Tammy: Go West Young Woman

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 Go West Young Woman

 
 

Tammy felt it wasn't right returning to London so soon after Elsie's funeral, but it had been made very clear to her that she wasn't needed. Being babysat on the train South was about the last straw. Her sister had been very patient with her griping but had reached her boiling point as the arrived home.

"Ah, come on Tammy, leave it!"

"Yeah, but? It's simply not fair!"

"You've been saying that for the last fourteen hours, mostly for Dave's benefit I guess. It's just us now and, in case you'd forgotten, I'm in the same boat. I wanted to help as well, but I realised ages ago that everything in Thurso was being looked after - you should accept that Dad and Cathy will do it right."

"I know, Suzie, but I'm so used to being hands-on." Tammy dropped her coat on a chair and headed for the kettle, a coffee was needed.

"Action woman more likely, hey, at least while you're down here the occupants of Thurso can sleep peacefully in their beds?"

"That's definitely out of order!"

"The stats don't lie, I did an analysis of your incidents for Jenny, the risk of a major incident increases by 300% if you're in a town for more than three days."

"You're making that up!"

"Okay, Jenny didn't ask me, but I most certainly did do the stats. I'm an analyst, remember, and so allegedly are you."

Tammy used the universal exit strategy. "I need a wee!"

She lost her shoes then darted into the bathroom; it was another fifteen minutes before she made it back to the kitchen, dressed more casually. Suzie was on her knees in front of the washing machine.

"Where have you been?"

"I needed a shower."

"Perhaps, but you could have sorted out your laundry first?"

"I had other priorities."

"Obviously, Tammy. I called mum and dad, by the way, to let them know we're back safely."

"Oh, thanks. Was that necessary?"

"It was; they care and they worry."

"Yeah, I suppose so, Suzie."

"What's up with you, really?"

"I'm tired, I need a new challenge."

"Seriously? You've barely started this job, and somehow you still need to get to college or university?"

"I know, but things changed last October."

"Like getting shot at after a funeral?"

"And getting arrested when I shot back, that's partly why I have to leave Thurso for a while. Maybe I'll just do an Open University course, it wouldn't matter where I am?"

"Maybe, ok, what about food, all we've had since breakfast is a sandwich?"

Tammy called for a pizza to be delivered, the only shopping they'd done on the journey home was to buy fresh milk on their way to the Tube. The supply of milk had at least allowed Tammy to have her fix of caffeine whilst they awaited the youth with their food.

The bell went around half-past ten, Suzie went down to pay.

"I think we're being watched, Tammy."

"Why?"

"when I opened the door to the pizza delivery guy, there was a black saloon car just across the street, as soon as I saw the car they pulled away."

"It could be nothing, but did you get the number?"

"Too dark and too far away."

"Are we leaving together in the morning?"

"I think we should, what are you doing tomorrow?"

"I wish I knew, Suzie."

"Look, I should call it in."

"Okay, but wait until we've finished eating."

*----*

Her return to Thames house lasted a day as Tammy found herself back at the National Crime Unit for two weeks. She'd told her supervisor that the work was boring, largely repetitive, but that's not how they saw it.

"This is essential work, you are helping the fight against organised crime and terrorism."

"I'd rather be out there, dealing with the threat at first hand?"

"Please, Miss Smart, you're an analyst and not a secret agent! Leave that to the professionals!"

Finally she managed to escape the NCU and spend a whole day in MI5's HQ, her timing couldn't be better as a courier delivered an A4 package that lunchtime. The stamp on the inner envelope didn't tell her much

She slid everything back into the outer envelope and went to one of the secure meeting rooms, locking herself in. She now took a look at the contents, startig with a covering note from Tina Waters apologising for the delay.

We've had to change our plans regarding your training, initially it was a three month course in Cheltenham but now you'll do a short course before returning to London. Please read the enclosed information sheet then sign the receipt before you do anything else. Do not read any further unless you accept the constraints this will place upon you.

