A Chance Encounter

Fiction from within the Imperialistic World of Prime Reality and the Scope.

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A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:15 pm

"Chance is the providence of adventurers."

>Napoleon Bonaparte

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:44 am

PLYMOUTH, DEVON.

Friday 25th March 1977.

Samual brocklesby cast his eyes about the empty hall of the Palace Theatre. It was dark and dingy, even with all the lights on. Only the stage, where he now stood could boast any real illumination, and even that was a poor effort when compared to some of the theatres he had visited in the Great Capital's West End.
“Oi! Who d'ya think you are? Anthony Hopkins?” called Davey Davies. He sniggered at hisown joke. “Don't think the Royal Shakespeare Company's looking for anyone right now. Besides, no one's gonna pay to hear your voice or see your ugly mug up here under the limelights.”
Sam tunred his head to look at Davey but didn't bite. He wanted to but he also needed this job. More importantly he needed the steady income.

Davey was a tall thin man, no older than Sam's thirty years. He had a narrow rodent like head topped with a thinning yet dishevelled mass of brown hair. His neck was scrawny and sinuous and despite his predilection towards Cornish pasties and clotted cream scones, he looked like he hadn't eaten in months. Because of this his clothes hung from his body as though they ought to belong to someone else.
Davey Davies was a carpenter by trade, and a pretty good one too.
He worked for Bill Nodder, an ex-Devonport Dockyard shipwright and foreman. Bill had left the yard with a tidy redundancy package. The best thing he'd ever done, he liked to tell people. Bill had gone out on his own, setting up the carpentry firm; Nodder & Co. Carpenters & Joinerers.

Bill's firm hd won the contract to refurbish the dilapidated theatre.
That was how Samuel Brocklesby came to be stood on the stage in paint spattered dirty clothes holding a heavy toolbox in one hand, contemplating ripping Davey's head off.

“Mind you,” Davey continued with his derogatory comments. “You could probably make it as a pantomime dame, or even the fool! No, actually the dame would be better for you. D'ya like wearing dresses Samantha?”

Again the overwhelming urge to reply swept over Sam, only this time the urge would have taken the form of giving the scrawny little bastard a damned good thrashing!
Davey was always ragging on Sam, trying to get him to retaliate. The rake like man knew of Sam's criminal past and was just itching to get Sam fired even though Sam could find no reason for Davey to dislike him directly.

Sam shuddered as he fought back the anger.

Bill Nodder, just entering from stage left saw the slight movement and mistook it for something else.
“Aye,” he said, “tis cold enough in ere buy! Still, if you and I can get that old stage backdrop down we'll have enough wood t' get that old boiler in the basement fired up.”
The old shipwright grabbed a hammer and jemmy bar from his toolbox. “Come on then ship-mate,” he called to Sam.
Sam followed the boss back stage.
Davey watched him go and under his breath mocked the words, “ship-mate”.

Sam caught the remark and noticed how Davey hadn't said anything aloud now that Bill was present. He also realised why Davey was so antagonistic; before Sam had arrived he and Bill were tight as a drum. Now though, Bill had the ships that Sam had served on and that he had worked on as a common point of reference.
Sam could see how he may have ruffled Davey's feathers, but he'd be damned if he'd quit because of the man's insecurities.
With a shrug and a sly grin to himself, he piped up, “See ya, Davey!”

**

The days work had been hard and Sam felt tired. Despite the cloudy overcast day, Sam Brocklesby squinted and shielded his eyes as he opened the door at the rear of the theatre. As he stepped out into the street a refreshing spray of drizzle was whipped up into his face by a strong gust.

He didn't mind that it was raining, yet again. In fact he would have liked it to be raining a little harder. This stuff would just make him damp and cold.
He rented rooms over in St Judes and was looking forward to a nice relaxing evening in front of his fire.
The sound of laughter and merriment flowed out into the street as the door to the Pheonix public house opened…

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:20 pm

From the flaky red door of the pub emerged a group of men, each of them in the cheap suits and dirty hats of working men, though Sam knew none of these men actually did a hard day’s work.

Across the street Sam locked eyes with one of four men who where just leaving the pub; Terry Morehouse.

Terry was a thug who enjoyed hurting folks behalf of his crimelord boss, Marcus Angorus.

The Angorus family were just one of the many criminal families that sprang up near the turn of the century after Sam’s great-grandfather had removed the then de-facto numero-uno crime boss, Durban, from power.

Plymouth’s underworld and the Brockleby’s had never really gotten on that well.

The problem right now was that, stupidly Sam had managed to get himself in debt to Angorus and was a little behind on his payments.

“Brocklesby,” Terry Morehouse roared.

Sam sprinted away east. He knew that if he could keep going, get over the hill and down passed the Citadel and into Sutton, he had enough friends and family there to hide him from Morehouse.

“Oh, shoot!” Sam exclaimed as he heard one of the men closing in.
Glancing over his shoulder he saw a lithe form behind him. It wasn't Terry.
This man had a hard face, all angles and lines, and his eyes were even harder still. About fifty yards behind him was Terry and the other two.
Just fifty yards? The lithe man was nearly on him.
Sam let him get closer, then spinning, his leg bracing him in the turn, the ex-marine slammed his fist out.
It should have cracked into the man's nose, breaking it and temporarily blinding him, but the man was incredibly quick and dodged to the side, avoiding the blow completely.
In return he brought his knee up as he passed, striking Sam in the thigh.
It wasn't a particularly fierce blow but enough to make Sam jump back with a grunt.

Then the man was charging in, hunched over in a rugby tackle.
As the arms wrapped around him and the shoulder thundered into his stomach, Sam let the momentum take him, at the same time he smashed his elbow down onto the man's back.
Sam recognised instantly that it was the wrong thing to do as the man suddenly became a dead weight and fell onto his legs.

Pushing and punching the man off him Sam scrambled to his feet just as Terry came charging in.
Terry was a street fighter and liked to play dirty. His cosh was already in his hand and he swung it in at Sam viscously. It missed only by the smallest of margins and Sam felt it whistle passed his cheek and strike the small bag he still carried slung over his shoulder.
The bag chinked as the club struck, reminding Sam of it's contents.

Shoving himself away from Morehouse, he grabbed his claw hammer and pulled it from the bag. Instantly he threw the heavy bag at his opponent.

The marine let the hammer slide in his hand until the head was against his fist, the claw curved neatly between his thumb and finger to rest comfortably across the back of his hand.

Terry had caught the bag and shoved it back at Sam.
It landed short but the contents spilled across the road. Quickly Sam scooped up a fat bladed screwdriver and held it like a knife, threatening the gang of men.

All four men, now the the exceptionally fast runner had recovered his footing, began to circle Sam.
Terry was the only other man wielding anything like a weapon.

Sam was suddenly aware of the onlookers now and wondered how they would react if he actually skewered one of these men on the end of the screwdriver.
A man jumped at him and Sam blocked the punch with the head of the hammer.
The man yelped and danced back clutching his fist in his other hand.

Terry held back but the other two came at Sam at once.
He blocked, parried and counter-attacked, trying to deal as much damage as he could without actually stabbing one of them or smashing their skull in.

Terry saw an opportunity. As Sam turned his back on him, dealing with the other two, Terry jumped forward bringing the cosh down on Sam's head.
Sam's vision was a white blur and he felt his knees crunch into the cobbles.
Another blow struck home, this time across his back and the was down on the ground.

“Get him up!” he heard Terry growl.

A hand gripped his arm. His vision was clearing and he saw the wood chisel from his bag in front of him. He didn't know where the hammer had gone, only that he didn't have it. He grabbed the chisel and as the men dragged him to his feet he struck, sinking the razor sharp tool into the upper thigh of one of his opponents, just below his groin.
As Sam had expected, upon pulling the blade free the blood poured from the man's leg as thouigh someone had opened a tap.

The man yelled in agony and upon seeing the blood soaking his trousers and trickling onto the street, he clasped his hand over the wound trying to contain the free flowing liquid.

Outraged, Terry and the other men threw themselves at their opponent.
Sam met Terry's charge with his forehead, smashing it into the thug's face, all caution gone, falling back on his training and his fighting instincts.
For all intents and purposes Sam was back in Singapore, fighting the Sung-Hai gorillas during their uprising. He could easily have opened his eyes to see jungle all around him and not thought it was at all out of place.

A fist lashed out catching Sam in the side of the head.
Terry was already staggering back but the last man was coming at him again.
Sam caught the fist with his right hand and guided the punch past him, stepping into the blow so that he could hook his arm over the top, leaving the man's bicep under Sam's armpit.
It only took a shift of the ex-marine's weight and a strong jerk of his shoulder to snap the man's arm at the elbow.
He went down with an agonised scream.

