Leighton Saunders sat behind his big oak desk with a video remote in his hand and considered his next move. In his rush to leave Soho he had been unable to shower. He could still smell the girl on him. Little Lena. He’d be seeing her again. He’d allow a little time for her cuts and bruises to heal but he felt confident that their paths would be crossing again one day soon. Right now, however, he had more important things to think about.
It had actually taken Saunders more than two hours to return to the Bunker. What with the girl and the Friday night crowds, he’d lost track of time. Fortunately for them, this had given his men an extra hour to try and get to the bottom of what had occurred. In that time they had managed to build up a reasonable picture of the events leading up to the disappearance of Phillips and Moore.
The jump had apparently been prompted a long private discussion between the two men in Phillips’ office earlier in the evening. The conversation had been recorded by the hidden surveillance camera that Saunders’s had installed in the old man’s office. Saunders rewound the digital tape and replayed the final minutes of their conversation for the third time.
There was a look of deep malice on Saunders’s face as Phillips’s voice came through the tinny speakers.
“No it wouldn’t Ray. We can do it right now. And you want to know the best thing about this plan?”
Although it was yet to be positively confirmed, everything pointed to the fact that Phillips and Moore had jumped back to the 20th century, to precisely the same location to which that idiot Slater had been dispatched a few days ago. This was an unanticipated development: cavalier in the extreme and completely out of character for the usually restrained Phillips.
“The best thing is that nobody knows anything about it because I only thought of it ten minutes ago. If we go now it could all be done before anyone knows anything about it.”
“Oh don’t they? Saunders said aloud; a smile appeared on his face and it occurred to him that Phillips could not have orchestrated his own demise more comprehensively. To Saunders it was like Christmas and Easter rolled into one. Phillips was effectively yesterday’s news. If he returned to the Bunker of his own volition there would be an official enquiry and Phillips was sure to lose his job. Alternatively, if Saunders was allowed to send out a search party he would, of course, be its leader. Moreover, if and when they managed to find the missing men it would be Saunders himself putting a gun to their heads and liberating their brains. Not before he was able to have a little fun. Naturally.
Saunders took out a key from his pocket and used it to open the bottom drawer of his desk, from which he pulled out a small metallic box. On the front of the box was a digital combination lock, complete with keypad. The box was programmed to explode if an incorrect decryption key was inputted. The box would also explode if anybody tried to it force it open. As well as the arm of the person attempting to open it, the explosion would probably take off the roof of the building.
Saunders took understandable care to input the correct number and then hit the ENTER key. Inside was a small communicator with built in low-band transmitter. He used its mini-keyboard to type in a message: PHILLIPS AND SAUNDERS HAVE JUMPED TO LOCATION 99, 36, 72. WILL FOLLOW. SUGGEST YOU DO THE SAME.