Statement of Adelard Dekker, regarding a potential pandemic originating in the town of Klanxbüll, Germany.
There is a tape on John's desk -- a recording of Peter and Martin's conversation from MAG 156, wherein Martin asks Peter if he might eventually come back from The Lonely. Peter assures him that he will not die, but if all goes well, he will not be returning. Martin says that he does not care.
John does not know who left the tape on his desk or why, but theorises that it could have been either Martin, asking for help, Peter, to coerce him into action, or Annabelle, attempting to manipulate him. Alongside the tape is a statement from Adelard Dekker.
The statement is in the form of an email addressing Gertrude Robinson. Adelard confesses he is dying as he writes, and asks Gertrude not to come look for him. Even if she never had patience for his faith, he hopes it will bring her some peace to know that he faces his death gladly, knowing that he has done his duty before God.
His current predicament began when he is contacted by Christabel, his contact within the ECDC. She alerts him to a pandemic originating in the small town of Klanxbüll, Germany. The town has been quarantined and the disease appears man-made, potentially a bio-weapon, as its behaviour does not follow any normal patterns. The symptoms are extremely disturbing: it causes the skin and muscles to become loose and malleable until they slough off the body, leaving the skeleton and organs exposed.
Dekker suspects a pandemic is where The Extinction will pull away from The Corruption and travels to Klanxbüll to investigate. Donning a hazmat suit before entering the town, he discovers a hellish landscape of streets crisscrossed with thin trails of blood and skin and walls and windows covered in a sheen of discarded gore.
He soon comes across a man wrapped around a lamppost. His flesh has begun to spread and fuse over it in thick tendrils and his bones are almost exposed. His exposed heart is beating fast, despite the green decay that is eating at it. Dekker understands there is no saving the town, but maybe he can at least discover the cause.
He starts checking houses and realises that the trails of viscera do not lead into the homes, but away from them to some central point. He follows them and finds the source of the sickness in a parking space by the train station.
At the centre of the carnage sits a most dreadful throne, formed from two dozen bodies mixed together like putty. Their eyes stare out in horror as their hearts lie bare, beating. A moaning rises from it as voices try to scream through things that are not their throat. Upon this throne sits the source of the rot, a lanky man wearing an ill-fitting brown suit and a smile. Dekker has never met John Amherst but he knows his description well enough to recognise him.
It seems clear that this is the work of the Corruption, and not the Extinction. Although it is a different enemy than anticipated, Adelard will not leave it unopposed. He retreats and formulates a plan, grabbing a stretcher, numerous quarantine sleeves, and a syringe. At a nearby building site he grabs a thick metal chain and activates a concrete mixer. He fills the syringe with garden pesticide.
Returning to the parking space, Dekker reveals himself and Amherst approaches coyly, thinking him some hapless quarantine worker. As Amherst reaches for him, Dekker grabs him and injects the pesticide. It will not kill him but it stuns Amherst long enough for Dekker to drag him onto the stretcher. Dekker straps him down, wraps him with the chain, and cocoons him in layer after layer of quarantine sleeves. He drags Amherst to the building site and throws him down a hole, then empties the concrete mixer onto the writhing form of Amherst, burying him under four feet of concrete. It is a simple, yet effective, solution.
As Dekker savours his victory, he notices a tear in the hazmat suit: a large cut on his leg has gone through the material and it is that clear that he is infected. He will not wait for the affliction to overtake him and sets out to end things on his own terms. Even as he feels the infection take hold, he drags as many of the afflicted as he can find to the parking place and lays them out by the throne. He douses everything in petrol and takes a seat on the throne as he prepares to release them all from suffering.
It does not strike him as proper to go to his death without letting Gertrude know what happened and, luckily, he finds an unlocked laptop and sets about writing this email.
Gertrude may have been right about the Extinction. He has been hunting it for decades and he has evidence of its influence in other powers, but never found anything to genuinely prove its emergence as a true power of its own. He muses that perhaps it is an existential fear that flows through the others like a vein of ore, or perhaps the birth of such things is simply longer and more complicated than he believed. Yet, he does not regret seeking it. He has done his duty and is proud of the work he has done. He feels honoured to have worked alongside Gertrude and wishes her well.
John is shaken by the statement. If Martin left it for him, it could be a sign that he does not believe Peter's theories about the Extinction and is asking John for help. However, Martin has made it clear that he does not want help. John is conflicted and wants a second opinion but he cannot get hold of Basira or Daisy.
Desperate for someone he can trust, John goes to Georgie's apartment, where Melanie is staying. Georgie refuses to let him see her and John realises they are girlfriends. Their arguing wakes Melanie and the Admiral. She is doing better since she left the Institute and welcomes John as a friend. She makes it clear that she cannot be ally he needs right now. John realises he cannot drag her back into things and wishes them well as he leaves.
John goes to Helen next. He asks her to tell him what is at the centre of the tunnels. Helen refuses, simply because it will be more fun without her involvement. John starts to compel her but she makes it clear that only one of them will survive if he goes through with it. John pleads with her to help him in any way, but she sends him on his way, advising him to feed so that he will be in good shape for the bad things that are to come.
- Related Entity: The Extinction and The Corruption
- Dekker describes his method of containing an unkillable being in cement to Gertrude Robinson. In MAG 103, she recommends this method to a pig farmer.