TG Universes & Series:
Saturday 8th October 2016
"Good morning, and for those who don't know me, my name is Tammy Smart. I'll be your director for the Mill's autumn show, Deathtrap."
Tammy looked across the stage at the Mill Theatre, some faces she recognised but many were new.
"We only have nine weeks to get this one nailed, but I understand you've done a read-through already?"
There was some nodding, and almost all of them were holding scripts, the rest had clearly forgotten theirs. Iain Davison, the original director, had called Tammy the previous evening.
"I hear you're staying in Thurso?"
"I'm at the University for a few years."
"I've been promoted, but it means a transfer to the Oil Capital."
"Aberdeen? Okay, so what is that good?"
"I'll have to step down as director at the Mill, I'd like you to succeed me."
"Don't the board have to approve?"
"They had accepted you for Guys and Dolls but you left town, the production nearly didn't happen."
"Sorry about that, things got awkward with my life last year."
"So I understand, but can you take over from me? We've just started rehearsals for the next show."
"What is it?"
"Ira Levin's Deathtrap."
"Oh, I'm not familiar with it?"
"It's a thriller."
"I thought this production would be a musical?"
"The Franklins have moved away so you don't have a musical director at the moment."
"Okay, when is the next rehearsal?"
"Tomorrow, at ten."
"No pressure then, Iain?"
Tammy ascertained that the five roles in this play had been assigned, and this was to be the third rehearsal- at least she wasn't starting from the beginning. There were actually ten on the stage, plus Tammy; they were divided into two sets of five actors. Iain had grouped them as 'A' and 'B' casts.
"Okay everyone, let's do this from the top - Act one, Scene One I'd like the A and the B actors working together."
It was odd, to say the least, of having two interpretations of the play on the stage at the same time, even if they were only reading from the scripts. Within a minute or so, it was clear it wasn't working.
Tammy restarted after a change of mind, having issued new instructions, Tammy was now alternating the groups between each scene. It wasn't ideal but it kept the momentum going until they took a break at the end of the first Act. She'd asked Iain the previous evening for his reasoning for the two casts.
"The play only needs five actors but it's two hours of very intense acting and they'll be worn out at the end. This was a very popular play on Broadway and in the West End so I'd expect good audiences but a single cast can't do a matinee and an evening show, especially if you're using under eighteens."
"So one cast does the matinee and the other the evening"?
"That's right. As I see it, you'll do Thursday and Friday evenings, with possibly a schools matinee on the Friday, then two shows on Saturday and Sunday."
"Seven shows? Don't forget the backstage crew, there's only one set of us!"
Right now Tammy wasn't sure, they'd worked through the first act and still had the second one to go.
"Okay, break's over. Act two, 'B' cast to start."
The rehearsal had been due to finish at one o'clock but it was half past two before they left, the caretaker was not happy.
"I'm sorry Miss Smart, but next Saturday I will lock the doors at ten past one whether or not you've finished."
"Don't blame me, before yesterday afternoon I didn't even know I would be directing the play. If the theatre wants this production then someone will have to allow me the resources!"
"That's not my job, Miss Smart, I suggest you talk to the Chairman."
"Who is it now?"
"The new Chairman is Dr McIntosh."
Tammy parked in town and went in search of some lunch, which wasn't easy as the clock eased towards three o'clock. The bakery was out of rolls, sandwiches and pasties, as well as anything else that could be deemed savoury. She bought the last remaining Chelsea bun and headed to Sarah's Boutique.
"Where have you been?"
"Sorry, I've been roped into the next production at the theatre."
"I called you."
"My phone's on silent, sorry. It looks like I'll be tied up for the next couple of months."
"Yes, but even that's not straightforward. Have you seen Anne McIntosh recently?"
"She was in this morning, they've finally moved into their new place."
"By Thurso golf club."
"I thought they were leaving town?"
"They went to Anne's sister's place in Aberdeen and looked at moving there but didn't like it, so they're staying here."
"I was told the Headmaster is now Chairman of the Mill Theatre Trust."
"Steven's no longer a Headmaster, Tammy!"
"Force of habit, Sarah, do you have their phone number?"
"Sure, I'll get it out of my book."
Tammy made it home a few hours later, still hungry and grumpy.
"Dr McIntosh, this is Tammy Smart?"
"Hello Tammy, there's no need to be formal now, please call me Steven. Now, what can I do for you?"
"I was asked yesterday to take over Deathtrap from Iain."
"Ah, he left me a message to that effect. I called this morning but you were out."
"I had a few things to do before I reached the theatre, plus I have a new mobile number so you probably won't have that?"
"I wouldn't have, anyway, I don't even have a copy of the school's records."
"Of course not."
"So, how did the rehearsal go?"
"It's awkward, there are two casts."
"When Iain proposed that arrangement, he said it was the only way to do matinees."
