Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

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Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

Post by sparacus on Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:31 pm


OK folks, here is part 1 of the new story: "Nest of Doom". Before that, a brief recap of the team members:

Dr Peter Ashton-Scott = team leader. An experienced chemist and ecologist from Cambridge university who left academia to set up a self-sufficient community in the hebrides. Coaxed out of retirement by Allen.

Steve Allen: Environmental campaigner, idealist and disillusioned science advisor to the government.

Charles Furness: Young, attractive Oxford graduate and brilliant chemist and technician. Struggling to accept his sexuality.

Abby Hanson: Feisty twenty-something geologist and ecologist. Gave up teaching to join the team.

Brian Eddows: Sixty-something lab technician. An ex-prisoner seeking a new life and redemption from his crimes.

Genna Miles: Feisty twenty-something with a talent for investigative work and publicity. Previously worked at Bosworth Battlefield Centre.


And special guest character:

Adam Quist: son of former Doomwatch head. Reformed alcoholic.


"NEST OF DOOM" Part 1

Witham : Essex. Dark clouds covered the sky and a cold wind was blowing leaves around in circles as Stacey Smith bundled her children into the car ready for the school run. Her eldest, Lee, was being particularly boisterous and as she fumbled around for her keys he thumped his sister Mel hard on the back. Mel screamed and Stacey frowned:
“Look pack it in will ya! I don’t need this, we’re late already”. Lee jumped out of the car:
“I’ve forgot my lunchbox” he shouted. Stacey grabbed him by the arm and dragged him back to the house as the rain started to fall:
“I’ve about had enough of you this morning. Now its ¤¤¤¤ing raining. Get it : quick!” As she unlocked the door and pushed Lee back into the house, a row of starlings settled on the telephone wire above the road, staring intently and letting out the occasional squawk. Others flew onto the roof of the house. Mel jumped out of the car:
“I want a wee” she pleaded to her mother. Stacey was furious:
“Why the hell didn’t you have one before we came out? You can bloody well wait till I get ya to school”. Mel started to whimper as Lee emerged from the house with his lunchbox. As he did so one of the starlings flew down and landed on top of the car. Several others followed.
“Hurry up and get back in the car!” Stacey shouted at Lee. As she did so two more starlings flew down and launched themselves at the boy’s head. He screamed as claws were thrust into his eyes. More birds flew down launching themselves at Stacey, claws tearing into the flesh of her face. The crazed starlings pecked at her eyes and she screamed at Mel to shut the car door. The terrified girl just managed to do so before the birds on the car could get in. They few at the car windows squawking with pain and fury as Mel screamed………………..

Doomwatch HQ: London. Charles Furness was busy in the lab analysing some water samples from the river welland. He looked up at Abby Hanson:
“Yeah it’s the same result as the first test. There are large traces of Dichlorophan Ziapolite and that it what has been killing the fish. it’s the same chemical as we found in the soil samples around the Hextan plant”. Abby frowned:
“So they have been illegally dumping their waste in the river. How the hell do these people live with themselves?” she exclaimed. Suddenly the door flew open and Genna walked in:
“Charles, the boss wants to see us both now!” she stated. Charles sighed and followed her out of the lab.
As he and Genna approached Ashton-Scott’s office they heard a furious row taking place inside. Charles smiled and flicked his long dark hair out of his eyes:
“Should we wait?” he asked. Genna laughed:
“If we do that we could be standing here all day”. They laughed and Charles knocked on the door and opened it. In the room were Ashton Scott, Steve Allen and a dark-haired man. The latter was glaring at Aston Scott and shouting:
“…… and I fail to damn well see why I need to explain myself to you….” Ashton Scott looked at Charles and Genna as they entered:
“Close that door”, he barked. He then stood up from behind his desk and flung his glasses down on the table:
“Meet Adam Quist, the head of that other organisation which has the gall to call itself Doomwatch. The organisation that lacks professional discipline, spawns extremists and refuses to share its information with us”. Quist sat back in his chair and laughed sardonically:
“Oh change the record. My father led the original Doomwatch team and I have given you every opportunity to work with us. Its you who insists on remaining an independent organisation.” Ashton Scott hammered his fist on his desk:
“On your terms! I do not like your cavalier attitude and lack of ethical fibre!” Quist laughed:
“You stubborn old fool”. Charles intervened:
“I think we need to calm down and rise above this tit for tat quarrelling. What is all of this about?”
Steve Allen chipped in:
“Quist is refusing to share information with us. Two days ago in Essex a woman and her young son were killed in an attack by wild birds. An horrific incident; their eyes were gouged and pecked out. it’s the third attack by wild birds in that area in a week and the first fatalities. Quist’s lot have been analysing the remains of several of the attacking birds, shot by the police, for any unusual chemical imbalances.”
“What makes you think that this might be a Doomwatch case?” Genna asks.
“Wild birds don’t normally go around attacking people do they you stupid girl” Quist snaps at her. Ashton Scott glares at him:
“How dare you insult my staff! *to Charles and Genna* this man is refusing to pass the bird remains onto us for analysis or to give us a detailed report”. Quist scowled:
“This is not your case. For your information our analysis found nothing unusual. Now please leave this investigation to us”. Ashton Scott gestured at the door:
“No. And get out!”.

