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Chapter 5 - A Close Encounter

At the Victorian Compound

Midshipman calliaphone creeps back to the edge of the empty plot. She finds the fox-hole much as she left it. Flattening herself into the dirt, she wriggles back through.

Midshipman calliaphone gets up and brushes off. Her hands are kind of grubby, though, so it doesn't help much. She looks round for the gopher trap. Still there! She trots towards it, tripping over her dress-sword.

Midshipman calliaphone picks herself up from this latest tumble, somehow failing to notice the scufflesqueakscuffle from her backpack. Digging in her pocket she locates a blue sour-string, and starts munching.

Midshipman calliaphone continues munching, as she kneels down to examine the trap. Goddamnit, still empty? What is it with these gophers, are they like Mensa-level or what?

Midshipman calliaphone does not notice a small, furry face, with whiskers and sharp teeth, poking out of her backpack and watching over her shoulder.

Midshipman calliaphone cleans out the mouldy bait from the trap, and proceeds to refill it with sour-strings (one for the trap, one for her, one for the trap etc ad nauseam) and potato peelings.

KK Victoria booms from behind her, "WHAT IS DOING!" He roars. The ground trembles with his voice, and smoke pours of his mouth as his fingers clench and unclench.

Midshipman calliaphone jumps out of her skin, triggering the spring-mechanism of the trap so that it snaps shut on her hand. "OWWW fuckshitohhshitshit" she spins round, eyes wide, waving the trap on the end of her arm.

KK Victoria grabs her by the collar, lifting her up a good four feet off of the ground and baring a full mouth of serrated, sharpened teeth.

Midshipman calliaphone inhales her sour-string, and splutters, kicking her legs frantically. She claws for a weapon. Sword-hand trapped, she struggles with the pistol.

KK Victoria tears the pistol from her hand. He doesn't even spare it a glance before he puts it - barrel first -into his mouth. With a wrenching grind of metal and splintering wood, he snaps it twixt his teeth

Midshipman calliaphone 's eyes pop. Mostly at the pistol-munching, although maybe a little bit with the occluded airway. She flails at KK with the hand-trap, clonking him on the jaw.

KK Victoria is obviously not amused.

KK Victoria is also not even remotely phased by the attack. Not even a twitch.

Midshipman calliaphone is obviously running out of oxygen.

KK Victoria grunts, considering her a moment before he throws her like a child bored with a toy. He places the rest of the pistol in his mouth, crunching on the metal workings before swallowing.

KK Victoria breathes out a cloud of thick black smoke through his nostrils, before pacing after where he threw the intruder.

Midshipman calliaphone hits the ground with enough force to eject the offending sour-string from her throat. she wheezes, and tries to scramble up to face her foe. And that's when she recognises him. "c-cake man?"

KK Victoria stops his boot from landing on her head like it was supposed to. He blinks. Thinks. Blinks again, allowing his foot to hang in the space a short distance from her face.

KK Victoria pauses, "I know?" He asks.

Midshipman calliaphone closes her eyes tight shut, and waits. . .

Midshipman calliaphone notes that she doesn't appear to be dead. And . . . someone is speaking. She opens an eye. "B-boot."

KK Victoria slams his boot down next to her head. He still has no idea who she is. "Boot?"

KK Victoria considers. "Who Boot?"

Midshipman calliaphone twitches, as the impact of boot-on-ground echoes through her. She doesn't move, just stares up at the owner of the boot. "uhh..h-hello." she says, faintly.

Midshipman calliaphone glances sideways, looking at the boot. she winces. "your boot, a very nice boot, very, er. . . sturdy yes no messing with a boot like that i can tell it's not the kind of boot you'd take lightly. . ."

Midshipman calliaphone continues chuntering about the boot. oh adrenaline, treacherous adrenaline.

KK Victoria picks her up by the collar again, holding her up to only a slightly lesser height. "And what doing in Kai's property."

Midshipman calliaphone blinks. "uhh? I dunno i guess it's protecting your foot from stones and splinters and stuff like that gotta look after toes they repay you for it my uncle joe always said tha- oh. me, you mean?"

KK Victoria raises an eyebrow as she drones on about his boot. That is, until she understands. "Mean you." He agrees.

Midshipman calliaphone nods. gulps. nods again. "yes. of course you did how could i have not realised that i, uhh. . ." she dangles, trying to hide the gopher trap behind her. "it's like this. . .i uhh. . ."

Midshipman calliaphone stammers to a halt, then tries again. "letter." she says. "i was delivering a letter." scufflescufflesqueak from her backpack.

KK Victoria waits, patiently holding her in his vice-grip.

