Tammy: Deja Flew - Part 5



Deja Flew  

Book 12: Deja Flew
 

 

"Deja Flew"
Part 5

 

 
 
Note: This is a work of fiction but a number of real people, places, and institutions are mentioned in fictitious circumstances. In short it's a story!
 
 
Thursday 21st December 2017 (Cont)
 
Kevin waited until the waiter was sufficiently far from the table.

"I didn't suggest this place just to eat, Tammy."

Tammy sipped her beer. "True, Kevin, but it seems we have a problem."

"How did you find out?"

"When I submitted my inquiry about the Lavoska twins in Switzerland, she came up with nothing. I knew that was wrong. Those two had to have a footprint there; Swiss protocols require it." Tammy explained.

Kevin mulled that over. "So that clued you in that Armaud was working at cross-purposes?"

"Or her contact was. How to put it; more than one moving part?" Tammy threw in a disclaimer.

"That was always a possibility. How did you determine the 'fouled cog' in the machine?" Kevin asked.

Tammy went for another pepper after a shrimp. "Sent in the same request via different route. If the same result came back, I was wrong and we would move on. If a different result came back, we'd have verified a bad source."

"Why not play her?"

"Emily would have insisted I entered the new data and challenged her to explain the difference. She'd realise and bug out, this way we got her and isolated the problem. She is but one cog, now we need to bust the machine and smash it!"

Maisie's eyes went wide. "Just who do you work for?"

"Me." Tammy said then grabbed another pepper and munched it, looking Maisie in the eyes.

A firm swat to her shoulder made Tammy pay attention. The old woman glared at her.

"Nice!" The old woman scolded.

Tammy nodded to her. "Yes Ma'am. Sorry."

The old woman looked over to Angela and asked. "Too hot?"

"Yes Ma'am. I'm sorry." Angela apologized.

The old woman went around, patted Angela's head then took her plates away. "Stay."

Angela looked to Tammy. "Did I make her mad?"

"No. She will bring something not so spicy. You are okay."

The old woman came back with a small plate and set it in front of Angela. "You try. Okay?"

Angela used her fork to dig into the dish and tried it then nodded. "This is better. Thank you M'am."

"Good girl." The old woman patted Angela's cheek then went back to her kitchen.

Tammy reassured her younger sister. "It's fine, Angela. She understands some people are more sensitive to the spices. I've eaten here enough that they built me up to it. Grannie's very special."

Kevin sipped his tea. "I never caught how you started coming here."

"After work one night. I'd seen it before and it caught my nose as well. I just thought it was Pad Thai, but I came in and found out otherwise. Nice people here." Tammy half-answered.

The blonde woman from the other table began to leave, but stopped at the kitchen and called out in Vietnamese. She gave money to the old woman and kissed her cheek, receiving a swat to her behind in return making her laugh going to the door.

The old woman shook her head, turning back to her kitchen. "Mũ nồi xanh."

Tammy phased out for a moment. Even though the old woman had said it to herself, Tammy had heard it and lost hold of her chopsticks. It was a phrase she had learned early on and never forgot. Mũ nồi xanh; Green Berets. Words the old woman always said with obvious affection and exasperation. As rowdy and sometimes obnoxious as they had been, they had not forgotten her. She would never forget them.

Kevin began making small talk with Angela and commended her pursuit of child care.

"We had to go frock shopping this morning." Angela sighed.

Kevin chuckled. "That doesn't sound so bad."

Angela sighed. "I've never been to the ballet before. I haven't a clue what to do at one."

"Ballet?" Kevin asked then looked around at the three.

Tammy nodded. "The Nutcracker at Royal Albert."

"Tammy got box tickets!" Maisie said proudly.

Laughing behind them drew their attention. Soong pointed to the now vacated table.

"The star just left." He chuckled.

Kevin looked to the girls. "No chance for selfies or autographs."

They finished eating and made their way to the door as Tammy paid the bill, collecting a hug and swat on her behind from Grannie as well. The Tube was less crowded on the way home.

"Thank you Tammy. Thank you for everything."

"That's okay, Angela, I'm glad you enjoyed it."
 
 
Friday 22nd December 2017
 

Tammy and Maisie were back in the office by eight, deciding that an early start might be good for Operation Bangor, even if they hadn't got off to sleep early. Naturally Emily was already there, but so was Kevin. There was no sign of the fourth member of their usual cabal.

"Kevin, what about your team?"

"I've been replaced. Sophie takes over later today on temporary promotion."

"I thought she was directing the office search?"

