On a Mission
The Julies helped Nikki and Helen set up the computer equipment and then Nikki loaded the program so that she could get started on breaking the code.
She fed all the information in and the computer started scanning trying to find out what cipher had been used. 3 hours later, the computer flashed up a message that the cipher used wasn't recognised by the computer.
"Shit! What the bloody hell do we do now?" Nikki started pacing Helen's office
"Nikki? I don't understand all this very well; does that program have every cipher in it that has even been used by the British army?"
"Yes it has, that's why I don't understand how come the cipher isn't in there"
"Is it possible they used a foreign cipher?"
"Technically possible but there wouldn't be much point when they have hundreds of British ones to choose from" said a now defeated looking Nikki
Helen looked thoughtful for minute
"Hang on a minute Nikki, how far back do these ciphers go?"
"Err I don't know hang on, I will check. Around about 1940 why?"
"Well they had ciphers before 1940 didn't they? Is it possible they have used an older cipher?"
"Helen! You're bloody fantastic! It hadn't occurred to me. The reason they didn't include those ciphers is because they became obsolete when better methods were devised. all I have to do now is hunt around for the pre 1940 ones, I know a guy who can help with it, I will give him a ring" Nikki grabbed Helen in her arms and swung her round before kissing her.
"You daft sod! Go on ring the bloke!" said Helen giggling as she kissed Nikki back.
Dominic and Thomas had been gathering information all afternoon, and now had a pretty comprehensive file on the communication station. They had also scanned the area and found a safe place to land; unfortunately it was 15 miles away from the station which would mean a long trek, in awful conditions. The station was located 400 miles north of a place called Stavanya, which was in northern Siberia; there was nothing for hundreds of miles around. The temps could be as low as minus 30 degrees. They would need full arctic gear. This was the mission from hell.
The place was guarded but they were unable to tell how many people were actually stationed there. They had a look at satellite photos, and the place was bleak, there was a few vehicles parked outside but apart from that it looked empty, which wasn't a surprise given the fact the place was so cold.
They gathered up the information and then left to brief the rest of the team. A collective groan went up when they were told about the location and the weather.
"I'm sorry girls but the missions to Ibiza were already spoken for!" said Thomas with a smile
"So we need arctic kit, weapons and arctic food rations, communications equipment and navigational equipment and also surveillance gear" said Helen rubbing her forehead in thought. "I will get on to admin and tell them that Nikki and I will go down tomorrow to sign for the kit, anything I'm missing?"
"No I don't think so love, I think you pretty much covered it" replied Karen who was watching Helen and looked concerned.
"Why don't you go and have a nap sweetheart, you look knackered" Nikki pulled Helen into a hug
"I'm alright honestly Nik, we need to get back to working on that cipher, because if Fenner has anything to do with this then I personally want to nail his balls to the floor" Helen sank into Nikki's embrace and rested her head against her shoulder.
They ate dinner and then they all went their separate ways, Nikki and Helen went back into the office to work on breaking the code.
"Von love, I'm worried about Helen, there must be something we can come up with to take some of the pressure off her" Karen said as she looked straight at Yvonne.
"I don't think there is much we can do darlin' except help her out with anything she wants doing. We can't get at Fenner yet because Nikki still hasn't broke the code, and even if we did, then we still have this bloody mission, and we would need a letter from our lord to get out of that one"
"Yeah I know, I just sort of feel helpless, wish there was more we could do"
"Well, there might be, I tell you what I will give Lauren a call, see if she can find anything out, it might take a few days but you never know eh?"
Nikki was still sat in front of the computer with Helen at 10pm that night, the computer was still scanning the new ciphers and still hadn't come up with anything, and she was beginning to think they would never crack the code.
"Why the hell did I join the army? I would have been better off becoming a bloody traffic warden" sighed Nikki
"Hey don't give up yet sweetheart, something will turn up, you are the best code breaker to join up in the last 50 years remember" said Helen affectionately rubbing Nikki's back
"You know Helen, I have been thinking that after this mission is over, then I'm going to quit the army, I have been thinking about it for a while, and this mission has just basically made my mind up for me"
"You too eh?" said Helen with a wry smile
"What? You mean you were thinking of quitting too?"
"Yeah, I mean I haven't been in the army as long as you but I'm starting to get tired of all this shit, 2 years has been more than enough, I'm at the point where I can't stand much more"
"So, what happens after the mission then? You fancy living in sin with me?" said Nikki with a grin
"Absolutely, hope you know what you are taking on though wade, I'm not the easiest person to live with!"
"Neither am I, think we will get along just fine!" Nikki was about to lean over and kiss Helen when a prompt on the screen jumped up.
The computer announced that it had found the cipher that would decode some of the message but not all of it; it appeared that two ciphers had been used and the computer didn't recognise the other half.
"At least that's a start, now all we have to do is use the cipher and decode this stuff" said Nikki handing the file to Helen who reeled off the code.
An hour later they had half of what they were looking for but it didn't make sense without the other half.
"That's less than useless then, I reckon we have done all we can do for tonight, we can try again tomorrow after we come back from admin" said Nikki rubbing her tired eyes.
"Yeah you're right, come on lets go to bed" said Helen leading Nikki off towards their room by the hand.
"Best offer I have had all day!" Nikki giggled as she pinched Helen's bum.
At the admin building Nikki and Helen were sat waiting for Corporal Sylvia Hollamby or bodybag as she was known by the troops. She had told them half an hour ago she would be right with them, and hadn't come back since. Nikki was starting to get pissed off and was almost ready to kill bodybag when she put in an appearance.
"About bloody time!" she said under her breath to Helen, Helen just smiled back.
"Right what can I do for you captain?" bodybag didn't look in the least bit interested.
"I'm here to collect the kit I contacted you about yesterday" said Helen although she knew full well bodybag was being awkward.
"Oh that, well I'm sorry it's not strictly my job you see, you will have to go over to the stores for that" she sniffed
"Look, we contacted you, you should have contacted the stores and arranged to have them send the stuff here so we could sign for it, now it means we have to go over there collect the bloody stuff and then back here to have you sign the requisition form. Don't tell me it's not strictly your job when I know fucking well it is!" exploded Nikki
"My, is there any need for language like that, I'm sure my Bobby wouldn't tolerate you talking to me like that!"
Nikki was about to start shouting again when a look from Helen silenced her.
"Look corporal Hollamby, I can honestly say, I don't give a flying fuck whether your Bobby would tolerate it or not. I asked you to sort out the kit and you didn't do it, I'm going to have to lodge a complaint about this, come on Nikki, lets go" said Helen who grabbed Nikki by the hand and dragged her outside.
Nikki got outside and started giggling, Helen scowled at her and then couldn't help herself, and she started laughing too.
"Oh that was great! Did you see the look on her face!" gasped Nikki
"Tell you what though it's Bobby I feel sorry for! Can you imagine waking up next to that every morning? I'd chew my bloody arm off before I'd wake her up" said Helen grinning
Nikki was glad they were back in the car because Helen's last statement had rendered her almost unable to breathe from laughing.