Quist left the room and Ashton Scott sat down, putting his glasses back on.
“I had a great deal of respect for that man’s father, however the son is a man of very poor character.”
“Well what do we do now? I suggest we leave this case to Quist and get on with something important” Steve Allen stated. Ashton Scott glared at him:
“You do not consider the death of a mother and child as important? We are damn well investigating this until I am sure that those birds have not been changed by some pollutant or chemical. You, Charles and Genna will take public transport to Witham in Essex to investigate hands on.”
“What about Quist?” Steve asks.
“Damn Quist! I fear that with the current economic and political situation, the government may be about to decide that funding two Doomwatch groups is unsustainable. We must be the ones to crack this high profile case. I do not like having to adopt a competitive attitude; it goes against all my ethical beliefs. However I am thinking of our work and our organisation. I would much rather co-operate with Quist however he will not agree to submit to us as the lead group. I do not believe that his organisation is run with the correct environmental priorities and discipline. Anyway, enough time wasted. Off you go”………………………



……………………………….to be continued.
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Re: Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

Post by sparacus on Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:32 pm


NEST OF DOOM : Part 2

Charles, Genna and Steve take the Norwich train from Liverpool Street, which stops in Witham. They sit together in the quiet first class compartment and Charles orders three organic coffees and some cake. Steve is restless:
“I still don’t see the point of this trip. Without the remains of any of those birds we have nothing to analyse” he states, grouchily. Genna sips her coffee:
“The boss seemed particularly fired up today”. Steve frowns:
“He always is when Quist’s around. Its competitive tension, regardless of his principles. Plus the fact that he doesn’t have a secretary.” Charles looks up, confused:
“But he has got a secretary; Jean!”
Steve smirks:
“Exactly. He’s got one, he just doesn’t have her”. They laugh and Charles brushes his long dark hair out of his eyes:
“We can at least visit the site of the last attack and ask around. If any of the attacking birds survived we may still have an opportunity to analyse them”.

As the journey continued, Charles did a little reading while Steve and Genna made Smalltalk.
“So what made you decide to join us then? Not the money I’d guess” Steve asked. Genna smiled:
“Well no. I did like my job at Bosworth Battlefield Centre, however what you do seemed so much more fulfilling. I mean there is only so much enthusing to small annoying children about a medieval battle that you can stand to do in a day” . Steve laughed:
“Before Doomwatch I used to advise the government on scientific matters. However I came to realise that they were not interested in the truth, rather that they wanted people like me to supply them with one-sided evidence to support their particular case. Nuclear power for example. Stuff that. So I left.” Genna found herself deeply attracted to Steve’s laddish charm and told herself not to make this too obvious. Charles looked up from his book:
“I’m so pleased that I’ve found a job with some real worth to it. Towards the end of university I felt like curling up in a ball and dying at the prospect at having to get some ghastly job in industry working to develop a new washing powder or something.” Genna gives him a hug:
“Poor Charles. You seem to have had a tough year”.
“Tell me about it. I lost my boyfriend, my home and my sense of purpose. I thought of just trying to join some kind of retreat where I could just read all day and take walks by the sea.”

Arriving at Witham, they left the station and took a taxi to the housing estate where Stacey Smith lived with her children. When they arrived the house and garden were still surrounded by police tape. Several children on bikes looked on at the site. Steve approached a woman who was looking on at the scene:
“Excuse me. Did you know the woman who died?” he asked.
“Yeah I knew ‘er. She were a right slapper. Made a lot of enemies around here but I wouldn’t ‘ave wished this on the poor cow”.
“Have any other people around here been attacked by aggressive avian groups ?” Charles asks.
“Yer what?”
“Sorry, by birds?”
“Yeah mate. My mate Shaz and ‘er other half were attacked by two pigeons last week.”
“Where does Shaz live?” Charles enquired.
“Next street at number nine” the woman replied before walking off. They started to walk towards the jetty that led to the next street. As they did so they heard a scream from behind them. Turning round they saw a young boy being attacked by a large crow………….

……….to be continued.
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Re: Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

Post by sparacus on Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:33 pm


Ok folks, here is the long-awaited and much anticipated next part of this adventure:

"NEST OF DOOM" Part 3


Steve ran forward and pulled the boy away from the crazed bird, swatting at it with his clenched fist. However the creature swooped back down and sank its claws into Steve's neck, pecking madly at his face. Genna removed one of her shoes and swung the heel at the crow, hitting it on the head. The bird fell to the ground flapping frantically in its death throes before falling silent. Steve rang for an ambulance on his mobile while Genna comforted the child who was bleeding profusely from deep lacerations on his face. Charles stared at the dead bird:
"It is such a shame that we needed to kill it. I do not hold with cruelty to animals in any form however I suppose that there was no other way."
"At least the boss has his sample now. We'll get it straight back to the Doomwatch lab for analysis" Steve replied. As he did so a car came swerving precariously round the corner and veered towards Charles who just managed to get out of the way before it screeched to a halt.
"Hey watch it!" Charles shouted at the driver. The door swung open and Adam Quist staggered out, pointing at the dead crow:
"If thats what I think it is then its Doomwatch property so I'm taking it." Charles was disgusted:
"You've been drinking, I can smell it on you. Do you realise how many people lose their lives each year because of irresponsible drunk drivers?"
"Who the ¤¤¤¤ are you to lecture me?" Quist snarls, picking up the bird. Genna snatches it out of his hand:
"There is no way that you are either taking this or getting back in that car. Our Doomwatch is just as valid as yours. " As she spoke, Charles reached into the car and took Quist's keys. Adam Quist span round in fury:
"You can give me those keys or I rearrange that pretty girly face of yours." Charles flicked his dark hair out of his eyes:
"You are in no fit state to drive. I'm doing this to help you." Quist went to lunge at Charles, however Steve intervened, pulling Quist to one side and getting him in an armlock.

