A Quiet Fight – Waking in Gaol

Waking in Gaol

Wynn woke with a splitting headache. He went to the chamber pot and began his daily ministration. When he looked down, he furrowed his eyebrows. His urine was yellow green. And it wasn’t it a little bit green. It was a lime color. That explained the headache. His nanotechnology had spent the night filter an attempted poisoning. He scratched his head and looked at the water pitcher and thought twice. He was pretty sure it was the food, but he doubted that water pitcher was safer. He stretched and sat down in front of the music box and listened to its tune from the 1700’s. “Ah lass. I miss you’re cooking so much even if it did poison me once. The stuff here could make a man green. I’d do anything for a pan of sausage and some biscuits right now.” He sighed and said, “Who knows…at this rate, maybe I’ll see you soon.” He leaned his head over the water basin and washed his hair and face. His head throbbed. Well, with three years in space, he had learned a thing or two about waiting.
He sat opposite the door, crossed his legs and closed his eyes and relaxed. His could sense his heart slow and his breathing go shallow. Sometime later he could hear doors in the gaol complex opening. There was a banging on his door and the it opened, “Play time, ya Irish bastard.” Wynn stayed motionless, his head tilted a bit to one side, “Are ya coming out?” Wynn kept his breathing even and shallow. The guard paused by the door then moved into the room, “Are you ok?” The guard leaned down next to Wynn, “Big shit had to die on my watch. Going to be filling paper work for weeks.” The guard reached for Wynn’s neck.
Wynn popped his eyes open at that moment, “Don’t know about that, Jervis. I were just resting my eyes.”
The guard jumped up and back and grabbed his stick, “Jesus…what the hell.” Then began kicking Wynn, “Messing w/ me ain’t bright paddy.”
Wynn rolled to absorb the kicks, “Sorry… umph…ate something…passed out.”
The guard stopped, “Fuck me.”
Wynn winced as he pulled himself up to the shallow cot. “Still your face was priceless.”
The guard swung with his stick and missed as Wynn rolled to a side. He straightened his coat and marched to the door.
Wynn said loudly, “Sergeant Harvey, I was not lying about eating something bad last night. Someone tried to poison me.”
Sergeant Harvey paused by the door, “You are fucking criminal. An Irish famine jockey at that and you killed a toff. You expecting damn tea service.”
Wynn rubbed his eyes, “True…well don’t know about the toff…that’s a little hazy. But Sergeant Roly served my food last night. And he has a brother who works on the floor at Kimberly Airships.”
Harvey’s eyes narrowed, “So…”
Wynn said, “It was Kimberly Airship workers who started the riot. That man I…supposedly killed? He is the nephew of the director of the factory.”
Sergeant Harvey crossed his arms. Wynn continued, “I’ve go no beef with you. Stephanie Miller should be coming with some good food. I’ll share if you don’t tell Roly about me.”
Harvey said harshly, “My brother died at the barracks. I should kill you myself.”
Wynn sucked in a breath and felt his side. It was only bruised. “But you didn’t try to. Roly did. You were surprised I was on the floor.” Wynn stretched and looked at Sergeant Harvey, “I know you won’t believe me, but I am truly sorry about your brother. I might have killed that posh bastard on Bethnal Green but I did not…I did not kill your brother at the barracks. I even have an alibi for that. My people are trying to bring your brother’s killers to justice.”
Harvey sneered, “Your people?”
“Stephan, Stephanie, Abigail…others. You’ve seen them here. I know who attacked the barracks. But I can’t prove it. I don’t know how to.” He stood and said, “Now if you go all formal on me and talk to some detective about my confessing, I will deny I said anything and I will show some nasty bruising on my gut and tell them about the poisoning.”
“Why the hell should I defend you?”
Wynn stood and stretched, “Because you did not try to poison me. Because you expected me to be awake when you came in.” He narrowed his eyes, “Because the person I killed was using the same weapon that killed your brother at the barracks.” He stood up, “If you want to talk to a detective, ask for DC Beatrice Monroe. Tell her Wynn said you ought to know more. She is investigating the Barracks attack.”
Harvey used his baton to scratch his nose and then pointed it at Wynn, “I am watching you,” and left.

