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Chapter XXX John Kemp w/c1,429

20/11/2011

Chapter xxx John Kemp

 

 

Lamb and Flag Pub, Flon, Lausanne

 

 

“Look at that tosser. I’d like to break his fucking kneecaps and then make him walk home.”

 

Kemp moved a finger across his desk and one of the images on his wall expanded until it took up half the space. It showed one of the dungeon rooms. A small pale teenage girl was strapped upside down onto an X-shaped cross of Saint Andrew that stood against the wall opposite the camera. A  middle-aged man in a suit was pacing up and down in front of the girl. The man’s head was down. He appeared to be ignoring the girl on the cross. The cane in his hand twitched like an angry cat’s tail.

 

Kemp was reminded of a panther he had once seen in a zoo, prowling endless around the edge of its territory, relentlessly looking to break free and kill someone.

 

With no warning, the man spun in a graceful arc and struck the cane against the girl’s flesh. The girl twitched against her bonds but she did not cry out. After a second to recover her breath she said, “Twenty-eight, Sir. Thank you, Sir.”

 

The man resumed his pacing and a fresh welt appeared on the girl’s skin, almost completing an unbroken line of horizontal stripes that stretched from just below her breasts to just above her sex.

 

“Keep it together, Easton. Amanda agreed to thirty stripes. If she gets through them all without crying out, he’ll double her fee.”

 

“I’d still like to hurt him?”

 

“We run a brothel, Easton. A Brit Brothel. The punters come to us because they want a Baise Brit. If they were nice people, they wouldn’t be here. They’d be at home with their wives.”

“I get that. God knows we saw enough rough brothels in the Crescent War.”

 

Pointing at the action on the smaller screens, Easton said: “I understand the ones who come here to fuck the Brits girls in School Uniforms or the British Airways Stewardess outfits or the British Army camosuits. I can even understand the cheap fucks who just want to stick their dicks through a glory hole and get their balls drained by a girl on her knees that they don’t have to look at, but this guy is sick.”

 

“This guy is the husband of a member of the Swiss Cabinet. He was once on the Swiss Olympic Fencing Team. Look closely at the welt marks. They are straight, evenly spaced, and he hasn’t broken her skin once. What you’re seeing here is deep anger that even now he is carefully controlling. I’m not sure he even sees Amanda. I think he is imagining his wife up on that cross.”

 

The cane struck again, at the top of the girl’s mound. This time the girl bounced in her bonds and there was a longer pause before she said. “Twenty-nine, Sir. Thank you, Sir.”

 

“If he goes over the thirty, can I have him?”

 

Kemp was certain the man would stop at the agreed limit, so it seemed safe to let Easton imagine getting revenge on a sick rich Swiss punter.

 

“If he goes over thirty you can follow him until he is a safe distance from here and then break his right elbow.”

 

The final blow was not horizontal. It landed hard between the girl’s wide spread legs. Her scream explained why Kemp had spent so much money soundproofing the dungeon rooms.

 

“The bastard. He cheated.”

 

“Of course he cheated. What did you expect? Now watch what he does next.”

 

The man stood in front of the girl and regarded his handiwork closely. He let the cane fall to the floor and ran the index finger of his right hand gently downwards across each of the welts. By the time he was squatting in front of Amanda’s tear-stained face, his whole body looked relaxed. He reached into his jacket and pulled out his wallet. He had, of course, already paid for his evening’s entertainment; the money he produced now was extra. He counted out enough bills to cover the promised bonus and then added another. He rolled the bills into a tube, placed them across the girl’s mouth, said, “Merci, Mademoiselle,” stood up and left the room.

 

“I don’t get it.” Easton said. “Why cheat if he’s going to pay her anyway?”

 

“He needs to win. He probably enjoyed giving Amanda time to think she’d failed. He doesn’t care about the money, he cares about the pain. Now get Amanda off that thing and get an autodoc to treat those welts. I want them gone within twenty-four hours.”

 

As Easton hurried off, Kemp saved a copy of Amanda’s session. He was sure it could give him leverage later. He watched Easton gently lift Amanda off the cross. The big man was careful with her. More than careful, respectful, perhaps even loving. Kemp filed that observation away for later  and then minimized all the camera images, except the one that showed him the Lamb and Flag Pub that formed the entrance to his establishment. He’d had it modelled after the Lamb and Flag in Covent Garden as he remembered it from his teens. It has become a tourist spot in its own right, selling real ale (brewed in Switzerland), traditional English pies (imported from Germany) and Vindaloo curry (made at a local catering college). It also provided the punters with a respectable reason for the visit. Prostitution had been legal in Switzerland for almost a hundred years. It was a tradition for some Swiss men to spend the Apero hour after work in strip club, relieving the day’s tensions before heading back to the bosom of their families, but British brothels were not places Swiss men admitted visiting. They were too closely associated with shameful memories of mainland Europe’s reaction to the disaster that followed Saint Paul’s, ten years ago.

 

Kemp had been living in France, trying to pretend that he was happy to have left the British Army, when St Paul’s happened. His daughter was with him but his ex-wife and most of his relatives never made it out of Britain. He still had people looking for them but he was no longer sure what he would do if he found them.

 

The Dominion Party had reached out to Kemp in France and asked him to become an asset for them in Switzerland. They set him up as a brothel master, a venal man the authorities would file under sleaze and forget. Then Kemp had started to recruit his team. Everyone who worked for him was ex-Army. They’d all lost people back home. They all wanted what he wanted: payback.

 

An icon appeared on Kemp’s wall: a New Britain Flag. Kemp pressed the keys that would jam any bugs in the room and encrypt communications.

 

“John, we have a problem. Someone is playing us.”

 

Deveraux, his Dominion handler. His English accent was perfect but Kemp knew his wife was a French aristocrat. Kemp didn’t trust him but then, Kemp wouldn’t have trusted anyone that Dominion sent to him.

 

“That thing in the Pullman Hotel in Paris wasn’t us,” Deveraux said, “but it used our tech. Our source in the SCP says says that something is coming and they think it’s the Brits. We think it’s linked to the Paris thing. We think someone is setting us up.”

 

Dominon didn’t operate on hunches. If they were calling him, they must already have some solid information that they weren’t sharing. Kemp would have to think through what that meant. One implication was already obvious, so he decided to offer it up and see what response it got.

 

“The list of someones who could do that is very short,” he said.

 

“Yes.”

 

He waited. Deveraux remained silent. Interesting.

 

“What do you want me to do?”

 

“Find out who they are and what they want. Look for anything unusual. Reach out to the boys in Hyderabad and see if they’ll share intel. We’ll see can get the Americans to talk to us.”

 

“Will do.”

 

Kemp closed the communication. If they were trying to talk to the Americans then they were afraid of whatever was coming. Dominion feared very few people or things.

 

Kemp suspected that, in what was about to play out, all sides would treat him as dispensible. He was OK with that. He had his team. If something is coming onto his turf and trying to set him up, it was going to pay in blood.

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