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Sonnet 57

Part 2 Chap. 4-6


    1. Maskirovka?

Anatoly is having coffee when Igor Mendeleyevs call is put through to him.

He is at the AKE Headquarters building, occupying several floors in one of the office towers which have grown up like so many steel, glass and concrete mushrooms in Moscows financial district. (1)

He can guess what - or who - this is going to be about. Anatoly waits as Mendeleyev rehearses the Slavic formalities, not sure whether to be optimistic in anticipation of good news, or to steel himself whilst Mendeleyev carefully details yet more difficulties. Through the glass wall which separates his own office, he can see the Lithuanian Girl who Mikhail Barysovitch has grafted into his organization, to report back to Mikhail and to be a constant reminder that Mikhail and those above him expect a strategy, operational plans and above all, results. The girl is holding a telephone handset. Anatoly is sure she is patched into his call.

“ … so I have heard from Professor Dawney” begins Mendeleyev. “She telephoned earlier today. It seems that Vyera has called to see her and my impression is that the meeting was not cordial”


“Vyeras project”


“I thought of it in the first place and suggested it to Professor Dawney almost as a joke. I was really very surprised that she had taken up the idea so enthusiastically, to the extent that she has obviously forgotten where she herself got the idea from which of course was me and she went on to accuse me of poaching her student and the data and the original idea. Academic life is very competitive Anatoly Sergeyevitch. The root of the trouble is the scientific paper in Psychological Letters. Professor Dawney reads the Journal and recognized the account Vyera had written. I expected trouble from her anyway but she has connected Vyera Anatolyevna Kuznetsova with Jennifer McEwan. I am very sorry that Vyeras name was included in the final copy which went to the Journal offices.”

“Igor Ivanovitch, you are telling me that the situation is getting worse. Angela Dawney now knows where Vyera has been, who she has been with and how she has spent her time some of it at least.”

“I am afraid so, Anatoly Sergeyevitch. The solution to the Vyera problem will now have to include Professor Dawney in some way …”

Anatoly closes his eyes as if shutting out the light but actually he is trying to avoid looking at the Lithuanian Girl. If only he could make the world a simpler place, as it was just a few short weeks ago. What had possessed him to take Vyera on the boat trip? Why on earth had they gone to Stockholm, the girls motherland, as it were? Why did Sveta choose that moment to take leave of her senses and release the slave girl? Alas! So many what ifs. So few answers.

Anatoly opens his eyes again. The Lithuanian Girl is wearing a carefully tailored leather skirt and white blouse, with black tights. On her feet she has black mules. She is kneeling with one knee on her office chair and bending over the desk supporting herself on her forearms, presenting Anatoly with a view of her bum covered by tight, smooth shiny black leather. With her other leg, her foot plays with her mule, sliding in and out, in and out.

Anatoly closes his eyes once again, to shut out the sight of her. In his ear, Mendeleyevs voice says,

“ … so I began to think about how Vyera will be reacting to her new surroundings …”

Anatolys coffee is cold and bitter. He can see exactly why Mikhail Barysovitch finds Mendeleyev so irritating: he was talking about Vyera as one might talk about an experiment with test tubes or space probes on the moon … “we gave her the name Vyera to remind her that she always has to be truthful, to be an open book to her superiors. Soon she will become aware of a tension between keeping her work with us - her new family - confidential and the responsibility she once had to keep the Inward Bound data confidential …”

“Igor Ivanovitch, I have followed every step of your argument and the information about Professor Dawney is … lets just say interesting, but I was expecting more that a wearisome recitation of the problems and challenges in front of us? Have you anything actually positive to say or good news to tell me, or even a logical step which might lead us out of this mess?”

“But of course Anatoly Sergeyevitch. I have a proposal.”

“A proposal?”

“We must regain the initiative. We must begin to manage events. Neena must contact Vyera and give her instructions about the IWB data. Vyera must be told that we will keep the data confidential, so Jennifer McEwans original responsibility is discharged and Vyera has permission to tell the Inward Bound people that there will be no consequences for any of the subjects in Vyeras data set, if she is questioned by them.”

“So why are we thinking about Inward Bound?”

“Because they might contact Vyera and she must have replies ready by her side which she can trust and can give with complete confidence. Also, Vyera might contact them on her own initiative and confess that the data has been in the hand of others. My scheme can take her off the horns of a painful dilemma. Loyalty to us. Loyalty to those she knew before.”

“Two horns but what about the third horn?”

“Third horn? That would be a trilemma, surely?”

Anatoly feels a flash of anger at Mendeleyevs obsession with details but he controls his temper and says, by way of explanation “Professor Dawney. Vyera had a professional responsibility to her, I think?”

“Ah, of course. You are quite correct. Three horns. A trilemma. Well, there at last fortune has smiled. I think Professor Dawney wanted Vyera for herself and sent her to Inward Bound, less to be an objective scientist and more to fall under the influence of the programme. I think she hoped that Vyera would become more malleable and fall under her spell to the disadvantage of the husband, Joseph. I think the professors dismay at loosing her academic lead in this area and the knowledge that Vyera was much further from her influence sparked her anger and jealousy, which was directed at Vyera when they met. I believe that Vyera did not have a pleasant interview.”

“So they are no longer on speaking terms?”

“If I am optimistic, Anatoly Sergeyevitch the very best I can say is, the relationship is very sour and so there is no third horn to snare Vyera.”

After he closes the call, Anatoly gets up and leaves the building. He needs space, to see beyond the confines of his office. To feel the wind on his face and taste fresh air in his lungs. He is aware that several respectful paces behind, his security detail shadows him. Moscow is not what it was in the nineteen nineties but it remains wise for an Oligarch to have due regard to his personal security. Walking alone was in Anatolys experience, is the best way to get his mind to cut a problem down to size or to encourage some original thought. Presently, Anatoly and his Shadows reach Presnensky Park. He finds a bench and sits. The advance of winter was clear to see. Occasional stinging darts of rain were being blown in the wind beneath a grey sky and there was the rustle of fallen leaves.

What might his father do in circumstances like these? Anatoly allows himself to imagine his late father sitting next to him in his full Generals uniform: cap, tunic, high boots, medals. Together, they gaze over the Park, towards the old American Embassy Building as Anatoly presents his report …

The Situation. A member of my personal staff is in the hands of the British Authorities. She is alone and vulnerable but she is loyal. Eventually, she may crack and say more than she should.

The Context. Vyera was acquired from the United Kingdom where she was Jennifer McEwan. She came to Moscow aboard the AKE aircraft masquerading as Anna Tereshkova. The deception is robust. Perfect maskirovka. (2)

The Present Difficulties. After re-education, Vyera worked on research data in Moscow and her investigation was published in a scientific journal. The authors were Mendeleyev, Romanova and Kuznetsova. Vyera Kuznetsova should not have been included. An unfortunate mistake.

Professor Dawney has read the Vyera article and recognizes Vyeras work from her words and phrases. She must realize that Vyera is Jennifer McEwan. This is a complication. Dawney is not likely go to the British Authorities but what might her colleagues do, someone friendly to Jennifer McEwan? This is a dangerous unknown.

Vyera worked aboad the Tupolev during our Baltic cruise. Idiotic! The Swedish port authorities have Vyera Kuznetsova recorded as a crew member on arrival and departure. Sveta released Vyera in Stockholm into the arms of her family. Inexplicable!

And then there is the Tracy Randolf fiasco …

For a moment, Anatoly feels panic rising inside hm. He feels he is in a dead end street with his enemies massing at the open end to prevent his escape. They could not extract him from Russia and it is almost inconceivable that the Russian Authorities would hand him over but his reputation would be badly tarnished, perhaps ruined and his life-style would be severely compromised if he was no longer able to travel abroad and then as Anatoly struggles to bring his emotions under control, an idea flies swiftly across his mind, so quickly that Anatoly has difficultly in appreciating its form and shape.

He juggles with the idea as a football player might struggle with a wet, slippery, spinning ball.

The plain facts connected Jennifer McEwan and Vyera and Anatoly but if masikarovka could not effectively supress the simple conclusion, perhaps the answer had something to do with describing Vyeras time in Moscow in alternative words, even very positive words? To acknowledge Vyera is Jennifer but provide an alternative description of her time in Russia?

That Lithuanian bitch could work that up! It would get her hands dirty. It would keep her out of his sight, Give her something to tell Mikhail Barysovitch, Give them both some thing to do. All in all, this could be the perfect solution for keeping them off his back!

    1. At New Scotland Yard, London

Twelve people are sitting around a table in a conference room in New Scotland Yard. (3) There is a general rumble of conversation. Some are already known to each other. Others are strangers and are getting acquainted before the meeting begins. The man sitting at the head of the table checks his watch and brings the meeting to order. “Ladies and Gentlemen. Time is pressing. I suggest we start by going round the table and introduce ourselves. Let me begin. I am Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steven Davies. I have been asked to convene this meeting by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. I am chairing this meeting because of the potential sensitivity of the case and the international dimension." (4)

“David Rice. Commander Metropolitan Police Special Operations Command.”

“Colin Grantby, Chief Inspector, Special Operations Command, Metropolitan Police.”

“Michael Lockwood, Chief Inspector Counter Terrorism Command, Met .”

“Brian Ackroyd, Inspector Warwickshire Constabulary.”

“Joan Borland, Sergeant, Special Operations Command, Metropolitan Police.”

“Anne Elba, psychologist working with the Metropolitan Police.”

“Stephen Appleyard, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”

“Anna Thomassen, Rikskriminalenpolisen Sweden.”

“Joan Wright, Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.”

“Peter Brook, The Security Service, MI5.”

“Mary Stamford, Crown Prosecution Service.”

Thank you, everyone for your attendance and especially for those who have come a rather long way to this meeting. Before we begin to look at matters in detail, I should like to make some general though I suppose not unexpected remarks. Today, there are twelve people here to discuss the case of a young woman who may or may not have been the subject of a crime. We have representatives of the police forces from two countries and from two police forces in the UK, also a representative from two of the UK Security Services, a representative from the Crown Prosecution Service and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a psychologist. I cant recall a meeting like this before when there was still doubt over whether a crime has been committed or not. The Commissioner and the Senior Management Team are acutely aware that resources are limited and regrettably, we are just not able to investigate every curious incident which comes to our attention. At the end of this meeting I would like to have a clear view about whether we have a crime or at least an incident that we can properly engage with, leading to an investigation which produces a result. The result could be a benign explanation of hitherto unexplained events or it could be a clear criminal target to arrest and prosecute.

Now, with that strategic overview out of the way, can I turn to you Chief Inspector Grantby and ask you to go through the events as far as we know them?”

“Thank you, Deputy Assistant Commissioner. You will all have a short resumé in front of you about the Jennifer McEwan case and you may wish to follow it whilst I talk …” Grantby quickly runs through the history of the Jennifer McEwan case. He covers her disappearance, her reappearance. The last sighting in London, the first sighting in Stockholm and the interest of the Swedish National Investigation Bureau. He summarises the curious tale of her arrest and interrogation by the CIA and the relationship of her head of department to a former KGB officer, turned international businessman. He goes through the medical evacuation of someone bearing a striking similarity to Jennifer aboard an aircraft owned by the Russian businessman in question, the involvement of a surgeon who was brought up in the German Democratic Republic and the appearance of Jennifers academic work in a Russian academic journal. Grantby concludes, “Not all the people who seem to be involved in this case are normally resident in the UK and one in particular holds a diplomatic passport from a country with whom our relations are somewhat strained but he visits quite frequently. I would especially like to know if my team can detain Mr Kustensky for questioning the next time he comes to Britain.

DAC Davies turns to Ackroyd and Elba. “I believe you two have had the most recent contact with Mrs McEwan. Is there anything you can say to help us at this point?”

“I ought to say at the start,” begins Ackroyd, “that my original view was that we were not dealing with an abduction at all. We identified some … ah … potential marital tensions between the McEwans and also some history between Mrs McEwan and Professor Dawney. I thought matters had got to a point where she could not cope with the emotional effort of holding everything in place and had taken herself off somewhere where she could either make a fresh start or try to resolve matters in her own time. Some recent developments cast the whole affair in a bit of a different light, though.

