caroline she knew about, and the ones who worked for her did not surprise her, but it was almost as great a shock to her to see Sandy and Heather sitting and discussing this matter as if it was a coffee club.


She had been right in a way that these women counted on their 'high intelligence' to allow them to keep their 'respectable' lives separate from their secret ones.  The temptation of crime, the thrills, the power, the money, those she could understand perfectly, her own question was whether after a career in service to a government, even if often she had acted without regard to the law, could now be forgotten.

As she thought hard she happened to catch a glimpse of Anna's shoes. $800 Italian calf skin pumps, the height of luxury and fashion, the sort of shoes that Eleanor liked, but could never quite afford, yet this 16 year old girl had them...why shouldn't she help herself now she was retired?


"Because its wrong," she heard the voice in her head.


"Like the assassinations you've done were right?" another voice answered.  “They were illegal as well, true?”

At her age, and having pursued the career she had, Eleanor had very few morals in the conventional sense left. If she wanted sex she could always find a willing man, if she thought some scum needed eradicating...well that was why she had joined the sisters.

"Why shouldn't I do this?" the voice in her head asked, "it's only half a step beyond being a sister and raising money for them to raising money for myself."

Eleanor looked round again, all these women were above suspicion, they lived wonderful lives, crime just added to those lives. Yes, why shouldn't she work as an independent contractor for Madame X, why not help terrorize a night club to aid Madame's protection rackets?

"Indeed," That voice in her head spoke again, "they get away with it, you will too...WHY NOT?"


“Okay,” Susan said, “meet at HQ at seven Thursday night.  Good luck everyone.”


"Heather," Eleanor whispered quietly to the young woman as they stood together, "you don't have to answer if you don't want to, but in my mind I put two and two together and the answer that pops out is that you are the Hidden Hand."

"Eleanor you can't make suppositions in this business," Sandy warned.

"I know that, but if she is the Hand then a lot of other things begin to make sense...So are you Heather?"

"Yes I am Eleanor,” Heather whispered, a serious expression on her face, “but that is a closed secret that only a few people know."

"SHIT! How does a computer genius above all others end up working as a nanny?"

"To avoid people knowing she is a computer genius...Duhhhh" Sandy laughed.

"Look mine is a long story Eleanor, and this is neither the place, nor the time to tell it." Heather looked round for who was listening.  “Come round tomorrow – the others are coming with Caroline, we can talk then.”



Wednesday 8th June

10 am CET



“I see – well, you’d better keep me briefed,” Carina said into her phone, “and enjoy the flight on Friday.”


"So where are the girls sis?" Ingy asked as she wandered in looking for coffee.

"Out at the Olympic Center,” Carina said with a smile as she put her phone away, “rigging the boat ready to put it on their boat rack."

Ingrid took a cup and poured some coffee in, "And you start training?"

"Tomorrow,” Carina said as Ingrid sat down, “they reckon we need be there by 7.30 for our first session of the day."

"First session?"

"Oh yeah we will do a second after lunch, at least I'm spared the afternoon session back here in the weight room." Cari smiled, "coxes don't really need muscles."

"So what is Annie going to do today?"

"Go watch our eldest riding with Pops, while I take the babies to see the pediatrician Karen recommended for their checkup.  What about you?"


“Aunt Sigi wants me to come and look over something at Furstenheim – no idea what…”



Noon BST

Xavier International, The Aldwych


“Excuse me Madame,” Angela said as she looked in the door, “you have a conference call?”


“Thank you,” Shirley said as she put her pen down, waiting as Angela closed the door before she secured the room.  Putting the key fob to her eye, she waited as the secure network went live, before she started the Skype call, Dom appearing on the screen.


“Dom?  A little early for you isn’t it?”


“True. Madame, but this cannot wait – ah Juliette, thank you for joining us.”


“I got the text Dom - what happened?”


“Well,” Dom said as she sat in her room, “we had the planning meeting for Thursday last night – and Eleanor joined us.”


"Eleanor did what Dominique?" Madame's voice quivered as she looked at the images on the computer screen.

"She tailed Doc to the restaurant, and got into our meeting disguised as one of the waitresses.  Having said that, she will be joining us at the club."

"That was careless of Anna not to see she had a tail," Juliette spoke quietly.

"I know, but Eleanor is pretty damn good at it."

"Well given that,” Shirley said quietly, “are you telling us that she is joining my organisation?"

"No Madame, she will work freelance, but yes she will be an associate." Dom nodded.

"Who does she know about?" Juliette asked.

"Those who were at the meeting, and I think she has a pretty good line on you now Ju."


“Something for us to deal with when we meet,” Juliette said.  “I saw this might happen – I wonder how she would feel about a trip to London?”




7 am

The Richmond Mansion


“Hey,” Sands said as she came into the room, “all cleaned up?”


“Yeah,” Holly said with a smile as she sat on the bed, Sands leaning over and kissing her as she slipped her bra on.


"Tell me the schedule for Friday once again," Alexandra paused from helping Holly dress.

"We meet them at six in the bar at the Altama, dinner there, then onto Elysees, then back to the apartment to do the naughties."

"You know just how much I want to stop this?" 

"I know Darling," Holly paused from smoothing out her black nylons, "but I'm not letting that bitch expose you...or what we have together."

