Sunday, 5 January 2014

Allison I - Chapter 6

(Download the updated version in PDF/epub format here.)

A short chapter of Allison. Enjoy!

-----


Chapter 6: Walter’s Battle


-----


After pulling the string that triggered the emergency alarm, Walter climbed up to the ground floor. The bells rung through his head as he quickly knocked down two soldiers he happened across with his stolen truncheon.

“All right. Off to the roof.” He muttered, grabbing the soldiers’ handguns.


Second Lieutenant Carr Benedict and the female soldier he was talking with at the castle entrance were taken by surprise by the sudden alarm.

“Shit. This is not my lucky day.” He swore, and turned to the soldier. “I’m sorry, but we’ll have to talk more some other time.”

Winking at the woman, he ran for the hangar.


The second floor.

The second lieutenant, first lieutenants, and Captain Gratz woke to the clamor of the emergency alarm.

“What’s all this noise…?”

“Wish they’d just let us sleep in peace.”

The second lieutenant and one of the first lieutenants complained.

“An alarm. Be ready, men.” Grtaz said, quickly getting up and putting on his uniform.

“Captain Gratz. This is probably just a minor fire or a false alarm.” Said the second lieutenant, who was half-asleep with his shirt open.

“…”

Gratz ignored him, slinging his submachine gun over his shoulder and stepping into the hallway.

“!”

The moment he left the room, he ran into a well-built army major and two armed soldiers.

Gratz first saluted the major.

“Sir. What is going on here?”

“We are still investigating.” The major replied mechanically.

Suddenly,

“No need for an investigation, my friends! This is what’s happening!”

A loud voice called from down the corridor. The voice was speaking in Bezelese.

Gratz turned.

“You…”

The major and the soldiers gaped.

An old man was dancing in front of the stairwell.

“Tell me, my friends. Do you like waltzing?”

He was holding a pair of handguns, one in each hand, and dancing jovially.

Gratz quickly loaded his submachine gun.

“Stop!”

“Could you really afford to shoot me, you false tax official?” Walter replied, continuing to dance.

“Damn you…!”

“Catch me if you can!”

As soon as Walter disappeared into the stairwell, the major grabbed Gratz by the shoulder.

“Explain yourself, Captain.”

“Major. That man is a Roxchean spy. He must have escaped from his cell. Permission to dispatch an armed unit to capture the man alive? I will provide a detailed explanation afterwards.”

With that, Gratz kicked down the door of the room he had been sleeping in. He shouted at the bewildered, half-asleep men.

“The old man has escaped! Alert the colonel!”


The technicians in front of the hangar ran over to the foreman, panicking at the sound of the alarm. The foreman, who was walking over to René, turned and ordered a soldier to find out what was happening.

“Uwaaaaahh…”

The foreman ignored René, who was still sitting with his head in his hands, and cried out to the seaplane.

“Warrant Officers! We have an emergency!”

“Wil!” Allison cried to the back seat.

“Here!” Wil passed her a Roxche Air Force jacket and aviator hat, both embroidered with the Spear of Seron.

“The radio’s below you, to the right! Wrap it around your neck so the mic comes under your chin! The talk button’s the red one to the bottom-right! The seatbelts are the same as the one from before! Okay?!”

“Got it!”

“Quickly! We’re taking off!”

Allison undid her hair, put on her jacket, and wrapped a belt around her neck. It was a throat microphone, which picked up sounds directly from one’s vocal cords. Allison put on the Roxche Air Force hat and headset, and put her goggles around her neck.

“Warrant Officers! We’re bringing the ladders back! Please, climb back down!” The foreman cried, but Allison ignored him.

Wil put on his jacket and adjusted his holster. Then, he put on his seatbelt and began to fiddle with the microphone and headset.

“Are you ready yet?”

“Give me a second!”


“What is this?”

As he rushed out of the castle, Benedict was shocked to find a seaplane outside the hangar.

