It was supposed to be slashy, slashy gen, with copious expletives and more references than you could shake a stick at. There's little bits of Serpico, The Professionals, Get Carter, Die Hard... lots and lots and lots.
I just couldn't get this to work and that makes me sad, because the potential, oh, the potential makes my eyes light up. 7,950 words.
Better Beware, Better Take Care
Sergeant Nicholas Angel of the Sandford Police Service was in Manchester with his partner PC Daniel Butterman following a lead on explosives when he was run over. Normally, he would have left the capture of a criminal to the various regional authorities, but this was a special case. The culprit had blown up the Sandford police station for the second time. And that was uncalled for.
The hit had been quick and relatively painless, the only thing coursing through his mind being flickering images of his Uncle Derek standing about with several youths, interspersed with the glint of sunlight on the bonnet of a patrol car, and overlaid with a tune he could only faintly remember mixed with the bleep and churn of hospital machinery.
When he opened his eyes, Angel stared up at an oddly blue sky. He was positive it had been overcast when he’d got the call from Danny stating that he’d accidentally got himself stabbed and was rapidly bleeding out from a four inch wound to his abdomen. Angel sat up quickly, launching himself into a standing position within the next second, intent on rescue.
“Sir? Are you alright?” a voice asked. Angel whirled around to see a man in an old-fashioned police uniform approach.
“I am perfectly fine, thank you,” Angel replied, staring at the man. He narrowed his eyes. “Off to a costume party?”
“Are you? What were you doing on the ground, then, Sir?”
It was at this moment that Angel really took a look at his surroundings. Where once he had been standing in a slip-road, his mobile in his hand, now he was standing in barren wasteland near buildings that looked like they had come to rack and ruin. Angel’s focus shifted from the red brick to the brown eyes of the blue-clothed man standing in front of him.
“Where am I?”
“Manchester. Where else? Have you been drinking, Sir?”
“I don’t drink on duty.” Angel twitched his head towards the early model car indiscriminately parked several metres to his right. “What’s with the rust-bucket?” he asked, somewhat unfairly. The car was actually in surprisingly good condition, considering its age.
“I don’t know. You appear to have had some kind of accident. Let’s take a look, shall we?”
The ‘police officer’ wandered over to the car – an 1967 Singer Chamois Coupé – taking out a box of assorted odds and ends. Angel watched as he opened up a leather wallet and grabbed at some papers, a grin forming. He didn’t like the look of this man. He was too friendly. His moustache was suspicious. The fact that he was wearing a uniform that had long since been defunct set Angel’s alarm bells ringing – and his alarms were almost always on the money.
“Sorry to have questioned you, DI Angel.”
“DI? I’m a Sergeant.”
“No you’re not. Says right here – DI Nicholas Angel. You’ve transfer papers from Stow-on-the-Wold.”
“I’ve never even been to Stow-on-the-Wold,” Angel said, taking action and forcefully walking over. “Look, if this is some sort of elaborate practical joke set up by Danny and the Andys, you can tell them it’s not terribly amusing.”
“Danny and the Andys? Is that some sort of pop band or something?”
“Alright, then. I suppose you’ll want to come with me to the police station.”
“Well, you will anyway, unless you know how to get there yourself? I don’t think your car here’s going to make it.”
Angel’s voice rose in pitch with every word. “That is not my car. I don’t want to go to the police station. I want you to stop playing around. And I desperately need to take a piss.”
“There are toilets at the police station, Sir. Do you want to grab some of the other stuff from the car?”
Angel bent in at the window, retrieving a faded black attaché case and a figurine of a swan. As he pulled back he caught sight of himself in the mirror. He dropped the case straight onto his foot, jumped around, and then went back to staring at himself. He was wearing a purple pinstriped button-up shirt with a collar the size of blackpool tunnel, the top button undone so a wide stretch of his neck was exposed and his St Christopher’s Medal glinted in the light. This was overlaid by a blue safari-style shirt. His stomach churning, Angel looked down and saw flared out trousers the same colour as the safari shirt and Cuban heeled boots. Had they drugged him? They must have drugged him.
Angel didn’t know what was going on, but he knew he had little choice in following the man with the ridiculous bobby’s hat. He was still waiting on Danny to pop up at any moment and tell him this was a joke – an early birthday present, or an elaborate scheme to get him to agree to the two week movie marathon he’d been raving on about for the past month.
“My name’s PC George Mallows, by the way,” the man said in a cheerful tone. “You know, you remind me of someone at the station. I don’t suppose you’re related in some way? Different last names, but you could be cousins?”
Angel thought he might as well humour the man. “Who’s that, then?”
“DI Sam Tyler.”
“Never heard of him.”
“Probably just as well. He’s a bit cuckoo-like.”
Angel couldn’t help but admit that it must have been an extremely expensive operation. As he sat on the back of the tandem bicycle with the venerable PC Mallows steering the way, he couldn’t help but stare in amazement at the period dress and dated cars. Oh, they’d called in a load of favours for this, a fucketload, as Danny would say. Angel wished he understood why. It was clearly the early 70s and the details were astounding. He kept his eyes on the lookout for satellite dishes and at one point he thought he saw one, but it turned out to be a tree.