"I know," Sands sighed, "but please phone me when you can so I know you are alright...please."

"I will try, but it’s going to be sort of hard to slip away, even for a few seconds."

"Well just do it please...for my sake."

"Alright my darling," Holly planted a kiss on the younger woman's lips.


“Good – now, why don’t we go and get some breakfast before Tommy comes to pick you up.”




2.30 pm BST

Xavier International


“Hey – how was the Palace of Westminster?”


“Intriguing – not helped by the fact I had an Italian TV crew trail me to my meeting and back," Hannah sighed as she set her bag on Peri's desk.

"Just the one? the girls and me had three follow us to lunch," Peri laughed.

"Well I'm staying inside today and working," Francesca came out of her office. "So the TV people can go hang themselves."

"That sounds like a good idea," Peri laughed again.

"You didn't risking death and eating food from the canteen did you?" Hannah asked, "one meal there was enough for me."

"No I did not," Francesca looked over the top of her spectacles," Mrs Harris brought lunch in for me."

"I'm looking forward to eating Betty's food at the new place," Peri reached for a notepad, “but before then I have those answers you wanted from Oxford."

"Good...and how was your lunch meeting Hannah?"

"He disagrees with a couple of our points of procedure that we had thought of, but by and large he agreed with our thoughts on Brexit."

"It was good of Dame Margaret to arrange a meeting with the Assistant Speaker like that."


“Indeed – the main party leaders claim they have not done any planning, but the civil service appear to be preparing for the worst.”


“Would they seriously do it?  Vote to leave?”


“We’ll find out in a fortnight…”




11 am

Central Park


Susan smiled as she saw Heather walk over and signalled to the waitress.  “Black coffee twice please,” she said as her friend sat with her.


"I parked two black SUV's in your parking garage this morning Susan."

"They told me that Heather," Susan held her head up to the rays of the welcome sun as they sat outside the cafe. "They'll be totally cleaned for tonight."

"Great," Heather smiled, "been a few weeks since I 'lifted' a car."

"Well I suppose you are fully stocked at the farm?"

"Yeah and with us all heading to Europe, I'll leave them there."

They watched as the waitress brought their coffees out, and sat in silence for a moment.


"So,” Susan eventually said, “your thoughts on Eleanor Ball Heather?"


“I have always admired her,” Heather said, “a woman of formidable skills, courage and determination.  What she did when Katy was taken…”


“Agreed – and she demonstrated that last night.  The question is,” Susan said as she sipped her coffee, “can she be trusted?”


“I trust Jan and Sandy – and Eleanor’s coming for morning coffee, so we’ll see after that.  She did have some good ideas, though, especially about containing the customers and keeping them cowered.”


“Well, just on case, I’ll have my girls keeping an eye on her…”




11 am

The Richmond Mansion


“Hello Eleanor,” Sandy said as she opened the door, “come away in.  Anna’s here as well – she wanted to pick something up before she flew out on Friday.”


“Thanks for asking me round,” Eleanor said as she took her coat off, “is Heather in?”


“No – she’s taking case of some business for me.  Please, come in and sit down,” Sandy said as she showed Eleanor into the drawing room, Doc looking up as she came in.


“I’ll bring the coffee in,” Sandy said as she closed the door.  Doc smiled and said  “I need to apologise for last night – I think I came over a little strong.”


“Understandable, given the circumstances,” Eleanor said as she sat down, “and I was in a little bit of shock.”


“And now?”


“More questions,” Eleanor said as she leaned forward.  "Were you serious yesterday Anna when you said you'd been a prostitute AND a Madame?"


"But you are only 16, yet you talk about it as though it was the distant past. Just how old were you?"

"14,” Doc said as she sat back, “and I know you were looking at my old credit card bills.  So we had to – rewrite history a little."

"You must have been making a good amount?"

"Hey what can I say Captain Ball,” Doc said as she shrugged, “I know what guys want, and I knew the prices they were willing to pay for it."

"Still 14 years old," Eleanor shook her head.

"School is easy, I like sex, I like money, it seemed a logical thing to do."

"So why give up?"

"Someone tried to blackmail me, I got made a better offer, and finally one of my ex-girls was murdered. Things like that help a girl see sense."


“I can imagine – so are you a Sister?”


“In the sense of I help raise funds that support them, then yes,” Anna said.  “the one who tried to blackmail me?  Others took care of him, and his funds went to support the girls.”


“Am I in time for coffee,” Caroline said as she came in and sat down.


“Yeah,” Doc said, “I was just telling the Captain how I was brought in.”


“I spoke to Shirley this morning,” Caroline said, “she was surprised at your actions, but looks forward to talking with you in a few weeks in Rosville.”


“It’s this whole idea of…  I mean, I wondered why and how you worked together, but this…”


“Here we go,” Sandy said as she brought the tray of coffee mugs through.  “Now, what would you like to talk about Eleanor?”


“You said you, Doc, Jan, Katy and Heather are not part of Madame’s organisation – but you are all criminals?”


“Indeed,” Sandy said, “but I’m not going to tell you exactly in what way – not yet anyway.  That’s really a conversation for you to have with Janice and Katy.”


“But you support the Sisters?”


