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.

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