Please review this, as there a couple of things that I am uncertain of, so any help would be appreciated. The Tommorrow series belongs to John Marsden, and B5 belongs to JMS. Other than that, enjoy.
It was the day before the Farmers' Show. The Farmers' Show is an event that the whole of Stanley attends. There are lots of competitions and challenges which people take part in. It usually goes on late into the night. I myself did not want to go this year, since I had gone to it with dad for eight years.
My dad is a typical farmer, with the straw hat and is always chewing a piece of hay. He takes our best male and best female oxen to be judged at the Farmer's Show. When I went to tell him I wouldn't be going this year, he wasn't too happy about it, although he tried not to show it. He asked me what I was going to do. I replied that I was going on a camping trip into a hollow that I found a year ago, and that I would be going with friends.
Dad told me to make arrangements and pack for the holiday. He also suggested that I take the mules with me – it would be impossible to drive a vehicle there. I refused to take the mules – we would carry the packs by ourselves.
When I got inside the house, mum was watching the news. There was a bloke talking how our defence budget had been cut. Also, the same thing had happened to Australia. I was glad to get away from it all.
I got on the phone. First, I rang up Paddy. He had emigrated from Ireland when he was only six months old. He always spoke with an Irish accent.
"Hallo. This is Paddy Seamus speaking."
"Hello Paddy, this is Sean."
"Oh, hallo Sean. What do you want?"
"I wanted to know if you wanted to come camping with me and a few others. I didn't want to go to the Farmers' Show this year, so I decided to go camping while it's on."
"I'd like to come with you. Do you mind if I ask my parents about it?"
"No, not at all."
Paddy put the phone down and called his mum. After a short conversation, Paddy picked up the phone again.
"Hallo again. My ma said that it would be a great idea. What shall I bring?"
"Enough food, drink, and clothes for three days, I should think."
"Are we going tomorrow?"
"Yes, we are. Meet me outside the gate to my house at nine o'clock in the morning."
"See you tomorrow. Remember, nine A.M."
"I will, Sean."
Next, I phoned up Freddy. He is incredibly fun and interesting.
"Hello. This is the Broome household."
"Hello Freddy, this is Sean."
"Sean, how are you?"
"I couldn't be better. How are you?"
"I'm fine. Do you want anything?"
I gave Freddy the same information I gave Paddy.
"I can come."
"Good. See you tomorrow."
"And I'll see you tomorrow as well."
The third person I rang up was Paige. She was short, but she was kind to me.
"Hello, who is it?"
"Paige, this is Sean."
"Oh, hello Sean."
Paige received the same information as Paddy and Freddy.
"I can come, but who else is?" asked Paige.
"So far, Freddy and Paddy are. You're the third person I've asked."
"That's okay. Goodbye Sean."
Then I phoned up; Mary, a really good scientist; Valerie, a French girl who had helped me with my French homework; and Frazer, a Scotsman with a great knowledge of weaponry and killing things. I told them that I was going on a three-day camp, and, amazingly, they could all come.
The next day, Paddy, Freddy, Paige, Mary, Valerie, Frazer and I met outside my house. We started the walk towards 'The Hollow'. I had brought a machete along with me, while Paddy, who was following me, had a Smith and Wesson revolver with a detachable shoulder stock. There wasn't any path to 'The Hollow', so we had to walk through the thick woods surrounding it. I was leading, so that meant I could use my machete on any branches that were blocking the way.
When we finally reached 'The Hollow', we had to climb down a steep rock face. I had brought a strong rope ladder, because I knew about the cliff and the layout of the interior of the massive hole.
I secured the rope ladder using some bent prongs, which had points on both ends. I asked Freddy to climb down the ladder, and to be prepared to receive the processions that would be coming down on a rope. This was a good system, and very quickly, all the processions were in 'The Hollow'. Everyone who had helped me with the belongings climbed down the rope ladder one at a time.
I was the last person to go into 'The Hollow'. When I reached the bottom, Paddy asked me:
"What are you going to do with the rope ladder?"
"I'll leave it there. No-one is going to come and interrupt us here." I replied.
I was right. No one interrupted us. However, the Farmers' Show was the following day.
On the second day of the camp, Freddy woke everyone up at 7 AM with his bugle. Everyone had settled down into being in 'The Hollow'. Frazer had brought a gramophone with him, which he played Scottish songs on, until everyone grew tired of them, and threatened to trash the gramophone if Frazer didn't stop it.
The area we camped in had a stream running through it. We used it for cooking and washing ourselves. 'The Hollow' was very peaceful and quiet apart from the birdsong, and someone washing their self in the stream.