“We do,” Sandy said as she sipped her coffee, “in fact, we recruited Jan at the time of the Kimba crisis, specifically to help liberate funds.  Turned out she like doing it.  And she is very good at it.”


“And you Caroline?”


“Ah,” Caroline said quietly, “I am afraid I am the one who leads a true double life.”  Removing her wig, she let her black hair fall to her shoulders, and said “I am Dominique, Madame’s enforcer.”


“Another one…”


“Another what, Eleanor?”


"It's been a series of shocks," Eleanor shook her head, "I wasn't sure what the secrets you were keeping were at first, but I guess I was born far too curious. I started asking myself questions and looking for answers and ended up finding a truth that was beyond my wildest comprehension."

"It's what keeps us above suspicion - that people can't even stretch their imaginations to think we are the type of people who do what we do," Sandy answered.

"I have to deal with the thoughts in my head that my granddaughter is a cold-blooded killer."

"Well it's not like you are virginal in that respect yourself."

"True Sandy."


“Interesting, Captain Ball,” Doc said quietly, “you call Katy your granddaughter?”


“She is, in many ways,” Eleanor said quietly.


“Let me put it this way,” Sandy said, “I understand you dealt with a problem in Marseilles recently?  Well, we helped deal with the problem at this end.”


"Why crime though?" Eleanor shook her head, "it's not like you need the money Miss Richmond."

"No I don't, but when life kicks you in the guts you sometimes take steps that you can't take back." Sandy shrugged her shoulders.

"So it isn't just about thrills and kicks?"

"I'd be lying if I didn't say I get an illicit pleasure from it."


"But it’s also about using one’s wits to do the illegal things that others just dream of doing."

"And keeping safely ahead of the law?"

"That adds a certain piquant touch," Sandy smiled.


“And Juliette?   She is a sister, and also…”


“I strongly suggest leaving that one until you meet her,” Caroline said.  “Trust me on this.”


"Eleanor,” Doc said with a smile, “I caught you admiring my shoes last night."

"Well they were beautiful Anna."

"Do you want a treat?"


"It was just a thought, I can easily pay for them, and you actually looked envious."

"Where are they from?"

"Ottiva down on Spring Street, you know in the South village," Doc smiled, "come on my treat."


“Well…  All right, when?”


“Whenever you want – before Friday afternoon.  I fly to the UK then with Caroline and the others.”


“Okay then – can I ask another question then while I’m here?  About Sands?”


“That’s probably my cue to duck out,” Caroline said as she replaced her wig, and then stood up.  “See you all tomorrow.”


As Sandy showed Caroline out, Doc said “let’s take a walk – and we can talk outside.  I don’t want Sandy to know about this – not yet anyway.”


11 am

New York County Criminal Court

100 Centre Street


“I recall Janice Carter to the stand.”


“Here we go,” Jan said as she walked up to the stand, and took her seat.


“May I remind you that you are under oath Agent Carter,” Rhoda Perez said as she walked round.  "Let me take you back to the first photographic session that you organized with Jack Linklater."

"Alright." Jan nodded.

"How were you able to organize a private shoot with such a famous photographer at such short notice?"

"Jack is a friend of some of my friends...  Katy wished to have a portrait photo taken as a present, and I simply asked nicely."

"You asked nicely?”  Rhoda looked at Janice as she said “are you telling me that Jack Linklater dropped everything to accommodate a 'friend of friends'?"


"Now when you arrived, I understand he had another shoot in progress?"

"Yes he was shooting bra ads with Pru Stratton."

"Is it true that the woman from the bra company thought that Katy was another model?"


"I put it to you Miss Carter that you deliberately connived to bring your 12 year old daughter to the attention..."


"Sustained, Miss Perez can we keep to facts please?" the judge nodded in her direction.”


“You knew Ms Stratton would be there at the time?”


“No,” Janice replied calmly, “I did not know Mrs Levine would be present.  It was as much a shock to me as it was to Katy.”


“When Katy was released, you asked Jack Linklater to take the photos which accompanied the press release?”


“Actually, it was Caroline Jameson and Jane Malloy who asked him – and he volunteered when asked.  For no fee.”


Perez looked at her, before she said “you meet Mister Linklater a lot, don’t you?”


“As much as other models,” Janice said, “and usually only when Katy is on a shoot with him.  Other times it has been at social and family events – he was the official photographer for the wedding in Munich, for example.”




“Yes, coincidence,” Janice said with a smile.


“Tell me, Miss Carter, where do Katy’s earnings go?”


“Into a trust fund – it is managed by our lawyer, and used to pay some of her school fees, as well as a clothing allowance.  Beyond that, you will have to ask them.”


“Objection your honour,” the DA said, “I fail to see the relevance of this line of questioning.”


“I must admit, I am struggling to see it as well, Miss Perez – we’ll take a recess at this point, and I wish to see both counsel in my chambers.




As the Judge stood up, the usher said “all rise,” Jan standing and watching as he, and then the jury went out, and Rhoda Perez followed him into chambers, the DA nodding and then following them in.


Judge Markovic took off his robes, placed them carefully on the hangar on the coat stand, and sat behind his desk as he looked at them.  “Miss Perez,” he eventually said, “I have had to warn you once before about your line of questioning and defence.  This is your second warning – explain to me, and to the DA, in simple clear language, what you are doing.”



