11:11 a.m. at Triaca (Nella’s sister)’s residence, The Grandamme II, mid-city, London…
“Does the Tom Ford suit fit okay…I mean the tech side of things? As you know I cannot actually check it’s capabilities.” Nella’s sister asked as she continued without waiting for an answer… “Also, I have upgraded your suit’s hologram capabilities from last time…You can project more of your images in real-time—up to eleven versions of yourself. The full body armor image is real…only on the real you, of course.”
Retiring from The Tailors to raise her son as a single mother following her very public divorce from The Colonel, Nella’s sister Triaca, still performed her duties as her sister’s armorbearer (also called a quartermaster), maintaining Nella’s Tom Ford suit’s very special high tech features.
Nella’s Tom Ford suit was no ordinary suit. It was kitted out with a top secret special fabric lining made of nanobots creating hologram images of her form.
The nanobots had various functions within the suit. They project Nella’s image in full real chainmail from head to her ankles with a “T” emblazoned from her shoulders and outstretched arms down the length of her diminutive frame.
Thanks to the nanobots self-healing capabilities the “suit” can withstand armor-piercing rounds, small missiles, and sharp objects of varying sizes. And, if Nella, was to walk through fire the nanobots would “eat” the fire’s energy as their food, at which point the “suit” became fire repellent. The suit’s full capabilities respond only to Nella’s DNA.
“It fits really well, thank you, Sis” Nella replied. “We better make arrangements for Ashleigh’s safety. When will Rigger arrive? They…”
Suddenly the doorbell rang. It played the family’s longtime favorite sound bite…the Looney Tunes Roadrunner sound— “meep, meep…meep, meep…”
Still carrying Ashleigh in her arms, Triaca ran to the door and checked the front doorbell cameras and the 360-degree rooftop cameras mounted on the armed drones housed in the steeple (kept from when the building was a church).
The visitors were Rooftop, along with her big brother Rigger and her older sister, Siela. Rigger was Triaca’s three-year-old son Ashleigh’s personal bodyguard.
Opening the door, Triaca greeted them, “Hello all, come one in. Nella is ready.” Triaca immediately handed Ashleigh over to Rigger.
“Take care of my little one,” said Triaca as Rigger departed out the front door, spiriting Ashleigh away from the Grandamme II and from whatever was to come…
“So,” asked Rooftop, beginning to unpack all her gear with a loud bang of her large bag on Triaca’s posh nineteenth-century baroque original Carrara marble-topped foyer table, “Nella, Can you us bring up to speed?”
“Do you know, that is a handcrafted table trucked all the way from Italy? Do you mind?” Quipped Triaca, tongue in cheek.
“Oh, don’t be so squeamish, that’s not real marble…right?” Rooftop chucked as Nella, Siela and Triaca joined in the laughter at Rooftop’s usual well-timed humorous pluck whenever she stared undaunted into the eye of any storm.
“And wait, I don’t really like this table in this part of the foyer,” said Rooftop as she picked up the forty-kilo-plus table and moved it to the other end of the foyer by herself.
Shocked and laughing, Nella cried. “What are you doing! What kind of “guest” are you rearranging your host’s furniture!”
Laughing hysterically the four women sat down on the steps leading to the Triaca’s home’s eight bedrooms to plan their defense for a real and imminent attempt on their lives… Or so they thought…
Nella asked Rooftop, “Did your contacts find out anything about The Tailor that The Colonel told us was murdered earlier this morning?
“Still waiting to hear back. Siela has a contact in the Umberland mansion where The Tailor had worked undercover.”
Rooftop added…”I hope it is okay with your protocols for protecting the identity of The Tailors Nella, but under the circumstances I authorized Siela to send a photo of The Tailor that was undercover at the Umberland mansion to our spotters at Eurostar train stations and Heathrow. It may be nothing. I will keep you posted.”
“No problem…he has passed so no need for secrecy on his identity any longer. Yes, that is quite okay and good thinking, my friend.”
One hour later…
Without a lick of warning as Nella, her sister, Triaca, and Rooftop and her sister Siela planned their strategy for unexpected guest(s) bent on killing them…
…Suddenly all the alarms of Triaca’s entire estate went off. The sound was deafening so much so that, it rattled the front doors.
“What is happening! What is that?” Nella asked.
“Incoming!!…” Triaca answered grabbing her sister as Rooftop ushered Siela alongside them. Then, all four women sped into the bomb shelter room through the secret door under the foyer steps where they once sat.
The small missile, meant to destroy only the steeple on Triaca’s home…and specifically, its armed drones—hit its target.
Hearing the loud bang of the missile on her home’s rooftop…
And suddenly, forgetting her three decades of training in manners and breeding…
“Bloody f_&@@#$_ wanker(s) fired on my home. I’m $#@&^_ well pissed off now!!”
Siela, Rooftop’s sister lunged just in time on Triaca as she tried to exit the bomb shelter.
Two hours passed…all was quiet at Triaca’s mansion…
Viewing the camera feeds in the bomb shelter, Nella realized they had been played. They were never in any danger…
Nella said, angry at herself— “We played into their hands. This was about misdirection all along. All of it. After all, we only have The Colonel’s word for almost everything we know so far today…”
Suddenly Siela’s (Rooftop’s sister) cellphone rang, startling all four women.
“Are you sure? I mean we were told he was dea_….yes, yes okay. That changes everything. Contact our people at the train stations and at Heathrow. Ask them to keep a lookout for him. And call Rooftop with any updates…anyting at all. Thank you.”
“What it is?” Nella asked suddenly with a bad feeling in her gut.
“I don’t know how to say this,” Siela answered, straightening her flack jacket… “But, my source at the Umberland estate, the cook, just informed me that he saw The Tailor (the one that we believed was dead) slip out the back door near the kitchen window of the Umberland estate at about seven o’clock this morning. He was alive and well and apparently in a hurry.”
Straightaway, Rooftop’s cellphone rang. She answered. “What have you got for me. Really? You are certain. Okay. Thank you, I appreciate your help.”
“My contact at Heathrow just called. He could not believe his eyes, he said that he just saw our supposed murdered Tailor enter the departures gate for flights to Istanbul and beyond.”
Immediately Triaca’s phone rang. It was Rigger.
“Taking on fire…we are secured, both safe in the panic room…the usual place… need backup, now!”
Frantically, Triaca reported Rigger’s words to Nella and Rooftop, while all four women hurriedely departed the bunker under the stairs at Triaca’s estate.
To Triaca’s horror, Nella responded…”Its all smoke and mirrors… I don’t believe Ashleigh is in any danger! Text Rigger and ask him, to go check, when it is safe to do so, if any of the rounds fired upon Ashleigh and himself, were live bullets…”
While Triaca texted Rigger; Nella spoke…
“Don’t you all see? All of this so far today— from the moment Zinc (the peacock) brought me the “distress message: sackcloth and ashes“—was meant to keep us four specifically, so busy that we would not see what was really going on. The question remains…what is really going on here?“
Triaca’s phone buzzed with a reply from her text to Rigger guarding her son Ashleigh. Rigger’s text reply read as follows…
“You were right. I checked. All rounds fired upon us here were blanks. They were deployed from unmanned semi-automatic guns planted in the bushes. A smoke screen. All clear here…over and out…”
Without warning, Triaca, appearing to be deeply distraught, made a spirited dash for the front door and departed her estate home saying: “I have got to ensure that Ashleigh is safe!”
Unbeknowest to Nella, her sister did not escape to attend to her motherly obligations…Triaca’s diabolical masterplan with The Colonel was unravelling…
***To be continued Next Sunday***