They got to stores only to find the soldier behind the desk wasn't interested in helping them get the kit, he turned his attention back to his copy of playboy as they went in search of the equipment. An hour later they had gotten everything they wanted, the soldier signed the requisition form without even checking what they had and they headed back over to admin. As soon as bodybag had signed and stamped the forms, they made their way over to the armoury to pick up the necessary weapons, they threw in a few goodies just in case and made their way back to the warehouse.
They unloaded the gear and packed it away in the stores.
"Helen! Nikki! Karen and I need to speak to you both" said Yvonne as soon as they had finished storing everything away.
"What is it Yvonne?" asked Helen regarding Yvonne curiously
They went into her office and closed the door.
"I spoke to Lauren yesterday and asked her if she could find out anything about Fenner, I didn't expect her to call back this quickly but last night, Fenner drove into London, he met up with this guy at a pub, Lauren hung around and caught the gist of the conversation. This bloke is a Russian"
"And?" said an impatient Nikki
"She bumped into the guy as he was leaving and she picked his pocket for his wallet. Turns out this guy is called Khrushchev, a general no less. Thomas and Dom have searched out his background and it turns out that he is the chief redcoat at our holiday destination this year" she looked at Helen and Nikki who both looked lost for words.
"Oh shit!" said Helen as she rubbed the bridge of her nose
"Shit is about right" said Karen
"So, that slimy bastard Fenner is dealing with the Russians! See I told you he had something to do with this!" Nikki started pacing.
"Nikki for god's sake, stand still, you are making me seasick!" Helen grabbed Nikki and made her stand still.
"So now we know he is dealing with the Russians, it can only mean one thing, the bastard must be selling them the equipment that goes missing, and I wouldn't mind betting he is also selling them a few secrets as well" said Yvonne through clenched teeth.
Helens eyes widened in horror
"So then the Russians know we are coming, shit shit shit!" it was Helen's turn to start pacing
"So what do we do now?" said Nikki trying to let it all sink in
"I'll tell you what we do now, we carry on with the code breaking, we need evidence that will nail Fenner, and we still go on that mission" said Helen who by now was starting to figure out a plan
"Are you out of your mind Helen? The Russians will know every move we make" said an exasperated Nikki
"That's just it though, they won't. You and I are going to see Colonel Parr, we are going to turn down the offer of being parachuted into Russia, and tell them we are going to make our own way there just like we planned, the Russians wont know our exact time of arrival, and anyway dead soldiers don't invade do they?" said Helen
"Helen, look I'm sorry but I'm totally lost at this point, what the bloody hell are you going on about?" Nikki was getting agitated, she wanted to punch Fenner's teeth down his throat and on top of it all, it seemed Helen had lost her marbles.
"Clever girl Helen! I'm beginning to see your point" said Yvonne who was now smiling at Helen.
Nikki and Karen still looked lost.
"You see the thing is Nik, we get Bab's ex to drop us off, and we lay low. The Russians have been tipped off that we are coming by Fenner; we then get Shaz to radio in and tell them that we are all dead. We got lost and froze to death, and that she is the only surviving member of the company. She tells them she has been injured in the drop and then breaks off communications, giving them the idea she is dead too. Fenner then informs the Russians, it's simple but it works" said Helen triumphantly
Nikki looked at Helen in wonder
"You know, I knew you were more than just a pretty face but sometimes you're bloody scary!" said Nikki smiling over at Helen.
"You sure this is going to work?" said a worried looking Karen
"As sure as anybody can be, it's certainly better than following HQ's tactics". Said Helen with a shrug.
An hour later, Helen knocked on Sean's door. She took a deep breath before going in closely followed by Nikki.
"Ah Captain Stewart, what can I do for you?" said a smug looking Sean
"Colonel, meet Warrant Officer Wade, we would like a word with you about the upcoming mission"
"Of course, what can I do for you?"
"Well sir, we would prefer since this is a deniable op, that we make our own way to the station. It would be easier if nothing whatsoever could be traced back to the British army". Helen hoped she sounded convincing.
"Yes I can see your point. How do you propose to get there?" Sean wanted to know what their plans were for when Khrushchev asked.
"We decided on using an alternative means of transport, too risky for the army to drop us off" Helen said not wanting to give anything away.
"Yes of course, good idea captain, we will need details of course" Sean was panicking now, he needed that information
"That's not a good idea Sir; we don't want anything traced back do we?" Nikki butted in
"No of course not, you are absolutely right, don't know what I was thinking" Sean felt his stomach flip; he knew the general wouldn't be happy about it but they were heading for the station and that's really all the general needed to know.
"I think that's it sir, there wasn't anything else we needed to say" said Helen knowing they had him by the balls.
"Quite! Well off you go then, and keep up the good work" Sean tried his best to smile.
As they were leaving they bumped into Fenner who saluted, they saluted back and then walked off leaving him watching them through narrowed eyes. Fenner still hadn't forgotten or forgiven Nikki for knocking him out.
As Nikki and Helen got outside they both looked at each other and smiled.
"Result!" they both said at the same time.
Fenner was now totally pissed off, Sean had explained to him about his meeting with the two women.
"Sir! The general isn't going to be happy about this!" whined Fenner.
"Jim, there isn't anything I can do about it; they had me bang to rights. If I had pushed the matter then they would have gotten suspicious, the requests they made are perfectly above board, I couldn't refuse, and if this mission was above board I would be delighted they were following this course of action, so just drop it. Just get the next shipment arranged and I still want to see those bloody files!" Sean indicating to Fenner that their talk was over.
"Yes sir" Fenner saluted smartly and left the office.
He didn't like it one little bit, but in the end the Russians would find them and there was no escape, he comforted himself with the thought, safe in the knowledge that they would all be dead, and that they could do nothing with the file. The mood Sean was in, he didn't dare tell him that the file was missing; pretty soon it wouldn't matter anyway.
Helen and Nikki kept at it for the next few days hoping they could crack the codes completely but they just weren't having any luck. In between time, they did what little bits of training they could do and were all feeling confident they could handle mostly anything that was thrown at them.
"I was thinking like, if this bloody place is so cold, and it's warm here at the moment, I was thinking that maybe we should get used to the cold"
"Shaz if you're thinking what I think you're thinking, then no sodding way!" Nikki shot her a look that would kill
"What were you thinking of Shaz?" Helen ignored the look Nikki shot at her
"I was thinking we could use our walk in freezer like, you know just for a little while each day, might help us get used to the cold a bit" she said shyly.
"Actually that's not a bad idea Shaz" said Helen smiling
"Oh Jesus, it was what I was thinking! No way am I sitting in a fridge, I'm not freezing my tits off for anybody, there will be enough chances to do that once we get there" said Nikki standing up
"Oh yes you will Nikki, it's an order" said Helen batting her eyelashes at Nikki and talking in a sweet voice.
