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The Memory Man T14 Book 1


Adam finis hed his coffee and made another one he could hear thatle sat around a table were having a general confab that he couldgitimately join, so he went over and subtly steered the conversationround to Peterson and his piAfter a few minutes a woman Adam had very few dealings with andconsequently only knew as Agent 64 threw out a remark that almoscoffee Fortunately he quickly regained hiscomposure and masked it as humorously exaggerated dis gusOf course, "said Agent 64, "the creepiest thing about the old mawas that time he made that awfully crass drunken paAha! "thought Adam as he walked as casually as possibl backhis office, "I knew there was somethinPeterson turned away from the bar and almost fell over

This was thenost drunk he'd been for decades but his marriage was in such a stateat he just didn't give two shits anymore He wasn't going to makedirector at his age anyway so the only possible future available to himas another fewstagnation and then retirehimself in years to come doing pointless domestic chores his wife hadgiven him to keep him from under her fem fucked if I'm spendingShe shook her head pitifully as he ambled off in the general directionOn the other side of the room Agent 45 was looking at her watch andlold be before she could politely leave Notre tedious than an tV sunday,s alsoin her opinion a flagrant breach of policy to have so many members ofthe organisation to gether at one time with no security and a free baShe was woken fromreverie by a nudge from a passRun for your life, the old man's eyeing you up! "he choked as hesauntered past looking for a good spot from which to view the ensuing

She looked up to behold the terrify ing spectacle of a ma50s, who'd ne ver been particularly attractive to begin with and to whoge had not been kind, looming towards her out of the tacky neonlighting like a pissed space-hopper She grimaced and tried to ignoreim but he ploughed into her with all the grace of a double decker busdriving over eggshellsShe frowned and looked around their immediate vicinityDon't use my real name you stup id twat! she hissedlytrying to both control the security situation and rid herself of thecompany of this repulsive old stick insectSeveral witnesses observedt abolmanaging to stay on his feet, grabbed Jennifersit like a dogs toy Half of them turned away wincing, the other half rarat top speed towards the unlikely couple It was not concern at the eventtself or for Jennifer,s welfare that prompted either reaction, rather agenuine fear that she may well spoil her career by killing the old manbefore anyone could stop herLuckily she was far more in control of herself, merely grabbing hisscrotum and twisting it ninety degrees anti-clock wiseAdam shuddered at the memory of the deputy director curled up on theing his head off That was over two years ago and Jenniferhad been undercover and there fore out of peterson ' s view for neareighteen months now At least, that' s what Adam thought He wasle looked up the relevant regulations to see what scope he had Hewould give Peterson the works

If he had been up to anything he wouldhave been pretty good at covering his tracks Howe ver, Adam also knewthat he was easily rattled, and likely to betray himse lf if he was trying tohide anything Not that Adam believed he had actually tried to have 45killed that madense at all But he had no firm leads and okay, head mitted it to himself he didnt like peterson and the idea of turnhouse over appealed to him becatold man would hate it but could

He'll be in the office all day damn thought adamwaiting until tonight Although," he smiled, that means I either get tokick the door in or scare thef his stony-faced wife

As he put the procedure in motion, Adam reflected on the unfairTwenty odd years married to Peterson would be enough to turnanyonstoneCHAPTER THREEs often handy for work to have a digitally enhanced memothough now I can,'t remember what tse theewire stick I plug into my neck has crashed andknowwho or where aAll i can access now are disassociated fragme nts of corrfiles and what little i can dredge up from my actual braieans that the only things i currently know about myse If forcertain are that I had a pet dog called Red when I was nineonce got told to piss off while trying to get lan Botham'sautograph, and I don't like Cadbury's Cream Eggs It'sbut it'sve had to hide myself away in this room because everyosee could be my best friend, my worst enemy, or my wifethink I had one of those yesterday or ten years agove been hereh it could equally bcan remember the basics, like eating, drinking, going to thetoilet all that seems to be provided for me in thiknow how or why or by whom Am I on holiday or in prison? Ivere after all becauseSometimes I think people are talking to me but they cant beey are then I've tota lly and irrevocably lost my mind