In the afternoon, everyone had sat down and was doing something. In Freddy's case, reading Nicky Cruz's books. The girls were sitting together talking about girlie things like dresses, flowers, and puppies. Frazer was drinking his way through the coffee we had brought with us. Paddy was looking at pictures of Ireland. I was reading some of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels.
That evening, Frazer and Freddy made a delicious meal. It had carrots and cabbage in it, perfectly mashed potatoes, and grilled sausages. Frazer and Freddy got top marks for it.
That night, I woke up from my sleep. I could hear a droning noise, so I poked my head outside my tent. Frazer was stoking the fire, probably making some coffee. He was looking at the sky. I followed his gaze. What I saw was hundreds, if not thousands of planes flying overhead.
Frazer said to no one in particular, "Lots of them, isn't there? Pity they aren't ours."
I realised that Frazer was talking to me.
"What do you mean, not ours?"
"The markings on the underside of the wings. Apparently, those aircraft are from Argentine."
The planes went very quickly afterwards. People started coming out of their tents.
"Qu'est que ca c'est?"
"It was the Argentinians, Valerie."
"And they flew over Stanley. Why would they fly over a place like Stanley?"
I started muttered an entire song by Blind Guardian called The Bard's Song – The Hobbit.
Out in the distance
There's so much gold
The treasure that I've found
Is more than enough
Far to the hill we've to go
Over the mountains and seas
To the old hill
Where the old dragon sleeps
Blind in the dark dungeon's night
So God please take me away from here
And Gollum shows the way right out
The dying dragon brought trouble and pain
And horror to the halls of stone
I'll take the mighty stone
And leave the dwarfs behind
Ice and fire and forest we passed
And horror in the halls of stone
Trolls in the dark
The dawn took them all
Caught in the wood
By the wooden king's men
But now I'm alone
'Cause I've made up my mind
By the spell of gold,
The king under the mountain
Will risk the great war
Oh what a fool
He's losing control
So I am trying to find a way
Blind in the dark dungeon's night
Then darkness comes from the northern side
And Thorin clears his mind
Shortly afterwards Frazer asked, "Would anyone like some coffee?"
No one answered him.
Everyone went to bed except for Freddy and Frazer, the latter making coffee for two people. Both boys were talking about the planes: Why?
The following morning, Freddy visited every tent and woke everybody individually. I asked him: "Why didn't you use your bugle?"
"After what happened last night, which I was discussing with Frazer, I felt it was too risky to use my bugle. I think it would be a good idea if we go back to our homes to see if our families are all right. Although, we would have to do it quietly in case anything is wrong."
"I agree with you."
A bit later on, I gathered everyone around the fire.
"Freddy and I have decided that we should go back to our homes to see if our families are alright. As you might already know, those planes are from Argentine. Now, Freddy and I would like to know, and probably you as well, why the Argentinians were doing that. Travel light – water, a little food maybe. Let's move, people!"
Our little group made its way slowly but carefully through the forest surrounding 'The Hollow'. It took us a long time, but we finally reached the edge of it. We took a short break, and then we walked down the road to my house, which was the closest to 'The Hollow'.
When we arrived there, nothing was happening – no lights, no noise, no sign of life. I took the spare key from under the doorframe and unlocked the door. I shouted to my parents, but neither came. I flicked a light switch. The light came on. It was evident the power hadn't gone out. Mary said: "Look at the dust everywhere."
"I agree. In my opinion, no-one has been here for a few days." said Freddy.
"Let's try someone else's house." I suggested hopefully.
We tried Frazer's, Freddy's, Mary's, Paige's, Valerie's and Paddy's houses, but no one was about. At Paddy's house, there was a message in Morse Code. It went:
… - … -… .- . …. .- …- . -… . . -. - …- . .-. .-. ..- -. .-.-.- -. - .. -. - - …. .. -.. .. -. -. .-.-.- - . … … .- -. . . -. -.. .-.-.-
"What does that mean?" I asked Paddy.
Paddy told us. "This is taking it word for word. SOS: We have been overrun. Go into hiding. Message end."
Paige summed it up. "So, we've been invaded?"
"Appears so." replied Paddy.
We sat down at the breakfast table, which was made from oak. Our group talked about what we were going to do next.
"We need to know where everybody is." said Mary.
"Aye, and when we find them, they will have somebody there who knows what's going on. It would be even better to eavesdrop on an enemy conversation, I ken. That should give us some information, useful or not." put in Frazer.
"We should take some weapons and put them in 'The Hollow'."
"We will." I said.
We decided to go to the Show-ground, where the Farmers' Show was being held. We got very close to it, then I asked the question "Who is going to look in the Show-ground to see what's happening?"
"I'll go." said Frazer. "I am a Splinter Cell, well, I've had the training anyway, and I don't mean from the game."
