Publisher's summary Edit
Investigating a suicide at the Sen-Gen Facility, the group discovers a new weapon in the Cold War — and Gilmore meets an old flame. Meanwhile Rachel discovers that she can't trust anyone, not even the sound of her own voice...
After hearing what appears to be the voice of Professor Rachel Jensen in his mind, Archibald Hemmings commits suicide by jumping in front of a train. His wife had left him only four days earlier.
Counter-Measures and Allison's boyfriend Julian St Stephen, a psychologist, have been conducting an investigation of the Sen-Gen Facility, which is run by Sir Toby Kinsella's old school friend Professor Jeffrey Broderick, for the previous ten days.
During her analysis of Broderick's research, Rachel discovers that not only has Broderick stolen the theories which she has developed during her research into artificial intelligence at Cambridge but has given the Sentient Engine Generation 2 computer (Sen-Gen) her voice. Sen-Gen is capable of transmitting messages directly into the subconscious minds of subjects via extrasensory perception (ESP). The Sen-Gen Facility is developing this revolutionary form of communication so as to create a completely secure method for MI6 to communicate with agents in the field.
In order to make it up to Allison for cancelling the date, Julian agrees to buy her a Mary Quant dress from King's Row. After returning home to his flat, however, Julian discovers that all of his clothes with the exception of his tennis outfit have been cut to shreds by Allison, who has her own key. Furthermore, she wrote, "Why don't you love me enough?" in Pastel Pink lipstick across his wardrobe. He determines that Sen-Gen has amplified her subconscious fears and caused her to act upon them. Based on this information, Sir Toby believes that the package which Rachel left on his desk earlier that morning is a bomb. He has his secretary Margaret contact Sgt. West in the Bomb Disposal Unit and advises her to take her tea break immediately.
Julian believes that Sen-Gen is acting erratically as it was formed from the mass of contradictions which exist within the subconscious mind and that the Id aspect of the personality which Sen-Gen has developed has taken control of it. Under the influence of Sen-Gen, Broderick fatally shoots Červenka as he believed that she was a traitor. He threatens to do the same to Gilmore, Rachel and Allison. However, Julian sneaks up behind Broderick and incapacitates him.
Under the influence of Sen-Gen, Allison threatens to shoot Julian with Broderick's gun. Julian tells her that she is the strongest willed person that he knows and that he did not want to hold her back. In order to reaffirm his love for her, he proposes to her. She agrees to marry him and puts the gun down.
In the meantime, Gilmore is able to destroy Sen-Gen by implanting an explosive device in its mainframe.
The package which Rachel delivered to Sir Toby was not a bomb but a dictation machine featuring a recording of Rachel tearing up her MoD contract and telling him that she thought that he was scheming and manipulative. She sent a copy of the tape to The Times. However, the Royal Mail train was intercepted by the MoD and the package was recovered. Sir Toby tells Rachel that, had the package been delivered, contingency plans are in place and that the MoD would have claimed that the recording had been faked.
In the aftermath of the Sen-Gen incident, Broderick has been committed to a psychiatric institution. Sir Toby has a bottle of malt delivered to him which was laced with the hallucinogen and causes Broderick to recite the Fibonacci sequence ad infinitum in order to keep him occupied. Sir Toby tells him that the British government is considering the various uses to which the hallucinogen can be put.
- Group Captain Ian Gilmore - Simon Williams
- Professor Rachel Jensen / Sen-Gen - Pamela Salem
- Dr Allison Williams - Karen Gledhill
- Sir Toby Kinsella - Hugh Ross
- Professor Jeffrey Broderick - Adrian Lukis
- Dr Nadia Červenka / Margaret - Lizzie Roper
- Julian St Stephen - Alastair Mackenzie
Drugs and medicines Edit
- After her defection, Červenka provided the Sen-Gen Facility with a neuro-chemical hallucinogen developed using a yellow fungus which was discovered in the crater created by the Tunguska Event on 30 June 1908. It is believed to be extraterrestial in origin.
- Professor Jeffrey Broderick and Sir Toby Kinsella share a bottle of single malt which was distilled in France in 1946.
- Allison obtained the highest first class honours in her year at the University of Cambridge.
- Sir Toby's secretary in Whitehall is named Margaret.
- Dr Nadia Červenka is a Czech scientist who defected from the Soviet Union in 1958.
- Ian Gilmore and Dr Červenka first met in Berlin in 1950.
- Broderick was partly responsible for Alan Turing being hounded out of academia, which contributed to his eventual suicide.
- Julian served several months in the Greek Islands as part of his national service. He and Allison have been dating since 1961.
- The Ministry of Defence was initially somewhat reluctant to hire Julian as it was feared that he was a Trotskyite.
- Sir Toby is Catholic.
Story notes Edit
to be added
- Gilmore is still bitter that Rachel has replaced him as the head of Counter-Measures. (AUDIO: Threshold)
- Rachel refers to her research into artificial intelligence at Cambridge. (AUDIO: Threshold)
- Broderick tells Sir Toby that he heard that Rachel had retired. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
- Impressed by his initiative, Sir Toby offers Julian the opportunity to be re-assigned to General Peters' staff in order to assist with a special project of the utmost secrecy. (AUDIO: State of Emergency)
- In 2011, Henry van Statten's scientists would later discover the cure for the common cold from alien bacteria in "the Russian crater," presumably that created by the Tunguska Event. (TV: Dalek)