This report has been compiled from the scrambled tapes of Special Agent TMB. For reasons of security TMB must remain anonymous for if these tapes were to get out into the general public, and if, who they call the “Master”, were to find Agent TMB to be an imposter then we at the Bureau would surely come under fire.
Bells of Fire
You will notice some parts of the report are very coherent, Agent TMB’s knack of precise description unhindered despite the trying circumstances he was subjected to, whereas in contradiction, some passages are garbled and incoherent. Frankly, the ramblings of a madman. Sections of the report were irreparably damaged in what we can only assume must have been some sort of stimulant-related incident. All that can be ascertained is that the experience must have been a very perilous and mystifying evening for Special Agent TMB.
Elements of the tapes have been censored for reasons of security.
Tapes of Special Agent TMB
** These tapes have been under scrutiny by the Special Forces Counterintelligence Division (SFCID) for the allocated, quarantining period of one year. You are only granted permission to read the transcripts of Agent TMB’s recordings at this point in time because you are either part of the wider Special Forces Unit or because you have been called in by the Non-Logistical Forensics and Security Unit (NLFSU). If you are related to neither of these parties you are strongly advised against proceeding**
This is Special Agent TMB, reporting from an alleyway in the heart of the City of London. The air is brisk, my morning suit is dry-cleaned and I am feeling confident about tonight. I have my script prepped and I am ready to embark on this mission. Nothing will deter me from discovering what has thus-far been deemed the undiscoverable. The question: what is this “ULSCR”, what are their objectives, and who, who is their “Master”?
This is TMB, stood in a puddle walking toward the entrance to the venue, Brown’s. Wet sock is a shame, but seems to have thrown the group of young “ringers” off the scent that I may not be one of them. Believe my choice of suit might have made me conspicuous were it not for this lucky puddle. Have loosened tie and am now attempting my entrance.
TMB here, code green. Entrance successful. Jolly man shoved a glass of champagne into my hand and shouted in my face “Great to see you again, dude!” before running off. Think my disguise is sufficient to fool the masses. Must not get too cocky, the night is still young.
Reporting from the very peculiar phenomenon: the University of London Society of Change Ringers annual dinner. That is the title of what they advertise this event as, but having been in the vicinity for approximately 26 minutes, I can confirm our suspicions are almost certainly positive. The presence of cultish behaviours is evident, as is undeniable indication of addiction and debaucherous goings-on. Commander, a note: we may need to get Geoff at the DEA involved.
I am getting my bearings of the venue, I believe there to be only one exit route. If back-up is required, entrance may be an issue. If cover blown, I may not make it out.
Time to commune with nature. Will investigate possible exit strategies from the lavatories.
Had first one-on-one interaction with a ringer. A fellow named Fortes. I can see by his dinner place card, first initial R. Seemed like a personable chap, until he began talking about waste disposal. Think we may need to bring him in for further investigation. More importantly though, Commander, we did a fine job on the background research. Managed a full minute conversation about the technicalities of ringing Stedman Cinques silent and unconducted. Fortes didn’t even blink. A moment of uncertainty about which peal I had rung alongside him in, his eyes narrowed, he smacked his lips… and thank Moses, his fine lady friend Maura diverted him, and his attention, to their table. A close call.
I must say, the food is just damn fine. I may be on a case, but this could very well be the best lamp chop I’ve had the delight of tasting in my short adult life.
Noticed that when not holding a glass up to a friend to be refilled, the ringers are more often than not holding glasses up to their own faces in order to refill their own mouths. A disgruntled male guest, who I later learned goes by the name of Snipp, asked me why I wasn’t drinking very much. Threw him off the scent by purchasing a round of a popular accompaniment called a Jägerbomb for our table. Needless to say, I must be more vigilant and match their pace, else my position be discovered.
Think the alcohol is taking effect. Legs are tingly, head feels full of air, and I detect a notable slur to words ending with ‘s’
Don’t take these “ringers” for granted – mother always did say, never trust a man who can down a pint of beer in three gulps. If I am to take this caution in my stride this particularly appropriate evening, I wonder how much caution ought to be taken for the female guests who can, as they say, “chug it” in two? Perhaps I should’ve called for back-up…
It’s almost 2100 and I still do not have the necessary proof for the case. My tolerances are quickly slipping. Think case abortion might sadly be an option. Alas, I find myself sat between a beautiful buxom blonde, and a chap who goes by the name of Beyer. More to follow.