We had all heard of these 'Splinter Cells' – they are very sneaky people who infiltrate enemy positions to gather information about them, and then return to their base. They wear black clothes, and have a headset with three different lenses – snipe/scope, night vision and thermal imaging. They carry an automatic machine gun, a pistol, grenades, and a knife, and have a funky watch that they can hack computers from.
And so Frazer began infiltration of the Stanley Show-ground as a Splinter Cell.
The rest of us moved to one of the houses in Melcroft Lane. It belonged to one of my dad's old and retired farmhands. We entered and promptly made ourselves comfortable.
I started reading 'Right Ho Jeeves' by P.G. Wodehouse. I don't know what the others were doing, but I could hear the girls talking.
When I had finished reading my book, I went to see Paddy, who was reading 'Enemy Coast Ahead' by Guy Gibson.
"Paddy, do you know if you could get some sort of radio link with Frazer. He hasn't returned yet, and I'm getting concerned. You can use anything here that you need."
"I'm on to it."
Paddy walked into the office, taking a swig from a bottle of Irish Whiskey.
"I didn't know you had that." I said to him.
"I always have a few bottles with me Sean. I'm Irish!"
I went around to see what the others were doing. Freddy was chatting up Mary. Paige and Valerie were watching and listening earnestly.
"Hey, Freddy, go into the office. See if Paddy needs you to help him."
Freddy walked off.
I turned to the girls. "Now, I want you three to collect all the food, drink, and weapons from 'The Hollow', bring them here, and put them in the hallway. Do the same for the other houses on this street. Stay away from the Show-ground - we don't want to attract any form of attention."
I walked into the office to see how Paddy and Freddy were getting on. They were getting on quite well.
"How much time do you need on that radio?" I asked them.
"We…are…almost there." answered Freddy.
"Do you have Frazer's band length?"
"I do," said Paddy. "He gave it to me on a school trip."
"You know, the Treasure Trails one."
"I remember that trip. But it's good you have that band length."
"There." Said Freddy, looking and sounding triumphant. "Now, the only thing we need to do is boot this computer up. We linked the radio up to the computer to be able to talk over the radio."
I looked at him, confused.
"The radio doesn't have a microphone, nor does it have very good speakers." Freddy added.
I booted the computer up, and it logged on to the only account. A few minutes later, a message came up which said: 'What do you want to do with this device?'
I clicked on the option 'Run Device'. A second later, a message and a program came up on the screen. The message said 'Enter band length.'
I typed in the band length that Paddy gave me, then I hit enter. The message disappeared, and the program said 'Finding band length…Band length found.'
The program changed. There was only one button on the screen. It was in the centre and said 'Call'. I pressed it.
The screen went blank, apart from a message at the bottom. It said, 'Sending call.'
"Frazer, where are you?" I asked.
"I'm listening to a conversation in the show-ground office. The Farmers' Show was defiantly overrun. The competitors are being held by Argentinean soldiers as far as I can tell. The Argentinians in the office are speaking in English, worse luck for them, to what I assume is their air force. They're saying, 'Once we have fully invaded the Falklands, we here stay to keep these fools from telling other countries. We will also invade Australia and use those idiots as slaves, just like the Falkland Islanders'. What do you make of that?" answered Frazer.
"So that's why there were so many planes were flying over 'The Hollow' on the second day. They were going to Australia to take it over. The Argentinians here have landed to gain control of the Falklands and our oilfields."
"Hang on, I'm getting a motive: 'The Falklands belong to Argentina. In revenge of the theft by the British, we will take over Australia as well as these islands.' Is there anything else I could do for you?"
"No, apart from getting out of there without raising an alarm. We're at 16 Melcroft Lane."
"Getting out of the show-ground. Over and out."
Shortly afterwards, Frazer arrived. He looked very tired.
"I'm going to bed." he stated.
I don't blame him – he had diced with either death or imprisonment. I myself felt drowsy, Mary and Paddy looked quite tired, Valerie was about to go to sleep, and Paige was. I didn't miscomprehend. It had been a long hard day.
In fact, the only people who weren't very sleepy, or not sleepy at all, were Freddy and I, for reasons neither of us ever fully understood. That was why he was put on sentry duty for the entire night. He didn't go to sleep at any point. I stole off into the night.
I crept off towards the airfield. I had a theory that if the Argentinians came here by a bomber, then they should have a single-seater fighter escort with it. I walked along the road quite confidently, though when I got close to the airfield I became slower and quieter. I was looking for an easy entrance when I noticed a hole going under the fence, probably by a fox trying to get some birds. I silently thanked the fox in my mind. I was lucky that night – the moon had gone behind some clouds – so I could look for my theoretical escort. I couldn't see it, when the moon shone threw some of the cloud and illuminated it. The moon also illuminated the few Argentinians, maybe five, on guard. I think that there were only five on duty because the rest were needed to hold the show grounds. To avoid them, I pretended to be a mechanic.