First, Mrs McEwan became lost and disorientated whilst she was shopping in Birmingham. Instead of contacting her husband who was also in the city she contacted someone she had been with during the period of her disappearance. The said female gave Mrs McEwan instructions to wait for her husband in a convenient branch of Starbucks and then telephoned Mr McEwan to tell him to go pick up his wife.

When Mrs McEwans phone was examined, it had been reset to factory default mode and the call to Mr McEwan was from a withheld number. This made me think again about events which might have happened before Mrs. McEwan disappeared so I then made contact with British Telecom who are the McEwans internet service provider and asked them to look at the phone traffic in the months before she disappeared. That was in November 2009 and the record only now extends back to August 09 but it shows that impressive quantities of data were being uploaded from the McEwan PC during the small hours of the morning to an untraceable IP address probably using something like TOR (5), which is of course, a way of sending a message across the internet by a very roundabout route, to make it hard to identify (in this case) the destination of the message. When we examined said PC after Jennifer McEwan disappeared, the hard disc had been wiped completely. At the time we thought the blank hard disc was consistent with Mrs McEwan covering her tracks after making a conscious decision to leave her husband. Now ... well, unfortunately the interpretation is still equivocal. You could say there is evidence that Mrs McEwan had planned to leave and transmitted her data to friends abroad deliberately. You could also say that this is evidence of Mrs McEwan being spied on in the months before she was lifted.

“If I may interject here?” It is Joan Wright from MI6 speaking. “ if you are going to use TOR to cover your tracks of the internet, you have to install TOR software first. Did you every find any?”

I am sorry to say that we did not look properly. If I could have my time again, I would make sure that a “more sophisticated examination of the McEwan PC was carried out but back in 2009 I am afraid I was not so clued-up.”

“Thank you Inspector Ackroyd and thank you for your frankness”, says the DAC, “I am sure many of us could say the same as you. Dr Elba? May I give you the floor at this point?”

Annie Elba has thought carefully about what she should say at this point, to this audience. The policemen and women would all be very interested to know about Jennifer McEwans psychotic breakdown: a physical attack culminating in a rape. There would be questions about what should be done; in particular, should Jenny be held in psychiatric custody until her state of mind improves? It was exactly the question she had put to Laura Malvern. Between them and thinking carefully about the events which came immediately before Jennys psychotic episode, they have decided that Jenny is better at home and away from work, to give her space and the reassurance of familiar surroundings to take best advantage of the work she was doing with Laura Malvern and to encourage the signs of recovery which Jennifer is gradually showing.

Annie says: “I think the best I can do today is to give you some insight into the psychological state of Mrs McEwan at the moment. You will know that persons abducted and especially those abducted for long periods can sometime begin to identify with their captors. This was first noted in the behavior of some victims of a bank hold up and siege in Stockholm. It is recognized as a psychosis known as Stockholm Syndrome. (6) When our colleagues in Sweden first saw Mrs McEwan (Annie glances at Anna Thomassen by way of reference) they thought she was displaying all the signs of the condition and my professional opinion is that they are correct. I have spent some time with Mrs McEwan myself and I have spoken at length with the psychotherapist who is treating her. For your information, this is a Dr Laura Malvern who has expertise in the care of patients recovering from psychological trauma. I know her work and she is very experienced and reliable. At first glance so to speak, Mrs McEwan generally seems to be a perfectly well adjusted, psychologically stable young woman but she has tried hard not to let anything slip about the people she has been with, the things she has done and the conditions under which she lived. She is in fact scrupulous to keep their confidentiality. There are two conclusions possible. First, that Brian (Doctor Elba turns and smiles at Ackroyd, to confirm to the others who she is talking about) is correct in his initial belief that Mrs McEwan needed space, and does not wish to rake over old and painful ground, especially now she is feeling better about herself. Second, that she was abducted and has been subjected to a particularly effective conditioning regimen and is still unable to break free from its influence. At present, I cant be completely sure which is true. I would expect that any deliberate psychological conditioning will decay in due course if it is not reinforced - and its hard to see how that might happen - so I think we can expect further information will seep out from Mrs McEwan over the next few months and all we really have to do is wait. I do not expect this is the time scale you were hoping for but it is quite often the case in medicine and psychology, that treatment is like gardening. You just have to let the plants grow at their own pace. However, if I have to make a judgment right now, I think the evidence is in favour of an abduction and particularly effective deliberate psychological conditioning.”

“Inspector Thomassen”, says the DAC, turning to the Scandinavian visitor. “May I thank you for coming to visit us in London and invite you to tell us about the events of the night when Mrs. McEwan reappeared?”

Anna Thomassen smiles and with characteristic confidence glances at the faces before her and begins.

“I represent the Swedish Rikskriminalenpolisen. (7) We stand between the regular Swedish police force and our security services. We deal with crime which has a trans-national dimension and crime which has the potential to destabilise the state. One example is trafficking and supply of narcotics. Another example is the trafficking of people. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Baltic States as independent nations once more, we have noticed a number of well-organised criminal networks with connections to Russia and the new nations. They are staffed, if I can express myself that way, they are staffed by capable, energetic, violent and unprincipled people and are a constant concern to us. They are active in both narcotics crime and people trafficking but in other areas too.

“When Mrs McEwan appeared to her family from out of the harbour in Stockholm, her father reported the matter to Stockholm county police who passed the case to us when they realised that Mrs McEwan was a wanted person in the UK. I interrogated her the next day and found just what Dr Elba found: she was very reluctant to say where she had been and who she had spent her time with. She was given formal psychological examination and our people also concluded that she was a victim of Stockholm Syndrome - or could be. She was also examined physically and found to be fit and well cared for. She did not have any signs of sexual abuse, so no anal dilatation, vaginal bruising or venereal disease. Her skin showed signed of superficial bruising, consistent with some mild BDSM practice. Her finger and toenails and cuticles were clean, shaped, filed smooth and ... Inspector Thomassen checks her notes ... and she was wearing nail varnish. These are not typical signs of a woman kidnapped into sexual slavery in our experience.

“We were naturally interested to think about why she was swimming in the harbour and the Harbour Control people were able to tell us that the private yacht owned by a Russian business man called Anatoly Kustensky had left it's berth bound for Tallinn at about the time Mrs. McEwan was found. The yachts identification beacon was picked up some hours later when the yacht was in international waters apparently bound for St Petersburg.

“When we questioned Mr McEwan and Mrs McEwan's parents, they had memories of a large yacht sailing past and of someone hailing them from the boat shortly before Mrs McEwan emerged from the water. There are again some possibilities here. First, she escaped from captivity and jumped from the boat but captivity is not really consistent with her physical condition - well not typical. Second, she fell overboard and the crew of the boat were sounding an alarm. Third, she was in the harbour already and the crew of the boat were shouting a warning to her. Mrs McEwan has dual UK and Swedish citizenship and is fluent in Swedish so it would have been easy for her to be resident in Sweden and not be noticed locally during her absence from the UK. She had no clear explanation for how she came to be in Sweden.”

The DAC hold up his hand and makes his own contribution. “So if I can summarise what we have so far:

In November 2009 Mrs Jennifer McEwan vanishes without warning. There is evidence that data was being exported from her computer in the weeks before but we cannot tell if it was being exported by Mrs McEwan or stolen by others? In July 2011 Mrs McEwan appears in Stockholm in good physical condition but reluctant to say where she had been or with whom. She might have been in Sweden and she might have been elsewhere. Russia might be one possibility. On the day Mrs McEwan disappears, a private aeroplane owned by a Russian citizen and personal friend of Mrs McEwans research supervisor leaves the UK with an injured young woman on board who bears some resemblance to Mrs McEwan. On the day she re-appears , a yacht owned by Mr Kustensky is in Stockholm harbour at the same time as Mrs. McEwan. Can we now deal with the issue of the injured woman who left the UK on the day Mrs McEwan vanished. Sergeant Borland, I have you down to speak to this?”

Joan Borland clears her throat and begins. “When Mrs McEwan returned to the UK, Inspector Grantby asked me to consider the ways someone could be spirited out of the UK with out coming to the attention of the police or Borders Agency staff. One method I considered was transport by air and specifically by private jet. In the London area, the airport which handles most private traffic is Farnborough and I discovered from the airport authorities that an aircraft had left Farnborough in the evening with an injured young woman on board who looked rather like Mrs McEwan. This was a medical evacuation. The woman, known as Anna Tereshkova, had been injured in the days before and had been a patient at a private hospital in London. She was brought to the airport by the orthopaedic surgeon who had cared for her. The surgeon in question has been interviewed by Inspector Grantby and I have interviewed the hospital staff. In addition, there is an account of her misadventures on what purports to be Ms Tereshkovas Facebook site.”

“You said she looked significantly like Mrs McEwan. In what way?”

“Both Mrs McEwan and Ms Tereshkova had their heads shaven ...”

“Inspector Grantby. Tell us why you distrust the information about Ms Tereshkova?”

“Basically DAC, the timing is wrong. Doctor Hahn he is the orthopaedic surgeon by the way - took too long to drive from the Wellesley Hospital to Farnborough.”

“How much too long?”

“About an hour.”

“Traffic hold ups?”

“Possibly. We have checked with the Traffic Division. They have no records of any major incidents but there are several well known traffic black spots on he way and the ambulance could have merely had a 'bad run'.”

“I see. Now I believe we have tried to look a little more closely at Ms Tereshkova?”

“Yes thank you DAC”, replies Michael Lockwood, taking up the story. “Colin Chief Inspector Grantby - spoke to me about this case and asked if it would be possible to make some gentle inquiries about this girl on her home patch which is of course in Moscow, so I had a word with colleagues and it seemed that some reasonably painless inquiries could be made ...”

Joan Wright, the MI6 representative now begins to speak. “We put the situation to our people at the Embassy. We asked them if they could verify Ms Tereshkova's address, place of employment and whether she went riding ah that is horse back riding.” This clarification of detail is met with a ripple of amusement from around the table. “Ms Tereshkova had apparently suffered a riding accident when she was in London in November 09. These inquiries required one of our people merely to make some careful observations and we found that she habitually left the address quoted on Facebook, she went to work at a private clinic in the city and she was a keen equestrienne at the weekends. One of our people - someone who would be returning home reasonably soon at the end of her tour of duty - arranged to meet Ms Tereshkova socially and in conversation, Ms Tereshkova again told her doleful tale about her horse riding accident which forced her return to Russia. I believe the person we sent has continued her social contact with Ms Tereshkova to create the impression that the original contact was casual and fortuitous.”

Joan Wright smiles at the MI6 personnel record photograph of Martha Holmes and the video conference she had with Martha in the days before. Martha's head had been shaven. Curious … an effect of her 'social contact' with Ms Tereshkova perhaps?

“Colin?” says the DAC, “I think you had more to say about Ms Tereshkova?”

“Thank you, DAC. I thought Mrs McEwan and Ms Tereshkova had been switched.”

“Ms Tereshkova had been in hospital injured?”

“Apparently, but it could have been a sham...”

“Ah ... What did the hospital say?”

Joan Borland replies: “they were satisfied with the treatment given by the orthopaedic surgeon and the nursing staff I spoke to did not express any concern.”

“If Mrs McEwan was switched for Ms Tereshkova, is there any trace of Ms Tereshkova leaving the UK on another day?”

“No DAC. If we are correct, she left using another passport because she is back in Moscow now and living under her own name.”

“Mr Brook?”

