Tammy: Rank Stupidity - Chapter 5 Finale

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Rank Stupidity  

Tammyverse Book 14


Rank Stupidity
Chapter 5 of 5
Shiraz & Snowfall © 2023


Tammyverse Book 14 - Rank Stupidity
Note. This story is set in 2018, prior to the passing of Queen Elizabeth. 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!


Chapter 5 – Questions

9th May 2018

“Good morning Joey.”

The voice at the other end of the phone didn’t seem happy. “Hey, I haven’t even had breakfast!”

“I wanted to catch you, I’ve paid £200 bonus into your account this morning.”

“Oh, thanks boss.”

“And, would you like the day off?”


“Yes. I won’t be around for a day or two after today.”

“Ah, so make me happy then drop that on me?”

“Got it in one, Joey, that’s how the world works.”

“Jeez, cheers Tammy.”

The sun was shining through the clouds and the overnight rain was quickly drying in a light breeze, despite the not-quite-warm temperature it did feel as if Spring had finally arrived in the Highlands on Wednesday morning; Tammy’s mood was improving. She took her recently repaired bike out of the former shop’s doorway, engaging the two security locks before riding off towards town.

Her first stop on Wednesday morning was the Smart Properties office. Tammy had very little to do in the office, but it meant she was in town, distracted and ready for her appointments. She left her bike in the office entrance when she walked around to the doctor’s clinic for a standing appointment.

“Good Morning Tammy, how are you feeling?”

“That’s a difficult one to answer, Dr Adi, but physically I feel good.”

“That implies your emotional state isn’t good?”

“Maisie and I have an IVF appointment tomorrow, this is attempt number two and various folk are questioning when our wedding will happen. Oh, and I have my end of year exams next week.”

“I see. I won’t ask about the wedding, but it seems you haven’t spent much time in the Highlands recently?”

“I had a few weeks away, mostly on business, but I managed some down time as well.

The Doctor had attached a cuff around Tammy’s arm to take her blood pressure.

“It’s a little high.”

“I cycled into town then did a brisk walk here.”

“I see. Can you hop on the scales then I’ll take your height.”

With the numbers down the Doctor started on lifestyle questions. “Alcohol?”

“Rarely. I am flying nearly every week and there’s no way I can handle a plane safely if I’m impaired. Before you ask, I exercise regularly and recently did a triathlon.”

“Did you go to a boot camp?”

“Not exactly, but it felt like one from time to time!”

“Okay, here’s your next prescription. I’ll take some bloods as a precaution, but I’ll only call if there’s a need.”


Tammy dropped her prescription in her bag and made her way to the salon for her 11 o’clock.

Joanne started on her as soon as the torture room door closed.

“Jeez, Tammy, when were you last done?”

“By you, a month ago.”

“Anyway, nice tan, have you been somewhere warm?”

Tammy sighed as the questions started up, again; she’d be seeing friends for the first time in over a month and the women all wanted to know two things.

“The islands, on business for a few weeks. I got some beach time though.”

“That’s nice, did you meet any fit men?”

“One or two near the water.”


“They weren’t allowed to get close to me!”

“Where’s that new girl?”

“Aberdeen, she doesn’t work for me. Someone was telling tales that she had replaced Joey and that took a while to sort out!”

“I don’t tell tales, you know that, but …”, Joanne pointed at her door, “… they are like gossip central.”

“Yeah, and Lizzie couldn’t keep her mouth shut. It’s safer that she’s in Aberdeen!”

“Indeed. So, when’s your wedding?”

“We don’t have a date, and it’s probably not in Thurso.”

Joanne stopped. “So not here, but what about us?”

“Okay, okay, we’ll sort something.”

“Good, as I want to make sure you feel and look good for the big day.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure I’m here the day before we …”

“Fly out? Beach wedding?”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Oh, you said you had business in the islands? You were checking out the venue?”

“Something like that.”

“You’ll need a beautician, take me with you!”

“You won't fit in my luggage. Look, I don’t have a date or a booking yet. No doubt my mum will try to organise things, but I’ve told her exactly the same – nothing is arranged yet.”

“But you’ll consider it?”



Joanne finished working on one side. “Okay, roll over.”

Another fifteen minutes later her legs and more were smooth, although she had no idea when they would be on show again. Sandy wanted to chat as soon as Tammy was in her chair, but this wasn’t something that the girl was ready to handle, again.

“Well, are you here today for a special reason, can you tell me that?”

“Okay, we’re trying for a baby again – tomorrow.”

“Oh, the IVF?”

“Yes, in Glasgow. So I’m flying us down there as soon as we’re done here. Maisie needs to relax as she’s doing all the difficult stuff.”

“There’s no guarantees?”

“Correct. This is attempt two. I believe there’s enough of my stuff for one more attempt.”

“I see, no wonder you’re stressed.”


Tammy cycled home and prepared a simple lunch for the pair of them. She then jumped into the shower after finding a shower cap. Maisie had arrived in the bathroom just as Tammy emerged wrapped in a towel.

“Fancy a second shower, Tams?”

“We don’t have the time!”


Tammy dressed in a skirt suit, forgoing the flying uniform for this personal flight in her own plane. Eventually the pair made it to the kitchen, with Maisie in fresh gym wear. Tammy hadn’t realised that her face had betrayed her thoughts.

“Hey, I’m comfortable and I feel like a run after we’ve checked in at the hotel.”

“I didn’t say anything!”

“You didn’t need to, my dear, I can read you like a book!”

Tammy’s phone rang with a secure call.

“Hey Tammy-girl, heard you’ve got crapped on. Again.”

