It was a bright day and Lizzie had awoken early. After she got dressed she was about to have breakfast with Simpkins and Paul when they all got a call to come to the docking port docking bay. When they got there they saw the Volans Terrorum hovering close to the New Britannia and a smaller craft floating towards the bay. Johnson piped them aboard as the Tyreen officers walked down their gangplank and onto the bay. The other senior officers of the island also came to have a look. Paul was the most senior British officer and he stepped forward to salute with Captains Grenville and Deacon. The five officers saluted back, they were all from the air navy and their uniforms showed this. The commanding officer among them spoke, “Captain Hannay and Lieutenants Taylor, Mosley, McQueen and Hire reporting for duty.”
Paul introduced his officers, and Lizzie and the other VAS members who were there.
They were taken to the bridge initially to let the officers look around before they had lunch in the officer’s mess.
Hannay was impressed by the Britannia and said so, “We were lucky weren’t we,” he said to Lizzie whom he was sitting beside at lunch, “the Hoo could have destroyed us hundreds of years ago if it hadn’t been for the lightning shields. Look how far ahead of us they were even then!”
Lizzie had heard stories of the newer Hoo technology, “Mini transport pads, chemical weapons, exploding comets and ultra fast airships.”
“Yes I have heard of similar devices. And that the Hoo are preparing an armada to sweep over us when they have destroyed the lightning shields.”
“Until now the Hoo have been at war with each other but there is now a new leader in the eastern continent, Drakuum.”
“I have heard of him. With the resources of three giant kingdoms he can surely defeat us.”
This bothered Lizzie for she knew that unless they defeated Andacia quickly then they would have to fight on two fronts.
There was to be a summit between the military leaders of the Tyreen, Chelaccian, Fenegans and Vurindainians to be held on the New Britannia which was deemed a neutral kingdom for this purpose. As the leaders were landing on the small airstrip created for the event Lizzie saw Leegan who was part of the Vurindainian delegation. She went over to greet him, “Leegan, I have not seen you since last we met in Sagus.”
He looked down his nose at her, “General Leegan.”
“Although once I thought I espied you in Pintarn, which was odd because you were supposed to be have been captured at the time.”
He looked a little shaken, “Excuse me Miss McBean,” he said as he went to catch up the rest of his delegation.
Lizzie followed Paul into the large dining area that they now used as a hall for the meeting. He sat at the head of the tables because it was the British who were hosting it with the Tyreen. To his left sat General Bridell of the Chelaccians and his party. To the right was General Leegan with his advisors, and in front of him but at a lesser table was Rotan of the Fenegans.
Looking at Lizzie Paul asked, “Lizzie can you be a dear, I have left my notepad in my quarters, can you fetch it?”
She nodded, she didn’t mind because the actual thrashing out of the plan would probably be boring anyway. Walking down the ramp to the next floor she walked through the passage that led to all of the travel pads on this side of the ship. The soldier on guard saluted her as she passed by. It was a pleasant day and she looked out of the windows as she walked and daydreamed about picnicking and reading in the shade. She hadn’t read anything for ages. I’ll have to remedy that.
To stop incursions by the Hoo or the Gite the travel pads had been switched off. When they were switched on it was at a pre-determined time so that there was less of a chance that they would be invaded. Also, when they were switched on, there was a heavier guard presence and all personnel were checked, needing special documents produced back on earth.
She opened the door at the end and startled the other guard, “You scared me Miss, I thought things was goin’ a be quiet.”
“I am quiet private, as quiet as a church mouse,” she put her hands up to her face pretending they were mouse whiskers to have a joke with him.
He obviously enjoyed her act.
Down another two floors and she came to the rooms that had been converted into Paul’s apartment. There was another guard on the door, it was Sergeant Brown, the Corporal had been promoted, “Hello Lizzie,” he grinned, “has he forgotten something?”
He opened the door for her and she entered the apartment. She retrieved the notebook and had a look in the mirror at her own appearance, I need to get a better style for my hair, maybe something like Reena’s? She passed Brown again, “Thanks Tom.”
He nodded at her and closed the door then stood quite straight again.
She nearly went through the terramidion on the way back but thought better of it in case one of the doors was locked and then she would have to double back. She passed the private again but as she started down the passage she heard a noise from one of the far travel pad rooms. Opening a closer door she hid in one of the rooms with the door slightly open so she could see what was going on. Four men, they looked like Andacians, stepped through the door, looked to the right and left then walked towards the farthest door. This is not right. She heard a muffled thump at the other end and saw the body of the other private fall into the hallway. She listened for a second to make sure there were no other transports then ran out to the soldier guarding the door at her end. “Quick, some Andacians have made an unauthorised transport, get some men up here.”
He started to run down the passage that she had come from before she rebuked him.
“Go the other way in case any more come.”
He set off down the ramp to the next level as she did. She continued on to the next floor to her quarters to get her pistols and a couple of electric grenades Wagstaff had made her and to warn Brown that there seemed to be an attack. “Brown she called down the passage.”
“Yes?” was the reply.
