Dr. Nicht

Report of X12 Sir Henry Hamilton KBE, 7th Marquess Bamburgh.

I concede to God and the universe that I have not the ability to write a formulaic clerkish report of the sort which I imagine every other member of this agency can churn out concerning their activities in the field. Should it be necessary that such a version of this report exist, I implore the powers above me in Her Majesty's service to appoint some gray-souled square peg of a typist to render it in the approved fashion, and I will sign whatever the result may be.

The date was March the 15th, 1962. I was at home on my estate near Edinburgh when I received a standard notification of required appearance at Star Chamber. Though the weather had been Hellishly awful throughout the winter, I was very much enjoying the interlude of peace afforded me there. I did not, however, hesitate in my response to the summons. I changed to more office-appropriate attire, of course; then when ready, I rang the office to arrange use of the port room and teleported in as arranged.

I first realised the grave nature of the business at hand when I learned that X himself would be the briefing officer. He greeted me warmly, as always, and we chatted for some few minutes. I wondered at the frittering away of these precious minutes of X's time, but realised that we were only waiting for another agent to join us when X21 Sir Rudolph Singh KCMG entered the room.

Sir Rudolph and I were known to each through a shared experience in Paris early last year. You'll forgive me, I hope, but I do not seem to have the X case number at hand. I knew him to be a careful man, watchful and resourceful. Whatever was to be faced would seem less daunting with such a man as a partner.

X let us know that the case was a worrier, for it involved Her Majesty's covert atomic research facility at Chatham. I was happy to note that Sir Rudolph's knowledge of the site was not inferior to my own, and this seemed also to please X. Two of the staff, a physicist and a clerk, had apparently fallen prey to wolves in separate incidents. Such creatures not being common to the locality within the last eight hundred years, we immediately suspected lycanthropy.

The incidents were dark enough in and of themselves, but gained a blacker cast when X revealed that certain Chatham secrets were absolutely known to have reached the Kremlin. Sir Rudolph and I had some questions concerning the nature and circumstances of the attacks, but the extent of the information that X had to hand was simply a map of the area with the locations marked where the bodies had been discovered, and the location of a local Faery circle. He directed us to enquire of the local constabulary for the particulars in each of the killings, though he did have an Oxford don, professor Tolkein, speak to us briefly about the Faery circle and what sort of bearing that might have on the area.

We stopped by Quartermaster's office to acquire some few items that might prove useful in the field. Quartermaster signed out an Aston-Martin to us which had been equipped with a two-way radio/television communication system in addition to the standard devices normally attached to Star Chamber vehicles. In addition, he gave us each a limited-range wrist communicator which might prove useful in the field. We wished also to have weapons that could knock down a werewolf. We did not care to limit ourselves to this one possibility with so little hard information to go on, but it seemed wise to take precautions along this path. I took along a fowling piece with some silver-alloy shotgun shells. Sir Rudolph acquired a silver-headed cane.

We arranged for rooms at the best of the local hotels for each of us, and X informed Inspector Jubilee of the local constabulary that she could expect our arrival that very afternoon. The drive from London was routine in every way. The weather was no worse than should be expected, and a far cry from that I had been enduring for the previous week.

We ensconced ourselves in our accommodations. I alerted the inspector of our arrival and I arranged a meeting in the hotel bar in order that we maintain some distance from the local bobbies. Inspector Cherie Jubilee soon met us in the bar. We informed her that we were there on official business as representatives of the Crown. She tested our acceptance of her immediately, asking if we had any reservations regarding working with a woman in these circumstances. Neither I nor Sir Rudolph had any such reservation whatsoever. I must say further that we never had occasion to rue this at any point in the investigation. Inspector Jubilee was always quite competent and expeditious in the execution of her duties.

It was at this time that Sir Rudolph and I first laid eyes on Herr Doktor Hans Nicht. He was holding court for a small crowd of sycophants in the hotel restaurant. Inspector Jubilee informed us that he had come over from Germany after the war, having been involved in that nation's atomic program under the Nazis. He certainly had the Aryan ideal look. His manners were also most certainly Deutsch.

