LSD3: Going Nuclear
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- John meets the Fire... which turns out to be a metal canister 4’ high and 8” wide, with hot, bright light pouring out of the cracked & scorched casing. Stunned, he allows himself to be persuaded to kneel before the Fire by the Whipping Boy, realising even as he does so that this object must be very radioactive. When the Whipping Boy realises that John cannot truly hear the voice of the Fire, he attacks him viciously, but John cows the wimp with his superior tactics and gets him to accept his authority as the new ‘chosen one’ of the Fire. Unfortunately, in the struggle, the canister is knocked through a window, where it falls down to the street; the lid of the canister flies off and a beacon of light shines across the rooftops of London!
- As Andrew escorts Fiona home, he reveals to her that he is an SSG officer and coerces her into spying for him inside Alice Hinds brothel, to see if any powerful figures using the service can be blackmailed. Fiona gets greedy and demands more favourable treatment from Andrew in the future in return for spying for him; he agrees to this, but little do either of them realise that she is doomed to be caught doing this almost immediately... (see discussion) Their night is further interrupted by the sight of the distant beacon, which Andrew rushes to investigate.
- Andrew arrives after John has instructed the Whipping Boy to recover the Fire; Andrew still has the Geiger counter with him, which immediately registers the exposure John has had. He insists that John gets properly decontaminated, which he reluctantly agrees to, but as soon as Andrew has gone to begin the cleanup operation for this incident, John goes back to the Poulsons’ for a change of clothes and a few hours sleep.
- Andrew questions some vagrants back in the area of the incident and locates the building the Fire was housed in; while searching it, he discovers, in the Whipping Boy’s effects, military papers about his service in Croydon, a journal and a photo of Andrew’s wife! On the back is the odd message, “The pawns can unite against the players xxx.”
- Proceeding to contact his unit the next morning, John encounters one of the machine creatures again; he runs, but is caught and taken to a disused industrial park, where more machine-creatures of many sizes are disassembling & reassembling machines... and processing human bodies into generic tinned rations! The very same tinned rations his wheeling & dealing has secured for his unit! He escapes by using the flash on his camera to blind the lens of the machines, but in making his escape, points 3 of the large ones straight to the location of his unit!
- The cleanup crew arrives at the incident site; unfortunately, this includes Dr. Blenkinsop, who is still markedly hostile and condescending towards Andrew. By mentioning the phrase on the back of the picture and waving it across his face, Andrew provokes Blenkinsop into a reaction; this gets him to accept Andrew’s authority in this situation, but he tells Andrew that he knows for a fact that Andrew’s wife provided the Soviet troops at Croydon with information about British troop positions. Despite this, they locate the Fire, where the Whipping Boy had tried to hide it, and arrange for its transport back to HQ to be examined.
- John’s attempt to warn his unit of the impending attack fails; they scatter at the approach of the machines and three soldiers are captured and taken away. John, Captain Josef and six others regroup later, whereupon they start to share a meal... John can’t stomach his though, knowing what it is, and not only brings it up but blurts out the truth in front of everyone. John & Josef argue; they agree that this factory needs to be destroyed, but whereas John wants them to arm up with phosphor grenades, Josef wants John to reconnoitre the factory first! As Captain, Josef gets his way...
- The convoy transporting the Fire comes under attack! The driver of the lead vehicle spontaneously combusts, causing the truck carrying the Fire and Andrew to crash; Dr. Blenkinsop crawls out of the wreckage just moments before it blows up. Andrew leaps into the driver’s seat of his truck and drives it to a safe distance, then leaps out to revive Dr. Blenkinsop. As the stunned doctor recovers, he alerts Andrew to the presence of a glowing figure reaching into the truck, which burns & melts away from its presence. It wraps its arms around the Fire and starts to glow brighter & brighter... Andrew and Blenkinsop leg it around the corner past some curious onlookers; there is a brilliant flash behind them, reducing the onlookers to mere blast shadows and causing the very bricks of the houses to glow red hot.
- Returning to the factory, John paints the sign of the clawed hand & eye on himself and bluffs his way inside; he finds out that the operator of at least one of the machines is a 3’ high green creature with bat-like ears. He persuades this entity that he represents a power they respect, though he isn’t quite sure what this power is: the entity mentions Hunger and Greed, but John insists on calling it the Fire. In the process, he assures himself that the machines are very vulnerable to bright light, which suggests a possible strategy for Josef’s attack... but whose side is John going to be on?
- Andrew and Dr. Blenkinsop spend the rest of their day in decontamination; they spend these idle hours discussing what they have seen. Andrew wonders whether it was the result of a radioactive accident that mutated a human being; Blenkinsop counters by first suggesting that it might not have been an accident and then goes further by wondering if it was even human. This leads to a discussions of EDEs (Extra Dimensional Entities, the exasperated Blenkinsop spells out) during which it emerges that the British commander in charge of liaising EDE & conventional forces was... General Gronds! Blenkinsop starts to favour the EDE theory, as typical EDE behaviour is appearing out of thin air... just as the glowing figure appears out of thin air in the corner of the decontamination suite!