Later, after the ambulance had taken the child away, Steve, Charles and Genna had taken a reluctant Quist to a hotel in Witham and booked in, ordering several strong organic coffees in the cafe area. However before Quist could drink them he vomited over a table. The hotel staff escorted him upstairs to his room:
"I suppose they must be used to this sort of behaviour in Essex. Its still embarrasing though" Genna commented.
"Why does he get himself into that kind of state?" Charles asked. Steve sipped his coffee:
"According to the boss, Adam Quist has been a heavy drinker since his teenage years. He felt he was in his father's shadow and couldn't live up to it. So he spent his time getting drunk and womanising."
"I'm just pleased that I never took to drink at uni. I think it would have pushed me over the edge, given all the problems and disappointments that I've had to deal with" Charles replied. Genna squeezed his hand:
"Poor Charles" she whispered.
"Thanks. Perhaps we should decide what to do next as regards the case. We need to get the crow to the Doomwatch lab."
"I'll take it. You two stay here and make more enquiries" Steve replied.

Steve caught a train back to London and then a bus to Doomwatch HQ, giving the bird to Brian Eddows for analysis. Ashton-Scott was pleased:
"Good work. I think I'll travel down to Witham myself and play a hands on role. I want to deal with Quist in person. You can hold the fort here". Steve was angry:
"Hold on, this is my case." Ashton-Scott frowned:
"And I am in charge. You're staying here." Steve slammed his fist on a table:
"Look Peter you need to ease off. Damn it man you're a control freak. You don't know what a holiday is. And you're just guilty because your brother worked at Aldermaston". Ashton -Scott glared at him:
"How dare you bring my family into this. You're fired. Get out!"


.......................to be continued.

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Re: Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

Post by sparacus on Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:34 pm



"NEST OF DOOM" Part 4

Steve sat in the lab brooding, while Brian Eddows carried out some tests on the bird:
"Well I'm damned if I can find anything. I've tried toxology tests for all the major pesticide residues and recent agricultural chemicals that we know about. Nothing" Brian stated.
"Look there must be something . Try harder" Steve snapped back.
"Hey don't get snappy with me just because the boss lost his rag with you. You shouldn't wind him up like you do, you seem to know just how to push the wrong buttons."
"Well he's just so damn stubborn. Has to be there controlling everything" Steve replied.
Brian was irked:
"Now look here. If it wern't for him I'd have never have got another job after being inside. He gave me the break to turn my life around. You sit where moaning when you know nowt...... hello whats this?"
"Whats what?" Steve asked.
"There is something. Not sure what though but there's definitely something in the brain sample....."

Meanwhile, back in Essex, two lads were leaving 'The Anchor' pub in Witham after a night of heavy drinking. They staggered around, pushing each other into the road , guffawing and belching loudly. One of them noticed a young woman slumped by a wall with her head in her lap:
"Alright darlin', 'ad a skinful 'ave yer. Hows about camin' ome with me?" one of the lads shouted. The woman didn't reply so the lad staggered over to her with his mate following:
"Ere leave 'er Jez, she's well out of it" the mate shouted.
"Nah she might be needin'...... ¤¤¤¤in hell ..... Jeeezus....."
Jez had noticed that the woman's eyes had been gouged out and her head was resting in a lap of blood. Suddenly from the sky there was a piercing screech as a group of seagulls swooped down on them. Jez managed to run out into the road and back towards 'The Anchor', however when he reached the door and looked round he saw his mate on the ground, covered in ravenous birds who bit into his eyes as he writhed in agony........

In the hotel, Adam Quist had sobered up after a lie down and came downstairs to the lounge, where Charles and Genna were still talking.
"Look, I want to apologise for my behaviour earlier" he said, sitting down next to them. Charles looked up:
"Thats ok Adam. What we really need here is you to help us on this case, act with Doomwatch, our Doomwatch that is, rather than against us. That includes staying off alcohol."
"What and you think thats easy do you?" Adam shouted. Charles flicked his long dark hair back:
"No I don't think it will easy"
"Thats why we think you need to get professional help" Genna chipped in.
As they spoke, Charles' mobile went off. He answered it and listened intently before putting the phone slowly down:
"That was the boss. He's just been notified that there has been another attack. He's on his way but we need to go now to look at the scene. "
The three of them left the hotel and took a taxi to the Anchor Pub. The street was cordoned off by police tape and Charles approached a group of officers:
"Hi, I'm Charles Furness of Doomwatch and these are Adam Quist and Genna Miles. Can we come through please?"
"Oh you lot. The tree-hugger team. One of your lot is already here. You got any ID?" a policeman rudely replied. They showed him their Doomwatch cards and were let through. As they approached the corpses of the youth and the girl, surrounded by several dead birds and a forensic team, a man came out of the pub and approached them. Adam recognised him immediately as Neil Tannahill:
"Oh its you. Why don't you keep out of this? You're organisation's finished."
"Thanks to you Quist we are no longer funded. However we still work freelance" Tannahill replied.
Charles and Genna looked at Quist puzzled and Quist scowled:
"This by the way is Neil Tannahill. The man who got my father killed and who runs yet another pseudo Doomwatch team, now officially defunct. Your boss really won't be pleased to see him, or me I suppose."
Tannahill reached out and shook Charles and Genna's hands:
"Actually I was not resonsible for Dr Quist's death in a gas explosion, he just blames me for it. And I do admire your boss Dr Ashton -Scott. Shouldn't we be focusing on the bodies?"
"We are pleased to meet you Neil. Do you know anything about why the birds are attacking people in this way?" Charles asked.
"I probably know as much as you do. Or Quist does for that matter" Neil replied.

