DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story belong to Shed Productions. I am borrowing them for entertainment purposes only and not for financial gain.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the authors.

On a Mission
By Nico

Part 1

Captain Helen Stewart was sitting in her quarters quietly reading when a loud knock at the door startled her.

Throwing the book down on the bed, she got up to open the door. "Oh God, this is all I need!" she thought.

Standing opposite her was Colonel Sean Parr, her ex-fiancé.

"Hels sweetheart, I was just wondering if you fancied going out for dinner this evening?" he wheedled.

"Actually Sean I don't. I told you before, I don't want to go anywhere with you. It's over and I just want to move on with my life."

Sean's eyes narrowed, this wasn't going to go how he expected it to. He was so arrogant that he thought Helen would fall into his arms and things would return to how they used to be. Sean hadn't reckoned on the fact that Helen was serious.

"Aww don't be like that Hels you know you love me, come on let's go out and have some fun. Please?"

"Don't call me Hels, I hate it! I have told you enough times already that I don't want a relationship with you, I DON'T LOVE YOU!" shouted Helen.

"Helen! You know that's just not true! How can you say such a thing?"

"It is true and I can say it because it's how I feel! After all, it's entirely your fault I don't love you anymore."

Helen was lying but she didn't feel in the least bit guilty about it. She had never loved Sean in the way that he wanted her to, but she wasn't about to tell him that when she now saw a golden opportunity to make him take responsibility for the break-up of the relationship. She had caught him in a compromising position with one of the new intake of Privates. A blonde woman by the name of Shell Dockley. She hadn't been upset because it gave her the reason she needed to break it off with him.

"I'm sure Private Dockley would love to have fun with you. After all, the last time I saw the two of you together you looked as if you were having a great time!"

"Hels! Sorry Helen, you know that was a mistake, I was pissed and I couldn't help it. She came onto me, it wasn't my fault sweetie."

Helen stared at him in disbelief; she could actually hear the cogs ticking over in his head. He expected her to believe such a pathetic excuse.

"You actually expect me to believe that load of bullshit? At least give me some credit Sean, I'm not that stupid! Even though getting involved with you is by the far the most stupid thing I have ever done. Do me a favour and PISS OFF!"

"Well then Helen, if that's how you feel then I can't force you. When you realise how much of a mistake you have made, then you know where I am! You better hope that it won't be too late."

"It will be a cold day in hell before that happens, SIR!" Helen saluted smartly and then slammed the door in his face.

"What a self-centered egotistical prat!" she thought to herself

She went back to sit on the bed and picked up her book.

Meanwhile, Sean made his way over to the pub. He had just sat down at the bar when he was joined by Sergeant Fenner. Fenner bought him a drink and they got chatting. The subject of Helen came up, and Jim's eyes narrowed evilly at a thought that had just popped into his head.

"Well actually Colonel, I could just have the answers to all your problems.'A Squadron' need a commanding officer and Captain Stewart would seem like a good person for the job."

A smile slowly found its way onto Sean's face.

"A Squadron? You mean the one they call........"

"Yes sir! That Squadron!" said Fenner.

Across the other side of Larkhall Base in a secluded part, sat a big warehouse. To one side of the warehouse was the accommodation and shower blocks and to other was the cookhouse and storage facility. In the middle was a pool table, chairs and tables and an ancient TV in one corner. To the back of the warehouse was a sort of a garage that contained a hodge podge of tired looking army vehicles. To the front of the warehouse next to the main door, was what should have been the CO's office. It was now filled with an assortment of boxes of alcohol and other odds and ends, the place hadn't been cleaned in God knows how long.

Warrant Officer Nikki Wade was sat on a chair with her long legs resting on the table in front of her, sitting opposite her was staff sergeant Karen Betts and next to her was Sergeant Yvonne Atkins. They were all drinking from bottles of Budweiser, and putting the army to rights.