The inspector drove us out to the site where the body of Miss Barnham, the archivist clerk, had been discovered. Along the way she related what she knew of Miss Barnham's movements on the day of her demise. Miss Barnham had been at her job at the usual time of 8:30 in the morning. She had departed at 5:30 p.m., again as usual. She was known to have attended a party at Herr Doktor Nicht's house that evening. About 9:00 p.m. she returned to the lab. She stayed for seventeen and one-half minutes. She was not seen alive again. Her body was found by a young couple having a stroll through the woods. Her automobile was still missing.

The inspector also related the details of Dr. Ellston's last day. He had come to work as usual at 8:00 a.m. He had taken luncheon at noon, for an hour. Unusually, he stayed late in the office that day. At 8:30 p.m., a guard heard the sound of crashing glass from Dr. Ellston's laboratory. The guard entered the laboratory and discovered that Dr. Ellston was not present and that an exterior window was smashed. The inspector was unable to inform us if most of the glass had fallen into or out of the building. Dr. Ellston's body was discovered two days later off a path leading to the Faery circle.

The location where Miss Barnham had been found was perhaps a quarter mile from the road, just beyond a holiday bungalow which was then vacant. The local constabulary had trodden the rain-soaked ground until it closely resembled the condition of a rugby pitch. Despite this, we set to work searching for such clues the ground would afford us.

Inspector Jubilee had photographs with her which showed the body as it had been discovered. Miss Barnham had been mauled, with several bites having been given about her face and head. She had been bitten severely on both legs, and her left hand was missing.

Inspector Jubilee also had photographs of Dr. Ellston's remains, which were also quite gruesome. His head had been mauled to such an extent that the constabulary had resorted to dental records to identify the body. His right hand was missing.

I asked that the inspector make sure that the bodies were those of the Chatham staff and not substitute corpses left to throw us off. This branch idea came to naught as the identities were easily confirmed from the fingerprints on their remaining hands. The other fancy I had proved more useful. We were able to ascertain through inquiry that Miss Barnham had been right-handed and that Dr. Ellston had been left-handed.

Sir Rudolph was able to determine that several tracks existed in the area. I hope to convey clearly the relative locations and directions in these words. Miss Burnham had apparently approached the site from the east, on foot and in great haste. Her trail ended at the gravel path about the holiday bungalow. Her body was discovered about one hundred yards south of the bungalow. The Faery circle was almost due south of the body about half a mile away, and Sir Rudolph found three distinct sets of tracks between the body and the Faery circle: a large wolf had traversed from the Faery circle to the body, the same wolf had traversed back to the Faery circle, and a smaller wolf had traversed from the body to the Faery circle. Lastly, there were a few traces between the body and the bungalow to show that one of the wolves had traversed from the bungalow to the body, but we were unable to determine which of the wolves that was.

While Sir Rudolph was pursuing that line of inquiry, I cast a spell (while the inspector was distracted) to detect those characteristic traces which would be present had any magic been performed in the area. I found that the site where the body had been found was all over with a slight dweomer of magical residue. There was nothing of any detectable presence away from the site, though one particular indentation near at hand gleamed more brightly than the general dweomer.

Quartermaster had given us a foaming agent that set well in a few seconds for just such an opportunity as this. I used the agent to get a cast of the indentation and was very pleased to come up with a decent casting of a portion of a bracelet. Inspector Jubilee was quite excited at the result, and we were able to determine that it bore a wolf as its design. Sir Rudolph was able to use the agent similarly to make castings of the various paw prints left by the wolves.

We decided to first trace out the path to the Faery circle and then onward to the site where Dr. Ellston had been discovered, then we would back-track along the approach Miss Barnham had used to reach the bungalow. Upon reaching the Faery circle, Sir Rudolph again used the greatest care to examine the ground for possible clues. He was able to determine that there had been some sort of a struggle within the ring of the Faery circle. More than this, he found traces of blood which led him to discover Miss Barnham's missing hand behind one of the stones of the circle. I looked about to see if some trace could be found of Dr. Ellston's hand, but I had no such luck. The inspector bagged Miss Barnham's hand for later examination.

