In the reception lounge designed in the eighteenth century style to provide an atmosphere of quiet grace, John Steed listened with undisguised amusement to appalling theories of homicide aired across the salmon sandwiches and bottles of Moët & Chandon. Diplomats’ wives and starlets listened open-mouthed as politicians and local activists told them how the Soviet Union engineered the death of the two scientists to steal scientific data and replicate the human machine they called “Android”. It would be the latest propaganda coup for the Soviet Communist party! No one had ever seen the Android publicly and no one was really surprised that the third and last surviving scientist, Doctor X, hadn’t shown up this evening. It was rumoured that the Android was the most closely guarded state secret since JFK’s liaison with Marilyn Monroe, which of course, was never much of a secret.
John Steed felt a sudden urge for Gin & Tonic and walked back to the reception bar. His eye caught a carafe of Bourbon whiskey on the back shelf and he asked the bartender for a glass. The amber-looking stuff gave him a slow satisfying burn as it went down and a happy warmth started to tingle in his limbs. John Steed was definitely not a man to be dictated by flavour and this was a subject of many jokes between him and Emma Peel. He suddenly thought of her and was concerned if not alarmed by her long absence. He made a move and got up from his chair. He was slightly unsteady. Katherine Broster, the intriguing beautiful woman, was nowhere in sight either. He casually wandered outside the main room until an elusive but familiar fragrance gently came to his nostrils. To Steed’s sensitive nose, there was no mistaking the Madame Rochas perfume worn by Emma this evening. He followed his intuition and the heady scent led him down a few flights of stairs until he walked past a passage lit by bare incandescent bulbs and reached a sturdy black door locked from the outside. John Steed activated a device from his umbrella cane which enabled him to unlock the mechanism.
Inside he saw Emma lying on the floor. She was slowly regaining consciousness. She was badly shaken but after a minute or two, she described to John what happened, from the moment Katherine Broster led her to this room until she had the presence of mind to fake her own death before it was too late. She had rightly assumed the machine would be unable to tell the difference between her lying dead and lying still on the floor. This last minute response had undeniably saved her life but there was now a dangerous Android on the loose and John and Emma had to do everything in their power to stop it.
Emma pointed at the door through which Katherine Broster left before trapping her inside. It took John no time to unlock it and they soon reached another long and dark corridor. They walked silently and cautiously until they met a strange little creature with a streak of blue hair in her long dark mane.
The innocent looking face suddenly revealed a pair of deceptively malevolent eyes that turned bright red and plunged John and Emma into a state of deep torpor.
When they woke up, they both had their hands and feet tied to a chair and were facing a rather smug-looking character wearing a white lab coat. It was the elusive Doctor X who looked at Emma with unveiled contempt.
“So you thought I would not be able to recognise the real Ann Miller, didn’t you?” He laughed hysterically. “I’m a fan of hers! I’ve seen all her movies and she, as opposed to you, exuded star quality whenever she walked in a room.”
Emma looked at her beautiful Coco dress and thought the scientist’s thick glasses were clearly clouding his peripheral vision.
Doctor X went on: “We have surveillance cameras everywhere to which I have direct access from my subterranean lab. Quite handy it’s so close to the gala reception, isn’t? I guess you both got acquainted with my hypnotic doll.”
“Is this how you call that psychotic piece of rubber? “ John Steed commented sarcastically.
“You are not in a very enviable position Mr Steed,” Doctor X said menacingly. “I would be careful about what I would say if I were you. But I’m sure you both want to find out what happened to the other two scientists I suppose?” His face cracked into an evil grin.
“We’d rather you tell us why you killed them because I assume you – or rather your Android – have bumped off your fellow researchers,” replied Emma.
“You are assuming quite right Miss Peel and I must admit I was quite surprised to find out you survived the ordeal yourself. You see, my colleagues were about to destroy my dream of stardom. When we created the Android, it was so unique and unlike anything we’ve invented before that I soon had Hollywood on the phone. They were ready to strike a deal I couldn’t refuse: a remake of Metropolis where my beautiful Android was to play the part of the Machine-man. But no, the other two had to disagree. They said their loyalty lay with the British government and thought my brilliant idea was nothing more than a trivial matter getting in the way of scientific development. But I knew I had to find a way somehow. I reprogrammed the Android to kill the other two scientists and gathered enough evidence to put the blame on an international terrorist organisation aiming to steal scientific data. Naturally it was all a sham and you’re probably as excited as I am to hear about the next stage of my plan: killing two British agents in order to create a full-scale diplomatic incident. And while all this mess unfolds, I will be flying off to Los Angeles. My beautiful Android will become a movie star and I will personally resurrect Ann Miller’s career in the same way Billy Wilder did for Gloria Swanson.”
Emma thought Ann Miller was way too old to be cast as Maria in Metropolis but she wisely kept that remark to herself.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for the two of you to say your last goodbyes. I’m afraid I won’t be able to grant you one last wish Mr Steed as we don’t store any alcohol in laboratories for obvious reasons.”
John Steed grimaced. He didn’t like the note of sarcasm in the scientist’s voice. Doctor X promptly activated his controller and Emma recognised the familiar mechanical noise coming from afar.
“Quick!” She said to John as they both tried to untie their hands without the help of his sharp umbrella cane.
The Android was fast approaching. With each passing second the task proved more and more impossible and the ropes had barely loosened their grip by the time the Android arrived and stood still by their side. The machine stared at them, vacantly, inscrutably, before raising its hand high above Steed’s head, ready to strike a fatal blow. Steed forcibly tilted his chair sideways just when the Android’s hand came down smashing through the back of the chair. He and Emma fell on the floor, the ropes restraining their wrists now loose and Steed quickly uncovered his .357 Magnum Mini revolver that was secretly hidden in the front of his Marks & Spencer underwear.
Doctor X soon realised what they were getting up to but before he had time to make a move, Emma showed a cool silver double-barrelled Derringer from the inside pocket of her Coco dress and pointed it at Doctor X. She held the gun steadily and unwaveringly.
“Don’t do anything foolish Doctor X. I am perfectly capable of shooting you.”
Each bullet Steed fired in direction of the Android ricocheted off its thick metallic structure. Emma Peel made a decisive move by grabbing the scientist’s controller and eventually managed to neutralise the machine. The police soon arrived. There would be no remake of Metropolis for Doctor X and the Android. Ann Miller could breathe a sigh of relief.
John Steed and Emma Peel went back upstairs to join the rest of the guests, all blissfully oblivious of the incident that just happened a few feet below them. John felt an irresistible urge for a double Vodka Martini but before Emma had a chance to join him for a celebratory drink, she felt a firm hand resting gently on her shoulder. She turned around and saw the impossibly handsome Warren Beatty smoothly asking:
“May I offer you a drink?”
Emma finally got a close look at those crystal clear blue eyes of his and he gave her that cocky half-grin. She couldn’t help but smile back. The rest of the evening, she thought, looked nothing short of promising.
MISSED PART 1? CLICK HERE!
MISSED PART 2? CLICK HERE!
The wacky story was written by myself and the amazing pictures were done by Marius Els who also used Photoshops brushes by Diana’s Creations.