Tepic had spent an uneasy night, he had let his friends down by getting caught and he had let his City down by not finding out what Mr Hopkins was up to. So, as the dawn light struggled to break through the morning fog (to be followed by the lunchtime fog, evening fog and late night fog…) he slipped the jemmy down his breeches leg and set off for the derelict factory.
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Standing outside the boarded up doorway, he thought to himself “that looks badly done, a slight push and anyone could get in, best do my Civic Duty and make sure it’s all secure…”. It was so easy to leaver out a plank that Tepic guessed it was made to be opened. Just inside was a table with a bit of paper on it – strangely, the paper looked slightly chewed, and smelt of cat. He read the letter with growing interest, then took out a battered notepad, a stub of pencil, and swiftly copied out the text.
Around the corner, the corridor opened into a large room, prominent on the far wall was painted the Van Creed initials in huge letters – confirmation that this was their place! More worrying was the hole in the centre of the floor, from which issued clouds of a red mist, much like that from the strange machines. Carefully, squirming forward on his tummy, Tepic moved to the edge of the hole and peered down, jerking back as another cloud arose. He smiled to himself, at last the precaution of wearing his gas mask, although for a different reason, was paying off! He looked down into the hole, which seemed to stretch down forever into the earth, darkness covering whatever was at the bottom, the only light being the faint glow from the rising gas.
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Backing slowly away from the hole, just in case some of the planks came loose and sent him into the inky depths, he eventually stood, shivering at the enormity of his discovery. Still, there was more to explore, and he made his way up the rickety staircase to the second floor. On the wall was a long splash of red, and a pool of the same, both of which looked and smelt of blood! Cautiously he made his way along the corridor to a door, and he listened carefully through the wood for any sign of life, before turning the knob and stepping in. It was a long room, with a table scattered with papers, and a beautiful painting at the end. He read the papers he could see, not touching them in case someone noticed later, then took out his notebook and scribbled furiously for some time.
He backed out, closing the door behind him, and set out to explore the corridor at the other end of the building. Down here there were two doors, and Tepic repeated his listening, it paid to be careful.. There was no sound, so he slipped in to the first room, and there, to his suprise, resting in the corner was the Eliot Device! There was also a noticeboard showing pictures of what looked like a big drill, and yet more papers. He made some more notes, then moved to the last room.
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This was the most horrifying, as on the wall were pictures of peculiar creatures, several of which looked like the ones the Writer was writing about! The papers talked about other worlds, and an expedition to them that had come back missing most of it’s members! Tepic made his notes, especially concerning some sort of gun that the Van Creed had been working on, then made his exit swiftly, pulling the plank back into position, using his jemmy to leaver it onto the nails.
The revelations from the building were more than he could cope with, and ran through the City towards his camp. As he ran, panting, down the Palisade Gate slope, he saw smoke rising from LittleM’s trolley home, and he staggered up to the door, knocking hard. The door opened, and he fell into the arms of Professor Stillwater, and saw LittleM and Scald were also there. Taking a few minutes to catch his breath, he rapidly told the assembly what he had found, reminding them he was just doing his Civic Duty in checking out an unsecured old factory, trying to remember to keep the jemmy he was still holding behind his back, and not wave it around as he got excited…. His friends were very interested in what he was telling them, and the Professor asked if he could take him and Dr Sonerstein there the next day, possibly with Gadget and some others, which he agreed to, then he headed out for the day, trying to keep at least some semblance of normality….