“What interested MI5 about this case at first was the story about Mrs McEwans arrest and interrogation when she was undertaking the initial part of her research field work at ... (Peter Brook checks his notes) at ... Inward Bound in Suffolk. We were alerted to this after Mrs McEwan was reported missing and I think Sergeant Borland was first to hear the story from Mr McEwan. We checked with out contacts in the CIA and they flatly deny any involvement and they have not modified their position at all over the past few years. We are inclined to believe them. Mrs McEwan and her colleague Professor Dawney are of no interest to us at the moment. Professor Dawneys role in the Greenham Common anti-nuclear protests drew her to out attention when she was an undergraduate student but that was back in the nineteen eighties so it is very difficult to see why someone would want to go to as much trouble as they apparently did on her and Mrs McEwan's account. If it was not the CIA, it is had to imagine who it might have been. We wondered if it could it have been an 'adult experience' which the Inward Bound people failed to get consent for or carried out very clumsily and they have not felt able to come clean about their involvement? However, the information from Inspector Ackroyd about the data sent from or extracted from the McEwans computer is very interesting. We would want to think about that carefully. I will certainly talk to the people at GCHQ to see if they can tell us any more.”

“Ms Stamford. You are representing the Crown Prosecution Service. Is there enough here to wet your appetite for an arrest and a prosecution?” (8)

“When he CPS reviews evidence in case, there are three questions we ask. First, are we likely to get a conviction if the case comes to court? Is the chance significantly better than fifty percent? Second, is prosecution in the public interest? Third, is prosecution practical? This question mainly applies to situations when we are dealing with foreign nationals. We also pause to think how a jury might react to the evidence.

You all know it but it is worth repeating that all serious crime in our jurisdiction is tried by a judge and jury and the jury have to decide between guilt and innocence. Complex and confusing evidence is hard to see through, which may be why very carefully prepared prosecutions for complex financial fraud sometimes collapse completely or end with an acquittal for the accused because the jury becomes bamboozled by the complexity of it all and the sheer technicality of the evidence. In this case, there are several issues of that sort. Strange names. Exotic places. Strange internet sites. Accusations of dark deeds by shadowy intelligence organisations. Data mysteriously exported or maybe stolen from computers. And so on.

“This morning, I have heard some interesting circumstantial evidence but we really need more than circumstantial evidence to put before a jury. Remember, the Defence only has to establish a reasonable doubt and if the jury agrees, they will acquit the accused. On the other hand, the Prosecution must prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt.

“So far, you have not given me a complaint from the alleged victim and that makes for a reasonable doubt straight away. There is no independent evidence. There is no forensic evidence. I do not think that Mr Kustenskys aircraft has been subjected to forensic examination to find traces of Mrs McEwans DNA?

There are cases where we would proceed even without a specific complaint from a victim but we would need strong and unequivocal evidence that would make the case for the prosecution, all on its own.

At the moment, you just do not have that. Consider Ms Tereshkova. I agree that the person on Mr Kustenskys aeroplane might have been Mrs McEwan and not Ms Tereshkova but Ms Tereshkova is sticking to her story on Facebook and in casual social contact. I think there is every chance that she would do so if she was to be cross-examined in court and a jury would be likely to believe her, leaving the prosecution unable to link Mrs McEwans departure from the UK to Mr Kustenskys aeroplane.

“At the moment, I think there are grounds for suspicion but there is not enough to make me think there would be a successful prosecution. The key to this of course, is Mrs McEwan. If she eventually makes a complaint and can give a coherent account, such that a jury might believe her, then there is something to talk about seriously.”

“Thank you. Mr Appleyard, can make the final contribution and give us the Foreign Office view?”

Appleyard is in his early fifties. He has a thick head of immaculately cut black hair, fashionably streaked with silver. He wears a very well tailored dark blue pin striped suit with a pale blue shirt and a regimental tie. He speaks softly in perfect received pronunciation English. His soft voice means all those present must keep silence as he speaks. In this effortless way, he seems to command the meeting

“Gentlemen, Inspector Thomassen and Sergeant Borland. They say that people who do not know history are destined to repeat it. Here you have a case which seems to involve a very highly placed foreigner in some monkey business. What has recent history to teach us in these circumstances?

“Consider Andrei Litvinenko. Mr Litvinenko died in University College Hospital in November 2006 from a lethal dose of radioactive polonium 210, which is not something one can buy from a branch of Boots the Chemist! (9) Before he died, Mr Litvinenko had met some old friends who were visiting London and who had come from Russia a few days before. The police discovered a trail of radiation from the restaurant where the friends ate together, to the seat in the Arsenal Football Stadium where they watched a game of football, to the seat occupied by one of them in the British Airways aircraft which brought him to London. I think we can all agree that this is very strong evidence that one of the friends brought to London the lethal chemical which killed Mr Litvinenko.

“The United Kingdom applied to the Russian Authorities for the extradition of the man they suspected of the crime, which by now was murder. The Russians refused but offered to arrange a trial in Moscow. The United Kingdom refused because crimes committed in the UK should be tried here. There was an impasse and in due course, the suspect was elected to the Duma and now enjoys immunity from prosecution.

Here is a case where even the strongest evidence almost a smoking gun, as they say was rehearsed in public on the world stage but our authorities completely failed to bring the case to trial, let alone secure a conviction.

“In the McEwan case you have - as far as I am any judge very little in the way of strong evidence. The victim has not made a complaint. She is in prime physical condition, has not become addicted to drugs and is even beautiful. There is someone else who is prepared to state on social media and in private that it was she who left Farnborough Airport aboard a private aeroplane on the day Mrs McEwan disappeared and the only doubt you can cast on this story is that the ambulance which took Ms Tereshkova from the private hospital to the airport took an hour longer than it might have to make the journey, negotiating several notorious traffic black spots on the way.

“Is this enough for the United Kingdom to approach the Russians and ask for the arrest and extradition of a wealthy and very well connected businessman with a hitherto excellent reputation?

Frankly, it is nowhere near enough. It would be a complete waste of time and the only effect would be to complicate our relationship with the Russians which are still seriously out of kilter after the Litvinenko murder.

“However, I would like to direct your attention elsewhere and I apologise if I am being impertinent but it seems to me that you have been caught up with chasing the exotic, namely Mr. Kustensky at the exclusion of the prosaic?

“Mrs McEwans troubles began at Inward Bound. Why dont you look more closely at Inward Bound?”

As Appleyard speaks, a number of the police officers start to look uncomfortable or glance down at their papers or find that this is a good moment to gaze out of the window. What Appleyard is saying is correct. Uncomfortably correct. They ought to have concerned themselves with matters at home before looking abroad but Appleyard has not finished giving them a lesson in basic investigation: “Consider the CIA Rendition fiasco, for example. Suppose the CIA really are telling you the truth? Suppose the CIA was not responsible? Who were the men who abducted and interrogated Mrs McEwan and Professor Dawney? Who exactly are the owners of Inward Bound? Where does their money come from? What happens to the people who sign up for one of these peculiar courses? Perhaps if you can answer these questions, you can make some more progress with the investigation.

“And if Deputy Assistant Commissioner Davis will forgive me, surely there is enough money left in the Bank to ask a few more questions in Suffolk?”

    1. Canopus ImpEx, Brick Lane, East London

Canopus ImpEx is the front organization for Freddies Special Products Division, his criminal enterprise. Canopus used to be surrounded by many similar import-export companies concerned with freight movements and located close to the London Docks.

The ships and the freight hauliers moved over a quarter century ago to the new London Container Terminal at Tilbury, a modern deep-water container port but there are still a few of the old East End companies left, some operating, some fading away as their owners sell up and retire. Canopus ImpExp will also cease trading soon but perhaps cease trading only from their old London location …

Freddie and Ellie are in another private meeting. Just them, Larry Ross the liaison with Inward Bound, Harry the lead officer for Acquisitions and Dr Pamela Jordan. Sarah, the secretary is not present. They are debating the future of the Warwick Training Centre, in the light Freddie and Ellies retirement plans

Amongst the meeting papers is information from Warwickshire Planning Department about some residential building which has been approved. The development is uncomfortably close to the Facility.

“The trouble with Britain is that it is just too damn small. Too many people, too close together. When you find somewhere thats empty it is too far away from anywhere else, too wet, too cold and too conservative. Like Scotland. The locals all know whats going on and take too much of an interest in new developments.”

“Thats a bit glum, isnt it Freddie?” responds Harry. “The Centre has done well for us over the years. I mean, is there anywhere else in the UK you would want to use?”

Dr Jordan joins the conversation: “if one was able to build a slave training facility from scratch I do not think it would look like the premises we have at the moment. I think Freddie is right about location. If there is to be a substantial residential development near by, the chances of accidental discovery increase. Everything from casual curiosity about what work is carried on at the Centre, questions about why there is the security fencing and also a greater the chance that someone who knows about the legitimate side of FCE might happen to pass the Centre and ask questions. I think Freddie is right to start thinking about its future.”

“I suppose”, adds Larry, “that if you were starting from scratch you might want something like Inward Bound which is of course exactly why we invested in them in the first place. The next question for me is what we do with the people who have been through IWB and are suitable to transition from amateur slaves to professionals at some point in the future.”

“Agreed”, says Freddie, “you see, thats where the Kushtians Cultural Experience Programme or what ever they called it would have been perfect however, the tide of history seems to be against us in Kushtia, blast it!”

Larry continues. “Also, think politics and social change. The police are so much more interested in unexplained disappearance and people trafficking nowadays.”

“Anyway”, continues Freddie, “as far as training centre is concerned, I find myself getting more and more envious of Steve Glennis and that private island of his. Small enough to be manageable. Large enough to cater for every aspect of training. Far enough away so the goings on stay completely private and surrounded by water which is full of sharks who provide the best of security and without cost. Much better than rusting metal fences with security cameras and lights.”

“Drones?” Adds Harry with a smile

“I expect he has radar and missiles”, offers Larry

“Back to work, boys, lets keep this serious,” says Ellie. “Freddie is right about Steves island. If we (she glances across to Freddie) were not minded to retire, I would be proposing that we make a more formal proposal to Steve, to merge our two organisations and of course that is still a way forward for those of you still working but today we have to take a decision about the old Training Center. The options are to sell as it is, after all trace of the specialized equipment is removed or to have it demolished and sell the site.”

“I think we should demolish” says Larry. “But I think there might be hoops to go through first. We need to apply for permission to demolish from the local council planning department and we had better check the roof.”

“The roof?” asks Freddie. “What is the issue with the roof?”

“It might be made of asbestos. We will have to get surveyors in, to check. If the roof is asbestos sheeting, it all has to be removed by specialist contractors. I know because I have a cousin who is a Building Samples Analyst. She was telling me at a party.”

“Im sorry to hear about the sort of parties you go to Larry,” adds Harry, in mock sympathy.

“The fucking roof …” says Freddie. “All right. Summary. Ideal world. Is the Warwickshire Centre ideal? No. Is it in use just now? No. Have we new enquires? Yes. Have these firmed up into new contracts? No. Would getting rid of the site raise any eyebrows? No. It is completely understandable. Recession. Firms selling off unwanted assets and property, especially old-fashioned facilities. I mean, its not near a transport hub and legitimate FCE would not want a regional distribution depot there? So lets get rid of it. Harry - can you organize the removal and resale (if we can) of all the specialized equipment, prison doors, anchor points for chains in the walls and floors, all that sort of stuff. Larry, you seem to know about asbestos. When the place is clean get the roof inspected. When thats been done and we know whats what, I will contact the Planning Department and say we wish to dispose of redundant facilities and apply for a demolition order so the whole place turns into a brown field site for redevelopment.” (10)

With a flash of sophistication, Freddie adds “… and I am quite keen to see all the walls and floors and everything else that might have slave DNA on it disappearing into a concrete crusher.”


1. Moscow City

Moscow City is a new financial district built to provide a contemporary financial service hub, like the Canary Wharf Development in London and La Defense in Paris.

2. Maskirovka

A famous Russian technique of military deception

3. Scotland Yard

Scotland Yard is a location on the north bank of the River Thames near the Houses of Parliament which became the Headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in the nineteenth century The address became a synonym for the Force. The present HQ is in a glass and steel tower block near Victoria Station and is called New Scotland Yard”

4. The Organizational Structure of the Metropolitan Police can be found on Wikipedia.

5. TOR

TOR is an acronym for The Onion Router and is a method of sending messages across the internet through a large number of independent routers, to make is very difficult be sure where a message originated from or was sent to.

