“Tyler!” Hunt’s dulcet tones rattled the windows.
Sam sighed, put down the charge sheet he was reading and stared balefully at the closed office door. Any second now it was going to- Crash! The door flew open to reveal Hunt, his face as thunderous as his voice.
“You send those files to Scotland Yard like I told you?”
“Yeah,” Sam replied, frowning at the implied accusation.
“Which department you send them to?”
“Anti-terrorism.” Who else? Small-arms they could deal with. Grenades were something else. Especially in war time quantities.
Hunt had him out of his chair and in the office faster than Sam could draw breath. Aware of the palsy in the hands gripping his collar, he swallowed heavily and said, “Why?”
“Because, you bloody little ninny, you’ve set us up for an invasion of the sodding nancy-boy squad, that’s why. If you thought Litton was a teatime treat, this lot’ll make you pray for soggy sandwiches.”
Deciphering what Gene said could be a trial at the best of times and pinned to a filing cabinet with whisky breath chuffing in his face was far from ideal for rapid translation. In due deference to the fact that he obviously wasn’t going to be released until he said something, Sam tried the stupid routine. “You what?”
“CI-bloody-five. Cowley’s stormtroopers.”
Sam’s brain did a quick catch-up and then stalled. “They’re not real,” he heard himself say, probably not wise since Hunt, who’d been relaxing his grip, immediately tightened it again and dragged him up an extra inch.
“Don’t start with that shit again.”
“But they’re…” Sam began and then, deciding discretion was definitely the better part of valour, stopped. “Okay,” he said.”
Hunt finally let go and smoothed Sam’s rucked lapels. “Well, you got them up here, so you can deal with them.” He shoved Sam in the direction of desk and headed for the door. “If you need me, I’ll be in the pub getting so bloody rat-arsed you’ll have to use a terrier to find me.” With that, he slammed out, leaving Sam leaning against a pile of paperwork and rubbing his throat.
The rest of the office watched Hunt’s exit warily, none of them making a move until the governor was gone. Only when the metaphorical all clear sounded did Skelton knock on the door. “Something up, boss?”
Talk about a question that defied answers. Sam was tempted to ask where Chris’d like him to start, but thought better of it. Because, really, what was the point. He knew this wasn’t real. None of it. He wasn’t in 1973, he was in a hospital bed doing a passable impression of a corpse, so why shouldn’t CI5 exist. Hell, he met Marc Bolan the other day and that was about as likely as fictional characters walking into his life. And he had been a fan of the show when he was kid so there was a certain twisted logic to the whole thing.
Thank god he wasn’t in London, he might run into that other lot - The Sweeney - and whats‘is his name, the DCI. Keegan? The copper played by Morse. Christ, he couldn’t even look it up. IMDb didn’t exist yet.
“You sure you’re all right?” Chris had that look on his face. The one that said, ‘The boss is nuts but we don’t like to talk about it.’
Time to pull himself together again, Sam guessed. He stood up straight and tugged his jacket down. “We’re getting some visitors up from London and you’ve just pulled baby-sitting duty.”
“Me, boss? Why, boss?”
“Because I said so.” The first rule of policing, Gene Hunt style - delegate the boring bits. “They’ll need booking into a hotel and for Christ’s sake try and find something decent.”
“How about the Ascot, boss. That’s a bit posh.”
“How close is it to the airport?” Bound to be flying in…
Chris developed that expression again. “Thought you said they were coming up from London.”
Except in ’73, no one flew anywhere. Damn, was he ever going to get his head round this? Rather than answer, he shot Chris a dirty look. “Well?”
Nearly dropping the file he was holding, Chris muttered, “Going now, boss,” and hurried out of the office. A second later, he returned. “Who did you say was coming? And I’ll need to know how many, so I can book the rooms.”
Good question. Sam looked behind him on the desk, spotted the headed notepaper and picked it up. Two names leapt out at him but his tongue balked at pronouncing them. “Two,” he managed, “CI5 agents.”
He might as well have handed the guy a selection box and told him it’d been personally delivered by Santa. Chris’ face lit up. “CI5? Really? Wow!”
“CI5? What the hell are those bunch of tossers doing coming up here.”
How wonderful. Now Carling was getting involved. “They’re coming up here because I invited them up here. Or had you forgotten the hand grenades we picked up in the Goulden Street raid.” There was no point in trying to keep it quiet. Frankly it was a sign of Hunt’s growing respect for him that the story wasn’t all over the station already.
“Thought RCS were handling that.”
Before Sam could get into an argument about the likelihood of handgrenades being part of organised crime rather than terrorism, the main office door went and Phyllis’ voice said, “This way, gentlemen. DI Tyler’s in charge of the case.”
There should have been a rupture in the space time continuum, or a wormhole, or something more than two guys accompanying Phyllis round the corner of the glass panel. Even though he was expecting them, Sam still did a double take, not quite able to believe the evidence of his own eyes. Curly hair and scruffy jeans - check. More muscle than sense and an attitude to match - double check.
“Agents Doyle and Bodie from CI5, Detective Inspector. They’ve come all the way up from London, just to see you.”