Red-haired Interventions 2
Harlots All 7
Kefira Resurfaces 12
Kefira’s Apprentice in England 21
The Hordes Reappear 28
Two Years Earlier in Samarkand 45
On the Road to Locorotondo Base Camp 50
Locorotondo Revelations 54
Al Jazeera Newsroom 76
Near Sapporo Japan 78
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Almost a year had passed since the first celebration of the ‘Great Compromise’. Kefira liked to call it the day of the great grovelling and scraping and it irked the woman in her more deeply with every passing sunrise. She looked at the people sitting around her in the airplane.
“Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for flying with British Airways. Have a wonderful time in Great Britain. Let me remind you that we are entering British Airspace and all female passengers are required by law to cover themselves. Any passengers that do not possess a Burqa may request, at a slight cost, a durable tissue-paper outfit acceptable to meet the stringent regulations. Thank you and have a wonderful day.”
The pilot continued his message by playing a pre-recorded homily, glorifying how the adoption of Sharia Law two years ago had prevented a war and saved lives.
Kefira stood up, along with all the other women in the compartment, to a muffled sigh, and started the cumbersome ritual of covering herself from head to toe. I’ll never get used to this, she mumbled under her breath. Though she could have engaged her diamond-molecule-based nanosuit, morphing her appearance to become a man, Private Detective Kefira chose to enter Britain in the relative anonymity of a veiled woman.
Through the cloth-latticed opening in her Burqa, Kefira surveyed the people waiting at the Arrivals exit. A tall, red-haired, young, Irish-looking man stood out from the crowd. He exactly matched the note and photo she’d received by email from the New Scotland Yard. Kefira strolled by the undercover officer and smirked to herself at his resemblance to another Irishman in her life. The young man did not even ‘bat an eyelid’ at the woman walking beside him.
Kefira slipped her mobile phone to her ear after dialing a previously agreed upon number. Her new partner answered. Before he could speak, she blurted, “Top of the morning to you. May God bless,” all spoken in her best Irish lilt.
“This is Thomas Kearney. May I ask who is calling?”
“Turn around and look to the Air France desk.”
“Yes, I see a woman near the desk. What might I do for you and how exactly did you get my unlisted number?”
“If you’re so slow on the uptake Tom-boy, I doubt we can work together.”
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Parker never told me. Ah. Parker, who would be my boss- Ah! I mucked this one up, didn’t I?”
“I know who Parker is, Tom. Let’s get a move on. I’ll just go to the powder room over there near the exit. Be right with you.”
The entrance to the washrooms separated between male and female doors at the end of a long hallway. Kefira entered the men’s door and strode across the empty room directly to a cubicle. Once inside, she removed her Burqa and pressed a small button on her wristwatch. A grey fog emanated from the tiny opening. Her telepathic skills immediately felt enhanced. She became hyper-sensitive to her surroundings and felt the exhilaration of acquiring powers that never ceased to amaze her even though she had had this technology for more than two years now. Kefira chuckled to herself as she became a man and headed out the door of the empty washroom.
Though she would have preferred to leave it behind, Kefira stuffed the Burqa into her wide briefcase, containing a flexible, voice activated tablet computer, the only luggage she needed, as she could manipulate her environment to suit her every need. Kefira transformed into what Thomas Kearney had imagined he would meet. A nondescript man in his mid-thirties, someone people ignored and easily forgot. The nanofog helped her immerse into her role, each molecular facet working effortlessly to satisfy all of her whims.
“That’ll be it then Tom,” said the person Kefira had become as she approached her startled future partner from the Metropolitan Police Service.
“Ah. Right then. We’ll just go by the central office to see Parker. Please come this way.”
“That’s not the way I work, Tom.”
“This is all a bit unsettling for me,” said Tom.
“You’ll get used to it. Now take me to the most recent crime scene. I need to get a feel for the killer’s ways, his ‘tells’ so to speak.”
They got into an old Volvo 240 sedan and made their way out of the airport parking at Heathrow International Airport.
“I haven’t seen one of these for years,” said Kefira.
“I will need some paperwork to get you into the crime scene. We really should go by the office.”
“Let me see your ID, Tom.”
Tom fiddled with his wallet while steering with the other hand and showed Kefira his pass to enter the central office and his detective’s badge. Kefira passed her hands over the two documents and then turned her hand back up. Two perfect copies including her picture, retina scan information as well as a bronze badge sat on the palm of her hand.
“How d’you do that?” asked Tom as he took back his own Ids.
“Tricks of the trade, lad,” said Kefira, using her male voice. “Let’s get a move on, shall we,” she added.