The next morning, Abigail was up early. Jolene was helping Alice again. Kimberly and Stephanie were assisting and otherwise occupying Athena. She and Stephan compared notes. There were three people. All were in Belgravia or Paddington. They all went through the front door. While that wasn’t definitive, it suggested they were all upstairs members of society. Edward and Wynn arrived. They had several papers and were frantic. Edward waved his arms, “The barracks…its…nearly burnt to the ground.”
Wynn said, “It was shear luck that Westminster didn’t burn to the ground. It was a wet night last night.”
Abigail and Stephan looked up from the map. Edward said, “Didn’t you know?”
Stephan rubbed his eyes, “Abigail’s monitor lit up with one ship.” He put his hands on the table, “We followed three of the bastards.”
Edward leaned forward snarling, “You knew. You had weapons and you did nothing?”
Stephan snapped and pulled Edward by the collar, “And what did you do? You were closer. There were three of us, sleepy and confused, armed with some beam weapons facing God knows how many that were taking on Wellington Barracks.” Stephan let go of the collar and pushed Edward back.
Wynn stepped in front of Edward, “It is bad Stephan. The sheets are saying at least a hundred dead. The armory and offices are rubble. The Administration building is burnt to the ground. The silver lining seems to be that whoever did this did not attack the quarters. But buildings are still smoking hours later.”
Stephan turned around and looked at some picture on the wall. Abigail said quietly, “We saw the glow.” She looked at the table, “He wanted to go. Jolene and I convinced him it was pointless.”
Edward snapped, “A hundred soldiers dead. Pointless?”
Abigail hissed, “You will keep a civil tongue in my house. I will not bring this mess to Athena and Alice.” She crossed her arms, “And yes… pointless. When the ship landed, I counted 12 leaving the ship. We split up and followed them home. They all live in Belgravia or Paddington. I suppose one or two might slum in Grosvener park. And they went in the front door. All of ‘em. All damn upper class. Your friends…Edward Wayland.”
Edward sat down hard and put his face in hands. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Wynn put his hand on his shoulder, “Facts don’t have to make sense, mate.” He crossed his arms, “Do you think Winifred’s father is connected?”
Stephan scratched his beard, “We don’t know that. We don’t know a lot.”
Jolene came in with a tray of breads. Stephanie followed with tea and Kimberly with coffee. Edward, Stephanie and Jolene took tea. Everyone else took coffee. Stephan looked at the map of the location, “Edward, you said that Winifred Stanhope’s father is on the board of Kimberly. What can you tell me about him or Kimberly? Edward sipped his tea, “Airships are good for moving passengers. Less so for cargo. I understand the American’s are using them a bit for recognizance in their conflict.”
Stephan said, “If we got into a war with France or Germany? Would an airship company benefit.”
There was quiet in the room. Edward asked, “Why would we do that?”
Stephan sipped his coffee, “Lad, England has fought France over tennis balls. Bonaparte saw us as the great block to ruling Europe. The king of Germany is a smart one. He might see France or Russia as weak. We would be preventing anything Germany might do.” He mused, “America is more than a bit miffed at us supplying their wayward cousins. Countries fight at the drop of a hat. So what happens to an airship company if we get into a war?”
Edward said carefully, “Airships would add a new dimension, literally to battles. Imagine having a platform, safe from cannon to rain down bullets and what not.”
Abigail said, “Stop being patronizing, Stephan. It never suited you.” She turned to Edward, “Air superiority will be one of the next leaps in war technology. But you can see why he is asking. We are trying to figure out why London’s finest are burning down the barracks. Causing a war will certainly make for good profits.” She looked at Edward, “You’re just back and I know you were trying to hide from Winifred and her friends…”
Edward sighed, “But I am the best person to get information if the people who are doing this are upper class.”
Abigail shrugged, “Don’t know about Wynn, but I run a coffee shop and Stephan runs a pub and neither of us came from soft beginnings.”
Edward said, “I’ll stop by the family and start attending parties. I’m sure it will be a dreadful bore.”
Wynn slapped him on the knee, “Cor, mate. You sound just like ‘em.”
Stephan looked at Abigail, “Do we need to send him?”
Before Abigail could answer Edward spoke, “I don’t know that is your decision to make old man.” He nodded to Abigail, “or old dear.”
Abigail smirked. She might be old, but she was pretty sure she could level the young sprat here and now. Abigail nodded back at Edward and raised her mug of coffee, “It would be helpful, Edward. But I would be crushed if I lose a customer.”
Stephan set his mug of coffee down, “Abigail, I suspect there are going to be a lot of unanswered questions. Scotland Yard was making a special trip to Dunstable for my pub. I know we aren’t supposed to, but…” He let the question hang.
Abigail sighed, “I had rather enjoyed to obscurity.” She set the mug on the table. “If what Smith and Millicent said, keeping quiet and not interfering is going to be pointless in a year or two.” She rubbed her hands together, “I’ve wanted to see the inside of Scotland Yard.”
Wynn said, “Very drab and dank and lousy food.”
Everyone stared at him. He looked shocked, “What? Just commenting.”
Edward said, “I don’t think Abigail is planning on visiting the holding cells.”
This is the second entry from this scene. The next one adds a new twist to the character dynamics so be sure to watch for it.
Nanowrimo is over. AND I did not get 50K words done. I am at 37K right now and continuing to write. I also have a side bet with a coworker so I will be playing for lunch so to speak. I am having a bit of a problem getting the story to move forward and that is slowing my writing.