LSD2: No Smoke without Fire

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  • John goes to meet Captain Iosef, commanding officer of his unit, but while there is interrupted by a strange mechanical grinding noise echoing over the abandoned suburb. Iosef asks him to remain with the men tonight so that he can show John what they are up against in the morning.
  • Andrew takes Fiona out but their drink is interrupted by a man trying to pick up Fiona; this degenerates into an fight between Andrew and the stranger outside the bar, but the assailant combusts violently in Andrew’s grip, leading witnesses to believe that Andrew has used a grenade on him! Andrew & Fiona leave the scene briskly.
  • The next morning, Iosef takes John to see a tank torn apart by a strange force... which lunges at them from the ruined buildings nearby as John attempts to understand the damage done to the tank! They narrowly escape, but they get photos of the strange machine-creature (?) and Andrew makes a sketch of a symbol painted on it: a clawed hand with an eye on its palm.
  • Andrew wakes up on Rev. Poulson’s couch, too late to escape discovery, and is given the cold shoulder; he goes into the church mission to rummage through boxes of clothes to replace his burned ones, where he talks to Aqua who is helping out his fellow man.
  • John gets back to the East End and seeks out Mr. Clay to see if he is interested in more photos of the weird things outside London and makes a deal to exchange for more unspecified goodwill. Hugo takes an interest in the photos, but Mr. Clay lunges quickly to take the sketch of the weird symbol and screw it up before Hugo even gets a glance at it.
  • Andrew goes to SSG HQ to file a report on the SHC he witnessed the previous night and learns of 5 other cases in the past 2 weeks; there is no obvious connection between the victims other than them all being men aged from 20 to 50 and two of them being ex-boxers.
  • Andrew calls at BERB headquarters to see if they have any hard facts on SHC but his investigation is brought to a clashing halt by the discovery that he is radioactive! After a thorough decontamination and debriefing, he requisitions a Geiger counter to scour the east End for the source of the radiation and the SHCs. During this, he has a run in with a Dr. Blenkinsop who regards Andrew with some contempt.
  • John and Jake meet up again to talk about his farm; Jake asks John if he can use his dodgy contacts to get someone to go and take a look at it and find out just how honest the government is being with him. John does not give in to the temptation to do this himself, but he does learn in casual conversation that Hugo is the 5th thug to be used as Mr. Clay’s bodyguard in the last 12 months; rumour has it that Mr. Clay made the other disappear when they failed him.
  • Andrew comes in at this point with his Geiger counter screaming when brought up close to Jake! They narrowly avert another SHC by dousing Jake with water at the critical moment, then all 3 go back to BERB for more decontamination; it emerges during this that the men who have combusted may be linked by involvement in a bare knuckle fighting ring that Jake has attended.
  • That night, John and Andrew accompany Jake to the fight club, with Fiona brought along by Andrew for a night out, but she is drawn to Hugo who is also there to fight. Andrew confirms with the fight organiser, a bookie by the name of Jack Reddy, that all the men who combusted had been to the fight club.
  • Jake fights and wins.
  • John is goaded into fighting the Whipping Boy, a figure of fun and source of comic relief, but realises there is something sinister at work... he contemptuously dances rings around him and knocks him out with one tap when the crowd are losing interest. As he is carried out, Andrew notices a tattoo like the one on John’s sketch on the Whipping Boy’s ankle.
  • Fiona and Hugo have been getting to know each other, so she holds his shirt when he enters the ring... which reveals the large tattoo covering his back, depicting the weird symbol crowned by an arch of seven circles, the second of which is shaded in black... Hugo also wins his fight, despite the beating he took at the hands of Andrew the previous night.
  • As the evening breaks up, John elects to follow the Whipping Boy and Andrew sneaks after Fiona and Hugo. John gets spotted, but the Whipping Boy simply goads John into punching him, which makes John feel very good and gives him a taste of the Fire, whilst simultaneously realising that the Whipping Boy is not entirely human. John asks to meet the Fire, whoever or whatever that is.
  • Unfortunately, Fiona and Hugo stop in an alleyway for a protracted period of time, preventing Andrew from learning where Hugo might be going, but he does save the lives of the young lovers one of Alice Hinds henchmen who was lurking in the shadows with a gun. Andrew walks Fiona home while Hugo takes the body away for ‘disposal’.
  • John is taken into an apartment house in a badly battle scarred area of London; the room at the top is decorated with mirrors and hanging silks, making it impossible to see what is giving off the light in the centre of the room. The Whipping Boy asks John if he is ready to meet the Fire...

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