"Your honor,” Rhoda Perez said quietly, “I'm trying to establish that Miss Carter has gone out of her way to establish Katy in her career, and that her so-called kidnapping was only one in a line of incidents from which one can draw that conclusion."


“Mister Sipowicz?”


“Miss Perez has the right to pursue such a defence,” the DA said, “but given her client has admitted he did stalk Katy Carter, and has admitted he took her without her permission to his house – and given the testimony of the expert witnesses, and his own mother – I do question if this is now not a defence, but a vendetta.”


“He makes a valid point, Miss Perez – there is building a solid alternative explanation, and there is clutching at straws.  I have to admit, I am not sure which end of the scale you are on at the moment.”


“Your honour – allow me to ask three more questions of the witness this afternoon, and I hope to make it clear after that.”


Judge Markowicz looked at her, and then said “final warning – you may ask your three questions, and I will be watching and listening very carefully…”


2 pm

New York County Criminal Court

100 Centre Street


“Miss Perez?”


“Miss Carter,” Rhoda said with a smile, “your daughter’s earnings, in the last six months, eclipse both your salary from the FBI and your dividends for Huntingdown’s.  Are we to believe you draw nothing from that?”


“Beyond pride in her achievements, no,” Janice said quietly.


Rhoda Perez looked directly at Janice, and said “I put it to you, Agent Carter, that you engineered your daughter’s success to feel a void from the disappointments in your own life, your failure to capture the criminals you have hunted for.”


“That would be in correct, Miss Perez,” Janice replied quietly.


“And the support you have given the rest of your family does not come from her stature and earnings – including…”




“Miss Perez,” Judge Markovic said quietly, “you will withdraw that question, and you will apologise.”


“Your honour…”


“Last chance, young lady, or I hold you in contempt!”


7 pm BST

Xavier International


“She found it?”


“Charlotte thinks so,” Lily said as she sat with Peri, “in the sense of she’s eliminated most of the other possibilities, but now comes the next stage.”


“And one of us has to lead it?”


“And one of us has to lead it – so, call.”


"Tails," Peri called as Lily flipped the coin, and slapped it down on the back of her hand.

"It's Heads...”  Lily grinned as she said “so you get to go to do the physical reconnaissance Peri."


"Don't know if there is any of that down there,” Lily said with a smile, “but according to Charlotte there are plenty of rats."

"How did I know there would be?" Peri groaned.

"Take Bev and Tracey along with you.  Nice little exercise for them."

"Okay… Where is our access point?"

"Through the sewer..."


"I know, hardly ideal, but one of the things we need you to do down there is find other possible entrances."

"Okay,” Peri said with a groan, “but promise me that next time someone else gets to go in via the sewer...why should I be the only one?"

"Because you are an unlucky girl Peri," Penny joined the chat, "and it will teach you to steal things from this company."


“Moi?  Steal from the company?”


“Would you like to hear Graham’s comments?”


“Okay, okay – when?”


“Tonight – get something to eat…”


“Hey – where’s Charlotte while all this is going on?”


“Night off…”



7.30 pm BST

Charlotte and Piet’s flat


“Oh that does smell good,” Charlotte said as she came into the kitchen.


"You look tired Babe?" Piet said as he put his arms round Charlotte.

"I am,” Charlotte said, “work, then the meeting with the lawyers, then avoiding the media, to use the vernacular I'm knackered."

"Well come, put your feet up, and I'll bring you a glass of wine."

"You are reading my mind again Pieter van der Byl," Charlotte smiled as she flopped into an armchair dropping her briefcase besides her.

"That looks full?"

"It is, full of papers I have to read and things I need to sign, business decisions that need my approval, etc, etc..."

"It's the price of bring super rich," Piet laughed as he passed her a glass of red wine.

"Oh that's nice."  Charlotte sighed as she closed her eyes and took a sip.

"Anything I can help you with?"

"Only if you have opinions on whether Miami Beach or Tampa might be the best choice for our next new hotel, or if you think Canadian government bonds look to offer a more promising return then US ones, or..."

"Alright I get the picture," Piet laughed.  “By the way, you have a package from Hong Kong – Kylie I think.”


“I’ll look later – right now, I just want some us time…”


11.30 pm

Under Whitehall


“Charming – quite, quite charming,” Tracy said as she and Bev walked along the tunnel, Peri taking the lead, all four wearing lights on their helmets.  “You getting all this?”


“Oh yes,” a voice said in her ear, “no rats yet?”


“Don’t say that,” Peri said as she stopped, and then looked to the side.  “Okay – that must be the connecting door up there.  Let’s climb.”


“From the sublime to the bleeding ridiculous,” Bev grumbled as they slowly climbed the ladder, and Peri opened the door – which led into the side of the abandoned underground line.


“Creepy,” Tracy said as she looked round, and Bev closed the door behind them.  “Okay – two objectives.  One – find another way in here.  Two – check the chambers we have been assigned, and see what we can do.”


“Careful,” Bev said as she looked down, “it may be a disused tunnel, but the line may still be live.”


“Copy that,” Tracy said as she looked round, “so which way?”


