A Quiet Fight – A Bit of Derring Do


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

Town and Country

Chester opened the painted door of The Prospect of Whitby and let Cedric and Emily in through the oddly angled entrance. It was mid afternoon so the lighting was passable. They found themselves a table. Chester ordered two beers for himself and Cedric and and ordered a sherry for Emily. Drinks in hand, they sat and waited. Chester asked, “How long do we wait?”
Cedric pulled out a pocket watch and checked the time. “Supposedly in 10 minutes. Bertie said 3:30. But you know London streets and cabs. We may finish these drinks before they manage to make it through the rabble.”
Chester scowled but drank his beer. After a few minutes, Chester got up and found a pack of cards and cribbage board and set it down. He and Emily began casual play while they waited. The game was close. Emily was within 15 points of a win and Chester was 30 points back. But he had 7s, 8s, and 9 and had discarded 2 5s for his crib. When a Jack came up he got two points and could smell the win. At that point Bertie, Constance and Darrin came in the door and waved at Cedric and came over.
Bertie started, “Bloody hell getting here. Why couldn’t we have handled this in the club.”
Cedric shook his hand and began introductions, “This is Emily. Bright lass from the home. Emily – Bertie, Constance and Darrin.”
Darrin leaned down and kissed Emily’s hand, “We weren’t interrupting anything.”
Emily smiled and put down her cards, “Just me beating Chessie at cribbage.”
Chester rolled his eyes picked up her cards – three kings and 5. It would have been close, but Chester was pretty sure he would have won. He threw down his cards and said, “Maybe.”
Cedric said, “The pub keep said we could use the room upstairs to talk privately. Get drinks and meet us upstairs.”
Chester order another beer for himself and a sherry for Emily and followed the group up a narrow set of stairs and into a tiny room that barely held the six of them. Chester leaned on the door. The ladies took the bed. Cedric stood by the small window. Bertie and Darrin took the chairs.
Bertie spoke again, “It has been awhile since you’ve been in London Cedric, Chester.”
Chester shrugged, “Duty called.”
Cedric said, “Anyway, we now have some new resources. We are moving to the next phase.”
Darrin asked, “And that is?”
Cedric said, “We have suppliers of a new set of weapons. Weapons that will make us unstoppable. However, we have to prove to them that we are capable of doing something with them. Something with a bit of daring do.”
Bertie asked, “How much Daring do are you talking?”
Cedric was quiet and looked to Chester. Chester smiled, “We needed something that would make an impression on the government. And merchandise that is easily sold.”
Constance sounded annoyed, “Don’t be coy, Chessie. It doesn’t suit you.”
Chester smiled, “Our resources have given us a complete plan of the Barracks of Wellington. We are going to raid the armory.”
Darrin coughed into his drink. Bertie nearly dropped his. Constance rolled her eyes and took a drink, “Silly joke Chester.” She looked at Cedric who wasn’t smiling and then looked at Emily who blew her a kiss. “He isn’t joking, ducks.”
Darrin gasped, “Are you fucking crazy? The Wellington Barracks? Home to the Queen’s Guard and city patrol? They have bloody cannons.”
Chester pulled out a pad of paper and looked at it, “Half dozen to be precise. My contacts say those will fetch 400 quid from the Frogs. Maybe twice that to the Micks if they had that much.”
Bertie paled, “Even if you could pull it off and Darrin’s right, it’s crazy. Even if you could pull it off…you’re going to sell it to the Frogs or the Irish?”
Chester put his pad back in his pocket, “Their money is the best, but I think that point is open to discussion after we get the goods.”
Darrin waved his hand, “And how do you intend to do that? Float in on a cloud?”
Cedric smiled this time, “Actually Darrin, that is exactly what we are going to do and we will have some lightening to go with it.”


After the initial resistance, Bertie, Constance and Darrin at least entertained the notion. Meeting were then moved to Constance’s flat. They met in the dining room and could spread out the plans. The date was to be a weekend when guards were off duty and on leave. The attack would be at night. Bertie and Chester scoped out the guards on Birdcage walk. Darrin and Cedric tracked the guards on Petty France. The coup was Constance arranging a walk through for her “cousin” Emily. Some bright leftenant showed them around the courtyard pointing out the quarters, the offices and, of course the armory. Afterward Emily and Constance added that information to the plan.
Finally Bertie said, “Cedric, this is all well and good. But we are not an army. We are six rather ragged University wogs.”
Emily fluffed her hair, “Speak for yourself.”
Bertie shook his head, “My apologies. How are we going to get in and how are we going to stop an army?”
Chester puffed his cigar, “Cedric, they’ve been very patient and cooperative. I think they’re due a demonstration of some of our weapons.”
Cedric sat, “Yes, I suppose so.” He turned to the rest of the group. “Suggestions? Anyone annoy you lately?”
Darrin shrugged and smiled, “If we’re supposed to survive an armory, we ought to survive a walk on the East side.” He looked at his fingernails, “My uncle has a airship company and the workers have been acting up. I know the pub they meet at.”
Cedric looked at the plans and then said, “Well we can’t have workers telling us what to do. Meet us at the Tower. Chester, Emily and myself will come armed appropriately. And we’ll break up that little den of iniquity.”