After examining the corpses they went back to the hotel where they discussed events in the bar . They drank mineral water in consideration of Quist. Charles took a call from Brian Eddows then slowly put the phone down.
"It seems that there is some unusual chemical in the birds' brains. However it isn't like any known pesticide and its in too large a concentration to be a residue. Oh and Steve and the boss have had a row, although the boss has relented on his decision to sack Steve. Brian says that it happens on a regular basis."
Quist laughed:
"Thats Ashton-Scott for you. All bluster and shouting, no actual action."
As he spoke, the door of the lounge swung open and Peter Ashton-Scott strode in. He stared at Quist and Tannahill:
"I want to talk to my team. Not to either of you, will you leave please."
Quist grinned:
"Pleased to meet you again as well Peter."
"Cut the quips Quist. Leave please. And you Tannahill. Your organisations are not Doomwatch and never will be."
"Oh come on Peter, this is no time for your ego games" Tannahill replied.
"Ego games? Your organisation is unfunded and amateurish. It employs direct action fanatics. And Quist here is in no fit state to run anything. Charles and Genna, please come with me."
As he speaks there is a scream from the hotel lobby. They run out to see that a woman has run into the foyer with group of magpies pecking at her head.......

..........to be continued.

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Re: Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

Post by sparacus on Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:35 pm


OK, here is part 5 of the story:

NEST OF DOOM : Part 5

The woman staggered a few feet into the hotel and then collapsed onto the floor, blood oozing out of her eye sockets. Charles, Dr Ashton-Scott and Tannahill all ran forward, kicking at the crazed birds to drive them away. One of them dived at Ashton-Scott's face, knocking his glasses off and pecking viciously. However Charles picked up a hotel brochure from the desk and swiped at the magpie, knocking it flying into the wall. It quickly recovered and flew out of the door, followed by the others.
A short time later, after the ambulance had left, Dr Ashton-Scott called a team meeting in the hotel bar:
"This is absolutely horrifying. The paramedic said that one of her eyes will definitely be lost and it is not clear whether the sight in the other one can be saved or not. We've got to discover the source of whatever is causing these birds to become so aggressive. Brian has isolated the chemical but what the devil it is he doesn't know. Charles, you're a chemist. Get back to Doomwatch HQ and carry out every test on that stuff that you can think of. Genna, you may as well assist him. I'll stay here as I want to be hands on if anything else happens."
Quist looked up at him:
"Well I'm staying as well. This is a Doomwatch case and I don't trust your outfit to do the job properly."
Ashton-Scott glared at him furiously:
"My outfit as you call it are a team of professionals and not some angry soak who can't be trusted to keep off the booze while on the job."
Tannahill intervened:
"Look why don't we all just try to work together on this ok?"

Later, Genna and Charles arrived back at Doomwatch HQ and went straight to the lab. It was late and Brian Eddows greeted them as they arrived:
"Right its all yours. I'm off to bed as I'm reet knackered. The chemical samples are in that test tube over there. Night."
Charles sighed:
"I don't know where to start on this. It looks like we'll be here all night." Genna smiled at him:
"You look tired Charles. I'll make us some coffee as I think we'll both need it to keep going."
A short time later, Genna returned with the coffee to find Charles already setting up a complex looking chemical experiment. They chatted away as they worked:
"Well I didn't think that joining Doomwatch would mean having to work all through the night as well as the day," Genna said, not seriously and laughing. Charles looked up, sadness in his eyes:
"Oh I don't mind. The more work the better, it takes my mind away from things."
"What do you mean? Has something happened? You know you can talk to me Charles."
"Its very difficult to talk about it. You remember I told you about Chris, the guy I fell in love with during my last year at Oxford? I found out yesterday that he's got married. The wedding pictures are already up on facebook. I suppose I shouldn't mind, its not like we are anything to each other."
Genna went up to Charles and gave him a hug:
"Life's a bitch sometimes it really is. You fell for him really badly didn't you."
"Tell me about it. We were in the same seminar group studying Chemistry and started to meet up after class in St John's College bar. We became closer and closer and I was sure that he felt the same way about me as I did about him. I just couldn't talk to him about it, my inhibitions were too strong. Then one evening, while we were round at his watching BBC4 I just blurted it all out. How I felt, how I loved him.... everything. It was awful, his reaction I mean."
"You still love him don't you."
"He was so engaging and so full of life. Everything I'm not really."
Charles smiled sadly and Genna hugged him again.

Back in Witham, Steve Allen and Abby Hanson arrived at the hotel and Steve strode in and went up to Dr Ashton-Scott who was still sat in the bar talking to Quist and Tannahill:
"Look Ashton-Scott, you can't just fire me on a whim like that. We're in the middle of a damn case and....."
"Oh sit down and stop shouting. You're reinstated. Now lets deal with the issue of these birds" Ashton-Scott firmly stated.
"What? Just like that. You can be bloody unpredictable" Steve replied.
"I know. Now sit down".
Steve and Abby sat down and Steve looked at the others:
"Well, since I'm reinstated I'll make a suggestion. Rather than sit here while those birds are out there causing havoc, why don't we go out there and try and bag some more specimens. Here."
Steve placed a large holdall on the coffee table which was full of Doomwatch's licenced rifles, used for the humane eradication of dangerous or suffering animals.
"I agree. Lets go" Adam Quist commented. Ashton-Scott frowned:
"Whilst I accept that in cases such as this it is an unfortunate necessity to kill affected wildlife, I do not personally wish to partake in such activity for ethical reasons as I feel that all life is precious. You may go though," Ashton-Scott replied.