Tammy was a little concerned, but GCHQ was just another part of the wider intelligence community, she signed. There was a return envelope for her receipt and she sealed this up before continuing.

She unsealed the inner envelope, wondering why all of this couldn't be done online? Inside were her reporting instructions, midday at Cheltenham station the following Monday. No pass, no details, just a one-way ticket from Paddington on Great Western Trains and a warning not to tell anyone. This concerned he but thankfully there was a contact phone number, she noted it was on the secure government network.

"Hello, is that Tina Waters?"

"No, who's calling?"

"Tammy Smart at Thames House."

"Oh, I'm James Townsend, I'll be one of your instructors."

"Okay, in Cheltenham?"

"Sorry, but you'll find that out when you need to. Now, I'm guessing you you have the welcome pack but you have a question?"

"Yes, it's a little scant on details, but what can I tell Suzie, my sister?"

"Nothing."

"She's cleared and she lives with me, she'll have to know I'm going out West, to Cheltenham anyway, especially if I'm away for a while?"

"I see, I'll send her manager some information, in the meantime don't say anything."

"Er, thanks."

"Look, we take operational secrecy very seriously. She's your step-sister, isn't she?"

"Yes, is that relevant?"

"And you were born male?"

"Hey! That's off limits."

"No it isn't. If there is a whiff of anything that could get you targeted, blackmailed, bribed, whatever, then you're a risk. It took longer to clear you for this course than normal."

"It shouldn't have?"

"Let's make this clear, Miss Smart, you are not normal in any sense, that's good and bad news so far as your clearance is concerned."

"So you need me to be extra vigilant, and not tell a soul?"

"No, follow usual security practice, if they are not cleared then they shouldn't know. Your sister is not currently cleared for this, understood?"

"Yes, Sir."

Tammy's day didn't get any easier, she had some humdrum files to review but felt she was being underused. It was two more days of desk-bound boredom before Jenny called Tammy to her private office.

"I've been asked to release you."

"Yes."

"I can't say I'm happy, given that you're hardly here, but this time I've not been told anything about your assignment."

This concerned Tammy, if Dave Brown had known what was going on, surely he would have told Jenny? Then again, how much had he been told? His words to Tammy were that he "wasn't cleared", the same must be true for her boss.

"And I can't say anything, either, sorry."

"How long will you be away?"

"I don't know, in fact I know very little myself."

"Well, whatever it is, be careful I'm expecting to see you again at some point."

"I'll try, Jenny, but that's not always easy for me!"

*--*

"Welcome to Cheltenham, Miss Smart."

"Thanks, Tina, I wasn't sure who'd be here?"

"Never mind, my car is just outside the station. How was the journey?"

"I was reading a book on my kindle and had my eyes glued to that most of the journey."

They were safely inside Tina's car before the GCHQ recruiter spoke again.

"I'm afraid tablets and phones aren't allowed in the building, you'll have to manage without them whilst you're with us."

"I guessed as much, I actually left my normal smart phone at home and only brought a dumb one with me."

"That's fair enough but just about any modern device could be compromised. Look, that's all I can say for now."

Tina handed Tammy an envelope then eased the car out of the bay.

The rest of the eight minute journey was in silence as Tammy checked the envelope's contents. Inside was a temporary ID card for the facility and a guide to the town. Tammy put the guide down as they approached the gate.

"You'll have to get out and go to the security office, take your bags with you. I'll see you shortly."

Tammy did as asked, and was mildly amused when the guard asked her to hand over her firearm.

"I was informed you'd probably have one. You're not the first, Miss Smart, and you won't be the last. You can collect this if you leave the facility."

Tammy seemingly missed the comment as she removed the firearm from her shoulder bag, plus the spare clip. They went into one yellow box which was locked and spirited away. Her phone, kindle and other electronic kit went into another. She noted that her ID Pass was coded yellow, was this significant? Meanwhile another guard was searching through her lingerie, she thought briefly if she should comment but stayed silent. She still had one dilator with her and blushed as she found it.

