Age of Aquarius: Campaign log

Roger Burton West

Table of Contents


John Cranswick, an aspiring rock star and later sonokinetic. (Played by Chris Potter.)
Simon Jones, a postgraduate pharmaceutical chemist and later telepath. (Played by John Dallman.)
Megan Gwen Thomas, a language student and clairvoyant. (Played by Owen Smith.)
Sharon O’Keefe, a modern historian and telekinetic. (Played by Phil Masters.)
Ray Cohen, a dropout and teleporter. (Played by Ceri Harrison.)
Emmy Allan, job-hopper and probability manipulator. (Played by Clare Chippindale.)


When I’m Dead and Gone

12 October 2011
Tuesday, 11 April 1967
Our heroes have all signed up for a drug test, being conducted by Dr Paul Brown at the School of Pharmacy in Brunswick Square. The substance is apparently something to do with treatment of psychiatric patients; they’re to do a series of tests every hour or so for 24 hours, but there’s little advance briefing so as not to bias their experiences.
Things seem fairly boring at first, until suddenly the walls roll up, and the various hospital beds they’re lying on seem to be whirling through space. They see various apparitions: Megan sees herself teaching a classroom full of adults, but is able to read the notes being written by someone in the back row; John sees himself on stage, giving a concert, but he’s not carrying an instrument; Simon sees himself having a conversation with someone, but neither of them is talking out loud. Then things get odder: a man in Cossack clothes is riding through the streets of London, jumping from one horse to another at the gallop; a man stands in front of a burning building, laughing; the Earth, seen from space, is covered with a growing crystal; and then everything stops.
The next sensation is waking up in a dark stuffy space. The three of them gradually realise that they’re in black plastic bags, in a moving vehicle of some sort; they unzip and look around. They’re in a van on a motorway at night, surrounded by body bags much like the ones they’ve just climbed out of (though the bodies in the others are dead — having bled copiously from nose, eyes and ears, and indeed the survivors seem to have done so a bit too), and there’s something odd about their minds; they don’t quite seem to fit inside their heads any more...
Wednesday, 12 April 1967
After some quiet discussion, Megan projects her senses to spy the van’s driver and his mate, and to try to read the number-plate. John reaches out with a carefully-crafted shout to try to make the van’s instruments show a problem; in fact, the interior lighting goes out. The driver takes the next junction and pulls into a garage; the students get out quietly while the driver and his mate open the bonnet and try to find the problem, but they’re spotted. The driver looks pretty scared; John shouts hard at him, and he falls over clutching his head. The other man runs off. So now they’re running away from a garage in what turns out to be Dunstable...
After some discussion, they walk to Luton, get a bus back to London and retire to John’s flat for the night. In the morning, a policeman knocks on the door, and politely takes them to the local station, though without arresting them; he clearly hasn’t been told the whole story by whoever it is they’re all waiting for, and Simon persuades him to let Simon phone his parents and get his father, a solicitor who does civil work, to come down. (He also discovers that his parents had been informed he was dead...)
First, though, Mr Smith and Mr Walters arrive. Smith is clearly a civil servant of some type; Walters probably is too, though he has the build of a successful prop forward and must have paid an awful lot to get a suit that fits him. Smith is more supercilious, clearly not wanting to have anything to do with these scruffy student types. He makes their situation clear: two stories start in this interview room. One of them involves signing the Official Secrets Act. The other... is less pleasant.
Simon makes something of a fuss and manages to hold his own, getting a chance to talk to his father before signing, though he’s cautioned not to say anything to which anyone might take exception. They all do sign, at which point they are welcomed to Bureau D8 of the Security Service and advised to write to their parents and friends saying that they’ll be out of circulation for a bit.
D8 deals with psychic research. It doesn’t have any psi talents of its own — or rather, it hasn’t until now — but it’s aware that other people do, and has been looking for ways to counter them.
They’re moved into a temporary lodging near Whitehall, and explore their new powers with various tests. (Megan sneaks into the Ladies to smoke a surreptitious joint, and is mildly surprised when someone else there asks to share.) The first actual mission happens a little over a week later.
Saturday, 22 April 1967
A senior government figure is meeting someone in the Hilton on Park Lane. The Service would like to know what’s said in that meeting, but can’t get an electronic bug in. The team’s got into a room a few floors down, with Mr Walters along to keep an eye on them; Megan projects her senses up, while Simon listens in telepathically and John records everything they report.
The Minister for Health, Kenneth Robinson, is meeting three well-dressed (if rather square-looking) young people, two men and a woman. They have briefing folders with a familiar photo on them; it looks rather like the laughing man the new psis saw in their visions, and Megan recognises him as L. Ron Hubbard, leader of Scientology, a fairly obscure new religion that’s recently been making some progress in the UK.
Simon realises that someone else is telepathically invading Robinson’s mind, at much the same time that the other person spots him. The woman turns to leave, and the team decides that it’s time to get away.
They head downstairs at speed, hearing the sound of high-heeled shoes coming down after them. Walters draws a pistol and stays behind, telling the others to move across to one of the other staircases and get out; they hear two gunshots, and then the fire alarms go off.
They retire to the nearest police station and call for help.
26 October 2011
Some anonymous MI5 support arrives, and they’re got back to home base. Mr Walters is badly burned, and will be spending some months in hospital; meanwhile, the team will be working with Mr Dennis. (He looks like more of the fast sort of rugby player, probably a winger.)
Monday, 24 April 1967
The Scientologists have a headquarters on Fitzroy Street, and the team’s sent to see what can be found — if burglary is indicated, it can be done, but that leaves evidence...
They set up in Fitzroy Square, with John busking and keeping an eye on passers-by. Megan senses someone using telepathic powers in roughly the right direction, though her psi-sense switches briefly to someone possibly in the square (also using telepathy, or having it used on him) before jumping back. She moves her clairvoyant viewpoint through the building, though at this range she can’t keep it up for long; she arrives in an empty and apparently unused office, though it’s being kept ready for someone.
Moving out, she hears a lot more American accents than she’s used to, and sees several auditing sessions in progress; she also spots one of the men from the meeting at the Hilton, apparently persuading one of his underlings to come away on a dirty weekend with him, but doesn’t recognise anyone else she sees. As she’s withdrawing, her psi-sense switches again, this time to someone moving across the square while a telepathic ability is active. Simon, observing, can later confirm that one particular man stumbled shortly after he’d come in, walked across the square, and stumbled again just before he left to go into one of the offices nearby.
That man can be identified without too much trouble, though MI5 has no file on him; the team pays him a visit that night and Simon eavesdrops, but it appears that he knows nothing about psi, Scientologists, or anything else.
Tuesday, 25 April 1967
With a dentist a couple of doors down from the Fitzroy Street headquarters, and a temporary office rental available at the top of the same building, the team can be got a bit closer. Megan spends longer watching and listening: later consideration suggests that for a "World Headquarters" these people are being sidelined, and somewhat resent it. It seems that most of the money is going to Saint Hill Manor, and into two specific areas: the Sea Project, and Mental Tech, though the people talking about them don’t know what either might be. They seem to be a pretty paranoid lot — always concerned about loyalty, examining themselves and each other for incorrect thoughts.
Simon projects blindly into a mind, and meets some surprisingly disordered thoughts — whoever this is, apparently the telepath, he’s constantly having and suppressing ideas that he considers unacceptable. It’s not quite hearing voices, but it’s still quite disturbing. The church’s organisational structure, apparent in the paperwork he’s doing, is deliberately obscure and confusing. He’s planning to go to Saint Hill tonight for something to his advantage.
The team gets a briefing on what’s known about Scientology — it’s not very much.
Getting into Saint Hill may present something of a challenge. The eventual plan is to tranquilise the loose-roaming dogs and get over the fence while not carrying anything too incriminating — if the team’s caught, they’ll claim to have been planning to graffiti something. On the other hand, the West Sussex Police will be nearby, in case it’s possible to arrange something to which they can legitimately respond. And Mr Dennis will be standing by with a rifle.
The team goes in shortly after sunset to avoid the full moonlight expected later. The main house is surrounded by portacabins, though they’re dark at the moment; the only lights are from the house, and some from the construction site off to the left. (It seems that they’ve applied for planning permission to build a mock-Norman castle there.) There’s also a generator running on the site, which is enough to get the team to look there first.
Megan spies into the portacabins closest to the generator, and strikes lucky: one of them contains a man sitting in something like an electric chair, gripping two electrodes which look like larger versions of the E-meter cans. Pointed directly at his head, at very short range, is a radar emitter or something like it. Benches of electronic equipment surround the chair, and there are three other people in there — two of them being the telepath spotted earlier, and the probably-pyrokinetic woman seen on Saturday. John puts his hearing perception into the room, and transmits the soundtrack live back to Mr Dennis.
Capacitors are charging, and the telepath asks the man in the chair "are you quite sure you want to go through with this?". He is, and the telepath throws a lever; the capacitors discharge, and the lights flicker, revealing a slight blue nimbus around the man’s head. He slumps, unconscious; the others touch him cautiously with a heavily-insulated cable, then shake his shoulder. "Can you hear us, Bill?"
Bill wakes up, and looks around. "I can hear... everything." Megan’s psi-sense is going off very strongly, and the team starts to retreat, particularly when the cabin and everything in it catch fire simultaneously. Three burning figures stagger out, then drop and roll to put themselves out; Bill rises out of the wreckage, still glowing.
The team concentrates on running in the dark, but somewhere behind them there are a couple of gunshots and the psi-sense impression winks out. They find the van they arrived in backed through the fence, letting them get away easily; Mr Dennis is ready with his rifle, but it wasn’t he who fired.
They drive round to the front gate, where some police cars "just passing by" are responding to the fire and reports of gunshots. The telepath has got down here already, and seems to be doing a decent job of persuading the lead policeman that there’s no problem that can’t be dealt with internally; Simon jumps into the man’s head, and manages to push out the other telepath, at least for long enough to get the cop to wave the others in and get things started.
Max, the telepath whose name the team finally learns at this point, is arrested, though it’s not clear how long a normal prison can hold him. Apart from the burning wreckage and the newly-dead body, the police find evidence that someone’s built a neat little crematorium setup — and it’s certainly been used.

All The Pretty Little Horses

30 November 2011
Tuesday, 2 May 1967
Sharon O’Keefe has been caught, and shot, breaking into "a certain military facility in Wiltshire". As far as she’s concerned, she was having a pleasant evening out, and next thing she knew was waking up handcuffed to a hospital bed with a cast on her leg and a dour WPC keeping an eye on her.
MI5 has built a number of machines that may be psi detectors, and some of them twitched when Sharon was brought in, so they send Simon and Megan (with Mr Dennis) to talk to her. (John is helping with tests elsewhere.)
Simon and Megan dance around the subject, testing the limits of Sharon’s patience, but eventually reveal their psi abilities with a demonstration of telepathic communication and another of ESP. She’s persuaded to sign the Official Secrets Act (Mr Dennis has a copy with him) rather than be locked up for breaking into a classified place, and manifests cryokinetic powers. The cast is cut off, and her leg seems in rather better shape than expected for someone who’s been shot twice...
It’s not clear how Sharon’s psi powers may have come about; she doesn’t remember any hallucinations like those the others had. Simon probes her memories; she was out on Saturday night in Earl’s Court, and Tony, someone she’s vaguely seen about the place, was passing out free samples of a new hallucinogen; peer pressure did the rest. She remembers starting to have hallucinations, but the rest is a blank; she works with a police artist to produce a sketch of Tony.
The group heads for that pub, and asks around; Tony hasn’t been in today, but he’s been around. One of Sharon’s acquaintances says that after she took the pill she sat around admiring the wood grain of the table for half an hour or so, then got up and left. The group waits, Sharon planning the horrible things she’d like to do to Tony while Simon tries Australian beer (carefully cooled by Sharon). When Tony does arrive, he’s clearly dealing; Megan buys a joint, and a couple of the new pills, which he calls "Knight’s Move" (and the tablets do seem to have a crude impression on them that might be a chess knight). Tony spots Sharon, and nods to her in an unconcerned way; either he’s a good actor, or he has no idea what she’s been up to.
When Tony leaves, Simon follows, concealing himself from observation; the others further back track him via Megan’s psi-sense. He visits several other pubs and clubs, and heads home (to one of the cheaper parts of Kensington) around 12.30.
Wednesday, 3 May 1967
Megan projects her vision into Tony’s flat, as Tony does some basic accounts, then stows his remaining stock of pills — enough for another two or three days at this rate of sales — except for one, puts on a copy of Revolver, and takes the final pill before lying on his bed. Simon confirms that he starts to have hallucinations within about ten seconds, much faster than LSD; they last about twenty minutes.
Megan managed to spot a full name and phone number on some of Tony’s letters, and Mr Dennis arranges for a tap on the phone. The pills Megan bought are analysed over the course of the day; there are some similarities to LSD, but it’s not a known substance (technically it’s not even illegal yet).
A casual conversation reveals that the van with the body bags wasn’t being operated by MI5 — it’s not clear what was going on there. Dr Paul Brown thought he was dealing with a pharmaceutical company that wanted a human test; the paperwork seemed to be in order, but the company doesn’t know anything about it.
Thursday, 4 May 1967
Megan manages to contact Dominic, her usual dealer, who’s actually quite worried: Knight’s Move is cutting the heart out of the (limited, at this point) LSD market, since it seems to be all over London and it’s rather cheaper. It’s also not coming in through the usual channels; he doesn’t know anyone who’s involved in its distribution.
The team spends the evening searching for Tony, but don’t locate him before he returns to his flat shortly after midnight.
Friday, 5 May 1967
Tony telephones "Len", and arranges to meet the next day in Hyde Park for a resupply. (Megan was only able to hear Tony’s side of the conversation, and Simon didn’t manage to get his telepathic listening in place, but the tap comes through.)
After resting, and with some minor changes to their appearances, the team observes the meet. They don’t have an exact location, but Megan’s able to eavesdrop when Tony shows up. He and Len (Tallant) exchange briefcases in a reasonably subtle way, and chat for a few minutes before heading off in separate directions. Len goes back to his flat in Queensway, which Megan confirms is full of packets of pills — all Knight’s Move, he seems to be a specialist — and bundles of cash.
Len puts some of the cash into a bag, then heads out, catching an eastbound bus. Simon and Mr Dennis get onto the same bus, with Megan and Sharon on the next one a few minutes later. He gets off on the eastern section of Oxford Street, and heads into the alley behind some shops. Simon keeps up, and sees Len tucking his bag into the lid of a big dustbin; he opens another, and takes out another similar-looking bag.
Keeping an eye on this seems to be the best bet, though it turns out to be quite a few hours of watching; the team members spell each other, warming up in a cafe nearby between shifts.
Saturday, 6 May 1967
Around 4am, a car pulls up and the driver gets out; he collects the bag of money, then drives off. Simon makes a note of the car’s make, model and licence plate (and the CD plate that shows it registered to the Soviet Embassy). Megan follows the car with ESP, and indeed it heads back to Kensington Palace Gardens; the driver hands off the bag to another man, who’s wearing a pork-pie hat... indoors, which is rather odd at least by Western standards. This man takes the bag and starts to walk away... then looks around curiously, and Megan’s ESP suddenly stops working.

