Disclaimer: This is an entirely unprofitable venture, because I'm writing it on FanFiction.Net. I apologise for any unintended insults to France by my completely blasé attempts to recreate whatever it and it's main library and also it's police force (should it have ones such as I have mentioned here within this chapter) look/act like. I do not claim any rights whatsoever to the works of Thomas Harris.Bleh!
Clarice looked up from her paper work piled desk to see the eager face of a young lieutenant, practically hopping with excitement. "Yes?"
"Hannibal Lecter Sir, at… " Here the officer floundered and pointed instead at one of the many screens that provided a direct link to cameras all over Paris. This particular one showed the central Paris Library that contained a comprehensive and extensive collection of books ranging from popular modern day novels to renowned past century classics or intensive historical volumes and obscure scientific tomes to religious epics and mills and boon!
Clarice quickly got to her feet and made her way to the computer, the Lieut. sat back down at the screen and isolated a camera for her, gesticulating wildly at the figure seen to be browsing the dusty rows of books in the ancient Egyptian history section, rarely visited.
"Change the angle" she ordered, the officer looked at her, plainly not understanding, the interpreter had just gone to lunch, Clarice nudged the blue uniformed man out of the way and altered the camera angle herself. It was difficult, any commands were in French and the help bar, menu…but she managed it, slowly the camera moved, the picture jumping, fuzzing, re-scanning, and resetting, for each small seemingly infinitesimal move it made she bit down her impatience and waited.
And then there was silence; somehow she had gathered an audience, a small army of French policemen and women, gazing in terrified, stricken awe at one small computer screen, isolated to show the face of one man. One man the whole world feared and hated. Hannibal Lecter.
"Let's go" ordered Clarice, and then louder as everyone remained still "Move! Move! We need to get there now! You know your jobs; you know what you have to do, do it! Someone get Pierre, and the bloody interpreter!"
Clarice's French had deserted her, she couldn't think of a single coherent line, but luckily her voice and actions spoke louder than words ever would.
They had arranged the procedure right at the beginning, for instance; right now an officer would be alerting all units, to go into action, they in turn would be heading down with much squealing of rubber to the central Paris Library. They would quickly surround the building and secure all possible exits (now being brought up on someone's computer). A controlled evacuation would then begin, quiet and careful, until the doctor realised what was going on and then all hell would break loose, the distant whirring chopchopchop noise of helicopters broke in on Clarices thoughts. Her thoughts returned to the action at hand, she armed herself with her gun, a .45 and checked her ammo, full, with two spare clips, she took a last look at the camera and the Doctor's face. He was carefully opening a large book with an ornate cover, he seemed completely absorbed and at ease, so she jumped when his head swivelled suddenly and gazed straight at her, no, the camera. The Doctor appeared to ponder something for a moment before reaching casually into his pocket and withdrawing what looked like a silk handkerchief, a narrowing of his piercing eyes a mysterious smile and a sudden flick of his wrist, the camera went dark.
"What happened?" Asked Pierre, abruptly at her elbow
"He covered the camera" Clarice frowned, worried "do you think he knows?"
"Then why would he cover the camera, no I think he is not aware we are on our way. Come." Pierre indicated the stairs and nodding she followed him down several flights at a jog, vaguely noticing that he had also armed himself but both of them were too distracted by the task ahead for small talk. They dived into a black van which contained a small group of elite Special Services men, dressed in black and carrying machine guns, nasty tear gas, smoke bombs and other such ominous devices, who nodded in deference to the FBI agent and the PPF Chief. As well as a computer whiz kid (as Clarice called him) who had a small laptop with him currently sporting a birds eye view of the library and the surrounding police cars and helicopters, obviously obtained through a satellite connection. A click and the monitor showed Dr Lecter replacing a volume onto the cobwebby shelf, looking perfectly at home in the library environment, Clarice, apprehensive about the upcoming ordeal, found herself wondering whether Dr Lecter had ever read any Mills & Boon and had to stifle a giggle.
