Communists in Manchester, there must be some, because that’s where it all started in the 1840s when Engels came to Manchester and was appalled by the conditions the working classes were working in,” said Smythe. “Marx joined him on occasions and their investigations led to The Communist Manifesto.”
“Is there a Groucho Club in Manchester?” asked Tompkins.
“I’ve never heard of one,” said Webster, “why do you ask?”
“Just being silly,” replied Tompkins, “I always hoped Groucho was a long-lost grandson of old Karl, that’s all.”
“How about, Old Trafford, where Man Utd play?” asked Daisy.
“I don’t follow,” replied Tompkins.
“Well, they’re called The Reds and there are meeting rooms at the ground,” said Daisy, “I will ask my GCHQ pal to check to see whether there’s any likely meetings on 29th and 30th June.” Daisy emailed again.
“Do Communists possess such a sense of humour?” asked Tompkins
“They might not want to meet somewhere that’s so high-profile,” said MacKenzie, “after all this is a low-key visit by someone who’s not well known yet, even in Russia, so it would make sense to just meet with a few people in a coffee shop somewhere and not even book a room, as that leaves a trail for people to follow and investigate.”
“I would agree,” added Smythe, “she’d just meet 3 or 4 people, the leaders of their own groups and have a discussion. There’d be no stand-up meeting with crowds in attendance.”
“But – how do we deal with that possibility?” asked Tompkins in an exasperated tone, “we can’t watch all the coffee shops can we?”
“Well, Tomcat, if you ponder the situation, that few people could meet in someone’s house, they don’t need to go anywhere,” said Daisy.
“I’d say not,” said MacKenzie, “that would draw attention to an actual address and they’re unlikely to do that.”
“We must follow her there and see where she goes,” concluded Smythe, looking round as a brief snatch of Nimrod indicated Daisy had received at least one email.
“My pal at GCHQ has replied to both our requests in double-quick time, what a patriotic person he is,” said Daisy, “I’ll read what he says and let you know.”
“That was quick,” said Tompkins, “he must be a whizzo typist.”
“GCHQ has those algorithms already set up, Tomcat,” said MacKenzie, “they’ll run them all the time, so Daisy’s pal will use the manifest you provided as the input file and will cross reference with known and possible pseudonyms for all the people to provide the answers we need.”
“Sounds wonderful,” replied Tompkins, “GCHQ makes you proud to be British.”
“Right, they’re not meeting at Old Trafford, unless their masquerading as a hotel chain or finance firm with over 50 people due to attend,” sighed Daisy, “so that’s one possibility gone. Now for the ship’s manifest – 85% of the people are heading to London, because they live there or are staying in a hotel in the city for more than one night. Another 10% are heading to Southampton to get another cruise ship somewhere else. The rest are dissipating across England, but only four people are catching a train to Manchester, the same train, and then staying in two different hotels in the Salford Quays area. My friend has provided helpful photos of these four people. I will print them off, three females and one male. The male is married to one of the women and the other two are suspected to be sisters.”
“Amazing stuff,” said Tompkins, “so those four are most likely our birds and we should wait for them to arrive at their hotels and we’ve got them in the net.”