Two steam tugs assisted the ABC Destroyer of Worlds through the lock gates and into the river Humber. She lumbered out past Spurn Point to face the North Sea swell, rolling, pitching and yawing at an agonising snails pace towards the northern horizon. Waves broke over the bows and washed past the cockpit windows. Windscreen wipers strained to keep the pilot’s view clear of spume, and failed. Many of the Kittens fell untypically silent, whilst others puked noisily into buckets, bowls or flower vases.
“Will this typhoon never end?” barfed Trixie de Montparnasse to the Tovarishch-Matros who was valiantly swabbing down the slippery and malodorous cabin.
“I fear little one, that we are experiencing unusually calm weather. If our good luck continues we shall reach our destination before the winter storms set in.”
“Aaaaugh!” she replied, clutching her zinc pail to her bosom like a slumbering lover.
For two weeks they wallowed up the east coast. Seagulls stood in a line along the roof of the fuselage watching puffins paddle past and a family of grey seals basked on the starboard winglet. Barnacles colonised the underside of the hull. Then, one fine, crisp dawn they found themselves in the Tweed estuary, beneath the towering ramparts of the Berwick upon Tweed city walls. They could discern no flag of surrender at the signal mast so with a call to arms, silent efficiency from the Kronstadt crew and excited pandemonium on the part of the Kittens of Chaos, the bombardment began.
Throughout the day the barrage was merciless; as night fell it became spectacular. Tracer streamed across the night sky from the 23mm water-cooled AZP-23 cannons. A gaunt pyrotechnical officer, with wire rimmed glasses and fewer fingers than normal, on loan from the Snake Pass Zapatistas, had joined before departure with boxes of Liuyang Thunder Dragon Fireworks Co Ltd Chinese fireworks, obtained at cut price in Hamleys’ summer sale. He skillfully mixed crossettes and mines, fish, Catherine wheels and Bengal Fire with the fruit and veg.
The Kittens of Chaos, emphatically banned from the powder room, were lined up on the Destroyer of Worlds’ winglets to witness the assault. But the pirate citadel did not fall.
On the second day a small inflatable with a Comrade-Starshina and two of the less irresponsible Kittens was dispatched to the shore to procure mercenaries. There was no let up in the assault on Berwick. To the joy of the Kittens of Chaos, Kronstadt sailors, stripped to the waist and drenched in sweat, toiled at the ropes.
“Two, six, heave! …Load! …Fire! …Two, six, heave!”
The shore detail was seen to return after several hours.
“There are no ninjas for hire. Not kamikaze ones. Not even in the pubs, after we’d bought them several pints, and us doing our wiggly dance. What are we going to do? That mob in Berwick is very resilient.”
“Hwell, they arrre corrrsairrrs and buccaneerrrs, dearrr.” Consuella had been giving the matter much of her attention, “We cannot affoord a long siege. We’ve burrrnt theirrr boats, but ourrr ammo ees getting low and prrretty soon they weell come up weeth a plan to counterrr attack.
“Petticoats off girrrls. We weell fashion them into parrrachutes. Hyou arrre all going eentoo action.”
Fluffybum pulled back the bolt on her StG 44 assault rifle, “Lock and load!”
“No dearrr. Hyou weell be exerrrcising yoor uniquely individual skeells to underrrmine barrrbarrrians unused to such subtlety, frrreebooterrrs amongst whom turrrning down the sound on MOTD and shouting Brace yerself! ees rrreegarded as forrreplay.”
And so it was that the Kittens of Chaos, dressed as for a Tarts and Vicars party without any vicars, though there were plenty of nuns in suspenders and fishnets, were packed in pairs into the missile tubes and projected over the walls to parachute into an unsuspecting Berwick.
Next morning the gates of the historic burgh opened and a sheepish group of spiritually broken and severely hung-over councillors emerged to surrender.