The Buccaneer Chronicles:
The Iytean Menace
By Keith Dunn (despite interference by Tony Gallichan and Adam J Purcell)
Part Three - The flowers smell sweeter the closer you are to the grave.
Escape to Danger!
Macfadyan didn't need to look behind him to know there was an expanding ball of burning gas. Seeing what was happening, Cre'at shot straight up through the ceiling into the room above. With one hand Macfadyan grabbed Blanche by the collar, pulling her to the floor. The other hand was delving into his pocket, sorting through items that were there. Pulling out a long, fat silvery tube he pressed a stud at one end and it opened up umbrella like, Blanche and Macfadyan cowered behind it. The ball of flame boiled over the top of them, engulfing the policeman who was standing in the doorway, such was the heat his clothing burst in to flame and he ran screaming back down the corridor. Macfadyan leant out from behind the umbrella, parts of the carpet were on fire, the curtains were burning fiercely, the arm chairs were beginning to smoke and catch light. The flames were beginning to lick Lord Curruthers collection of exotic stuffed animals. Whatever was used to preserve them was obviously highly flammable as they almost exploded with flame, burning high and fiercely like torches.
"I've always said that taxidermy was a dangerous hobby. Here hold this". Macfadyan passed the metal and glass umbrella to Blanche and as they both sheltered behind started to rummage through his pockets again. The temperature of the room was rapidly rising and it was becoming difficult to breath. Outside the shouts of 'fire' had started as the conflagration spread to the corridor. Under the acid and fortunately flame resistant umbrella (Patent pending copyrighted 2168), Macfadyan was muttering to himself while pulling items from his pockets,
"Flux capacitor? No, frozen blaster Tec? No, dylithium crystal? No, boxing glove on big spring? ? (Sigh) Oh well, its not like I have time to argue with my pockets, but when I do have time, we'll be having a serious discussi..."
"MACFADYAN! Stop babbling and get us out of here!" screamed Blanche. Holding the bizarre contraption by the pistol-like grip, he aimed at the latch on the already damaged windows and fired. With an almost comedic "boing" noise, the glove launched itself into the air and struck the windows, flinging them open. At this the flames leaped higher, fed by the renewed oxygen. Macfadyan grabbed the coughing Blanche by the scruff of her neck and charged.
In the attic room across the street, the two figures watched, a feeling of guilt slowly crept over them as they witnessed what they had wrought
"I hope there's no ones grandfather trapped in there ". The other visibly paled at that.
"You wouldn't have thought a house could catch fire that quickly, I mean it was only the one room that was full of gas. You can almost understand the great fire of London ..."
He then realised what he was saying and both of their complexions turned pasty as they both thought about the conclusions.
"You don't think.."
"No! No, wrong time period for that."
"Are you sure?"
"No lets get out of here!"
They turned and as one scrabbled in to a freestanding closet that was situated behind them. Just as behind them out side a smoking Blanche and Macfadyan made their dash for salvation. With a raucous, key grating sound the closet faded to the consistency of smoke and then evaporated.
Macfadyan kept running, someone had just made an attempt on his life; he wasn't about to stop, even for the Lord President (or was it Lady now). With a bellow of
"Cre'at!!", he didn't stop until he was at least a block away. There he collapsed against a wall and started coughing up due to smoke inhalation. At Macfadyan's first cries, Cre'at came bursting through a second floor window carrying a baby, whom he deposited in what was left of the remains of the Curruther's household before shatanging off after Macfadyan.
When he had recovered himself sufficiently, he dragged the still hacking Blanche along the street until they could flag down a cab. Giving the driver directions to where the TARDIS was parked, Macfadyan allowed himself to relax in the dark shady interior.
"Right let us all take stock".
Pulling out his Stattenhiem, he thumbed one of the micro controls on the surface and a glowing green screen expanded before them, as large as the interior of the cab. Reaching into his inner coat pocket he pulled out a stylus and began to write on the glowing screen, leaving behind his words picked out in glowing neon.
"Right, listen up and apply your brains." He looked out of the corner of his eye at Blanche, " Or not as the case may be. " She stuck her toungue out at him. He ignored it and carried on. "
In one corner we have the Iytean ". He wrote the word Iytean and ringed it.