“Yeah, Krystel. Someone, somewhere, doesn’t like that I was helping co-ordinate garbage removal a few weeks ago and narrowly missed them. Perhaps they are worried that their own appointment with a cell is getting closer?”

“True, bear that in mind but you’re not on active duty right now. Not that it directly affects us, of course.”

“Okay, I just wonder what other stunt they’ll try to pull?”

“Remember they’ll have two opportunities; when they’re ready and when you’re not.”

“I remember. Right now I’m playing along by keeping my nose clean, but that doesn’t stop me from listening. Also, Maisie and Lizzie are untouched by this challenge at present.”

“Correct, Tammy, I‘m certain Maisie will be careful but the other girl can break under pressure.”

“I know. I need to work on that. She needs to be frightened.”

“She trusts you too much. It's why she's so lax with you. You're her buddy in her mind.”


“Okay, we’re finalising the plan for the TT Races. It’s purely a civvie affair, of course.”

“I had wondered. So we pack for business, social and special ops, regardless of whether anyone of interest is on the island?”

“Always, don’t be caught out. Pack so you’re prepared.”


“Oh, and study up hard; you have exams next week.”

“Yes, only three days but it’s three long days.”

“Look after yourself, Tammy-girl, and give Maisie a hug from us.”

“Will do, got to go!”


Tammy found her plane in the Smart hanger.

“What’s up Jim?”

“We had some spare time, so did a quick service, but there’s an issue with the exhaust manifold. Was there any problem when you flew her back?”

“Just a little sluggish from cold, but otherwise fine.”

“Well, the guys and I don’t think it’s safe to fly so we’ll work on it.”

“Okay, but what do we do?”

“Katie is spare until Saturday morning. When are you back?”

“Tomorrow afternoon, as it stands.”

“Latest Friday lunchtime?”

“Sure. Is she ready?”


Tammy submitted her flight plan and checked the weather before making a visual inspection of the KT Flight Epic G-KTFL. She was doing her instrument check when Jim appeared at the door.

“We’ve just had a booking for Katie and you were requested to be pilot.”

“I don’t do commercial bookings.”

“I know. The booking is to fly you and partner to Douglas next Saturday. Returning twenty days later.”

“Didn’t you have other bookings?”

“Yes, but strangely they all cancelled just before this one came in.”

“That is odd, who booked us for next week?”

“Butterfly Racing Innovations and that Elegant Executive. Almost all of our bookings are coming from that Elegant Executive.”

Tammy laughed. “Okay, I know about that. Butterfly is a racing team and Elegant Executive is the main sponsor. You can tell women who've attended Elegant Executive by these.”

Tammy tapped the stylized double-E on her jacket lapel.

“So this is about the TT Races?”

“Yes. I am also a sponsor to the team. Didn't I give you a shirt?”

“So that was what that was about. I’ve never heard of them.”

“You wouldn’t have, Jim, they are overseas.”

“Okay, you continue to surprise me, Tammy.”

“If I get boring, let me know!”

“Will do, have a good flight.”

Tammy had been in the air for an hour when the satellite phone rang. Maisie answered the call, but Tammy was needed so the plane was handed over to the auto-pilot.


“Ah, the lovely Tammy. I understand you are heading to Glasgow?”

“We are, Sir Thomas.”

“Now, I had an interesting conversation with an old friend last night, to whom you owe a replacement bottle.”

“Of course.”

“I may not be able to help with the bigger issues this time, young lady, but there are a few things that can be managed to help matters along.”

“And put a few noses out of joint, Sir?”

“Correct, although it’s totally unavoidable given the circumstances. Some of those noses also appear to have been powdered recently, perhaps that is the basis for their poor judgement?”

“I’ve not had the pleasure of their company, Sir, so couldn’t possibly comment.”

“Probably best to keep your distance from rogue elements, Tammy. However, once you’re done in Glasgow tomorrow, could you head South?”

“Where to?”

“You may need to catch the tube so stay in some appropriate accommodation. Further information will be supplied.”


"You'll be needed in Central London."

“Dress code?”

“Evening frocks, please.”

“Consider it done, Sir.”


Tammy put the phone down and returned to the cockpit.

“I have no idea what’s being planned, but we need dresses and possibly more than one formal change. Good thing we packed heels and formal just in case.”


“London, tomorrow evening it would seem.”

“Why us, Tammy? Don’t you consider this to be weird?”

“I’ve been doing this for a few years so I’m used to it. Just play along but if I say ‘duck’ then ‘duck’.”

“And if I’m asked to curtsey?”

“Then curtsey. And smile.”

“I wouldn’t have had this complication if I’d have gone with Joey.”

“But an eight hour train ride instead?”

“Yeah … so you don’t know what we’ll be flying into?”

“No, very little, but Sir Thomas Addington hasn’t let me, us, down - yet.”


They’d opted for the fuel stand on arrival in Glasgow so were still in the plane some thirty minutes after touching down. Tammy’s phone rang securely.

“Colonel, this call can be traced.”

“I’m aware, young lady, but it seems someone is aware of your trip to Glasgow and is assuming there’s a meeting taking place, with both tomorrow and Friday being mentioned?”

“I’ve just landed a fully legal, albeit private, civilian plane that was correctly recorded on the national ATC system, Sir, it’s exactly what’s written on the tin and I have nothing to hide. We have a medical appointment tomorrow at the Royal Infirmary that is of no concern to the army. I authorised Maisie’s request for leave for Friday, but the appointment moved so I fixed that before we flew. My own calendar still has it down for Friday as I couldn’t see any point in changing it.”

“That’s what I thought. Would it be best to update your own calendar?”

“For completeness, Sir?”

“Correct. Make that update.”

"Yes, Uncle."

