Dear reader, although the following communication has no relevance in the current adventure it, and Lt Thorvsen’s compliance, are of supreme significance later on. And it was whilst we were in the air over Matlock Bath that Larry entrusted his letter to the Downing Street post box.
Lt Reider Cook Thorvsen
Dear Lt Thorvsen,
On behalf of the people and cats of Britain I would be grateful if you would consider releasing your ship’s dog, Bamse to be temporarily seconded onto the crew of the Spyship Lord Ancaster that is to embark upon a perilous mission in Antarctic waters. The cold weather experience of said St Bernard combined with his exemplary record for reliability and enterprise make him particularly suited to the venture.
We will make every effort to ensure that he is returned in good order at the end of the mission.
British Prime Minister (Acting).
“…If you could take your seats, boys, I’ll be putting her down shortly.”
Boz could see the Ladybower reservoir and stone built Derwent Dam ahead. Woodland rushed by on either side as the Dornier Do X lost height and flew down the length of the lower reservoir. Dark trees, scattered gorse, sheep-grazed pasture interspersed with falls of scree clothed the steep sides. The twelve Curtiss Conquerors roared as the flying boat pulled up and swept in low over the dam, between the towers, and set down on the man made lake. The view through the portholes was obliterated by spray. The movement slowed, the plane wallowed and the tortured, piston engine din subsided; a chain rattled.
Beryl emerged from the flight deck. Ferdy came into the cabin from a stint in the Machine Centre and the Kronstadt Starshina also appeared, moving aft, to report, “Comrades, I’ve dropped the hook and a small craft already appears to be heading out towards us. It’s moving too fast to be a boat.”
By the time they had stepped out onto the stub wing the silver, dart-like vessel was close, skimming just above the water. As it neared they could hear it throttle back and watched it settle in the water only feet away. There was a solid bump as it drifted alongside and the Do X gave a slight shudder. The pilot emerged, blue striped t-shirt visible at the open neck of his soiled white boiler suit, black star prominent on a red beret. He lobbed a painter to one of the Kronstadt sailors who held the two craft together as the gang stepped aboard. Before they had time to sit there was a wheeze from a dodgy looking ramjet engine, accompanied by some spluttering, a pulsing blast of orange-yellow flame and the craft hurtled towards the shore. The pilot scowled over his shoulder and blew a smoke ring through a stub of clay pipe. Beryl waved them away from the Dornier’s hatchway and the line of Kronstadt sailors broke into mournful song.
Over the hills and through the dales
The Division advances to battle.
Conquer the White Cats, tweak their tails.
Infiltrate the troglodyte castle.
With the dark blood of ancient wounds,
Their fluttering banners stained in red,
Brave partisans who know no bounds,
Swift and dashing, fierce and dread.
The fame of these days shall never dim.
Fade away it never will.
Of guerrilla units, sing their hymn.
They’ll take Mam Tor, the hollow hill.