Benton behind bars by ElsieMcC
Summary: An escape is being planned by a gang of inmates at Chelsfield Military Prison and Sergeant Benton is sent in undercover to infiltrate the gang. Will he manage to persuade the leader to accept him? Will UNIT, with the assistance of Miss Hawthorne and Iolanthe Grosvenor, be able to solve the mysterious death of an informant and find the weapons stolen by the gang? And will Benton live to tell the tale? NB a revised version of this story is now at https://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=64107
Categories: Third Doctor
Characters: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Other Character(s), Sergeant Benton
Genres: Action/Adventure, Mystery
Series: The Hawthorne and Benton Mysteries
Benton behind bars by ElsieMcC
Chapter 12: Chapter 12Author's Notes:
In a side street, near the prison, Private Smyth looked at his watch. Half an hour had passed and there was no sign of Iolanthe. The private reached for his radio.
“Greyhound 10 calling trap one, are you receiving me, over?”
The radio crackled and Private Jenkins’ voice was heard.
“Trap one receiving.”
“Looks like they’ve got Miss Grosvenor, waited half an hour and she hasn’t come back out.”
“Understood Greyhound 10, hold please.”
Another crackle and the Brigadier spoke.
“Return to base, Greyhound 10. Nothing you can do at present, I’m afraid.”
“You can’t go in on your own, you wouldn’t have a chance and you might endanger Sergeant Benton and Miss Grosvenor.”
“Understood, Sir, returning to base. Out.”
“Understood, Trap one, out.”
The Brigadier passed the radio receiver back to Jenkins and walked to where Miss Hawthorne and Corporal Wood were sitting. He leant on the table and said in a low voice.
“I’m afraid it looks as if Miss Grosvenor has been captured.”
Miss Hawthorne looked up from the formulary she had been consulting.
“Oh! But ... does that mean that Sergeant Benton’s cover has been blown?”
“It looks like it, but we can’t be sure. He may have been betrayed, although only the Governor was supposed to know why he was there or ... could they have found the tracking device?”
Miss Hawthorne looked back at the formulary, then back at the Brigadier, her face pale.
“I, I think they may have done. I was trying to find the drug that Glede used to mimic the appearance of death and, well, if it’s this one…” she opened the book wide on the table and pointed to the entry, reading aloud. “’Recommended delivery method, transdermal injection in the nuchal area.’ That’s the back of the neck.”
The Brigadier stood for a moment in silent thought. Then he said, “so we will have to assume that, not only has Benton’s cover been blown, but that the gang has the tracker, so any information we get from it will be misleading.” He paused, then made a decision. “Right, tracker or no tracker we will have to move.” He raised his voice. “Corporal Smith?”
“Get in touch with the police and ask them to send a driver in an unmarked car to Chelsfield Prison, quick as you can. They are to follow a vehicle which will leave from the entrance marked Infirmary at the side of the building. Do not, repeat, do not attempt to engage. If they think they have been spotted they are to break off pursuit immediately. We cannot risk either the mission, or Sergeant Benton or Miss Grosvenor. The driver should also report any developments to Scotland Yard, they will want to be ready to arrest the gangsters and depending on the numbers involved, we might need reinforcements.”
“Understood, Sir.” Corporal Scott turned to her radio to give the order. The Brigadier leant on the table again.
“We’ll have hedge our bets with this one. I’ll send word to General Gibbs to move on the Mill and we will take the reservoir. If one team comes up empty, they can rendezvous with the others. Have you got the route there, Corporal Wood?”
“Yes, Sir.” Dan spread the map in front of his C.O. “If you take this route to the A road, here” he pointed out the interchange, “you won’t need to turn off again until here. Unfortunately there’s not much in the way of cover at the site, unless you manage to get to the tunnels before the gang arrives, but there is this,” he indicated a wooded area about 100 yards from the reservoir. The Brigadier considered.
“I see, yes, we could park there and go on foot from there, then make for the tunnels or here…” pointing to a place where the ground rose at one end of the reservoir. Not much cover, as you say, but we’ll just have to do the best we can. Private Jenkins!”
