Tompkins puffed out his chest, almost causing the buttons of his English-tailored shirt to burst under the strain, as he marched towards Auntie’s place. Once again, under the blue sky of a London afternoon, Tompkins experienced a pulse of energy as he thought about the plans his friends were making to shadow Stalin 2.0 and any henchmen, or henchwomen, she’d be bringing with her. He hoped Welsh Taff and Corky would ensure PC Ingram and his size 6 feet were kept away from the action should anything interesting happen.
Tompkins knocked on the door of Aunt Jemima’s, causing the pigeons to fly away from the guttering where they’d been watching what was going on 4 storeys down on the street. Muttley Mulligan, an old pal of Tompkins’s from school days, opened the door. Inside were Daisy Henshaw, Connie Fritz, Webster Smythe, and Miles MacKenzie. They all clapped Tompkins on the back as he entered the study where their campaign was being planned.
“Well,” said Tompkins, “let’s sort out what we can do to make Stalin 2.0 feel at home without knowing it. Should we try and abduct her and repatriate her in an East European country not of her choosing, for example Romania or Bulgaria. Or do we let her swan around Old Blighty, stirring up our enemies, and putting fire in their bellies, which will affect our efforts to remove our problems to the other side of The Channel.”
“That’s so inspiring, Tomcat,” said Connie Fritz, whose real name was Conrad Fitzsimmons, “but what practical steps do we have to take first? We must identify her, determine who’s in her entourage, observe how she’s travelling, and where she is staying. Only then can we know what we can do. If she’s travelling with 10 other people, then abduction is not an option.”
“Right,” replied Tompkins, “so we should have all eyes on the gangplank for her on the 28th. The inventory from the ship has been of no help. There are seven women travelling alone, or who appear to be travelling alone. However, I believe the Russkies are rather more cunning than that – she will travel with someone else as a couple, I am sure of that, perhaps with another woman.”
“How do we spot her then?” asked Webster Smythe, “we can’t follow every single passenger and find out if they’re heading to Manchester.”
“Any ideas?” asked Tompkins.
“I do,” said Daisy Henshaw, “I’ve got a pal at GCHQ, who’s a whizz with searches, searches through hotels, trains, taxis, airlines, electoral rolls, those sorts of things. He can feed in a list of names and addresses and have details of their onward plans back in about an hour. If you have the list of the people aboard that ship, he can tell us where most of them are going, which will narrow down our options to a manageable level.”
“Excellent, Daisy,” said Tompkins, removing a small disk from his waistcoat pocket, “here’s the inventory for you. Can you send it off to your patriotic pal and see what he can do for us, for his country, and for the people of England?”
“Absolutely,” said Daisy, taking the disk from Tompkins’s strong paw and plugging the disk into her laptop. As Daisy sent an email to GCHQ, Tomcat continued: “Once Daisy’s pal has narrowed down the field of potential people for us to manageable proportions, we can follow the likeliest candidates.”
“The other side of the coin is could we find out who she’s visiting in Manchester, Leicester, and Boston,” suggested Miles MacKenzie, “and then wait for her to arrive and see them?”
“Good point, Miles, oh how I prefer miles to kilometres, it makes me so patriotic, ” said Tompkins patting his chest, “anyway, yes that’s a thought, a great thought, but my understanding is that we don’t know who she is visiting.”