The classic team role-playing game of conspiracy and strangeness

Jungle All The Way
Chapter 12

9.25 pm / 5.25 pm, Tuesday 26th May 1998

Diana regards Fabry for a moment, wondering if he has been drugged or something. It looks more like mental breakdown than anything else. Then she turns back to Sioux, identifying her as the leader of the group. 'You're planning some sort of attack on Demeter, I assume?'

'Maybe,' says Sioux, cocking her head to one side. 'And maybe not. In any case it is none of your concern.'

'Perhaps you don't realize it,' says Diana, 'but Demeter's been taken over by a lunatic called Paul Elliot, who intends to launch that probe with over 2000 grams of carbon black loaded inside.' She knows that revealing this may be breaching SITU's security, but what other way is there of getting into the base? 'You're the eco-warriors, so you tell me - what effect do you think that amount of carbon black being dispersed in the atmosphere would have on the environment?'

A gasp runs around the Green Dawn Brigade activists, at varying speeds depending on the swiftness of each's grasp of English.

'She is lying!' says Sioux sharply, looking annoyedly at them. 'Do not listen!'

Diana loses her temper at this - a worrying sight, to those who know her. 'What possible reason could I have for that?' she demands icily, her hands balling into fists.

Sioux attempts to hold her gaze, chin uptilted, but cannot manage it.

Diana indicates Charlie Figgis with a nod. 'How do you think he got that wound in his leg?' She flicks a strand of wet hair from her face and continues in the same cold tone. 'You and your friends here -' she jerks her thumb at the other activists '- may think you're going to save the world, but you have no idea of what you're dealing with.'

'And you do, I suppose?' asks Sioux weakly.

Diana puts her hands on her hips. 'If you're not going to help us, then get out of the way.'

There is a tense moment before Spider rises clumsily to his feet. 'I think we should help you! We all want the same things, don't we?'

Sioux opens her mouth to snap at him, Diana still holding her gaze, then shuts it again. Finally she says 'Well, I suppose that necessity must make strange bedfellows, as you English say. We can work together on this, if you will give us what we want.'

'I think we can manage that,' puts in Nora smoothly, with relief.

Diana gives Sioux the barest hint of a smile, feeling her shoulders relax from their stiff posture.

There is a knock at the door. 'Room service?'

'I didn't order anything,' says Iain. 'Did any of you?'

Greg looks at Iain. 'Stall a minute,' he whispers at once. 'Then open the door very carefully.'

Iain moves quietly over to the bathroom. 'Just a second!' He grabs a towel from the bathroom and a can of deodorant.

'Oh, alright, he is a damned Ninja!' mutters Ella to herself.

Maddy, during the previous discussion, has been amending her smiley face so that it looks like this:

She says briskly 'Knife, please, Ella. The Wicca thingy.'

Ella hands over what is now her athame, and Maddy cuts her left palm ('Ow!'), smearing blood across the window in a lobed spiral vaguely resembling Lorenz's strange attractor, that staple of chaos entities the world over.

There is another knock.

'Just a minute!' says Iain tensely, getting himself into position by the door.

Greg has seized up the heavy eiderdown, and is also poised by the door.

Ella darts into the bathroom and comes out with a can of hairspray - she looks rather puzzledly from it to Iain's close-cropped skull and back, then shrugs, pulling out a cigarette lighter from her belt.

'Matsuo, Pratsuo, Twatsuo... TAKE THATSUO!!' Maddy's voice rises to a shriek as she dashes the remains of her bottle of Absolut against the window, smashing both the bottle and the pane of glass.

Cold air whips into the room, and bloody fragments of glass shower all about. Maddy darts under the bed, still clutching the neck of the broken bottle.

Iain takes hold of the door handle, then jerks it open, pulling it back to cover himself.

'Whatever happens,' says Nora, as she tends Charlie's wound, 'the probe isn't going to be launched, is it? ESA'll take it apart. So your prime objective will be met. It wouldn't surprise me if they closed down the whole project, given the catalogue of disaster it's suffered. But this is an opportunity for you of the Brigade to get some good PR, right? If you can help us retake the base and rescue those people...'

'Good point,' says Sioux cheerily, squatting beside her. She seems to have adjusted quickly to the new scheme of things. 'We could use some nice publicity.'

