In which Gordy wields a sword, Georgie battles goblins, and Milton works on his spelling.
Location: The Imperial Museum, St Petersburg
Primary Mission: Locate and retrieve Ambramovich’s dig report from el-Amarna, 1898
Secondary Mission: Avoid all mention of CROSSBOW, the Codex, Abramovich or anything else within CROSSBOW’s remit
Optional Mission: Locate Ransome papers within archive
Associated Intelligence Files
Incoming Black Box signal
Sender ident: Excalibur
Analysis indicates that Codex decryption in reasonable time frame unlikely without access to previous research notes describing context of manuscript.
Priority mission: Travel to Russia and retrieve original dig notes from archive of Imperial Museum, St Petersburg.
Caution: Relations with current Russian administration poor; avoid disruption and all mention of Abramovich, Kropotkin or Codex.
Official purpose of mission: to access papers belonging to author Arthur Ransome for historical record.
The team drop into the Imperial Museum, St Petersburg, the run-down remnant of a once-proud institution left to rot after the fall of the Tsar. They present themselves as members of the Arthur Ransome Trust and are given access to the stacks. They realise that the place is almost empty and go to work.
Milton finds a reference for the Abramovich file in the card catalogue – Gordy was horrified to discover there was no electronic archive, or even database, that he could hack – and Georgie sets off to find B3R7 while Milton and Gordy learn more about their country’s literary heritage. She avoids guards and librarians in the basement, but the sub-basement is deserted, allowing her to slip around to a different staircase and descend to the second sub-basement (level B3) unobserved.
This is where it gets complicated.
In the third basement, Georgie is attacked by a goblin and some kind of monstrous hound. She tasers them and seeks out R7, a room full of shelves and boxes. It is here that she is attacked by a ninja.
While Georgie handily dispatches her opponent, Gordy and Milton rush to her rescue and are ambushed by two more ninja. Milton evades a series of deadly attacks, but Gordy is less fortunate (and doesn’t have an evasion stunt), and takes a brutal slash to the arm which causes him to scream like a little girl (a fact which has rapidly become scuttlebutt in the intelligence community, much to his chagrin.)
Georgie joins, and quickly concludes the fight with the brand of excessive violence that has become her calling card. The team retrieve the sizable Abramovich File from the storeroom and prepare to leave, but are ambushed by another ninja and a pair of goblins.
While Georgie and a sword-wielding Gordy wade into the fray, Milton identifies a background noise of chanting. Leaving Georgie to finish the last goblin, the boys rush to the B3 stacks and find some sort of freaking wizard attempting to summon a demon.
The team leap into action. Gordy cold cocks the wizard with the hilt of his sword, while Elliot engages in a bit of a magey duel, attempting to muster a bit of magical brouhaha to counter the summoning before it can be completed and the demon – which is pretty big – crush them like ants. A combination of bravura magical improvisation, serious head trauma and a little light tasering from Georgie leaves the wizard unconscious and the demon being dragged back into whatever hell it came from in a vortex which usefully serves to clear up the goblin bodies.
Leaving the dead ninjas for the Russians to puzzle over, the team departs with a bleeding Gordy and an unconscious demonologist.
The team’s reputation is intact, but they may have done irreparable harm to the good name of the Arthur Ransome Trust. On the up side, they have not only the Abramovich files, but also a wizard to question.