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Andrew Martin – It was his joke originally. John Freeman – An idea. The MSCT – Fraternity. Action by HAVOC And to all my friends, for their love and patience. And thanks to Mum and Dad, for Bread and Butter and Honey. For Kini Brooks and Karen Dunn
The Brigadier glanced at the clipboard the clerical officer had handed him, signed twice and handed it back, not missing a step as he marched along the corridor. Captain Pike, new from the USAF, was at his shoulder. ‘How many men do we have available?’ the Brigadier asked. ‘Number One Platoon of A Company. They just got here, sir. Number Four Platoon’s on the way, we’re pulling the other two platoons off leave as fast as possible, some of those guys are in Peru –’ ‘Fifty‐eight men. Not many, eh Captain?’ ‘Never is, sir.’ Lethbridge‐Stewart strode into the control room, glancing at the scientists with an assured smile. The UNIT troops saluted, and he returned the gesture. ‘Now listen to me. The situation’s under control, we’re about to make our move. I want all non‐essential personnel to retire to an area of safety.’ ‘There is no area of safety!’ The female scientist in charge of the facility stood up, pointing to the screen that dominated one end of the room. ‘Those things are boosting the reactor power over all the safety margins. This place could be a potential H-bomb. We’re staring a criticality in the face –’ ‘That’s what we aim to prevent, Miss Allen. Evacuate these people, Captain.’ Ignoring the noises of protest around him, the Brigadier glanced up at the screen. Cybermen. Six of them, standing motionless as their computer did something strange to the reactor controls. They’d marched in, accessed the location of the reactor and just walked into the high radiation zone. He hadn’t seen the creatures in six years, not since 1970. He only raised an eyebrow. ‘Any suggestions, Mister Benton?’ The burly RSM stepped forward, pulling a communications link from his ear. ‘Orbital says the sky’s clear, sir. They might have come alone.’ ‘Or they’re too stealthy for us. We can’t assume that they haven’t got support. Tell orbital to concentrate on finding a landing site. The buggers are probably down the sewers again.’
‘We could do with the Doctor, eh sir?’ ‘We could indeed…’ The Brigadier tapped his swagger stick in one palm, thinking. When the familiar noise rose in the next room, he turned, surprised. A murmur of relief and excitement shuffled through the men. They all knew what the wheezing, groaning sound signified. Pike frowned. ‘What does it mean, sir?’ ‘It means we are not alone, Captain.’ The Doctor strode into the room, scooping his hat from his head. Behind him were an elegantly slim woman with short dark hair, and a muscular one in a futuristic suit of body armour. ‘Doctor! I see you’ve regenerated again!’ ‘The life I lead, Brigadier. These are Benny and Ace. What’s the situation?’ The Brigadier was about to speak, but Ace interrupted, her eyes fixed on the screen. ‘Six armoured, close group. Cybermen…’ The last word was said with a little upward curl of the lip, like the creatures reminded her of something funny. Something long ago. ‘One shot, so what?’ Pike ran his hand back through his hair, grinning. ‘Ah, you know what you’re talking about here?’ ‘Yeah. Got any gold?’ The Captain pulled two clips from a webbing pouch. ‘9mm Goldheads for the sub‐machine‐gun. Made for us in Belgium.’ ‘Good. But not that good.’ Ace spoke into her wrist. ‘Six flechettes, gold tips.’ ‘Flechettes? Don’t talk to me about flechettes! They don’t –’ ‘Captain Pike!’ the Brigadier barked, gesturing his subordinate back to the control console. ‘They’re here for a reason…’ The Doctor was pacing, glancing up at the screen, his hands knotted behind his back. ‘But what? Why do they want a release of radiation?’ ‘Well, as an attack, obviously –’ ‘No! They have much more advanced weapons. It’s more subtle than that…’ Pike slapped the console. ‘Listen, sir, I don’t know this guy, but I do know we’ve got about ten minutes before this situation goes right out of our control and –’ ‘That gives us five minutes to think, Captain. Find me a systems manual, would you?’ The Brigadier bent closer to watch the Doctor scribbling on a pad. Benny, hugging herself, had wandered up to look at the figures also. She gave Lethbridge‐Stewart a quick smile of encouragement. Pike retreated to where Ace was checking the tabs on her armour. ‘What d’you think?’ ‘Slice and dice. For God’s sake, I used to take those things out without ordinance. With me or not?’ Pike glanced over his shoulder. ‘Well –’ Ace reached up and took his earlobe between her fingers. There was electricity in her hands. ‘With.’ Pike nodded. ‘Yeah. Let’s do it.’ ‘Tell me that in five minutes.’ The UNIT man checked the clip on his sub‐machine‐gun and followed Ace from the room. Nobody saw them leave.
The hooded watcher tapped his finger against her image. Ace and Pike slammed their fists together in triumph. his finger tapping the screen in thought. Ace made another gesture. Would that what he’d seen had been real.’ The picture whizzed backwards. ‘That’s it! You’ve cleared an area already. ‘Where is she?’ ‘I saw her just –’ Benton began. Then they’ll probably sacrifice themselves. ‘Rewind the simulation.’ ‘But they could do this in a few seconds. ‘Ace!’ the Doctor shouted. ‘Not unless the stalemate’s broken. ‘Look at them. The control room wall exploded and everything flashed into liquid death. ‘That’s the Cybermen for you. Pike rolling and firing his sub‐machine‐ gun as Ace made a firm gesture with one hand. if they control the reactor? Never mind a criticality. couldn’t they. ‘Talk to us!’ On the screen. Brigadier!’ ‘I hardly intend to call their bluff. White light. Miss –’ ‘No!’ The Doctor leapt up from his scribblings. ‘There. two figures in protective clothing had tumbled into the reactor control area. Lights on the reactor head were winking quickly. ‘Look!’ Benny was pointing up at the screen. ripped at the sleeves from where her flechettes had pierced it. Look how slowly they’re moving…’ Benton nodded. ‘Don’t!’ Three Cybermen flew backwards clutching at their chest units. what’s happening?’ Benny grabbed him by his lapels. ‘Doctor?’ the Brigadier grabbed the Time Lord’s shoulder. ‘I can’t…’ ‘Doctor.’ Ace and Pike slammed their fists together. Now…’ Chuckling.Benny clicked her fingers. Ace’s grin could just be seen. he stood up from the console. One of the creatures leapt forwards. and its head silently burst into a bloom of green fluid. the humans running and jumping back to a certain point. Inside the face‐plate of the bulky radiation suit. smiling to himself. but Ace sent one spinning with clicks of her fingers. complete with air corridor! They want a mass landing site!’ ‘So they’re not planning on going critical?’ the Brigadier looked almost relieved. They’re having you on. . The remaining two raised their hands in a deadly pointing gesture. slamming a fist into the alien equipment. ‘Ace…’ The Doctor was staring. Ace –’ he turned his head and saw that his companion had gone. But no… no. miniature explosions ripping its armour into shreds. On it. that would be far too quick. they could just let radioactive material into the atmosphere by bypassing the safety features. ‘Right. ‘It’s too –’ The Doctor took a deep breath. GAME OVER The man in the hood leant back from his dark console. Pike rammed his gun into the other’s face and blew it off.
