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6 weeks to build a bomb. 1 day to find it.

Mark Woods had always known things. When he had hidden a gun for a neighbor, he knew it was the right thing to do. When he joined the Irish Republican Army, he knew that it was the only moral action. When he first took a life, he knew that his actions were warranted. When he built his first bomb, he knew that the ends would justify the means. Mark’s just knew, his world made sense.

Then that world began to change, The IRA’s war was over, its goals not achieved, a ceasefire, a peace process, then the IRA just went away. Mark found himself 60 years old, alone and all the certainty he once had, had now been replaced with doubt, regret and noise, all of which he drowned out with drink. The only thing that he was sure of was that he was going to drink himself to death. He didn’t even get that right.

“You’re going to build a bomb for us”

He did not recognize the voice that had made the request, nor could he understand why they were making it. What he did know was that he had been abducted, that he had a bag over his head, that his hand was cuffed to a staircase and the accent that was talking to him was English.

“You have 6 weeks”

Detective David Smith was less than a month away from his retirement. He would just have to sit at his desk and wait. He had never wanted to be a detective, he had been a solider, had serviced in Northern Ireland in the Bomb Squad, and police work was just something he fell into. Everything was going in its normal, predictable direction, until that name came up

“The January Man, he’s missing”

David had never wanted to hear that name again, had hope that Mark Woods would just find a nice place to roll up in and die. David had his own hidden past, a past that he would prefer remained hidden, a past that Mark was the key to “How long has he been missing for?”

“About 6 weeks”

What can be said about Buck Mulligan that hasn’t been said a million times before, Buck is often seen with his diaphragm tightened so as to let his lungs expand and oxygen to be inhaled and carbon dioxide to be exhaled. He is carbon based and composed of roughly 70% water. He has never seen the pyramids but would like to but he has seen a kangaroo in the wild, likes Indian food and finds it difficult to describe himself when asked. 

Buck is a 30 something political junkie, who was born and raised in Northern Ireland, a place where politics and history matters that bit more to people than most places. He’s not particularly well educated but he’s pretty well read, not that handsome but he’d do. He’s also a part-time adventurer.

He occasionally writes for the science website and guests on The League of Nerds podcast to discuss topics such as science, politics, history, religion and whether there are aliens on the moon.  He can be contacted on Twitter on @ThatBuckGuy.

Day Zero

This wasn't the first time that Mark had found himself with a bag over his head, in a vehicle moving in an unknown direction. It wasn't even the second. Much like the second time, his hands were tightly bound and dry blood in his hair. Much like the first time it was a Sunday, and he'd been drinking. But unlike the previous abductions, this time he had no idea who the fuck had taken him or why the fuck they would. He was a nobody and everybody knew that. He lay face down in what he presumed was a small van, with significant pressure on top of him, which he also presumed to be a large man.

“Who are you?” he shouted, his words slurred, “And what do you want from me?”

What could anybody want from him? He received no response other than a knee in his back, pinning him deeper to the van's floor. The knee pushed the air from his lungs and the last six hours of drink from his belly. He vomited into the bag around his head, the fluids seeping out on the floor that he lay on. His nostrils and the van were filled with a mixture of beer, spirits and vile-smelling digestive juices.

“Fuck,” a voice spoke.


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