Set aside for a second the fact that Britain, as a state that manages intelligence assets, has been fantastically bad at it since the end of World War Two (and hang on, because we'll come back to that). The conceit of many spy novels, spy movies, and other such media is that Britain is in fact the premier Intelligence Service for the Thinking Man and really everyone else is just along for the ride or to supply muscle and possibly bullets when things go all pear-shaped.

The brilliance of the British Intelligence service during the War was two-fold: first, that it was unabashedly about technological solutions to intelligence problems, and second, that it had absolutely no compunction or socioeconomic barriers to achieving those technological solutions. Britain cracked the Engima problem because they were willing to use a gay man of German extraction to design a machine that was built, maintained, fed data, and managed by women (who for stupid societal reasons couldn't fight). Women who were mostly lower-to-lower-middle-class in upbringing and education, but were ruthlessly trained and mobilized into some profoundly brilliant mathematicians.

Britain then lost the plot almost immediately post-war, because they threw away everything that made them good at Intelligence Management. All the women who had done all the hard work were then forced back into the "acceptable" roles for their gender, station, and so on, and those roles were very nearly never, say, "brilliant mathematician" or "British Intelligence Analyst" to cite two examples that might be, y'know, good ideas. The governmental argument for this action was a whole bunch of bullshit (and the USA did this too, btw, although less with the math and more with the skilled tradespersons: something like two thirds of all the warcraft (planes, boats, tanks, etc.) that were constructed in the USA during the war were built by crews that were either all or mostly women, all of whom were then forced out of their jobs when "the men came home"). 

So here's my idea.

Let's go back in time to just after the war. Churchill knows that he's going to lose the next election and be ousted at Prime Minister, but he's not out just yet. There's about to be a huge backlash against what has been a society under immense pressure, which has allowed for unprecedented mobility (and, consequently, led to some amazing things, things that were unthinkable before the war). And the bloody Labour party was about to simply waste all of the work and potential built up by the war. So what's an about-to-be-ex-Prime Minister to do? Especially since it's entirely clear that the threat of the Soviet Union is at least as bad as Herr Hitler. 

Here's what he does in my mind: he cheats.

The Directorate of Intelligence establishes a secret wing in Glasgow, far from the rest of the reorganized spy services: the Special Operations Initiative. The HQ was established in the back room of a pub, but was later moved underneath what would eventually become the Gallery of Modern Art. The majority of the work would be done, however, remotely; the organization would be distributed, hidden in plain sight. Teams would be built as cells, no more than five in a team, only one person in each team would know anyone else in any other team, and no more than one connection between cells. Using telephones and telegraphs, and the newly-designed and newly-built New Model Bombe, the SOI would leverage the tools and the people developed during the war to put Britain out in the forefront of the coming war of signals and intelligence. 

And it would be staffed almost entirely by Bletchley Park computers. Not the Bombe; the women who did the actual computing and signal analysis. The SOI would have to be voluntary, at least at first; the austerity and rationing to pay for the war bonds meant the women couldn't be paid; the SOI had to operate off-the-books, which in this case meant actually-off-the-books. 

By 1953, SOI has hooks in everything. If there was data moving around, the SOI knew about it, and was doing analysis on it. This also meant that the SOI was operating in the black, because the SOI got information about market movements before anyone else did. A section of the SOI team was entirely devoted to monitoring and alerting on financial activities, with a small side-business in making sure the SOI had operating capital enough to pay the "knitting circles". However, the Bombe design team has only managed incremental improvements; the calculating machines are good, ahead of where the general public (and US companies like IBM) are in general, but without another leap forward the SOI will be swamped. The SOI needs another Bombe. It needs a new design. It needs Alan Turing. 

A plan is hatched: a public campaign to make Turing disappear, to bring him onto the SOI's payroll. It's been a decade since the SOI has been part of the British Government, so the legality of Alan's particular interests wasn't of interest. There were plenty of laws being broken by SOI already, including things like women in managerial positions, and wire fraud. Turing then steps on the entire plan by getting publicly arrested for indecency, and the SOI has to scramble. The SOI is an intelligence analysis organization; action is not in their remit, and their first real operation goes fantastically pear-shaped and stupid and all those other really bad things. 

Eventually, SOI aborts, bails out, and the then-head of SOI approaches Turing and simply asks him to join. Which he does, of course, given the opportunity to avoid all of the trouble and work with Bletchley again (even if it's not actually Bletchley). At that point, it's a matter of simply finding a suitable replacement for Turing and doing a switch. It takes a little bit of time, but SOI's signal intercept team finds an appropriate döppelganger and from there it's just a matter of placing the body. Which goes about as wrong as one would expect for a second operation. 

Turing comes on board with a remit to design an entirely new class of thinking machine. At the same time, SOI Management determines that an Operational Arm would not be the worst idea. And maybe some more men, to handle the heavy lifting and such; but only very particular men, with very particular histories and proclivities. And it wouldn't hurt if one or two of the men were moderately high up in the Civil Service, since being extra-governmental makes it somewhat hard to steer occasionally. And SOI's directive expands.

In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, while British Intelligence are the fantastically bumblefuck agency modern historians know and love, SOI has interpenetrated both sides of the cold war. They have all the information, and the Operations Circle has gotten exceptionally good at nipping in just before or just after someone else's op has gone sideways and snagging the asset, whatever it might be. MI-6 is constantly running internal audits and witch hunts, constantly convinced that there are Soviet agents at work, when in fact the SOI was managing those assets posing as Soviet handlers. The SOI's distributed architecture and technical superiority on the backs of Turing's entscheidungsmaschines, known to their operators as EDMs, help to keep the organization ahead of the curve. 

And so we arrive at the early 90s, as the rest of the world is discovering the value of interconnectivity and just beginning to believe that the end of the world is farther away than tomorrow, and the secret, extra-governmental group once known as the SOI, now known as The Great Circle Company, is working desperately to keep the world from being annihilated by some really crazy, really stupid people. And the women and men of the Circle defy social norms to keep the world spinning on.

I want to tell these stories. The stories of the British Women in the 40s and 50s doing math and SIGINT in little parlours over tea and sandwiches and keeping secrets from their husbands. Turing and his boyfriends and his assistants and the women who argue and work and innovate with him. The Lovelaces Circle, who develop the languages to drive the EDMs, and then later the protocols that underlie the parts of the internet that "the internet" doesn't get to see.

The 60s, when the SOI starts recruiting non-British talent, and really starts to mess around with active operations in places other than Britain. 

The 70s, when the SOI tries to get ahead of the arms race and nearly ends the world a couple of times before getting the right assets in place.

The 80s, when the Circle Company starts doing things that aren't explicitly intelligence-related, like buying up real estate.

The 90s, when the Circle Company really gets going, laying cable. 

It's a spy shop. Populated entirely by women and gays. Well, maybe some token straight guys. It's the secret masters of the world as Jamaican quilting clubs. Anyone who doesn't love this idea doesn't own a heart, I'm pretty sure.
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