On a ranch down in New Mexico, a tall figure with a cowboy hat, blue jeans and a black shirt was standing training a beautiful brown horse. He had a firm grip on the straps as the horse kept moving around him as he stood in the center.
A black SUV moved up close to his ranch and parked and 3 men came out , 2 were body guards that stayed by the car while the 3rd man walked up to the area where the horse was being trained. He was dressed in a dark grey expensive suit. He was a thin man with calm features a v-shaped jaw, white with blue eyes. His facial expressions reflected some disturbance and it seemed he was trying to contain it.
The man had his back to his visitor and began to speak, with a clear southern accent “I’ve understood from James you had an incident last night McKinley, is that correct?”
McKinley shrugged for a second “A Minor Incident Quartet Master” he said it very calmly and added “A Minor incident which will be dealt with and all concerns removed.”
The Quartet Master replied without even looking his way “mmm , I see.. Why was the incident not contained yesterday?”
McKinley answered him back “By the time he had notified us it was a bit too late”
The Quartet Master shook his head “I see, I also understood the man you lost was a valuable asset, he’s the one who prepared the documents and reports needed for the Serpent Bearer Project, ain’t he?”
McKinley nodded “Yes, he was”
The Quartet Master “McKinley I do not think need to remind you, of how the structure of the Quartet operates, or how the hierarchy functions. Any loss of a member if not decided by ‘The Four’, is in itself a form of failure to a branch of the hierarchy, and we prefer to cut off branches like these.. As I’m sure you already know, an ill and weak branch would do nothing but infect the entire tree.”
Mckinley moved his shirt’s collar in a clearly worried manner and replied hesitantly “I, I understand very well the rules of the Quartet , Quartet Master, and I promise you, I will not fail you another time.”
The quartet master replied very sharply “There will not be another time, McKinley, next time it will be your head! I’ve made an exception for you only because of all the good work you’ve done for the organization across the past years, find who ever did this and clean this mess up. Now go”
Mckinley nodded answering “Yes Quartet Master” and left instantly getting back into his vehicle that took off instantly.
The Quartet Master picked up his cell phone and dialed a number; it took 2 rings until the voice came from the other end. “Yes, Quartet Master” with a monotonous metallic sound
“We’ve lost the asset that worked on the Serpent bearer project last night; he was under the Asian branch” The Quartet Master explained.
“I see, and you want to eliminate the Branch head?” the voice replied
“No not yet, but I want you to keep an eye on him for the next few weeks, if he slips again, you know what to do” The Quarter Master added.
The man replied “Understood”
The door knocked at the intelligence attaché’s office in the Egyptian embassy of Hong kong, and the intelligence officer replied “Come in”
The door opened and walked in a five foot ten man well built with dark brown hair and hazel eyes looking very distinguished. “Ah if it isn’t officer Ashraf Neuman, come in my good man”
The man walked in and shook hands with the intelligence officer “Thank you Colonel Shazly”
“So what brings you here my good man? I’ve heard you’ve already been here a couple of days ago” Colonel Shazly asked.
“Just routine assignments, you know sir, the sort we have to check all is going well” Ashraf replied.
“I’ve been briefed about you and told that you can be a handful, I hope you won’t cause us any trouble during your stay” Colonel Shazly said
“Not to worry sir, not intending on it, and in all cases I’m sticking around for three more days then I will be headed back to Cairo” Ashraf added
“Well glad to know this, if there’s anything you will need, let me know” colonel Shazly said invitingly
“Thank you sir, one question in that case” Ashraf said
“What would it be? “ Shazly asked
“ Are you familiar with chief inspector Tony Kiang?” Ashraf asked
Shazly replied confirming “Yes but of course, he’s the head inspector of the HKPD, and has handled some of the most gruesome crimes around the city, he’s also assigned the top and most sensitive of cases” then he asked “Why do you ask?”
“My apologies sir but that is classified, can you share with me what kind of record and reputation does he have ?” Ashraf added a second question
“Classified ha.. Ok, well he’s said to have a brilliant record, decorated even by the city mayor and is said and to have a spotless reputation, but you would never know what happens behind the curtains, one can never be too sure” Shazly added.
“Thank you sir, that’s more than enough, I’ll have to get going” Ashraf said
Shazly nodded, and Ashraf took off
“I hope we won’t have trouble when you’re around during those 3 days Mr.Ashraf!” Shazly mumbled to himself.
Tony was at his office reviewing all the documents that had came in from the different team members, when his mobile phone beeped announcing the arrival of a text message.
He looked at the mobile and unlocked it to read the message. It read “I know you are investigating the murder of Tao. I can help you” the sender was showing as ‘Unknown’
Tony’s eyes grew wide for a minute. Then another text message came in, he read it frantically “be in the Chai Wan Park by 6 pm, you will find the fourth bench to the left of the entrance, stay by it. Come alone”
Tony looked around and got up trying to look through the window, Kai was passing by and noticed him looking around rather out of the usual and asked “Is everything ok Tony?”
Tony stood there for a moment before replying ‘ No everything is just fine why?”
Kai raised an eye brow “Because you seem to be looking for something? Did you lose something?”
Tony began to regain his composure and shook his shoulders “no nothing was just stretching a bit that’s all”
Kai wasn’t so sure about Tony’s answer but let it go.
In the mean time Tony got back to his desk and reviewed the message contents again and sat there quietly thinking.
Tony called up Clair who was doing the background check on Tao. It took a couple of rings before she picked up.
“Clair did we get anything on Tao yet?” He asked
She came back in quick voice “ Phd from Hong Kong University in Geology , specialized in working with major companies in the search for petroleum on many occasions all over the world, recently in the Middle East , single no children, has a villa in the Mid-level central area , near the Botanical garden . No wife, no children. His work has always either been as a consultant for firms or lectures in Hong Kong university , and several other universities across the world.”
He listened carefully and was quiet for a few seconds then “Petroleum companies, interesting.. Any particular reference stands out Clair?” He asked.
Clair began to check the documents further as Tony added “Competition maybe?”
She came back after going through a couple of folders “one name does stand out , three locations over the past 2 years, a company called Black Jade petroleum services ,he’s been contracted and worked with in the Middle East , The China sea and Eastern Europe”
“Thank you Clair that will be for all now , if something else comes up let me know!” He added”
“ Sure thing” She replied and hung up.
Tony looked back at his phone for a minute , it was still 5 pm..
Tony called Kai “Get a warrant and go to Tao’s place to search for clues”
Kai responded “Sure but you won’t come?”
“No I have some things to take care of” Tony responded smilingly then added “Our wedding anniversary me and Maya is in 2 days so I am preparing something!”
Kai nodded his head agreeing ! “Great so we’ll see you later then ! and if something comes up I’ll let you know!”
“Great” Tony added