Sunday, March 04, 2012


SOL OCCAXUS (Sunset) Monday, 19 September, 2011

CREPUSCULUM (Evening Twilight)

I. Friday, 23 September, 2011
II. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
III. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
IV. Sunday, 16 October, 2011

VESPER (Evening Dusk)

I. Sunday, 23 October, 2011
II. Sunday, 30 October, 2011
III. Wednesday, 9 November, 2011
IV. Monday, 14 November, 2011
V. Monday, 14 November, 2011

CONCUBIUM (First Sleep – Coitus – Rest)

I. Thursday, 17 November 2011
II. Sunday, 20 November, 2011
III. Friday, 25 November, 2011
IV. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
V. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
VI. Thursday, 8 December, 2011
VII. Sunday, 11 December, 2011


I. Sunday, 1 January, 2012
II. Thursday, 5 January, 2012
III. Saturday, 7 January, 2012
IV. Monday, 16 January, 2012
V. Sunday, 29 January, 2012
VI. Sunday, 29 January, 2012
VII. Friday, 3 February, 2012
VIII. Friday, 3 February, 2012


I. Sunday, 12 February, 2012
II. Saturday, 18 February, 2012
III. Wednesday, 22 February, 2012

MATUTINUM (Dawn Goddess)

I. Monday, 27 February, 2012
II. Sunday, 4 March, 2012
III. Sunday, 4 March, 2012

DILUCULUM (Dawn Twilight)

SOLI ORTUS (Sunrise)



Rod Mallory wandered out onto the balcony of the converted wine tower that was rented out as a summer villa. In a small pool, set into the rocks on a level below the balcony, one of the team members had been taking a leisurely swim and on seeing the tall Australian, waved up at him. Mallory ignored the salute to look out beyond the pool and over the gentle slopes to the Bay of Propriano beyond. To the west, the sun was setting and, he realised, it would soon be dark. He turned as he heard footsteps behind him. A small lithe dark-skinned man dressed in a singlet and shorts and with the conditioned physique, he noted in admiration, of the champion boxer he had once been, walked towards him.
The man stopped for a moment and stared up at the sky behind the tower. He carried an opened bottle of wine and two glasses. “There are some bad storm-clouds to the northeast Rod. It is going to be a rough night. Good for our purposes though.” Luis Gonzaga grinned as he placed the bottle and glasses on the table and pulled out a chair.
Mallory nodded his head, a concurring smile creasing his face. “Yes.”
Gonzaga took his seat and after pouring a glass of wine for them both leaned back in the chair with his legs resting on the table. He looked at the Australian. “Tell me, Rod, how did your discussions in Miami go. I wonder if the Medellin boys have any idea of – ”
Shhhhhh,” Rod Mallory whispered urgently as he held up a finger to his lips and pointed to the balcony rail.
Gonzaga brought his legs down and quietly stood up and moved to the fence-like wooden balcony to look down towards the pool below him. Seeing the floating swimmer he then shouted at him in an irritated voice, “Jorge, get inside. We will be having a full briefing in ten minutes. I want a full radio and weapons check done by then.”
“Sure, Luis.”
Mallory heard the sullen reply and watched as Gonzaga waited for the pool area to be cleared. The two men then drew their chairs close and sipped at the poured wine. “Apart from you Luis, there is nobody else here that I trust. Jorge, for instance, is one of Domingo’s men and that bastard is only waiting for an opportunity to cut my throat. We need to be very careful if we are to shed our Columbian friends,” Mallory continued to whisper.
“What do you intend to do, Rod?” Gonzaga asked, concern etched in his voice.
“I’ve arranged a surprise for the golden boy.”
“I meant about now, here in Corsica.”
“Oh! As we’ve discussed, Luis. I’ll go, as invited, to Alexander’s villa tonight and will act as our point man. If the opportunity presents, we’ll try and take him out. Alive! All the men must understand this. We need to get as much information as possible before he is disposed of. If there is no opportunity it will still provide good intelligence and we can make our plans accordingly.”
“And the American, Mara?”
“He’ll surface again. The authorities will have found his wife’s body by now. I’ve somebody waiting for Mara to arrive in La Paz. I would not like to see his face when the circumstances are explained. The poor bastard.” Mallory looked at his watch.
“You like him then?” Gonzalez asked, a little puzzled.
“Yes, in a way. But that’s not the point, is it, Luis? If the rumours are accurate, Mara potentially holds the key to my . . . to our control of the cocaine industry. I believe in luck, Luis and this has fallen into our laps. With the woman gone, it will not be difficult to be rid of Mara once we have the virus. Hoxygene, lock stock and barrel, will be mine and I can launder our profits to my heart’s content.”
“What about the FARC rebels.”
“Fuck the FARC . . . and the cartels. We’ll soon see the Columbians grovel.”
“Yes. I will enjoy that pleasure.” Gonzalez smiled, a Mexican gold-capped toothed smile.
“Right Luis, enough verbals mate! Let’s go inside and get on with the briefing. We need to be very clear on our tactics. Some of these drongos we are stuck with are as thick as shit and we need to tune their wires carefully.”