6. Stockholm Syndrome

A recognised phenomenon where abducted victims come to take the part of their captors. First described in 1973 when it was observed in the victims of a bank siege in Stockholm.

7. The Rikskriminal Polisen

The Swedish national police force.

8. The Crown Prosecution Service

The body responsiblein the UK for bringing prosecutions on behalf of the state.

9. The Litvenenko Case.

There was a UK Government Enquiry Report published in 2016. It can be found online

10. Brown Field Sites

Ex-industrial land, suitable for development only when the mess of the last users has been cleared up.


    1. In Moscow

As Anatoly strides purposefully thought the streets, the rhythm of his steps and the cool autumnal air once more prompt his thoughts to arrange and rearrange themselves in new and useful patterns. A few steps behind, his security team follow in discreet persuit.

The problem of the moment, the Vyera problem, is beginning to take up seriously too much time - which is often the case when a solution seems out of reach. Now at last, Anatoly has a plan to bring the situation under control. Now he understands how to fight the campaign. It is from an unexpected direction and it will be wise actually it will be essential - for him to get the approval of Mikhail Barysovitch and the approval of those above him and beyond them, approval from those in the political sphere. Anatoly would generally try to avoid involving the very highest authorities with operational details but in this case, it is necessary.

Anatoly has chosen an opulent venue for lunch. He feels in charge of events again and he wants Mikhail to know it. The National Hotel (1) is very suitable and convenient for Mikhails office, less so for the AKE Corporate Headquarters but that is an advantage for Anatoly because as walks briskly towards the appointment, he can clarify in his mind exactly how to explain his scheme.

Anatoly finds Mikhail and another man - a body guard - waiting for him in the lobby. He holds out his hand to Mikhail and says … “I have arranged a private room for us two. There is no need for your assistant to wait out side” and turning to the assistant he says “go to the dining room and order lunch for yourself along with my boys here”, as he indicates his own security detail. “Tell them to add it to my account for the day”. The assistant looks at Mikhail for guidance and Mikhail waves him away and lets Anatoly take him up to the private dining room which awaits them.

Anatoly is wearing a dark grey suit with a pale blue shirt and a restrained dark blue tie striped with white. He looks sober and his tie creates an impression of freshness. Mikhail on the other hand is all together more flamboyant. On this occasion he wears a pale grey suit brought to life with a thin white chalk stripe and contrasting bright lemon shirt and bright blue tie. The tie is spotted with yellow elephants raising their trunks, the elephants complementing the colour of his shirt.

Anatoly allows himself a smile as he takes in a statement in tailoring about the modern secret policeman. The observation Sveta had made about Mikhail Barysovitch was true: someone had taught him refinement and elegance.

“Ah, the room. Please Mikhail Barysovitch, after you.”

The view from this particular room is magnificent Red Square. For most people it would be a distraction but for Anatoly and Mikhail, it is merely commonplace, a constant background to their lives.

Anatoly and Mikhail take their seats and Anatoly gestures to the menu.

“Mikhail Barysovitch, I have ordered lunch in advance. There is not much to say but a lot to think about I hope this will be acceptable?”

“The meal? Yes of course Anatoly Sergeyevitch, very acceptable but I see there will be four courses? says Mikhail glancing over the menu. “Is there really so much ground to cover?”

“I can merely repeat,” replies Anatoly. “ that there is not much to say but there is much to reflect on and my suggestions will need some careful reflection.”

A waiter enters the room and sets out tiger prawns with plums and pistachio and pours Anatoly and Mikhail each an ice cold vodka into shot glass. “A toast”, says Anatoly. “To success!”

“To Success”, echoes Mikhail Barysovitch with a careful smile. “We always had every confidence in you, Anatoly.”

“Igor Ivanovitch telephoned me yesterday”, says Anatoly, beginning the business of the day.

“Did he? I am sure that would be a valuable interlude in your morning”, replied Mikhail his sarcastic barb skewered into the virtual presence of Dr Mendeleyev in their conversation.

“Igor Ivanovitch is celebrated in his field. I agree that is not so reliable when we ask him to give opinions on matters outside his expertise but that may be our fault, not his.”

“Well there is that of course. So what did he have to say? I am sure there was plenty of theory but was there anything useful, anything practical?”

“He wanted to give advice about how we should manage Vyera with respect to her divided loyalties. Her responsibilities to us and Jennifer McEwans responsibilities to her husband and to the academics she was working with when she was in England.”

“Hmmm, that seems well outside neuropsychology so I dont suppose he had anything in the least bit helpful to offer you?”

“I will not tax you with the details of his suggestions but his words actually were very helpful although not in the way he intended. You see, I realized there was a new perspective on the whole problem. Here it is:

Vyera is going to crack. It is just a matter of time. Inside her head, Vyera Anatolyevna and Jennifer McEwan are both present and each takes centre stage, according to circumstances. When the girl is alone and when she speaks with Neena, she becomes Vyera Anatolyevna. When her husband is at home and when she is out of her house she becomes Jennifer McEwan.

Vyera is under siege from the demands of her husband, her parents, the police, the psychologist and the academics she worked with before she was acquired. This cannot go on. A siege will always end in a surrender and in an engineering context, there is always the risk of failure at the interface between two different materials under stress. As I said before, she is going to crack. It is time we began to establish an alternative narrative of events in the minds of the people around her.”

“You are speaking as if we must leave the girl in place Anatoly Sergeyevitch? To let the crisis break?”

“The only alternatives to leaving her in place are to eliminate her or to abduct her once again. The first alternative will raise interest in the case and will have serious diplomatic ramifications and serious ramifications for me. I dare not think of the effect on Svetlana Nikitechna. I am sure you understand, Mikhail Barysovitch?”

“Of course, of course. We are merely looking at all the alternatives comprehensively?”

“Kidnap is also impractical. It would need the resources of the State and once again, there would be serious diplomatic repercussion with the British. The Americans and the Canadians would quickly become aware of the events, creating further serious difficulties between our countries and of course in my business activities. The Interconnector Project is always going to be at risk from diplomatic tensions and I could see AKE having to withdraw from the project completely but the worst aspect is well, I expect you can easily imagine conservative voices who oppose the project asking why the United States and Canada would want a permanent connection between us in concrete and steel if the Russian Federation is involve in abductions and people trafficking? We have to accept that Vyera Anatolyevna is out of reach, and prepare for the moment when she begins to tell her story.”

The waiter returns, clears away the first course, sets out Gazpacho served with crab and apple mille feuille, pours more vodka and leaves them alone. Anatoly is sure of his scheme and wishes to set it out carefully course by course until by the time of the dessert, Mikhail has been won over. Anatoly needs more that agreement. He needs support and cooperation. The vodka should help to mellow Mikhail Barysovitch, too.

“Anatoly, this lunch is excellent. I like the insightful and realistic assumptions in your argument. Please …”

“Mikhail Barysovitch, let us start with the bald facts of the Vyera story, stated in neutral terms:

In 2009, Professor Angela Dawney and her research student Jennifer Karin McEwan are arrested by the CIA in the UK and interrogated about me and about my business intentions (2) In 2011, Jennifer McEwan travels from the UK and in 2013 returns to her family.”

“People were detained and interrogated by the CIA? About you? Excuse me Anatoly Segeyevitch but why have I not been informed about this before?”

“Because it was not actually the CIA. Merely a criminal gang pretending to be the CIA”

“You know the identity of the criminal elements involved?”

“I do. Exactly. They were people employed by Freddie Clegg Enterprises. They are known in the United Kingdom as a freight forwarding company. As a matter of fact, they are on the British Government list of approved contractors. There is, however, another secret division of the company which is actually the main interest of Freddie Clegg himself. It is a slave trading operation and they have been active in Kushtia for the past several years but have supplied many other buyers too.”

“Ah … so why did they … do they see you as a competitor?”

“It is hard to say for sure but I think that they became aware of my friendship with Angela Dawney and wondered if I was interested in what they were up to. As far as Angela Dawney is concerned, you will recall our interest in her when she was a leading protestor against American Cruise Missiles being deployed in the UK?”

“Yes, yes I remember quite well but I still do not understand why they came to be interrogating Dawney about you, Anatoly Sergeyevitch?”

“The Clegg Organisation have invested in an adult experience company called Inward Bound. Perhaps they were using it as a vehicle to identify potential slaves. Perhaps they were merely trying to diversify. Perhaps they were trying to reduce their exposure to the slavery operation. The police in the UK are beginning to treat people trafficking and modern slavery much more seriously and the Clegg people will be well aware of the fact. Dawney sent one of her students to conduct research at Inward Bound and at some point, the Clegg Organisation must have become aware of Dawneys connection with me. Anyway, the CIA interrogation was a clumsy and particularly risky way to find out if I was.”

“Ah … and the British Authorities will be aware of this little charade by now …”

“Yes, I am sure they are. I expect the real CIA will have been asked about it too. So, on with my proposal:

Jennifer McEwans husband, her family and the UK police force will describe these events she has experienced as Abduction, False Imprisonment and an Escape to Freedom.”

“There is another way to describe these events. I am proposing a new narrative. Mrs McEwan accepted an opportunity to live in Russia. She was able to explain the work she was doing in the United Kingdom and complete the work to the highest standard using the superior facilities of our leading University. She enjoyed many adventures enjoyed is the right word for her when she was with us. She now has a new language, she has a new citizenship, and she has a Doctorate degree. She is stronger and fitter physically and intellectually and she is beautiful. In due course, she returned home.”

“Which narrative is true? Are they both true or is one more true than the other?”

“Mikhail Barysovitch, on the one hand, I think we may have to admit, at some stage, that Vyera Antolyevna Kuznetsova is Jennifer McEwan but, at the same time, we should promote the alternative narrative of events.

On the other hand, we can try to set the British and the Americans against each other by making a diplomatic protest about the clandestine and heavy handed actions of the CIA against me in respect of my international business activities when they arrested and interrogated Professor Dawney, who is an old friend and who both agencies know is an old friend. They will understand that Professor Dawney would have told me about her experiences at the hands of the CIA and this explains how we have the information to make our diplomatic protest.

“This brings the relationship between the British and the CIA centre stage. We can expect the Americans to convince their British friends that they had no part in the CIA charade. We can rely on the British Police to conduct a competent investigation at Inward Bound and uncover the hand of Freddie Clegg and his gang. The discovery will give the British real criminals to hunt down and expends their energy and resources on something very concrete. Meanwhile their attention is directed away from us and Vyera. She is no longer the main event. She becomes a signpost, pointing to the true criminals.”

The waiter returns He clears their table and sets out the main course, grilled rack of lamb served with green and white asparagus. He pours them each another shot of vodka and leaves.

Anatoly concludes his presentation. “Meanwhile, behind the scenes I am preparing to recruit Joseph McEwan to my team of engineers working on the Interconnector Project. We can send him somewhere in North America. His wife will accompany him of course and she will be away from the immediate influence of the police in the United Kingdom. North America is on the opposite side of the world to Russia, but she will still be securely connected to us through the employment of her husband”

Mikhail Barysovitch chuckles at Anatolys ingenuity. A method of dealing with the Vyera problem which complicates the British relationship with the CIA but helps the British to uncover a serious criminal conspiracy. That would be enough to shift their attention, surely? They would not be chasing phantoms any longer. They would have real criminals in their sights. Wonderful! Mikhail merely says: “I can see now why you wanted to leave time for reflection and thought, Anatoly Sergeyevitch. This will have to be considered by people much more senior than myself but it has many attractive things about it. Very attractive things. Let us now enjoy this excellent lamb. I do not wish to be greedy but even though you have given me so much to chew over (Mikhail laughs at his own pun) and I am still looking forward to dessert”

“Strawberry cold soup with vanilla ice cream, then coffee and yes, me too,” replies Anatoly.(3)

    1. In Warwick

Jenny is upstairs when she hears the rattle at the front door. She goes downstairs tentatively, unsure about exactly what to do. On the door mat there are letters.

Jennifer McEwan knew all about letters. She sent them. She read them. She sorted them. Some for her. Some for Joe. Some for them both.

