The classic team role-playing game of conspiracy and strangeness
The Dolorous Stroke
August 14th. 8 AM.
Bad Schlachendorf, hotels and army base.
Mark has been up since six o’clock, wandering around the village waiting for the hotel restaurant to open. By the time Peter comes downstairs he is sitting with his bad ankles propped up, drinking his third cup of coffee and reading a book about the mystery play. A few postcards showing scenes of the castle and the play sit by his elbow. He doesn’t look up as Peter comes in: if anything he buries his head more firmly in the book.
“It’s down to you, Andrew and myself to check out the mines today, then,” Peter say. Mark grunts by way of agreement. Privately, he’s wondering – not for the first time – how he got himself into this. He only ever joined SITU to satisfy his own curiosity and now he finds himself in the middle of a life-or-death mission, and working alongside a bunch of experts who seem to think the new guys are going to ruin everything.
Peter has sat down and is ordering breakfast from a waitress with brown hair and a wide, fixed smile. Mark puts his book down with a sigh and asks for a mug of hot chocolate.
“The mine,” he says when the waitress has gone. “Sure. Whatever you want.”
Peter thinks he sounds less than enthusiastic but he says nothing, concentrating instead on his breakfast when it arrives. The uneasy silence between the two men is broken only by the intermittent whirr of the ceiling fan.
It is almost a relief when Andrew turns up. He is wearing light jeans and a T shirt. The army jeep he has left behind in the interests of not drawing attention to the party. Instead he has borrowed a civilian car from the base.
“I’m not entirely sure of the best way to proceed here,” he admits. “Peter, you said you had a plan, didn’t you? I suggest we go along with that. I’ll stay ready to help out as necessary.” He looks to Mark for agreement.
Mark shrugs. “I’m best as a people-watcher. You do what you want. I’ll follow along and keep an eye on things.”
“Do you belieeeve in life after loove…’ Matt Culver sings to himself. He stands in front of the mirror, holding up various outfits and frowning to himself as he tries to gauge the inconspicuousness of each.
“I can feeel something insiide me says, I really don’t think you’re stroong enough…” The Hawaiian shirt he wore in Haiti is a little faded but the white skulls still grin from a more-or-less black background. His black combat shorts are likewise faded. Maybe not the most tasteful outfit under the circumstances, but definitely more touristy than his usual black leathers.
He pulls on a pair of DMs, stows a small torch and home-made garlic gun in the side pockets of his shorts, swallows a Prozac, slips on his wraparound sunglasses and grins at himself in the mirror. All set. Maybe he’ll even get a tan.
He laughs to himself, starts to turn away, and stops short. Looking back into the mirror, his reflection frowns back at him. Everything is normal. Maybe it was his imagination, then, that made him think just for one brief moment, that he had no reflection…
It is with a feeling of regret that Sam slips off his long leather coat and leaves it on the hotel bed. It feels like he’s leaving a part of himself behind, but with the temperature climbing steadily he’d melt if he had to wear it another day. He tests his water pistol on the back of his hand. The garlic juice stings slightly and feels cool against his skin.
“Here we go,” he says aloud. “Up against the forces of darkness armed with a child’s toy.” Still, if nothing else he can use it to keep cool.
John and Mickey are waiting for him in the hotel lobby.
“The carnival opens today,” John says. “It’s worth a look. We may pick up some more background detail, meet some ‘players’.” He is carrying a small rucksack with a coil of rope attached to the bottom. “Just in case we need to get somewhere we’re not supposed to,” he explains.
Mickey, carrying a disposable camera, looks eager to be off. “There are tours of the castle every two hours,” he tells Sam. “I checked at reception. We can get a bus there.” He puts the camera into a pocket and grins at the other two. “So, shall we go?”
“The new member of the group are going to need watching,” Isobel says. “We have to make sure they don’t jeopardise everything by being too obvious. I’ve got a feeling that Andrew might be a bit of a problem as well.”
Matt disagrees. “A little gung-ho, perhaps, and about as shell-shocked as you’d expect, poor buggers. Seem sharp enough, though.” He heaves a sigh. “Still, I do miss Side-step and his running commentary; he’d have burst a haemorrhoid at Mickey turning up in that tank…” he smiles at the thought, adjusting his shades as he gazes through the hotel window at the withering weather.
Professor Twitchin scratches the back of his neck nervously. “What’s our plan of action for today? The others are looking at the castle and the mine, I take it.” He blots his face with a handkerchief. “I do hope the weather breaks soon.”
