Chapter 28

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Kudos and BBC. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended.

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Nephthys, according to Egyptian mythology, was the goddess of night and sleep. She was also a friend and protector of the dead. This as much Ros knew and as she walked into the Grid that morning, having just left Alexa at the hospital, she wondered if she'd done the right thing.

The girl had just lost her father and had been close to losing her own son as well. For a brief moment, Ros felt a pang of regret for how callous she had been to Alexa just an hour earlier, but as she spotted Harry's face through the glass wall that separated his office from the rest of the Grid, she knew she'd done the right thing.

After leaving the Gordon Refinery the other night, Ros had dropped off the grief-stricken Harry at his home. But instead of heading straight to her flat, Ros returned to Thames House and there, as she sat alone before her desk, she replayed a few things that had happened the last two days.

Jools Siviter's visit at the hospital and at the Grid had bothered her. Ros had worked for MI6 before transferring over to Five just a few years earlier, and she knew all about Jools and his incompetence as head of Six. That's why he'd been sent away to Washington shortly before she was recruited.

He was a disgrace, that was all there was to it. He never followed protocol, and was a firm believer of doing whatever it took to get what he wanted, whether it was information or simply to manipulate people. It wasn't any different from most heads of the various major offices, she assumed, but he'd also been responsible for many failed operations. But because the man was so well connected - among them his wife being a powerful QC herself - many of his failures had been swept under the rug and short of stripping him of his position, he was simply shuffled to some other office after another abroad.

Yet here he was, back in the same position he'd been removed from years earlier, conveniently installed as the interim head of Six again while the current head was supposedly going through heart bypass surgery.

And wouldn't you know it, thought Ros, Arkady Kachimov had also been installed as chief London resident of the FSB a week or two before Jools' reinstatement. And of course, there was Nathaniel George AKA Sergei Fenix, whose reappearance in London had been preempted by an order of execution by Arkady to Anatoly Rubiev, the international hit man she killed at the ferry terminal.

Or so they all thought. The assassination order had been for Mikhael Lubienko, and probably Alexa as well.

So many coincidences, Ros had found herself mulling over as she sat before her desk, staring at the computer screen before her. Was it pure coincidence then that the defection to Russia by Nathaniel eight years earlier, a man well versed in nuclear energy, had been masterminded by both Jools and Arkady?

It was a puzzle that was simply begging to be solved, and Ros could feel just how close she was in doing so. There was a connection somewhere but she could not yet see it.

Suddenly Ros remembered the envelope that Harry carried with him to the hospital. Ros remembered how Harry clutched it against his chest tightly, as if it contained secrets never meant to be seen by anyone else. He'd brought it to the hospital to show to Mikhael, Ros thought. But why? What was in it?

He'd left it behind in the car when Ros dropped him off at his home, and Ros had brought it in with her, and as she got up and walked into Harry's office to leave the envelope on his desk, she paused. She looked around her. The two junior operatives at the far end of the Grid were concentrating on some phone conversations playing in their ear phones and were copiously writing down notes.

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