It was pitch dark as the convoy of cars turned off the small secondary road and drove up a narrow path carved into the side of the hill. To the west, an occasional flash of lightning could still be seen arcing earthwards from the sky, causing the orange-coloured stone outcrops of the mountain ridges to appear and disappear like spectral beacons. After negotiating a final series of rising hairpin turns and putting up with the constant clatter from the showers of small stones sent flying by spinning tyres of the car ahead, the convoy stopped. Michael saw that they were in the paved courtyard of a stone-built villa, the type of villa usually owned but rarely used by a mainlander. He watched as the occupants of the other cars got out and, after some stretching, entered through the open door of the villa. He also got out but remained in the courtyard looking up at the sky. The night-air was laden with the threat of further thunderstorms. Bob Arnold joined him. “What happens now, Bob?” he asked.
“We have Alexander’s villa, on the other side of the small valley, under direct observation. We’re anxious to know what’s going on,” Arnold replied as he looked furtively around the courtyard. “Come inside Mikey.”
The two men then entered the house and crossed a polished marble-floored hallway to a large lounge. The room was untidy and cluttered, the floor crisscrossed by cables of every colour. The lighting was subdued and the curtains closed. Two agents with large earmuffs were attached to a bank of electronic equipment that reminded Michael of an airport control tower. One of them looked up as Arnold approached. “Everything is working, General.”
“Good.” Arnold looked around at the cables and monitors. The room was stuffy with the heat they generated. “What’s in place?”
“Two radar mikes set up below the pool, locked onto the balcony and lounge of Alexander’s villa. Interpretation difficult at present as they are playing some heavy-duty opera shit. CIA satellite photo updates every fifteen minutes. Infra-red heat detection video unit mounted in bedroom upstairs. Voice analysis and language interpretation links to Langley open and operational. Vibration and movement detectors in place on the villa driveway. A two agent team is, at this moment, secure within fifty yards of villa.”
“Any hint of counter-detection audio surveillance?”
“No scanning direction mikes obvious, sir, but the house security does have ground-zero vibration and audio sensors in place. High quality, but perimeter yardage varies. Our field team found a ‘quiet’ corner close to the house.”
“Great.” Arnold patted the man on his shoulder. “Who’s in charge?”
“Hank Sommers. He’s upstairs in the bedroom.”
“Thanks.” Arnold turned and climbed the stairs that brought them to the first floor. Michael followed. At the end of a corridor two heavy black curtains had been set up in sequence about six feet apart. Pushing through the first Arnold waited for Michael to join him before going through the second set.
“What’s this for, Bob?” Michael asked in the pitch darkness.
“We want no light entering that might give away our presence. Hank Sommers? Hank are you there?” he called out.
“General,” a voice answered quietly from the gloom.
Gradually, Arnold and Michael’s vision adjusted to the little light there was to pick out Hank Sommers standing behind a forest of camera tripods. They moved cautiously to join him. The bedroom had a large balcony window overlooking a valley and by following the direction of the mounted camera lenses, Michael saw that the target of their observation was another villa on the far side of the valley, about four hundred yards away. Curtains were drawn but as most of the rooms had lights on he could see shadowy figures passing behind them. Loud music from the villa blared out across the valley.
“What’s the update, Hank?”
“Alexander and a woman, voice identified by the data banks at Langley as Solis, arrived about fifteen minutes ago. Their backs were to us, no pictures unfortunately to visually confirm. The Israeli, Hertzog, has been there since mid afternoon. He came with another woman, young, spiky redhead, no identity as yet. There is a long balcony shot of her downstairs. In the house we estimate three maybe four other persons. Perimeter security is surprisingly lax. Three single rotating patrols, linked by walkie-talkie to the others on the inside. Strangely, they all appear to be women.”
