A Quiet Fight – Infiltration 2


steampunk-computer

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

At Kimberly Airship

Wynn had enjoyed breakfast with Kimberly. It was likely to be his last good one for awhile. But there was a connection to the workers at the pub and he was in the best position to pursue it. He had the skills to manage as a journeyman or higher machinist. And he could revive the old Irish brogue when he needed. He walked with DC Monroe back towards the river. He filled her in on what little he knew and she provided some of the details on who was claiming responsibility. He told her about the pub intelligence, “It seems Kimberly Airships is an unpleasant place to work. The bosses are worse than normal. The word on the street is that the managers wanted to quash any ‘Chartist’ elements.” Wynn pulled the collar up to his throat. “Me…I think Cedric and Chester were showing off and someone they knew suggested the pub because there were rabble rousers in the pub.”
DC Monroe made some notes in her book, “Mr. Wayland said as much. Any ideas who would have suggested it?”
Wynn said, “Ehh…we’ve been comparin notes. So it isn’t surprising we’re saying the same thing. Me…knowing London society? My sainted parents would fall dead to hear you say that if they weren’t already molding in the grave. Lass, I came from Derry County…and not the good side.”
Monroe said, “Dare I ask how you got here?”
Wynn smiled, “You can ask, but any answer you get won’t make sense.”
She rolled her eyes. She moved to a different page, “The note claimed to be from a group called the ‘Young Irelanders.’ Said it was time for Irish to rise up against the English oppression.”
Wynn stopped and sighed, “How much do you know about Irish history, DC Monroe?”
“Does it matter?”
Wynn said, “Ireland’s always been a bit of a pawn in England’s wars. The last great one had most of Europe supplying one side or both. The one unifying thing about the war was that it was Irishman who did the dying…on both sides.”
“So what?”
Wynn said, “So now we have a foreign power or mercenary supplying weapons to a group claiming to be supporting the Irish. What the hell do you think is going to happen?”
Monroe said, “England will crush the Irish.”
Wynn laughed hoarsely, “More like take the horse to knackers. There ain’t no one on the island who could have done that. Most of ‘em can’t organize a good bar fight. The one’s who could know just what you said and are actually talking to Parliament and Peelites and what not.” He looked at her, “I’ve got to make sure there isn’t some bunch of idiots who are taking this whole ‘Free Ireland’ thing seriously.”
Monroe said, “You seem to be taking this very seriously.”
Wynn looked down the road, “Oh aye, Miss Monroe. I’m taking it seriously. I won’t watch it happen twice.” He tipped his cap and said, “And that DC Monroe is the end of this conversation. I will appraise you of any noteworthy developments in my researches.”
DC Monroe watched Wynn head east towards Stepney and the docks. She snapped her book closed, “Is everybody in this group hiding something?”
Wynn looked up at the sign “Kimberly Airship Industries”. In a window was a sign saying “Now hiring experienced Machinists.” Wynn walked in the door. A poorly shaven man with suspenders and his sleeves rolled up looked up. “Help you mate?”
Wynn took his cap in his hand and took on a thick brogue, “Lookin fer employment. Was a worker up in Liverpool. Belfast ‘fore that. Knows my way around machinery.”
The man looked at him, “nothin local though.”
Wynn looked at the floor, “nay…just got to London town.”
“And why leave good a job in Liverpool…or Belfast.”
Wynn said, “I was told pay were better in airship factories.”
The man said, “We need workers. We lost a bunch recently. I’m sending you over to the machines. If Franky says you’re OK. You stay. You get bottom wage and work your way up.”
Wynn said quickly, “Aye sir. Thank e sir.”
“Don’t thank me. If you don’t make, we cut ya” He shouted, “Willy, got a new paddy. Take ‘im to work with Franky.”
“Don’t you wan me name?”
The man returned to his racing forum, “If ya last the day with Franky, I’ll ask you your name.”
A sullen black man came up and took Wynn back into the factory floor. The building was a front entrance to a huge hanger in which two airships were being built. The frames were build of aluminums and inside he could see multiple bladders that would contain the hydrogen gas. Sparks flew where the frames were being assembled. The black man came up to a short dark haired man working on a turning machine. “Mr. Willig said to give this one a try. Let him know if he works out.”
“Thank ye Willy. Can you come back here and do some sweeping?”
“Aye sir.”
The short but stocky man stared at Wynn. Wynn stuck his hand out and said in a brogue “Wynn Connelly.”
Franky stared at the hand and then spat on the ground, “Don’t need to know your name, paddy.” He handed Wynn a bucket of flat slugs. “We need fifty washers with 3/4 inch holes in 30 minutes.”
Wynn took the bucket and asked, “Where’s your puncher?”