"Just supervising, making sure no problems arose. From this morning she's in Thames House. To be honest I don't mind Sophie taking over, at least I know the job will get done."

Tammy nodded, "So what are you doing now?"

"I'll help you out but I'm waiting to be called for interview with the Assistant Chief Commissioner."

"Interview? Oh, it might have looked like you were passing intel to Armaud?"

"Yes."

"Bloody hell, Kevin, it's a mess."

"Maybe, but I'm clean. You have gotten out of much worse, there was almost a shoot to kill order on you."

"Yeah, that wasn't fun."

"Shoot to kill? Really?"

"Don't worry Maisie, I got involved in some really nasty stuff and they didn't like the fact that I was so close to blowing their operation. In the end everyone got what they deserved."

"How long have you been working for, err, yourself?"

"A couple of years. It seems I've upset a few people in that time."

"Me included, if you don't start work!" Offered Emily.

Tammy logged in to HOLMES and started to review yesterday's work and see what had happened overnight. Heather messaged her to say the Swiss had been asked to check the Geneva address but hadn't responded as yet.

"What's this?"

Maisie called Tammy over to her terminal.

"My work from yesterday has gone from my account, there's nothing about Fourani or Geneva now."

"Search for it."

DI Keane looked at a few screens and could only utter "Hmmmm." She headed back to her own terminal and called Tammy to follow.

"Right, let's go into the system audit screen, there, that's Maisie's entry when she created the link to Geneva, and at 8pm last night that's the deletion."

"Who authorised that?"

"It says Financial Investigations."

"That's Jenny's old unit but she's retired and the unit doesn't exist any more. So it must be an old login?"

"Yes, and I fear someone is having us chase our own tails."

"Emily, outside of Police buildings and other agencies, who else would have access to HOLMES?"

"The UK Liaison officer at Interpol would have access."

"What if that was compromised? Can you check the location?"

"Lyon in France."

Tammy tapped at her phone "Lyon is under an hour by road from Geneva and is on a direct rail link too. When we lost Gainsborough after she arrived in Lille, why did we assume she was going to Brussels?"

Kevin replied. "She got on a Thalys service to Brussels Midi."

"But never arrived. How about she doubled back to Lille? There's a direct TGV service between Lille and Lyon. She's playing us! Find out what's happening at Interpol!"

Kevin saluted Tammy. "Your wish is my command, Miss."

"Sorry Kevin, did I come over a bit strong? I mean something here smells bad, but I think I need to pass this on to someone else?"

"And if I wasn't due in front of the ACC, that could be me. Meanwhile I'm sure Emily can assist our Miss Sherlock?"

"Perhaps also, we can get some more CCTV from Lille Europe or from that TGV? Check with SNCF Lyon too?"

"Any more requests Miss Smart?"

"Not for the moment?"

"Okay, you might just have given us a lead, but it could be a wild one. Let us deal with it?"

"Fair enough. Don't forget to credit me with the idea?"

"Of course, but we work as a team not as individuals, right?"

"Except when there's a gong in it!"

"That's not the way it works, and right now you're interrupting me and not achieving any work of your own."

"Yes, Boss."

"Plus it's not our job to find Sharon Gainsborough."

Tammy only now noticed that Kevin had now gone and just the three ladies remained in the office, a very different scene to the previous evening.

Tammy sent a message to Suzie suggesting she looked for properties in Lyon in the Fourani data, but decided not to enter this on HOLMES.
 

"Warn Heather, Holmes possibly compromised."
 
Tammy was now very wary of entering new information onto the police system, she messaged Suzie again.
 
"Can you remember someone in Financial Unit being dismissed?"
 
"Two years ago I was in the office when Val was arrested, but I wasn't told why. I also heard Jenny tell someone about Jeremy who was dismissed a year ago."
 
"Surnames?"
 
"Val - not sure, Jeremy Davis"
 
"Thanks sis."

 
Tammy's phone pinged with a secure message.
 

Stop using HOLMES with immediate effect.

 
"Okay ladies, I suggest you take an early lunch break as it might be some time before we can continue with this."

Tammy didn't argue with Emily and logged off, making sure Maisie did the same. "Come on."

They stepped onto the street and Tammy pulled out her phone before selecting one of her contacts.

"Dad, where are you?"

"We're by the lake."

"Okay, can you do me a favour?"

"Sure."

"If you see anyone in Lausanne who looks familiar but you can't place them, head in the opposite direction."

"Why?"

"Remember the woman who offered me a job in Geneva?"

"Yes, and the plane?"

"Correct."

"Understood. How are your sisters?"