Author’s Note

The basis for jail is Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, Ireland. For its time, it was considered a model of reform.  The jail had decent size cells, high ceilings, and bright lights.  Of course state of the art is something else 50 years later when Republicans were held there for separatist agitation.

I am a form of writers block at the moment. I can’t get from where I have last completed to the climax. My solution is one I have tried before with some success. Write the climax and hope a transition emerges.

A Quiet Fight – Visit at the Gaol

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

Visit at the Gaol

Stephanie and Stephan arrived at Scotland Yard. Stephanie had a full basket of lunch goods and tea. DC Beatrice Monroe met them at the foyer and accompanied them to the rear of the building to the gaol. At the initial entrance, a uniformed man and woman sat the desk playing cards. Monroe coughed into her fist.
The man looked up and then stood up quickly, “Detective Monroe. What brings you here?”
Monroe said sharply, “These two will be visiting Wynn Maynard. I assume he has been moved upstairs after our conversation.”
The woman said, “That be Hobby’s job. We understand it was supposed to be done.”
“Then we’ll head on up to the open room.”
“Err..Ma’am? We need to check the bag.”
Stephanie smiled and put the bag on the desk. She added helpfully, “There are couple of cheese savory breads on the top that Wynn can’t possibly finish.”
When the woman opened the basked, the smell of fresh bread filled the room. She murmured, “Cor, smells like my grand mum’s flat.”
Stephanie said, “Take the top loaf. I’m sure we’ll be here a lot.”
The woman quickly took the loaf and glanced at DC Monroe who nodded yes. The man took a loaf as well and then opened the gate.
Monroe muttered, “Hate this place. The guards get fat. The rich prisoners get fat and the poor prisoners starve before they get to trial.” She sighed as they arrived at the desk in front of the open room. She said to the guard, “Hobby, these folks are hear to see Wynn Maynard.”
The uniformed man made a ceremony of looking at a list and then said, “There is no Wynn Maynard on this floor. You might check general.” Stephan’s stomach dropped. He could feel Stephanie’s hands tightened on the basket. She said, “I was promised.”
Monroe stiffened and then said slowly, “Mr. Miller, Miss Miller… could you wait down the hall? Officer Hanley and I have things to discuss privately.”
Stephan nodded and moved Stephanie down the hall around the corner. They could hear the conversation. There was a slam on the table and a groan, “Hobby…I passed good money to you and the others to get him moved. Are you telling me you pocketed that scratch thinking I wouldn’t notice?” Another slam.
A groan and then a mushy voice, “DC… Sergeant Stiles said ‘e had to stay in general…” Another slam.
“You know my rank?” There was a pause. “Good…You and I are making a little go round to general and Sergeant Stiles and remind him of rank.” There was a pause.
“Stop!…yah… just ….wait….Keys!”
“Certainly Hobby. Tell me the drawer and I’ll get them. Wouldn’t want you to accidentally press an alarm button.”
“Second middle.”
There was a jangling of keys and then steps. DC Monroe came out holding the desk sergeant by the neck, “Pardon me Mr. Miller. Miss Miller. Hobby and me are going to clear up a paperwork matter.”
Stephan asked, “You need help?”
Monroe laughed, “Hardly. I’ll stop by and pick up Addie at the gate. She’ll want more of those loaves.”
The officer whined “fresh loaves? You ain’t said nothin bout food.”
Monroe slammed him on the wall harshly. Stephan winced at the sound. “Now if you hadn’t welched me, you’dve found out about the benni. I gave you and Stiles a half crown each for this. Ya could have bought you own bloody loaf an and ale and still had money. Now we are going to visit Stiles and remind him of his agreement.” The desk sergeant nodded quickly and blood spattered on his face. Monroe said, “might take a little. Find a bench and get comfortable.” And she frog marched him down the stairs.
Stephanie said, “I’m worried. He could get hurt.”
Stephan smirked, “Like to see the nob who tries.” He sat on a window ledge and said, “Oh I expect he’ll have a bruise or two but nought that won’t heal proper.”
Stephanie did not look convinced. She sat next to Stephan who took out a box and began to fiddle with it. The box was tiny in his large hands but he made adjustments. Popped it open and a music tune played. He wiggled a finger at it. The figure bowed back at him. Stephanie looked at it and furrowed her brow. Stephan closed the box and put a finger to his lips.
DC Monroe returned still frog marching Hobby, the desk Sergeant. Behind them, Officer Addie was helping Wynn into the hallway. Despite Stephan’s reassurance, he looked terrible. Both eyes were black, his lips were swollen and his nose looked a little off. Stephanie gasped, “Wynn, what happened?”