"And Tammy; I think a bit of inaccuracy may be in order."

"I seem to be a bit fuzzy on details. Good day, sir."

Tammy ended the call then edited the appointment at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary but noted it for two hours after Maisie’s own scheduled booking, without specifying which clinic. She suspected Sean was expecting something may occur, but couldn't say as much.

Maisie, meanwhile, received a call to confirm they would be at the IVF clinic the following morning.

The pair rode into the city and returned to the hotel they had last used in January, the Millennium. Once they had reached their suite the next task was to go for a run as Maisie had wanted. Tammy was out running with her fiancée not long after they had made it back to their suite. That took them down to Glasgow Green alongside the River Clyde, then across a bridge to Richmond Park before looping back and starting again.

Tammy was very ready for a shower and a doze but had to dress for dinner, she’d also packed a LBD for the trip so had Maisie zip her into it. They opted for the hotel restaurant, Tammy allowed herself one glass of wine.


Thursday morning they both had a light breakfast before walking to the clinic for their nine o’clock appointment. The pair were able to go straight through to the consulting room to see Doctor Angela Hyde. They sat side by side, holding hands,

“Welcome, ladies. How are you both feeling?”

Maisie answered. “I’m relaxed but Tammy is quite stressed at the moment.”

“Well, we’ll need her to help you stay relaxed during the procedure? Can you do that Ms Smart?”

“I’ll try!”

“Excellent. Now, firstly the usual advice; there are no promises or guarantees for this service. If it works, great. If it doesn’t then you have to consider whether it’s worth paying for another round or choosing a different method of conception?”

“After today, how many other tries could we have?”

“We can extract eggs as needed. but I can confirm there’s only enough sperm for one more attempt. Any more questions?”

There weren’t any, so they moved next door into the treatment room.

“We have two viable embryos that we’ll implant. There’s no guarantees of a single baby, let alone twins.”

Half an hour later they were done.

Under normal circumstances Tammy would have stopped for a coffee but they retrieved their luggage from the hotel then took public transport back to Glasgow Airport. Tammy reluctantly filed a flight plan direct to North Weald, knowing that she could be tracked via air traffic control if anyone knew she was flying that plane.

She had, however, nothing to hide.


They were in the air well before midday and made it to the Essex airfield for mid-afternoon. Tammy refuelled, guessing that the return leg would be direct to Wick.

She called for a cab to meet them at the gate some twenty minutes later before wandering to the office to pay for the overnight stay – wondering if KT Flight shouldn’t have an account.

“No need, Miss, we’ll just put it on the existing account.”

“Since when?”

“A couple of months ago, your plane is here a few times every month now so it made sense.”

“That’s great.”

Their cab dropped them outside the Epping house, Tammy again decided against using subterfuge. She unlocked and disabled the alarm before getting all the luggage in.

“We need to get showered and I suggest we go formal straight away – my sister has enough accessories to help out.”

They were still getting ready when Suzie arrived, somewhat earlier than anticipated.

“Oh, I could have guessed you were involved?”

“Involved in what, Suzie? I’ve been told to get myself here and to be in a decent frock by six. Beyond that I know nothing.”

“I had a note delivered to my desk, Tammy, telling me much the same. It also told me to keep the note to myself!”

“It’s a bit late to worry about that, so we’d best play along. Off you go!”

“Don’t boss me in my own house!”

“It’s the family house, Suzie, family! Get yourself sorted!”

Tammy went into the kitchen to make a pot of tea. She walked three mugs upstairs five minutes later, first dropping two mugs in the room she and Maisie were using. Her fiancée had just finished getting ready, although she never used much make-up.

“Do you have any idea what’s going on, Tammy?”

“Not really. Let’s see how it goes. I don’t believe we’re in any danger.”


“No, I just suspect someone is restricting who knows what’s going on and drip-feeding only when necessary.”

“Sometimes I miss getting a full set of orders.”

“And you would be in Helmand Province by now!”

“Yeah, there is that.”

“Instead of running your own business and having expenses paid trips to foreign parts?”

“Plus having my father nearby.”

“Exactly. We still don’t know what’s happening this evening, but that’s probably for a good reason.”

Tammy went in search of Suzie with her mug, finding her in her room wrapped in a towel.

“Thanks Tammy.”

“Do you have the note?”

“It’s in my bag.” She pointed.

Tammy retrieved the buff paper.

“It has a wax seal?”

“Yeah, that was unusual.”

“There’s very few organisations that still use it.”

“The writing was also a bit odd, and difficult to read!”

“But you worked out you needed to get home?”

“Yeah, then had to explain myself to my boss.”


“Why did Sir Thomas address you as Susanna?”

“Is that who wrote it? Oh, that’s my legal name. My father used to shout it at me so I have used Suzie ever since.”

“Okay, according to Sir Thomas’ note we have twenty minutes to finish getting ready.”

Tammy left her sister to sort herself out, then finish her tea before finalising her own face paint.

At precisely six o’clock there was a toot from outside, where a standard London Hackney cab was waiting. Suzie was nearly ready so Tammy took the lead, finding DI Kevin Edmunds walking towards her.

“Hello, Tammy dear. You look lovely.”

“And you’ve brought that suit out of retirement again?”

“Black works everywhere.”

“Indeed, I’ll get you into an LBD yet!”

“Promises, promises, Tammy. Though I doubt I have the figure for it!”

The three girls, plus Kevin, rode into the City a short while later. Tammy was tempted to ask where they were heading, but shushed Suzie as she started to ask exactly the same.

“We’ll find out when we get there.”

Their destination was the same Royal Guest Quarters where they had stayed a few weeks earlier.

“Oh, here again?”