"You see the problem with the bloody army is that one day you can bet we are going to end up with a new CO," Nikki had the strange feeling that something was going to upset the natural order of things for her and the rest of the inhabitants of the warehouse.

"I can't see that happening anytime soon; I mean they seem to have left us alone for this long. I bet they have forgotten all about us," said Karen.

Yvonne looked thoughtfully at the both of them, and considered the topic before she spoke.

"You both know the reason this squadron was chucked together, and I'm betting it won't be long before they find someone of higher rank who fits in perfectly here. Having said that if we get a new CO they may not see our way of life as befitting of the army, we may get an awkward bugger. I think I can safely say though that we can deal with that, if the need arises. I'm confident we could persuade them to come around to our way of thinking!"

Nikki looked at Yvonne with a twinkle in her eyes.

"I think I like that idea, but I hope to God we never have to put it into practice!"

"You never know Nik, just think of all the fun we would have training a new CO to our standards!" said Karen

"That's true, I mean the last CO didn't exactly stay for long when they found out just how we run things around here!" said Nikki with a giggle.

Karen and Yvonne voiced their agreements, and they carried on laughing and joking. Little did they know that they had been uncannily right to bring the subject up, because the new CO was going to land on the doorstep quicker than they thought.

Part 2

Helen Stewart finished packing up the last of her things from her quarters and slung the last box into the car. She had been summoned in to Colonel Parr's office that morning to be told that she was being put in for a transfer. Helen felt her anger rising at being told she was getting transferred, without Sean even asking her about it first.

"What!? I can't believe you would do that without asking me first Sean. I know you are higher in rank than I am, but a little common courtesy wouldn't have hurt."

"Before you get all fired up let me finish. You said you wanted to move on from our relationship."

Helen drew herself up to her full height, and crossed her arms. The small Scot looked formidable when she was angry and she interrupted Sean again.

"I said I wanted to move on from the relationship, that doesn't mean I wanted a bloody transfer! I just want to be left alone to do my job."

Sean leaned forward and rested his arms on the desk, he was about to tell Helen something he knew that would calm her down. Well at least until she had arrived at her new posting, and then he was sure she would be totally pissed off again.

"You will want it though when you find out that you are to be the new Commanding Officer of A Squadron." Sean delivered the line smoothly and Helen immediately shut up, as he knew she would.

Helen had then left his office after finding out that she would still be stationed on the same base, just in a different part. Helen didn't know a thing about 'A Squadron'. People knew she was the Colonel's fiancée, and they tended to keep away from her. It had upset her at first but she eventually got used to it. Had she known what she was letting herself in for, she may have thought twice about it!

It was getting close to midday as she followed Sean's directions to the warehouse on the other side of the base where 'A Squadron' was located. She spotted the building in the distance and it wasn't long before she pulled up outside it in her red Peugeot 306.

What she saw when she got there made her stop and wonder for a moment if she hadn't gotten her directions wrong. A tall dark haired woman was stretched out on the bonnet of a jeep that looked as if it had seen better days. The woman was sunbathing by the looks of it, wearing regulation army boots but not much else that was army regulation. Combat pants had been cut off above the knee and a green army t-shirt had the arms cut off. She was wearing mirrored sunglasses and was clutching a bottle of beer.

Helen looked across from the jeep and saw a paddling pool with a big Rottweiler having a soak in it. Sitting in a pair of deck chairs beside the jeep looked to be two blonde women, one with long hair and one with short. They were indulging in the same activity as the dark haired woman, the only difference being is that they were wearing bikinis and holding hands. Loud music was blasting out from the warehouse; Helen could feel the drumbeat rattling her teeth. Nikki had noticed the arrival of Helen and wondered what was going on.

"Can I help you at all darlin'?" said Nikki as she slid off the bonnet leaving a trail of sun lotion behind her.

"Actually yes, you can. I'm looking for Warrant Officer Nikki Wade."

"Can I ask you why you want to see Nikki?"

"Of course," said Helen. "I'm her new Commanding Officer."