We turned on a footpath that should have taken us to the Chatham atomic facility had we followed it along. We stopped somewhere about a mile from the Faery circle where Dr. Ellston's body had been found. There was nothing for us to see there, the ground being soggy and unremarkable. There was nothing to show that anything untoward had occurred in the vicinity at all. We then turned and went back to the bungalow.

Inspector Jubilee went off to put Miss Barnham's hand in a cooler to preserve it. Sir Rudolph turned his attention to the tracks made by that unfortunate Miss Barnham. We surmised that she had been fleeing from something along an animal track through the trees. We found absolutely no evidence of whatever may have pursued her. She had evidently fallen several times, Sir Rudolph being sure of at least a half-dozen such places. Eventually, after two miles of rough walking, we came on Miss Barnham's automobile.

Sir Rudolph undertook to examine the ground for further tracks about the vehicle. His determination was that she had closed and locked the door, stepped away from the vehicle, then began to run into the trees. The auto was an inexpensive Vauxhall run-about. I examined the interior. Papers in the glovebox showed that Miss Barnham did indeed own the vehicle. Her purse was under the driver's seat. In the purse was an envelope containing an invitation to attend a party at Dr. Nicht's, at six p.m., on the evening of her death. Also in the envelope was a paper cocktail napkin with a hand drawn map. It was drawn to guide someone from the village to the spot where the auto was parked. A dotted line indicated the animal track down which Miss Barnham had fled.

Inspector Jubilee caught us up at Miss Barnham's automobile and we were able to share our discoveries with her. We determined that Miss Barnham's security badge had not been found with the body, not was it in her purse. We notified the lab that we could not locate the badge, but we suspected that it was somewhere along the animal track. We never did find it, though a search of the area was later conducted by the local constabulary.

Having been over the ground ourselves, and found such clues as we had, we decided it was time to meet Herr Doktor Nicht. The inspector thought it a good idea to attempt to meet him at his club. We returned to the hotel to clean up a bit, then headed for the club. Dr. Nicht was indeed at the club. He was playing bridge with an obnoxious American as his partner. He and his partner seemingly won every rubber, taking their opponents for a tidy sum.

I took the opportunity to meet Dr. North, director of Chatham atomic facility. Inspector Jubilee performed the introductions. He was quite friendly, beyond mere cordiality, and I received an invitation to shoot grouse with him the following morning at 10:00 a.m. I happily accepted.

When the victims at the bridge table had had enough, they fled the table. When Dr. Nicht called out for opponents, Sir Rudolph and I approached separately to fill the available places. We decided, for whatever reason, to pretend to meet then and there and so greeted one another as strangers. We found that Dr. Nicht and the American were fine enough players to not have to cheat to win, though Sir Rudolph and I came out ahead in the end. Sir Rudolph, Inspector Jubilee, and I all noticed that Dr. Nicht wore a bracelet on his left arm and that this bracelet bore a wolf. This bracelet closely matched the imprint I had taken earlier in the afternoon where Miss Barnham's body had been discovered.

During the bridge game, archaeology came up as a topic of discussion. Dr. Nicht declared it to be his great passion in life. Sir Rudolph and I each showed a knowledgeable interest in the subject, enough so that Dr. Nicht invited each of us to his house that evening where we could view other assorted artifacts on display at his house. We accepted, of course, and arranged that the inspector would drive us out to the party. I mentioned that I was surprised at all the invitations I was receiving, having been invited shooting with Dr. North. Dr. Nicht happily said that he would also be shooting in the morning.

We returned to the hotel to dress in appropriate attire for the party. The inspector came to get us just after 7:00 p.m. and we went off to Dr. Nicht's. We were greeted at the door by our host. We reminded him that we very much wanted to see his collection when he could conveniently step away from his duties as host. He assured us that there was no time like the present and ushered us upstairs to what can only be described as an archaeology laboratory.