Suzie wasn’t impressed when they pulled up in the courtyard. “I hope you’re not going to take my phone away?”

Tammy ignored the comment, but now had a look at their driver, realising that he had driven her before. She threw him a wink.

Inside they went first to a lounge that all four had used previously. Wine was offered, although Tammy and Maisie took the fruit juice alternative.

The lounge door opened a few minutes later and Sir Thomas appeared.

“Ladies, Detective Inspector; their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

Tammy and Maisie curtseyed whilst Suzie struggled and nearly fell off her heels.

“Your Royal Highnesses; may I present Captain Tamara Smart, Sergeant Maisie Staines, Susanna Small and Detective Inspector Kevin Edmunds.”

William, the Duke, spoke next. “Let’s keep it simple please! I’m not a huge fan of the pomp and circumstance myself, but it has its moments.”

Tammy noted there were no staff, no security, just the seven of them.

“Captain, did I properly thank you for dealing with that threat?”

“Yes, your Royal Highness, you did.”

“It’s William.”

“Then it’s Tammy, and Maisie, Sir.”

“That’s acceptable Tammy. What happened to the man you captured?”

“He was flown under guard to New Zealand, his home country, but lost his temper at the airport. I understand he’s being dealt with by their judicial system.”

“And maybe receiving help for his issues?”

“Possibly, I’ve been asked to leave him alone and not to make any enquiries.”

Tammy hoped there were not going to be any questions about the woman. She seemed to have 'disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle' : that was something that just seemed to happen from time to time, Rodrick had told her with a grin. Thankfully those questions never came.

“I see. I’m told you were in Glasgow this morning?”

“Maisie has been undergoing IVF treatment. We were in Glasgow for the second attempt.”

“I see, so you weren’t on duty?”

“No, Sir, we’re both on leave at the moment.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, when is your wedding?”

“Sometime later this year, but it’s not booked. I’m considering Freeport, Bahamas.”

“Near where we were? It’s a nice area.”

“Yes. I’ll let you have the dates when it’s booked, but you’ll have to arrange your own transport.”

William laughed. “If only it were that easy.”

Across the room Tammy had spotted Kate doing the rounds, but she was spending much longer with Suzie than anyone else.

A few minutes later a gong sounded as the lounge door opened and a member of the staff escorted them to the main dining room, although this time just a small circular table was in use. Tammy half expected a particular Vietnamese restaurant family to appear, but tonight it was the palace staff with a formulaic soup/salad/main/dessert offering. Small talk punctuated the courses but it was subdued and respectful.

They retreated to the lounge, Sir Thomas took on the role of Master of Ceremonies.

“We are gathered here tonight to honour the commitment and valour demonstrated by one person who is still so young but who yet had the foresight to deal with an imminent threat against the Crown and its servants.”

William took over.

“Captain Smart; it is the opinion of her Majesty that your actions prevented a major issue and contributed towards a successful deployment by Her Majesty’s Forces. Your personal contribution, without fear or hesitation, cannot be ignored by Her Majesty and as such you are awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.”

Tammy moved forward to receive the medal, which was pinned to her frock. Kate moved to talk to her.

“Wear it with pride, Captain, when you can!”

“The joys of living a double life, M'Lady.”

“How is the college?”

“Fine, my exams are next week. I believe I owe you thanks?”

“It was a little thing, fixing a wrong.”

“It’s nasty accusations that can sink a career, or in my case my studies. To me it wasn’t a little thing, M'Lady.”

“We may agree to differ there, Captain, but I’m pleased it had been dealt with.”

“If I could I have your attention please?”

Sir Thomas was holding a scroll.

“The United States Department of Defense has awarded Captain Tamara Smart, of the Broadsword Regiment, a Meritorious Commendation for services to maritime safety and security.”

Sir Thomas passed the scroll to Kate who in turn gave it to Tammy. “You see, young lady, the Americans think of you the same way we do.”

“Thank you M'Lady.”

Maisie said quietly with a grin. "Who would've thought you could get a commendation for appearing in a bikini and stilts?"

"I'll never live that down." Tammy sighed.

The Duchess gave Tammy a smile and wink to say she approved.

The Royal couple circulated, Sir Thomas eventually made his way over.

“Okay, Sir, what’s the plan?”

“All in good time, Tammy. Remember, this hasn’t officially happened. Everything is deniable right now.”

“Fine, so we wait?”

“Yes, I suggest you lose that medal in your safe when you reach home.”


“One other thing, as the deployment involved joint forces who were called to defend the Crown, it has been decided that colours will be issued and a medal for the deployment is also being considered.”

“Two medals and colours, that I can’t wear anywhere near home!”

“The citation for the Queens Gallantry Medal will become public in due course. Sorry, but that’s the way it happens. It will go down to Captain T Smart, British Army, so it could take some effort before your hairdresser links it to yourself.”

“She can be quite resourceful.”

The party broke up at ten with the Duke and Duchess sliding away.

“Our cab is outside.”

The three girls plus Kevin road through the West End and stopped outside the No Name Club.

“Tammy, you’re needed. I’ll return for you.”

Tammy exited the cab and pushed the street door of the club open before descending towards the bar.

Sean MacTaggart was waiting, with Major Elliot.

“Uncle, Sir?”

“Take a seat Tammy, we’d best have a bottle.”

“I have to be safe to fly tomorrow!”

“Understood. Nice medal, by the way.”

“Oh, I should take it off?”

“No, let them see it, you earned it.”

The barman brought a bottle of Wolfburn over. “It’s on the house, Captain Smart.”

“Sean, wasn’t that one of the Special Reserve half case I sent?”

“It may have been, does it matter?”

