The White Rabbit and the Iron Caterpillar

I’m breaking into the current story (archived here) because for once I got to personally witness shit going down. Seriously, that never happens. I work in an archive for fucks sake.  Most of the drama I witness is decades old. I only got called in because I was literally the only familiar face available.  Well except for Doctor P but he’s his own category of trouble.

Below is a transcript of me debriefing the S.I.S. Officer code-named Dee.






DEE:  At last a friendly face. Is Sorrow coming?

CD:  Sorrow is currently in the middle of the North Sea dealing with a… thing. We’re trying to recall her but it won’t be quick. And if you don’t move that hand I’m going to start breaking fingers.

DEE (PUTS LEFT HAND IN JACKET POCKET):  Sorry. I think it’s the drugs. Suddenly it’s got a mind of it’s own.

CD:  For the record I am Senior Secret Historian Cutty Darke conducting the debrief interview.  Can you state your designated codename for the record?

DEE: Wouldn’t you like my name?

CD:  Which one?  The one you gave up. the S.I.S. codename that we’re not allowed to write down or whatever legend you’re using this week? We like to have a consistent name for our records and we refuse to reduce anyone to a number.

DEE:  Fine.  For the record I am Dee. I am an Intelligence officer with the Secret Intelligence Service. I know why you picked that name, by the way, and it’s not funny.

CD:  So, can you tell me what happened? Do you remember how you got here?

DEE: I remember some of it. I was drugged, I know that.

CD:  Did someone slip something in your Martini?

DEE:  I don’t think so. I think I inhaled something.

CD:  What’s the last thing you remember clearly.

DEE:  The Queen of Hearts club in Soho. It’s supposed to be a members only drinking club but beneath that is a sex club and beneath that is a bondage club. We have intel that there’s a smuggling ring working out of it.

CD:  Not your usual line of work.

DEE: This ring’s ambitious. They claim they can get anything into the country; guns, explosives, drugs, counterfeit medicine, counterfeit money, people, exotic animals. There’s a rumour that someone is asking them for RPG launchers.

I spotted someone who was obviously dealing something to the customers and I followed him down into the depths of the club. You can’t deal in a place like the Queen of Hearts unless the management says so. I knew he would be my route to the smugglers.

He kept moving down. Below the nightclub, below the sex club, down through the bondage dungeon and into the deepest basement level. The red leather and the black velvet was gone and it was all rough brick walls and bare light bulbs. I was careful following him but not careful enough. I turned a corner and he was waiting for me. He blew something into my face and suddenly everything was… wrong.

CD: Wrong how?

DEE: I felt dizzy, I couldn’t see properly, everything was dark and blurry and the proportions were off.

CD:  That fits. The lab says you were dosed with a new cocktail of drugs we’ve been seeing on the streets for about a month. The main ingredients are similar to Scopolamine and Amanita Muscaria. The street name is White Rabbit.  We don’t know why.

DEE:  It’s because of the dealer.

CD:  The dealer is a white rabbit?

DEE:  The dealer is an albino with a white track suit, buck teeth and a stupid, fucking hat.

CD:  Anyway… This drug is so new that we don’t have definitive information about the effects but our pharmacologists theorise that the combination should distort the senses and make a person highly suggestible but also violent, paranoid and unpredictable.

Dosing you with that shit is the stupidest thing I’ve heard all week.

DEE:  But it worked. I didn’t find the smugglers. I don’t know what I found. None of it makes sense.

CD:  Let me worry about making it make sense. You just worry about remembering it. What happened after he blew in your face?

DEE:  He ran. I followed. He ducked into what I thought was a cupboard but was really a narrow staircase heading down.

CD:  What did it look like?

DEE:  Narrow, twisting, dark, swaying from side to side. By the feel of it the walls were covered in glazed ceramic tiles.

CD:  Shit.

DEE:  I went down the stairs for so long that by the time I got to the bottom I’d forgotten why I was there.  The space was huge and dark. I could barely see my own hands. The only lights were orangy safety lamps bolted to the walls. The air was warm and stale and the ground was uneven. I looked around, trying to remember what I was doing there. Then I saw the Rabbit. He was standing next to one of the lamps. He had something small in his hands and he was staring at it. Then he put it back in his pocket and he hurried off. I followed.

CD:  Do you know which direction he was heading?

DEE: No. He was getting away. I followed. That’s what I knew

I didn’t know where he was going. He kept taking this thing out of his pocket and looking at it.  At first I thought it was a pocket watch because it was round and it was on one of those long keychains. But he was holding it horizontally and turning from side to side looking at it. I guessed it was a compass.

CD:  And you decided to get it?

DEE:  Not immediately. I just wanted to say close. I didn’t decide to go for the compass till I realised where I was.

I don’t know how long that took because it seemed to be both 10 minutes and 2 years.  I started to hear distant rumbling sounds. It reminded me of something. I knew I shouldn’t be hearing it but I couldn’t remember why. It came really close. The ground shook. I clung to the wall to stay upright. There was a terrible wind and a flashing light and when it was gone I thought I’d lost the Rabbit. Then I saw the light reflecting off his dirty white track suit.

