Endurance and Sea Wraith of St Helen’s Fort are a two part story that was originally only going to be a single story. The first part, up to where Ianto reports the death of Major McLennon actually seemed to form a complete story on its own, even if it wasn’t exactly a Torchwood story. I very much wanted to show the Torchwood men, Jack, Owen, Ianto and Alun, as well as Garrett, the MI5 man, coping with the Endurance tests of this joint services weekend, and to establish that Major McLennon is somebody anyone would like to throttle. If his homophobia seems a bit unsubtle, it is because there are still a lot of people in the world who ARE that unsubtle, and some of them are bound to be in the military.
A Room Inside the Fort
The Sea Forts in the Solent, are remnants of 19th century maritime history. They are absolutely fascinating places, being small manmade islands with living accommodation. Nomansland Fort is, as mentioned in the story, a luxury hotel now which offers wedding parties and all kinds of ultimate getaways. One of the others is a private residence. St Helens is the smallest of them all, and the one not actually owned by anyone presently, so it is conceivable that it could be used for a joint services operation like this.
Nomansland Fort, of course, is the one used in Doctor Who for the scene where Sea Devils attack in the 1970s episode.
There isn’t, in fact, a ledge around the fort. At very low water there is a causeway that can be walked to the Isle of Wight, and it may be possible that part of the fort might be in very shallow water at certain times of day, but possibly not enough to walk around it. I put that detail in for dramatic purposes.
The Sea Wraith turning out to be a kind of ghost of a murdered man looking for revenge is a reasonable story standing on its own. I have slight reservations myself about another revenge from beyond the grave story coming after the story ‘Sabrina’, which I wrote last year. There are some obvious similarities in the ideas. But hopefully this one is original enough not to cause too much comment.
I really wanted the storyline to involve Jack flying a helicopter, but it panned out differently in the end. I’ll get a helicopter in some other time. I also wanted him to take a dive off the fort in some way. That did get into the story. On the whole, I think it works, but some readers might not like the scene setting in the first part.