Nikki felt her stomach flip over uncomfortably, and she rolled her eyes before taking off her sunglasses and squinting at Helen.

"Oh shit! I just called my CO Darlin'!" thought Nikki with a sinking feeling.

"I'm Warrant Officer Wade Ma'am."

"I'm Captain Stewart. Tell me Warrant Officer Wade, do you call all your superior officers darlin'? Or is that just in my honour? Oh and by the way don't call me Ma'am; I'm not the bloody Queen!"

"Sorry! As long as my gob is open, I'm in trouble!" Nikki then gave Helen a half hearted salute, which was returned and then she screamed for Karen and Yvonne to join her.

Introductions were made and then, they all made their way inside. What Helen saw made her want to laugh out loud, the rest of the group were definitely a motley crew. There was Privates Shaz Wiley and Denny Blood, and the two Julies who both wore dresses made of combat material. Corporals Barbara Hunt and Monica Lindsey. Standing at the back, were two men who were holding hands. Privates Dominic McAllister and Thomas Waugh.

Helen couldn't believe what she was seeing. She introduced herself and then spoke to a few of them before dismissing them all. She motioned for Nikki and Karen to follow her into her new office and shut the door behind them.

"Oh my God! I think I've just walked in on an episode of fucking Sergeant Bilko!" Helen snorted.

Nikki and Karen exchanged amused glances. Then Helen looked around the office and closed her eyes. "Just breathe deeply Stewart, it's not as bad as it seems." She counted to ten and then opened her eyes again. Settling herself down on a half empty crate of whisky, she steeled herself to ask some questions.

"What in God's name is this outfit that you two are running here?"

"Well first of all just let me say that Karen and I would like to give you a big welcome to Gay Squadron!" said Nikki with a cheeky grin.

"What?!" said Helen almost not believing her ears.

"Officially we are called A Squadron but unofficially we are Gay Squadron," said Nikki with a smile hoping Helen now understood.

"Are you trying to tell me that everybody in this Squadron is gay?" said Helen not quite believing it.

"Yep that's right and don't be bashful Captain you are among friends here. We are all most definitely not in the closet in this place!" explained Karen.

A fleeting dark look passed Helen's face, now she knew why she had been transferred here. This was Sean's way of getting revenge.

"I'm sorry to disappoint you both but I'm not gay! I'm straight thank you very much, and why the hell have you lot been put together like this? It's not illegal to be gay in the army anymore."

Before they could answer her, Yvonne opened the door nearly ripping it off its hinges. She gripped Karen around the arse giving it an affectionate squeeze, gave her a quick kiss and then as she dragged her towards the door she looked towards Helen.

"Sorry Captain Stewart, mind if I have my bird back? Only it's Friday afternoon, and we are all out on a bender!"

Before Helen could reply they were gone. She walked to the door and watched everybody file out to a waiting minibus, all dressed in their going out gear. Yvonne shouted after Nikki to ask if she was coming but Nikki just shook her head and waved them off.

"Well Captain Stewart it looks as though you have loads of questions to ask. Now the place is quiet, why don't we have a little chat and a drink? Fancy a beer?"

Helen looked at Nikki and without saying a word went back into the office to retrieve a bottle of whisky and then came out and waved it at her.

"Ok! I'll get the glasses."

As Nikki went off in search of glasses and ice, Helen sat herself down and cracked open the seal on the bottle of whisky. She couldn't believe what she had let herself in for, but by God she was going to find out and she was determined to turn this bunch of misfits into one of the best companies the British army had ever seen. Just to prove to Sean she could do it. She was also intrigued by Nikki; her brown eyes were having a funny effect on her. Nikki was having erotic thoughts about the new CO already. "God Wade, must be a record for you, been here less than an hour and already you want to kiss her!" she just couldn't get Helen's green eyes and soft Scottish accent out of her mind, what a woman!

Part 3

"To start off with, Captain, the reason this Squadron were all thrown together is not just because we are gay although that's one reason but because believe it or not we are the best at what we do and that threatens some people. Field Marshal Stubberfield for one, not to mention Colonel Parr."