They stopped in front of a monstrosity that dominated the skyline. It was small windows and corrugated concrete and Angel had never seen such a hostile building. It was in complete opposition to both the sleek glass efficiency of London and the small rural comfort of Sandford.
PC Mallows took the attaché case from Angel’s hand and smiled. “I’ll have these sent up for you.”
The woman behind the desk at the station was frankly terrifying. Angel couldn’t stop gawping at the upsweep of her hair, the severity of her make-up.
“Who’s the runt?” she asked, flicking a hand in Angel’s direction.
“Oooh, an Angel? Better go tell the WPCs, they’ve been asking for a call from heaven for a while.”
Angel smiled insincerely. “Very original. I’ve never had anyone refer to heaven around me ever before, and I can’t wait until you ask to see my wings.”
“Go straight down the corridor, turn left until you get to the lift, go up two floors and turn right, walk until you come to a wall, turn right again and you’ll be there.”
“CID. And I’d hurry if I were you. You don’t want to keep DCI Hunt waiting.”
Angel huffed out a sigh and followed the directions he was given, stopping off at the men’s room on the way. He continued his journey until he was standing in a room which clearly had a smog machine operating. The acrid smoke made him cough and wretch, and for a second, he thought he might need to crawl into a foetal position on the floor. He was halfway through hacking up a lung when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Angel wheezed, his face steadily growing beetroot red.
“You don’t look fine. D’you need a glass of water or something?”
Angel shook his head. He straightened up and looked at the man who was gazing at him with no small amount of curiosity. He was dressed in a similar fashion to Angel, with a few notable exceptions.
“Yeah, that’s me,” Tyler said, his eyes sweeping over Angel in quick assessment. “You must be DI Angel.”
Angel opened his mouth to correct Tyler, but he was already walking away. Angel stared at the back clad in leather, wondering how it was that he’d got lumped with dozens of pockets, when he could have had a cool jacket.
Tyler turned around. “Are you coming, or what?”
Walking into the office, Angel was further assaulted by tobacco. He fanned the smoke away and stared at the men staring at him.
“There are regulations against this sort of thing, as specified under section two of the Occupational Health and Safety laws, paragraph six.”
Tyler quirked an eyebrow. “They’re not enforced.”
Tyler stopped and gestured to a chair. Angel sat down, crossing his arms against his chest and leaning back to stare at Tyler. Tyler was looking through the papers Mallows had taken from the coupé.
“So, how much did he pay you, then?” Angel asked, a smirk creeping onto his face.
“Yes. How much? He must have paid you a lot to get you to wear those awful 70s clothes. Is this Danny’s strange and convoluted way of telling me he’s won the lottery?”
“I’m sorry, Angel,” Tyler said, looking up, “but I don’t know what you’re on about. Can you tell me how long you’ve been a DI?”
Angel narrowed his eyes. “Look, as I told PC Mallows, I’m not a DI. I’m a Sergeant.”
Tyler pointed at the papers on the desk and picked up the leather wallet sitting next to them.
“It says here you’re a DI.”
“Well, it’s wrong. I’ve never wanted to be in plain clothes.”
“I want to keep the streets clean, and I do that best by being on them.”
Tyler raised an eyebrow and turned to the identification in his hand.
“I assure you I am a Sergeant. You will see there that my badge number is 777.”
Tyler’s eyelids flickered as he searched for the number. He looked up at Angel, the expression in his eyes unrecognisable. When he spoke, his voice was rasped and barely audible.
Angel leaned forward. “Sorry?”
Tyler extended his hand and waited for Angel to take the leather wallet before standing and walking backwards, over to the doors of the enclosed office-within-an-office. Angel watched him with a vague sense of uneasiness, rolling his head from one side to the next.
He looked around the room as he waited. There were several desks, some stacked high with folders, one or two graced only by a cigarette lighter. None of the desks appeared to be in any order, just placed haphazardly, wherever anyone chose to sit. The men sitting at the desks did not in any way look like police officers. They were all mostly too old, too overweight and too apathetic.
Angel heard a crashing sound come from the inner sanctum. He tentatively stood and arched forward as the doors came swinging open and Tyler was shoved into the open space by a bulkier man who Angel presumed was DCI Hunt.
“I’m not listening to any more of your faffing on, Sam. I’ve better things to do with my time.”
“It’s not like you ever listen in the first place.”
“Whatever you’ve a problem with, sort it yourself.”
Tyler placed his hands on Hunt’s shoulders and pushed him. “Nice to know you’re so supportive.”
Hunt made a low guttural sound and pushed Tyler back, grabbing onto his arm and dragging him into a headlock. Tyler squirmed under the grip, punching short jabs into Hunt’s gut. Eventually, Hunt released Tyler with a snarl and stood firm in place with his hands on his hips. Tyler stood directly opposite him, his arms crossed.
The tension between the two men was palpable. For a second, Angel thought that Hunt might just extend his jaw and bite Tyler’s head off. Or something else. The intensity with which they were staring at each other was unsettling and rampant energy was positively crackling in the air between them.