In the Doomwatch lab, Charles stared at the test tube in front of him and the chemical inside:
"Well it beats me what this is. I've repeated all Brian's pesticide tests, conducted tests for all the major chemicals known to have been dumped into rivers and the sea in recent years and have tested for all known vehicle emmission residues. Nothing."
As he spoke, Genna looked up from her laptop:
"I think I may have found something. The key phrase you used there was 'all known'. I've just researched the Witham area and found that it is on the flightpath of Stansted Airport. That made me think of something. I'm sure I read in 'New Scientist' last month that they were about to start testing that new aviation fuel that delivers the same results for half the amount. Well I've looked it up here and it says that they started the tests last month using flights out of Stansted. Phianophol Compound its called."
"Yeah, I remember reading about that. Its made by that French owned company Leroux Chemicals, that have a plant in Essex near Chelmsford. I must get hold of a sample of that fuel to see if it matches what we have here."

Meanwhile, Ashton-Scott, Quist, Tannahill, Steve Allen and Abby Hanson walked through Witham. It was very late and the town was quiet, save for a few drunks staggering home and the occasional car. Suddenly they heard a sound coming from an alleyway, behind a chip shop. Curious, Steve ran ahead and shone a torch down the alley. He gasped with horror as he saw a gaggle of birds, crows, ravens, seagulls and starlings all pecking at the disembowled entrails of and elderly man who was still alive and trying to move.......

...............to be continued.
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Re: Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

Post by sparacus on Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:09 pm

NEST OF DOOM : Part 6

Steve pulled the rifles from the holdall and handed one each to Quist and Tannahill. He then started shooting at the birds, followed by the others.
"Watch you don't hit the old boy by mistake, not that he'd notice, mess he's in," Steve shouted. Two crows flew up and swooped down on Abby, clawing at her face. Tannahill knocked them off with his rifle butt while the other birds rose up in a chirping rage before flying off. The elderly man groaned loudly, in agony from his wounds.
Later the ambulance arrived and took the old man away.
"Well at least we got the samples we needed. Mission accomplished. Lets get them to Brian in the lab." Ashton-Scott gave him a furious look:
"Mission accomplished? Is that all you can damn well say? A man has just been disembowelled and all you can do is crow about us getting the bird samples. You're a hard nut." Steve grinned:
"I presume the pun was unintended" he quipped.
"What?" Ashton-Scott spat back.
"Oh never mind."
Ashton-Scott shot him a look of fury.
As they walked back to the hotel, Abby pulled Steve to oneside:
"Look you really need to reign it in Steve. You shouldn't rile him up like you do. The boss has done an awful lot for you.... for all of us."
"Oh come on. It was me who persuaded him out of retirement in the first place to lead this team. Its just that he can be so damn supercillious," Steve replied.
"He's not only a brilliant scientist but also the ethical compass of the team and you know it," Abby firmly stated.

The following morning, Charles and Genna took the train to Chelmsford in order to visit the Leroux Chemicals plant nearby. They sat in the first class compartment and Charles ordered organic coffees and croissants for them each.
"Doomwatch really needs to allow us to drive while on cases" Genna stated, sipping the coffee. Charles smiled:
"The boss would never hear of that. He won't let me use my car at work due to its carbon footprint. I admire his sense of responsibility but it can be rather impractical." They laugh.
"Charles, you know that you will have to get over Chris at some point don't you? To put it behind you and move on". Charles stared sadly into his coffee cup:
"Oh I know that well enough. But knowing and doing are two markers on opposite sides of the horizon. At least Doomwatch allows me some respite from it all. Something to focus on."
Later they arrived in Chelmsford and too a taxi to the Leroux plant. Charles had phoned ahead and set up a meeting with its Managing Director William T Sanger. They were met at the gate by two uniformed security guards who checked them for weapons and cameras before showing them up to Sanger's office. They were met by a large American in his late forties with thick glasses and a surfeit of bonhomie.
"Well hi fellas, I mean fella and delightful lady. I'm so pleased to meet some of you Doomwatch dudes at last. Here at Leroux Chemicals we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. I'm simply chomping at the bit to work with you guys and hope you will return the favour in the form of marketing assistance."
Charles and Genna shook his hand.
"Thanks for agreeing to see us Mr Sanger. However I feel I must make it clear that we are not in a position to offer you favours" Charles stated. Sanger slapped him on the back:
"Oh I get it young fella. Worried about what the boss will say. Well you just leave that to me. Call me Bill won't ya, never did hold with all that formal crap. Now what is it that I can do for ya?"
"Mr Sanger, we are investigating chemical pollution in the form of an invasive residue which is having a serious effect on birds in Essex. Turning them into aggressive killers. You may have read about it in the papers and on news sites" Genna said.
"Sure have babe. Whats it to do with us?"
"We'd like to examine your laboratories and maybe take a sample of your Phianophol Compound for testing" Charles stated. Sanger laughed:
"Sure you can, sure you can. We've got nothing to hide here and whatever is affecting your feathery friends has nothing to do with Phianophol."
Sanger pressed a button on his desk and in came a security guard:
"Hey Dave. Show these Doomwatch guys to the labs will ya!"
Charles and Genna were led away.