"Bollocks!" was all Nikki said in reply
"Whose sodding idea was this?" said Yvonne shivering uncontrollably
"Blame Shaz, and then blame Helen, is it still such a good idea now?" she said in a sulky voice
"Oh shut your bloody moaning woman, you will thank us when you get there" said Helen through teeth that were clenched from shivering.
"Any further on with that code yet then Nik?" said Karen trying to keep the conversation going
"No I'm not, trust you to mention that Karen! I'm miserable enough as it is" Nikki looked at Karen with venom
"Oooo Nikki gets cranky in the cold" said Helen giggling
"Helen I swear to god, if you and I were married we would be getting divorced right about now!"
"You're a right miserable bugger! Cheer up for Pete's sake. Good job I'm not the CO, I'd kick your arse" Yvonne stuck her tongue out at Nikki
"Who died and left you their fucking stripes?" Nikki quipped back
Everybody was trying to keep their laughter quiet, and Nikki was sulkier than ever.
Helen stood up and sat on Nikki's knee; she wrapped her arms around her and pulled her in for a passionate kiss.
"That should warm you up a bit, you still wanna divorce me?" Helen stuck her tongue between her teeth and smiled.
"Are you kidding? Helen Stewart is for life, not just for Christmas!" said a finally smiling Nikki
Helen smiled at Nikki again and pulled her in for another kiss
"Glad you said that, I wouldn't let you go anyway, I love you too much"
"I love you too babe" Nikki said winking at Helen.
"Err sorry to break it up you two but Shaz here needs some help" Denny said pointing to Shaz
They all turned round to face Shaz who had stupidly put her tongue on a metal shelf and was now stuck fast.
"Oh bloody hell, it's worse than having kids!" said Nikki
Monica shot out of the freezer and came back in seconds later with some warm water which she poured over Shaz's tongue; she pulled it free and then sat looking sheepish.
"I reckon we have probably spent enough time in here today, we have stuff to do anyway" said Helen stifling a giggle
"Yeah Helen is right, and anyway I have a special task that I need a volunteer for?"
They all regarded Nikki questioningly
"Oh yeah what's...."
"That then?" asked the Julies
"Somebody here has to keep an eye on Shaz in Russia, make sure she doesn't get her tongue stuck to her rifle!" Nikki giggled before running off with Shaz in hot pursuit.
The training was coming along well, they were all pretty good shots with the rifles now and they were up to a reasonable level of fitness. The mission was only two weeks away now and they were all under strain but they kept going irregardless. The only thing they couldn't practice would be the jump, and there was no point in worrying about something they couldn't do anything about.
One evening Nikki was sat in front of the computer staring at it, willing it to give her the answer she was looking for, but none was forthcoming. She jumped when Helen put her arms around her shoulders.
"Sorry sweetheart didn't mean to scare you" she kissed the top of Nikki's head
"Its ok, no harm done" she picked up her coffee and took a sip
"Still no further on then?"
"No, I get the feeling the answer is staring me in the face, but I just can't make sense of it"
"Don't worry you will eventually, I have faith in you babe" Helen rested her head in the crook of Nikki's neck.
"Glad you do, somebody has to cos I don't have much faith in myself at the moment"
"It's a pity its not in plain English, we wouldn't have all this messing around then" said Helen idly
Her words hit Nikki right between the eyes, and her eyebrows rose almost into her hairline.
"How the hell do you do it!? Nikki asked her in astonishment
"Do what?" said Helen frowning thinking she had upset Nikki somehow
"Every time I hit a brick wall, I get the answer I need from you"
"Eh?" said Helen who was now more confused than ever
"Plain English you said, look at this, the reason the computer can't find a cipher is because it's only half encoded, the rest is sitting on the page in plain English! The computer can't decode it because it wasn't encoded in the first place!" Nikki said jumping up and pulling Helen with her.
She grabbed Helen's face and planted a big kiss on her lips.
"I better get the lager then, its going to be a long night" said Helen smiling
Nikki had tried to dial into the computers down at HQ but she kept get an unauthorised entry message. She tried working her way around it but to no avail. She decided the only way was to actually get down to HQ and do it from there.
"Yes babe?" Helen looked up from the book she had been reading, and Nikki had her full attention.
"I tried to get into the computers but my access is restricted. Fancy a little covert trip to HQ?" Nikki grinned.
"Oooo yeah! It's like living with James Bond living with you" Helen stood up and kissed Nikki lovingly.
"Oh god you two are sickening! Every time I look at you both, you have your gobs clamped together" Yvonne said shaking her head at them.
"In that case you won't like what I'm going to do next!" Nikki stuck her tongue out at Yvonne and picked Helen up and put her down on the table in front of Yvonne. She leaned down on top of her and kissed her passionately. Helen wrapped her legs around Nikki and started moaning. They both hammed it up, trying to wind Yvonne up further.
"You pair of mad buggers!" Yvonne said laughing as Nikki stood up and pulled Helen up with her.
"Come on then Special Agent Wade, time to get ready" Helen pulled Nikki off in the direction of their room to get changed. They both wore black and gathered the items they would need.
Ten minutes later they were standing in the shadows at HQ. Nikki located Stubberfield's office window and Nikki jimmied it open. They climbed inside and found his computer. Nikki used one of the passwords from the file and gained access, she searched around in the computer but it looked as if Stubberfield had never used it. It didn't surprise her because she knew what a technophobe he was.
They quietly climbed out of the window again and the next stop was Sean's office. Nikki was again gained access to it and they searched around for a while not thinking they would find anything until Nikki spotted an old e-mail. It was almost a year old.
TO: Colonel Parr
FROM: Sergeant Fenner
Subj: re our conversation
I have forwarded the details of our conversation yesterday to General Khrushchev, and he has agreed. I will keep you up to date of any further details.
Nikki saved a copy of the e-mail and then searched around a bit more, she didn't find anything, and she knew there wouldn't be much, Parr was cautious but this one must have slipped his mind.
The next stop was Fenner's office but this was going to be slightly harder, the only way you could gain access to his office was from the building because his was an internal office and didn't have a window. They tried the back door and found it was locked, since neither of them fancied trying to sneak in through the front; Nikki tried to pick the lock. After ten minutes of whispered swearing, she still hadn't managed it.
"So much for James Bond eh? I just can't get the pin to move" Nikki huffed.
"Here let me try" Helen took the lock pick from Nikki and rummaged around for a bit, there was a quiet click as Helen managed to flick the pin, and the door was unlocked.
"Nice one, come on let's make this quick" Nikki took Helen's hand and they both crept in.
Thankfully they managed to locate Fenner's office without being caught and Helen quickly picked the lock and led Nikki inside. They were just about to boot up the computer when they heard voices outside. Panicking, they hid under the desk and tried to curl up as much as they possibly could so they wouldn't be seen.
"I'm certain if I just keep trying Sir that I can gain access to the files. The passwords will eventually come back to me"
"I hope for your sake that is true Jim, go on then hurry up. We are due at the party in a few minutes and Stubberfield will be angry if we are late" Sean said as he stood at the opposite side of the desk to Fenner, Fenner had told him earlier about the missing file and he hadn't been pleased but believed Fenner when he said he could still gain access anyway.
