Well, chosen to carry Daphne and Maude's report and photographic evidence to the rather unprepossessing little cottage in Darnick, formerly the home of Great-Aunt Bertha who may or may not have been a double- or even triple-agent during the War, but certainly paid the ultimate price, and presently the operational base for Sam Smiles and my cousin Jasmine Juniper-Green in their investigation into the strange disappearances and equally strange appearances in and around the Eildons, I wasted no time and though I didn't run (I don't do run) but walked briskly along High Cross Avenue, past the Rugby Training Field on the right and the stables on the left, with a murmuration of starlings swooping and whirling above me, past the opening into Chiefswood Road, and at length made the rather silly entrance to the cottage – not by the front door, but through another cottage's garden, round the back of a shed, down slippery steps to a tunnel which ran under two more cottages and then up the damp steps which ended at a stout door with a bell-button; I pressed it and then the intercom crackled: "come in, Teri." and the door was opened by Jasmine: "happy new year, Teri," she said and gave me a hug while I reciprocated the greeting then stepped back, "I've still got this bloody cold, and Isa's much worse than me, so better keep a safe distance," as I handed over the package which Jasmine passed on to Sam who had appeared behind her; "best come and have some coffee, while I take a look at these," said Sam, "I gather your Aunts have been keeping themselves busy," and I joined Jasmine in the little kitchen: "what's going on?" whispered to her; "well, now that Sir Parlane MacFarlane seems be back in control, The Ring of Gold is positioning itself to be one of the major influences in the sex-trafficking business – it's always been an oligopsony, several big players controlling the show, but the thing about The Ring is they are closely tied to a number of highly influential people, in Law, Politics, Entertainment, Business – Scotland, to all intents and purposes is becoming a narcokleptocracy, these people have power and strings they can pull, they are never seen in public, we are probably the only Agency who could put names to faces, but we have to ca' canny, Teri, it's a minefield," I sipped my coffee, "is this connected with the disappearances on the hills? you know I'm thinking about Gertie and Roxy – we have no idea what's happened to them," and Jasmine gave me a sympathetic squeeze, "we don't know how or why this is all happening, though there is a theory that it's to do with wormholes in the Space/Time Continuum, but it's not a case of them being fixed," said Sam, standing in the doorway, "I was given the example of a giant game of Snakes and Ladders, but with the Snakes and the Ladders both being moveable, reversible, sliding over the board, so you may be able to pass along from Square 7 to Square 25 in one move, but then the next person to land on Square 7, finds that the ladder has gone, and Square 25 might have become the head of a Snake, which carries you down to Square 12 before you have been able to move; Patience Scott and Thomas Learmonth went from very different times to the Neolithic Age, and then both came here, but Tavish, Bernie and Tammy who were with them in The Cavern seem to have then gone to Thomas's original time, and MacFarlane and Doubleday came from then to now; there isn't any logic or method that we can see," but I butted in, as I rather tend to: "and all that stuff about the food supplies to the Cairn, and to the Americans, where does that fit in?" and she suddenly realized that Sam's eyes were bloodshot, his whole appearance more haggard than usual: "we just don't know, Teri," he sighed, "but MacFarlane is one of the keys to it, I'm convinced of that. he is a kind of Avatar, representing the Dark Side of Humanity, but whether his presence is merely a co-incidence or is designed in some way, we just don't know," and I interrupted: "but Thomas will go back to his own time, to his family, we know that don't we?" and Sam looked down, "yes, but ten years after he left, and that doesn't in itself mean that everyone will go back to their own time – the Americans were lost in Vietnam in the 70s and they turned up here, now, so it doesn't look like they are going to go back to nearer the time they left, or we would have heard about it," and I'm afraid I muttered a surly, "unless the CIA cover it all up, maybe they already have and we just don't know about it!" at which point I felt claustrophobic in the cottage and just had to get out, and Jasmine accompanied me back along the tunnel and out into the fresh air, and we strolled around and admired Darnick Tower: "that's just like Thomas's Tower was in his own time," said Jasmine," and I laughed, "but with the addition of telephone lines, gas, electricity, and flushing toilets – has he been inside?" and Jasmine grinned: "oh yes, the owners were absolutely delighted to show him over, and he was knocked out by it, I think he'd like to restore the ruins of his old home to something like that, if he has the time, of course!"