Play with Fire

14 December 2011
The team retires to get some sleep, while other MI5 agents follow up on some of the details. Len’s phone gets tapped. The driver is one of the Embassy’s drivers; the man in the hat is Mstislav Dmitriev, a "cultural attach:eacute" who’s pretty certainly KGB.
The archivists will comb military and police reports for any break-in attempts that sound like Sharon’s — this will take a little while.
With a certain amount of evasive talk, Mr Dennis conveys the impression that MI5’s history of psychic capability is a short one — acting on information received, they’ve become aware of the possibility only within the last year or so.
There’s been some analysis of the spare samples of Dr Brown’s drug, and Megan spots a very slight psychic trace on about half of them (it does seem to fade with time). Simon looks at the structural details, and reckons that this and Knight’s Move are products of different research efforts: they’re both hallucinogens, but they don’t really have any more in common than that. Brown’s drug seems very likely to be fatal to pretty much everyone who takes it.
A raid is arranged for Tony’s flat on Saturday night; the MI5 operatives make it look like a burglary by a rival dealer.
Sunday, 7 May 1967
Some of the new samples of Knight’s Move show psi activity to Megan’s perception. Megan persuades Sharon to move some of the pills around with telekinesis, but the residue from that isn’t at all the same. Simon feeds both sets of pills to some experimental rats, then tries to read their minds; Knight’s Move certainly seems to make them easier to read, while Brown’s drug kills them (though one of them wakes up a few hours later, scampers around briefly in mid-air, then dies of a massive cerebral haemorrhage).
News comes that Max has vanished from custody, before MI5 could finish the paperwork to get him transferred to their control. None of the police is quite clear on how it happened.
Monday, 8 May 1967
Simon has a disturbingly realistic dream: he’s picking up a prostitute, cutting her throat, then throwing her off Waterloo Bridge. He immediately calls this in; a couple of hours later, around 5 am, the police pull a woman’s body out of the river near the Isle of Dogs (though it’s badly burned, particularly around the head and neck, rather than cut). The body can be identified: it’s Sally Jones, a prostitute who mostly worked in Soho.
The team heads for Waterloo Bridge, and Megan immediately senses a strong and disturbing signature, primarily pyrokinetic. She also picks up a second psi-senser, out of sight among the people walking along the bridge. Mr Dennis tries to track this person, but without success; Simon reads the mind of a random passer-by, and someone further up the bridge dodges sideways. Before anyone can follow up, Megan catches fire and falls to the ground, barely conscious; Sharon cools her to minimise the long-term damage, and Simon scans the crowd to spot the Scientology pyrokinetic. He points her out to Mr Dennis, who draws a pistol and takes aim.
Simon gets into the woman’s mind — she’s mostly worried about her present situation — and Sharon keeps cooling Megan. Dennis shoots, but his bullets are retarded or deflected by a shield of some kind. Simon charges, keeping Dennis’ sightline clear; Dennis falls over, on fire. Sharon makes several unsuccessful attempts to chill the woman, while Simon tries to distract her by slamming into her, but she’s mobile enough to avoid this at first. However, Dennis manages to get a last pair of shots off, which seem to do some damage; Simon grabs her from behind and carries her to the ground as Sharon’s cryokinesis finally cuts in. The woman is knocked unconscious, and Sharon chills her to make sure she won’t wake up immediately.
All this has attracted a certain amount of attention, and policemen and ambulances arrive in short order. Simon’s theory is that this was a trap for the psis, though it seems a pretty extreme length to go to.
With Mr Dennis at least temporarily out of action, Mr Smith is forced to descend from the heights to sit in on the woman’s interrogation (for which she’s kept semi-conscious). Simon, who’s been reading a little about interrogation techniques, realises he’s in the presence of a master — and reads the woman’s mind, as backup.
The results of this are somewhat surprising. She’s Jessica Benson, and she’s been working with Cyril Ransome, the other Scientologist psi (they haven’t heard anything from Max since his arrest). Ransome got wind of strong psychic activity on or near Waterloo Bridge, and they went there to try to find out what was going on. Then she spotted Megan and the others, and lost her presence of mind... The Bridge Centre got started about three months ago, and seems to have been Ransome’s idea — he was the first Scientologist psi. He claimed to have got the ideas from studying Hubbard’s writings, but this is something one’s pretty much required to say. They’ve had eight "failures" (cremated) as well as the three successes.
Jessica will be kept unconscious for the moment, and shipped to a specialised prison when one can be set up.
Thursday, 11 May 1967
Since the burned body of another prostitute shows up in the river a few days later, it seems possible that Benson was telling the truth.
Tuesday, 16 May 1967
The third burned body is that of Chris Willows, and the police start to draw some connections: he’s a club owner in Soho, and thought to be involved in the production of pornographic films. They start to try to trace the other people who might be involved, but for obvious reasons nobody’s talking much.
Megan and Mr Dennis are out of hospital, largely thanks to Sharon’s quick cryokinesis, though still moving a bit gingerly. The team takes to hanging around Soho in the afternoons and evenings, doing their best to blend in (easier for Sharon and Megan than for Simon or Mr Dennis).
Thursday, 18 May 1967
(In the background... Syria mobilises against Israel, and President Nasser of Egypt demands the UN Emergency Force be withdrawn from the Sinai. Also, NASA announces the crew for Apollo 7, the first flight mission of the programme: Walter Schirra, Ed White and Walter Cunningham. This is widely seen as an attempt to get back on track after the Apollo 1 fire in January, when Roger Chaffee died.)
Saturday, 20 May 1967
This pays off a few days later, when Megan catches a psi sense around 2am. She follows it, and finds a burning, screaming man in an alley. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else around; she tries to fine down the psi sense, and reckons the origin of the pyrokinesis is standing right next to the victim — but not visible. Sharon cools the victim; there’s still heat being poured in, but she manages to hold things steady. Simon reads blindly, and gets a sense of "revenge" and "burning" — but this mind is very simple, and probably rather less than human. He puts his hand into the space where the thing seems to be, and sends an impression of calm; it blinks out.
Simon applies first aid, keeping the man alive until the ambulance arrives.
Sunday, 21 May 1967
When "Lucky" Fisher is conscious enough to be read, he seems to be flashing back to an accident on-set at the start of the month — a fire got started among the film stock, and one of the cameramen was killed. The team visits Nat Carver’s grave — which is slightly scorched, but the psi residue is quite old, certainly older than the murders. The team theorises that they have a psychic ghost, but don’t really have any means of dealing with it...
Fisher gives up the other two (surviving) people who were involved, and they’re arrested — largely for their own good.

A Face In The Crowd

11 January 2012
Monday, 22 May 1967
More rats are experimented on. Barely sub-lethal doses of rat poison, combined with Knight’s Move, make them easier to read but they don’t become psychic; using LSD instead of the Knight’s Move also doesn’t make them psychic.
Dmitriev would be followed, but he doesn’t appear ever to leave the Soviet embassy.
Tuesday, 23 May 1967
An exhumation order is obtained for Nat Carver’s grave. His body is present, burned more or less as expected; there’s also substantial charring to the coffin. This seems to confirm the team’s theories. They decide to hang on to the body for a while in case further ideas occur to them.
Thursday, 25 May 1967
There’s a report of a break-in — well, probably a break-in — where the Sussex Constabulary were storing the evidence from Saint Hill. Nobody is entirely clear what happened (which is starting to be a familiar pattern, and the group suspects Max was involved), but nothing seems to be missing.
Saturday, 27 May 1967
Megan takes the others along to the first gig by a new folk-rock group, Fairport Convention. A good time is had.
Monday, 29 May 1967
Megan’s smoking companion from her first days in D8, Jane Perry, turned herself in on Sunday night for abstracting classified materials. She reports that she "came to herself" while walking out with components from the Saint Hill helmet, which she’d intended to tuck into a dark spot under Waterloo Bridge. Megan spots the residue of a psychic suggestion, though Jane doesn’t recognise a picture of Max. New procedures are put in place: access to classified materials has to be by teams of three rather than individual operatives.
A high-frequency electronics specialist, Reg Willis, is brought in from the BBC to take a poke at the evidence, since it seems likely that it’s valuable to somebody.
Wednesday, 31 May 1967
Willis reports that he can’t get much detail, but that the helmet seems to be an amplifier and shaper for very high-frequency electromagnetic fields; there’s no known physiological interaction. But since the "radar emitter" seems to have been quite simply a microwave projector, there’s clearly something a bit unconventional going on.
The Bureau starts to work on tracking down the companies that supplied parts to Saint Hill. The Scientologists seem to have had habits of paranoia, ordering from a variety of small suppliers, as well as Farnell and Radio Spares for some of the more obscure stuff.
Thursday, 1 June 1967
Megan buys a copy of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on release day.
The painstaking money tracing has finally paid off. The people claiming to be from Glaxo, who funded Dr Brown’s drug trial, rented an office and phone line. That money has been traced back through a variety of accounts, and finally to a slush fund run by the Daily Mirror for paying freelancers and informants.
The Bureau could borrow the Inland Revenue and go in for an audit, but that risks tipping people off. Instead, Simon and Megan are found jobs — Simon as an internal messenger, Megan in the typing pool (she doesn’t have the skills to back this up, but it’s leaked that she’s the daughter of someone rich who wanted her to have a summer job — she’s far from unique in this).
Over the next few days, they conduct psychic surveillance of the accounts department. Simon gets the impression that it’s all pretty chaotic, with very little in the way of formal oversight, and a lot of tension between the Mirror staffers and the management layer at IPC.
Megan — whose pencilled-in replacement eyebrows seem to be starting something of a fashion trend among the girls in the pool — overhears some conversations which mention a sum of money equal to the one they’re interested in -- a manager’s telling off someone else for authorising it, and the other man says that he wasn’t even in the office at the time. Later on, the manager explains that he’s been told from up above not to poke into this any further. Megan also casually dates Jim Bates, a junior accountant, who confirms that people frequently fake each other’s signatures in order to keep things moving quickly.
Monday, 5 June 1967
As they’re waiting for more information, Megan’s psi-sense goes off: a power she hasn’t encountered before is active nearby, a few hundred yards away in fact. She moves around, first in the building and then across the road, to try to pin it down; it goes on for around half an hour, long enough for her to localise it to Martlet House, an five-storey office building on the north side of High Holborn — and on a high floor.
As she’s turning away to tell Simon about this, she gets another psi-sense flash: a Suggestion. She turns round just in time to see a disguised Max entering the building. She calls this in; after about twenty minutes, two unmarked cars turn up, bringing Mr Dennis and three heavies. Simon also joins her stealthily. Meanwhile, she’s been tracking Suggestion moving gradually up the building.
Megan sits in one of the cars, and projects her sight through the windows — there’s no sign of anything unusual in the offices on the lower floors, but the windows on the top floor have been blacked out. She blind-projects her view in, finding what most closely resembles a physics lab — there are lots of crystals mounted in padded clamps, many with electrodes attached, and a lot of electronic equipment that doesn’t make sense to her. Max is standing by while a man in a lab coat searches through a filing cabinet; Megan looks in more closely, but it seems to be a bunch of near-identical test reports identified only by numbers.
The scientist looks up and says "I think this one ought to do", then dismounts a large quartz crystal from its clamps and hands it to Max. A telephone rings; he answers it, and then tells Max "apparently the police, or someone, have arrived".
Megan locks her viewpoint onto Max, and Simon follows him on the physical level. Max bails out down the fire escape, and tells the MI5 people at the back of the house that he isn’t the person they want, then heads for the Underground. Simon keeps up with him as far as the westbound Central Line platform, but eventually has to choose between being spotted and losing Max, and opts for the latter.
Megan can still track him, though, as he heads out to Perivale, and into a house there. He’s met by Cyril Ransome, who’s clearly in something of a panic — he tells Max that Max is being tracked. Max hands him the crystal, and they split up; Megan chooses to follow Max, as the greater threat. He heads back into London; the team just misses him at King’s Cross station as he gets onto the Inter-City service for Edinburgh, but Mr Dennis calls in to get the train slowed — but not stopped — as much as possible en route. Meanwhile the two Bureau D8 cars head up the A1 at top speed; one of them falls behind, but Mr Dennis’ driving is up to the task, and they get to Peterborough station just before the train pulls in. Megan has been giving a running commentary, and confirms Max’s position — she’s still blind and deaf as she maintains her psychic link, and Simon steers her out of the car and into the station.
The team enters the train, moving up on Max from outside his line of sight as it pulls out of Peterborough station. Mr Dennis moves in quickly, a handcuff already closed, on his left wrist, and slips the other cuff onto Max. Max tells him that he’d really like to undo that cuff. He replies "Yes, I would, but unfortunately I left the key in the car."
Simon moves in to throw Max’s influence out of Mr Dennis’ mind, and Max claims, fairly unconvincingly, that he’s surrendered. Mr Dennis knocks him out with a hypodermic (looking as though he’d rather use his fists) and the team returns from Doncaster to London.
Simon probes Max’s mind while he’s unconscious. The Martlet Group, as far as he’s concerned, is doing very basic psi research, but has some useful components. The crystal was to help him control the world. (Raised eyebrows all round.) Cyril Ransome was planning to use it to build an amplifier; Max doesn’t know where Cyril will have gone now.
There are other psychic Scientologists, but Max doesn’t know of any in the UK — he gives the names of the Americans he knows, and they certainly include more persuaders. Ransome’s powers are object-reading and psi-sense, but he also understands the electronics better than anyone else.
Cyril will need more equipment to finish his amplifier, but it’ll all be fairly conventional electronics — "and then of course he’ll need to get into the earth station". More prodding suggests that the plan was to amplify Max’s suggestion power, layering it on top of a satellite signal by getting into Goonhilly Downs... because later in the month, there’s a plan for a live international satellite broadcast, that’s likely to be watched by hundreds of millions of people.

Do You Want To Know A Secret

25 January 2012
Tuesday, 6 June 1967
The detector has gone off again, pointing to a drug overdose victim found near Waterloo Bridge. Ray Cohen is cagy at first, even giving a false name, but Simon convinces him of the reality of psi powers and Mr Dennis persuades him to sign the Official Secrets Act (the MI5 salary won’t hurt). It seems he’d taken some ibogaine, acquired dishonestly from a tray at University College Hospital; he teleports his overcoat into his hand, and thinks he can move himself short distances too.
A lot of information has been got out of the Martlet raid. The people outside the lab seem to be ignorant of the dodgier goings-on, and are being processed by other branches, but Bureau D8 has kept the three scientists from the lab. There does seem to be some push-back from the House of Commons, though; the Martlet Group’s nominal job was to disburse charitable funds, and shifting around that much money can’t help but gain an organisation some political clout. It’s not clear for how long MI5, or at least D8 specifically, can hang on to the prisoners.
The experimental notes suggest that the main focus of activity is crystals, mostly made of alum but with some gemstones being tested too: tuning a pair of them to resonate in synchrony over a long distance (they’ve managed twenty miles, but they drift out of synch quite fast), using them to transmit energy to each other, and so on. They’ve found a way to use a third crystal to disrupt the resonance between others, but making things not work isn’t their major concern. There are also notes on two drug experiments, under the heading of "death experiences and mental powers"; the first one appears to have been the one that Simon, John and Megan participated in, and it’s written up as a failure (they were expecting the deaths, indeed slightly more deaths than actually happened, but the early revivals seem to have taken them by surprise). The second experiment involves tampering with hallucinogenic drugs being supplied to hospitals for therapy purposes, and they’re trying this at UCH...
(An MI5 team swoops on UCH and removes all their supplies of hallucinogens, citing contamination concerns. They do seem to have been contaminated with the same poison used in Dr Brown’s drug.)
Instructions to the scientists have come on typewritten sheets, delivered by courier, and take the form of fairly directed suggestions: "try dosing the subject with hallucinogens and just barely killing it", for example. Although they’re all written on the same or a similar machine, Megan reckons they have different authors, and some at least seem to have been translated from Russian.
The chief scientist, Dr Friend, is in his late forties and isn’t talking; when Simon probes, this seems to be because he’s much more scared of the people he’s been working for (one of whom he’s seen casually snapping someone’s neck) than he is of MI5. The two junior men talk a bit more readily, but don’t have much to add to the notes; it’s clear they have essentially no ethnical sense, and the team considers recruiting them if it’s possible.
Some background checking reveals that Friend’s record starts rather suddenly in 1946, which is suggestive. Simon reads Friend in his sleep; he’s dreaming of medical experiments, but they shade rather sharply into torture and sexual considerations. Probing, he confirms that Friend was a junior Nazi doctor; since he got out, he’s been taking various low-level jobs suitable for a medically-qualified researcher, until Martlet found him late in 1964.
He knows several of the people in charge of him; Simon sends images to Megan, who sketches them and recognises one of them as Cecil King, head of IPC. As far as Friend is concerned, he’s working on some new form of energy: the crystals don’t interest him much, the drugs rather more, and he reckons the neurosurgery is entirely impractical.
(There’s a typewritten sheet on neurosurgery, suggesting some fairly major brain modification, combined with crystals.)
Friend reckons that, wherever he’s sent, if he betrays his bosses they’ll kill him — probably by choking him to death over around six hours, as he’s seen happen to someone else.
Friday, 9 June 1967
Ray signs up for a firearms course, under the mistaken impression that this will rapidly lead to the issue of a gun. Willis starts to look at the disruption effect of the crystals.
Monday, 12 June 1967
Meanwhile, D8 has a job: one Stephen Vickers is suspected of being a foreign agent, and the team is asked to try to discover the truth of this without alerting him. Material that could be used in a conventional way would be most welcome. Vickers is a barman at the Bunch of Grapes in the City of London, and he’s one of several people who might be a conduit for leaked information which appears to have been on its way to China.
Sharon talks herself into a job doing two lunchtimes a week at the pub, which is just down the road from Lloyd’s of London. It’s mostly an evening trade, but she meets Alan Blake the landlord, and sees Vickers briefly. The pub is quite small, basically one room full of tables with the street door at one end and the bar at the other.
Tuesday, 13 June 1967
In the evening, Simon and Megan go in; it’s mostly a male crowd (and judging by the conversation mostly from Lloyd’s), so Megan’s a little out of place, but she poses as Simon’s girlfriend, and Simon’s appropriately dressed. Ray, Sharon and Mr Dennis are in a car nearby.
Simon spots one of the customers handing over an envelope to Vickers; he’s reasonably subtle about it, and Vickers tucks it into his jacket pocket. Megan scans the contents; it’s a highly numerical analysis of shipping routes and risks, marked as confidential.
Simon probes Vickers, who’s planning to tape the envelope inside the lid of a specific litter bin when he goes home. He also probes the donor, one Michael Henderson, whose thought on how he’s being paid is "they won’t tell my wife" about the affair he’s having.
The place clears out a bit as the evening goes on. A man who’s been at the bar for most of the evening, getting progressively maudlin, gets into a bit of a huddle with Vickers; Megan scans the conversation, which is mostly about how hard-done-by he is. Vickers is listening sympathetically and asking occasional questions -- perhaps slightly pointed ones, but the fellow’s too drunk to notice. Simon picks out his name (Gerald Morris), and scans Vickers, who’s running through a checklist of things about which it might be possible to blackmail him.
At last orders, Simon and Megan leave as Vickers starts to clear up, reporting to Mr Dennis and the others. Megan plans to spot the envelope when Vickers deposits it, then follow it for as long as she can stay awake, and Simon will watch Vickers, getting ready to follow him on foot if necessary.

