The Army helicopter blossomed briefly like a terrible flower as it exploded in mid-air. Pieces of men and machine fell into the field nearby.
"Heat-seaking missiles" The S.A.S sergeant came running up. "The terrorists must have them on the roof, primed and ready. There's no chance of an aerial approach." " It's a foul-up" Cowley would have said it aloud if the Home Secretary had not been standing right beside him.
"It's a foul-up George." The Home Secretary said it for him then hesitated: "I've supported you to the hilt with this new organisation of yours, if it's ever going to be blooded...?"
"Aye," Cowley replied, "Blooded is right."
He looked at the buttressed walls and the drawbridge pulled up, a solid wooden plug sealing off the only entrance. It was hideously ironic. They had chosen to hold the conference in the castle because of it's impregnability, but somehow those questions would be asked later - the terrorists had infiltrated the day before and lain in wait. They now held 19 of the most important people in the world. Cowley looked at the Home Secretary. " Far as we can make out there's atleast half a dozen of them, spread throughout the place, each holding a group of hostages. If we take out one, the others would react immediately. We can't scale the place without detection, a concerted attack is out of the question. They have us over a barrel."
The Home Secretary shook his head, "We cannot concede to their demands."
Cowley grunted, then again studied the plan of the castle, then slowly folded it and looked beyond the grim grey building to the range of green hills on the horizon. "Stall them!" he barked, "Keep 'em occupied". Then, with the sergeant in tow, he turned to hurry back through the lines of armed men and the sprawl of police and military vehicles to where his own car stood. Cowley drove fast and well and the sergeant wisely remained silent for a while, but then said "It's a lousy break, sir" Cowley looked at him. "C.I.5's first chance to prove itself and we get an impossible op". "C.I.5 was formed to achieve the impossible," snapped Cowley. "Anyway, it's not impossible. Two men could do it."
The sergeant stared at him.
"The two right men. The first would have to have experience in ambush attacks, skilled in the use of silent weapons."
"That sounds like me, sir" said the sergeant.
Cowley glanced at him "No, not you. You see this man also needs one very special skill."