The first few soldiersMature

A cold February day in Northampton, central England, marked the start of one woman’s journey. A small lime car, stylish but compact drove down a long countryside road passing a few suburban areas and old farm houses before it came to one long stretch under clear blue sky. The early spring months fostered young shoots and flowers that opened along the verges lining the roads. The car moved steadily along as a woman drove to an address marked on a fax that lay folded up beside an atlas on the passenger’s seat. Long buoyant brown hair was tied back behind her head. She wore metropolitan casual clothing, well dressed for an interview, well the best she could afford at her current salary. Further along the road she came to a length of brick wall behind a pelt of thick ivy vines growing new leaves and a stretch of tall ash trees that swayed in the breeze.       

            The car slowed down at a junction that led to a gate in the wall. A small security building stood between one gate entering, and another leaving the premises though no one seemed to be on duty. In the calm of the countryside road she donned a scarf and brushed back her hair, absorbing what warmth she could from the cars heater before leaving to see if she could find a way in. She took her bag and the fax from the passenger seat and left into the chilled spring air.

            Approaching the gate she placed one hand against the bars and peered at the three stately homes at the end of a long drive. The furthest central home appeared to be the oldest, standing tall and proud its outer face had been remade several times since its first construction. The second building to the right of the drive was younger but still had some weathered age. The third to the left of the drive seemed much younger still, with less ivy climbing its walls and fewer scratches and wind worn surfaces.  

 “Can I help you young lady?” asked an old man sitting in the warmth and safety of the guard post over a tannoy.

            She jumped, startled by the sound of his voice, then looked through the glass at the old man who waved as he stood up and went to the door.

 “Hello,” she said politely, her voice a well spoken hybrid of French and English that soothed the ears, “I’m here to see Dr. Kennedy.”

 “What’s your name my pet?” he asked.

 “Morgan Leblanc.” She smiled, handing him the fax “He sent me this message.”

 “Oh,” he said with a impressed overtone, “You’re the newest recruit are you?”

 “Recruit?” she asked.                                    

 “I’m sure the good Dr. will explain all to you. He’ll be in the building at the far end; I’ll alert him for you so he can meet you at the door.”

 “Thank you,” she smiled, turning back to her car.

            The small vehicle drove steadily down the gravel driveway, passing a lengthy pool of clear water that stretched out across a lawn in front of the house, surrounded by the gravel drive that doubled back when it reached the eldest of the three buildings. Slender Lawson cypress stood around the pool as milestones to its length, neatly shaven into line the trees swayed at the tops with the breeze but still remained stalwart. The car passed the youngest of the three buildings where four students left carrying notes; they walked to their car beside the spot she picked to park. Morgan left the vehicle and looked over the vast estate. From the small car park in front of the eldest building she could see an open lake and pastures of land with a few walking paths and student groups working in the fields.

 “What kind of place is this?” she thought to herself, looking over her shoulder at the ruins of an old building under some tall and well aged trees.   

            Locking the car she sorted out her image before approaching the front door of the central building. With a confident knock of the wolf shaped bronze knocker she waited only a few moments before Dr. Kennedy appeared at the door way in front of her. He bore no smile just a firm nod of the head, “Morgan Leblanc, correct?”

 “Yes,” she smiled, holding out her hand.

 He took it and shook, only then smiling welcomingly and opening the door fully, “Please, come inside.”

            She walked into the warmth of the old mansion and took a look around. The décor was very suave and sophisticated, with images of the former lords and ladies of the house. The hall only continued for a short while between pedestals of artwork and vases, everything you’d expect to bring some character to an old English manor house.

 “The lounge is straight ahead, please take a seat and I will be right with you.” He smiled, showing her down the hallway.

 “Thank you,” she nodded, walking on ahead.

