Sunday, 24 June 2012

Operation Cockleshell - episode 2

Its a Whined Up ...

Grindstone had barely left the Cabinet Room when Cambourne set in motion his own operation, ‘Protect my Arse‘. It was clear his mentor, Sir Nigel, had taken himself as far away from the locus of the operation as was possible and Cambourne was sure Sir Nigel’s ‘sicky’ would last for at least the next fourteen days while 'Cockleshell' played out. Cambourne’s PR team were already considering the different scenarios from the Scottish Nationalists are the new PIRA if the operation was a success to: ‘It was a rogue MI6 agent and junior civil servant wat did it guv, I never saw a thing.’, if the shit hit the fan. It was probably going to be a bit of a squeaky bum time but that was why politicians wore Teflon gusseted underpants.

Grindstone made the call to Sir Nigel to tell him the Prime Minister had authorised ‘Cockleshell’ and to find out who was to take control of the brief. Sir Nigel's wife was in the process of giving Grindstone the ‘Sir Nigel is too ill to come to the phone’ brush off when a slurred voice in the back ground was heard to say,  ‘Mags, tell the little sniveller he’s in charge.’  Grindstone heard ‘Mags’ turn away and a fluent Anglo-Saxon expletive or two were hurled Sir Nigel’s way and all she said to Grindstone was, “You heard.” and slammed the telephone down.

Grindstone replayed the message tape over and over and all the message made clear was him asking, Mag’s swearing fading off and the ‘you heard’. The damn machine had not picked up Sir Nigel’s voice. For an old school civil servant this was insufficient authorisation, a recipe for disaster, especially if you were being politely given the ‘heave ho’ with only your gold plated pension as compensation. A little worm turned in Grindstone’s head and it said, “ They are trying to do you out of your pension’. Gladstone ignored the worm and did the next natural action for a civil servant, ask the department number 2 for an answer - preferably in writing - so he E-mailed Madelaine Cakes.

Agent McPhail was wondering why he had agreed to take on this under cover assignment, then he remembered he needed field time to get his next promotion and a return to a nice friendly desk in London or some Embassy, say on Fiji. At the time it was this rather cushy number or infiltrating the Islamic extremist group ‘Al Shabab’ in Somalia. It was a question of languages. McPhail was fluent in the Arabic required to pose as a Jihadist but also fully skilled in the lingua franca of the Scottish Defence League - Weegian. If McPhail got anything wrong in Somalia he was dead. Where as in the case of the Scottish Defence League they would never notice as the head quarters of this secret army (six Orange Order fanatics from North Lanarkshire, three Glasgow Ranger’s supporters from Govan and a couple of UDF members  (who would have gone to Northern Ireland to fight but they were never needed) from Patna and Barhead, respectively, barely had 11 brain cells to rub together amongst the lot of them.

The most recent SDL Army council meeting had mostly been focussed on the fate of Glasgow Rangers, the bast’rdin tax man, the f’in wee shite, Whyte, who had done this to them and worse of all they were now owned by an ‘f’in,  Jew ba‘, ‘nglishman. So McPhail’s attempts to involve them in ‘Cockleshell’ had so far fallen on stony ground but tonight he hoped they would be able to get them to focus, so they would be in place to offer themselves as the sacrificial lambs in the greater scheme of things to protect the UK from splitting when the order came through. This was not the story McPhail would be spinning it would be the one where those bast’rdin, f’in wee shites o’ the SNP were goan tae ditch the Queen an’ rip the heart oot o’ Rangers by takin away thir central pillar o’ loyalty tae the crown, no bad enough bein’ skint, as takin the Queen an aw. An hows they hud tae stap thon fram goan doon. McPhail hud a plan and kent fowk thit id mak thon happen, he hud pals in the EDL an BNP an they didnae wan the Queen booted oot o’ Scotland.

How McPhail hated dealing with these leaden Neaderthals and their ‘Labour workin’ cless, salt of the earth’ patois. Scotland was a far better country than this as Hume, Smith, Burns, Scott, Watt and others had shown time immemorial but, and it was a big ‘but’, Fiji probably beckoned once he had wound up their clockwork engines and started them ticking.

“Oh shit, that hurt something just stood on me,” Rod whispered in extreme pain. Dan took a quick look and identified the intruder.  “Baah.” said the threat to their cover.

Gemima Grayling’s steel grey eyes looked into the souls of her inner cabinet. ‘Cockleshell’ had been activated, the SAS were involved but what part of the power system would they attack. It would not be generating plants themselves as the fall out from Westminster’s business pals would be massive, it could only be the National grid transmission and switching plants or the power lines themselves. The problem was how to protect them when you had no defence force of your own, could not announce a terrorist threat, as that was a reserved matter for Westminster, and could not rely on the police force to act quietly on this matter as without doubt there would be leaks amongst the Masonic ties that bind which still blighted Scotland’s Police Forces.