Nora nods, remembering that the last time the Green Dawn Brigade were in the news was when they crashed a train in Germany, killing several people. Whoever has been masterminding their public profile so far has not done much of a job of it. Despite Sioux's apparent friendliness, though, she is glad that she has recovered Charlie's handgun from inside his jacket and concealed it in her own clothing. 'How much do you know about what happened at the base?'

'Not a great deal, only what we have seen. We - myself and Spider - escaped from Kourou to come back here. And we and the others found Comrade Gustave wandering in the jungle. His mind is very weak, poor fellow. I think that all of this - being dismissed from his precious project, and so on - realizing that he has been serving the polluters all these years - has been a little too much for him. He will be fine now he is with us, though.'

Nora, eyeing Fabry warily as he weaves a chain out of small blue flowers, is not so sure.

'Anyway,' continues Sioux, 'it seems this man Elliot is working for a secret power. He infiltrated the base posing as a journalist, would you believe? As though anyone would believe such a stupid story. Whenever someone says they are a journalist, you can bet they have a secret agenda.' She looks at Nora appraisingly, but Nora merely smiles innocently. 'And he was heavily armed. We heard a number of shots: I do not know how many people may have been injured. We think he took the place at night, rounding the staff up one by one.'

'Well, if Fabry knows a secret way in, we should be able to take care of Elliot,' says Nora confidently.

'How?' asks Sioux curiously. 'We have no firearms ourselves - only machetes. It will be dangerous.'

'You leave him to me,' says Nora.

There is a moment of almost unbearable tension, then the elderly chambermaid, glancing nervously from one poised investigator to the next, pushes her trolley into the room.

Then she notices the broken window. 'My goodness! Has there been an accident?'

'Er, nothing important,' says Iain. 'No need for concern.'

'Has someone cut themselves?' She bends to tidy the broken glass together into a heap - then freezes, seeing Maddy's impish face peeping out from under the bed, and straightens up slowly. 'I shall send up the handyman to mend the window, anyway, shall I?'

'Really, it's not important,' says Iain, ushering her towards the door. 'Here -' he presses a wad of kronor into her hand '- you should just be about your business, please.'

'Very well, if you say so, sir,' says the chambermaid, pocketing the cash. 'Here is your food, anyway. Your foreign friend said you would be hungry.' She turns back to the neglected trolley and starts to lift the silver cover.

'Wait! -' cries Greg, starting forward, but he is too late.

Under the cover is a single large plate, and coiled in the middle of it is a beautiful origami Oriental dragon, made of gold and green paper, its head arched and its tongue lolling.

In the breeze from the window it stirs, unfolding slightly like a watchspring, its head rising and nodding, looking about the room. It looks as though it will be about four feet long when uncoiled.

'How beautiful!' says the chambermaid in surprise. 'But what happened to the sandwiches?'

As if in answer the paper dragon's neck straightens, and it seems to flex. Then there is a shimmering blur and the noise of a distant gong. With a transition that is too swift and glittering to perceive clearly, the dragon's scales take on a sheen, its eyes open and glow, its tongue lashes and it rises up into the air - no paper model now, but what appears to be a live, flying reptile.

It turns towards Greg, still holding the eiderdown, opens its mouth wide and emits a jet of yellow-red fire, like a flamethrower.

The eiderdown catches instantly, and the room is at once filled with the disgusting smell of burning feathers.

The chambermaid shrieks, and dives under the bed alongside Maddy.

Ella presses the button on the can of hairspray, and with shaking hands lights the jet. This produces an impressive roaring jet of flame, but it does not seem to discommode the dragon at all.

Iain, keeping his body behind the door, flaps at the dragon with his towel, batting it towards the wall, but it dextrously writhes aside from the collision.

Then there is a crash from the window. The remains of the glass falls into the room, and poised in the frame, silhouetted against the reflected streetlight, is the figure of Yatsuo Shimaya.

By dark the rain has eased off to mere English torrential downpour levels, and the lights of Demeter can clearly be seen as the small group - Nora, Alan, Diana, Sioux, Spider, Fabry, and one of the other Green Dawners (the last has stayed with Charlie at the carbet, at Diana's insistence) - approaches it. Instead of heading directly towards the base itself, though, Fabry, the chain of blue flowers woven though his wild hair, a gleam in his eye, leads them to one side. There, underneath the bole of a great mahogany tree, is a hatchway.