I’d Love to Change the World

8 February 2012
Vickers tapes the envelope to the bin. Megan psi-senses some telepathy in a group of people walking along the road; one of them breaks off, and starts shadowing Vickers. Simon and Ray follow him into Bank station, while Megan checks the package via ESP.
Vickers, his shadow, and Simon and Ray all get onto a northbound train. The shadow gets off at the next stop; Simon follows him, while Ray stays with Vickers. The shadow waits for a southbound train, returns to Bank, leaves the station and stands looking confused for a moment; Simon reads him thinking that he’s already walked down this road once this evening. Must be working too hard...
At King’s Cross, two other passengers — a man in his thirties and a woman in her fifties — step up as if to get off, then move to grab Ray as they’re passing him. He slips away from their grasp and punches the man, who reels back onto the seats opposite — rather more of a reaction than Ray expected, in fact. The woman gets hold of him, and he punches her too, yelling for help all the time. An off-duty policeman asks what’s going on, and both his attackers are confused, claiming not to have any idea. Ray moves to the other end of the carriage, near Vickers, and chats to him, though Vickers mostly ignores him.
Vickers gets off the train at Chalk Farm, and Ray confirms that he’s gone home, then calls in and heads back to the City.
Wednesday, 14 June 1967
Megan, Sharon, Simon and Mr Dennis have been sitting around for a while when Megan gets another flash of telepathy — this time it’s an office cleaner, who picks up the envelope and puts it in her bag. Simon reckons she’s being mind-controlled. Megan follows her through her very boring overnight shift.
Half an hour later, a youngish man comes past the bin and seems surprised that there’s nothing there, but hides it well and walks on. Simon follows him onto a bus, but loses him; either he got off very sneakily, or he turned invisible himself.
Megan, boosted by Mr Dennis’ amphetamines, tracks the woman as she cleans all night, then heads home around 6am. She leaves the envelope on an Underground train, and the young woman sitting next to her picks it up. It passes through several more hands before it’s left near the Soviet embassy, and a familiar driver picks it up. Megan shifts her powers to make them harder to detect as the package is brought into the embassy, then handed over to the pork-pie-hatted man -- who appears to have two friends similarly equipped. They discuss matters briefly, and one of them asks "but will he be happy to work for us instead?"; they all laugh. The envelope is stowed in a filing cabinet, and Megan gets a look at a variety of Russian code names.
The team gets some sleep; Vickers is pulled in. After he got home, he had a rather worrying visit from Russians, who pointed out that he’d much rather be working for them than for the Albanian Sigurimi, which is what he’s been doing so far (the Albanians at this point being the arm of Chinese influence in Europe). He started doing minor things for money, but is now being blackmailed; he doesn’t seem to have any special powers. The Russians took all his notes, but he reconstructs what he can remember. He describes "Januz", who looks like the man Simon lost on the bus; he’s not an official Albanian diplomat, so if he can be found he can be arrested.
Saturday, 24 June 1967
After several days of training and normal life, the team heads for Goonhilly Downs — in a smoke-filled Transit van with several MI5 operatives, with conversations ranging from octane ratings of petrol to the nasty new guns they’re being issued instead of proper reliable Webleys. (Megan headed down a couple of days earlier to get in some beach and free love time.)
The MI5 people will patrol the perimeter, while the team has been got in as engineering students observing the historic live broadcast. There’s frantic preparation going on amid the usual work; the MI5 people get the perimeter fence mended where the sheep had got through (this is not normally a high-security installation).
The local pub is more congenial to some than to others, with Sharon overindulging in apple products.
Sunday, 25 June 1967
Some news comes in from Birmingham — the local police didn’t think much of it, so they didn’t pass it on straight away, but on Friday night four radio hams died suddenly, apparently of strokes, while at their sets.
Around sunset, several of the team spot a figure working at the back of the main dish. Sharon chills him while Simon and Mr Dennis head up the ladder; he pulls a pistol and fires a couple of shots before he falls unconscious. He’s not Cyril, though he has a box of radio parts. He’s hauled down.
Meanwhile, Megan psi-senses some telepathy from an equipment shed. She and Ray head in, the latter stopping to grab the dropped pistol, followed by Mr Dennis. There’s nobody immediately visible, though there’s an open suitcase crammed full of valve electronics (and a reel-to-reel recorder, and various crystals, and other materials) hooked up to the hardware here.
Ray starts teleporting valves out of the suitcase, and it starts to spark and smoulder. Cyril Ransome pops out from where he’d been hiding behind an equipment rack — "You idiot, you’re ruining it! This is years of work!" He waves a pistol, which Ray teleports to his own hand, then hands to Megan. The equipment flares up with a burst of — ESP, Megan thinks — and when the team can see again a couple of seconds later Ransome is no longer visible. They close the door and search, but to no avail.
The other fellow is Frank Newman, a radio ham from Birmingham whose memories since Friday night are distinctly fuzzy; he vaguely remembers coming down here on a train but isn’t quite sure why he did.
The equipment is repaired, and the broadcast goes off without visible incident.

All-American Boy

29 February 2012
Friday, 30 June 1967
Reg Willis presents a portable radio set: it contains what he thinks will probably work as a jammer. A bit of testing reveals that it will break contact with the target of psi powers if the target gets closer than about twenty yards, and that powers can’t be used within that range... at least not reliably, though Simon manages to get through occasionally. It’ll run off dry cells for about five minutes, or mains (or car) power for a bit longer.
In order to help justify D8’s budget, the team is being sent to Braceborough Manor in Lincolshire, to conduct a surprise security audit. The place is a research station loosely linked to the RAE, developing early concepts of aerial weapons, particularly a project known as Red Nell; it’s a large old house in extensive grounds, with more (wartime) buildings on the site. The objective of the audit is mostly to be seen to be doing something; if the team actually uncovers anything, so much the better.
Monday, 3 July 1967
Mr Dennis drives a D8 Super Snipe up the A1 to Lincolnshire. The plan is for Simon and Sharon to conduct interviews while Ray and Megan look around the place and Mr Dennis talks with the on-site security staff.
The team turns off the A1 and onto progressively smaller and narrower roads. As they’re getting close to the site, Megan gets a quick flash of psi power — telepathy, she thinks. As she’s trying to follow up, Mr Dennis slumps unconscious; Ray grabs the wheel and tries to keep the car steady, while Simon starts to get into Mr Dennis’ mind. He’s starting to make contact when the car runs up against an earth bank, and everyone blacks out.
They wake up in an infirmary, slightly scraped and banged about but not seriously injured. An attendant waits for them to get dressed (Megan noticing that the fake joint, which she’d been planning to try to smuggle through a search, has been replaced with an empty paper wrapping), then summons Major Hughes, head of security, who explains that one of the sentries spotted their crash. He investigated, given the sensitivity of the site, and finding MI5 credentials had them brought in here rather than sent to the local cottage hospital; their car’s being beaten back into shape in the site garage. Mr Dennis explains the present mission, and credentials are presented. (Simon tries to read Hughes’ mind, but fails.)
It seems to be about half an hour later than when the team was on the road; the first thing they do is head for the stable block, where some minor damage to the Snipe’s left wing is being beaten out. Ray spots a car off to one side that looks as though it’s been deliberately concealed — a nice large Jaguar Type X, which Major Hughes explains is his own car that he tries to keep out of the hands of the engineers.
Simon tries again to read Hughes, and fails again. He tries again with Megan, holding her hand — which ought to succeed easily — and gets nothing; Sharon is similarly unable to condense an ice cube out of the air.
For the moment, the team gets on with its planned audit (Ray takes a blood sample from himself, though it’s not clear whether it’ll be useful by the time they get back somewhere that it can be analysed). There are some closed-circuit TV cameras covering the main gate, but there’s no recording of the images.
The team continues to attempt psionic effects, mostly without success -- though Simon does briefly see the world go wavery, then fade into the interior of the car, with everyone else lying unconscious. A couple of seconds later, he’s back where he was. A little later, Megan tries to project her vision through a door but gets the same image.
When the team gets back together for a late lunch, they try a concerted simultaneous use of powers, but without much luck; Ray gets a brief image of the car, and tries to teleport the jammer from the boot into his lap, but isn’t sure whether he succeeded. Simon takes several minutes of preparation and all-out effort, and eventually manages to get into the car for long enough to lean between the seats and flip the jammer on.
At this point, everyone snaps back into the car, and Mr Dennis drives away at as high speed as he can manage on these small roads. After about five minutes, when the jammer’s batteries run down, they pull in to retrieve the cigar-lighter cable from the boot. While they’re considering what to do next, a familiar-looking large Jaguar goes by fast; they pile back into the car, and give chase.
The Super Snipe is clearly outmatched on power-to-weight, but Mr Dennis knows how to handle it through the corners, and he manages to keep up on the small roads; if the Jag gets away to larger roads, they’ll have no chance. With the jammer shut down, Sharon tries to freeze and crack one of its back tyres; as the Jag is flung through a hard left turn out of the wood-lined lanes onto a main road, the tyre bursts, and the car skids through a fence into a field.
Megan detects two teleports, and projects her view upwards to get a better idea of what’s going on. She spots one person twisting his ankle as he crosses a stream, and Sharon and Mr Dennis set off after him; Mr Dennis tackles him, and as Sharon catches up she hears the other man saying "diplomatic immunity" in an American accent.
He doesn’t say any more, apart from "American embassy", and it’s clear he’ll have to be taken there. There’s no sign of anyone else nearby, though there’s a large spool of microfilm in the Jaguar’s boot. Simon tries to read the prisoner’s mind, but isn’t at all sure that this isn’t being a mutual process; the prisoner’s called "Caleb", but that’s as much as he can be certain of. For administrative reasons, Mr Dennis wants the Jaguar driven back to London straight away (mostly so that D8 can hang on to it if the original owner should be, say, expelled from the country); Megan ends up doing this, very slowly and cautiously given her lack of driving experience (and licence).
The microfilm, which seems to begin in the middle of a sequence, contains substantial details of Red Nell (an air-launched ballistic missile defence system) and other secret projects, not all of them from Braceborough. They look as though they’re hand-drawn, mostly by the same person, and the team speculates that they’ve been obtained by mind-reading.
Tuesday, 4 July 1967
The team returns the next day, with the jammer running continuously. The upper floors of the manor, which they were told yesterday were empty, have clearly been occupied by several people — the three sets of fingerprints match those recovered from the Jaguar. There’s a microfilm photography setup, and a large quantity of ash, presumably from the paper that was photographed.
None of the staff on the site knows anything about this, and Major Hughes seems very likely to lose his job.
Checking the spot where the Jaguar crashed reveals tracks of two other people; it looks as though they appeared out of nowhere, lay up in the woods for a bit, then fled later.

