by Capt. W. E. Johns


First printed September 1949



1.         AN ARGUMENT AND AN ASSIGNMENT  (Pages 7 – 22)


Worrals is at home when Frecks returns from having been to the cinema.  Frecks complains to her about the lack of realism in films.  Worrals is expecting visitors and shortly afterwards, Air Commodore Raymond, Assistant Commissioner of Police at Scotland Yard arrives.  With him is Mr. Cedric Collington of the Foreign Office.  Collington has heard of Worrals and Frecks following their adventures in Syria (in Worrals Goes East) and annoys Worrals when he says “Naturally, I was interested to see what sort of – er – girls – er – could handle a job like that and get away with it.  This leads to an argument because, as the Air Commodore says, “Worrals is a bit touchy on alleged female inferiority”.  In due course they discuss the reason the men are there.  The British are building a new road linking the Sudan with Southern Transjordania and there have been problems with the native workers.  Initially a go-slow and a succession of strikes but now “the recalcitrant natives are being supplied with weapons and ammunition, and it only needs a minor spark to set the country alight”.  They need to stop the gun running racket and they want Worrals and Frecks to help.  Collington asks them to “Find out what is happening.  Find out who the local operatives are and how they are getting the guns into the country.  Once we know that we can soon stop the rot”.  Collington says that the one really big, well-established racket in Egypt is the dope syndicate – the hashish merchants.  “It is what tobacco is to this country” says Collington and he asks if Worrals and Frecks would take a look at it and see if it is connected to the gun running.  “You’d be free agents and start with the big advantage that nobody in Egypt knows you.  Practically all our regular men are known”.  Collington says that in Egypt he works under the name of Colin Pasha and he asks the girls what name they want to give to this operation.  Worrals comes up with “Operation Distaff” as “the female half of a family is known as the distaff side”.  Colin Pasha tells them to fly to Alexandria and stay at the Hotel Medina where they must ask for room 14.  Here they will be met by one of his top agents called Melinos.  The men leave and the girls start packing.