Spooks and Robin Hood don't belong to me

The Masque

Lucas North entered the room behind Ros Myers and smiled thinly to himself. He didn't like Meynell but he had to admit that the man had taste. They were currently undercover trying to stop Meynell from bringing the UK economy to its knees. Ros was the inside man working at Meynell's firm while Lucas was posing as her fiancé. When Meynell had invited him to his charity fundraiser earlier in the day Lucas had thought it would be the usual cocktail and talk about the work he was doing but a not masked ball.

The theme of the masquerade was Robin Hood and Meynell was dressed as the legendary do-gooder; there were scatterings of Muches, Alan A'Dales, Sheriffs of Nottingham, King Richards, Prince Johns and Friar Tucks; the women's pickings weren't some many so it seemed as those every woman was dressed as Maid Marian. Not surprisingly, Ros had managed to stand out Isabella, and Lucas was one of two Guys of Gisborne.

"Give me one minute alone with him," Ros told Lucas, and walked towards Meynell as he left the podium to rejoin his guests. Lucas gave them a few minutes and then he joined them.

"Pete," Meynell greeted Lucas. "I'm glad you could make it."

Lucas smiled at him. "I would go anywhere for a glass of champagne. I love such events, the city pretending it cares."

"I'm not so sure everyone shares your cynicism, Pete," Ros told him.

"Come on," Lucas eyed Meynell; "this is just one big tax dodge for you, isn't it?"

"Whatever you say, Pete."

Jo, one of the Section D officers posing as a waitress, came up and distracted Meynell giving Lucas a chance to pick his pocket for his office keys. They intended to break into Meynell's computers during the masque.

Lucas followed the Jo to the kitchen to brief Ben, the other operative who was going to access the computer; and that was when he saw her.

She was dressed as Djaq but even through her disguise Lucas knew who she was.

Marian Knighton.

"Lucas North," she told him.

"Marian," he whispered. "What are you doing here?"

"Working same as you," she smiled at him. "I see you haven't changed at all."

"What do you mean?"

Marian laughed. "You're still dressing up as Guy of Gisborne, for one."

"You're a fine one to talk," he replied. "I see you're dressed up as well, as a woman pretending to be a man, no less."

"It is a costume party," she reminded him.

"You know what I mean."

"I sure do," she told him. "Still with the Service? Or have you wisened up?"

"I'm still with MI5," Lucas replied.

"Let me guess, you're after Alexis Meynell."

"Yes." Lucas knew that he shouldn't be so forthcoming with operational details but he had never been able to say no to Marian Knightley. Not even from the first moment they'd met.

Lucas North and Marian Knightley had met in kindergarten. Lucas had been in Miss Phillip's class, Marian in Miss Jensen's. The two teachers had had some sort of longstanding rivalry, with each one trying to best the other. In their last year the two teachers had decided to work together and two classes had had a production of Robin Hood and His Merry Men. Lucas had been given the part of Guy of Gisborne and Marian, Maid Marian.

"Marian, what are you doing here?" Lucas asked her.

"I like champagne," she replied.

"Come on, Marian," Lucas said. "This is not the only party with champagne in London, tonight."

"Can't a girl just wear a costume for fun?"

"Marian."

"Fine," Marian sighed. "I'm going to kill Meynell."

"Why?"

Marian snorted. Typical Lucas, he hadn't bothered to tell her that she couldn't go around killing people.

"Francis Denham."

Lucas nodded wondering why he hadn't put two and two together before now. Francis Denham was her uncle and he had practically raised her after her father's death.

"I can't let you kill him."

"You can't stop me."

"If he dies he'll take the economy down him," Lucas told her. "You have to let us deal with this."

"What are you going to do?"

"Meynell will lose money and this will help us stabilize the economy," Lucas told her.

"And Uncle Frank, what will you do about him?"

"Marian, he killed himself."

"Because of Alexis Meynell."

"I'm sorry," Lucas told her, "really sorry but you can't kill Meynell but I promise you when he loses the money he'll be as good as dead."

"That's not enough."

"I know – "Lucas began but was interrupted by his phone ringing. "Yes, Ben," he said and then he listened in silence.

"I have to go," he told Marian, "there's something I have to check out."

"What?"

"Meynell has partners."

"Who?"

"That's what I'm going to check out."

"I'm coming with you."

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