because I cant understand anything they sayWhy don' t I leave the room?his may all be a dream, I've no way of knowingMaybe Ive always been like this I think I used to be normaut maybe that' s an illusionjust mad Afteou'd have toyourself to be turned into acomputer? Maybe I did something awful and this is m旰fthee wnereCHAPTER FOUAdam was disappointed that he dint personally get to break intoPetersons house

It was also deeply irritating that his wife keptfollowing them around, nagging them about placing ornaments back inthe correct position He felt as if he were being assessed byThat was the only reason Adam decided to check her phoneIt was not part of standard procedure, but he could easily justifylater as bhe way to get her out of their hair and allow a prosearch This turned out to be correct as she kicked up such a fuss she lefteveryone else alone and concentrated all her ire on himMargery booked highly perturbed as Adam plugged her phone intolaptop and scanned it, but almost certainly because she was sociallyaffronted rather than having anything to hideHe really wasn't expecting to find anythingo keep heHe was there fore as surprised as margery when his laptop emitted aloud alarm

What's that?she demanded leaning around to look at his screeHe pushed her unceremoniously awayThatshe halfrotest but checked herself adamdisp layed a palightly wimpishbut now his eyes betrayed a seriousness that was not to be challengedMargery saw sense and made a tactical withdrawal to the kitchenAdam stared for a moment longer at the piece of information that hadriggered the alarm, allowed himself a smile of self justification,unplugged her phone and put it in his pocket

Saving the searchinformation, he closed the laptop and went upstairs to see what the resthe team had foundIn here " said an enthusiastic young man in his first fe w weeks withAdam looked over his shoulder at the pmoney hidden away atTen thousand quid, all in twenties, he said, handing one of the pilesto adamHe leafed through them Non-consecutive serial numbers, all ines or wear andMaybing to but from this centMaybe, said Adam distractedly what thevas the old matplanning to do with the money? Okay, photo graph and log it all and putThe rest of the search turned up nothing else but Adam was confidenthe had more than enough In these days of virtually instantaneouslectronic transfer of money where even ald be boughtckly by waving a card than by handingns theregitimate reason for anyone to have large amounts of cash in theirTen thousand pounds was about the going rate for an amateurshired killer these days, and the number flagged up on his wife's phonebe longed to somebody who possibly fitted that job descriptio

CHAPTER FIVETwo figures stood in the middle of Grand Central Station, New YorkOne a petite, athletic lookingwomarty with a neat bob of darkother a man in his mid forties with closely cropped, rapidlygreying hair, a weeks stubble and a frame which sugges ted he favouredbeer over anything athleticJesus, why are there so many American flags everywhere, this isnJohn fumbled irritably for a cigarette, remembered he was inAmerica, decided it would be more stressful being shot than goingwithout one, so put them awayThey give free gunshool kids but you can't fuckhannah raised her eyes and took a deep breathget to the hotel you can have a drink,to placate himOh yes, drink, Ie half a pint of fizzy cows pissbut i can't have a fth it can n? At least i can smoketheand stripes hanging from theThe only English people this keen on flags are the bnea passing couple eyed him with disgust

John was impressed theyknew what the word meaHannah put an arm around him and laid her head on his shoulderThat's enough, she whispered,"you're drawing too mJohn assembled his face into a passable imitation of contrition

T'm sorry, darling, he said hugging her tiglI'll go outside and see if we've been met, he whispered "you checkHannah broke the clinch and stared reproachfully at him-he wasisure whether it was genuine reproach but that was a good thing: if shecould fool him she could fooof course, I'm awake and sober If we have any future assignmentshere l'll demand enough expenses to cover forty fines a dayOkay, she patted him on the back just hard enough to hurt, you goand havearete, honey, I'll get a coffeeGood idea, thought John as he walked briskly towards the exit,drinking coffee from a Styrofoam bucket is the best way to fit inHannah bought a small coffee, which still required both handcarry, and strolled across grand Central Terminal Looking as if she hadall the time in the world she pretended to spend a minute looking for thelocker rather than going straight to it