“Left – the first chamber should be 100 yards along.”



Thursday 9th June

Noon CET



“Ah, there you are,” Juliette said as Carina came in, “have you had a good morning?”


"Can you explain to me,” Carina said as she took off her track suit jacket, “why I'm choosing to lay down in a narrow rowing boat, freezing my ass off, and actually enjoying myself Mom?"

"Because you are having fun Cari my dearest daughter?"

"I suppose I am," Cari nodded.  “It’s more fun than I expected it to be…”

"So where are the girls?"

"In the kitchen eating,” Carina said as she sat down, “Monsieur Helmond isn't quite sure I think how to cope with the calories they need to eat every day."

"Well Chef will have to get used to it," Juliette smiled.

"So have you seen Annie Mom?"

"She's upstairs feeding the babies, and little madame is riding again with her Grappy."

"She seems to be loving it."

"Oh yes she is darling,” Juliette said with a smile as she stood up, “I think her and horses will be a life-long love affair.  I’m going to go and grab a snack – do you want anything?"


“No thanks,” Cari said as Juliette walked across the hallway, and into the kitchen.  The chef looked over and nodded as she saw Kelsey and Molly sitting at the table, eating some sandwiches.


“Oh – good morning,” Molly said as she took a drink.  “Sorry – we needed to refuel.”


“Not a problem girls,” Juliette said as she sat down, “I just wanted to make sure you were getting everything you needed.”


“Oh yes,” Kelsey said with a smile.


"Good, good…  Girls, forgive my prying," Juliette paused, "But are you?”  She paused again as they looked at her, and said again "Are you...?"

"If you are trying to ask are we gay Princess," Kelsey laughed, "then the answer is no. We aren't like Specs is."

"It's just that rowing and Yale leave very little time for men," Molly looked serious. "It's not that we don't dig guys..."

"It's that guys don't get us," Kelsey interrupted. "most guys want a girlfriend who is round a lot to do things, but with training, class, and sleeping, we get virtually no free time."

"I experienced something similar while I was in Paris," Juliette nodded, "between modeling, my studies at the Sorbonne, and the dancing I was doing. I had no time for men either."

"Yeah you get the picture then," Molly smiled, "although I think guys would enjoying watching you dance more than they do seeing us eat."

"Well Carina says you are both world-class sportswomen."

"We think we are close," Kelsey looked serious, "this summer is the test we've set ourselves, coming to Europe, trying for the World Championships...If we have what what it takes we will know for sure by the time school restarts."

"In that case, I will keep my fingers crossed,"

"Thank you Princess, but returning to men...  The funny thing is, with all that we have to do, it’s why most female rowers end up with guys who've rowed themselves, they understand the dedication this sport takes."

"I thoroughly understand Molly, and I apologize for my rude question earlier."

"Oh don't worry, most of our friends and family have asked it as well."


“So will you be returning to training this afternoon?”


“No,” Molly said with a smile, “we’re having some time off.  By the way, I understand a friend of Cari’s will be visiting in a few weeks to take some photos?”


“Oh yes – she’s entering Cooper Ross in the autumn to study photography, and this is the pre-work for her.”


“She never told us who it was, though,” Kelsey said.


“Didn’t she,” Juliette said as she stood up.  “It’s Abby de Ros.  I’ll see you girls later.”






7 pm

Xavier International


“Welcome,” Susan said as Katy, Janice and Eleanor came into the large room, “your outfits and other items are over there – please start to get ready.”


“This has to be the most surreal thing I have ever done,” Eleanor said as she started to strip off, “but exciting at the same time.  Is that strange?”


“Nope,” Janice said, “just see how you feel later.”


“This is nice,” Sharon said as she fastened the tie round her neck, and folded down the collar on her blouse.  “Stylish – so how exactly do you want me to be tonight boss?”


“Simply put,” Caroline said as she prepared the weapons, “let her out.”


“Gotcha,” Sharon said with a smile.


Eleanor looked at her granddaughter as she slipped on the suit trousers and her shoes, and then looked at herself.


“Caroline – question?”


“And that question is?”


"How the hell does a girl with tits like mine wear a shoulder holster?"

"Carefully Katy, really carefully," Caroline smiled, "just let me fix it for you?"


“Thanks – right, what do we have here?”


"Katy you don't handle anything without gloves on..."

"Mom I'm not an amateur," Katy grinned as she pulled the kidskin over her hands before picking up the weapon.

"It works the same way as the one you trained with."

"I know single round, burst fire, etc," Katy played with the settings.  “And given what happened today in court, I need the outlet…”

"I still can't believe the confidence you have in yourself handling all this Katy," Eleanor shook her head.


"Eleanor let me put your hair up for you," Janice put some hair clips in her hand.

"Thank you Jan."

"Will you do mine afterwards Mom?"

"If you help with mine Katy."

"Will do."  Jan smiled as she went over to her daughter.



“I can’t believe we’re going to do this,” Sharon said as she checked her reflection in the mirror, putting the hat at a slight ankle.


"Well, we are doing it – but re you prepared to let her loose tonight Sharon?"

"Bad Sharon?  I guess I am Dominique," Sharon paused, "but how do you know what is inside me can I ask?"

"I know some of your relatives..."