Fenner sat down and booted up the computer. There was bleep after continuous bleep as he got the password wrong. He tried every word he could think of but still couldn't gain access. Nikki was grinning at Helen underneath the desk, because she knew she had the password he needed. Fenner was getting agitated, and started to tap his feet.
"Leave it for now, we are already late" Sean said impatiently and Fenner reluctantly stood up and followed him from the office, locking the door behind him.
"That was close" Helen whispered.
"You're not kidding, let's do this and get the hell out of here" Nikki stood up and re-booted the pc; she used a password from the file and got into the system. She trawled around through the files and found what she was looking for. She used the last password she had and then the files were no longer password protected.
There were hundreds of e-mails hidden away in a secret file, which took her quite a while to find. All correspondence between Sean, Khrushchev and himself. Nikki saved all of the e-mails so she could look through them later.
The next file she opened contained what looked like account sheets. They detailed what had been sold to the Russians, how much they paid for it and it was split three ways between Parr, Stubberfield and Fenner. It also detailed the secrets they had sold to the Russians. Nikki couldn't believe it, they had nailed all three of them good style. She again saved copies and exited from the system. She shut the computer down, and turned round in her chair to look at Helen.
Helen looked incredulous, she couldn't believe Fenner was so stupid, and not for the first time she was glad she had broken it off with Sean.
"Bet you are glad you broke it off with Sean right about now"
"You know its funny I was just thinking that, you always seem to know what I'm thinking"
"Same goes for you, if I didn't know better I'd swear you were psychic!" Nikki said smiling
"I am glad I broke it off with Sean, otherwise I would never have come here and met you" she said as she gently stroked the back of her hand down Nikki's face.
"Things worked out great, we have each other and Parr is up to his neck in shit! Not to mention Fenner and Stubberfield, I'm going to enjoy this!" said Nikki with a satisfied smirk.
They crept back out of the office, and through the back door. They didn't stop running until they were almost back to the warehouse. They immediately went into Helen's office to look through the e-mails.
They both looked through the e-mails and gained a better idea of Fenner's scam, but there was so many of them that it would take a while to look through them all, Nikki made several copies of everything and hid the disk's in the safe in Helen's office.
"So what do we do about all this stuff?"
"We keep a copy for safety, and we send copies to the relevant people and as if by magic, they all end up in the slammer!"
"When do you plan on doing it, we haven't got long before the mission now"
"I was thinking I will give them to Yvonne who can pass them on to Lauren, she can wait a little while and then pass them on to whoever she has to and by that time we will already be in Russia, Fenner will think we are all dead, and inform the Russians. Then hopefully we will complete the mission and we will be out of there and back here safely, that sound ok to you?"
"Sounds perfect Nik, come on let's go to bed, I'm knackered, you don't half wear me out!" Helen smiled sexily at Nikki
"Oh not half as much as I intend to wear you out, come on woman bed!" Nikki lifted Helen into her arms and carried her off to bed.
There was just over a week to go before they were leaving for Russia, they had all their plans worked out, there was one critical thing that they hadn't been able to solve and that was how they were to make their escape. It worried them all that they couldn't come up with a solution to their problem, it worried Helen in particular.
She didn't want the whole mission to go arse up at the end just because they hadn't worked out how to make a fast getaway. She kept mulling the problem over and over in her mind but couldn't think of anything suitable.
She decided to go talk to Nikki about it.
"I'm still worried about how we are going to get away, I've been thinking it over for ages now and I can't come up with anything".
"Yeah I know, I've been thinking too and I just don't know what to do about it, I know they will have vehicles there and everything but I don't know how far we would get in them, there is absolutely sod all for miles around".
Helen rubbed the bridge of her nose, as if she had a headache. Nikki pulled her down to sit on her knee and wrapped her arms around her. She kissed the top of her head.
"Are you ok?"
"I'm ok, just got a bit of a headache love".
"You were restless last night, are you sure it's only the mission that's bothering you?" asked Nikki looking at Helen
"Yes, why?" Helen looked at Nikki with a puzzled expression on her face
"You've just been acting strange lately, I wondered if you were having second thoughts about us" Nikki finally said
"Nikki how could you think that!? Of course I'm not having second thoughts, I've told you exactly how I feel about you more than once, what happened to trusting me? "Helen now said with a look of disbelief on her face.
"I am trying Helen, but then I trusted Trish didn't I? Look I'm sorry" Nikki realized she had gone too far.
"So you should be!" said Helen who now stood up in a temper. "I'm worrying like hell about this bloody mission and you think I'm so fickle about how I feel for you. Jesus Nikki, I'm under enough pressure as it is, I don't need this!" said Helen storming off with tears in her eyes.
"Helen! Don't walk away from me!" said Nikki who by now was angry too. "I'm worried about the mission too, you aren't the only one who is under pressure, so don't flatter yourself!"
"You know something Nikki, the difference between you and me is that I'm responsible for everybody's life here, I'm the commanding officer, and one fuck up could mean the difference between life and death. And another thing, I'm nothing like Trish, so you know what? Sod you Nikki!" Helen walked off with the tears streaming down her face.
"Shit!" Nikki mumbled under her breath. "Nice way to go wade" she admonished herself.
Helen ran outside, with tears streaming down her face and got into her car, watched by the rest of the squadron who had been cleaning their weapons outside the warehouse. They all watched in amazement as Helen threw the car into gear, swung the car round and then were gone with a screeching of tires. Yvonne went to get up, to go inside to talk to Nikki, but Karen pulled her to one side.
"I'm going to find Helen, she is in a hell of a state by the looks of things, and I'll give you a call when I find her". Karen gave Yvonne a quick kiss.
"Ok love, I will go and find out what the hell is going on from Nikki, I'll see you later" Yvonne walked off into the warehouse.
She found Nikki out at the back of the warehouse staring into space.
"Nik, what the hell's going on?"
"I messed up as usual Yvonne" she said with a shrug
She told Yvonne all about the argument. Yvonne shook her head.
"Bloody ell wade! You don't do things by halves do ya?"
"I know I'm an idiot but I'm scared she is going to walk away"
"If you keep pushing her away like this and not trusting her then you will lose her, how many times do I have to tell ya Nik? She's right by the way, she is responsible for us all, responsible for the life of the woman she loves and on top of all that now she thinks you don't trust her. Can you imagine how she feels right now?"
"Yes I can, as usual the only time I open my mouth is to swap my sodding feet over! but you know what at the same time, she shouldn't have gotten angry with me, she knows that Trish hurt me, she knows I'm scared of losing her and all she did was get angry with me" Nikki was now in full sulk mode.
"Maybe she shouldn't have gotten angry with you, I agree but at the same time, she is so stressed out, and you pick a time like this to start questioning the relationship, when you know full well how she feels about you, Christ Nik, we all know how she feels about you, we can see it in her eyes every time she looks at you!"
