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High Speed

What does a Formula One racing team have to do with stolen Bosnian gold reserves and a suspected war criminal? When a CI5 operative is murdered on the job, CI5 know that they are onto something big.

Key players | Synopsis | Personal Insights | Plot Inconsistencies

Key Players

Radovan Pradic - Bosnian war criminal, currently hiding in Bosnia

Jerry Bluckner - owner and operator of Bluckner Racing

Elkie - Bluckner's transport manager

Vance - one of the transport drivers

Paul - a junior engineer at Bluckner

Tania Slovic - Agent 96, currently on loan to CI5 from the Bosnian Police.

Synopsis

Tania Slovic, on loan to CI5 from the Bosnian Police, contacts CI5 HQ using the callsign '96'. She's been observing a factory and there are signs of movement. A truck is leaving.

She speaks to Malone on a secure line and informs him of this, and is asked to get a picture to HQ via her headset. However, just as she starts to do this she is dragged out of the car. The camera falls off her head and onto her car seat.

As the staff at HQ watch helpless, Slovic is dragged from her car. They can hear yelling, and then they see a face on Slovic's headset. Malone identifies him as one Radovan Pradic, a wanted Bosnian war criminal.

Malone, Curtis and Keel travel to the factory in Bosnia, where they meet the UN Colonel responsible for security - Colonel Van Meer. They are informed by the Colonel that the furnace in the factory has been used recently - for what he cannot say.

Curtis and Keel begin to search the premises, using geiger counters, despite the Colonel's protestations that the UN had carried out a full search including a search for radiation.

While they carry out the search, Malone deals with the UN Colonel, informing him that Slovic was not part of CI5 but was working for them as part of a special arrangement with the local police, and brushing aside his protestations that as head of security in the area he does not want any such special arrangements to take place.

Meanwhile, Curtis and Keel find several sawn off pieces of wood and a hoist, also recently used. It appears that something was loaded into the truck before it left the premises, but they are no wiser to what it may have been.

An Inspector from the Grozny police arrives - Inspector Dimitri Stanoslavic. Moving outside, Malone discusses the case with him while Curtis and Keel wait nearby. Malone reveals that CI5 have been monitoring Pradic's Swiss bank accounts and that Pradic has been receiving regular payments of around £1/4m each time.

Stanoslavic claims he has no idea where Pradic and his men could be keeping Slovic. When Malone returns to his agents, Keel asks how his chat went. Malone states that Stanoslavic knows where Slovic is. Curtis observes that he probably put her there.

True to Curtis' belief, Stanoslavic heads straight for the location of Pradic's men where Tania Slovic is being tortured to determine how much she knows about their operation. Pradic arrives, wanting to know how much the Agent knows.

Curtis and Keel arrive (1) and launch a raid on the building. They are about to rush into the room where Slovic is being held, when Curtis gives their location away by cocking his gun. The noise is heard by Pradic, who warns his men. Curtis and Keel are about to abort when Pradic's men open fire on their position. They are left with no alternative but to return fire, killing several of Pradic's men, including Stanoslavic.

Malone arrives just in time to take in the scene of carnage. Curtis informs him that there is no sign of Pradic. Just as he reports that, they hear the sound of a car pulling away - Pradic has escaped.

When Keel reacts to this development with anger, Malone reprimands him, and Keel, in response, reiterates the first rule - never get emotionally involved. Sadly observing Slovic's corpse, Malone observes that this is the most difficult rule of all.

Back at CI5 HQ, Backup now has satellite surveillance over the area in question. Spencer helps her to enhance it.

Moving back to Bosnia, Malone tells Curtis and Keel that several years ago he lost an agent in Berlin, back in the days when the wall was still up. They were constructing a tunnel underneath the wall to assist East Berliners in escaping from East Germany. One day this tunnel was deliberately flooded, and twelve people died. They found his agent a week later, dumped on waste ground. He had been tortured. Malone states that he learnt a lot that day. Everyone has a breaking point and sooner or later they will break. That's why he ensures that his agents never know any more than they need too. He observes that at least Slovic didn't endanger them.

Meanwhile, Backup has a satellite image showing a transfer of something between the truck they believe was at the factory and another truck at the Hungarian border. Curtis spots a logo on the side of the new truck, and when it is enhanced it reads 'BR' - Bluckner Racing.