Spider lifts the cover: the sound of rushing water drifts up.

Nora looks dubiously at the hole. 'What's this?'

'The septic tank,' explains Sioux. Nora looks at her, and she shrugs. 'At least with all this rain it will be fairly clean.'

Shimaya springs down like a cat into the room, landing where Maddy's broken glass would have been had the chambermaid not swept it away. He makes a swift motion towards his belt, and suddenly he is holding a glittering naked sword - a katana. He gestures towards Iain.

Greg has been wondering why the room sprinkler has not come on in response to the clouds of foul black smoke emanating from the eiderdown. Shimaya must have disabled the system - perhaps because the dragon would be vulnerable to water? He darts out into the corridor and snatches up a red fire extinguisher.

Iain looks alarmedly around for something to use as a sword - but can only see his trusty mop handle, which will not last long at all against a swordsman. He readies it anyway, determined to sell himself dearly.

Ella turns the last of the jet of flaming hairspray onto Shimaya, singeing the side of his hood before he strikes out backhanded, knocking the can from her grasp. The dragon swoops towards her, and she snatches up her ice axe and lashes at it, catching it amidships. It yowls, rather like a cat, and sideslips downwards.

Ella, grimacing in pain from the jet of dragon breath that licked up her arm, menaces the dragon, with the ice axe readied.

Shimaya aims an overhead strike, which Iain deflects with the mop handle - at the cost of about a foot of its length. He can see that the other is favouring his injured shoulder, but there is no opportunity for a strike at it.

Greg reappears with the extinguisher, and looses it at the dragon. At once the creature disappears beneath a mass of white foam, spluttering and writhing pathetically.

Shimaya places a careful blow, and cuts Iain's mop handle into two useless six-inch pieces. His eyes narrow, and he raises the sword again, pressing Iain towards the corner by the bed.

Ella dives forward as the sword comes down, taking the blow on her ice axe. There is a dreadful screech of tortured metal, and a long sliver of paint is removed from the axe, right up as far as the head.

From under the bed, Maddy stabs out with the neck of the broken bottle, catching Shimaya in the ankle. He glances downwards, frowning, shaking his head slowly as though confused, his eyes slightly crossed.

Iain seizes his opportunity to move forward and, using the short length of wood to weight his fist, punches Shimaya squarely on the broken collarbone.

As Shimaya recoils in pain, toppling over the edge of the bed, Greg squirts him with the fire extinguisher.

Iain follows up with a kick to the midriff, and with a splutter the hapless Shimaya succumbs.

Sioux, in the lead, carefully lifts the exit manhole cover up at one edge above her head, and peers out into the darkness of the vehicle compound. They have passed underneath a number of apertures leading from the living and working quarters, most, fortunately, well washed by rain, but this is the only one large enough to allow egress.

The vehicle compound is deserted but for two jeeps, and one by one the sodden and smelly group emerge to huddle between them. 'Right then,' says Nora briskly. 'First priority is to get to the radio room. Why don't you Green Dawners create a distraction - break some windows over in the labs, or something? But keep well under cover. We don't want any more injuries.'

Sioux seems happy to accept the SITU agents' authority, now that the time for action is here. She is distinctly nervous.

One by one, Sioux, Spider, Fabry and the other two sneak out of the compound, around towards the back of the labs, pressed against the wall, scurrying like rats. They have not got halfway, though, before Fabry breaks rank and charges out into the middle of the camp, bellowing in French 'I am here! Gustave returns, my little children! All will be well again!'

At once a searchlight snaps onto him, and there is a swift burst of fire. Fabry, though, nimbly leaps out of the beam and continues to shout and caper.

'Bugger!' mutters Nora. 'Come on!'

She, Diana and Alan dart out of the opposite side of the compound and rush towards the administrative block.

There is a smash of glass from the labs, and the gunfire - which seems to be emerging from the computer room - is directed that way.

Nora tries the handle of the radio room, to find it locked. Gritting her teeth, she stands up - now silhouetted in the reflected light - and, spinning on one foot, kicks it smartly next to the catch.

The door cracks and bursts open, banging on its hinges.