"I didn't mean it, I'm just worried about the mission and I don't want to lose her, I'm scared in case anything happens to her while we are there, I've waited my whole life to find somebody like Helen and I couldn't stand it if she was taken away from me". Nikki started to cry
Yvonne pulled Nikki into a hug and held her while she gently spoke to her.
"I know sweetheart. The pressure is getting to us all but it's not me you should be telling, its Helen, so for god's sake Nik, when she comes back, talk to her.
Yvonne's mobile rang, it was Karen, she had found Helen in the park, and she told Yvonne she was going to talk to her. Yvonne gave her a quick summary of her conversation with Nikki. Karen then said she would try her best to persuade Helen to talk to Nikki.
Helen sat on a bench in the park, she had dried her tears and was sat looking across the lake when Karen sat down next to her.
"You ok love?" Karen said gently
"Not really, just had a big argument with Nikki, and I'm so tired. This is all getting to me and I feel like I'm drowning".
"I know it's hard, Yvonne told me what happened, she has already talked to Nikki, and Nikki is upset too"
"The thing is Karen, I'm battling to get Nikki to trust me and on top of all that I'm worried about Russia, you know? I shouldn't have gotten angry with her, but I'm stressed out and it was the last thing I needed".
"In a perfect world Helen you wouldn't have gotten angry with her but there is a lot going on at the moment. Nik appears so strong on the outside, but most of the time, inside she can be like a frightened child, she loves you very much and she told Yvonne she is scared about losing you".
"I know she loves me, I love her too, I'm just so scared about this mission, if she got hurt or killed then I would never forgive myself. I don't want to lose her; I've only just found her". The tears started again.
Karen moved closer to Helen, and pulled her into her arms, she rubbed Helen's back gently until the sobs quietened. She then pulled back to look at Helen.
"Sounds to me like the two of you are worried about the same thing, and the situation has gotten you both down, we should go back so you can talk to her, the longer you leave it, the worse it will get, come on". She took hold of Helen's hand and led her back to the car.
Karen walked into the warehouse closely followed by Helen. They found a thoroughly miserable looking Nikki sat with Yvonne. Nikki looked up straight at Helen who was looking back at her. They both started to cry again, as Helen opened her arms wide while walking towards Nikki. They hugged each other fiercely, not wanting to let go.
"I'm sorry Helen, I didn't mean it" Nikki said between sobs
"I'm sorry too, I shouldn't have shouted" Helen said through her tears
Karen and Yvonne both smiled and then left them to it.
They carried on hugging each other between kisses and then sat down, Nikki on a chair and Helen on her lap. She stroked Nikki's hair back from her forehead while Nikki was rubbing her thumb over the back of Helen's other hand.
"I'm sorry Nikki, I'm just so worried. You know how much I love you, I've never felt this way about anybody and with the upcoming mission, and I'm worried about you because I love you so much. God Nikki I'm scared"
"I know sweetheart, I'm scared too. I should have been more understanding of the pressure you are under, I love you more than life itself, and I'm worried about you too. It's taken me so long to find you and don't want to lose you now"
"Same here babe, but don't worry, we won't lose each other, take more than a few Russians to split us up eh?" Helen said with a slight smile.
"I think you are absolutely right" said Nikki returning the smile
They talked for a while longer, about trusting one another and their fears about the mission. They managed to sort things out between themselves and they both felt like a weight had been take off their shoulders. They wandered outside hand in hand to where everybody else was.
"You two twats talking again then?" said Zandra with a grin
"Yep, all sorted out" said Helen with a smile
"About time, I don't understand you women, you're always arguing about something or other, must be permanent pmt! Take me and Dom for instance, we never argue about anything" said Thomas laughing
"Oh yeah right! When you two first got here you were bitching worse than a pair of teenage girls! You were worse than any women I've ever seen!" said Lucy grinning
"Yes that's right, I distinctly remember you calling Dominic a bitch, because you thought he had the hot are for that young blond squaddie!" said Monica laughing.
"Well I found out later, it was all one way traffic didn't I?" said Thomas blushing
"Yeah but not before we had loads of slanging matches, so don't take the piss out of Nikki and Helen, because on a good day you can be more hormonal than the pair of them put together!" said Dominic hugging Thomas with a smile.
Two days later
"Right you lot listen up, we have got less than a week to go now, there isn't much more we can do at this point but some of us still need a little more target practice. Apart from that, everything else is fine. I've also arranged for the bus to come and pick us up tomorrow night, so we can have a night out on the town, gives us a chance to get trolleyed and wind down before we go" Helen grinned.
A collective cheer went up; this was just what they needed.
"Before we get back to work though, Nikki wanted a word with you all" Helen then took Nikki's seat as she stood up to talk.
"I think I have finally figured out how we get away from the communications station when the mission is done. There are a lot of old mining tunnels running under the station, they are closed off and are never used anymore. One particular tunnel runs for about 500 hundred miles to a town called Stanyalavski" Nikki was about to continue when Dominic interrupted her.
"How do you know about these tunnels? Are you sure they exist because Thomas and I did a thorough Int on the place and we didn't find out anything about tunnels".
"Yes I'm sure they exist and the reason I know they exist is because I found a plan of these tunnels amongst Fenner's e-mails this morning. I also know they are closed off and not used because Fenner suggested that they use the tunnels to smuggle the arms in and Khrushchev was against it because the tunnels aren't wide enough to take vehicles, they are basically only wide enough to walk through". Nikki again was interrupted by Dominic.
"Right so if we use these tunnels and the nearest place it takes us to be this Stanyawhatski place, then we are in trouble because we can't walk 500 miles to escape, it would take too long".
"For gods sake, Dominic shut up you twat! Let her explain. Bloody men!" said Zandra scowling in Dominic's direction
"Yeah Dom, we want to...."
"Hear what she has to say, don't we Ju?"
"Yeah Ju, we do Ju" the Julies spoke almost in unison
"Nikki please carry on" said Helen who was by now intrigued.
"Thanks, right where I was? Oh yeah, so this tunnel. Obviously we cant walk 500 hundred miles, that isn't practical, but 10 miles along the tunnel is a ventilation shaft, we don't have to worry about digging our way through snow to get out of it because its just on the inside of a cave on the beginning of a mountain range. The best bit is which I'm coming to Dominic!" said Nikki frowning at Dominic who was just about to open his mouth again, Thomas saw this and clamped his hand over it.
"The best bit is, is that less than 300 yards away from the entrance to this cave is an old steel building, with aircraft inside, helicopters and fixed wing. This is the place where Fenner's shipments get dropped off, and they get distributed from there using the planes, what happens to the weapons after that I don't know, but it gives us a means of escape" Nikki finished.
"Nikki, you are a genius" said Helen smiling, she threw her arms around Nikki, she no longer needed to worry about their escape, Nikki had sorted all that out.
"I try!" Nikki said laughing
"Mmmm I would say you deserve a reward, I'm going to make sure you get one tonight, your place or mine?" she said with a suggestive smile
"Oh definitely yours, but I will have to see if I can fit you in, you know busy schedule and all that!" Nikki said laughing as she dodged a punch from Helen
"Funny girl! You better watch it wade, I might change my mind"
"Nope, you can't resist me"
"Want to bet on it?" Helen raised her eyebrow.