"My relatives?"

"Yes,” Dom said as she looked at Sharon.  “What you have is an hereditary condition Sharon. Did you ever hear of the Countess Bathory?"

"I think so. wasn't she some Hungarian noblewoman who liked killing servants?"

"Among others," Dom nodded, "you are one of her descendants."

"You mean like she's a real ancestor of mine?"

"Yes," Dom shook her head, "not every female descendant of hers has the urges inside that you feel, but I do know a couple of others and they identified the traits in you."

"You mean I'm a relative of Miss Lynx?"

Nodding, Caroline simply said "you are Sharon."

"Oh my God. Who is she? Do I know her?"

"Those are questions for another day, but just for tonight don't be afraid to unleash that rage that is within you."

"And kill?"

"And if you feel that urge, then yes kill Sharon.  We can discuss how you feel after the event."


“So these are the floor plans,” Eleanor said as she, Jan, Doc and Katy looked over them.  “See?  There and there?”


"Yeah - You know this club has tills and a safe Susan?" Jan looked up from the plan. "Is it worthwhile us grabbing what we can while we are in there?"

"Pamela, do you and Chelsea want to handle that?"

"Yes," Susan's PA nodded as she tried her hat on and Jan glanced at her daughter.


"Don't wet your pants Katy," her Mother laughed, "I know how this all turns you on."

"Like you aren't damp down there as well Mom? Like any of us are calm and not getting a kick out of this?"

"I thought it was just me," Eleanor shook her head.


“No you’re not,” Heather said as she and Sandy finished their preparations.


"Remember your hair is pinned up so it goes under the hats ladies?" Caroline looked round the room. "Does anyone need further help with that?"


“No, we’re all good,” Susan said a sshe slipped her jacket on.


"Who do we grab as hostages Susan?" asked Leonora.

"Well the bosses wife Lainey Cobb for one," Susan laid a picture of an attractive blonde with big breasts on the table. "He adores her...even though she plays around on him."

"Nice lady."

"Sharon I want you to cut her a bit, get him truly worried."

"I would if I had a knife..."

"Take this," Susan passed her a switch blade.

"Nice," the Philadelphian worked the blade a few times before putting it in her suit pocket..

"I want to give my babies a work out," Susan picked up her brass knuckles, "so Bart Cobb might just feel these."

"Other hostages?" asked Eleanor.

"Grab anyone looks like they have a loved one who cares.  Any more questions?  Good – let’s roll."


"Does anybody else know that this is St Ephrem's day?" Jan said as she masked her face with a silk scarf.


" it?" Katy's heavily made-up eyes were the only part of her face showing with the hat and mask on.


"Yeah, I looked  it up..."


"So did I," Dominique smiled, “he wrote ‘The boldness of our love is pleasing to you, O Lord, just as it pleased you that we should steal from your bounty.’ I thought that was quite appropriate for us."


"Yeah it is," Sharon smiled as she masked her face.


Sandy and Heather got behind the wheels of the cars as the others got in, and they drove out of the garage…


Eleanor had seen it before with fellow agents as an operation approached, suddenly there was quiet and all became business. She looked carefully at both Katy and Jan for any hint of nerves as the car went along the road. What she saw instead was a very obvious professionalism as they checked weapons and fixed their masks in place ready to be pulled up.

How had she missed the strain of evil in both of them when she met them? How for that matter had she never seen the same streak in herself?  Was it really that different when it was not in the service of your country?


Anna and Caroline both readied themselves, and even to Eleanor's eyes it was obvious they knew precisely what they were going to do.  Shirley had briefed her on Caroline’s other role – as Dominique, her chief enforcer – but still, this was a side she had possibly only glimpsed when Katy had been snatched.


“We’re getting closer,” Heather said over her shoulder, “be ready…”


9 pm

The Majestic Nightclub

Upper 152nd Street


“Problems, Jack?”


The broad shouldered security guard turned and smiled as he saw Bart Cobb coming from inside.  The club owner was wearing an open necked shirt under a red jacket and trousers, his black hair slicked back.


“Nah boss – it’s a little quiet, but no trouble makers tonight,” he said as he looked round.


“Good – let’s keep it that way,” he said as he walked back in, looking at the customers on the dance floor and sitting at the tables round the sides.  The bar was busy, the bar attendants mixing drinks and talking to the customers.


Lainey Cobb smiled as he walked past, the leather halter neck dress barely managing to keep her chest in, and her bum covered.  Bart blew her a kiss and then made his way towards the office.


Outside, Jack watched as two SUVs came round the corner, and came to a stop outside the main doors.  For a moment, he considered going to ask the driver if they wanted something, but as the window was slowly wound down he thought better of it.


A pity really – as that was his last thought before the bullet entered his brain through his forehead, two of the sharply dressed passengers getting out and dragging his lifeless body inside, six others following as they closed and locked the doors…



The first sign that Lainey had of what was going to happen was when she heard the scream from the far side of the nightclub floor, and then saw the group of eight sharply dressed figures that came in.  They all wore fitted suits, white shirts and hats, and were of varying heights and builds – but it as the dead body of the doorman that they threw onto the dance floor that was the first sign they meant business.