Fire power

Chester dressed himself in black dungarees and a long black coat. They had two of the fire pistols from Findley and their new partners. Chester had talked to Tecumsah about the need to convince the Londoners of their abilities and the need for a demonstration. Tecumsah said, “The last time there was a demonstration, we were fired at.” Chester shrugged, “We didn’t know. I can’t say that isn’t going to happen. But most of these East End pubs are ramshackle anyway. Fires all the time. We’ll get ours started and get out of there quickly.” Tecumsah handed Chester a rifle, “You and you alone use this tonight. I am going to be watching. If there is a hint of the same problem, our deal is over and I will have Suresh remove our traces.” He stared at Chester.
Chester stared back and took the rifle, “Understood.” He hefted the rifle, “Understand this. You are the new comer. We are going to get you all the goods and people you want. But if you flinch at every little twist, maybe you aren’t in the right line of work.”
Tecumsah glared at him for a moment and then laughed. “If this works out, you will make a very good trading partner, Mr. Simms.”

Derring Do

At the London tower the group gathered. There were army guards at the gates but otherwise the street was deserted. Chester had the rifle slung over his back and under a coat. Darrin pointed down river and said, “It’s just a few blocks along the river. I assume you can keep us safe.”
Chester said, “Nothing we can’t handle.”
They walking along St. Kathrine Street and then High street to the Wapping area. They stopped outside a pub with a noisy crowd. Cedric looked at the place, “This is it?”
Darrin looked grim. “Yes. The foremen are saying they meet here at 9PM and organizers roust the rabble. Chester looked at his watch, “8:30. We can find a nice place to watch and see if your workers are showing up. Then at 9:15 we will break things up. They found an alley to watch the “Kings Rope and Pulley”. Starting at 8:50 several men in Kipling Airways uniforms started showing up. Chester, “Well what do you say? There they are.” At 9:00 people started to file out and the barkeep pulled the sandwich board off the street. Cedric said, “Well, seems no one is at the bar.” One or two more men came and were let into the pub.
Chester pulled out his rifle and took aim. “I’ll aim at the door. Cedric and Emily, the windows”
Emily said, “How long?”
Chester said, “How many of your men do you want to lose Darrin? Some or all?”
Darrin gulped, “What are you talking about?”
Chester nodded over to the Kings Rope and Pulley, “The last time we used these things, we ended up getting into a fight and the pub and the block burned to the ground. We can scare them or we can kill ‘em. Which will it be?”
Darrin stuttered, “Maybe scare them.”
Chester pursed his lips. “You heard the man. Blow out the windows. Light something on fire on the inside. I’ll make sure who ever comes out gets a burn or two.”
Constance eyed the building. Bertram stroked his beard. Chester said, “Let the fun begin.”
Emily and Cedric fired at the glass windows which shattered quickly in as the beams passed over them. The men inside quickly fell to the ground seeking cover from what ever was breaking the windows. Emily focused on a table. Cedric focused on the glass bottles on the shelves behind the bar. After a moment, the back bar burst into flames, men jumped up trying to get to the front door. As they came out, Chester fired his rifle. The first two men fell to the ground grabbing their legs. The crowd inside the pub got confused. People in the back pushed forward while people near the door pushed back. Chester lit the top of the doorway on fire. Then said, “Enough.” He looked over at Betram, Constance, and Darrin. Darrin fell to his knees and threw up as the screaming on the inside grew more intense. Betram said, “You said you could do more. It seems you did quite enough.” Chester looked at the gun which was still 3/4 charged. “I could lite up the whole block if I wanted. And each of us and whoever you recruit will have either one of these or one of the pistols.”
Constance watched in fascination. “What happens if you use a higher power on a man?”
Chester watched at the men began to pour out of the burning establishment trampling the first two men on the ground. He pulled out a cigar and lit it. He pointed at the building, “Men burn. They just take longer.”
Cedric said, “Let’s go. Don’t want some bobbies asking what we were doing here.”
Chester and Bertram lifted Darrin to his feet. Chester said, “Come along Darrin. I expect a few of your workers will be calling in sick tomorrow. A couple more rounds of this and I’m certain your Uncle will have no problems at all.”

Author’s Note

This is a longer entry than in the past (1800 words).  I hope you have a lunch to read it over. The story has shifted to London. I had to come up with some targets in London that made sense. I am also trying to tie it back to the Recruiting Matter in some fashion.  My NaNoWriMo has slowed a lot this week between outside commitments and pesky work commitments. I am hoping to get a good bunch done today because the weekend is going to busy with other stuff.



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