Putting her coffee down on thefloor she tapped in the combination and opened the locker a boxiftink bow awaitedpatronising twat! shed to herself)Careful not to reveal in her actions how heavy the contents were, shepicked up the pack age and slid it into her o vernight bagAt the hoteced up and down the tiny balcony doing a fairImpress ion or aA familiar, satisfying metallic click from the room behind broughhim to hs;he reluctantly stamped out his cigarette and went b ackto find hannah screwing the silencer on to the rifle he looked at hisThere's ten minutes yet, I could have finished my fagI need the smokeso I can see the target, "said Hannah,standing up and carryinle towards the balcony "Anyway, themotorcade may be early


Using the cartes ian Cogito and occams razor i reasonedlive so therethree optioto threaSomebody had good reason to think I was actually deadSomebody was sendingI could think of more effective threats, particularly with the resourcesand moral contortions available to the people i was currently pretendingto work with Besides, if they had worked out who i really was theould have just rung the doorbell and shot me in the head, or at leasttried to They would also ha ve no way of finding out about the codetem unless theyd captured one of my fellow agents and torturedthem No, be sensible, don't let your imagination run away, there'she organisationAlthough this was one of the publications where I could expecfind such coded communications this one didnt make sense

part ofseemed to be a message directed at me a warning, but the rest wasntpartur code

system, or rather the last two sentences wereIn any case, a knowingly false obituary could potentially drawwanted attention, despite the fact that only aroundknew me under that name The group Id infiltrated knew me by thathe problem with being propthat you are entirely on your own Last year I had been briefed onmission and then cast adrift since then i had not been able to directlycontact anyone at T14 Unless my life or cover were in immediatedanged to deatheI'd amassed nearly enough evidence to put the gang away but there werestill a few loose endsAnyway, the point was that i couldn t just phone up the office and askmeant; I had to figureself Assuming itwas not a risk they would have taken lightlyIdbeBhad to befrom them: the chances of anybody accideofcode phrases in a genuine obituary were infinitesimal small,evenallowing for the coincidence of it being somebody else with suc

us ual surnamecame to all these conclusions in the newsagents I purchased a fewitems and quickly returned home, whereupon I locked and bolted froand back dooned off all but one of my phones and closed all theUnlikely as it was that anybody had been stupid enough to enter myhouse during the twenty minutes Id been out I checked all my traphe less They weren t traps in the James Bond sense, rather itemsplaced in certain exact positions that couldn't fail to move if anyoneentered a room, a piecewa vs astandby, or tiny pieces of bluetac strategically scattered over a carpetSeveral itemsapparent junkwere also stre wn across the lngtlthe tiny hallway - ths no way anyone could traverse thesewithout treading on some of themgathered them up and paused for a minute, listening intently Thereund ofent so I made my way through the living roomherehe kitchen and back doormpossible to move or climb over the tumble drier I kept up against thedoor without disturbing the pieces of bluetac under its feetEverything was okay so I re laxed very, very slightly It was just afterOam so I had plenty of daylight left in which to escape if neededPeople think darkness is best for an escape but theyre wrong -nobodan look inconspicuous at night

