The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough

The Yorkshire town of Parsley Bottom has a problem…

Peter Crisp, a boy with an unusual gift of being able to see things that others cannot, goes missing after spending the night in a graveyard. Two of Peter's school friends, join forces with a Knight of King Arthur to attempt to find him but come across some mysterious engravings which propel them on an adventure beyond their imagination.

Meanwhile MI6 operative Steven Knight is sent from London to investigate a meteor landing site, but Steven is advised by his own boss not to trust the puppeteers that hold the strings to his investigation. Within the core of the meteor is an alien bacteria that evolves at an alarming rate that not only puts Steven's life at risk, but the entire human race.

By unravelling ancient codes and riddles the children journey within the bowels of Edinburgh Castle as they attempt to find the key to Peter’s disappearance. The children not only need to save Peter, they need to save the world while they’re at


2. Inside MI6

It felt like most of the past two years that Steven Knight had been working for the British Government, had involved nothing but sitting behind a desk writing reports for senior officials. But, unknown to Steven, today was going to be different. He entered, as normal, through the high security checkpoints inside London’s MI6 headquarters and stepped into the highly polished glass elevator to take him up to the seventh floor where his desk was awaiting him, along with the pile of paperwork that he had left there the night before.

From the seating area in the atrium of the building, where many suited men whispered selective truths into the ears of their colleagues, a tall man dashed across towards the lift just as the doors were about to slide shut. As Steven reached for the button to hold the doors open, the man athletically slid his tall frame through the narrow gap, nodded good morning to him and stood looking out of the glass lift as it began to move smoothly up.

Steven thought that he recognised most people in the building, but not this man. And his appearance was not one you could forget in a hurry. His height was the first striking thing about him; by comparing him with his own height, Steven judged him to be around seven foot tall. His black hair hung in dreadlocks to his shoulders and he obviously kept himself fit as Steven could make out the curves of the shoulder and back muscles beneath the man’s tailored dark blue pin striped suit. But the most unusual thing about this man was the silvery white scar that cut deeply into his black skin from below one eye to his jaw line.

After a few seconds the elevator stopped at the fourth floor and another man entered.

‘Morning, Knight,’ said a handsome man to Steven. ‘Have you caught any aliens yet?’ he continued with a mocking smile on his face.

‘Not yet, Davison,’ replied Steven. Despite trying to look comfortable with the jape, he knew that he was the butt of all jokes within the building, together with the rest of the department he worked in.

‘Actually, I was going to come and talk to you,’ continued Davison trying to be charming and sincere. ‘Something strange happened to me this morning at breakfast. Just as I was about to take the last mouth full of cereal from the bowl, it looked like it had arranged itself into letters that spelt out a word.’

‘Really?’ asked Steven, slightly warily, waiting for the punch line.

‘I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget.’ Davison pulled a notepad out of his inside pocket and thumbed through it. ‘Here we go; it spelt out the word ANILE. Strange, eh? Anyway,’ he paused, ‘I thought you should know.’

‘Thanks,’ nodded Steven trying to work out if Davison was being serious or not, ‘I’ll look out for any other cereal related reports and let you know.’

Desperately trying to stop himself from laughing, Davison turned his face down towards his feet, his lips tightly clamped together not wanting to betray his joke.

‘Here’s my stop,’ said Davison as an electronic bell chimed the arrival to the sixth floor and the doors began to open. ‘I’ve got some real foreign threats to catch. Bye.’ He enthusiastically jumped out of the elevator and disappeared from view, but as the doors closed, Steven was sure that he heard Davison burst into laughter from further along the corridor.

As the elevator hummed into action once again, the tall man continued to look out of the glass as if he were on his own. At the next floor Steven stepped forward to get out and glanced back towards him. For a split second he thought that the tall man was using the reflection in the glass to discreetly assess and observe Steven, but he could be doing nothing more than simply looking out of the glass. Steven felt an uncomfortable shiver work its way down his back and was glad to hear the doors close behind him as he walked down the long corridor towards his office.

Steven was a member of the Unexplained Foreign Activity Department (UFA), a lesser known section of MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service. During 1950, in the aftermath of panic caused by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds as well as supposed real alien sightings like the Roswell Incident in America, the Prime Minister at the time, Clement Attlee, commissioned UFA. Since World War II, he considered Britain’s security to be at risk not only from other countries, but also from other life forms.

But so far, no alternative life forms had ever been found.

Or as the conspiracy theorists would say, none that had been officially reported.

To date the most interesting things that had landed on Steven’s desk included reports of strange activity in a laptop in Appletreewick, North Yorkshire, a possessed Caretaker at a School in Piddle River, Dorset, and a Hamster called Nibbles that was thought to be 452 years old in Tutts Clump, Berkshire. It seemed that all Steven had done so far was investigate hoaxes. Never once had he felt like there was any possible shred of genuine alien activity in Britain, or ever likely to be.

Recently, Steven had been wondering whether this was the right job for him. The team he worked for was the joke of the whole building, nothing ever happened and it was amazing that it continued to get funding. Many rumours circulated the office about the source of the funding; the official explanation was that the government paid for all departments in MI6 including the UFA, but the most recent rumour doing the rounds was that a private drugs company now supplemented the government to continue the UFA. Whatever the reason, Steven was considering a transfer to another department with a bit more excitement like Counter Terrorism that Davison worked in.