At once there is the smash of glass as the gunfire is turned in Nora's direction, but she is able to fling herself into the room safely. Diana and Alan join her, crawling on their bellies: Paul Elliot, if it is he, is trying to cover three different areas and is firing extremely wildly.

Hardly daring to breathe, Nora switches on the PA microphone - all over the compound, speakers crackle into life - and releases the catch on the musical-box.

The eerie, unearthly tones of Krillikhesh's music fill the night air.

The gunfire stutters, and stops.

'I propose that his fingers and toes be smashed, and his knees and elbows and the soles of his feet have the top layers of flesh scraped away - that should make it painful and difficult, if not impossible, for him to so much as travel under his own power, let alone try to kill us,' says Greg as the four agents surround the prone figure of Shimaya.

Ella stares at him in horror. 'No! That's revolting!'

'I don't like it either,' says Greg, 'but we can't afford to lose him again - or take the chance he might attack us again. Perhaps magical means might be effective?'

'I could try to bind him,' says Ella reluctantly.

Iain, who has been talking to Andre Swahn on the phone, rejoins the others. 'Swahn's going to come over himself, with some of the heavy mob,' he says. 'Charlie Harper types. We're to hold Shimaya here for the next few hours.'

'What about the hotel people?' wonders Ella. 'And the police?'

'My man Kriek's dealing with them,' says Greg confidently. The private investigator had done little more than raise his eyebrows slightly when he arrived on the scene, and it seems that a large wodge of cash is having the desired effect on the hotel management.

Ella embarks upon a ritual to bind Shimaya to the spot, using an assortment of everyday household ingredients such as water, salt, a candle and the remains of her silk rope, together with her athame.

'So this Krillikhesh guy's, like, Kris Kringle - who's Santa Claus, yeah?' muses Maddy. 'Wow! I knew he was real! I wonder what he was trying to do with the weather?'

'I guess Nora, Diana and Alan are finding that out,' says Iain.

'I hope they're, y'know, cool,' says Maddy worriedly. 'I don't trust Nora... she was going to work for that Paul Elliot guy, even before we knew if he was good or bad or what.'

'What?' exclaims Greg.

'It's true,' says Ella, rising from her completed ritual. 'I saw some correspondence they've been having - she was looking for a job on his magazine.

'Well, let's not judge too hastily,' says Greg anxiously. 'She may have been planning to infiltrate them on SITU's behalf.'

'Here we are...' mutters Alan under his breath. 'B - L - alt-0248 - D - A - X. That should do it!'

He hits Enter and leans back as the logon page fills the screen. Joubert, beside him, tuts appreciatively. He is pale and bandaged: Elliot shot him in the neck when he tried to resist the takeover. Fortunately, no-one else was seriously injured, the Demeter staff in the main succumbing rather meekly to their fate, in the face of a gun-waving lunatic.

'This is his diary, all right,' says Nora with satisfaction.

'Good thing he didn't write it in Norwegian,' says Alan.

"My dear Blødax,

"Here I will write to you all of my doings in this new posting at Project Demeter. Yes, I know you are dead, but you were always my best friend, and to who else can I speak my secrets? Dogs do not make judgements - they love their masters good or bad. I doubt if my new leader Gustave Fabry would take such a charitable view. Yet he knows nothing, really, of what I propose to do: he might have been a good man once, but now he is a slave to duty. Nothing wrong with that, of course, I too am a slave to duty, but mine is a higher duty - so I have been assured. It was like waking up from a long sleep, Blødax, do you remember what that is like? As though all these years, since my childhood, I had been only half conscious. What an honour, that I was the only one of we scouts to have the truth revealed to him consciously. Of we Einherjar, I should say, for now I know the true name: our Master told me.

"All makes sense now: our success and influence: our continued friendship: we are all in positions to be able to help each other in response to different circumstances, Blødax, like a pack of wild dogs - all following the leader, all hunting and fighting for each other. Although I hope that we will not have to fight. Erik Solness might be good at that, but not me. No, my skills are here at the computer, and with the help of Micke's software I am now placed where I can do the best for my master and for my brother Einherjar."

The ghostly light of the screen illuminates everyone's faces as they peer to read. 'That's the first entry,' says Alan. 'Let's see... boring, boring... lots of stuff about being homesick... here's a good bit.'

