A Quiet Fight – Transportation to Airfield

Author’s note

No steam punk novel is complete without an airship.  So we’ll get our heroes to the airfield on an airship.

At the remote airfield, the wagons pulled up to small airship that was tethered and engines idling. Thomas Stewart walked down the gangplank. “You are late.”
Wynn smiled broadly, “Had to give Rupert a proper greeting.”
Behind Thomas, came Beatrice Monroe and Sergeant Harvey.
Abigail blurted out, “Beatrice, what are you doing here?”
Beatrice hefted the confiscated beam rifle while Harvey held a hunting rifle in his hands. She said, “Sergeant Harvey caught wind of some potential altercation. Being his new superior officer, I felt it was my responsibility to ensure he conducted himself properly whilst investigating.”
Sergeant Harvey spoke, “Mr. Stewart told me what them bastards had planned. Me brother’s dead because of them. I aim to show ‘em what’s what this time.”
Abigail sputtered, “But law and order and all…”
Beatrice looked at the rifle, “Half of Metro Police is on the take from one person or another. Those who aren’t corrupt, only see what they expect. Harvey and a few others excepted.” She aimed the rifle down the length of the airship, “I figure I am just helping out the right people tonight.”
Stephan shouted, “Are ye going to gab all night? We got a thousand pounds of equipment to move onto that beast and then get to Mildenhall. Shake a leg.”
The group moved to the wagons and started moving the rifles, ammo and other items onto the airship.

After people and weapons were loaded, Thomas lifted the airship off the ground. Wynn and Stephan moved to the engine room to help. Through the speaking tube Thomas said, “I’m going to run her fast and a little hot. She should be ok for the hour. Just make sure the needles stay below the red.” At that the engine noise got louder and a bit higher as the Barkclay Curle engines started to move faster.

Stephan looked at the gauges, adjusted some valves and then wiped his hands. He signaled Wynn to follow to a quieter portion of the engine room. They could watch the dark country side passing by. He asked Wynn, “Why is Thomas helping?”
Wynn scratched his chin, “Same reason Edward is, I suppose. He’s found that whole ‘duty and honor’ thing.” The engines changed tone slightly. He viewed some of the dials, tapped them with his knuckle and came back, “Probably doesn’t hurt that Abby’s wonder lawyer sprung his laddy boy.” He leaned on the rail, “Are we going to beat them?”
Stephan squinted at the passing countryside, “On our side, Five induction rifles, Three beam rifles, four beam guns and whatever artillery the British Air Brigade deigns to use with us. Their side, Three Uycarran merchant ships with defense systems, fifteen induction rifles and thirty beam rifles and enough beam hand guns to cause the Second Great London fire.” He spat out the port hole. “Smart money is on them.”
Wynn wrinkled his nose, “Yeah… I came up with the same. Never been big on suicide missions. So what’s our real goal?”
Stephan said, “I’d like to bloody their noses a bit and live to tell about it. I want to blow apart this bollocks by Chester and Cedric once and for all. England is going to have bigger fish to fry in a bit.”
Wynn looked at the gauges, tapped them once again, “Have to get to the airbase first.” He shouted into the speaking tube, “Engine 1 oil temperature is running in the red. Engine 2 exhaust is too hot as well.” The pitch of the engines lowered a bit. Wynn said, “Hope that third son of a lord knows what he is doing.”

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A Quiet Fight – Gathering the Defense

Author’s note

I am jumping ahead to the climax of the book.  At this point, Stephan and Abigail know (via Edward) where the New Order is going to attack. Edward has joined the New Order’s raiding party.  Stephan and Abigail are organizing a defensive party. The two have constructed more induction rifles and bullets.  Wynn, having been rescued from Scotland Yard is helping as well.

In a small note, I spent a week at Mildenhall AFB leading a class in IT management for USAF airmen. I stayed a cool pub. The AFB itself seemed to be mostly logistics, but may have had fighters as well.  The locals (the town and the base) were very friendly and very helpful.