“Are you two…?” Angel began.
“What?” Tyler asked, turning to scowl at Angel, the line between his eyebrows deep and his mouth a tight, thin line.
Hunt glanced at Angel and his expression changed from ferocity to amusement.
“That’s DI Angel?”
Tyler closed his eyes and sighed. “Obviously you haven’t heard a word I’ve said, Gene.”
“I think he must be your long lost brother,” Hunt said with a chuckle.
Tyler looked quickly at Angel and then back at Hunt.
“He doesn’t look a thing like me.”
“He does, Sammy-boy. Same set of the face, same pole up the jacksy.”
“He’s got blue eyes!”
“So? My brother had brown. And look at mine, they’re green.”
“Green. I think I know the colour of my own eyes, Tyler.”
“He has tiny little ears and I don’t.”
Hunt opened his mouth to speak and stopped. “Okay, fine. He doesn’t look a thing like you.” He rocked back on his loafers as Tyler began to nod. “Except for all of those ways he does.”
“I am here, you know,” Angel said, perplexed, insulted and a mite defensive.
The woman from the front desk came blustering into the room. She ignored Angel and Tyler and went straight for Hunt.
“Guv, there’s been a report of a break-in on Oldham Road. Apparently, a whole heap of chemicals have gone missing.”
“Right. Let’s roll. Tyler and Angel, you’re with me. Ray, grab Chris and Cartwright from the canteen and take one of the spare cars.”
“Yes, Guv,” a man to Angel’s right said. He stared at Angel with a glare that reminded him of the Andys, and he had a horrendous moustache like them too. Angel didn’t have long to think about it as Hunt and Tyler stormed out of CID. He picked up the pace, the boots he was lumbered with uncomfortable and loud against the concrete floor.
This was insanity. He knew it was insanity. He bit down on the inside of his cheek, trying to cause enough pain to snap him out of it. This was much too elaborate to be one of Danny’s practical jokes, even if he had won the lottery and called in decades’ old debts. The Andys didn’t have the organisational prowess to pull off such a feat. This was either real, Angel was dreaming, or this was Angel’s own personal hell.
When they came upon a bronze beast of an automobile, Angel decided conclusively that it was hell. He climbed into the back of the Ford Cortina Mark III and longed for a time when life was simple – a few sea mines here, a few falling church cornerstones there, and a whole heap of paperwork.
When he exited the car, Angel was paler than usual. He glanced at the Cortina like a shell-shocked soldier, his chin starting to feel heavy and out of place.
“What's the matter, Angel? Never taken a shortcut before?”
Angel’s eyes focussed on Hunt and he shook his head numbly. It took a moment for him to realise that Hunt had already walked away and Tyler was staring at him in concerned confusion.
Angel found his voice. “Sorry. That was just… does he always drive like that?”
Tyler gave him a sympathetic smile. “Yeah.”
“I’ve been involved in car chases less terrifying.”
“You get used to it after a while.”
“No. That’s a lie. You never get used to it and you’ll never want to.”
Tyler remained looking at him. It seemed to Angel that Tyler was trying to analyse him as a complete jigsaw before mixing up all the pieces and this disconcerted him more than a little, because he was used to being the one with the analytical eye.
“Oi! Are you bastards coming, or do I have to come back there and drag you here myself?”
Angel extended his hand. “We better…”
Inside the building there were at least twenty people running around in different directions. The hustle and bustle was distracting.
Angel stepped forward. “What we need to do is find out the quantity and quality of the chemicals taken, organise potential witnesses and secure the crime scene, whilst liasing with the press, releasing a positive statement that asserts we will track down any and all harmful substances.”
Hunt opened his eyes wide. “Oh God, not another one.”
Angel frowned and was about to respond when the other officers arrived. The man that Angel realised must be Ray was flanked by a smiling young woman and a cheerful looking guy who held out his hand with a grin.
Angel took the man’s hand. “Hi.”
“DC Chris Skelton. And this is WDC Annie Cartwright.”
Cartwright gave Skelton a pointed stare. “I could’ve told him my own name, Chris.”
“Yeah, I know, but I was doing that thing the boss taught me, you know, introducing others to create a positively charged atmosphere.”
Angel raised his eyebrows and turned away to find Tyler’s eyes on him. He waved sarcastically and Tyler looked in the opposite direction, smoothing his hands down his jacket into his pockets. Angel walked over.
“Why do you keep staring at me?”
“Yes you do. Is it my tiny little ears?”
Tyler scowled and was obviously pleased when Hunt began barking orders. He disappeared quickly from sight and Angel was left wondering what to do. It didn’t look like any attempts were being made to cordon off the area and no members of the press had yet arrived.
Hunt, who was standing by a short queue of people and glaring at Angel in outrage began shouting. “Angel, get over here and start interviewing these employees. And be quick about it. I don’t want my pub-time cut into because some rookie DI’s got a time management problem.”