Dr. Nicht described a couple of the digs he had been on. Most recently, he had been in Romania studying the remains of an ancient gypsy camp. At this site, he had acquired many artifacts and most of them seemed to bear wolves in their form or decoration. There was one tablet that he had set off especially which drew my particular interest. Unfortunately, I was unable to study it closely while we were in the lab, but I felt it to be important.

On leaving the laboratory, we descended once more to the party in the main room. Dr. Nicht introduced us to Lupe Gonzales, the hostess of the soirée. Sir Rudolph's report on this same case may include more detail on Miss Gonzales as he had more interaction with her over the course of time. It is my impression that Miss Gonzales was not wholly devoted to Dr. Nicht; in fact, I believe she viewed herself as an independent operative acting in concert with Dr. Nicht for the short-term despite the fact that she wore one of the wolf bracelets.

Dr. Nicht returned to talk to me sometime during the evening. He led me outside through the French doors and into the gardens at the rear of the house. Amongst the statuary, almost exclusively representing wolves, he pointed out one particular statue that he seemed quite proud to own.

At first glance it seemed to be merely another statue of a wolf, albeit extremely old. Dr. Nicht brought my attention to the details of the piece, and I perceived that there were distinctly human elements to the figure. It did not seem to depict the transformation of a man to a wolf, nor a wolf to a man. Rather, it was a representation of a creature with the attributes of both man and wolf. This led us to a discussion of gypsy religion and the relation of man to the cosmos.

In the course of this discussion, I wondered if any constellation really represents a wolf. I thought of Canis Major and Minor, of course, and then to wonder if they would be visible in the night sky. I realised the full moon would interfere with viewing the stars, then I realised that Miss Barnham was killed on the first day of the full moon, and then that Dr. Ellston was killed on the last full moon. We already suspected lycanthropy, but this realization should have occurred to me long before. Perhaps something of my disgust showed itself on my face, but our conversation came to an end and we entered the house once more.

A few minutes after I came into the house, Sir Rudolph came to me and asked if I knew where the inspector had gotten to. I replied negatively and he informed me that he had just watched her automobile leaving the premises, and that he suspected that the inspector had been at the wheel. I was not sure what to make of this, but I felt it important to bring up the point with our host, and to ask if she had left some reason for her departure, to keep up an air of being on the up-and-up with him.

I sought out Dr. Nicht and made known to him the departure of the inspector. I asked if she had left word for Sir Rudolph or me. Dr. Nicht assured me that she had not, though he hoped that nothing of an unpleasant nature had occurred. He then offered to have his driver take us to our hotel if the inspector had not returned by the time we wished to leave. Miss Gonzales approached us as Dr. Nicht was concluding his offer. I asked her about the inspector but received much the same answer as I had gotten from Dr. Nicht.

We stayed at the party for another hour, until 11:00 p.m. As the party was breaking up and the inspector had not returned, Sir Rudolph and I accepted our host's offer of the car. We bade our farewells to our host and hostess. Dr. Nicht's driver was a hulking man named Boris. He spoke little, drove acceptably, and took a direct route to the hotel.

Along the route, Sir Rudolph scanned the left side of the road and I the right, hoping not to see the inspector's automobile in a ditch. We were at least semi-fortunate: I spotted her sedan parked on a small dirt road just outside the town. I took note of the next few signposts so that I would be able to gauge our approach when we returned.

Sir Rudolph advised against changing into more sensible attire owing to our need for haste in going to the inspector's aid. I agreed. We went immediately to the Aston-Martin. I moved my fowling piece from the trunk onto the rear seat. I drove back along the route Boris had driven to bring us to the hotel. I stopped approximately one hundred yards from the junction with the side road.

I used the night-surveillance binoculars signed out to us by Quartermaster to survey the area. I could see a large animal in the view, seemingly past the inspector's sedan along the lane. Sir Rudolph took the opportunity to fade off into the woods. I got back into the Aston-Martin and proceeded slowly to the junction, using only the light of the full moon to navigate.

When I had arrived at the end of the narrow lane, I stopped and again surveyed the scene with the night-surveillance binoculars. Once again I saw the large animal, though now I saw that it was off to my right in the field beyond the lane. I heard a woman's cry, a frightened scream. The animal at once reacted and moved further into the field. A smaller creature I took to be the inspector was moving along the lane away from me and toward, I realised, the Faery circle.