“I guess not. Oh well.”

“Tammy, what happened in Glasgow earlier today?”

“I don’t know, Major, we left as soon as our appointment was concluded?”

“Four Military Police arrived at the Royal Infirmary main building looking for you. My estimate is that you had been in the air for almost an hour by that point.”

“It would seem to prove a point that someone still wants me in a military cell and that something in the Red caps is rotten. This isn’t new.”

“I’d have to agree, Tammy, but how do we flush them out?”

“I have to make myself untouchable?”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“Just brilliant, I want a quiet life – for me and my friends.”

“That isn’t how this works. Every other member of the Armed Forces would be shouting right now about the medal and your citation.”

“True, but knowledge of my military activities would most likely make my home life, business and education untenable.”

“Maybe, Tammy, but it would be a five minute wonder.”

“I’m not certain my cousins would look at it the same way. My position needs to be firmly defined, and protected against spurious attacks from within the British armed forces.”

“I don't believe you can make those demands, young lady.”

“From my point of view it’s simple. I get brought in because it suits someone to have me there. I do the job then I go home. I am a qualified pilot, including helicopters. I have a parachute ticket and I can dive. I could market those in the real world.”

“The British Army trained you, you should be grateful.”

“Not entirely Major. I already had a private pilots licence and I did my jumping at an overseas facility, but it’s accredited. I didn’t ask to be a chopper pilot, but Wade decided to send me to the RAF. The same applies to the diving, which the Royal Navy covered.”

“I stand corrected.”

“I’m also twenty one years old, which means I have many years ahead of me in any field I wish to explore. So perhaps the question should be, how do you fix this if you want me to continue being your action woman?”

“That’s a good question.”

Tammy spun around, finding Sir Thomas towering behind her. Tammy rose to give him a peck on the cheek.

“I’m honoured. Anyway, gentlemen, how do you fix this young lady’s issues without annoying some important friends here and overseas?”


Tammy excused herself to use the loo. She tapped a message.

“Are you getting all of this?”
“Of course.”

A few minutes later she was back in the lounge. Sir Thomas took her over to the side to speak to her.

“They are clearly out of their depth. They come from an age when the whole army worked together, not against itself.”

“True Freedom operatives are still active, working against me, us. Emily Keane is working on that, isn’t she?”

“She is, but there’s very few who can be trusted explicitly. Kevin was there this evening to watch your back and, if necessary, to be a witness.”


“Another witness but ….”

“Did Kate read her the Riot Act?”

“Yes, Tammy, I’ve never seen your sister so quiet.”

“So what did Kate say?”

“That until Suzie is told otherwise this is a private and secret ceremony. If news leaks out then Suzie will be held personally responsible by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

“I see. You’re aware that she broke protocol when we were lodging in the Guest Quarters last month?”

“I am, and I’ve also been told that you had to challenge a view that her own mother held, without breaking protocol yourself?”

“I’d like to thank my friends for keeping an eye on me!”

“Some of us like to know about little issues before they become unmanageable. We’ll only use the big stick if the gentle approach fails, but it can’t be used regularly. I’m given to understand that the work she’s currently handling in Thames House is a lower security rating than before.”


“Yes. This test will help establish whether she can be trained to look after herself.”

“I just hope we don’t have to bring a member of the Royal Family in just to fix her problems each time?”

“That’s a once-only solution that happily coincided with your own awards. She won’t know she’s been played.”

“For all the right reasons?”

“Of course.”

The pair returned to the table and Tammy poured a second Wolfburn, deciding it would be her last.

“So, gentlemen, what’s the plan?”

“We need to flush the rogue officers out.”


“We’re working on it, Thomas, give us a chance.”

“Maybe. What happened at lunchtime today?”

“The MPs thought Tammy was at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.”


“Probably because she put it into her calendar. Ah.”

“Okay, Sean, let’s spell this out. Get that Corporal to add a spurious entry to Tammy’s calendar that attracts the attention of the MPs, and whoever is feeding them the information.”

“That’s too simple.”

“Just choose the location carefully. Somewhere close enough to a barracks, but in a public space. Keep Tammy out of it. One of you will be presenting it, to no-one.”

Tammy wasn’t comfortable being talked about in the third person, but let it ride.

“I see, Thomas, we wouldn’t physically need her and misdirection should mean that they shouldn’t know where she really is?”

“Correct although, as it happens, I already know she’s going to be elsewhere for a while after today, possibly not even in the UK. Has news about this American citation spread outside Broadsword yet?”


“Try to keep it that way, Sean.”

Tammy had tuned out and was now toying with her glass, trying not to empty it. The barman walked over.

“Your cab is outside if you need it, Ma’am.”

“Thank you.”

She announced her departure, checked it was the cab driver she expected, then settled in for the ride back to Epping.


The weekend had passed quickly whilst Tammy did her last minute revision. She had arrived at the university ready and focussed on Monday for the first exam but it was now the final day and her time in the exam room was nearly over.

“Please put down your pens. Stay seated whilst your papers are collected.”

Tammy was pleased that she’d managed to grab a seat at the front of the exam hall which meant she wouldn’t get distracted by anything going on behind her, although she was certainly aware of the invigilators’ hard work behind her during that final test. It was a sad fact that twenty year old students could easily behave like ten year olds.

She collected a sealed envelope before leaving the university campus for an extended break from studying; her classes were due to restart late September. She went to the loo before leaving and took the opportunity to open the envelope with privacy.

There was a simple covering note with two cheques; the first of which would cover the repairs to her bike, whilst the second was written in favour of her nominated charity – The Mill Theatre Trust.