At first, Angel wanted to question how Hunt knew about such concepts as time management. He didn’t look like the kind of man who would embrace such ideas. But something told him this was Tyler’s influence, and he didn’t know whether to be thankful or worried.
He stalked over to the steadily forming line of people, but realised he was missing a vital piece of equipment. He rounded back on himself and approached Skelton.
“Call me Chris.”
“DC Skelton, do you have a notepad I could borrow? I appear to have, uh, misplaced mine.”
“Sure thing, boss,” Skelton said, taking a notepad out of his pocket and handing it to Angel. “Hey, are you from London?”
“Originally I am, yes.”
“I’ve never been to London, what’s it like?”
“Big. I’ll give you a more thorough description when I have more time.”
“Please, call me DI Angel,” Angel said, placing emphasis on ‘DI’. It felt foreign to him. Wrong.
Angel went back to the line and selected the person he thought looked most forthcoming. He set up a space in a small office area to conduct his interviews and asked the man to sit across from him. Angel flipped the top of the notepad over and steadied his pen above the page.
“Can I have your full name, please?”
“Okay, Mr Lynch, can you tell me what you saw?”
“I didn’t see much. I came in at six and started work in my office at the back. After about an hour I came out to check on the timesheet we keep out here and I noticed the door to the storeroom was open. There was some spillage on the floor, but when I went to look, no-one else had clocked on,” Lynch said. As he gestured, Angel noticed he had five fingers and a thumb on one hand. He tried to stop focussing on it and flicked his gaze up to Lynch’s face.
“And what were you doing starting so early?”
“I always start early. I need to leave early, see, to take care of my wife. She’s got a carer during the day, but can’t find anyone to be with her past four o’clock. She’s an invalid.”
Angel frowned. “You mean she’s physically challenged?”
“I’d say so. Can’t walk. Been in a wheelchair for five years.”
Angel wrote this down, the words sweeping across the page in neat and orderly handwriting.
“What did you do next?”
“I went to have a look at the storeroom and discovered the two missing barrels. That’s when I called up Mr Black.”
“He’s your boss?”
“Yeah,” Lynch confirmed, nodding. “Anyway, by this time, everyone else started turning up and it became a right bloody mess.”
“Which chemicals were taken?”
“Only some hydrogen peroxide. There wasn’t much else to take.”
“Were you the one to contact the police?”
“No, that was Mr Black. I wanted to wait on him before doing anything. Didn’t want to cause a fuss where none was needed.”
Angel finished writing and smiled gratefully at Lynch. “Thank you for your time. Could I have your contact details should I need to question you further?”
Lynch gave Angel an address and telephone number and Angel was about to collect another employee from the line when he noticed that both Skelton and Cartwright were speaking to the employees as they were standing together. He moved towards Cartwright. She glanced at him with a warm smile, but didn’t stop speaking. He tapped her on the shoulder and she stopped.
Angel leaned forward and spoke quietly into Cartwright’s ear. “Don’t you think you should find somewhere else to take each witness?”
“Sam used to say that too, but it’s quicker this way. Most of them don’t know anything.”
“But they can hear what each other is saying. They can match testimony. It’s quite likely at least one of these people is our potential suspect.”
“Don’t think so, Sir.”
“Look, if we’re going to do this, we can at least do it properly,” Angel said, his voice taking on a staccato rhythm. He singled out Lynch. “Mr Lynch, could WDC Cartwright please use your office for her enquiries?” Lynch nodded and Angel directed his attention back to Cartwright. “There. I’ll give DC Skelton somewhere else and then maybe we can do this efficiently and logically.”
Cartwright opened her eyes wide. “I don’t see how taking up time moving location makes anything more efficient, but if that’s what you want…” She turned back to the person she had been speaking to and directed them to Lynch’s office with an outstretched arm.
Angel went to Skelton and stared, incredulous. “Are you writing on your hand?”
“Well, yeah. Have to. I gave you my notepad, boss.”
Angel’s eye twitched and he quickly tore out several pages, throwing them at Skelton’s chest. “See that room, there? That is where you ask your questions.”
Angel looked about him, feeling more than slightly out of place and more than slightly concerned. Hydrogen peroxide had been used in the manufacture of the explosives he and Danny had been tracking down before whatever this was had occurred. Angel wanted more than anything to be able to sit down and ask himself what was really going on here, but he still had witnesses to interview and he couldn’t help but think that he needed to solve this case in order to sort it all out.
Angel returned to the queue and selected another person to interview. This was someone who had apparently only arrived a few minutes before the police had, working a later shift because he also earned his keep as a milkman. The next person Angel chose was hostile, appeared to have no words in his vocabulary other than expletives, and certainly wasn’t telling Angel if he knew anything. Several of Angel’s interviews took less than a minute and a tiny part of him realised Cartwright had perhaps been right.
Soon, Angel noticed that Hunt, Ray and Tyler had returned from wherever they had gone – he presumed the storeroom – and were interviewing employees as well. Hunt alternated between barking questions at the men and ingratiating himself amongst them. Ray tried the same approach, but didn’t quite pull it off. Tyler adopted the same professional techniques Angel did. Tyler had stopped staring at Angel and was now purposefully ignoring him, looking away even when Angel tried to grab his attention.