Wynn coughed a little and said, “Seems I wasn’t cooperative with the constabulary.” Monroe glared at Hobby and then let him go. “And I ended up in a cell with down in out veterans who seemed to have heard I might have be part of the Barracks attack.”
Officer Addie looked angry, “Can’t say I blame them.”
Stephanie said, “He is innocent. He was with someone that entire night.”
Officer Addie let Wynn go roughly, “Beggin pardon, Miss. But they all say that as do their kin.”
Monroe said, “Don’t be too quick to judge, Addie. I am inclined to agree with Miss Miller.”
Addie tipped her cap, “I respect ye’ DC. Ye’ made it past all them guys. But the Inspector says the evidence is strong what with him being Irish and the gun.”
Monroe narrowed her eyes at the young officer. “Officer, you and I will have a private discussion. There is more than the Inspector is choosin to see. Now back to your post. And we’ll talk later.”
The officer made a quick salute and left. Stephan walked up to Wynn and said, “Want me to fix your nose?”
Wynn rubbed it and winced, “Better do it now before it sets like this.” Stephan used two hands aside Wynn’s nose pulled down and shifted. Wynn snarled, “Jesus, Stephan could you be any rougher?”
Stephan eyed Wynn’s face, “I could have broken it in the first place. It’s straight. You might have an odd crook.What do the other guys look like?” He handed Wynn a kerchief for the new gush of blood from his nose.
Wynn leaned back and held the kerchief to his nose, “’bout what you’d expect. After discussion, they left me alone.”
Monroe said, “Hard to believe, but they look worse than he does.”
Wynn coughed a little and dabbed his nose, “Most of this is from our local constabulary. Decided not to hurt them but they were none too gentle.”
Stephan said to Monroe, “Are they going to be a problem?”
Monroe puffed her cheeks out and looked over at Hobby who was nursing his own broken nose. “Short term. No. Can’t say longer term. Him being up here will keep the worst away. But he’s going to have to watch his back and check his food and rations.”
Stephanie handed over a basket, “We brought a luncheon.”
Monroe looked at the basket, “Do that every day. It will keep the guards happy too.”
Wynn smiled, “Thank ya’. I am starved. Haven’t had anything since last night.” His voice caught. He looked at Monroe, “How many dead?”
Monroe said, “Thirty five. Twenty from burns. Fifteen from injuries including that dandy you took out.”
Wynn said, “I keep telling ya, he was the one doing the killing. Had to stop him.”
Monroe whispered back, “Listen…you took out a Kipling when there was a riot around Kipling employees. He might have been killin’ like you said, but the powers that be are going to want you dancing to the hangman’s tune.”
Stephanie whispered, “We have to get him out.”
Monroe hissed, “You say nothing about that. Not in front of me and especially not in here.”
Stephan put a hand on his daughter’s arm, “We have the food, let’s eat.”
Monroe led the three to desk sergeant Hanley. “Ready for your new prisoner Officer Hanley?”
Hobby held a cloth to his nose, glared at her and then took the keys and opened the door. Inside was a sky lit corridor. There were three stories of cells and an open area at the bottom. The prisoners were well dressed and clustered in groups of three or four. He muttered, “You’ll have cell C18. Third story, other side of the hall. Visitors 10 to 2. Meals served morning and night. Inspections happen at random. You cause trouble, you’ll be back in general again.”
Monroe said lowly, “But if someone else attacks him? Hobby, if you can’t control this crowd, I will have you keeping him company in general. He will get out and you will stay down there until you retire.”
Hanley said defensively, “If he don’t cause the trouble he won’t go down.”
Wynn shrugged, “I will probably stay in my cell most of the time. Sends some books and writing stuff.”
Hanley said, “Has to be cleared.”
Stephan handed the music box, “Wynn’s Aunt sent this music box.” Stephan handed over the box. “Press the button to make it work.”
Hanley eyed it narrowly and then pressed the button. The figure twirled to a tune. “Don’t know. Could hold a weapon.” Stephan sighed and held up a half crown. Hanley smiled but said, “Other prisoners might get jealous.” Stephan held up a second half crown. He grabbed the two coins “A bit of fresh bread when you visit would be appreciated by me younguns’ ”
Stephanie frowned, “We’ll be here each day. I can bring a extra loaf and a bit of jam if we don’t have to go through this routine every time.”
Hobby handed the box to Wynn and said, “It’s hard ta’ believe a killer like you has such a nice family.”
Wynn took the box, “Cross her and you’ll find out how nice.”

