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Misericordia

Misericordia

Currently reading

Rules of Vengeance
Christopher Reich
Liberation Day : A Nick Stone Mission
Andy McNab
Boy Nobody
Allen Zadoff
El caballero de la armadura oxidada
Verónica d'Ornellas Radziwill, Robert Fisher
Land of the Infidel
Robert Shea
Limitless
Robert J. Crane
Manual of Psychomagic: The Practice of Shamanic Psychotherapy
Alejandro Jodorowsky
Heart Duel
Robin D. Owens
Noble Intentions: Season Two
L.T. Ryan
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story Of A Real Fake
Stan Redding, Frank W. Abagnale

Codename Wolf

Codename Wolf - Gil Hogg Unexpectedly brilliant. Satirical and adventurous, comical and dishonest... I read this with no expectations and it is surprisingly good. Reminded me slightly of Our man in Havana...

Would be recommended to anyone who loves a good James Bondish story.
Q:
My superiors had ordained that Moonlight would shine, and so be it.
I had kept myself physically fit, and looked the part of a field officer. I lectured my small squad of six with a confidence I did not feel. I lectured them until the scepticism that had at first filmed their eyes was dissolved into shining enthusiasm. The men were not fools, but they could not have realised that they were in the hands of a novice – indeed, a terrified novice. After a week, the team was as ready as it could be, packed inside the noisy fuselage of a Westland helicopter.
...I retired to a cave. I had a small survival pack and a satellite transmitter. I reported the disaster, but leavened it with information on enemy deployments, identifying tribes, numbers and directions of movement; these were largely imaginary. It made the deaths seem less pointless and I hoped it made me sound valuable and worth saving.
...I moved mostly at dusk or in the moonlight, and in the early morning, nearly starving after a week, and fed occasionally by friendly herdsmen. I saw no friend or enemy, herdsmen apart, but my satellite transmitter worked for that week, and I sent more imaginative bulletins. I hoped that I would attract enough interest in the enemy deployments to warrant an aerial surveillance in the vicinity and perhaps lead to my rescue as part of the exercise. My ploy failed. Although daring deeds in rescuing comrades are written about, I knew the unwritten rule was that the British and US forces wouldn’t risk a chopper and pilots for me alone.
...I had nothing much to say at first. There really was nothing to say other than the fact that I had been clawing my way across the mountains for nearly two weeks. But when it became apparent that the officers who gathered at my bedside with their tape recorders and notebooks were hungry to hear something, anything, I (myself an IO) understood their plight and obliged. They were bored with the routine of the base. I therefore told a story of the heroism of my men, fighting to the death, completely outnumbered, instead of the truth that they were shot like dogs in the dark. In contrast to my lonely and miserable starvation scramble across rivers and mountain passes, I spoke of watching enemy deployments during the day, and moving to new observation posts at night. I filled the US intelligence officers’ notepads and tapes with a whole demography of war in the mountains. And I spoke to US war correspondents.
(c)
Q: I calculated that Hornby would view my proposed move with a certain ambivalence. He would be delighted to dispose of someone he detested, but competent operatives like me were all too few.
When I told Yarham that I might apply for Nick’s post, to my surprise, he frowned and shook his head in disagreement. Later, as we eased ourselves into the shadows of one of O’Connell’s booths, he dilated.
“That’s a sure way not to get the appointment, Captain. Why don’t you have a chat with Hornby and tell him that you’ve heard the vacancy will be coming up but it would be inconvenient for you to move to Washington?”
“That will get it?”
“You’ll stand a better chance. Applications aren’t a lot of use. The bosses do what they want, which is most often what you don’t want.”
“I should tell Hornby that I like New York so much, I wouldn’t like to be disturbed?”
Yarham caressed his chin. “It would certainly increase his pleasure in releasing you, Captain. There’s a certain perversity about appointments in the service, in which Hornby, like other managers, will conspire. You’re likely to be posted to the place you don’t want to go. If this had to be justified, it’s a test of toughness and we’re always being tested.”
(c)
Q:
I knew that Yarham did a regular and surreptitious survey of Other People’s Business, in which he, as it were, looked through everybody’s in and out trays. So much of the department’s work was done electronically, that he was able to accomplish this with relative ease from his computer station. Yarham was an expert hacker. As an intelligence officer, he considered every intranet a target, and like a dedicated crossword-puzzler, sudoku fiend and computer geek, could not rest easy until he had conquered it. The OPB trawl was a practice that we both found very useful. When I questioned Yarham about the propriety and the risk involved he was very relaxed.