Franky said, “Ain’t got no puncher. Only a drill press and it’s down the line over yonder.” Wynn followed his finger down the drive shaft. At the end of the drive shaft was the drill press. Wynn took the heavy bucket and jogged a fast past to the drill press. He found the 3/4 inch bit. He then took one of the slugs and then put posts in to set it. He engaged the belt and then pulled the bit down. It took almost 20 seconds to get through. He flicked the hot washer out of the way and pulled the bit down. He kept at it…flicking the washer aside and adding a new one. The drill bit was beginning to smoke and the drilling slowing down at the count of 40. He looked around and found cup of coffee left to the side. He splashed on the drill bit and continued the work. At 50, he stopped. He found a steel post and strung the washers on the post. He then jogged down to the turning machine and handed over the post. Franky took one off and laid it on a template washer. Wynn said, “That might have made aligning easier.”
Franky put the washer on the post. “Might have, but you didn’t need one.” He hand him a bucket of posts and stepped away from the turning machine. “We need 50 of these at 22. We’ll need them in 30 minutes.” He slapped Wynn on the shoulder, enough time for me to take a good break. Wynn finished that task and several others through the day. Willy came up and handed Wynn a broom, “Boss man says sweep up yo’ mess.”
Wynn smirked and grabbed the broom and began to sweep. “What’s it like workin here?”
Willy leaned on the drill press, “The pay’s shit. The bosses are bastards. If you live to the end of the week, it’s a good thing.”
Wynn moved the shavings into a pile, “That good.”
Willy took a pan and Wynn moved the shavings into the pan, “Yo’ white. So you’re a step above me. Yo’ Irish so that means it ain’t real big step. But then you probably know the drill.”
Wynn swept some more. “Been traveling. Kinda lost track of the drill. What do you do …besides sweep.”
“Just what you’re going to do if you stay…exactly what they tell me. Jobs for me and you don’t come easy.”
“And if they let you do something.”
Willy looked at the turning machine and then started sweeping, “Don’t matter what I could do. It only what they let me do. ‘Spect you’ll think the same in a day or two.”
Franky came back and wholloped Wynn’s head and then Willy’s, “Did anyone tell you two turds it was break time?” He handed Wynn another bucket, “Get me another hundred washers with 3/4 hole.” He turned to Willy, “I saw some mess down on the other end of the hall.”
Willy grabbed the broom, “Like I say…what they tell you.”
Wynn said, “The drill bit is getting dull.”
Franky snapped, “Now if you didn’t rush, it wouldn’t get dull.” Franky said as Wynn headed back to the drill, “You break that bit, it comes out o your pay.”
Wynn went back to the drill pressed and nursed the dulling bit along. It took more than three times that amount of time because of the slow drilling and the large numbers. He brought the bucket back to Franky and dropped at his feet. “Done.”
“Took you long enough.”
“Don’t know how much I’m going to get paid. Don’t want to start in debt breaking a bit.” Franky grumbled but nothing meaningful. Wynn asked, “Do I come back tomorrow?”
Franky looked around the hall, “We are short 10. Bunch o’ idiots have some ideas about their betters that din’t sit well. They’re gone.”
Wynn thought Gone or dead.
“You got problems takin orders.”
“I do work. And if tell me to do something stupid, I do work but not stupid.”
Franky flexed his hands. Wynn stared at him. “I need to labor so I’ll let that go by. Don’t cross me.” He shouted, “Willy…take this white nigger back to Wilson. Tell him we got another paddy to fill in where’s needed.”
Willy said, “Like I said, yo’ one step over me..but it ain’t a high one.”
Wynn smiled, “Well I will count on you to keep me on my step. Is there a favorite bar?”
Willy said, “The paddy’s like the ‘Dirty Frenchman’ on High Street”
Wynn said,”I’ve heard enough bad singing from drunk Irish. Where does everyone else go?”
Willy eyed him, “Me…I prefer ‘The Shiny Boot’ on Bethnal Green.” They walked up to the man at the door. Willy said,”Franky says quote,’we got another paddy to fill in where’s needed.’”
The man at the desk stood up. He was taller and broader standing, “I’ll take your name now and residence.”
Wynn said,”Wynn Connelly. I haven’t got a place just yet.”
The man wrote his name down in the book. “Welcome to the Kimberly Airship family Mr. Connelly. Work starts at 7 by that clock behind me. I set it once a week to the tower clock. You show up sober and clean. You break anything here, it comes out of your pay. You’ll get half a pound a week to start. If you move into a journeyman position that will change to three crowns. I expect Franky filled you in on some of the unwritten rules. See you tomorrow.” The man sat down and opened the racing forum again.
Willy pulled Wynn away and out onto the street. Willy sounded cheerier out on the road, “If Irish singing is that bad, I’ll take you to the Shiny Boot. The tuck is decent and the keep is good fellow.”
Wynn put on his knit cap and said, “Seeing as how I am now employed, I will buy the first round.”