I took the fowling piece, a torch, and the binoculars with me. I left the automobile where it was as I knew that I could not get past the inspector's sedan. I ran down the lane, having no trouble seeing the roadway in the light of the moon and, as I could hear the inspector ahead of me, I did not have to stop to get my bearings.

I closed rapidly with Inspector Jubilee. I began to call for her to stop. Her cries, though frightened, were not hysterical. She reacted to my voice and came to me. She assured me that she had seen a wolf and that it had menaced her. I scanned a full circle with the binoculars and found that nothing of any size was near us. I repeated the circle holding high my torch, again finding nothing in the area. The inspector was relieved at this and immediately became calmer. I noticed that she was wearing a wolf bracelet similar to those worn by Dr. Nicht and his associates. Inspector Jubilee admitted wearing it to the office, but she could not recall having put it on. She gave me the bracelet. I put it in my pocket.

Inspector Jubilee and I walked back down the lane to her automobile. I asked why she had departed the party without any word to Sir Rudolph or me. She explained that she could clearly recall the events since then, but that she could not explain why she had acted as she had. She said that she had driven to her office because she felt that it was necessary. Once there, she had destroyed every bit of paper and scrap of evidence related to this case. She seemed to feel that she had done these things of her own volition, but she could not now account for why that would be.

When we reached the inspector's sedan, I asked for her key. I left the key on the driver's seat so that Sir Rudolph would have a vehicle with which to return to the hotel. I felt it best that the inspector be taken from the scene and that she not drive herself under the circumstances. I drove the inspector towards town. She told me that she did not wish to be home alone after the events of the evening. I felt that this was a sound suggestion and I therefore drove to the hotel.

I was certain that Dr. Nicht must have used a strong magical suggestion upon her mind. This opened up the prospect that he was not simply a lycanthrope, but that he might also be a wizard of some power. I did not like this one bit, but the possibility had to be taken into account. I assured the inspector that I believed that Dr. Nicht had exerted some sort of hypnotic control upon her, and that she had been acting under a post-hypnotic suggestion when she went to the office. The fact that she did not recall having received the bracelet only confirmed the hypnosis hypothesis in my view. She seemed much relieved by the idea.

I spoke to the inspector next morning. I asked her to look round her office to see what might be salvaged after her destruction of the files the night before. She seemed quite contrite, though as I told her again, she must have been simply the tool of Dr. Nicht's will and there was nothing she could have done about it. I suggested she check the lab for negatives or extra prints, and perhaps check general office files for duplicates of the reports. I spoke with Sir Rudolph to retrieve the inspector's key.

As I mentioned earlier in this report, the director of the Chatham facility, Dr. North, had invited me along for a shooting party the next morning. Sir Rudolph revealed that he also had a shooting match at the club: he and Miss Gonzales had arranged the night before for a casual bout of archery in the morning.

Sir Rudolph and I drove over to the club, arriving shortly before 10:00 a.m. A clerk at the desk informed me that Dr. North had called ahead most apologetically to say that he would be several minutes late. I went out into the gardens and found that Dr. Nicht was already present. He suggested that we begin without Dr. North and that he could join in whenever he arrived.

Dr. Nicht and I spent some little time potting the occasional grouse turned out by the club beaters. Our conversation was edgy and uncomfortable. When Dr. Nicht expressed the idea that we should advance to the trees to find more game, I agreed though I was wary of his true purpose. Dr. Nicht was to advance to the right of the beaters and I would take the left. Our stated intent was to meet on the far side of the grove.

I was wearing my elfin boots, my favored outdoor footwear, which have the great advantages of being very nearly silent in any terrain and leaving scant trace of passage where I've trodden. I was alert for any movement in the wood. I noticed something moving to my left where there should have been nothing at all. I slowed, then circled behind whatever was there. I came upon Dr. Nicht. He was stalking along, searching to his right. I purposely snapped a twig to catch his attention. He put out sham story of wandering too broadly in the wood and that it was lucky neither of us came to harm over it. A slight movement of his hand began to bring his barrels to bear on me, but he reconsidered when a messenger from the club came calling my name. I halloed and the moment of confrontation was over.

