The KOMPROMAT KILL
Published - 19th June 2019
My second novel has been a joy to write – the next episode involves the
prime characters from The Failsafe Query and is entitled ‘The Kompromat Kill’.
A gripping tale of international espionage and subterfuge with a rogue bomber
on the loose......
THE KOMPROMAT KILL
The British Airways Boeing 747 jumbo jet struggled with the fierce Persian Gulf crosswinds as it lurched and swayed before landing with a heavy thump at Kuwait International Airport. A recent sandstorm had left an orange fog swirling in the air and it was hard for the passengers to make out the old and decrepit terminal building as the pilot taxied the aging aircraft at speed to its docking station.
Walking down the steps from the upper deck business-class cabin was a man who had last set foot in Kuwait in 1991 in his role as a British Army bomb disposal operator during the repatriation of the country from its Iraqi Army invaders.
Wilson Hewitt had aged. Life on the run at the very edge of living had burnt him and he wore a face that most strangers would shy away from looking at. His pockmarked face, shaven hair and steely gaze projected a man who had seen and tasted depravity at its fullest. He smiled assuredly at the petite air stewardess whose eyes dodged his attention as he walked off the plane and onto the jet bridge. Had she looked closer, she’d have seen that his right ear was completely missing.
Hewitt grimaced as he descended the escalator that provided access to a grim and dingy-looking arrivals hall, knowing he would have to endure the pain of mucking about getting a short-term visa before he could venture into the country. He stepped left and opened the sliding door into a tiny yellow booth which had just enough space to hold three people. He stepped in and lit a cigarette. It was an odd place to have a smoke but a legitimate cubicle nonetheless. He was never enamoured by visiting the Middle East, knowing he didn’t like the place, but this was business and his sufferance was generally high when the big dollars were paid. As he smoked, his mind wandered back to the man he had met in Trader Vic’s at the Park Lane Hilton in London. A young Syrian man who suggested he needed to meet some people in Kuwait.
He had met the intermediary, who had provided the right credentials to get an audience with Hewitt. After a few checks and balances Hewitt had agreed to meet him to discuss what his people were after. The young man sat opposite Hewitt and so began a short and to the point conversation with him. ‘These people are very wealthy and well connected across governments in the region and they need someone to operate for them who can do some real damage,’ he had said. ‘They pay very well and want you to travel to Kuwait.’
‘How do they know about me?’
‘Libya,’ the young Syrian said. Hewitt carefully observed the young man’s words and demeanour, looking for any oddity in his manner and eye movements. Hewitt sensed the lad was somewhat fearful of him. He observed that the Syrian was smartly dressed, had clearly been educated in London courtesy of wealthy parents, spoke excellent English and wore an expensive Rolex watch.
‘I need three things first.’ Hewitt looked around the cocktail bar, checking for any sign of a stitch-up. He was guarded in who he met, and how they connected with him. ‘I need the provenance of who they spoke to about me – to verify they are legit and not fishing.’
‘OK, I can tell you that now.’
‘No. Write it down here with the location where they met,’ Hewitt said, passing across a blank business card. ‘I also need a new passport and pseudonym to travel with, and I need a large deposit in the bank before I agree to anything.’ Hewitt sipped his water, took the card back and wrote the deposit sum on another card. ‘When all that’s in place I’ll know they are competent and serious – then I’ll consider it.’
Hewitt finished his cigarette in the airport terminal and glanced over to the visa desk where three women sat side by side, each clad in a light grey hijab, full-length garments and some sort of immigration badge on their shoulder. He finished his cigarette and walked over to them, slinging his small red rucksack over his shoulder.
A small queue of Western businessmen stood in the queue in front of him and, eventually, the middle woman of the three beckoned him forward. He handed his passport to her, watching her flick through the pile of pre-notified visa documents without any hint of emotion. Her neatly manicured nails and facial make-up belied her modesty, and Hewitt admired her pretty face. She looked up, checked his photo, stamped the visa, remaining po-faced, and waved Hewitt towards the exit.
Hewitt was pleased it had all been pain-free, having previously endured hours of waiting at some airports to get through immigration. He noticed how lax the security was at Kuwait airport as he walked through the exit gate into the baggage hall. He allowed himself a rare smile as he noticed a petite woman looking directly at him. She smiled at him and held up a small sign with the words Mr Hewitt on it.
‘I’m Nadège. Very pleased to meet you,’ she said. ‘I shall be looking after you during your time in Kuwait, Mr Hewitt. How was your journey?’
‘Good, thank you.’ He looked discreetly at Nadège, who he sensed was either Lebanese or Egyptian. More likely Lebanese, he surmised, based on her immaculate make-up, expensive attire, lack of a hijab and the smell of expensive perfume. ‘I wasn’t expecting this,’ he said.
‘You mean a female, Mr Hewitt?’ She turned on her feet and began to walk, looking back at Hewitt, smilingly with a deliberate allure. ‘We do like to operate somewhat differently to your usual clients I suspect.’
Sean Richardson, British Intelligence Officer
Nadege, Iranian Intelligence Officer
General Alimani, Iranian Spymaster
Wilson Hewitt, Former bomb disposal officer
Fletcher Barrington, Former CIA Station Chief
Laura, CIA Station Chief
Swartz, SAS Officer
Billy Phish, FBI & British Police Geo-forensic expert
Jugsy, Defence Intelligence Officer
Phil, Ex Bomb Disposal Explosives expert
Samantha, GCHQ Liaison Officer