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Hellblazer: The Fear Machine

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After finally thwarting the demon Nergal, John Constantine returned home to find that he was wanted for the murder of two boys that Nergal tore to pieces in Paddington. In an attempt to stay below the radar, he tried hitch-hiking


After finally thwarting the demon Nergal[1], John Constantine returned home to find that he was wanted for the murder of two boys that Nergal tore to pieces in Paddington. In an attempt to stay below the radar, he tried hitch-hiking across the country, but soon encountered the police. In his attempt to escape, John met a young girl named Mercury who offered him food and shelter.

Mercury was a medium of sorts, living with a pair of new age folk who had begun living as nomads in England following the breakup of the Peace Convoy in the mid 80s. Finding them pleasant enough, John agreed to travel with them for a time. They end up at a special park-up, where several other travellers are camping. John got to know several of them, and began to enjoy the familial feeling of the community.[2]

The nomads were very interested in the properties of ley lines and stone circles, and after an unpleasant encounter with one of them, Mercury offered to take him for a walk along the ley lines to take his mind off it. Eventually, they came to a stone circle which had had a strange facility built on top of it, owned by a company called Geotroniks. Mercury felt a strong sense of foreboding about the place, and was very shaken by the appearance of a pale man there, when they were eventually kicked off the site.

Upon their return to the campsite, John made his apologies to Myra, whom he had encountered earlier, and accepted some of her tea. Later, he met his friend Erroll, who revealed that he had met Zed, supposedly after John had witnessed her die. Soon after, the hallucinogenic mushrooms that the woman put in John's tea kicked in, and he ran into the woods.

That night, while tripping, John witnessed a man speaking Russian and trying to perform some kind of tests on the stone circle he had visited earlier. Somehow, the man had become affected by something, and began dashing out his own brains on the rocks. When John came to later, there was no evidence of the man's having been there. He returned to camp, where Mercury's mother Marj took him in, and they had sex.[3]

Unfortunately, the police came soon afterwards and, on orders from the pale man - a Doctor Fulton - they captured Marj and Mercury, leaving John in a state of confusion. After getting the women away from the camp, Fulton injected Marj with a drug that made her acquiescent, and sent her away, allowing him to do as he pleased with Mercury. Meanwhile, John investigated at the nearest town, and found Marj at the local police station in a daze. While there, he recognized a man from the Geotroniks site. Quickly, he took Marj back to camp with his suspicions roused.

With the police having told them all to leave the campsite before the end of the day, the nomads planned to go to Scotland to meet with Pagan Nation - a group apparently being run by Zed. John decides that he will work a different angle, and return to London. Marj drives him to the train station, and he promises that he will find her daughter.

Meanwhile, Mercury was plagued by psychic images of her captor, Doctor Fulton, being hung with rope by his neck from a bridge.[4] She was kept at a facility with other psychics, using her abilities to transfer the fear from phobics into a special receptacle. The men running the site discovered that a soviet spy had tried to steal the technology they were developing, and decided to use one of the more experienced psychics to find that spy's partner.

The other spy's name was Sergei Antonov, and he happened to be on the same train to London as John Constantine. Using the machine that Geotroniks developed, the psychic unleashed a blast of concentrated fear on the train, causing its passengers to lose control and regress into sex, depravity, and murder. Believing that Antonov was the source of the fear, John began to follow him around, struggling to resist succumbing to it himself. When the train crashed, John saved Antonov's life when he realized that men from Geotroniks were searching the wreckage.

In London, John met with a Chief Inspector Geoffrey Talbot, and found that the inspector was being run out of his office by a squad led by a man from Geotroniks. They returned to Talbot's house to find that his wife had committed suicide as a result of bullying from his colleagues. After returning to his hotel room, John discovered that one of the other patrons had been attacked by men from Geotroniks.[5]

Simon Hughes was alive, though barely. John helped to nurse him back to health, and discovered that the man was a reporter working on a story about corruption and links between Geotroniks and a string of suicides among former employees. John then realized that Geotroniks was a cover for a weapon which used the ley lines to transmit psychic energy, which explained why Mercury was kidnapped.

One day, while using the Fear Machine, Mercury discovered that the fears she had been dispelling for the phobics were forming into some kind of monster within the machine. Her encounter inspired Mercury to make a stand and try to escape.

Later, John and Simon joined with Talbot, and decided to meet with Antonov, whom he had been harbouring. On their way to the train station, they were followed by a homeless man. At the station, that man stuffed a flyer into John's mouth before leaping in front of an oncoming train and shouting "Jallakuntilliokan!" Simon screamed in horror when he recognized the symbol printed on the flyer.[6]

Mercury managed to influence Dr. Fulton into taking her away from the facility, and from there she escaped, leaving him to face punishment by his superiors.

After meeting with Segei Antonov, the four men shared information, and attempted to come up with a plan to stop Geotroniks. Before any real plans were made, John popped out to buy some cigarettes. Unfortunately, by the time he returned, Talbot and the others were being arrested by Beales' Black Squad. John attempted to find out where his friends were being taken, but was given only a phone number to call.

Elsewhere, Webster, a Freemason, began the ritual meant to bring about the return of the dragon Jallakuntilliokan.[7] He was caught in the process of murdering the phobics as sacrifices by the Geotroniks director, who discovered that despite his title, he was not in control of his company. The grand lodge had already decreed that the operation be shut down, but Webster had taken the ritual too far already to stop.

Meanwhile, John had called the number he was given, and discovered that Parliamentary Undersecretary Bartholomew Carter-Brown - another Freemason - was in charge of the Black Squad. Carter-Brown confirmed that Geotroniks was a Freemason cover for a psychic weapon, for which the ley lines were the delivery system, but claimed that the project had been shut down.

John decided that he should head for Scotland and the Pagan Nation, and on the way, he encountered Mercury, who had the same idea. They finished the journey together. However, in his absence, tragedy had befallen the Pagan Nation, and many of its male members had been killed horrifically by some unseen force.

Meanwhile, Talbot and company found themselves trapped in the room of the Fear Machine, intended victims for Webster's sacrifices to the dragon. The Geotroniks director had been captured earlier, and was sacrificed before their eyes, foretelling their own grisly fates. Through meditation, John also saw his friends being murdered, and the urgency of stopping Webster became even clearer.[8]

John gathered the remains of the Pagan Nation and the nomads, explaining the nature of their situation. With Zed's help, they realized that Jallakuntilliokan was the male aspect of a duality; a ying and yang. Without the balance of the female counterpart, the dragon's awakening would be chaos. John sent a team of geomancers to disrupt the dragon's power source by shifting the electromagnetic channel of the ley lines.

In the Fear Machine's chamber, Talbot watched his last companion hung and mutilated by Webster, awaiting his chance to take Davis - the man responsible for his wife's suicide - around the neck, and squeeze the life out of him. Unwittingly, Talbot made Davis the final sacrifice by wringing his neck, and the dragon was called by the growth of the monster residing in the Fear Machine.

Back in Scotland, John soon discovered that he was meant to be a part of Zed's plan to awaken the female dragon, and bring balance back. She would use him for his seed, and birth the dragon herself, with Marj as midwife. With this done, the female dragon hatched from Zed's egg, and the seas rose up around them. John found himself separated from his companions, realizing that as a man, he was not welcome.

John was washed away by the waves, and eventually picked up by a fishing boat. All was well, apparently, but there was no sign of Zed, Marj, or Mercury.[9]


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Weapons: None known.


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