He could see someone sitting in the pilot’s seat, and it was not the second lieutenant or one of the first lieutenants. He also noticed that the ladders had already been taken away.

“Those imbeciles… What do they think they’re doing? Snapping photographs or something?” Benedict spat, looking at the technicians standing around the plane. He spotted a tripod.

“This is outrageous. Who’s in charge of keeping an eye out on those bastards? ...Wait. That was me.”

His pace quickened.


“Just putting on my hat now!” Wil cried. Allison roared at the foreman, who was bringing along the ladder.

“Get back! Never mind us, just stay back!”

Wil spotted a man carrying a black jacket heading in their direction.

“Someone’s coming!”

“It’s okay! He’s not the fake official!”

Wil fumbled with the straps of his aviator hat and cried out to Allison.

“I’m almost done!”

“Hey! What is going on here?! Don’t bring out the planes without permission!” Benedict shouted, finally arriving at the hangar. He then turned to the foreman. “What do you think you’re doing? Why did you let someone onto one of our planes without authorization?!”

“S, Sir! Those two are warrant officers from the Royal Guard Youth Corps. Please ask them to get off the plane!” The foreman pleaded desperately.

“What’s that about the Royal Guard now?”

Benedict looked directly at the person in the pilot’s seat.

“Hey! I don’t know who you are, but get down from there! I know you can hear me!”

Allison turned and shouted back.

“Silence, you commo-”

She froze.

“What?! Anyway, get down! This seaplane is—”

Benedict also froze.

“…”

“…”

They looked at one another for several seconds, the silence between them only broken by the alarm bells.

“No…” Allison gasped.

You?! Y, you’re… You’re Allison! Wh, what are you doing here?!” Benedict yelled.

“Not good! The cat’s out of the bag, Wil!”

“What? Wait! Don’t tell me—”

“Yeah! He’s the love letter man!”

“Right…” Wil muttered, finally tying the straps of his hat together.

“Hey! Wait!”

“Done! Ready!”

Benedict and Wil cried at the same time.

“All right! Engines on!”

Allison hit the switch.

The motor began to rumble from inside the engine of the black fighter plane.

A mixture of fuel and air, compressed in the cylinder, was ignited by the spark plug.

The V12 engine easily roared to life. The propellers began to spin.

“This is some excellent maintenance work, everyone! Goodbye! You too, Second Lieutenant!”

Allison cried to the foreman and Benedict. But the plane was so loud that they could not hear her.

The seaplane slowly began to move.

“Hey! Stop right there!”

But the plane did not stop.

“Stop! Stop, or I will shoot!” Benedict threatened, pulling out a handgun. It was a six-shot revolver that could be folded in half. He held the gun with both hands, aiming at Allison in the pilot’s seat.

“This is no good…” He turned, holstering the gun. Benedict ran for the hangar.

“Whoa!”

René popped up out of nowhere and latched on to him.

“Second Lieutenant! Those two people! They’re spies, sir! Spies! From Cross-River!”

“I know that! Get off me! I don’t give rides to men!”

“Argh!”

Benedict tossed aside the weeping private. He passed by the thunderstruck repair technicians and sprinted for the telephone installed by the hangar entrance. He chose a recipient and turned the rotary dial. Even as the signal beeped, the fighter plane was growing distant.

“C’mon, pick up already!”

Finally, he reached someone.

<This is the canal. Seaplane spotted preparing for takeoff. Is this an authorized flight, sir?>

So laid-back was the soldier’s response that Benedict bellowed into the receiver.

“This is Second Lieutenant Carr! Put a car in front of the ramp! Make sure that seaplane does not enter the canal!”

<Sir?>

“Right now! They’re stealing our plane! Quickly! Move!”

<Y, yes, sir!>

The soldier hung up.

“Damn it all… What in the world is going on here?” Benedict muttered to himself.


