LSD6: Time Heals All Wounds
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- John and Andrew split up; Andrew is intent on finding 'Alex', but John has made his excuses so that he can question Captain Josef about his involvement with the Factory. Unluckily for Andrew, it is not Alexi he finds but one of the machine-creatures, attached to a power cable in the ruins at the outskirts of London. It captures him and proceeds to take him to the Factory...
- Meanwhile, John is caught trying to sneak through the barricades out of London, but this proves to be lucky for him (see discussion)as he learns that everything that crosses the weird barrier is torn apart by time stress. Using his charisma, leadership and sheer bloody gall, he gives the impression to the troops on the barricade that he is trying to hook up with the unit that is investigating the barrier. Falling for this hook, line & sinker, they tell him where to go and what to expect when he gets there...
- Andrew comes to his senses, naked, hanging by his wrists from a chain belt that is taking him and other carcasses into what looks very like a threshing machine; spotting a weak link in the chain holding him, he breaks free and starts looking for his clothes. As he is skulking around, a Russian enters, barking orders at the green creatures running the place; before Andrew can formulate a plan though, he is spotted and captured, In his personal effects, however, is the photo of Andrew's wife, Norma, whom the Russian recognises. He decides to take Andrew to meet his unti commander.
- John finds BERB, army and officials camped out by one of the roads out of London, where they are examining a weak spot in the time stress barrier. One of the officials is Gordon Prendergast, who recalls John from his meeting with Jake Stoner a week ago and who gets the impression that John is a reluctant 'agent' of Angus MacDonald. Gordon also mentions the Site but is no more forthcoming after an attempt to sound John out about the possibility of eliminating Jake Stoner goes completely over his head (see discussion). John then snoops around and finds a radio operator who is receiving the broadcasts made from London yesterday and learns from him that they are looking for a volunteer to go through the weak spot, but John is not game for it.
- Andrew meets Captain Josef for the first time and learns that the Russians knew and respected Norma for what she did for them, which included helping them to escape the British after the order had been given to turn on the Soviets. She may even have arranged for the records to be faked, hence the paradoxical report of Captain Joesf's death. The captain sympathises with the major, but regrets that he wil have to kill him to protect his men; Andrew appeals to Josef's better nature, reminding him of everything that his wife has done for the Soviets. This appears to push the captin to some kind of crisis of confidence; he suffers a seizure, hissing between clenched teeth, "I am Josef Dmitriov!" and then collapses after trying to put his gun under his chin! Whilst administering first aid, Andrew discovers a tattoo on tne captain's back similar to the one on Hugo's, but with the fourth dot shaded in rather than the second.
- John eavesdrops on a meeting of the various experts here, but is recognised by Dr. Blenkinsop, who challenges his right to be here;unable to prove his connection to the SSG, John tries to bluff his way through by asserting that Blenkinsop has no authority to challenge him or question him, which the doctor accedes to... and resolves the problem by calling General Gronds to deal with it! The general puts John under arrest and is ready to execute him when his answers are not satisfactory, but then has the inspiration to make John 'volunteer' to walk through the weak spot. John passes through in one piece and is outside London; behind him, the city is totally obscured by the time stress barrier, whilst ahead of him, a strange vehicle approaches, driven by one of the green creatures and loaded with crates of food from the Factory. John puts it all together; the crates contain food made of the body of Neil Thomas, the soldier who could step back in time; when this food is eaten, the people who consume it also gain that power! However, as time is going backwards in London, John has arrived at the moment the food was first delivered; therefore, if he stops the delivery now, none of this will have ever happened!
- Meanwhile, Andrew finds out from Alexi and the others that Josef was captured by the Hirsute at Croydon and was rescued by Alexi, but not before the Hirsute had examined him... He was different after that, but still their Captain. Despite Alexi's hostility towards the British, Andrew is allowed to try and remove the tattoo from Josef's back, which turns out not to be a tattoo but actual skin discolouration. As he attempts this, the 'tattoo' fades away, as if sinking ino Josef's unconscios body, and thick dark smoke pours out of his mouth in an enveloping cloud! It settles on one of the soldiers as they all panic and try to run, pouring into his nose and mouth; once it is has completely been absorbed by him, the soldier turns and runs for the Factory. Alexi takes a shot at him, but misses.
- John picks up a wrench and kills the green thing driving the delivery vehicle, then takes the cases of food to a nearby reservoir and throws them in... there is a bright, disjointed moment, the suddenly both John and Andrew are back in London, with the sun resuming its normal direction but at greatly increased speed, as time repairs itself and catches back up to the oment when it started going backwards. Unfortunately, this still leaves John in the middle of a group of scientists, soldiers and bureaucrats who want to debrief him about the whole event, while Andrew is now in the forbidden, derelict outskirts of Londonw, at night, with the grunting and the growling getting closer to him...