Buildings let go of the heat they’d sucked in all day. Ace woke up. leaving Benny with only a series of notes. where nothing was what it seemed. Last time it had been fiction. She hadn’t really sung seriously since the Academy’s production of Carousel. well. Ready. (Fictional) and Member of the Academy of Martian Studies (In Her Dreams) was enjoying England in 1976. It was still not something that Benny would have wanted to be buried in. Ph. It had come over almost as an ordeal. and you couldn’t get much deeper than this. of course. Benny felt sick. and glanced up at the sign nailed above the stage door. She pointed at Ace. The Doctor’s suffering had hardly begun. Getting back to reality. Under the coat was a ripped‐up leather dress with a hand‐ sewn swirl of lace at the hem. She stopped in an alley behind an old theatre. Car noises and sudden shouts and the low background whirr of air‐conditioning blended with the clatter of footsteps on pavements. she walked quickly through the narrow backstreets of Soho. but this was history and. The sky was summer orange.’ She did so. Some of the requests contained in those. In a room in a space‐time machine in the space‐time Vortex. or perhaps they were better described as orders. had caused her slight pause. It was refreshing after the day’s sort of blank. and she was willing to believe that this one was real. the latest companion of the adventurer in time and space known as the Doctor. and all the business of a city was in place. but ‘deep cover’ the Doctor had said. the TARDIS. This summer was like. at one with the world as a warrior. had been plunged into a series of adventures in bizarre parallel worlds. cleared her throat and tried an experimental scale. she still thought those two were different. like waking up from some sort of winter decade. Empty. Remove duffle‐coat. . That was what they didn’t understand. To feel it now was good. Merging with an existent subculture was always hard.There was plenty of time for the game. she thought. She squared her shoulders. completely at ease and sane. Benny was an archaeologist from the future. and that breath let the streets cool slowly. to finally understand how it felt. Two weeks ago the Doctor had dashed out of the TARDIS. ‘Step one. Bernice Summerfield. They didn’t understand that you could enjoy explosions and violence and murder and still be sane. Recently the Doctor’s craft. Sweating in her duffle‐coat. especially in her favourite historical period. yes. muttering words under her breath. The woman in the red dress was standing at the end of her bed. She needed summer now. the wooden plank just about covering the gleeful bosoms that the club used to advertise. a shining blank that had all the lights of the city in it. like the first summer. She could have spent the summer punting or wine‐tasting or something. bleached‐out and dry. 1 England’s Dreaming London lay under the haze of a June evening. was like a holiday. some kind of sadistic test. Spray‐painted. And she was laughing. The Chelsea Club.d.
this time… I don’t know what’s going to happen…’ ‘Talking to yourself?’ The soldier who had appeared outside the bars had identified himself as Major Bryan Carpenter when the Doctor had been brought in that morning. some great anger had ignited inside the little man. if that is what you’re called…’ ‘So you can do what you like to me? Very neat. Anywhere I can leave my duffle‐coat?’ The Doctor paced up to the wall of his cell and put his fingers on the mortar between the bricks. How did you get here?’ ‘In a van. Frequently. Look at the records. For a moment. As senior officer –’ ‘Well.’ Benny tripped up the steps. Have a nice day. This organization seems to have changed in the last six months. ‘I won’t forget this. but as Alien Liaison Officer. where did you land?’ ‘Trafalgar Square.’ The stage door opened. I can do that. sir.’ ‘Karen?’ . excuse me sir. ‘Solid. No passages. Looking at these test results. but here’s the problem. repeat after me. ‘I’m allowed under UN Resolution 2245 to use ultimate force on hostile extraterrestrials.’ A new figure had appeared at the cell doorway beside Carpenter. ‘Just stopped off for a pint of vodka or two. ‘Got two of those. let’s go back to the beginning.’ The Doctor’s eyes snapped back to Carpenter’s. ‘Benny! Where have you been since the sound check?’ ‘Walking off my nerves. I think he’s had enough questioning for today. you see. He was tall and thin. ‘Now. You are not officially a person. ‘Now. But who’s doing the looking…?’ The Doctor was gazing into the distance. ‘I’m conducting an interrogation. You objected to me walking into the UNIT office in Kensington and asking for information –’ ‘I meant where is your craft. huh?’ ‘Captain Pike!’ Carpenter interrupted.It matched the black swirls of face paint that she wore.’ Carpenter met Pike’s level gaze. Very nasty. I’m an alien. It was gone just as quickly. I have ultimate responsibility for captured ETs. ‘And why should there be? I’m not writing it. ‘He doesn’t know that the guys here call him Karen. ‘They all know about the Doctor. sighing as Carpenter’s footsteps receded down the concrete corridor. his voice despairing.’ ‘I change my appearance. and had a scar down his left cheek.’ He lowered the hand.’ Carpenter shook his head and sighed. No escape. and the soldier took a step away from the bars. ‘Philosophy will get you nowhere. and Danny Pain poked his head out. Doctor. Oh yes I do. I do want to be anarchy.’ Pike leaned against the bars of the cell. Captain.’ ‘No sir. depending on how you look at it. No ventilation ducts.’ ‘And these medical tests prove that…’ The new arrival held up a sheaf of papers to the light. or the last few years. ‘I’m the Doctor.’ ‘So some of the men say. I used to be UNIT’s scientific adviser. a dark‐ haired soldier with a laughter‐lined face and a New York accent. You don’t look like him.