“Jesus! Talking of women, what’s with the goddam music. I hate opera. The singer sounds as if she’s been strangled,” Bob Arnold mumbled under his breath.
“You’re not far off the mark,” Michael whispered in a distracted way.
“Say what,” Hank Sommers asked as he and Arnold turned to look at him.
“Its Brünnhilde at Siefried’s pyre in the last act of Götterdämmerung. A favourite piece of my father,” Michael said quietly. “ ‘Summon Loge to Valhalla! For the gods’ destruction soon shall be here.’ ”
“Gotter what?”
Götterdämmerung – The Twilight of the Gods. Richard Wagner’s opera based on the Teutonic mythology of ragna rök, the final destiny, the utter destruction of Valhalla and the old order of Gods, allowing a new cycle to begin. New Gods and new men emerging from the Twilight,” Michael explained.
“Jesus. This Alexander guy is doing the full trip. I wonder what other surprises he –”
“Sorry General. We’ve got company,” Hank Sommers interrupted.
There was a sudden burst of radio clatter in the room behind them as two other shadows entered. Michael felt the tension rise as he watched Karl and Dave move towards the cameras. In the distance the lights of a car drew closer to Alexander’s villa. “What’s up?” he asked.
“Car coming. Two occupants. Two…” Hank Sommers pressed his hand hard against his earpiece. “Repeat! Right. Two men.”
Everybody in the darkened room peered out across the valley towards the villa. The car drew up into a forecourt that was situated in a hollow that was linked by a set of steps to the villa entrance. Automatic sensors lit up the forecourt and steps in bright light. “Hopefully somebody will come to the door.” Sommers said quietly.
“At least they’ve turned off that blasted music,” Arnold added.
The car doors opened and the two men got out. Michael could see on a nearby monitor that their backs were to the cameras. The front door of the villa opened. Two figures stepped out and into the bright light of the forecourt.
“Shit. Zoom in on them first.” Sommers tapped Dave on the shoulder.
The monitor image shifted, focused and then froze. “Alexander and the woman Sanjil,” Dave said.
“Also known as Solis,” Sommers added.
Michael’s heart missed a beat and his mouth went dry. He had hoped they’d been mistaken but knew they had not been. It was Isabella. Alexander had placed his arm around her waist as they waited for the two new arrivals to walk up the steps towards them. It was only as the two men neared the top that Alexander released his hold when one of the visitors hesitated. Alexander looked anxious.
“Focus back on the visitors,” Sommers ordered.
“They’ve suddenly stopped. One of them is saying something. Do you copy, Base?” Dave whispered into his mike and waited for a reply. “Arabic. Good. One of them has left something in the car. He’s turning back.”
The tall angular figure turned and descended the steps again. The monitor image froze again. Michael almost shouted, “That’s Sancho, the waiter!
“The man in the airport. He is retrieving something from the car,” Karl confirmed.
“Zoom in on the other. Quick he is looking back down,” Sommers spoke urgently. “Shit. Did we get it?”
“Just,” Karl reassured and they all waited to see if the image was adequate. Michael didn’t recognize the dark skinned man with piercing eyes.
“Jesus.” It was Dave who spoke first. “I’m sure that’s Hasan al-Sa‘igh, the anti-Taliban leader of the Badhriya in Afghanistan. Alexander’s opium supplier no doubt.” He then spoke urgently once again into his lapel mike, “Base. Patch this through to Langley for confirmation.”
Michael knew it to be true. It had to be. Alonzo had warned him. What had the waiter Sancho got to do with it all? He wondered and then he knew. He sighed, “The Gathering!
“What did you say, Michael?” Bob Arnold asked without turning to look back at him.
“Emm . . . I said it’s some gathering.”
“Yes. And all of them desperate to get their hands on your cocaine leaf virus.”
“And me too, it seems!”
Arnold said nothing but watched as all four figures entered into the house. After a minute or so the forecourt lights went out.
“General Arnold.” Hank Sommers spoke.
“They need you urgently downstairs.”
“Fine Hank. Thanks. Michael, stay here awhile! I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

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