"Approximately three pounds of symbiotic goo. Then there's the patrol ship, which was once, used by the Iytean Co-operative to bring in those who had broken their laws by forcibly taking an intelligent host. These two are probably linked "
He drew a line between these two items
"We also have the two criminal masterminds Jenkins and Bannister, who for the moment seemed to have disappeared. I think its safe to assume that they know where the patrol ship is. Hunting them, our mysterious hard man. This could be the host form of the Iytean. Circling around this group are Colonel Fraser, Lord Curruthers and Doctor Henry Jellico. No wait a moment we've just lost Curruthers." Macfadyan took the stylus and scribbled out Curruthers' name. After a beat he scribbled out Fraser's too,
"And I think that Colonel Fraser is too frail to survive the changes the Iytean can wrought on its host."
For the past few minutes Blanche had been watching Macfadyan aghast.
"We have just survived an attempt on our very lives and your sitting here treating this as if its one of those penny dreadfuls. People are dying here!!"
Macfadyan turned around lazily as if disinterested in what she had to say. However the sunlight from outside the cab revealed his eyes to be cold and hard.
"People are dying all over this planet every day Blanche. If it's not the Crimean war it's the Boar war, if its not a war the its some one knifed for decent food and drinking water. But don't worry, in a few short decades events will take place in Sarajevo that will plunge this world into two of the bloodiest wars in its history. They will bring about the death of a quarter of a billion people and break the back of the British Empire. But it won't end there, oh no. Other Empires will rise to take its place and they will do their level best to bench stamp their mark on history and the world. It will be an empire in everything but name and the blood and the slaughter will only continue. Nice relatives you've got, child."
Blanche was shocked by this nightmare vision of her future from this dark prophet and tried to draw back from him. But it was as if a switch had been thrown and his eyes seemed to brighten,
"But that doesn't concern us, does it? Hmm?"
He tapped the roof of the cab signalling the driver that he wanted to stop,
"You and Cre'at go back to the TARDIS. Cre'at, see if you can dig anything more about the Ityean's from the data banks. Blanche see if you can find the location of Doctor Jellico from Miss Fraser. I'll meet you back at the ship in about an hour. Bye." And with that he leaped from the cab and disappeared in to the crowd. Blanche turned to Cre'at,
"Well that's just flaming typical, have you got any money somewhere in that contraption you've stuck to yourself?"
* Would the driver of this vehicle accept a vegatable product? *
There was a rapping on the front door that just wouldn't go away. With a sigh of resignation Carlsharw opened the door to Blanche's cheeky grin,
"Watcha gov, is er 'olines in, we need to 'ave words?"
"I'm sorry madam but could you repeat that "
Blanche paused took a deep breath,
"Good morning my good man, his Miss Julia Fraser in, I believe she may have some himportante hinformation for us?"
"I see madam. If you care to come in I will shall see if she is at home for visitors."
The door to the attic room burst open in a shower of splintered wood and Macfadyan rolled into the room, Dalek gun at the ready, quickly looking around the small room he confirmed that it was empty. He thought it would be but they had already made one attempt on his life. Putting the gun away he crouched down and scuttled to the window. He paid close attention to the dust-covered floor. There were two of them, one of them seemed to be particularly agitated, he had done a lot of pacing. He crawled over to the window, taking out his electronic opera glasses he sighted them a crossed the street. Observing Detective Chinnery and a couple of constables wondering around the burnt out study, Macfadyen snorted,
"Flat footed pealers".
Putting away the glasses he noticed something glinting on the floor, he picked up the spent cartridge case of a service rifle. Waving it gently under his nose, it reeked of burnt gunpowder
"Hmm. Recently fired".
Casting it aside he pulled out the Stattenhiem and begin to scan the room. According to the instruments the immediate area had been exposed to a neutrino/ tacyon burst. The Cronaton tail off indicated there was a demat less than an hour ago. They looked like they came from a type eighty. That made him raise the slight burnt stubble of his eyebrows. Could there be another answer? He didn't think the Iyteans were trans-temporal and he didn't think he head angered any other trans-temporal society. And yet... That was the trouble with 4D situations. With one last look around to make sure everything was ok, Macfadyan headed off before the family that lived here recovered and noticed that he had broken in.
When Macfadyan opened the doors of the ship, Blanche was treating herself to a plate of sandwiches, she looked up and spraying breadcrumbs everywhere said
"Wotcha Mac, how did it go?"
With a look of annoyance he wiped down the front of his clothes
"If you've quite finished child, what have you found out about the venerable D.R. Jellico?"
Blanche chewed vigorously then swallowed, putting the plate on the console, she turned to face MacFadyan and coughed as if beginning a recital
"Jellico lives in a very posh area, Cavendish square, quite a knowledgeable big wig, according to Julia, 'es turned out a few papers on something or other. Until recently 'e 'ad a practice in the East End specially to treat the poor but gave it all up to pursue pure research".