            Dr. Kennedy left to one of the side rooms while Morgan walked along the red carpet towards a large open room where two stairways followed the walls around to a walkway above that veered into the labyrinth of halls and rooms of the old house. Directly ahead the carpet led to more halls and a conservatory where sunlight shone through in a blaze. She could just about see a woman sitting in a chair reading a newspaper in the room. The woman glanced over her shoulder, the familiar face of Pandora Filipe; well, not familiar to Morgan of course. With a friendly smile she waved and turned back to her newspaper leaving Morgan to take a seat in a cream suite in front of a rather ornate fireplace that while lit kept her comfortable. She settled on the seats and looked her shoulder at another ring of seats that centred around a glass coffee table in front of a giant, slim wide screen television mounted against the wooden wall beneath the ascending stairway. Overwhelmed by all there was to see Morgan was surprised when Dr. Kennedy returned with a file.

 “Sorry for the delay, you arrived a little earlier than expected.” he smiled.

 She turned back, “I thought it wise to leave earlier as I didn’t know where I was going.”

 “Did you find this place alright?”

 “Yes I did,” she nodded with a cheerful smile, “Your directions were very - direct.”   

 “Ha, I’m glad. Shall we get straight to the point, I don’t want to waste either of our time. As you can see, I don’t have much left.”

            With that swift quip at his own age Morgan’s shoulders fell and she felt more comfortable to talk. With an agreeable nod Dr. Kennedy opened the file, quick to hide one of Gavin’s images of a car much like hers, with her inside bearing a collected expression and the same buoyant hair and pampered looks.

 “My name is Dr. Harold Kennedy. Should this interview all go as planned I’ll hope to become your employer. Do you know exactly why you’re here miss Leblanc?”

 “I read the application was for a ‘ambassador’ for you enterprise? Am I correct?”

 “That’s spot on,” he nodded, “My current business has expanded quite successfully with the help of my business partner and we’re looking to branch out and increase our force.”

 “Can I ask what you do here? The details supplied were quite, well vague.”

 “Ask away, I urge you to ask questions; especially when I give you a tour of the estate.”

 She nodded, “I’ll bare that in mind. Might I add this is a lovely home.”

 “It’s not actually my home, I live in the suburbs of London much like yourself. This is a sort of retreat for me and my recent project.”

 “Project?” she asked, “Something to do with your business?”

 “It runs parallel to my business. Both feed one another, I will explain more when we begin the tour.”

 “Very well, I didn’t mean to probe.”

 He smiled widely, “As I said, I do encourage your questions. Feel completely free.”

 “Well, do you mind telling me just what element you do work with? Industry, retail, agency?”

 “All of the above really,” he thought, “Broadly speaking that is. I and my business partner are branching out in numerous directions. I am a scientist by trade; I prefer to think of myself as one of those former gentlemen scientists of the past who dabbled in the unknown. Or of course like the philosophers of ancient Greece, milling over the workings of the world and what not.” He said with wide eyes.

 “Very broad. I could image there being a lot of money in it.”

 “A lot of money goes both ways in honesty. Since the death of my grandson however, I’ve been swayed to focus a lot more on pathology.”

 “Oh,” she fell silent, “I’m sorry to hear about that.”

 “It’s been a few years now.” He smiled, “I’ll admit I still don’t like to think about it, but I can say I’ve put it behind me.”

 “Good, good, we shouldn’t let these things get to us.” She nodded, “Less they hold us back.”

 “Well put Miss Leblanc.” He nodded.

 “Well, just a short interview first and I’ll give you a quick tour before you can meet a few people you’ll we working with.”

 “Of course,” she nodded.

 “What was your past experience?”

 “Well, I’ve worked as a secretary for a solicitor in London for a short while. I transferred from New York otherwise and worked briefly as a lawyer. But my real passion is in politics.”

 “Can I ask, quickly? You were born in France weren’t you?”

  “Yes,” she nodded, “But my father was an English man and my mother moved over here to be with him while I was young.”

 “Very well, are your parents still here now?”

 “…” she paused and glanced away.

            Dr. Kennedy moved one of the sheets to see a collage of images, one of a woman standing over two graves marked mum and dad.

 “They’re dead,” she sighed, “My mother died quit early in life, my father a few years ago.”

 “I’m sorry to hear of your losses.”

 “Well, its helped shape my logic and view of the world, It’s made me a stronger person.”

