In The Moon Stealers and The Everlasting Night, human survivors find themselves in a UK Government facility in the North Downs of Kent, called Fort Halstead.
This is not a fictional location.
The facility has an interesting history that is shrouded in secrecy – the perfect place to locate part of my story in!
Fort Halstead, as well as the more infamous Porton Down, have been used as a Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) for the Ministry of Defence. Dstle is considered to be one of the UK’s most sensitive and secretive government departments for military research, including CBRN defence. CBRN stands for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence and has been linked to research and development into chemical weapons such as Chlorine, Phosgene and Mustard Gas. During the Second World War, research also included biological weapons including Anthrax and Botulinum Toxin. When the war ended, the allies were eager to capitalise on unknown nerve agents the Germans had been developing including Tabun, Sarin and Soman, which led to the development of the VX nerve gas at Porton Down in 1952. There have been persistent allegations of unethical human experimentation at Porton Down, but only one recorded death due to nerve gas experimentation. On a positive note, the UK Government produced a high efficacy anthrax vaccine that is used throughout the world. It is believed that Britain’s development of the atomic bomb was initially based at Fort Halstead.
” It would be quite erroneous of me and misleading for me to say that we know everything that’s going on in Porton Down. It’s too big for us to know, and secondly, there are many things happening there that I’m not even certain Ministers are fully aware of, let alone Parliamentarians.” – Bruce George, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Commons Defence Committee (August 20, 1999)