I’m not really sure what to think now.
We’d made up our minds to visit Steamburg. I like Steamburg. We went there on holiday once when I was twelve, and I loved the place. If it wasn’t for the possibility of being arrested or killed, I’d have been really looking forward to going back there.
It wasn’t difficult to find 15 Ferris Drive. We weren’t sure what we were going to find there, but what we certainly weren’t expecting was for the house to be unlocked and deserted, and completely empty apart from a small table in a room at the back, under which we found a small black box with a red button on top, and a piece of card bearing the name “Bradley Turner” and the instructions to press the button and put her eye to the lens, with the request that this be done somewhere private, rather than in the house itself.
So far, so weird. We were just discussing what to do about the box when we heard the front door open. We all froze, listening, and heard the sound of footsteps going down the hall. Iaru reached for his sword in his bag, but Tom caught his hand and shook his head, and motioned for us to follow him along the side of the room. There was a large low window at the back, and we opened it and climbed out. Then we ran and ran and ran, and didn’t stop until we were back in Tom’s car.
Tom drove us out to the countryside and Bradley pressed the red switch down and put her eye to the lens. At once, the side of the box lit up like a screen, and words appeared on it. It addressed all five of us by name, and said that we should all pay attention, because the message would only play once.
The message requested that we don’t make all the information it contained publicly available, but it included:
- The information that the message was indeed from Research Team 7.
- An apology to Bradley for the incident in America.
- The proposal that we give them the clef in exchange for information and protection.
- The correct spelling of “clef”.
- Directions to a place where we can meet with Research Team 7.
- The warning to beware of an organisation called the Network of Allies, who are also after the clef.
- An additional warning to beware of “shadow creatures”, such as the one that attacked us at the farm.
After the message finished, it advised us to place the box on the floor and stand back, which we did. We soon found out why: there was a small bang, the casing cracked, and a great deal of smoke came out of the box.
The question now is whether to trust them enough to meet up with them. They seem to be going out of their way to make themselves seem trustworthy, but they admit to being Research Team 7, who are the one organisation we were certain we couldn’t trust.
So… now what?