"Okay, Miss Smart, if you follow me I'll show you to the training centre residential wing."

Tammy recalled a conversation she'd had with Suzie the previous day as she walked with the guard, passing through various secure gates and doors.

"How long will you be away?"

"Don't know, not exactly, but I think I'm coming back here - so no lodgers!"

"And you can't say what you're doing?"

"Nope, and really Suzie, you should know better than to ask."

"That's what Jenny said. What do I tell our parents?"

"That I'm working away, that's all. It shouldn't be dangerous, not this time."

Tina was waiting for Tammy at the residential wing, she took her charge inside and up to the female landing, that meant using her pass on two doors.

"We prefer if pleasure doesn't get in the way of work, the male and female bedrooms are separate and there's a curfew of 11pm. Induction is at 2pm, downstairs in the common room. There's a water and hot drinks available in the common room but please don't take any food in the bedrooms."

Tammy settled down and unpacked her disrupted suitcase. Finally she extracted the one paperback she'd brought, in case her Kindle ran out of charge. Fortunately she'd had a breakfast at Paddington Station so wasn't in danger of getting hungry, not yet anyway.

There were half a dozen at the induction, four men and one other woman. Tammy reckoned all bar one of the males were nerds.

"Hi, I'm Shaz?" Tammy did a quick assessment, mid twenties, five foot six and blonde, but was it out of a bottle?

"Tammy."

"Scottish?"

"No, but I lived there a while. You?"

"Hampshire and Sussex, lived along the coast, never in one place for too long."

They laughed, neither had gained much in knowledge, but Tammy wondered what this Shaz's real background was, could one of this group be an interloper? Before she could assess anyone, Tina returned, dropping a pile of booklets on a table.

"Hello everyone, I'm glad you all made it here, and through security, intact! My name is Tina and I'll pop in from time to time, but you'll be spending the majority of your stay with the tutors and experts. On the table is a stack of the rules and regs, please adhere to them whilst you're here. You are all undertaking different training so do not assume that you're cleared to talk to anyone else, sorry but that's rule #1 here."

Tina paused while the booklets were collected.

"You can read those later, but in the back is a map of the training centre and associated facilities. You are restricted to the Yellow Zone unless you are escorted by someone with a higher level pass. Any attempt to go outside of the Yellow area using your own pass will cause a security alert.

"Now, you will eat in here at lunchtime and from five in the evening. We work seven days here and you'll have tasks at weekends, please do not assume you can leave the site before the end of your course, your individual tutors will have further information regarding rest days and the course plan.

"Your primary tutors are waiting for you in rooms in the adjacent block, Sharon you will go to room A3, Tammy A40 ...."

Tammy didn't listen to the rest, she checked the map and headed through the first secure doorway into the training centre just behind Shaz, Room A40 was a few floors up.

"Ah hello, you must be Tammy?"

"Yes, are you my tutor?"

"Oh, yes, sorry, Jim Muir is the name. Please, close the door."

"Now, I guess you'd like to know what you'll be doing?"

"I would, Mr Muir?"

"Please, it's Jim. Whilst I haven't been told what you'll be doing in the future, I have been told that you need to gain knowledge of electronic surveillance, counter surveillance and cryptography for personal communications."

"Really?"

"Yes, and for this part of the course we only have a few weeks."

"Okay."

"Now, as part of your coursework, you will need to identify which of your course is gathering intelligence on you."

"But this is a secure site!"

"You're relying on someone else's clearance method, how can you be sure? A person may be clean, totally clean, but what if one of their close friends is a journalist who persuaded them to take advantage of this course?"

"Damn."

"You're going to be in close contact with this group for a few weeks and will grow to trust them, don't! Now, I have to ask you what you fancy for your dinner, apparently, tomorrow there will be a sheet in your room."

