Ministry of Unusual Affairs [Recap 3]

We have begun our second assignment for the Ministry of Unusual Affairs, but our series of recaps has yet to finish revealing the events of the first. In the previous installment, we touched on the first of the successes we earned in that assignment. These successes were hard won, and paid for with our first loss. That loss was not to life or limb – although that was a fate nipping closely at our heels – but rather to sanity, and the naive notion that through normal human effort alone could we do our duty for Crown and Country.

Did you miss Part One? Read it here. Did you miss Part Two? Read it here.

At the end of the last recap, Ribbon and Krewes separated to handle the loose ends which were fraying all around them. Grimhearst, suffering wounds the likes of which we had never seen and clearly out of her head, needed swift medical attention. Likewise, Carrington, rescued from his long confinement and sedation, was in need of care. The two aviator mercenary women were similarly a problem in need of attention.

After tense negotiations with flaring tempers and weapons leveled, the decision was reached that Ribbon would fly with Hale to meet the mysterious Patron behind the flying machine, while her co-pilot (and firebrand) Byrd would stay with Krewes for the trip to London. Having heard from Hennessey that the woman had been raving, threatening everyone with a pistol, and ultimately detonated dynamite in the caverns during their escape via the secret passage the Agents had used to gain access to the ritual, it was deemed best to keep her in custody.

Krewes:

Krewes took responsibility for making sure that Dr. Hennessey got well away with the injured and headed for London. He also decided to organize a rescue operation for those trapped in the Hellfire caves which could coordinate with the limited law enforcement in the area to separate the innocent from the guilty among the survivors.

On the way into town, as the flying machine roared overhead into a thunderstorm, he caught site of the demon from the Hellfire caves , in flight, and headed for London.

Krewes delegated rousing the authorities to Ribbon’s aide, a police constable, who was glad to have been recruited for nothing else the Agents had gotten up to that night as he likes his fights more honest and in the light of day. Krewes and Byrd doubled back to the Dashwood estate and sought signs of the main conspirators. Their investigation was interrupted and the two were unceremoniously clubbed unconscious and dragged off to the carriage house where they were put in a wagon to be taken deeper into the woods to be disposed of after digging their own graves. Once conscious and informed of the plan, Krewes made some alterations to it then took the wagon from his disabled former captors, heading back toward town as dawn was breaking.

Ribbon:

Hale and Ribbon were not aloft long before they caught sight of the demon and deduced it was heading for London. Remembering that the main cultist had brandished a military medal while gloating about a threat to their superior, Sir Chambers, Ribbon grew concerned that the creature was heading to the city to kill.

Ribbon, a patriot through and through, found himself in negotiations with Hale to engage the flying creature and end the threat. Fortunately, he was able to find the right combination of persuasion and enticement to get her to agree: she is a thrillseeker at heart, and he agreed to foot the bill for her services and any repairs. Was he bluffing? She will never know~

The armed flying machine is fearsome, but with Hale at the controls, she was unable to fire its gun. That task fell to Ribbon who did his best, but in the rain and darkness was facing a steep learning curve for his first time manning a Gatling gun on a remote mounting under an aircraft. Through volume of fire and some luck, he was able to injure the demon and get its attention.

It then became a fight not just for crown and country, but for their lives.

Despite valiant efforts to tease and lead the demon off-course, yet stay out of its grasp, the flying machine was eventually caught and battered to the earth. However, having grown up in the area and gone to military school before being recruited to serve his country in a different way, Ribbon was certain they were near a military base assigned to one of his old tutors and had convinced Hale to head toward it. They crashed inside it, and the base was soon roused to drive off an attack.

The demon had been hurt by the rotors after its attack on the flying machine which gave Ribbon time to speak to the officer in charge before all hell broke lose. The demon’s enraged attack, hurling a splintered tree at the wreck, made it much easier to get the base working with Ribbon rather than arresting him.

After a brutal fight in which many lost their lives, their minds, or both, the demon was brought down and dissipated. The price was high, and the CO, Ribbon’s former tutor was among those who laid down their lives in the battle. It was a struggle in the darkness and against the darkness. In the end, bellowing God Save the Queen at the top of his lungs, Ribbon managed to avert a rout and with the aid of gunnery crews on machine guns and his own sniping managed to send the regenerating creature back to Hell…but not from his nightmares.

Before the air had cleared, Ribbon found himself facing a panic which was building to a mutiny and a possible lynching with him as the best candidate for the rope. With some effort, and drawing on the aid of the unit’s grizzled NCO in charge of the new motor pool, he was able to restore order and get in touch with the Ministry to get clean up operations on motion, not only for the wounded at the base and the caves, but also to recover the flying machine. To keep their minds off what had happened, he further convinced the unit to mobilize and join in the rescue operation.

