began in issue 122.
Chapter 6 appears
in issue 125.
Chapter 7: Beyond the Spheres
The special branch inspector was feeling extremely frustrated.
She and her colleagues had done their best to try to recover the situation. Nobody was quite sure who was most to blame for the mess-ups, so for once in their lives they were all keeping their mouths firmly shut.
The Santander squad had given them a hard time, of course, and her in particular; but you didn’t make it to inspector by having it easy. No, the spooks would fly off home soon and be forgotten; she didn’t give a damn about them. It was her colleagues she feared much more, and the sly remarks that would be just loud enough to overhear in the canteen the next day ...
It was approaching four o’clock. They’d been searching for their “smiler” for well over three hours now. The all-ports alert had gone out at once, of course, but that was not her concern. She was expected to work the local miracle!
And they’d really thought they’d cracked it at two o’clock.
A young woman matching that description perfectly had been spotted coming out of a beauty salon, just off Plaza Moyúa. They’d rushed her back to the café, and the boys from Santander had gone though the whole procedure again.
And she’d claimed to have been in the salon continuously since ten o’clock, most of the time under a hair dryer ... which four members of staff had then proceeded to confirm. Oh, and she just happened to be the wife of a young head of department at a city school, and chairwoman of two local charities. Wonderful.
Really weird, though, the inspector thought for the umpteenth time, brushing aside her frustrations and her self-criticism; it was really weird that their “fine lady” had matched so perfectly the description given by that timid Antonio Murano ...
Her bosses had just told her to give it another hour. She knew it was fruitless now. At five o’clock, once the helicopter was gone, she would stand the team down, keep out of everyone’s way for a while back at the station, then head straight home and try and forget it all with a very long bath.
What a shambles. Her notes could wait until the morning. She had real work to get on with ...