When they had spoken to everyone and collected outside, Hunt proclaimed that it was lunchtime and they were off down the pub.
“Actually, I think we need to go through these statements first,” Angel said, pointing to his borrowed notepad.
“I agree,” Tyler added.
None of the other officers appeared to cherish the thought. Hunt looked at them all and clearly picked up on the distinct tone of apathy. Skelton was clutching his hand to his stomach as if to indicate his hunger, and Ray was chewing malevolently in Angel’s direction.
“Fine. You two go off in the car Ray brought and we’ll take the Cortina and go have lunch, sound okay by you?”
“Here you go,” Skelton said, handing over his pages and making his way to the Cortina. Cartwright followed him, a small sympathetic look directed at Tyler as she placed her notepad into his hand. Ray chucked his on the floor and Hunt put his directly into one of Tyler’s pockets, patting it with a quick smile.
“We’ll see you in an hour or two.”
As they drove off, Angel raised his eyebrows. “Are they always like that?”
Tyler rubbed a hand over his brow, looking decidedly out of sorts. “Not always. Often. This isn’t a high priority case, so, you know, they don’t see any need to rush around.”
“It should be a high priority case. Hydrogen peroxide was taken.”
“You’re worried a whole bunch of Marilyn Monroe impersonators are gonna be roaming around Manchester?”
“Hydrogen peroxide can be used in the construction of explosives,” Angel said, tilting his head in the manner he always did when delivering important information. “Hydrogen peroxide and acetone are combined to produce a reaction which creates acetone peroxide, a highly volatile explosive substance.”
Tyler arched forward. “Shit. Why didn’t you say that before?”
“Well, I would have, but it didn’t seem like anyone was going to listen to me.”
“I would’ve listened to you.”
“Before or during intermittently staring at or ignoring me?”
Tyler didn’t answer. He opened the door to the unmarked police car and motioned for Angel to do the same. He didn’t drive like Hunt, but it didn’t take much time to make it to the station and before long they were sitting alone in CID; it appeared Hunt and his tight knit team were not the only ones who had gone to lunch. They flicked through the notepads and wrote important details down to be synthesised into a timeline. It was Angel’s idea, but the spark in Tyler’s eyes when he suggested it gave him the impression he had been thinking along the same lines.
They had been sitting across from each other for twenty minutes, working silently, when Tyler finally put his notepad to the side and lunged forward.
“What year are you from?” he asked urgently, his eyes wider than Angel had thought they could go.
Angel stared at him, unsure if this was some sort of trick. He didn’t want it to be a trick. He knew that something about Tyler was strange. But his natural survival ability told him to play his cards close to his chest and it had never failed him before.
“What do you mean? I’m not a wine.”
“What year were you in before you turned up here? I need to know. Don’t you get it, Angel? I’m like you. I’m not from around here.”
“You sound Mancunian enough.”
There was desperation in Tyler’s eyes as he gripped the table. “I’m from 2006.”
Angel examined Tyler carefully. “Why should I believe you?”
“I’m telling the truth.”
“Okay, name me a modern author. Who wrote the last novel you read in 2006?”
Tyler rolled his eyes and expelled a deep breath, but he answered in agitation. “Dan Brown.”
“Oh God, please tell me you’re joking? Not that hack. His characterisation is made of thin balsa wood, his plots are convoluted and hackneyed, he goes through serious bouts of random point of view switching, and he couldn’t write his way out of a paper bag!”
Sam ducked his head. “I don’t usually read for pleasure. Reports and articles take up most of my time.”
“I can tell.”
“Alright then, literary genius, who’s your favourite author?” Tyler asked, his tone partly relieved and partly indignant.
Angel gestured in exagerration, his voice high in frequency. “If you must know, it’s JK Rowling.”
Tyler laughed, the tone warm and throaty.
“… do you need someone to polish your wand?”
Angel smiled, despite himself. He picked up a pen from the desk and started twirling it between his fingers, watching the movement.
“I’m from 2007. And I knew straight away that you were as lost as I am,” Angel said quietly. Tyler looked up at him with an intensity which was at odds with his sniggering.
“You did? How could you tell?”
“I am a detective.”
Angel placed the pen on the desk. “So what’s going on?”
Tyler huffed out a sigh. “I don’t know. I had an accident, and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home.”
“Maybe you’re all three?” Angel offered, still twirling the pen in his fingers.
“Maybe you’re mad, in a coma and back in time?”
Tyler bent his head and brushed his hand through his hair. “You have no idea how often it feels like that.”
“I think I can guess. One minute, I’m standing by the Mancunian Way, talking on my mobile, the next I’m in a wasteland wearing half a safari suit.”
Tyler leaned forward, pointing wildly. “That’s exactly where it happened for me.”
“A time rift?”
“Stranger things have happened.”