“Get me a line to General Gibbs, then sound full alert, I want three jeeps outside in the next ten minutes, all men to be fully armed. Understood?”
“Yes, Sir. Destination?”
“Hangingflood reservoir, but I’ll brief them myself.”
“Very good, Sir.”
The Brigadier turned to Miss Hawthorne.
“Miss Hawthorne, I’m going to ask you to accompany us. If anyone could make contact with Miss Grosvenor it would be you.”
“I, of course, Brigadier, if I won’t be in the way.”
Despite the gravity of the situation, the Brigadier smiled.
“Not a bit of it.”
“Then I shall be happy to come.”
“Good, meet outside in ten minutes.”
“Yes, I shall be there as soon as I am ready.”
Miss Hawthorne got up and left the room. Jenkins called,
“Sir, General Gibbs on the line for you,”
and the Brigadier went over to the telephone to try and persuade the General to launch a speculative attack on an apparently abandoned steel works, without giving away the extent to which the mission might have been compromised. After five minutes wrangling, the General was finally convinced and agreed to have his troops investigate the steel works and then rendezvous with UNIT at the reservoir if the weapons weren’t there. The Brigadier looked at his watch, then went to his office to collect his revolver and made his way to the front of the building to brief his troops. Miss Hawthorne was already on board one of the jeeps and, following the briefing, the troops piled into their vehicles. The Brigadier took his seat in the front jeep and the detachment moved off.
At the prison, the Governor had given permission for the bodies of Benton, Hunter, Briggs, Sloman and Baxter (who was reported to have died in the night) to be removed from the infirmary. A large, unmarked van pulled up at the side door, and two men in white overalls entered the building. In the isolation room, Iolanthe had fallen into a doze. She woke with a start as the door opened and Glede and Baxter came in, followed by two men carrying a stretcher. The prison doctor and the captain stood to one side as the men lifted Benton onto the stretcher, covered him with a sheet and then secured a strap across his chest. Baxter nodded in satisfaction.
“Get him out of here and then come back for this one,” he said, indicating Iolanthe. The men grinned, said “Right you are Sir” and left. Baxter bent down so his eyes were level with Iolanthe’s.
“Now, Miss Benton, I will need you to think very carefully before you answer this question. Are you prepared to be quiet and still when we move you to the van, and stay quiet and still, or will I have to ask Doctor Glede to sedate you? I’ll give you a moment to consider, but bear in mind, the consequences of any trouble you cause us will be visited on your brother.”
He stood back, then, after a moment’s silence said,
“I think that’s long enough. A nod will suffice. Are you prepared to keep still?”
“Good. I hoped you’d be reasonable.”
The stretcher bearers had returned by this point and Iolanthe was released from the handcuffs that had held her in the chair. She tried to stand but staggered as the circulation returned to her legs. Baxter and Glede caught her by her arms and laid her down on the stretcher, where her wrists and ankles were secured with tape and Glede’s makeshift gag replaced with another piece of tape. Then, as with Benton, a sheet was placed over her and a strap fastened to hold it, and her in place. Iolanthe tensed for a moment as the stretcher was lifted, but then tried to relax her muscles as she was carried out of the building and put into the van. Baxter, who had disguised himself in a spare overall and cap that the driver had brought with him, got in the back and the doors were closed by the other men, who got into the cab. As the van pulled away, the Governor, who had been watching from an upstairs window, went to his office to alert the Brigadier and a dark-coloured saloon car pulled away from the kerb and drove off in the same direction as the van.
The UNIT jeeps were speeding down the main road when the Governor’s call was reported to the Brigadier. He acknowledged the call and then radioed to the other jeeps.
“They are on the move. We haven’t got much of a head start because they are closer to the reservoir than us, if that is their target, so we’ll have to go carefully.”
He spoke to HQ again,
“Any more news, Jenkins, over?”
“Yes Sir, Corporal Scott reports tracker signal has been lost. It was still at the prison, then it vanished.”
“So, they did find it. Thank you, Jenkins, out.”
The Brigadier looked at his driver, who accelerated, and the jeeps sped on towards the reservoir.
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