 “Very good, it’s nice to see people making the most of dire situations.”

 She nodded briskly before he continued, “One more brief question, what is it you want to gain in life?”

 “In life?” she asked, giving a questionable glance away and a frown of thought to the question.

. “Yes, any major objectives, personal or academic. Just a brief summary of your own personal statement really?”

 “Oh, I see. Well, naturally I want to make a difference in the world. Hopefully for the better – but I suppose we’ll all learn from my mistakes if I do something drastically wrong.” She laughed meekly, “Otherwise, I’m not sure. I’ve really wanted to visit Africa. I’m not sure what parts; I’d just like to do some charity work there.”

 “Haven’t you already been?” Dr. Kennedy asked, glancing over a quick foot note he made on her personal statement.

 “Yes, but that was some time ago.” She said, “A brief visit when I was in university studying. I took a year out to build up money and do some work in Africa with my brother.” 

 “Cíl Leblanc?” asked Dr. Kennedy.

 “…Yes.” She nodded, “How do you know?”

 “Well, naturally Miss Leblanc we had to do a background check of you before we admit you to this business.”

 “That’s fair.” She thought, “But where did you find that?”

 “We also found a few other bits of information, a bit on your friends, your family and so forth.”

 “How do you know these things?” she asked tilting her head, “Are you some sort of government board?”

 He slowly nodded his head, “We are. And we’re hoping you will join us?”

 Stuck for words she could only utter “What?” before he closed the file and rose from the seat, “Please come with me and I shall show you the estate.”

 With no further words she stood to follow him, “Are you going to tell me about your project and business?”

 “As I said, my business is rather broad. It would take some time to explain its intricacy. The project however is straight forwards. Follow me Miss Leblanc.”

            She followed him down one hallway to a door with a number pad and fingerprint locking mechanism.

 “What’s through here?” she asked.

 “A few old relics, bits I’ve picked up through my travels.”

 “Your travels?” she asked.

 “Yes, part of being a good scientist is witnessing what you’re researching.”

 “What are you researching into?” 

 “I’ve told you that already.” He said, unlocking the door, “A little of everything.”

 “Dr. Kennedy, please become a little less vague so we can see eye to eye.”

 “Where did your friendly nature go?” he asked, noting the more forceful tone in her voice.

 “I’m a little less compassionate when left confused.” She submitted.

 “You are a very direct person Miss Leblanc; perfect for these duties.”

 “And what will they be?” she asked, stopping at the top of a stairwell that led down one floor to a basement level.

 “If you don’t follow me you won’t know.” he said, holding out his hand.

            She took a step back.

 “Miss Leblanc. I’m offering you a very high paying job, the chance to travel across the world and also an ambassadorial job outside of my project.”

 “Explain this project?” she said, “Without sounding too crude Dr. Kennedy I have no intention of flowing you into a dark basement until I know what you’re going to do with me.” She said with a smug smile, leaning against the wall and crossing her arms.

 “Very well,” he sighed, “This sort of thing would much easier in my day when people were more trusting.” She cocked her head and smiled with a superior arrogance common place in the metropolitan world.

 “Would you like to take a seat?” he offered, showing her to the steps which she took, “Now, have you heard of the Army of 40 my dear?”

 “No,” she said bluntly.

 “Another secreted created at the end of the first world war. Spearheaded by the government at the time it looked into all forms of things scientific; biology, chemistry, physics, geography astrology and so forth. It was a way by which new weapons and tools were created to prevent or finish future wars but didn’t get far enough to help in the Second World War.”

 “How come I’ve not heard of this?”

 “How well do you know your history Miss Leblanc? Bare in mind English schools won’t always tell you every fact of the past.”  

 “Do go on, I can’t wait to here this story about the government’s former slipups.”

 “I’m sure,” he smiled, “the Army of 40 did a lot of research into the main sciences. They also looked at some less orthodox ‘sciences’.”

 “Unethical?” she asked.

 “No, no, they plaid by the books; a few things relating to ancient history, a few things most scientists would discourage or laugh off like the existence of ghosts. They didn’t focus too strongly on this stuff until we discovered ‘Surrealists’.”