Helen's head had shot up at the mention of Sean.

"Stubberfield, Parr, and a certain Sergeant Fenner are all close buddies; all go golfing together I believe. They weren't happy about having us lot hanging around, and they shipped us all out here," remarked Nikki.

"Please, call me Helen seeing as how we don't seem to be on duty. You said about you all being the best at what you do, what did you mean by that?"

Nikki took another sip of whisky and then filled Helen's glass up again before filling her own.

"In that case then, please call me Nikki. Let's just put it this way, we are all experts in our chosen field. Dominic and Thomas are top intelligence experts. Denny and Shaz are communications experts. The two Julies are great mechanics believe it or not, and Barbara and Monica know all there is to know about escape and evasion. Karen and Yvonne are weapons experts. Zandra who isn't here at the moment is an experienced pilot, both fixed wing and helicopters. And her girlfriend Lucy who also isn't here is a navigation expert. Last but not least, I'm the best code breaker to join up in the last 50 years, or so my CO said before I was transferred here," Nikki said with a slight smile.

Helen was gob smacked; she still wasn't making a connection. They were experts in their chosen fields and she couldn't understand why they weren't wanted. She wondered if it was really just about them all being gay but it wasn't illegal in the armed forces anymore. Being gay shouldn't have any bearing on them doing their jobs, and she said as much to Nikki.

"Look Helen, being gay doesn't really have much to do with it. The three stooges as we call them are totally homophobic, but something isn't quite right on this base and it hasn't been for a long time. We were all finding things out that we shouldn't have been, so we were all told that we were needed to put together a special task force. We were shipped out here to this corner of the base 6 months ago, and have since found out we aren't required. So we just basically do what we want and nobody complains."

"I'm beginning to understand now, it makes me more determined to get this place into shape. So that we can start doing something about what you just told me."

Nikki just smiled at Helen. "Oh I'm not so sure that's going to be easy, I mean we all love this army lifestyle we have now. We get paid good money to lounge about, and it's not going to be as easy as you think!"

"Aren't you angry about it though? Don't you want to get all this sorted out so you can go back to being proper soldiers?" Helen wanted to know.

"We aren't really angry anymore; we got over all that a long time ago. Sod them they can do what they want because we pretty much enjoy how our lives are at the moment,"

A few miles from the base in town, the party was well underway. Everybody was dirty dancing in the best gay club in town. Karen and Yvonne got another drink and then sat down for a breather.

"So what do you think of the new CO Von?" asked Karen

"She seems alright, but she hasn't reckoned on our little plan yet has she?"

"Oh that's right, God this is going to be so much fun. She will think she is going to be re-training us when really it's going to be the other way round!" laughed Karen

Karen then had a thought, and turned towards Yvonne after taking a sip of her drink.

"Do you really think Captain Stewart is straight then like she claims to be? Because I have trouble believing it."

"No darlin, my gaydar is working overtime and I'll tell you something. She is so far back in the closet, she is in soddin' Narnia!" exclaimed Yvonne

They both sat there screeching with laughter for a few moments until Yvonne had a thought.

"Tell you what though babe. I think she likes Nikki and I know Nikki likes her, I saw the way she was looking at her."

"Hmmm think you could be right there sweetheart. It's about time Nikki found somebody to love again, Trish was a bitch and I think Helen Stewart is going to be the one to help mend her broken heart," said Karen with a dreamy smile on her face.

Yvonne pulled her in close for a kiss and whispered in her ear

"Ooo you're a soppy sod Karen Betts, but I don't half love ya!"

Nikki and Helen were now half way down the bottle of whisky and were steadily getting pissed. Helen felt much more relaxed in Nikki's company than she had for a long time, and the worry lines on her face had now disappeared.

"So tell me, what's the dog here for? Don't tell me he's gay too? Helen sniggered.

