We find our intrepid investigators in peril, surrounded on all sides by the scum of Lambeth’s criminal fraternity. Chief McGee, wasting little time, leaps across the roof of the carriage to pile-drive the first assailant into the ground shouting menacingly with glee. The intrepid Lieutenant Wolseley leaps from the door of the carriage only for Barnabus Rutherford to close the door behind him, unsportingly jamming the scabbard of his sword cane through the door handle to hold it closed. Meanwhile, Usher Hall and Doctor Jones, both drawing their sidearms let lose through the opposite window at the approaching menaces.
Croaker, the hoodlum boss, remains at the rear for now, signalling for his other lackey to release the dogs, which bound snarling across the pavement towards Chief McGee at the rear of the carriage. Meanwhile, Wolseley finds himself surrounded by thugs though his deft swordsmanship wards of their attacks.
Still roaring and cursing, Chief McGee leaps across a pile of barrels and stamps another thug into the pavement, snapping his spine and killing him instantly, while terrifying the man standing beside him. While gunfire from Jones and Hall rips into the enemy on the far side of the carriage, the dogs reach first Wolseley then McGee. While Wolseley fights with one dog, its teeth snapping at his coat sleeve, McGee casually snaps the neck of the beast attacking him, throwing his body to the ground while winking at the remaining hoodlum.
Despite taking a crack on the temple from a cudgel, Jones is able to dispatch another assailant, as does Hall. McGee steps up to Wolseley who is still grappling the second dog, and smashes his fists into the creature’s head, crushing its skull and spraying both Wolseley and the rear of the carriage with brain and blood. Upon seeing this, the final assailants quickly surrender though their boss Croaker makes good his escape upon seeing the outcome of this meeting – no doubt to report back to his boss, Drabble.
The surviving thugs plead for their lives, particularly from the vengeful advances of Doctor Jones, who begins examining mattocks suited to her planned retribution. Thankfully her companions persuade her to hold her revenge – the men swear they were only paid to rough up our heroes, and nobody told them there would be shooters neither. They and their boss work for Mickey Drabble; a criminal boss said to have fingers in many of South London’s criminal pies.
With that, Chief McGee placed his hand on the bloody hull of the carriage calling out ‘mine’ and claiming the carriage as his own, leaving the insensible driver alongside the bodies of the other men. With that our heroes departed for Courtney Court.
Arriving at the offices of White, Ulrich and Hartson, Doctor Ellerson is shortly introduced to Mr Hartson, the young but ambitious junior partner in the firm. Having heard Ellerson’s enquiry regarding Sir Malcolm’s safe, Hartson explains that as the executors of his will, they were instructed to empty the safe and deal with matters accordingly. The safe contained personal items and correspondence from many years previous, but also a leather letter pouch containing a fragment of parchment, which he duly handed over to Doctor Ellerson as a representative of the British Museum.
A cursory examination of the parchment revealed it to be early-First Dynasty, possibly pre-Pharoanic. Before heading to Courtney Court to locate his companions, Ellerson stopped at the British Museum to converse with the ever-enthusiastic Collins regarding the finds returned from the Egyptian dig. They included numerous primitive statuettes – some with insect-heads, arrowheads, pieces of pottery, grain spores and husks, jade and obsidian jewellery, some human bone fragments, a parchment fragment and a curved metal tablet bearing an inscription. The parchment and the metal tablet were recorded as being signed out to Sir Malcolm still.
Reuniting with Ellerson, our protagonists arrive at Courtney Court, and this time dressed in his normal clothes and accompanied by Doctor Jones in the hope that a woman’s presence might defuse tensions, approaches the guards. After recovering from the astonishment of the men not having heard of the great Barnabus Rutherford, the detective presented the leader of the men, Big Bill, with his card and requested he speak with Edith Walters.
Soon after, they are invited into Courtney Court, where Edith Walters still surrounded by the protective menfolk, hears them out regarding their enquiries about her brother Frank. Edith explains that Frank turned up four nights ago with news of Sir Malcolm’s death and that he had some business to take care off for him. Frank was very nervous and convinced he was being watched and insisted that his presence remain a secret. The next night, an intruder was seen on the roof of the terraces and fortunately scared away by the local men who have been keeping watch recently, what with the reports of vagrants going missing.