I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party

7 March 2012
The team has a bit of time off — Megan’s sent on an (Army) driving course, Ray indulges in a bit of petty crime and buys a motorcycle, and Sharon catches up with some neglected study.
Wednesday, 12 July 1967
The team’s in the office when Mr Dennis reports that they’ve had a walk-in — someone came up to the front desk, said "Mr Dmitriev of the Eighth Chief Directorate of the KGB wishes to defect and will be in contact again", then stood looking around in a confused manner. Mr Robert Henderson, an insurance salesman, has no record; he’s being detained for the moment. Simon probes him, and finds signs of tampering but no evidence that he has any idea what’s going on. When he’s released, Megan follows him clairvoyantly for a few hours, but he just goes back to his office.
The man on the front desk, Mr Fenton, reports that Henderson had a slight Russian accent (which he didn’t show when being quizzed later)
Friday, 14 July 1967
The office gets a phone call from a young woman with a slight Russian accent; she says that, as a sign of good faith, she will deliver some documents if the bureau will specify a location. She’s given a dead drop, and asks that the driver not be interfered with. Megan listens to the tape; the English pronunciation is good, but Megan thinks the accent is more Muscovite than Siberian.
A drop is made, by a Soviet Embassy driver, and a D8 operative retrieves an envelope. He’s scanned for psi influence, but doesn’t show any. Inside the envelope are high-level summary documents of what looks like a very dangerous neurosurgical procedure for implanting a piece of electronics in the brain — or at least partly, since it’ll be permanently sticking out of the head through a hole in the skull and skin. Reg Willis thinks the electronics end of it looks plausible enough.
Saturday, 16 July 1967
Dr Bradwell is brought in from the Institute of Neurology; he’s clearly sickened by the description of the procedure, even though he was a battlefield surgeon during the war. It seems to him that it might work, though you’d lose an awful lot of people during the operation, and even more of them to infection later. He thinks that reversing the operation would be nearly as risky as performing it in the first place, though if the device could be shut down — there’s a switch in the schematics — it might be possible to close up the skull with the remains of it still inside.
Mr Dennis speculates that, if he were trying to defect to the psychic Soviets, he wouldn’t give away this much information about British psychic capabilities unless he thought they already knew it.
On the other hand, even if the defection is a trap, it’s probably worth the risk...
Monday, 17 July 1967
Another Russian-accented call comes in, this time from a middle-aged man. He explains that the defection will have to be arranged before the end of the week, since he’s being sent home to Moscow then. Recognition will be by a flower in the hair. He wants a crowded place, and suggests the Tate Gallery. He’ll need help getting away from his "augmented" minders.
The team plans to bring three jammers: one carried by Simon, one with an MI5 operative, and another in the Type X. They’ll have Mr Dennis and four other operatives.
Dmitriev — the team assumes — calls back that evening, in yet another voice, and agrees to the meet, at 1pm on Wednesday.
Wednesday, 19 July 1967
The team turns up piecemeal and early. Shortly before 1pm, Megan psi-senses some telepathy in operation; the team isn’t using other psi powers, to avoid alerting the minders. Three man in suits enter the gallery where the defection is to take place; one of them is Dmitriev, another is also wearing a hat, and the third looks like a more conventional bodyguard.
Simon heads through the crowd towards Dmitriev, makes sure he’s recognised, then flips on the jammer he’s carrying; both the men in hats look as though they’ve been stunned, but start to recover. Simon grabs Dmitriev by one arm, and he comes along slowly. There’s a noticeable burning smell, which seems to be coming from the jammer; Simon turns it off, and Megan’s psi-sense goes wild as ten random tourists start to reach into their bags and draw out pistols. Megan gives the hand-clap signal, and both portable jammers are turned on again, though Simon’s seems to be catching fire; the tourists pause, as if confused.
The museum guards are reacting slowly, but the smoke from the burning jammer sets off a fire alarm, and people start to panic. Dmitriev is tackled by his hat-wearing comrade, who grabs his other arm. Megan feels the jamming stop again, as the second unit catches fire.
Ray teleports in close to the struggling trio — the bodyguard is reaching into his jacket but hasn’t yet drawn a weapon — while they try (and fail) to get to an exit before it jams up with panicking people. Megan’s hit by the edge of a burst of automatic fire (the guns seem to be machine pistols, wildly inaccurate but deadly up close), and badly wounded.
Sharon freezes the second hat-wearer, staggering him, and Simon reads the mind of the tourist who’s about to shoot at him — he’s certainly under someone else’s influence. Megan’s shot at again, but manages to avoid further damage. The bodyguard draws his weapon and shoots at Simon, but misses; the two hat-wearers struggle back and forth. Sharon is caught by a bullet, but manages to freeze and disorientate the tourist who’s shooting at her.
The MI5 operatives are handicapped by not wanting to hit the crowd — and, ideally, not wanting to shoot what might well be mind-controlled patsies — but are keeping the bodyguard’s head down. Ray tries to grapple the second hat-wearer, but only manages to knock his hat off — a secondary goal, since at least he can now see the black cylinder protruding from the man’s head. Simon throws the controller out of the tourist who’s attacking him.
Megan’s attacker has run out of ammunition, and rather than try to reload is still pointing his gun and squeezing the trigger. Megan winds up a punch, but doesn’t connect. Simon takes a burst of fire and goes down unconscious. Ray feels something battering at his mind, but resists the effect; he can’t see an off-switch on the device, but manages to teleport it out of the man’s head, at which the man crumples.
As tourists run out of ammunition, the volume of fire dies down, and Ray spots Dmitriev and the bodyguard vanishing — he thinks they were teleported by someone else, but can’t be sure. The tourists drop their guns and start joining in the general panic; Megan scoops up the dropped weapons, and everyone renders bandaging and general help before the ambulances and police turn up. Nobody seems to be dead, except for the Russian with the hole in his head, but quite a few people are badly wounded (Simon being worst off), and some of the Recent British Painting will never be the same again.
Clearly, there are diplomatic implications; Dmitriev and the bodyguard "have left the country", and D8 loses a certain amount of internal credibility (and budget). The official Soviet story is that one of its people was visiting the gallery when he was attacked by terrorists (who just happened to be armed with Russian-made Stechkin machine pistols).

The Hedgehog’s Song

21 March 2012
Monday, 31 July 1967
Once everyone’s recovered, and several of the team have chosen to take the firearms course and get issue weapons, Mr Dennis comes up with a low-profile investigation. The village of Doddinghurst, in Essex, has been having some strange happenings over the last few days: last Friday, several people called in a UFO report; on Saturday, several cars wouldn’t start, though nothing was obviously wrong with them; on Sunday, a cow went dry. None of this would normally attract much attention, but happening in such quick succession it seems odd, and since there’s a "certain classified facility" about a mile away, reports of strange happenings are taken a bit more seriously than usual.
The team goes up under the guise of inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, taking a Super Snipe rather the Jaguar. Ray, who’s been reading up on alien abductions and lost time, wears several watches. Their first port of call is Mr Black, the farmer; he keeps two cows and a bit of arable land on the edge of the village, more as a hobby than as a serious commercial concern. One of the cows — the Jersey — hasn’t given any milk on Sunday or today; the other one, which is kept in the same field and eats the same things, is acting normally. Megan checks for psychic residue and thinks telekinesis was used some hours ago (and confirms that the same feeling’s present in the barn where the cows are kept overnight). Simon probes the cow’s memory, with difficulty; she seems to remember being milked at some time when it was dark in the barn.
The team repairs to the Wheatsheaf for lunch, which is clearly a proper pub (it has a small enthusiastic brown dog). They overhear someone talking about his car troubles, and ask him for more information — when he called the garage, it turned out that his car battery had been completely drained of acid. The team visits the garage in Kelvedon Hatch, where Reg is happy to show them the batteries — there’s no sign of a leak or crack, and Megan detects the residue of teleportation.
Next they start to interview the people who spotted the UFOs on Friday. Mrs Daley is the first they meet, but when they introduce their cover she waxes indignant: what are they going to do about empty tins of cat-food? It transpires that she opened a tin this morning, and it turned out to be empty; it certainly wasn’t when she bought it last week! There are several more suspiciously light tins in the cupboard, and Megan is able to detect residue of both teleportation and ESP of some sort. The team takes the cans away, and pays her for them.
As for the UFO sighting, her story is typical: around sunset, she saw five or six wobbling discs in the distance; after a few minutes, they dropped out of sight. She wouldn’t normally have bothered, but a few weeks ago there was a television programme about UFOs that encouraged people to report them. Cross-locating bearings leads the team to a back alley full of dustbins, some of which have been disturbed.
Mr Dennis telephones in his report, and learns that there’s a team from NASA due to arrive the next day; they’re apparently looking for a piece of satellite debris that might be dangerously radioactive. Megan tries to pre-empt them by extending the range of her psi-sense; she finds a large but inchoate psi trace to the north-east of the village, and it turns out to be in a small clump of trees at the junction between several fields. She can normally identify specific powers, but this one feels like all of them at once — and she’s wishing she had sunglasses for her psi-sense.
There’s a little damage to the trees, but whatever may have come down clearly wasn’t all that massive. Careful poking reveals a small crater, with several bits of metal scattered nearby — Megan scoops one up before Ray starts to take photographs. Simon attempts to read any mind that might be present, but is swamped by telepathic white noise. Ray steps onto the spot, and vanishes — to reappear three seconds later, coughing hard and bleeding from nose and ears. He’s not entirely sure where he was, but there were lots of stars visible and he couldn’t breathe... he steps aside to throw up.
The team takes some samples, and theorises. If this whatever-it-is is triggering people’s psi abilities, and in a non-lethal way, might it wake up latent abilities in someone who doesn’t have them? Mr Dennis is cautiously willing to try it, and steps onto the spot. He starts to say "I’m not feeling anything", then falls over with no breathing or pulse. Simon keeps him going until his heart starts again, but he’s unconscious for a while; by the time he wakes up, it’s well after sunset. He reports that his mind doesn’t quite seem to fit into his brain any more, but isn’t quite sure what this means.
The team splits up: Megan and Ray drive Mr Dennis back to London, dropping off Simon in the village to call the local police, while Sharon stays on site to stop anyone else wandering in (chilling it a bit, to discourage animals too). On the trip back, Mr Dennis looks at Ray and says "You’ve started taking the drugs again, haven’t you? Mm, thought so." (Megan detects a flash of the psychic healing power.)
Simon spins a yarn of a contaminated site that needs to be guarded until it can be dealt with; back at the spinney, he and Sharon throw a suitable scare into the police, doing their best to make sure they won’t enter the area. They head back to the pub for the night.
Tuesday, 1 August 1967
The mousetrap in Simon’s room has been denuded of cheese, but not triggered. Megan, Ray and Mr Dennis (who’s feeling much better) return to the village; Megan catches a flash of teleportation, at an angle down from where she’s sitting in the car, and the team considers the possibility of teleporting rats in the sewers. Everyone goes back to the spinney (and Ray teleports a Union flag onto the impact spot), getting there about an hour before the three-man NASA team, who turn up in a rented car and introduce themselves as Bud, Alan and Peter. Peter’s carrying a radiation detector — or so it appears, though Megan’s psi-sense suggests that he’s alternating ESP of some sort with telekinesis to make the device click and its needle jump. She asks about the possibility of liquid soaking into the ground, but the team doesn’t seem concerned; they’re mostly interested in collecting the fragments (the detector screams when pointed at them), claiming that they’re pieces from the Delta rocket carrying Explorer 35, which was launched a couple of weeks ago. Ray openly questions this, at which they mutter about national security and leave.
Ray is concerned about radiation, just in case the counter was genuine, and Mr Dennis fetches a counter from the secret facility — it just shows normal background radiation. The sense of psi power continues, though, and the team calls for a JCB to excavate the earth and a suitable truck to take it away.
When the digging starts, though, the sense of psi power starts to fade; the team takes samples, but by sunset the earth seems psychically normal. Thinking about teleporting rats, the team buys waders, bait and poison, then sleeps at the pub again.
Wednesday, 2 August 1967
There were mousetraps in all the rooms last night, and they’ve all been emptied in the morning, all un-sprung; although some of the bait had been poisoned, there’s no sign of animal bodies. Megan sits in the car and searches for psi traces; she gets a sense of something moving irregularly below her. When she gets out of the car, she notices that one tyre is flat; it’s been nibbled... Simon thinks the toothmarks are too big for a rat, perhaps more like a rabbit or hedgehog.
Megan spots a teleportation happening into (or out of) a nearby hedge, and Mr Dennis confirms that there are animal tracks leading in but not out. She spots another teleportation in the steeple of All Saints Church, and the team explains to the rather startled vicar that they’ll need to get up there. It’s not in regular use — no bells or anything — and access is by ladder; Sharon pokes her head through the hatch (with Megan’s vision just above), and spots five hedgehogs, which look round, back away and hiss at her. She starts to lower the temperature in the steeple, while Simon reads the mind of one of them — there’s rather more to it than he expected, though it doesn’t seem to use language. One of the hedgehogs teleports down to face him, and seems to be trying to read his mind — successfully, though the level of communication is pretty basic. Ray proffers a tin of catfood, which suddenly becomes lighter as the contents appear in front of the hedgehog, who tucks in.
The hedgehogs in the steeple start to doze off, and Sharon brings them down in a box as she returns to ground level to chill the last one; Megan searches the steeple and finds two more curled up in a corner. The team makes excuses to the vicar, saying that all of this seems to have been an extended practical joke by persons unknown, and leaves, taking the sleeping hedgehogs back to a hastily-modified fridge at D8 before returning for another night of scanning.
Thursday, 3 August 1967
There’s no further trace overnight or in the morning, so the team heads back. One of the hedgehogs apparently woke up and wandered around for a bit before going back to sleep, something they don’t usually do when it’s cold; they’ve become popular with all the staff, and Megan doesn’t think this is a psi effect — just natural cuteness.

The American Metaphysical Circus

19 April 2012
Saturday, 5 August 1967
Ray is out smoking with a dozen or so good friends when the door is kicked in; it’s the police. He attempts to teleport himself out of trouble, but can’t quite seem to find the knack; the police don’t seem to regard someone staring meaningfully at a blank wall to be particularly unusual, and cuff him and haul him off with the others. After around half an hour in the cells, he’s led out by a man in a suit, who makes it clear that he’s being released — "mind how you go, sir". The other prisoners are distinctly unimpressed.
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn comes out. Megan’s looking forward to seeing Pink Floyd at the "Jazz and Blues Festival" over the coming weekend.
Monday, 7 August 1967
On Monday morning, the team is summoned to Mr Smith’s office. He explains, politely, that he’s just had a visit from B2, the personnel department of MI5, who said more or less "we’re cleared up your mess for you, and you’re welcome". He is not at all happy about this, and points out that certain standards of behaviour are expected of D8 personnel; if Ray does not feel able to keep to them, there are alternative ways by which he could serve the country. After all, there are several experiments that can’t be done because of a lack of test subjects...
Meanwhile, Megan’s picked up an occasional psi-sense ping from west London, somewhere around the Notting Hill area; she reckons it’s telepathy, and if she’s getting it at this range it must be happening quite often. She and Simon spy out some places in the area where they can lurk for a few hours, and they pin down the area to about 10-20 buildings in Ladbroke Grove; however, as Megan’s trying to focus in, Simon picks up a distinct sense that they’re the wrong colour to be in the cafe they’re sitting in, and they leave.
Tuesday, 8 August 1967
The next day, Megan goes out with Ray, who’s a bit more sensitive to this sort of social situation. There seem to be two distinctive groups of idle layabouts: the (mostly Jamaican) rude boys, and the (white, working-class) hard mods or lemonheads. They share a taste for music — ska, rocksteady, and what’s slowly becoming reggae — and there hasn’t been much trouble in the area since the riots nine years ago, but Ray definitely gets the feeling that tensions are rising. (Neither he nor Megan really fits in with either side — Megan’s short hair would work with the lemonheads, but she’s not wearing any of the rest of the gear.)
With Ray’s help, Megan’s able to find places to concentrate on psi sense, and pins it down to a record shop — new and second-hand, mostly concentrating on the slightly obscure music that people here want. It’s presided over by a formidable Jamaican lady whom nobody wants to annoy, and while there are both rude boys and hard mods present it seems to be regarded as neutral territory.
People are taking a while to browse, so Ray and Megan don’t look too out of place. They spot another person who doesn’t entirely fit in, a white man in his forties with short-cropped greying hair, and eventually work out what it is that’s odd about him — while other people sometimes bump into each other while they’re looking through the same rack, nobody quite gets close enough to him for that to happen.
Megan’s psi-sense goes off, and she hears a muttering in the back of her head about "damned foreigners, coming over here, taking our women"; she thinks it was probably an attempted suggestion. (Ray hears the same thing, and it’s similarly ineffective against him.) That seems like enough reason to call in the rest of the team.
Simon probes the man, who’s thinking that he ought to stay here for a couple more hours; the man notices, and tries but fails to throw Simon out of his mind. Simon retreats anyway.
Megan scans the flats above the record shop, finding nothing unusual (no anti-immigrant posters or anything of that sort). The team keeps an eye on the shop from their car and from a nearby cafe; as Megan enters, she spots a man she thinks is Peter the NASA investigator as he hurries out. His appearance is somewhat difference, but she’s reasonably sure it’s the same chap. Simon follows him invisibly, but soon loses him. Mr Dennis calls in the sighting.
About four o’clock, the short-haired man leaves the shop, and walks about a mile home (Megan ESP-spies him buying some food on the way, and hears his American accent). He goes up to a third-floor flat, puts some ska on the record player, and starts cooking. Megan scans the rest of the flat; it looks as though he’s the only occupant, letters give his name as G. Hawkins, and he’s living pretty light, probably not having been there for more than a week or two. There’s also quite a lot of cash hidden in his bedroom — a few hundred pounds, rather more than most people choose to keep at home.
Mr Dennis goes to call in this information; while he’s away, Megan detects bursts of anti-psi, in what she recognises (but can’t understand) as Morse code. She echoes what she hears — it’s only sent once — and Simon records it. When Mr Dennis gets back, he translates it as "CASE BROWN": this is a code phrase for high-level administrative interference with the operations of D8, implying that going to ground would be a good plan.
For the moment, though, the team splits up. Megan, Sharon, and Mr Dennis take the car back towards headquarters, to see what’s going on there; Simon and Ray plan to keep an eye on Hawkins. They agree to meet in a student bar at about 9pm.
Ray is clearly on edge, and mulls over plans to assault Hawkins. Eventually he settles for teleporting through the building’s main door, walking upstairs, entering the flat next door, and then teleporting into Hawkins’ bedroom; he abstracts the cash, but doesn’t find anything else of interest, and any noise he makes is covered by the music.
The two meet again, and start to head for the Underground; they spot an unmarked Super Snipe pulling up, and several policemen getting out — with Peter, who seems to be in charge. They ignore Hawkins’ flat, but Peter turns directly towards Simon, who’s invisible. Simon leads him through tricky and crowded spots, taking advantage of his knowledge of London streets and choosing a moment to drop his invisibility when he’s hidden by other people.
The other three go to Hyde Park, and Megan spies on the office. The place is full of police, and all the experimental hardware is being loaded into trucks, while the team’s workmates are being led out in handcuffs — Megan spots Jane Perry among them, while John Cranswick is both cuffed and in a metal helmet. Mr Smith is not cuffed, but clearly not in control of the situation either; he’s speaking with some other senior civil servants, and the gist is that operations are being moved to "a new department".
Megan also spots Mr Walters, recently back on duty after his stay in hospital, sneaking away with a cardboard box that might well contain psychic hedgehogs.
The building is clearly being stripped. Megan follows Mr Smith rather than any of the other prisoners, as he’s taken to Whitehall for a high-level meeting — with, as it turns out, Marcia Willams, political secretary to the Prime Minister. There are references being made that she doesn’t pick up on, but the gist of the talk is that duplication of effort is a bad thing, and annoying the Americans is a worse thing. If Smith can produce his "talents", to be handed over to the Americans, that might just about save his career...
The team meets on schedule, and splits the money Ray took from Hawkins. Simon half-jokingly proposes defecting to the Soviets, but that seems like an even worse option than whatever the Americans might have planned for them. Going back for a chat with Hawkins seems like a promising idea in the short term.