"Oh no, he seems straight enough but you can never tell can you? And with a name like Nigel who can say?" Nikki raised an eyebrow towards Helen.

Helen seeing the meaning in what Nikki was saying decided to play along.

"Exactly Nikki, you can't judge a book by its cover." She winked suggestively at Nikki, she enjoyed flirting with her, and she wasn't totally convinced that Nikki had believed her earlier statement about being straight and to be honest she was now having trouble believing it herself. The way Nikki looked at her made her feel like she was on fire. Nobody had made her feel like that before.

"You didn't actually call the dog Nigel did you?" asked Helen

"Nah that would have been cruel! We actually called him Scooby," Nikki had a daft smile on her face, she loved Scooby to bits.

"Awww that's sweet, who chose his name? I bet it was you," Helen gave Nikki one of her sexiest smiles and Nikki felt her heart flip, she just smiled back and nodded.

They sat up and drank, till 3am and then both decided they were pissed enough and called it a night. There was only one spare bed in the warehouse and that was in Nikki's room, since all the other couples had a room of their own and she was single. Helen didn't seem to mind sharing a room with her, and collapsed on the bed gratefully. It wasn't long before she had settled into a drunken sleep and was snoring loudly keeping Nikki awake.

"God how can such a small woman make such a bloody racket?" thought Nikki. She turned over to get more comfortable and then it wasn't long before she too dropped off to sleep.

Part 4

Nikki rolled over in bed as she heard the racket start up; it felt like somebody was sledge hammering her head. She looked at her watch. "Bloody hell, its only 8 am on a Saturday morning!" she thought with a groan.

Helen meanwhile was feeling on top of the world. She had moved all her stuff into Nikki's room and put it away, and was now going to get on with the task of cleaning her office. She had found the stereo and cranked the volume up loud as put one of her cd's on. A good choice she thought, as 'Underworld' started on full volume. The rest of 'A Squadron' got in at 5am; they were all horribly hung over and trying to drown out the sound of the music.

"This will teach them not to go out drinking without permission from me, and then roll in at all hours of the morning," Helen thought to herself with a smile.

Nikki couldn't stand it anymore and unsteadily left her room and made her way to Helen's office. The drumbeat of 'Born Slippy' was rattling her brain cells.

"Morning Nikki! How are you feeling this morning?" Helen shouted over the music.

"I feel like death warmed up. How the bloody hell do you look so....." Nikki struggled to find the word she wanted.

"How come you haven't got a sodding hangover?" Nikki tried again.

"Ah that's because I can hold my drink. Never try and drink a Scot under the table Nik, you'll only end up losing," Helen said with a cheerful smile.

Despite feeling sick, Nikki noticed Helen had shortened her name, and it made her feel fuzzy, "god she is driving me nuts," she thought.

"Not bloody fair!" Nikki mumbled before running off to be sick.

The rest of the group had turned up in dribs and drabs, realising that the racket wasn't going to stop and figured they may as well get up and try to shake off their hangover. Helen had finished cleaning the office, and decided to turn the music off seeing as they were now all there.

"Right you lot, get something to eat. We are all going on a little trip. Pack a couple of changes of clothes; we are going out into the woods on a survival exercise for the next few days."

At this the Squadron groaned, but Helen wasn't to be deterred. This lot had had their fun, and now the holiday was over. She was determined to whip them into shape.

A Couple of hours later, they felt a bit better. All except Denny that is, because she had gotten a right bollocking off Nikki for playing a practical joke on her. When Denny had gotten in that morning she had opened a tin of baked beans and poured them into Nikki's boots. Needless to say when she came to put them on, she wasn't best pleased.

Helen heard Nikki swearing, and saw her come running out of her bedroom wearing boots that squelched as she ran. She left a trail of baked beans behind her and Helen couldn't help giggling.

"DENNY! Get back here right now, you are in deep shit this time!" shouted Nikki as she ran after Denny at top speed. It wasn't long before she caught her because her legs were so long, and Denny couldn't outrun her.

