A Quiet Fight – At the battle scene


steampunk-computer

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

Wellington Barracks

The Wellington Barracks was along the way to 4 Whitehall place, home of the Scotland Yard. Wynn and Edward opted to remain and help Alice and entertain Athena. Edward said “I’ve seen the wreckage and it wouldn’t do for me to be seen in Scotland Yard before visiting old friends.” Everyone else walked towards the steam and smoke rising. When the arrived, Abigail gasped at the damage. The barracks was really a rectangle of four buildings. The long sides were used for quarters and offices. The short East end was used for administration. The brick facade remained, but all the windows were gone and smoke stains shown on every window. Smoke rising from the roof and light in the lower windows showed that little was left of the four stories of administration. Still it was in better shape than the West end building that was little more than a pile of bricks. It was the stable. But it was also where weapons were stored. The upper floors might have held hand combat weapons such as swords or pikes from a bygone era. The lower floors held the current cache of rifles, cannon and the powder to use them. The powder had exploded and taken the building with it. Bobbies surrounded the smoking ruins and were urging people along. Soldiers wearing sooty red uniforms were directing the removal of debris searching for lost comrades.
Jolene exclaimed, “Holy God, there isn’t much left. You said 12 people managed this?”
Stephan puffed his cheeks out, “There was more than beam weapons. Abigail, see the holes in the door area of the administration? Do you think…”
Abigail said sharply, “Induction rifles with heavy rounds. Who ever was on the other side never knew they were hit. How the bloody hell are we going to find who is in charge?”
Stephanie looked at Kimberly, smiled and then said, “Give us a few minutes and meet us at the corner.” The two young women flounced off in opposite directions.
Stephan looked them and said, “What are they doing?”
Jolene sighed as they left and said to Abigail, “Do you remember when you could do that?”
Abigail laughed, “Dear, you do remember I was a maid who was not interested in men?”
Jolene looked at her squinting, “You are telling me you never used feminine wiles to get out of chores?”
Abigail blushed, “Mayhaps but we aren’t going to speak of such things.”
Jolene grabbed a confused Stephan saying, “Come along Stephan. Let’s let the young ones do what they are best at.”
Abigail grabbed the other arm saying, “And we’ll explain to you how things really work in the world.”

A short while later, Stephanie and Kimberly came up to the corner with a bobby and a detective constable in tow. The bobby looked embarrassed and the detective constable looked annoyed. Stephan was surprised that the Detective Constable was a woman, although she was dressed in the same sharp blue uniform of the bobby save she had a pork pie hat as opposed to the tall helmet. Abigail smiled sweetly, “This is a pleasant surprise.”
Jolene hissed, “Hush, woman or I’ll tell Alice.” Abigail pouted.
The DC looked over Stephan, Jolene and Abigail and harumphed, “Sergeant Bowles was insistent these girls had information. Me… I think Sergeant Bowles might need more time on the Night Watch.” The DC looked at the two young ladies and said, “Ladies, we have a active investigation of this tragedy. If I find you are wasting my time…”
Abigail interrupted, “Detective Constable, we believe we have quite a bit of information. I am not sure how much you can use. But we want to assist.”
The DC pulled out her watch and said, “You have a minute.”
Stephan said, “We know what kind of weapons were used.”
DC kept looking at her watch, “You and every drunk from here to Tower. You have 45 seconds.”
Abigail snapped, “The weapon that created the holes in the administration had more force than a cannon. But you can find no shot and none of the survivors remembers cannon fire.”
The DC looked up. Stephan continued, “The fires started nearly simultaneously throughout the sight without any apparent source or fuel. There are burn marks on stone that indicate flames exceeding anything …you know about.”
The DC closed her watch and returned it to her pocket. “You may have saved Sergeant Bowles circuits tonight. Tell me about these weapons.”
Stephan said, “That isn’t easy.”
Abigail said, “But we can demonstrate them. Later. ”
Stephan said, “Abigail…”
“We help or we don’t Stephan.”
The DC waved her arms, “How is it you can demonstrate the weapons? And why should I not arrest you as suspects for having such weapons?”
Jolene folded her arms, “Really DC, you seemed so much smarter. If they did it, why are they coming back and telling you about weapons you don’t understand?”
The Sergeant coughed, “Ma’am, the ladies said they might be able to help us find things if we let them on the grounds.”
The DC wiped her face with both hands. Then said, “Inspector Dobbs will have my head and feed my body to General Piers.” She stuck her hand out and said, “Detective Constable Beatrice Monroe.” Abigail nearly choked. The others looked at her but introduced themselves.
Abigail introduced herself, “Abigail Monroe…proprietess of Du univers meilleur café”
The DC looked at her oddly and then shook herself and said, “Follow me. And you better start providing some useful information.”

