Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 -

Secret Services

by Scott Church
Published: Jul 27, 2014
Words: 26,701
Category: general
Orientation: F/F, F/M
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The destiny of Nations
Was made within those schools
Where slipper cane and tawse awaited
Fools who broke the rules
Where seeds were sown in clever minds
That smacked of risk and mystery
But shaped the ways of things to come
And changed the course of history

Friday 4 May 1984

Norma Nichols decided she liked Edinburgh. As she sat on the crowded early evening commuter train from Dunfermline to the Scottish Capital, she reflected on the events that had brought her there. The noisy ScotRail carriage rattled noisily over the iconic oxblood-red Forth Rail Bridge, and through the salt-stained window the 26 year-old watched the dazzling evening sunlight flicker brightly between the thick steel girders as the train flashed past.

Thinking back, Norma remembered the aptitude tests she had completed at the army recruitment office. Her outstanding talent for problem solving, and skills with both numbers and words had set her aside from the rest of the applicants they processed there, and as a result she was immediately head-hunted for special duties. Although she still had to complete a gruellingly hard condensed course in basic infantry soldiering, she was soon fast-tracked into military intelligence, where the work was far more demanding on the brain cells than brawn. Now stationed at historic Pitreavie Castle in Fyfe, the pretty young lass found her situation both exciting and satisfying, despite having to interact with an older generation of academics. It was an unusual place of work, where she found her colleagues to be rather eccentric and unpredictable. The only down-side to the job was the fact that she had yet to become acquainted with anyone she would class as a friend, and there were times when she felt a little lonely and wondered if she was missing out on the companionship of normal service life.

Following the success of the Falklands Campaign, the nearby naval dockyard at Rosyth had been a hive of activity, with battle-weary ships needing refits or replacement upon their return from the stormy South Atlantic. There was also a nightmare of lost documentation, which presented a real threat to national security. On top of that a national miner's strike was in full flow as well as threatened industrial action from refuse collectors, tanker drivers and firemen, to name but a few. To Norma, it felt like she was at the cutting edge of military intelligence. The work she was doing addressed threats which could come from any part of society, and as she rode the train home to the city, she looked out at the view over the Firth of Forth, and allowed her mind to clear of all the facts and figures she had been processing at work. To her right, framed by the giant suspension bridge, Norma watched a sleek battleship-grey frigate steaming out of the nearby naval base, and to her right, framed by the Fife and Lothian coastlines, the white-capped waves of the cold-looking Firth of Forth heralded the choppy North Sea beyond.