A Quiet Fight – Launch

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

Launch

Abigail assembled her wings at the top of the north anchor of the Tower Bridge. Other than the Clock Tower, it was the tallest structure in London. She had considered the clock, but security was lighter on the bridge and the bride was marginally closer. When the wings were assembled, She donned a helmet and goggles and then attached the wing assembly. She pulled the levers experimentally and the wide wings flexed. She moved to the edge of the ledge and was instantly buffeted by the inshore breeze along the Thames. She smiled, pulled her goggles down and jumped off the ledge.
The first moments of free fall almost caused her to scream like Alice had. Then the wings caught the air and started to lift. She flexed the wings and began to climb. In a circling fashion, she climbed above the bridge and headed north west in a zig zag patter. Below her the streets of London and its sites passed under, dimly lit by the gas lamps of the streets and shops. The night was moonless and a bit cloudy. Once she was over Whitehall and Great Scotland Yard, she circled for a few moments, observing. Bored guards walking along the grounds would not be looking up and her dark clothes and the dark wing would be hard to see even if they were. Big Ben rang in a new hour and a shift change began. The new guards arrived and dispersed across the court. The old guard quickly headed indoors to escape the damp London night.
Abigail waited a few more minutes to let the new guard get settled and then began circling slowly down to the station and gaol. Beatrice had told her which building to land on. She came down fast and landed with and thump and a tumble twisting her ankle. A sharp pain shot up her leg. The wings came off her quickly. She lay on the ground, moaned a little and collected herself.
She cursed a bit. Landings were never easy. She had more than a few in her younger days, but they were nearly always in a field and she simply could roll in the grass. She took inventory of herself. The ankle moved but was pained. There were some cuts and scrapes elsewhere and she would have an ugly bruise on her shoulder. She could move but she was sore.
She pulled out her satchel and found the small vial and her syringe. She had included some medications in case Wynn was hurt. Now she would use the local anesthetic on herself. The shot burned viciously as it went in. She got up and walked back and forth a bit. The pain dulled and soon she could not feel her ankle or foot. Pain dealt with, she secured her wing apparatus and then found the package Beatrice had left for her.

Author’s note

DaVinci had a model for hang gliding so it is not too much of a stretch for Abigail to have one of her own. She imported the tubing which would be the heaviest portion. Getting the silk would be no problem.  I have her landing on a roof. That would be tricky: too far and you fall off; not close enough and you crash into a wall.  That she managed with only a twisted ankle is pretty amazing.

A Quiet Fight – Preparation

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

Preparation

Abigail pulled the gliding wings out of the attic on to the floor. Stephan looked at them and whistled appreciatively, “There is no way you could have smuggled those.”
Abigail tapped the supporting frame tubes, “Like this? Of course not.” She began to disassemble the frame, “But I added some additional couplings. We couldn’t get the frame metal on Earth.” She inspected the shroud that covered the wings, “But the fused silk came from the Orient.” She looked at Stephan, “I’ve glided the Himalayas, the California Sierras, and the Alps.” She folded up the silk, “Once I took off the Eiffel Tower with Alice. She screamed all the way to Monmarte.” She grinned, “After she slapped me. She gave me the most passionate kiss ever. Did you know Parisian moulins are rarely locked and almost always have some nice straw on the floor?”
Stephan smirked and then eyed the contraption, “And if Wynn snogs you?”
Abigail laughed, “He will finish the trip unconscious.”
He looked at her, “The Yard gaol is five stories at most.”
Abigail went up to the attic and pulled down two long cylinders. To Stephan, “Boosters. Not a great solution, but it will help us clear the fences and make it to park.” She examined the deconstructed assembly. “I just need the guards to ignore me. Beatrice has agreed to help with that.”

 

Author’s note

A short entry today. Everyone has heard of the Moulin Rouge. In the Mid 1800’s it was one of several windmills on the outskirts of Paris on the Monmarte hill. That area of Paris was not yet built up much so the moulins were windmills for grinding wheat. All this was before it became a center of avante garde art.

A Quiet Fight – Make a plan

Making a plan

Upstairs, Stephan made another cappuccino sat himself by the window. He was joined by Kimberly, Stephanie and Athena who was in their charge. Stephanie asked quickly, “Is Wynn ok?”
Stephan sipped his cappuccino, “The boy has more lives than a cat. Four society puffs couldn’t scratch him. They are in the infirmary.” He set his drink down and stared out the window.
Stephanie fiddled with her napkin. Kimberly said calmly, “They will just send more people the next time.”
Stephan pursed his lips, “Everybody knows that.”
Stephanie snapped, “So we have to get him out.”
Stephan took a sip of his cappuccino, eyed Athena and smiled lightly, “No one…” He looked at Athena more intently and put a finger to his lips, “No one says anything.” Athena pulled a finger across her lips and turned and nodded solely.
Stephanie put her head in her hands and whined, “But the judge said no.”
Stephan looked at his morose daughter. He sighed and rubbed her back, “It’s all right, Steffy. We’ll get him out. And he’s a good lad. He’ll take proper care of you.”
Stephanie popped up and blushed. Kimberly and Athena giggled. She whispered, “Is it that obvious?”
Stephan pulled her closer and rubbed her hair, “It took me awhile, but men can be dense.” He gave her a little kiss on the head, “And Wynn might be a bit blind himself. Remember Jason and Candace? You better tell him when he gets out, or he will be haring off to some other risky adventure without you.” He let her go and took another sip of his cappuccino. “So we will be getting him out. I’ll not have my daughter pining her life away for some poor borne Irish pirate stuck in prison.” He winked at Kimberly, “So we’ll have to get the sod out of prison.”