Terry by now had recovered his senses and at the same time his companion, the one with the damaged hand, had grabbed Sam's mallet.

His own senses on edge Sam retrieved his hammer just in time to counter the attack from the mallet.
Knee coming up quickly it struck the attacker in the stomach, giving time for Sam to slash out with the hardened steel head at Terry Morehouse.

“Fucker!” Morehouse yelled leaping clear of the attack.

Sam kept the hammer swinging and having missed Terry he smashed the tool into the top of mallet-man's head.
He went down quick and didn't move.

Enraged, adrenaline flowing through him like some drug Sam held the bloodied hammer aloft threateningly. “Come on, Morehouse, you sack of shit! I'd be doing a lot of people a favour by killing you. Well?”

To Terry, who looked around at the three bested men and seeing Sam Brocklesby looking like hell's own fury manifest, it seemed the best option was to withdraw.

He pulled the cosh's strap from his wrist and threw the club to the ground, stepping back from the lunatic before him.
“Ok Brocklesby, you win this one,” the thug announced through gritted teeth.

Sam knew that if he left Morehouse then the man would go to the Angorus family and bring more goons. He'd probably not be walking away from that encounter. But then, with Terry moving away, showing all signs of someone about to leave his injured friends and run for it, he couldn't bring himself to commit cold-blooded murder.

Not letting go of the deadly hammer, Sam began backing away too.
He thought that with his retreat Morehouse might have the decency to check on his fallen comrades. It wasn't to be. Once the gap was sufficient, Terry ran.

Sam knew it was in the right direction for anyone wanting to get to Angorus territory.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:20 am

Samual Brocklesby had grabbed a pack as soon as he got to his rented rooms at in St Judes.
His cousin, Pete, had seen him as he was coming into town, still carrying the hammer.
Peter Brocklesby had calmed Sam down and taken him into the St George, off Cornwall Street. There, a stout later, and having explained the events to the weather worn son of his father's brother, Sam had been brought to his senses. He'd have to get out of Plymouth for a while, probably go to the Great Metropolis or the Capital, somewhere a man could disappear amongst the teeming masses.

Pete owned a fishing boat and would be putting out to sea in the morning. He told Sam to get his things and meet him back at Sutton Harbour this evening. He'd get Sam out of Plymouth and up to Dartmouth or Exmouth where Sam would be able to make his way to wherever he decided to go.
The less any of his family knew about his whereabouts, the better.

It was cold and dark by the time Sam had gathered his important belongings together.
Just as he was about to put out the light he heard the stairs that led to his attic room creak. It was the fourth stair, it tended to make a long groaning sound and then a bang whenever any weight was put upon it.
Sam blew out the lamp and moved to the window, peering through a crack in the curtains.

Below, out in the street and blatantly obvious for anyone to see was Terry Morehouse and at least a dozen other men. Stood with Terry were two other men Whom Sam recognised. The first and the least surprising was the tanned Marcus Angorus, obviously here to make sure Sam was dealt with thoroughly.
More surprising was the second man, Davey Davies. Although he looked like a sheep amongst wolves Sam knew instantly that his antagonistic work colleague had led Angorus here.

“You prick,” Sam cursed quietly. Quickly he pulled the old revolver from his coat pocket. He'd hoped the weapon was going to be nothing more than an unnecessary precaution tonight, but sadly that didn't look like it was going to be.

Someone tried the door but it was locked. Whomever it was then tried to barge the door.
Sam ran to the bathroom at the back of the house and threw up the sash. He was three floors up but he had no choice.
Climbing out gingerly he perched upon the sill, his legs shaking slightly from either adrenaline or a little fear.
Sam's heart missed a beat when his heavy pack unbalanced him and he grabbed hold of the window frame, freezing in position.

With his heart now in his mouth Sam reached over for the drain pipe.
It was old, put up in Victoria's time and not well looked after. As soon as his weight was on it fully it began to pull free from the stonework.

There were yells from the street side of the house at the noise Sam made as he crashed down onto the rear outhouse roof.
The down-pipe being made of cheap iron had folded about half-way down it's length so that it had slowly levered him to the ground, well, slower than falling at least.

Despite the gravity of the situation Sam chuckled to himself at his his good fortune.
Now he had to get away as quickly as he could, as he knew Marcus' men would be coming around the corners of the street heading for the back alley.

**

Samuel Brocklesby had thought he'd managed to get clear of his pursuers, however just at the last minute he'd been spotted.

Having a good lead he'd run on towards Cattedown, but Angorus' men were mobile, using steam-cars to get ahead of him, meaning he had to keep changing his approach. Not only that but he didn't want to head directly for Sutton as that would show Angorus exactly what his plan was.

Sam found himself in the town centre again and although not his original idea, it suited him well. The Victorian buildings offered plenty of places for someone to hide.
Things were looking up now for the first time in hours and the ex-Royal Marine found a stair leading up to a balcony at the rear of a shop. There were crates and all sorts up there amongst which Sam hid.
Hours passed.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:56 pm

Portman, Portman & Blake, solicitors. Their premises was a shining tower some twenty storeys high, an eclectic mixture of old and new styles, stalwart Gothic strength mixed with modern glass and neon.

From street level, in a narrow lane between two similar, if not quite so tall buildings, a figure in a dark suit, matching top coat and wide brimmed hat smirked at the pretentiousness of it all.
Plymouth was a fine coastal city, its prosperity growing on the back of the Naval Yard's success, a point that many within the yard chose to ignore.
But the undeniable truth was that were it not for the naval bases at HMS Raliegh and HMS Drake, and the fine skills of the Dockyard's workforce in building and maintaining Her Majesties Fleet, then Plymouth, Devonport and the other surrounding towns would have faded into quaint mediocrity.

Although the city proper remained a busy hive of industry, wrapped up in a Victorian and Edwardian veneer, here in the scope the architects built using their own imagination, or at least what they could get passed the conservative eyes of the Plymouth City Council's Etherscope Oversight Committee. There were some people who said the EOC was impotent, and that certain wealthier businesses and even individuals were being allowed to get away with almost anything.

Pretension then, was rife. As in the major London Boroughs, hundreds of miles away the middle classes used opulence to signify wealth and wealth signified success for most businesses.
Ironic then that the aristocracy, the true power within Great Britain tended towards a more subtle display.

The figure looked at his watches. He wore one on his wrist and one on a chain in the pocket of his waist-coat.
The fine pocket watch was set to the Prime Reality time, whereas the wrist watch displayed the local time.

Plymouth's counterpart in the Etherscope, Drake's Harbour, had its clocks running three hours behind that of the Prime.

Someone, probably from the EOC, had done a study and found that the three hours gave the most beneficial handover between prime and ether shifts. No one else seemed to mind, those that entered illegally. It normally gave them longer to 'play'. It also meant that non-immersed users could work longer hours to achieve what their immersed counterparts could.


Satisfied that the employees of Portman, Portman & Blake would have gone home by now, and the building would be occupied by nothing but drones and gremlins. He felt confident that he could avoid or deal quickly with any of those.

Although he'd done his research in the 'Prime', he would still be cautious upon entering the building. Yes he was aware of the automated and gremlin security, but there had not been any indication of human security within the building.
Of course it meant nothing, as his sources had all been unwitting collaborators within the solicitor's menial staff. None of them had mentioned security being jacked in day or night.
However it didn't really matter where in the world the security were – distance from the Prime meant nothing in the scope.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:56 pm

The figure waited another half hour, just to be sure.
The street wasn't busy, unlike the cobbled road outside Portman, Portman and Blake's real establishment in Plymouth's city centre.
There the four storey, narrow building formed part of the old Victorian backdrop to a thriving part of town where shops lined both sides of the street, on the pavements small traders sold their wares from stalls placed at strategic intervals and delivery men plied their trade in a constant stream of carts and wagons.
In fact there were enough horse drawn vehicles still in use in this part of the country that many of the young urchins made a good living from selling manure to the gardeners and home-owners in the suburbs.

When the additional half hour was up the figure crossed the darkening street, moving swiftly without breaking into a run.
From under the brim of his hat his sharp eyes scanned the ancient looking stone walls for the view-matic lens he knew was there.
This device recorded images of this part of the scope for security.
Once found the device was easy to foil. In the artificial night of the Drake's Harbour scope the brim of the hat and the dark, non-descript clothing would ensure that there was very little to define the shadowy figure. No way of telling who the figure was, not that that mattered, as his avatar need not look like his physical self.

