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Aquila IX – The Plan

   Jeffrey returned with a sack in one hand and a liquid filled pack hanging off his shoulder.  He put them down outside the room where the team joined him.  Captain Dekkar and his men remained as the young man took out the first weapon.  

   “You know about Tesla rifles,”  He asked.  At their nods he shrugged and spoke with boredom,  “Shoots electric bursts, lightning bolts if charged, or explode.”  

  “Yes,” Bookworm said frowning.  “We have them in New Babbage on the ramparts.”

  “You have these too?”  Jeffrey took out a thick metal baton.  He clicked a button and the top popped open.  Electricity sparked from the device as dozens of two inch long barbs snapped out menacingly.  “They’re used to tame the monsters in the lower areas.”  

  “Cor!  Looks like a shock mace!”  Tepic grimaced as he appraised the nasty work.  Bookworm hissed, she had been struck with an electric cane before but this was barbaric.  The companions also recalled what the spiders had said during their encounters.  

  Loki bounced on the tip of his toes as he studied the baton and rifle with a predatory glee, “May oi see it!?”

  “Get your own.” Jeffrey turned it off and put it back in his bag.  “They can be used as clubs without the spikes.  It works on anything with enough strikes.”  

  After a moment of rummaging he showed them an assortment of explosives, guns, and a silver knife.  “The usual things you’d get around town.  They just have more, the cannons, and these.”  He patted the liquid pack on his back.  “They call them the ‘Angel’s Breath’.”  

  “Dare I inquire to the nature of that device?” Bookworm knew she would regret asking.

  Jeffrey shrugged and turned towards the distant staircase.  He flipped a switch on the canister and took hold of the attached gun.  A bright light took life at the tip of the weapon waiting for him to pull the trigger.  At first the group thought it was just another flamethrower, but when he opened fire liquid flame shot out of the pack.  It engulfed the floor near the stairs almost a hundred feet away.  The liquid continued to bubble and burn blocking any possible exit from the basement.

  “Cor!  Maybe they should have called it the Demon’s Breath!”  Tepic cried.  He had seen flamethrowers before but they had never stretched that far.  Even Loki stared at the destruction impressed.  Kimika’s invention possessed a range of ten or twenty feet and didn’t stick to surfaces.

  “The liquid is a mixture of tar, kerosene, and other natural oils,”  Dr. Gammis said weakly.  He hung his head in defeat and didn’t have the strength to stutter.  Or perhaps he only stuttered when he was trying to defend himself.  “Once it hits something it latches on and melts through the flesh instantly.  We devised it knowing the weakness that the Koudra have to fire.  It’s also been proven effective on Vampires, Werewolves, and anything but incorporeal apparitions like the Kona Snaer.  It’s the tar that gives it weight and sends it flying so far.”

  “They’re well equipped,” Wright said dismally.  “A frontal assault is out of the question.”

  “It was initially our plan to route them with sheer force, but the priests told us they had a better idea.” Captain Dekkar shrugged.  “We will take the fight into the station where they cannot risk their war engines.”

  “Of course!”  Dr. Falcon said as she nodded her head.  “They wouldn’t want to damage Aquila IX or blow it up with them inside of it.”

 “I-It’s more than that.”  Dr. Gammis warned the companions. “Th-the station is…exceptionally unst-stable.  Th-they won’t be able to use firearms and n-neither will any of us.”  The Shores-men grinned rather wickedly at this, knowing that the tiny foreigners would stand no chance against them if their plan succeeded.  

  “But that still leaves the problem of getting into the building?”  Mariah had been wondering how these giants among men expected to sneak anywhere.

  “That part has been very easy,” Captain Dekkar replied. “There is an underground tram leading directly to the base.  Their holding cells are in Aquila IX.”

  Mariah and the others did not understand the implication initially, but then their eyes widened in understanding. Mariah shouted, “The plan has been to get captured?!”

  “Is this a plan, or a trap?!”  Dr. Falcon asked as she looked at Dr. Gammis suspiciously.  Tepic nodded with Avariel, “Bet he’s already ratted out ter them Progress blokes.”

  “Calm yourselves,” Captain Dekkar sat up slightly from his position in the room. “We know what we are doing and we have a spy on the inside.  Someone who is not Dr. Traitor.  They will unlock the cells when we are ready.”  