"No way! I'll behave I promise!" said Nikki with a look of mock fear on her face.
"That's more like it!" said Helen giving Nikki a quick pat on the arse.
"So I take it I'm going to fly a twatting Russian heap of junk then?" said Zandra.
"Yeah if you want to escape that is because I can't see any of us volunteering for the job" said Yvonne with a laugh.
"Hey this is one long tab the Houdini twins can't escape from!" Shaz quipped
"It's a long way to walk though man, 15 miles to the station after drop off then 10 to get away, not to mention all the stuff in between, its going to be knackering". Denny didn't look in the least bit happy about walking that far.
"Yeah its shit" Shaz said looking at Denny
"Shit happens" Helen said.
Friday afternoon rolled around and they were all kitted out in their going out gear. The Julies were dressed outrageously in matching lime green mini skirts, covered in sequins, with bright orange blouses on the top. In comparison everybody else looked a lot less colorful and dull, despite the fact that they hardly had any clothes on. Zandra's outfit in particular left little to the imagination. Nikki was wearing a pair of tight pants with a little top that was backless and Helen was dressed in a tiny black dress that dipped low in the front.
She had taken Nikki's breath away, but Helen was also having erotic thoughts after seeing Nikki in her skin tight trousers and top. They jumped on the bus to go into town, and started off in the pub.
"Denny, your turn to get the drinks in, you tight git!" said Lucy
"Not fair man! It's not even my turn" Denny moaned
"If we don't get you to buy one now, we will all be too pissed later to notice that you haven't so cough up you tight fisted little sod!" Yvonne said giving Denny a stern look.
"Denny never buys drinks, she always manages to escape somehow or other" Karen explained to Helen as it was her first time out on a session with them all.
"Yeah that's our Denny, so tight you can't pull a pin out of her arse with a tractor" Nikki said smiling.
Denny came back to the table with pints for everyone and a bottle of tequila. She handed the pints round and then poured everyone a shot.
"God Denny, pushing the boat out isn't you!" said a surprised Barbara
"Yeah well, this is to make up for me being a miser innit" she laughed.
They stayed in the same pub for a couple of hours and then decided to go on to the next one. They were all getting steadily drunker by the minutes and the tension had all but disappeared. Helen was enjoying herself; she couldn't ever remember being on a night out that had been this much fun.
A few hours later somebody suggested going for a meal before they hit the nightclub. They all set off to the nearest Chinese, and trooped in, startling the little Chinese guy at the door.
"Table for 12 please" Nikki slurred.
They were all squashed into a table in the corner and they ordered more drinks, and sat there chatting away. The door of the restaurant opened and Helen casually glanced at the door, it was Sean, and hanging off his arm was Shell Dockley. Sean saw them and walked over to them with a smug look on his face.
"Hello Helen, a night out with the squadron is it?"
"Yeah that's right Sean" Helen replied without smiling
"Good, nice to see you all relaxing, oh by the way Helen, meet my fiancée, this is shell, shell this is Helen. We are getting married in a few weeks time" Sean elaborated.
Helen had chosen that minute to take a sip of her pint and nearly choked on it from laughing. Everybody else was giggling too, they all knew shell and her reputation was well known. Helen made a strong effort to stop laughing.
"Sorry, lager went down the wrong way!" she said causing them all to break out in fits of giggles again.
Sean was nonplussed, he couldn't figure out what they found so funny.
"Very happy for you Sean, I'm sure your parents will love her. Remember Nikki? she's my partner". Helen was still trying to stop her giggles; she knew Sean's parents would be horrified when they met Shell.
"Nice to see you again colonel Parr" said Nikki insincerely
"Partner? As in girlfriend? The two of you are together?" said a stunned looking Sean
"Yep that's right, very much together aren't we sweetheart", she said wrapping her arms around Nikki.
"That's right babe!" said Nikki staring lovingly into Helen's eyes
"I would never have believed that of you Helen, I didnt think I would ever see you sink so low, still I suppose being in among a group of filthy dykes has managed to turn you into one, you disgust me!" Sean said turning his nose up at her.
"That's right Sean I'm a lesbian, but you know what? At least I'm not a slut like her, so why don't you just piss off and take your fiancée with you" Helen said to Sean angrily.
"How dare you?" Sean said taking a step closer to Helen.
Nikki and Yvonne both stood up and advanced towards him
"I think you better do as the lady asks" said Nikki staring straight at Sean
"That's no lady" Sean replied
"I'm losing my temper with you, you insult Helen just once more, and you will be picking teeth from your arse for a month, do I make myself clear?" Nikki said in a menacing tone
"Do as she says, Parr, because I'm getting fed up with your manners, take a hike or else" Yvonne looked at him as if she wanted to murder him.
"Come on Shell. Lets go, this isn't a good place to be if they let their kind in" Sean said before dragging shell out of the restaurant.
"You ok Helen? God what an arsehole" Nikki took hold of Helen's hand
"I'm fine, don't worry about him, he'll get what's coming to him" she said with a smile as she squeezed Nikki's hand.
A while later they were all piling in to the gay nightclub they usually went to. They got the drinks in and a few of them went off to dance.
"Did you ask Lauren about keeping hold of those disks for a few days Yvonne?" Nikki asked then took a sip of her drink
"Yes, she said no problem, I explained the situation and she is happy to pass them on" Yvonne replied
"That's great Yvonne thank you, and please tell Lauren thank you, we really appreciate her helping us out with this" Helen smiled at Yvonne
"You can tell her yourself love, you will be meeting her tomorrow" Yvonne smiled back.
"You ready for a dance Stewart?"
"Mmmm I think that can be arranged Nik, lead on" Helen winked at Nikki before being dragged onto the dance floor.
The whole squadron was on the dance floor when a remix of Fernando by Abba came on, Nikki and Helen looked at each other and rolled their eyes, remembering back to that day in the woods. Thomas and Dominic were over the moon and were dancing energetically to the music.
Thomas and Dominic were wiggling their hips about and Denny shouted over to Nikki and Helen.
"The way those two are dancing, dancing queen springs to mind man!" said Denny giggling
"It's a good job they didnt hear that, if they knew Denny was describing them as a couple of queens, there would be hell to pay!" Nikki said giggling as Helen giggled along with her.
A while later, they all sat down to have a rest and another drink. Denny noticed Zandra and Lucy were missing.
"Ere, where's Zan and Lucy gone? Hope they haven't pissed off on holiday again? We need them to get us out of Russia" said a worried looking Denny.
"Don't worry den, they gone off..."
"To get the kebabs in aunt they Ju"
"Yeah getting the kebabs in they are Ju" said the two Julies.
"Thank god for that" said a relieved Denny
"Big tradition that Helen, somebody goes off to get the kebabs at 3am and then we leave here at 4:30am, and take them home for breakfast" said Karen who was grinning at the look on Helen's face.