"What you doing here?" asked one of the guards.
"Thought I should check this plane." I replied.
I went to the engine to check it would work. Something fell out and into my trouser turn-ups. I went around the airport to find Bob, a mechanic who was a friend of Frazer's parents. He almost lived in his workshop, but I didn't go to it because there was a notice in the Stanley News saying: 'I will be at the airport for the weekend, and normal service will be resumed in my workshop on Tuesday – Bob.'
I was annoyed because I couldn't find him. My time was disappearing. I returned to one of the mechanics' workshops. I slipped around them like a ghost. I was walking through the deserted rooms when I noticed that a small desk lamp was on, and somebody kept moving in front of it. Finally, I had found Bob.
I walked towards it. I could see clearer now. Bob was making a boat, which was a normal thing to do – the prices for using one of the workshops at the docks were incredibly high.
Bob noticed me and quietly said: "Hey!"
I replied fairly loudly with: "Hey! - Ehm – do you know anything about planes?"
"Planes? What...? You know... planes!"
"No, no, no...Planes. You know like the things that fly in the air." I gave a childish imitation
"Oh, yes, well, a little bit - not a lot, but..." replied Bob.
Bob collected his toolbox and I took him to the escort, and showed him the engine. I realised sometime later, that we had had a conversation like the one that was described in Robert Calvert's Ground Crew.
I told Bob my problem: "Here. This engine mounting's a bit loose. What do you think?"
Bob replied with "I duunno. Are you sure?"
"You tell me, if you know a bit about planes."
"Well it's got to give a bit, hasn't it or something? It should give a little bit of play there."
"What do you mean 'a bit of play'? Play?"
"You know, it's got to give a bit in the wind. Like a bridge 'as to move a bit."
"Oh, I see"
I paused before saying: "Where does this bit go then?"
"What's that? Let's have a look. Hmm. I dunno. Never seen one of them. "Where'd it come from this bit?" asked Bob.
"I found it in me trouser turn-up's..."
"Really? Give us it. Hmm. I'd say that was some kind of retaining plunger."
"Retaining plunger? What's that? Pervert or something, like use it on the missus, do ya?"
"Give us that instruction book a minute." asked Bob
I looked where Bob was pointing and I noticed there was a manual with 'Instruction Book' written on it, but because it was so dark, I could barely make out the words. I picked up one end of the engine that was on top of the manual. Bob asked: "Got the engine?"
I told him: "Yes, I have. Now, move over to your right. Your right I said. Put your end down a bit. Careful, mind my foot."
I picked up the instruction book and looked at the contents, while muttering, "Let's see now. Ah, Page nine hundred and seventy nine, paragraph three."
I flicked to the respective page. I was disappointed. I told Bob "No. It's not here…Pass me the number twelve Chinese Laundry spanner."
"This one?" asked Bob.
"Give me the Russian Screwdriver please."
"Russian Screwdriver? What's that?"
"The number twelve."
"I've got it."
"You're right. The number twelve isn't there. It must be missing."
I told Bob "Better make out a chitty."
Bob asked: "Where shall I put it?"
"No, no, no, not 'where shall I put it' – 'what should I put?' Like, 'what shall I write down?' "
"Oh I see; so what shall I write down? Here give us it."
"Annoying radar crew."
Bob repeated slowly: "Annoying...annoying...two 'y's'?"
I told Bob: Write down 'Annoying radar crew. Using Bob's spanners...For...Stirring...Their...TEA."
I knew this because we had the same men down at out place to install a particularly complicated TV aerial, and they used dad's number twelve spanner for their tea.
Bob and I went back to the mechanics' workshops and looked for a number twelve spanner. Finally, Bob said: "I found it."
We returned to the plane, and put the retaining plunger back in its rightful place. It took between five and ten minutes. During the repair, Bob said: "Do you know what I have?"
I replied with "What?"
"A daily grind."
"So you're saying, you have a problem choosing a waistcoat for dinner, while I have a problem stopping Freddy Argentinian from invading the Falklands?"
"I simply cannot believe you."
When the job was finished, I thanked Bob, and told him to go back to his boat. Before he left, I asked Bob why he hadn't been sent to the show grounds. Bob replied with: "They thought I was a mechanic for the planes. Still, what d'ya expect from blokes who live somewhere like Argentine?"