Ever since Steven was eight years old, he had believed that there must be something else out there and he wanted to be at the front when it was discovered. Probably the biggest reason for his motivation was simply the fact that he was endlessly searching for his parents who had mysteriously disappeared in the Forest of Dean. To this day he still kept the newspaper cuttings about his parents' disappearance inside an old scrap book, the paper yellow now with age and going soft along the well thumbed edges.

Steven approached an office door with the words ‘Unexplained Foreign Activity Department – UFA’ etched in the glass. He swiped his security card through the electronic reader and waited for the click of the lock to disengage before pushing the door open. Once through, he walked to his cubicle, a small area enclosed on three sides by a thin partition to the other cubicles that joined onto his. His small desk was overloaded with books on conspiracy theories, and brown cardboard folders stuffed with paper and stacked in a pile that had overflowed across his computer keyboard.

He shared the office with three other people: Jake, a fat balding single man who thrived on conspiracy theories and regularly updated a blog which officials at Whitehall naturally monitored and censored when necessary, giving fuel to Jake’s obsessions. Gwen, a divorced woman, who seemed to have one mission in life and that was to disprove any possible signs of alien life and on the way, cut men down at every opportunity, just for her own amusement. Definitely an aggressive non-believer. The fourth member of the team was Sir Adam Brooks, the official long suffering Head of the UFA. He had worked in the Department for longer than Steven had been alive and, although decorated with a Knighthood, continued to be the object of many a joke within MI6, even amongst other senior members of staff. Unlike many of the other MI6 Heads of Department, Sir Adam didn’t carry an aura of power and authority with him, which is why Steven liked him. But it also made him feel sad; could he end up like Sir Adam, endlessly searching?

While he waited for the computer to warm up, he scribbled the word ANILE on his note-pad. He had been thinking about what Davison had said in the elevator, and as he looked at the word, he realised that if he rearranged the letters it could also spell ALIEN, so it was probably just Davison’s idea of a joke.

He picked up the folder he had left at the top of the pile the night before and slid the top sheet out. It was the latest hoax that he had been given to investigate. He had received a memo from a local police station in the small town of Wettyfoot in Scotland, where a local resident had reported seeing Lock Ness monster babies in his garden pond. Steven was waiting for a full report from the police at Wettyfoot, but a sample of the water and a dead baby monster had already been delivered to him.

Steven had already sent the sample of water, which was dark green with algae and as thick as custard, to the in-house laboratory for analysis and started researching all of the logical possibilities on the internet.

Although the creature had six lips and warty skin, it seemed that the most likely candidate for such a monster was a 4inch long worm called a Nematode and not anything extra-terrestrial at all.

As soon as he received the official reports and analysis, he could put the file away in the temperature controlled storage facility kept in the ground directly beneath the MI6 building and move on to the next wild goose chase.

‘Good morning, Steven,’ said a clear and well spoken voice approaching the cubicles.

‘Morning, Sir Adam,’ Steven instinctively replied as he stood up so that he could see over the partitions surrounding the cubicle.

‘Good to see you’re in early as usual. I wonder if you would come with me; I have something I need to discuss with you.’

‘Of course, Sir,’ Steven agreed.

‘Better leave those here,’ Sir Adam indicated to the note-pad and pencil Steven had just picked up off his desk. He turned around and began walking in the other direction, away from his own desk.

Steven struggled to keep up with his boss, even though he was about 40 years younger. What was a normal walking pace for Sir Adam was a breathless gallop for Steven.

‘Can I ask what this is about?’

‘Probably best not to. Not yet, at least,’ replied Sir Adam vaguely.

Neither of them spoke any further as Sir Adam led Steven through an endless series of corridors and security doors that Steven was sure were in another part of the building that wouldn’t normally be accessible, especially to staff of his lowly rank. He even wondered if they were in a totally different building altogether. He had heard rumours that there were tunnels and passageways under London’s streets that lead to other government buildings to provide easy access for the Prime Minister and other senior members of the government to move quickly around London, especially during times of crisis, without anyone knowing.

One of the corridors turned sharply to the left and as they turned the corner Sir Adam placed a firm hand on Steven’s chest preventing him from walking any further.

‘A word of warning, Steven,’ Sir Adam whispered with a nervous look upon his face. ‘Do not trust everything and everyone you are about to meet. What you are about to see is only half the story. There are things they won’t tell you.’

‘What do you mean?’

Sir Adam looked around him nervously. ‘I can’t say any more. We are standing in a camera blind spot. We must keep walking. Our movements are being monitored. If we don’t walk seamlessly round the next corner, they will know we have delayed.’

Before Steven could ask any more questions, Sir Adam had taken a step round the corner leaving Steven no choice but to follow, even though he was now more confused than ever. At the end of the corridor he noticed the glowing single red eye of the camera watching as they approached what looked like a metal door.

To the right of the door was a card and retina scanner which Sir Adam automatically leant his head down to. After a few seconds the thick bolts inside the door frame clicked and a green light shone permitting access. The door swung slowly and heavily outwards towards them, revealing a small white washed room with no colour or decoration on the walls just a sterile metal conference table in the centre. Two people were already sitting at the desk with their backs to them. Steven reluctantly took a step inside the room followed by Sir Adam and the door closed silently behind them.

One of the men stood up and turned to face Steven, it was the tall scar faced man from the elevator.

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