“Listen up you bastards,” Susan called out as she fired her gun into the ear, “everyone gets down on the floor, like good little quims and cocksuckers, and you might get to live through tonight.”


She looked round as one of the barman reached under the bar – before Pamela cocked her gun, and fired at him as he brought out a shotgun.  The crowd screamed as she flew backwards, smashing into the bottles and then slowly feeling as red streaks decorated the wall.


“I said every fucking one of you on the ground,” Susan called out as they moved forward, spreading round and herding the club patrons onto the dance floor.  She nodded to Chelsea and Leonora, who went into the toilets, only for shots and gunfire to be heard.


“Who the fuck are you,” Lainey said as she looked at the sharply dressed woman, before pushing herself back against the bar as one of them walked over, her eyes blazing as she looked at her.


“We’re your worst nightmare, but you needn’t worry about them,” she purred as she stroked the blonde’s hair with her gloved hand, and then pulled it sharply, forcing her head back, “I’m going to take real good care of you.”


“Invite the owner of this fine establishment to join us,” Susan said, “the rest of you – plait them into two groups.”


The two smallest women nodded as they and two others went to the back of the nightclub, Lainey grimacing as the rest of the customers and staff were herded into the centre of the dancefloor.  She was forced to watch as couples were split up and forced into two separate groups, the fear clear on their faces.


“What the hell is going on here,” Bart said as he was forced at gunpoint into the centre of the room, and then saw Susan staring at him.


“Mister Cobb – thank you for joining us,” Susan said as she walked over, and then drove her fist into his stomach, making him double over as Lainey watched.


"Listen up Motherfuckers," Caroline used her toughest voice, "we represent certain parties that are displeased at the policies of the management here. Just keep your fuckin' mouths shut and do just exactly as you are ordered and you just might live to tell about this."


"This blade is a virgin," Sharon made Lainey jump by springing the blade right in front of her face, "But I intend to rectify that...and real soon," she laughed as she gently ran the knife over the exposed top of the woman's breast.


“Bart…  Bart, do you know what they’re talking about…”


The nightclub owner looked up and nodded as Susan nodded to Eleanor.


"Ladies and gents we want your wallets, your cellphones, anything that shows who you are or lets you talk to the outside world dropped into the bag this lady is bringing round," Eleanor nodded at Katy.

As she walked round, Katy smiled under her scarf as the customers and staff put their personal items into the bag, while Pamela and Chelsea went behind the bar ad emptied the tills.


"Hey - we have a cop in the house," Katy called out as one man dropped a badge in her bag.

"You over there, face on the fucking floor," Doc yanked the policeman up and threw him on the ground. Quickly she set her weapon on single shot and put a bullet through the back of the man’s head.

"My mistake," Katy laughed, "looks like we have a dead cop in the house."


Inwardly Eleanor quaked a bit, Anna had just blown a cop away, no warning, no build-up, she'd killed in total cold blood. What was she getting into with these women?


It was the movement she noticed out of the corner of her eye as she looked at Jan, and the muscle memory took over.  She turned, and with the same motion fired at the woman who was raising her arm, the pistol in her hand falling as the blood spurted from her back, her boyfriend screaming as he stood up in the other group.


“Join her,” Jan said calmly as she shot him in the chest, and nodded to Eleanor.  “Any other stupid fuckers want a go at us?”  The two groups shook their heads as

Susan walked over to Bart.


“I think you’re hot,” Sharon said as she looked at Lainey, “take the dress of, or I cut it off.”


“You cannot be…”


“It is not a good idea to talk in that way to someone like me,” Sharon whispered as she slowly, gently ran the blade over the top of her chest, making a thin red line, “take the dress off.”


“Enough chit chat,” Susan said as she motioned to Eleanor and Katy, “we have business to discuss with you, Mister Cobb.  Did you find it?”


“We did Boss,” Pamela said as she and Chelsea came out of the office, “but it’s closed.”


“Well, then,” Susan said as she looked at Cobb, and stroked his chin with her gloved hand, “you will just have to open it.”


 “Go to hell,” Bart growled as he watched Lainey let her dress drop to the floor, revealing the black lace bra, thong and stockings.


“Perhaps later – bring him.”


“You need to be more – flexible,” Katy said as Eleanor pushed Cobb to the door at the rear of the building.  Susan nodded as she looked at the others and said “amuse yourselves,” then turned to watch as Eleanor forced Bart into the office, her gun in the small of his back.

"Now open it up....and be quick about it."


Bart looked at Susan as she closed the door, and then said “open the safe Mister Cobb – and then we can talk…”


“Look, maybe it’s not too late to…”  His words were cut off as Susan slipped her knuckle dusters on and punched him in the stomach.


“Last and only warning, you fucking shit,” she said quietly, “open the fucking safe RIGHT NOW!”


Groaning, Cobb crawled along the floor as they heard gunfire in the outer area, and opened the safe up.


“Much better,” Susan said with a smile, “take up a collection on our behalf Sister.”


Eleanor nodded as she picked up a holdall from the floor, tipped out the gym clothes and started to pull the contents of the safe, placing them in the bag.  "This isn't bad," she smiled and said to herself as she ransacked the safe while Katy guarded the man.

"Plenty of cash, his wife's best jewellery, some bonds that could be cashed...Who said crime didn't pay," Eleanor thought as she did her work.


