From: Private F. Cleary
UK Division, UNIT
December 1970

Dear Mum

Things are getting worse for me, I don't know how much longer I can cope. I've seen something I can't explain, something XXXXX, and it's frightened me a lot. After the riot where I murdered that man, I went through a very rough patch. I spent a lot of time talking with the chaplain, trying to sort myself out.

He said my guilt was only natural. I had killed in self-defence and in a good cause, so it was not murder. I'm not sure that I believed him, but he's a priest and priests can't lie, can they?

The sergeant also gave me a good talking to - told me to buck my ideas up. He said if I didn't pull myself together he'd have to report my conduct to the Brig. I guess I was letting the squad down. The other boys had been doing a lot of my cleaning duties for me and keeping me going. They're a good bunch of lads and I realized that maybe what everyone said was right. Killing is wrong, but sometimes it's necessary. At least, that's what I kept telling myself. I almost believed it.

But now...

Now I don't know if I can believe what I see with my own eyes.

It started when we had to go on guard duty at the XXXXX Power Complex. I don't know what you've heard but there was an attack on the complex. That's pretty serious when you realize that XXXXX is a nuclear power generator and it provides electricity for a lot of the South. Anyway, the authorities got wind of the attack in advance and sent UNIT in to sort things out. There seemed to be a lot of top brass involved - the Brig, the Doctor and some pompous little upstart from Whitehall called Chinn. Called himself a one-man Committee of Enquiry, but he just seemed full of his own importance to me!

Anyway, there was something very strange going on. The weather kept changing every five minutes - one second it'd be hot and sunny, the next there'd be snow on the ground. We didn't know what was happening or which kit we should be wearing. The sergeant just told us to wrap up warm and be ready for anything.

I got put on guard duty with Billy Boyle. He'd been with UNIT for nearly two years but he didn't like to talk about what he'd seen. He'd just mumble about things I wouldn't believe and tell me not to ask too many questions, 'coz I wouldn't like his answers. So it was a pretty quiet stretch for the first three hours we were there. The gate we were guarding was the side entrance to the main reactor building and there wasn't going to be any action near us, the sergeant said. He was wrong.

It started with this strange-looking orange guy walking towards us. He looked like he ought to be a modern dancer or something, he had this weird body- suit on, all swirling brown and orange it was - played tricks on your eyes. His hands and his face were sort of gold-orange too, and they shone as if they were part metal. His head and face were the strangest of all. He had these huge bulging eyes that didn't have any pupils and his hair was like thick, curly strands of copper wire.

Billy called out a friend or foe greeting but this orange guy he just kept coming towards us. I used my walkie-talkie to call for support while Billy approached the intruder. He was just giving the orange guy another warning when the intruder seemed to change before our eyes. His shape started to blur and then he wasn't a man anymore, he had turned into some sort of XXXXXXX, as big as two men.

Now this XXXXX seemed to be made out of a swirling mass of XXXXXX with XXXXXXXXX all of it orange and red, pulsating like it was alive. One of the XXXXXXXXX reached out and grabbed Billy by the throat. He screamed and his body jerked around like he'd had an electric shock. Then the XXXXXXXX flung Billy's body on the ground and started coming towards me. I got my rifle up and shot off a full clip, but the bullets just disappeared into the XXXXX's guts without leaving a trace.

It started reaching out towards me. I tried to run but it was like my feet were frozen to the spot. One of the XXXXXXXXX flew towards me. There was a white flash and a second of incredible pain, like my head was going to explode. After that, everything went black.

I woke up two days later in a bed at UNIT's medical centre. The nurses said I was likely to be alive - I'd had enough electricity put through me to light up all of Merseyside. They showed me my rifle, which was all buckled and twisted. I had big burns across my hands where I'd been holding it when the XXXXX touched me.

The Brig came round to talk to me. He thanked me for my bravery and reminded me that under the terms of the Official Secrets Act I was not allowed to talk to anyone outside UNIT about what I had seen. He also told me that Billy was dead. It seems the XXXXXXXX had used up most of its juice on him - that's how I had survived. That just made me feel guilty. How come I lived and Billy died? It could have been me the XXXXX killed.

The Brig said what I had seen was an hallucination, used by terrorists to make me believe I was seeing some sort of XXXXX. When I insisted that's what I had seen, the Brig smiled, but said I was obviously still suffering from the delusion and needed some more rest and relaxation. He said the good news was that we had managed to beat the terrorists, thanks to help from the Doctor.

When he was telling me it was all a mirage in my mind, somehow I knew he was lying. I know what I saw and it was a huge orange XXXXX. I can't explain what it was, or where it came from, or how it could change its shape like that, or anything else about it, but I know what I saw was real. And it was bloody frightening.

I don't know if I can cope with being in UNIT. There's something very strange about the sort of missions we get and the sort of enemies we have to fight. If I had known it was going to be like this, I would never have volunteered.

I hope my letter hasn't scared you, Mum. Just know that I'm trying to keep safe and look after myself. I've only got another few months before I can return to my old squad in the regular Army. After the things I've seen and done recently, a stint on the streets of Belfast will seem like light relief!

Your loving son

This letter has been censored under the terms of the Official Secrets Act.

[ Intro Preface | 1 2 3 4 5 | 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 | 22 23 24 | Epilogue April 1996 Postscript 25 August 1971 Afterword ]

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