*--*

In the common room that evening, Tammy learned the names of the guys, one was definitely interested in her.

"I'm Tony."

"Tammy."

"Tony & Tammy, nice ring to that?"

"In your dreams!"

"Hey, just trying to be friendly, who do you work for?"

"Myself."

"You don't get in this building without some history."

"Okay, what's your's?"

"Classified."

"So, quit trying to get anything out of my head or into my knickers, understood?"

"Yep, Miss Ice Maiden."

He went to chat up Shaz, Tammy approached the three nerds, two were in a deep conversation but one looked as if he was free.

"Er, I'm Nick, that's Paul and the ginger one is Tim." Nick and Tim looked up, acknowledged her then returned to their discussion.

"Hi, I'm Tammy. What do you think of it so far?"

"We've lost all our gadgets but Tony reckons he has a pack of cards."

"I strongly suggest you avoid playing cards with him. There's probably a library here, have you checked the map?"

Nick and Tim's conversation ended immediately and all three pulled the information booklets out of their pockets, very quickly they were heading off. Tammy walked across the room as Tony went to the water cooler.

"He's hard work!"

"Sure, Shaz."

"Where did those three go?"

"They found the library."

"Good, I hope there's a magazine or two, I'm already missing my celebrity fixes and I've not found a telly so far, just a few monitors."

"I don't watch much TV but there's a radio in my room, pre-tuned to the BBC and the local commercial station."

"Radio? I haven't used one of those since I was at primary school."

Tammy wondered how she'd survive with this group. She followed Shaz in the direction the others had followed. As they passed through a secure door, a monitor came on and warned them their food would be ready in ten minutes.

"Oh, so that's what they're for?"

The jury was still out on whether Shaz was a natural blonde.

The library wasn't much, but the three nerds had found text books on communications systems so were happy. Shaz, as she predicted, found a few current magazines and scooped up three to take with her. Tony meanwhile was looking through the fiction shelf but not finding anything appropriate. Tammy decided to return later, she still had her own novel to start.

They were all back in the common room in time for their food delivery, Tammy made herself a coffee and settled down to eat. Ten, maybe fifteen, minutes later the group had fractured. Shaz and Tony had gone up, presumably to their own rooms, and the nerds were back in the library. Tammy shrugged and took herself up.

Breakfast was at seven thirty each day and by eight Tammy was back in Room A40. This was the pattern for the week, she would start with Jim Muir each day but then had sessions with a variety of tutors. Jim had given her some more instructions on the first morning.

"I'm afraid you can't take the worksheets or background materials with you."

"Oh."

"By the time you leave here, you'll know everything you need to for field work, after all you won't be consulting manuals whilst running an operation, will you?"

"I suppose not, and there's a risk one of the others might see this material?"

"Indeed, we don't provide you with secure document storage unless there's a special need."

"Okay."

It was Friday before Tina was next seen, she had a private session with everyone after the evening meal.

"How's it going, Tammy?"

"Quite technical."

"This site is all about communications and that implies technology."

"Yes, but the tutors really know their stuff."

"That's because they were experts before they became tutors."

"So, what's happening over the weekend? Jim said he's not here."

"You have a workshop test tomorrow morning, then maybe go into Cheltenham in the afternoon?"

"Off-site? I thought we were stuck in here?"

"I hope I didn't imply that, it's just that we don't want you going home until the end of the course."

"Can I have my phone back to call home?"

"Sure, collect it at the gate, there's a taxi booked for one thirty. I should warn you that we will be monitoring your communications whilst you're with us, the same applies to anyone else who's with us."

"I'd expect as much."

"Not everyone understands."

The Saturday workshop went well and the assessor seemed please with Tammy. "Good, you have the fundamentals. Now, have you given any thought to the question Jim Muir posed you on Monday?"