Ah-ha! I don’t know of whom I am more afraid – what would this man-boy be capable of doing to me, should he find out my true guise? I must remain alert, I must not be found out. The mission must be completed.
I just took part in what I suspect was a ritualistic proceeding – a ritual they call “no hands pudding”. An utterly despicable, disturbing piece of tradition but I felt the watchful eyes of one of the elders, Clemenou, eyeing me and figured I had best follow suit should I wish to keep my cover. I quickly realised my error, as the pudding must have been laced with some kind of aphrodisiac, hyper-hypnotic substance. My arms and legs, and err, another personal member, have begun to tingle and….
Am reporting now from beneath the pile of coats. It is warm and I fear I will soon fall victim to sleep if I stay in here too long. But I had to find a secure location to report back: overheard conversation between Beyer and Snipp about the number 69. This number has been bandied about a lot, more than any other number. I fear it holds some significance to the case. Or was it 96? My head is fuzzy… 69…. 96… 96… 69… 69… 69…
SIXTY-NINE! They are discussing it again. Fell asleep briefly under the fluffy underbelly of a faux-fur coat. Awoke to voices – one, I think with a French accent – a Monsieur Dak (or was it Jack?) Clemenou discussing the perils of the number 69. To quote Clemenou, “well, it’s just not right – why can’t people learn to take their turn. Take your turn!” I suspect the nature of this conversation to be lewd to cover the true meaning: espionage. But who? Who is M. Clemenou’s target?
Fear I fell back asleep. Clemenou’s accent had strangely soothing qualities.
Asked one of the suspects, name D. Yardman, why he became a member of this particular society. Suspect he was recruited young and am curious what draws young innocents towards a life of crime. Yardman took some time to recall his ‘debauched’ past, making sure to stress how he’s gotten over that (HA!) and interestingly he said he was drawn to the ULSCR because of the personelle associated with the society. I pressed him for names but he refused to give any. He’s been trained well. But he did make reference to ‘the ladies’. Commander, I believe we are in search of a femme fatale.
The dining part of the evening is nearly complete. So far I have discreetly recorded eighteen suspicious conversations, most of them conducted in code. These should be sent to the Enigma Labs immediately for further investigation. On the surface these people seem like nice enough, law-abiding citizens, but I fear their jolliness and merriment is hiding something far more sinister.
[Ding ding ding ding] Speeches!
Time for speeches. I believe this will be the moment the true nature of the society is unveiled.
I’m reporting now from the safety of one of the tables. That is, from underneath the table. Three of the suspects got up to make speeches, and the unduly attention given and raucous laughter of all those in the audience leads me to believe there was witchcraft or hypnosis at work here. Baffling, these people are truly baffling. The first, a woman known as Beast D. (pronounced Beastie, I believe this to be a code name) Seaman, introduced the evening and laid out the plan (to which I am still frustratingly unaware of). Next up was a male, Mr. Phalli U.L. Chime, who gave a grotesquely detailed talk about devils and intercourse, much of which passed over my head. Phalli is obviously a master of their language. I am afraid I have not yet managed to break the language barrier but I am certain by the engagement of the rest of this clan, purpose and intent was present therein his speech. I strongly suspect he may be the one we are after. And next, another woman, referred to as the ‘Master’ (perhaps a red herring, perhaps not?) spoke about many thrilling events in the past and future – her name, Sally R. Homier. Well, Homier, I’m on to you. Commander, I think we should investigate all three – relations, whereabouts, even toilet habits, thoroughly for this investigation. But for now, to the dancefloor…
INCOMING! INCOMING! Two newcomers have just arrived – they were met with a great whooping and cheering. One goes by the name Taylor (side note: is he the very same on file as manufacturing “bells” at the “bell factory”? PAH! What a farce – they could’ve thought of a better cover, surely?) The other, a pretty blonde by the name of Wontbe. They ran in screaming and hollering, I ducked for the cover of the bar fearing it was the beginning of the end for me. Thank god they didn’t spot me – pretty sure Taylor is onto our investigations. They just announced their “engagement”. Believe this to be a code-word for an engagement of arms. I must not get distracted in the ensuing merriment as I am sure it is a trap, but they do look so happy…
The suspects are now doing a dance called a “shot squat”. It’s quite simple but feels really good. Maybe I’ll just do one more…..