Since Vyera has returned to England, there had been such a lot to get used to - like what to do with letters? Vyera never received letters - who would write to a slave? Instructions and tasks were a different matter. They were an every day affair, but letters?

Vyera picks them up and reads the envelopes carefully. She has to, nowadays. None of the letters look quite right. What they represent has to be sought from deep in memory. The written script she prefers is kyrileetsa. (4) Kyrileetsa in handwriting has a special flowing aesthetic. Vyera can remember carefully practicing each letter, capital and small in endless exercises until each was rendered perfectly and looked beautiful. It had to be both. Neither was good enough on its own. Mistakes were punished by the strap or the crop. Vyera remembers just how a tender bottom always reminded her to take more care over the next exercise.

One of the letters is addressed to Jennifer McEwan and after a moments reflection Vyera understands that Jennifer McEwan is her, now she is here, in England. The paper is nice, so it is not an official letter. The shape is almost square, so it is not about an appointment from Dr Malvern. She does not recognize the writing but she does not feel frightened of it. Ought she to wait until Joe is home, to open it with him there? She prefers to do that. It is safer that way. He is calm and reassuring but the letter seems “friendly” and so Vyera carefully makes a decision. She opens the letter.

Inside is a card and on it there is a beautiful picture of the gardens at Stow. It is a calm, reassuring image. She opens the card. There is neat informal feminine writing inside. Not too much, which is a relief and Vyera begins to feel more confident but by now, she has become Jennifer once more and reads the writing.

Dear Jenny.

We heard recently that you were back home and we all wanted to write and say how pleased we were to have your news.

If there is anything we can do, just pick up the phone. It would be such a pleasure to hear your voice again.

In fact, it you have time, why not come across to Suffolk to visit us? We would so look forward to seeing you in person again.

With all our love,

Corinne, Charlotte and Josephine'

Jennifer is taken completely by surprise. This is something she is not expecting at all. She reads and re-reads the note. It makes her feel happy and warm inside. Yes! She would like to go and see Corinne, Charlotte and Josephine again. Jennifer makes another decision. She is surprised how easy it is. She wants to go. She will go. She will take Joe. They will both go. She will wait for Joe to get home and then with him in the house beside her, she will call Corinne.

After a few moments pause, Jennifer retreats back upstairs. There was something she was going to do. What was it? And in that moment, Jennifer politely steps aside and Vyera re-emerges. There is cleaning to do! She spends a lot of time cleaning these days. Its what she has done for a long time now. Cleaning is simple, precise, orderly and a supervisor can see what has been done. The supervisor can also see what has not been done correctly and arrange punishment.

Punishment is a complex issue. It is unpleasant, to give a slave the opportunity to pay back for work not properly done. To make restitution. After all, a slave has no external resources of her own but she can suffer and suffering comes from within, so it is an almost unlimited resource and thus it teaches the slave generosity. It is educative, helping a slave to learn what is expected and hold the training in mind. It is restorative because afterwards, the slave starts with a clean page, the debt paid by suffering. It is an achievement, when borne stoically. It is well, sometimes almost pleasant, like a sports massage or a vigorous skin rub with an abrasive loofah, leaving the slave feeling happy, free from guilt for their recent infraction and their supervisor, no longer angry and disappointed with them. At such times, a slave has the opportunity to learn gratitude may even become euphoric.

Before, Vyeras supervisor Neena was physically present. Now, Neena is virtually present and in a curious way, omnipresent. She is present in memory, in the results of the technical schooling Vyera has received and sometimes she is immediately present, when she appears without warning on Jennifers PC screen, when Jennifer is working on computer. These are the occasions when Vyera emerges in full force from the secret places in Jennifer McEwans mind. At such times, Jennifer fades to a pale transparent shadow and it is Vyera who occupies her physical form.

The cleaning and tidying done, Vyera feels that it would be appropriate to check emails on the computer. Sometimes she can deal with them. Frequently she tidies them into folders so she can check with Joe what to do.

Its funny: when he is with her, she is so more confident.

She feels safe. Like being with Dr Malvern, only better.

Today, she begins with the BBC News feed. When Vyera is alone, she will usually go to Pyervi Kanal (5) and sometimes sees Gaspazha Kustenskaya which is always a pleasure but is tainted by a tickle of home-sickness. What wonderful romantic musical names some fortunate people enjoy! Vyera rolls a familiar name I her mind, enjoying its poetic rhyme: Gaspazha Svetlana Kustenskaya; such a contrast to the awkward lumpy names of people in England. Ackroyd. Elba. Grantby. Borland. McEwan. The tickle of homesickness becomes a sting. Perhaps one day soon Vyera, one day soon…

Vyera has just opened their email account, hers and Josephs when without warning, the image of Neena Alexandrovna Kirova fills the screen! It always comes unexpectedly and seems to come from a tiny spot in the top left corner of the desktop, expanding until it occupies the whole screen. Then Vyera must give Neena her whole attention but how could she ever not do so? Neena is her Supervisor.

“Good morning, Vyerochka!”

“Good morning Mistress. How can I help?” (Vyera notices that Neena has used the “affectionate” diminutive of her name, so Neena must be pleased with her)

“You are alone?”

“Yes, Gaspazha.”

“You are occupied?”

“I have just cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen. The wash hand basin and shower are clean, dry and polished, also the taps. In the kitchen, I have cleaned and dried the sink and given special attention to the plug and sink drain.”


“Yes, Gaspazha. The plugs in the kitchen and bathroom wash hand basin.”

“Vyerka! That is a disappointing thing to hear you say. You know that we regard the western habit of putting plugs in sinks and washing with dirty water as a very retrograde and insanitary thing to do? A dirty thing to do?”

Vyerka. Now Neena is being critical and showing it.

“I understand, Gaspazha . I am sorry but I was merely cleaning them.”

“So, you do not use them?”

“No, Gaspazha. I wash in running water and tell Joseph he must do so and in the kitchen I rinse all the pans, crockery and knives and forks and utensils in running water. Then I put them into the dishwasher for final cleaning and items which cannot go there are washed by hand in the sink with clean hot water and detergent.”

“Much better! I was worried that you were beginning to be careless? Perhaps you know but in the fourteenth century, the Black Death plague did not cross into Russia and we attribute this to our traditional high standards of cleanliness. I do not want to think that you are picking up slovenly western habits?”

“No, of course not Gaspazha.”

“It must be hard for you to live in such circumstances. Of course it is part of your training and when you are ready to come back home, well what a relief that will be?”

“Yes, Gaspazha” When Neena speaks like this, it is so easy for Jenny to agree with her and so easy to forget Joe and her parents and Cathy and indeed, to forget who she really is.

“What else have you done?”

“The floor has been swept and washed and the work-surfaces are tidy and clean. Some letters have arrived and I have sorted them. There was one for Jennifer. Gaspazha, I opened that one …”

“Did you?”

“Yes …”

“And who was it from?”

“It was from Corinne, Charlotte and Josephine, the staff at …”

“Yes Vyera” Neena is speaking formally now rather than affectionately but she is no longer critical. “I know who they are. What did they have to say to you?”

“They said they were glad to know I was in England and said they would like to hear from me or even to see me, in person.”

“Did they? Did they? How interesting. That is the reason for my visit and of course, to receive your report about how you have spent your time this morning. So: Dr Mendeleyev. He has instructions for you!”

“Yes, Gaspazha?”

“The idea behind your research was first thought of by Dr Mendeleyev. He mentioned the project idea to Professor Dawney” - Vyera notices that when Neena or any of her new family speak of Professor Dawney, she feels no stab of fear or anxiety, only a feeling of complete calm - “who made arrangements to begin work on the project. This work was not authorized. Do you understand?”

Vyera does understand. Work not authorized must not be carried out until authorization and instructions have been received. This at last explains why it was necessary for Jennifer to be taken to Russia, so she could become Vyera. To re-establish control. At last Vyera begins to enjoy, inside herself, the reassurance of understanding.

“You made a confidentiality agreement with the Professional Staff at Inward Bound, to keep the data and analytical work confidential, I think?”

“Yes, Gaspazha.”

“Very well.” Actually Neena says Horosho. The sound of the word makes Vyera feel warm inside. Horosho. It was always a nice to hear the word Horosho. It meant all was well. It meant that her Superiors were pleased with her. Vyera liked people to be pleased with her …

“You have permission to visit Inward Bound. If the Professional Staff ask about your project, remember that the project belonged to Dr Mendeleyev. You are authorized to say that you worked on a project when you were away but the project belonged to your scientific supervisor. You are authorized to say that the data security is understood and is respected. Completely. There will be no consequences for any of the subjects or the Inward Bound Staff mentioned in the data you collected at the Inward Bound Centre. All except you, Vyera. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Gaspazha!” By now Vyera is smiling broadly. There would be consequences for her. That meant her new family still loved her, just as she loved them. One day she would be back with them. That would be Oichen horosho! (6)

“You may make your appointment and if asked, you may give that message. Repeat, once more, in your own words.”

“I am allowed to make an appointment to see Corinne, Charlotte and Josephine at the Inward Bound Centre. I am authorized to say that I worked on a project when I was away. A project that belonged to my scientific supervisor. The data I had collected at Inward Bound was available. Data security is understood and will be respected. There will be no consequences for anyone in the list of participants in the IWB trial, except me.”

“Horosho Verochka. Oichen horosho but one more thing.”

“Yes, Gaspazha?”

“There is no need to mention the consequences for you. Simple messages are good messages. The consequences for you is our secret. You and me. The consequence for you is that you will soon come back to us. Understand?”

“Yes, Gaspazha, I understand”, says Vyera who notices how pleasantly wet she has become during her interview with Neena.

Neenas image smiles broadly, blows Vyera a kiss and is gone - and Jennifer McEwan is alone once more, in a small house, in a suburban street, in the English Midlands.

    1. In Edgbaston

Jennifer McEwan is at the Edgbaston Trauma Clinic. She is attending a regular counseling session with Dr Laura Malvern, a psychologist who specializes in the care of patients who have suffered psychological trauma. Jennifer has endured very significant trauma. She has endured an abduction and has been held captive in slavery for almost two years.

Jennifer is ambivalent about her recent history. She has a new language, is actually a citizen of a new country (something she has yet to confide to anyone in her home country) She completed her research and has graduated PhD from a prestigious European university (another secret) and there were aspects of her captivity which fulfilled some of her deepest desires but which simultaneously horrified and terrified her. All these emotions warp and flux in her mind. Who is she now? Is she once more Jennifer Karin McEwan a free woman and married to Joseph or is she really Vyera Anatolyevna Kuznetsova, a slave and someone who is owned? Should she be proud of what she achieved? Should she burn with indignation about how she was abused? How should she regard her erstwhile captors? With affection? With loyalty? With anger? With loathing? If only she could find some safe calm place to reflect in peace about what has happened to her. If only she could reach some understanding about how much she could and how much she should confide to her husband, her parents her friends and to Dr Anne Elba, the Police Psychologist who is also taking a very great interest in her case.

Jennifer is growing to like Dr Malvern. She feels Dr Malvern is on her side. She can speak to Dr Malvern with confidence because the meetings are in confidence. Even Joe will not know what she has disclosed, what she has confessed and Dr Elba will not get to know, either.

“So how are you feeling today? Are you on your own or is Joe with you?”

“Joe is downstairs. Coming to see you is an opportunity for us to have time together. His firm give him the time away from work to bring me but I worry about it sometimes.”


“Well, yes. He should be at work and I should be able to get here on my own. I am not exactly an invalid.”

“No of course not. Are his firm getting awkward about him having the time off?”

“Er … I dont think so. Its just me. I dont want to be a burden. I dont want to queer his pitch with the firm. They have just merged with another company and - well I suppose it makes us a bit nervous about what might happen. You know?”

“Yes, I know. Jenny, if you feel you can come alone, you should. What would you have to do? Train from Warwick to Birmingham its Moor Street Station, isnt it? Then you could get a taxi to here. Could you manage that?”

“I will tell him, for next time.”