"You would be surprised at some of the people who are working here with me, Blødax. Or perhaps you would not. Dogs can tell these things by smell, I have been told. My deputy, Jacqueline Murdoch, is a good engineer, but she lacks vision. It will be very easy to fool her. She will construct the probe's pieces and not even realize that there is a space, I should think. She is what my old scoutmaster Mr Larsson would call a 'lost soul', a person seeking satisfaction but not knowing for what it is she looks. If I were not serving my duty I would help her.

"Erika Mahringer is clever. I will have to watch out for her. Last night at dinner we were speaking of weather, and she mentioned the Fimbulwinter. I laughed and turned the remark away, but her sharp eyes were on me. I do not think she is with our enemies, but even so her suspicions must not be encouraged.

"Catherine Maxwell, her assistant, is a pale, weak thing. I do not think I will have much contact with her. My main problem will be Bernard Joubert, the system administrator. He is a capable man, and my duty leads me into direct conflict with him. I will have to be careful. New instructions received this noon, and all looks smooth - Alf will send the carbon black for the first trial to me here, and no-one else will know.

"Fabry is the 'fall guy' I think they say, for this trial. When the carbon black is released into the atmosphere, he will be blamed, because of his old links with the Green Dawn Brigade, I have been told. I feel sorry for him - but the ignominy he will suffer will be only brief. By this time next year we will have built and launched the missile, and it will be Fimbulwinter - assuming this trial is a success. Ten tons of carbon black will be enough to start it, to bring the snow and ice back, to feed the glaciers so that they can once again crawl across the landscape like giant hungry worms, scraping valleys for themselves.

"Many people will die, of course. But the brave and strong, the best of humanity, will survive, thanks to our master's gifts. A hardy race of warriors and wise folk. We will hunt the seal as our ancestors did. And our Master will rule us all, as he should, his treacherous brothers and sisters crushed under the ice and cold."

'Shit,' says Nora, her face pale. 'He was planning to plunge the whole world into permanent winter. This Demeter thing was just a trial of the technology, it sounds like.'

'At first I thought the Voice seemed benign,' says Diana, 'but controlling people through musical-box-induced trances is uncomfortably like the sleep-brainwashing in Huxley's Brave New World, isn't it? Maybe we are accidentally helping the Conspiracy here, but your enemy's enemy isn't necessarily your friend, is it?'

'This is the end bit now,' says Alan. 'Here...'

"I am so very tired, Blødax, but my work here will soon be over. Mahringer has gone away now, which made life a little easier. But Joubert caught me on the computer - I was careless. I did not deserve my Master's trust. Fortunately he had no idea what I was doing. Joubert thought I was trying to read his mail, and that was enough to make him threaten to kill me. But Joubert is all talk, I have no fear of him. As long as our enemies do not learn, I will be safe here in the jungle.

"It is so hot and sticky here, and that makes the long hours all the more difficult. It is a dog's life - I am working like a dog - you must know what I mean, Blødax. I miss the snow and cold of home. My only contact with Norway is my dear Rubbish Sweets, which the factory ships directly to me every month - each taste is a taste of home. Thank goodness, a new shipment of them arrived this afternoon. I think I will eat one now..."

'That's where the last entry ends,' says Alan sombrely.

The time until Andrew Swahn's arrival passes very quickly, all the operatives tense and nervous. Greg and Ella seem to be edging around each other particularly awkwardly: at one point they go off to have a discreet conversation.

Maddy has got hold of a stuffed Babar the Elephant toy, and propping him up, kneels before him, stuffing her face with fruit. 'This is Lord Ganesh,' she explains. 'He's, like, my favouritest god - except maybe Cthulhu, and they've both got tentacly bits.'

Shimaya broods silently at everyone: blindfolded, gagged and trussed as he is, he has little other option.

Andre Swahn is much smaller than Greg had expected, from his voice: only a little over five feet tall, and rather tubby. He is around forty, wears gold-rimmed glasses and an ill-fitting suit, and has his brownish hair carefully combed into a side parting. His mouth is narrow and firm, and his eyes are quick. He has an air of considerable authority about him, and Greg recognizes a fellow leader.

'Good work, team,' says Swahn crisply, surveying the scene. 'Now let's make sure poor Celine didn't die in vain, eh? - take this bastard for everything he's got.'