"Yes, but there isn't a clear candidate yet, I mean there's two who are more likely but I don't know which it could be."

"Okay, keep your eyes and ears open."

She had a quick sandwich in the common room before gathering with the others for a walk across to the security gate. This meant being escorted through the various gates and doorways by two BSH type guards, arguing was not an option.

A set of yellow boxes was waiting for them, Tammy was invited into a side room after she'd recovered her phone.

"Your firearm is here, if you would like it."

She quickly stowed it before rejoining the others.

"What was that about?"

"Sorry Tony, that guard wanted make-up advice. Did you feel left out?"

The six climbed into a minibus taxi and were soon dropped into the town centre. "Call this number when you want a ride back, I've been told it's all on an account."

Tammy was very soon left with just Shaz.

"Coffee?"

The pair spent a few hours shopping, gossiping and watching the world go by. Tammy decided her mostly business-wear clothing could do with toning down so bought a few leggings and midi skirts. The air-conditioning in the training centre kept the environment at a very stable 68F, 20C, and comfort was more important than image. She did insist, however, breathing real fresh air several times a day, her tolerance of aircon did not mean she had to spend twenty-four hours a day in that environment.

"When was the last time you had your hair done?"

"Oh, a month ago, possibly longer?" In fact it was much longer, just before Christmas, when a junior stylist had made a half decent attempt at Tammy's hair.

"While you were looking through the racks I checked with the salon across the road, they have an opening in five minutes for us if you're interested?"

"Sure, my nails could do with some TLC too."

It may have been accidental but Tammy found out that Shaz's surname was Gainsborough and made a mental mote, had she declared her own surname? They'd been using first names only, was there an instruction about that?

She called for a cab to take the pair back around half-past five, many of the shops were starting to close and the town centre was emptying. She'd spotted Tony walking into the large Wetherspoons pub a few hours earlier and it seemed unlikely he'd spend money on orange juice when the beer was costing around the same price.

While they were waiting, she made a quick call to Suzie to conform she was safe, without giving any more details. The cab driver was the same one who'd picked them up at lunchtime.

"All done, ladies?"

"Yes, thanks. Have you seen the others?"

"Three lads went back an hour or so back, that's all I know so far."

"Okay, thanks."

As they walked from the taxi pint back to the security gate, Shaz quietly asked Tammy, "why are you carrying a gun?"

"Am I?"

"Yes, it's in you bag. I saw it when you were digging in there for your lipstick."

"Look, there's been a few attempts on my life. I'm fully authorised."

"I don't doubt it, you wouldn't get away with bringing a weapon into this site, would you?"

"No."

Tammy saw no point in hiding the weapon from Shaz when she placed it into the yellow box but the other girl said nothing. Soon they were back in the residential wing.

"I'll stow these clothes and see you downstairs at six."

"Okay, Tammy, why don't you wear one of those new skirts?"

Tammy looked in the mirror, the stylist had taken her featureless cut and produced a bob, adding highlights. She couldn't work out if it made her look older, younger, wiser, or anything different. The more casual dress didn't help one inter-personal relationship.

"Wow, babe."

Tony was back and it was now apparent that he hadn't been drinking the orange juice as he watched a football match on the pub's big screen.

"I'm not your babe."

"That's not the way it looks to me."

The 19 year old was not comfortable. Fortunately the food arrived and Tammy attempted to enjoy it although the curry had very little spice, maybe she could eat out one day?

She excused herself to her room soon after, unsatisfied and uncomfortable. A bedside phone allowed her to call internal numbers. She tested a theory.

"Security, can I place an outside call?"

"To where?"

"Secure to Dave Brown via Thames House?"

"I'm sorry but calls from the training unit are not secure."

"Can I place a secure call?"

"There's a room in the training unit, but you'll have to request time."

"Now?"

"Sorry, the next available is tomorrow, what time?"

"Nine?"

"Of course."