“The whole place seems wounded alright,” Matt says. “Everybody and everything just waiting for Galahad to show. The land is linked to our ‘Fisher King’, I’m sure of it. I’ll bet those medieval ‘magic shows’ were some sort of consecration ceremony, to bind the place to him – like he tried to do with Whitby.” He sips his tea speculatively.
“It’s his bolthole,” he continues, “the place any creature retreats to when it’s hurt. He feels safe here. Why? I’m guessing he deliberately stoked some local myth, built it up into the Mystery Play. He’s been feeding on it over the centuries, growing strong – and he wants to use it to heal himself.” He shrugs and sets his cup down. “So…by that reasoning, we have to stop the play – or at least change the ending, somehow. I’m going to spend some time getting specifics, maybe find out who’s playing what. And keeping my eyes open for bloody spears..”
Isobel looks at him worriedly. “You will be careful, won’t you?”
“Of course I will.” He pats her on the shoulder. “Why don’t you and Mr Snodgrass here go out on the town for the morning? I’ll do some checking on my own and we can all meet up later this afternoon.”
The local museum lies on the route to the caste so Mickey, John and Sam stop there first. Mickey heads straight to the attached book shop and picks up a history of the castle.
“It’s an odd story, the one of Balin,” he says. “Merlin was the only one who could free Balin, but another knight had to heal Pellam. Couldn’t they make up their minds, or what?” He pays for the book and flicks through it to the chapter on the history of the Grail myth. “Ah, here we go,” he reads. “King Pellam’s brother Garlon, killed several knights so Balin killed him in revenge. That meant that Pellam wanted vengeance against Balin and so they fought.” He reads on a while. “Merlin then has to free Balin from the ruins of the castle – we know that already – and Galahad later heals Pellam. It doesn’t say why.”
“I don’t think there’s supposed to be a reason,” John says. “Myth is usually more to do with symbolism than with people acting logically.”
Sam, meanwhile, has found a scale model of the castle and – better still – a museum attendant who speaks English.
“It’s a very small castle,” he’s saying sceptically. “Are there any secret passageways?”
The attendant shakes his head and laughs. “Not one. Neither are there ghosts, ghouls or hidden compartments holding the grail. All tourists ask about them.” He sees John and Mickey coming over and waits a moment before continuing. “To tell you the truth, our castle is not the Castle Carbonek of the grail myths. No one knows which castle Malory had in mind when he was writing, if any, but it is certain that he never came to Germany. The earliest reference we have to this castle being called Castle Carbonek dates from seventeen-ninety.” He pauses a moment and smiles. “My personal opinion is that the castle became associated with the grail castle because of the mystery play, and eventually took on the name of the grail castle.” He glances at the three of them. “Are you on holiday together?”
“Staying in the same hotel,” John says smoothly. As far as he can tell, the man is telling the truth. He is also slightly bored, as if he has told the story of the castle to one too many groups of eager tourists.
“Who else is interested in the castle?” he asks.
The attendant sighs. “Everyone. For these weeks, it is all they ask about. The play, the castle and the carnival.”
“Then lets talk about something else,” Sam suggests. “The weather. When did this drought start anyway?”
“Last November,” comes the answer. “We had a dry winter and nothing has gone right since.” He forces a smile. “Never mind. Enjoy your stay, gentlemen. The play is truly brilliant spectacle. No matter how many times you see it it still manages to stir the emotions.”
“When was your Whitby mission?” Sam asks as they leave the museum.
John glances at him sharply. “The end of October last year. Why?”
Sam’s arms flap excitedly. “Well, it seems to me that this Master has somehow linked himself with the land like King Pellam in the legends, and it’s current sickly state reflects the damage done to him by SITU agents. Now he intends to manipulate the play and it’s audience, drawing off the collective belief energy to heal himself. Hey, maybe…”
He stops. “Maybe what?” John asks. Sam doesn’t answer. He walks on, hunched over like a small animal trying to hide.
“Good morning.” Peter smiles broadly but nervously. “We, that is my colleagues and I, have some business here with Herr Breit.”
The receptionist shakes her head and frowns. “Herr Breit is busy. Tours of the upper levels of the mine start on the hour on Tuesdays only. If you wish to book in advance, you may go to the gift shop on…”
Peter cuts her off. “I’m sure he’s busy, but if you just run along now and set up a meeting for us right away, you would make me a happy man. Preferably within the hour. Oh, and before you go, is there a place we could sit down while we wait?”