Nowhere to Run

9 May 2012
The team heads back to Ladbroke Grove. Megan suppresses her psi-sense, in case Peter is lurking nearby, then carefully projects her vision into Hawkins’ flat. There’s no light on, and after a couple of short hops she confirms that he’s in bed, alone, and asleep. Ray once more teleports into the house, then opens doors to let the others in; Sharon and Mr Dennis wait on the ground floor to give some warning in case anyone else turns up, while the others get into Hawkins’ flat.
Simon quietly gets close, and reads Hawkins’ mind as he sleeps. His dreams are chaotic; with Simon’s knowledge of psychology, he thinks there may be two separate personalities here, one of them quite "thin" and in some way overlaid on the other. Since he’s deliberately making his telepathy hard to detect, his time to ask questions is limited.
The overlay personality is working for "the National Security Agency, and proud to be serving my country, sir!". His mission is to stir up trouble and give an excuse for American intervention — the details are above his pay grade. The mission is still in progress. The core personality identifies itself as Gil Hawkins, consistent with the passport and letters. It doesn’t want to be back in charge of the body — "it’s safer in here".
When Simon asks what happened to him, the answer is less verbal than a series of images; the order isn’t quite clear, but there was certainly a prison, a variety of frightening images, and an execution by lethal injection (not the usual practice; the US uses gas chambers). There’s also a canister marked with the NASA logo that seems very important to the whole process.
The overlay personality was given orders by Peter and another man, whom Simon doesn’t recognise at first. The overlay has been reporting in via dead drops, but hopes not to have to do that any more, since Peter’s takeover has been a success. The overall objective of all this is tied up with propaganda about expanding American security.
The team sneaks out, leaving as little trace as possible, and Ray finds a cheap bed-and-breakfast for the night. On reflection, Simon thinks he recognises the other man: Eugene Cernan, an astronaut who flew on one of the Gemini missions last year and is in the Apollo programme. Mr Dennis has heard of the National Security Agency — one of the American group, mostly dealing with signals intelligence, and not at all well-known.
Wednesday, 9 August 1967
Megan, Sharon and Simon spend the next day writing reports of the recent incident, talking about both Hawkins and Peter — they have to explain some of the background, but mostly they deal with the Americans. Megan rents a typewriter and makes several copies, keeping and destroying the carbons and ribbons. The plan is to lodge these with someone, with instructions to send them to various papers (certainly including Oz, who will print it even if nobody else does) if nothing’s heard from the team for a week.
Ray takes a look at the old D8 office; it’s empty and locked.
Mr Dennis will try to ask some of his mates to get hold of Mr Smith’s contact details; as a politician, he might be able to make use of the information gathered from Hawkins. The idea of grabbing Peter is mooted, but it’s not at all clear how easy this would be. They also think about presenting their evidence to Marcia Williams, who’s presumably been offered something for letting the NSA into Britain... If none of these gets the team anywhere, they’re thinking seriously about turning themselves in, or splitting up and fleeing.

Every Man Has His Chain

30 May 2012
The team repairs to a new B&B for the night.
Thursday, 10 August 1967
Mr Dennis heads off to check with some old friends, and the team agrees to meet for lunch. They’re starting to get a bit gamey, so spend the morning doing some cheapskate clothes shopping (for cash).
At lunch, Mr Dennis has an address: it’s in the village of Flexford, near Guildford in Surrey. The group decides to check the place out first, and drives down.
Simon, reading a newspaper, picks up a minor story — Marcia Williams has spoken out in favour of the Open University, something that’s currently in the process of being set up. She hasn’t been opposed before, but nor has she been a particularly vocal supporter either.
At 2.30pm in this obvious commuter village, it’s pretty empty. Ray and Mr Dennis take a look at Mr Smith’s house, a pleasant semi-detached building in a row of very similar ones; there’s no obvious sign of anyone inside, and nor does anyone appear to be watching. There’s a car in the drive, a Jaguar E-type FHC, which is probably Smith’s major indulgence; it’s certainly the first sign of one the team has come across. Megan searches the house with clairvoyance, and sees nothing amiss.
Given the lack of local pubs (which would be closed anyway) or shops, the team lurks in country lanes until 7pm, by which time they hope Smith should be home. There’s certainly a light on, and he answers the door in casual clothes. He’s surprised to see the group (Simon and Mr Dennis to the front), and invites them in; Simon hands over the report. As they get close, Megan’s psi-sense activates: Smith is either using, or the subject of, telepathic power. She says this out loud, and Smith looks non-plussed; Simon jumps into his mind and confirms that there’s definitely another influence there. He tries to drive it out, but it’s much tougher than he expects; meanwhile, Megan and Sharon run for their car, starting the engine and firing up the portable jammer. As they bring it into range, Smith’s face changes, and he looks quite relieved. After a brief discussion, they decide to talk in the car under the jammer.
Smith asks that they drive towards Reading, since he has friends near there. Simon summarises what they found out from Hawkins, and Smith explains that as far as he can tell the NSA has made a very convincing offer to Marcia Williams: her own private and irresistible dirty tricks department, in return for unspecified access. He’s been under constant observation and control since the NSA moved in on D8 — he’s met five other NSA operatives, and thinks they have the same sort of inconsistent personality as Hawkins.
(Sharon cuts off the jammer, and Mr Dennis drives an evasive pattern through the quiet back streets of Bracknell and Wokingham.)
D8’s staff, apart from John Cranswick, have been moved into a new and rather smaller facility based in the old Cabinet War Rooms; he hasn’t been there and doesn’t know what’s going on. Cranswick has been sent to the special prison with Max and Jessica, and Smith thinks he’s probably scheduled for experiments.
Smith has found himself liaising with, and making offers to, other parts of MI5 and indeed other departments entirely. The impression he’s got from the NSA people is that they want to fight the inevitable psychic war with the Soviets here in the UK rather than risking it in the USA — and preferably soon. He doesn’t have any good ideas about how to proceed next — his line of work tends to assassination (character or physical), and neither seems like a great plan.
Smith has friends he can hide with, but he’s not prepared to say who or where. He’s dropped off at a bus stop on the outskirts of Reading. The team’s giving serious thought to making an obvious and public demonstration of psi powers — perhaps at the Windsor Festival, that Megan still hopes to go to, since there’ll be a BBC film crew there (no live broadcast, though).
Friday, 11 August 1967
The group’s spare clothes get washed at a coin-up launderette, and they drive into London, parking near Hawkins’ flat. Megan confirms that he’s there when they arrive (he’s exercising), and an hour or so later he comes out. As he steps onto the pavement, Megan flips on the jammer, in the hope that this may disrupt the overlay personality — but it doesn’t seem to, as Hawkins just looks puzzled for a moment then keeps walking. The team abandons the plan to grab him, and turns off the jammer. Simon reads him, and he doesn’t seem to have any idea what’s going on.
The various letters are given to a randomly-selected lawyer, with instructions to post them to newspapers if a week passes with no contact.
Megan reckons that something psychic is probably going on in the general area of Downing Street and Whitehall, and extends her senses to try to get a feel for it. She picks up a very strong telepathy effect, which seems to have multiple sources — not something she’s encountered before. Careful clairvoyance from St James’s Park puts her in an office in Whitehall, in one of the Cabinet Office buildings that backs onto Downing Street. It’s a large office with several mismatched chairs and sofas, on which eleven men lie unconscious — they’re all in their twenties or thirties, in decent physical shape, and have short-cropped hair. Behind a desk is Peter, sitting upright but apparently dead to the world.
Megan checks a few hours later, and some of the people have been replaced.
The plan next is to use psi sense again, excluding this group, to try to find the target of this telepathy...

There But For Fortune

13 June 2012
The next sense, though, reveals an unfamiliar power in a different direction. Simon looks that way, and sees a confused-looking policeman walking away from a young woman sitting on a bench in the park. He goes over invisibly and reads her surface thoughts — along the lines of "oh crap, don’t see me, where do I go now" — and then probes more deeply, getting jumbled memories of a white room and Americans in suits asking strange questions.
Megan and Sharon walk over and introduce themselves (Sharon demonstrating her ability to summon ice out of the air); the woman turns out to be Emmy Allan, who’s recently got out of hospital following a breakdown. She witnessed a friend getting killed — she doesn’t go into detail, but it seems he might have annoyed the wrong criminals — and fell apart over it; she was vaguely aware of being in hospital; and when she regained something that felt like consciousness, she was being asked to lift a pencil (inside a clear plastic box), say what was written on the back of a card, and such like odd ideas. She got away through what what sounds like a series of odd coincidences — why was a swarm of hornets in the hospital ventilation system anyway, and why would the man running to get away from them put his hand through the glass panel in the door, and so on... The police seem to be involved, and she’s been on the run for two days.
While the rest of the group is talking with Emmy, Megan does more extended psi-sensing; there’s nothing within thirty miles, and no telepathy within 300, apart from the continuing activity from the NSA crew.
Emmy hasn’t eaten for a while, and the group gets supper, then books into a new B&B. Before retiring, they take an Underground train, and Emmy demonstrates some of her powers: she can make coins come up heads about three-quarters of the time, but the idea of making some random passenger thoroughly unlucky seems a bit excessive.
Saturday, 12 August 1967
In the morning, the team takes a look at Emmy’s flat. Simon reckons nobody’s watching it, though when Megan tries a psi-sense while walking past she thinks there’s clairvoyance going on in there.
Megan is still keen to get to the Windsor Festival, and the team takes a look at her flat too; Simon spots someone who seems to be taking altogether too long to make a phone call from the box across the road, though Megan doesn’t detect any psi — or rather, she spots clairvoyance, some way to the south (quite near Whitehall in fact). Simon reads the watcher’s mind: he’s very bored with this job, which he was given by the chief superintendent.
Megan searches the house clairvoyantly for the festival ticket, and Ray teleports it out to her — bringing with it a sharp-edged wooden disc that used to be part of a drawer, and half a pair of knickers. He dances triumphantly with these trophies over his head, and Emy notices the policeman starting to make a call; the group gets away.
They move around London for a bit: a psi-sense from Bloomsbury picks up the Whitehall telepaths again, but going further west into Regent’s Park shows clairvoyance, and if it’s the same source as before it’s also pretty close to Whitehall. As Megan scans, it flickers and stops, in a way that’s not consistent with the psis she’s scanned before... but is quite like Reg’s jammers.
Clearly Whitehall is the place to dig for more information. Simon and Ray go to try to read the minds of the NSA telepaths, while Megan tries to pin down the source of the clairvoyance, with Sharon taking notes and Emmy keeping watch.
Simon can’t get a line-of-sight on the office window from the street, so turns invisible and sneaks through a few gates — this leaves Ray outside, prepared to start a distraction if things seem to be going obviously wrong. Simon probes one of the NSA workers, who’s contributing his telepathy to subtle suggestions; his own target looks like a senior civil servant, not anyone Simon’s met before. After a few tens of seconds, the target changes to another of the same.
This telepath is also thinking about a variety of codeword-named projects, and Simon gladly digs for information about them. Dark Shield is the overall "celestial dominance" plan, involving the ability to monitor all psychic activity in the world — and teleport agents in quickly to "deal with" any problems. Just what "deal with" might mean may involve Deep Book, an active brainwashing programme involving a combination of psychotropic drugs and psychic domination (there’s a strong undertone of contempt for the CIA and its paltry efforts in this direction).
Ardent Eagle is part of Dark Shield: it’s a design for orbital resonator satellites, which will allow psi activity at much longer range than is usual by acting as a signal bounce. (The satellite that crashed in Essex was not part of this programme, but a sampling probe; it was meant to return to Earth, but in the USA rather than in England.) Daylight Glimpse is a series of modifications to Gemini capsules for "direct exposure"; it looks as though they’re removing some of the scientific instrumentation and aiming to make EVA operations easier. (There’s something involving a spaceplane in there too, but that’s a much more hazy long-term goal.)
A bit more probing reveals that when astronauts go EVA, odd things happen, and they come back psychic (indeed, psi was only discovered in the USA when Ed White returned to Earth after his spacewalk in 1965). This location is intended to be the first Dark Shield ground station outside the USA; once the Ardent Eagle satellites are up, which should be happening pretty soon, it will be able to cover pretty much all of Europe.
Meanwhile, Megan pins down the intermittent clairvoyance to somewhere below the New Public Offices on Great George Street; she blind-projects down, and her senses emerge in a dusty and dim room crammed with bakelite and canvas hardware — the old Cabinet War Rooms, a rather larger structure than the small part that’s occasionally open to the public. There’s a light in the distance, and she comes out into a series of larger rooms in which most of her D8 colleagues are working (though there’s no sign of Mr Walters or the hedgehogs). Reg and his assistants are building another odd machine — the cathode ray tube intermittently shows blurry views of London from the air — and the others are mostly doing admin work much as they were before — though several are cleaning out these old and grotty rooms, barracks and canteens, apparently with a view to expanding the population down here. There’s rather less chatter than Megan remembers; everyone seems pretty focused on work.
Looking over people’s shoulders reveals more codeword material, including dates for Ardent Eagle launches later this month, and a mention of "Gruinard" as something (or someone?) to be dealt with as time allows.
The strain of projecting while remaining undetected is beginning to tell on Megan, and she uses the last of her strength to find the location of the entrance — an anonymous black door next to Clive Steps off Horse Guards Parade.
Both active psis come out, and everyone retreats to get lunch and talk about what they’ve learned. Emmy suggests that since this programme will make the CIA redundant, telling them about it might cause a useful distraction — and the American ambassador to London is likely to turn to the CIA if he’s told something weird. Revealing the codewords in public will certainly send the message that the NSA operation is known about, though what good that will do is unclear. Getting some documents out of the NSA operation would certainly be useful in convincing pretty much anyone — it might be easier to take them from the D8 personnel in the Cabinet War Rooms, but that might well cause trouble for them.
Mr Dennis has known some CIA agents in the past, and can (reluctantly) ask around to see if he could get in touch with any. He reckons that as a breed they’re unreasonably keen on microfilm.


