Summary: A/U scene for episode 5.1.
A/N: Ben Richards wrote ep 5.1 and I have borrowed some of the dialogue. If you recognize it, Ben wrote it. Spooks belongs to Kudos and the BBC.
Arthur: 'All my life I've had this strange feeling that there's something big and sinister going on in the world.'
Slartibartfast: 'No, that's perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the universe gets that.'
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Late Wednesday afternoon
Adam spotted Colin walking out of the tech suite and he walked quickly to intercept him before Colin disappeared into the shadows as he was prone to do.
'Colin, tomorrow I need you to run obs on the activities of some of Collingwood's men. Unfortunately we're short staffed and I don't have anyone else I can send with you,' Adam explained.
'That's not proper protocol,' Colin pointed out.
'I know, and if I had another person to spare they would be there with you, but I don't. I've been trying to borrow officers from Section A but they are just as busy with what's been happening,' Adam explained.p
Colin trusted that Adam wouldn't ask him to do a solo obs unless there wasn't another choice so he nodded his head to show his assent.
They spent the next 10 minutes discussing the details of the surveillance activity. Adam was nearly through the door when Colin called out to him.
'Adam, before you leave I have a question,' he said.
Adam returned to Colin's station and listened to what he had to say. After a moment, Adam agreed to Colin's request, even though it was against protocol.
Thursday, early afternoon
Colin was glad he'd grabbed the crossword puzzle before he left the Grid earlier today. Though he was tracking quite a few different signals, at the moment it was quiet and he decided that a bit of time spent on his crossword wouldn't be a problem. He'd worked his way once through all the clues, plugging in the answers he easily knew before starting over again.
He wondered aloud about one of the clues, not realizing Malcolm could hear him.
'Zebra Three?' Malcom asked.
'Hello, Big Bird. It's tricky, this five across,' Colin responded. The computer began to beep so he turned his attention to one of the monitors, trying to understand what he was seeing. 'That's strange. It's giving them access to flight numbers and airlines. Pretty sophisticated kit.' The realization hit Colin a moment later. 'Oh, my God. They're mapping the heavens. Malcolm, I've hacked into their computer, and you're not gonna believe this. They're focusing on two flights in particular, simulating taking them off their normal flight path. It's a dress rehearsal for crashing two passenger planes into each other over London. Malcolm, are you still there?'
There was no response from Malcolm.
Colin tried to connect with the Grid again. 'Alpha One, what's your status? This is Zebra Three.' There was still no response when the door to the obs van opened to reveal two of Collingwood's men, who after a moment motioned for him to exit the van.
'Hello, Zebra Three,' the man Colin knew to be named Steve Jensen said. 'Spying on your own side?'
Colin looked between the men. 'It's nothing personal,' he replied, trying to keep his voice even. 'We're just keeping tabs on everyone and everything these days.'
Jensen nodded. 'Yeah, well, I suppose it figures.'
'Not a hanging offence, but I imagine some wrists will be slapped,' the other man, Lee MacKenzie, added.
Colin's mind raced as he tried to evaluate the situation. These men would likely assume him to be just a geek without any field skills, so he tried to reinforce that belief. 'That's a pretty impressive piece of kit you've got there. Is it the Bostock model?' he asked.
Jensen's expression remained unchanged. 'Well, there's no flies on you, Zebra Three.'
'My name's Colin.'
'Well, it's a murky old world up there, Colin,' MacKenzie said. 'CIA rendition flights, drug deliveries, ghost planes.'
'Got to keep an eye on it all,' Jensen followed.
Colin nodded. 'Sure.'
Jensen took a breath. 'What happens now, Colin, is that we're gonna have to let our boss have a quick chat with you.'
Colin knew that going anywhere with these men would not end well. 'Well, he should really speak to my boss.'
'Let's let him hear it from the zebra's mouth,' Jensen countered.
MacKenzie waved Colin away from the obs van and Colin complied, after he'd turned and closed the door behind him. Jensen led the way while MacKenzie walked even with Colin. In the distance he could see a car and Colin knew his opportunity to get away from these men would come to an end once he climbed into their car.
The three men walked in silence with only the sounds of the forest for accompaniment. Colin studied Jensen as they walked and assumed that both men were armed. It was telling however, to Colin, that neither had searched him.
Harry walked into his office and was greeted with a ringing phone. 'Yes?'
'Harry, it's Colin.' Harry heard him pause to take a breath and with it was Colin's effort to get his breathing under control. 'Collingwood's men just tried to abduct me from the obs van but I've managed to get away. I'm heading back to the Grid now.'
Harry could hear the fear in Colin's voice. 'Are you okay? Do you need medical attention?'
'No, but they will.'