"They're fine, Dad, I took Angela and Maisie shopping yesterday."

"I reckon that was more complicated that it sounded?"

"Indeed, but I was thanked for it in the end."

"Good, what about Suzie."

"She's helping someone out at the moment, friends."

"She wouldn't tell your mother where she was."

"That's probably for the best, but I promise you she's in good hands and is safe."

"Understood, take care."

"You as well, love you, Dad."

She made another call as they walked along the North bank of the Thames.

"Hello, this is Tamara Smart. Can I make an appointment for Saturday at six, a table for three, no four, of us?"

Tammy directed Maisie towards Tate Britain on Millbank, a couple of hundred metres past Thames House.

"An art gallery?"

"Yes, Maisie."

Entry was free and very quickly it was clear that Maisie had an interest in art, but probably hadn't ever been in such an establishment. Tammy moved behind a large sculpture and turned to look back towards the entrance.

"What's going on, Tammy?"

"I think we were followed."

"Oh."

"I could be wrong, let's keep going. Don't look back."

They made their way up to the café, which had been Tammy's original intention. She hadn't seen anyone familiar, or anyone who was taking an undue interest in the pair. Both were dressed for the weather in nondescript outerwear, but this allowed the pair to carry their firearms and purses inside their jackets as bag snatching was an ongoing problem.

Tammy organised a drink and pasties for them, just something to tide them over as there was a promise of a decent dinner from Angela.

They took a long stroll through the gallery's many rooms but avoided the exhibitions. This enabled Tammy to keep moving whilst turning frequently as they negotiated their route. One problem was that there was only one public way in or out of the building, and anyone following them would already know that.

Maisie was clearly thinking the same but spotted a school group and tugged at Tammy. The pair hitched onto the rear of the group and followed them as they turned right out of the gallery then right again away from the river. Tammy and Maisie broke from them when the students turned towards a parked bus.

"What now?"

"Back to the office, with eyes wide open."

Tammy used every trick she had learned to flush out any tails as they made their way back to the office. Unfortunately she came up with nothing.

After passing through the check-in Tammy sighed. "If somebody was tailing us, they are better than I am or knew I was onto them and backed off."

"How?" Maisie asked tapping the call button for the lift.

The doors opened and Tammy stepped inside. "Tradecraft. We have ours, they have theirs. Let's just hope ours is better."

"You mean yours, I haven't a clue." Maisie said as the lift let them out.

Inside the office, they met with a surprise.

"Ah. There you are Miss Smart, Sergeant Staines."

Tammy nodded back and shook hands. "Sir Thomas. Please, just Tammy."

A glance to Emily revealed she was very uncomfortable with the high-ranking man in her office.

"I'm visiting all the teams but I understand it was your hand that caught us the mole in EuroPol?" Sir Thomas said.

Tammy downplayed it. "I caught a sniff of something foul, but we now have other problems."

Sir Thomas pulled over a chair and sat, gesturing her to do the same. "You have my attention."

"Bluntly, Sir, we lost an opportunity because I jumped in feet first. The mole is now in custody and no longer able to pass any information but we lost the chance to play her. She cannot be exploited to gain intel and distribute misinformation to our benefit." Tammy summarized.

"Indeed. That is blunt, but also correct. Continue." Sir Thomas remarked, scratching his chin.

Tammy chose her words more carefully. "We now have every reason to suspect a high percentage of our security is blown. Anyone who is of significance on this operation are likely known to the opposition. Including yourself, Sir. Her communications should be looked into. All of her locations should be checked for alternate communications methods."

Sir Thomas actually looked pleased. "Very astute, Tammy, I am impressed. I can assure you those suggestions are already underway."

"Additionally, Sir Thomas, whilst I have no proof, I believe I may be under some type of surveillance." Tammy stated and at his nod, continued. "The Lavoskas targeted me before but I refused to play their game, resulting in Polina's capture."

"Polina?" Emily interrupted.

Tammy glanced over. "Paula's real name. Oh, she is the older twin by three minutes and that may affect the way the pair interact. I've done some analysis and some of their tradecraft is likely based on Russian GRU training, as their father was an officer stationed in Estonia before the fall of the Union. There will be antiphathy towards Russia as he was discarded instead of recalled. That's when the Lavoska world went to the loo and created a pair of very angry girls that would love to see the world burn."

Sir Thomas nodded. "I see. And how do you fit in?"

"They couldn't exploit me, plans failed and Polina got nicked. It seems Penelope wants me personally but causing problems for governments is her main occupation and I'm her hobby." Tammy explained.