Other members from CID started filtering in and they stopped talking, with an unspoken agreement to return to the conversation at the next available opportunity. Angel couldn’t help but notice a shift in Tyler’s posture. He sat back more, holding his limbs with less restriction. He looked almost cheerful in the manner in which he went through the notes and catalogued points of reference. But Angel was still more confused than anything else. Tyler said he’d had an accident and so had he. As blasé as he had just been, time travel was not a regular occurrence and he didn’t want it to be one in his life.
As they were putting the final touches on the timeline, Hunt, Skelton, Cartwright and Ray returned.
“What’s that then?” Hunt asked, waving his hand around vaguely.
“Everything we found out at the factory, placed in a logical and concise manner,” Tyler answered, his eyebrow raised and his lips curving into a half-smile.
“Okay. So what do we do now?”
“How about you lot have a read of what’s on this board, whilst Angel and I get something to eat?”
Angel shook his head vehemently, motioning wildly as Tyler began moving toward the doors. He had no choice but to run after Tyler, catching up with him in the hallway.
“Tyler? We need to tell them about the potential danger here.”
“Yeah, and we will, but it’s not like you can instantly make a bomb, is it? You said before that hydrogen peroxide is mixed with acetone to produce the stuff. That takes time, right?”
“Maybe, but the sooner we crack down on this, the less chance there is of everything going pear shaped.”
“So you’re not hungry then?”
“Of course I’m hungry, I haven’t eaten anything since my wheat germ smoothie this morning, but I really think we need to press on.”
“We can’t do anything until everyone’s up to speed, Angel.”
“Maybe so, but I think we should be there, explaining every-”
Tyler cut him off, leaning close. “We need to talk. In private.”
Angel balled his fists up, but nodded, and let Tyler lead the way. When the destination ended up being the canteen, Angel was thoroughly disgruntled. He cast his gaze over the formica tabletops and empty chairs in annoyance. When they were standing in front of the serving area, his disgruntled nature and annoyance escalated to full-blown fury.
“This isn’t food,” Angel whispered frenetically, looking at a half-full container of baked beans, bubbling in various directions. His eyes skimmed over what looked like day-old mash, some form of soup type-thing, toad-in-the-hole, roast beef with gravy, thick slices of luncheon meat, fish fingers, and mushy peas.
“It’s a good range today. If you’re nice, I’ll let you have some of my cabbage and apple salad.”
“You’re enjoying this, you pervert.”
Tyler grinned, his face lighting up. “Just a lot.”
Angel went for the soup, basing his choice on the joy of blind ignorance. What he didn’t know couldn’t give him food poisoning. He balanced his tray with precision as he walked to sit in the corner with Tyler.
Tyler’s newly-found relaxed attitude was counterbalanced by his excitement. He speared a piece of salad cream-coated apple with his fork and let it hover by his mouth.
“So what happened?”
Angel glanced from his soup to Tyler’s face. “I was run over.”
“Me too. Did you see the car?”
“It was too quick. It was blue, I think? Or it could have been green. Really, I wasn’t paying attention and within seconds I was here. It’s completely mad, Tyler. This doesn’t happen.”
“You’re telling me.”
“How long have you been here?” A shiver ran down Angel’s spine as he raised his spoon to his mouth.
“Months. I was beginning to think there was no escape.”
“What makes you so sure there is one now?”
Tyler stopped chewing and pointed, his expression deadly serious. “I was sent an Angel.”
Angel rolled his eyes and gave another shudder as he pushed his spoon into the congealing mass in the bowl before him. He hoped the orange stuff he could see was carrot.
“I don’t think I’m the answer to your prayers. I’m agnostic.”
“Do you hear the future?”
“I haven’t so far. Should I have?”
Tyler whitened and his cheeks hollowed. “I do.”
“Through the television mostly. And the radio.”
“This is where that ‘mad’ part comes in, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. For all I know, you’re a figment of my imagination.”
Angel scooped up more of his soup, reluctantly admitting to himself that it wasn’t the worst thing he’d had in his mouth throughout the years. “But you don’t really think that.”
“No. I don’t think I do. I don’t think I know anything anymore.”
A woman wearing an apron came up and set two bowls full of pink blancmange down on their table.
“For you and your brother, DI Tyler.”
“He’s not my brother,” Tyler said snappishly, before smoothing out the frown in his forehead and giving a soft smile. “Sorry, Gwen. It’s been a long day. Thank you very much, it’s really appreciated.”
Gwen smiled uncertainly, moving her hand forward with hesitation before sweeping an errant strand of Tyler’s hair off his forehead. Angel observed this with a smirk and pulled a comic face at Tyler as she turned and left.
“Yeah. What of it?”
Angel blinked. “Are you serious?”
“You’re a very sarcastic person, has anyone ever told you that?”
“I find it emboldens me against whatever life chooses to launch at my head during the week.”
They finished their lunch and dessert and by mutual decision made their way back to CID. Skelton was headbutting a football in Ray’s general direction, Cartwright was sitting in front of the board reading and Hunt nowhere in sight.
“So when you said we had to go because they needed to get up to speed, you really meant we had to go because you needed to see me consume some truly disgusting excuse for nutrition?”
“More bombs are gonna go off in my city and you only saw fit to tell me now?” Hunt asked, the feet up on his desk a stark contrast to the edge in his voice.