The girl who had caused the damage still awaited her day in court but the university had, reluctantly, accepted that their handling of the incident with Ben, a month earlier, had been the cause. Tammy suspected that this acceptable resolution of her case had been due to external pressures, although no-one was telling.

She cycled home enjoying the warm air that had arrived mid Wednesday morning. There was no time to ponder about the concluded exams, she could simply do her best.

Right now Tammy wanted to start packing, but Maisie had different ideas. Half an hour later she was pounding the streets. This time their route went over the River Thurso past the leisure centre then looped back. They did this three times, with Maisie insisting on a sprint up the hill sections.

“That wasn’t fair!”

“Your fitness is questionable, I needed to push you.”

“Thanks, Maisie, but it’s easier away from traffic!”

“Maybe we can build you a running track? You might get bored of the scenery though?”

“Palm trees?”

“Whatever, Tammy, I wonder if you fancy a move?”

“We haven’t been here that long, why?”

“Remember that new client I signed up?”

“Yeah, you go there on a Tuesday?”

“She’s the site manager of a former farm site just the other side of the river, near the A9. She’s looking to move back to England but reckons the site will be sold soon for housing.”

“What are you thinking?”

“I could do with a gym, somewhere to run my classes with outdoor space when the weather is dry, including a running track.”

“Woah, that doesn’t sound cheap?”

“The farmhouse is in good condition. There’s a large barn that could be converted with space for offices. It’s a big site and it’s isolated. Planning permission wouldn’t be a problem.”


“A side gate is nearly a straight mile from a direct connection to the A9, but the main access comes out near Tesco and the leisure centre. We ran past the end of the road earlier.”

“On the junction where that engineering workshop is?”

“That’s it.”

“So, who owns it?”

“Some government agency in London. It was supposed to be used as part of the Dounraey Nuclear plant decommissioning team apparently, but wasn’t used very much. She’s been tending the site for over ten years whilst various civil servants either deny knowledge of the site or swear they have no authority to make decisions. So, Mary’s quitting in September as she’s fed up with the place and the management.”

“I see, why did she call you?”

“She needs to get fit. Mary used to be middle distance runner, but wants to get into coaching and maybe take it up again as a veteran. She doesn’t have the mindset yet to run by herself, or take care of her diet. That’s where I come in – the full holistic approach.”

“Borrowed from our own diet and workout information?”



Maisie’s period was now a few days late, but a pregnancy test on Thursday morning was negative. The girl had needed comforting.

“You want a baby, don’t you Tammy?”

“We want a baby, Maisie.”

“But what if it doesn’t work?”

“Then we’ll try again.”

“But …?”

“We’ll worry about that if it happens, Maisie dear.”

They both cycled into town to have their hair done, a rare event for Maisie, and took the opportunity to shop for any last minute items. It also gave Tammy a chance to drop the previous day’s personal cheque into the bank then meet at the Castletown Hotel for a hastily arranged meeting. Maisie was at the bar as Anne McIntosh arrived, so she added a pot of tea to the existing order of two coffees. Anne noted the two girls looked tanned.

“How are you my dears? Been somewhere?”

“We managed a break at Easter, but it was really a working holiday. Otherwise it’s been a mix of Thurso, Aberdeen and Glasgow.”

“You won’t get a tan in the Highlands until the summer.”

“I know and I can’t see us being anywhere warm in the meantime.

The barman brought their drinks over.

“You said you had something for me, Tammy?”

“Yes. I had some trouble at the university and I managed to convince them that it was their fault.”

“I see.”

“They have refunded my expenses and legal fees but I felt they should also compensate me for the hassle. That has been written as a cheque in favour of the theatre trust. Could you pass that on to Steven, please?”

“Two hundred and fifty? That’s generous.”

“Can you also let them know that I’ll take a full page advert out in the next programme.”

“I will. Now, when is your wedding?”

“It’s still being arranged and we don’t have a date yet.”

“Remember us when you write out the invitations?”

“Of course.”

Other regulars recognised the pair as they arrived, although Maisie was rarely seen in town with her fiancée. All the ladies had a singular question, which Tammy was getting fed up deflecting. Maisie was similarly becoming uncomfortable. As Anne rose to leave, so did the girls, abandoning their original plan to also take lunch. Tammy’s phone pinged as they reached home, just ahead of unscheduled rain.

“Medical done. Written exam next.”

Tammy replied.

“Good Luck Lizzie.”

The Lieutenant’s fixed wing flight test had been a few days earlier and she’d felt very confident when she’d told Tammy about it that evening, although she admitted she had told Jeremy about it first. Tammy would need, at some point, to have a chat with the lad, but first they were packing to fly out on Friday. A day earlier than Tammy had originally been told. The main thing was that their booked guest room would be available for the additional night.

A recent fault with Tammy’s CzechSport had been resolved, although a recommended upgrade had also been fitted, improving fuel efficiency and handling. One of the fitters had taken it up for a test flight as Tammy couldn’t spare the time, but for the time being the two seater was sat inside the Smart hangar pending a respray to scratched or worn areas. It wasn’t used commercially, but it did need to look presentable if it was visible inside or outside the hanger. She was, however, booked to fly the larger G-KTFL.


Tammy was pleased to have more room in the Epic for luggage, but she still tried to keep it sensible when finalising her packing. Maisie, on the other hand, always managed to pack small. Kimberly’s last conversation meant that a number of specialist items went into Tammy’s bags, albeit concealed in case of visual inspection. Her firearms would be secured aboard the plane, until she knew the security arrangements at the Manx airport and their guest house.