Gathering the Defense

Two dray wagons were in front of the cafe. A sign in the window of Du univers meilleur café said “Closed for renovations/
Fermé pour la rénovation”. Stephanie, Kimberly and Wynn were loading the wagons. Wynn now sported a thick beard and long hair. It was a weak disguise, but whatever bobbies frequented the area did not seem to notice. Stephan and Abigail were in the basement packing up the last of the arms and ammo. They had three new induction rifles. They had two beam rifles and four beam pistols. Stephan was bothered that there was no plan, but there was little choice. Edward could identify the location, but there was no plan that he was privy to. All that Edward could surmise was that they were going to take some airships. Mildenhall had a miles long airfield for multiple airship landing.To make matters more complicated, they had no firm evidence they could communicate to the base leadership that there was an attack coming and that the base would need Stephan and Abigail’s help.
Stephan loaded 20 bolts into a wooden box. The weight of a box was 50 kilograms or a bit over 100 pounds. Jolene and Kimberly hefted it between them and lugged it up the stairs. Stephan had made 160 bolts so there 40 shots for each new gun. The beam weapons were fully charged, but there were no spare batteries or energy cells. Abigail wasn’t worried. If the New Order got close enough for the beam weapons to be factor, it wasn’t going to matter. He looked at the array of weapons and asked Abigail, “Anything else we’ve been hiding?”
Abigail clenched her hands, “You’ve cleaned me out. I am even bringing two flechette grenades and two flash bangs. We aren’t fighting space pirates in a ship so I don’t know what the hell those will be good for. But everything I’ve got is out in those wagons.”
Stephan grinned, “Probably need to get those out of the house. The little sprite of yours will find them and cause no end of trouble.”
Abigail fingered the grenade and set it back in the box, “my thought exactly. We need to move. It is going to take an hour to get to Mildenhall even by airship.”
There was a tingling of the bells on the door. Wynn pulled a smaller, well dressed man saying, “Lookee who I found skulking by the door.”
Thomas Stewart was dressed in a neat set of hunting khakis. He bowed deeply, “Thank you so much for your help Miss Monroe. That barrister was simply amazing.” He straightened up, “Rupert will be here shortly. I hope he can stay here while we are away. He and Alice can fret together.”
Abigail chuckled, “He is more than welcome to fret. Alice will probably ply with him with wine. The airship is ready?”
Thomas put his bowler hat back on. “It will be by the time we arrive.”
Abigail took a deep breath, “Stephan, get this herd moving.” She moved to Alice who was waiting with Athena. Abigail gave Alice a deep kiss and hugged her, “Take care of Athena.”
Alice sniffled into her ear, “I need your help. She is such a handful.”
Abigail squeezed her eyes hard as tears started to flow. She wiped her eyes with the palms of her hands and knelt before Athena, “Listen to Alice and do as she says. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” She hugged Athena hard.
Athena said, “I’ll be good, Momma.”
Abigail said in a raspy voice, “That’s my girl.” She stood up and wiped her eyes again. “Damn spring allergies make havoc.” She turned and let the door slam behind her. She climbed in dray next to Stephan and Jolene. “Let’s kill these bastards.”

I am back

Red Dragonfly

Red Dragonfly on Plum

There are probably a small number out there who check to see if I am writing anything. I know I have one reader who is working his way through the Recruiting Matter! Yeah.

Life was  bit busy and I was having a hard time finishing “A Quiet Fight”. But I have closed it out and will start getting back to posting those pages. I have another story I am starting to block out with characters.  Some of my writing mates have challenged me to publish something by the end of the year. I am not sure that is going to happen.

But look for more regular postings here in the next few weeks.

And I have included a cool photo just because I could. The dragon fly was visiting my fruit trees and made a fine subject.

A Quiet Fight – Gathering of the New Order

steampunk-computer

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

Gathering of the New Order

Edward walked down the street to the Kimberly Airship factory. Pamela had summoned him to be here in the early evening. He was arriving with a large number of others from Belgravia and Paddington. A good portion of London’s lesser gentry was here and looking very awkward in a working class setting. The leads were at the gate greeting people at the gate and pulling them in quickly. Pamela shook Edward’s hand warmly, “Tonight changes everything. Head into the hanger quickly and get out of the street.” He followed others toward the large hanger as she moved to the next person.
The hanger for airships was immense and had several working rooms along the edge. Members of the New Order congregated furthest away from the door. There were servants passing around champagne while everyone waited. Edward took a glass and rolled his eyes. Only British aristocracy would have hors d’ oeuvres before making an assault on a military base. One would have thought it was a fox hunt rather than an attack on armed soldiers. He wondered ideally if the servants would be joining the attack to serve as metaphoric beaters. Pamela arrived and took a place next to Edward looking a bit flustered and waving her hand on her face. “I thought people would never get here. And apparently few people know the meaning of ‘informal attire’.”
Edward chuckled, flagged a passing servant and handed Pamela a glass of champagne. He raised his saucer glass and said, “To the New Order, may it be the most successful party of the year.”
Pamela clinked her glass, “A New Order.” She sipped her champagne. “After your finish this glass, you should head to the fitting rooms. I have one more charge I need to meet.”
She presented her hand and Edward kissed it, “This has been a most enlightening two months and you have made it possible.”
Pamela took her hand back and finished her glass, “And you have exceeded expectations. Now I really must be going. Get in the line. They should have your measurements and uniform in place.”

He watched her meet another peer from Paddington – Clive Yarborough if he remembered correctly. As they talked, she seemed to follow the same routine that she had used with him. He finished his own champagne and joined the growing line of people going into a workshop. Many were people he had been working with at the airship factory. But these had been in training just as he had been and none were “working class”.

