The Crumbling Empire

The fall of Dover

The sound of gunfire woke Agnes like a cracking of a whip. She did not recognise her surroundings, but recognised her clothing that was sat on a nearby chair along with some of her husbands clothing. She dressed quickly and opened the room door. It was obvious that she was in a hotel, but the electricity was not working so she took the hurricane lamp that was by her beside and proceeded downstairs. There in the lobby was her husband Richard, a younger man, and a woman. They were busily tying a man to a chair with a length of rope. Richard seemed relieved to see her as she was to see him. He quickly introduced the other people and informed her of the crash she was involved with and the stranger case of the flowers and the near apocalypse that seemed to have occurred. She had trouble processing what he was saying, but she knew he could be trusted and had never been one for straying far from the truth.

The Russian sat tied to the chair blabbering in his native tongue. Luckily Mark had learnt some Russian hoping it would be of some use as a journalist. The Russian identified himself as Borris Topper and through his ranting Mark managed to discover that he was not a sailor as it first appeared but had been a scientist who had worked for the Russian agronomist Lysenko. They had invented a plant that had spread rapidly and had been repackaged as a weapon which the British government had purchased. Between his sobbing Mark discovered that Lysenko may have discovered the plants in a meteor that had landed in Russia, but Borris did not know the exact details.

While Mark concentrated on the Russian, the others sat the man he had dragged into the building with him down and offered him a drink. He looked dishevelled but quickly introduced himself as Dr. James Falk. He explained that he had been drinking the previous night and had awoken late to find his wife and others had been taken to Dover hospital complaining of severe pain post breakfast. He had rushed to the hospital but was overwhelmed by the epidemic that confronted him. His assistance was greatly appreciated by the hospital staff that were hopelessly outnumbered by the scale of the problem confronting them. He soon found his wife but had been unable to save her from whatever ailment had befallen her. He recounted how she had died in his arms around midday. As the hospital staff began to succumb to the outbreak he soon found himself alone surrounded by death. It was then that a heavily drunk Russian appeared. James had tried to talk to the man and offered him some assistance for the cuts on the mans forearms, but the last thing he could remember is the Russian swinging for him. He awoke bound and was then dragged from building to building looking for survivors, it was then that the Russian had spotted the lantern hanging in the hotel window and had decided to investigate.

The Russian indicated that he had a note book that would corroborate his story. Mark took a small notebook from the Russians chest pocked and showed the others. While the others did not speak Russian, Richard and James were able to understand that the pictures indicated that the plants evolve in a Lamarack method rather than a Darwinian one. There were details that the plants had come to Britain on a Russian cargo ship called Lysenco which had docked in Dover on night of the 1st of November and was due to be offloaded on the 2nd.

As the Russian began to sob again about the deaths he had caused some glasses on the bar rattled and a bottle tipped over on the bar. As the team stepped outside to investigate the rumbling they noticed that the plants had quickly begun to decompose the bodies they had sprouted from. Back inside they secured the Russian in a ground floor room and gathered some torches prior to driving down to the docks in the two Hillman minx cars they appropriated earlier in the evening. At the docks the water seemed milky white as it lapped against the shore. While bodies lay all around the seagulls ignored them and continued their squawking as they circled above.


At the commercial port they saw the Lysenco. It was secured at the stern to the pier but had somehow broken free of its mornings at the bow and had listed to port by a few degrees. On closer inspection Agnus noticed that there was some damage to the hull of the ship around the waterline as if the ship had smashed against a larger immovable object. They proceeded onboard and James left a lantern at the top of the gangplank so as to easily identify their exit point. The sound of shoes clanking on cold steel plate echoed in the still night sky and the rusting hulk swayed slowly as waves buffeted the ship. The group headed up the open stairs of the superstructure towards the bridge. There they were greeted by a ransacked room devoid of life. Charts and documents lay scattered throughout the room, which the group began to gather and organise so Mark could try to decipher what the papers said, looking specifically for a bill of lading that would tell them the cargo of the vessel. A letter written in English from a Lieutenant-General in the British Army ordering that the cargo be delivered at Dover for onward movement to Connaught barracks on the outside of Dover was found amongst the paperwork. The charts indicated that the Lysenco had sailed from the port of Arkhangelsk on the White Sea. Placing some charts and notes in a satchel they headed back to their cars and stowed the documents then proceeded back onboard. As the walked up the gangplank again they witnessed another earth tremor shake the port of Dover. Down into the bowls of the ship the descended as if entering a metal coffin.

