Oh you pretty things, chapter 18: a Jaguar level situation
by, 28th December 2009 at 06:08 PM (456 Views)
[In this session a new player joined with the character of Solomon Trescothick – a man with a background unknown to the other characters except he seems to be hiding out with Toby, appears to know Toby well and is slightly wild-eyed]
reprise....in the previous chapter (which i havent written up yet), Joe and Gene infiltrate a nuclear power plant to foil a plot of some sort only to find themselves in the midst of someone else's plot..led by a very scary man called Galt and involving, zombies, runes daubed in blood and nazi auditors...
Pulling over Joe calls Toby and confers. They discuss disposing of the undercover policewoman but Toby advises him to keep her where they can see her until they know more. Ten minutes later they pull into a farmyard to find Toby at the door with a cup of ‘coffee’ and a figure upstairs they don’t recognise.
They quickly blindfold Corvan and transfer him into the house and down into the basement. The policewoman retires to the kitchen while Gene ties corvan to a chair and cuts off his hazmat suit. Joe and Solomon cautiously sound each out upstairs – both learn the other is ex-army and that Solomon met Toby in Aghanistan. Joe infers that him and Gene are working for Toby.
Downstairs Corvan looks straight at Haifa despite the blindfold and says calmly: “You’re the one with the American accent aren’t you. What are you doing here? I think you’re mixed up in something you don’t understand.”
Before the conversation can go on much longer, they are joined by Solomon, Toby and Joe. Joe questions Corvan about his plant, the plot that seemed to be going on there and how he managed to apparently appear out of mid air. Corvan gives nothing away, calmly suggesting they call their ‘bosses’ before it is too late.
Gene cuts off Corvan’s suit and goes through his pocket – he finds a mobile phone and a wallet, with nothing of interest except for a blank card with a magnetic strip on it – it is identical to the one that Haifa found in a Pisces safe deposit box in London.
Solomon hangs back from the interrogation, letting the conversation wash over him. Gradually the gaps between the words swell and then he is suddenly aware of a cold, unknowable hatred pushing down on his consciousness. Corvan’s face is turned towards Joe and he can no longer hear what is being said but he can feel a mind reaching out for him. The room fades and he is on a dust plain, bloated green suns hanging in the sky. In the distance he can see some pyramids etched against the horizon, their angles jumbled. He can hear piping.
On the road in front of him a black dwarf is approaching though his legs do not seem to move. He is holding a leash holding a faceless man in a suit, crouching. With a lurch he is back in the room, hearing Joe and Corvan talking – Solomon has an overwhelming sense of dangerous and powerful intent. He feels like they are flies in a web with a bloated spider poised over them.
Stumbling slightly, he pulls Toby out of the room and tells him they are all in danger. “We shouldn’t be here and Corvan shouldn’t be awake – we need to get further away from the nuclear plant. Now.”
Toby considers a for a second and says: “I’ll need ten minutes to pack – see what you can get from him and then I can put him out before we go.” He disappears upstairs.
Back in the room Joe has started to rile Corvan, his replies getting more and more aggressive. “You’ve got a small window before it’s too late to save yourself…you’ve made a huge mistake, too big for you to understand…phone your bosses and hope you can make it right…”
Finally Corvan seems to lose his cool completely and cold anger seeps out: “For fuck’s sake, call Cotton!”
For the first time, the group have evidence that Cotton may be working actively against the interests of Pisces. Corvan immediately shuts up. By this time Solomon is back in the room and he and Joe discuss making some more immediate progress. Joe punches him a few times but with no effect. More imaginative tactics are called for…
On Solomon’s advice, Joe grabs a biro and jams it into Corvan’s ear. The result is electric – Corvan screams, the first sign of fear he has shown. A stream of violent abuse fills the room. Joe repeats the assault and Corvan’s speech suddenly becomes jumbled: “You should be grovelling before me…before I was me…grovelling…Coleman begs every day for death…I know about the old man, I know where he’s been taken.”
More threats with the biro elicit the information that Balfour is being held in a facility called Magwood in a new town called Stanton Magna, in the Severn Valley and near to the Severn Aerospace HQ. Corvan says that he has the biometrics to get access to the facility.
Toby reappears and Joe discusses how to sedate Corvan – then they go upstairs to alert the policewoman that they are leaving pronto.
Joe pushes open the door to the kitchen with Toby behind him. The woman is slumped on the kitchen table a pool of blood slowly spreading across its surface. “Down,” shouts Toby and they both dive for the floor. A bullet catches Joe in the left shoulder as he falls. The both scramble back into the main living room. Toby whispers: “I’m going down to the basement, we’ve only got a few minutes. Jaguar is here. Get upstairs and wait.” Joe stumbles upstairs and finds two large cases in one of the bedrooms. Looking out the window he can see no movement outside.
Downstairs Toby bursts into the basement and warns the others. He gives Solomon a handgun. Gene and Solomon grab a cursing but groggy Corvan and pull him up the stairs.
Solomon crawls into the kitchen and peeks out of the window, catching a glimpse of a man in plains clothes and a military-issue rifle. All the tyres in their vehicles are blown. Suddenly all the windows in the kitchen are shattered by gunfire. He crawls quickly out as a teargas canister clatters through one window and the kitchen starts filling with acrid smoke.
