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Halloween Fantasy (part 65)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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Once in the canteen, Bodil felt she was more helping the servers clean up than getting some breakfast. In the end she had a plate with a few bacon scraps, a single sausage and a few limp mushrooms. However, put between two slices of bread with plenty of ketchup the sad remnants made a passable sandwich. Bodil was washing this down with lukewarm coffee when she spotted a relieved looking Cybil bearing down on her through the untidy tables.

“Professor Hill. I’ve been looking everywhere.” Cybil came to a halt. “You’re late. We’ve been waiting for you.”

Bodil swallowed her coffee and put down her cup.

“Late? Late for what? I’ve only just got up.”

“The meeting? Victor? He told everyone last night?”

Cybil’s words nudged a vague memory.

“Oh, the meeting.” Bodil winced as she got to her feet. “Yes. I must have forgotten, I was so tired last night.”

The look the young student gave Bodil suggested that she knew exactly how ‘tired’ the professor was last night.

The meeting was attended by Victor, Bodil, Dr Awolowo, his assistant Amy and Bodil’s assistant Cybil. Ellie, Bodil noticed as she slid into her seat, was absent. Bodil cleared her throat and offered her apologies.

Victor smiled at her.

“Thank you professor Hill. After what happened yesterday I’m sure nobody begrudges you your rest.” There was a murmur of sympathy from around the table. “Okay then. To business. As you can see Miss Ellie isn’t with us this morning. After spending most of the night at the medical facility with Gregor, she has now left the base to attend to various matters, not least of which is a visit with Mr Hobbes’ relatives.”

Victor paused for a respectful moment before going on.

“Professor Hill. Ellie has left you in charge of further investigations until she gets back, hopefully in the few days. She did tell me before she left that our priority as a team now is to discover the meaning and locations of the abbreviations discovered in the underground power plant found yesterday.”

Victor sat down and all eyes turned to Professor Hill.

Bodil stood up and took a moment to organise her notes. It wasn’t the first time she had found herself taking over an expedition at short notice, but she was damned if she was going to let everyone see how surprised she was that Ellie had chosen her to do so.

Quickly, she recapped the relevant parts of yesterday’s excursion, concentrating on the evidence of the previous expedition seventy years ago. She explained in detail about the secret power plant at the long disused station and about the modifications that had been made to it. At that point in her narrative a thought struck her and she turned to Victor.

“It’s my understanding that the exposed nuclear material presents an immediate risk to everyone involved in the London dig. What’s being done about that?”

Victor consulted his notebook, flicking through screens until he found Ellie’s report to the administration. He read ahead for a few lines, his voice catching up.

“An emergency request has been sent to the authorities for assistance in dealing with the decaying free electron strippers. A team from the government nuclear research programme is expected in the next few days to deal with it. In the meantime the administration here is working on an evacuation plan.” He looked up. “Just in case.”

There were worried glances exchanged around the table. Bodil tapped the table with her stylus, bringing everyone’s attention back to her.

“I’ll arrange for us to be kept abreast of the situation. However, it is my understanding that we could be talking months, possibly years before any need for an evacuation arises.” She looked at each of her colleagues individually. “Any questions?”

Whatever their private thoughts might have been, the doctor and the two assistants shook their heads. Bodil went back to her notes.

“Good. Now then. We found that whoever rigged the power plant set up distribution routes to two unknown destinations; ‘W Cst’ and ‘F’. Now ‘F’ seems to be the more important of the two because it is currently live and drawing a great many amps.” Bodil looked around the table again in the very faint hope that someone may know what the initials meant. The blank looks suggested not. “I see. Well, not that it may be in the least bit relevant, but the cables left the plant along the tunnels running north for W Cst and south for F. We might as well work on that premise as a starting point. So, suggestions anyone?”

Victor was the first one to break the silence.

“Assuming that this power cable isn’t underground all the way to its destination then if cable ‘F’ is drawing a large amount of power, it may show up on aircraft reconnaissance imagery.”

Bodil turned to him.

“Can you follow up on that? I mean, who has access to that sort of…?” Then the obvious struck her. “Never mind. I’ll just leave it with you, shall I?”

Victor smirked, just a little, but enough to annoy Bodil. For just a moment she had forgotten who they were working for. However, just then Bodil’s attention was taken by Dr Awolowo raising his hand.

“Excuse me professor. I do believe I may have a possible identity for your ‘W Cst’.”

Dr Awolowo turned his notebook around so that everyone could see the image that filled the screen.

Comments

Hyle Troy's picture

(( munch munch.. *checks maps*

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers



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