The messenger boy informed me that Inspector Jubilee had arrived at the club and urgently wished to speak to me. When I found her in the club lobby, she seemed rather distraught. She told me that what she feared was true: she had been all too thorough the night before in destroying the particulars of the case. She had not only destroyed all copies of the reports and photographs, but also Miss Barnham's hand.

I assured her that all was not lost, and that there was still the possibility of evidence in existence at the Chatham facility itself. I left a note for Sir Rudolph with the head clerk. In the note I explained that I felt our next thread of investigation would be the facility itself. I left the keys to the Aston-Martin with the note. The inspector and I then drove over to her office at the station. She showed me that she had indeed been extraordinarily thorough in her demolition of the case evidence.

Some time later, Sir Rudolph arrived at the office. He agreed that it was time to visit the laboratory to discover any evidence that may have gone unnoticed to that point. As we drove to the lab, Sir Rudolph revealed to me a bit of conversation he'd overheard that had taken place between Dr. Nicht and his servant Boris. Dr. Nicht had said "I will brook no delay. It must be tonight, and it will be tonight." This lent an urgency to the afternoon's proceedings as we felt we had to be prepared to confront Dr. Nicht that evening.

We called Star Chamber to have them authorise our entry into the Chatham facility. The guard at the door was at first determined to turn us away, but the authorization came through and we were admitted. We started in the laboratory that Dr. Ellston had been using the day of his demise. The window had been repaired long before, but the rest of the lab seemed to be much as Dr. Ellston left it on that final day. After a perusal of the files in and about the desk, Sir Rudolph noticed that a referenced file was not present.

We went down to the archives to see Miss Barnham's office. We were able to determine that the referenced file was definitely missing from the archives. We felt comfortable with the conclusion that that file had been the material that made its way to the Kremlin. Further, we were able to determine that a flask containing a sample of the material that Dr. Ellston had been working with was also missing. We knew we had to get that flask from Dr. Nicht.

With evening coming on, we decided that we had to get to Dr. Nicht's to observe the activities there. We contacted Star Chamber to relay our discoveries to this point in case something happened to us that evening. Professor Tolkein was on hand at the time and he was quite excited about the wolf bracelets. I held one of them up to the communications camera for him to view. He was obviously agitated, but said that he would need a little time to run them down. He asked us to call back for more information.

We decided that we did not want to approach Dr. Nicht's by the main road. We located a side road on one side of the property and we parked there. I armed myself with the fowling piece and saw that Sir Rudolph carried the silver-headed cane. I cast spells to render both Sir Rudolph and me invisible to all eyes, human and otherwise. Thus concealed wherever we'd go, I cast one more spell to teleport us into the archaeology laboratory on the first floor. This used up a dangerously large amount of my spell-casting capacity, but I felt the advantages were worth it.

Much of the material in the lab had already been hastily packed away in crates. I found the tablet that had seemed so important to me, but I was not able to glean any of its content in the short time available to me. I also found two of the wolf bracelets on a table. I was not certain that I wanted to have one about my person, so I placed the bracelet I'd taken from the inspector next to those two.

Sir Rudolph was not wasting time whilst I was poking about. He cast a spell to locate the flask that was missing from the Chatham facility. This took some time, but the results were fantastic. He immediately detected its presence in the proximity of the house. I was at this time listening at the door. I heard footsteps approaching, so Sir Rudolph and I stepped back from the doorway.

Dr. Nicht's servant Boris unlocked the door and entered the room. He took the crate containing the tablet and departed. Sir Rudolph and I had taken our opportunity and had both left the room while Boris was picking up the crate. We both followed him down the stairs and let him go on his way. I did not wish to speak too loudly to find Sir Rudolph, so I simply lifted a vase a bit to catch his attention. He soon had hold of my sleeve. He led me out the rear French doors and into the garden. The flask was hidden in the statue of the man-wolf creature.