Angel let his eyes wander around the room, his glance diverted by the darts board and trophies atop a filing cabinet. The smoke which swirled outside also floated above the office walls, joined by the smoke emanating from the cigarette in Hunt’s hand.
“That’s not necessarily why the hydrogen peroxide’s gone. It’s a possibility, that’s all.”
“Well, actually, that’s why I’m in Manchester,” Angel said.
Tyler turned to Angel, his eyes narrowing. “You didn’t tell me that.”
“I was going to, but I got distracted.”
“So some nutbar with a chemistry set’s planning on making a lot of noise and nuisance.”
“With this new evidence,” Tyler said with a pointed look at Angel, “it seems likely.”
“Brilliant,” Hunt replied, swinging out of his seat and going to stand in front of his desk. “I had a look at your little collection out there and there’s one thing I don’t understand. The blokes we talked to outside said they saw someone going into the factory roughly fifteen minutes after Lynch. How’d he not hear them?”
Angel coughed into his fist and raised his finger, as if asking permission to speak. Hunt’s eyes bore holes into him.
“Lynch said he went into his office. It’s located at the back, far away from the doors in question.”
“They’re big doors, though.”
Angel frowned. “I fail to see how that has any relevance.”
“They’d make a lot of noise when opened,” Tyler supplied, nodding.
Angel wondered for a second if the two had some kind of psychic uplink, a thought only perpetuated by the fact they were staring into each other’s eyes with near obsessive persistence.
“We need to bring Lynch in for proper questioning.”
“That’s what I was thinking.”
“I’m shocked,” Angel muttered, but neither Tyler nor Hunt took much notice.
Bert Lynch was dragged into the station within the half hour, looking sour and victimised.
“I told that cop everything I know,” Lynch said, pointing at Angel’s head with a belligerence Angel was beginning to feel.
“We’re not treating you as a suspect,” Tyler said, raising his hands in a conciliatory gesture.
“We’re not? Could’ve fooled me,” Hunt bellowed, clapping Lynch on the shoulder and dragging him inside a room that was stacked high with shelves. Angel wandered in, looking at the various odds and ends assembled on the metal units.
“No need for you, Angel. I’ve got wonder boy here to keep me company.”
“I don’t care if you need me or not. I’m staying.”
Hunt set Lynch down in a seat and grabbed hold of Angel’s arm, crashing him into the nearest set of shelves. “Do you dare question my authority?”
Angel stepped away, his pulse racing hard against his neck. “No. Sorry. I’m not used to your procedure here.”
“Better off in Stow-on-theWold?”
Tyler watched the exchange with an inquisitive tilt, never moving nor saying a word. Angel flicked his head back in false gratitude, asking a non-verbal ‘what kind of thug do you have as a boss?’
“Well, then, if you wanna stay, you can stand over there. I’m the one asking the questions.”
Angel did as he was told, a truth which bubbled below his surface with a sharp nauseating anger, and watched as Hunt interrogated Lynch. When Lynch didn’t answer to Hunt’s satisfaction, he used the strength and gust of an impressive set of lungs.
Tyler eventually leaned in Hunt’s direction. “How is this helping, Gene?”
Hunt whispered, none-too-quietly. “He knows more than he’s letting on.”
Angel watched as Tyler leaned back the other way, his arms crossed. He stared at Lynch.
“What aren’t you telling us, Bert?”
Lynch bowed his head. “I might have fallen asleep.”
“Great. Why didn’t you say that before?”
“I could get fired.”
“That’s better than being accused of theft?”
“No, of course not, but I didn’t know I’d get accused, did I?”
“Men outside the factory saw others go into the building only fifteen minutes after you arrived. You were asleep by then?”
“Yeah. See what happens is I go to work, clock on, and then settle down for some rest. I’m up a lot of the night, helping the wife. I need to sleep some time.”
Tyler tapped his hands on the table thoughtfully. “Bit disingenous though, in’t it?”
“Going to work purely to sleep. How do we know you’re not lying now?”
“You have my word.”
Hunt carefully cultivated his voice to be brimming with sarcasm. “Your word? Happiness knows no bounds.”
*scene where Angel sees Hunt beating someone up*
“That’s a joke between him and himself.”
*scene where Angel and Sam wax lyrical about PC*
*scene where they visit Angel’s flat*
*scene where Angel see’s Sam’s flat.*
“Have you ever thought about getting a plant?”
“Sorry, seemed less disgusting in my head.”
“In comparison to what else is in there, I’m not surprised.”
“I’m gonna go get a bacon buttie. D’you want anything?”
“They don’t exist.”
“What? What do you mean they don’t exist?”
“It’s 1973. Nothing you love exists. Deal with it.”
“Actually, Tyler, I think you’ll find that the humble cornetto was first launched in 1964. They have to be around here somewhere.”
“You’re a right smart-arse.”
“Thanks. You too.”
Tyler opened the door to the Allegro. “I’ll see what I can do.”
“I don’t like it here.”
“Know how you feel.”
“It’s so --- I don’t know. Closed off. Isolated. Otherworldly.”