I the slid open the escort's canopy, and climbed inside. I put on a pilot's helmet, and fired the engine and the lights up. The guards asked Bob what I was doing. He said I was just making sure that everything was working properly. I surprised the guards by then taxiing to the runway and taking-off.
I was grateful that they didn't use their rifles or have any reaction time.
I checked the fuel left in the tank. Three quarters remained, so I could fly to Argentine, kill a few natives and come home again without having to turn the engine off to save fuel consumption. I continued to fly across the sea, until I noticed land ahead. South America. I continued, until I saw sea on the other side.
I made the escort dive, and fired the forward machine-guns at one of the country's major cities, which was visible from my altitude. My bullets went everywhere, and probably killed quite a few people. I started pulling the plane out of the dive, and went flying through the streets of the city, firing at everything. I then turned around, flying back through the city, still firing the machine guns, before turning around and going back to Stanley. I programmed the computer to take me to the capital city, and back to my friends. I arrived back at the airport, though I turned the plane's engine off, put the brakes on, and told the computer to land. I opened the canopy, and bailed out.
I landed in a gorse bush, and ended up with hundreds of thorns in my heavy clothes, and some in my hands and more in my boots, though none went into my head or face. I crept back to 16 Melcroft Lane, and saw the sunrise, as I was halfway there. I quickly looked around me to see if there were any Argentinians around. By chance, there were none. I ran back to my friends.
That day, there were lots of things we needed to do.
The next day, everyone except Freddy and I, woke up very late, nearly at noon. While Freddy and I ate our second breakfast of fried bacon, the others ate a late breakfast of ham sandwiches whilst thinking to ourselves. After a while of silence, I spoke.
"Our plan has changed. Instead of going into 'The Hollow', we are going to radio the Australian government, and tell them of the danger they face. If we can't radio them, we will fly to New Zealand and try to radio the Australian government from there. Does anyone have an aircraft we could use?"
"I do," said Valerie. "I have a Concord."
There were gasps from everyone around the table, save for Valerie and me.
"Go on." I instructed Valerie.
"It is in perfect flying condition. I have worked out that we should be able to get to New Zealand shortly before the Argentinians. There are no planes that can go faster that Concord."
As I knew that several Concord-class planes were made, I asked Valerie: "Twenty Concords were ever produced. Which one do you have?"
"One of the latter ones. So, is it better, in you opinion, than any one of the older ones?"
"Oh yes! She has a very nice interior, there is a periscope that looks out from underneath the plane, some toilets, a kitchen, and there is a separate compartment for the generators. It is also very fuel efficient, or so I'm told."
"It needs to be." I said.
I walked into the office with Freddy and Paddy. I switched the radio on and booted the computer. A short time later, I clicked on 'Run Device' typed in 'Scan air lengths for Australian Government'. I pressed 'Call'.
Nothing happened. I tried again. Still nothing. I tried for a third time, but I still got the same said, "It seems that the Australian government doesn't have power, or else someone is aware of our presence and is jamming us. I think it would be advisable to get to New Zealand, or somewhere away from this place, as quickly as possible."
Everyone practically ran out of the house, carrying as much food, drink, and processions as they could carry. We never stopped running until we reached the edged of the town. It was a short walk to Valerie's house from where we were.
When we reached Valerie's house, Valerie lead us to a field, with nothing in it apart from a thick line of trees. Valerie walked towards the trees. The rest of us followed her like sheep.
Behind the trees, was Valerie's Concord.
We climbed aboard, and dumped everything we were carrying at the back. Valerie and I walked to the cockpit, while Paddy went over to and sat down at the Engineer's Desk. Before I went into the cockpit, I turned round and asked him "Do you know how to use that?"
"I can for definite. You may say that I'm a bit of a geek, but I have one of these Engineer's Desks at home.
"That's good, because I would have told you to operate this desk anyway."
"Have you watched Firefly and Serenity, Sean?"
"I have, but what's that got to do with the situation we're in now?"
"Because you're turning into Mal."
"Screw you, Wash."
I went into the cockpit. Valerie was starting up the engines. She was sitting in the pilot's seat, which meant I was sitting in the co-pilot's seat on the right, with the power leavers in between Valerie and me.
"Who's turning into Mal from Firefly?" She asked.
"I am." I replied unhappily.
I turned to the PA microphone, which was in front of me. I turned it on and said: "This is co-piloting Sean Cecil speaking. Would all passengers and crew please fasten their seatbelts. Thank you."
I switched the microphone off.
'The Passengers' took the joke better than I expected them too. We took off a few moments later. Before we left the island, I saw some men chasing us.
They were too late. We were away.