Ribbon was granted a driver and a new-fangled automobile to carry him back to the caves to try to reconnect with his team. What he found was that the rescue operations were underway, but no sign of the main conspirators or obvious cultists was found. Likewise, there was no sign of Krewes.

Krewes and Ribbon:

Drawing upon his skills as a former espionage agent, Ribbon surveilled the Dashwood estate, making note of the people he saw there, trying to commit their faces to memory, but not being willing to interject himself into the proceedings due to the number of guards, his growing fatigue, and disappearance of Krewes. As he searched for his fellow Agent, he saw each guest given a chance to clean up from the mud and dust of the explosion and rain, given new clothes, and then they were then sent off clean and without trace in their carriages.

Eventually, his investigation of the manor revealed twin trails in the grass where sets of heels had been hauled away from the house. These led to the carriage house, and tracks from there led up an old wood road.

He returned to the automobile and had the driver follow the road, where, at dawn, they encountered Krewes and Byrd in an old wagon heading toward them.

Coda

Having completed the assignment, foiled a magical assassination plot, partially identified some conspirators, and obtained some new and dangerous technology, the debriefings after the mission were rough at first, but ended well. After some time in the infirmary, Ribbon received a promotion within the Ministry (Rank 2) and celebrated by writing a lot of detailed reports, much like he had done prior to being promoted. Krewes and the others needed more time in hospital due to more extensive physical injuries.

Ribbon, no stranger to alienation and paranoia as a former spy, took the suggestion to seek a counselor from those in the Ministry to help keep him grounded. However, he also took on apprenticeship to a Ministry occultist. He is used to being out of his depth, but that doesn’t mean he has to stay there.

Krewes returned to work as his remedy, but Grimhearst retired. Her sacrifices in this case were too great to be borne. She could not bear the idea that the spirit of her departed son had been permanently banished by the cult. Without him, her abilities as a medium and specialist in necromancy were meaningless and so she relocated to her estate in the country. All thought that this was for the best.

The aviators were kept under house arrest while their machine was being repaired. Ribbon prepared to go with them to meet their Patron who was still mysterious, and thanks to his promotion was actually able to keep all of his promises to Hale, bluff or no bluff.

That could have been the end of things, but before the next assignment arrived…

Interlude

The captured Rat King, Keswick, was still Ribbon’s responsibility. He had formed a bond with his interrogator, and was still seeking to outwit him. As this was playing out, Ribbon trying to get the man to reveal anything he knew about the Hellfire Club members, Ribbon himself found his team under investigation by Internal Affairs – particularly in regard to the use of magic, and the well-being of Grimhearst.

Ribbon fended the investigator, Jaeger Alaric, off for a while, but the man’s actions in some way triggered Grimhearst to act… or perhaps that is just wishful thinking on Ribbon’s part to shift some of the blame for what happened.

Late one night as Ribbon was completing the last stages of a complex plan to undermine Keswick’s resistance, he was interrupted by the prisoner casually remarking that the etheric interference resonator which dampens the use of magic in the Ministry was no longer working.

Upon investigating, Ribbon found Grimhearst and two animated dead men who would later turn out to be Keswick’s driver (whom he had murdered in front of Ribbon when captured) and a Ministry guard. The shock of seeing this was hard to resist, but Ribbon retained his sense of duty despite the horror and rushed to deny Grimhearst her target. She was there to kill Keswick, and while Ribbon had no love lost for the man, he had seen the desire to be of value deep in him, and was making progress reaching it. Further, he simply could not let someone murder a helpless prisoner while he stood by and did nothing. He had been a helpless prisoner too long himself to agree to that, and moreover, that is not what sworn Agents of the Crown should allow.

He raced to the cell ahead of the shambling dead and grabbing a set of manacles, locked himself to the barred door, defying Grimhearst to kill him to reach Keswick.

Fortunately, Krewes arrived in time to prevent the walking dead from tearing Ribbon apart, and Keswick – shocked by Ribbon’s display – channeled harmful magical forces to summon rats to the Agent’s aid. The walking dead were dealt with, Grimhearst was captured by Krewes, sickened by having to strike a woman and a fellow agent, and guards finally arrived to finish the job. He didn’t seem to care that she had shot him in the process.

Keswick, moved by what he had seen and the motivations of the woman who had tried to kill him, volunteered to assist put the Hellfire Club members away.

As the investigation into what had happened blazed away, Sir Chambers arranged to send the Agents out of the country for their next assignment…

Stay tuned for further action of these Ministry Agents as they journey to Canada with a new Agent to join another new Agent! Together, they will seek out a murderer and thief with stolen Ministry survey documents, and possibly run afoul of the fearsome Wendigo~

Comments
2 Responses to “Ministry of Unusual Affairs [Recap 3]”
  1. Murderbunny says:

    I just wanted to comment on your blog to say that I love reading these recaps, and I look forward to the next one(s).

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