Angel flicked his head back, taking a sip of lager and pointing at Sam.
“You have friends, at least.”
Tyler raised his head, his expression blank. “Friends?”
“The Guv. Cartwright. Skelton. Dare I say Ray? What about your lovely dinnerlady?”
“Gwen? She’s not a friend, Angel, she just brings me pudding.”
Tyler scrunched his nose up and downed his scotch.
“Okay. Yeah, you’re right. I have friends. But they don’t understand me. They never could.”
“Did anyone understand you back home?”
Tyler went to nod, his lips parted, but he frowned and dragged his hand over his hair instead.
“I’m not sure. I thought so. Maybe not.”
“Understanding is overrated. No-one knows what’s going on in your head, day in, day out. Half the time, you don’t even know what the hell it is you’re thinking yourself, so how could anyone else? What you really need out of people is acceptance. They may not get you, but they’re willing to let you be what you are anyway.”
Tyler gave a wry smile. “How did you get so wise?”
“Trade secret. It took 121 minutes, but it was well worth it.”
Tyler stood up, swinging his jacket off the back of his chair and putting his right arm through the sleeve.
“I think I’m going to go back to the flat. You’ll be alright, won’t you?”
Angel nodded. “Fried gold.”
“Okay then. See you tomorrow, Angel.”
Angel watched Tyler walk out the door of The Railway Arms, aware that part of him was wishing he’d asked him to stay. He swirled the lager around in his glass before deciding to swallow it in one long gulp. He was slightly fuzzy in the head when he stood. He swayed to the right momentarily, then regained composure and left the pub.
“Come on, my son!”
“He who dares, Tyler, he who dares.”
“Danny, I…” Angel stopped, unable to contain his excitement. His grin grew impossibly wide. “What are you doing here? I was starting to think I’d never see you again.”
“I ain’t got a clue what I’m doing here. One minute I was clutching my stomach and the next I woke up and found myself in this place called Hyde. It was really weird.”
“It is, man. You don’t know the half of it.”
Danny glanced at Sam and then leaned in towards Angel. “It’s 1973.”
Within a second, Angel found himself dragged into a ferocious bear-hug. He enclosed his hands around Danny’s back, feeling for the first time since landing in this foreign world that everything might actually be okay.
“It is so good to see you.”
“You too, Danny. You too.”
“Are you two…?” Sam began, gazing at Angel and Danny, their arms wrapped tight around each other.
Angel turned his head and stared at him. “What?”
Sam shrugged. “Never mind.”
*plot point – they discover it’s the Manchester division of the Women’s Institute causing the explosions for various reasons – fraud, insurance, anger over cheating, etc. --- many, many people*
*plot point – hand print with 5 fingers and a thumb*
“That gun takes a 14 shot clip. You expecting an army?”
“No. Just a division.”
Numerical call signs - Tyler shall be Three-Seven, and Hunt shall be Four-Five
“Let’s fuck some criminals over.” Angel cocked his gun, nodding to Danny.
There was a look of perplexed outrage on Gene’s face. “Can we catch them, too?”
Sam grinned at Gene. “They have their way. We have ours.”
The car span around the corner, skidding impressively.
“Could you, maybe, drive less like you want to kill us all, Gene?”
“Shut it,” Hunt spat, and the car increased in speed.
“This is just like an episode of The Sweeney!”
“The whatee? I think your new friends may be a little strange in the head, Sammy-boy. The reason they latched onto you is suddenly making terrifying sense.”
Danny didn’t appear to be picking up on Gene’s ignorance. He grinned, his face full of jovial excitement. “You know, with John Thaw.”
“Him? He’s crap. Last thing I saw him in was The Adventures of Black Beauty, and he might as well have been playing the horse.”
Sam turned back and whispered, “The Sweeney began in 1975,” as quietly as he could.
Store owner: Oh shit, I'm fucked.
Gene: “Now back up, put the gun down, and get me a pack of Marlboro.”
Danny: “And a cornetto.”
“I suppose I should just be thankful it’s not the NWA.”
Danny flinched and Angel patted his arm. Sam turned to stare out the window.
“Edgar. You’ve been a naughty, naughty boy,” Gene said, repeatedly tossing an unpeeled orange into the air.
Gene placed the orange on the table in front of Edgar and smashed his fist down. Juice went spraying in all directions, a cataclysmic blast of citric acid.
“You see, Sam Tyler’s a man of principles. He doesn’t do things on a whim. [something hilarious]”
[We need a scene of Sam and Angel jogging together!]
“Soft as a marshmallow, I am. And twice as tasty.”
“Yippee-ki-yay,” Angel shouted, crashing to the ground with a resounding thump.
Sam stepped in, rifle pointing. “Motherfucker.”
He fired two rounds.
[More subtle Die Hard reference. – “So he won't be joining us for the rest of his life.”]
*plot point* That the bomb has been put on a bus – that’s going to Hyde.
Angel to Danny - “What did one shepherd say to the other shepherd? Let's get the flock out of here!”
“Next you’ll be cutting off your own ear.”