Have congratulated the happy couple and managed to bug Wontbe’s dress when I leant in for a kiss. If they’re up to something, I’m going to find out. I realise this is highly inappropriate and irrelevant, but my god, she smelled like the most delectable cherry pie.
[incoherent babbling] So many hills, so many hills. What is this code word, “hill”? What does it MEAN? Does it mean the bellringers will strike upon a hill? But which one? WHICH ONE? On an up- or down-hill? On a rose-covered hill? Oh, what a mess, and a rouse! Andrews? I didn’t say Andrew – A rouse, A ROUSE!
… Grandsire …. Caters…. Triples…. Quadruples! Cat ears… Chocolate blocks… I am absolutely certain this language they are using to communicate is a type of sophisticated form of Pig’s Latin, a language I unfortunately lost my fluency in a long time ago. Perhaps if I’d retained the linguistic sponginess of my childhood, I might be able to crack the code faster. This jargon must be the key to what it is I need to understand. Must persevere, no matter what…
[singing] There once was a man named Stedman, who couldn’t decide if he liked men….
I am convinced this man, Stedman, is key to the operation. Perhaps he is the Master. Master Stedman, I am coming for you.
It is some indefinable time of the evening, all I know is it must be late because the clattering of cutlery has been replaced by music blaring and from my position I can hear the screeches and cries from the dancefloor in the outside room. I must have passed out. I came around a moment ago to find myself flat out against the cold marble of the ladies’ toilets. I can tell it’s the ladies’ and not the men’s because of the fragrant powdery substance on the floor next to me, which smells like roses and my grandmother Betty. I have safely identified it as face powder. This may seem like a strange turn of events and indeed I panicked to find myself here – surely someone must have seen me and suspected my intentions as being dishonourable or questioned my true identity. But no, I have already been stepped over like invisible road-kill by at least four ladies, none of whom have questioned my presence in this unfamiliar sanctuary. Their apparent disregard for usual societal obedience is further evidence to their wayward and dangerous cause. Will wait awhile before getting up.
I have located my wristwatch, and the time, in the inside breast pocket of my jacket. Didn’t know I had an inside jacket pocket. Ssshh…. Two ladies have just arrived and are conversing through the cubicle walls. One of them has the most slender, delightful ankles I have seen in a good while. Such delicate, beautiful twins, they are.
I believe the nature of their conversation to be of utmost importance…
Lady 1: whatsergioingoinon
Lady 2: speshserweregutwerentthey
Lady 1: hmmmm, yersh!
TMB: [whispering] I believe this to be a positive exclamation about their leader, Chime!
Lady 2: areyewgoinringinggtomorrow
Lady 1: hmm, I’lltrybuuuwhoknowssss
[indistinct whispering, toilets flushing, heels clip-clopping, ladies heard exiting]
I feel I may have found a co-conspirator. The evasive responses from Ankles leads me to believe she is also an imposter. Her evasive negative response about the plan to “ring” tomorrow suggests she either does not understand the code or does not wish to engage. How might I find this lady again, whose slight ankles caused a stirring so worrying and yet exciting, in the depths of my insides. She has to be one of us. I must find her. Notice how she faltered in her praise of the Master? The slight buckle of her ankle (thank god she was hidden from view of the other in the next cubicle). These slight idiosyncrasies might have given her away, as they have given her true identity away to me. I must find her, I must…
This is where the tapes end. Special Agent TMB has not been heard from since, and his whereabouts are at present unknown to all Special Force Units. The only trace of him was found in a raid on a flat in the Wapping area of east London: a black bow tie confirmed to have belonged to TMB due to residual hairs and skin particles found upon the tie. The inhabitants were known to authorities ahead of the raid but lack of evidence placing them at the crime scene meant all trails came up dry. The whereabouts of the female, known as Ankles, is also unknown.