Nikki grabbed her arms and then took her boots off and emptied the baked beans down Denny's combats. Denny wriggled but couldn't get away and Nikki told her she couldn't get changed until they reached the forest, so Denny had to march through the forest with squelchy combats.

Helen left them to it, thinking that a last bit of fun before she cracked down on them all wouldn't hurt. They reached the stream a couple of hours later and Helen ordered them all to set up camp, but instead they all collapsed on the ground and looked sullenly at her refusing to follow orders. Helen took a deep breath, and drew herself up to her full height, which as she was so small wasn't in the least bit menacing until she opened her mouth.

"I said set up camp! That's an order; get a bloody move on NOW!" Helen's accent got stronger when she was angry. She was pleased to see they all shot off and started putting the tents up.

"Pssst Karen!" said Yvonne.


"You, me, and Nikki need to have a word tonight, after everyone is asleep. We can't keep following orders like this. Captain Stewart needs to start her training first thing in the morning!" she grinned.

"Righto love, I'll go have a word with Nikki," She gave Yvonne a quick kiss before slipping away unnoticed to talk to Nikki.

Nikki was putting the tent together with a very pissed off expression on her face when she heard Karen calling her from behind a tree. She looked over to see whether Helen was watching and then joined her behind the tree.

"What's up Karen?"

"Yvonne and I think Captain Stewart should start her basic training in the morning. Tonight after everyone is asleep, the three of us should meet up and sort out a battle plan!" said Karen.

"Great idea. I will meet up with the both of you tonight. I feel awful really, she seems alright but we can't go on like this or we won't ever have any fun!" grinned Nikki.

"Hey don't worry, it's not like we are gonna do anything awful to her. We are just gonna train her a little in our methods!"

Nikki went back to put the tent up with a faint smile on her face.

Part 5

Nikki had finished putting up the tent and stood up to stretch her aching back. She looked over to where Helen stood next to the Julies. She could see something was going on and walked over and stood next to Helen.

"What's going on?" she asked.

Helen turned to look at Nikki, and silently pleaded with her to help.

"Well the thing is Warrant Officer Wade; the Julies here seem to be having a problem."

Although for the life of her Helen couldn't work out what because she was having trouble understanding a thing the Julies were on about.

Nikki smiled at Helen, and felt sorry for her. It wasn't easy keeping up with the Julies and she sometimes had problems herself.

"Right Julies, what's the problem?" she looked at them both as she spoke.

"Our tent isn't...."

"Going up..."

"Properly," said Julie S

"Yeah properly," said Julie J

"I mean we tried to......"

"but it keeps...."

"Falling over."

"Yeah falling over," finished off Julie J

"Excuse us for a minute Julies. Warrant Officer Wade, can I have a word?"

Nikki followed Helen across the camp and they stopped beside a tree.

"Yes Captain?"

"Nikki what are they going on about? I know it shouldn't be too hard to figure it out, but I can't keep up with them."

Nikki smiled sympathetically at Helen.

"The problem is, is that the Julies can't put up their tent. I can see why, they have been using the guy ropes to try and tie the tent together!" giggled Nikki.

"Oh God," Helen giggled too.

Nikki loved the way Helen laughed. "Sexy laugh you have there Captain!"

"Thank you Nikki!" said Helen smiling suggestively up at Nikki.

"Oh shit, sorry! I didn't realise I had said that out loud. Erm I err will just go and help out the Julies!" she quickly walked away embarrassed.

Helen watched Nikki walk away with an amused look on her face, thinking that the sight of an embarassed Nikki was a cute one. She shook her head, she shouldn't be thinking like that at all.

Once all the tents were up and everything was arranged, Helen tried to get everybody to settle down so she could start teaching them the basics of survival in the forest but she wasn't having much luck.

"I'm not eating anything that I have to kill!" moaned Dominic.