"I quite understand, but the caretaker wasn't happy when we overran by a long way."
"There's an easy answer to that, Tammy."
"I wondered about scrubbing the matinees and only using one cast?"
"No, I'll make you a keyholder. If you want to book a slot for rehearsals just let the secretary know."
"Fleur Younger, do you know her?"
"We met at the University a year ago."
"Oh good, she'll need some support, did you want to join the board?"
"Sorry, Steven, I'm back at University and I have other commitments that I can't avoid. I can only just manage this play."
"That's a shame, I'm trying to get new blood and new ideas into the theatre."
"It's a noble plan, but I can't take on any more at the moment, Sir."
"I understand, how is your course?"
"I've only done a week so far, the real work starts on Monday, not that it makes sense so far."
"In what way?"
"Monday's lecture is called 'Understanding the social world', I can't see what that has to do with criminology."
"Society, Tammy, is made up of many different peoples, with differing ideas of freedoms and beliefs; that would appear to influence some criminal behaviour?"
"I see, thank you, Sir."
"Glad to be of service."
"How's retirement treating you?"
"I think I'm busier now than before! I can hear Anne calling me, bye Tammy."
"Bye, Sir, er, Steven."
Tammy realised, too late, that she didn't have Fleur's number and she hadn't given Steven McIntosh her own mobile number.
Angela was in Aberdeen on a two week residential course and her parents had gone away for a few days, so the house was quiet, deadly quiet. Zara had left some meals in the fridge so Tammy decided to eat before taking an early night.
Wednesday 12th October 2016
"Here you are, Tammy."
"Thanks Fleur." Tammy slid the key into her purse.
"You'll need the alarm code too, I'll text it to you."
Tammy had foregone lunch on Monday as she searched the University campus for Fleur, finding her walking across the carpark five minutes before the start of afternoon lectures. They'd only managed to exchange mobile numbers but by the time they talked that evening, Fleur had everything in hand.
"What are you planning, Tammy?"
"I'll split the two casts up, Wednesday evening for the A cast, Saturday morning for the B cast, for the next few weeks."
"Wednesday is clear until the middle of November, then the pantomime cast will need it."
"Oh, what about Friday evenings?"
"That's used monthly for the film club now, first Friday of the month, as well as the occasional concert."
"Okay, I'll bear that in mind."
"I'll get you a key as soon as I can."
Tammy didn't recall having these problems last year, although she barely managed two rehearsals, and she was certain that the previous year hadn't experienced any problems, not until opening night.
Wednesday was a half day so Tammy went home for lunch.
"There was a call for you, Tammy."
"Okay, what's the number, I'll call from my room."
"It was the secure phone, he said he was Colonel MacTaggart."
"Interesting, I met someone by that name in London back in April."
"He did say you would remember him, something about an uncle?"
Tammy laughed, "Okay, that's definitely him. Did he leave a number?"
"There was a number but he wasn't staying there, he's travelling North in a few days apparently."
"He has my works mobile number but that's off and I don't really want to turn it on. I guess we'll just wait until he calls again."
Tammy wanted to assume that Sean MacTaggart's trip was social, but had severe doubts. She hadn't heard a peep out of Jenny, or anyone else, for three weeks so was getting used to a care-free life again; she was beginning to like this ordinary life, a life without intelligence agencies. A secure call from an SAS Colonel was unlikely to herald good news, however. She contemplated calling Thames House, or even James Townsend in Room 40, but really didn't want to stir things unnecessarily.
Tammy's training in GCHQ and then Room 40 seemed an age away, six months to be exact, and she still wasn't entirely certain why she'd been sent on the course. Most of the training relied on technology that she didn't have access to, whether at home or in London, so was it pointless?
With lunch out of the way, Tammy settled to do some work before heading over to see Cathy at 4pm.
"How's school, Cathy?"
"They're a good bunch of kids, mostly, just one or two troublemakers as usual, what about your course?"
"Only twenty of us on the Thurso campus but another sixty across the other campuses, so it's not a small course. There's one or two on the course who don't look as if they want a career in criminology, more like in crime."
"That's a bit harsh."
"Maybe, but it comes down to my experience and training; I look at people differently."
"Perhaps I look at children differently as I'm a teacher?"
"What we do colours our world, Cathy. How is Florence doing?"
"A few issues but the prefects have apparently dealt with the miscreants, she really gets on well with Lori."
"I was pleased when she took the job, she's going to be doing the same Child and Youth Studies course as Angela but with different options."
"Excellent, I think your mum's stress is down as she's leaving Lori alone more often."
"Like the past few days? They're back tomorrow lunchtime from their latest trip."
"Where did they go?"
"To see Suzie, they'll bring some more of my stuff back."
"Will you eat with us?"
"Who'll be here?"
"Just Michael, Helen and myself."
"I'm due at the theatre for seven thirty."