In the laboratory, Charles and Genna looked round the equipment and chatted to the staff.
"So can you tell me what exactly goes into Phianophol?" Charles asked the laboratory team leader, a woman in her thirties with short-cropped blonde hair. She coldly thrust a sheet of paper in his hand:
"Here. Read it. I'm sure you will see that there is nothing out of the ordinary."
Charles read the list:
"I agree that there is nothing out of the ordinary here. However that creates a problem. I don't see from this list how your compound is any different from standard aviation fuel.
"What do you know about it" she snapped back.
"Well actually quite a lot, given that part of my degree reasearch was in this field."
Charles walked around a little and saw a small pool of spilled chemical at the side of some desks. He knelt down, dipped his hankerchief in it and took a sniff.

Back in William T Sanger's office, Sanger picked up his phone and made a call to France:
"Hi Mr Leroux. Look them Doomwatch f*** I rang you about have arrived.... yeah its all in hand... yes sir the guys have prepared an alternate compound to let them take away. Yeah they're just a couple of green kids, fell for my friend of the tree-huggers act. Yeah hippy c***. Its all in hand Sir."

..................to be continued.
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Re: Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

Post by sparacus on Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:58 am


NEST OF DOOM : Part 7

That evening, Charles and Genna arrived back at Doomwatch HQ with the Phianophol sample provided by Sanger's team. They strode into the lab, where Brian Eddows was working on the sample birds:
"Ah you two are back are you? How'd it go?" Brian said with a grin. Charles placed the Phianophol sample on the workplace:
"Well I have the official sample for you to check against the chemical residues in those birds. However I suspect you'll have more success matching them to the contents of my handkerchief."
Charles placed his handkerchief on the table:
"You bein' funny or summat?" Brian replied with a frown. Charles smiled:
"I took the liberty of dipping this in a chemical spillage in the plant."
"Ah, I'm with you now lad."

A few hours later, the team were sat in Peter Ashton-Scott's office sipping organic, caffeine-free coffee. Steve was angry:
"Well I think the whole thing stinks. I'm not saying that we go hell for leather and spout off to the press about how we suspect a link to Leroux Chemicals. However the public have a right to know that we suspect that chemical pollution of some kind is behind these deaths," he shouted.
"And I agree with you one hundered per cent. However the Minister has ordered that the whole thing be kept quiet and we are a public funded body. You know damn well that he could close us down like a shot and use deficit reduction as the excuse or divert most of our funding to Quist" Ashton-Scott replied. Steve was not about to give up:
"Why are you being like this.... why are you being so damn compliant? The great radical tamed into a sheep at last?" Ashton-Scott threw down his pen with fury:
"How dare you! You have no idea what responsibility means. Indeed you're so damn childish I'm not convinced you can cut it" he shouted. Steve stormed out of the office.
"Well? Any of you lot agree with him?" Ashton-Scott demanded.
"Obviously we can't lose our funding or we're sunk. Steve is wrong but at the same time he's right about the public having a right to know", Abby replied.
"Which is exactly my position", Ashton-Scott replied. Genna tried to lighten the mood:
"Any chance that we can get some proper coffee instead of this caffeine-free stuff", she suggested.
"You what? I've explained to you that why don't have caffeine-rich coffee in this building. Its incredibly bad for you. If you want that trash then go to a coffee bar," Ashton-Scott snapped back. As he did so Brian Eddows strode into the office:
"Its a ruddy match! Not the official sample but the one on Charles' handkerchief. An' there's summat else. Its aviation fuel all right but laced with all manner of other stuff including organophosphates and known neuro-inhibiters."
Ashton-Scott pounded the desk with his fist:
"The damn fools. Who knows what spewing that stuff out into the atmosphere can lead to. Well we damn well know that it effects birds but what else? When its in the clouds then falling as rain. The damn fools. I want a full report on my desk tomorrow morning so that I can take it straight to the Minister. We need that plant closed down at once."

The following morning Ashton-Scott took the report with him for a meeting with the Environment Minister in his office in Whitehall, while Charles, Genna and Steve were sent back to Chelmsford to present a copy to William T Sanger at Leroux Chemicals. They were shown up to Sanger's office by security. Sanger stood behind his desk scowling, the bonhomie of their previous meeting absent:
"Look I'm gettin' tired of the same old script from you guys. Waddisit now?"
"Mr Sanger, I have here a copy of a full report on a chemical sample which I took from the floor of your laboratory. It has been scientifically analysed and matched to the chemical residues found in the brain tissue of several birds that attacked and killed a man in Witham. Our Head of Team is currently discussing this report with the Environment Minister", Charles stated. Sanger narrowed his eyes:
"Yeah yeah, yadda, yadda, yadda. Well lets have a look here shall we."
Sanger picked up the report, glanced at the cover, then dropped it in the wastepaper basket.
" Anything else bud? Or can I get on with my business."
"Mr Sanger, I really think you should retieve and read the report" Charles stated.
"Yeah? Well cream poof, hows about you get your phone out of your pocket and ring that HQ of yours in London and find out whats happening there."
"I don't like your turn of phrase Sanger, " Steve shouted.
"Yeah yeah *putting on mock English accent* I say, would you mind awfully not using that turn of phrase please."
"Why are you talking like that?" Genna asked him.
"Oh because I can talk in this snooty up-my-own arse English way as well love".
Meanwhile Charles was on the phone to Doomwatch HQ in London. His face went white and he turned to the others.
"Its the boss. He's back from his meeting with the Environment Minister. Not only has he ordered that our report be suppressed but he's ordered Doomwatch to be closed down with immediate effect........"