She glares at him, but when Peter shows no sign of moving she mutters something in German and picks up the phone. “You will sit over there. I will ask Herr Breit if he can see you today.”
The three men wander over to the chairs at the far side of the room. Mark stays on his feet, reading the parts of the wall charts he can understand. One of them appears to be tracking the performance of the separate companies working the mines. The lines on the graph seem to indicate that when on is doing well it is at the expense of the others. Less than friendly competition, then, he thinks.
Peter and Andrew content themselves with sitting and looking at the floor until a door opens and a tall, bearded man comes through.
Peter stands up at once. “Herr Breit? Good day, sir. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Peter Ramsey, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This here is Mr. Wotan, an independent expert, and that is Mr. Castellan, who represents corporate interests. Shall we sit down?” Without waiting for an answer, he flops down again, putting his fingertips together and blowing through them impatiently until the others have settled.
“I have a great deal of work to do, Mr Ramsey,” Breit says. “So please, be brief. I can spare you a little time, but no more.”
Peter’s head bobs in a nod. “This won’t take long. Tell me, Herr Breit, what do you know about lasers?”
Mark and Andrew watch as Peter outlines his story about wanting to buy crystals for the purpose of making industrial lasers. Breit’s eyes slowly widen as Peter quotes ever increasing sums of money. When he finally runs out of breath and stops, Breit looks almost stunned.
“Now, what we need for now is information,” Peter concludes. “Financial reports, a full run-down on the operations already in place here. A list of current purchasers.”
“Some of that information is confidential,” Breit objects.
Peter reaches out to clap him on the shoulder. “Yes, mein Herr, I know that that information could perhaps be estimated as … sensitive, but surely you understand that there are other ways of getting this information. We would not have to had come here in person to do it. No, mein Herr, we want to hear it from you. You see, we want to cooperate with only one mine, and it has to be a special quality to it, not only the stones. That is why we want to get the feeling of this operation. Perhaps you could even recommend us to talk to the mining companies? Of course, I guarantee you that this is not for the purpose of initiating business with them, merely to get their opinion of the mines.”
Breit frowns. Mark, looking at him, wonders how much of that last speech he actually understood. But, finally he stands up. “Very well, Mr Ramsey. I will give you copies of the information that is readily available. Of course, if you wish to purchase crystal in the quantities you mentioned, you will have to meet with the leaders of the separate operations here to discuss the matter. I could certainly arrange that for you.” He smiles slightly, the dazed look still in his eyes. “I myself am responsible for overall safety of the mine, and for the maintenance of the tourist level that is no longer mined. Each company then pays a royalty in return for permission to mine here.”
“So you will be earning money for no extra work,” Andrew points out.
Breit beams at him. A salesman, Mark realises. Someone who’d project an image of friendliness and good will while he worked out how to get his hands on your money.
“Indeed,” Breit says in response to Andrew, still beaming. Excuse me, now, I will gather the papers for you. Please feel free to look around the place while you wait.”
Mr and Mrs Snodgrass of Berkshire are having as pleasant a time as any of the other tourists thronging the streets.
Twitchin is wearing his hat again, much to Isobel’s disgust, and is amusing himself pottering along behind her, holding doors open and offering to buy her souvenirs every time they pass a shop, which is about every ten seconds.
“Snodgrass,” Isobel mutters. “Really! When you had all the names in the world to choose from, you could have picked a better one.”
“Sorry dear.” The reply is muted: the automatic response of a browbeaten husband. The professor is enjoying his new role.
Eventually, by talking to everyone they come across and buying far too many useless souvenirs, they find out the play is organised and run by a special arts committee. The lengthy English booklets say nothing of how the play started in the first place. Its origins seem shrouded in mystery. All that anyone knows is that it has been running in one form or another since the Middle Ages, always in the middle of August. The modern form involved the whole of the village. Hundreds of actors, all wearing huge papier mache heads begin the performance in the village square and continue it through the streets to end at the castle.
“There’s a programme at the back of the book,” Twitchin says, holding it out helpfully for Isobel to see.