Author’s Note

Gaols and insane asylums were infamous for taking pay from family and friend to secure better treatment, food and location. Of course, one can question if much as changed when prisoners viewed as “non-threatening” are place in lower security prisons with better conditions.

Wynn will spend some time here and make some new acquaintances, however I will have to eventually spring him to finish the story.

A Quiet Fight – All In

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

Inclusion of Edward

Edward arrived at Pamela’s home at 8PM. The night had the chill of London spring, not cold but damp and penetrating. His top hat kept the cold out but the damp seeped through his coat. When the door was opened, he was escorted to the Library. Pamela was there and nodded politely. Bertram Scowling was there. And Cedric Michaelson was there. Edward’s heart raced.
Bertram began introductions, “I remember you old chap. Into chemistry, I think.”
Edward smiled and ignored Cedric’s stare, “And a bit of mechanical engineering. You must have been in chemistry as well to remember me.”
Bertram laughed, “Only because I was forced. I am more of a finance person, like Pamela.”
Cedric introduced himself and then said, “You look familiar for some reason.”
Edward tried to sound calm, “Weren’t you a friend of Findley Brown’s. I had a gathering or two and he brought friends.”
Cedric smiled, “There were so many Findley went to. Where was your’s?”
Edward hoped he had invited Findley’s friends. “I had some summer gatherings at Oxford Court. Big gardens. Strange Canapes. A bit of hunting and loads of French wine.”
Cedric smiled, “That could have been a number of places. I seem to remember a set of Elephant topiary. “
Edward scratched his head, “That must have been a different garden. We featured fountains with Norse figures. They are ridiculous enough without the incongruous topiary.”
Cedric nodded, “Now I remember. Set of statues next to the pond. Had a jolly time there.”
Edward sighed, “Yes, I believe Findley and Winifred recreated the Battle of Salamis.”
Cedric clapped Edward’s shoulder, “Ah yes, I think I ended up on the side that was Persia. Ended up in the pond.”
Edward took a drink, “I think we all did by the end. The gardeners were quite upset the following day.” He sat down in a lounge.
Cedric leaned on the mantle, “I assume Pamela has filled you in about our …political club.”
Edward glanced at Pamela, “A short version of our discussion. England is rotting from the inside because of …lax control of immigrants and lax control of the working class. England will be better with the Lords back in charge.”
Bertram said, “Close enough. You sound skeptical.”
Edward was he sure he was but needs to sound like he could be convinced. “I hadn’t thought about it to be honest. At least not until recently. It has been damned hard to find a job.”
Cedric said, “You seem qualified. You studied a good field. Why should someone with your background have a hard time?”
Edward frowned, “I know I’ve got better qualifications. It seems all those refugees from Wapping are holding the jobs.”
Cedric smiled thinly, “Well, if they got better grades…”
Edward snapped, “Oh come on Cedric. We all know the scholarship students were treated different at University. ‘Mustn’t have our charity cases fail.’ I thought it would even out once I got out. I was wrong.”
Pamela smiled into her drink. Bertram was grinning openly. Cedric said mildly, “Why I suppose I do remember that.” He leaned forward, “If I told you we are going to change that, would you be interested in helping?”
Edward waved his hand, “Certainly.”
“How far would you be willing to go to help?”
Edward took a drink, “I don’t know. Things would have to change a lot if someone like me or you are going to get a chance.”
“When you change things a lot, that is a lot of disruption. Are you willing to cause that disruption?”
Edward smiled thinly. Things were getting close. “I suppose so. It is for the greater good. Have to break eggs to make an omelet and all that.”
Bertram said slowly, “Some fear disruption enough to call it treason.”
Edward paused. “You are talking revolution. That is more than disruption.”
Pamela finally spoke, “Yes…Edward…we are talking revolution. It is time to restore order. Too much is being lost trying to ‘better others’. We need a sense of duty and honor again. That is going to take a revolution.”
Cedric held up a hand to Pamela, “Decide now, Edward. If you say yes, we fold you into our plan for a greater England. Those who get in early will reap huge benefits. Findley and Winifred are coming back and we are preparing for them. We will be the ones who rule. If you say yes, know you have crossed the Rubicon. There is no changing your mind. We expect you to act decisively and risk all. If you waver…we will deal with it swiftly and irrevocably.”
Edward said slowly, “And if I say no…”
Cedric smiled, “You walk out the door and we have no further contact. You know nothing. You are harmless. If you tried to tell someone, no one would believe it.” He looked at his nails, “Although that would be risky on your part.” He returned his gaze at Edward. “But we would remember your choice when we are in control.”
Bertram said, “Cedric has a flair for the dramatic. Really, joining us is joining the future. You are smart enough and know how things should be. You would move high in the ranks.”
Edward finished his drink, “Hell… Yes… sign me up. I’ve got no bloody idea what you are doing or how I fit, but God knows nothing else is working right now.”
Bertram said, “Good choice chap.”
Pamela raised her glass, “Our newest member.”
Cedric raised his glass, “Our newest member…may he last longer than Darrin.”

