A hearty group of Kriegsmariners had come into the concourse from the Unterseeboot Pens and was indulging in manly horseplay when the glass in one of the skylights shattered. If the sailors could have made out more than a vague mauve blur they would have seen Dark Flo running down the marble wall, paying out a climbing rope with one hand and frantically casting throwing stars with the other. They scattered, rallied and returned fire with their Schmiesser MP-40s. Bamse was abseiling, noticeably more slowly and cautiously than Flo, towards the distant floor, and the bullets chipping off chunks of stonework all around him were not making for a happy St Bernard. To his amazement he was still whole when he reached the ground. His survival was probably due in part to the distracting effect of an indistinct pink whirlwind that pirouetted through the ranks of mariners. Sailors doubled over with an “Oooff!” or flew backwards, crashing into disintegrating furniture. The disgruntled emperor penguins who had, until this moment, still been waddling around the vaulted hall, turned, gave out a communal squawk of disapproval and trudged towards the double doors of the main exit. Bamse headed off to locate and liberate the crew of the Lord Ancaster.
An alarm siren wailed, almost immediately Neuschwabian reinforcements burst onto the scene and the machine gun fire intensified. Dark Flo became pinned down behind a Coca Cola dispenser. The situation was looking decidedly desperate when there came the muffled sound of several explosions from the direction of the Submarine Pens and the Kronstadt sailors arrived. They reached the top of the escalator already firing and immediately fanned out. The battle was intense, and destructive. As more and more lights were shattered by ricochets an increasing gloom descended on the vast hall, smoke billowed from the escalator tunnel and spread in undulating layers above the warring bands. Dark Flo’s camouflage began to suffer from the Purkinje effect. In low light simian eyes become more sensitive to the blue end of the colour spectrum, this is Purkinje shift, or dark adaptation, her Plymouth Pink Ninja outfit was no longer working efficiently. She was becoming visible.
Meanwhile Bamse was having difficulty rescuing the trawler crew. They did not want to be rescued. The third hand, Billy Tate teamed up with the St Bernard and they ushered the crew into an elegant, Art Deco wardroom. Plans to organise a second front disintegrated. The trawlermen were divided into two, almost equal factions. One group wanted to sit it out in the wardroom, perhaps get a cup of coffee, and wait to see which side won. The others had enjoyed their stay so much that they were all for joining the fray on the side of the Neuschwabenlandians. Billy was weeping with frustration.
“T’ skipper seems pally enough wi’ that Kapitänleutnant chappy. Thy squabble’s nowt te do wi’ us,” argued a scrawny stoker, self elected spokesman for the reluctant crew.
“Look,” barked Bamse, “Flo and I have gone to a lot of trouble to get you ingrates out of this mess. Don’t you want to see your Yorkshire homeland again?” He paused for dramatic effect, “The stigma of mutiny could get you all exiled to Grimsby.”
“Bleaker ‘n a February afto’ on Top Withens.”
“C’mon lads, lets stick it to the Hun.”
Bamse took a nifty step back to let them pass, but the unsuspecting young Tate was knocked to the ground and trampled in the rush.