A Quiet Fight – A Fight in Gaol

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Fabio Freitas E Silva | Dreamstime.com – Steam punk vintage computer

A Fight in Gaol

Stephan was enjoying his cappuccino with Stephanie and Kimberly when DC Beatrice Monroe entered the door and, without preamble, pointed at Stephan saying, “We need to talk downstairs.”
Stephan put his cup down, wiped his mouth and got up. Stephanie and Kimberly started to get up. Stephan put his hand on Stephanie’s shoulder and nodded no. “I’ll let you know what is going on. Stay up here.” He set the napkin down and followed DC Monroe through the kitchen towards the basement. As they went through the kitchen Monroe frowned at Abigail and nodded to the basement door. Stephan led the way and headed down the narrow stairs and got the light going. Monroe followed and sat herself on a stool at Abigail’s station. Stephan sat at his station. Abigail came down slowly and then leaned on the stair rail.
Abigail looked narrowly at Monroe, “Something to discuss, Beatrice?”
Monroe scowled, “My Grandmother called me that. Everyone else calls me Betty or Bea.” Abigail smiled widely, but said nothing. Monroe crossed her arms, “Maynard was attacked last night before lock.”
Stephen snapped, “We told you that would happen. Is Wynn OK?”
Monroe shook her head and chuckled mirthlessly, “He put four other prisoners in the infirmary. He has a few bruises and a cut or two.” She scratched her ear, “He has been put in solitary confinement. No visitors. No contact other than guards.” Stephan grunted and started to protest. Monroe held her hand up,”I am picking guards who will check on him and won’t dose his food or water.”
Abigail spoke calmly, “We told you we needed him out. Four attacked him this time and lost. Next time it will be eight and if that doesn’t work, there will be more.”
Monroe shook her head and crossed her arms, “I know that. But the judge was clear – no bail. The head inspector is convinced Maynard knows something about the Young Irelanders.”
Stephan shouted, “They don’t exist.”
Monroe waved her arms, “I know that. I think even the Inspector has his doubts. But I’ve got nothing I can use to say they don’t exist. Irish aren’t well liked and easy to blame. Hell, their blaming the Young Irelanders for the disappears of, “ she opened her notebook, “a Billy Sims out of the Kimberly Factory.”
Stephan worked on something at the bench. Abigail said calmly, “Wynn was in gaol when that happened.”
Monroe looked at her notebook and then eyed Abigail narrowly, “Some of us know Simms was paying off certain coppers. All those rotten apples asked for transfers about the time he disappeared. Know anything about that, Aunt Abby?”
Stephan polished a tool carefully. Abby looked directly at Monroe, “What an absurd notion.” Abigail crossed her arms, “We need to get Wynn out.”
Monroe pleaded,”The judge said no.”
Abigail hissed, “We don’t need a judge to get him out.”
Monroe’s mouth opened and then closed. She looked at Stephan, “I expected that from her. Do you agree?”
Stephan polished a bolt, “Abby’s right. We don’t need a judge to get him out. And Wynn can’t stay there. Eventually someone will get through his defenses. We’ve made some contacts because of him, but he’s more use to us outside now.” He put the bolt down and picked up another, “If he doesn’t get out one way, we can arrange another.”
Monroe’s voice dripped with acid, “I suppose you will want my help with that.”
Abigail snapped, “It will be easier. Fewer people will be hurt. But we can manage if you can’t…if you won’t assist.”
Monroe’s said quietly, “Stephan, can you leave us? Aunt Abigail and I have family matters to discuss.”
Abigail glanced at DC Monroe and then looked at Stephan and nodded towards the stairs, “She’s right…we have family matters to discuss.
Stephan set his bolt and frowned at the two of them, but walked up the stairs anyway.

Author’s note

I was complaining to my nephew that the story seemed stuck. Wynn was stuck in gaol. Edward was stuck learning stuff. Stephan and Abigail were stuck bringing Wynn food.  After some discussion, he suggested “Why not get him out of gaol?”  I doubt Victorian England had bail especially for murderers.  Prisons (like forts) are built for the technology of their times not for the next generation. So it shouldn’t be as hard to break into an old prison using modern technology and unexpected pathways.