 

Author’s Note

Findley Brown and Winifred Stanhope come from my early work. Winifred, with Findley’s assistance, has designs on Earth. A force is coming back intent on taking over. Given Earth’s meager technology stance, the outcome is certain.  Winifred has decided to side with the alien force.  Findley and Winifred have managed to notify Cedric and Chester they are coming back and get prepared.  Cedric’s goal is to sow chaos so the take over will be even easier and possibly welcome.

I have been watching the developments of my country’s government with a mixture of disappointment. The new president has lived down to my low expectations (having a hissy fit over numbers? then trying to reconstruct history?)  The women’s march gives me hope. That so many people could come out and march peaceably gives me hope that our democracy is not dead yet. I can hope that truth will eventually win even if it is taking a beating at the moment.

In the meantime, the tactics and goals are providing much material for my writing.

A Quiet Fight – Back At the Cafe

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

Back at the Cafe

Helping Wynn

At that point, the voice of DC Monroe said, “And what would you be killed for?”
Stephan said, “And how long have you been there?”
Monroe came down the stairs and rested on the rail, “Long enough to know yon blue blood is about to risk his life socializing with his peers of the realm. What I want to know is why England’s young aristocracy is rising in revolt?” She waited for a moment and then said, “Oh and the remarkable Miss Alice said that she needs at least one of ye upstairs for the lunch rush or someone would pay dearly.”
Abigail started to move but Jolene said, “Abigail,you need to work down here. I’ve handled it other days.”
Abigail squinted at Jolene as she headed up the stairs, but stayed in her seat. She muttered, “I’d have rather worked the register.” She returned to DT Monroe. “You didn’t just come here to eaves drop on us.”
Monroe smirked, “No but I find I learn more every time I do.” She pulled a long rifle out of her coat and set it on the table, “Does this look familiar?”
Abigail looked at the rifle and moved glass over the casing, “Menanggung design.” She lifted it up and pointed it at a wall, “Small for Uycarrans but fine for humans.” She looked at a slide, “It is nearly depleted. Someone has been using this a lot recently.”
Monroe crossed her arms and frowned, “Are those African tribes or Chin kings? Because I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Stephan pinched his nose, “She does that to be annoying.” He glared at her and said, “And usually succeeds.” Back at Monroe, “Abigail is guessing on the manufacturer.”
“I am not guessing. I worked with them for years.” She lined up the gun, “They were the best at this thing.” She set it down, “Remarkable for such a friendly people.”
Stephan said, “For the moment, disregard the source. We know the seller and these weapons would be too small for them to be comfortable or useful.”
Monroe said, “Meaning they were made to sell to us. We have a foreign arms dealer supplying terrorists with a fire starting rifle.” She looked at Edward, “Which brings me to you. What exactly are you planning?”
Abigail said, “We had some information from the King’s Rope fire. Locals said there were a bunch of toffs around the pub before it burst into flame.” She gestured at Edward, “Edward is better versed in society than Stephan or me.”
Monroe muttered, “That is an understatement.” Louder she asked, “And you found something?”
Edward, “Attend enough parties and someone is bound to say something.”
“I have a sergeant who says that about pubs. Mostly I think she likes going to pubs.”
Edward rolled his eyes, “I was approached to join a group that is …dissatisfied with the state of England’s aristocracy. They want to return to days when the aristocracy controlled things.”
She snorted, “They control shit all now.” She took out her notebook, “Why do you think there is a connection?”
Stephan continued, “Edward made it. My pub was burned down by some locals in Dunstable. You might contact the police up there. Anyway, I know some of them. Edward knew people who knew them. Those people have connections to Kipling Airships and the head of Kipling Airships ties back to our group in Dunstable.”
Monroe wrote all that down. She looked up and said, “I don’t suppose any of this is firm evidence.”
Edward said, “I think Scotland Yard is going to have to accept this may be beyond arrest and trial.” He pointed to the weapon, “How are you going to explain that?”
She kept her book open, “So you think the group that attacked the Kings Rope has contacted you.”
Edward said, “Our conversation suggested they had done a great deal and were planning on more. I have to be willing to ‘set a fire’ to stop a fire.” He shrugged, “nothing definitive, but she was sussing me out.”
“What for?”
“They need engineers. They want …gentry. I have the name and the history.”
Monroe sighed deeply, “So we have a foreign power smuggling arms to a set of dissent aristocrats. Anything else?”