"Reading between the lines, I would agree and that fits. Let's see if I remember correctly: Your family came to their attention in Geneva, particularly, your mother. Through her, they discovered your father's works and the strong implication you were to follow that as well. Is that the general course?" Sir Thomas proposed.

Tammy nodded. "Yes sir. Also that my mother was having an affair with a minor member of the Fourani group. That may be how they were able to make use of their assets after it went down. They stepped in and took it over."

"That is a supposition?" Sir Thomas asked.

Tammy kept a poker-face. "Yes, it's only an idea but it's mine and it makes sense."

"Let's say you are correct in that. What else do you know?" Sir Thomas went along.

"The Lavoska twins are a high-value commodity, but they come as a set and I suspect we'll end up sending Paula to join her sister somewhere else in Europe, as a compromise. Gainsborough is an add-on, an opportunist who gets to play in the big league. We need to keep her for ourselves, there will be plenty she can tell us, but it's preferable that we get her intact." Tammy answered.

"Of course. Miss Gainsborough is quite the nuisance." Sir Thomas remarked.

Tammy added. "More than that. This was not recorded on the system but I believe Miss Gainsborough was actively targeting Interpol and that's where she's been for the past few days. It's another source of irritation and potentially was an intel goldmine for them, our operation laid bare."

Sir Thomas stood up and made for the door. "Continue to work with Emily and her group, progress is being made here. I'll see about a shadow for you, but continue to flush them out on your own."

"Will I be going after them, Sir?" Tammy asked without turning around.

Sir Thomas had opened the door and looked back. "Would 'they' approve?"

"I'm on 'Domestic Tasking', Sir. This is MY garden, after all." Tammy answered.

"Happy hunting, Miss Smart, bag a pair of trophies. Intact." Sir Thomas replied then walked out. "Ladies."

Emily looked over at Tammy. "Just exactly who do you work for?"

Tammy walked over to the urn and smiled as she poured a cup of coffee. "Me."

A supply of cakes had been delivered so Tammy ignored her diet sheet and picked up a cream bun, she was wiping the crumbs off her lips when the door opened and a familiar face returned.

"Kevin? You survived your interview?"

"Yes, but I'm not allowed to actively investigate for the time being, officially I'm off active duty."

"Is that the official line?"

"Definitely. Now, is that ticket to the ballet still spare?"

"Yes."

"It seems I need to find something to wear."

"You're cutting it fine to find a gown, Kevin, especially if you're wanting to co-ordinate with us?"

"Fortunately I have a suit that will suffice, it was dry cleaned a week ago in case I needed it over Christmas."

"Okay, okay. So what are you really doing?"

"I've just been re-assigned. As your shadow."

"That was FAST!" Emily and Maisie both remarked.

Emily put the phone down. "Can I have your attention please?"

Everyone turned.

"The Interpol liaison officer has been found dead and appears to have been deceased for several days. Someone else used their ID yesterday to access the building and then used a compromised login for HOLMES to read the data and, in some cases, delete it. Clearly Interpol are embarrassed but they are claiming it's our problem."

"That sounds like a problem with their management?"

"Unfortunately, Tammy, it's entirely possible that we have even more moles or compromised staff, so we have a huge issue with other countries' agencies."

"So the Lavoskas have successfully isolated the UK?"

"In terms of this investigation, yes."

"So what do we do next?"

"All HOLMES logins have been reset and will be re-issued. That will take some time, meanwhile we continue as best we can."

"Whilst we wait to see what they do next."

"Indeed, Tammy."

"I suggest we can't achieve anything here, Emily."

"What's your plan?"

"To go home, surprise my sister, and have a quiet evening."

"There's probably something you could do here, or in Thames House?"

"No, I think my plan works best, this way you'll get a fully rested operative."

"Here tomorrow?"

"Err, no."

"Where?"

"Ballet."

"That's not until the evening?"

"So there's just enough time to get ready."

"I suppose you also get reservations at the Ivy when you want them?"

"It's better when a sugar daddy arranges the table then I can pretend I'm an innocent."

 
Saturday 23rd December 2017
 

It had been a squeeze getting the three girls hair appointments for the Saturday morning, only a day before Christmas Eve, but money talks and Tammy had bought them a private session with a stylist who hadn't planned to work that day.

"I'm Lisa and you're very lucky."

"I'm grateful, Lisa, what were you planning to do before I called?"

"I was going to go shopping with the children in tow, instead my hubbie gets that job." She laughed. "And you're paying me enough to book a table for Christmas Day so I don't even need to cook!"