"I agree with you my love. I mean it's ok mincing into Tesco's and buying a chicken breast isn't it, but it's an entirely different matter when you have to introduce yourself to your food before you kill it!" said Thomas to Helen as he patted Dominic's hand.

"Then how on earth do you lot expect to eat if you don't catch and kill anything? If you are stuck out in the middle of nowhere in enemy territory and need to eat, then the chances of you finding a Tesco's is practically bloody nil!" said an exasperated Helen.

Nikki couldn't help giggling, she had known this was going to happen and she kind of felt sorry for Helen to start off with but she could see that she was holding her own.

"Right! Is there anybody who doesn't agree with Dom and Thomas?" When nobody said anything she threw up her hands in defeat and stomped off towards the stream.

"Yvonne did you and Karen bring the food?" Nikki asked as soon as Helen was out of earshot.

"Certainly did Nik. We got crisps, mars bars, sausage rolls and sandwiches."

"That's perfect. Wonder how long Helen is going to last before she calls it a day and orders us all back to camp because she is hungry?" Nikki giggled not realising that Helen was far more resourceful than Nikki had imagined.

As Helen walked away, nobody could see the smile that was playing around her lips. Little did Nikki, Karen and Yvonne realise that there was no food. Helen had spotted Yvonne hiding it and she had disposed of it as soon as she was out of sight.

Helen was having more fun than she had had in a long time. It wasn't what she had joined the army for but she was sick and tired of having to be so serious all the time, and she realised that joining 'A Squadron' was giving her the outlet she needed to have a bit of fun. She wasn't going to let it continue this way forever though, she could see it was a battle of wills between her and the rest of the group and it was a battle she firmly intended to win.

It was getting dark when Helen finally strode back into camp carrying a handful of leaves and berries, and a fish that was the perfect size for one. She looked around to find the rest of the group sitting there looking fed-up.

"What's the matter with you miserable lot? You should be enjoying your time out here, its lovely and peaceful!" said Helen with a smirk.

Nobody said anything, and Helen could tell they knew that the food had already disappeared. "Serves them bloody right," she thought laughing inwardly. "Round 1 to Stewart,"

Helen could see a fire had been built and realized they weren't totally useless at outdoor survival. She wrapped the fish in leaves and then put it on the fire to cook. She settled back to wait until it was ready. A while later Helen had eaten, and was sat back with a mug of tea while the rest of them were looking a bit hungry. They all suddenly sprang up into a standing position when they heard a crashing noise in the woods.

Two wild looking figures shot out from the trees at them and everybody's heart stopped for a split second until one of the figures spoke.

"Ello you lot! Bet you didn't think we were bloody well coming back!"

Part 6

Nikki shot forward and hugged the figure who had spoken.

"Zandra! Welcome back. I phoned the Guinness book of records; I figured this is the longest week's holiday anybody had ever been on!"

"Welcome back Lucy. We missed you and the mad one here!" Nikki greeted Lucy, Zandra Plackett's girlfriend.

Zandra said hello to everyone and then noticed Helen.

"Hello, who are you?"

"I am Captain Helen Stewart. I'm new," replied Helen.

Nikki stepped in to explain further to stop Zandra saying something she shouldn't.

"Yeah Captain Stewart is our new CO Zan," She said hoping it would keep her quiet.

"Twatting army! Never get any peace now!" said Zandra in her dulcet tones.

"Too late," Thought Nikki. She sighed and sat back down.

Helen looked vaguely amused but Nikki couldn't quite tell, so she decided to get a conversation going before Zandra had the chance to remark on the new CO further. It turned out that Zan and Lucy were only supposed to be gone for a week but that was three months ago. Helen was shocked that they were in effect AWOL. She was also shocked that Nikki hadn't reported it but decided to let the matter slip. They talked for a while and then everybody sauntered off to bed leaving Nikki and Helen sitting next to each other by the fire.

Nikki was just about to ask Helen a question when they heard giggling coming from Shaz and Denny's tent. Nikki rolled her eyes at Helen, who looked a little embarrassed at what she knew the two women were up to.