Or maybe that’s just because I saw that in some photos my Dad had. Thing is. A development of the Angry Brigade. Is that you? He didn’t cash a lot of his pay cheques. I’m not sure.’ the Doctor said as he glanced down at his white safari suit.’ ‘I have more than nine lives. As opposed to the bad one. He looked the Doctor up and down. absolute confidence. Well. Anything civic is their bag. but we’ve had major bombs in Harrods. I just read what I got here. and seems to have been active in the Big Bug Era as they call it here. ‘I thought I could do with a change.’ ‘And you expect us to believe that you’re the Doctor. we’ve had computer hackers in lately. We’re being co‐opted in the fight against. These SAS basements aren’t too hot on the conveniences. you must be an alien. parliament. Straight back. Why do you ask?’ ‘Curiosity. just before I transferred from the USAF. they want to deprive the country of the Queen. Now. you name it. They’re at the top of everybody’s hit list. The Zygons. those bugs.’ The Doctor smiled ruefully. I’m wearing a newspaper hat. A lot of top brass have been shuffled out. but looking younger.’ ‘Hey. I killed him. neat moustache. And now you show up without a pass –’ ‘It’s in my other jacket. I tell you everything because he’s gone away. and I got a Twinkie in my hand. Is there nothing in those files about me?’ Pike leafed through his papers. ‘Ah… standing on a beach. hey. He was involved in the death of some psychic guy…’ ‘Involved? I wouldn’t call it that. There’s one officer who’ll identify me immediately. the Albert Hall. Hey. Call Geneva and ask for –’ ‘Brigadier Lethbridge‐Stewart!’ Carpenter clicked his heels behind Pike. but UNIT’s had several purges in the last six months. we’ve had a major terrorist scare all summer. you might be. we’re going to get you to some more comfortable secure accommodation as soon as we can. we’ve had Black Alert up every other week –’ ‘Terrorists?’ ‘Black Star. ’cos our tracking technology’s a few steps up on regular issue. Tulloch Moor.‘Karen Carpenter. ‘The Master?’ ‘The Master’s dead. He was just as he should be. yeah. ‘A doctor John Smith was put on the payroll five years ago. ‘So you’re the good soldier. . the Doctor realized thankfully. Hamleys. What’s your first memory?’ Pike rubbed his chin. you know. Or in Whitehall. the Science Museum… the list goes on. garbage collectors. 46. The last time any serving officer saw him was a few months ago. They’re anarchists. who snapped to his feet and saluted.’ ‘That’s in Scotland.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Gets cats killed. life goes on.’ ‘How bad’s the situation?’ ‘Well. surprised. How do we know you’re not this guy…’ Pike flicked through the file again. The Brigadier stepped up to the cell and frowned.
strobing over the band as they wandered on‐stage to gathering cries and shouts. about to roar. With a series of short concussions. around the corner by the sound desk. Might have been. Anyway. The lights flicked up like a torch coming on. to see how trustworthy this civilian was now. watched as the white light swept over them. the song stopped. A boy dived at her. hands outstretched to pull her into the crowd. ‘Don’t spit at me.’ she told the audience. This is Oxford Street. She glanced between the shadowy figures on the stage. his black T-shirt slit across the nipples. his cropped hair in every direction. ‘Hello. He wore a . Benny gripped the microphone to steady herself. In saying them. a wrinkle‐faced man whose hair was a bit too long. ‘But I’ve never seen this man before in my life.’ And the noise began. She was probably laughing. and flickered again. and they had their hair bleached and their faces made up like little dolls. a great noise ready to happen. the Axons… Omega. have been the plan all along. The air was humming with the amps. Find out all you can. looking like she’d been shot. in a voice that Ace was sure was taking the piss out of her. That might. bloody thing round Benny’s neck. Tell them who I am. surprised and hurt. They were really young. She was watching Benny’s pretend band play. a fat man was standing. one hand steady on a bar rail to stop herself being pulled into the mass. she discovered that she wasn’t treating this as a game any more. and the expression in her eyes was secret behind her mirrorshades. Somewhere out there was Ace. and they had taken in their breath. dolls that bucked and slapped to the music as the lights and driving guitar filled them with energy.’ The problem with Benny was that she thought she knew something about Ace. On the other side of the stage. Behind them sat a bald drummer with a tattooed chest. At the side of the bare stage. or clutched throats and strangled. Benny made herself say the words. We’re Plasticine.’ And he strode away before the Doctor could say another word. Bloody demon that she was. or hurting somebody. and the first thing she’d done with them was to go straight to the Doctor.’ the Brigadier glanced at Pike. Benny had hopped back to the bassist. Ace was leaning on a wall at the back of the club. They wore ripped‐up leather and the thin straps and chains of bondage. She thought she’d been told secrets. Raving little dolls. and watched the lights wash over the faces of the audience. Her jacket hid the body armour she’d taken to wearing. Ace’d acted like it hurt. or slammed their ribs together.’ ‘I’m sorry. Benny staggered back from the microphone. the other guitarist stared at the audience challengingly. He spun away. and maybe it did. and who wore a silk scarf under his leathers. Ace told herself. The crowd were grabbing each other. Brigadier. Their hair was cut. a voice full of pretend violence.‘The Autons. staring rabidly into each other’s eyes as they threw body into body. She slapped him back. ‘I don’t like it.