Her problem was, Tammy didn't yet know what her issue was. In an ideal world she could discuss it with any number of personnel then come to a solution. This wasn't ideal, she still didn't know who her target was and, probably, her room was bugged.

That gave Tammy an idea. She started to search the room using the training she'd received over the preceding week. She found three obvious devices, but assumed these were intended to be discovered.

She lacked the tools, she thought, to go deeper Her manicure set, however, let her unscrew faceplates and other electrical devices. That heralded two more. She stopped and looked around, suddenly aware of her true circumstances. She laughed.

Tammy picked up the phone and asked to speak to Tina Waters.

"Hey, I got it."

"Got what?"

"I de-bugged my room and I know I'm still bugged."

"And?"

"I can't trust anywhere or anyone out in the real world, I may think I found all the devices but I can't be certain."

"Correct."

"So?"

"So what, Tammy?"

"What happens now?"

"I don't know what you mean?"

"Do I get a credit, or something?"

"No, but what about Mr Muir's task?"

"Oh, I can't tell you, can I?"

"No you can't. Would you like to go home?"

"I don't think I've learned all that I need to know, yet."

"Good, you did pass that test. Now, security tells me you've requested a secure phone?"

"Yes, I'd like to call someone."

"How about in the morning?"

"I don't think they'll be reachable on a Sunday, maybe on Monday afternoon?"

"I'll set that up."

*--*

Tony disappeared just after breakfast, no-one knew if he'd finished his course or had been removed. No-one knew anything about him, either.

"Do you fancy Sunday dinner out?"

"Sure, boys?"

They weren't interested, citing a day in the library doing research.

"What do you fancy, Shaz?"

"I noticed there's a play on at the theatre in town and they have a cafe, why not take in a matinee and have lunch beforehand?"

"Assuming we're allowed out?"

There wasn't an issue and by half past eleven the girls were waiting for their cab.

"Going to the Everyman, ladies?"

"Yes, what's it like?"

"It was built as a Victorian music hall, so it's not huge, but you'll enjoy it."

They sorted out tickets for the two-thirty show and opted to return at one to eat. A short walk took them into the pedestrian precinct and the chain stores. It started to rain so they dived into Debenhams, aiming for the coffee shop.

"So what do you normally do, Tammy?"

"Whatever comes my way but I really need to get back to university and restart my course." Tammy was wary, very wary. "What about you?"

"I'm between overseas deployments and I needed to update my knowledge."

"I see, I'm still not really sure why I was sent here!"

"Okay, why didn't your university course work?"

"I had some trouble and had to get out of town in a hurry."

"Bad trouble?"

"Yes, and it's still not finished."

"Where was it?"

"Sorry, as I said, it's an ongoing investigation. It's better you don't know."

Outside the passing shower had moved on elsewhere. They wandered a bit, window shopping, but without a true aim. By one they were in the theatre cafe, queueing to be served.

Before they went into the auditorium, Tammy excused herself to go to the loo. The nearest ladies loo had a long queue so she doubled back to use another that was signposted. She could see Shaz was on a phone, except she hadn't collected her's at security, claiming it had a flat battery. There was a man stood near her, but Tammy couldn't see his face.

Where had it come from, Tammy wondered, although her pressing need was her bladder. When she returned Shaz was on her own and there was no evidence of a phone in her tiny shoulder bag as Shaz rummaged for her lippy.

The play was acceptable, but definitely not of West End or Broadway standards. Shaz suggested they walked back into town and call their cab from there.

"The shops shut at four today and it's past five. We can wait in the bar for our transport."

"Oh, I thought you would like the walk?"

"Not today."

Unsurprisingly there was a wait for a cab, so it was approaching six when they arrived back at the GCHQ main entrance. Shaz hadn't said more than three words the whole journey.

The following morning Tammy only managed a few greetings before she reached room A40 again.

"How was your weekend, Tammy?"

"Interesting, Jim."

"I understand you found some listening devices?"

