A Quiet Fight – Return to London


steampunk-computer

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

Return to London

Edward rode with Stephan into London. Stephan loaded most of the contents of his office into the wagon with his help. Stephanie, Jolene and Wynn ahead. They would meet near the University at Abigail’s cafe. The ride was bumpy. Stephan was quiet most of the way. As they approached the outskirts of North London Edward asked, “Why are we going to London?”
Stephan sighed, “If I can’t run off to Prague, London isn’t a bad second choice.” He paused, “Abigail has her own resources. If we combine resources and maybe get some from the University, we might be able to find our visitors.” He clicked at the horses as the traffic slowed, “The attackers were Uycarrans. In my experience, they don’t really work with the Guild. That could be good news because the Guild fleet is still on its way.” The horses and wagon slowed to a near stop in the crush of humanity and horses of London. “It is bad news because they do not want to be found.”

After a couple of hours, They pulled up to the cafe off Oxford. Stephan handed Edward the reigns and hopped off the wagon. The door burst open in a jangle and Stephanie greeted him with a hug. Abigail came out shouting in a good natured tone, “Move that wagon. I’ve got a business to run. Deliveries go in the back.” Edward looked at the reigns in his hand.
Stephanie hopped up on the wagon and hit Edward on the knee, “Useless toffs. I’ll get it round back.”
Edward said in a pained fashion, “We’re not entirely useless.”
Stephanie said, “We all know that, Edward. I expect you’ll be getting more than your share soon. It is just too easy for country folk to pick on city sometimes.” She expertly moved the wagon around to the side of the building. Edward hopped down and opened the gate. Stephan came and directed the unloading of the wagon. Abigail stood at the cafe door and directed the incoming equipment. There were the guns and rifles. But there were also some other instruments that Edward did not understand. He came to the door with a box labeled “Atomic particle sensor”. Abigail looked at it and said, “Dining room”. Stephanie was behind him with a pair of hand guns and Abigail said, “Kitchen”. The inside was as he remembered when he visited, the tables filled a small entry way. There was a case, now empty, for the pastries in the morning. He took his box to the dining room. As he was setting it down, he heard shouting  French, <I cannot work with these …things in my kitchen…they must go.> Abigail shouted back, <I just need them out of the way for a bit. Your dough will still rise.> The French came back <you will make this up to me…>. In a much more friendly tone, <I will scrub your back tonight>.

Stephanie came in saying, “What was that all about? The cook was furious.”
Edward smirked a little, “Negotiations. Abigail will be making up the inconvenience to Alice later.”
Stephanie said, “That sounds like Mum and Da’” She stopped and looked at the kitchen and then the front door, “you mean they’re …”
Edward shrugged, “I think it is a poorly kept secret in the University.” He sniffed deeply, “And with Alice’s croissant’s with some of Abigail’s coffee I am not going to make judgments.”
Stephanie looked around and sat, “Not my concern I suppose. Just don’t understand.”
Edward sat at the table, “No one understands love.”

The weapons were moved to an upstairs closet. Stephan was to move in with Jolene. Stephanie was sharing a room with Athena (to Athena’s great delight). Wynn grabbed Edward’s duffel and headed out the door. “We’re staying at the pub down the street.”
Edward said, “I should carry that.”
Wynn said, “You’ve been on the wagon for days, old chap. You need to stretch.”
Edward said, “But your leg; your injury.”
Wynn shrugged, “It’s a might better now.” He lifted the bag and headed at a brisk pace down the street.
Edward kept pace, “More than a might.”
Wynn said, “A side benefit of nanotechnology -you heal much faster.”

Wynn and Edward returned to the cafe, now formally closed. A dining area was set up in the main cafe area and everyone gathered a meal of casserole and broccoli and a glass of wine and sat at the tables. Stephan reviewed with Abigail what had happened. “They were using beam weapons. High grade ones. And they weren’t expedient with the power.”
Wynn said, “Local thugs were there. Chester and Cedric have been recruiting. They have a little anger club going at O’Douls, beer and rants mostly.”
Stephan said, “Until now.”
Wynn said, “Until now.”
Abigail said, “Maybe the Uycarrans didn’t know you had technology.”
Jolene said, “Well they know now. And they burnt the place like they wanted it gone.”
Abigail walked up and down the room, “Millicent was going to sell that ship drive. What if it got into the wrong hands?”
Stephan said, “I got the impression John Smith was selling them too and he would not be so particular. So some Dark Uycarrans have decided to set up shop. Millicent, and now Smith, claim rights to the planet. They will be livid if they find out their grounds are being poached.”
Abigail stopped, “Just so. Let’s assume they are here without permission…what are they going to take?”
Jolene snapped, “Does that really matter?”
Wynn said, “This time it does. It will help us find them for starters.”
Abigail looked at Jolene, “I am as frustrated as you. But we need to surprise them.” Abigail turned on a device and began adjusting it and then turned to the group, “This device detects when a ship is in the area. I will leave it on. It detects changes in the local gravitation field.”
Wynn, “I was using that. Only worked locally. 500 meters at most.”
Abigail said, “This is tuned for standard fluctuations. I’ve got it out to four kilometers.  We may get nothing if they use their new engines. The screen will show a rough location when the ship appears.”
At that point a small voice said from the corner, “Mummy, what are those three dots on the screen?”
Wynn, Abigail, and Stephan stared at the green open mouth. Edward knelt to the young girl, “That means we’ve found the bad people. Well done for someone who is supposed to be in bed.”
Athena stuck her tongue out and headed to Alice’s arms.

Author’s Note

I’ve missed Abigail and Alice. I am a foody and I love the smell of good baking in the morning.  I will also be working up  a bit of banter with Abigail and Stephan.  My writing is slowing down mostly because of time but also because I’ve hit a lull in the story. One of my writing buddies suggests blowing things up to get things moving again.

 

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