A Quiet Fight – A New Job

A New Job

Edward finished writing the letter using the hallway desk. The letter contained information about the number people involved in the New Order, their names, the numbers and types of weapons. And he included a recounting of Chester’s conversation and his goal to hand over power to Findley Brown and Winifred Stanhope. He folded the letter up carefully and sealed it with wax. He called the head man, “Nigel, I think we are getting low on whiskey.” Nigel started to protest. Edward put his hand up and then put the envelope in his coat pocket. “Do you remember that shop by the University? They have some fine options. If you could be there around 1PM, I’ve arranged the proprietor to save me a bottle of Balvenie.” He leaned in, patted the spot where the envelope was and whispered, “Jolene”
Nigel’s eyebrows raised. He then put his hands behind his back and said, “Now that you mention it, there are a number of good shops in that area. The inventory in the reception room is low. I’ll handle it myself.”
Edward smiled, “Of course Nigel, I trust you will handle all those matters with care.” He straightened his cuff and said, “I’ll take a cup of tea in the Library.”
Nigel bowed, “I’ll send Colleen up straight away.”
Edward enjoyed his cup of tea and a book on physics theory. At 12:30, Edward put on his jacket and hat. The weather sunny but still a bit chill. He walked to Hyde Park to make a circuit. As he rounded past Lancaster Gate, he saw Pamela Weymouth. He approached, “Miss Weymouth, what a pleasant surprise,” thinking it was neither a surprise or pleasant.
Pamela responded pleasantly, “Please call me Pamela. We will be doing so much together, formality seems superfluous. May I join you in a walk?”
Edward offered his hand to help her up, “Of course. I was planning on finishing up on the east side and then pop into the Savoy for a bit of luncheon. Will you at least let me buy you lunch?”
She took his hand and joined him in the brisk air and said, “I would be delighted.”
As they started walking at a more leisurely pace, Edward remarked, “I haven’t seen you here before.”
Pamela nodded and smiled, “I confess I was scheming to meet you. You walk this park quite regularly.”
Edward put his chin up, “Part of my treatment was a daily walk. I learned to enjoy the benefits of a stroll in the countryside. It clears the head and gets the blood moving.”
She eyed home over, “And keeps you very fit.”
Edward blushed, but kept walking. By a patch of blooming tulips, Pamela put her hand on Edward’s arm and said, panting, “I must rest for a moment. Some of us are not as used to the rigors of a daily walk.”
“My apologies.” He directed her to a bench and said, “Please have a seat. It is a lovely spot to catch our breath. The lunch will revive you, no doubt.”
Pamela took a breath, “No doubt.” She took a deeper breath and said more evenly, “We have a position for you, Edward. You will be working full time at Kimberly Airships. Among other things, we need you to learn operations of an airship.”
Edward frowned, “That is hardly my specialty.”
Pamela said, “We know. But you will be working closely with Harland Stanhope, the president of Kimberly Airships. Your position in society make you uniquely qualified for that. I expect he will call you to do some special work at times. So the position fits you stature and provides some interesting opportunities.”
Edward stared at the bed of tulips. Winifred had been incalculably cruel for the months that Smith had held him captive. While he was certain the Stanhope family was aware of the daughter’s sadistic nature, he doubted that Winifred discussed her debauchery with her family. He asked, “Why operations? Surely engine design or fuel experiments would fit my skills better.”
Pamela said, “The Order needs people we can trust to run airships. Pilots are easy enough, but we need someone who can keep the engines running and the bladders balanced. It is part of a larger goal we have.” She stopped and said nothing more.
Edward shrugged and said, “Well, best to be open to new things. And I will get to see the English country side.”
Pamela stood and offered her hand this time, “That and a great deal more, Edward. A Great deal more.” She said, “Now shall we take a short cut to the Savoy? I am positively famished.

Author’s Note

This was something of a transition chapter. I need to get Edward into a position to be part of the final attack scene.  I also intended him to spy so I needed him to spy a bit.  The original plan was to have a few more “spying” scenes  but the book is getting long and I want to finish it up.

 

A Quiet Fight – Messages Sent

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Fabio Freitas E Silva | Dreamstime.com – Steam punk vintage computer