"And one tiny camera."

"So, what do you think?"

"That I've found the ones I was intended to find, and haven't found the others?"

"Correct, never assume that a room is clear."

"My house is swept regularly."

"All that means is that it was probably clean on that day, only good practice will keep it that way."

"Okay, what else did you learn?"

"I'm concerned about one of the course, but I can't work out if they are on the level?"

"I see, but you realise I'm not an investigator, is this something for security?"

"Not yet, but I might run it past Tina."

"Okay, is this connected to your task?"

"Yes."

The day passed quickly, too quickly, by five Tammy was in a small room with a secure phone.

"Hello Tammy, what can I do for you?"

"I may have a problem."

"You're in one of the most secure facilities on the planet and you have a problem?"

She explained the previous day's circumstances. "The more I think about it, I keep thinking that the man with Sharon was Martin Gore."

"That is a worry. We'll see if the theatre's CCTV is any good, but this will take time to handle. Are you safe?"

"Inside GCHQ, yes, although there was a suggestion we went to Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Racecourse, on Thursday."

"I'd suggest that's not a clever plan, especially if your presence has been compromised."

"Okay, understood, so I keep my head down?"

"In essence, yes. I'll bring everyone up to speed but that will mean disclosing where you are and, in some respects, why you're there. That has risks."

"I know, I know."

"Now, do not tell Tina or anyone else what you've told me, we'll inform GCHQ directly from here."

Tammy wasn't satisfied as she left the room, once again things were out of her hands.

The week continued and Tammy's technical knowledge improved. She knew more about deploying devices, recovering the data, locating devices and even analysing them. She also now knew much more about encryption and cyphers.

Shaz hardly spoke to her, but the week's biggest surprise was the return of Tony on Thursday.

"Sorry for my attitude last week."

"Er, okay, where did you go?"

"I had a family emergency, it certainly sobered me up quickly."

By Friday afternoon, Tammy was exhausted, she accepted a cup of ice cold water from Tina as they reviewed Tammy's progress.

"Your tutors are very impressed."

"Thanks."

"So much that they want to transfer you to another facility for further training."

"Really? When?"

"You can go home in the morning and we'll contact you with further instructions, but you'll be under James Townsend."

"I've spoken to him."

"I know. Now, what about your little problem?"

"What problem?"

"Sharon Gainsborough."

"I don't think I can say anything about that."

"You should have done, I was hauled into the vetting office to answer questions when I knew nothing about the issues, nothing!"

"Well, I'm sorry, but if I'm the target and it relates to an ongoing investigation, then I need to be careful. Thames House and the Met's Counter Terrorism group are handling it."

"So I was informed."

"Is this why I'm leaving in the morning?"

"No, that was likely regardless."

"Okay, am I going back by train?"

"No, in the interests of security, you'll be collected by helicopter and flown to London City, I understand that's near your home?"

"Yes."

"Be ready immediately after breakfast."

"Understood. By the way, was Sharon meant to be the one gathering intel on me?"

"No, that was Tim."

"Oh, but I hardly ever saw him."

"Indeed. You should be pleased, however, he gained very little knowledge of you. That was another test you passed with flying colours."

There was no sign of Shaz and the ginger haired Tim was also missing the following morning, Saturday. Tammy was driven out of a rear gate and down to Gloucester airport for her flight back East. The first Suzie knew was when she arrived back at the apartment that afternoon to find Tammy cooking dinner. A male who arrived with Suzie made a quick exit, her Glock was on the kitchen worktop as she hadn't got around to putting it in the wall-safe.

On Monday morning she took the Tube, following instructions given over the phone the previous afternoon. Her destination was an anonymous building, there was no indication of the company, or agency, name or what business was conducted there.

"Ah, Miss Smart, welcome to Room 40."

This story continues in Snowfall's story https://bigclosetr.us/topshelf/fiction/68471/chrysalis-proje...



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