“The Gilnockie Reivers are mopping up the last pockets of resistance in town, but we’ve lost the mercenaries to the temptations of looting and pillage. I have no news from the hinterland.”
Phoebles was on his third blueberry muffin. “Whoof mufflup hurver mrm wuck borrumzy?” He swallowed and tried again. “The pirates, do we know what’s happened to them?”
“The survivors of the sea battle are scattered. We just don’t know.” Flo leaned over and flicked some crumbs from Phoebles’ furry chin.
“Oh. Heruugh. Is there any chance your ninja could get out of that suit?” The sight of Flo’s disembodied head bobbing about above her all but invisible costume was making Mad Jack queasy.
“Oh for… If you think I’m stripping just to keep you happy.” She whipped out her trusty Yoshindo Yoshihara katana. Mad Jack flinched and uttered a pathetic squeal. Flo ignored him, strode over to a window, deftly sliced a poncho out of the chintz curtain and threw it over her Mountbatten Pink shozoko.
Whilst our heroes were catching up with local events, the dinky Kronstadt armed trawler Parizhskaya Kommuna, formerly the Ross Tiger, slipped into St Hellier harbour and tied up at the quayside. Three sailors and a washerwoman disembarked. They commandeered two trishaws and requested to be conveyed to the Grand Jersey Hotel where they soon discovered Boz and Co.
“Lev Mikhailovich Zhiltsov, Acting-Comrade-Skipper-for-Today of the Parizhskaya Kommuna. I have with me three representatives of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Cruiser Aurora’s Steering Committee. Apologies for Comrade Tchaikovsky being out of uniform. Ever since we disguised ourselves for the raid on Petrograd we can’t get him out of a dress.”
“Steering committee?” Ginsbergbear enquired. “An advisory body usually made up of high level stakeholders and/or experts who provide guidance on key issues such as company policy and objectives, budgetary control, marketing strategy, resource allocation, and decisions involving large expenditures?”
“Not exactly; the Committee that decides which way to steer. We are here to give our report.”
“Get yourselves a coffee and come and sit down,” said Boz.
Once armed with Butterscotch Brulée Lattes, Piccinos, Espresso Macchiatos and Hickory Smoked Bacon sandwiches all round one of the Kronstadt sailors began:
“Feliks Nikolayevich of the cruiser Aurora, now anchored in St Aubin’s Bay. Wing-Comrade Karpova and the Kronstadt shore detail are meeting stiff opposition from crack Imperialist troops under a Sergeant Phantom at the aerodrome. The Imperialist battleships are no longer a threat, the puffer Inchcolm Lassie is towing the disabled Destroyer of Worlds into St Hellier and Kapten Nyai has taken her bisquine down to St Malo for repairs.”
“Comrade Karpova urgently requires a fresh supply of vodka, preferably Polish,” added Tchaikovsky, “and reports that her planes are running low on 0.762 ammunition.”
“I’ll have a word with the maître d’hôtel,” said Ginsbergbear. “Ferdy and I can deliver a few bottles to tide her over.”
“Great,” said Boz. “The rest of us should link up with the Resistance. We’ll need suitable transport.”
“I think I can help there,” said Comrade Ziltsov. He carried his iPhone over to the window for a better signal. “Сергей, вы можете получить omnibus над к отелю быстро?”
The group finished their drinks and Phoebles stuffed a last blueberry muffin into his pocket. They emerged onto the prom as an AEC Routmaster doubledecker pulled up opposite. It was painted a drab olive green with revolutionary slogans in red and two Soviet flags firmly tie-wrapped to the radiator grill.
“Bags I drive,” cried Phoebles.