“Injure him if necessary. But do not kill him. Aim for his limbs.” Said Captain Gratz, holding up his submachine gun in one hand. The soldiers standing behind him, armed with rifles, nodded.

They were on the spiral staircase of one of the cylindrical towers used as a lookout point. The soldiers kept their guns trained above them as they slowly climbed upstairs, with Gratz in the lead.


“What a beautiful sight.”

Walter was at the top of the tower. The blue sky, the green woods, and the army base were all clear in his eyes. He could even see a fighter plane taxiing towards the canal.

“What a beautiful sight.”

Behind him was the door leading into the spiral staircase. It was open. He could hear people approaching from below.

“Not yet.”

Walter pointed his gun in the general direction of the door and fired three times. Gratz and his men ducked.

“Station snipers on the other tower to shoot him. But we must retrieve him alive. Understand?” Gratz ordered, crouching on the stairs.


<Now we just have to take off!>

Allison’s voice ran in Wil’s ears. He hurriedly lowered the volume on his headset. The fighter plane’s engine was warming up as it neared the canal.

<Can you hear me, Allison?> Wil asked, testing his microphone. Allison responded.

<I hear you, Wil. Check your seatbelt one more time. And make sure to put on your goggles. It’s just a little further to the canal. ...Huh?>

A soldier leapt into a car by the canal and began to drive. It stopped right in front of the ramp.

“Hey! Out of the way!”

The solider jumped out of the car, and it began to move again. The panicked soldier tried to stop it, but his attempts ended in failure. The car rolled straight down the ramp and into the canal.

“Wh, what is he doing?!” Allison howled.


<I, I’m sorry, sir! I forgot the parking brakes and the car drove into the canal!>

“That’s fine. Keep away from the seaplane; it’s very dangerous. I’ll take care of the rest.”

Benedict hung up.

“That’ll hold ‘em. So… now what? What do I do?”


<What do we do?> Wil asked.

<The canal’s useless now...> Allison replied, stepping down on the left rudder pedal. The plane slowly began to swerve left. A wide, clear area opened up before them.

“…”

In the distance, they could see the gates through which they had entered. And the perfectly straight road leading there.

<Say, Wil.>

<Yeah?>

<There’s a way to take off from here. Although it’s a little dangerous.>

Wil answered immediately.

<All right. Go for it.>

Allison smiled and pulled down her goggles.

<Okay!>

The plane turned in the middle of the road. The nose was pointed directly at the front gates.

<Here we go.>

She wrenched back the throttle lever.


The sound of whirring grew in a gentle crescendo. It reached its peak and filled the forest base with the roar of the engine.

“No… it can’t be…” Benedict gasped.

The seaplane began to taxi on the road, flatcar and all. It sped up, leaving a cloud of dust in its wake.

Countless eyes fell upon the plane from the windows of the castle and the barracks. The eyes of soldiers and officers, and the eyes of an old man at the top of a tower.

The seaplane continued down the road, gaining speed. White smoke began billowing from the flatcar’s two axles, worn out from the friction.

“That’s amazing… Is this some sort of a takeoff training, Second Lieutenant?” Asked an ignorant technician.

“No…” Benedict half-mumbled.


“Okay! Keep going!” Allison called to the seaplane. It continued to barrel down the road.

In the shaky scenery flying past them from beyond the windshield, they could see the gate drawing closer and closer.

And when the needle of the speedometer reached a certain point,

“Great! Now, FLY!”

Allison pulled back the control stick, which she had been holding down all this time.

The floats and the flatcar fell off the plane.

The frame lifted off into the sky in a gentle arc.

The flatcar continued down the road all alone.

“They actually made it… Amazing…” Gasped a soldier who had been watching from by the gates.

“Huh? WHOA!”

But he soon spotted the flatcar zooming in his direction. He hurriedly stumbled away. The flatcar crashed into the gates. There was the sound of metal crunching against metal, and sparks flew in the wake of the impact.