They would be away again for an extended period, so a full perimeter security check was done before they were ready to leave home late Friday morning. For practical reasons Maisie drove her van over to Wick airport, leaving Tammy’s Racing Green Mini Cooper tucked away behind the house. One option had been to ask her father, Richard Smart, to keep an eye on the place, but that would mean giving him unsupervised access. Something that Tammy still didn’t think was fully acceptable. He had, however been to see her the previous day with the paperwork for the Smart Air annual meeting.

“What do I need to do?”

“As a board member, a director, you should examine the way the company is being run, question the practices and accounting and if necessary recommend changes. Or you could accept the chairman’s recommendations for every point. It’s up to you, but it’s best if you’re there, regardless. Have a read, all the accounts are there along with the various reports.”

“I’ll read it when we get back.”

"I'll be golfing on race day, but as you're a sponsor, I'll wear the gifted shirt and hat for your team. Best of luck."

The Epic handled exactly how Tammy expected, especially as it had only been a week since she’d flown it back from London. As she crossed the Western Scottish coast an RAF jet flew alongside. Tammy received a salute and then the jet was gone.

“What was that?”

“Someone, Maisie, is watching our six.”

Tammy’s phone pinged just before she brought the plane down at Ronaldsway Airport. She had two messages, the first welcomed her to Manx Telecom whilst the second informed her that the Army’s Special Investigation Branch was dealing with a disrupted award presentation and had arrested a senior officer. A third message then arrived.

“Rank confirmed and restored, Captain Smart. A debrief will be held when you are next available. Commander G Traeger. ”

She told Maisie about the messages.

“So, Traeger accepted that they screwed up, Tammy?”

“He’s only the messenger, but clearly still has his own rank. I can’t speculate what’s happened, but I suspect someone very senior has leaned on the right people to fix this.”

“I have my doubts, Tammy, and I bet they couldn’t pee on a pregnancy test accurately.”

“No, Maisie, and I wouldn’t want to test the theory either. Time to go.”

Tammy cleared the messages then switched her phone to satellite.

The Epic was soon fuelled, secured and parked out of the way. The pair hadn’t seen any familiar faces as they walked through the terminal so they took a cab to the Ashfield Guest House to check-in.

Maisie disappeared into the loo as soon as she could. Tammy took the time to hang her clothing in the wardrobe, happy that nothing would require an iron. Her partner returned a few minutes later.

“It’s positive.” Maisie took a deep breath and wrapped herself around Tammy. “I’m pregnant!”

- FIN -

Tammy’s life continues in Alecia Snowfall’s story Butterflies, Asphalt & Insanity

A new Tammy serial will start during late 2023.

Shiraz on Kindle
Alecia Snowfall on Kindle

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Rank Stupidity - Conclusion

A great link to the Butterfly story.

I'm so glad that the pregnancy has started. If it goes the course is a different story which I'm sure will become evident. Maise certainly doesn't need stress which living with Tammy will give!

The arrested officer. Good that SIB are investigating the right people this time and not Tammy. I wonder if she knows the officer arrested.

Thank you for the great story, and look forward to Late 2023 - isn't October late 2023?!

One tale concludes

Maddy Bell's picture

But we are promised more soon - yay!


Madeline Anafrid Bell

I am glad to see

Some action on getting things worked out. Things are starting to come together, it seems, but I believe there is a long way to go.

Sure, someone senior was arrested, but that only implies guilt, as a conviction/punishment still needs to happen. I also believe with all that has happened, they have only seen the tip of the iceberg. It was highlighted, underlined, and italicized by a few words. "I stand corrected." It is never easy admitting you might be wrong, and then having your core shaken from lifelong beliefs in the correctness of "superiors" simply because they are human. mankind are pack or herd animals, with faith in leadership. No one wants to be alone, or standout, because then you are alone. Not a happy place.

It appears that someone took advantage of the set-up. Very few people should have any knowledge or access to Tammy's calendar. It should have been fairly easy to track down who was snooping. It does seem stupid to have something like that available to snoopers. What is it, a military version of Facebook or Twitter?
Disrupting a medal presentation to arrest her? Possibly not a good career move. The world does like to see the underdog win through, and is just as happy to see them dragged down.

I do wonder if they might use an old military base as cover for a hanger for a helicopter, but the staffing required seems out of reach. If they move there, it would seem to be a super expensive step, and could elicit major problems and even more expenses, and she still would not have access to her planes any better.

Now I go re-read Alecia's new tale, and then have to twist in the wind to see the next part of who tries to put Tammy in her place (prison or dead). Do we see Tammy help take out the bad guy, or is it just another minion diversion? Do the military brass finally exert the effort to clean out the rot? Some of the stated aims of True Freedom fall right in line with the ingrained military mindset. Who knows how far the rot has spread?

The farm

WillowD's picture

It did occur to me that the farm might be an ideal place for the two of them to live, to possibly set up a fitness center and to set up the 24/7 helicopter site. The site sounds like it is large enough that the public wouldn't necessarily clue in what it is. And since the site already has decades of history of being a largely unused government site, the public wouldn't be surprised by a small non-commercial helipad site appearing.

