The Highbury Horror

Marsh pro­vokes a brawl; April gains a stalker.


25th Feb­ru­ary 2010.

Dramatis Personae


It was three months after the case of the Temple Vam­pire. Fol­low­ing a dress­ing-down over their pre­cip­it­ous con­clu­sion to the case, Pro­fess­or Wyn­termere and Doc­tor Crabb had tem­por­ar­ily with­drawn from act­ive ser­vice, leav­ing Marsh and Lady Ant­o­nia to babysit a quar­tet of juni­or agents through a series of basic sur­veil­lance and inform­a­tion-gath­er­ing tasks.

Their latest mis­sion took them out to High­bury, where there had been reports of a bru­tal indi­vidu­al of great stature ter­ror­ising the loc­al inhab­it­ants. Sev­er­al women had gone miss­ing and the Met­ro­pol­it­an Police, as usu­al, were at a loss to stop the attacks. The Min­istry was tak­ing an interest because the descrip­tions of the attack­er bore a great resemb­lance to the per­pet­rat­or of the Hyde Attacks a couple of years before. The team were assigned to sur­vey the situ­ation, gath­er intel­li­gence on the attacks and, if pos­sible, identi­fy the attack­er so that a task force could remove him from the pub­lic arena.

After briefly explor­ing the area, the team decided to try ask­ing the loc­als what they knew. Spot­ting a pub­lic drink­ing estab­lish­ment on a nearby corner, they divided into two teams: Miss Sharp, Pren­tiss and Marsh would enter the bar, while Miss Spit and Cap­tain Cur­ruth­ers would ask ques­tions in the more gen­teel sur­round­ings of the lounge. Lady Ant­o­nia decided this was not the place for an aris­to­crat and remained out­side, pre­pared for trouble. Things went well for half an hour or so: buy­ing the occa­sion­al drink, Cur­ruth­ers, Miss Sharpe and Pren­tiss spoke to a num­ber of the cli­en­tele, while Miss Spit rap­idly found her­self at the centre of a group of admirers. Marsh toyed with start­ing a game of chance, then decided on a more dir­ect approach, ask­ing if any large ugly types had been seen in the area: at this point, it all went down­hill, as he found him­self stand­ing next to a large ugly gentleman.

Lady Ant­o­nia was briefly shocked by the sound of break­ing glass, then real­ised that Marsh had joined her in the street. The rest of the team decided dis­cre­tion was the great­er part of valour and they met up to com­pare notes. Four attacks had taken place in an area a quarter of a mile square, all but one fatally; the lady in ques­tion was in shock and see­ing no-one, but had spoken of being grabbed by a large, well-dressed man with cal­loused hands. All attacks had taken place late at night and had involved indi­vidu­als, except in one case where a couple was murdered.

The team decided to try to lure the attack­er out to see if they could identi­fy him and divided into three teams: Miss Spit and Cur­ruth­ers, Miss Sharpe and Pren­tiss and Lady Ant­o­nia and Marsh. In each case, the female mem­ber walked appar­ently alone while her col­league fol­lowed at a dis­crete dis­tance. The plan worked: Miss Sharpe was promptly grabbed from with­in a shad­owed alley by a huge fig­ure. She screamed for help and pulled out her pis­tol as Pren­tiss rushed to the res­cue; the oth­ers, all oper­at­ing on nearby streets, also raced to the scene. Miss Sharpe was find­ing that her pis­tol was hav­ing little effect, the bul­lets get­ting lost in her attack­er­’s volu­min­ous cloak, while Pren­tiss began try­ing to club him over the head. Marsh arrived and laid into him with his knives, before Cur­ruth­ers and Lady Ant­o­nia were able to take pot­shots with their own weapons.

The attack­er proved to be incred­ibly tough, but even­tu­ally they brought him down through sheer per­sist­ence, drugged and cuffed him and then dragged him back to the Min­istry. By the time they had arrived, the attack­er had mys­ter­i­ously shrunk and was now a scrawny young man. Pren­tiss remarked that he had seen some­thing sim­il­ar before and Mr Rooke con­firmed that there had been a small num­ber of sight­ings of creatures bear­ing sim­il­ar abil­it­ies and appear­ance to the mys­ter­i­ous Mr Hyde of sev­er­al years pre­vi­ous. The mon­ster was taken away for exam­in­a­tion and the team com­men­ded for their suc­cess, before being asked to return the fol­low­ing morn­ing for their next briefing.


This mis­sion was inten­ded to per­form the same role as the battle with the rat-men at the begin­ning of the Temple Vam­pire: shake-down the new char­ac­ters and give the new play­ers a chance to get used to the com­bat sys­tem. The invest­ig­a­tion seemed to get a little involved as I was expect­ing the team to explore the streets first and just get attacked, but the final ver­sion allowed for anoth­er clas­sic Marsh foot-in-mouth incid­ent so was a def­in­ite improve­ment. The new char­ac­ters got a chance to show what they were made of and estab­lish their per­son­al­it­ies, but as usu­al, the fight went on slightly too long, partly because I for­got the mon­ster was an Extra, rather than a Wild Card, and gave it too many wounds.

I’m get­ting bet­ter at this, though!