 “Surrealists?” she asked, “That term sounds familiar.”

 “A hidden deviation of Christianity that came about in the mid to late seventeenth century. They weren’t very similar because of their interest in the occult. Because of this they were deemed heretics and persecuted for protecting witches they called ‘white witches’ as they weren’t acting with ill intent against people.”      

 “So they protected witches?” she asked.

 He nodded, “they also had a greater interest in the world of the occult. They looked at ancient civilizations, old cultures, and possible stems of these ideas and certain phenomenon that the army of 40 became deeply interested in.”

 “Phenomenon? Did they find anything?”

 “No, not long after the witch trials at Salem they were flushed out and killed. Well, most of them anyway, a few might live today.”

 “How do you know?”

 “Google,” he smiled.

 “A reliable source.” She laughed, “So what are you doing with this ‘army of 40’.”

 “Well, it is the project I mentioned. A few decades ago it was closed down, lacking in funds and governmental aid, so I and my business partner picked it back up, buying this estate for the future army to occupy and work.”

 “And what will they do?”

 “That’s something I will explain to you later on with the others – if you don’t mind.”

 “Very well,” she said, rising form her seat, “I feel sufficiently entertained now.”

  “Good, can I please show you some of the things I’ve collected now?”

 “If you must.” She agreed, walking at a meters distance behind him with an untrusting gaze that watched his every move for any suspicious signs.

            The basement corridors were vast. By the looks of things they stretched out further than the house, possibly connecting the other two buildings. They were filled with rooms, some completely empty, others with boxes, crates and scientific equipment newly moved in.

 “You waste no time in getting things ready.” thought Morgan.

 “I’m a little strapped for time at the moment.” He replied, opening a door to a small room packed with boxes and shelves of artefacts of ancient trinkets of the globe.

 “I was expecting something much grander than a small closet.”

 “Please dear woman, let me move in first. You remind me of my wife.”

 “I’m flattered.”

 He pulled out form a small box a scrap book he’d complied through his travels, “This is one of my greatest treasures.” He opened the book, the first few pages were of him at a younger age in foreign settings with numerous colleagues and friends.

 “You’re well travelled.” She thought.

 “I’ve been to every continent, and almost every country.” He said proudly.


 “My business takes me everywhere. I’m hoping this project will take me beyond.”

 “Beyond everywhere?” she asked, “Hm, well I’m not a great interpreter of words but I feel that is grammatically incorrect.”

 “Neither of us are writers my dear, I don’t think it’s our place to point out grammatical errors.”

 “Indeed,” she smiled, taking a closer look at some of the images.

 “I want to tell you now before I flip to the next page. None of these photos have been tampered. It was well before the time of digital photography and I’m a man of science, I don’t warp my results.”

 “Very well,” she said with a curious tone as he flipped to the next page, an image from a cold icy lake where they could see shadows in the water towards the surface. On the adjacent pages were images of sea creatures drawn and sketched, like large aquatic dinosaurs but from records of travellers long before this time.

 “Where is this?” she asked.

 “Canada, if I remember correctly. What do you think those blackened areas are?”

 “Shoals of fish?” she thought.

 “They’re larger than fish.”


 “They’re not Wales, this lake is cut off.”

 “Several lost monsters of Loch Ness.” She smiled.

 “That’s as close as we can get.” He agreed.

            The next image was of Dr. Kennedy’s wife sitting under a tree at a church in Cornwall. Above the churches steeple they could see a creature floating in the air, too far away to identify properly, it looked to have large legs and an almost human frame, though carried by wings. Its eyes were bright against its body, piercing enough to be seen in the poor quality of the image.

 “What is that?”

 “We couldn’t tell, but it was taken at the same church many people believed to have seen a creature flying around.”

 “It’s not a bird.” She said with confidence.

 “You don’t need to be an ornithologist to see that my dear.”  

 “Do you have any ideas?” she asked.

 “Several, but I’m not at liberty to tell you them right now. Not until I know I can trust you.”

 “Very well,” she nodded.