Pierre looked at her curiously as he noticed her strange expression but didn't comment on it, instead he said:
"Good thing we installed the new cameras. Now we can see him still from other hidden camera"
"Yes" Clarice wanted to ask him about his baby daughter, born a few days ago, but felt that the time and place were inappropriate to such a delicate personal query. Instead she tried to rest, to calm herself down, and rested her head back against the jarring metal of the van, closing her eyes and trying to think of something peaceful.
"The evacuation has nearly finished, it appears the Doctor has noticed nothing. It is good that he is in such a unused part of the library" Pierre murmured in her ear, after a quick burst of conversation with the whiz kid.
The van suddenly leaned sharply left and Clarice fought to stay in her seat, she was relieved when the vehicle came to an abrupt stop, Pierre and her were quick to jump out the back and see the situation.
There was a police tent hastily set up in the immediate vicinity and behind it, and them were groups of people milling about, with wide eyes and open mouths, police officers mingled with them, trying to clear the group, which presumably had just been moved from the library. Police cars formed an effective barricade around the Library, their vividly coloured markings and flashing orange and yellow lights making them very distinctive despite the already bright midday sun.
"We have already infiltrated the lower levels, Lecter is situated on the fourth, a team is ready to take the third and fourth and capture Lecter, once we give the word." Pierre looked at her questioningly, they had moved to the front of the large rather grandiose police tent and someone had given them walkie talkies, the heavy type you carry around like an old fashioned mobile phone, durable and hard to misplace, if not discreet. Starling was gazing up at the Library itself; it was a massive building, looming over the street below with a somewhat lofty air, massive marble pillars stood each side of a splendid but elaborate set of doors, whilst the floors rose up and up in tiers that glinted long thin windows with jutting stone gargoyles decorating various walls in fierce ugly scowls. It was certainly a masterpiece of architecture.
"Tell them to move onto the third floor and make it secure, I want a final sweep and as sure a head count as we can get to make sure no one is left in there with the Doctor. Accepting our men of course"
"Yes Agent Starling" it was the interpreter, returned from his lunch break and sporting a whole new gravy stain to his chequered tie, he hurried off, plainly nervous, to communicate her orders to the officers in the tent. A moment later he returned, wringing his hands and constantly glancing over his shoulder as if expecting the Doctor to appear suddenly there.
"The officers are reasonably sure that there is no one left in the building accepting the Target and your men. No one has complained of having left some one behind, the librarians believe that everyone they saw enter the library was seen to leave".
"Good" said Starling shortly, she looked at a tense but outwardly relaxed and confident Pierre "I'm going in" she stated.
"We need you here to oversee the process, I'll go." Pierre impassively studied the front of the gigantic building, not turning to even look at her.
"I know Lecter better" she objected.
"You know him personally. It's too dangerous. Can you guarantee your objectivity?"
"He's not my god damn best-friend he's a sociopath, and by knowing him I can anticipate best what he'll do!" Starling quickly cooled down as she realised the trap she had just fallen into.
"Then," said Pierre predictably "we can quite obviously use you here at the control centre, it's where we need you"
Starling bit her cheek and tried to control her fury, her fingers whitened in their tight grip on the burbling walkie-talkie.
"If something goes wrong, which I hope it doesn't for your daughter's sake Pierre, I'm going straight in after you" Starling glared at him and then sighed resignedly. Pierre's lips twitched
"Good, but I'll take care. He won't get me, it'll be a smooth operation"
"Don't you dare say "Trust me""
A short silence, and then Pierre smiles directly at her, catching her eyes for a moment before striding off and calling out in commanding French.
You better come out alive Pierre, but if Lecter touches you I'll kill the bastard myself!
Authors Note: Oh dear, a happy ending? I was all for having a nice bittersweet tragic ending, but I suppose I could try. What would be your perfect ending to this fic? I have plenty of ideas but which to use, that is the problem, and hints on preferences will be most welcome!