Messages Sent

When Abigail and Stephan returned to the warehouse, Simms was feeling very good. Stephan cut him down and sat him at a chair. Abigail handed Simms a glass of wine then finished the bottle between Stephan and herself. She asked, “Sorry about the hanging part Billy. Needed to make sure you stayed around until we got some answers.”
Billy took a drink of the wine, “Criminy this is good.” He smiled at Abigail, “Oh you did what you had to.” Stephan shook his head. Abigail began questioning but both participated. He was reluctant at first. People would hurt him. Abigail and Stephan persisted. Slowly the information came. He provided the names of the police he had bribed. He provided the leaders of the riot at the Shiny Boot. He provided details on what they were going to do at the Shiny Boot. Finally he provided the name of his current contact and supplier of orders – Richard Bowers. His wine glass was empty. Abigail took it away and set it in the bag. She pulled out two aprons and handed one to Stephan. Simms watched with a pleasant smile.
Abigail put rubber gloves on her hands, “I counted seven police, seven factory leads and Richard Bowers and the primary contact.” She snapped a glove. “That is more than 10”
Stephan said, “He has toes.” He put on his gloves with less panache.
Abigail held her chin looking at Simms who smiled and said nothing, “Fourteen people. Ten fingers. Two eyes, his ears, and his cock and balls. Fifteen packages.”
Stephan blanched, “Jesus Abigail…he’s right here.”
She pulled out the cleaver and began sharpening it. “Bowers helped with the Barracks.” She nodded to Simms, “Everyone needs to be scared off properly. We need to make sure even Bowers won’t have enough money to hire fools.”
Stephan said, “Your math is confusing me.”
Abigail scrapped the cleaver on the sharpener, “Simms parts go to the lackeys. Bowers gets the head.” She frowned at Simms, “Time to finish this. Hold his hand on the table.” Stephan held Simms hand in place easily until the cleaver came down.
The process seemed longer than the 20 minutes of chopping. Simms struggled after the first cut, but as he bled more and the pain grew worse, Simms eventually passed out. While it was the removal of his head that ended Simms’ life, death was hardly meaningful at that point. Ever efficient, Abigail placed the parts and head in a large bag filled with newsprint. She looked at the headless corpse clinically, “We’ll need to bring the wagon round tomorrow night and clean up this mess. Shouldn’t leave the table or the mess here.”
Stephan answered dully, “Right. No mess.”
Abigail hefted the bag, “Come along, Stephan. We have some parcels to deliver.”
Stephan gazed at the corpse one last time. He took off the apron and followed Abigail.

Three days later, Roly Malcolm received a parcel in the mail. Roly was at the police station so his wife opened. The children were excited to know what daddy had received in the mail. Fortunately, she had opened it in the kitchen out of sight of the children. That did not stop her scream. Inside were two eyes staring back. There was a note next to them saying, “Good to see you Roly. Billy Simms.”

The butler at the Richards residence accepted the strange box from the delivery person and gave a proper tip. He took it down to the the office and logged its reception. The box seemed unusually heavy. There was a small black stain on one crease. He used the knife and opened the box. The staid butler vomited immediately. The head of a man with no ears and no eyes stared back at him. Inside was a note, “Billy Sims sends his regards. Regrettably he has taken an indefinite leave due to severe head trauma. He will be unable to complete any further tasks in the future. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Author’s Note

I may have stepped away from “young adult” with this section. But the goal of Abby and Stephan was to shock the New Order supporters.  I daresay they succeeded.  Things get rough from here on out.

A Quiet Fight -Wine and History

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Fabio Freitas E Silva | Dreamstime.com – Steam punk vintage computer

Wine and History

Stephan joined her closing the door on the whimpers of Billy Simms. “How long will it take?”
Abigail looked a watch, “20 minutes for him to relax. 45 for him to be cooperative.” She took a bottle out of wine out of the bag and handed Stephan two wine glasses.
Stephan snorted, “Have you been around Alice that long? I think we’ll need something stronger tonight.”
Abigail pulled the cork out with a grunt, “This is better to pass the time with.” She poured out the two glasses, “There is something stronger back at the cafe. We need to be clear headed.” She raised her glass, “May God forgive us.”
Stephan paused clinked the glass and took his drink. “Because I am not sure I can forgive myself.”
Abigail leaned on the rail next to the canal, “You can tell me about Wynn.”
Stephan sniffed the wine and took a second sip, “The French do know wine. Never had better in the galaxy.” He leaned on the rail and stared across the canal at the open rail yards, “Wynn showed up on my doorstep three years ago. He knew who we were at least by reputation. Seems he had been picked up after the Battle of Boyne as a young lad. It was a slow ship and you know the games FTL plays. Anyway he bounced from planet to planet until he ended up on a pirate tramp ship. He worked in the engine room for five years.”
“Damn. No wonder he says nothing about the past. He seems to nice for that lot.”
Stephan took a drink, “He probably was. Says he never went on the raids.” Stephan shrugged, “Don’t know if it is true. Don’t know that it isn’t. Don’t really care. At one of the stations, he jumped ship. He paid his way back here on another slow ship.”
“Broke and unknown and 200 years later.”
“Broke by galaxy standards but wealthy enough here.”
Abigail was quiet and then smirked,”Remember that pirate tramp that tried to take on Millicent’s ship.”
Stephan laughed, “Lord. Those idiots are probably still trying to get back to civilization.” Stephan took a drink and waved the glass. “Charles takes down their shields. Sean fires missiles in all be one of their engines. You park the ship right in front of that beat up piece of crap.”
Abigail laughed and leaned in, “Then Charles turns off their heat and we have a nice dinner.” She took a drink of wine. “We finally listen to their hail Millicent tells them we’ll be charging them their entire take to repair one of their engines and their life support system.”
Stephan said wistfully, “Easiest money we ever made.”
Abigail said, “She would have let them die if they said no.”
Stephan took a drink, “They were pirates. Probably killed dozens.”
“So they were.”
Stephan muttered, “Probably should have let them die.”
Abigail swirled her glass, “Probably.” She finished her glass and then topped both glasses off. “Drink up. Billy will be ready soon.”
Stephan looked at the glass and swirled it, took a drink and stared at the warehouse in silence.

