A Quiet Fight – Hunting the Hunters


steampunk-computer

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

Abigail was asleep and under the covers with Alice with the door came open. It was Jolene, Stephan’s wife, yawning but coming in. “Abigail, Stephan says you better get downstairs.”
Shook herself and rubbed her head. She said quietly, “I will be down in a moment.” Jolene left. Abigail got up and slipped on her night gown and was putting on her robe when Alice groaned, “Ce qui se passe, l’amour ?” Abigail leaned down and gave her a light kiss, “Rien, je suis sûr. Rester endormi, mon cher. “ She headed out the door to see Athena in the hallway holding a doll. She was rubbing her eyes. Alice closed her robe and said, “You should be asleep young lady.”
Athena shook her head, “I heard voices and they woke me up.”
Abigail kissed her on the head, “Climb into be with Alice. She’ll get you to sleep.”
Athena pouted, “I want to see ships.”
Abigail said more firmly, “Young lady, I am not going to argue with you at midnight. Now go to bed or climb into bed with Alice.” She pushed Athena towards a bedroom door. “Awww…”
“In. I will tell you about tomorrow morning.” There was a small whine but she went into the bedroom and climbed into the bed with Alice who pulled Athena close.
Abigail closed the door and headed down stairs to the dining room. Stephan was looking at the screen. “The screen lit up with one dot.” He traced the screen with a finger. “It started here and ended up here.”
Abigail pressed some keys and an image of London overlaid the dots.
Stephan asked, “Where the hell did you get this?”
Abigail, “I borrowed a drone while Millicent was making nice with John Smith. Nobody saw…and the whole technology protection thing seems rather moot at the moment.” She looked, “One ship left the Regents garden and is headed to …Damn …That is Wellington Barracks.”
Stephan muttered, “Shit.” He stood up and headed to the room.
Abigail said, “It will take 15 minutes to get there if we could get a cab at this hour.”
Stephan paced the room, “We can’t just stay here. God knows what the those bastards are doing.”
Abigail said, “I can find the place in the garden. We might catch them where they took off from.”
Stephan stopped, “Damn good idea.”
Jolene shouted, “Idiot male. Damn stupid idea.” She waved an arm, “You intend to stop someone who just took on the Wellington Barracks? All of us armed aren’t going to do that.”
Abigail crossed her arms, “She has a point.”
Jolene said in a calmer tone. “Follow a couple home. Find out where they live. Corner them alone.”
Stephan muttered, “Fine. How quickly can we be ready?”
Abigail said, “I can be dressed for stalking in a few minutes.” She looked at Jolene who was shorter and a bit stockier. “Alice might have something that will fit you. We’ll have to go shopping for clothes if we are keeping this up.”
Stephan waved his hand and stormed off to the room, “Fine… You know where we are going. I will change and be at the door.”
Abigail snorted and then grabbed Jolene’s hand, “Follow me.” Jolene followed her up the stairs. She crept into her bedroom. Athena stirred but did not get up. She got her leather suit. She then rummaged through Alice’s closet and got some trousers and a shirt.
She stepped outside and handed the trousers and shirt to Jolene, “These should fit well enough and are dark. It will be cold and misty so you’ll need a coat.”
Jolene looked at the leather suit and said, “That looks to tight for proper foundation garments.”
Abigail headed to Athena’s room saying, “That is why there won’t be any foundation garments. A corset is confining. This is flexible. I had it made before I got home. It is also bullet proof.” Abigail did not wait for an answer and ducked into Athena’s room. She slipped out of her robe and night gown. She shimmied on the the body suit. She groaned as she buttoned up the front. “Need to exercise more.” She stepped out into the room and stretched a bit. The fabric adjusted a bit and breathing became a bit easier. Downstairs, she got a pistol out of the dining room cabinet. Stephan was dressed in black and was holding his own pistol. He handed a second pistol to Jolene who came down wearing Alice’s clothes. They were a bit baggier and longer, but served the function for the night. She looked over Abigail, “You can breathe in that?”
Abigail took a breath and then coughed a little, “A child and several years of pastries make it a bit tight.”
Stephan hissed, “Can we move?”
Abigail moved along the street quickly. The Regent Gardens were not close – they were almost a mile away, but they were close. The Barracks were about the same distance, but Jolene was right…trying to attack there made no sense. They arrived at the Gardens and all three were out of breath. Abigail moved to the East side of the park. There were open spaces. She looked around trying to orient herself and then said, “I think it is this clearing. Move to the trees and bushes and hide there.”
Stephan said, “Wait, we go back to the entrance of the park and hide there.” He looked around, “If they run sensors they will detect us. Out on the street, there is a chance we will be mistaken for vagrants or thieves.”
Jolene muttered, “Or we’ll be attacked by vagrants and thieves.”
Stephan said, “You have enough fire power in your pocket to burn a building down. Give ‘em a short blast to scare ‘em.”
They headed back to the entrance and waited by the arches that led into the park. In the direction of the river, Abigail could see a glow and then a huge fireball. She whispered, “Damn. Must have blown a magazine.” Stephan just shook his head. The fire was now bright and filling the sky, more people were coming out to look. Abigail could sense the worry, London had been destroyed in fires many times before. But the barracks were close to the river. Every fire wagon in the city must be there by now. She felt, but did not see something go over head. She tugged on Stephan’s arm. He said,”I felt it too.” Five minutes later, a loud group of people emerged and then began to split up. Abigail hissed, “Which one?”
Stephan said, “Don’t know.”
Jolene said, “I’ll take the the lady headed down Marylebone.”
Abigail said, “I”ll take the big one headed down Euston.”
Stephan grumbled, “I’ll follow the group headed down Portland Place.”
Abigail stayed a couple hundred feet behind, watching when the big fellow walked and stopped. She always made sure she had a place to duck into. He turned north on Hamstead road and then ducked into a thin house of Gloucester Circle. She noted the place and waited to make sure he did not leave right away. After a few minutes, she left whistling back to her shop.

Author’s Note

The New Order has attacked Wellington Barracks. How will Stephan and Abigail respond?  This is a very long scene and has some interesting plot twists.  I will be posting from it for a couple of days.

Nanowrimo finishes today. I am still woefully far away from the monthly goal.  I expect to finish. But it will be a slog for a few days. I got some interesting advice on revision from a published author (like with real paper books). One idea she suggested was to rewrite a book without looking at the original. The second version is almost certainly going to be better than the first.

 

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