Subsubsection: Saturday 20 September 1930 Up Section: Stratford Subsection: 4 July 2018 (Newmarket) 

20 June 2018 (A Tunnel in Space)

The conversation is reasonably civilised; the GRO men are clearly surprised not to find a fire, and although Ramsey isn’t in charge he manages to steer the discussion towards the GRO leaving fairly soon rather than poking around where they’re clearly not welcome (Sir Archibald mostly wants to be left alone to contemplate his recent philosophical experience, though he’s obviously too polite to say so).
As they leave, Bessie notices that one of them is wearing a Peterhouse tie.
The group returns to the workshop, where a frost has settled on the inside surfaces. Gertrude detects a great deal of magic, associated mostly with the warping of space and the transfer of energy. Bessie ties a rope onto herself and steps through the distortion, finding it very easy; there’s an impression of clawed footprints in the greyness, and she finds it easy to follow. She hears chanting in the distance, not in English, and gets an impression of a flickering light (candle flame? Lantern?) in the direction that the footprints are leading, but the rope isn’t long enough to reach it.
She comes back, and repeats some of the words to Audrey, who thinks they sound German. With Sir Archibald’s help the group rigs up a long electrical cable; Millie steps through first, followed by Audrey, and the others soon follow. Millie dislikes this idea of floating, and attempts to assert the idea of gravity; it works, perhaps too well, as the cable angles sharply down and the footprints are lost to view overhead, though she has no feeling of motion. That’s easily reversed, and they continue to the flickering light, which is apparently another portal. The chanting stops as they get near.
Mille sends Horatio through the portal, and he reports that it’s warm, but not as warm as the stove. Lin Tan goes through, and finds herself in a cellar, which is largely on fire; there are severed (and charred) limbs scattered about, though no bodies or heads, and the sound of screams, shouts and running feet from upstairs. She goes up, arriving in a storeroom, mostly for food though several of the shelves are filled with bundles of dynamite. She closes the hatch, and hears cars pulling away in haste; running to a front window shows four or five people in each car, but no details. Millie and Gertrude come through, and they start to shift the dynamite away from the burning cellar to the end of the garden, and to pour water down the hatch, while Gertrude holds the fire back magically. The house seems to be Number 37 in a row, and the licence plates on the few cars parked nearby indicated that this is still in England.
There are anarchist pamphlets (in English), and a printing press; other pamphlets are in English and German. At least six people have been sleeping here, at least occasionally. There’s no sign of anything magic-related. There are several anarchist organisations mentioned, but the Sisterhood of the Red Hand seems particularly prominent – it’s their pamphlets that have been being printed.
Lin Tan and Millie rouse the neighbours, who don’t seem surprised that “those foreigners” are causing trouble; there’s a telephone in the pub at the corner, and Millie goes with one of the local children to get the fire brigade called. From the street and pub names, Lin Tan recognises that they’re in Bethnal Green.
Audrey looks through the portal, talks briefly with Gertrude, then she and Bessie return up the rope to Sanderstead and spend the night in two of Sir Archibald’s guest rooms.
Gertrude gets the fire suppressed to the point that there’s only smoke blowing about, and the group leaves, walking for a while to find a taxi then going back to Millie’s for what’s left of the night.
Audrey and Bessie explain the distortion to Sir Archibald, and he agrees to take some more measurements as time allows.
The group convenes at the bookshop the next day, and compares notes.
While Audrey thinks that some of the language Bessie heard mixed with the German might have been Hebrew, she’s certain that this wasn’t an observant Jewish household.
She calls Jameson; terrorist outrages aren’t his department, but he’s interested in her observations. The house was more or less known to the police, or at least suspected, as one used by multiple anarchist group; the Sisterhood of the Red Hand is a name he’s heard before, though not as a major organisation, and whether they’re connected to any other Red Hands (Irish or otherwise) is not at all clear.
Millie calls Ramsey, and gets him to take the group to dinner; he proposes Claridge’s, and they spend most of the afternoon getting ready. Ramsey is more interested in the history of his organisation than most of its members, and it seems it has early connections to the Order of St Michael and St George (“before King George took that for his own purposes”, he says in a manner that implies it’s a personal insult for all it happened a hundred years ago).
When Millie tells him about the ending of the Boswell affair, he’s stunned and somewhat frightened; he’d hoped his information might be of some use, of course, but any techniques used by his own organisation have become desperately unreliable of recent years. Specifically things seem to have been in a long decay for a while, and magical intrusions with them, but some time around 1914 there appears to have been a major shake-up. Perhaps the Jehovah’s Witnesses are right and that really was the start of the end of the world?
They recount the incident with the dragon; he mentions that the records suggest that dragons are incapable of lying, since what they say has a habit of becoming true.
Bessie reveals that the group may have a way of predicting future targets, with a few hours’ notice.
Ramsey warns them that others in his organisation would love to catch and examine the group, desperate as they are for reliable magic. For himself, “I’d rather wear wool than eat mutton”.
There are about thirty men in this part of the GRO, with more in the colonies. Other countries seem to have their own equivalents, with more or less cooperation; the United States doesn’t seem to, though presumably it has its own magical problems and something must be dealing with them. A mention of “the oleaginous gentleman” provokes a knowing sigh and “ah, yes, Mr Henderson”.
The group suggests that if a sensible astrologer could be found, this might make more sense of the dragon’s suggestion about the stars being right.
 Subsubsection: Saturday 20 September 1930 Up Section: Stratford Subsection: 4 July 2018 (Newmarket)