Laundry Files: Spiral Gambit
TPCF: Transhuman Police Coordination Force
They’ve formed an ad-hoc committee to draw together a big lie suitable for public disclosure that remains consistent with everything that’s already accidentally leaked. It’s not just a front-page story, but a bunch of elaborate conspiracy theories to satisfy the tinfoil hat crowd. The headliner is that it’s a mutant descendant of SARS, but the backup stories blame the Fukushima meltdowns, mercury preservatives in vaccines, and argue nanobiological warfare experiment by the US government.
The Torch is nineteen and comes from Macclesfield. He’s about one-ninety centimeters tall(6foot’2),painfully Skinny (but stronger than he looks),and not academically inclined. Descended from mill workers: Dad’s a builder, Mum’s a plumber, scraped a couple of GCSE passes, And left school at sixteen to follow Dad into the building trade. Ambition: to work his way all the way to the top, Which is defined by the rarefied job description of “skilledbricklayer.” Which, to his credit, he was on course to become–until three months ago, when he discovered that he could light cigarettes by snapping his fingers. Then bonfires. Then convert a fifty-quid B&Q barbecue into a blazing molten Dali sculpture, which is when the Macclesfield Express dubbed him The Torch.
BusyBee is twenty-six and has a file with the Met’s Forward Intelligence Unit that had mearguing back and forth with Jim for days before we agreed to see her. The file was opened in her late teens, Back in the Bad Old Days when the Met were Doing Stuff We Don’t Admit We Do Anymore Because It’s Not Allowed. Stuff like Spying On Domestic Terrorists Political Activists.Or, in Bee’s case, teenage feminists. Some throw back in FIT was terrified that she might hurl herself under the King’s racehorse at The Grand National–after all, if it could happen in 1913, surely it’s still A clear and present danger? (Votes for Women Still being a notoriously controversial political Hot potato in the twenty-firstcentury.) Consequently,her file is the Police equivalent of Green Kryptonite, except that she hasn’t actually ever Been charged with–much less convicted of–anything. So let’s Provisionally re-file her record under Movie Prop Kryptonite and move Swiftly on. It turns out that she comes from a long line (well, at least one generation) of New Statesman -Dad rose to the dizzy height of town councilor, while Mum continues to teach social sciences at a former polytechnic. Bee got involved in reproductive rights activism in her teens, went on counter-demos Against anti-abortion activists, and generally made a bit of a buzz. Then she headed off to university to study political science and Economics as a prelude to Taking Over the World, and lowered her sights To taking over one student society at a time That was before she acquired the ability to speed herself up by a factor of ten, Which happened ten weeks ago when she darted into a busy road to rescue A run away two-year-old from a runaway cement mixer, under the unblinking Gaze of an experimental hi-def traffic camera. TV news coverage ensued, Followed by the usual fifteen minutes of fame (condensed down, in her case, to a ninety-second feel-goods Lot at the end of the hourly cycle).She can only do it as Long as she can hold her breath–she can’t absorb oxygen or discharge Carbon dioxide from the linings of her lungs while in super-speed mode– But what she can accomplish in that time is impressive.
Lollipop Bill. Aged sixty-four, former ambulance paramedic, retired at sixty. For the past few years he’s been working part-time as a school crossing attendant. ”Wearing a hi-vis coat and wielding a fluorescent sign, he’s one of the army of unsung heroes and heroines whos every important job is to walk out into a main road and bring the traffic to a screeching halt when the primary school kids are chucking out,in order to stop the oblivious yummy mummies and white-van men from mowing down bairns like nine pins. “He came to our attention two months ago when he had an argument over right of way with a courier firm Ford Transit–and won. Bill saved a bunch of six-year-olds from being maimed or killed, and incidentally discovered that he’s got lightning reflexes and super strength. He’s not as fast as Bee but he used to be fully certificated in first aid, and we could do with a paramedic on the team.
Captain Mahvelous Eric Talbot. Aged thirty-eight, software developer, civil partnership, works in banking He and his hubby were on their annual boys’ day out for London Pride this year and decided to Head over to Old Compton Street for some clubbing after the march. Halfway there they ran into a group of gang-bangers who were looking for trouble, or maybe some easy wallets to lift: your traditional queer-bashing ensued. Or rather, your traditional queer-bashing was attempted. That’s when Captain Mahvelous discovered his hitherto unknown talent for telekinesis, and his affinity For dumpsters. And then, in short order, the joy of introducing would-be queer-bashers to said dumpsters. He hospitalized two of them–broken ribs–but the entire incident was captured on CCTV, and a sit was six against two and the bad guys had knives, it was an open-and-shut case of self-defense.