As it was, the figure looked exactly like his true self, with the exception of the rather plain clothes. It made the illicit activities all the more challenging if he had to avoid being spotted.

Of course, should he wish then he would change the image of his avatar. There were risks and there were risks, the art was knowing which ones were worth taking and when.
Thinking back to his first experience within the scope, after taking an illegal tab and finding himself in a London den of hedonism he had wondered how the ether knew to make his avatar look like him?
His friend had explained how a persons avatar was in the first instance the users own self image, a mentally sculpted projection of how a person saw themselves, physically, however if a person had low self esteem or possessed some physical blemish or defect that really bothered them, then their avatar could appear with a exaggerated form of the defect or some other way of 'uglifying' the image.
Conversely, someone with a great opinion of themselves would likely have an avatar far grander than they are in reality.

Those people whom possessed a greater understanding of the scope, or a very strong will, could engineer their avatars into whatever form them desired.

From beneath the figures coat a crossbow was revealed. The figure aimed the bow at a balcony four floors up and pulled the trigger.

The bolt's hardened tip slammed into the stone, penetrating deep, barbs holding it in place.
Trailing from the bolt was a thin line, like catgut, but it was incredible strong.
Attaching the steel eye at the back of the crossbow to a karibina on his belt the figure braced one foot against the wall.
Activating a winch within the crossbow the figure slowly began walking up the side of the building.

He could have spent time and altered the physics of the local area allowing himself to simply walk up the side of the building's exterior wall as though it were level ground, however, doing so ran more than a risk of alerting a system administrator for the Drake's Harbour domain.
No, this way, though longer and harder, was less obtrusive.

Reaching the balcony he clambered over. Unclasping the crossbow he merely flicked the safety catch on and the device faded away.

He gave a resigned sigh. That was ten or so minutes of his life invested in creating an object that would have one single use then break down into purest ether once more. Speeding up his 'programming' of the ether was something he'd have to look into. More practice would probably help.


Now came the hard part for the figure.
Drake's Harbour was a very large domain, a city in itself within the ether.
Many of the businesses that operated within that domain were housed in a separate domain of their own with merely a shell of a building represented here in this one.
Passing through the main entrance here would mean more than being on the other side of the wall. You would step through a gateway or bridge to this other place, it might be close to Drake's Harbour or it might be an unquantifiable distance from it.


Portman, Portman and Blake were just such a firm.

Before proceeding any further the figure remained crouched upon the balcony watching the buildings around him for any sign of an observer. He wasn't expecting there to be anyone actually looking for him, but that didn't mean the couldn't be another scope-rider or just a passing tab jammer who happened to be in the area.
The figure wanted no one to know he'd been here.

Satisfied that there were no unwanted observers the figure stood bringing from his pocket a small can that looked like it could be shaving foam. From beneath his coat he removed a small wheel brace.
Usung the brace he slowly drilled four holes in the wall forming the corners of a large square.

Next the lid was removed from the can and the nozzle placed over one of thee holes, infecting a turquoise foam into it.
He continued working until all four holes were filled.

After this the figure removed a small brass box from another pocket. Four wires were attached to the box, with an electrode at the end of each wire.
Quickly he placed one into each of the foam filled holes, then sliding back the cover on the box he flicked the switch revealed inside.

Immediately the section of wall contained within the square changed, rippling like fluid yet holding its texture and shape.
With a final check over his shoulder the figure stepped through the liquid wall.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:58 pm

Steadying himself after the transition the figure found himself to be in an unoccupied office. A large oak desk situated opposite the door was neat and tidy and gave nothing away as to the identity of the owner, or even the building which housed it.

Behind the desk was a row of filing cabinets.
The figure moved to them pulling the top drawer of one open. Inside were folders, no headings or labels upon them.
He frowned at this concerned that he might not be where he expected.
Removing a folder at random he opened it and retrieved several sheets of paper.
Though they were unused, each blank sheet bore a header; Portman, Portman & Blake.

A grin spread across the man's face. “Sebastian Reynolds, you really are getting bloody good at this, even if I say so myself!” the figure muttered softly to himself.
His anxiety gone, Reynolds replaced the folder and closed the drawer.

Sebastian guessed that there was unlikely to be twenty floors within this domain, despite the appearance of the Drake's Harbour representation.
No, Portman, Portman & Blake weren't that big a company.
It was Reynolds' guess that anyone brought here to do business would likely arrive at the lobby , get into an elevator and ride it up to one of the top floors, the indicator showing that it was passing floor after floor yet only actually going a few. There would have been no need to design the floors in between.

Opening the door to the office Seb peered out. The corridor was dimly lit and painted a beige colour.
Well, Reynolds thought, at least it wasn't the sickly contrasting bold colours that had become so popular throughout the sixties and into this decade or even the current trend of loud patterns.
He was just glad that the Prime Reality hadn't adopted any of the garish fashions common within the scope.

There was a brass name plaque upon the door. This too was blank. An empty office with drawers full of blank paper. Storage space waiting for something or someone to fill it?

Seb moved stealthily out into the corridor. On one of the other doors he recognised the name of one of the firm's minor legal advisers.
It was an easy assumption to make then, that egos being what they were, the senior partners would have their 'offices' above this one.

The corridor ended in an oak door to which Reynolds pressed his ear. He heard nothing so eased the door open and peered through the gap.
As he suspected it was just a lobby, the same beige coloured walls and beige, lightly patterned carpet.

There was however a tall man dressed in a smart uniform, his brass buttons gleaming and his shoes polished to a mirror finish.
Reynolds froze, his breath catching.
Watching intently he could catch no movement from the clean shaven figure, not a twitch, a shuffle of his feet or even the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed.

Reynolds' familiarity and skill within the scope allowed him to detect and see far more than your average user. He looked at the figure, seeing first the outward appearance, the well dressed man in a uniform. Then he looked beyond the veneer, feeling more than actually seeing the coding and formulae that went into creating this entity.

Gremlin!

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Wed May 04, 2011 10:54 am

Sebastian Reynolds swallowed hard, his mouth dry. He wondered if his body back in the real world would be showing signs of his nervousness.

Whatever he did now would have to be hard and fast, take the gremlin down quick before it had a chance to raise the alarm and put the domain on lock-down.
If that happened than all would be lost for his family and this mission would have been for naught.

Portman, Portman & Blake were pursuing a claim by an Australian land owner to the huge Reynolds estate out at Lopwell on the banks of the Tavy.

Before the Reynolds family became a part of the landed gentry Maristow House and the surrounding estate were owned by the Lopes family.
Henry Lopes died in 1938 just three months after being elevated to the peerage and being granted the title of Baron Roborough.
He would have been succeeded by his son, Massey, however his marriage to an Austrian Countess whose position within the Reich's bureaucracy made him unsuitable for the position and the barony was stopped by the crown.
The title remained until Lady Roborough's death in 1941 at which point it fell into abeyance.

Poor health and loneliness forced Lady Roborough's hand and she sold the Maristow estate to Lord Reynolds in 1940 and she moved away to live with family in London.

When no apparent heir was discovered the title was passed to the owner of the Roborough family seat, Baron Ambrose Reynolds who became the second Baron Roborough.


Only now it transpired that a distant yet blood relative of Lopes had crawled out of the woodwork and was looking to claim his inheritance.
The mainstay of the claimants evidence was documentation found in an old, previously undiscovered set of papers belonging to the brother of Henry Lopes' great-great grandfather, showing clearly the bloodline.

Produced in the days before the scope the document was being handled with great care and security and was currently residing in Mr Blake's safe. Or at least that was their understanding.

In reality the original document lay in so many glowing embers in the hearth of Mr Blake's fireplace. The company safe wide open not feet from it.

Right now though Reynolds was more concerned about getting to the copies stored in the scope, and to do that he had tio get rid of the gremlin guard.

Once more Reynolds reached under his coat, this time drawing forth a weapon that looked like a short barrelled blunderbuss.
He threw open the door, the big barrelled weapon pointing at the guard.
The retort was remarkably quiet, however the blast was huge, flame and smoke billowing out and almost reaching the gremlin.

The shot removed the guard's head in a cloud of blood. The body, still standing, twitched several times before collapsing to the floor and fading away.

Of course, the grape shot from the gun hadn't really torn through flesh and bone, ripping the life from the guard in a gelatinous crimson gloop as there hadn't actually been a bullet.
Like everything within the scope the gun and all of its components were made from ether. It was just the visual embodiment of the attack program. It's attack function appearing like a gun to fire a projectile at its target, only this bullet is a program designed to disrupt the programming of that target, essentially breaking it down into it's base etheric components.
And the body of the guard wasn't really twitching with the residual energy firing around its nervous system. It had simply been the gremlins programming trying to initiate with a substantial amount of its substance missing. With the 'head' gone the gremlin couldn't function correctly and the complex etheric structure unravelled, dissipating back into the ether.