Macfadyan started to tap his chin thoughtfully,
"Hmm how long a go did he give up the practice?"
"Julia wasn't sure, certainly no more than three years. Yes I know!" She cut off any exclamation that Macfadyan was about to make.
"It seems that since 'e started the research 'es become a real recluse. Oh, and finally it turns out that he also owns the house behind his. Turned it into a Lab. It opens out on to Wimpole Street but now they share the same garden. That's it. Nothing else."
"Mr Balloons down in the workshop knocking together some thing 'e says might 'elp".
"Heh, I doubt that very much!"
Macfadyan walked round the console looking for the intercom. Noticing the plate, he picked it up and with a flick of his wrist, sent it spinning against the wall where it smashed into pieces. He pressed the button,
Cre'at, hover your shiny metal body up to the console room would you?"
An hour later Macfadyan was scrablling over the wall with only a few cursed mutterings. Blanche was waiting below hissing at him to shut up and get a move on. After a few more minutes he found a loose brick, slipped and fell the rest of the way down. Cre'at floated up and over. Macfadyan picked himself up and brushed himself down in an attempt to preserve his dignity. Stifling a grin, Blanche lead the way at a crouch to the Wimpole Street end of the garden, she whispered
"According to word on the street this is were 'e spends most of 'is time now".
Macfadyan just rolled his eyes and tried the door handle, locked. Reaching into an inner pocket he pulled out a laser cutter and started to burn through the lock then ushered everyone inside. The small kitchen was a mess of soiled and unwashed plates. The group went through into the house proper, except for a few support pillars the whole ground floor had been knocked through in to one. The place had been tiled throughout and had lots of glassware piping set up on benches with coloured liquid blubbering through it. There was a commotion from upstairs and a white haired middle aged man pounded down the stairs,wrapping a silk and velvet dressing gown around his body. His hair was in the disarray of the recently woken, with a slight layer of stubble growth on his chin even though it was almost afternoon.
"Who the hell are you people? What the devil do you think you are doing?"
Macfadyan spun round a disarming grin plastered on his face
"The redoubtable Doctor Jellico I presume?"
"I know who I am Sir, who the hell are you and what are you doing in my Laboratory?"
Macfadyan quickly flashed his chrome badge.
"Macfadyan of the yard! I'm afriad we have to ask you a few questions".
A bubbling voice echoed in Jellico's mind
"do not trust this one he is not what he seems!" Jellico narrowed his eyes in suspicion
"I'm not sure but I think you need some form of official documentation before you attempt a legal break in"
Macfadyan looked up the smile was back as if he was rembering a private joke
"I'm here to tell you that Lord Curruthers is dead".
The effect of those words on Jellico was devastating, he paled stumbled on the step then fell heavily
"Dead are you sure? But I thought..."
* You thought what? *
Jellico didn't seem to notice that he was being question by a floating head such was the measure of his despair. Blanche leaned closer
"Are you alright?"
In a small voice he said,
"I, I never got to apologise, never got to say good bye."
"Apologise for what? Say goodbye to whom?"
"That's, that's none of your business. How did you find me?"
Macfadyan's face grow sly
"We've been talking to Colonel Fraser. It seems he has been buying artefacts from Jenkins and Banister You do remember Jenkins and Bannister don't you ?"
Jellico looked at Macfadyan blinking rapidly
This only seemed only to confirm what Macfadyan was already thinking,
"No, really? Oh well my mistake."
* What is all this equipment for, what are you attempting to do? *
For a few moments his attention was focused on Cre'at and his eyes brightened momentary
"I'I trying to sequence what chemical factors are involved in the mental imbalances in criminal and lunatic behaviour".
* That is a lofty goal, but observing your facilities, you are proceeding from a faulty premise. *
"Come along Cre'at we have occupied enough of the good Doctor's time. We will be in touch Doctor Jellico."
With that he ushered everyone out of the Lab. Outside Blanche turned on Macfadyan
"What the hell was the point of all that then?"
Macfadyan smiled one last time while gently pressing her nose,
"Just kicking over the ant hill."
Inside Jellico was still sitting on the step, muttering to himself
"They cannot, must not be allowed to interfere".
A firm strong, steady, bubbling voice boomed a crossed his mind
"They will not be allowed to interfere"
With a thrill of horror he felt the change take him. This could not be happening now. He hadn't taken any of the solution. He felt his mind being burned away from his body. The last thing his conscious mind heard was the voice blubbering in triumph
"We will go to this Fraser and take the location of the patrol ship from him."