1. Merlin foretells that Balin will give the Dolorous Stroke.
2. Herlews le Berbeus is slain by Sir Garlon.
3. Balin, accompanied by a damosel, rides in quest of Sir Garlon to avenge the death of Herlews.
4. Balin arrives at Castle Carbonek, the home of King Pellam.
5. A great feat is underway. Sir Garlon is present.
6. Balin slays Sir Garlon.
7. King Pellam challenges Balin.
8. Balin’s sword breaks.
9. Balin seeks another weapon, pursued by King Pellam.
10. Balin finds the Spear of Longinus, seizes it and strikes King Pellam.
11. The castle falls.
12. Merlin appears to free Balin and prophesy that the land will be laid low because of the Dolorous Stroke Balin smote Pellam with, and that Pellam will not be healed until Galahad should come in the Quest of the Sangrail.
13. As in a dream, Galahad is seen entering the castle to fulfil the prophecy.
“So the main parts appear to be Merlin, Balin, Garlon and Pellam,” Isobel concludes. “And then there’s Herlews at the beginning and Galahad at the end. I wonder who plays them all?”
It is not hard to find people who are appearing in the play. Half the village seems to be taking part.
“The committee likes to cycle the actors,” one woman explains. “They think everyone should have a turn.”
“Do you know who’s taking the main parts this year?” Twitchin asks. “It doesn’t appear to say in the programme.”
Her brow wrinkles. “No. It is part of the tradition that the main actors are kept a secret until the play ends and they remove their masks. It is a big moment. They say it is bad luck if you find out who they are before the play ends.”
Blinds drawn, sitting in front of his computer, Matt avoids the standard Arthurian sites and concentrates on the spear, and on Bad Schlachendorf itself.
“Papa Legba, open the way…” he mutters and he grins in delight when the first list of sites comes up.
Bad Schlachendorf – village in Bavaria. Set in the mountains to the south of Munich, close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the village is famous for its working crystal mine and for the mystery play that is performed there every August. The nearby castle has taken on the name Castle Carbonek after the Grail myth that forms the basis of the play.
Spear of Longius – the spear that was used to pierce the side of Jesus as he hung on the cross. Later saved by Joseph of Arimathea and eventually brought to England by Joseph along with the grail. The spear is reputed to have similar healing properties to the grail. When Galahad reaches Castle Carbonek at the end of the grail quest, he is ordered to take the blood that has gathered on the spear and anoint King Pellam with it. When he does, Pellam is healed.
There is no record of the spear changing its appearance to fit its surroundings as there is with the grail. There are literally thousands of suggestions as to where the spear is now. A couple of them point to Bad Schlachendorf because of the mystery play, but just about every site connected with Arthurian myth is also suggested, as are several that have nothing to do with the myth at all. All speculation, Matt decides. The only conclusion to be made is that no one know where the spear is. Even if is does exist. He takes a moment to save the information he’s gathered already to disc then types in the name ‘Johann Breit.’
Johann Breit (in connection with general information about the crystal mine) – The current owner of the mine is Herr Johann Breit who has been site manager for eight years.
That is all Matt can find.
Rubbing his eyes, he sits back. “Time to do some real-life digging,” he murmurs.
At first glance, Castle Carbonek is disappointing. A small, square keep surrounded by a courtyard and the remains of an outer wall. The gatehouse is in ruins, as are the four corner towers. As for the keep, the wooden roof has long since rotted away and one of the walls has crumbled. A shell, John thinks. It feels old, tired. The crumbling keep wall looks like a wound in its side.
Mickey pauses to take a photograph of the gatehouse then asks the others to stand in front of it so he can take a couple more without arousing suspicions. A group is gathered just inside the walls ready for the next tour and he walks over to join them, followed by Sam. John lets them go then wanders off to one side. Walking aimlessly, stopping every now and then to take a photo or admire the view, he finds his way to a place that is hidden by a stretch of intact wall. The tourist guide’s voice starts up as he sits down and closes his eyes.
“The castle dates back to the fourteen hundreds,” the guide says. “It was built as an administrative and military centre for the area and was in use until the early sixteen hundreds. There is no record of anyone using it as a main residence, although there was no doubt accommodation here for the local administrators and a small garrison. It fell into disuse during the seventeenth century and it wasn’t long before a state of disuse led to a state of disrepair. The villagers raided the walls for stone for their houses, the wooden roofs and floors would have been stolen for firewood or building material.
“During this time, the Mystery play was growing in importance. Records of the time state that in seventeen ninety the play’s finale took place inside the walls of ‘Castle Carbonek.’ This is the first record we have of the castle being called by that name.”
Seventeen ninety, Sam thinks. Wasn’t it two hundred years ago that the last freak weather happened?