Reynolds breathed a sigh of relief.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Wed May 04, 2011 10:55 am

There were no stairs going up, why would there be?
The lift was shiny stainless steel and mirrors and seemed no different to countless other such conveyances Reynolds had been in before.
With the blunderbuss at the ready he waited for the doors to open on to the next floor.
He already expected there to be another guard and was planning to take this one out just as swiftly as he had the previous one.

Ping!
The doors slid open and Reynolds fired the gun. The shot blasted a hole theough the wall opposite.
“Shit!” Reynolds cursed as he spotted the guard coming up from a roll where it had dodged the shot.
As soon as the gremlin guard had gained its footing it charged in at Reynolds.
It was only by the smallest of margins that Sebastian managed to avoid being crushed against the back of the lift, but even so he ended up in a brawl with the guard.

This type of situation, in the prime reality, was exactly what Reynolds tried to avoid at all costs.
Although his physique was not one to be ashamed of, he was by no means a powerhouse, and his skills in unarmed combat were rather lacking.
However here in the scope it was the power of one's intellect that determined ones physical stature.
Intelligent and wise in the Prime meant that here he was also string and fast.

Using that strength he grappled with the guard, and despite it getting in a few choice jabs to his ribs he managed to wrestle the man to the ground.

Even so the gremlin was tough and not going down without a fight.
Somehow it managed to get the pistol from it's holster on it's hip and Reynolds had to use both hands to force the weapon away from himself.
Bashing the guards hand continuously against the floor eventually the pistol fell free, however his balance was out and the guard threw him off.

The guard scrambled to his feet pushing clear of Reynolds but as he threw in a kick the dark clothed avatar grabbed the gremlins foot pulling the guard to floor once more.
instead of entering into another wrestling match with Reynolds the guard flipped over on to his front and crawled towards a desk in the corner of the room, dragging his opponent with him.

Reynolds looked to where he was heading and saw the ether-comm upon the desk top. He knew that was what the guard was going for.
There would be no need for him to dial in a number, he'd have instant and direct access to the system.
One word, “alarm,” and instantly one would sound and an image or at least a description of him would be submitted and that would be the end of it.

The guard's hand grabbed the comm device. Reynolds pulled him back making him lose his grip but the guard fought back, struggling ever nearer to the ether-comm.

Reynolds changed tact, shoving the guard hard so that he crashed into the desk his hand missing the ether-comm.
Then Seb looked for his dropped weapon as he yanked back on the gremlin's shirt. It wasn't far away.
Already off balance the gremlin had no choice and was thrown back.
But the guard had made his decision now and would stick to it. Reynolds knew he had to finish this quickly.

The guard surged towards the desk once more and Reynolds let him go, instead making for his discarded gun.
The gremlin reached the desk and activated the ether-comm at the same instant that Reynolds pulled the trigger.

Once more flame and smoke billowed from the barrel. This time the grape-shot rounds found their intended target, ripping a hole through the back of the gremlin.
It stood mouth moving but no sound coming from it, it's ability to communicate eradicated.

Smiling politely at the confused gremlin, Reynolds reloaded the weapon. The gremlin guard was gone moments after the second shot.

No alarm sounded.
Sebastian Reynolds breathed a sigh of relief, hoping now to be free to wander the building.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Wed May 04, 2011 10:57 am

This floor was obviously more opulent than the one below, befitting the senior position of it's 'occupants'.
Reynolds walked the long corridors in search of Blake's office.

The office itself was decked out in a very traditional style, all oak panelling and big desk and bookshelves stuffed full of legal volumes. It also looked as though the clerks were in the middle refiling everything as papers lay in neat piles on every available surface.

Reynolds' work now was simple. It took just a few minutes to run a search for the documents in question.
The papers in the Prime and the copies were filed under Anderson vs Reynolds.
Like good little clerks Blake's staff kept a record of every detail of the case including interviews with the claimant, and distribution for every document.
Once more Reynolds smiled as he saw that although copies had been made, none had yet been forwarded on. His father had urged caution and advised him to wait, see what became of the case, but Sebastian now knew that he had been right. By coming here now he had cut his work down exponentially; no chasing documents around the country or the scope.

Reynolds took the documents and put them all in a neat pile, replacing each of them with a copy of the same document, only the original was a forgery. He put a match to the pile, waiting until there was nothing left. He'd already done the same with the document in the Prime, replacing the original with a very good, but none-the-less detectable forgery.

If he had just stolen the documents, then people would have become suspicious, there was a chance the police would get involved and there would be a whole scandal to boot. That was something none of the reynolds family wanted.

Now though, no one would suspect a thing and the case would proceed to court right up until the Reynolds' barrister asked the court to have the documents checked by independent experts of it's choice to verify their authenticity.
Of course it would then be discovered that the papers were in fact fake. Mr Anderson's reputation would be muddied, he may even have to answer to the law for his part in the apparent fraud. If he boxed clever than he would be able to claim that he too was a victim of the forger's art.
Either way Anderson would loose the case and have to crawl back to Australia with his tail between his legs, or languish in Newgate Prison for some time, but the Reynolds family would keep their estate.

Pleased with himself all that remained was for him to retrace his steps, cleaning up as he went.

First stop was the lobby on this floor where he spent some time reprogramming the wall he'd destroyed. Happy with his work ha stood back watching the wall slowly reform.

Suddenly he went rigid, wide eyed, then his avatar faded away.

For Reynolds his vision spun as though he'd suffered a rush of blood to the head, then everything went black.....................

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Wed May 11, 2011 2:33 pm

The rain had started to come down even harder, becoming all that could be heard in the otherwise still night.
Samuel Brocklesby pulled the collar of his coat up around his neck in the vain hope tha it might keep the water out.
He had been hidden amongst these crates now for hours and guessed that Angorus' men must have given up looking for him.
Not throwing all caution to the wind however he slowly made his way to the edge of the balcony peering down into the dark sodden alleyway.

So much water was collected in the guttering that it gushed out of the down-pipes under pressure, flowing out across the cobbled alleyway.
It rippled across the cobbles in mini rivers to collect in the central channel becoming a raging torrent as it surged down towards the main sewer, spraying up like a fountain as the water struck the iron grille.

Despite the black night and rain Sam could just about see enough into the alley with the glow from the street lamps to tell that the alley was clear.
In this weather even the rats were staying in doors.

Nerves were getting the better of him now and he feared that if he stayed up here any longer it would be even harder for him to leave the balcony's relative safety.

After a few more moments hesitation Sam took the plunge, grabbing his pack and moving lightly down onto street level.

At the end of the alley he stopped, checking the street for any of Angorus' men. It was totally empty. Even the late night pub trade, which often spilt out into the street had called it a night and gone home to get out of the rain.

Pressing on, his collar up as protection from wind, rain and prying eyes he didn't notice the figures that come around the corner of a street that he had just crossed.

They, however had noticed him and upped their pace.

They were on Brocklesby before he knew it.

The hand upon his shoulder made him jump and he spun on the men aggressively.
It was only a chance glint of the buttons of the man's jacket under his cape that revealed him to be a policeman.

“Easy there sonny!”the older of the two said backing off a little and his hand going to his truncheon. Sam couldn't quite place his accent. Welsh?
The younger of the two constables held up a small lantern so that they could better see Sam's face, and at the same time Sam saw his and recognised him.

“What's your name there boy?” the older copper asked.
“Sam Brocklesby,” the younger bobby replied for Sam.
“Brocklesby, eh? One of the clan are you?”
Sam just nodded silently. If he behaved himself and wasn't a bother to these two then they were likely to send him on his way with no further hassle.

“Why does Sam Brocklesby sound so damned familiar?” the Welshman asked.
The younger man smiled. Sam couldn't place his name.
“It's cos he's the bloke Mr Angorus told us about earlier.”

The older copper squinted at Sam.

“Mr Angorus?” Sam thought suspiciously. The way the policeman said his sounded too respectful, almost reverent. Not the normal reaction from a policeman towards a known criminal, unless....

“Is he now?” the Welshman asked, pulling the truncheon free of the loop at his belt.

…...unless these two coppers were as bent as a nine bob note!
Sam reacted fast, shoulder barging the Taff and sending him stumbling into his companion.
Instantly Sam was running again.

“You all right there Taffy?” Sam heard the skinny one ask his colleague.
“Aye boyo, let's be avin im then!” and the two policemen gave chase.