Thursday 13th October 2016
Tammy had a free day so was at home when Richard and Joan arrived back.
"You didn't tell me that Suzie's boyfriend had moved in, Tammy?"
"I didn't know!"
"Well, the place needed a good tidy up."
"I haven't been there for nearly a month, not since I collected the last lot of clothes and stuff."
"The rest of your stuff, as you put it, is at Wick Airport."
"I'll collect it in the morning."
"Suzie said some of it was to do with work."
Tammy retrieved her official mobile phone from the safe, taking her Glock 19 at the same time. A couple of minutes later she was on the road, her phone sat charging in it's docking bay. She took the shorter route, a road with dubious quality, but it shaved ten minutes off the journey and went straight past the airport.
The petrol gauge was showing a quarter of a tank as she reached the Tesco filling station so went there first, watching as a commercial flight came into land. She paid, collected her loyalty points, and was on her way to the terminal. Tammy's car had an airside pass so she had no trouble pulling up with the RS Helicopters office.
"Hello John, is there something for me?"
"Sure, there's some luggage and a few boxes."
There was more than Tammy expected, and it seemed that Suzie, or Joan, had emptied Tammy's wardrobes, clearly they didn't think she'd be staying in the London apartment again, an apartment that Tammy owned! She started to load her car.
"Is there room for me too?"
Tammy looked up, her hand reaching for her weapon. "Sean?"
"Correct, and let's not test who's the faster draw, eh?"
He gave her a hug, a bear hug.
"So, Colonel, what brings you this far North?"
"I'm just a student these days."
"Maybe, maybe not."
"Look, I can't talk in riddles."
"Can I help you pack your car and then can you give me a ride?"
"Sure, where to?"
"The Castletown Hotel, do you know it?"
"I do, but wouldn't you prefer something more secure and private?"
"My home, I'm sure it'll be okay?"
Joan wasn't impressed at all, she took Tammy aside.
"You say he's an SAS officer?"
"And he's come to see you?"
"Yes, but I don't know why."
"I thought you'd given up all this cloak and dagger work?"
"So did I, but they are paying me so I'm still on the payroll."
"Well, I don't like it."
"Look, as soon as he's completed it, whatever it is, he'll be gone."
Richard was in the lounge with Sean and had broken out the decent malts.
"Tammy, did you know Sean was an old boy of St Andrews?"
"No, that didn't come up in our last conversation."
Sean laughed, "in that drinking den, with Kerri!"
Tammy nodded, "so, why are you here?"
"Let's go for a walk."
They walked a fair distance from the house before Sean was content it was safe to speak.
"We're concerned there's a lot of Russian Diplomatic activity up here but it's not clear what they're doing."
"Is that the SAS's job?"
"Not usually, but we suspect arms are being brought in using the fish factory boats. We need to know who the actors are. Unfortunately they are very wary of anyone who looks like a police officer."
"No great surprise there."
"I'm told your car is equipped with cameras?"
"All I'd like you to do is park it near the harbour tomorrow, there's a fish factory due alongside at lunchtime, it sails at three."
"I'm in college all day."
"That's fine, there's one other thing."
"One of the packages you picked up is an IMSI Catcher*, I'd like you to place it in the car and leave it running. I'm told you're qualified to use them?"
"Who the hell told you?"
"Sorry, but are you?"
"You already know the answer, I didn't ask for any kit to be sent to me and I wasn't expecting to use it. I'm a student right now not an operative."
"Understood, but if you do this tomorrow, I'll be gone on the train that night. This is a 'need to know' operation, right?"
They walked back, Cathy had heard about the visitor so had thrown a dinner invitation to the Smarts and their guest.
Before they headed over to dinner, Tammy took her packages into the study to open them. The IMSI interceptor could grab all mobile phone information for any phone that came within range. According to most Government sources, these weren't in use in the UK, but she had one on the desk in front of her. This was an identical model to one she'd been trained on at GCHQ so she plugged in her laptop and configured it for use.
Dinner that evening was certainly different, Cathy was seen fawning over Sean.
Saturday 15th October 2016
"Welcome back everyone, I want all of you off the script by next week. Okay, let's do Act 1!"
Tammy was energised this morning, she'd brought the rehearsal forward an hour so hoped to be out of there by half eleven, twelve at the latest. Wednesday's cast had worked better with just the five of them and this morning was looking better as well. The last thing she needed with this drama was more drama.
Sean had stayed a second night and Tammy had dropped him at the station on her way to the theatre. He was carrying a secure copy of the IMSI data.
The rehearsal continued into the second Act and Tammy reviewed her past week, one good deed done, coursework up to date and a theatre production going well - she could cope with this level of work.
Of course, there's still Martin Gore's trial but that won't be a problem, will it?
Colonel Sean MacTaggart appears by kind permission of Snowfall
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.