'Can I suggest,' says Greg somewhat diffidently, 'that we four ought to be present for the interrogation? We were the group that SITU sent in for the kill here, the most effective available force. If we are to go up against such people in the future, we need to know more - a good deal more - about what we're facing.'

'Good point. You've all put a lot into this, and you deserve to know the facts,' says Swahn. Although his bearing is erect and his manner brisk, Greg can tell that he is very tired.

'Not to mention the fact that Shimaya's superiors may wind up expecting us to have such information,' says Greg. 'That would make us bigger targets, and make our possession of that knowledge important to our ability to foresee what they might do, and hence protect ourselves to some degree from their threat.'

Swahn smiles, tight-lipped. 'You're not wrong, I'm afraid. You four are among our most experienced field operatives now. I'm afraid that you must all consider yourselves to be at some risk. We'll do everything we can to protect you, of course - and the remaining scouts - but there's nothing that can compare with taking precautions yourselves.' He glances round again, and places a chair in front of Shimaya. 'Right then, let's get to work.'

The weather has cleared, but there is an atmosphere of gloom over the base as the SITU team pack their goods away into the spare Landrover. ESA people from Kourou are swarming over everything, and the Demeter staff seem shell-shocked. None of them have a very clear idea of what has been happening - the story being presented is that Elliot was overcome with jungle fever. Responsibility for the carbon black in the probe seems to have settled on the shoulders of Fabry, who is in no state to deny it.

'How are we going to get Elliot out and back to SITU?' Nora asks into her phone.

'Don't worry about that,' says the crackly voice of Andre Swahn. 'We'll snatch him at Cayenne: these ESA types aren't very high security.'

Diana draws Catherine Maxwell aside, a sympathetic arm around her shoulder. 'I don't think you'll have any more trouble with Joubert now. We've checked out about Knut's death, and I don't think Joubert had anything to do with it. Anyway, you'll all be going home soon.'

'Yes, back to Nottingham,' says Catherine. She tries a faint smile. 'It'll probably seem a bit dull after this...'

'Let's hope so,' agrees Diana.

The End

From: Andre Swahn, Briefing / 99

To: Agents Diana Knight, Madeleine Hook, Senator Gregory Wentworth, Nora McShane, Ellen Wallace, Iain Blayne; Operative Alan Margeson

Subject: Mysterious death of Knut Johannesen - Debrief

Code: D/99/12/5A

Attachments: Summary testimony of Yatsuo Shimaya

Please read the Illumination debriefing which follows, and the testimony of Shimaya, before reading this document.

With this investigation we have struck our greatest blow yet against the Ylid conspiracy, with the capture of one of their agents. It is deeply regrettable that we lost a valued member of our own people on the way, but we must all face the realization that this is a dangerous business. Celine Coombes knew the risks involved and knew the stakes: she judged that the personal danger she placed herself in was as nothing compared the danger all of humanity faces from the Ylid menace.

The capture of Paul Elliot is also a valuable coup: although he has little more to tell us that what the operative team ha already found out, he allows us to study the control techniques used by Krillikhesh, and he has provided useful information about Crab magazine.

Revelation of divisions among the Ylids is also greatly valuable: we must seek to exploit them in future operations.

Elliot and Shimaya are now both held in secure establishments.

The Green Dawn Brigade may prove useful allies, as we now have friendly contacts with them: they were given the credit for rescuing the Demeter staff and thwarting the carbon black probe, which has gone some way to restoring their international image. The SITU operatives involved were not mentioned in any publicity given to the incident.

Erika Mahringer: exhaustive investigation has failed to produce any evidence that her death was anything other than accident. Paul Elliot's account of lights and noises witnessed appears to have been entirely fanciful. Of course, this does not rule out the possibility that she was killed by Krillkhesh - presumably out of petty vengefulness - but we have no reason to believe that this was the case.

Project Demeter: was closed down, and the staff allocated to other projects or employment. Gustave Fabry, who had already been dismissed from his post, has been hospitalized, in Rheims: his mental state is not suited to remaining in the community.

Since the failure of the probe, Krillikhesh has not attempted to contact any of the scouts again. It is hoped that the conditioning they have received from him can be removed.