27 June 2012
Mr Dennis takes the car to meet some old mates, with a rendezvous set for the next day at lunchtime. The rest of the group heads off to Windsor, both because Megan wants to catch The Pink Floyd at the festival and because with the amount of drug-taking likely to be going on they reckon that there’s a significant chance of a psi outbreak.
They arrive by bus while the afternoon (jazz) session is winding down. Emmy blandishes a tout and gets tickets at only an eye-watering markup. Megan is distressed to learn that The Pink Floyd won’t be appearing; they cancelled a few days ago, for unknown reasons, though the popular speculation is that Syd Barrett is having problems. There’s herbal smoke in the air and a relaxed police presence, and Megan light up joints for the first time in quite a long while. (She shares, and Ray scrounges one of his own.) Emmy is more interested in beer.
During the gap between afternoon and evening sessions, they all get something to eat — not great, but filling. They split up so as not to stand out as a large group, but the afternoon is mostly uneventful; a rubbish pile catches fire, and there’s a certain amount of jeering at the fire brigade as they put it out, but nothing psychic seems to be happening.
The evening session begins, and runs only a bit behind schedule. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown disappoints slightly by not actually being on fire as he’s lowered to the stage, but things are going well until The Nice come on around half past ten. They start to play, and the PA, that’s been woefully inadequate for the crowds of 10,000 or more anyway, cuts out completely. The crowd starts to get restive, but then a voice comes out of the speaker stacks:
I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you like,
It’s got a basket and bell that rings and things to make it look good
I’d give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it...
Megan immediately recognises it as Bike, from The Pink Floyd’s album; it certainly sounds like Syd Barrett’s singing, and there are other instruments too, though the arrangement isn’t exactly the same as on the album. The crowd is happy: they’re getting Floyd after all! Megan gets a psi-sense from the nearest speaker stack; someone’s using sonokinesis. Ignoring that, there’s also psi on or over the stage, probably telepathy.
As Barrett sings about “a room of musical tunes”, a white glow starts to appear over the stage. It’s a complex shape, containing many loops and angles that draw in the eye as it slowly rotates.
Simon tries to read the mind of whoever’s in the speaker stack; he doesn’t get anything. Sharon moves towards the stage in case of trouble, but both she and Emmy are caught up by the patterns of light, slowly realising that nothing except the light and the music are real to them any longer. Bike ends, and The Gnome begins. Simon hurls himself in head-first, trying to read the mind of the light — and succeeding, being directly exposed to a fairly fractured psyche.
Ray and Megan realise that they’re the only two of the team still moving around. Around half of the crowd is standing slack-jawed, looking at the light; the rest are still enjoying Scarecrow. Megan keeps an eye out for any psi operators; while the crowd is spellbound, people further away are acting fairly normally, some drifting in to join the audience. Ray starts to get out of the crowd towards the edge, acting casually.
During Chapter 24, Megan spots two suited men; they don’t have the shaven heads of the typical NSA operators they’ve met, but they still look wildly out of place. They walk up to the edge of the crowd, and immediately become slack-jawed, looking at the stage with the others. Ray puts his hand over a spellbound policeman’s eyes; he doesn’t react at all.
The set ends with an extended version of Interstellar Overdrive, and Simon, Emmy and Sharon drop back to reality just before the screaming starts. More than half the audience is lying on the ground, not moving, and most of the rest are running around in panic; Megan tries to give aid, but the nearest person is dead (bleeding from nose and ears), and quite a few are unconscious.
Ray spots one of the BBC cameras that was filming the set; the camera crew aren’t taking any interest in reality, and he manages to abstract both the film and the reel-to-reel tape from the sound recording rig.
Megan takes another look at the two suits. One is unconscious or dead; the other is looking around in a highly confused manner. She can’t detect any psi on either of them. What she can detect, however, is a large number, a hundred or more, of psi sources among the crowd, showing all sorts of different powers.
The team gets away in the confusion as the ambulances and police turn up in force, then rejoins outside the fence.
Sunday, 13 August 1967
They catch buses back into London, going to Smithfield for an after-midnight pint and meal. The radio is already talking about the “Windsor Tragedy”, which is being blamed on drugs, perhaps a bad batch of something; with thousands confirmed dead, the moral panic is already getting started.
There’s a feeling that the NSA is sure to have noticed what’s going on, and perhaps they’ll be distracted enough to make this a good moment to break in and grab some papers. Around half past one, the team gets back to St James’s Park, and Megan snoops into the telepaths’ room. There are only six people in there now, all of them apparently unconscious. She spots several groups of files in Peter’s desk and riffles quickly through them: Ardent Eagle, Dark Shield, personnel files mentioning the D8 people and several names with which she’s not familiar, and Gruinard. The last of these is the “storage facility” where Jessica Benson, Max Hutchins, and John Cranswick are being kept, in the middle of Gruinard Island, where anthrax testing was done during the War.
Emmy picks the lock on the gate that bars the way, and Ray and Megan sneak in — Megan to describe the positions of each file to Ray. He manages to retrieve the Dark Shield and Ardent Eagle files before his edginess gets the better of him and they both retreat, locking the gate behind them.
A bit after two in the morning, the team checks in to a grotty B&B by Victoria Station and gets a few hours of sleep; once forced to be awake, they get showers at a public swimming-pool and skim the files. Emmy considers the possibilities of forgery; they’re mostly plain typescript, with a variety of Top Secret stamps, and those latter would be the only tricky bits.
The Dark Shield file makes it abundantly clear that the NSA’s goal is psychic domination of the entire world. It’s not entirely clear just who’s in charge, though — Peter is running this local operation, and Gene Cernan is listed as an “asset”.
The team meets Mr Dennis, and they discuss the content of the files. There’s some concern that the CIA, given this information, might simply take over the NSA’s operation, regarding it as too useful to throw away; the same goes for the American chain of command. There’s some discussion of the possibility of informing senior British politicians, but it’s not clear how much they may already be dominated by the NSA’s telepathy team. Mr Dennis thinks that if the NSA operation here, the first one outside the USA, fails, they may pull in their horns a bit; his preferred approach is a traditional one, and involves dark alleys and garrottes.
Simon considers that the Ardent Eagle resonator satellites might be used to provide some sort of jamming effect against all psi power. Emmy raises the possibility of some of the influenced politicians having public nervous breakdowns, which might make the NSA psis more reluctant to keep them under telepathic subjugation.
11 July 2012
The afternoon is spent at the Imperial College library, writing up reports on the events at the festival and photocopying the most relevant parts of top secret files. The eventual decision is to send copies to Oz, Private Eye, MI6 (via Mr Dennis), the Guardian, Tam Dalyell (a suitably troublemaking MP who can invoke parliamentary privilege if necessary), and the CND (who are likely not to keep this quiet, even if it’s not their primary interest). There’s no Cc list, but a note attached to each packet states that others are also receiving copies.
A BBC report later in the day plays clips of their footage of the concert: the sound is as people remember it, but visually there’s just an empty stage.
The late Sunday papers confirm around 3,000 dead, 5,000 mad — the biggest loss of life since the War. Disposal of the bodies is a problem in itself, and some of the emergency measures set up for nuclear war have been activated. The large number of insane survivors is also a problem, and they’re being dispersed round the country wherever space can be found for them; fortunately they’re mostly inclined to sit and giggle rather than do anything dangerous.
The members of The Pink Floyd have been tracked down and questioned... except for Syd Barrett, who seems to have vanished from his flat (having bolted it from the inside). Reports suggest signs of heavy drug use.
The group gets into another B&B for the night.
Monday, 14 August 1967
The daily papers have had time to calm down a bit; The Times makes a point of saying that there’s no evidence in favour of the drugs theory. The eyewitness reports that are printed mention “something on the stage” but don’t go into any detail. Simon spots a small ad: “Were you at the festival? Got a story to tell? Contact box...”
The group hires offices and types out copies of their individual reports, adding a copy for the mysterious small ad (and sending summaries to various other papers); all of these get posted by the end of the business day.
Emmy calls up Donny Clark, a business associate, and arranges to get the film developed overnight.
Tuesday, 15 August 1967
The Guardian’s early edition mentions that interesting information has been received about the Festival Disaster, and that there will be updates later in the day — possibly so that questions will be asked if they suddenly go quiet. They also mention that early autopsies don’t show any unusual drugs in the victims’ bodies. It also seems that Parliament has been recalled from its summer recess.
Most of the group head off to stop their lawyers from posting the last lot of information packets, the ones dealing with the NSA takeover. Megan and Mr Dennis spend some time riding around the Circle Line, looking for psychic activity; when Megan extends her range, there’s quite a lot, of a variety of powers (all the ones she’s met before, and three new ones).
With the film returned, the group rents equipment and watches it; it shows the beginning of the concert and events mostly as they remember them, though it’s notable that as the effect takes hold it seems to spread outwards from the stage (people stop moving to the music and just stand slackly). The two men in suits who turned up on the edge of the concert look to Simon as though they’re being remote-controlled. Some of the team can identify themselves in the crowd, but the camera was pointed at the stage and the light’s not good; it’s unlikely anyone else will recognise them from this. The film runs out before the end of the set (these reels only hold about twenty minutes each), but the tape carries on to record the screaming. The negative and tape are lodged with one lawyer, and the print with the other.
The evening papers mention a rash of “weird events”, with people spotted floating in mid-air, vanishing, or suddenly realising they’ve given all their money to total strangers. The late edition of the Guardian is given over almost entirely to the secret documents (as well as Megan’s report on the concert and Sharon’s description of how psi powers work in general), with some commentary as to which bits their journalists found most noteworthy; the whole thing is now out in the open.

With a Little Help From My Friends

The group decides to return to St James’s Park and see what the NSA are up to. There are more police about than usual, but given the situation that’s not entirely surprising. When Megan projects into the office, she spots that three of the telepaths seem to be dead — Simon reckons from their appearance that this has probably happened within the last few hours — and Peter is splitting his time between directing telepathy and talking on the phone. Megan listens in; various people are calling him to ask “What’s going on” and “Why are you people suddenly running MI5 anyway”, and she gets the impression that a lot of people have suddenly come out from under telepathic suggestion.
Megan then projects to the Cabinet War Rooms, near the machine where she’d been watching before, and finds most of the D8 personnel sitting around under guard (one short-haired man with a pistol). They’re talking quietly among themselves, not about anything of consequence; she gets the impression that they’ve been wearing the same clothes for several days.
As she watches and listens, there’s a rustling sound and something rolls across the floor near the guard: a spiky ball, which starts to uncurl. As he looks, Mr Walters sneaks up behind him, slips a wire round his neck, and kills him.
Megan attaches her listening sense to Mr Walters, then brings her vision back, and the team heads into the War Rooms, finding another garrotted guard just inside the entrance (neatly out of sight). It takes some time to get to the right spot, though Megan more or less remembers the way out she found earlier. Mr Walters and Mr Dennis have an emotional reunion.
So. You’re still alive then.
Yeah. You?
Megan talks with Jane Perry, who’s been here all the time — they haven’t been allowed to go home at any point. A few hours ago, they all found themselves thinking more clearly, and the guards came in shortly afterwards. Mr Walters asks whether Mr Smith is contactable; when the team mentions Reading, he goes to make a phone call (Megan listens in, and while there are clearly lots of code-words and inside references, the gist of it is that Smith should come to London immediately).
When he gets back, Walters explains that the hedgehogs got restive around the same time, and he decided to see what he could do here. It’s not entirely clear just why the Americans are suddenly losing their grip, but taking advantage of it certainly seems like a good idea. And the D8 group’s passes, unlike those belonging to the team and Mr Walters, haven’t been revoked...
8 August 2012
The D8 operatives are not combat-trained, but the team checks their pass photos to see which look most like the team members (they’re not high-quality pictures). After some discussion (and some knife- and paste-work by Emmy to swap a couple of photographs) the team splits into two groups. Mr Dennis, Emmy, Sharon and Simon will use passes to get inside, while Mr Walters, Megan and Ray will go round by the windows. The hope is to arrest the NSA operatives and take then to the Cabinet War Rooms, where Reg’s jammer should help to keep them under control.
Emmy asks Mr Dennis if he has a knife; he looks at her as if she’d asked whether he had a nose, and passes her a double-edged dagger with a slim foil grip. There’s a cracking sound from where Mr Walters has been prying open a crate in the corridor, and he passes out old Webley revolvers to anyone who wants them.
Mr Dennis and the inside group talk their way in, badly; the night guard admits them under the impression that they’re up to something faintly sordid. Outside, Ray teleports the padlock off the gate, and that group sneaks up to the window; once Megan can see into the room (lights are on, and it looks much as it did before) she projects in her viewpoint and hearing. Peter’s still occasionally on the phone, but less often than before; Megan’s psi-sense tells her that most of the psi activity here is still telepathy.
The inside group moves through dimly-lit corridors, mostly not getting lost, and up to what seems likely to be the right door. They make quite a bit of noise, so Simon tries the door handle; it opens a couple of inches, then jams against something inside the room. Mr Dennis tries to shove it aside, without success; Emmy knows how to get it off its hinges, and does so, after which Mr Dennis turns the door sideways and pulls it through the doorway. Whatever was blocking it inside isn’t visible; what is, is a pair of wisps of smoke, one from each side of the desk where the files were stored.
Mr Walters opens fire at Peter from outside, shattering a window, but his bullets slow down in mid-air and bounce on the carpet. Ray teleports in, and the rest of the party begin psychic assaults. Simon uses his telepathy to knock one of the unconscious Americans out of the gestalt; he vanishes with a loud “pop”. Megan, with her new-found telekinetic ability, picks up a silver letter-opener from the desk and starts to stab Peter with it.
Ray and Simon both feel attempts to overcome their wills, and Ray’s able to analyse his as a mental blow that would leave him stunned. Emmy distracts the closest American with static shocks off the carpet. Sharon hurts Peter by freezing him, and Ray pistol-whips him. Peter opens his eyes, stands up, fast-draws a pistol and shoots at Ray... missing. Megan pokes him again, while Mr Dennis and Emmy charge the invisible barrier, using the door as a battering-ram, and manage to break through it. Sharon freezes Peter’s arm to try to prevent him shooting again, and Ray tries to grapple with him over the desk. Simon manages to break another American out of the gestalt; this one doesn’t vanish.
Megan keeps poking, and the whole team feels a sudden wave of depression sweep over them: really, why bother to go on? It would be much easier just to sit down and die now. This lasts only for a couple of seconds, however, after which Megan’s feeling of ongoing telepathy also goes away. Peter and the other Americans are unconscious; as Simon checks them over, he realises they’re not breathing; he also can’t find any sign of mental activity. Ray extinguishes what’s left of the contents of the desk drawers, and Emmy and Megan search the bodies — they have no ID, and even their clothes labels have been cut out. Simon calls an ambulance, while Mr Dennis and Mr Walters deal with the guards and police.
At some point Mr Smith seems to have entered the room, and he takes charge in a very visible way. Megan sketches the Americans she’s seen before who weren’t present here, and gets watches put on ports, airports, and the American Embassy.
The team uses the remaining hours of the night to find a pub and get quietly drunk, then returns to the Cabinet War Rooms to sleep.
Wednesday, 16 August 1967
Much of the next day is spent in meeting rooms at the House of Commons, demonstrating psychic powers to a series of skeptical MPs. The papers carry news of a wave of strange crimes: bank and jewellery robberies, either with valuables floating out of their own accord or with safes being discovered to be empty, and what are being called “crimes of persuasion”, in which someone suddenly realises that he’s given his wallet to someone he’s never met before.
Thursday, 17 August 1967
The team retrieves the final set of papers — the ones talking about the team’s work with D8 — from their solicitors.

In the longer term...

