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Checkmate – Chapter X

Arriving in Naples, Martin Graham went directly to Kayn's Hotel. He looked forward to visiting Italy; having spent several years there while training with the FSI, he became an admiring pupil of the architecture. His novice admiration, apprentice through the centuries always left him meek in his narration of the country.

Kayn was waiting for Martin in the main lobby and after a brief exchange they moved towards the front doors, walking past the concierge and across the cobblestone path to the Gallerie Umberto, the massive nearby shopping plaza. Entering the rotunda Martin was quick to admire the beauty of the enclosed plaza; the central dome and the cloisters, heavy in stone and marble. He soon recognized how Kayn would feel comfortable surrounded by such influence and power. Telling Kayn what he wanted for lunch, he moved towards the seating booths and found a booth offering them some privacy. Kayn returned to the table with a spinach calzone and the panzarotti for Martin; along with a substantial decanter of beer.

As a representative of ISA and FATF, Kayn had arrived in Naples for the International Monetary Economic Conference several days before. He contacted Martin in Perth, who was still working with Stephen Forbes combining evidence against the AOC Agents and asked that he, before returning home, came to Naples so he could be updated on the case.

Martin savored the potato and cheese filling in the panzarotti and devoured the chilled beer. Finishing lunch he wasted no time removing from his attaché case his files and passing them to Kayn.

Both men, suspicious of each other, never failed to respect each other's expertise, wisdom and perception. Kayn reminded Martin of a tracking blood-hound, appropriately named Holmes who had shared with while in the Rocky Mountains, pursuing the whereabouts of a young girl while parked at a park in Lake Louise. Holmes given the scent at the park took the lead from the other trackers, never raising its head from the ground until, successfully locating the child in an abandoned cave at the summit of the Ice field Parkway. Although Holmes's job was complete he refused to stop there; picking up the scent of the child's abductor, he took Martin along the cliffs into the forestry reserve tracing the man who was preparing to reenter Lake Louise.

Watching Kayn now, head lowered, not at all distracted by the noise of the crowds arriving for lunch, his eyes focused on each written line on each page. He would not look up for another hour.

"Have they determined where Chanarong Montri is?"

"My understanding is he recently traveled alone to in Santa Maria, Brazil."

"His companion not present?"

"She was not seen."

"Do you know where Kim and his associate are?"

"We are still looking into that. The last known sighting of Kim and Shai was in Perth."

"What about the money, any leads?"

"Nothing, where it is, it's sitting pretty."

"I am scheduled to be in Naples for another two days then returning home; when are you leaving?"

"I have a flight tomorrow morning."

Kayn looked at his watch and saw it was time to leave for the afternoon session of the conference. Knowing Martins appreciation for architecture and the restoration of many of the artifacts, Kayn suggested that he join him for the afternoon at the Teatro di San Carlo, Opera House; the theater had been reserved over July and August when the Ballet is on hiatus. Although he would remain on the ground floor stage, Martin, if he chose could see the beauty of the House from an upper floor balcony. Martin was quick to accept the invitation.

Kayn moved toward the main floor conference stage to find his seat, while Martin moved up the stairs to the fifth floor balcony, where he found an open box seat. He had read a great deal over the years of restoration work completed on the interior of the Opera House. From the fifth floor, Martin looked down at the horseshoe design of the Opera House and the balcony seats; all in red and gold.

Taking advantage of the open vistas allowing him to see many of the occupants representing the 130 countries sitting in most of the 1,400 seats, he wished he excelled in the practice of lip-reading; what he would know now.

His eyes stopped and locked onto a third floor balcony occupant. Martin looked intentionally from his fifth floor balcony not wanting any misunderstanding on what he was witnessing; was this Chanarong Montri? Looking at the other occupants of the cubicle he was finally able to identify their name tags as representing Thailand. It must be Chanarong. Martin quickly left his box seats and discontinued the stairs to the main floor turning towards the stage where Kayn was sitting. Showing his ID badge he asked the officer to interrupt Kayn and ask him to return to the vestibule. Kayn returned without delay, although none too happy with the disturbance.

"Kayn, Chanarong Montri is here. He's with the Thailand contingent on the third floor, center balcony."

Kayn took Martins arm and lead him away from the congestion in the area. They moved towards the east stairwell opposite from where Chanarong had been seen and started to climb up to the third floor. Kayn and Martin took their seats and looked across into the box; there were five representatives from Thailand all present, but no Chanarong.

"Where is he Martin?"