DC Monroe came out of the kitchen frowning. She stopped at Stephan’s table, “Aunt Abigail and I have reached an understanding and exchanged information. “ She paused, “It will be some time before we can meet again.” She put her hands behind her back and looked at the table, “As long as I am an officer of the law, I have to enforce the law as I know it. For what it’s worth, I understand and I am sympathetic to your motives. I don’t wish the young man ill.”
Stephan sighed, “I suppose I am thankful for that detective. We may not be doing the lawful thing. But we are trying to help protect her Majesty and Britannia.”
Monroe quirked her mouth, “I’ll wager a weeks salary the other side is saying the same thing to Master Wayland.”
Stephan smiled thinly, “Our body count is much smaller and I really have no interest in ruling things.”
Monroe’s eyebrow went up, “Your body count?” She closed her eyes and waved the comment away, “I am sure I do not want to know. Good day Mister Miller, ladies. Aunt Abigail will pass on my information.” She left the cafe, put on her cap and hailed a cabby.
Abigail appeared after the detective had left. “She was helpful as she could be.”
Athena said, “So we won’t see her anymore?”
Abigail held her daughter, “Not for awhile dear. Not for awhile.”

Author’s Note

Candace is Kimberly’s twin sister. Candace and Jason had been flirting for weeks but Jason did not take it seriously until he was about to leave on a trip to the galaxy. Fortunately he had some weeks to make up for his lack of understanding.  Wynn may or may not suffer from Jason’s ignorance. He has a checkered past so he may think having ties avoids complicated discussions.

Between holidays and jury duty I have been remiss. I hope to add some new entries over the next few days.

 

A Quiet Fight – A Fight in Gaol

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

A Fight in Gaol

Stephan was enjoying his cappuccino with Stephanie and Kimberly when DC Beatrice Monroe entered the door and, without preamble, pointed at Stephan saying, “We need to talk downstairs.”
Stephan put his cup down, wiped his mouth and got up. Stephanie and Kimberly started to get up. Stephan put his hand on Stephanie’s shoulder and nodded no. “I’ll let you know what is going on. Stay up here.” He set the napkin down and followed DC Monroe through the kitchen towards the basement. As they went through the kitchen Monroe frowned at Abigail and nodded to the basement door. Stephan led the way and headed down the narrow stairs and got the light going. Monroe followed and sat herself on a stool at Abigail’s station. Stephan sat at his station. Abigail came down slowly and then leaned on the stair rail.
Abigail looked narrowly at Monroe, “Something to discuss, Beatrice?”
Monroe scowled, “My Grandmother called me that. Everyone else calls me Betty or Bea.” Abigail smiled widely, but said nothing. Monroe crossed her arms, “Maynard was attacked last night before lock.”
Stephen snapped, “We told you that would happen. Is Wynn OK?”
Monroe shook her head and chuckled mirthlessly, “He put four other prisoners in the infirmary. He has a few bruises and a cut or two.” She scratched her ear, “He has been put in solitary confinement. No visitors. No contact other than guards.” Stephan grunted and started to protest. Monroe held her hand up,”I am picking guards who will check on him and won’t dose his food or water.”
Abigail spoke calmly, “We told you we needed him out. Four attacked him this time and lost. Next time it will be eight and if that doesn’t work, there will be more.”
Monroe shook her head and crossed her arms, “I know that. But the judge was clear – no bail. The head inspector is convinced Maynard knows something about the Young Irelanders.”
Stephan shouted, “They don’t exist.”
Monroe waved her arms, “I know that. I think even the Inspector has his doubts. But I’ve got nothing I can use to say they don’t exist. Irish aren’t well liked and easy to blame. Hell, their blaming the Young Irelanders for the disappears of, “ she opened her notebook, “a Billy Sims out of the Kimberly Factory.”
Stephan worked on something at the bench. Abigail said calmly, “Wynn was in gaol when that happened.”
Monroe looked at her notebook and then eyed Abigail narrowly, “Some of us know Simms was paying off certain coppers. All those rotten apples asked for transfers about the time he disappeared. Know anything about that, Aunt Abby?”
Stephan polished a tool carefully. Abby looked directly at Monroe, “What an absurd notion.” Abigail crossed her arms, “We need to get Wynn out.”
Monroe pleaded,”The judge said no.”
Abigail hissed, “We don’t need a judge to get him out.”
Monroe’s mouth opened and then closed. She looked at Stephan, “I expected that from her. Do you agree?”
Stephan polished a bolt, “Abby’s right. We don’t need a judge to get him out. And Wynn can’t stay there. Eventually someone will get through his defenses. We’ve made some contacts because of him, but he’s more use to us outside now.” He put the bolt down and picked up another, “If he doesn’t get out one way, we can arrange another.”
Monroe’s voice dripped with acid, “I suppose you will want my help with that.”
Abigail snapped, “It will be easier. Fewer people will be hurt. But we can manage if you can’t…if you won’t assist.”
Monroe’s said quietly, “Stephan, can you leave us? Aunt Abigail and I have family matters to discuss.”
Abigail glanced at DC Monroe and then looked at Stephan and nodded towards the stairs, “She’s right…we have family matters to discuss.
Stephan set his bolt and frowned at the two of them, but walked up the stairs anyway.