...............to be continued.
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Re: Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

Post by sparacus on Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:54 am

NEST OF DOOM : Part 8

Dr Peter Ashton-Scott paced around his office clenching and unclenching his fists as Adam Quist and Neil Tannahill sat looking bemused:
"..... so that in a nutshell is what we've found out. You two have a stark choice, you can either try and use our predicament in order to boost your own organisations or you can do the decent thing and both go to the Minister and demand that he changes his approach."
"But if your evidence is so compelling then why has the Minister chosen to suppress your report and close you down? It must be due to pressure from the business interests involved. The aviation industry in this country relies on French fuel. The Minister is hardly going to listen to us any more than he did to you", Quist replied.
Ashton-Scott took off his glasses and flung them down on the desk:
"Then its up to you to make him listen. Damn it man, your father would not have given up on this without a fight."
"Don't drag my dad into this Ashton-Scott. If your organisation is too damn flakey to make a difference then its best gone. We should just go public with it all, see how he likes that" Quist replied angrily. Neil Tannahill looked up:
"Yes and then you get closed down as well and also arrested for breaking the official secrets act" he interjected. Ashton-Scott sighed with exasperation and opened his office door:
"Charles and Genna, would you step in here for a minute please". Charles and Genna entered the office from the lab, where equipment was being dismantled and packed away due to the close down:
"I want you both to get yourselves back to Witham and monitor the events there. Book into a cheap B&B.I want every incident involving the birds monitored and reported back."
"I thought we were officially closed down," Genna replied.
"We are. Officially. But until they arrive here with police, bailiffs or who knows what to physically stop us then we keep going. Understood? I'm not leaving it to these two fools to make the government see sense."

Charles and Genna travelled by train to Witham, taking seats in the first class compartment. Charles sipped his cappucino and smiled:
"You have to admire the boss' resiliance in the face of adversity. However I think we soon both be out of work. Look Genna, I'm sorry I got you into all of this. You could have been still working away in your job in Leicestershire instead of facing imminent redundancy." Genna smiled back:
"Oh come on Charles, it still might not come to that. Any decisions I've made have been my own responsibility anyway. Lets just hope for the best."
"Hoping for the best is what I've been doing for most of my life and it doesn't seen to have worked much so far", Charles replied mournfully. Arriving at Witham station, they took a taxi to the B&B that they had booked over the internet.

At Brook Street Primary School, on the outskirts of Witham, the children were enjoying their after lunch playtime, running around in the schoolyard supervised by Miss Allcock and Miss Shaw, two newly qualified teachers in their mid-twenties. Lisa Allcock was a rather plump, plain-looking young woman with thick glasses and an air of authority. Two little girls came running up to her crying:
"Miss, miss, Craig Wilson keeps picking on us. He threw stick at us and called us mongs". Miss Allcock went stomping across the yard and took Craig Wilson, a scruffy little boy with a pug-dog nose, to one side and shouted at him for a few minutes. Then she came stomping back:
"He's getting more and more aggressive that one. The parents don't take no notice, they seem to spend all their time out boozing, from what the Head says" she muttered to Miss Shaw, a tall blonde young woman who was elegantly dressed.
"Well she should like phone social services," Miss Shaw replied, checking her make-up in her face mirror. No one noticed the row of crows, pidgeons and magpies that had amassed on the roof of the school and sat looking down at the children. Suddenly one of the crows flew up and swooped down at the unsuspecting children, slamming into a little boy's face and pecking at his eyes. Very rapidly the other birds took off and swooped down on the schoolyard, knocking over children and grasping onto them with their feet. Miss Shaw screamed as two gulls attacked her, one of them driving its beak into her left eye and tugging. Children ran around in a frenzy of fear, trampling each other as birds dived at their faces, jabbing, clawing and scratching. Miss Allcock tried to kick birds off a little girl who lay motionless on the ground until a pidgeon slammed itself into her face, knocking off her glasses which were trampled by the children. A little boy was covered with crows, pecking deep, bloody grooves into his face.

Charles and Genna stood outside of Charles' room in the B&B, waiting for the cleaner to finish changing the sheets after the previous occupant. Genna looked around:
"Well its a bit basic isn't it. It smells of dry rot or something and the wallpaper looks like its been there for decades."
"Basic is an understatement" Charles added. The cleaner had the local radio switched on which was playing a Rhianna song. After the song finished the local news came on and Charles and Genna overheard the first item:

"Some breaking news, reports are coming in of a major incident at a Primary School in Witham. Unconfirmed reports say that the school is Brook Street Primary and that a flock of birds have attacked a group of children in the playground. There are as yet no further details, however police have set up an emergency hotline....."

"Come on, lets get a taxi there now" Genna exclaimed. They ran out of the B&B, Charles phoning for a taxi on his mobile. As they arrived near to the school there was a police road block. The taxi driver frowned:
"Thats as near as we can get" he grunted. Charles and Genna ran out of the taxi:
"Ere what about my bleedin ' fare..." the taxi driver shouted after them. They ran towards the police:
"Excuse me but we are from Doomwatch. Here is our ID. We need to see what has happened" Charles stated.
"I'm sorry Sir but no one is allowed through. There has been an incident" the constable replied.
"We know that there's been an incident. Thats why we need to get in. We're from Doomwatch." Genna shouted angrily.
"I don't care if you're from Doomwatch or not. My orders are that no one gets through. I'd calm down if I were you Miss" the constable replied.
"Oh stuff this" Genna shouted and pushed past the constable running. Charles ran after her:
"Hey, stop them!" the constable shouted to his colleagues. Charles and Genna ran down the street until they saw a row of ambulances. Groups of injured children were being treated on the pavement as bodies covered in blankets were being loaded into the ambulances.......