Over the next few weeks, the emergency session of Parliament progresses. At first they were skeptical, then they considered options for an outright ban on psychic powers; the continuing crime wave, and the “Windsor Wonderland” issue of Oz (including not only the full papers but some reasonably thoughtful comment on their contents), convinces them that this is impossible, and they finally settle a licencing scheme.
Emmy is quietly brought on board, retroactively. There’s some thought about what to do with the prisoners on Gruinard; John can be released, of course, but the team regards Max and Jessica as simply too untrustworthy to be let out even if they claim to be willing to work for the good guys.
Meanwhile, life at D8 is in abeyance. As the weeks go on, the team returns to work even without formal direction. Much of their time is spent in tracking down the new psychic criminals; most of the time, this is pretty easy, as the majority of them haven’t thought hard about the implications of other people having psychic powers. Some of them are recruited; with even the safest method for making new psychics having an 80% casualty rate (and not being repeatable, given the unavailability of Syd Barrett), there’s a strong feeling that psis are a precious resource.
The Americans are brain-dead. Megan hypothesises that the wave of depression was a suicide command. Some of the missing ones are caught; most aren’t.
With the Ministers of Health, Technology, Power and Transport all keen to get psychic powers under their remit, the best bet seems to be to establish a new Ministry of Paraphysics, probably to include its own constabulary. Mr Smith, “if I am called upon to serve”, reluctantly accepts a two-grade jump to serve as Permanent Secretary; Dalyell doesn’t have sufficient party status to become Minister, but a fellow leftist, Michael Foot, takes on the job.
Near-death states become a notifiable medical condition. Reg works on getting a network of psi detectors set up.
Outside the UK, the general reaction is confused. The Soviets deny everything, but a few months later admit that they have had a psychic programme for many years and it is much superior to the elitist British one. The Americans make no public admission of anything.
5 September 2012
In other news, Radios 1 to 4 are launched; American protests over Vietnam escalate; Abortion is legalised in the UK (though not Northern Ireland); Jack the Hat is murdered by the Krays, which finally gets them arrested; a full Apollo stack is launched on a Saturn V, supposedly unmanned; an X-15 is lost to an in-flight accident; Magical Mystery Tour, both the album and the film, are released to the Beatles’ first major negative reviews; the Prime Minister of Australia disappears while swimming; the surviving members of Pink Floyd re-form as The Tea Set to distance themselves from the events at Windsor, and shift into a less psychedelic style; Harold Wilson encourages people to work for an extra half-hour a day without pay, to general derision; two submarines are lost in the Mediterranean, two days apart; the Beatles go to India.
The Paraphysics Constabulary is established — a uniformed force of mostly non-psychics, equipped with portable psi detectors and called in by other forces when their expertise seems required. Our heroes, however, are now plain-clothes investigators for the Ministry of Paraphysics.
New psis continue to pop up from time to time, either walking in (guaranteed employment with the Ministry is a better living than many people currently have) or being caught doing something dodgy with psi powers. About three-quarters of them were at Windsor; of the remainder, most have had traumatic triggering events, though a very few don’t seem to have anything of that sort.
There’s been a rise in psychic training groups, which skirt the edge of the fraud laws by not explicitly offering to give people psychic powers — they tend to present themselves as meditation or self-improvement groups — but still prey on the gullible. The general public reaction, however, is negative, a combination of fear and a lack of immediate visible changes in society.
Megan and Simon both reveal their psi powers to their parents, and (now that they’re allowed to) identify their employer.

Let There Be More Light

5 September 2012
Monday, 5 February 1968
The Constabulary has picked up three people in the last month for crimes of persuasion, and they have some curious common factors: none of them seems actually to be psychic, or at least they can’t activate their powers now, and they’ve all attended meetings of the Outer Light Institute, one of those psychic training groups. Some interviews and scans reveal that they do indeed believe themselves to have psi powers, and the thefts they performed — a fairly basic “give me all the money in your wallet” — suggests that they did at some point have them. They wanted the money for a variety of reasons, fairly mundane, but did give a fair bit of it to the Institute. The leader of the meditation group was called “Sarah”.
The Institute seems in practice to be a weekly meeting in the basement of a church in Islington, the Union Chapel, which lets its building be used for a variety of charitable purposes. Talking to the staff there reveals that this has been going on since November, and that Sarah Neville is the contact for the Institute, which leads to an address in Highbury and to Keith Neville, the nominal owner of that flat; he works at a small local accounting firm.
Megan and Ray plan to attend a meeting and see what happens.
Tuesday, 6 February 1968
Before that, though, the team checks over the flat — Keith goes out to work in normal hours, and while Sarah spends much of her time at home she does go out and read in the local library. When she does, Megan scans the flat remotely; it’s better-furnished than the somewhat grotty area would suggest, but the most interesting things are the desk and the pair of suitcases under the bed. The cases are stuffed with clothes, toiletries, large bundles of cash, and passports, not for Keith and Sarah Neville; they’re quite dusty, having apparently not been opened for a while. In the desk is a mass of paperwork: popular books about the “birth of psi”, the Oz papers, and some other schematics describing what seem to be psychotronic components; they’re typewritten and photocopied, and Megan can’t make much of the writing style.
The team gets a block put on those passport numbers — they’re fakes, and no passports have been issued to the Nevilles in their own names — and Megan spies on Sarah at the library. She’s reading a basic meditation book — very basic, as Megan knows more about this from her own occasional study. She makes some notes of key words.
Thursday, 8 February 1968
On the day of the meeting, Simon, Emmy and Sharon set up in the Golden Eagle, a somewhat rough pub with a good view of the side street containing the entrance to the Union Chapel. They spot Keith and Sarah going in at 6.45pm; the meeting’s due to start at 7.
Megan dresses fashionably, while Ray sticks with his usual vaguely disreputable style. The meeting costs a couple of shillings, not excessively high or low, and has a high concentration of beards and robes (some people seem to have brought their own). Sarah leads the group, which ends up being about seventy strong; Keith isn’t in evidence.
Megan doesn’t pick up any psi activity during the meeting, which alternates descriptions and meditation/chanting sessions; it’s all pretty basic stuff. A collection bag is passed around, and Megan reckons that at least some people are putting notes in. The meeting breaks up around 9.15, and the group disperses; the outside team spots about ten of them heading into another pub nearby, the Lamb and Flag, though they don’t seem to be together. Ray leaves promptly and joins the team in the Golden Eagle; Megan hangs around, being enthusiastic and helping Sarah get the room back in order, until it’s clear that Sarah is trying to get rid of her.
From the pub, Megan spies on the church basement, where Keith is unpacking a complex machine from a briefcase and plugging it into the mains; Sarah’s asking how long they can keep this up, and Keith thinks that just a few more weeks should be enough. Around 10pm, the ten people from the Lamb and Flag head back to the basement; they’re chatting about trivia, while Keith operates the machine and Megan picks up a very faint and hard-to-detect trace of telepathic activity. As they leave, around 10.45, she’s picking up occasional flashes of telepathy and telekinesis from them. Keith hides the machine, in its briefcase, behind a filing cabinet in one of the church offices.
Simon reads Keith as he walks along the road; Keith’s main motivation is that he wants money to give himself and Sarah a new life abroad. The selection of subjects is by a low-power telepathic broadcast from the machine; those who pick that up are the best candidates for enhancement. He built the machine from himself, though some of the schematics came from the USA — the Mental Liberation Front.
Friday, 9 February 1968
The three persuaders are interrogated again — when sufficiently prodded, they do remember the sessions with the machine, though it looks as though they’d repressed these memories. They’d had between five and ten of them.
The Mental Liberation Front doesn’t appear in files sent from the USA before the incidents of last year; these days there’s a bit less information-sharing going on.
The team rents a flat with a good view of the Nevilles’, to keep an eye on it in case they bolt before next week.
Wednesday, 14 February 1968
News from Vietnam: the battle of Khe Sanh, which has been going on for nearly a month, seems to be ending, as the North Vietnamese have suddenly started to surrender by the thousands.
Thursday, 15 February 1968
With the Metropolitan Police ready to move, Megan and Ray prepare to go to that evening’s meeting; the others plan to wait in the Lamb and Flag, with Mr Dennis ready in a jammer-equpped car (for entirely sound technical reasons, he prefers to use the Jaguar).
Megan meditates in order to suppress her normal mental defences, and finds herself deciding to go to the Lamb and Flag after the meeting; she’s joined by seven other students, five of whom were at last week’s session. In the pub, they all stay separate, but head back across the road at around the same time. Once the machine’s set up, and to Megan’s perception she’s having a really interesting conversation, the police move in under cover of the jammer; there’s no resistance, and Sarah says to Keith “I told you so”.
Keith is entirely willing to cooperate; if anything, he seems slightly relieved to have been caught. He does seem to have a talent for psychotronics; he took an interest when the story broke last August, and spotted an advertisement in the back of one of Sarah’s magazines that offered more information. He sent away to this Mental Liberation Front, and got the photocopies back from the USA. (When Reg Willis looks at the documents, he reckons they’re very close in principle to the Soviet machines, except that they’re not designed to be implanted...)
Simon scans Megan; there’s some sign of damage to her memories, and possibly other things, though her powers seem to be the same as before.