Helicopter base cost

Hmm, let's see: since Tammy seems to stay in Thurso most of the time the base has to be in the vicinity there. If Tammy's response time has to be as low as possible that means "in the backyard". If secrecy is required that could mean 5 - 10 mins. away by car (where "foxes and hedgehogs say 'Good night' to each other," as we say here).
One of the cheapest helos is the Robinson R22 (maybe $150k used) and operating costs of maybe ~$170/h. But that bird allows only the transport of 1 passenger and has a range of ~380 km. So these limitations will probably going to bite Tammy in the ass rather sooner than later.
On the other end of the gamut is the EC225s(e?) Eurocopter (estimated $40M new), but operating costs of $3600/h.
(the Sikorsky birds might be a little bit too suspicious). But that bird has a reach of nearly the entire UK (with maybe 1 refuel one way) and a nice payload capacity.
The access to her planes is not important here, because they need a runway (and they don't have guaranteed 24/7 availability).
A helo doesn't need a runway. And the baddies are probably in a place where there's no runway => the helo wins.
Using an old military base is a good idea: IF there's one near Thurso. Or another used facility big enough to host a heliport (after necessary building conversions (new hangar and fuel depot?)). But the cost driver is the 24/7 availability: at least 2 helos of the same type and at least 2 mechanics. A top secret rating might be desirable but that would require even more personal ("The beaurocracy, it does you in every time."). Maybe a certain wife of a certain OICA boss has a few ideas how to hide this adven..., um, project from spying eyes? ;-)

Helicopter Costs

I suspect that the needed helicopter(s) can be "acquired" in the same manner as the Epic. A puma and an attack helicopter would be useful. The real problem is the support staff to keep up with the maintenance.

Also, a hanger to keep things out of sight when not needed and a fuel supply would be required.

There is also the issue of security for a remote stand-alone facility.

I've always wondered how the equipment set aside for Tammy's Reno protocols would be maintained such that they would be ready at a moment's notice.

Michelle B


One will be "acquired" shortly after the end of the Isle of Man trip, courtesy of Burgess, who very soon won't be in need of his any more. Of course, they'll likely thoroughly check it out, make sure there are no unexpected surprises, and service it before donating it (probably initially sending it somewhere like Wick Airport, as unless it's a Puma, Tammy would need to be type-certified for it before she could fly it solo).

Very near the end of Butterflies, Asphalt and Insanity:

"Wake up, gear up and have Maisie get the rest of your stuff ready to go. Burgess is about to bail and we only get one shot at the asshole. Meet me at the back door in ten minutes." Krystel said then disconnected. "Hmmm. Tammy needs a helicopter. I think you're about to achieve Dude status, Mister Burgess."

As the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, then only left-handers are in their right mind!

Yay! Another Tammy story completed.

WillowD's picture

Er, wait. That means I have to wait for something more to be published. Ah well, such is life when you read everything as it comes out.

It looks like Tammy might actually be getting a military chain of command that will understand how to handle her effectively. I wonder if they will actually see that she starts getting updated instructions before she's deployed. As it is right now, so many of her orders and updates have been hand delivered to her AFTER she's already headed off on deployment. And, of course, start understanding that she can't just disappear from her regular life during the middle of course work.

This story is just SO awesome. And I am so looking forward to seeing how the racing is going.


So Maisie's pregnant, a potential site for the "Marine Research" helipad (and associated facilities) has been identified, Suzie and Traeger have been "leaned on" in their own ways, one person associated with the witch hunt against Tammy has been arrested (although, as ever in Tammy's life, he's likely not the only part of the conspiracy, so it would likely be prudent to continue to employ misdirection and subterfuge around her public calendar, just in case), and Tammy's presented her case to Senior Management to clearly define her role within the military to (hopefully) minimise future "misunderstandings".

As for the farmhouse, while it would be convenient for the heliport and fitness business, helicopters aren't exactly the quietest aircraft in existence, so unless it had serious insulation upgrades, it may not be the ideal location to raise a family. Then again, their current home, with three floors (including basement) also isn't ideal, although perhaps the disused shop space could be converted into living accommodation. However, the farmhouse could be useful for secondary accommodation, e.g. If Tammy's needed to go on nocturnal adventures, or for entertaining (e.g. Invite the extended McPherson clan over).

Thinking of which, hopefully over the autumn, Tammy won't be required to go on as many last minute training exercises and can start reintegrating herself more with Thurso life again - theatre productions (given how chaotic her life has been, The Tempest, anyone?), catching up with the McPs and Angela, plus the occasional St. Andrews Ambassadors event.

As the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, then only left-handers are in their right mind!

my first think

about their home concerns what in the U.S.are called zoning regulations. She bought the place as a business, witnessed by her lawyer asking about her living there, when it was purchased for business rental, with up stair living accomodation, together or seperate. Moving to expand living downstairs may violate a civic code, like it would running a business from your home in a residential zoning area. No sense giving the bad guys a free shot like that. Converting a commercial area into a residence may be prohibited, unless she can get the appropriate town council (or whatever) to grant a variance.(who in Thurso has she honked off?)


Legally, it would be as simple as submitting a Change of Use planning application to the local council - this happens all the time with business to business conversions, as the UK defines a bunch of different Use Classes for businesses (e.g. General retail, food retail, takeaways, professional services), and the UK government has made it easier to apply for office to residential conversions (supposedly to increase housing supply on the cheap). The property is also owned in the name of the business, so it would be the business applying rather than Tammy directly.

Having said that, I don't know the extent to which the above applies in Scotland, as they've always had a degree of devolution from England and Wales, even before formal devolution and the establishment of the Scottish Parliament (e.g. A different set of standard school examinations, the "Scottish Highers", as has been mentioned a few times in the earlier books in this series)...

As the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, then only left-handers are in their right mind!

Congrats to Shiraz and

Congrats to Shiraz and Snowfall for another excellent story.
congrats to Maisie and Tammy.
If they purchase the farm maybe they can stash the helicopter there.

I've followed Tammy's story from day one

NoraAdrienne's picture

I love the story line and have enjoyed her adventures and misadventures immensely. I hope this story and it's character's live an extremely long (online) life.

I've followed Tammy's story from day one

NoraAdrienne's picture

I love the story line and have enjoyed her adventures and misadventures immensely. I hope this story and it's character's live an extremely long (online) life.