"I'm glad we both benefit."

"Okay, now what do you need done?"

"We have tickets to the Nutcracker tonight."

"Wow! The principal is something else."

"We met her a couple of days ago, but I didn't realise who she was."

"Oh no! Where?"

"We used the same restaurant, the owner told me after she'd left."

"Damn. What a wasted opportunity."

"I hope our paths will cross again, anyway, how are going to do this?"

"Do you have photos of your dresses?"

Tammy pulled out her phone and showed Lisa. "Ah, I suggest you all wear your hair down, maybe with ringlets and highlights?"

Tammy laughed, "how about we all have ginger highlights?"

"Hmm, I'm not sure about orange, but I'll go with red?"

"Sure. Just do it, and don't let my little sister know!"

"That goes against my code of practice?"

"I'm paying and there a bonus to keep her sweet."

"Done. What about your fiancée?"

Neither was wearing a ring that morning. "How did you know?"

"I was in the wine bar on Wednesday night when you came in, but with another girl?"

"My older sister, step sister."

"Oh, big family?"

"It feels like it at times! Can you get Angela in the chair first? She can then go home and make lunch for us."

"Will do."

All three were back by midday and Angela had indeed prepared lunch, a simple salad, but it was enough for them at that time. Once everything was cleared away they headed upstairs to get changed. Tammy had just put on her new, bra-less, lingerie when the doorbell sounded. She quickly grabbed a wrap and ensured she was decent before reaching the door.

"Kevin, you're early!"

"Better that than late."

"Indeed, sorry but we're getting ready ..." "...and you may be some time. I know, Tammy, I know."

She looked at his tux, then looked carefully before tapping a patch under his left shoulder. "There."

"Yes, a P22."

"Okay."

"I guessed you might not be carrying tonight."

"You guess wrong, Kevin. Help yourself to tea, coffee, oh, I haven't organised a cab."

"Leave that with me."

Tammy went back upstairs and was treated to a kiss. "We don't have time!"

It wasn't long before Angela was asking for help, Maisie responded to the request for zipping up as Tammy was still getting into her own frock, having spent a few minutes pulling up her stockings and attaching them to the belt. One more, optional, item was strapped on before she dropped the dress over her head.

"Maisie?"

"Coming, my love."

Tammy was tugged and then zipped into place, a throw finished the look. "There!"

Somehow, by four, they were almost done. There was a small matter of loading handbags with the necessaries, but first Tammy attended to their guest.

"You look lovely, Tammy."

"Thank you Kevin."

He looked her over and went to pat her shoulder but it was bare.

"Okay, I give in, where did you hide it?"

Tammy raised her hem to her stocking tops, revealing the Glock 26.

"Nicely done, but try not to show that to anyone!"

"As for you, is that pure wool?"

Kevin opened his coat so Tammy could see the label. "Shetland. A present for myself the last time I was in Wick."

"Excellent, deep pockets?"

"Of course, and I managed to claim enough expenses to cover it."

Angela, at one point, was rushing up and down the stairs creating a furrow. Tammy shrugged and gave up asking her sister what she had forgotten that time, choosing instead to go to the fridge. Suzie had, thankfully, put a few bottles of Prosecco on the grocery order and Tammy handed a bottle to Kevin as she retrieved four glasses from the cabinet.

"Would you mind?" Kevin had clearly opened fizzy wine before and not a drop was spilt.

A toast was made to friends, especially absent ones.

Their transport arrived at five, it was a classic London Taxi although something didn't sound right.

"It's all electric. Get in!"

Tammy had ridden in many cabs and Angela had a little experience but for Maisie this was new.

"Okay, Tammy, where to?"

"The Ivy, of course."

It might have been a Saturday late afternoon but the traffic wasn't giving in, it took almost exactly an hour to travel the twenty or so miles. They were dropped directly outside the restaurant.

"Kevin, who is the driver?"

"One of the Met's drivers. Provides discrete transport when needed. He'll be back for us when needed."

They were met at the door by the Maitre'D.

"Miss Smart, so nice to see you again?"

"Good evening Françoise, I rang yesterday?"

"Indeed Miss Smart, let me show you to your table."

Kevin leant over. "How did you get a table at one day's notice?"

"Connections."

As they were seated, Tammy waved away the wine menu. "Languedoc Blanc St Chinian Estate 2001 and a half carafe of Nuits St George 2011."

"Good choice, Mademoiselle."

The Maitre'd distributed the main menus.

"Tammy, there's no prices?"

"Quite, now just get on with ordering a starter and a main without worrying about the price."



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