Sam's pack was slowing him down, he knew, yet he couldn't leave it. All he owned was in there and life without those few precious things would be that much more difficult. If he ever got away from Plymouth, that was.

He ran out across a junction without looking and in the torrential rain he didn't see the steam-car until the last second, leaping to throw himself up onto the bonnet. He was lucky that the car had been coming to a halt.
That's when his luck ran out. He was staring through the the windscreen beyond the driver, at the occupants of the rear passenger compartment. He looked first into the face of Marcus Angorus and then Terry Morehouse. Sam's heart was in his mouth.

Then the younger constable was on him, grabbing his sodden coat and hauling him backwards.
Jabbing back with all him might Sam swung his elbow into the copper's chin, the blow knocking him out instantly.
The policeman fell to the street the rain hammering on the steel of the car and evertything else drowned out the sound but Sam saw the man's head bounce off the hard surface like a football.

Sam's instant reaction was to check that the man was alive, but the shadowy bulk of Taffy was bearing down on him and Terry was getting out of the car.

Once more Sam took to his feet.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Wed May 11, 2011 2:34 pm

The policeman and Morehouse chased Sam down the dark street and Sam was increasing his lead.
But then Sam stepped off the curb, his foot slipped in a dark almost invisible pile of dung that the manure collectors had missed and despite his best efforts he couldn't regain his balance skidded on his front across the tarmac.

Morehouse was right on him, kicking out hard as he ran in, the toe of his boot catching the back of Sam's knee as he tried to stand.
He'd also brought his cosh into action but it had struck impotently against Sam's pack.

Limping badly, his leg suddenly a numb dead weight beneath him Sam turned on Morehouse, his face a visage of pure anger. He screamed a Royal Marine battle cry and lunged in at his adversary.

Although Terry Morehouse wanted to fight, he normally even relished the experience, a little bit at the back of his mind was warning him not to get carried away. He'd already seen this man take down three of his men.
Rather than enter into a full scrap with the ex-marine, Morehouse backed off, letting the copper and hopefully more reinforcements arrive.

Sam saw the trick as it was being played out and was wary of his blind spots, which was why he saw the burly welsh policeman barrelling down on him.
However Morehouse played the situation well, forcing Sam into moving side on to the copper's attack and it was all Sam could do to brace himself.

The bobby slammed full bodied into him and both he and Sam crashed sideways straight through the front window of Pilgrim's Bakery.

Morehouse froze as the sound of shattering glass and collapsing shelves echoed up the street.

Within moments a light came on in an upstairs window of the tall building.

Heavy footfalls behind him warned Terry of approaching people. Instantly ready for a fight he eased off when he saw more of Mr Angorus' men, at least half a dozen of them, all puffing and panting from their high speed dash here.

Suddenly a rectangle of light appeared at the back of the shop as a man of some fifty years threw open the door. He carried with him a lantern that cast a poor light about the room, but which illuminated his own swarthy face framed with bushy white mutton-chops that matched the now unkempt white mop of hair upon his head.
“What in the blue blazes is going on here?” he bellowed into the gloom.

From out of the darkness emerged a wet and filthy figure who came at him so quickly he didn't even have time to react as the figure bundled past almost knocking him from his feet.
“Oi!” he complained noisily as the figure darted through the door and up the stairs.

Terry Morehouse also saw the figure. “There e is! After im!” he yelled, leaping through the broken window.

Up and up and up and up again Sam ran, eventually coming to an attic room. He went to the window and threw it open, clambering out onto the wet slippery tiles. The rain had stopped.

As had happened earlier this evening his heavy pack threatened to drag him over but he managed to cling to the window sill and steady himself.

From inside the house came a shrill scream.
Sam had somehow managed to get passed the baker's wife unobserved, however Morehouse and his cronies weren't so discreet.
Sam could hear their heavy steps thundering on the stairs and wasted no time heading for the edge of the roof.

Down in the shop Edward Hall had recovered from his fright and was in a full rage.
Having turned on the lights he had found the policeman with a deep cut across his abdomen and blood pouring from the wound. A thin shard of glass still jutted obscenely from the end of the gash.

Torn between rushing upstairs for his shotgun and chasing off the trespassers and his sense of duty towards the copper, he spotted the bobby's whistle. Snatching it up he blew the whistle as hard as he could, shrill blast after shrill blast.

His note carried high and far and Sam could hear them clearly up on the roof. He knew other policemen in the vicinity would hear it too and right enough the whistle blasts were repeated summoning the boys in blue to the aid of their colleague.

At the edge of the roof Sam stopped and looked across the gap.
The next roof was maybe six feet down and fifteen to eighteen feet away.
At ground level there was a small courtyard behind the bakery and the adjacent shops, served by the gated alley between this building and the next.
The opposite roof was surrounded by a low parapet which Sam figured he could use to stop his sliding off and plunging to the flag steps beneath.

He took off his pack knowing full well that he couldn't make the jump with it.
There was nothing breakable in it, just a few treasured photos and clothing and what little money he had saved and a rare book that he had been given years ago and now intended to sell once he got to London.
He dropped it off the side and it landed with a dull whumph in the courtyard below.

“Brocklesby!” came an angry cry from the window behind him.
Sam looked back to see Terry Morehouse climbing out onto the tiles.
Wasting no more time Sam backed up several paces before sprinting for the edge.

Despite his anger, his desire to hurt Sam Brocklesby, prove himself against the ex-marine who owed his boss a lot of money, Terry's estimation of Sam had gone up greatly.
Yes, he hated him, and yes, he was going to beat the life out of him, but he grudgingly afforded the man a modicum of respect.
Like now, even as Terry got within an arm's length of Sam, he was impressed at Sam's determination. “Crazy fucker!” he said aloud as Sam leapt into the air.

Sam's plan was to hit the roof and crumple, take most of the force of his landing out through his own body. From there he would slide or roll down the tiles stopping at the parapet.

It didn't get to that.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Wed May 11, 2011 2:35 pm

Sam hit the roof tiles and smashed right through, luckily missing the sturdy trusses completely.
Then again, missing the joists and hitting only the lathe and plaster he crashed through them finally coming to rest on the plush carpet of the office of Leonard Blake, of Portman, Portman & Blake Solicitors.

Unbeknownst to Sam he had crashed into the back of Mr Blake's chair knocking it over and ejecting it's occupant onto the floor.
In the process the ether portal cable connecting the occupant to the office scope point had been yanked from the cybernaughtic socket in the back of the man's head.

On the roof of Pilgrim's Bakery one bearded man with a broad flat nose spoke on behalf of the others gathering at the edge. “Shit!”
“Hmm,” Terry Morehouse hummed bemused. “Come on, we'll go down and meet him coming out the bottom”.
The men cautiously picked their way back across the wet tiles and climbed in through the window.

Disorientation and nausea wore off slowly and in the light of the small lamp sat upon the desk, Sebastian Reynolds saw naught but dust as he climbed to his feet. Somehow a wind swirled the white fog about the room thinning it out.

Reynolds could see the hole in the ceiling and the jagged edge of one in the roof beyond that.
Then he saw the body on the floor. A groan came from it and it began to move.
Crouching down, not really thinking clearly else he would have gotten out of there quickly, Reynolds touched the man's shoulder.
The man jumped at the contact and rolled over, his eyes fearful until they focussed on the blond haired man in the dark clothing and tweed flat cap. Then his expression became one of surprise.
“Reynolds?” he said in a mixture of question and statement.
Sam remembered the toff from his childhood, his parents and uncles would go over to visit the Reynolds family on their estate near Lopwell.

Sebastian the eldest child of Lord Roborough had always been the quiet, serious one of the two Reynolds brothers, and his unwillingness to join in with some of Jonathan's crazy schemes had always led Sam to believe that he was a bid of a nerd and a softy.

“Brocklesby?” Reynolds said with equal incredulity.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Wed May 11, 2011 2:37 pm

Sam tried to stand but winced as soon as he moved his right leg. Reynolds grabbed Brocklesby's arm and helped him up.
“Ow!” Sam hissed through gritted teeth as he perched on the edge of the desk.
“Where did you come …..” Sam never finished the question as his eyes came to rest on the open safe. He looked accusingly at Reynolds who shrugged.
“We all have our secrets, Sam,” he said as he moved to the safe, an annoyed frown upon his forehead.
“You want to tell me what you were doing on the roof?” Reynolds asked as he began carefully removing the items from the safe.
“You want to tell me what the hell it is you think you're doing?” Brocklesby countered accusingly.
“Taking care of family business,” Reynolds replied matter-of-factly.
“Not looking out for yourself then?” again Brocklesby's voice held an accusing tone.
“In this instance Samuel they are one in the same.”