“Yes, for next time. So what about this time? What have you been up to at home?”

“I have been getting our home properly clean.”

“Was it in a bit of a mess when you got home?”

“No, not really. Joe is a modern man Cooks, irons, knows how to clean the bathroom. That sort of thing. Its just … its just …”

“Go on. Take your time … “

“Its just that he had not done it to the proper standard.”

“Standard? You sound like a professional.”

“Well I suppose I sort of am now. He has not kept house to the standard I have been taught.”

“A friend of mine did a holiday job in a hotel in Switzerland. The woman who was in charge of the cleaning - I mean its was exactly what you would expect of Switzerland was obsessed with getting the linen ironed just so and having perfect hospital corners on the bed sheets. Is that what you mean? Did you work in a hotel?”

“Work in a hotel? Oh no. No I meant when I was away.”

“Oh. Do you want to talk about that?”

“You wont tell, will you?”

“Tell? Of course not. Tell who, anyway?”

“Dr Elba.”

“No, I will not tell Dr Elba unless you say its OK. You were going to tell me how to keep house?”

“When I was away, one of the jobs I did was to help keep the house clean.”

“Was it a flat or a house?”

“It was a house.”

“Was it big?”

“Big? It was enormous! Like a stately home. I suppose that is what it was.”

“Was there just you?”

“No, of course not. There was a permanent staff. There were four people on the domestic side, and a chef and he had an assistant. There was a gardener well he had help too and then there were the security people. There was my supervisor and a gym teacher.”

“Thats … thats about a dozen people?”

“Yes, twelve. Thats about right. Actually maybe it was fifteen or even twenty. Sometimes more.”

“So what was it like?”

“At first I just got simple jobs. Sweeping carpets and so on. I got kitchen portering jobs to do. I got to help the gardener sometimes. As time went on, I was able to do more. Everything I did had to be completely right or my Supervisor would notice.”

“What did he say? Or was it a she?”

“She would cane me if it was not up to standard. You soon learn to work to a high standard, if you might get caned …”

“You got beaten?”

“No, I was caned. Beaten sounds a bit out-of-control. Caning is precise. Number of strokes. Placement. Strength. Its very precise, as I said.”

“What did … I mean how did you … I mean what did you feel about that?”

“At first I was really, really angry. Then I was distraught, especially when I thought about it going on like that for ever and ever. Then I thought the way to deal with the situation was to play them at their own game and to do better than they expected.”

“Ah … did that work?”

“No. No, of course not. First, because the more I did, the more they expected and second, the harder I worked the more the work seemed right and appropriate for me to be doing it. It ended up as a sort of defeat. I started out fighting and I ended up surrendering and accepting the role they gave me.”

“Is that what you did every day?”

“Yes and no. Yes, everyday there was housework to do and no it was not the only thing I did. I did a gym work out, usually first thing. Then I had language work to do. Cleaning next. PhD next.”

“You did research?”

“Yes. I had a psychologist and a statistician to work with.”

“Oh. But that must have been something you started there?”

“Oh no. I worked on the data I collected in the UK. It had all been copied and was there when I arrived.”

And then Jennifer realizes! She had not been authorized to say that. She had made a mistake in the message she had agreed with Neena! She blushes deeply and then she blusters, “I mean I worked on … you see the project really belonged to my scientific supervisor so really all the data was his. The UK data collection had not been authorized but there will be no consequences for anyone in the list of participants because data security and confidentiality is completely understood … I am so sorry … I really should not have said it that way …” and by now tears are filling Jennifers eyes and whilst she knows that Dr Malvern must be able to see but she cant see Dr Malvern looking at her, through her tears, which in some odd way makes it better.

Dr Malvern leans back in her chair. She cant quite get to grips with this latest unexpected revelation, the matter-of-fact way in which Jenny began to supply it and then anxiety and emotional turmoil Jenny had shown afterwards.

Uh oh, she thinks.

“Jenny,” she says, “lets just take this step by step and stop when you have gone far enough, OK? Let me give you some safe words. I will ask a question and if you say Green I will know that it is an easy question for you to answer. If you say Amber, I will know that answering is difficult. If you say Red, I will know that you cant go on. Would that be better?”

“Yes thank you”, says Jennifer with a sigh, “much better”

“So what did you do at Warwick?”

“Green. I was a research student”

“Was that in the Psychology Department?”

“Green. Yes it was.”

“Were you working towards something like a PhD?”

“Green. Yes, I was.”

“Did you work on your research at the University?”

“Green. Yes, I worked in the Library and took part in the teaching but I did the data collection at Inward Bound, in Suffolk”

“I once read a book called How To Get a PhD (7) and the authors spent a lot of time talking about the relationship between the supervisor and the student. I suppose it has to be … erm …”

“Amber … My supervisor at Warwick was … was … Professor Angela Dawney”

“That sounds if your relationship was not easy?”

“No, it was not easy. Angela and I were … had been … I am sorry I cant say any more about that. Not today. Its Red”

“Ah ha. So you did academic work when you were away?”

Jenny sighs and stays silent for several moments. “This is Amber” she says at last.

“Do you want to stop?”

“I am not sure. It depends on where you want to go.”

“Was it similar work?”

“It was academic work …”

“Was the subject area the same?”

Jenny pauses once more. She knows she has to speak carefully and then she realizes that whilst Jennifer must be careful, Vyera knows exactly what she can say and what she cannot say. She has been told by Neena. She has even practiced what to say, in Neenas virtual presence. Now she can be confident! Just let Vyera do the talking and she will be safe! Vyera says: “I worked on a project when I was away. A project that belonged to my scientific supervisor. As background some of the data I had collected at Inward Bound was available. Data security is understood and will be respected. There will be no consequences for anyone in the list of participants participating in the IWB trial.”

Laura immediately notices the change of tone in Jennifers remarks, as if she is repeating a prepared statement. All the hesitation and anxiety of a few moments ago are gone. Dr Malvern gently probes deeper …

“So what was the focus of your project? The subject area, I mean?”

“The provisional title of my Thesis was going to be An Investigation into Changes in Human Play Behaviour Under Stress. Basically, I followed a cohort of people as they went through an IWB course and looked at how their psychological outlook changed during their experience, using questionnaire instruments.” (8)

“IWB? Tell me again?”

“It stands for Inward Bound. Its a sort of adventure playground for adults. They put on courses for people who want to play with power exchange in the BDSM sense of the word. Playing at … at … at being sexual slaves.”

“And you were studying how their outlook changes during the time of the course?”


“What about when you were away?”

Jenny notices that she is alone in the room with Dr Malvern. Vyera has gone. This is a new question and Vyera was not given precise instructions about how exactly to answer it. She has no prepared words. She no longer knows exactly what to say. A look of fear and panic darts across her face. She opens her mouth to speak and Dr Malvern says, “You know … what about stopping there? For today? What do you think?”

Laura Malvern notices that in the split second it takes for Jennys brain to compute what she has just said, Jennys countenance changes again and she becomes calm.

“Yes”, says Jenny. “Lets stop there”, but then she continues, “anyway, I am going back to IWB.”

“You are?”

“Yes. I had a letter from Corinne and Charlotte and Josephine to say that they had heard I was back and that it would be nice to meet up again and I thought it would be too, so Joe and I are going this weekend, just to say Hi.”

This, thinks Laura Malvern, might be a good moment to see how consistent Jenny is in what she has told me about her research data: how much reliance can I place on this rather strange story? She probes circumspectly, once more …

She says, “Corinne might want to know about the data you collected, about what happened to it and if it is safe. I expect you had to sign a confidentiality agreement and put special arrangements in place to keep the data secure …”

To her surprise, Jenny replies without hesitation. “Yes, you are quite right. We did (thats Professor Dawney and me) sign confidentiality agreements with IWB and all the participants and had to demonstrate how we were going to safeguard the data and especially safe guard the list of participation subjects and staff. I was really worried about this because I knew the data had been used outside the context of the agreement. By me. When I was away. I knew I ought to tell Corinne she runs IWB but I did not have permission and now I have. It is such a relief! I have been given instructions my Supervisor has been in touch earlier this week to say that I am allowed to provide complete reassurance that data security is understood and accepted and that there will be no consequences for anyone on the list of participants …”

Jennys answer is so slick, so confident and straightforward that there are only two possibilities. Its the complete truth or Jenny is a complete fantasist and in fact the most accomplished fantasist Laura Malvern has even encountered. Malvern looks carefully at Jenny. She sits, her body now relaxed. Her face relaxed. Her eyes lightly resting on Laura. There are no signs of anxiety, only of complete assurance. This girl is actually telling the truth, thinks Malvern, but then … she contemplates the uncomfortable conclusion …

Jenny is speaking again, “I might have to point out that the data has been copied and that I completed the analysis and wrote up the research report, so really the project has been completed. If they ask me”

Laura Malvern asks “your supervisor?”

Jenny but actually Vyera this time, replies. “My supervisor where I lived but she passed on instructions from my academic supervisor”

Dr Malvern knows that patients who have suffered emotional and psychological trauma (as far as the two are ever separate) will never recover until the trauma stops. Painful memories are usually the source of continuing trauma. In Jennifer McEwans case, it seemed that the continuing trauma is being perpetrated by the people who had been responsible for Jennifers absence, perhaps even abduction and who are still in easy contact with her, still trying to control her.

Laura Malvern has a duty of confidentiality to her client. She also has a duty of care. The aim of the therapy is to restore Jennifer McEwan to heath. She cannot do that until the trauma stops. She is going to have to contact Annie Elba again and explain the position, explain the new information she has been given. Between them, they will now have to put some plan in place to isolate Jennifer from the continuing influence of her stalkers, perhaps her abductors and perhaps on reflection, Jennifer really does need asylum? An Asylum as a place of safety, where she would be out of harms way?

    1. References

1. The National Hotel, Moscow

Five star luxury in the centre of Moscow. You can stay in the room Lenin used in March 1918 (#107), if you like.

2. Arrest & Interrogation of Professor Dawney & Jennifer

The story of this crucial incident is told in detail in Thesis, the first book in our story, in chapter 22

3. Mikhail & Anatoly's Lunch

The lunch Mikhail and Anatoly enjoy was selected from a menu available on the National Hotel website when this chapter was being written. Unfortunately, neither Phil nor Freddie has been able to try it out in person!

4.Kyrilleetsa, (êèðèëëèöà)

In English, Cyrillic is the Russian written script developed by St Cyril and St Methodius to help them spread the Christian Gospel to the Slavic people.

5. Pyervi Kanal

Literally “First Channel” Pyervi Kanal claims to be the best funded Russian TV station.

6. Oichen Horosho!

(Î÷åí õîðîøî) Very good!

7.How To Get A Phd: A Handbook For Students And Their Supervisors

Paperback 1 Aug 2015 by Estelle Phillips (Author), Derek.S. Pugh (Contributor)

Open University Press

ISBN -10:  0335264123

ISBN -13: 978-0335264124

8. Jenny's Research

Readers interested in looking at a genuine academic investigation into BDSM sexuality may enjoy

Through Pain, More Gain?

A Survey into the Psychosocial Benefits of Sadomasochism

Andrea Duarte Silva

Department of Psychology - Faculty of Social Sciences

Universitetet I Oslo

October 14 2015

which can be downloaded as a pdf document from the internet


    1. Guderian at Dunkirk

In a quiet moment during his office day, Anatoly picks up the Vyera file and reads. He reviews the resume of the telephone calls and email traffic. He notes Neenas e-visits to Vyera and her appointments with the therapeutic psychologist, Malvern. The calls, text and emails to her parents. Vyeras calls to her husband and his calls to her. Anatoly goes to the second section of the file to remind himself about Vyeras husband Joseph. About the company which employs him, about what he did for the company and what he did when his wife Jennifer disappeared and became the new woman “Vyera” he is now getting to know. Anatoly notes Josephs calls to a colleague called Gwenda. If Sveta had not intervened and so to speak, altered the course of history, Anatoly wonders if Gwenda and Joseph might have found happiness together? Joseph is a brave and resourceful young man, the sort of person who could easily find a place in Anatolys organization, if only Anatoly is able to get the engineering right. And Joseph would bring Vyera with him …

As he grows older, Anatoly often finds himself thinking about his father.

