Good things don't always necessarily come in small packages...
There is a mail bomber on the loose. In the space of just a few hours a number of devices, all delivered via the Royal Mail explode at a number of seemingly random locations across the City.
Into the chaos that results steps Tracy, the Commander and the entire Security & Police Service who also have to contend with a pesky new Justice Minister who seems to want to constantly interfere.
Whilst all this unfolds, it soon becomes clear this is something a little more than just a lone nutter making bombs in his garden shed and soon a young friend who we first met in 'Epping' finds himself in the middle of the trouble and has to resort to his only available and reliable source of help.
The original idea for this story began simply with the line 'Good Things Come in Small Packages' to which I replied that isn't always the case!
From there developed what effectively became the first part of a loosely connected two part story concluded with episode XII 'Marylebone'.
Jack Thornton returns to the series after his brief debut in 'Epping' when he discovers something unpleasant in his basement and along the way we take a trip along the mothballed Post Office Underground Railway before reaching a literally explosive conclusion.
"Well that's odd" young Jack Thornton commented as he noticed what appeared to be a distinctive red Royal Mail van pull into the grounds of the disused former factory and come to a halt by the loading ramp.
Watching from the old factory offices up above through a cobweb covered cracked window, Jack watched with bemusement as the uniformed postal worker got out of the drivers seat and after looking around slightly nervously, proceeded to the side door of the vehicle and opened it.
"Now what are you up to?" Jack wondered as he moved down the office to a different window for a better view.
Brushing aside more cobwebs, he watched with curiosity as he saw the postal worker examine a number of packages inside the back of the van. It was clear he was doing something to them but his body obstructed Jack's view making it almost impossible to see exactly what it was he was doing.
After a couple of minutes of activity, the postal worker completed his mysterious task, returned the packages he had been working on back to their grey plastic container and stepped back out of the vehicle.
"Where is my pen?" Jack asked himself as he scrabbled around looking for it.
As the postal worker returned to the drivers seat, Jack found his pen and made a note of the registration number of the van before it reversed and headed back out of the old factory gates and away.
Early morning in central London is always chaotic on a week day and around Victoria and Westminster it was even busier than usual thanks to road works which were causing long tailbacks throughout the area.
In the middle of the heavy traffic that was seemingly going nowhere fast, Divisional Commander Tracy Caverner of the National Security & Police Service was drumming her fingertips on the steering wheel of the marked patrol car which for the last ten minutes had been stationary in Buckingham Palace Road amongst the traffic.
"Lima Mike Zero One to Control" Tracy called into her radio, her patience now finally running out "What the hell is going on with this traffic?" she asked.
"Control" the response came "Traffic Division reports that one of the JCB drivers at the Victoria Street road works apparently sliced through the traffic light power cables about twenty minutes ago."
"Clever boy" Tracy remarked "Look there is no way I am going to make Sir Richard's National Anti-Terrorist Committee meeting in Westminster at this rate, I am going to
park the motor up somewhere and walk it but someone better inform him I am going to be late."
"I'll make sure he gets the message Maam" the Dispatcher confirmed "Control out."
Tracy looked around for somewhere to park up and noticed a side road nearby which she managed to access by sounding the siren for brief bursts to get some of the traffic to ease out of her path.
A few minutes later and Tracy found herself making far better progress than any of the vehicle borne traffic as she walked up Victoria Street towards Broadway and her destination of New Scotland Yard.
It took her ten minutes to reach the turn off for Broadway in the shadow of the tall structure of the New Scotland Yard building. As she turned to her left, the passing by in the opposite direction of a Royal Mail van as it turned across the junction into Victoria Street did not even register being a scene repeated across the city a thousand times every day.
However this scene of normality was suddenly interrupted a few moments later when a loud explosion and fireball erupted from the Royal Mail van, sending burning debris in all directions.
Instinct saw Tracy throw herself to the ground as many others around did the same. Only once the echo of the explosion began to subside, replaced by the sounds of alarms, screams and sirens approaching did Tracy pick herself up and look back at the unfolding scene of chaos and confusion amid the destruction.
"You two" Tracy called to a couple of uniformed patrol officers who had run to the scene "Get the roads closed off and give me a two hundred metre exclusion zone all around."
"Yes Maam" they confirmed.
"Lima Mike Zero One to Control" Tracy called into her radio as she ran to the centre of the scene where already a number of volunteer passers by including off duty medical personnel were rendering assistance "Declaring a major emergency, explosion in Victoria Street right outside the office, full response and evacuation procedures please and notify the gold list contacts."
Within moments further emergency service personnel arrived on site with Tracy co- ordinating efforts on the ground ensuring that casualties were taken care of and the area evacuated safely in case there may have been secondary devices.
Above the unfolding drama on the top floor of New Scotland Yard, Tracy's husband the Administrator General of the National Security & Police Service, commonly referred to simply as the Commander went over to his office window that overlooked the street as soon as he had heard the explosion, the shockwave having rattled his window.
"Well there goes my quiet morning" the Commander remarked wryly before grabbing his uniform tunic and hurrying out of the office.
Quickly he proceeded down the corridor to the main control room for Central London which was a busy hive of activity, even more than usual as a flood of emergency calls were coming in.
"What the hell was that?" the Commander asked as he took the seat at the main desk in the room and surveyed the status of events on the large wall screens at the front of the room.
"Post van just blew up" the duty supervisor confirmed "Full serious incident procedure is now in place."
"Senior officer on site?" the Commander asked. "Your wife Sir" the duty supervisor confirmed.
"Why am I not surprised" the Commander remarked wryly as he picked up a radio head set "Gold two from gold control" he called using the standard call signs for a major incident "What's occurring?"
"Gold Control from Gold Two" Tracy responded as she stepped away from the scene to one side to take the call "Looks like some kind of concealed explosive device of some kind detonated."
"Casualties on the ground?" the Commander enquired.
"The driver is dead" Tracy confirmed looking back at the wreckage which the Fire Brigade were now attending to "We've also got a couple of dozen walking wounded but nothing more serious fortunately."
"Well at least that is something" the Commander remarked.
"I could do with losing some of this traffic backlog though" Tracy added as she looked down the road beyond the hastily erected tape barrier lines to the open but congested streets beyond "The ambulance service is having a hell of a time battling through."
The Commander extended his arm in the direction of the Traffic Division dispatcher and clicked his fingers which instructed him to sort it out.
"Ok love" the Commander confirmed "It's being taken care of."
"Thanks" Tracy responded "Better get the forensic and anti-terrorism guys warmed up and roll out the bomb squad" she advised.
"They aren't going to like that" the Commander wryly commented as he checked his old pocket watch "It's their breakfast time."