"Oh god kebab for breakfast yuck, what sort of people are you?" she said laughing
"Oh believe me Helen, after an afternoon and a night out on the tiles, at 5 o'clock in the morning a kebab tastes wonderful" Monica chipped in.
"I think I must have been kidnapped by aliens, because this is the first time in all my 30 years that I'm even contemplating on having a kebab for breakfast" Helen said swallowing the rest of this pint.
"Well we did tell you sweetheart that we would train you in our methods!" Nikki said before kissing Helen.
Zandra and Lucy were back.
"Sorry it took so long, there was a big bloody queue" Lucy apologised
"Yeah queue was a mile long, amazing how many drunks want a twatting kebab at 3 in the morning" Zandra giggled.
"Right you lot, it's about time we got more smashed than we are" Karen said getting up to go to the bar, with Yvonne following. They got another round of pints in, and a bottle of sambuca. Everybody had a pint passed to them along with a shot glass full of sambuca.
"Nikki, can I have your lighter a minute?" Helen held her hand out to Nikki.
"Yeah sure, here you go"
Helen lit the sambuca and let it burn for a couple of seconds before placing her hand over the glass to extinguish the flame, she threw the sawbuck back, and lit it again in her mouth, she let them see the flame for a couple of seconds then closed her mouth and swallowed it. They were all stunned. They then broke into a round of applause.
"Wow! That's some party trick Helen" Nikki looked at her proudly
"Just a little thing I picked up in college" she smiled
They all wanted to try it, and most of them managed. The Julies surprisingly did it almost as smoothly as Helen had, but Zandra had a bit of trouble.
"Ow! Burnt my tongue, twatting lighter" the sambuca sprayed everywhere as she swore, covering everybody else in it.
"That's disgusting Zan, keep it in your gob next time, you dirty bugger!" said Thomas, wiping his shirt off.
They carried on drinking and Helen gave several repeat performances of lighting her sambuca after Shaz begged her to do it again. By the time 4:30 arrived they were all completely trolleyed, and they all made their way out to the bus. Struggling to stay upright they swayed along the pavement giggling. They collapsed onto the bus, and started a singsong, they were all singing different songs and it sounded like somebody was committing mass murder in a stray cat's home.
They got back to the base shortly, as the sun was beginning to come up. They staggered in and passed out the kebabs, Yvonne passed around cans of lager, and they sat eating their kebabs and drinking.
It was 1pm and the occupants of the warehouse were still in an alcohol assisted slumber. Scooby was sleeping quietly in his basket; he suddenly shot up when the phone rang.
Nikki was first to wake up, she felt uncomfortable and then realised why, she had fallen asleep holding her drink and it had spilt so she was now sitting in a pool of lager. She nudged Helen awake, who had fallen asleep in the remains of her kebab, which was now stuck to the side of her face and tangled up in her hair.
"Oh god, my head!" Helen groaned
"The phone's ringing" Nikki felt like her tongue was made of sandpaper.
"So?" Helen mumbled
"So answer it, the sodding noise is going right through me"
"Why should I answer it? You bloody answer it"
"You're the CO, you answer it"
"Oh for fuck sake" Helen exclaimed as she staggered towards the office feeling like a brass band was playing in her head.
"Hello? Who? Oh yes right ok, yes that's fine, yes let her in, ok thank you, and bye. Helen held her head and staggered back out of the office.
"Come on you lot wake up, we will be having a visitor in a few minutes" she walked over to Yvonne and kicked her leg to wake her up.
"Yvonne look lively, Lauren will be here in a minute" she mumbled. She noticed that Nikki had gone back to sleep again, and gave her a none too gentle nudge to wake her up.
"Whassamatter?" Nikki sat up looking bleary eyed.
"Wake up; Lauren will be here soon, you need to tell her what to do with those disks" Helen then continued waking the rest of them up.
Lauren arrived and walked straight in, laughing as she did so.
"What do we have here then? It's the living dead with hangovers" Lauren smiled as she looked round the room.
"Hi Lauren, I'm Helen, nice to meet you" Helen gingerly shook Lauren's hand trying not to be sick.
"Nice to meet you at last Helen, mum has told me so much about you, err what's that stuck to your face?"
Helen reached up and found the remains of the kebab stuck to her face and hair. Helen whirled round a little too quickly as she heard Nikki giggling. Before she had a chance to say anything, she had to run for the bathroom.
"I see even the cast iron stomached Scot has her limits!" Nikki grinned wickedly knowing she could wind Helen up about it later.
A few hours later, after Yvonne had forced everybody to have a hair of the dog, they had felt a lot better. Nikki had explained everything to Lauren, and given her the disks. They all said goodbye to Scooby, Lauren was looking after him till they got back.
Then it was Yvonne's turn to say goodbye to Lauren, they both broke down in tears, and Karen stood at the side of them crying too, she didn't want to intrude on a mother daughter moment. Lauren and Yvonne grabbed her and pulled her into the hug.
"Come here Karen, you're family too. Take care of mum, and mum you take care of Karen too, I want you both back here safely. I love you both very much" Lauren sniffed.
"I love you too" both Yvonne and Karen replied through their tears.
There wasn't a dry eye in the warehouse, everybody was crying now and holding onto each other. They all waved Lauren and Scooby off and then shuffled back into the warehouse, depressed at the thought of going away in a few days. They sat there for a while in silence, until Barbara stood up.
"Come on, it's not as bad as it seems, straight in there and straight out, that's what we planned. Lets get to work on that target practice; it will give us something to do".
They all got up and retrieved their weapons from the store room and went out to the back of the warehouse to use the firing range they had built. The peace was soon shattered by the incredibly loud noise of 12 machine guns going off. There was now less than 24 hours to go until they were due to leave for the mission.
Fenner walked into Sean's office with a spring in his step, his problems would soon be over, or so he thought anyway. If he knew that he had been found out he would be a very worried man indeed.
"Ah hello Jim, how are you today?" Sean asked in a breezy tone.
"I'm fine thank you sir, not long to go now until the mission, shouldn't be long until the problem is dealt with" he said with a slimy grin.
"Yes, have you informed Khrushchev about our little group?"
"Yes sir I did, I told him to keep a lookout at the airports but since we don't know what names they are traveling under or whether they will travel together, I took the precaution of sending him their photographs so they can make a positive identification"
"Good, oh and by the way Jim, have you gained access to the files yet?"
"I err well the thing is colonel I haven't actually been able to" Fenner was now feeling sick.
"What!? You told me it wouldn't be a problem" Sean shouted his face was like thunder.
"I'm sorry sir; it wouldn't have been if Wade hadn't stolen the file. I tried to retrieve it but I couldn't find it, but I wouldn't worry. She couldn't unencrypt it anyway, I was very careful about that".
"well you better hope she hasn't because otherwise we are all in the shit up to our necks, I'm very disappointed in you Jim, I thought you had more sense" Sean said through clenched teeth"
"I'm sorry sir, I'm sure the file is still unencrypted. Anyway, once Wade gets there she won't stand a chance, none of them will"
"You had better pray that that turns out to be the case, now get out of my office, I've had enough of you for one day!" Sean spat.