"He was in there a few minutes ago. I'm going back downstairs; he may still be in the House."

Kayn looked over another time before leaving to make sure Chanarong had not returned; nothing.

Martin returned to the main floor and searched everywhere but did not see Chanarong; had he been mistaken? He asked to see the registration log, but was denied.

He told Kayn he was leaving the Opera House and would continue his search outside.

Recognizing Martin Graham, Chanarong was quick to exit the Theater; hailing a cab now traveling north on Via Foria towards the Naples Airport. He had spoken with Harry and agreed to meet him at the airport where the plan would then carry on north to Verona. They had reservations at a private resort, both looking forward to playing several games of golf; Palazzo Arzaga was a favorite for both Harry and Chanarong. Harry was not scheduled to attend the conference in Naples for another four days, giving them ample time to catch up.

The plane taxied off the runway and stopped at a private hanger where the ground crew were waiting to refuel. Harry looked well coming down the stairs of the plane.

"Chanarong; it's been too long, how have you been?"

"Harry, it is so good to see you."

"Tell me, did you and Veronica enjoy the boat?"

"It was adventurous Harry; we all tender our sincere appreciation to you for our safety."

"Tell me, did they travel here with you?"

"No, no; they and Veronica stayed in Thailand; much safer for them until we can clear up the problems they have found themselves in."

"Harry, you have not mentioned Albert, did everything go well on his release?"

"Everything went fine; he is staying with Robert at my home in South Carolina."

"Harry, I saw Kayn this afternoon at the Conference."

"Did he see you?"

"No, but there was a security officer, a Martin Graham who did see me.

"Well my friend, the next few days should, if nothing more, be somewhat interesting for us all. Now let's get back on the plane so I can start planning my golf game."

Wanting to review the details outlined on the agenda sent to his hotel the previous evening, Kayn set out early to arrive at the Teatro di San Carlo. Officers from the Italian Army stand at attention along both sides of the street, encompassing the two blocks around the theater venue. Kayn passed his identification to the officer at the security desk who motioned him to pass through.

The outline for the next two days included representatives from France, Great Britain, Turkey, Greece and China. Interpreters were coming and being shown to their locations through the Theater.

By 9:30 the Theater was full, all the representatives were present at the head table and the Chair stood and welcomed everyone to the conference. Kayn sat at the table adjusting the volume on his head piece listening to the Chair via the interpreter, but wondering if Chanarong would make an appearance in the Theater this day. He had spoken with Martin before his flight departed and agreed that he would forward him an updated report once he had an opportunity of meeting with Intelligence.

For the balance of his day Kayn listened to the universal fragility of financial conditions; acknowledged his support when asked to form part of a task force set up to investigate the economic advantages as well as the avoidance of a double-dip recession if the private sector was to be involved towards a turnover, in promoting competitive growth with support for fiscal adjustments from banks.

Kayn remained focused on the upper galleries looking for the familiar face of Chanarong Montri. As he reviewed the business outline for the balance of the conference he came across an unmistakable name as a guest speaker scheduled for the last morning of the meeting, his brother Harry.

Kayn stood and walked towards the lobby looking for the Chair of the IMEC meeting prepared to put forth whatever ultimatum was necessary to keep Harry out of the conference, but was not successful. He was not scheduled to be present for the last two days of the conference and he was advised that several of the Oil Nations, who had previously declined an invitation to the conference, had since registered, when it was reported that Harry Tywell would be speaking .

The conference adjourned for the day and Kayn returned to his hotel and felt some treat once room service had delivered his Scotch and a bucket of ice. He placed a call to the theater asking the administration office to please find out where Harry Tywell could be reached; as well left instruction to the office to leave the information at the security desk and he will arrange to collect it later in the evening when he returned to the Theater. The evening offered to be an enjoyable gathering for the conference as the Korean National Ballet, in Naples for the first time, had agreed to a private performance.

The evening was not disappointing for Kayn; the performance was flawless. He wandered around the lobby of the Theater hopeful that he may see Chanarong, or better, Veronica Bartola, but did not recognize anyone in the audience.

Upon his leave an envelope was passed to him marked personal and confidential which he held until he was in the security of his hotel room. Once the door was locked Kayn immediately ripped open the envelope only to find a brief comment;

Buona sera -Siamo spiacenti, non siamo in grado di rispettare con la tua richiesta, Ciao

Roughly translated –

We are sorry; we are unable to comply with your request.


Source by Wendi Stevenson Clark

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