Friday, January 20, 2012

Sheepdog-16

Guiscard welcomed Ken with a smile and a cigar in hand.

“About that big picture,” Ken said, “I just busted up a three-way dance between the Zetas, the Angels and some Canadian syndicate. Mind?”

The old Legionnaire shook his head. “Quick, effective and total- I expected as much from you.”

The two of them walked through an empty common room and over to the bar, where Guiscard poured one glass for each of them.

“The Canadians represented a larger syndicate, with French connections and origins. The man I suspect you encountered was the underboss operating out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. If I am right, then Franklin was one of two links making that meeting happen.”

“The other,” Ken said, taking a drink, “was the Angels, I assume?” Guiscard nodded. “The Legion has a history with this organization, as it’s been a matter of …honor for many of us to do away with it.”

Ken took another drink. He marked Guiscard’s pause; experience told him that it meant a personal, and shameful, encounter compelled the man’s interest. As he let that thought settle, his phone rang. He looked to see who’s calling him, and upon seeing that it was the Sheriff Ken got up and walked away from the bar.

“Ken here, Sheriff. Go.”

“Franklin sang once we got him there. The old man is ex-Foreign Legion, a Colonel Gregor Ballard, originally from South Africa. Retired 10 years ago, resettled in Winnipeg after a brief time in Montreal, and an informal Legion recruiter.”

“Anything else?”

“Ask your man Guiscard.” “Thanks, Sheriff.” Ken said, and he hung up.

Guiscard topped off their drinks. “It was Gregor, yes?”

Ken returned to his seat at the bar and nodded.

“Rotten bastard. He’s typical of what went wrong with the Legion. The French government got too loose with oversight of the Legion."

“Is this like what happened with Los Zetas?”

“Broadly-speaking, yes, but unlike the story with Mexico the problem with the Legion did not arise out of purely internal structural flaws in the government.”

Ken blinked. “You mind unpacking that a bit further?”

“Mexico made the Zetas, but corruption within the government turned them against their masters. It’s purely an internal fuck-up. That’s not what happened with the Legion. Sure, the French government got lazy with its oversight, but the real problem stems from the Intelligence community.”

Ken frowned and took another drink. “You mean the CIA, don’t you?”

“CIA, MI6, NATO and so on; lots of agencies, and lots of factions within and across them, are out there. Many of them are little more than pretentious gangsters, using ‘national security’ and ‘anti-terrorism’ as covers for their crimes. One such group took an eye at the Legion as a convenient place to set-up some operations, and used the regularity of criminal backgrounds as leverage to infiltrate units and take them over.”

This sounds familiar.” Ken said, finishing his glass.

“It’s an old story.” Guiscard said, taking a pull on his cigar, “Not all of us went along with it, and we fought hard to cut them out and restore the Legion’s honor. The fight went all the way to the top of the government, and ended with a purge. To protect the government, as well as the Legion, everything happened out of sight and the records got classified. Everyone that survived, eventually, left- some of us under far better terms than others.”

“Well, Ballard got his.” Ken said, “I shot him several times at point-blank range. None of his men got out alive either.”

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