When we were cruising above the clouds, I used the microphone again. This time I asked 'The Passengers' to store everything we had dumped at the back of the plane. Amazingly, they just as well as the last time. They managed to get back to their seats before I asked them to fasten their seatbelts because we were going into supersonic speed.
I don't know how to describe what happened next. The best term I know to describe it is 'exhilarating'. We were going so fast, it was amazing. A gap in the fuselage appeared next to Paddy, which he stuck the cap he was wearing into.
The next thing of interest that happened was that we were starting to slow down so we could descend into Whangeri Airport, four hours later.
I contacted the control tower over the radio.
"Airport control, this is Concord 16, requesting permission to land."
"Concord 16, you are not on our lists."
"We have just arrived from Stanley in the Falklands. We have passengers. Requesting permission to land."
"Please state your pilot ID, Concord 16."
"Pilot 173." said Valerie.
"Permission to land, Concord 16. Taxi to outside the gate, then let your passengers off. I shouldn't really be doing this for you."
The conversation was terminated.
"Valerie, I didn't know you had a pilot's ID. Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't think it was relevant before. I mean, it wasn't any use to you before, being told that I can fly aeroplane, is it Sean?"
"Well, no it isn't."
Valerie is an expert pilot – she glided Concord onto the runway perfectly, taxied to the gate well, and stopped the plane well.
Valerie walked over to an overhead locker, and brought out three uniforms, one captain's, one co-pilot's, and an engineer's. She chucked the co-pilot's uniform at me.
"Put that on." she said.
She did the same with Paddy but with the engineer's uniform, and finally Valerie put on the captain's uniform.
Before anyone got off Concord, I told them: "Remember what we are here for. We're not on holiday."
The electrically opened gate opened for us, and we walked into the Arrivals/Departures lounge. I thought that Whangeri Airport was really, really, small whilst I was walking over to the customs desk.
I walked over to the exit, and then I noticed a sign that said 'Dial-A-Taxi'. I thought that using it should kill some time, so I walked over to it, picked up the phone, but there was silence.
Then I noticed a slot for coins. I went back to the customs desk, and asked if I could have some money for the phone, and explained that I didn't have any.
The woman gave me some. I tried the phone again, this time putting the money into it. The phone worked.
"Hello, this is Dial-A-Taxi. How may I help you?"
"I'm at Whangeri Airport. There are seven of us in my group."
"I'll send over a people carrier, a nine-seater then."
We were there.
Paddy came up to me.
"Why didn't we land in Auckland airport? I mean, Auckland's the capital, isn't it?"
"Auckland airport would be too busy for my liking. Besides, I've been here before, and I like the feeling of being in a city and yet the city not having a large population." I replied.
Soon afterwards, a people carrier came and picked us up, with me behind the driver.
"Well, I didn't think I was going to be collecting kids!" The driver exclaimed.
"I'm almost 20, and some of the people in my group are." I replied.
"Where do you want to go?"
The drive there was uneventful, apart from when we drove past a place called Liquor King, which Paddy eyed and licked his lips.
"Paddy, don't even think about it." I told him.
After a while, the journey became tedious and boring. It was roughly 180km to Auckland, or about 2 hours and 40 minutes time-wise. Strangely, no one spoke during the entire journey after Liquor King.
I didn't go to bed at all that night, as I stayed up making the plans for a 'Clockwork Man', giant mechanical men who are at least five times bigger than the average soldier and bash structures, and humans, into oblivion.
Before she went to sleep that night, I told Valerie to put through an application to be a fighter pilot. She did.
The following day, I did a stock check of our weaponry. I myself had a sniper rifle, Freddy had a Matchlock he had taken into 'The Hollow', Paddy had a steam powered gun he had built the night before, Mary had a Magnum .44 , and Paige had refused to do any fighting.
Frazer still had his Splinter Cell kit and Valerie had been accepted to be a fighter pilot. The acceptance came with; aviation clothing, a compass, a telescope, a sword and the design and specifications of the aeroplane she was going to fly. It was an old WW1 Sopwith Pup, but Valerie didn't mind.
Also, Paddy had made a little robot the previous night. The robot could fly, fight infantry, and destroy buildings, though not at the same time. It was called Brassey, and it could only communicate in German.
When we had reached Auckland Airport, I sent Valerie to talk to a receptionist about her Sopwith tri-plane. Paddy came over to me.
"I was wrong. You're not turning into Mal from Firefly." said Paddy.
"Thank you." I replied.
"Glad to make you happy." said Paddy, walking off.
I couldn't get a cargo plane, but Auckland Airport did have a heavy cargo dirigible, which was, in short, an airship. I went over to Valerie.
"What's happening about the Sopwith?" I asked Valerie.
"It's ready and waiting." she replied.