Malone meets with Jerry Bluckner, the current owner of Bluckner racing. Several years before, Bluckner's father saved Malone's life in Algeria (2). Using that lever he is able to find out that Bluckner use two transport trucks and that they do all of their development work in Hungary, away from the prying eyes of their competitors. In fact, one of their transport trucks is currently half way through the Channel Tunnel on its way back from Hungary as they speak.

Malone arranges for an HMCE (Her Majesty's Customs and Excise) spot check on the vehicle in question. While the customs men are unable to find anything, they can at least say that the truck is not carrying drugs, currency or radioactive material.

Curtis and Keel wait in the car while Malone conducts his investigation, and discuss their love lives, or lack thereof. (This includes the 'blind date' conversation cut from the UK transmission by Sky One - there is however a copy of this scene within the CI5 Operational Control database, located here.)

CI5 have managed to match up the deposits made to Pradic's Swiss accounts with a trip to Hungary by Bluckner's transport. Malone wants to place Curtis and Keel undercover within Bluckner Racing, but Jerry Bluckner refuses, pointing out that their team is compact and like a family, so that any new faces will stick out like a sore thumb. The only staff which changes regularly is within PR.

Malone is forced to give up his plan, although he asks Bluckner to contact him if he uncovers any more information.

Meanwhile Paul, a junior engineer with the Bluckner team, approaches the new transport manager, Elkie. He is concerned about developments within the team. He's disturbed by the fact that they were subjected to such a thorough search, including a full body search, when they arrived in Britain. He wants to know why he never sees any paperwork, why his co-driver, Vance, takes two days off every time they go to Hungary and no-one appears concerned by this and why they carry extra spares but no-one knows why. He claims that these discrepancies have only arisen since Elkie was appointed transport manager.

Elkie rather curtly informs him that if he doesn't like the way things are run, he can leave.

Not satisfied with the explanation that he receives, Paul searches the storage area that night and examines the extra spares they brought back from Hungary. While he is doing so, someone drops the engine on him and crushes him to death.

Jerry Bluckner is convinced that this is no accident. Paul has been with the team for a long time and there is no way, Bluckner believes, that he would have treated the equipment with anything less than respect, and would not have made a mistake resulting in the engine falling on him. He phones Malone, and asks him how long it would be before his people could get there.

The next day a new driver arrives at Bluckner, giving his name as Chris Keel, and introducing his mechanic, Sam Curtis. He certainly treats his mechanic as an employee, ordering him around. Elkie rather acidly observes to Vance that Keel's father apparently paid a great deal of money so that his son could play at being a 'racing driver'. While Curtis parks the car, Jerry Bluckner introduces Keel to one of the new members of staff in the PR department - Tina Backus.

Bluckner takes the two agents up to his office, voicing his concern that Keel will be driving his cars. He asks Keel if he knows how much they cost, to which Keel replies with a smile that they cost about a hundredth of the cost of a jetfighter and that the Navy used to trust him with quite a few of those.

Back at CI5 HQ, Spencer reports to Malone that there was nothing suspicious in Paul's autopsy but that the man was found with a screw in his hand. Malone gives the screw a rather cursory examination, and throws it on his desk.

Back at Bluckner, Curtis and Keel decide to search the storage area, although they don't know what they are looking for since HMCE would have found currency, the sniffer dogs would have found drugs and it's obviously not uranium or plutonium.

As they search the place, looking for any clues, Curtis rather despondently comments that this is not his idea of poking around in the dark (3).

Back at HQ, Malone receives a phonecall from Colonel Van Meer in Bosnia. They have been approached by someone who has survived Pradic's death camps and who has put together a dossier with evidence from other survivors. The UN now have enough evidence to approach the Hague War Crimes Tribunal and arrest Pradic. All they have to do now is find him.

Meanwhile Curtis and Keel have given up their search in disgust, having found nothing for their efforts. As they pull their masks off and discuss the futility of their search, they are observed by an unknown party, who then loosens the brake valve on Keel's car and releases the fluid.

The next morning at the track, Backup reports their lack of success to Malone, who urges them not to give up.

Keel test drives the tampered car, and Bluckner is favourably impressed with his ability. Just then, the brake line finally works free and Keel is forced to put the car into a spin in order to stop it.

