Anyway folks, here is the next strip story adventure for the annual. Hopefully someone will volunteer to use this synopsis to create the artwork:
THE LINDIG VALLEY MYSTERY
Ben is alone in his Cambridge apartment sipping an absinthe and drifting in and out of sleep on the sofa. He is listening to Nico's "The Marble Index" and trying to forget Milo, who had turned down Ben's offer of another date. However just as Ben drifts into sleep, his mobile rings. Its Katie Ryan:
"Ben, Ben... you there? I can't explain now but you must come... please. "
Ben is frustrated at being disturbed:
"Oh what is it? Look Katie I'm not in the mood ok."
"Ben, I'm at the site I told you about the other day, in Lindig Valley. Something strange is going on here. I ... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........."
Ben is now intrigued:
"Hello? Katie? Are you ok?"There is no reply and Ben is alarmed. Katie had sent him a long email a few days before about her trip to Wales with a small team to excavate the site of an old monastery in the remote Lindig Valley. He tries ringing her back but she doesn't pick up.
Just then the door rings ; it is Chiara.
"Hi Ben, I wondered if you fancied lunch in the Mermaid Bar."
Ben explains to her what has just happened and that he must drive to Wales and see what has happened. Chiara agrees that this is the best thing to do and volunteers to come along.They jump into Ben's rare vintage car and speed off, the wind blowing through their hair.
After a long drive and a few stops along the way, they are soon driving through the fresh Welsh countryside. Ben is slightly disgruntled as Chiara had insisted that they stop at a Little Chef a while back:
"... not only was the food as bad as I predicted but it was full of kids" he is complaining, however Chiara smiles:
"Oh Ben, you should try to loosen up and not let these things get to you. Put the music back on."
Ben puts Tin Machine back on and they enjoy the music blasting out and the countryside passing. Eventually Ben turns down a narrow country lane:
"I think we're not far now. Lets ask this local".They stop next to a rustic local carrying a spade:
"Hi. We're looking for the village of Lanfridigg in the Lindig Valley. This is the Lindig valley isn't it? Are we far from the village?"
The local scowls:"An who might you be boyo?"
"I'm Ben and this is Chiara."
"Well I'd go back home if I were you. We don't much like strangers around these valleys boyo. "
Just then the man's face contorts with a look of pure terror. Coming down the road in front of them are six monks in full habits with hoods up.
"No , No I wasn't talking to them...." the Welshman pleads however the monks all stare at him. A stream of red light emenates from their eyes and hits the man who screams and falls.
Ben doesn't wait for the same to happen to them and he races the car away, narrowly missing them on the thin lane. They enter the village shortly and finding no one around and the shop closed, drive on to the dig site. Chiara is unnerved so Ben lets her have a swig of brandy from his bottle in the glove compartment. At the site, Ben finds it deserted. They are just about to leave when they suddenly find themselves surrounded by monks. One of them lifts a staff and hits Ben over the head. They they drag Chiara & carry Ben to a cave entrance and down some underground steps.Ben awakes to find himself in an underground temple with incense burning and monks chanting. A strange priest-like figure approaches with a golden mask on:
"Why have you come here?"
Ben is angry:
"Who are you?"
The figure gestures to the monks to leave.The figure lifts the mask to reveal....The green face of an amphibian creature with bulging eyes and fish-like mouth.
"I am Zeno of the Zenathon. I came here on a scouting mission to explore this planet and discovered the hidden monastery of the Cestian heretic sect . It was easy to convince them that I was Jesus, reborn as the son of nature and the greenworld. For many years this sect have been hidden here, perfecting their use of psychic mind over matter. Useful
"Ben is angry:"What do you want here?"
"We want this world. Even now my scout ship is landing in the city of Cardiff. Soon the whole fleet will be here."
Ben is shown a monitor screen where a ship is landing in Cardiff. Shoppers run as the alien ship mows them down with lazer blasts. Several girls are hit and the flames spit and crackle through their hair as they fall down in burning heaps. Chiara tries to hit the alien however a beam of energy from its eyes restrains her.
They are thrown in a cell with Katie Ryan.In the cell, Ben finds that his mobile is useless.
"We must play along with it and catch it off guard." Chiara suggests:"Wow, idea of the century." Katie mutters,
"I didn't know Ben was bringing one of his trainees"."I'm not a trainee archaeologist, I'm his friend."
Katie is irritated:"Ben's friends usually have a degree at least of sense, not to mention looks."
Ben intervenes and tells Katie to shut up as he has an idea. He takes out a small bottle of absinthe from his pocket and pours it under the door. Then he borrows Katie's cigarette lighter and sets it alight. As the flames rise outside, the monks open the cell door to see whats going on & Ben, Katie & Chiara overpower them. They rush out and race down the cave, clambering over rocks, eventually getting out. They all jump into Ben's car & speed off, as the crazed monks emerge from the cave after them.
Ben drives to Cardiff where buildings are ablaze as the aliens roam the streets on a killing spree fighting street battles with Torchwood and the arriving UNIT forces. The aliens have the upper hand, however Ben races up to the UNIT commander with an idea. The commander radios Cambridge Dept of Ecology.Several hours later a UNIT helecopter is spraying the city with a yellow liquid and the aliens start dying. The UNIT Commander turns to Ben:
Chiara is puzzled:"What was your idea Ben?"
Ben smiles:"Oh its simple. I have an interest in ecology and I know about Cambridge doing research into finding an antidote for Hatchkov's Disease, which is killing frogs & newts in asia. I knew they'd have some of the virus and since the aliens are amphibians...."
Later, Ben, Chiara & Katie are enjoying a drink in the Mermaid Wine Bar . Chiara laughs:
"Well its been an interesting day but I've gotta go. Up early tomorrow ".
As she leaves, Katie scowls:"You haven't been trying to hit on her have you?"
Ben is annoyed and has a Fox's Glacier Mint to calm down. He feels his mind floating as transluscent colours swirl through his consciousness in a kaleidoscope of ambience. Then he gets up and goes home, leaving Katie to finish her drink.
- the end.