“There is an attack on the island, they’re coming in on the travel pads. With me.” She led him back up to the travel pad area. Her intuition was right, she heard the travel pads hum slightly. They both covered the hallway and when Andacians entered it they shot at them. A lot more of the doors opened and more enemy soldiers came through. There were too many to shoot so Lizzie threw a grenade down the middle of the passage and nearly all of them were knocked out. “Throw down your arms,” she cried to those who were still standing. Some of them threw down their weapons. Those who did not were shot at by Brown so accurately that they decided to surrender after all. She heard the machines hum again and another batch came through. They had difficulty opening the doors and were kept in the rooms by Brown and Lizzie firing at them. A group did force the doors open and attempt to rush Lizzie and Brown but her last grenade stopped them. She didn’t know how they were going to contain any more attacks when some soldiers led by Paul opened the other door. The resulting crossfire stopped any more Andacians from entering the hallway. As some more soldiers came to her side to help her she asked another corporal, “Have we successfully stopped the attack?”
“The ones who got in on the other side have taken over the metal men factory. Sarn’t thinks they are making the metal men work.”
She ran up to the next floor accompanied by Brown and saw some of her own soldiers held off at the corner overlooking the door to the metal man factory. I need some more grenades.
She needed to be back down on the next floor to Wagstaff’s quarters. He had some grenades he was working on, she had seen them, but also, his door was locked and he was obviously trapped in the summit. “You help them out Brown, I’m going for some more grenades.”
Her hat pin was the usual mode of opening locked doors on the earth, even in most parts of Tyreen or the other human kingdoms she was able to open most of them. But these new locks were electronic, and had a keypad. She needed to guess his number. Can I do it?
Wagstaff’s birthday? It didn’t work. What was Irene’s birthday again? The 31st of August 1827. It still didn’t work. Or was it the 27th? She inputted 310827 into the keypad and it opened. “Yes!”
His room was nearly as small as hers and full of Hoo junk, bits of artefacts he was interested in and didn’t want to keep in his lab or that he forgotten he had in his lab coat when he got back to his room. There were two of the newer grenades, based on the technology he had found in the energy rifles, on his desk. She picked them up. When he had showed her, they worked in a similar way to the old ones except that you could set the timer between 1 and 10 seconds. Looking around for anything else of use she found an energy rifle with no battery pack. “He always takes things to pieces,” she moaned to herself as she looked for a battery pack.
As she looked under the bed and moved one of his spare shoes she found one. It might work. When she had loaded it in she did a test shot at his door and found out it did work, especially when it burned a hole straight through it! “Oh dear, well never mind, he’ll have to get a new door.” She pulled the door closed and found out that it no longer locked. Trying a couple of times more she decided to leave it and made her way back up to the fight on the floor above. Brown was taking pot shots at those he saw near the doorway. His rifle versus their first generation energy weapons. She handed him the newer energy weapon she had found in Wagstaff’s quarters. “Thanks,” he said as he put his old rifle down.
“I’m going to throw one of these newer grenades in,” she told him as she looked towards the doorway. A bolt from an energy rifle passed her and hit the man to her left. She stood back, “I’ll need some cover Tom.”
“Let me oblige then,” he smiled as he put three shots into the doorway. It looked as though he hit one of them as well.
While he was shooting into the doorway she ran across the hallway onto the same side as the door. She turned the timer for three seconds and threw it into the doorway. There was a large discharge and she heard four thuds on the floor. Leaning forward slightly she saw that the four men holding this door had fallen. Motioning to Brown to move forward she got her electric pistol out. Once both she and Brown had got to the door she saw another two men coming to take over the position from their downed comrades. She stunned one and the sergeant killed the other with a hole straight through his chest.
“Nasty,” he commented as he took a position inside the room to fire on a metal man that was coming towards them.
Lizzie didn’t know whether to throw another grenade for she could see three more metal men and about ten Andacians behind it. She decided to try and shoot it with her electric pistol. Brown hit its shoulder and melted it slightly but still it came on. Lizzie’s bolts of electricity were doing no good, again Sergeant Brown aimed at it but this time its chest and he hit it. The thing had its chest plate fused to the workings inside and it also took a step back. Two more steps forward and it would be upon them. The rest of Paul’s men from the hallway had also come into the room and fired their weapons at it. Some of the bullets must have done something to its insides because one half of its body seemed to stop working. It stood there and tried to reach for Lizzie just inches off her head. Another shot from Brown’s rifle and it became inert. Now the other three metal men and the soldiers were coming down to deal with Lizzie and the rest. She fumbled for the grenade and wen she found it turned it to a full ten seconds and threw it. It landed right among them but before it went off the invaders were able to shoot at them. Brown was hit in the shoulder and a couple of the other men were downed. Lizzie hid behind the inert metal man that was still standing.
The grenade went off and all but one of the metal men was caught in its discharge. The one that still could ran towards them. Brown missed two shots. It charged into the broken metal man and knocked Lizzie flying. The sergeant made one last shot and managed to hit its leg bringing it down. It slid on the floor towards them then started to crawl in their direction. The sergeant tried to fire again but the power cell had been depleted. He whacked it with the now useless rifle that was snatched off him by the crawling machine. Falling backwards over a fallen comrade he tried to evade its grasp. Lizzie was now behind it for it had passed her, she emptied the chamber of her DN35 into the back of its neck and the last shot severed the bundle of wires housed there. The metal man’s arm fell onto Sergeant Brown’s leg but did nothing more. “Ow,” he cried just before he kicked the lifeless arm away from him.