Harry's brow displayed his confusion. 'What happened out there, Colin? Who was it?'
Colin took another deep breath. 'It was Jensen and MacKenzie, Harry, the ones we've been surveilling all week. I, I shot them. They're not dead; I only shot them in the leg,' Colin explained.
Harry's first question was why Colin was armed to begin with but given what happened it wasn't the time to raise the issue. 'I'll send Special Branch out to pick up the men.'
'Malcolm can give them the coordinates. I left them not far from the van but they did have their own car parked nearby,' Colin explained.
'I'll apprise them of the situation. I'll have Ruth track the obs van so we can watch your progress. Call us if anything comes up, Colin. We'll see you soon,' Harry said before replacing the receiver. He rested against his desk for a moment, having been caught off guard that Collingwood would have his men attack one of Section D's officers. He lifted the phone and dialed Adam, requesting that he return to the Grid immediately and warning him to be careful.
That done, Harry glanced around the Grid but didn't see Malcolm anywhere. A junior analyst directed him to a small conference room where Malcolm and Ruth were reviewing files related to the terror attacks, and Harry apprised them of the situation.
Forty-five minutes later, Harry and Adam were waiting outside the lift doors when they opened to reveal Colin.
'You okay?' Adam asked.
'Yes,' he replied as he handed two guns to Adam. Harry noticed the shake of his hands.
'Happy you're safe, Colin. Let's go in my office,' Harry directed and upon arrival he poured two fingers of his best scotch. Colin lingered near the door until Harry motioned for him to take a seat before handing him the glass. Adam entered last and closed the door.
'Take your time, Colin, but I need you to tell us what happened,' Harry prompted, leaning back against the front of his desk. Adam remained near the door, not wanting to crowd Colin.
After a few sips of whisky Colin found his voice. 'Malcolm had just checked in with me when I saw what they were doing – mapping flight patterns of commercial aircraft. It appeared to be a trial run for crashing two passenger planes over London. Then the comms went dead and the van door opened. It was Jensen and MacKenzie, the ones I was monitoring and who we were watching yesterday.' Colin paused for another sip.
'They made me get out of the van and commented about spying on the same side, then said I needed to talk to their boss. I told them their boss should really talk to my boss, but they motioned for to walk with them towards their vehicle. Didn't need to be a field agent to know that they weren't going to let me go so I pulled out my pistol and shot MacKenzie in the leg. Once he was down I made Jensen drop to his knees and I searched them both. Jensen had a gun in the small of his back; that's one of them that I handed to Adam. Then I shot Jensen in the leg and took off running. I got into the van, locked the doors and drove like hell.' He looked up at Harry with a panicked look on his face. 'Will I be charged with shooting them?' he asked.
'Not if I have anything to say about it,' Harry responded quickly. 'Sorry to say but that's not our most pressing matter.'
'Harry, we need to gather, off the Grid, to discuss this,' Adam interjected, having stepped further into Harry's office.
Harry nodded in agreement so Adam continued. 'Let's meet at my place; I need to get home to Wes anyway. But no one goes alone. I'll get Zaf back here and we'll travel in pairs. I'll order dinner in for everyone,' he added. 'Harry, you should get an update from Special Branch before we leave; see if they were able to pick up Jensen and MacKenzie.'
'I'll do that. Adam, take Colin with you and once Zaf is back I'll have my security officer drive Ruth, Malcolm, Zaf and I to your place.' He turned back to Colin. 'Are you okay to leave with Adam? You'll need to write up a report about what happened but I suspect you could do with a bit of time to yourself,' Harry suggested.
Colin nodded in agreement. 'I'll take a laptop so I can write up my report from Adam's place. I'd rather get it down on paper,' he said as he stood from his seat, handing the now empty glass back to Harry.
'Okay. Before you go, why were you armed? Given what happened I'm thankful you were but it's not standard procedure, especially for technical officers.' Harry's tone of voice held no anger but demanded an answer.
'I… I had a bad feeling about those men. I can't pinpoint anything specific, Harry. I made the request of Adam, given that I would be in the van alone and the remote location of where I would be,' Colin explained.
Adam confirmed the statement. 'Colin made the request, outlining his concerns about the solo assignment, as he said. I decided it was a reasonable request. I've seen his scores from the firing range and his firearms assessment scores and felt confident that he wouldn't use his weapon unless absolutely necessary.'
'Alright. I'll check with Special Branch while you two get ready to leave. Oh and Colin, go find Malcolm and Ruth before you leave. They were quite worried for you,' Harry said before the pair left his office. As he sat down to check in with Special Branch, he realized that Five's motto of 'Regnum Defende' took on a whole new meaning when he was protecting it from forces within.