True. He was certain that. when it was always too late. Profit. something they’d accept that explained why there was only one universe. there had to be somebody who did things like that. putting a mattress where he was going to fall. and had his fingers stuck in his ears. Ace remembered his request. otherwise the cosmos would drown in an ocean of good intentions that had come to bad ends. So. rubbing his hands together. She’d been controlled. since he saw what he was going to become and decided to stop it. The thin man was saying something. Ace had said that was rubbish.’ Pretending to be a punk. his legs crossed. Ah. Typical Benny. and of course Ace would now love to be living in one of them. Run to the temple and shout for them to stop. created. Daleks. ‘Pleased to meet you. his eyes closed. blundering into the scenery in somebody else’s script. The spirit that haunted assassins. but where had that impulse come from? None of the issues that adventure had churned up had been resolved. sometimes grasped a word or phrase that was suddenly.’ the Doctor murmured. How crap could you get? The Doctor sat on the floor of his cell. And that universe was unstable. that goaded him for his naivety in the face of political reality. of course. Ace smiled. Huitzilin had seemed designed to punish him. remembering the contours of Huitzilin’s mind inside his. Every time he tried to stop. He couldn’t retire. it wouldn’t have lasted. the most terrible and wonderful place. He didn’t regret it. why did people need to be told about things like love. couldn’t just ignore it all and become that healer again. the place with no law to stop the . with a bit of a delay to allow Benny and Ace their finer feelings. And at the same time as Ace and Benny started to question why he needed them – why. Plotting. places like Morgaine’s continuum. and he felt his scalp. The phrases seemed to be the lost lines of whatever manuscript he’d been preparing here. He took a step back into the shadows. somewhere inside her. tried to stab him through one of his hearts. Sing for me. and his hair was cut in a pudding bowl. Cybermen. Something had given Morka the power to kill his third incarnation. the Master. Every now and then he whispered to a thin man in a black polo‐neck who stood beside him. At his most strung‐out.grey suit and a skinny tie. He hadn’t felt like that since his trial. he’d switched it off. always no good – suddenly he was an extra again. He’d felt his handwriting stretching across the universe. The healer becomes the warrior. But what had scared him was the difference. The Huitzilin inside him had wanted her to try that. why there were no alternatives. That was the horror of it. scraps of paper on the breeze. At least he remembered how to improvise. to be Time’s Champion. And then the Land of Fiction. remembering the feathers. ‘Hope you catch my name…’ Twenty thousand hearts. obviously. But why? He’d tried to right the world enough times. Natural alternatives did spring up from time to time. he’d asked Ace to kill him. The flower expanded in his mind once more. going to save him. He was smiling gleefully. It was as if the Left‐Handed Hummingbird was still laughing at him. ‘All right. there was another monster to kill. the Silurians took over the world. Lost again. In a different universe. Something had resurrected the Garvond. Something was showing him all sorts of alternatives. For the first time that night.’ said Benny. Ace had stabbed him. ‘This is Revolution Tomorrow. about control. He’d told them something pseudoscientific. when he thought he was going to vanish into the Hummingbird. He glanced out into the audience and for a moment he seemed to connect with Ace. tripped over his lines. The cell was almost a comfort to him. The Silurian Earth had been made. He was thinking about reality.
The light on the surveillance camera in the corridor had gone out. you know him. A soldier appeared in the doorway. there’s no electronic security. The Doctor jumped through the door and slammed it. was a place occupied by alien invaders. ‘Before a lot of people’s time these days…’ The Doctor crept up to the door. as he thought she might. ‘You don’t get harder than Daleks. yelled and snapped his rifle up to shoulder height.’ The Doctor had reached the partition. written and rewritten. Trying to find whoever was behind all this. as the Master of the Land of Fiction knew it. with a balaclava covering his features. Hit one straight on with a frag grenade. There was a sound outside the cell. mate. This is only a temporary safe‐house. you can use this to open every door between here and the exit. At least Benny hadn’t left him then. and the sounds of a television came from the room. You zap any Zygons?’ ‘You were here then? Before my time. An open door cast a triangle of light across the top of the cellar stairs.’ ‘Leave it out. looking at the man suspiciously. ‘If you’re careful. it just keeps going. Perhaps these days he should have felt at home there. Some soldiers were talking. and walked straight past the door. Which was why he came here. The building was an old Edwardian tenement. ‘What was that?’ ‘RSM?’ ‘He’d have popped his head in. He took a deep breath. The guard outside the cell crumpled and fell. A dark figure rushed to the bars. Take this. Across the landing. ‘Doc?’ ‘Who are you?’ The Doctor stood up. do I?’ The Doctor nodded and ran. the real one was in danger. That had happened in 1976.monsters. The man was binding the guard’s hands in adhesive tape. and handed it to the Doctor. ‘What about you?’ ‘I don’t have to escape. there was a glass partition with an electronic lock.’ The Doctor swung open the cell door and stepped out. and glanced back. No. and swiped the card through the lock.’ The figure slid a card through the electronic lock on the cell. He was dressed in a black stealth suit. I’ll meet you at the Valiant Trooper. making a tiny gasp. ‘A friend.’ ‘Yeah…’ The Doctor detected a sigh in the voice of the second soldier. There were more important matters than his own pain. the closest you’ve got to a Dalek is a casing in the training unit. While he was going through these other worlds.’ The Doctor stepped quickly into the corridor. and the Doctor quickly found his way up to the ground floor. six o’clock tomorrow. Earth. ‘Why are you doing this?’ ‘The Brig’s acting really strangely. The stairwell room had obviously been turned into a rough guardroom. Some of us think he’s been compromised. . no will of his own. Without her… without Ace.
catching up to the Doctor with every stride. missing a grab for his collar by inches. opened the door. watched the door opening. Down the steps. glimpsed him hurdling out of a window. With a polished banister. the door swinging open. past the fire‐escape beside the window. deadfell onto his back. the door clicked open. Rounding a corner. he heard running feet above and below. And then he stopped and shouted: ‘Ready. The Doctor jumped in front of a taxi as it pulled away from the hotel opposite. pointing behind him. and he yelled a piercing yell. clutched his chest. looked down at the street below. The warmth of the summer night air slammed into the Doctor’s lungs as he sprinted. straight into two troopers. Its driver gasped and swung. sprung back to his feet again past two soldiers who had run forward from their post to capture him. Ten metres to the front door. ‘Hold your fire!’ Pike yelled. In the corridor. caught two troopers running through it with a spray of foam at head height. Another corner. turned. Captain Pike was running with his men. into the street. He dodged grabs. They had a clear line of fire. escape. ‘They’re Russians!’ The taxi accelerated round the corner with a screech. The noise was deafening. smashing circles around the Doctor’s body. and they glanced that way. shouts and shots and alarms. They ran to it. They were sprinting after him. ‘Drive!’ he shouted. He grabbed it and ran at the door. the Doctor turned away from a running line of soldiers. Then they looked up. Gunshots buffeted the landings around him. He smashed the window. swiped the card through the lock. sending plaster flying in chunks. low orange light blinding him as it shone off car bonnets and parched stone.Two bullets hit the glass. The Doctor was standing on the next flight of the metal structure. as the soldier hit an alarm. Aim –’ Five troopers snapped into aiming posture. He was running again. sending them sprawling. of randomly going where they wouldn’t expect. then sprayed down as they scattered. Disguise. he burst through it. bounced across three bunk‐beds. he jumped onto the banister and slid. . The street was empty. Big street. part of a square with a tiny triangle of trees in the middle. He crouched into a ball. sending the ones behind sprawling as he hopped between them. hopped inside. ran up two flights of servants’ stairs. thinking of not thinking. fell from the banister three feet before the end. Throwing aside the cylinder. ‘That way!’ he bellowed. the alarm still obscuring everything. shouted back at shouts and burst through into a central circular stairwell. screeching to a stop. and saw a fire extinguisher. The Doctor dived into the back seat of the car. He slammed into the door. distraction? The Doctor glanced about the corridor.
