The explosion was unexpected. The sound she had been listening for was that of an electrical discharge, a kind of crackling buzz this however was definitely an explosion. Her ears rang, then she heard Simpkins’ voice.
“Do you surrender?” he called.
“Yes,” came the reply, “we give in.”
Not knowing if he could really trust them he nodded to Paul so as to make sure that the other man would maintain his vigilance over the gap in the barricade. Warily he climbed over it, grenade in hand. When he looked over the other side he saw that six of the ten men were dead outright. The other four were wounded, one bleeding out. He looked back at Lizzie and the others who had come out of the door to make sure they could help if he needed it. “Come on they need help.” Climbing over one of the men Paul had shot earlier he made his way to the soldier who could talk. “Where are you hurt?” he asked.
The man had been wounded in the side.
Lizzie came over next helped by Johnson. She looked at the one who was mortally wounded. He had been hit in the throat and could not speak. A look of terror was in his eyes and he seemed to be trying to gulp. As she held the wound on his neck, a half smile came across his face then he stopped breathing. Poor man. She wiped her hands with the handkerchief from her bag.
Wagstaff, who had a little more medical knowledge than Lizzie, helped the one who needed the attention most out of the others. He tied off the man’s leg with a tourniquet before he bled to death.
Lizzie went over to the man who had called the surrender to them. He was holding his side. “Let me see,” she asked as she took hold of the hand he was using to cover his wound. He lifted his hand. When she uncovered his side she saw that a piece of shrapnel had hit him. It needed removing, but she had no tools to do so. She stemmed the flow of blood as best she could with a wad of cloth given to her by Phoenix who was standing near. “He needs a surgeon really,” she told Paul.
Paul could do nothing but shrug.
After tying the other man’s leg up he came over, “How is he?”
He has shrapnel in his side, he needs someone to take it out, but I have no tools,” she replied.
“I have some pliers, they need cleaning though.”
“I do have some tweezers but I fear they would be too small.”
Wagstaff looked at the wounded man, “Is there anyone on the island who can help you medically?”
The man looked up in obvious pain, “There are a couple of Doctors/scientists who came through the planet portal with us. One of them has surgical skills.”
“Can you contact them?”
The man had trouble reaching into his pocket but managed to retrieve a small communications device. He twisted it slightly to reveal a mouthpiece and earphone then spoke into it, “Dr. Oswald, can you put Dr. Oswald on please.”
They heard another voice on the other end, “What do you want Brown?”
“Is Dr. Oswald there, we need medical attention.”
“Did you kill Wagstaff and the others?”
He remained silent not knowing what to say.
There was hardness in the man’s voice as he replied, “Unless you kill them all then you will get no attention from Doctor Oswald.” The line went dead.
“Parvill, Parvill…” cried the man, desperately.
Lizzie glanced at Wagstaff who shook his head. This man could die at any time, Parvill is evil! She thought to herself.
“Can you ask Tran if there any medical facilities near please Lizzie,” asked the professor, “my Hoo is not as fluent as yours, not the spoken kind anyway.”
There was a medical station further down the passage they were in but they had to climb back over the barrier. Paul and Lizzie guarded the doorway that Parvill’s men had come through just in case he sent reinforcements. Simpkins and the others pulled some of the barricade down to allow easier access to the part of the passage where the medical station was, then took the wounded there.
Everything in the room was white, the bed, the surfaces of the cupboards, the floor, the ceiling. Tran directed Simpkins and Johnson to lay the man with the side wound on the bed. As they did so he said, “Se glimpto flang ton.”
A small silver coloured metal robot came out of a panel in the wall and scanned the wounded man. It then proceeded to put him into a type of stasis before it operated on him to remove the piece of shrapnel. After sealing him together it then stopped the stasis. The man did not awake, for he was never put to sleep, but, because he had been repaired and given some kind of pain relief, he sat up and said, “I feel hungry!”
Lizzie was amazed, a man who could have died within hours now healed and asking for food!
The medical metal man ‘repaired’ each of the humans, including Paul’s ankle.
Touching her chin in thought she asked the Corporal who had the side wound a question, “Are you real?”
“What do you mean Miss?” he asked.
“Are you one of those doubles.”
“No, not me, I come from Paddington.”
“Well then, why were you working for Parvill then?”
“Me and me mates were recruited in a bar on the Chippenham High Street. They took us to that castle, gave us uniforms and trained us. We thought we was in the army.” He let his hand run across the side he was standing against, preparing to tel her his innermost thoughts, “Then we were dragged into this nightmare. It’s not right you know, “ he looked her in the eye, “they have the queen,” he said with emotion.
“Are you with us? “
“They also have giants. Parvill had two of us killed when we wanted to go back home.”
“So, are you with us?”
“Can you get me and the lads back home?”
She nodded, “Of course, we just need help getting the queen back.”
Checking with his other men by nodding to each of them he then replied to her, “We are with you.”
When he heard this Paul said, “You can lead us to Parvill then.”
“He might kill her you know, so we can’t rescue her.”
Simpkins also came over, “You know where she’s being held and the security he has, can we do it before he does?”
“He has her strapped to a bench in a laboratory on the next floor. They are trying to change her mind in some way so that if she goes back home she will be working for them. They have set up cameras on the way there so they can see if we try anything.”
“They take photographs?” wondered Lizzie.
“More like moving pictures, but in colour and with sound.
“‘We found out that this flying island is very old, the giants have developed newer technologies since it was built. It is only more recently that one of the giant factions has been using it as a flying base. Oh, by the way, he’s a spy.”
He nodded over to Hawkins.