  “Alone?” That concerned Bookworm.  Though their plan could work it would fall apart if the insider was discovered.  “Earlier today we obtained some of the enemies coats.  Mariah and I could infiltrate their facility and assist them.”  She had been considering that possibility for a few hours.

  Bookworm looked to Captain Dekkar, knowing what it was like for people to make plans without her approval.  But the shaggy man appeared content with her offer.  “If you want to sneak within like a thief we won’t prevent it,” the Captain gestured to Doohan, “He was hoping to do the same.”

  “It willnae be easy,” the engineer said, “But the three of us might blend in better than just me wandering on my lonesome.”  

  “I don’t think that there is a coat big enough to hide me,” Avariel tried to imagine what she would look like in an enemy coat.  She figured even the dumbest guards would not be fooled by her charade unless they were blind. “But I would prefer not to get captured either.  I could find an alternate route to Aquila IX and join the attack when it begins?”

  “Not alone,” Wright said as he stepped forward. “If it’s alright with everyone else here I’d like to go with Dr. Falcon and make sure she gets there safely.  There aren’t any Moreau in their organization if Beryl is right so we would stick out more than a rabbit at a fox gathering.” Tepic looked about timidly at that clearing his throat lightly. “I’d prefer to charge the front once the fighting starts.”  

  Dekkar grinned at the duo, “Your lives are free to risk how you want.  Don’t expect us to send a signal.”

  “We’ll wait till the alarms sound.”  

  Tepic grinned, “Think we’d better go with them ter make sure they’s don’t get themselves lost in these mountains.”

  Captain Dekkar who had appeared apathetic until now hit the floor with his fist.  Everyone felt the stone vibrate underneath their feet from the blow.  “The children will not be fighting.”

  “What?!  That ain’t fair!”  Tepic and Loki both seemed crestfallen, “But oi came all thu way ter ‘elp!”  

  The Captain wouldn’t be deterred, and he spoke over their heads to Bookworm.  “Those are a liability.  They shall be watched by Sister Pankirst.  She teaches the youth.”

  “A schoolteacher!” Tepic looked to Loki horrified. “Blimey!  I shoulda known!  We’s gonna haveta break out!”  

  “You will do no such thing!”  Bookworm chided staring intently at both of them.  “You promised you wouldn’t go off alone remember?”  Tepic kicked at the stone.  This adventure would be so disappointing if he missed the battle for Aquila IX.

  The Captain turned to Yang and Beryl annoyed, “And do you have somewhere you would prefer to be during the revolt?”

  “Back here with the other doctors taking care of the wounded,” Beryl responded with certainty. “I was a nurse.”

 “There aren’t any doctors left,” Dekkar scowled. “They worked at the station.  The few that were not traitors were arrested.  We had hedge-doctors and an apothecary, but they were taken after the attack.”

  Beryl stared at the giant incredulously, “There are no doctors?!  What have you been doing to treat injuries?  Who’s been treating the sick?!”

  “The Brothers were till they were detained,” Dekkar shrugged.  “We’ve managed.”  

  The Babbagers now realized that half the town must have intentionally gotten apprehended as part of their coup plot.  Beryl sighed and rubbed at their head, which still ached occasionally.  “If there’s an infirmary I want to assist there.  I think Mr. Moreau needs to join me there for the time being.”

  Yang bowed his head to the Captain and spoke sparingly, “I would like to help, but I was not well recently.  Hearing your plan it would be best I allow the warriors to fight.”

  Jeffrey grunted down at Yang, but said nothing.  Dekkar seemed almost disappointed, “As you wish Mr. Moreau.  We will be moving people into position when the storm passes.”

  Beryl looked at the still burning tar that was blocking their passage up the stairs.  “Or whenever that burns out.”


  The Skullions were eager to take Ms. Whitesmith up on her offer, especially when she told their Captain he might be the new Admiral.  She had their ships armed with extra weapons and sent two clockworks to monitor the battle from a distance.  They would attempt to locate the Captain or a high ranking officer and then eliminate them from afar.  It would send their ship into even more chaos before they were destroyed.

 Ms. Whitebridge was ready for the pressure wave that would signal the end of the storm.

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