 “This treasure is my favourite toy.” He placed his album to one side and pulled out a sphere covered in hieroglyphs and beautiful Egyptian art with stars of different sizes made of gems and jewels that caught what light made it to the room from the hall.

 Morgan took it into her hands, it was the size and weight of a medicine ball, its insides shook as she lifted it, “What is this?”

 “We found it in a shrine between Egypt and Israel. It had been buried for some time, outdating a great deal of Egyptian dynasties.”

            Pressing in the top and base of the sphere the insides clicked and the ball flattened to become ovular. Morgan grasped it tight, keeping it pressed while she span it one way to comply with the mechanics. She turned it another way and there was another click. She found herself suddenly stuck for what to do next and let go allowing the sphere to pop into original shape again.

 “One step further than I managed.” He smiled, “It’s one of ancient Egypt’s wonderful puzzles.” 

 “What’s inside it?”

 “It eludes all scanning mechanisms we have.” He said, taking it from her hands.

 “You mean nothing can see through the shell?”

 “There are several shells. We just can’t tell what secrets this thing is hiding as it won’t open.”

 “Intriguing; something for the Army of 40 to uncover?”

 “Indeed,” he smiled.

 “So Dr. Kennedy, if my maths is correct there are another thirty eight of us upstairs?” 

 “No, there are far fewer at the moment. Hopefully there’s you, a man called Martian Rockwell, two woman named Pandora Filipe and Charlotte Bryce then eight others whose identities I cannot disclose. For their own safety of course.”

 “Charlotte Bryce?” she asked, “The writer?”

 “You’re heard of her?”

 “I enjoy her work.” She nodded.

 “Well if you’re a fan she loves to hear people’s comments. Please feel free go and talk to her. She’s very shy but friendly.”

 “Of course,” she smiled, humouring the old man, “So you’re not part of this army?”

 “No, I just prefer to orchestrate it and bring it together.”

 “Right,” she thought, “Well this is all very riveting stuff, but I am not an archaeologist, I’m a lawyer. I’m atheist, not a believer, and I cannot help you with your mysterious treasures.”

 “But you can help in other ways.” He said as she turned to the door, “You are a persuasive woman. Unrelenting and so forth due to your past, I have every confidence your skills are what I need to keep the Army safe.”

 She stood at the doorway and turned back to him, “This job will take you places you’ve never thought about. Some you’ve never dreamed of. I assure you.”

 “Like Egypt?” she asked, “Or Canada?”

 “As far as you’re willing to go.” He smiled, “Please, just humour me a little longer. I’ll walk to the others in the conservatory and we can go over a few key points about what it is I’m planning. Just promise not to run away in fear.”

 “If I was going to do that Dr. Kennedy I’d have done it long before now. I assure you.”

 “Very good.” He said; patting her shoulder leading her out of the room.  

            Lit by greyed sunlight tainted by welling clouds the conservatory was a lengthy room with bleached wooden and weaved seating fitted with cushions. Glass table’s, bookshelves and plants were added to enhance the luxury and calming sense. Morgan walked into the room and instantly spied out the infamous Charlotte Bryce, a tall narrow woman with fibrous brown hair and a long face, embodying a literal pencil-pusher. She sat hunched with wide eyes suspicious of eight people dressed in formal black suits, six men and two women who all remained standing silent and speechless. Other than Pandora, amusing herself with a crossword, there was a man tall and muscular in frame. His hair was shaved short as a military crew cut, his jaw was sharp and two piercing blue eyes stared up at the eight dressed in black while he amused himself by trying to get them to distract and break them from a statuesque style.   

 “Morgan Leblanc, meet Charlotte Bryce.” said Dr. Kennedy with a smug look as he introduced the two.

 Stuck for words Morgan stood quiet and looked down at Charlotte, who gave a brief smile and wave of the hand as she kept to herself, “And you didn’t believe me.” thought Dr. Kennedy as he rested his hand on Morgan’s shoulder.

 Morgan glanced at him with a sly smile brought on by star shock, “Hello.” She said to greet her literacy idle.