Something in the Air

19 September 2012
Monday, 26 February 1968
North Vietnamese and VC soldiers are continuing to surrender en masse, to the point where they’re straining the American logistics system. The Soviets are accusing the USA of secret psi experiments. L. Ron Hubbard, apparently speaking from a ship in the Mediterranean, claims that it’s a triumph for the methods of Scientology (“restoring freedom and self-determination to the planet’s people”).
At home, the Soviet association of psi with the Americans in Vietnam, and with the establishment in general, leads to more demonstrations, mostly orderly; the two major strands are that psi should be for everyone, not just the powerful, and that psi shouldn’t be for anyone. Some similar demonstrations are reported from the USA, too, though there the two sides don’t seem to get on as well.
At the Ministry, a case has been passed over from the Metropolitan Police and seems sufficiently interesting to be looked into. Over the last couple of months, quite a few known figures from the London underworld have disappeared, several of them formerly from the Richardson gang and none of them working for the Krays; that’s not remarkable in itself, but this morning the body of Sammy Parkes, legbreaker for the East Ferry Gang last seen leaving the Dog and Donkey in Whitechapel at closing-time last night, was found in Ealing Gasworks, with bleeding from eyes, ears and nose, petechiae all over his body, and slight frostbite. He appeared to have been dropped from some height. Simon reckons that this sounds like decompression trauma, and borrows a flight surgeon from the RAF. Ray puts in a requisition for a parachute.
The team goes to check it out, with warnings from Mr Dennis that the Met are really not as reliable as they might be in matters of organised crime — plenty of them have people they’ll want to keep out of investigations.
At the scene, the body’s a mess; it’s landed in the open air, in an area that’s normally fairly well-used during the day, though the police are keeping people out for now. Megan picks up echoes of an exoteleport from the body — and from one or two of the items found nearby, that the police have picked up in case they turn out to be useful, particularly a Yale key. Sammy’s still wearing two big gold rings.
The body’s taken back to the Ministry, where the flight surgeon reckons it’s dropped at least 4-5 miles — and was probably alive for at least some of the drop, though he can’t say anything about state of consciousness. The Met are asked to pass on anything else they hear about disappearances of organised crime figures.
There have been quite a few disapparances recently, and Emmy reckons that between three and eight of them might potentially be outside the “normal” course of business. The general guess is that Ronnie Kray is off on one of his rages.
The team visits Sammy’s flat in Stepney, and while the key doesn’t fit the front door it does fit his garage. The place has been used for storage and then emptied, probably within the last week judging by the dust, and Emmy reckons the lock was picked by someone who knew what he was doing. Asking around the neighbours reveals nothing of interest — Sammy was a nice lad who never caused any trouble. The flat contains some notes which might well be considered incriminating; apparently Sammy has lots of very generous friends, and is in the habit of sending bundles of cash to his ageing mother.
Emmy and Ray, the two of the group who can look least respectable, visit Dougie Clark at his club in Knightsbridge. She mentions some of the names on her list, and Dougie points out that one of them needn’t be worried about. On the other hand, it’s clear that he’s running at least a bit scared; there are more heavies about than usual, and everyone’s a bit on edge.
He’s lost a couple of men himself — one was walking home from the pub with one of his mates, until they split up to go off to their own places. The usual way this sort of business gets done is that someone is encouraged to leave a pub with a few “friends”, but all the people who’ve disappeared lately have been on their own.
All of this has started since Jack “the Hat” McVitie was murdered last year — McVitie worked for the Krays, but apparently disappointed them somehow. The body was seen briefly, and there’s a strong suggestion that the police are working hard on the case.
Asked how he’d go about getting an audience with the Krays, Dougie suggests that he wouldn’t, being fond of living without pain; but going to the Blind Beggar would probably get the job done.
On the way out, Ray makes a blatant attempt to buy some drugs; Dougie laughs, and points him at the accommodating gentleman outside who’s nothing to do with Dougie.
The team shares some of this information with the Met, in the hope of getting back something about their ongoing investigation; the feeling is that they probably won’t reciprocate, though, since quite a few previous investigations have fallen apart.
Simon and Sharon head back to Stepney to probe some of Sammy’s neighbours. It takes some time, but they eventually find someone who saw the garage being emptied last night, and assumed it was Sammy’s brother Keith.
Keith lives in Walthamstow, and the team heads up there. He has a house, with no garage, but a nice car standing in the street (by far the nicest here). There’s no sign of activity in the house, though as it gets dark a light goes on; Simon tries to make a telepathic link, but the shape inside isn’t visible for long.
Ray goes to the back of the house; Megan and Sharon are in the pub at the end of the road with Mr Dennis (Megan’s perceptions riding on Emmy’s shoulder); Simon keeps an eye on the front, and Emmy walks up to knock on the front door. There’s a shout of “go away”; she waits for thirty seconds, then knocks again, and explains that she needs to talk to Keith.
There’s a muffled shout of “all right”, and she braces herself, expecting to have a gun waved at her. In fact, there’s a loud boom, a large hole appears in the door, and Emmy is hit by a couple of shotgun pellets.
She throws herself to one side before the second shot goes off, and Megan jumps her perception through the hole in the door to keep track of Keith. Emmy yells, “You stupid bastard, do I look like I work for the Krays?” — but Keith has dropped the shotgun, and is running. Megan slows him down a bit by slamming the kitchen door in his face, but he bursts out through the back door, with a pistol in his hand, and Ray shoots — clipping him in the leg, and slowing him enough for the others to catch up.
Keith is clearly terrified, and Simon does his best to calm him down. He saw his brother vanish: they were both walking back from the pub, Keith a few paces behind, and as Sammy walked into the light from a street-lamp he simply wasn’t there any more. No noise, no fuss, nothing.
Keith cleared out the garage, which contained various things Sammy’d received from his enforcement job — mostly money, but some jewellery and nice booze too. Emmy takes a look around upstairs while she has the chance, but there’s nothing blatantly incriminating there.
Simon patches up everyone who needs it. Sharon and Ray take Keith back to a cell at the Ministry, while Megan, Simon, Emmy and Mr Dennis check the site that Keith identified. Megan locks onto the psi trace, and gets a secondary trace from a broken window further up the street — one of several flats that seem to be disused at the moment.
The group calls in a fingerprinting team, then searches the flat: it’s clearly been out of use for a while, but a mark in the dust near the window would be consistent with a blanket or sleeping-bag used in the last few days. It wouldn’t give a direct view of the street, but all someone would need to do is sit up to get a good line of sight to the street-lamp and points west.
3 October 2012
The team heads home to get some sleep.
Tuesday, 27 February 1968
Ray’s parachute request hasn’t come through yet, though he’s been booked a place on a training course for next week. He spends most of the morning looking for skydiving clubs, and eventually manages to purchase one, which he wears for the rest of the day.
Sharon puts in an administrative effort to get hold of some jammers, some trained snipers, and some tranquilisers. Jammers are still being hand-made, rather than revealing the details to the public, but the wheels of requisition start to turn.
The rest of the team, joined by Ray later, spends time looking at the other vanishing sites, using Megan’s Signature Sniffer ability to pin down the exact spots where things happened (the disappearances themselves have generally been under or close to street lamps):
Back at HQ, Simon and Megan does their best to put together a rough sketch of the man based on the description. The team takes the list of people hospitalised after Windsor, washes out the women and everyone of blatantly the wrong age, and sends the resultant names to the Met to see if any of them are tied to organised crime — they aren’t.
As the afternoon draws on, the team visits a third site, in Newham, where the psi seems to have been waiting in a tower block that’s under construction — the team spots some cigarette burns on the concrete a couple of floors up.
As they’re looking around, Sharon, Simon and Emmy all think that someone looks familiar — a girl of sixteen or so is walking along the road, but they think they spotted her earlier at the Shoreditch site. She’s dressed fashionably but a bit oddly; Megan thinks she’s probably wearing a blind recommendation rather than having a fashion style of her own. Most of the team head out to follow her, Simon invisibly and Megan clairvoyantly; when she gets on a bus, everyone except Megan drops out.
She takes buses into central London, and enters the Ritz, where while she’s not dressed quite up to the usual style there the staff recognise her. She goes up to her room and starts writing in a spiral-bound notebook of which some pages have already been torn out, in a clipped style: “observed site 3, no sign of the pre-clear, possible other investigators”. Several of the team recognise this as Scientology jargon.
Megan searches the room, but doesn’t turn up a passport — though the girl has quite a bit of sterling cash. She goes down to dinner, Megan still riding her shoulder, and eats alone — but when the waiter asks whether she’ll be paying now or charging the meal to her room, she explains that it’s with the compliments of the house, and he agrees.
10 October 2012
The team gets a pair of plain-clothes operatives to watch the front of the hotel, while Megan moves her clairvoyant viewpoint out of the bedroom window, down the front of the hotel, and into the reception area. She searches the register for room number 413, and learns that it’s being occupied by a Diana Humphries, who arrived last Thursday. The team plans to return at 6am, and heads home to get some sleep.
However, around 10 that evening, Diana’s on the move again — she takes a taxi to a club off Carnaby Street. The rest of the team gets back out of bed and heads in; Emmy enters the club, with Megan’s viewpoint on her shoulder, while the others wait outside in the Ministry Type X.
Diana stands out, not being dressed quite right for this place, but plays the wide-eyed tourist who’s excited to meet colourful characters. Megan transfers her viewpoint to Diana, and listens in as she gushes over gangland figures (who are happy to talk themselves up a bit). As the night goes on, she gradually gets somewhat drunk and less subtle in her questions; it’s clear that she’s looking for more information about the body in Ealing and the other disappearances, but nobody seems to know much that the team hasn’t already heard.
Wednesday, 28 February 1968
Around three, Diana gets a taxi back to the Ritz and goes to bed. At nine, she leaves again, travelling by Underground and bus to the street in Stepney where Sammy was last seen; by the time the (somewhat weary and sleep-deprived) team catches up with her, she’s already headed back into town, where she spends the day shopping... well, “shopping”, as she goes through the motions and takes away carrier bags of fashionable clothes but doesn’t seem actually to be paying for anything.
Emmy calls Dougie Clark for an update. The Krays aren’t taking credit for these disappearances, and indeed seem to be just as edgy as everyone else in that world. She warns Dougie about Diana — suggesting that nothing too horrid should happen to her.
Early in the evening, Diana heads back to the Ritz and sleeps briefly. Megan spies on her through this time, and notices that when she wakes up around 10pm she briefly uses an E-meter... and Megan’s psi-sense detects a restorative power. Diana gets the doorman to call her a taxi, and Megan overhears her asking to be taken to the Blind Beggar in Whitechapel (the driver is clearly dubious about this). The team follows in cars, planning to wait outside: Megan and Emmy are in the Super Snipe, with Mr Dennis, Sharon, Ray and Simon in the Jaguar. Both cars have engine-powered jammers available. Simon’s reading Megan’s mind, and passing on her description of events as she watches from Diana’s shoulder.
Diana walks into the pub after a brief discussion with a large gentleman on the door (who thinks she might be in the wrong place). Inside the public bar are a number of large and emotionless-looking fellows, who stop their conversations as she comes in. She orders beer — and pays for it — and chats with the barman briefly. One of the hard men comes over and tries to persuade her to leave; after a brief exchange, he lights up and says “why didn’t you say so — I’ll introduce you to some of the lads”. They go back to his table as other conversations restart, and Diana continues with the fascinated innocent image she was using last night (“gosh, are you a real gangster?”), clearly trying to find out more about the disappearances but not getting very far.
One or two more people drift into the bar as the evening wears on — it seems that closing time is not a major problem here — and around quarter past eleven a man in a heavy overcoat enters and talks to the barman. Judging by the crowd, he’s another stranger; he seems to be sweating noticeably, but doesn’t take off his overcoat. The barman shakes his head, pulls a pint, and then leaves through the door behind the bar; Megan takes advantage of the moment to look inside the stranger’s jacket, discovering that he’s not armed, but does have a plastic bag of a suspicious-looking white powder.
The barman returns, and from a back room another hard man comes out. The sweaty man is clearly annoyed — “I want to talk to Ron, and you. Are. Not. Ron.” The hard man explains that talking to Ron isn’t something people can simply walk in and expect to do; the sweaty man names the seven “unexplained” disappearances, in order, and this seems to be enough to get him an audience. The two head towards the back, and Megan shifts her viewpoint to the newcomer. Diana tries to join the two, but several hands at the table hold her back, and she doesn’t appear to succeed in persuading all of them.
Ron, Reg, and eight or so other men are in the back, and the sweaty man explains that he’s responsible for the seven deaths — he seems to be angling for a job. The Krays don’t seem too impressed, and the sweaty man loses his temper — “All right then, come outside, and I’ll bloody prove it.” Everyone gets up, and they start to move towards the back door.
Mr Dennis brings the Jaguar round the side of the pub onto Cambridge Heath Road, to be closer to the back yard, and Simon stands by on the jammer. The sweaty man gets outside, points to the sky, and says “you see that cloud... uh...” as he falls over; Megan swings her viewpoint round and realises that he’s just been fairly thoroughly knifed in the kidneys by one of the men behind him. There’s a certain amount of head-shaking, and two of the men sling the body into the back of a car; Megan keeps her viewpoint with it as they drive out slowly and strictly legally towards Essex.
Thursday, 29 February 1968
Diana hangs around for another fifteen minutes or so, then leaves, walking towards Whitechapel station; Mr Dennis brings the car in next to her, the jammer’s turned on, and he gets out and arrests her. She makes a spirited but amateurish attempt to struggle free, until Sharon strikes her sharply about the head with a blunt object.
When she wakes up, she says nothing except to demand her phone call — Sharon explains intimidatingly that that’s not how things work in this country — and is kept in a cell at the Ministry, under jammer coverage.
Meanwhile, Megan’s tracked the car into the marshes of Essex, where the body is quietly dumped. Once the car’s left, she telekineses the plastic bag out of the jacket pocket, hoping the contents won’t have been too damaged by the brief immersion, and lodges it on a nearby telephone pole. The Essex police are alerted.
Megan and Emmy search Diana’s room at the Ritz, clearing it; they get the E-meter, a mimeographed handwritten document that appears to be Scientology doctrine of some sort, the notebook, and lots of clothes. Diana had a well-made fake British passport on her, stamped with recent entries to Italy and France.
The Ritz is reluctant to throw open its safes casually, and the team starts the paperwork moving to get some warrants in the morning.
31 October 2012
After getting some rest, the team comes back into the office late in the morning. Simon does a quick analysis on the bag of drugs, which has arrived from Essex; it’s about one-third cocaine, two-thirds toxic hallucinogens similar but not identical to what was used on the team.
News comes in from the North Atlantic: HMS Eagle has recovered a number of sounding rockets, and it seems that the precondition for gaining psi power is to be something like 110 miles high for several minutes. It doesn’t seem to work on anything much smaller than a rat.
The body has been identified as that of Billy Fraser, who’s certainly known to the Met as a small-time legbreaker. Megan checks it over before the autopsy, and gets a sense of lying in a street, with looming figures nearby; hospital records confirm that Billy Fraser “fell down the stairs” and broke his kneecaps, being discharged from hospital shortly before all this started.
The most significant event that’s happened to the bag of drugs is being taken out of a hollow space, somewhere in the open air but at night.
The autopsy shows, beyond the obvious, that Fraser has a cancerous-looking growth in the brain (specifically on the pons), which would probably do him no good in the medium term. Without decent brain-scanning machines, there’s no way of knowing whether anything like this is happening to other psis, and there’s no surplus of corpses to study — though arrangements are made to take a look at any Ministry employees who should die in the future. Fraser’s also been using cocaine, not for long but quite heavily.
Reg looks at Diana’s E-meter — it looks to him just like the ones recovered from Saint Hill, a basic skin-contact galvanometer, with no psychic elements. (Diana has asked for it, on religious grounds, but this is denied.)
From the Ritz comes an envelope with the contents of the safe - more cash, mostly sterling but some drachmas. One of the staff remembers having posted some letters for Diana; he doesn’t think they had enough stamps to be going overseas.
Sharon as bad cop, and Simon as good cop, talk to Diana. They don’t get far; Simon takes the approach that she’s on her own, but she seems to be quite happy with the image of the lone agent. Sharon worries her by talking about how easily she could vanish — she mutters something about thetans.
It seems that the British government has received a diplomatic request from Greece, asking whether anyone knows of the whereabouts of “Lieutenant Commander Humphries” (there’s a description and a photograph that makes it clear that this is Diana, and she does seem to be wearing an approximation of a naval uniform). Since a sixteen year old female Lieutenant Commander seems implausible at best, this gets bogged down for now in requests for clarification.
Friday, 1 March 1968
Shortly after midnight, Simon returns, having made sure Diana is asleep; he turns off the suppressor, and interrogates her telepathically. It’s surprisingly tough going; even asleep, she has a very strong will.
He establishes that:
Later in the morning, the team meets Mr Smith. It’s clear that they’ll have to give Diana back eventually, but he reckons they can hold onto her for a bit longer.
There is a Mary Jones renting a house at the Wimbledon address; the team checks it out, and it seems to be unoccupied, being used as a letter drop. There are three interesting ones there, one from Diana and two addressed in another hand; Megan hauls them back out through the letter-box.
The one from Diana is a progress report, written in much the same style as the one the team observed. The others are from a grown-up, describing the ongoing investigation into the recent disappearances; the writer is either a policeman or someone who listens to them a lot (and Megan confirms that it’s the former). There are no prints on the letter that’s checked, though there are some on the envelope; the other two are returned to the house and mixed in among the circulars on the mat.
14 November 2012
Megan takes a harder retrocognitive look at the letter that’s been retained, and gets the face of the writer; she sketches this, and copies are made, though it probably won’t do much good to circulate them among the Met (policemen tend to stick together even when they’re honest). She also checks the envelope, and gets the number of the box where it was posted; it’s in North Finchley.
She also re-examines the bag of drugs, and gets the face of the man who dropped it off — recognisably in the park in Shoreditch. It was filled by the same man (now wearing a protective mask), working in a small room that looks like a well-set-up laboratory. He’s in his late twenties or early thirties, clean-shaven and not particularly distinctive-looking.
More notes have been received from the Greek government, and Mr Smith reckons Diana will probably have to be handed over soon — but one more night of telepathic interrogation shouldn’t do any harm.
Ray (leaving the parachute by his desk) takes the drug dealer’s sketch to the London Hospital, where Billy Fraser had his kneecaps repaired. He shows it around, hoping that it might be a member of staff, but eventually one of the nurses recognises one of Fraser’s visitors, who turned up once or twice. She didn’t get a name.
Ray also looks into Mary Jones — the owner of the house has met her, as she pays her rent in cash, and he gets a rough description.
Saturday, 2 March 1968
Early in the morning, Simon and Megan turn up for another interrogation session. This time, they learn:
Later in the day, as people are coming in to arrange Diana’s hand-over at Heathrow Airport, the door detector goes off: there’s a lingering telepathic suggestion on Ray, that he should visit the Mason’s Arms in Shadwell tonight. (This seems to him like a perfectly reasonable thing to want to do, though he hasn’t been there before.)
First, though, Diana is taken in the Type X to Heathrow, under a jammer; she seems fairly stoic about the whole business, in spite of two nights in the cells. Megan and Simon follow in another car. A business jet of the Hellenic Air Force is waiting, with a pair of apparently high-ranking Greek officers standing by the steps. As Diana steps towards them (under the guard of a couple of uniformed Paraphysics Constabulary) and the paperwork is dealt with, the jammer gets shut down; Megan puts her viewpoint on Diana’s shoulder, and Simon reads one of the officers, who seems pretty bored with the whole business of escorting someone back to Athens “but they have friends in high places”. Diana and the two officers board the plane; there’s a woman waiting in the cabin, in some sort of auxiliary uniform, presumably present as a matron. The aircraft departs, with Simon and Megan tracking the occupants (Diana uses her E-meter as soon as they’re off the ground) until it’s several miles up and leaving British airspace.
Megan talks to her dealer, Dominic, and Emmy talks to Dougie Clark, in both cases leaving pictures of the drug dealer and suggesting that they’d like to know if anyone’s seen him, as he’s spreading around some fairly bad junk.
That evening, the team heads to the Mason’s Arms, which is clearly mostly used by locals; the area’s a little rough, but not very. Sharon and Emmy go in first (getting some odd looks, but no trouble), with Megan, Simon and Mr Dennis waiting in a car outside; Ray enters a few minutes later, and decides to head straight for the back door (towards the toilets). Sharon gets up to follow him; he heads past the gents’ to an unlabelled door, opens it, steps through, and closes it behind him.
Megan’s viewpoint shows a small room, perhaps normally used for storage, with three chairs; two are occupied, one by the dealer they’ve spied before (who invites Ray to sit down, and offers him an open bag of white powder as a “free sample”) and the other by someone sitting with his eyes closed. Even with the offer of a ten pound note, Ray finds himself somehow hesitant to take a sample... Simon and Mr Dennis get out of the car, and Megan uses her telekinesis to knock the bag to the floor, raising a cloud of white powder. There’s some shouting, and Sharon takes this as her cue to burst in. Emmy gets up to keep an eye on the corridor as a rear-guard.
Sharon does a bad job of feigning intoxication to try to get closer, then chills the dealer; Ray punches what he rather suspects to be the telepath, though ineffectively. The dealer pulls a knife and slashes at Sharon, while Ray stands up and hauls the telepath to his feet (Megan untying his shoelaces just in case). Mr Dennis comes up next to Sharon and pulls out his own knife, with a slightly disturbing grin; Sharon freezes the dealer again, and Ray tells the telepath to “stop with the mind tricks”. “We just want to help you” is the reply.
Simon reads the dealer’s mind, which is mostly full of worry about Mr Dennis... correctly, as it turns out, since Mr Dennis puts his knife into the dealer’s arm, and the shock is enough to take him down.
The barman sticks his head round the door, looks at Emmy, and decides that he’s not going to interfere just yet. Sharon freezes the telepath, while Ray shoves him backwards into, and over, his chair; the combination knocks him out.
Sharon pushes the drifts of white powder to the ground (though Ray manages to scoop up a decent-sized sample), and the team calls for police and ambulance support.
It turns out that they’ve caught Jake Reynolds, the dealer, and Steve Gerrard, the telepath. They don’t talk much, but telepathic interrogation (particularly of Reynolds) reveals that their section of Free Minds is using a cell structure and dead drops, coordinated by telepathy. Their objective is to set off a psychic crime wave, bringing the Ministry into disrepute, and forcing the government to enact tighter legislation about psychic powers — thus, in the revolutionary communist tradition, increasing the level of discontent among the proletariat and bringing popular revolution closer. That they would be profiting from the proceeds of these psychic crimes is of course entirely secondary.
On the news, there’s coverage of the early stages of the American presidential election. George Wallace of the American Independent Party is the first candidate to acknowledge psi openly: he’s calling for mandatory registration of all psychics. His running mate, Curtis LeMay, is more blunt: he calls for an end to American “phobias about psychic weapons”.