In just a few moments, we had the flask in hand. I cast a spell to render the flask as invisible as we had become. Sir Rudolph agreed to carry the flask to the Aston-Martin. While there, he informed Star Chamber of the successful recovery and suggested they have the staff alert should we need support. At that time, professor Tolkein told Sir Rudolph that he had researched the bracelets.

According to professor Tolkein's findings, there were in total seven bracelets bearing the sigil of the wolf. One of these was a master bracelet that allowed its wearer to control the actions of those wearing any of the other six. A limiting factor to this bracelet was that it needed a large amount of mana in order to function. The major source of mana in the area was, of course, the Faery circle.

I remained by the statue of the man-wolf until Boris came to fetch the flask. When he discovered that the flask was no longer there, he fled into the house crying Dr. Nicht's name. I followed. Boris came upon Dr. Nicht in the lounge where the party had been held the night before. He informed Dr. Nicht of the missing flask. At that moment, Inspector Jubilee burst through the door, gun in hand.

Inspector Jubilee told Dr. Nicht that he was under arrest for various crimes. Dr. Nicht laughed and said that he had no intention of being arrested that evening. He advanced on the inspector and she began to shoot. He walked forward calmly while she emptied her pistol into his body. When he reached her, Dr. Nicht slapped Inspector Jubilee with such force that she was knocked to the ground, her useless pistol skittering across the Carrara marble floor.

Dr. Nicht advanced on the now unconscious inspector. He took a wolf bracelet from his pocket and placed it on her left wrist. He patted her hand and face and told her to wake up. When the inspector roused, she seemed quite placid and unaware of her surroundings. Dr. Nicht leaned toward her, and it seemed to me that some form of wordless communication was taking place between them though I have no idea of the import conveyed.

Dr. Nicht stood and turned to Boris. He said that they must leave now. They took some few parcels and departed out the French doors. I went to the inspector and removed the wolf bracelet from her wrist. She came to awareness immediately. I told her that she was in danger here and must leave. I told her to count to one hundred, then to go to the station and await communication. I went after Dr. Nicht and Boris.

I could see the pair ahead of me as I came out of the garden. They were hurrying, but pacing themselves, probably due to the burdens they carried. This allowed me to overtake them and get ahead of them up the trail to the Faery circle. I went some distance into the wood before I found a suitable area for an ambush. I picked up a fist-sized stone and awaited their arrival.

Dr. Nicht came first with Boris trailing right behind. As they came within a few yards of me, I threw the stone to their left and behind them. When they stopped and turned, I darted forward and relieved Dr. Nicht of his bracelet. He noticed its absence immediately and gave a cry. I ran some few yards to the left of the trail, then turned to cast a spell. Boris was advancing rapidly toward me, already in the shape of a gigantic wolf. I regret that I cannot specify if he had the mannish features of the man-wolf statue, for it escaped my notice at the time.

The spell I cast created an enormous pile of cobwebs strung through the trees. The cables of this web are sufficient to hold even the strongest men, but Boris was now far beyond the limits of mere mortals. I had, of course, become visible at the moment of my attack. Though I saw Dr. Nicht fleeing into the woods on the other side of the trail, I had to deal with the immediate problem of Boris before me. I simply could not act against Dr. Nicht at that time.

Boris was advancing slowly toward me, ripping the webs from the trees as he came. I decided to use the webs in another way as an effective weapon. I cast another spell, perhaps the last that I could with the resources available to me. I unleashed a ball of fire at Boris and the webs. The heat of the blast was staggering and set me reeling a bit. The all too flammable webs lent themselves to the blaze and brought it to an agonizing pitch. Amazingly, Boris was still on his feet despite the obvious severity of the burns he'd suffered. Coolly, I pulled the fowling piece from my shoulder and leveled it at the beast's head. Under the fire of both barrels, loaded with the silver-alloy shells, Boris went down.

I was not certain where Dr. Nicht intended to go after the ambush on the trail. I headed for the Faery circle at a dead run in case he should think about using the power there to attempt a spell of his own. It became apparent to me after a wait of several minutes that he was not approaching. I called Sir Rudolph using our wrist communicators to see if he had spotted Dr. Nicht. Sir Rudolph told me he was in the house and had just met up with the good doctor. Then his communication was cut off. I ran to the house.

