This is the penultimate installment of this multi-part flash fiction story that originated during a chat between the authors on Twitter. You can read how it all began here (links to all the installments will be added to the author list as they are posted).
The final installment will appear on Friday, December 10th at Nishi's (@cafe_nirvana) blog, and you can keep up on developments in the meantime by following the #GtChocCo hashtag on Twitter.
Before Dr Nishidi could close the gap between herself and the CCU’s finest, the thumping ‘wokka wokka’ and sharply thrusting downwinds of a large helicopter blasted the foul smell from the air as the large beast came to a graceful landing on the tarmac.
A dozen agents dressed from head to toe in cocoa brown battlegear swarmed from the sky machine like a swarm of bees. In no time at all they had Dr Nishidi and her henchwomen surrounded.
PCs Fox and Bourneville leapt from the helicopter and hit the ground at a trot, dashing over to Adamson and the team.
“Sir, we are glad to see you’re in once piece!” It was Fox. She looked rather happy to see him.
“And, I, ladies, am more happy to see you than I care to admit. I must say your timing is rather impeccable. I think you saved me from a rather painful end. But, how did you get here?”
Fox and Bourneville were grinning like fools.
“We did what you always told us to do, Gov!” said Fox, who was looking pretty proud of herself.
Adamson was perplexed. He didn’t recall ever having told the youngsters anything much of value.
“We followed where the evidence led us!” Bourneville recited as though she’d heard it a thousand times.
“To Grimsville, Idaho?”
Fox and Bourneville looked at each other and giggled.
Agent Ling, with not a hair out of place on her head, strutted over to the happy trio, reporting with aplomb that FRAPPE had been iced. Adamson raised an eyebrow.
“I do allow myself a quip or two once the case is closed,” she admitted, with what came perilously close to a twinkle in the sparkling green eyes framed beneath perfectly arched brows.
“Agent Ling, allow me to introduce you to two of the Met’s finest up and coming detectives. PCs Fox and Bourneville.”
“It’s always a pleasure to meet new colleagues so far from home.” Agent Ling was all charm, although perhaps a little amused at DCI Adamson’s all-female posse. Agent Bronyaur was still skulking in the background, a little intimidated by his European cousins and their lurid underwear.
“Come on boss, I think we’d best get you all out of here.” said Fox. “Our lovely, warm friends from COCOA will explain everything once we get you lot out of here.”
Adamson shrugged his shoulders as he and his crew climbed aboard the Chinook, which rumbled up into the air and spirited them away. FRAPPE, TEA and now COCOA. The DCI doubted anything else would surprise him today.
“This is one briefing I think I want to hear,” said Adamson to La Paglia and Marier as they sat down either side of him.
They were seated around a large conference table in the US Headquarters of the Confederation of Chocolate Organisations and Alliances in Chicago. Several large platters of chocolate biscuits were placed strategically around the table, in easy arm’s reach of the assembled guests. Steaming mugs of coffee sat atop coasters and there was a pleasant aromatic blend of scents filling the air, a combination of sweat, perfume, coffee and chocolate.
Adamson rocked back in his chair, continually impressed by American ergonomics, thinking that right about now might be a good moment to consider retirement. He could go out on a high, having played a major role in foiling an international conspiracy. Hell, he’d probably even get a medal of some description. He could almost picture himself at Windsor Castle, waiting in line to receive a gong from the Queen. DI Hawthorne would be able to watch it on telly. The thought of it made Adamson grin like a madman.
The smile died on his face when the boardroom doors opened and in strode Angelina, she of the olive skin and tight skirts.
“Buongiorno tutti,” purred the Italian.
“What the flock is she doing here?” stammered Adamson. “I demand an explanation!”
“Relax, my little English dumpling. You are among friends, is that not right, Vice Ispettore Mari Juniper?”
“Si, Angelina.” Juniper turned to Adamson. “I’m sorry I could not tell you before, Sam, but Angelina here has been deep undercover as an operative infiltrating FRAPPE. She has been our woman on the inside, as it were. If it were not for her, you may well now be... how do you say? Ah, si, toast.”
Adamson was reeling. He could feel his gong slipping through his fingers.
“Who is we, Juniper?”
“I am sorry I could not tell you that either, Sam. I have been on loan from the Italian State Police to COCOA for three years now. Angelina and I are part of a team that has been tracking a number of hardline underground chocolate groups for the past five years,” explained Juniper.
Angelina took up the narrative. “Some of these organisations have been threatening the world’s supply of flavenols, which, as a connoisseur of chocolate digestives, you will understand keep the world on an even, how you say, kilter. Without cioccolata, nation states around the world would begin to crumble. You saw yourself in Idaho what can happen.”
“You mean,” said Adamson, playing for time while his brain caught up with the implications of what they were saying, “there are more organisations than FRAPPE out there trying to steal all the chocolate and coffee?”
“Sam, what you have seen is the tip only of the iceberg. In fact—“
The boardroom doors were thrown open by a man in a hurry.
“What is it?” asked Angelina.
“We’ve had a coded call from London. A mystery buyer has just purchased Europe’s entire chocolate supply!”
Angelina looked with alarm at Juniper.
“Oh no, Dr Eno!”
I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Great Chocolate Conspiracy. Don't forget, the final installment will appear on Friday, December 10th at Nishi's (@cafe_nirvana) blog, and you can keep up on developments in the meantime by following the #GtChocCo hashtag on Twitter.