<See? We did it!> Allison celebrated.

<C, congrats...> Wil answered, still rattled.

The seaplane was flying over the forest. Under them and to the left, they could see their makeshift runway grow smaller.

Allison tilted the frame to the left and began to swerve towards the Teruto Base.

<What are you doing, Allison?>

<Saying goodbye!>

Allison pressed the machine gun switch. The first shot was loaded by motor power, and the ‘Ready to Fire’ light came on in the cockpit. The firing lever was above the control stick.


“They actually made it…” Benedict murmured blankly. The seaplane was safely into the air.

It then swerved to the left.

“What?”

Its nose was pointing at the base.

“Is she planning to open fire?”

The fighter plane continued towards the Teruto Base, gliding low near the ground.

There was no time to get ready. The seaplane flew over the barracks and quickly ascended, slipping past the towers.

It then did a 360-degree spin. It was a victory roll, a sort of ceremony done by pilots to celebrate a successful mission.

The seaplane stopped rotating. The engine puffed out a small cloud of black smoke.

“You got me, Allison…”

Benedict looked up into the sky, shielding his eyes from the sun.

The seaplane swerved to the right and disappeared over the roof of the hangar.


“What a beautiful sight.”

Walter muttered in Roxchean, still atop the tower.

The seaplane carrying Allison and Wil flew by overhead, bound for the eastern sky.

Suddenly, he spotted someone’s shadow on the tower.

“A sniper, eh? I’m not too fond of pain.”

Walter leaned against the railing to his right and fell seated on the ground. He quietly looked up at the bright blue sky.

“What a beautiful sight.”

He directed his voice to the heavens.

“First Lieutenant Unell Esther. Staff Sergeant Foss Bay. Sergeant First Class Dee Halaki. Second Lieutenant Meen Ted. Staff Sergeant Vincent Welley. Master Sergeant Canira Dawken Kenroff. Sergeant Bel Opus. Second Lieutenant Stol Gemue…”

Walter raised his right hand, and the gun he clutched in it.

“All of you must have wanted to die under such a beautiful sky, too. I’m sorry. I won’t ask you to forgive me. Now, curse me all you want. And Norma… I’m sorry. I won’t be able to keep my promise to you. Don’t blame those two children. This is all my responsibility. I’m sorry.”

He placed the barrel against his temple.

“Ah… What a beautiful sight.”

And pulled the trigger.


“What was that?! Who opened fire?!” Captain Gratz cried, looking at the old man’s bloodied corpse at the top of the tower.

“I did not give permission to fire!”

The soldiers looked down at the body without a word. One person, who was wearing a radio, timidly spoke up.

“S, sir… none of the snipers shot him.”

“..”

Gratz slowly sat the corpse upright. There was a gun in his right hand. The barrel was stained red.

“Damned bastard…”


Several officers, including Colonel Elcub, were gathered in the command room. The emergency alarm had stopped, and everything was quiet.

“Shit!” The rotund colonel swore, bringing in his three thugs. “Is there a man-shaped hole in the dungeons here?!”

The mustached Colonel Elcub, however, sounded utterly serene.

“Why, if it isn’t Colonel Nott. You didn’t have to come all this way.”

“Explain the situation! Where is the old man now?!”

Colonel Nott’s demands were more than enough to earn him the animosity of every soldier in the room.

“I received word from Captain Gratz, Colonel.” Said a signaler. “Um… He reported that the escaped spy shot himself.”

Colonel Nott flushed a furious red.

“What…?”

“That’s a shame.” Said Colonel Elcub, not sounding in the least sympathetic. He ordered the men to lift the state of high alert.

“Ah, by the way, Colonel Nott. What was that fighter plane that took off just now? You know it’s dangerous to do something like that without giving us any notification.”