 “Morgan Lebanc – Martian Rockwell,” he added, introducing her to the buff he-man whom turned to eye up the new woman in the room.

 “They get prettier every time,” he winked.

 “Sorry?” she asked, reaching to take his hand.

 “No worries love.” He said, shaking her hand with a firm grasp.

 “And the miracle healer Pandora Filipe.” He added.

 “Miracle healer?” Morgan thought, turning back to Pandora who smiled warmly with a pleasant look about her, tapping the seat beside her to coax Morgan to sit. 

 “Right, you’ve all been briefed on why I wanted you to come here. I’ve shown you a few artefacts I’ve collected over the years and a few of the things I’ve seen and done. But there is still much, much more out there to be seen, and a great deal more to be done.”

 “And we’re the ones to do it?” thought Martian as he stretched out, “Sounds like a plan, give me a gun and I’m all yours.”

 “There is no place for violence in my eyes. At least not initially.” admitted Dr. Kennedy.

 “Then why call me?” he asked, “I’m an ex-gunman.”

 “You’re also a traitor to the crown.” added the good doctor “So I’m giving you a safe haven to hide in, so long as you can help me in return.”

 “What is it you want us to do?” asked Charlotte.

 “You four are the first of a greater number of people I want to gather together in order to help explore and understand our world greater.”

 “I am not an educated man,” Martian thought for a moment, “and I’m looking for something a little more interesting than science.”

 “Believe me,” he said, “This wont be as boring as you think. I’ve come across information in my travels, and I know you won’t believe me so I’ll just get to the point without dawdling. The spirit world.”

 Silence cameo over them all, “are you trying to convert us?” asked Charlotte, “I’m all for religion, but I’m not one to be converted.”

 “Not in the least, religion is separate from the spirit world in many ways though they both impact each other. In the same way, science also impacts the spirit world,”

 “Are you suggesting an even ground for science and religion?” asked Charlotte.

 “And here starts a holy war.” Sighed Pandora as she kept flipping through the paper.

 “I have a great deal of data, but not the man power nor understanding to interpret it.”

 “You’ve lost me,” thought Martian.

 “All you need know is that I need you four to help find these people and fund the Army of 40. For example, Pandora is one of my first clients. Her healing is a gift. There is little to explain it other than coincidence.”

 “Coincidence?” Charlotte asked.

 “There were thirty people on her ward; every one of them healed in good time when Nurse Filipe was present. Since she left that hospital the number of fatalities increased and rate of healing fell to the same level as the other wards. She’s done work in other hospitals around this country and the same thing happens. When she is around people she makes them better.”  

 “Have you got any proof?” asked Charlotte while Morgan mused this idea in her mind.

 “Ask the sisters of the wards or the doctors and the patients. Look at medical records we retrieved. We have a great deal of information here in the estate. We just need the right people to analyse it.”

 “She has healing hands.” Morgan thought, “A few people have that gift – allegedly anyway.”

 “Allegedly is the curtail word there. No one can prove these things without understanding of what’s behind it. This has happened numerous times in the past, people used to explain phenomenon like volcanoes and earthquakes through divine action until we explored the matters and developed some understanding.”

 “But like I said, I’m not a scientist.” stated Martian, “I couldn’t even guess how she heals people.”

 “You’re right. But you are a persuasive man -”

 “Why thank you.” He nodded.

 “- yourself and Miss Leblanc will be needed to help me locate and bring others with these traits so we can learn more.”

 “Have you got any type of theory built up about this?”

 “I do,” he nodded, “But again, you wouldn’t believe me.”

 “Tell me,” said Charlotte, “I’m a fiction writer after all.”

 “I believe some of these traits, and many others are to do with spirits.”

            Martian covered his mouth and turned away as he tried to hide some laughter.

 “What makes you believe that?” Morgan asked, her face seemed much more focused that Martians, as if she was at least giving Dr. Kennedy a chance to explain. 

 “Before his death, my grandson drew numerous images he said were brought to him by a woman. Some of these images are hauntingly similar to events that have happened, others summarise events or things that have happened in the far past that my grandson would not have known.”

 “How old was he?”

