“Call for Boz, the payphone on the landing.” She smiled round the corner at Phoebles, who blushed. “Can’t stop, there’s a riot broken out in the bar.”
“Need any help?” asked Slasher McGoogs as Boz squeezed past on his way to the phone.
“Nah, it’s just high spirits.”
And out on the landing Boz picked up the handset.
“Boz? It’s Ferdy. I’m grounded in Guernsey, at the Silvertown Airways’ airship hangers in St Peterport. There’s some sort of commotion going on out over the sea to the southeast and I’m worried about The Kittens. I dropped them off outside St Helier earlier. They and Consuella have a gig at the Jersey Opera House. Have you heard what’s going on.”
“The Opera House?” The Kittens of Chaos were infamous for many activities, but their choral skills had rarely been called upon.
“Yes. It’s the Channel Islands Naturist Society Annual Karaoke next week and the Kittens are booked to do their Histoire d’ O with Balloon Sculpture. But what about the other stuff?”
“Oh that’s just an invasion. I expect Larry will want us to do something about it. Keep calm and find something to occupy the time while you wait for us. Have a go at that Jackson Pollock jigsaw I gave you for Christmas.”
But Ferdy could not just wait. He was a dodo of action.
Ferdinand sprinted across the tarmac, buckling his flying helmet under his chin as he ran and pulling on his goggles. He sprang into the rear cockpit of his shiny new Cierva C.30A autogiro, taxied onto the runway and took to the air.
As he approached the island tax haven of Jersey, hidden beneath a blanket of oily smoke, his headphones crackled into life.
“Sergei’s taken a hit! Watch out for the flack, comrades!”
“Mayday! Mayday! I’m going in!”
“Red6 on strafing run. Yahoo! See how they scatter!”
“Cut the chatter, comrades. And keep tight.” This last voice had been female, sultry, with just a hint of Russian accent. Ferdy flicked on his microphone.
“Polly? Is that you Wing-Comrade Karpova? What’s occurring?” Her distinctive scarlet Ratta burst out of the smoke screen climbing steeply, looped over and plunged back into the fray with all guns blazing.
“Ferdy? Good to see you old friend. Welcome to the scrap. It’s hotting up down here. There’s two clapped out old battleships anchored in the bay, but they’re bristling with Ack-Ack, QF 2-pounder pom-poms. Can’t get near them. And some mob’s established a bridgehead on the beach. God know’s where they bought their uniforms, they’re all dressed as superheroes. We’re trying to keep them pinned down.”
“What’s the plan?” Ferdy asked.
“No plan, and no back-up. So we’re just going to blast the hell out of them till we run out of ammo and then bugger off home.”