For once they were totally disempowered. The only answer, to involve SNP activists, would play right into Westminster’s hands, “Ladies and gentlemen, we need to think hard and fast as to how we can blow this up in Westminster’s face or we will loose the referendum. We need a counter blast to disarm them.”

They all knew their source at Hereford could not help them with any more detail. The SAS team had been briefed but once they had left Hereford the how, where and when - was left to the team, the only difference being the action was on hold until the team received a certain code via satellite, a code known only to them and the UK SIS.

Ms Cake called Grindstone asking him what the meaning of his E-mail was, did he realise the potential breach of security it could be and why did he need the instruction confirmed in writing when he had been told directly by the prime minister, on his own account, to get on with it. What part of ’get on with it’ did Grindstone not understand?

Grindstone’s turning worm noted at no point in the telephone conversation did Ms Cake mention the word ‘Cockleshell’ whilst informing him she had already had the offending E-mail removed from the departmental server and he had better do the same from his own workstation’s hard drive before the internet security tech checked his machine overnight or it would be P45 time. Whilst Grindstone continued to shut out the noise of the turning worm in his head some part of his personal survival kit persuaded him to copy both the e-mail and the sound files of the telephone conversations with Sir Nigel and Ms Cake to his personal memory stick before wiping his machine clear. The noisy part of his head was saying; at last, they’ve put me in charge of something important while the worm bit accelerated a little more to keep up.

Grindstone looked at the things to do on receiving the prime minister’s authorisation he called the numbers specified at SIS and at the SAS HQ in Hereford and using the bank card from the file and digital card reader was able to give them the authorisation number response. Both calls were short and brief but Grindstone made .wmp files of both and saved them to his memory stick, just in case. He now had to wait for the SIS to confirm their operation was ready to go before sending the action codes which would release funds from a secret government contingency fund that usually supplied cash to dissidents in Iran or other places where the UK Government sought second hand influence or wished to cause disruption.

It was nearly five pm so Grindstone left the ministry in Whitehall walked to Victoria, changed at Clapham and headed home to his cat and solitary existence in Woking none the wiser about the shit storm he was in the process of triggering. He arrived home to his two up two down near the station, not far from the temple (Grindstone could never remember if it was Moslem or Hindu and frankly did not care) fed the cat topped up her cat milk and remembered the data on the memory stick. He then did something very strange. Rather than down load it to his lap top directly, he downloaded the files through the English to Klingon translator he had created, which could handle sound files and documents, before uploading them to his BT vault and removing the zip file he created for this purpose from his lap top. He did all this in the eight minutes it took his Tesco Value Chicken Tikka Masalla to microwave and before choosing which episodes from his box sets of Star Trek, Voyager and the rest of the ‘spin offs’ he would watch tonight. Grindstone’s turning worm sighed a psyche sigh of relief having managed to get this done without alerting the loud chattering of his nemesis, Grindstone's conscious.

McPhail was just sitting down to a tomato and avocado salad with a glass of chilled Chablis in the SIS owned first floor flat in Partick, just round from the station, when the phone went and this brief conversation followed:

“Hello Jeremy McPhail here”
“Is that George Crumpet”
“Sorry you must have a wrong number”

The line went dead and McPhail knew he had ten days to make his diversion happen. Tonight’s SDL Army Council meeting was going to have to get serious.

In Bermuda, Sir Nigel's 'sicky' went critical as he was rushed to the King Edward the VIIth Memorial Hospital with a suspected stroke, triggered by possible alcohol poisoning. After tests it was established Sir Nigel's liver was in major organ failure with cirrhosis and his kidney's were not looking to good either, in comparison his stroke was small beer. Sir Nigel’s wife was blaming the stress of heading up Internal Affairs for the prime minister as the main cause of Sir Nigel’s poor health, in response to media questions. The same media which knew just how close Sir Nigel was to the prime minister, in fact they often referred to Sir Nigel as Cambourne's puppet master. All specifically at the time Cambourne would prefer the Internal Affairs department to be below the radar. Cambourne wondered if it would not be better to postpone ‘Cockleshell’. He would get his PPS to get that ‘oik’ from the Internal Affairs Department to see him first thing and cancel the operation because, to be absolutely honest, with out Sir Nigel de Woodehead, he was stuffed.

When Madelaine Cake watched the news of Sir Nigel’s health collapse on News 24 her response was, “Oh fuck, bang goes me ever being a dame. Typical of the old groper to ensure he will be well away before the whole edifice comes dropping around his ears. Five years of wearing suspender belts and letting the pervert touch me up, wasted. Time to dust off my resignation letter and head to the assistant commissioner post at the EU Ms Legarde has lined up for me.”

Madelaine then called her long term lover, Antoinette Legarde, in Brussels.

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