 “Eleven when he died. He died of an illness called ‘fire fever’ endemic in South America, specifically throughout the eastern Amazon.”

 “Why was he there?” Morgan asked, “An eleven year old boy in a rainforest?”

 “My daughter-in-laws sister took him there. I urged her to take him to these places so he might learn and grow with a balanced and broad mind. The lord knows there’s still too little of that nowadays.”

 “Are you a Christian?” Charlotte asked, deviating a little to learn more about their ‘employer’.

 “I was,” he nodded, “In 2004 my two sons and daughter-in-law were killed by the boxing-day tsunami that took so much more life. Now I’m a little lost.”

 “If your grandson did them when he was ill, how do you know he wasn’t delirious from the fever?” asked Morgan, trying to be polite about it.

 He paused and took a breath while Pandora closed the paper and looked sympathetically to him, “because the same fever has done nothing to my mental state.”

 “You’ve got it too?” cried Martian, pushing his chair back to a safe distance.

 “Yes, and nurse Filipe has done a sterling job of keeping me in impeccable health, even when I aloud myself to deteriorate to test its later affects.”

 “If there was nothing you could do for your grandson, how have you kept so healthy?”

 “Well, we’ve found a sort of suppressor for the illness. A fungus in Amazonia, its extracts are able to subdue the pathogen and prevent its toxins. However it’s not one hundred percent and doesn’t kill the pathogen completely.”

 “Is it contagious?” asked Martian in a panic.

 “Not greatly.” He said, “Every effort will be made to keep you safe, and with the suppressant and Nurse Filipe’s help you will be in good health.”

 “Explain the spirits again,” asked Charlotte, “You think spirits are real?”

 “I think they might be. There’s a good chance there is something beyond our own world, something we can’t get to but something that impacts on us as we impact on it. Something that explains these phenomenons, the same thing surrealists tried to find.”

 “So you want to mess with it?” Martian asked, “From all my understanding human messing with things never works out.”

 “I don’t want to mess with it, that’s the last thing I want to do. But there are people who will, people who want to understand it inside out.”

 “Surrealists,” Thought Morgan, “They’re not all gone?”

 “At least one of them survived, he is devoted to his belief that there is something beyond out reality. He has gone to great lengths to recruit others of the same understanding who’ll join him in pushing the scientific and religious boundaries further. He’s doing exactly what I want to do with the Army of 40. Only I want to do it for the greater understanding, for the comfort of knowing something comes after death. I don’t want to use it.” The four remained in silence while Dr. Kennedy bordered on succumbing to his emotions again.

 “Is he a threat?” Martian asked calmly, as a tear came to Dr. Kennedy’s eye, Pandora knew exactly why he wanted the comfort of knowing there was something to come, her allegiance was unanimous, “If he’s a threat I’ll keep him away from you, so long as you keep me out of prison.”

 “What would you want me to do?” asked Charlotte, “I’m definitely interested, but less qualified than these two to help.”

 “We need everyone we can get. You’re a writer I’ll give you freedom and what you need to explore and seek inspiration for your work if you give me help with finances. You’re motto is ‘to write and not to earn’, is it not?”

 “Well,” she smiled, “in that case I’d be happy to help Dr. Kennedy.”

 He smiled, sourcing a wide expression of excitement and anticipation on Charlottes face,

“Morgan?” he asked, turning to her, “I’ll introduce you to some friends and we’ll see about starting your duties as an ambassador.”

 She smiled, “I guess it pays better than my current job. And I’ll be working beside charlotte Bryce.”

 “Jeeze lady you sound like a sheep following the herd.”

 “You two are going to get on like a house on fire,” thought Pandora as she turned to Dr. Kennedy.

 “Indeed,” he laughed, with an overwhelming sense of relief, “I’ll let you all get acquainted before we start looking for the others.” 

            Pandora looked over her shoulder and watched Harold leave the conservatory to the main room where he set his file on the coffee table and took a look at the image of his son, grandson and daughter-in-law all together on a bench overlooking a seafront in the sun.

 “One step closer to making sure you’re all alright.” He thought to himself.

The End

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