Tuesday, 25 July 2017


The following is the edited excerpt of a  topic  featured in Max McDowell's  Penelope One  (formerly The Overman Conspiracy - a fact based thriller first published in 2011). See below: 

      Faysal remained inscrutable. ‘One ace remaining,’ he said. ‘Sam 7. It is time to call in my dividends.’
            ‘Scuse me?’ I said in surprise. ‘Whazzat?’
           ‘Sam 7 Strela 2 missiles. There was no shortage on the black market. My batch came from Russian made weapons manufactured in the 80s. We brought them in from Chechnya. If properly looked after they remain operational for well over thirty years. They safely arrived by boat.'
            ‘Windsor Marina,’ I said, dumbfounded.
            Faysal didn’t reply right away, but I knew well enough that without defensive systems practically all civilian aircraft would be vulnerable to a heat-seeking missile that targets the engine on landing or take-off.
            ‘The Sam 7 has an effective range of up to three miles,’ Faysal continued, ‘when launched as a shoulder-held missile. It progresses at 500-600 meters a second and the warhead usually contains up to 1kg of explosives such as the high-powered C4.’
            ‘Always supposing everything goes according to plan,’ I said.
       ‘Without a doubt, particularly when compared to the unreliable American Stinger missiles.’ Whatever that was supposed to mean, there was no challenge from me. The Strela 2 surface-to-air, I knew, was easily the most preferable shoulder-launched anti-aircraft system in the world. Faysal had the grace to be entirely matter of fact. ‘If you follow the row of aircraft stacked up one behind the other over the Thames Valley, half a mile apart on their
"Troops patrol Heathrow after terror warning of missile attack on aircraft!"

approach to Heathrow, as well as those taking off, it is easily apparent to anyone able to make an educated guess, that it will not be impossible to take out three to five of them, before the first can even be diverted.’

            He seemed awfully keen on the idea and I didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out that ageing Boeing 747 double-deckers were the most at risk. However, the procedure was mercifully short, Faysal assured me. The missile could be armed, locked on and fired at the target in less than thirty seconds.
Australia latest: Police disrupt plot to bring down an airplane!
            I couldn’t help being awed by his sense of discipline and precision. Or perhaps I should call it devotion. It was characteristic of the man that he possessed no hint of personal malevolence. He was merely a man with a genius for technology, proud of his skills, and entirely unaffected by the sheer enormity of what he was about to commit. The casualties figured in it mainly as statistics. There was no passion, no fervour, no compunction - not the slightest acknowledgement of the horrific consequences
            ‘Of course,’ he continued, ‘we are also familiar with the technology needed to turn anthrax spores into the lethal aerosols that have already been used in terrorist attacks. Our Chechen laboratories are in fact producing CS, the irritant orthochlorobenzal malonoitrile, in powder form.'
            Again he paused a beat. I nodded like I understood. This guy was unbelievable. His charisma and calm reflective voice had a powerful directness. Mitzi, in the back of the car, didn’t make a sound.
            ‘It can in fact be ground down and mixed with silica, anthricis, and the most efficacious and deadliest size of the anthrax particles. The result is a very fine, lightweight powder that can be weaponized. Laced with an accelerant, it will disperse rapidly and efficiently with the impact force of a Sam 7. The wind and water supply will do the rest.’
            I looked at him and nodded blankly. He seemed to be in another world. ‘Why the hell not?’ I said. ‘Everybody is doing it.’
            ‘The first symptoms will be fever and chest-pains. There will be ten-thousand casualties within twenty-four hours.’ He hesitated for a moment and then amplified, ‘though, admittedly, it is best directed at an unsuspecting city. The bacillus anthricis is extremely susceptible to attacks from micro-organisms and degradation by heat and sunlight. Introducing ricin into the Datchet water reservoir would be unlikely to be effective as it would be consumed by microbes long before it got a chance to attack.’
"Anyone but British Airways" 
            I looked at him in genuine astonishment. ‘I’d like to congratulate you on your very admirable research,’ I said. ‘But how the hell can you hope to get away with it? Heathrow looks more like a military camp right now, it is teeming with police. There are guardsmen there and Scimitar light tanks.'
     Faysal turned round. ‘That’s where she comes in.’ He pointed to Mitzi. ‘We’re a perfect match as a couple.’
            ‘Fat chance of that!’ For the first time Mitzi spoke up. ‘I’d rather be dead.’ She turned herself sideways, and looked at me with a great deal of composure. ‘But I’ve been to the Marina. He’s telling the truth. What he didn’t tell you is that there is a sea-going yacht out there, equipped with rocket launchers, a four-bunk cabin and a full galley-kitchen. On board is just about every navigational device you can think of. Autopilot, GPS and at least a dozen Stinger missiles plus a pallet of missile spare parts. That thing moves. I’ve seen it cover the distance from Windsor Marina to Dorney Lock in less than fifteen minutes. That’s the entire sweep of the Heathrow flight path. And it will knock out Windsor and Eton to boot. No one will be able to enter the area without protective suits. The Scimitar tanks are in the wrong place....'

Your life expectancy is the shortest in Europe!
Your airport flight delay rates are the highest!
Your chances of not getting mugged, stabbed, run over, asphyxiated, abused, 
acid –attacked or urinated on, are rapidly diminishing.
Pictured above is the actual amount of flights taking off from
a single Heathrow runway in the space of one hour...
Enjoy your holiday ! It may be the last...

PS: ...and don't get drunk in a mini-skirt (Courtesy Penelope One) !

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