The guide conducts the group towards the keep. “The keep is the earliest and the main part of the castle. It consisted of a lower hall and two upper stories which were probably split into two or three rooms each.” She points, directing their gaze upwards. “You can see the remains of fireplaces in the walls above, and the holes where the floor joists would have been laid.”
They peer up obediently. Mickey snaps another picture. Through the hole in the wall and the open roof, the sky is a deep, deep blue.
John settles his thoughts with an effort. The land stretches out around him, cold stone at his back. His hands brush lightly over brittle grass. “I and the land are one,” he whispers to himself. The words echo eerily in his mind, as if they have been spoken in this place many times before.
The first thing he feels is thirst: the land longing for rain. The feeling is so overwhelming it leaves him gasping. Then, below it comes a dull resentment, almost a sulkiness at some injustice that requires vengeance. So, Pellam requires vengeance as well as healing, he thinks. And when Galahad comes, will he deliver both?
A group of tourists have found their way to the mine and are arguing with the receptionist. She replies irritably, telling them they’ll have to come back in the week for a tour. She probably has to deal with this a dozen times a day, Mark thinks, watching her. He suddenly feels sorry for her. When they’ve finally gone he walks over to the desk.
“I’m sorry to bother you again,” he says, “but the boss did say we could take a look around. If you could just let me see a map of the site so we can find our way..?”
Having seen them talking to Breit, she is less hostile. She takes a map out of a drawer and hands it over. It is clear enough. On the ground level are the offices, a gift shop and the entrance to the disused part of the mine that is now a tourist site. Below that are three more levels of mine, all of them active. Entrances are marked to all, along with a warning in five languages not to venture into them unless accompanied by an official.
They make it as far as the entrance to the tourist mine and are peering in through the locked grate when Johann Breit finds them.
“There you are, gentlemen. I have all the information you want. Information on the mining companies, lists of purchasers, financial statements.”
“How about a couple of pieces crystal?” Andrew asks. “We will need some in their raw, uncut state to examine.”
“Of course, of course. If you’ll come back to the office I keep some there. I trust I’ll hear from you again soon?”
“You can count on it,” Peter promises, shaking his hand. “You can count on it.”
Matt bites off an end of the hot-dog and swallows mechanically.
“Mmm,” he murmurs. “I’ve never been one to refuse a healthy length of bratwurst! From one of the stars of the play!” He grins widely.
The girl returns his smile. “Well, I’m not really a star. I play one of the women at the feast in Castle Carbonek. When Balin arrives all I have to do is scream at the right moment.”
“Really?” Matt takes another bite of the sausage. “I’m a little stupid,” he says apologetically, “but I’m still not sure how it happens. Are there many Balins? Many Galahads? Where does it happen – and where can I find out more?”
“You can buy the English guide to the play in any shop. Excuse me.” She serves another customer and comes back to him. There’s only one each of the main parts and the people playing them is always kept secret. Even the rest of us in the play don’t know. The main parts all have huge heads to wear. Some of the rest of us have masks too, and others are in costume. It’s very colourful.”
“It sounds interesting. I work in the theatre, in Edinburgh. I’d love to look at the old costumes and sets from years ago. Are they kept somewhere – a museum, perhaps?”
She shakes her head. “I’m afraid not. We make our costumes every year. The actors who play the main parts keep their costumes and the heads for a year then give them back to the committee to be handed to the new people. The committee keep the props too.” She gives him a smile of apology. “It is part of the mystery of the play, that no one sees anything in advance of the day. There are some pictures in the book, though, and I’m sure, if you’re interested, the committee will let you see the props after the play is over.”
Hiding his disappointment, Matt thanks her. “Never mind. I’ll have another of those hot-dogs, please. See you again, I expect.”
The sun is making his bare skin tingle as he walks away. Ducking into a dingy book shop that has crystals hanging at the windows and door, he buys a copy of the book about the Mystery Play and two maps – a standard map of the area and a ‘ley map’ of Europe.
The mass meeting happens in the double room belonging to Mr and Mrs Snodgrass. When they have finished exchanging information (and Sam has worked his way through a litre tub of ice-cream,) Peter sits back and scowls around.
“Well, gentlemen,” he says, “let me just say that it has been a terrific day. I cannot wait for this mystery play to begin. We were up at the mines today, and they have a terrific gift shop. I even got myself a little gift. Here.” He tosses a small, uncut crystal onto the table. “I sent a similar one to SITU for analysis. And let me just say this.” He will lower his voice to a whisper if needed to make sure that no others can hear, “the best way to attract attention is to whisper. It makes people want to hear what you are saying.”
