As I slurped at Greycoat's coffee, the Terminator arrived to say he'd found a room in the nurses' home for regional mole Bobby Keane and innocent number cruncher Miss Fermat, for their confidential information-gathering concerning the secret amalgamation with St Jude's.

Greycoat said the Admiral had discovered the amalgamation, but the Terminator wasn't worried. Tell the old boy they'd fought tooth and nail, and seek his support to shaft St Jude's. The new trust would need a good chair, wouldn't it? Someone with experience, well connected. . . Greycoat said he'd see the Admiral straight away.

The old boy burst in as the Terminator left. He'd been speaking to Julie someone or other at St Jude's. She'd told him about the proposed amalgamation. Damn shocked. Would fight to the death. Greycoat agreed with every word, and sought the chair's help, but just what had this Julie person said? The Admiral said she'd called him out of the blue, asking his views on the amalgamation.

Greycoat wheedled: had Julie or the Admiral mentioned amalgamation first? The old sailor was too canny to reveal Miss Twix as his informant: Julie had mentioned it first - how else could he have known? Greycoat gleamed. The chair left in much better form than he'd entered . Just wait till St Jude's met its new chair - he'd soon sort it out.

Things moved fast then. Tarantino produced photos of Keane and Miss Fermat entering and leaving a restaurant, going into the nurses' home and entering and leaving a room therein. He met them both briefly, with his evidence. Fermat had cried the tears of the innocent, while Keane caved in when asked how his puritan boss Ardent and the regional chair would interpret the pictures.

Within the week Greycoat presented the Keane/Fermat report to region proving high efficiency at St Giles', sloth and waste at St Jude's. He also let slip that St Jude's chief exec Julie had been indiscreet. He, Greycoat, ably assisted by Tarantino and the Admiral had squeezed the toothpaste back in the tube. Twenty four hours later a letter arrived appointing him and Tarantino as project director (chief executive designate) and HR director of the new joint trust project to be chaired by the Admiral. Julie was seconded to NHS Supplies.

But as Greycoat and Tarantino celebrated at the Trattoria Mussolini, Twix and Broomstick were elsewhere, plotting over a Black Forest gateau. . .