He remembers standing by his father on one occasion as they looked at a picture of Army officers who themselves were standing and gazing at a map. In the picture, Anatolys father points to a location and glances up at his Commander, Marshal Gregory Zhukov. (1)

“Its important Anatoly”, said his father, “to follow orders carefully. Especially if the orders come from a man like this”. He taped the image of Zhukov. “On the other hand there are times when you have to know which orders to disregard.

Did I tell you about the time when the German panzer leader Heinz Guderian lost the Great Patriotic War in West Europe by following orders?

In 1940, he had pushed the British forces right to the sea. There they were trapped along the Belgian coast. Guderian was poised to strike the final fatal blow which would have destroyed the ability of the British to resist Hitler on land in the west. For some reason, Hitler told Guderian to stop advancing. There he sat, tank engines running, consumed in frustration whilst a few kilometres away, the British slipped away across the sea in a ridiculous armada of small boats. (2) By and by his chance of finishing off the British vanished and all because he obeyed an order. Do you know what he should have done? Gone right ahead and told Hitler that the final attack was in progress and could not be halted! You see, Guderian knew better than the German High Command exactly what the position was on the ground. Orders from superiors do not excuse a soldier from using his brain. So that goes to show little Anatoly that sometimes you have to know when to disobey!”

Anatoly as a mature adult is now able to understand much more exactly the sage advice from his father, General Sergei Kustensky, Hero of the Soviet Union. Anatoly smiles. Mikhail Barysovitch Antonov is in Anatolys opinion - not at his best in a crisis. He told Anatoly to dismantle the surveillance equipment planted in Vyeras home in England. Clearly, a panic response. This was an order Anatoly had disobeyed and he was reaping the benefits of holding fast. He will not mention the details to Mikhail Barysovitch but the information he is learning is sharpening his plans about what to do next.

    1. Petra stalks her Prey

After Petra finds the exact location of Jenny and Joe's home she formulates a careful surveillance plan. As an American she is unusual, although not the novelty she might have been years ago. Still, she would linger in memory if she had an accidental encounter with one or more of the McEwan's neighbours or worse still, an unexpected meeting with the McEwans themselves.

Petra begins in the safety of her hotel room in London and brings up the McEwans address on Google Earth. She has an excellent aerial view of their property and the neighbourhood and a street map which allows her to plan a drive-by in the most discrete way.

Petra has to gain some detailed knowledge of the McEwan's routine and of their immediate plans. The technical question is, how should she arrange the eves-drop?

Petra turns again to the satellite image and increases the size to maximum resolution. It seem almost as if she hovers above the roof of the property. Petra is searching for some vulnerability, some point of leverage she can exploit to help her find a technical answer to her problem ...

Over dinner that evening (she chooses to go Oriental, to Kai Mayfair because it is simply the best. Sharp. Elegant. Beautiful and with food to match.) (3) Petra muses over what to do about Tracy. She thinks back over the revealing conversation she had with Randolf and Chuck Yates, the Randolf Corporation Chief Financial Accountant. (4)

So Petra, Chuck and I are gonna have to put you more in the picture about the Corporation. Give you some important context. Chuck? ...”

Well Petra, it's like this. Frankly, the Corporation has been in poor shape over the past few years. We are seriously over-valued. We need real money to refinance and to get working capital to rebuild our financial foundations ...”

So why not just go to the Bank and borrow?” Petra asked. “If people think you are a good risk and a valuable company, that should be no problem?”

The banks are being much more careful and frankly, I dont want them crawling over the company accounts” replied Randolf.

and the reason is”, continues Chuck, “that the accounts have not told the complete picture about the corporate finances for quite a while, So what we did”, continues Chuck.

Look, Petra it's like this” said Randolf, following through. “Along comes The Nineties. After the Soviet Union collapsed I could smell money. Could we cut some deal with the former soviets? Hell, I thought wed be dealing with a bunch of engineers who knew fuck all about business or a collection of ex-pinko communist apparatchiks who did not know which way up the balance sheet went.”

And I guess it did not turn out quite like that?”

No siree girl, it did not.

... so we took a leaf out of the Enron Book” (5) adds Chuck. “We set up a number of Special Purpose Vehicles. These separate an investment from the main balance sheet. If it makes money, you can transfuse money into the main Corporation accounts. If it loses, it is off the books but the main thing is that the share price is not affected by what the SPVs are doing.” (6)

I wanted them just to bring investment capital into the Corporation” explains Randolf. “... and avoid tax” adds Chuck with an accountants precision.

Well, Boris found out that we were over-valued and he guessed that we had been using our East Europe operations to rebuild our finances” added Randolf.

... you see Petra, they knew that we had not been correctly declaring profits and The Treasury does not like that” the pedantic Chuck explained.

... and I have no intention of doing jail time like that dumbass Jeffery Skilling” added Randolf. (7)

... so Manfred sent Tracy to tie up the East European operation.”

To cut the Russians loose?”

Yep, thats about it. A few more months and we would not have needed them any more” Randolf replied.

And now they have Tracy, she is security to guarantee your good behavior”, says Petra, summarizing the situation.

Yes Petra, thats it. Tracy also knows where a whole lot more bodies are buried.”

Petra glances at her watch. 9pm in London but 3pm in Houston. Chuck Yates would still be at his desk. Petra places the call. She reaches the Corporation switchboard and is soon speaking with Chucks secretary.

“Mr Yates Office …”

“This is Petra Tennerby. Corporation Security. I would be obliged if you would put me through to Mr Yates?”

“Do you have an appointment, Ms Tennerby?”

“No I do not but I think you should let Mr Yates know I am on the line. Its an expensive line, by the way. It goes all the way to London, England.”

“Just one moment, I will see if he can give you time …”

“Petra?” Chuck sounds tentative and unsure of himself.


“Petra, should we be talking like this?”

Petra is not to Chucks liking. She is attractive and sensuous in a sinuous rattlesnake sort of way and like a rattlesnake, she is dangerous with a fast, deep and poisonous bite. If he reflected carefully enough, Chuck would have to admit to himself that he is afraid of Petra and perhaps with good reason.

“Why the hell not, Chuck? We both work for the Randolf Corporation.”

“Yes but well, you know … you are Security.” Petra can imagine Chuck starting to perspire, beginning to squirm in his chair.

“Who better to speak with the Corporation Chief Accountant?”

“So how can I help?” Chuck sighs and Petra hears him down the line. A good accountant maybe but not good with poker she muses.

“You have got my number?”

“Of course.”

“So go home, stop by Wallmart, buy a pay as you go mobile and call me. I would like to take your call before midnight and its already 9pm here so call me by six, your time huh?”

“Ye .. yes Petra, Ill try”

“No, Chuck. Dont just try. Just do it, do you hear?”

“OK Petra, Ill call.”

After she closes the call, Petra reflects carefully over some awkward facts: Randolf owes money but is almost in the clear. Randolf is tied to a partner who is able to dictate terms. Tracy is surety. Tracy has insider information about the Corporation - but the value of her inside knowledge is fading with each passing day and other information about some less-than-honest financial footwork which has kept the Corporation looking like a sound investment.

Petra finds herself wondering when would Tracy cease to be of any real value to the Corporation? When would they get to a point where they did not need Tracy anymore?

    1. The Prospects for Tracy Randolf

Petra? It's me, Chuck.”

Good boy Chuck. You are calling on time. Are you inside?”

Yes of course.”

I would rather we had this conversation outside.”

Do I have to?”

Depends if you want to be overheard or not. Is it raining or something?”

Petra you surely don't think our home is bugged do you?”

Frankly Chuck I have no idea. It was clean last time I did a sweep but who knows now. Anyway the point is I don't want us to be overhead and it's less likely that your garden has been compromised. Bugs planted between the roses, you know?”

OK just give me a minute ...”

Chuck keeps the line open as he goes outside. Petra can hear him shuffling through his house and eventually the character of the line changes as he gets outside. “So what is it you want to talk about that is so sensitive? Have you found Tracy?”

No, but I have found the girl who might have been held captive with her.”

Oh ... Well thats good isn't it?”

Yeah, that's definitely a step in the right direction but that is not why I am calling.”

Oh? ”

I was thinking back to the conversation you and Manfred had with me in Berlin. You remember: when you told me that the Corporation was headed down the pan and about what you did ...”

Yes well Petra do we have to go over that again? I mean it's looking a lot like water under the bridge now.”

Yes I hope so but its still a skeleton in the cupboard, right?”

Erm, yes well ... Yes, I guess so, although I would rather not use that sort of language ...”

So Chuck, Manfred said that Tracy knows where a whole lot more bodies are buried?”

Petra, do we have to go over this again? Isn't your job just to help us get Tracy back?”

My job is to manage the situation Chuck, which may involve getting Tracy back and maybe no.”

No? Not get Tracy back? How do you mean Petra?”

OK Chuck let's think this thing through. You are in Manfred's office, sat at the conference table but unfortunately, it's not just you and Manfred. There are people from The Treasury, people from the Department of Justice, FBI, Houston PD and maybe you two have gotten yourselves an attorney. The Treasury says 'we realise that no one has lost money but what you did was serious fraud and way out of line' and the Department of Justice people shake their head and say yep, one of you two or maybe both of you is going down for twenty five years at least. We have got to set an example here. Uphold standards of good corporate behaviour. We do not want any more Gordon Gekko behaviour'. (8) What's Manfred going to do? How old is he now? Sixties? Sixty plus twenty five minus three for good behaviour minus two for a 'guilty' plea is eighty. Can you or Manfred last out in the State Pen till you are eighty? Alternatively does Manfred say 'Well look here I gave my daughter a free hand to bring new thinking to the business? I think you are going to have to have a word with her because all these irregularities started after she joined the Corporation - and meanwhile he is thinking 'Tracy: she is thirty so thirty plus twenty five equals fifty five and she gets to walk out of the 'Pen and she still has a lot of years ahead of her?”

Chuck swallows hard. Petra's grim scenario seems all too dreadfully plausible. He knows that if the chips were really down, Manfred would always look after himself and would have no hesitation in throwing him and perhaps even Tracy to the wolves if the need arose.

So what should we do Petra?”

So let's think about Tracy. Why is she valuable to her abductors?”

Well they will assume that Manfred wants his daughter back and will start toeing the line so they can do some sort of deal between us and them?”

Something like 'give us a controlling interest in the Corporation and you can have the girl back again?”

Something like that.”

What other value might she have? Pretend you were selling her to the highest bidder. Maybe pretend she was a bit like a football player.”

Well if you put it like that Petra, Tracy is a trained accountant and a very good one actually. She knows the oil business. She knows the financial position of the Corporation and how we like to do things.”

OK, let's take these things one by one. Accountant?”

She is good but not uniquely good.”

Oil business?”

Well, plenty of people know about the oil business …”

The financial position of the Corporation? That must change from day to day, right?”

Sure. When she vanished, she would know the up to date situation. As time passes, her detailed knowledge becomes out-dated. That is inevitable.”

So her knowledge of the Corporation is becoming less valuable as time passes?”

Yes, well I guess but look Petra …”

And then you add a little something if you roll all these things up together in one package?”

Yes, that's fair but look Petra this is Tracy we are talking about. Manfreds daughter.”

Chuck here is some practical risk management. From what you have said, Tracy's unique value to you is that she knows where the bodies are buried, right?”


So if there is no Tracy, there is one less person to open their mouth too wide. If Tracy comes home and sings in Washington or Houston, you and Manfred are in real trouble. If she sings in Moscow, who in their right mind is going to believe her, especially when you and Manfred have the opportunity to pour all the evidence down to the bottom of one of those deep wells Manfred wants to drill?”

Ah ... I see what you mean … so where do we go from here? What are you going to do?”

I am going to keep doing what I am doing at the moment. I am going to keep my eye on the English gal and encourage her to tell me where Tracy is - but when I have found out, that's when you me and Manfred have to do some serious thinking.”