He sighs heavily then takes out a sheet of paper and begins scribbling on it. The embarrassed silence is broken by Andrew,
“We’ve looked through the mine information. We’ve located three entrances besides the tourist one which is good, but the list of purchasers didn’t show up anyone major. Most of these things seem to go to gift shops around Europe. If the Master’s using them, he’s not buying them.”
“He’s probably doing it through Breit,” Isobel guesses. “What did you find out about him?”
They have to admit very little.
“But we can follow it up if you think it’s necessary,” Andrew adds helpfully. “His address is on the general report he gave us so we know where he lives. Mark, you’re very quiet. What do you think?”
Mark looks up and meets his gaze for a moment. “Look,” he says brusquely, “I don’t know you, you don’t know me. I have bugger all idea of what I am doing here or how I got roped into something like this. Most of you seem to be experts so I’m going to go along with what you say. All I’ll say is that I’m a watch and deduce kind of guy.”
Another silence. Matt passes a hand across his eyes. “All right. You asked a good question yesterday, Sam: how we defeat You-Know-Who. The short answer is, we don’t know. They apparently combust if they meet another one, but that’s not much use when we’re dealing with a loner like the Master. From what I’ve seen previously, I reckon we have to weaken ‘em by disrupting their ceremonies – stuff like the Mystery Play. These events are thinly-disguised rituals which enable the Ylids to harness some energy field they call the ‘force-flow’. If we can divert the flow – or, even better, ‘pollute’ it somehow – we can harm the Ylid. Fight belief with belief, I suppose. I did that in Whitby, by introducing an element of voodoo at just the right moment…” he spins Ezili’s mirrored pendant on its thong around his neck. “Believe me, I’ve done the whole ‘Scully’ thing myself. I can confirm it most certainly is Out There, and it could kill us all in a moment. Think of it as ‘group psychosis’ if it helps, consider me delusional, but do take care…” He lets the pendant hang loose and picks up the crystal instead. Holding it between thumb and forefinger he says, “Oh, and Isobel? Fancy a spot of dowsing?”
The others watch with a mixture of scepticism and interest as Isobel takes the crystal and opens up the map of the area. Tying the crystal to a length of string she lets it hang freely over the map. It swings back and forth, gradually slowing.
The minutes drag past. Sam bores first. Excusing himself he darts out of the room. The others sit still and watch as Isobel’s crystal slowly starts to dance on its string.
“Yeah, right, I had an idea,” Sam says, breathless. I wondered if you found out anything in your research about the last freak weather two hundred years ago. Were you, or anyone else fighting the Master then? It might give us a clue as to how we can defeat him.”
“SITU didn’t exist then,” Geoff Blaize says. as for events two hundred years ago… The play was particularly spectacular that year, so our information says. There’s actually very little information going back as far as that at all. The only other thing is some minor legal wrangle about whether the carnival was entitled to its normal spot or not.”
Isobel is still concentrating on the map when Sam returns to the room. He amuses himself by getting out another map and outlining the area of drought. Soon he is so engrossed that he doesn’t realise everyone is staring at Isobel.
The crystal is swinging in an exact pattern over the centre of the map. Matt grabs a pencil and sketches in the outline quickly. The lines form a six-sided shape with the village at the centre.
“But that’s the same as what I’ve just drawn on my map,” Sam exclaims, finally paying attention.
August 14th 2.30pm
Isobel and Twitchin’s room.
JOHN – To you Sam seems to be very sharp-witted. He’s got a good grasp of what’s going on already and he’s eager to get on with the job. Part of the time you think he believes in the Master and everything else, the rest of the time he still feels he’s in some sort of weird dream. You also get the very strong impression that he’s not who he’s pretending to be.
SAM – Matt corners you in the hotel corridor. “‘Anomalies’, eh? Like the unconvincing clouds of ‘space gas’ in Star Trek? Sam, I may believe in all kinds of weird shit but I don’t believe that for a minute…”
MATT – You corner Sam. He’s embarrassed at the attention and escapes quickly.
Isobel suggests you dress less conspicuously, which is a surprise as you thought you’d done your best to do that already. She offers to do a make-over on you to make you look a little healthier. You’ll have to think about that one.
ISOBEL – Matt seems surprised at your suggestion and says he’ll consider it. Edward, when you phone him on your mobile, is pleased to hear from you. He says he’s missing you greatly and urges you to hurry back. You say goodbye and God bless and put the phone down before you can hear his reaction.