‘They’re calling for you. but there’s a guy at the mixing desk… Macoustra let him in. to general applause. ‘You’re one of our boys.’ she muttered. Not a lot of person‐person stuff. Individual voices piped up over the mob. A bigger dance.’ Benny gave him a hard stare. Nobody should be proud of causing it. Her hair was wet with exertion. though. ‘was such an intelligent thing to do.’ Benny smoothed back her fringe with one hand. Cobby. and we don’t know any more songs. ‘But we’ve had a talk about it. resting his chin on Kit’s shoulder.’ Danny shrugged. rubbing his hair with a towel. ‘We don’t know any more songs. Benny took an occasional glance out from the curtain. Bad roar. I wouldn’t learn it. and for the audience to leave the building. ‘I’d better go and find my duffle‐coat.’ ‘Aw. we could jam Paint It Black or something…’ Danny turned and carefully punched the white brick of the wall.’ laughed the driver in a Londonderry accent. And then they were suddenly silent. come on mate. and a thumping of boots on floorboards began. Benny was grateful for B1057: Essentials Of Rock Culture. the club was a mess. but this guy’s recording us for real. ‘And do you know a pub called the Valiant Trooper?’ ‘Thanks. okay?’ She hopped on‐stage again. dig that?’ Roar. Property damage and grappling. I dunno who he is.’ grinned Danny. goodnight!’ Benny kicked over the mike stand and stalked off.’ she looked down at her shoes. We’ve got to do an encore. and peered at his knuckle petulantly. to cheering and yelling. When the band were finally able to emerge.’ Cob raised his hands in a strangling gesture.’ Kit grinned his bad teeth at her. shall we? I don’t know it. Indeed. ‘So? I’ve got a mate in the audience doing a bootleg. There were times when she regretted getting rid of her dreadlocks. He drew blood. I know a little poetry if anybody would. expecting her to sing alone. surprising the lighting gantry.’ The audience howled as the house lights went up. Power corrupts and all that.‘Russians my arse. erm. ‘That. Benny. This was too soon. as he heard the first crashes and splinters erupt from the auditorium. eh?’ ‘There is no encore. aren’t you?’ ‘Trafalgar Square…’ murmured the Doctor in his best brogue. It’s crap. ‘I’ll take that as a No. Thank you and good night. and saw things and people thrown. Cob went over to his drums and . A surprised roar came from the audience. listen. though.’ ‘Who says we got to? Let them feel it.’ ‘Yeah. there were times when she wished she had a frying‐pan handy. A fire extinguisher narrowly missed her head and hit the back curtain. ‘We’re very sorry. who quickly fixed a spotlight on her.’ Danny murmured. ‘Lads. He’s recording us tonight. ‘It’s all right. It took an hour for the trouble to subside. Shrill screams shone out as the lights clumped down to darkness. I didn’t want to tell you this. She made a mental note to chastise herself severely at some point in the future. I’ll go back and explain. she wasn’t playing the game. ‘What do we do for the encore. ‘Be real. Some laughter.
I told them I got my arm smashed up.’ Benny opined. Mr Macoustra isn’t going to like this. even if Danny isn’t. our Dad was a real bastard.’ he called over his shoulder. ‘I am glad.’ Ace interrupted. ‘that we were paid cash in advance. ‘Why can’t they just enjoy the music?’ ‘I loved it!’ shouted a voice from the back of the hall. I just called the inkies and said I was a punter.’ ‘Did you?’ Benny smiled. ‘What you worrying about.’ ‘It seems silly to me. ‘Thought that was good. actually. Robert Bertram. ‘That’s how I know you don’t get off with me. and the fading wallpaper had been ripped in great sheets from the walls.’ ‘Yeah. ‘It was a riot. I might be sueing us. for God’s sake. ‘And then we’d be delighted to see him.’ . ‘Dorothy Moose. He’s important. With terrorist overtones.’ Kit was looking at Ace approvingly. ‘We’re Summerfields. Bit of a minor incident. ‘Taking care of business. mate?’ asked Kit. that I wish we had a manager. I am.’ ‘Does everything we do have to come back to that?’ ‘Stop it.’ Benny turned quickly away. and I don’t think you should –’ ‘Well who’s gonna stop me? Are you?’ ‘No.’ ‘Yeah. The scrap. ‘The man who’s organizing that fascist charity peace concert on the twenty‐second. You look like you’re from the future.’ ‘Do I? Try not to. what I’ll do is go away.’ The floor was covered in stains. You’re really ugly. and said that we had no comment to make.’ muttered Cob. The sound engineer was shaking his head in horror at the speaker stack which had been kicked in. Ace was leaning against the wall. It’s at times like these.started to lovingly pack them away. ‘Bouncers handled it. ‘You play very well.’ Benny raised her hand.’ ‘Oh. ‘These are my friends. many of them bloody.’ Benny told him. You’re Danny Pain. Well. ‘Who’re you?’ ‘My sister.’ ‘She’s a Summerfield. toying with her backstage pass. ‘I’m interested. I’m a Moose. unseen in the frenzy.’ Benny sighed. Should set us up nicely for the Roundhouse next week. the very Man!’ Danny grinned evilly. having hopped down from the stage. I’ll just walk away and leave you here.’ Benny whispered. like that’s an experience I’m not used to. you can tell him to –’ ‘Wait a few moments while we catch our breath. Then I called them back as me. aren’t you? The one who’s gonna save the world?’ ‘Yeah. Ace. The wall beside the stage had been sprayed with a huge black star. ‘Which songs did you like?’ ‘Not the songs. Priory Records.’ Danny nodded without a blink.’ Ace sighed.’ Ace wandered forward.’ ‘Minor incident?’ Danny smiled. ‘Guy backstage wants to talk.’ ‘The Man.’ ‘Our surname is not actually Moose. ‘Black Star bastards. my brothers. He had a worried look on his face.
