Chapter 27

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Lady Brenda and Jeopardy reached the resting place of Pope Pius XII, just as Borders disappeared behind the altar. They waited a few minutes, looking about to see if anyone was near. The only voices they heard came from above the altar - tourists pressing against the railing. At their level, no-one was in sight. They followed in Borders's direction, into the space behind. The sudden closeness took their breath away. The stench of death seemed appropriate for what they planned to do. In the fouled air, they looked for Borders. The row of lights left them no choice as to where they should proceed.

They struggled to contain their pounding hearts, gripped in the smell of ancient fungus and the excitement of the potential kill. They stepped from one shadowed circle to the next, a chess board with only three pieces. Their feet made small indentations in the clay, giving in now and then to slip on the small rises. Lady Brenda bit her lip, causing her to make a slight sound. Jeopardy, with knitted brows, looked at her.

The passageways were like small streets, confined by miniature buildings on both sides. Grottoes beneath the basilica. They were passing through a graveyard, a community open to the sun two-thousand years ago, but now devoid of light. The tombs leaked clamminess, making breathing difficult. Lady Brenda pressed her hand over her mouth, attempting to filter some air, smearing a small spot of blood onto her chin. Unexpectedly, they saw Borders - his eyes probing one of the chambers. Perhaps searching for someone.

He stepped into the room through the opening that once was defended by a wooden door, now condensed to dust. The room was empty. There were no footprints from recent visitors. He stared at the urns placed in small niches in the walls – the resting place of rich Romans. The floor was a mosaic, assembled from different colored marble fragments. Panama had probably passed by this room. No doubt he had little interest in Roman bones – unless he hoped to make new ones.

Borders retreated to the alley. Lady Brenda and Jeopardy watched from the shadows. He continued down the passageway. In and out of a circular shade. The two women followed. Jeopardy touched the knife in its sheath, her backup weapon. She then reached into her waistband and took out her pistol. It was time to bring this to an end.

She called from the darkness, her concealed face covered with hate, her right arm outstretched, gripping her Baretta.

"Borders," she yelled, her voice cold as ice.

Borders stopped and looked behind. He saw Jeopardy standing in a small island of dim light, with Lady Brenda slightly behind her.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

"I've come to kill you," she answered, her bluntness surprising even her.

"I don't understand," said Borders. "When I last saw you in Venice, you were on your way to London. What's this all about? Why would you want to kill me? Since when does M16 put a hit out on CESIS?"

"This has nothing to do with M16. This is for me, for what you did to me."

"What did I ever do to you?" asked Borders.

"You killed Matthew Clark, my fiancée," answered Jeopardy.

"Matthew Clark? He was a member of ENIGMA. He was about to assassinate our Prime Minister.

"That was his last mission. He had to do it so they wouldn't know his plans. After he had completed the job, we were going to disappear. They would never find us again.," said Jeopardy.

"So you knew he was going to kill our Prime Minister?" asked Borders.

"No,' she answered. "I didn't know what the job was. But it doesn't matter, we were going to be free."

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