Frank became even more nervous, and Edith and Big Bill decided to hide him somewhere away from the Court, choosing Bill’s place of work, the pump house at Battersea Park. Bill took Frank up there and along with four of his men (two of whom would be working anyway maintaining the boilers) to look after him. Despite rumblings from the big man, Edith tells Bill to take our heroes to see Frank,, trusting of their intention to help her brother.
The rain begins shortly after, with a thin drizzle soaking Verity Jones who elects to drive the carriage to the Park. The Park is quiet, aside from one or two stubborn walkers and nannies with children. Bill quickly realises that something is amiss as the guard he ordered is nowhere to be seen, and as the group move inside it becomes clear that nobody is maintaining the boilers which sound dangerously unstable.
Reaching the boiler room, the machinery inside is running and maximum and throughout the room pieces of machinery and pipework are beginning to buckle, gouts of scalding steam hissing in the air. Bill’s four men lie incapacitated around the room and he shouts for our heroes to help his men while he runs for the control room to shut down the machines. Over the din he shouts for them to pull the release handles on the individual machines to relieve some of the pressure before the entire pump house explodes.
Usher Hall and Verity Jones rush north to release the valves on the machines, while checking on the state of the unconscious men. Barnabus Rutherford heads west to another lever and to the prostate worker, while Verity Jones and the brave Lieutenant Wolseley headed into the interior of the room. Chief McGee and Big Bill sprint across the catwalks and McGee reaches the door to the control room in impressive time, but opens it to be faced with another shadowy intruder pointing a two-stringed crossbow directly at him. Moving with unnerving speed, McGee throws himself at the creature and grapples its undulating form to the ground.
At that moment, the creature’s four companions drop down from the ceiling where they had been hiding and the trap is sprung. The first creature lands behind Big Bill and punching him flat-palmed employs the strange device on its hand to send the big man flying through the air to land several yards away, dazed but unhurt. Another strikes Rutherford, wounding him and hurling him back across the room. Wolseley avoids the attack against him as does Usher Hall, while Doctor Jones – deaf and oblivious to the chaos above continues to pull levers and tend to the wounded.
Big Bill, not being the brightest man, repeatedly charges his attacker before being thrown backwards again, finally collapsing under a terrible strike to his sternum killing him before he lands on the walkway in a crumpled heap. Usher Hall and Wolseley both withstand the onslaught of their assailants though Hall is knocked back several. Verity Jones, now under attack is wounded and is forced to retreat, though is quickly passed by the sprinting form of Rutherford; who having been wounded has chosen to run for his life. Wolseley though is not so fortunate and a strike from the creature’s hand weapon ruptures his heart killing him instantly.
Unfortunately for Jones, one of the creatures catches her on the stairs and blasts her backwards into the wall. Her leg smashed with the bone jutting from the wound, the intrepid Doctor Jones manages to remain conscious momentarily to see Usher Hall sprinting across the catwalks above to save her, before passing away silently against the wall.
Meanwhile, Chief McGee after endlessly wrestling with the hideous jellied creature grasps one of the hoses feeding into its mask and wrenches it loose, spraying green ooze across the walls but allowing him to leap for the control panel and bringing the machinery offline.
Down below Ellerson dispatches another creature with a well placed shot from his pistol and sprints off to help Jones, but reaching her lifeless body he momentarily freezes before his eyes fill with rage and he launches himself at the last creature which is attacking the desperately parrying
coward Rutherford. Without blinking Ellerson steps up to the creature, places his pistol against its head and empties the revolver’s last three bullets into it, painting the wall and door beside it with green ichor.
As the final creature escaped through the window, and the machinery finally comes to rest, our heroes can mourn the loss of the intrepid (and disturbingly bloody thirsty) Doctor Verity Jones, and the brave but ultimately doomed Lieutenant Wolsely. Their names shall be added to the Roll of Honour of the Explorer’s Society.