We loaded the dirigible with supplies, which was in a hanger. It was short work with seven people. Afterwards, I went to reception in the main building. I asked an attendant if she would fax a copy of the plans for the Clockwork Man to a metalworking factory and tell them to start work on the Clockwork Men. The attendant said she would.
I walked over to the Dirigible. Frazer was waiting outside it, in his Splinter Cell kit.
"The rest of the 'Army' is waiting in the dirigible. Valerie is ready to take off." he said.
"Thanks for that Frazer." I said.
I climbed inside, with Frazer following me. I walked into the cockpit on the left of the dirigible. Paige was there.
"Right, everyone is aboard. Take off gently." I instructed Paige.
"I will Sean."
I walked into the passenger compartment. I sat down on a bench next to Frazer. After a while, he asked me:
"Do you want to learn how to play the violin?"
"I didn't know you could play the violin!" I replied.
"I can, but do you want to learn how to?"
"I'd like to."
"Right, follow me."
Frazer took me to the hold, which was high up in the envelope of the Heavy Cargo Dirigible. Frazer picked up a violin case, and began un-packing it. When he had unpacked it, Frazer told me how to play it, and I found that I could do so very well.
Frazer left me practising an 'easy' piece called Musket, Fife, and Drum. He mentioned before he left me that if he died fighting the Argentinians, then he would like me to play the piece in his memory.
It took hours to fly across to Australia, which meant I had plenty of time to practice playing the violin. Near the end of the journey, Paddy asked me to stop hanging around up in the hold, and to come down into the passenger compartment. I went down. Every eye in the room was on me. I spoke to them.
"We are near to Australia. There is no turning back. Each of you knows what job you have. I expect you to do it. I don't want you to take one look at the enemy, and run away, or to have a mental breakdown. I want you to kill the enemy before they kill you. I don't mind you feeling scared, for I am going to feel scared, even though I'm your leader. There is no coming back.
"If your friends die, kill the men who did so. There is a World War 1 poem that comes up which is a variation of the Never Mind song."
If your sleeping place is damp, never mind.
If you wake up with a cramp, never mind.
If your trench should fall in some,
Fill your ears and make you dumb,
While the sergeant drinks your rum, never mind.
"That is all."
I sat down again next to Frazer. No one was speaking; there was just a deadly silence. Then Paige shouted to us:
"Enemy coast ahead."
I went into the cockpit.
"Drop us and all of our supplies off at the beach. Be careful of Anti-Aircraft fire. Leave and go back to New Zealand when all of the supplies are off and I give you the 'All Clear' signal, which will be thumbs up. I need you in New Zealand to come and collect us. I will radio to tell you to pick us up." I said to Paige.
"All right Sean."
The bulk of Australia was getting closer.
Paige landed on the beach, and dropped the rest of us off. I helped unload most of the equipment from the dirigible, while shouting orders to my group. I gave Paige the thumbs up, and turned to my army.
"Onward, to glory!" I shouted.
The others cheered.
I walked up the hills bordering the beach in my Walker. I surveyed the surrounding countryside. There were a few figures on the plain in front of me. Frazer shouted to me:
"Argentinians – lets kill them."
I took care of that - I fired rifle at them. My aim didn't falter, and I got several headshots.
"Sean, I wanted to do that!" shouted Frazer.
"Sorry – the leader takes the first kill." I replied.
We marched on. We found countless Argentinians occupying the nearest town. I focused on trying to find any foes. Valerie provided good supporting fire. In the distance, I saw a man running. I shot him with my sniper rifle in the chest, and told Frazer to get him. Frazer got the man, and brought him before me.
"He's dying – we don't have long left to kill him." Paddy said to me.
I turned to the man.
"Who are you?"
"My name is Michael Bell. I am fighting the Argentinians, well I was and I probably won't ever again." replied the man.
"Who are you?" Michael asked.
"I am Sean Cecil. I am fighting the Argentinians also, but I have followers." I replied bluntly.
"Bit of friendly fire then?"
"Yes, but what do you specialize in?"
"I'm an iron-smith. Correction: was an iron-smith."
"I need someone like you in my army. Will you join us?"
Michael went limp.
"He's critically wounded." said Frazer.
"Does anyone have some shock paddles?" I asked my army sternly.
Paddy rummaged around in one of his bags and pulled out a pair.
"I do." he said.
"Good. Use them on Michael. And patch him up in doing so." I command the medic.
Soon, Michael regained consciousness.
"I will join your." said Michael.
"Good," I turned to my group. "We make camp in this village, for it's getting late. I want sentries patrolling the camp. Change sentries at midnight."
The next day, I contacted metalworking factory. I told them to send the Clockwork Men to the village of St Peter. I asked them when the next batch was coming. The reply was:
"Over the next five days."