Abigail pointed to the gun, “No one has the money for this. At least not any money that would be accepted.”
Stephan perked up, “Gifts?” He scratched his beard, “Doesn’t make sense. Something to start the conversation?”
Monroe wrote, “Do these arms dealers want to take over?”
Stephan crossed his arms and stared at the gun, “I doubt it. We know a couple of these people. They are traders. Think gypsies but with a better reputation. They have no home. They are itinerant sales taking goods from one place to sell to the next. Groups react to them differently – they aren’t universally loved.” He started polishing some bolts. “Earth is a distant, primitive exotic planet. The trader who works here deals in ‘folk art and skills’ and does very well by all accounts.”
“Does she trade in arms?”
Abigail laughed, “God no. Millicent was militant in her non-interference. Forgive the irony.”
Stephan said, “But these are three other traders that I don’t recognize.” He polished another bolt. “Clearly three bad players. And every group has some bad players. But they are intent on profit. They will have no interest in ruling. What should bother us is that these players have no scruples about who they sell to.”
Monroe raised an eyebrow.
Abigail filled in. “Millicent, our contractor, was particular. No slaves. No arms. No disrupting the culture. She paid fair prices. John and I met plenty of traders who had no such qualms. If this group is like that and they are handing out guns, those guns were already paid for..by someone. The three traders are brokers for someone else if we are guessing right. And these three won’t leave with empty cargo holds.”
Monroe jotted down some more then pointed to the gun. “That was retrieved at a crime scene. I got it out using every card I had to pull. It was found next to a” she moved through her notebook, “Wynn Maynard.”
Stephan clapped his hand on his head, “Shit…what happened?”
Monroe put her book away. “There was a riot last night in the East End around a pub. The pub burned to the ground. There were two groups that clashed heavily. Dozens were killed.”
Abigail gasped and asked, “Is Wynn ok?”
Monroe eyed her narrowly, “Define OK. He is alive and he is being held as the primary suspect in the arson attack at the pub as well as a main suspect in the Barracks attack. In the melee, it seems that Mr. Maynard smashed the head of a Darrin Kipling. Son of Peter Kipling, nephew of Harland Stanhope. Founders of Kipling Industries.”
Abigail shouted, “I barely know the man and I know it is absurd.”
Monroe pointed at the rifle, “That gun matches the descriptions of the rifles at the Barracks attack.”
Stephan said, “He was with someone that night.”
“Who could be bought off.”
“It was the man we just sent to infiltrate poshes who are planning to overthrow the English government.”
She scratched her cheek, “That would play well in his defense.”
Stephan growled, “Surely you don’t believe this shit. “
Monroe said calmly, “No, I don’t. I think he killed Kipling but it may have been self defense. But Kipling is gentry. Maynard is poor Irish as near as I can figure out. And the Irish are blamed for the barracks attack.”
Abigail held out her hands and said, “We told you who was responsible.”
Monroe put her hands behind her back, “If I went to my chief with that evidence, I would be off the force and thankful if I wasn’t locked in Bedlam.” She sat at the bench and put her hands on the table. “There is pressure to find someone for the barracks. Mr. Maynard fits the bill nicely. If he lives to his trial, he will be found guilty and he will hang.”
There was quiet. Stephan crossed his arms and stared at the work bench, “When will the trial start?”
Monroe shook her head, “We are still gathering evidence. It could be weeks.”
Abigail said, “I don’t suppose you could us a meeting.”
Monroe smirked, “He ain’t toff.” She looked them over, “Near as I can tell you ain’t either.”
Stephan said, “It’s been awhile, but I seem to recall that prisoners could be …moved if the price was right.”
Monroe said, “It’s still true.” She eyed him narrowly, “It will cost.”
“Not a problem.”
“If he is moved into the higher levels, you might even be able to meet with him. Going to cost some pounds.” She held her face in one hand, “Won’t make the force happy. The punters who are in the upper levels won’t be happy sharing rooms with an Irishman.”
Stephan said, “Wynn can handle himself, given a chance.”
Monroe said, “I don’t doubt it. Took four of us to get him into the paddy wagon.” She stood, “I’ll arrange a meeting with the gaoler. Bobby won’t be happy he has to move the Irishman in with the toffs. Once he’s moved, you can bring meals. Bring some for the guards and they’ll leave you alone.”
Stephan said, “I’ll talk with Edward and see if his family knows a good barrister.”
Monroe took the gun, “I will need to get this back or I will lose my job.”
Abigail said, “Keep track of it. I can power it up if we need it elsewhere.”
Monroe looked at the gun long and hard, “Bugs the hell out of me that we might.” She picked it up and left, “Have a good evening, Aunt Abby”
Abigail sputtered and glared at Stephan. Stephan shrugged and went back to polishing bolts.

