Episode Episode 480: A Few Days Earlier
The records Clarice and Emily discovered aboard
the Coup de Grace suggested that the Warfields planned to visit
several places in their effort
to intercept the shipment of vacuum tubes. The closest of these was
Manila. A youthful Russian expatriate -- a scientist, perhaps, judging from
his manner -- knew of a freighter bound for the Philippines, and a few days
later, the two young women were strolling through the Port Area.
"Do you think Aunt Prodigia will manage to find your message?" Clarice asked
"Bob's your uncle!" said Emily. "She's one of our aunts! Do you think we'll
manage to find these British Union chappies?"
Clarice gestured at the streets around them, where late-model American
automobiles rolled past throngs of native workmen and well-maintained
examples of Hispanic architecture. It was obvious, even to a casual
observer, that this was an ancient Spanish settlement with a recent
veneer of American culture.
"I reckon they'll stick out like a bandicoot on a burnt ridge," she
"That's fair dinkum!"
The brunette's prediction proved accurate. Inquiries determined that a
`bunch of Limey high hats' maintained a residence near the embassy district
in Makati. This proved to be a substantial mansion, surrounded by gardens
that provided plenty of cover for would-be investigators. The window latch
was no obstacle to one of Emily's bobby pins, and soon they were stepping
over the sill.
"This all seems too easy," Clarice whispered apprehensively. "What if
there was an alarm?"
"She'll be apples," Emily whispered back. "Jenkins taught me how to
Before the blond could finish her assurances, the door swung open to reveal
two men in neatly-tailored tropical suits. One reached up to turn off a
light that was blinking above him.
"It appears we have spies," he said to his companion. "What shall we do
with them, Mister Forbes?"
The other man pursed his lips, as if unprepared to accept this burden of
authority. At last he sighed. "Lock them in the pantry while I inform
"That didn't go quite as well as I hoped," Emily admitted after they'd been
marched to their improvised prison.
Clarice had brightened at the prospect of some target for their ingenuity.
"I reckon we can suss a way out," she said. "Let's have a Captain Cook."
The chamber was surprisingly well-protected. The windows were small and
barred, the door through which they'd entered had no lock or hinges on their
side, and the only other exit was secured by a heavy steel combination lock.
Clarice wondered why their hosts had gone to such lengths to secure a
pantry. Did they fear some of its contents might escape? Perhaps
they did, for their definition of the word `pantry' seemed somewhat more
liberal than the usage in Australia.
"Oh look," said Emily, "here's an oxygen cylinder!"
"And here's some acetylene," said Clarice. "These fellows take their
"If we could find some pressure regulators and hoses, we could make a
cutting torch," Emily suggested.
"Would these do?" asked Clarice.
A few minutes' work with an oxidizing flame sufficed to cut the lock of the
second door. Clarice and Emily stepped through to find themselves in what
appeared to be an armory. Crates of rifles, neatly packed in cosmoline,
were stacked next to boxes of ammo and cases of grenades. Emily was
reaching to open one of the latter when a cry came from behind them.
"Here, Mister Forbes! Our prisoners are escaping!"
They looked back to see a servant peering into the room they'd just left.
Emily slammed shut the door behind them, Clarice shoved a crate against it,
then the two women were scrambling through a window. They fled across the
grounds, vaulted the surrounding fence, and paused to straighten their
"Bonzer!" Clarice chuckled. "That's the last we'll see of those drongos!"
"Strewth!" Emily agreed. "Did you remember to shut off that cutting torch
before we left the armory?"
Clarice thought this over. "A fair question, that," she admitted. "We
might wish to leave the immediate area."
As the two women turned to go, they were accosted by a party of men with
"So, there you are!" announced the leader.
"Pardon me," said Emily. "Who exactly are we supposed to be?"
"The new Englisher agents," the German said smugly. "We saw you sneaking
out of the British Union's headquarters. You will come with us.
Herr Jansen will wish to speak with you."
"What if we don't wish to speak with Hair Jansen?" Clarice replied
"You do not have a choice in the matter," said the man. He gave a gesture
of command and his minions bundled Clarice and Emily into a waiting lorry.
An hour's drive and several uses of the imperative later, the two women
found themselves imprisoned in a shed. The remains of an old packing label
suggested this was part of the Aryan Supreme Sugar Gesellschaft.
"I say, this door isn't very difficult to open," Emily remarked as she
picked the lock.
"They must not have been prepared for our visit," said Clarice. "And my my,
look at that!"
The brunette gestured past some bales of sugar cane, where a small
locomotive -- an 0-4-2 tank engine from the Baldwin Locomotive Works of
Eddystone, Pennsylvania -- stood atop a narrow-gauge rail line with smoke
rising from its stack. It seemed unattended.
"This seems like too good an opportunity to miss," she observed.
"Bob's your uncle!" agreed Emily.
It took Clarice but a moment to get the engine rolling. Cries from behind
indicated that they'd been observed. They looked back to see a second
engine emerge from a siding in pursuit. Clarice advanced the throttle,
then peered ahead.
"I do hope we're heading for the entrance," she remarked as they picked up
"She'll be apples," said Emily. "It looks to be just past that rail
"This would be the one where the man is throwing the switch to send us back
the way we came?"
"Yes, that's the one."
The engine swayed alarmingly as it took the curve, then they were hurtling
back down the track toward the other machine. Its crew seemed to
recognize that this situation was less than optimal, for they were already
leaping to safety. Clarice and Emily followed suit, then watched with
interest as events unfolded before them.
"I say, that was quite the crash," Clarice remarked after the echoes had
"Dinki-di!" said Emily. "Let us take this opportunity to escape in the
After their encounters with English and German nationalists, Clarice and
Emily were hardly surprised to be accosted by a party of Japanese on their
way back to town. This group seemed even more humorless than their
predecessors, so the two young women made no attempt to resist as they were
marched to the coast and ordered aboard a fishing boat. This carried them
north to a small fishing village, where their new hosts locked them inside
a storage shed and departed to report to their superiors.
By now the experience of being locked inside a storeroom had begun to lose
some of its novelty. Clarice glanced around the room to evaluate its
weaknesses as a prison, then turned to Emily, who was gazing out the
"Where are we now?" she asked.
"I reckon this is another secret air station, like the one these chappies
had in Western Australia," said Emily. "I can see a collapsible mast, an
operations shack, fuel depot, and oh look, we're right next to the
Next week: So It's Up To The Royal Navy Again...
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