“I know nothing about any fighter crafts! If you’ll excuse us!” Nott howled, and turned to leave with the second lieutenant and the two first lieutenants. At that moment,

“Colonel Nott, sir. You have a call from Second Lieutenant Carr.” Said the signaler.

“I’ll take it myself. Connect him to the next room.”

Colonel Nott and his men entered the next room over. He took the call and heard Benedict’s panicked voice.

<Colonel! One of our fighter crafts has been stolen! It was the Roxchean sp- …the Roxcheans!>

“Hm. Explain the situation.”

Benedict explained that two Roxcheans had infiltrated the base, contacted the imprisoned old man, and discussed some sort of treasure.

<Agh… Uh… what do I do…?> René said in half-sobs, next to Benedict. <Wh, what am I supposed to do, Second Lieutenant?>

Benedict pushed René aside and continued.

<...And that is how we lost one of our crafts. That is all, sir.>

Benedict neglected to mention that one of the Roxcheans was Allison.

Colonel Nott replied.

“I see. Here are your orders, Second Lieutenant Carr. Follow after them at once on another fighter craft. And order the Roxcheans to fly the stolen craft back to the base.”

<Sir.>

“If they try to flee, shoot them down without mercy. They infiltrated this base to make contact with the spy in our custody. The spy has just killed himself. There is a chance that those Roxcheans may return Cross-River with the classified information we codenamed ‘The Treasure’. If you cannot bring them back, shoot them down before they cross the border.”

<...>

“Is something wrong?”

<But, sir...>

“I am giving you an order on the basis of your skill, Second Lieutenant. Or would you prefer that I assign someone else this mission?”

<N, no, sir.>

Colonel Nott hung up.

“Easier than training a dog.” He mumbled. He then turned to the first lieutenant, who was listening to the conversation.

“The fighter crafts are equipped with signal transmitters, correct?”

The first lieutenant grinned.

“Yes, sir. Just like the one on Terreur’s biplane. Carr doesn’t know, of course. It’ll run for at least half a day even after the engine’s been shut off. We can track them easily.”

“Good. The three of you, follow after him. If Second Lieutenant Carr shows any sign of suspicious behaviour, kill him. I leave this to you.”

The three men laughed.


“Private! You stay quiet, understand? Do not tell anyone anything! Forget everything that happened just now!” Benedict cried after hanging up, and turned to the technicians.

“I’m taking off! Bring out a single-seater!”

As the technicians prepared the fighter craft, Benedict put on his jacket and grabbed his aviator hat and goggles. He hesitated about putting on a parachute, but eventually decided against it.

Lightly equipped, Benedict climbed up the ladder.

“Second Lieutenant! I’m afraid you can’t use the canal yet!” A technician said as Benedict took a seat. “There’s a car in the water, sir. We have to hoist it out of there. Give us a little time!”

“Damn it!”

Benedict put on his hat and goggles.

“Put the ladder away! I’m taking off!”

“Sir?”

“Never mind! Just do it!”

The technician climbed down and took away the ladder. The plane’s engine began to roar.

Benedict’s fighter craft began to warm up as it taxied down the road. The gate grew further and further.

His breathing grew harsh. Benedict glared at the road ahead through his sights.

“If she could do it… so can I!”

The soldiers who were out on the road scattered in panic. Finally, his way was clear.

Benedict pulled back the throttle.


“Another one!”

“What are those bastards thinking?!”

“Move!”

The soldiers who were trying to pull the flatcar out of the gates yelled in confusion.

The second fighter craft came zooming at them, leaving a trail of dust in its wake.

“Argh!”

The plane lifted off before it hit the gates, rushing by over the men’s heads.

The second flatcar barreled in their direction, just like the first one had.

But this time, it ran straight through the gates.


-----


Chapter 7.


-----

1 comment:

  1. Hihi, spotted a mistake:

    "Grtaz said, quickly getting up and putting on his uniform."
    --> "Gratz said, quickly getting up and putting on his uniform."

    ReplyDelete