“Don’t worry, sir, everybody does it to the extent of their know-how. We’re all spies, and we spy on each other!”
Now, in the malodorous confidentiality of O’Connell’s pub’s booth, Yarham revealed a matter which would have life-changing effects for both of us. His eyes shone happily. “There’s a top secret assignment coming up that looks important,” he said. “It’s a Washington posting. An email from Human Resources has gone round. Nominated candidates to go to London for selection. And there’s around half a dozen of them – an indicator of importance.”
“Me, nominated, Yarham?” I said, suddenly excited.
“No sir, not you. There’s only one from the New York office – Leyton. He’s more senior.”
“So I’m out?”
Yarham raised his eyebrows and dropped his jaw open. His eyes were wide. “Not if the memo had been addressed to you.”
“You mean?… Oh, come on, man, if you put me in the circulation by some jiggery-pokery, the mistake’s going to be discovered in London and I’ll be kicked out!”
“Perhaps not, sir. It’s no shame to receive a misdirected email. London will have a guest list of a half dozen or so on the day. Nobody is going to be checking the candidates against the computer. Corporate fog will be fairly thick. And one very important point: Human Resources is a department which doesn’t make mistakes, so your presence on the list, and at the selection, can’t be a mistake.”
(c)
Q:
Interviews are misleading and paper qualifications don’t always mean much.
(c)
Q:
“You were supposed to meet the contact, not to fuck him!” he spat.
It was fortunately two days before Harold Kershaw could hop into the office on crutches, by which time the joke was stale, but my face was still red and I vowed to be ruthless on the break-in. (c)
Q:
It was a touching display, and I could have told a tale of heroism but I didn’t. Rachel Fernandez would have to accept the limitations of the service. If the details of Dolores’ exploits were unravelled, questions would be asked about my performance of my duties. I moved on a different tack. “You mean she was a C3 agent? I didn’t know that. It might have been helpful to know. As far as I was concerned, she was a friendly contact. She died bravely, that’s all I can say.”
“How can you say that? Do you really know?” Fernandez said fiercely, seizing on my generosity of spirit.
I maintained a sympathetically wooden expression. “Because all our group died bravely,... (c)
Q:
“Do you think the intense heat might… set off the nuclear warheads, sir?”
“Yarham, I’m thinking of a glass of red wine and a steak, but keep moving at a brisk pace, will you?” (c)
Q:
“How will you explain the ahh… pause in compliance with the order to return, Captain?”
“Say I didn’t get it.”
“Then you better chuck the phone overboard when you’ve sent your report, because it’s logged in there.”
“Thanks, Yarham. I need you to keep me straight on these things.”
(c)
Q:
“It’s occurred to you, I suppose, that there’s nobody to contradict what we say?”
“Indeed, except Burton. It gives you a certain… freedom of interpretation, sir.”
(c)
Q:
“Suppose we each take a hundred thousand and leave the rest for Uncle Sam?” I suggested.
Yarham moved his jaw around, and said after a while, “I’m very grateful for the offer, and I don’t want you to think I’m moralistic about this, but I’d prefer not to.”
“Too much? Take a smaller slice.”
“It’s not that, sir. I can manage without any of it.”
“Good for you, Yarham. I was just testing to see if the shield of truth, and the sword of honour, were in place.”
(c)
Q:
It was a neat, sequential account, only at variance with the facts in immaterial respects.
(c)
Q:
Much was made in departmental memos of the astonishing cooperation between C3 and the CIA, as though the concept of frankly sharing information with a fellow agency was novel, startling, and slightly risque. Actually working together in the field was as unusual as intergalactic travel. And for two agencies to agree to be led operationally by a member of one of them was against the laws of nature. A new era of cooperation between agencies was heralded by the more far-seeing, and it was recommended that I should spearhead this, and be promoted to director level. A number of the big brass commented that I would make an ideal director of the CIA – certainly true. Only my lack of US citizenship stood in the way of this consideration.
(c)
Q:
“You know Nick talked to me before he died about the Disciples?”
She was homing in directly on what I had assumed was her real preoccupation. I gave her a blank look. “Sorry, you’ve lost me.”
“You’ve never heard of the Disciples?”
“At Bible class when I was a kid. Did Nick get religious?”
“Don’t the C3 guys talk about them in the bar?”
“C3 guys don’t talk together much, and never about the job.”
(c)
Q:...men who bear arms are as much in danger of death from their friends as a result of accidents, personal quarrels, and service rivalries, as they are from the enemy.
(c)
Q:
“Do you think it’s a situation where we could rely on the TIFU factor to work its way?” The TIFU, Typical Intelligence Fuck-Up, was as well-known and as ever present a phenomenon in our business, as in every disciplined service.
(c)
Q:
I had wanted to believe the earnest Professor Reich. We honour you, Roger. Did they mean to honour me posthumously?
(c)