Set during The Rack, the day before the verdict to be exact. Cowley is talking about his Squad and their remit.
An established relationship story.
Written: August 2005. Word count: 1,100.
All the ill that man can do to man. You see it in the papers, you see it on TV, but we live it. Each and every day, we live it.
Every day I send my boys and girls out to face the realities that keep this island clean and smelling, even if ever so faintly, of roses and lavender. Our remit is ‘To detect, deter and prevent, and or take suitable action, and/or actions, against those transgressors against the law, outside the norm of criminal activity. To contain and render ineffective such by whatever means necessary.'
This is what you want. This is what you ask for. Beg for. Protest for.
‘Keep crime off our streets,' you plead.
‘Lock the bastards up and throw away the key'.
Strong words. Fighting words. And you mean them - at the time.
Until something happens. Until one of my boys or girls is less than perfect. Until they try to do their job, in the way that you want them to do it, and something goes wrong. Someone dies. Someone who might be innocent. Someone dies accidentally.
And then what do you want?
Blood, or worse. That's when you become liberal-minded; shocked, horrified and disgusted that all my people are doing is what you want them do. What you tell them to do. You want revenge,
retribution, and you fail to see that getting it will simply put one less ‘island cleaner' out there doing his job. And you'll tie the hands of the others.
I'm not condoning what happened. I regret what happened. I regret it deeply. As does my agent. He'll live with it for the rest of his life. He'll pay over and over again. You might not see it, you might not know it; but it will be there.
It'll haunt his dreams and slither into his waking life. If he didn't regret it, he'd have no place on my Squad. I don't employ cold-hearted murderers, no matter how they might appear to some people. Once a man or a woman can walk away from a kill, reholstering their weapon and feel
nothing negative at all, even when it is the worst bastard they have put away, that is the day they cease to be of use to me, at least in the field. Because that is the day they are burnt out.
So condemn my man. Demand justice. Ask for your pound of flesh. But don't then turn around tomorrow and demand that we keep the island clean by any means necessary. Because we no longer can. We'll no longer have the remit. You will have taken that away from us with your demands.
My boys and girls care. They live hard lives. Tough lives. On duty or call sometimes twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They don't have homes and families they can go to. Sundays, Christmas, Easter, Hogmanay, other public holidays mean nothing to them. They are just another day. Another day when they might wake up that morning, put on their gun, get into their car and not return that night. Another day when they might have to stand by and watch their partner killed in front of them. Or fail, through no fault of their own, to save the lives of an innocent bystander. And that hurts. That tears them apart.
So give them some leeway - as I do. Let them, let us, do our jobs. Let them fight hard, play hard, love hard. Don't condemn them for doing what you want them to do. Don't bind our hands and shackle us, let us keep your island clean - or at least let us try to.
No matter what the Court does to Raymond Doyle, it won't be half as bad as what he's doing to himself. For once I'm not certain even his cock-sure partner can reach him.
They think I don't know what they do together, but I do. They forget I'm omnipotent. They forget I know men, far, far, far better than they ever will. They forget I lived through a real war. Not just the day-to-day ones we fight on the streets. There's nothing that I haven't seen. No hell I haven't faced. Nothing that humans can do to and with one another, be it good or evil, that I do not recognise.
But I'll let them keep their illusion, just as I let several of their colleagues do the same. As long as they do their jobs, and still care when they kill, I can overlook what others might see as an abomination.
I rule my boys and girls with a rod of iron. I drive them. I demand. I expect. And when they fail, I give them hell. But they are my boys and girls. I love each and every one of them, like the children I have never and will never have. I make their lives hell, I make them hate me, I sometimes make them regret the day they were born. But you won't find a more loyal group of people, you won't find a more passionate, caring, respecting, loyal, loving - yes, loving - squad of men and women anywhere.
They'll die for one another, for each and every one of their colleagues - whether they are partners, best friends, or merely barely tolerated. And they'll lay down their lives without thought for each and every one of you. They'll put you first, be you man or woman; British or foreign; religious or not; young or old; rich or poor; married or single; employed or not working. We have no prejudices within CI5. I don't allow them, and I won't tolerate an agent who shows them.
They'll die for you, they'll die for one another and they'll die for me. ‘For Queen, Country and Bloody Cowley', I've heard them say. And I'd give my life for each of them, willingly. I'd die tomorrow if it saved one of them.
We give you our all, for what? Not for fame and fortune. Not even for acknowledgement or honours - we leave those to the Politicians and Civil Servants. We do it because we care. We care about you all, and about our country. We want to keep it clean and smelling every so faintly of roses and lavender.
Please don't stop us.
Don't turn on your TV and worry. Let us do that for you.
Don't pick up the paper and shudder. We're the ones to do that.
Don't think about us.
Just let us be.
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