Wynn showed up the next day on time and started working regularly. The tasks remained the same and Franky did not improve with time. The second day, he took the drill bit back and arranged for it to be sharpened at the cafe. Abigail handed him a diamond drill with hardened metal that would with stand a great deal more. The third day he switched out the drill bits and doubled his production at the drill press. This only made Franky angrier and he was assigned to work on stamping machines. Willy warned this was where the worst accidents occurred. As Wynn was working on the stamping machine, two long time workers sandwiched him forcing him closer to the stamper. “Paddy boy all hot and fast. Not so fast now are you boy.” They were moving to put his hand under the stamping machine that was cutting out sheets of metal for the outside of the ships. Wynn responded, “Laddys lets stop this now and I’ll forget it ever happened.” The heavier man shoved Wyn forward, “Fat chance paddy. Don’t need your type around here working for cheap and makin’ us look bad.” Wynn grunted, “Have it your way.” He twisted hard on the smaller man and slammed his knee into the smaller man’s gut. He turned to face the large and overweight man who was now putting up both hands, “Wait a second…” Wynn threw a hard kick in the man’s groin and then brought his knee up to the man’s face. Blood erupted from his nose. Wynn lifted the smaller man up to his face and said, “Tell Franky I’m almost done with the order. Jamie’s decided to stay and help.” He lifted the man up and threw him out into the aisle shouting, “Careful Angus, this machine is dangerous. Your damn lucky you didn’t lose a hand.” The foreman looked down the aisle and asked, “Problem?…” Wynn tipped his head, “No sir. Almost finished with the windows. Jamie’s staying to help me out.” He turned around and went back to shaping rails. Angus glared back at Wynn. Willy and two friends came up saying, “Seems this section needs cleaning.” Wynn clapped Willy on the shoulder and went back to the stamper.
Wynn loaded the window frames on a cart and moved them to Franky’s section to be riveted. Franky got wide eyed for a second seeing him and then took the cart of window frames. Wynn asked, “Is there a problem?”
Franky started, “No…No… Angus said you were almost done.” Then his eyes grew narrow, “Best be careful paddy, things can get dangerous.”
Wynn’s eyes narrowed, “I’ve been taken care of myself for awhile.” Then tipped his hat and said, “Mike sent me a set of orders for cabin doors. I’ll be at the stamper the rest of the day, if you need me.”

Author’s Note

Wynn has a long history that I don’t really discuss much. I’ve hinted at earlier.  With some time out in the galaxy, he had time to learn to defend himself. Of course, he probably has some nanotechnology which is boosting him even more.

I am revising where this book will end.  I am hoping I can wrap it up soon. Since I am revising where it will end, I have to revise how it will end and that is my latest headache.  Look for more on  Monday.  There is a second half to Wynn’s infiltration.

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