Taking a small, soft brush from his bag Reynolds carefully brushed the dust and debris from the inside of the safe, then from each of the items removed from it before placing them exactly as they were, back inside the safe.

“What are you doing?” Brocklesby hissed the question as pain shot through his injured limb.
“Getting rid of evidence that the safe was ever open.” Reynolds replied.
“But you're putting everything back in.”
“Sam, I was never here to take anything away with me, just putting something in.” it wasn't totally the truth but Brocklesby didn't need to know more than that.

Brocklesby winced in pain and nearly collapsed.
“Damn! I think my leg's broken.”
Closing the safe door Reynolds gathered up his tools, including the scope jack cable. “So,” he said almost like a command. “Why were you on the roof?”
he slung is bag on his shoulder and then helped Brocklesby up onto his uninjured leg.
“I wasn't on this roof. I was on the one next door. I jumped over on to this one,” Brocklesby forcedd the words out amidst grunts of pain.
“And why, pray tell, were you on that roof?” Reynolds asked congenially as he took Sam's arm across his shoulders bearing most of the man's weight.

So Brocklesby explained about his encounter with Morehouse after work and then his flight from home to here.

“You mean they'll be down in the street now?” Reynolds asked of Morehouse and his men.
Brocklesby nodded. “Front and Back, no doubt.”
“Did you actually kill any of them?”
“Don't think so. Maybe.”
“I ought to leave you here then, if you think me breaking in was such a bad thing yet you'll overlook yourself murdering someone!”
Brocklesby glared at Reynolds.
“Just a joke to lighten the atmosphere dear boy, calm down.”

They struggled down the stairs the the first floor, then they heard several loud bangs from below as the main door was battered in.

**

“Come on Mark, wait for Terry, Yeh?” came a nervous voice at the bottom of the stairs.

“Terry?” Reynolds whispered.
Brocklesby nodded. “Angorus' chief thug.”
A torch beam shone up the stairs illuminating the end of the passageway.

“Shut up, you prick,” came the terse reply to the nervous man.
“Sorry Sam!” Reynolds said extracting himself from Brocklesby.

Brocklesby wobbled, his injured leg instinctively going out to steady him. The pain was incredible.
He yelped, stumbling and falling noisily to the floor with yet another cry of pain to punctuate the event.

“'E's up here!” the voice of Mark called and he could be heard storming up the stairs.

“You spineless bastard!” Brocklesby cursed, looking into the darkness for Reynolds.

“Spineless, hey?” came the menacing voice from the stairs as Mark's big frame came into view, his torch shining it's beam onto Brocklesby's sweating form. “I'll show you spineless after I rip your fuckin' head off. Not going to let Morehouse have all the fun.”
Mark stomped down the passage towards his prey.
He stopped suddenly and Brocklesby couldn't see why beyond the bright disk of the torch head.
There seemed to be a struggle, the torch light dancing around the walls dementedly. Someone slammed into a wall and a hoarse voice let out an “oof!”
“Basterd, fokker, fokkin cont.”
The words seemed forced, a struggle to say, then one final scuffle and the torch dropped to the floor followed moments later by something much heavier.

Brocklesby could hear someone not far away breathing heavily but couldn't make out who it was beyond the bright torchlight that was still shining into his face.

Finally after many more long drawn out moments Reynolds was beside Brocklesby again.
“Sorry Samuel, I had very little time to plan there, all a bit spur of the moment,” Reynolds gave him an apologetic grin as he helped him up.
Now that he was out of the direct beam Brocklesby could see the figure of Mark slumped on the plush carpet.
“Is he...?”
Reynolds shook his head. “Just unconscious.”

The nervous voice called up the stairs from the floor below. “Mark? Mark? You there mate?”
There was no answer, just the pitch black silence.
“Oh, Jesus Christ!” the quavering voice said to itself.

“Oi! No bloody blaspheming,” barked another voice, this one loud and authorative. “What are you doing in here then sonny?”
“Err, noffing constable. Just Mark, Bainsey. He's gone in lookin for that bloke Mr Morehouse is after.”

Up a floor Reynolds looked at Brocklesby. “Not looking good this!” he commented quietly.

“All right, boy. Clear off,” said the authoritative voice. “Woah, there! Where'd you think you're going Morehouse? No not in there you're not. You can call off your dogs now, we'll take it from here. I said we've got it. Well you take it to your Mr Angorus then, Terry. But it won't get you in here, and won't stop us getting this Brocklesby off to nick either.”
“Jonesy!” the voice bellowed even louder.
“Yes, Sarge?” came a reply that was almost as loud but much deeper.
“Keep an eye on this lot. Any of them does anything more heinous than dropping litter you get the irons on them.”
“Sarge!” Jonesy replied eagerly.
“Right then, Patterson stay by the door, you other three can come with me. We're going to go through this place floor by floor.”

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Mon May 23, 2011 9:12 am

“Damn,” Reynolds cursed. “Sorry Sam, I can't get caught here. But I believe you should be safe in the hands of the peelers!”
“You're running?” Brocklesby felt betrayed and let it show in his voice.
“Not my fight this, Sam,” Reynolds shrugged as he lowered his friend carefully onto the stairs. “No choice. But I won't leave you out in the cold for long. In the mean time, say nothing.”

Brocklesby's gritted teeth and flared nostrils told Reynolds that he might not stick to that plan.
“Besides,” Reynolds added, “Rebecca always had a soft spot for you. She'd never forgive me.”

Hope that Reynolds might not desert him sprang up as Brocklesby remembered young Miss Reynolds.
She was a slender girl with mousey brown hair that cascaded about her shoulders in manicured waves. Many years younger than Sam, she had always been friendly and helpful, and Sam recalled with a little regret that he and Jonathan would often send her on tedious errands or persuade her to do Jonathan's chores so that they could go and play, taking full advantage of the devoted puppy that followed Sam around.
She had been a pretty thing back then and Brocklesby wondered what sort of a woman she had turned into.
“Really?” he asked, but Reynolds had already disappeared into the blackness.

More torchlight flooded the stairs down to the ground floor and with his heart in his mouth Samuel Brocklesby waited for the police to arrive.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Mon May 23, 2011 9:13 am

Bright sunshine glared in through the narrow barred window near the top of the cell wall.
Samuel Brocklesby groaned loudly, his leg on fire and the pain almost unbearable.

**

It was half past seven in the morning outside Charles Street Police Station, a small building with a half dozen cells and about twenty uniformed officers.
The sky was a clear, pale blue and the sun was already warm despite the early hour, although it remained chilly out of the sun.
Detective Sergeant Andrew Pendennis was the senior police officer at the station and he was arriving by push-bike after having popped home to clean up. He had been called to work in the early hours of the morning as one of his men had gone through a window and ended up with a serious injury.
He chained his bike to the railing outside and watched as a horse drawn cab and a steam car pulled up from opposite directions.
A single person alighted from each vehicle and made towards the main entrance to the station.
DS Pendennis observed them both.
The first man, from the cab, wore a cheap suit, his hair was a muddy brown colour and cut very short under his bowler hat, and his chin was unshaven.
Pendennis felt he knew the man's face but couldn't put a name to it.
The other man also wore a suit, this one a modern style and obviously expensive. His hair was fair and immaculate, he carried himself with confidence, and walked with a cane mad of a black wood with a silver hand shaped like a snarling panther.
Definitely a toff, Pendennis thought with an inward sigh.
Both Pendennis and the second man reached the door together, the first man having already gone through.
“After you,” the toff said politely, holding the door open.

“I'm not bothered about all that!” the man was say gruffly to the constable behind the desk. “I just want to know what's happening to him.”
“A doctor has been called,” the officer replied flatly, “and Mr Brocklesby will be dealt with in accordance with the law. Good morning, sir.”
This last was spoken over the shoulder of the man in the bowler had and aimed at the detective.
“Good morning Wilkes, who's this?”
“Er, Mr Morehouse, sir. Says he's an interest in the case against the Brocklesby fellow brought in last night.”
“Really?” Pendennis wasn't overly convinced now that he had a name to go with the cheap suit. The name Morehouse and his employer were known well enough by the police of this city.
With a sigh he bid the man follow him through to his office.

“Take a seat Mr Morehouse,” Pendennis instructed, deliberately taking his time hanging up his coat and hat before sitting in his high backed swivel chair.
“What is it I can do for you then?” Pendennis asked as cheerfully as he could manage.
Morehouse rummaged around in the pocket of his coat and pulled out a handful of crumpled papers.
“I've got written and signed statements from my lads what were wiv me last night. They all swears that Brocklesby was doin' your copper in and that we tried to stop it but he got to running and then he threw you man through the window of that bakery.”
“Written statements? In their own hand?” Pendennis' voice showed he was dubious.
“Well not exactly. One of Mr Angorus' men did the writing on account of the boys not being so good with their words, but they all put their mark on it, best they could.”
Pendennis sighed again, and gave a small shrug.

