T here was a knock at the door and Sir Jones moved quickly to open it. Three familiar men, the ones whom I'd already met with, entered the room. They were dressed in sharp Armani suits and, being the professional that I was, I noticed immediately that two of them had the tell-tale bulges of concealed weapons under the left arm. This, however, caused me no concern, as I understood that the worst threat was always the person. Sir Jones politely introduced himself and wished us all a productive meeting before leaving the room and softly closing the door behind him. Just before closing the door, he looked me dead in the eye without betraying anything in his facial expression. I was now on my own and I simply had to trust what Sir Jones had told me about the bank building and arrangements made. I also hoped that the equipment would work. In most cases, the equipment provided by MUMS worked flawlessly, but on one occasion a technical failure nearly cost me my life.
Muhamed II bin Laden, Hamir Mirt and David Stenson were the names of the men sitting at the conference table with me. I knew their names because they were widely known in business circles. What was not widely known was their position as key financial operatives for al Qaeda. The task right now was for the clients to transfer three billion dollars to the bank account I had specified and provide them with information on nuclear devices in the United States. Lloyds Banking Group was the bank chosen by these terrorists. The bank would confirm the transfer of funds once they had received the co-ordinates of the devices.
I stood up and fetched a water pitcher from the serving table, offering to pour each of them a glass. All of them declined, so I poured myself a glass. Taking a swig from the glass, I cleared my throat with some emphasis to indicate that we would begin. "Gentlemen, shall we get right to it, then?" This was no question - indeed, it was a proclamation. I pulled my laptop and notebook out of the briefcase and placed them on the table. Muhamed II bin Laden took out his own laptop. I quickly surmised that he was the highest-ranking of the three. He was the financial brain of this terrorist cell, and the other two protected him and established business fronts. In actual fact, these two men were the bodyguards of Muhamed II bin Laden, who was related to Osama bin Laden himself.
Muhamed II bin Laden said: "The transfer has been made. I would like to see the map and data now." I smiled because I knew there was no turning back at this point. "Of course. But, I would need to see a confirmation receipt in your online bank first." The look that Muhamed II bin Laden shot me a look that could have killed. He stood up with his laptop and walked over to me, placing it on the table in front of me. I looked at the screen and saw the DenizBank online interface, which showed that three billion dollars had been transferred to my account at Lloyds. I smiled in my mind's eye as Muhamed II bin Laden circled back around the table and sank heavily into his leather chair, which groaned under his roughly 80 kilogram frame. However, my face showed no emotion, no response. Now it was my turn. I opened my briefcase again, pulled out a pen and opened my black notebook, which contained a small, neatly folded map. I slid the map out of the notebook and opened it, laying it flat on the table. Muhamed II bin Laden leaned forward in his chair,as did his two colleagues. Holding the pen in my right hand, I leaned out over the table and pressed the pen rather hard into the map, circling a spot in the middle.
My lungs began to protest and a slight cold sweat broke out on my forehead. I opened my eyes and inhaled deeply. I had counted slowly to a hundred and twenty, adding a few seconds just for good measure. I was fairly certain that two minutes had elapsed since I drew the circle on the map with my pen. T