that’s the real difference. watching the way the little man hunched. ‘This is Robert Bertram. He was a chubby man.Robert Bertram welcomed Benny and the band with open arms. ‘I am. He believes in money. and now she hung back as the group headed for the door. ‘They were moving towards music. wringing the air in disbelief. he was moving away.’ Bertram rubbed his hands together again. It’s a huge opportunity for you. Ace thought.’ He looked around at the rest of the band. ‘Ah well. Ace had kept watching him. ‘And you are?’ Bertram said as she reached the exit. his bright eyes meeting hers.’ ‘We say no!’ Danny yelled. There was silence. ‘Charmed. The man. . ‘And the others were without Benny. I’ve been watching you for quite a few gigs now –’ ‘This is the first one in a proper club. Nothing huge. if you want it. There was some shared experience there. right?’ ‘I think it’s rather early to be talking in terms of children. appalled. She was watching Bertram’s shoulders.’ Benny counted to ten mentally. ‘Nah. the famous man. and Bertram bought a round before dashing off.’ ‘Why yes…’ he smiled. let’s sign.’ Kit added. the one who says he’s going to sail round the world or something. He told Benny that the band ought to come and see him in the morning to discuss the deal. a bit pissed off. you understand.’ Danny slumped against the wall. we can always give the money to the kids. pumping her hand between two of his. At some time in his life. if you feel like that about it. we already have product. and he’d given her a couple of the most genuinely friendly grins she’d ever seen. ‘Ace. Danny. but I know Mr Macoustra well enough to get in. He hadn’t been around for the riot. ‘This is the man who persuaded Doorstep to lose Jack Hail!’ ‘I pointed out that he and the band were moving in different musical directions…’ murmured Bertram. yes. When he’d left. How does that suit you?’ Benny looked around at Kit’s and Cob’s grins and nodded. and looked Danny in the eye. ‘I believe that the drinks are on me!’ Ace had been watching this little game from a distance. Benny. ‘Of course you are.’ Cob broke in.’ They got the Bear And Staff for last orders. what the hell.’ ‘Why yes. So many A&R men outside the door. Since things are happening so fast these days. ‘We say yes. and you’d be the first punk band anybody’s taken on. We’d just sign you for one album and see what happens. with a jolly face and an infectious grin. he’d ducked a bullet or two. charmed.’ Benny tapped his nose lightly. I must say. I thought I’d see if we could talk about a contract. things got boring. in the grey suit. ‘If we don’t sign to Priory. I’ll leave.’ she stated. so she slowed down.’ ‘I’ll leave too. We’ve been using our new technology to catch the gig. Now.’ ‘Well then. Everybody ignored him. He held the door of the club open for her. Priory’s very new. He owns lots of things. ‘But thank you. It was like finding a veteran in a kindergarten. as you would say. Some very big businesses.
the way I used to have to. ‘The medium.’ Danny deadpanned. thumping down his empty Guinness glass. right? It just gets you into stuff you wouldn’t dream of if you were straight. if you’re trying to get off with me. ‘Nowhere you know.’ ‘It makes me feel very bad. aren’t you?’ Ace ignored that. the wild west?’ Ace paused. ‘Bird like that with a mouth.’ ‘Bird?’ Danny grinned. giving him space to sulk. and this one was. ‘I’m very influenced by television. ‘Why aren’t you drinking?’ ‘Why are you?’ ‘Cos it makes me feel vulnerable. You’re very young for your age. expressionless. and the blade was just stuck into his head behind his ear. if the blade’s sharp enough.’ Kit said. He was still alive.’ ‘I mean that you cover things up.’ Danny got up and walked towards Benny’s table. The top of the skull comes off with it. and whipped across. We’re a very close family. .’ ‘Nah. don’t. he was shouting for me to stop it happening.‘What are your influences?’ she asked Danny.’ ‘Tom Verlaine and that lot? Hey. No. Besides. Another planet.’ ‘You’re pissed. A moment later she was out of the door. ‘She’s been through a lot. His brain burst out.’ ‘She really your sister?’ Benny let her gaze fix on his for a moment. Danny. for reasons that I won’t go into. Ace glanced after him. But he had his face mushed down into the mud in the next second. Great battle mask. Sometimes. Like being signed to Priory Records will make me feel bad. but you’re pissed anyway. I don’t do that either.’ ‘That mouth of hers’ll get her in trouble. nothing I could do.’ Benny sighed. and was looking blankly at the wallpaper. ‘A slang term for a woman. Benny and the rest of the band were sitting at another table.’ ‘We’re very alike. I once saw –’ ‘Not the band. wondering if she should say that it had happened on Palmeras. Money’s a drug. Danny looked back as she left. ‘Yes.’ ‘Nah.’ Benny told him. ‘Thank Christ she’s gone. She drained her glass in one. tell me you have. and I don’t take any drugs ’cos it’s a crap Jefferson Airplane thing to do.’ ‘Where was this then.’ ‘I haven’t drunk much yet. not needed on voyage thank you very much. and then the man with the blade was away.’ ‘Don’t say that. I couldn’t. I was doing other stuff I don’t feel guilty about this. He’d bought an orange juice.’ ‘I saw it done to a boy. right after she’d lost Maire. I prefer your sister. go on. You ever seen someone take a scalp?’ ‘No.
