LSD7: In Absentia Luci
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- Concentrating on his mission, Andrew ignores the threatening night around him and attempts to find the place the power cable was connected to when he first saw it; he stumbles on a crudely buried cache of 6 more cylinders, similar to the damaged one that was in the possession of the Whipping Boy... just moments later, a blow to the back of the head knocks him unconscious.
- John attempts to obfuscate the details of what he saw outside London, leading to a disagreement between Blenkinsop, Gronds and Prendergast over who should be in charge of the debriefing (see discussion); Prendergast simply overrides the authority of the others and takes John away in the back of a van with a sack over his head.
- Andrew comes to, blindfolded and tied to a chair; the voice of the Whipping Boy is heard, accusing him of being a thief and plunderer. Andrew takes the opportunity to ask why the Whipping Boy had a photograph of his wife and what his involvemnet with the Croydon Incident was. After some prevarication, the WB admits to being a British soldier who proudly carried out his orders to eliminate the Soviets and reveals that he believes the Hirsute brought forth the Fire to walk upon this Earth... When the WB loses his temper with Andrew, he reveals that he has brought the 6 cylinders here and he goes to open one of them in Andrew's face!
- John realises that he is being taken to the Site, which happens to be Jake Stoner's farm; he is interrogated by Prendergast, with a secretary taking notes. They both refer to a large dossier as John recounts a fudged version of events, but John catches sight of a photograph of one of the green creatures and a sketch of the hand symbol in the dossier; he realises that Prendergast is looking for the greenies, so revises his story to entice Prendergast into trusting him.
- Back in the abandoned warehouse, Andrew realises that the WB is completely irrational and of no use to him, so he determines to escape, but the WB is quick and easily enraged... John scurries for the door, still tied to a chair, rather than continue the fight, but the vengeful & insane WB takes a discarded metal bar and strikes the lids off all the cylinders at once; there is an almighty flash of intense light... (see discussion)
- Everyone at the sight sees a bright flare coming from London and are fearful of what it means; having ended his interview and keen to go home, John finds himself detained at the Site until the nature of the crisis is assessed. Unable to leave, he follows Prendergast into a barn, where the bureaucrat is having a one-sided conversation with someone unseen... as John creeps closer to get a better look, he glimpses a number of glowing figures, just a split second before they see him and he is knocked unconscious in a flash of bright light...
- The light fades around Andrew and he ventures back into the warehouse to investigate; the Whipping Boy is nothing but a charred corpse and the cylinders lie empty, dark and broken around him. Aware that a severe nuclear event has occurred, encompassing himself and the East End of London, if not further afield, Andrew calls in the support of the SSG, where all is chaos and weeping as they count the human cost to be paid as thousands of Londoners face a slow death by radiation poisoning; this means Andrew and, essentially, everyone he knows... Dr. Blenkinsop and a full hazmat crew arrive to examine Ground Zero, but the doctor takes Andrew aside to remind him that all is not lost, if they can find the EDEs and acquire their 'radiation sponge' technology. The doctor turns a blind eye as Andrew steals a hazmat suit to penable him to pass through the quarantine area, which he divests himself of at a safe distance and then goes to see General Gronds at home, who has also been caught in the radius of the radiation burst. The general is angry and bitter, and somewhat confused by Andrew's reference to the glowing EDEs at Croydon... it turns out the glowing EDEs are not a race the British used during the war; they are EDEs the British are allied with right now and the general determines to take Andrew to the Site for a showdown with Prendergast.
- As John recovers, he attempts to conceal what he saw and persuade Prendergast he was eager to tell him more he remembered about the mission, but Prendergast merely comes to the conclusion that John is indiscreet and only useful as cannon fodder. As he formulates a plan to kill two birds with one stone, Andrew and Gronds arrive, the latter launching into a violent argument with Prendergast, while the former catches up with John. With Gronds and Andrew showing symptoms of their poisoning, Prendergast is pressured by Gronds into calling upon their allies to save London; they go into the barn and the Pure, seven beings composed of pure light, appear (one of them recognises Andrew from their previous encounter).
- Info Dump
- The Pure state they have no wants, needs, lusts or hungers; they intend to share their gift of purity with the world.
- They haven't done so yet because their resources are limited; Prendergast, who dreams of a better world (and a better England), is still analysing their potential so that he can direct the Pure to where he believes they are most needed or can do the most good, essentially practicing triage with whole populations.
- The Pure are seeking out the greenies for unclear reasons, but the greenies are mercenary engineers, who sell twisted technology to the highest bidder. Prendergast was trying to find the greenies to use that knowledeg as a bargaining chip with the Pure if their relationship ever turned sour, but Andrew cheerfully tells the Pure exactly where to find the Factory, so the Pure go off to deal with that.
- Prendergast is still taking a remote, detached view of the crisis, arguing for the 'best use of resource', so andre, with John's help, decides to make it personal... Part of the equipment used in the barn is a large version of one of the cylinders last seen in possession of the deceased WB, so Andrew sabotages it! A curtain of intense light shines out from a split between the cylinder and its cap: Gronds seals it again, but not before Prendergast and John have also been irradiated! A furious but impotent Prendergast allows them all to be 'purified' once the Pure have returned, but Andrew is still wary of these 'allies', no doubt thinking 'Beware of Greeks bearing gifts'...
- John, Andrew and Gronds' leave the Site and head off to investigate the factory; the area around it, once the rubble of a ruined village, is now perfect and whole once more, with flowers filling the air with their scent, even in the middle of December.
While Andrew investigates the Factory site, which is now whole and spotless like the village, but empty, John goes to tell his unit about the Site, which has similarly been purified and has bountiful crops for them to survive on, even in the depths of this harsh winter. Josef, now recovered, is grateful, but then informs John that they are deserting! The war is over for them now and they will be soldiers no more...
- John, Andrew & Gronds meet back up after exploring the village; Andrew is still looking for the fly in the ointment and trying to put together some connection between the Croydon Incident, the Hirsute, the greenies and the Pure. He decides they need to talk to someone who may have had contact with these EDEs: Professor Bernard Quatermass. Gronds is not sure this is a good idea, as the Professor has a notorious dislike for the military and he himself has had at least as much contact with EDEs... and with notable irony, just as he says this, the black smoke cloud that fled Josef pours up from around them and descends upon the general...