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Statement of John Flamsteed, taken from a partial unsent letter to Abraham Sharp in 1715.


Basira brings John coffee and notes that he looks awful. She asks if he was out drinking with Daisy, but John says Daisy was at the Archives last night. Basira wants to know what John did, as communication works both ways. He tells her that yesterday he tried to deliberately Know something, but it was too much, he does not remember what he learned, it just hurt.

Basira has brought John a statement. She says it took her a while to hunt it down again, but what happened with Maxwell Rayner (MAG 73) stayed with her. She gives John the statement from John Flamsteed. John says it is from way before the Institute. Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal and he really hated the man who succeeded him, his former assistant Edmund Halley, of Halley's Comet fame. Flamsteed called Halley "Reimer". Basira notes that names change over the years, especially if you are not keen on keeping the same body. She thinks John should have a read through the statement.


Flamsteed writes to his trusted confidante, Abraham Sharp, admitting he recently committed murder. Sharp is already familiar with Flamsteed's longtime antagonistic relationship with his former assistant, Edmund Halley, who Flamsteed calls "Reimer" in reference to the persecutor of "the great Tycho." Flamsteed's hatred comes to a head with Isaac Newton and Edmund Halley's unauthorised publication of Flamsteed's star catalogue.

Flamsteed, who has been in the habit of stalking Halley, follows him out of London on an unusual errand. Halley meets a group of dully clothed men and women with black eyes in a forest clearing. Their words, unheard by Flamsteed, have a profound effect on Halley, who follows them deeper into the forest. In a clearing where the branches above shut out the sky, stands a pool "as black as India ink." Hidden, Flamsteed observes the "vile pagan exultations" of the group, whose cries of worship form shapes in the water.

Flamsteed leaves, now more terrified than angry. He is determined to intervene himself instead of appealing to authority, as he is both suspicious that some of the celebrants may have been his peers at the Royal Society and conscious of Halley's impeccable reputation. It is May 2nd, shortly after Halley's betrayal with the star catalogue, that Flamsteed strikes. He again follows Halley to the forest pool, and seizes his advantage when he sees that they are alone. Flamsteed draws his short sword and, after a brief scuffle, overpowers Halley and drowns him in the pool. He removes the corpse from the water and hides nearby, concerned about being observed leaving the scene of the murder. Halley's black-eyed compatriots arrive soon after, expressing dismay that their plans for Halley have been disrupted. They carry Halley's body away.

Two days before the writing of the letter, Flamsteed is interrupted at his telescope by the arrival of Isaac Newton, attended by Edmund Halley. Flamsteed manages to converse with Newton, despite the shock of seeing what he first assumes is a ghost. On the way out, Halley turns back, grabs Flamsteed by both shoulders, and heartily thanks Flamsteed for giving him his life and freedom. Flamsteed recognises, in the black mist covering Halley's eyes, that he is not looking at Halley at all, but "Reimer," who he had seen only brief flashes of before.

He concludes with a warning to Abraham Sharp that their mutual acquaintance, Halley, is no longer what he seems to be.


Basira and John discuss Rayner's other seeming deaths, the police intervention in his attempted possession of Callum Brodie and his being shelled in WWI.

Basira inquires whether John has Beheld anything about the Ritual The Dark is attempting. He "rarely gets anything when the Dark is involved" but theorises it centers on an eclipse.

Basira's competing theory, presented as she asks him for a piece of paper and a pen, is that the Dark plans to use Ny-Ålesund as a staging area and will conduct the ritual itself at the North Pole during the winter solstice to take advantage of "eleven weeks of pitch-black night." John doubts Basira's intel, as it comes from the same "sources" who sent her to the Australian outback while John descended into the coffin (MAG 132) but is told they are usually reliable.

She plans to book herself and John passage on a boat to the North Pole in a fortnight, to arrive a week before the summer solstice, when she reasons the Dark's power will be at an ebb. They will arm themselves with Daisy's gun stash and the offensive capabilities of John's powers. John is deeply dubious at the prospect and wonders whether Daisy, Melanie, or any of Basira's police associates will accompany them. Basira confirms they will be on their own. She affirms the plan is their best chance, and that she cannot do it alone.


  • Related Entity: The Dark
  • This episode is set the day after the previous, MAG 139.
  • Basira mentions having read the letter before, and referenced Flamsteed and Halley's relationship in MAG 108: Monologue.
  • MAG 73 describes the interruption of Maxwell Rayner's attempted consciousness transference and apparent death at police hands.
  • MAG 7 mentions the remains of "Joseph Rayner," a possible alias or relative of Maxwell Rayner, being recovered from the same shell crater as the shellshocked Wilfred Owens.
  • In MAG 111, Gerard Keay lists Flamsteed as someone who tried to study the Fears, alongside Jurgen Leitner and Robert Smirke.