"Always at it those two! Mind you must be nice to be in love and have somebody to be at it with!" said Nikki with a small laugh.

Helen was just about to reply to Nikki when Denny piped up.

"OW! Bloody ell Shaz man! How many times I gotta tell you that it's a breast not a bleedin' walnut whip! Take it easy, you nearly had my nipple off!"

Helen had chosen that moment to take a mouthful of tea. When she heard what Denny had said, she had unceremoniously spat it out. Helen leaned forward with her head in her hands, and Nikki moved closer to her thinking that something was wrong.

"Helen? Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," said Helen in a broken voice.

Nikki was worried now, Helen sounded upset. She bent down to look at her, and then realised there were tears running down her face and she was shaking. Nikki put her arm around Helen. She held her close, until she realised that Helen wasn't crying. She was desperately trying to stop herself from giggling.

"I thought you were upset!" Said Nikki scowling until Helen looked at her. The amusement was written all over Helen's face. Nikki couldn't help laughing along with her, her laugh was infectious. They both got their giggles under control and then leant back on the log behind them.

"How come you decided to take the job of CO then?" Nikki asked.

"To be perfectly honest it wasn't my decision. I was transferred over from HQ. It's a long story," said Helen.

"It's ok I have plenty of time," Nikki replied with an encouraging smile.

Helen told her the story of how she had joined the army as a graduate and went through officer training. She had met Sean at an officer's ball at the academy and then when things got a little more serious between them, she had transferred over to the base to be with him. She related the tale of Shell Dockley and how she was glad that they had broken up because she had never really loved him. She then explained how the transfer had come about.

"Wow, Colonel Parr eh? Would never have believed it." Replied Nikki with an unreadable expression.

"Nikki, I'm sorry. I didn't know at the time he was responsible for you all being shipped off. Believe me; I know what a bastard he can be. I hope this won't change things between us, we started off being friends and I hope we still can be," Said Helen with a lost look on her face.

"Hey course we can be friends, it doesn't change a thing. I'm just happy you got away from him in the end." She took hold of Helen's hand and rubbed her thumb over the back of it. They were surprised at the tingling sensation they both felt from the touch.

Nikki removed her hand and suggested that they both get some sleep, knowing that she needed to meet up with Karen and Yvonne later. They both moved off to the tent they had agreed to share and got changed with their backs to each other. Nikki decided to chance a quick peek at Helen, while at that moment Helen had decided the very same thing. They ended up catching each other, and they both mumbled an embarrassed apology and quickly got into their sleeping bags.

Sometime later, when Nikki was certain Helen had dropped off. She quickly and quietly left the tent to meet up with Karen and Yvonne.

"Hey Nik, thought you were gonna take all bloody night!" Whispered Karen.

"Sorry I got chatting to Helen, I mean Captain Stewart and then I had to wait for her to drop off."

"Yeah right! We know you fancy her Nik, and we reckon she fancies the pants off you too!" smirked Yvonne.

"Knock it off you two! She doesn't fancy me and anyway we came here to think up a battle plan for her re-training remember?" whispered Nikki.

The three of them sat huddled together for half an hour, unaware that they were being watched.

"Right, that's it then! Part one starts tomorrow morning, we all know what we gotta do?" asked Nikki.

Karen and Yvonne nodded that they knew what the plan was and before they said their goodnights the figure that was watching them, had quietly crept away unnoticed. Nikki got back to the tent to find Helen sleeping soundly. She still felt slightly guilty at doing this to her but what harm would it do? She drifted off to sleep with a grin on her face, wondering just how far they could push Helen before she either put a stop to it or came around to their way of thinking.

Helen lay in her sleeping bag, feigning sleep. She made little snoring noises. She had followed Nikki, curious as to where she was going and had sat and listened to the entire conversation before sneaking back into the tent.

"I'm going to play you lot at your own game," She thought as she smiled in the dark, excited at the prospect of having a bit of fun with the group.

Part 7

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