 

Author’s note

This is a long section but it finishes up the conversation at the Cafe. DC Beatrice Monroe is a useful ally at the moment.  We will learn more about Wynn’s situation in the next entries.

 

I am moving along in my writing. I am making progress in closing out the book. I am currently at 54,000 words or so.

A Quiet Fight – Back At the Cafe

Back at the Cafe

Stephan finished his cappuccino. Normally, he did not care for cream in his coffee. But the foam went well with the espresso. Stephanie and Kimberly were enjoying tea and their croissants. Stephan closed his newsprint and said, “I need head downstairs. We almost have the rifle barrel finished.”
Stephanie brushed some crumbs from her face, “I will be taking over the counter since Abigail will be working with you, Dad.”
Kimberly sighed deeply, “Well…as usual I will have nothing to do.” She grabbed the newsprint and said, “I think I need to find a job. I imagine Wynn should be able to find me a job over in Stepney until this is over.”
Stephan leaned over the table and thundered, “No you are not.”
Kimberly smiled a bit, “You are not my father.” Her attention returned to the paper, “I do not work for you at the moment and, so far as I can tell, you have no job for me.”
“Stepney is not safe.”
“But Wynn is working there.”
“That is different. I don’t care if you’ve protected yourself from drunks in Dunstable. Gangs in Stepney are not the same.”
Kimberly smiled, “So you won’t mind if I find a job elsewhere in London.” She stood up, winked at Stephanie and headed upstairs with the newsprint.
Stephan fumed and stormed towards the back. He went through the kitchen and stopped to talk to Jolene, “Can you talk some sense into Kimberly? The lass is talking about taking a job in the East End.”
Jolene stopped kneading the bread for a moment. “That is a bit much. I’ll talk with her. Stephan, she’s bored. She needs to do something or we need to send her back to Dunstable.”
Abigail came up drying her hands, “I don’t think we need to send her that far away, but we need to do something with her.”
Stephan said through clenched teeth, “I’ll not have to explain to her parents and sister why she was killed in some alley in London’s East End. I was supposed to take care of her.” He stormed off to the basement.
Down in the basement, he took a few deep breaths to clear his head. He donned an apron and some goggles. Wearing long leather gloves, he opened the furnace and used a set of tongs to put a tray of cylinders in the center of the heat that exceeded 3000 F. He closed up the door and then moved to the first of two cooling kilns. He checked the temperature and adjusted it for another cooling cycle. In the third cooling kiln, he checked the temperature and then opened the door and pulled the tray out with tongs. The tray was still extraordinarily hot, but was far below glowing. There was decirnable steam on the bath as he lowered the tray into the water but there was no hissing. His job was to create the alloyed slugs. When the slugs were cool, Abigail would do her work to magnetize them for use with the induction rifle.
While he worked on polishing the newly cooled slugs, Abigail came down and donned her own safety gear. She took a set of polished, lined four of them up in a wood rack and placed them in a metallic chamber. She then flipped a switched. Inside, the magnetic fields were strengthening and alternating in a specific pattern. After several hours, the slugs would be magnetized and would function in her rifle barrel coils. She and Stephan then moved to the diagram of the rifle barrel. It consisted of many rings of magnets lining the barrel. Unfortunately, this would make the gun extremely heavy even with the lighter materials that Stephan was using. The guns would be powerful, but they would not be mobile.