OK, I guess you are right ... Oh, Petra?”

Yes? Why did you have me buy a new 'cell?”

Mainly to keep you out of an Federal one! No one knew you were going to buy a new phone. No one knew where you we going to buy it from. No one will have a trace on it. This little 'brainstorm' we have had has been kept confidential. Do you know how to take out the SIM card?”

Yes, er- I think so.”

Go inside, take out the SIM and feed it into the kitchen waste disposal or your shredder if it is built to take it. Then buy a new SIM and set this mobile to one side in case you need me again. Only use it to call me and only use each SIM once. You got that?”

Yes, Petra. I've got that.”

Well done, Chuck! You take care now.”

    1. Sting Ray

In the Randolf Corporation offices in London, Craig Scott takes a call. It is Sandra, his secretary.



“There is a package in the mail room for you. It's from Houston. Do you want me to bring it up for you?”

“Huh? No, it's OK. I dont suppose it is much. I'll deal with it. I am going in that direction anyway.”

Whilst Craig Scott was keen to let Sandra know she could safely discard the memory of the consignment from Houston, by his indolent and complacent reply he was actually very keen to learn of its arrival. It was something he had been waiting for. He took out his mobile and placed a call.

In Birmingham, Petra has is busy. She has rented a small industrial unit on an anonymous trading estate and bought a Ford Courier Transit commercial van from a used vehicle dealership. There are two advantages of a used vehicle: the relatively modest financial outlay but more important, there is no Manufacturers Warranty, and that means no-one is collecting her details. The vehicle she chooses has roof rails and is painted in Fords ubiquitous Frozen White colour, like thousands of others. All she has to do now is to apply some decals: one on each side and a smaller one on each door, together with an address. The decals read ...

Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe

Mobile Communication Signals Audit

... and provide a complete explanation for the occupant in the vehicle and why she might be found cruising the streets of Warwick. It also explained the aerials and the general look of the equipment Petra has installed on the vehicle roof.


“Craig ...”

“Hi, look some kit has turned up for you here in London.”

“OK ...”

“I have had a look at it. It is in three large suitcases, reasonably heavy about twenty kilos each. I have checked the contents. Everything is in working order and all items present and correct as far as I can tell. How do you want it sent to you? Might be best to use a courier service. It's what anyone would do, so no one is going to pay attention. Because it's coming from the Randolf office in London, we would be better to use our normal firm so once again, the whole thing looks normal. Sound OK to you?”

“No, because there's a paper trail ...”

“So do you want to drive down here and pick it up? You would be recorded as entering the building and picking up the kit from the mail room ...”

“Craig, try this: you hire a small van from someone like Avis or Enterprise and drive it up to me. There's an underground car park beneath the Randolf Building. The building security will record the vans entry and exit but there will be nothing to tie it to you, so your entry with the hire vehicle and your exit with the consignment is discreet in both directions. What do you say?”

“That would work. I will buy that. So I will see you ... about tomorrow lunch time or just after. That means The Company is just down for a day's hire.”

“Sounds good. Oh - Craig? Pay for the hire out of your own pocket and I will refund you in cash when we meet, OK? No paper that way!”

“Except for the cash!”

“Yeah, except for the cash!”

It is two days later and two oclock in the morning. The evening revellers (as many as there are on a Tuesday in late November) have disappeared and the police on patrol to keep an eye on them have also disappeared.

Petra has parked her vehicle in a quiet cul-de-sac road about five hundred metres from Joe and Jenny's home.

She checks the weather: no rain has been forecast and none has materialised. There is a light breeze from the south west five. There is no moon and the orange downwards glare of the street lamps conspires to make the sky even blacker.

Petra checks her equipment once more: Batteries charged; Target and course uploaded;

Wind speed and direction - uploaded into the on-board computer; Night vision camera active;

Payload batteries charged; Payload attached; Communications channels open.The time is now zero two thirty. It is time to launch!

Petra feels a thrill of adrenalin as she begins. She switches on the drone engine and watches on her computer screen as the power increases. She releases the electromagnetic catches which hold the drone to the vehicle roof and the craft rises into the night sky. Petra now has a view from the drone downwards and sees the roof of her vehicle at first filling the screen, then getting smaller as the drone rises to one hundred feet. It is low enough to maintain an easy view of the drone's position but high enough to carry the noise of the drone out of earshot.

Petra does not want to risk a mechanical or electrical failure which might bring the drone down onto an innocent property or even worse, atop a large and unreachable tree, so she has programmed the drone to fly above the streets, to allow an emergency recovery if needs be. So much for the plan but the south westerly breeze seems to be increasing and it constantly pushes the drone off course. Petra keeps a careful watch on its progress, both as a spot travelling on the GPS map on her screen one and from the downwards view she has from the craft itself on her screen two. The wind is pushing the craft approximately to its destination but Petra still has to make regular course corrections.

Presently, the drone is outside Joe and Jenny's property, still steady at an altitude of one hundred feet. It is time for her to take full control. The drone is roughly square in shape with a rotor at each corner. This makes the craft very manoeuvrable. Petra has studied photographs of Joe and Jenny's home on Google Earth and knows that at the rear of the building, there is a dormer with a flat roof. She edges the craft off the street and across the main roof.

The night vision camera shows her the drop zone and Petra gently reduces power to let the drone land but it is not quite straight forward because the gusting of the wind means she must make constant adjustments to keep the drone on target. She has installed four lights - actually laser pointers - one at each corner of the drone, angled down and inwards. She can clearly make out the four small bright spots of light projected down onto the roof asphalt. The spots will all merge into one single bright orange spot when the drone has landed. As the craft descends the size of the roof enlarges and gradually fills the computer screen.

At twenty feet of altitude, the radar altimeter actives and at Petras work station, the computer speaker starts to say Pah! Pah! Pah! with an increasing frequency as the drone gets lower and lower, just like the reversing alarm on a motor vehicle. The four bright spots move ever closer. The tempo of the audio altimeter alert is increasing. In a moment, Petras computer is plays a single sustained Paaaaaaaaaaah! to convey that in altimeters opinion, the drone has landed. Pressure sensors on the drones feet begin to report firm contact and in addition to the wail of the altimeter, the pressure sensors say Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! through the speaker but the lights from the laser pointers have not formed a round spot. It is an oval. The apex of the oval points towards the roof edge. Petra wracks her brain to make sense of what the controls are telling her and suddenly, she realised what the contradictory information means. The flat roof is in fact a slope. It slopes towards the roof edge, to shed water into the gutter and all the while, the drone engines are still turning and the power reserve is draining away. Petra makes an instinctive decision. She shuts down the engines and lets the aircraft settle. There is not enough reserve in the flight batteries to bring the payload safely back. She must leave it and hope for the best, hope it does not skate off the roof to lodge in the rainwater gutter or smash onto the concrete path below!

Petra checks the payload one final time - it is active - and releases it from the drone. The Stingray slips ever such a little - and stays put and Petra heaves a huge sigh of relief. She feels as if she has just set down a probe on the surface of the planet Mars!

The payload is a thin black rectangular box, about the size of a DL envelope and 10 mm thick. From the narrow end, 10 cm of rubber coated aerial projects. The outer skin bears photocells to keep the unit charged by collecting ambient sunlight and in the centre is a rectangle of mild steel which can be held by the electro-magnet carried under the drone and held safe during flight.

Petra powers up the engine once more and the craft rises into the night sky, to make its return journey. As the drone ascends, Petra has a view of the Stingray left on the roof and getting smaller as the drone rises. A non descript rectangle of metal but with a sting in the tail projecting from one end. This time, the drone has to make headway against the wind, a wind which has changed from a steady breeze to become gusty and turbulent. Also, the drone has only only a modest flight endurance. Petra estimates a total flight time of 20 minutes. She is on the return leg but the power in the drone engine batteries is dropping quickly. The street where Petra has parked is still deserted and Petra decides to bring the drone back to earth in the road outside her van, to reduce the risk of a difficult landing on the van's roof. After all, the drone has one more mission to accomplish, to retrieve the Stingray when its task is done. With the drone still one hundred yards away, the power reserve in the engine batteries becomes critically low. Petra has no choice but to bring the drone to earth as quickly and as gently as she can, right in the middle of the road. As soon as the craft lands, Petra leaves her vehicle and sprints to where the drone is sitting in the middle of the roadway. It the distance, she can hear a car engine. It is coming towards her but is still out of sight.

Petra has just enough time to sweep up the craft into her arms and to run back to the vehicle before the car sweeps past the opening of the cul de sac where she is parked.

With the drone back inside the van, Petra takes a few moments to let her body recover from the tension and exertion of the mission. When her breathing has at last returned to normal, she pours herself a coffee from a flask and spends a few further moments resting to let the tension of the nights work ebb away ...

A mobile phone constantly searches for the strongest Wi-Fi signal, to optimise the strength and reliability of any call. It also keeps a list of the Wi-Fi networks it has connected to in the recent past. Petra's drone has left a Stingray Wi-Fi beacon (9) as close as she can reasonably get to Joe and Jenny and as the drone returns to base, the beacon begins to transmit. Due to its proximity, it is guaranteed to be the strongest Wi-Fi signal in the immediate vicinity. Any mobile in the area will be seduced to connect itself to the Stingray beacon, as if it is merely connecting to its host network. (10)

By the time Petra has stowed the quadcopter safely inside the van, the beacon has captured the attention of several mobile telephones in the area, but there are only two which interest Petra.

Petra opens the files returned from the beacon and organises then according to the telephone number of the mobile whose attention has been caught.

Petra already knows Joseph's mobile number because he has (like many professional people) a page on Linked-In (11) which has his number to make him contactable. Petra sends a small Application to the beacon which passes the App on for the attention of Joseph's keen and attentive mobile. The App appears on the phone screen as a small message, saying:

'Software update available to fix security issues in Contacts and Messages. Recommended. Please click the link to download and then Restart.' (12)

Petra smiles at this ingenious fusion of Social Engineering - instructing the client to compromise his own phone by clever use of language and his own expectations of the device and Software Engineering. The App will copy Joe's diary, his phone directory, his list of calls and the notes he has made. These will be written into a file which will upload onto a commercial file storage site for Petra to download and analyse each day as the updates are made. In addition Petra will be able to command the phone to switch on its microphone and record the voices at any meeting in Joe's diary which seems interesting and useful to Petra's cause. Meanwhile, Joe will be unaware of the duplicity of his phone which will not make any record of its clandestine work.

Petra cannot find any evidence of Jenny's phone. Perhaps it is switched off? However, in the morning, when Jenny switches on, the snare will be there, waiting ...


1. Marshall Gregory Zhukov

Commander of the Belo -Russian front during the Battle for Berlin at the end of the Second World War.

2. The Dunkirk Evacuation

The extraordinary escape of the British Expeditionary force from mainland Europe in May 1940.

3. The Kai Mayfair Restaurant.

They've kept a Michelin star for the last 7 years.

4. The Meal at the Marriott

For a more complete account of Petras evening, see Touchdown Chapter 3: Dinner at the Mid Town Grill

5. The Enron Scandal

An ingenious corporate scam resulted in their earnings being overstated by hundreds of millions of dollars and their share price climbing to over $90 before falling to less than a dollar and dumping many executives in gaol.

6. Special Purpose Financial Vehicles

A smart way of keeping some of your financial eggs in a very separate basket.

7. Jeffrey Skilling

Convicted for conspiracy and fraud for his role at Enron.

8. Gordon Gekko

Gordon Gekko is a fictional character in the 1987 film WallStreet and its 2010 sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Gekko has become a symbol in popular culture for unrestrained greed(with the signature line, "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good") and totally unscrupulous behaviour in the pursuit of financial gain.

9. A Stingray Unit

Clebver technology for intercepting mobile phone communications.

10. Mobile phone vulnerability to pirate Wi-Fi _ 33 beacons:

Check out the Snoopy Drone

11. Linked-In is a professional social media platform

Facebook for corporates....

12. Mobile Phone hacking:

It's not that difficult if you believe what you read on the web.

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