It was close to 2 AM as the Lamb Mariner reached Venice. This time I was alone. Mexican Gregory was my contact at HQ. I had told him to wait there for any messages the others may send. I had attempted to contact them to let them know I was coming, but no one had answered. I assume they'd been out investigating. Sir Fitzwellington was still away, and Dame Daphne had got completely stoned again. The ship's bow cut through the water, making no sound. It was a moonless night in Venice, and my black yacht made it almost impossible for any unwanted attention. I knew where to go first. Lady Lucinda Chicken Caesar. She was once part of the Order, but left after the tragic death of her hamster. She now resides in Venice - so at least I have one friend here. I gently steered the Mariner into a dock in Dorsodura and headed to Piazza San Marco, where I was to meet Lady Lucinda. I had my Colt Python in a holster, just in case things went awry. I reached the plaza, which was fairly quiet and well lit. I leant against a building and waited. A figure slowly came into sight and upon seeing me, headed to me. Lady Lucinda herself had come. We embraced (it had been a fair while since I'd seen her) and she led me to her car. When we were settled, she turned to me."So, senoir Pasanda, what brings you to Venezia?" "Well," I began, "We're on a case, and although I originally avoided coming here with the others, the other lead sent me here anyway. Men tried to kill me in London." I paused. "Oh, and Harry Bledger's apparently here, as well." I added. She nodded politely. "I see. Harry is here? I am surprised he did not let me know..." I nodded in agreement. "The whole bloody thing is strange, Lady. Incidentally, I encountered Dr Arsehole a few weeks back." She made a face. "What an arsehole. I can't believe we were together." I laughed. "An arsehole he is, a gripping conversation topic he is not. What's new with you then?"
We chatted until we reached her apartment. She showed me my room and then said goodnight. I waited until I heard her shut her bedroom door before opening the window and making the short jump to the cobbles below. This went disastrously wrong. As I jumped, I caught my foot on the side of the window and face planted onto sharper-than-I'd-hoped cobbles, one of which hitting me in the testicles. Also the gun imprinted into my chest. Not the best landing I'd ever had, and that was including letting Sir Fitzwellington pilot my Spitfire. Gingerly, I got to my feet and made my way to the place the others had been at last. As I passed the front door I noticed it was open. In the doorway was Lady Lucinda, dressed in black and holding a pistol. "You could of just asked to come with me you know." She said. I looked at her. "I'm not letting you come, it's too dangerous for you." Lucinda looked at me "Oh shut up. You forgot your map of Venice anyway. Come on." Reluctantly, I let her come. After a while, I changed my mind. It was good to have someone watching my back, and especially someone who knew the place. We headed for Castello and began searching for clues as to where they might be. Lucinda looked at me. "I don't think they're here. How are we going to find them now?" I smiled. "You obviously don't know how this plot works either..."
ONE RANDOM UNEXPLAINED PLOTHOLE LATER
It's hard to describe where I was - picture yourself in a boat on a river, with sort of tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Somebody called me, I answered quite slowly, a girl with kaleidoscope eyes...
YET ANOTHER UNEXPLAINED YET SLIGHTLY MORE BELIEVABLE PLOT HOLE LATER
We wandered around until suddenly I saw something. Harry's car! We ran over to it. Unscratched. Harry must've been inside... perhaps he'd know what had happened to the others. I walked up to the door. A man was standing there. "Yes?" he enquired. British. How strange, he must have come with Harry. "I'm here to see Harry." I replied. The man smirked. "I'm afraid Mr Bledger is very busy at the moment." he said, smugly. I lost my temper and pulled out my Colt. "I'm quite sure he'll find the time." I snarled. The doorman stepped aside. We entered the reception area - unmanned. Lucinda pointed towards the doors that said AUDITORIUM B. I nodded and we opened the door slightly. It was a balcony overlooking the auditorium. We snuck inside and looked over the edge. Harry was sitting at the front along with some other men watching intently as another made a speech. From where I was I couldn't make out his face, then Lucinda gasped. "It's Dr Arsehole!" I was shocked. What was Harry doing with Dr Arsehole? Dr Arsehole finished his speech and another man stood up to say a few words. This time I gasped. It was Lord Twattington Nastiness! I suddenly had a horrible feeling that Harry perhaps did know who they were - perhaps he was one of them. Lucinda looked at me, worried. "We should leave. Something isn't right." I agreed. But when I looked one last time at the screen below, it was a video - of me and Lucinda. It was CCTV! The men looked up and Harry tutted. "Sir Tarquin... you were never shy like this! Do come and sit down old chap, and we can sort this faff out." For a moment, I believed that it was all a misunderstanding, and Harry had been very kind. Unfortunately he killed the sentiment by pulling out a gun and pointing it at me. I heard the door swing open behind me and the same men that had chased me in London were standing there, this time with machine guns. They wore the Subways logo on their black jackets, something I failed to notice during our last encounter. They marched us off the balcony and through reception. I suddenly pistol whipped the one holding Lucinda and told her to get help. As the others turned I shot one and punched another until one behind me hit me with the stock of his gun. The last thing I remember is seeing Lucinda escape and a bloody painful feeling.
I awoke to find myself tied to a chair in a featureless room, Harry leaning against the wall. He was holding my Colt. He looked at me and then looked away. "You know, you didn't have to follow me. There was no need. You've brought this upon yourself." I looked at him with contempt. "Why Harry? Why are you doing this? You're part of COBRA for god's sake!" I croaked. Harry laughed. "Money, my friend. Money. You can never have enough money. Subways approached me and told me their plan. With my influence, no one's dared to investigate what I've been doing... no one except you." I didn't understand. "What are Subways doing? What's their problem?" Harry finally looked me in the eye. "A Subways was blown up by Dr Arsehole, and nobody gave a damn! Nobody cared that Subways was gone! Which is why they're taken revenge. What's wrong with a little revenge anyway?" He raised the gun. "All I can say, Tarq, is that it's not personal. It's you or a big pile of lovely money. And I'm afraid I choose the money."
I thought of The Foe, my colleagues, Subways and finally my father, and how he had died in Venice on that fateful day...
Harry Bledger fired.