Elkie realises what has happened and confronts Vance with it, claiming that his impulsive action has put their entire agenda at risk. Vance is unrepentant. Any driver worth their salt would have recovered from that problem, and it may have scared their investigators and given them something else to think about other than looking into their actions. Elkie is not impressed by this reasoning, accusing Vance of being a mercenary rather than a true patriot.

Curtis and Keel realise that the car has been sabotaged, despite the fact that Bluckner says that such things do happen. Curtis states that the car was checked out before the race and they spotted no such problem (4). Both agents realise that their cover has been blown, and that if someone is risking direct action like this, it means that if anything is going to happen, it's going to happen soon.

Back at HQ, Malone is frustrated by the lack of progress with their investigation, and juggles the screw found in Paul's grip in his hand for a moment before tossing it at his executive toy - a pile of magnetic spheres. It doesn't stick, so he tries it again. When it fails to stick again, he realises that something is wrong.

Back at Bluckner, Curtis and Keel spot a figure entering the storage area with Elkie and Vance - it's Pradic. They follow.

Malone explains to Spencer that he realises what has been happening. Pradic has been stealing Bosnia's gold reserves and smuggling them out of the country. When the screw proved to be non-magnetic, he realised that there are only a few metals which aren't - titanium, magnesium, and... He scrapes the paint off the screw to dramatically reveal... gold! Spencer calls Backup to inform her of developments but she's down in the pit and the car engines drown out the call. She tells him she can't hear and he'll have to call her back.

Curtis and Keel have been spotted and Vance opens fire on them, allowing Elkie and Pradic to escape. Ducking behind cover, Curtis notices that one of the bullets has struck the spare engine hanging from a pulley, chipping away the paint, and asks Keel how fast a car can go if its engine is made of gold.

Keel takes off after Pradic while Curtis goes after Vance.

Keel narrowly misses catching Pradic and Elkie as they drive off as he arrives. However, he leaps into the Lotus that he and Curtis arrived in and takes off in pursuit.

Meanwhile Curtis is stalking Vance through the multi-storey carpark. Backup arrives just as Vance barrels through a door and aims at them. The two agents open fire, and kill him.

Keel follows Pradic to Brannon Airfield where a plane is just taking off. As he follows in the Lotus, he gestures to the pilot to stop, but is fired upon. He overtakes the plane and pulls the Lotus into the path of the plane, forcing the pilot to stop, just as Curtis, Backup and Malone arrive to assist him. He orders the pilot out - it's Elkie. Curtis searches the plane, but there is no sign of Pradic.

In Switzerland, Pradic is checking on his Swiss bank accounts, having a pleasant conversation with his bank manager on the joys of Swiss coffee. However, when he receives his statements, they show that all of his accounts are closed. He demands to know what is going on, and his bank manager, one Harry Malone, is more than happy to explain. It's not a mistake. Commissioner Hoffman of the Zurich Police also has a warrant for his arrest. The Swiss government has received a copy of the dossier on his war crimes, courtesy of Colonel Van Meer, and arranged for his arrest. He'll face the War Tribunal at the Hague.

Pradic tries to leave, but is prevented from doing so by Curtis and Keel.

With things back to normal at Bluckner, Curtis, Keel and Backup are arguing amicably over who gets to return the Lotus back to the hire car company, Backup pointing out that both of the guys have had a turn at driving it so it's now her turn. As Curtis agrees with her, Malone turns up and settles the argument, appropriating the car for himself, and rather abruptly informing his agents that they need to be back at the office at 3.15pm for a debriefing.

He drives off, leaving his agents looking after him rather ruefully.

Personal Insights

Malone's callsign is 'Sunray'.

Keel once again demonstrates his hotheadedness.

Curtis is, apparently, handy enough with a spanner to convince the pit crew that he's a genuine mechanic.

Backup gets to wear a short skirt - again.

Plot Inconsistencies

These are a fanfiction writer's bugbears - those inconsistencies in plot which we feel we just have to address.

  1. It's not clear whether they had a tip-off or simply followed Stanoslavic. Since they were already suspicious of the policeman, it is likely to be the latter.
  2. Don't you just love these convenient coincidences?
  3. What on earth had Keel told him they were going to be doing? Slashy bit!
  4. If Vance sabotaged the car the night before, and it was checked just before the race, why did no-one spot that there was a problem? Looks like Keel could use another mechanic. :)
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