If you think you're being watched ofollowed the best course of action is to stride out purposefully in broaddaylight among plenty of witnesses If I didphone call bymidday then that was what I would be doingI started packing and cleaning away anything I couldn t leave behindStill unsure whether i would be returning to thenousehad to hedgeTwo hours There was a lot to do but i took the time to sit down andrest, drink plenty of water and coffee and eat the three Mars bars I'dbought It would be a long day and I had absolutely no idea what wouldbe required of me so I needed to fill up on energy while I could I alsoneeded some space to thinkhen that broughtsmorgasbord of complications It could mean that my own emp loyers

had ordered my death, though that made no sense - besidentthought I had ruffled Petersn L no, that's absurd he was a creep but he wouldnt have mkilled He wouldnt dareIt could be a double bluff-Iat they think I've been dealt withand then compromise myself It would have to be somebody who hardlyknew me to think Id fall for that one Or it could be that everybody, myemployers included, thought I was already dead

But then who was theWould it bebad thing? I had plenty of money squirrelled awayuntraceable accountsdisappear and go back to living anormal life However, I couldnt do that without kno wingcouldnt think how to find out without re vealing my continued existerwasn't sure if I could actually be charged with treason but I was certainthat anyred dere liction of duty or hint of going awol would befrowned upon in a rather severeBesides, I fucking loveturned things over in my mind as I drank a third coffee andcontinued packingAn hour or so later I fired off emails to the few people with who m Ise rublemyself in this real life by telling all the regular peopwho were likely to contact me that I was going on holiday for twoeeks I often went on these spontaneous 'holidays'-it fitted in with myut having won the lottery eleven years ago and beingle with no ties or respons ibilities (ifand alsoed to me disappearing with little or no notice when something croppedThis meant nobody would call at the house and become involvedSecondly, it would let one of the very few peoplely trustedknow that I was in fact still extant and had read the obituary Theyuld by now have also read my ob ituary and been equally puzzled (least, I fervently hoped they would) by its true meaning and beehecking for a secure communication I had inserted three code phrasekno wn only to the two of us in the emails i was confident he wouldmessage by now-he obsessively checked them sever

imes a day- but it was strictly one way traffic, I couldnt possibly risktacting him directly TheId infiltrated may seem a bit stupidbut i had nohow sophisticated the people behind them were Theyknew about my lottery cover story but they thought it was a cover forwhat I was doing with them rather than for my real jobmy forehead in frustration How stupid could i be? Thenost ob vious exp lanation was that Adam had posted the obituary as aarning Jesus, Id been doing this job too long, got myself caught up inthe old habits of the public school brigadetrigue and mystert every turn instead of coldly and lo gicallythe facts, It meanthat I was in danger but he couldn t be specific After all the work Id putthe mission

still, I couldn,'t ignore the message Whether thebituary was a threat or a warning and regardless of who had sentthere was only one possible inference I could draw from it-disappearand qhecked a few things on line, looked at the weather forecast, printedw train times- none of which I had any intention of taking-andshut down my laptopThere was no room left for denial: it was 12 26 and i had received nocontact I checked the contents of my rucksack and jacket pockets fothe eighth time and retied the laces oruck sack was hetoughen up after a few miles Taking thegun without having my ID on me was a risk but one i had to take If thedeparting Id haboice but to kill theI intended staying in youth hostel and similar accommodation tobegin with so that I could get a good nights sleep without worryinabout bmbushed I couk also use free wi-fi and other peopleswithout re valindeed i tookofes until the screen crackedand it died the death its appalling customer service deserved it wouldmake a good prop to elicit sympathy and offers of lent phoneshag- it had beeWho knows how my actions would have changed had I known that two

days previously somebody who lived a few streets away had beenfo llo wed from thee, dragged into an alleyway and stabbed todeath I still dont know whether Id ha ve stayed, for that person lookedremarkably like mey three oclock I was well away from civilisation and making goodcountry prailway line and frequent,monolithicseen anyoneforover anperfectly suited mycurrent mood I was wearing headphones but not listening to anything, ahandy trick if you want to a void passing conversation I was onehundred percent sure that nobody was following me so I relaxedmaintaining only a peripheral alertness for any sudden movement, andhad a really good think