I found out later that Sir Rudolph had been told by Inspector Jubilee that I was following Dr. Nicht and Boris. Sir Rudolph was following the trail toward the Faery circle when he heard Dr. Nicht running through the brush to the side of the trail. Sir Rudolph was able to follow Dr. Nicht back to the house. Dr. Nicht went immediately up to the first floor archaeology laboratory. Sir Rudolph was able to knock Dr. Nicht unconscious before he could enter the lab and put on another bracelet. Sir Rudolph kicked the key to the laboratory door off the gallery and down to the main floor.

It was at this point that I called Sir Rudolph using the wrist communicator. The timing was quite unfortunate, for the distraction caused Sir Rudolph to be unaware of the approach of Miss Gonzales in wolf form. Her initial attack bore over Sir Rudolph and knocked him to the ground. Fortunately for Sir Rudolph, he kept his grip upon his cane. He was able to use the weapon to great effect, driving Miss Gonzales back. When she fled down the main stair, Sir Rudolph followed and was able to prevent her escape by knocking her unconscious at the bottom of the stair. He then went up the stair to deal with Dr. Nicht, but found that the doctor had fled.

I arrived about this time to find Inspector Jubilee still on the premises. She was attending to Miss Gonzales, now in human shape once again. The inspector removed the wolf bracelet from Miss Gonzales' wrist. I appropriated the bracelet and put it in my pocket. Sir Rudolph, noting my arrival, shouted to me that the key to the laboratory would be somewhere on the main floor. I found it in a trice and ascended the stair. I opened the door to the laboratory and soon had the three bracelets there in my pocket along with the three I'd recently removed from Inspector Jubilee, Dr. Nicht, and Lupe Gonzales.

Sir Rudolph had located Dr. Nicht by this time. I responded to his call and we opened the door to confront Dr. Nicht together. Dr. Nicht was standing before a large radio-television communication device. He was pleading for aid from a shadowy figure on the other end of the communication. That other person laughed mirthlessly and told Dr. Nicht that "Spectre" did not tolerate failure. I cannot prove it, but I am certain that the shadowy person reacted to the presence of Sir Rudolph and me in the room, and that he may very well have an image of our faces.

Dr. Nicht collapsed to the floor, evidently poisoned by some mechanism. Sir Rudolph cast spells in an attempt to save the man's life. Sir Rudolph informed me that he had slowed the advance of the poison, but that we would need to get him to hospital as soon as possible. Leaving Sir Rudolph with Dr. Nicht, I went to wrap things up.

I first returned to Boris' body on the trail because I realised that I had wrongly left his wolf bracelet on the body. I then went to the Aston-Martin. I called Star Chamber to report our success in capturing Dr. Nicht. I advised Star Chamber that Dr. Nicht was in need of medical attention, that a clean-up crew would be necessary for the house, and that the local inspector had seen too much.

The cleaning crew arrived in very short order. They were forced to remove all of Inspector Jubilee's recent memories owing to her extensive exposure to magical activities of late. I had become quite fond of her, and so felt a pang of regret whilst recognizing the necessity of the action.

Sir Rupert and I accompanied Dr. Nicht to the local hospital. Despite Sir Rupert's spells and the great efforts of the staff, Dr. Nicht succumbed to the deadly poison in a few hours. He regained consciousness for only a few moments in that time. Recognizing the inevitable end was upon him, Dr. Nicht felt compelled to warn us of a criminal organization of which I had hitherto been unaware: "Spectre", and in particular a person named "Blofeld". I was not able to question Dr. Nicht as to the correct spelling of either name before his demise, and so I have ventured my best guess according his pronunciation and my own experience in orthography.

This account is complete and true within the limits of my ability to make it so. I aver that all events have taken place as I have recounted them and that the people named acted as I have indicated.

Submitted the 17th day of March, 1962.

X12 Sir Henry Hamilton KBE, 7th Marquess Bamburgh