For some reason or other the powers that be have arranged for the admin department to receive personal protection training. Lets just put that in plain English, someone thought that it would be a good idea for the people who file the reports all day and collate data, to get firearms training, our people…. You couldn’t make this up, you really couldn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, this is an absolute must if ever you get the chance. It’s just that the admin team, myself included, aren’t the most adept when it comes to anything remotely practical. It’s not that they’re intellectually challenged, half of them have genius level I.Q.s, it’s just that the practical elements of….well… everything escape them.
Take Colin, last week he was working the night shift and decided to boil some milk for coco, this is Great Britain after all. He used the kettle. I mean, it’s sort of logical, you use it to boil water, why not other liquids. However there’s a really good reason why we don’t, have you ever smelt a kettle that’s been used to boil milk ? I have, the rest of the office has.…..and the floor above. I wouldn’t mind but it’s not the first time he’s done this…..and now they’re giving him a firearm!
We arrived at Hereford in the company minibus, the S.A.S are hosting todays program, well if your going to be trained it pays to go to the best. I wonder if anyone has actually tried to ring the number for “Happy Vally Mystery Tours” that’s emblazoned on the twelve seater?
Looking at the array of packer macs, zip up cardigans and wooly hats disembarking, I should feel a surge of pride with the amount of detail they’ve all put into their cover identities……..but this is their usual attire, for them, it’a like the seventies never ended.
The coach is part of a fleet we use for moving people and equipment. Drive a blacked out SUV around London and it’s guaranteed to draw the attention of the paparazzi from miles around. Do the same thing in a sixty seater going on a mystery tour and no one bats an eyelid, that’s what’s wrong with people today, no one takes the time to go on a mystery tour. We do, last time we came back with three Iranian scientists, it was all voluntary, we didn’t spirit them away or anything, they asked to defect.
The reason for the coach was the missiles components they’d kindly brought with them, which was thoughtful. Commercial airlines can be really fussy about take on luggage these days, anyway everyone had a great time and we only lost one person, and by lost I mean, misplaced, the Turkish authorities were very understanding and only kept them for a week.
Everyone files into the duty office for the mandatory health and safety and disclaimers. I note there is an underlined section covering accidental death, I am used to forms, they are my bread and butter, but when you have to sign this type of thing, it all becomes a little real.
The troopers who’ll be responsible for us are less than impressed. They say very little, but their sideways glances and stone faces shout volumes; I don’t think the superhero lunch boxes and backpacks doted around the room are helping.
The range consists of a gallery, made up of twelve individual booths, each facing a man size targets twenty-five metres away. The Pistol Captain lays down the law and directs everyone to their allotted booth. Eventually everyone settles down and starts producing some half decent scores. The troopers assisting us with technique seem generally impressed. I like to congratulate them on their instruction, but I suspect that its more to do with ‘Call of Duty’ than anything else.
Peter, one of our armoury technicians asks to leave the line. Although not strictly part of the admin team, they’re only down the corridor and lets face it, don’t get out much and it would have been rude not to invite them. He returns a few minutes later with a thermos flask and disappears back into his booth before unleashing hell.
The first any of us knew anything about it, was a blinding flash as a 4 inch mini missile streaked down range, before exploding and decimating half the targets. The remains of which, drifted slowly to the ground as silence gives way to ringing ears.
Peter emerges with a broad grin,
“Pinch too much propellant and not enough punch….apart from that…”
The Pistol Captain gives Peter a deadly look.
“Its a 10mm recoilless thermos flask….capable of firing high explosive and armour piecing rounds.”
“And you made this ?”
The silence is deafening.
“Clear the range, get this man some proper targets……tell me…why is it tartan ?”
“I am a traditionalist.”
And just like that, it would now seem that we are suppling anti-personnel picnic hampers to the S.A.S.