He was passing in front of something bright. So bright I couldn’t focus on it at first.  It was the platform of a Tube station. We were in a Tube tunnel

CD:  Which one.

DEE:  Green Park.

CD:  Do you not remember a conversation about the Underground and how dangerous it is and why you should stay the fuck out of it.

DEE:  I do.  I did.  That’s why I decided to abandon the pursuit, leave via the station and call your lot in to deal with it.

CD:  Pull the other one.  It plays Ave Maria.

DEE:  I was drugged, maybe poisoned.  I was going to climb up on the platform and get the hell out of there but there were… things on the platform.

CD:  Things?

DEE:  Big hairy things.  Don’t laugh.  Like Yetis.

CD:  I’m not laughing.  This is London.  We call them Wombles.  The scientific name is Australopithecus Giganticus.

DEE:  So they’re real?

CD:  I know someone who’s dated one.

DEE:  I can never tell when you’re joking.  I crouched under the platform edge and crept after him.  He wasn’t moving very fast and he kept stopping to look at the compass.  I don’t think he knew I was there till I jumped him.  I knocked him out and took the compass.

CD:  And that’s how you got this.  For the record I am showing Officer Dee the Compass that was found in his possession upon his arrival in HQ.

DEE:  Yes.  Why isn’t it working now.

CD:  It’s called an Undercompass.  They don’t work up here.

DEE.  When I took it from the White Rabbit the two needles were pointing in different directions.

CD:  Do you know which one he was following?

DEE:  The brass one.  Does that mean something?

CD:  Every Under compass has at least 2 needles. The blue points to the Thames. The other one points to one of the landmarks of the under. I’ve never seen a brass one before.  You can stop holding my hand any time.

DEE:  Sorry.  I didn’t realise…

CD:  So you subdued the White Rabbit and took his compass.?

DEE:  Well I thought I’d subdued him.  When I looked up he was gone.  He should have been unconscious or at least lightheaded.  I’ve been using that chokehold for years and it’s always worked before.

CD:  And?

DEE:  I looked around for him and when I couldn’t find him I followed the compass along the tunnel till I came to Down Street Station.  There was nothing on the platform there so I climbed up, forced my way through a couple of the doors till I found the stairs.  When I got to the surface I came straight here.

CD:  And you didn’t follow the brass needle any farther into the Under?

DEE:  No.  I was drugged. I couldn’t see straight. I just wanted out.

CD:  And then you just walked straight from Down Street to [REDACTED] with no detours?

DEE:  Yes. Don’t you believe me?

CD:  That rumbling you heard in the tunnel was the last southbound train on the Victoria line. It reaches Green Park at 00:31.  That ties in with SIS losing your tracker signal when you entered the basement of the Queen of Hearts at 23:51.

You showed up here at 06:43.  The climb up from Down Street is a bugger but it doesn’t take me six hours and I’m fat and my knees are fucked.  The walk to [REDACTED] shouldn’t take 30 minutes never mind 6 hours.  The White Rabbit in your system hasn’t metabolised like it should.

DEE:  But I don’t remember… Scopolamine you said?

CD:  Yep.

DEE:  You think they gave me another dose and then suggested that I forget it?

CD:  Could be.  Can you remember anything out of place.  Anything after Green Park that doesn’t seem to fit?

DEE:  Just fleeting images.  Knights in golden armour.  Machinery.  A smell like incense.

CD:  Golden armour or bronze?  Was the metal the same colour as the needle on the compass?

DEE:  Yes.  Does that mean something?

CD:  Well it means that the compass leads to the knights.  Who maybe aren’t knights.  We have reports of sentient automata.  Hold on.


CD:  Good news.

DEE:  You don’t sound convinced.

CD:  Mostly good news.  Sorrow took you to the Halloween party last year didn’t she.

DEE:  Yes, but…

CD:  So you’ll have met Doctor Promethean then?  Absolutely huge bloke, dressed as Frankenstein’s monster?

DEE:  Yes, a few times, but what…

CD:  Lovely guy, but he put you on edge?  Made your skin crawl?

DEE:  Yes, but how did you know?

CD:  He does that to everyone.  He tends to loom even when he doesn’t mean to and that can trigger a fight or flight response.

DEE:  Is he coming?

CD:  Yes.  So I need you to stay calm.  In your current state his presence could make you want to run.  You need to fight that urge.  I will hold your hand if you need me to but I’d prefer if you ask first.

DEE:  I’m so sorry.  I didn’t realise.


CD:  For the record Doctor Adam Promethean and Professor Kew are now entering the room.

DR P:  Dee, my boy.  How are you?  I hear this arm is giving you trouble.

DEE:  A bit.

DR P:  Let me help you with that.


DEE:  My Jacket! …  What the fuck is that?

KEW:  That is an Iron Caterpillar.  It’s been pumping you full of drugs and trying to hijack your nervous system.  Don’t worry.  We can remove it.

CD:  That dealer with the buck teeth and the stupid hat.  How sure are you that it was just a hat?



We’ll be back with the current story next week.  If anyone wants to take a guess why his codename is Dee feel free to stick it in the comments.



One thought on “The White Rabbit and the Iron Caterpillar

  1. Pingback: Flash Fiction Goodness | The Stick of Doom speaks

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