Jim walked out of Sean's office in a foul mood, but then he thought about the Russians catching A Squadron and his mood suddenly brightened, he whistled as he walked off.
The warehouse was silent; they were all packed up and ready to go. Nobody said a word, as they all sat around drinking a last cup of tea before they set off. Helen felt like she should say something and stood up.
"Right everybody, I'm not going to make a long speech here, we all know the plan and what we have to do. So I just wanted to say that I'm proud to be working with each and every one of you, and as soon as we get back, the first pint is on me" Helen said her voice cracking, she just managed to keep her tears at bay.
Everybody smiled up at Helen with a lump in their throats. They all stood and hugged each other and whispered words of encouragement.
"Nik, if I don't make it back..." Nikki interrupted Helen
"Shh Helen, don't say that, you will I promise" Nikki felt a lump in her throat the size of a tennis ball.
"Let me finish sweetheart, if I don't make it back, I just want you to know I love you very much. I've never been as happy as I am when I'm with you. I love you, always" a tear escaped from Helen's eyes.
"I love you too Helen. The same goes for me, if I don't make it back. I want you to know that I will always love you, no matter where I am". They couldn't hold back any longer and cried holding onto each other.
It was soon time to go and they all filed out onto a bus that they had hired, to make the short journey to the airfield, where Bab's ex husband was to meet them with the plane. The journey was made in silence, and they were soon loading their equipment onto the plane. They got in and got settled and waited for the plane to take off.
Quite a few hours later, they started to get ready, and put their arctic gear on. Up until that point they had all just sat in silence holding onto one another, they didn't speak, words weren't necessary. They had been flying under the radar at a thousand feet for some time now, and Bab's ex was concentrating fully on the task, watching the instruments like a hawk.
"You had better put your parachutes on, it's almost time" he said.
They helped each other to put the parachutes on and waited for the order to attach them to the rings on the plane's ceiling. Finally the order came, and they all lined up. The plane was quickly engaged to auto pilot and Bab's ex came into the cabin and opened the door, the rush of cold air was incredible and it took everyone's breath away. With a quick last look at the gps, the pilot knew it was time for them to jump, he pushed them one by one out of the plane and when the last person had gone, he quickly closed the door and sat back in his seat, he changed his course, and headed away from them into the night. He said a silent prayer for each of them, hoping they would all make it to safety.
They all silently floated to the ground and hit the snow with a loud crunch, the cold was incredible, and it was 30 degrees below. They all quickly grouped together, it was a clear night, and the moon shone on the snow lighting up their faces. There was a solemn expression on every one of them. They were stiff from the plane and the cold and knew if they didn't get moving soon they would seize up.
"Jesus, it's colder than a polar bear's nuts out here" Helen said with a slight smile.
"Couldn't have put it any better myself sweetheart! Stick close to me, I'll do my best to keep you warm" Nikki said raising her eyebrow and smiling at Helen.
Lucy took the gaps from her bag and they started off in the direction of the station. They were making good progress, walking roughly 4 miles in an hour, they had been walking for an hour and a half and decided to stop, you could dehydrate just as quickly in the cold as you could in the heat, so they decided to stop for a drink.
Twenty minutes later they were on the move again, they didn't speak, not wanting to make any more noise than they had to, and as they were making good time they decided to slow the pace down a little, they didn't want to end up too exhausted. They carried on like this through the night, and then 3 miles from the station, they decided to dig into the snow, and wait there until the following evening when they would walk the 3 remaining miles to the station and try and gain access to it.
They saw the station in the distance, and dug into the snow quickly, when they had dug a big enough area they all crawled in and sealed the hole except a few small holes for ventilation. After a while they all felt warmer, under the snow.
"Shaz, get out the radio equipment. It's time to let them know, we aren't around anymore" Helen said with a faint smile.
Shaz got out the radio equipment and set it on the right frequency; she made sure the transmission would be scrambled and then spoke using the prearranged call sign that they had been given in event of an absolute emergency.
"Bravo sierra 3, this is alpha squadron, do read me over?" Shaz said in a voice that would make them think she was in pain.
"Alpha squadron, this is bravo sierra 3, do you read me over?"
"Bravo sierra 3, I have a situation to report, alpha squadron is down, they perished in the snow, and I am the only one remaining over"
"Received alpha squadron is down, what is your situation? Over"
"My leg is broken, I keep losing consciousness, and I'm very cold over"
They all watched tensely as Shaz was communicating.
"Received alpha squadron, what is your present location? Over?"
Shaz gave them a false location that put them further north; in line with the original orders HQ had given them.
"Received your location, wait for further instructions over"
"Further instructions? What's he going on about man?" said Denny looking confused.
"What he means is he is going to inform HQ, that we are all dead. Which in the meantime gives them time to come up with some bullshit about you hanging on for help, which will never come" Helen replied.
They waited for a further 15 minutes when the voice came back over the radio.
"Alpha squadron, this is bravo sierra 3, do you read me over"
Helen shook her head at Shaz, letting her know not to answer
"Alpha squadron, this is bravo sierra 3, do you read me over"
"Alpha squadron, this is bravo sierra 3, please come in over"
They tried to raise Shaz periodically for the next half an hour, and then all radio transmission stopped. Shaz turned the radio off, and put it away.
"Nice work Shaz, right about now they will be informing HQ, that you are gone too, and then Fenner will be on the phone faster than his legs can carry him, hopefully after that the rest will go to plan" said Helen with more confidence than she felt.
"Right stag duty, I'll take first watch with Thomas. The rest of you get some sleep, two hours on ok" said Nikki getting them all organised.
They all settled down, Nikki at one end and Thomas at the other. Helen snuggled down next to where Nikki sat, and put her head in her lap, Nikki protectively wrapped an arm around her shoulder, and watched as Helen fell into a restless sleep.
Back at HQ, Fenner was almost jumping for joy; it couldn't have gone any better. The news that they had all frozen to death quite a distance from the station, alleviated any worries he had, he was safe and best of all, and he could go back to making easy money from the Russians. He headed to Sean's office to tell him the news.
"Sir, A Squadron have all perished in the snow, a radio message was received telling us what had happened, and the radio operator had a broken leg sustained in the parachute jump, they radioed back but there was no reply. Leading us to believe she perished too". Fenner could hardly contain his glee.
"Ok, I will inform Stubberfield of the developments, and then we can see about informing the families but don't rush, we don't want the papers getting hold of this just yet"
"Absolutely sir, don't worry I will take care of that"
"Thank you Jim, I take it you have informed Khrushchev about this latest development?"
"Yes I have sir; he is pleased to say the least"
"I'm sure he is, well then I have work to do sergeant, dismissed!"
Fenner walked out of the office with a smirk on his face, this was going to be a good day.
Sean sat in his office staring at the wall. A picture of Helen's face swam into his mind and he felt a tiny stab of guilt but he soon pushed it away, after all Helen knew what she was getting into when she joined the army. He rationalised he had nothing to feel guilty about.
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