Before he could say any more there was a knock at the door.
Constable Wilkes poked his head in. “Begging you pardon sir?”
“Yes Wilkes?”
“The honourable Mr Sebastian Reynolds to see you about Brocklesby, sir.”

Pendennis frowned. “Bloody popular this morning aint he?” he commented waving his hand for the constable to show Reynolds in.

DS Pendennis knew the name Reynolds too. He assumed this must be the son of Lord Reynolds, the Baron Roborough.
He stood and took the hand offered to him when the well dressed gentleman entered the room.
“Mr Reynolds,” the detective said in greeting and ignoring the scowl upon Morehouse's face. “You wish to see me about Brocklesby?”
“I do,” Reynolds replied. “And as you were about to engage in a similar conversation with Mr Morehouse here I suggested to the constable that it might be an idea for both to occur simultaneously, save you having to repeat yourself.”
Morehouse screwed up his face. “How'd you know my name?” he was suspicious but also wondered if his name and reputation had made it's way into the attention of the likes of a son of a lord.
“The constable introduced you as such to the detective here as he and I entered the building.”
A little deflated at that Morehouse merely grunted.

“Come on then Morehouse, up you get, give the gentleman a seat,” Pendennis gave Morehouse a little kick to his foot to encourage him.
“No, no, don't trouble yourself, I'll stand and we can get straight to business. May I ask what the charges are against Mr Brocklesby?”
“Erm, yes, well, from what I'm informed he has assaulted two of my officers.” Pendennis gave Morehouse a sideways glance.
“Yeah,” Morehouse confirmed nodding his head vigorously. “Giving them a right going over he was too.”
Reynolds looked at Morehouse, fixing him with electric blue eyes. “I'm sorry Mr Morehouse, but what exactly is your involvement with all this?”
Morehouse looked offended, just as Reynolds had planned. He twisted in his seat pushing it away from the detective's desk, his fists clenched and his chest puffed up.
Ready to start throwing punches, Reynolds thought silently as he eyed the thug.
“Cos, like I said to the sergeant here,” Morehouse spoke the words slowly, almost as though he was talking to a small child, “me an my boys seen him doin' over them coppers. We tried to step in an break it up but knocked one out and threw the big one through the window of that bakery and scarpered inside. So being riche, richus, … upstanding citizens we went after im.” He ignored the wide eyed look of incredulity on Pendennis' face.
“You sure it was Brocklesby you saw fighting the officers?”
“Yeah!” Morehouse glared at Reynolds.
The baron's son kept the smile from his face but was pleased that the man was getting annoyed. All he had to do was keep prodding.
“It was dark?” Reynolds pointed out condescendingly.
“Yes,” Morehouse said sternly. “I saw him, I recognised him, I even told the lads that Brock was over doin' in some rozza's.”
“I see.” Reynolds said with a smile. “Out of interest, why should it concern you? That someone was in a fight with the police, I mean?”
“The boss don't like it when people get into fights with the law.”
“The boss?” Reynolds already knew about Angorus, but was feigning ignorance.
DS Pendennis piped in now. “Marcus Angorus.”
“That's right,” Morehouse said. “That's who I work for, Mr Angorus.”
Reynolds noted that the name was spoken as though it were a title and that he should both know and fear it.”

Reynolds nodded sagely, but remained silent for a while as though contemplating.
“What does Mr Brocklesby have to say about this?” he said at length.
“Nothing yet sir,” Pendennis replied. “He's refused to say anything.”
Guilty as sin, that's why,” Morehouse put in.
“Right, let's go and ask him then shall we?” Reynolds didn't so much ask as instruct them.
Pendennis was a little flustered but agreed and had one of the constables go ahead and unlock the cell.

“Begging your pardon, Mr Reynolds,” Pendennis said almost apologetically as the three of them walked towards the jail. “What involvement do you have with this case?”
“Quite right to ask, old fellow!” Reynolds responded cheerfully to show he had taken no offence to the police detective's question. “I am a potential employer for Mr Brocklesby and I want to know what's going on. Last thing I want to do is employ someone wanted by the law. Of course I know of Mr Brocklesby's previous conviction, but I am a believer in the British justice system. He has served his time and his slate is clean.”
“Well, not always, sir.” Pendennis countered. “Sometimes a fellow is just a bad sort.” Without trying to hide it, Pendennis glanced over his shoulder at Morehouse.
Morehouse clenched his teeth and shot the detective an icy stare.

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Mon May 23, 2011 9:13 am

When they entered the cell Brocklesby was as white as a ghost, his black, swollen leg propped up on the bed beside him.
“Good morning Mr Brocklesby,” Reynolds said sombrely. “Good Lord! That damned painful!” Reynolds blurted at the sight of Sam's leg.
Brocklesby whose eyes had been closed looked on in surprise. “Looks worse than it feels. They gave me a shot of morphine.”
Reynolds nodded. “This is Detective Sergeant Pendennis of the police and this is Mr Morehouse who works for Mr Angorus,” he introduced the others.
“Yes,” Brocklesby spoke quietly, “I know Terry Morehouse.”
“Do you?” Reynolds was ensuring that he kept command of the conversation so that he could steer it where he wanted.
“That's right,” Reynolds went on. “Mr Morehouse mentioned that he already knew you.”
“No I didn't.” Morehouse said defensively. Even Pendennis looked uncertain.

“You said that you recognised him and that you told you lads that you saw Brock doing in some...” Reynolds paused. “Ah yes, rozza's I believe is the term you used. How could you both recognise him and tell your companions his name if you didn't already know him?”
Morehouse' face screwed up in a scowl.
Although Pendennis said nothing and tried to remain impassive, he couldn't help a little smile. Although he'd never met Morehouse in person before, he was well aware of the tactic of the locals hoodlums using the law against some of their victims. A frame-up was the usual M.O.
“Sorry Mr Brocklesby,” Reynolds smiled, “you were about to answer my question.”
obviously in pain but bolstered by Reynolds' appearance, Brocklesby tried to sound firm. “He's an enforcer for Angorus.”
“Enforcer?”
“Yes, someone who enforces Angorus' will in the community.”
“Then you know Mr Angorus too?”
“Yes.”
“How?”
“I owe him two hundred pounds.”
Pendennis whistled. That was a years wages to some people.

“And how is it that you come to owe him such a large sum of money? Behind in the rent? Bought a yacht from him?”
“No sir,” Brocklesby tried to sound embarrassed. “I had been down on my luck since coming out of the marines so I went to him to borrow a ton.”
“You just said two hundred pounds,” Pendennis pointed out.
“No, I only borrowed one hundred, but I have to pay back two.”
Reynolds raised his eye brows in mock surprise. “Are you telling me that Angorus is some kind of loan shark?”
Brocklesby nodded.
“And when must you pay him by?”
“Last month.”
Reynolds looked at Morehouse who looked a little uncomfortable, and then turned to Pendennis.
“May I just run this past you detective, just to be sure I have grasped al the fact correctly?”
Pendennis nodded, “By all means, sir!” The policeman was beginning to enjoy this. He was a very proud policeman and hated it whenever one of the 'bad guys' managed to score a point. The way Reynolds was leading the conversation, he had an inkling that there wasn't going to be any points scored here today.

Reynolds gave a little cough, clearing his throat. “I have Mr Brocklesby dropped home at nine o'clock last night,” he began. “Then, by the early hours of this morning he has been arrested for assaulting a couple of police officers, and the only witnesses, other than said officers are a half dozen men who work for Mr Morehouse, who in turn works for Mr Angorus, who happens to be a loan shark.”
“Oh, yes, amongst other things too, sir,” Pendennis quickly put in.
“Amongst other things, as you say, sergeant. And the accused? A man who owes Mr Angorus a considerable amount of money? Do I have things clear so far detective?”
Pendennis nodded vigorously. “As I understand it, yes.”
“Odd behaviour, wouldn't you say, for a man who had just been offered a job with a considerable salary? Had he been drinking?”
“No, sir. I asked the same question to the arresting officer and he stated flatly that there was no smell of alcohol on the man. But begging your pardon sir, may I ask what job?”