As Gene drags Corvan up the stairs, Solomon retreats to the toilet to wrap a wet towel round his face. As he emerges into the main room, a man in gas mask, an automatic rifle and a Primal Scream t-shirt kicks down the front door. Both men fire simultaneously as Solomon sprints for the stairs – both miss. Solomon makes the stairs, firing wildly behind him to deter pursuit and rendezvous with the others in one of the bedrooms. The window has been blacked out and the walls whitewashed and covered with mathematical symbols. It looks as if Toby has just finished adding a few finishing touches with a thick black marker pen.
He says to Joe: “This is a way out. Focus on the formula, try and find the pattern.” Joe concentrates for a few seconds. And then the others become aware of his absence – they can’t remember him going, just a vague sense of absence. Was he here 10 minutes ago or 10 seconds ago. Gradually under instruction the others do the same with Topby going last.
For an endless moment Solomon is in a cavernous room, brightly lit with artificial light high up in the ceiling. It must be the size of an aircraft hanger. In the centre of the room is a large pyramid shaped structure, a dull black in colour and glistening slightly. It seems to be embedded in the floor. A few metres away from Solomon two men in hazmat suits bend over a stone cube.
In a Travelodge hotel room somewhere in Brichester, Joe is aware of lying on a bed, the receiver of the phone by the bed in his hand. It is giving off a dead tone. Curled up beside him is Corvan, silent and staring. Solomon is sat on the floor cross legged in front of the TV, which is showing the shopping channel. There is a pool of vomit by his feet. Slowly he gets up. Toby is frantically painting over a wall full of mathematical symbols with a spraycan. “We should be safe for now. They wont be able to follow.
The group discuss what to do next and what just happened. Joe suddenly realises that the Jaguar agents could have tracked Corvan’s location via his mobile phone – he rips out the sim card and stamps up and down on it. “We need to leave, the phone could already have sent a signal from this room.”
They try to talk to Corvan but he starts to scream. They need to sedate him for the time being. As they bundle him into the bathroom and hold him down, gene makes out a few coherent words amongst the screams: “…Years…years on the leash…” Toby plunges the needle into his leg and Corvan slumps.
Quickly exiting the hotel via the back entrance, they get into one of Tobys many rental cars and roar away. They debate possible plans and decide to check out Stanton Magna as soon as possible a view of getting Balfour out with as little sidetracking as possible. They are down to three handguns and a shotgun, none with much ammo. A shopping trip nets them three claw hammers, some plastic ties, rope and a crowbar.
They also research Stanton Magna, a small new town (more of a village really) on the edge of the woods that now houses Severn Aerospace. It was built on the site of the village of Goatswood, apparently abandoned in the late 60s and later razed to the ground. It was recently in the news after four children died within a week of each other from an outbreak of swine flu.
They make a base at a Premier Inn 10 miles from Stanton Magna and leave Toby with Corvan. They find the turning off an A road that leads to Stanton Magna and proceed cautiously into the town. It is not really much more than a large village but clearly quite new and constructed of a piece. A central square contains what looks like a community hospital, a pub, a neighbourhood watch office cum community hall and shop. They park up and split up.
Gene checks out the hospital and confirms it the Magwood community health centre. A quick recce shows a camera up front and back but nothing which looks like overt security.
Solomon approaches the church and finds a man of about 50, smoking in the porch over the main entrance. He introduces himself as a fellow of the clergy and learns that the man is the local priest. Some careful questioning elicits that the priest has been with the parish for about eight years and occasionally services to the spiritual needs of the patients at the local mental health facility. Solomon is also invited to a church service the following night.
Joe wanders through the small town, noting that it was clearly built all in one go but that some houses seemed notably more unkempt than others. The more he walked the more he thought about 10-15% of the houses were rundown. He passes the small office of the severn valley digest, the local paper.
He walks past a man on the street and is assailed by a stench of body odour. The man smells like a tramp and his clothes look dirty, and yet reasonably new. Joe follows him for a few minutes on a whim and sees him let himself into the pub – the pub is called the Goat in Boots.
Meeting up they discuss the odd appearance of some of the people and some of the houses. Solomon and Gene decide to check out one of the unkempt houses, and choose one on the edge of the town. They notice the lush woodland that surrounds the town and indeed in some cases seems to encroach on it. Taking advantage of the thick foliage they approach their target house from the wood.
With a sickening crunch, Solomon realises he has stepped on something organic. Looking down they see he has fatally injured a beetle at least a foot long that was concealed in the undergrowth. Yuck.
They continue on and approach the house. Their knocking brings a slovenly looking woman to the door holding a baby. Behind her they can see the house is a mess. Solomon tells her his family used to live in the town and they are trying to find the house they owned. “Well, it’s not this one, mate. I’ve always lived here.” Well, did she know perhaps where Mr and Mrs Braithwaite lived. “Do I look like a f**king estate agent.” She slams the door.
The group meet up again to compate notes. All that remains is to decide a coherent plan to liberate Balfour…