“Now, as my friend said outside, we are not happy with some of your business practices,” Susan said quietly as Katy pulled Bart Cobb to his feet, “and part of our visit is to allow me to express our displeasure at this.”


“What the…”  He fell silent as the metal of her linked rings connected with his jaw, and then Susan continued to punch him in the stomach and face as Katy held him.  Eleanor closed the bag as she looked at the empty face, and stood up as she watched Susan beat his face into a pulp, and heard his groans become quieter and quieter.


And she felt so hot as she did this…


Katy finally let go as Cobb slipped to his knees, looking at the three of them with swollen and bloody eyes, before Eleanor kicked him between the legs.  “Shall we see how your customers are doing,” she said as susan and Katy dragged him out, and they looked round.


As a display of pure evil it was becoming a masterpiece. The body count was mounting, the terror in the room could actually be smelled, and it was crystal clear to all the pleasure the women were taking in what they were doing.


Especially Sharon, as she looked at Lainey, now covering her breasts, and hearing the gasps from some of the women as Sharon used the knife to cut the woman's panties off.

"Mmmm fine pussy," she purred as she rubbed her gloved hand over the woman's mound. "You know Pussy that good deserves a treat?"

"What?" Lainey reacted unconsciously as her attacker’s fingers started fingering her cunt.  She closed her eyes and moaned as the other women covered the customers and staff – the ones who were still alive – and made sure they did not interfere.


“Oh yes,” Sharon whispered, feeling her own heat increasing, “you want this don’t you, you little cunt?  Your body is practically screaming at me to keep going – is this how all your lovers treat you as well, you fuck machine?”




“Oh don’t worry,” Sharon whispered as she licked her bare neck, “I intend to.”  Her fingers slipped into her damp, yielding passage as she worked rhythmically, making Lainey groan and almost collapse even as she stroked herself with her free hand.


“Oh yes, that does feel so good,” she said as she thrust her fingers into Lainey, making her almost buckle as the waves of pleasure started to wash over her, and she lost control of her body, moving in rhythm with each thrust so that when the orgasm came unbidden, she dropped to her knees, Sharon doing the same as they looked at each other.


Finally, Sharon felt sated as she leaned back and smiled under her mask. "Here take this bitch," she said as she inserted the loaded knife in Lainey’s damp and sensitive pussy, and started to move it back and forth again.

"Oh fuck, not again," the woman started to shout as Sharon moved the heft to and fro, fucking her with it as come as her dark eyes glistened in pure pleasure.


She increased the speed, Lainey now gasping with each thrust as she tried to grab the object, her breath coming in short and ragged pants as she tried to stop her body from responding – with little success.


“FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKKK!” she screamed as the orgasm overpowered her, Sharon nodding as she felt her own body responding. 


“YESSSSSSSSSSS” she screamed as she thrust the handle all the way in – and then sprung it, the blade ripping into the woman's interior as it sprung out of the hilt.  Lainey’s eyes glazed over as Sharon moved the blade around, and then pulled it out, the blood dripping from the steel as some of the other women screamed, and Lainey fell onto her knees, then onto her side, a thin red river running from between her legs.


“That’s better,” Sharon said as she stood up, “who else wants to have some fun?”


"Now listen up each and every fucking one of you," Susan shouted, "tonight is to show what the organisation we work for is capable of. It's a warning to all those who think they don't have to pay when our collectors come calling."

Susan reached down and grabbed a woman from the floor, driving her brass knuckles into her face as she did so - the woman's nose breaking, and blood starting to spout.

"We will hurt anybody, and we mean anybody..." she drove the metal knuckles back into the woman's face turning it to a pulp. "Look carefully at this fucking bitch, any one tries to defy us in the future gets either this," she held the woman up by her hair, "or this," she dropped her to the ground and fired a quick burst of bullets into her body.


The survivors screamed as Eleanor looked round.  This was wrong, this was…  “Oh God,” she moaned quietly as she felt herself starting to cum, Jan looking at her and nodding.  Eleanor blushed under the mask as Caroline called out “all right ladies – we’re going now.  Nobody moves for fifteen minutes.”


“You can’t leave us like this,” one of the bar staff said, and then he blanched as Katy drew her gun out and aimed it at his forehead.


“I’m sorry, did you say something,” she said quietly, and then she looked at Lainey as she stared up.  Moving the gun, she shot her three times in the head, and then said “be glad I’m in a forgiving mood.”


“Move out,” Susan called out, the women walking backwards as they watched the survivors, the fear filled eyes looking back at them.  As they went into the lobby, Caroline said “you made sure the rear exits were clear, right?”


As Doc and Pamela nodded, Susan said “right – everyone, out to the cars.”  She and Caroline watched the women leave, before they walked to the doors, pulled the pins from two grenades and rolled them into the lobby.


“MOVE,” they shouted as they jumped in, Sandy and Heather speeding off as Susan said “three…  Two…  One…”


They heard the explosion behind them and saw the flash in the rear view mirror, as the flames exploded out of the club.  “Well Gran,” Katy said as she pulled her mask down, “how do you feel?”


Eleanor just looked at her granddaughter, as Katy nodded and said “yeah – exactly…”







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