Sunday 29th August 1880
In the grand marquee of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, a private show for soldiers barracked at Aldershot, two men are introduced to each other briefly by a Ghurka staff sergeant and given letters. They contain job offers from Basil Cambridge of the Home Office, along with a First Class train ticket to Sandhurst.
Tuesday 31st August 1880
Naik Babu and “Dangerous” Dan McCall meet on the platform of Sandhurst train station and show their letters to soldiers who grant them admittance to Sandhurst Military College.
They meet Basil Cambridge in a state room of the administration building and he explains his job offer: he wants some tough, brave outsiders to investigate the murder of his agents. He suspects that their reluctance to question local customs and sensibilities might have contributed to their deaths. He also wants to be sure that his investigators are not prejudiced or conspiring with any local (English) army, police or criminal gangs, so outsiders seem to fit his criteria for now.
Two agents have already been found murdered. Nine other agents are missing.
The first one found was Barnaby Munroe, found hung in a barn in Tisbury (a deserted hamlet) a few hours after he was last seen (Friday 15th August 1880). Around the same time, his wife was found strangled by an intruder at her home.
The next agent dead was Archer Havers. He went missing on Friday 15th August and was found dead, shot through the heart, on Friday 29th August in Deepcut (a deserted hamlet) but he had already been dead for some time. Whilst he had been missing, his wife (Mrs Laurie Havers) had died and been buried in her home village of Purbright, with no-one to oversee her burial. The Coroner’s reports indicated she died from a coronary, sudden heart failure.
Basil Cambridge wants the pair to exhume her body (at night, since the exhumation is illegal without a Crown Coroner’s order – another reason why he wants non-Christian, non-English investigators?) and be sure about the cause of her death. He is convinced there is some more suspect cause, and he needs evidence to procure further resources to investigate thoroughly.
Babu and McCall travel to Aldershot by train and take a look over the body of Archie Havers. His remains are awaiting burial at the morgue, and from the smell are well-overdue.
The doctor confirms the cause of death as a single shot to the heart from a large rifle round, he has the bullet and believes it came from a rolled foil/brass 0.577 Snider cartridge fired within 40 yards from a Snider-Enfield rifle (typically British issue from 1866 onwards). This is his suspicion but there is no real science to determine this is true other than the size of the bullet, that could potentially belong to any British or Commonwealth rifle, or possibly an American one.
Archie Havers had only a wedding ring and belt buckle for his person affects.
After gambling on McCall’s shooting skill with soldiers, Babu and McCall borrow horses from the Wild West show and ride to Purbright, looking for the grave of Mrs Havers.
It in sundown when they arrive in the quiet village and it seems most of the village is drunk and sleeping after having a wake for the dead couple. They procure a room at the public house and play darts with two young men who tell them the couple were nice, local, fairly private and recently married.
In the churchyard of St. Michaels and All Angels the pair find a recently dug grave decorated with flowers. They set to work digging. In the early hours of the morning they find the coffin and the remains, along with Mrs Havers wedding ring that glows with an eerie green light. When McCall cuts the ring from her hand, she sits upright and stares at him, causing him to drop his knife and the ring and flee.
An oily black mist forms, seemingly pouring from Mrs Havers’ mouth and formed shadowy figures outside the graveyard.
McCall continues to run to get the horses chased by the dark figures, and Babu otherwise makes his escape.