.................to be continued.
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Re: Doomwatch 2010 : Story 2 : "Nest of Doom"

Post by sparacus on Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:21 am

"NEST OF DOOM" Part 9 : The conclusion

Charles and Genna arrived back at Liverpool Street Station, having interviewed several of the teachers at Brook Street Primary School as well as other eyewitnesses. Charles had rteceived a phone call from Ashton-Scott asking them to meet him outside the station. As they emerged from Liverpool Street a taxi screeched to a halt and Steve Allen called out:
"Hey, Charles, Genna!"
They ran to the taxi, squeezing into the back next to Steve, and Ashton-Scott, sitting in the passenger seat, turned round:
"You've got the witness statements? And photographs? We must have graphic ones!
"Well the ones I took are certainly graphic. It was awful, I never want to have to see anything like that again" Genna replied. Ashton-Scott was stony-faced:
"Well you'll have to get used to it in our line of work. Its hard I know but just focus on the fact that we are the people who are trying to prevent this sort of thing", he replied to her.
"What do you think we should do now?" Charles asked.
"What we are going to do now is confront the Minister. No ifs and no buts" Ashton-Scott replied.

The taxi raced at speed through the busy London streets and eventually screeched to a halt next to some large government offices:
"You want me to wait squire?" the taxi driver asked, a burly, unshaven man with a square jaw:
"Yes. We could be some time so I suggest that you nip to that paper shop we just drove past and buy a decent newspaper such as the Guardian or Independent rather than reading this trash" Ashton Scott replied to him, picking up the taxi-driver's copy of the Sun and slamming it down again. They walked into the government offices and Ashton-Scott strode up to the reception desk, holding up his Doomwatch ID card:
"I'm Dr Ashton-Scott and I have an appointment to see the Environment Minister." The lady at the desk cast him a cold stare:
"Oh yes. He is running late as he has another appointment that has over-run. Kindly take a seat. I should point out that your associates do not have appointments, only yourself."
"Oh is that so. Well madam, I suggest that you warn the Minister that we are on the way up. Come on" Ashton-Scott shouted, barging past the desk and into the lift, followed by the others.
"Look, you can't do that....." the lady shouted after them, however the lift doors closed. Arriving on the fifth floor, Ashton-Scott strode down the corridor and barged into the Minister's office, followed by Steve, Charles and Genna. In the office with the Minister was William T Sanger of Leroux Chemicals. The Minister looked up:
"How dare you just barge in here like this......."
However he was cut short as Ashton-Scott strode up and slammed a brown envelope down on his desk:
"Here is a copy of a full report which I have drawn up, outlining how you have ignored all our warnings about Leroux Chemicals and also all of our scientific evidence that Phianophol is to blame for the bird attacks. Six young children are dead and two teachers. Six kids who would be alive today if it wasn't for your incompetance and your fear of upsetting the vested business interests personified by this idiot Sanger!"
"Now look here bud, I'd be careful about bandying around that kind of crap" Sanger shouted, standing up.
"I'd sit down now Sanger, unless you want me to make you do it" Steve Allen shouted. The Minister was bemused:
"This is outrageous. You burst into my office, threatening my guest, and throw around wild allegations of a frankly ridiculous nature. I can see I made the right decision closing you lot down."
"And I think that you may wish to reverse that decision. Let me put my cards on the table. Unless you reverse the closing down of Doomwatch and withdraw all of your covert support for Leroux Chemicals, I will go public with everything we know about government collusion. Don't even think about trying to save Sanger here and his company. Charles and Genna have photographs of the dead and dying children, along with eyewitness statements, which we are taking to the press. That is a given. Also we will release all of our evidence about Phianophol. However we will keep your name out of it if you agree to back us up fully then resign as Environment Minister" Ashton-Scott outlined.
"Do that and I'll spill the beans about the government knowing what was going down in advance" Sanger shouted.
"Oh I'm sure you will. However the Minister here will issue official denials backed up by his superiors, wheras your superiors in France will hang you out to dry Sanger. You're a dispensible flunky , nothing more" Ashton-Scott replied. The Minister scowled:
"Ok, you people have a deal. You've been lucky this time Ashton-Scott. However Doomwatch is swimming against the tide and you'll be drowned soon enough. The country needs growth and investment, not some concience-ridden do-gooders coming in the way of progress", the Minister stated. Charles placed his phone down in front of the Minister, displaying a photo of a dead girl :
"Try telling that to her parents" he commented.

Later, back at Doomwatch HQ, Ashton-Scott poured the team a glass of his home-brewed organic elderberry wine:
"So Leroux Chemicals have wisely fell upon their swords and folded as a result of the negative publicity. Phianophol has been completely withdrawn from use and we are back up and running."
"And we're getting a new Environment Minister to deal with" Genna added.
"Yet this is still a hollow victory. People have died because of the stubborn refusal of the government to take environmental concerns seriously. And for now I see no chance of that culture at the top changing. Doomwatch is needed more now than ever" Ashton-Scott stated.


THE END

The New Doomwatch team will reurn in story three: "Who Killed Mike Arnold?"
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