“I had offered Mr Brocklesby a job as my,” Reynolds paused looking for the rights description, “I suppose butler-come-aide is the best way of putting it. He accepted and I informed him that I would need him to start the next day, that would be today now. I had one of father's drivers drop him back to his rooms so that he could gather his things and he asked if he could have time to visit his brothers and inform them of his good fortune. I had no issue with that and informed Mr Brocklesby to meet me at Plymouth station by five this morning. He never arrived, and so I went to his rooms to find them empty, and in some disarray. Next I came here to inquire if there had been some kind of accident involving Mr Brocklesby, only to hear Mr Morehouse asking about him.”
“So as you can see, sergeant, this situation surprises me as I would not expect someone offered such an opportunity to behave that way.”
“Well he did it!” Morehouse spat like a petulant child. “He done those coppers, like we say he did.”

Reynolds shrugged. “And the constables, what have they to say on the matter?”
Pendennis looked to the police sergeant stood in the doorway to the cell. “Sergeant Meadows?”
The man looked embarrassed and worried at the end of his bush moustache. “Well, sir, there was two of them involved, sir. Well one of them was injured bad when he went through Pilgrim's window, sir. That was Taffy. He's been in hospital since and not in a position to talk, sir. But we did hear him say he was only doing what he was told. Kept repeating it to us right up until the doctor put him under.”

Reynolds turned to Pendennis. “Was there a call out for the arrest or at least detainment of Mr Brocklesby?”
With a slow shake of his head the detective sergeant said, “No.”
“Curious. I wonder who it was that had given him the order? And the other fellow, Sergeant Meadows, was it?”
Again the policeman looked embarrassed. “Yes, sir. Erm...Well he took a knock to the head, sir. Can't even remember what year it is, let alone what happened to him.”
“That's inconvenient, don't you think detective?”

It was Pendennis' turn to feel uncomfortable as his case against Brocklesby was unravelling. That wasn't really a concern, but what was being revealed behind it, a possible corruption case against some of his own officers, was something that he both despised and dreaded. The paperwork would be horrendous.

There was a lengthy silence which Reynolds at last broke. “I'm sorry Detective Sergeant Pendennis, but I'm not convinced at all by all this. I believe that it was in fact Mr Morehouse and his mob who were more likely the aggressors here.” He was looking to push Morehouse's button again, see if he couldn't get the red mist to explode. So he pressed on with his accusations. “it is most likely that he came upon Mr Brocklesby as he says by chance, or maybe not, but one thing led to another. Perhaps Mr Brocklesby may even have goaded him, but I think in the end Morehouse resorted to what he does best – violence. I understand that to be the forte for those folks calling themselves enforcers. It is likely that your two constables came upon an altercation between Brocklesby and Morehouse's mob. Seven against one is hardly likely to have the police standing up for the seven, so it is probable that they intervened on Mr Brocklesby's behalf and ended up as victims of Morehouse's blood-lust themselves.”

Pendennis smiled politely. With a few choice words Reynolds had turned what looked like a messy internal affairs case against his men into one where they were the gallant heroes, injured in the line of duty, and more over, their discipline would be left to Pendennis. His wrath would know no bounds.
“Sounds very plausible,” the detective stated.

“That's fokin' rubbish!” Morehouse seethed.
“Watch your language!” the police sergeant growled, hand on the pommel of his truncheon.
“We dint do them bloody coppers, 'e did, just like 'e done them other three blokes behind the Duke of York.”
“Duke of York?” Pendennis asked angrily.
“Yeah, 'e done over three blokes out back of the hotel.”
“When?”
“About six o'clock.”
“These men, acquaintances of yours are they?” Reynolds inquired.
“Yeah!”
“And this incident was reported to the police?”
“No.”
“Then I doubt very much it happened at all,” Reynolds snapped irritably.
“It did.” Morehouse was puffing up his chest, taking deep breaths as though trying to curtail his anger.
“I can't see how,” Reynolds voice was stern, almost sinister now. “As Mr Brocklesby was on his way to an interview with me about the job at that time.” It was a lie and both men would know it, but who would the police believe now? It was unlikely to be Morehouse.
“That's bollocks!” Morehouse accused.
“Oi!” the police sergeant warned again.
“No, Morehouse,” Reynolds said calmly, a sickly condescending tone to his voice, “I think you are the one talking bollocks, and have been all night. I think you found Brocklesby, tried to give him a going over with a lot of help from your pals, and it all went wrong when you injured those two constables. I think you weren't able to get your money from Brocklesby, nor as I guess you would have preferred, beat the living daylights out of him, so you and your boss came up with this cock and bull story to frame Samuel and manipulate the law to get your revenge that way. And given his previous conviction, which I am well aware of, then he'd be looking at the rope for sure. Am I right?”
“You're a cunt!” Morehouse spat and launched himself at Reynolds, landing a solid punch on his chin.
Reynolds, of course, had made no attempt to block or dodge the attack. His lip exploded, blood flooding over his chin and into his mouth.

Initially stunned at Morehouse's actions Pendennis finally grabbed the man just after he'd laid a gut punch into Reynolds who doubled over with a pained grunt.

Morehouse battered Pendennis aside, wanting to beat the life out of the honourable Sebastian Reynolds and his toffee-nosed, stuck up, holier-than-thou attitude.

Before he could land another solid blow though the bushy moustached sergeant grabbed his collar and hauled him back with one hand and swung his thick truncheon into the backs of Morehouse's knees, making him fall to the floor.
The truncheon appeared under Terry's chin, held tight against his throat by a thick meaty hand at either end, pulling hi hard against the sergeant's torso. It was all Morehouse could do to breathe.

Pendennis recovered his wits and stood before the choking man. The detective seethed with such anger that he couldn't bring himself to speak.
“Right you are, sir,” the sergeant nodded, despite Pendennis having said nothing.
The big policeman dragged Morehouse backwards out of the cell. Morehouse struggled, punching and scratching but two more constables joined the sergeant.

Once they were out of sight Reynolds heard dull thuds, as of wood on flesh, accompanied each time by a pained cry from Morehouse.

Ignoring the beating that Morehouse was getting, Reynolds stood fully, the blood now soaking into the collar of his shirt.
“I'm so sorry Mr Reynolds,” Pendennis said removing his handkerchief from his pocket and offering it to the gentleman.
Reynolds waved it away. “The actions of a guilty man, detective sergeant,” he stated flatly.
“So it would seem sir. Reckon you about hit the nail on the head.”
“Then you'll not detain Mr Brocklesby any longer?”

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Re: A Chance Encounter

Post by Keeper » Mon May 23, 2011 9:14 am

Within an hour a hospital wagon arrived.
“I have a friend over in the Royal Navy hospital who'll sort that leg out for you,” Reynolds informed Brocklesby as he was carefully wheeled from the station.

Both men were silent for the first part of the journey.
Reynolds winced as he pressed gingerly at his swollen lip.
“Wimp!” Brocklesby said with a sly grin.
Reynolds cast him a withering look, but couldn't help smiling.

“Thanks, Seb,” Sam said gratefully. “What next?”
“Well get that leg sorted out. I don't think it's the best idea for you to stay here in Plymouth. I'd warn Angorus off, but I don't suppose he'd pass up the opportunity for revenge if it presented itself. Where were you planning to go?”
“London.”
“Convenient. I can give you a lift, I'm heading back up in a few days.”
Sam shrugged. “Okay, thanks.”

“And you'll need a place to stay,” Reynolds added. “And a job.”
Brocklesby looked at Reynolds suspiciously. “Yes, I will, once the leg's better.”

“I can wait,” Reynolds said. “So how about it?”
“How about what?”
“According to the conversation I had earlier, I offered you a job last night. Do you want it or not?”
Brocklesby laughed. “Me? Butler for you?”
“You could do worse work and the pay will be good.”
“I'm not sure that's a good idea.”
“Listen, you'd be more than just a butler, that would be the impression I'd want everyone else to get. But, you beat four men in a fight, then another two later. You've got the training and attitude I need in someone, and I need it to be someone I can trust. How long have we known each other? If I can't trust my brother's best friend, who can I trust?”
“What about old Truman?”
“Exactly that. He's old, and besides, he's dad's butler and I wouldn't want to drag him away from Maristow. I've bought a place up in Knightsbridge and need staff. But I won't lie to you Sam. It won't be without risk. There are certain activities that I undertake from time to time that might involve a certain element of danger, and well, you already have an idea where my talents lay. Having you as backup would make things a whole lot easier.”

Brocklesby's mouth turned up at the corner and he shook his head, then winced as the ambulance bounced over a pot hole in the road. “You put your neck on the line for me today. If I had got the wrong judge then I think you would be right, I'd swing for sure. So I guess I owe you at least a year or two, see how things work out.”
Reynolds extended his hand, shaking Sam's. “Welcome aboard!”

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