What SITU has learned from Yatsuo Shimaya: testimony and analysis. This document classified Illumination Level 3 ad above only.

Shimaya was recruited as an agent by Yashimoto-san, whom he originally believed to be a crimelord. Yashimoto created an identity for him as a Mitsubishi salaryman: this corporation, and, Shimaya believes, most of Japan's other large enterprises, is under Yashimoto's indirect control.

Shimaya was admitted to a higher level of understanding of his master's nature when he had proved his loyalty and dedication. He confirms that the Ylid is immensely long-lived and does not age, and that he is superhumanly handsome, strong and quick, with seemingly limitless psychic / magical powers, some of which he is able to temporarily confer on his agents - such as the origami dragon.

Shimaya was briefed to kill all the scouts one by one, with slight delays. It is his belief that Yashimoto was trying to scare Krillikhesh away from completing his scheme - the scheme we know to be Fimbulwinter. It seems to us unlikely that this plan would have succeeded. Interestingly, Shimaya did not know that Paul Elliot was also an Einherjar, so his efforts were doomed to failure. Presumably his investigations in Lillehammer were not so thorough as those of our own operatives.

Shimaya believes that Yashimoto was acting on behalf of a group of his 'brothers and sisters' - other Ylids. Presumably they had decided that Krillikhesh - a 'rogue' Ylid? - was a threat to their plans and had to be dealt with.

Now that Krillkhesh's plan has been foiled by the actions of SITU operatives, it seems unlikely that the remaining scouts are under direct and immediate threat, but we must still regard them as exposed. Out Norwegian bureau will be taking measures to ensure their safety.

In response to Operative Wentworth's question, Shimaya revealed that he had obtained descriptions of SITU operatives from staff at the hospital and elsewhere. He claims not to have had time to pass this information back to his superiors. He further claims that he had no knowledge of SITU's existence prior to his coming across the traces of the operative team's own investigations in Lillehammer.

From: Alistair Thwaite, Debrief/84

To: Agents Diana Knight, Madeleine Hook, Senator Gregory Wentworth, Nora McShane, Ellen Wallace, Iain Blayne

Subject: Mysterious death of Knut Johannesen - Debrief

Code: D/84/12/5A

Dear Operatives,

Congratulations on successfully having completed your second investigation with SITU! As a mark of the respect and trust we place in you, you are now to be admitted to Illumination Level 3 and the rank of Executive. As stated previously, the information herein is highly secret and must on no account be communicated with those of lower security clearance.

You already know that SITU exists to thwart an ancient, evil conspiracy against all of humanity. This is not the whole story, though. The members of the conspiracy, known as Ylids, are independent persons or beings each with their own geographical area and sphere of operation. We estimate there to be no more than 40 or so of them worldwide. Individual Ylids appear to be extremely long-lived - they may be functionally immortal. They are also extremely powerful, both temporally and 'magically' / 'psychically'. An Ylid is an extraordinarily dangerous adversary. Fortunately, although they are in conspiracy together, they appear never to be encountered other than individually. The being known as Krillikhesh is an Ylid; as is the being known as The Master whom four of you encountered in Germany; as is the figure behind the Black Madonna cult, the instigator of the crystal skulls, whose work two of you witnessed in Mexico. Each Ylid seems to have a number of human agents. In Krillikhesh's case we are only aware of the scouts, the Einherjar as his unwitting agents. It seems that only Knut Johannesen was permitted conscious understanding of his master's horrific plans. Yatsuo Shimaya is an agent of another Ylid, known to us only as Yashimoto-san, whom we believe from his testimony to be one of an organized group of Ylids working towards a common end. What that end is, we do not yet know, but we can only surmise that it has to do with the eventual enslavement of all humanity under the Ylid yoke.

In general, low-level SITU investigations aim to identify the areas of influence of Ylids, to establish their locations, and to ascertain which unexplained phenomena are attributable to them and which not. For example, the investigations of the Heidelberg identity crisis and the Cabezas de Muerte documentary were not initially thought to involve Ylid activity, but you dealt with it admirably when it became apparent.

Now that you are more highly Illuminated you can be expected to be working more closely on investigations we believe central to the Ylid scheme, and the targeting of particular Ylids and their agents.

Thank you again!

Alistair Thwaite


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