Midshipman calliaphone attempts to pat her pockets down, one-handed, to locate the letter. she finds it, somewhat scrumpled, but still bearing the official seal of the Admiralty.

Midshipman calliaphone holds tightly to the letter. she's under orders. deliver into the hands of Lady Lelila only.

KK Victoria takes the letter from her. Seeing the L scrawled on the front, he would never open it. Instead, he pockets it and sets her down. "Thank. Get off property."

Midshipman calliaphone 's legs shake. but she stands her ground. "i. . . uhh. i can't let you have that. it's not for you."

KK Victoria growls at her, his nose leaking thick white smoke.

Midshipman calliaphone takes a step backwards, trips over her dress-sword, and sits down abruptly. "m'under orders. letter's for the lady, that's what Merlin said."

Midshipman calliaphone holds out her hand as if to receive the letter. then hastily puts it behind her again, on seeing the trap still attached. and extends the other hand instead.

KK Victoria raises an eyebrow. "Orders?" He asks. He leaves her hand unfilled. "Do not look soldier."

Midshipman calliaphone looks down at herself, squinting to blot out the grime. She thinks her uniform looks rather natty, actually. But he's got a point. "Navy." she says. "HMS Bingo Hall."

Midshipman calliaphone adds, "Sir" for good measure, and a sloppy salute. Unfortunate, about the trap. /CLONNK. "ughh." she keels over.

KK Victoria 's lip twitches. No, no laughter. "Get off property."

Midshipman calliaphone would love to. but . . . stars are a whirling above her head right now. she mmumbles. "b-best cake ever. . ."

KK Victoria picks her up and jogs her. "Wake up." He grunts.

Midshipman calliaphone groaans. "nono UncleAdmiralsir pleasenotswabbingth'decks'gain. . ."

KK Victoria frowns at her. "Not soldier." He grunts. "Pathetic." He throws her over his shoulder and starts back towards The CompoundProper.

Inside the Compound Proper

KK Victoria comes in with Calliaphone, half-conscious on his shoulder. He looks no more amused than he did when he saw her trespassing on his property. He tromps over to the Parlor.

Midshipman calliaphone dangles, a home-made gopher trap clamped firmly around her hand.

KK Victoria drops Calliaphone onto one of the couches, a flat and annoyed look on his face as he sits on the sofa opposite where he deposited her.

Midshipman calliaphone stirs, and mumbles . . . something about a goat and psychedelic dolmades and unicycling gophers and rollmops. Inside her backpack, squeakscufflescuffle.

KK Victoria watches. She needs to wake back up so he can continue yelling at her.

Midshipman calliaphone groans, and half-opens an eye. She puts up a hand to her head. Thankfully this time, she chooses the trapless hand."ughhh." the other eye also half-opens. she says "huhh." then, "huhh?"

Midshipman calliaphone struggles to get both eyes fully open, and herself sat up. she almost manages it.

KK Victoria begins his accusations. "You is bad soldier," He begins. "Are bumble, incapable. Easy get snuck upon, knock out self. Not straight salute, you uncondition and discipline not."

Midshipman calliaphone blinks painfully, and rubs at the large bruise forming on her forehead. she pouts at Kai. "my knots are good." she says. "the coxswain says so." fingers crossed inside gopher trap.

Midshipman calliaphone tries to remember exactly who was the coxswain. but brain-ache makes it tricky.

KK Victoria knows what makes a good soldier. "Knots not." He replies. "Can shoot? Can fight?"

Midshipman calliaphone says, "i can shoot. ish." he didn't ask about accuracy, after all, "except it's kinda difficult when your gun's been eaten."

KK Victoria blanks at her. "And cannot eat gun." That's another soldiering deficiency.

Midshipman calliaphone glares. "well good for you, you've spotted i'm not a soldier. full marks for observation. can i go now, or you wanna eat my accordion and all?" gulp. she really should watch that mouth of hers.

Midshipman calliaphone wraps her arms (and the trap) around the accordion, expression half-glaring half-beseeching. She gets up, swaying a bit.

KK Victoria beams. "Get out." He grunts, pointing to the door.

KK Victoria beaming is not a pretty sight. It's really more of him flashing all of his rows of teeth at someone.

Midshipman calliaphone hesitates. the letter. but she knows when she's beaten. she takes a step, then scampers, tripping over her dress-sword and tumbling through the door. something squeaks in her backpack.

Midshipman calliaphone pauses at the gate. turning back towards the house, she pulls an impressively revolting face. it'd be even better if she had two free hands to use. but she makes the best of things.

Midshipman calliaphone resumes her flight, and vanishes into the jungle.

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