Strike a Blow for King and Country – Spellcraft and Heavy Artillery Chapter 9

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The warehouse was grim that night. Not everyone on the squad knew that Tom and Charlie were involved with the revolutionaries, but most did – and all of those had signed on. The room was mostly silent, with the occasional bout of cursing. It was hard for Tom to tell if anger or fear was more prevalent. They drank, a lot. After several hours of drinking it reached a point where liquid courage started to loosen tongues. “Fucking bastards. Fucking bastards. Murphy was only twenty one.”

“You think they know about us? They have to know right?”

Tom replied to that, “No. We weren’t up on the platform. Also, I haven’t had a chance to get everyone onside. Rick, Bill, we’re the rebels. Would appreciate it if you didn’t share that around, I’m fond of breathing.”

Rick said, “Yeah, no worries. I figured it out myself. Was waiting for you to get around to me. It’s all good, I’m in – I want more detail though.”

Bill, however, was looking down and not talking.

Bill, what’s your thought here?”

“I don’t want anything to do with this shit. I’m not any happier than the rest of you, but I don’t wanna end up on the gallows. I won’t say anything, but I won’t join in either. They will find us, if they aren’t watching already.”

“Okay, that’s fine. I don’t expect everyone to join in. There’s risks, there always were. I think we have limited time where we can operate under the radar. Hell, we haven’t even done anything except recruit so far and already they know about us. So, we will have to move to taking action sooner than later. I’m going to talk with our leader for a bit, get his thoughts on where things lie. The plan was to strike a major blow with the element of surprise, multiple fronts, all at once. Guess that has to change now. I’ll get back to all of you. Bill, if you can sit that conversation out I would appreciate it.”

“Yeah, nobody will hear anything from me, but I don’t want to know anything, I will be absent.”

That night Tom got out his scroll and told Adrian what had happened. He waited, staring at the scroll. Several times he jumped up and paced around the room, tension filling his limbs. Finally words started to appear, coming in a flurry, “We need to strike. We need to strike now. A first blow as it were. No idea how Conrose got the info, but he did and now he’s sending shock troops your way. Your best bet is going to be the armoury. Take the weapons if you can, destroy if you can’t. Every wand the kings men don’t have is one they can’t use on you. I have some intel that they know about other groups operating, not to what degree, but enough that they are probably going to be staging raids by two days from now – maybe against you, maybe against others.”

“Agreed. I’m going to try and pull something together for tomorrow. It’s too sudden, not enough time for planning, but I guess we’re going for it. Better to go out in a blaze of glory, better to earn the noose than to be hung for not doing things.”

Charlie and Gilbert were the next step. Charlie was where he usually was, slinging booze towards the men, holding court. He looked even more unkempt than usual, if that was possible. “Hey, Charlie, We need to chat – you know where Gil is?”

“Haven’t seen him son. Course that means he’s probably in the lab. Let me get this round of drinks set up and I’ll join you up there.”

They found Gilbert exactly where Charlie had said. He was hunched over a bunch of metal tubes, peering at them intently. “Gil, buddy, time to come back to earth. We have issues we need to discuss.”

“Give me a minute. This could blow if I ignore it right now.”

“Yeah, deal with that then…”

A few minutes later Gilbert finally stopped what he was doing an looked up. “I figured out a new compound. It’s… well, it’s really scary. Unstable as hell, and makes a really big bang. I’m looking for ways to stabilize it for transport. It’s way, way more dangerous than the black powder.”

“I have an idea about the black powder,” said Charlie, “we need to make the thing it fires pointy, and we need to make it spin.”

“Why point?”

“Well, not pointy, but kind of pointy I guess. Thing is, well, shape it like the head of my cock.”

“Okay, but why are we covering it with slime and tentacles?”

“Fuck you Gil. Just listen man. It slides in pretty good, being that shape right? Remember when you told us air resists things. I think that shape will work better, slide through the air better. Trust me, it’ll work.”

“Okay, and why spinning?”

“When I throw a ball I make it spin if I want it to go further and still hit the target. It flies straighter. No clue why, but it works.”

“Okay, that makes sense. Did you come you tell me that or was there something else?”

Tom said, “Something else. We need to strike now. The kings men are going to be raiding rebels in two days. We need to at least hit them before they can, before they know that we know. I want to take the armoury. This new stuff, how much do we have and how long does it take to make?”

“It doesn’t take long, but we don’t have a lot of materials. I need manure and animal fat. Lye too, at least they are the starting ingredients. I have to remove the nitrogen from the manure and the glycerin from the fat… mix em up, keep em cold, if  I let it get hot, BOOM! If I stir too fast BOOM! You get the idea. If I apply fire, big boom. I have a couple of litres done up. That should be enough to do some pretty serious damage. Wait, how soon do you want to hit the armour?”

“Tomorrow night. That way we hit them before they can hit us, maybe take some of their capability.”

“Well, if you want to maximize the damage we put all the new substance we have in there and we set it off. There won’t be working wands after, and if there are they won’t find them anytime soon, because of the collapsed building.”

“Right, sounds like a good plan. Of course the flip side is that we won’t get the weapons, but maybe we can make up for some of that with the… we really need a name for these weapons.”

“I was thinking boom tubes.”

“Alright, so Gil can make the weapons but he doesn’t get to name them. Agreed? Good.”

The three of them started going over plans. They had all been in and out of the armoury many times. It was another old warehouse, but in better shape than theirs. By daylight they had what they thought was a workable strategy that would allow them to take out the building and not get instantly killed in the process, provided they had a bit of luck, or at least not too much bad luck.

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