With no electricity the ship seemed cold and foreboding which became worse the further they headed downwards. Eventually they came upon the bulkhead doors to the main cargo hold and proceeded inside. A walkway ran around the top of the massive cargo hold before steps descending into the murky depths. They could see the glimmer of water and debris moving in the bottom of the hold but this did not deter them as they clambered down the stairs into the inky blackness. The water was achingly cold but was no deeper than a few feet. Mark asked Richard to pass him a fire axe and proceeded to prize open one of the wooden crates, seeds spilled out into the milky water turning it a whiter shade of pale. Another stronger tremor rocked the ship which began to list further to port. The group decided to head back to the main deck fearing being trapped in the ship. As they stepped onto the main deck a stronger quake rocked the boat and in the moonlit distance they could make out the sea churning black, ships began to sway wildly getting dashed against the jetties like small toys being tossed around. A piercing sound erupted and they could see monstrous creatures rising from the waves, Richard seemed visibly shaken by the sight and Agnes pulled at his sleeves to get him to begin moving. They navigated the swaying gangplank and dived into their cars as the cliffs above them began to crumble and the surface of the roads began to buckle. Marks vehicle with Edith and James was first out of the port followed closely by Agnes and Richard in the trailing car. As Dover crumbled behind them they raced through the streets and up towards the open countryside. Behind them the air became thick with dust while the piercing sounds of monsters echoed in the dawn drowning any normal chorus that Dover was expecting. As they pulled up to a mile stone four miles from the port they looked back and through the haze and mist the town behind them had sunken into the sea which had now encroached three miles inland swallowing the town and surrounding countryside. No sign or sound of the monsters could be heard or seen all that lay before them was seas of white flowers sprouting in every field as far as the horizon.

To the left of the road a small farm house stood alone in the sea of white. The group proceeded inside to see if any sign of life still existed within. Sat at the kitchen table two decomposed bodies sat, flowers sprouting from them. It was difficult to now discern male from female bodies as the flowers quickly decomposed corpses. Mark noticed a surprising itch in his left arm and rolled up his sleeve to investigate, he tool a step back as he discovered a small white flower growing out of a small cut on his forearm. The others steadied him and James sterilised a straight razor and began to excise the plant and the surrounding tissue. While Mark sipped on brandy and bit hard onto a leather belt the pain was excruciating but he maintained consciousness. They prepared a small breakfast and searched the grounds and house for supplies and equipment. After siphoning fuel into their cars to keep them topped up they proceeded towards Canterbury and London. At the ten mile point from Dover a post office van sat parked in the middle of the road blocking their movement. The nearby fence was smashed outwards as if a vehicle had exited cross country. As they inspected the van they noticed a small GPO marked box at the back of the vehicle inside they discovered two letters one addressed to Mark the other to Agnes oddly marked with the exact location on the road as well as the current date and time of 07:00.

The letters seemed to originate from members of their family but the handwriting seemed different from what they were used to. The envelope and paper seemed odd and very aged. How could somebody know the exact place the two were going to be and how did they know of the apocalypse that had befallen the world? After clearing the road they proceeded towards Canterbury. The city was empty with flowers swaying in the wind attached to bodies that dotted the streets. The group split up with Mark finding a chemist with a dark room to develop some film and Richard proceeding to the cathedral. He was greeted by a scene of utter devastation. It seems many of the local population had turned to god in their hour of need hoping some divine miracle would save them. The pews were all crammed with decomposing bodies, many more sat in the grounds of the great old building seemingly content with their fate. Richard lit a candle as James watched the situation from nearby.

The group found a bigger Hillman Wizard to replace one of the Hillman minx then stocked up on supplies from a nearby grocers before heading onwards towards London where many family and friends were last seen.

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