Mary, Valerie, Michael, Paddy, Frazer, Freddy and I planned what we were going to do next.
"Right, we need to fortify this town. In a few days, the first batch of clockwork men arrives. None of you, or me for that matter, will have seen a clockwork man in real life before. I admit that some of you will have seen some in Rise of Legends, but do not forget that Clockwork Men will tower over all of you. These Clockwork Men will help with the defence of this town and our attacks.
"Secondly, we still face a cunning enemy. Now, the enemy will probably be aware that we are here. Any Argentinian who managed to flee from the massacre yesterday will have informed an officer, directly or indirectly, that there was a fight with our army, with theirs losing. We need to be ready for an attack at any time.
"After we have fortified this town, we will move inland, capture any airbases and barracks we find. These will be of use to the New Zealanders. Does anyone have any questions?"
"Shall I monitor the enemy radio conversations?"
"Good idea. We need that for enemy movements." I replied.
"Why haven't we seen any New Zealanders?" asked Mary.
"We're trying to get a foothold in Australia, and the New Zealand Army is going to take advantage of this and will send troops over to help us fight inland."
Michael saw something through one of the windows and ducked. He whispered "They're here."
They fought well. I saw my friends fall, but I was hallucinating. I couldn't see outside of the town for the smoke. Regardless, bullets still came and went through it. I even saw Brassey in the black cloud, killing the enemy with his axe.
Soon afterwards, the smoke cleared. I saw a lone Argentinian among the bodies of his comrades. He was obviously the leader. The Argentinian was waving a white flag. I walked over to him. I beckoned to the others to keep their distance. The Argentinian looked at me.
I spoke to him in his language. "Give me your weapons."
The Argentinian did so.
"Stand against that wall."
The Argentinian stood against the wall. He looked sad and unhappy. I asked Mary for her Magnum. She gave it to me. I turned round and shot the Argentinian in the head. He was slain instantly.
I gave Mary back the pistol. My group went back to planning.
After what felt like an eternity, we decided that Freddy should take the Argentine's uniform and weapons and go to the nearest base. He took the Argentine's uniform and the rest of us rolled the body into a nearby swamp. I collected all the full magazines from the crude Argentinian guns. I found a map in the pocket of the squadron leader. The map had the locations of key enemy bases. The nearest one was about a kilometre away.
When Freddy was ready, I gave him the map. I also gave Freddy his objectives.
"Follow the map to this base…" and I pointed at the nearest base, "…and enter. Weave a story about how you were the only man left from your group left alive. Act crazed. Also, fake memory loss so you can learn information about the enemy. I need you to do this."
Freddy did so. He radioed valuable information back to us in the first twenty-four hours, and then he stopped altogether. Freddy never returned to the village of St Peter.
When we fully realized the implications of what had happened, I almost mounted a full-scale assault for revenge. We had the first batch of Clockwork Men – they had arrived early. However, Mary stopped me. She told me that the Argentinians would be on alert, but that did not quench the grief inside me for my friend. Nothing could.
I wisely took Mary's advice and waited for a few weeks. Then I told the group that we were going to attack the base. If we couldn't scare the wits out of the Argentinians, then we would still have an advantage because the enemy's morale would be low.
If we won, we would get an incredible advantage over the enemy. If we were defeated, we would lose precious life on our side. Also, I would radio the New Zealand Army to come immediately and my army would retreat. The Clockwork Men would stay in Australia regardless, although I would take a few for the Falkland war.
Afterwards, I talked to Frazer. I told him that, in the highly likely event that I died, I would like him to take over command of the group. I also told Frazer that I would like him to writing the journals in the same circumstances.
(Six months later, in 'The Hollow')
The attack on the enemy base failed. Although we fought gallantly, and we killed hundreds of Argentinians, but Valerie was shot down and killed, and my army was forced to retreat to New Zealand. Thus, the New Zealand Army went to Australia. In New Zealand, three New Zealanders wanted to come back with us to the Falklands, and they are guarded 'The Hollow', before they disappeared somewhere.
The New Zealand government has given some guns to help with the defence of 'The Hollow'. Freddy was never found. I, being Christian, have prayed every night that Freddy has found peace in heaven. Recently, Mary has created a genetic mutant in the form of an eagle that can change into any other form possible to create confusion and suck emotions from its prey. Mary calls it an Emohawk. I suggested we should send the Emohawks to Argentine and it was widely supported. While we were still in Australia, Mary also created a biological weapon that likes fighting. It releases spores that land in the ground to breed and it always does this - even if it is dead. Before we left Australia, Mary released all of the prototypes to free Australia from the Argentinians. Now, I must pay the price for this.