Author’s note

I was complaining to my nephew that the story seemed stuck. Wynn was stuck in gaol. Edward was stuck learning stuff. Stephan and Abigail were stuck bringing Wynn food.  After some discussion, he suggested “Why not get him out of gaol?”  I doubt Victorian England had bail especially for murderers.  Prisons (like forts) are built for the technology of their times not for the next generation. So it shouldn’t be as hard to break into an old prison using modern technology and unexpected pathways.

A Quiet Fight – A New Job

A New Job

Edward finished writing the letter using the hallway desk. The letter contained information about the number people involved in the New Order, their names, the numbers and types of weapons. And he included a recounting of Chester’s conversation and his goal to hand over power to Findley Brown and Winifred Stanhope. He folded the letter up carefully and sealed it with wax. He called the head man, “Nigel, I think we are getting low on whiskey.” Nigel started to protest. Edward put his hand up and then put the envelope in his coat pocket. “Do you remember that shop by the University? They have some fine options. If you could be there around 1PM, I’ve arranged the proprietor to save me a bottle of Balvenie.” He leaned in, patted the spot where the envelope was and whispered, “Jolene”
Nigel’s eyebrows raised. He then put his hands behind his back and said, “Now that you mention it, there are a number of good shops in that area. The inventory in the reception room is low. I’ll handle it myself.”
Edward smiled, “Of course Nigel, I trust you will handle all those matters with care.” He straightened his cuff and said, “I’ll take a cup of tea in the Library.”
Nigel bowed, “I’ll send Colleen up straight away.”
Edward enjoyed his cup of tea and a book on physics theory. At 12:30, Edward put on his jacket and hat. The weather sunny but still a bit chill. He walked to Hyde Park to make a circuit. As he rounded past Lancaster Gate, he saw Pamela Weymouth. He approached, “Miss Weymouth, what a pleasant surprise,” thinking it was neither a surprise or pleasant.
Pamela responded pleasantly, “Please call me Pamela. We will be doing so much together, formality seems superfluous. May I join you in a walk?”
Edward offered his hand to help her up, “Of course. I was planning on finishing up on the east side and then pop into the Savoy for a bit of luncheon. Will you at least let me buy you lunch?”
She took his hand and joined him in the brisk air and said, “I would be delighted.”
As they started walking at a more leisurely pace, Edward remarked, “I haven’t seen you here before.”
Pamela nodded and smiled, “I confess I was scheming to meet you. You walk this park quite regularly.”
Edward put his chin up, “Part of my treatment was a daily walk. I learned to enjoy the benefits of a stroll in the countryside. It clears the head and gets the blood moving.”
She eyed home over, “And keeps you very fit.”
Edward blushed, but kept walking. By a patch of blooming tulips, Pamela put her hand on Edward’s arm and said, panting, “I must rest for a moment. Some of us are not as used to the rigors of a daily walk.”
“My apologies.” He directed her to a bench and said, “Please have a seat. It is a lovely spot to catch our breath. The lunch will revive you, no doubt.”
Pamela took a breath, “No doubt.” She took a deeper breath and said more evenly, “We have a position for you, Edward. You will be working full time at Kimberly Airships. Among other things, we need you to learn operations of an airship.”
Edward frowned, “That is hardly my specialty.”
Pamela said, “We know. But you will be working closely with Harland Stanhope, the president of Kimberly Airships. Your position in society make you uniquely qualified for that. I expect he will call you to do some special work at times. So the position fits you stature and provides some interesting opportunities.”
Edward stared at the bed of tulips. Winifred had been incalculably cruel for the months that Smith had held him captive. While he was certain the Stanhope family was aware of the daughter’s sadistic nature, he doubted that Winifred discussed her debauchery with her family. He asked, “Why operations? Surely engine design or fuel experiments would fit my skills better.”
Pamela said, “The Order needs people we can trust to run airships. Pilots are easy enough, but we need someone who can keep the engines running and the bladders balanced. It is part of a larger goal we have.” She stopped and said nothing more.
Edward shrugged and said, “Well, best to be open to new things. And I will get to see the English country side.”
Pamela stood and offered her hand this time, “That and a great deal more, Edward. A Great deal more.” She said, “Now shall we take a short cut to the Savoy? I am positively famished.

Author’s Note

This was something of a transition chapter. I need to get Edward into a position to be part of the final attack scene.  I also intended him to spy so I needed him to spy a bit.  The original plan was to have a few more “spying” scenes  but the book is getting long and I want to finish it up.