Corder was listening through a set of headphones to the private discussion that Francis and Elizabeth had in the late hours after the funeral of Tim Stamper. After all, the Urquhart’s private residence in London as well as the Prime Minister’s official residence at 10 Downing Street were fully wired for internal surveillance.
Elizabeth was gravely concerned that her nephew would reveal the contents of the Storin Tape.
“He’s one of us, Elizabeth.” Said Francis. “There’s no question that he would betray us. He practically confessed to the murder of his own father right there in the office.”
Francis then recounted the conversation verbatim.
“But can you really be certain?” She replied. “Can we really be safe?”
“He forced the issue out of concern for his own safety.” Said Francis. “Of course it wouldn’t hurt for us to be absolutely certain.”
“There are after all,” said Francis, “no shortage of minor pests on that side of the Atlantic that could be disposed of. But we’ll have Corder look into that.”
Corder grunted when he heard that through his headphones. He would of course wait to formally summoned to receive his orders before he would begin to work on the problem.
Elizabeth continued the conversation.
“Is he really serious about becoming President?”
“Well, yes.” Said Francis. “He has the right family background and there’s no question that he has the will to do it.”
Francis decided at the moment to tell his side of the story.
“Twelve years ago. Right before his father died John and I had a rather interesting talk on the telephone. It appeared that our dear brother in law Richard had decided to embark on a political career of his own and had forbidden John to enlist in the
American Army, even going as far to promise to pull strings to prevent it from happening as it would make him look bad to the leaders and the other ranks in the DFL party.”
“DFL, Francis?” Said Elizabeth.
“Democratic Farmer Labor Party of Minnesota.” Said Francis. “John says its every bit as bad as it sounds.”
Francis continued the story.
“I offered to use my influence as a junior whip to enroll John in my old regiment and he politely declined. He said that the last American President who served under the Crown was George Washington and that he didn’t believe that enlisting in the Scots
Guards was a really viable option for him.“
“Of course not.” Said Elizabeth.
Francis had to continue.
“I was aware of Richard’s bad habits but I couldn’t directly suggest that John put poison in his father’s cocaine over the telephone. So I asked John if he could find a tin of a particular kind of rat poison. He said that he would look into it. Three
days later Richard March was found dead in his office and a week later a slightly used tin of rat poison arrived at our Southampton manor by a parcel service.”
“What did you do with the rat poison?” Said Elizabeth.
“I used it on Roger O’Neill. Elizabeth.”
For Corder, the first task after receiving his orders from the Prime Minister was to perform a background check on John Andrew March. He was appalled to discover that the British security services had virtually nothing on the Prime Minister’s nephew apart from a note that John was keeping company at Oxford with Marlene Landless, an undergraduate student and the heiress of the Landless Media empire. Corder wrote a note to himself to also do a background check on Miss Landless.
There was a quick and dirty way of obtaining information on John March. Corder placed a call to the American Embassy in London. Two hours later Corder bought a pint for the FBI’s Diplomatic Liaison to the United Kingdom in a public house in Whitechapel.
The black haired Liaison Agent came straight to the point.
“So Corder,” he said, “what do you want?”
Corder thought that question was a bit abrupt but decided to play it nice.
“The P.M. wants to do a favor for his nephew, John Andrew March, he wants to arrange for someone to set up an endowed chair for John at an American university. We just need to know if there are any problems that we need to be aware of.”
“You need to see his FBI file?” Said the Liaison Agent.
“Yes.” Said Corder.
“Well, apart from being illegal,” said the Liaison Agent, “it might be a bit difficult.”
“Really?” Said Corder.
“F. U. is close to the top of the Hilary’s personal shit list.”
“I thought Bill was supposed to be in charge?” Said Corder.
“He’s the public face of the administration. He gets to make the speeches and sign the bills.” Said the Liaison Agent. ”Hillary is in charge of everything else. Nothing happens in the White House without her permission. Except of course, the trouser failures.”
“That’s hard to believe.” Said Corder.
“Believe it.” Said the Liaison Agent. “If Hillary could find a way to take down F. U., like through that nephew of his, she’ll do it in a heartbeat.”
“I’ll certainly pass on your warning.” Corder said.
“Pass this on too,” said the Liaison Agent as he leaned closer to Corder, “Hillary has made no secret of her desire to take the top job in her own right. If F. U. ever decides that she needs to be taken out, don’t piss around with the indirect approach, do it directly, a wood stake straight through the heart.”
“Right.” Corder replied.