The followed DC Monroe into the Barracks. Inside the square, Abigail looked around. The damage looked worse from the inside. Jolene asked, “DC Monroe, perhaps Sergeant Bowles can give Stephanie and Kimberly a tour of the sight while you work with us.”
DC Monroe shrugged and sent the three off. Abigail put down her bag and pulled out a detecting device. Stephan pulled his own detecting device out his bag. Abigail waved it around, “towards the center. No one knows how the assailants got in or out.”
DC Monroe said, “There are some crazy stories about them running to quad and disappearing.”
Abigail moved to the quad. There were deep depressions about 100 yards apart forming an nearly equilateral triangle. She leaned down and looked at the depression. Stephan came over and said, “I’ve found some shards of neodymium alloy. DC, do you know if any of the soldiers got shots off?”
She looked around, “You couldn’t tell. Apparently near the end, ranks were forming up behind walls. Shots were starting to get off, but they weren’t hitting anything.”
Stephan pulled up a small bracket and showed it to her, “This is from what was in the center of the quad.”
DC Monroe looked around, “Everybody swears there was nothing there.”
Abigail stood up and said, “Yet the attackers all headed to the center and disappeared.”
DC Monroe raised her hand in annoyance, “Fine where did they go?”
There was a silence and then Jolene said, “Regent’s park.”
DC Monroe shouted, “What? You are wasting my time.”
Stephan shrugged, “Based on where I found this little thing” He pointed over to an alcove, “The soldiers were firing from there.”
Stephan said, “I think they took some things. Probably three or four wagons worth.”
DC Monroe said, “Some of the soldiers said they saw people pushing rifle boxes out of the armory before it blew up.” She looked over at the rubble where soldiers were removing stones, “After it blew up, people lost track of what was happening.”
Abigail stood up and said, “Probably when the sh… they left. Did they leave any notes? Anything to say who they were?”
DC Monroe said tiredly, “The Inspector has that information. You’ll have to ask him.”
Jolene stepped up, “Detective Monroe, when do you get off?”
She looked around, “Who knows? I’ve been here since 2 in the morning.”
Jolene looked around, “Are you two going to find anything more out?”
Abigail shrugged, “Hard to tell. We know what was used. We know how they got here. We have a pretty good idea of who they are. We don’t know why. I’d like to see that note. We are only guessing at what they took.”
DC Monroe’s mouth was open and then shut, “How the hell do you know all that?”
Jolene smiled and said, “That, DC Beatrice Monroe is going to require you to join us for dinner.”
Abigail sputtered, “Alice will…”
Jolene said, “Alice will be delighted and you know it. And what we need to tell DC Monroe is going to take some time.”
Abigail said, “You can’t…”
Jolene ignored her and said, “I know you’ve been up a long time. Can you make a late supper? Say 8 PM at the Du univers meilleur café?”
DC Monroe looked at Abigail and said, “It seems she isn’t happy.”
Jolene crossed her arms and stared at Abigail. Abigail looked at the sky. “Fine. Beatrice, please come to dinner.”
They walked away and were joined by Kimberly and Stephanie. Abigail moaned, “I am going to have to lock Athena in her room.”

Author’s note

Those of you who know Abigail, know she has secrets. That the names of the Dectective and Abigail are the same is not a coincidence.  This chapter was written before I broke scenes up to smaller bits. Near the end of the chapter, Abigail tells the team about her adventures off world and her return. There is a small factoid that explains the relationship.

My progress slowed once December started. I moving along. I am about 3/4 through the story arc in my writing (you are about half way. ).

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