’ ‘I’m sure you did. so who’s going to walk me home? Not you. ‘All this punk stuff is just Dr Feelgood at twice the speed.’ For a moment. I was hoping you’d have a bit of a walk with me. kicking a can along in front of him. I used to be a drummer! I just moved up the watchyercallit.’ ‘Catching a night bus. it’s getting late. George Best and Madonna in the street.’ Benny held up her hand. but some things jarred: the rubbish. then?’ he asked. with these attitudes of yours. Your hair has grown into your brain. not mucking about.’ Cob muttered. thank you. In that respect. We need to be in on it. Benny was pleased at how close her ideas of the place had been to the truth. Danny sighed and looked up at the ceiling. It was art school. if you thought I was trying it on. a week ago. everything that was destroying the environment. Kit. ‘We’re not. she’d almost expected to meet Harold Wilson. you’re wrong!’ Benny was amazed by the force of Danny’s response. You. are one of the Flaxton Boys. the evolutionary scale a bit.’ Danny sighed. ‘Yeah mate. in and out of the gutter. It’s the only important thing that we do. Kit. watched as his hands met in an urgent spire above the table. ‘Trafalgar Square. because I like you and I think your punk act’s quite fun…’ ‘It’s not –’ ‘Hush. are we?’ ‘Well. ‘I suppose it’ll have to be me.’ ‘Yeah? Piss off. Aren’t you going home?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Punk? What an awful word.’ Cob told Benny. ‘a band that splits up before we sign a deal. Bands need real musicians. they always will.’ murmured Benny consolingly. ‘Now. eh Cobby? While Daniel was at university!’ ‘Didn’t go to university. ‘It’s important. the fumes. The Teds were doing this years back. ’course I am.’ She stuck the limb out at an angle.’ ‘But I thought you said you were just learning the bass?’ Danny frowned. You should be on Follyfoot. ‘Wait a minute.’ ‘Witty. are we?’ ‘No. bigger than the Bay City Rollers. And I dropped out. ‘has been playing in pub bands for seven years. ‘Now. so witty…’ ‘We are not. When she first arrived in this era. Punk is going to be big.’ ‘Kit. I am. we’re not going to worry . We need to use this to let people know what’s going on. ‘Anarchy is more important than the music. an orange moon sitting above London. and we’ve got a big day ahead of us tomorrow. His voice lost a bit of the distant snarl that she’d grown so used to in the last few days. She’d forgotten about those. it’s just the way I speak! Listen.’ She finished off her whisky. Take my arm. about the change that’s happening in the world.’ The night was warm. Benny saw Danny’s defences drop totally. we’re going to have a pleasant evening’s wander. It would help if you could get over the idea that I’m afraid of you. ‘Where are we going. She stopped walking.’ ‘Bollocks!’ spluttered Kit. Cob. Danny was hopping from foot to foot. she’d probably have been better off staying in the Land of Fiction.‘I knew that.
They probably had some kind of law here against escorting somebody who still had acne. in big grey coats and tufty beards. incredibly gently. Lorries carrying British eggs and coal rumbled past.’ Danny began. right? So we put that ad in the NME. ‘I saw the Pistols at the Free Trade Hall two weeks back. in old flares. Met Kit from an advert in Melody Maker. and the people walking by were dressed in afghans. from all over the place. the attitude. We were all just people. the whole bit on the spot. well. he was only about seventeen. and got you. We played some pubs.’ ‘Ah. There were some signs of something new in the occasional boy. ‘Did Ace get here?’ . have you ever met Boris Becker?’ ‘Who?’ ‘This is Europe. realizing that she’d missed him in these last two weeks. and took Benny’s arm. It’s all so different. a time which was about to happen. His hair was a passport to his own time. and Johnny wasn’t singing about love or how much he wanted to shag somebody. God. the age and being a woman and all that.’ Benny smiled at the boy. I’m guilty as well. his hair cut short. Big Ben stood in the distance. Is it all right if… can I tell you about punk?’ ‘By all means. Half‐way between rocker and punk. Funny how you knew an age by such trivia.’ ‘You fought the law and the law won?’ ‘Don’t even think of writing that. his trousers leather. dressed right. The Doctor envied him. isn’t it?’ ‘No Bernice. He’s just learning. a while back. ’cos it’s all so much crap. ‘But it really isn’t an act. stumbling over his words in the rush to get them out. ‘If you knew how I felt sometimes…’ She cut the thought off. and I found out how sick being up in front made me. they haven’t quite got the idea but we need a bassist who can play. and he was saying how much he wanted to start a band. ’cos I saw Eddie And The Hotrods and thought yeah. The crowd had just got rid of fashion.’ ‘What’s the charge?’ ‘Being an illegal alien. I got talking with this bloke called Stephen. okay?’ ‘Yeah…’ Danny nodded. this is England. and ran across the road into Trafalgar Square. The boy was soon going to find himself at home. And I knew Cob from way back. ‘I was staying with a mate up in Manchester.’ The Doctor hurried up the steps of Charing Cross tube station. right. I told him I’d already started one. he hangs about my squat.about each other. ’cos you were just ready. Benny slumped beside him at the base of Nelson’s Column. and I’ll try and forget that you’ve got external gonads. Skinny tie and battered suit jacket. and feeling out of place. and nobody was being hassled. ‘Tell me. ‘How are you?’ ‘Wanted by the law. it’s not like all that rock and roll crap. They were everything. You’ve got stuff to teach us. right?’ Benny was suddenly very sad.’ Benny sighed. chiming midnight in the lights of London. ’cos I can’t even do that properly.
but I regard it as a very grave error of judgement. you can’t just go creating universes can you? It laughs in the face of the laws of .’ Benny was interested. Benny decided to drop the subject. especially for them.’ A frown darkened the Doctor’s features for a moment. He closed his eyes. gathering himself visibly. ‘I could murder a cup of tea. See you at training tonight. Carry on. Now. really. what have we done to recapture the alien? ‘Sir. Keeps the locals sweet. The two soldiers had retreated to the privacy of the safe‐house kitchen. Police and the intelligence services notified as normal.’ Pike deadpanned. and a Broadsword unit is doing… whatever weird stuff those guys do. They were sitting in wicker chairs in the console room. This Black Star stuff is a matter for the regulars. ‘I got training of my own to do.’ Carpenter nodded. I didn’t give the order to fire. ‘You can only care about people if they’re real in some way.’ ‘So could I. in spite of herself. blowing on her mug. and let Benny in. ‘Training…’ Pike shook his head and sank into a lotus position on the floor. ‘I shan’t take this matter any further.’ ‘Yes. sir. The relaxed posture of Pike when at ease seemed to disturb him. Captain. I accept that. sir.’ The Doctor peered at Benny over his tea. so we’ll be able to triangulate any source. That alternative reality where the Silurians ruled… it wasn’t a natural universe. ‘Then why didn’t you give… I mean to say.‘No.’ ‘Yes. I know. that’s probably true.’ The Doctor ignored her.’ ‘I gather the Brigadier finds it politic to serve the national interest at certain times. but fail to…’ Carpenter stopped. Time to think. They’re using tracking vans. ‘Prison gives you time. 2 Wild Horses (Slight Return) ‘Why did you give the order to fire?’ Carpenter slammed his fist down on the table. ‘That would take more power than something very powerful indeed. It’s a pity we couldn’t spare more men. ‘We’re still investigating how he got hold of the RSM’s key card. I’ve ordered Number Two Platoon of B Company to maintain a ground‐level watch for bug signals and noise across London. why did you begin the order to fire. Captain. ‘No sir.’ The Doctor pulled the TARDIS key from his pocket. ‘So if it wasn’t a natural branching of the omniverse it must have been created artificially. taking a long gulp of tea. Number Two Assault Platoon under Lieutenant Brown are searching the city in mufti. Benny had changed back into her chinos. Very obscure.’ Carpenter stalked out.’ Benny cut in quietly. sir.’ ‘Yes sir. I mean. it wasn’t one that –’ ‘Oh. opened up Nelson’s Column.
