I could hear the cleaners banging away at something down the corridor. The place was otherwise almost deserted.
As usual, I was still busy. The events of the day had needed writing up and even with that done I couldn't head home, but had to go out to join the team.
My stomach rumbled, reminding me I hadn't eaten since breakfast. The canteen would be officially closed, but if Jean had been on the late shift she might still be there...
I tapped on the door to the kitchen, and found I was in luck. Jean even seemed pleased to see me. "Reg! Come in, what can I get you?"
"Anything," I said gratefully. "I haven't eaten all day."
"Bacon buttie? We might have some eggs as well..." She put the grill on before hurrying away to the fridge, and I felt myself relaxing and pulled out a chair to sit at the small table. For half an hour, at least, I wasn't on duty.
"Whatever you've got," I repeated. "It's been a long day."
"And busy," she nodded. "I saw you on the tv, up at the warehouse. Nasty business."
"Just another madman." Except he hadn't been that mad; his scheme had been well-planned and would have succeeded if it weren't for CI5.
This was the first time I'd worked with them. We all knew about them, of course; government-appointed with authority to step in whenever they liked, quoting their 'small print'. Given the situation of course I was going to call them in, but I'd been prepared for some argument over jurisdiction, expecting to have to withdraw all my men so they could take over. It had been a pleasant surprise when that hadn't happened. They'd taken charge, but Mr Cowley had asked us to set up and run the ops, keeping us involved - although keeping us out of the firing line. The only injuries had been to two of his men, and let's face it, they get paid for it.
Cracking eggs into a pan, Jean was obviously reading my thoughts. "We couldn't believe what we were seeing. Those two who climbed that chimney! Brave, they were."
"Crazy more like. Anything could have gone wrong with that stunt. They didn't even get permission." But that was the way CI5 seemed to work - taking their own initiative rather than waiting for orders. Those two got away with it, this time, but it could have gone very wrong.
"How are those young men who were hurt?"
"They'll be OK. One with bad concussion, but he got off lightly considering it was a grenade blast. The one who got shot was chatting up the nurses, last I heard."
She smiled. "You all do that."
"I don't! Well, not any more." When I was a young PC, it had been different. But everything had been different then. No one used their initiative, it was all following orders for every last thing. That Doyle, now, he'd been a copper, you could tell. He'd gone his own way; followed up a lead - and somehow ended up in the helicopter and foiled the escape plan - but he'd radioed in, kept his superior informed, at least as far as he could. Some of my team could learn from him; never calling in or keeping proper records.
Cowley was a strong leader, leading strong men. If I was impressed with them in action, then they dealt equally well with the aftermath. Roddy Barker - the pilot gave us his name - had been rushed to the nearby hospital where ironically the very doctors he'd been trying to shoot worked to save his life. No-one was shedding tears when he didn't make it.
Then there was the villain still on the roof. The man on the chimney - Bodie? - had radioed that he wasn't moving so wasn't a threat, but even if he was alive the barricade was still in place with no way up the stairs. It was Doyle's idea to persuade the 'copter pilot to fly them up there to take care of things. I went up the stairs with Mr Cowley and because we were inside I missed how they managed to get the injured agent down from the tower, but no doubt they'd had a bright idea for that as well, as he was already being moved to the hospital by the time I got back down.
Still, there was one good thing about CI5 involvement - they'd taken over the paperwork as well, and I'd only needed to do my report for the Superintendent. It was probably just as well I didn't need to go into detail, since there was a good deal I didn't know - how Doyle had known where to go, or why Bodie had shot the apparent hostage, for instance.
Jean presented me with a plate of thick-cut sandwich, stuffed full of bacon and eggs. "Thanks, luv."
"Any time." She turned to take the frying pan to the sink. "You off home soon?"
"No such luck," I managed around a mouthful. "You know that burglar we're after?"
"The one who turned violent?" Jean shuddered. "Don't bear thinking about."
"Yeah, him. One of Geoff's snouts came up with something; he's supposed to be meeting his fence tonight in the railway sidings. So as soon as I've finished this, I'm off to help the team." They'd been out there for an hour already, and it was raining. I bet CI5 didn't have to sit in the rain on stakeouts. "Couldn't make me up a flask of tea, could you...?"