Author’s Note

I have been absent for a over a week. My problem is that I have a lot written, but not a lot typed. I have been trying to get the story done so I have been concentrating on writing. ALSO I make a major jump.  After I got Wynn out of the jail, I was stuck with what to do. To solve my problem, I jumped to the climax and continued writing.  So there are some major holes in the story line in my mind

  • Wynn getting trained up.
  • Wynn’s developing and conflicted relationship with Pamela
  • Planning the attack of  Mildenhall.

With each section, I’ll point out the holes I know of. If people have suggestions on how to fill these holes, I would greatly appreciate suggestions.

A Quiet Fight – Recovery at the Cafe

steampunk-computer

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

At the Cafe

The wagon came to a stop. Stephan and Jolene came out and pulled the tarp off. Wynn sat up, stretched and climbed out of the wagon and nearly fell. Abigail jumped down and looked into his eyes. She had him follow her finger with his eyes. He winced and groaned, “Eyes hurt.”
Abigail muttered, “Damn. Did you get any protein in that hole?”
Wynn nodded weakly no.
Abigail looked at Stephan and Jolene, “Get him inside and feed him anything we have. Raw dough if you have to.” She pulled the rods and sheet out of the wagon and said, “Take the wagon round back and you can join him, Stephanie.”
Wynn was taken to the library and set on a cushioned chair that felt like heaven. Jolene arrived with a tray of sandwich meats. Wynn took a slice of salami with shaking hands. He was eating his second piece when Stephanie arrived with a pot of tea. He took a heavily sugared cup and drank it in. The shakes were less obvious and he had a bit of cheese with the next slice of meat. Abigail came across the room in her odd, dark leather suit. She looked at the tea, “Get him some water. He’ll need it soon enough. The tea will warm him but he needs water.” Stephanie started to take the tea tray away, “Leave it. I could use a cuppa about now.” Abigail knelt in front of Wynn and took his pulse. She flashes a light in his eyes between his bites of meat. The light stung. She asked, “Shakes going away?” Wynn nodded more strongly. “Good. We’ll get you cleaned up and then off to bed when the shakes stop. We’ll talk about everything tomorrow. You just appreciate Stephanie’s attention right now.” He ate the meat ravenously. He finished two glasses of water. He leaned back in the chair and sipped a cup of tea. After a moment there was a clatter and he started. The cup had fallen from his hand. Stephanie was cleaning up the liquid and cooing over him. Abigail smirked, “Ok… that’s it, you are done. Time for a bath and bed, big boy.” She and Alice lifted him out of the chair with surprising ease and moved him to the back of the house. Stephanie tried to come but Abigail said, “He’ll probably appreciate a visit in the morning. You get your rest – he’ll need help tomorrow.” In the restroom, Abigail began to draw the bath and Alice began to take off the prison smocks, again with no regard to modesty.
Alice chuckled, “You English…so modest.”
Abigail lifted the naked Wynn with Alice saying, “You’ve been naked for three weeks with God knows who looking at you.” She leaned in and said, “Really your virtue is much safer with us than Stephanie.” Wynn blushed.
They lowered him into the water. It felt like a bit of heaven. His bruises seem to be soaking away. Dirt cleared from odd scrapes and wounds. After a few minutes, he used the wash rag to clean off the grime accumulated from three weeks.
Stephanie came in with a dressing robe. Wynn placed the wash cloth strategically and smirked, “What? No real clothes?”
Stephanie held the robe “maybe tomorrow. There is no room prepared for you tonight you are getting a cushion on the floor with a blanket and pillow. It has to be better than whatever you had in solitary.”
Wynn chuckled and got up. He noticed that Stephanie closed her eyes as he got out and climbed into the robe. Fully dressed, he said, “Lead on.”
“Your roommate has promised to keep my eyes away for the night. I expect you will act respectfully the entire night.”
Wynn looked confused, “I thought Edward was living at home.”
Stephanie smirked, “He is. Apparently you need a decent sleep and this room was the only one available quickly. The occupant has promised not to bother you.” She opened the door and Athena was there holding a doll.
The young girl said solemnly, “You look much better.” She sniffed, “You smell better too.”
Wynn looked around the hall and said vaguely, “Thanks.” He looked down at the girl with the doll, “Do you know where I am sleeping?”
Athena took his hand and led him away as he looked back at Stephanie who covered her mouth as she stifled chuckles and  wagged her finger saying, “Perfectly respectable the entire night”

 

Author’s Note

In case anyone wonders, Wynn will likely pass out when he hits the cushion. Athena was willing to help by supplying her room for him to sleep. She is good like that.

I am still writing up the climax scene.  It is getting close, but I am only writing small chunks at a time.  I am debating right now what I will be posting because what I am writing is “out of sequence.”  In other news, I now have over 250 followers. I do not know how many of those are still active. There are some from the very beginning when I got started. Anyway it is cool to that people are reading.