neededbut couldnt think of how tochieve this securely, bearing in mth adamwhat was happening at HQ In any case, it was one of the fewunbreac hable rules that an agent maintaining an underco ver identitynever goes to the office and never makes uncoded contact If they wayou they ll find you but current ly nobody could find me, no matter hodam would know by now, unless something serious had kept himfrom checking my emails, that I was unharmed However, ifvas out to get me, or thought they already had, then were they also afterAdam, or at least tailing him? He was in a very difficult position andcouldn t just abandon whatever else he was working on and devoteyI followed this line of thought fothen whatld he expect me to do? leave the hodfirb d eHad my identity been compromised? If so I could have severaunpleasant people trying to find me in order to do somethingleasant to meand had no idea whetheridentity de lt a seven

CHAPTER TWOAdam nodded peremptorily at the thin, crooked fiof petersonlooking important and clearly didn, t have time b r usual, bust ling aboutFortunately the deputy director of T14 was, as psation Adalbreathed an audible sigh of relief as the man left the room The othefour occupants also seemedsibly relax It wasnt any kind ofreference, respect or fear that made people avert their eyes in Petersonresence,rather, in addition to his unctuous, unp leasant manner, hisuncanny resemb lance to the"Simpsons character Mr BurnsAdam continued his journey to the kettle and made himself a coffeeEven without the disturbing presence of Peterson, the room maintainedalmost reverentially silent hush; thishe sort of organisationhere casual gossip was ad visable, or even tolerated There was also awell understood code of etiquette which meant that, by sittingcorner on his own Adam would not be disturbed unless it wasabsolutely essentiaHe chose a comfy, Victorian-looking armc hair that wouldhome in the House of lords and sat down with his coffee and notepadHe desperately needed a brainstorming session a way from his office,some space to think

He stretched out his long legs, brushed out and flattened dewayward strands of his short, dark hairle had, of course, read the obituary on his way to work, but only tocheck that they d spelled it correctly he knew from checking agent 45semail account that his message had been received and correctlyinterpreted so hopefully any immedNonetheless hehad little idehat, if anything, was reallyhappening Nobody he had encountered thus far today had said or doicate that there was something rele vant he didn ' t knowbout Peterson did seem to be even more agitated than usual but it washard to tell with such a highly string, St Vitus dance of a personalitymunicado for a couple of days, so Adam hadhad no choice but tohone in the obituary Protocol meant he should have gone to Peterson,but he didnt trust him enough to put Agent 45s life in his thin, graspin

Adam took a sip of coffee and began making some notes The murdecould, ofha ve been a coinc idence it certainly frort he'dbeen able to glean from the pathology report, appeared to beck rathermIssmuncannyresemblance between the murder victim and Agent 45 A woman in hermid thirties, long, straight blondve feeeyes, similar figure- they could have been sisters The location of thevictims home was also only a feets away from theresidence of Agent 45 The killing had taken place at night so it wouldbe perfectly understandable for it to be a genuine case of mistakenidentity There was no mistake about the viciousness of the beatingthough- it was clearly meant to kill herIf it was meant to be 45bviously left the unansweredquestions: did whoever had ordered the killing know it had been fuckedup? If so, had they already instigated a fresh planal at the helm? If that was the case how could adam aAgent 45 inconspic uously? She was already in hiding, so that was goobut with so little information he had to tread very carefullyPetersonFor some reason Adam drew the deputy director,s name in blockcapitals and put a large circle around it

It had never occurred to him before that he didn't trust him Why? Hoted everyone else in T14depended on them Something was wrong He didn't trust somethingspecific about Peterson There was something nagging away at him butsome reason to suspect Peterson of somethingell, it was currently the only starting point Adam could think of so heresolved to take every opportunity to observe the deputy director todayand see if anything materialised In this busine ss a suspicion was enougto warrantfficial footing without anything tangible to present Still, there was norob lem in his looking into Peterson this afternoon that was well withinhis job description; he could easily invent a spurious technical reason toIlooking at some personnel files-some kind of random check