Quickly Hawkins looked from man to man then started to run away from the door of the medical room. Lizzie stepped out and shot him with her electric pistol. He fell down mid run. “How do you know he was a spy?” she asked the corporal.
“Parvill spoke to him over his communications device, it was him who raised an alarm to let us know you were here.”
Paul walked over to Lizzie who had made her way over to the unconscious Hawkins, “It seems as though that other fellow back at the base was set up.”
“Unless there were two of them?” she looked at Johnson.
He had an open expression, “I’m not a spy.”
She believed him, “I don’t think you are.” scanning the downed Hawkins she asked, “What do we do with him then?”
“Let’s tie him to the medical bed,” said the Corporal, “get that metal doctor to perform an operation on him.” He smiled and cocked his head slightly.
So they tied him to the bed but Lizzie had assumed he was joking about the operation bit. “When he wakes up he might have a nice headache.”
Wagstaff took Lizzie, Simpkins and Paul to one side to talk to them quietly. “Knowing that Parvill is waiting for us, and may kill the queen, concerns me.”
“I have an idea,” she revealed, “we could send the Corporal and his men in to either attempt the rescue or interfere with the camera things so we can get in.”
“Do we trust them now?” asked Paul.
She pointed at him, “You can go with them, put some black on your face like one of the dead ones, you’re dressed nearly the same. Put one of their hats on and go in near the back.”
“It might work,” agreed Paul.
“You can take my last two good grenades with you,” offered Ichabod, “that will knock out anyone in there, and deal with any electrical equipment.”
“I could dress as a soldier as well,” said Simpkins, “we could even bring the rest of you in as prisoners.”
They told the others this plan but the Corporal told them that the prisoner part would not work, “Parvill told us to make sure you were all dead.”
So it was decided, Paul and Simpkins would go with the corporal and his men. They walked behind the rest of the soldiers as they went through the passage towards the next deck. Lizzie and the others followed until just before the first camera.
As she waited she notice her palms were sweating. Would they succeed or would Paul and Simpkins be killed in the crossfire? Wagstaff saw her and tried to calm her nerves, “I’m sure they’ll be all right, both of them are resourceful and tough.”
She smiled at him but was still very bothered about them.
They all walked down the ramp, Paul saw one of the cameras and made sure he looked down at the floor, Simpkins readjusted his helmet. As they passed it they glanced at each other. John fingered one of the electric grenades in his tunic pocket.
Once they had passed two more cameras that seemed to follow them they continued on towards the experimental section.
Entering through the double doors Simpkins and Paul saw something similar to an amphitheatre that led down to a staging area. There was a collapsible screen at the other end that was partially open and there was another room beyond where Simpkins could see that Queen Victoria was lying with wires and tubes attached to her.
Parvill came through an office door that led into the area behind the screen, followed by the Oswald and the other doctor. They had seen the men returning on their surveillance system.
There seemed to be no obvious threat from Parvill and his doctors so Simpkins nodded to Paul to see how it would play out if they just listened for now.
“So they are all dead then?” Parvill asked the corporal.
“You seem a little confused by the question, are they all dead or not?”
Now the corporal was a little confused because he had expected Simpkins to throw one of the electric grenades. He looked down at the floor because he didn’t want to reveal either Simpkins or Phoenix by looking at them, “Yes they are all dead, even the girl.”
Parvill looked among his men, “Four dead, where’s the air sailor who was with them?”
“He’s dead as well, they found out he was a spy and killed him.”
Parvill considered this, “We can grow another Hawkins if we need one. Now which of you needs medical attention?”
“A slave led us to a medical room and we were repaired by the metal man there.”
“Mmm,” hummed Parvill, “go and clean yourselves up and get a meal. If I need you again I’ll call you.”
Dr Oswald turned and went back into the office followed by one of the other scientists.
Parvill instead went over to Queen Victoria and checked the wires and tubes going into her body.
The corporal glanced at Paul to see if they were indeed going to get cleaned up and some food. Paul then motioned to Simpkins to let him know that they were going to move now. Paul went for Parvill while Simpkins went for Oswald. Parvill put his hands up when Phoenix trained his rifle on him, “What do you think you are doing?”
As Simpkins got to the doorway he did not just see Oswald and the other doctor there but also two seated giants. He fumbled in his pocket for the grenade.
“What do you want?” asked Oswald.
Simpkins knew that when he had turned the dial on the top of the grenade they would have ten seconds to respond once he had thrown it. He turned the dial, “Er, what I was going to say is that we found this on them.” He took the grenade out of his pocket, counted beneath his breath, “5, 4, 3,” then threw it into the room. As he dived out one of the giants caught it and tried to crush it, but too late. It went off and Oswald, the other doctor and the two giants were shocked into unconsciousness. “Whew that was close,” he said to the corporal who helped him up. As he brushed himself down he asked, “By the way, what’s your name?”
“Corporal Brown, Corporal Tom Brown.”
“Can you Let Lizzie and the others know that we’ve been successful.”
“Of course,” replied Corporal Brown as he turned to go back up to the entrance.
Simpkins then went over to see Phoenix who was talking to Parvill.
“… when?” Paul looked over at Simpkins, “He says he cannot take her off of the machine yet in case she dies.”
His lips thinned in obvious displeasure, “We will be hanging around here like sitting ducks with I don’t know how many metal men, drones and giants after us.”
“If there were only ten giants to begin with then there are only four left.”
“Whatever.” He looked back at the Parvill, “How long?”
“About two hours,” he smiled ominously.
Simpkins knocked the chair sideways that was near him. He saw Brown’s soldiers looking at him and tried to calm himself down a little then ordered them to, “Bind up Oswald and the others so we don’t have any problems with them.”