Author’s Note

Wynn’s history has always been a bit of a mystery since his introduction. Stephan hid it from Jason and it was briefly mentioned later in the Recruiting Matter. We now finally clear up Wynn’s murky history and how he knows so much.

I am still on track to finish the book at the end of the month. Things are coming out slowly.

A Quiet Fight – A Moment at Night

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Fabio Freitas E Silva | Dreamstime.com – Steam punk vintage computer

A Moment at Night

Abigail and Stephan waited in an alleyway near Canon Street. At about 10 PM, Billy Sims walked by Richard Street looking a bit unsteady from his three pints at the Rope and Pulley. Stephan and Abigail approached quietly. Stephan quickly put a hood on his head; Abigail administered a shot and after a few moments of struggle and slurred protest, Billy Sims slumped into Stephan’s arms. Abigail whistled sharply. Stephan removed the hood and made like he was holding up a drunk friend. Stephanie pulled up a wagon. Stephan and Abigail pulled the unconscious Sims into the wagon. Stephanie snapped the reins and pulled away.
They went to Millicent’s old warehouse on Eagle Street off the Euston Canal. They unloaded the semiconscious Simms and pulled him into the warehouse. Stephan told Stephanie, “Head back to the cafe. We will make our way back by morning.”
Stephanie’s face hardened, “I want to watch. That man tried to kill Wynn at least three times and has dozens of other deaths on his hands.”
Stephan took her hands and put his head against them, “I know Steffy. But, please leave. I promise you he will pay.” He took a deep breath, “I have some things I’ve done that I am not proud of. What Abigail and I are going to do tonight will join that list. Please…please just do as I say this once.”
Stephanie’s eyes went wide. She pulled her hands away. She stammered, “I will wait for you to get back…I want to know what happened.” She snapped the reins and the wagon went away.
Abigail watched her leave, “We need to do this Stephan. We have to show them we can hurt them.”
Stephan mumbled as he walked into the warehouse, “Yeah. I know. I won’t sleep any easier knowing it.”
Abigail grabbed his arm as he walked by and said harshly, “On the contrary, I will sleep quite well tonight. I will not be safe in any world he wants.”
Inside the warehouse, Simms hung by his hands from an over head rail. His feet touched the ground just barely. Stephan threw a bucket of water on him, “Wakey Wakey.”
Simms sputtered and coughed and then realized his situation, “What the… just take my money dammit…I’ve got a wife and kids.”
Stephan smiled warmly and tapped him gently on the cheek with his hand, “So do we all. So do we all.” He moved back a bit and set the bucket down, “Now we have a few questions. The sooner we get the answers. The sooner this will all be over.”
“What do I know?” Simms asked in a high pitched voice.
Abigail rummaged in her bag and began preparing a syringe. Stephan pulled out a pad of paper, “Let’s start with who was outside the Shiny Boot two weeks ago when it burned down.”
Simms eyes got wide and looked around, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Abigail tapped the syringe to get the bubbles out. Stephan licked his finger and flipped to a new sheet, “I know… that was a big group. Let’s try a smaller group. Who are you paying off at Scotland Yard?”
Simms struggled trying to free the rope, “You’re crazy. I don’t know anything about payoffs or burning.”
Stephan sighed deeply, “Now Billy, we have good information that you took Darin Kipling’s orders and ran his errands. Sadly, he has passed on.” Stephan leaned forward, “now you are going to tell us who your new puppet master is.” He lightly tapped Simms’ cheek again and left his hand on Simms’ face.
Simms struggled more trying vainly to get away from the large, gentle hand. “I’m not telling you anything.”
Abigail came up with the syringe in one hand. She used her free hand to pinch Simms cheek and said in a singing voice, “They are so cute when they say that.” She slapped the cheek a bit hard and said, “We couldn’t trust your answers any way ducks.” She brought the syringe up to her eye and looked at it, “Time for enlightenment William Simms. We need to know everything.” She looked at Stephan, “This can go in his belly.”
Stephan quickly tore open Simms shirt, Abigail grabbed a fatty fold and injected the serum. Simms screamed, “Jesus that burns.”
Abigail cleaned the syringe and said, “Yes it does. I suppose I should keep a tin of sweets for when I use this stuff.” She snapped the case closed and smiled, “Don’t worry Billy. The burning passes quickly. Then you will feel warm all over. And you will probably be the nicest person you have ever been in your entire life.” She nodded to Stephan and moved to the warehouse door.

Author’s Note

The story takes a darker tone now. Earlier Stephan and Abigail agreed they needed to act on information. They will be acting tonight to disrupt the New Order.

Progress is slow. However, the goal is to finish the book by the end of February.