After about an hour, Jolene came down leading Edward. She said, “Edward thinks he has something.”
Stephan grumbled, “Start speaking boy. I could use something to cheer me up.”
Edward took a stool and began to talk about his encounters with Pamela Weymouth and her offer.
Abigail whistled, “Did not believe anyone thought stuff like that anymore. Thought it all disappeared with the Louis’ and the reign of terror.”
Edward scratched his head, “It is more common that you think. Old families have huge tracts of land that are nearly impossible to keep up. It all made sense with a pacified peasantry.” He shrugged, “Now the country manors are going to rat and ruin and the old families aren’t far behind. The jobs and economy are in London, Manchester and Liverpool. The families that are making it switched to banking or industry.”
Stephan added, “Mayor Brown started a factory. That kept him solvent and relevant.”
Edward said, “He was a lord. I never knew.”
Stephan said, “Brown thought the factory was doing more to help the locals than any manor. Thought the lordship wasn’t relevant. Didn’t care for visits to London.”
Edward scratched his chin, “That explains Findley so much more…”
Stephan waved his hand, “Go on…”
Edward shook his head, “Anyway there are some of my generation who resent having to work for a living I guess…They think they have a way of bring back the old aristocracy. Miss Weymouth did not divulge details, but she did hint at subversive action.” He straightened himself, “I’ve been invited to join…or at least get more info.”
Abigail clapped him on the back, “Well done. Sounds perfect.”
Edward slumped in the stool, “Except for the part where they kill me if I change my mind.” The room got quiet. Edward laughed harshly, “If it is them, they’ve burned people alive and killed over a hundred soldiers. Surely nobody thinks I could just stroll into a tea part and say ‘what ho…mind if I listen in?’”
Jolene finally said, “No…that doesn’t make any sense.”
Abigail tapped a screw driver on the table, “I guess I just thought all that Knights of the Round Table bullshit actually might mean something to aristocrats.’Never do murder.’ ‘Always flee treason.’ ‘Seek nothing but honor.’ Sporting play and hupp hupp and all that.” She crossed her arms and stared at Edward.
He smiled wanly, “One quickly finds that sense of honor seems to be selective. I never realized how myopic I was about that until my …vacation up in Dunstable.”
She snorted and returned to fidgeting with something on the workbench, “I saw my share growing up in a pub. Mother was…” She waved it away, “I imagine Felicity and Michael have their share of stories about backstabbing.” She stared at a control box, “but murder? Murder is messy.”
Edward said, “Oh I expect they would get someone of a more appropriate station to handle the murder. Mustn’t get ones hands dirty and all that.” At that he slapped his hands together, “Well now that I shall be providing you with no end of information, what’s the plan? I would rather my likely demise have a point.”
At that point, the voice of DC Monroe said, “And what would you be killed for?”

Author’s Note

The time is the day after the street brawl. Stephan fears for the younger ones especially his daughter and Kimberly.

As a part of my research, I did look up the code of the “Knights of the Round Table.” I suppose one needs to remember it is more myth than history; something that the aristocracy pictured itself as rather than a reality.  However,  English nobility has a long history of treason and murder.

I am typing my current work in. It probably needs a good edit for some conversations.  I am also taking a more measured approach on the last sections. I need to get this story wrapped up and I need to outline a bit to get there – something I did not do much of for this novel.

Look for more on Monday.