That’s the only clue we’ve got.’ He looked up suddenly.’ ‘I did guess that. It’s late. and everybody’s talking about them. ‘At least you found Danny Pain. I can still slap my thigh with some style. a real feeling of releasing pent‐up fear.’ ‘The other difference is Black Star. leading me a chase around other worlds.’ ‘In the real world. My plan.’ ‘Good. civil laws designed to give sentient races some means of maintaining a stable existence. First hippies. why am I doing it?’ ‘It’s part of a plan.’ ‘What about the Land of Fiction. Except the fact that a very old friend doesn’t know me any more.’ ‘It is actually frightening to hear you not knowing what’s going to happen next. Except nobody spat when I was in Cinderella. ‘while you were imprisoned.’ murmured Benny. What’s Danny like?’ ‘Very sweet. Real panic. I’m really brushing up on my twentieth‐century subcultures. But what’s all this stuff to do with Danny Pain?’ . and now punks. I’ve never seen so many curved shoulders and tense expressions. This time.’ ‘Have you read any newspapers? There are only two differences between this world and the one I’m used to. blinking out of his reverie.’ ‘You were? Which part?’ ‘Principal Boy. being a punk. One is the Brigadier’s reaction.’ ‘There are some powers in the omniverse that can do anything. ‘No. Go on. They’ve done it so they can set this game in motion. a great upheaval of unease. ‘Well. There’s a sort of hysterical edge to the concerts. I’ve sniffed the air and sought help. But now there’s real fear too. watching the lights of the boats as they navigated the Thames. That makes me worry about not existing. though? I mean.entropy and upsets causality’s shopping trolley. And instead of the Gods of Ragnarok. so I sort of growl and it seems to please the audience. this invasion. who aren’t historical. you said that that place had been around for some time?’ ‘Yes. There are powercuts and Wilson’s resignation. The only things that bind them are codes of conduct. actually. The only thing is. about having been killed before I met him…’ Benny raised a finger. if their appreciation can be measured by how clear their throats are afterwards. Somebody is doing this… letting old foes out of death’s bag and causing new ones to be created.’ ‘Right. I can’t sing. I sometimes wonder if that’s the reason the Time Lords are so introverted… they’ve bargained with creatures who could pull the arms off spiral galaxies. And that’s not how it’s supposed to be. that was just a reaction. some new audience was using it. anarchy’s real. of course. for example. and I still know nothing about it. watching us. but do you fancy a walk?’ They wandered along the Embankment in the direction of St Paul’s. an ugly glamour. then lowered it again. I’ve been here two weeks. The Guardians. I was becoming important in the world of rock and roll. It’s like being in panto. but it had been rebuilt. seeing the Doctor was still lost in thought.
kicking stones. smart‐bombs. Down the river. Better than last time she’d seen the city. The way his shoulders moved. The building had become a fast‐burning candle. ‘You can’t depend on anything these days. Maybe that had been an improvement. and glanced down into the street.’ ‘Now that does surprise me. This time round. She raised her hand. watching him. The Doctor looked up to see the minute hand move to the top of the hour. the pistol jerked in her hand. currents jumping at her synapses. the one who’s just walked past the window but never knocks on the door. and slid down the fire‐escape. The suit seethed around her fist. She thought about something else. He’s going to be a hero. he’d left his instructions for Benny and run away. if anything. being explained to. ‘Yah! Why did you do that?!’ . Danny. It kept on striking as Benny grinned. Shards of glass sprayed out in a blast of heat that threw the Doctor and Benny flat. Blaster. or what? Yeah. probably what.’ whispered the Doctor. can you?’ ‘Twelve…’ the Doctor counted. She didn’t know why she’d come to Wapping on the last tube. Then struck again. and waves swept across the water as smoking debris began to plummet into the river. distant sirens could be heard. and spoke into his ear. Just a twitch away.’ They had reached a vantage point on the Houses of Parliament by now. She hadn’t asked what she was supposed to do. but they did. which probably meant that it was going to hurt her. He’s very afraid. As the echo of the explosion died away. anyway. But heroes are always afraid. what you doing here?’ Danny jumped about three feet. looking out across the spread of disuse and neglect that was the Docklands. one o’clock. She wandered along the edge of the roof. wanting to kill. The river shone red with the fire. She’d repaired her wrist computer a week ago. or flechettes. Alan’s head blew sideways. She lowered her hand. Big Ben struck. ‘First strike. Boats on the river began to sound their horns in alarm. Coincidence. Light filled the sky in a nimbus around the tower. ‘Thir–’ The clockface erupted. ‘Hiya.’ ‘Yes. suddenly. Or hadn’t been there. and it still hadn’t been tested. saw a string of flechettes bursting open his spine.‘The Master of the Land of Fiction told me that he features in the fiction of the invaded world. They said the suits didn’t want to kill. she was warm enough. some kind of fire was producing a cloud of smoke. A familiar figure was walking. And again. Ace shivered. Or perhaps it was some old memory of sitting on steps with the Doctor. Just the person who lives in the corner of your eye. Then for a moment she just watched him as a target. Then it’d been half underwater and covered in jungle. landing silently in the cobbled street. and a fire‐escape had given her access to this great vantage point. ready to fire a flechette into their neck. There was somebody sitting beside her. She spun round. wondering about giving the order to the armour. Still. Stupid thing to do. But they were gone. making Ace laugh. She walked up to Danny’s shoulder. Something about owls. We all like to be explained to sometimes. Meaningless. Ace sat on the edge of a warehouse roof. She didn’t know the Doctor’s game.
’ ‘Getting late. flags were scattered across a map of London. leaning back in his chair. He had been standing at the door since Lethbridge‐ Stewart had arrived at the Ops Room in UNIT’s London office.’ the corporal smiled ruefully. sir. The Brigadier . In front of him. ‘Tell me about it. eh Stevens?’ The Brigadier rubbed his brow.‘Could have been worse.
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