The Flying Cloud, R505 - Season Four

SPOILER ALERT --  This summary describes the events of Season Six. If you read it before you've read the episodes themselves, it may give some things away.

Season Six: The Story (Episodes 252-300)

Agent climbing fence

On a peaceful night in May, the Cairns Royal Air Station is rocked by an explosion. Captain Everett and Captain Michaelson hurry to the scene and find the station's newly-completed guardhouse in ruins. Nearby, a young Asian woman lies unconscious, struck down by debris from the blast. In the grass next to her, they find a cuff-link that belonged to an officer they'd believed lost aboard the stern section of the R-212 when that ship was destroyed by the mysterious cruiser.

The two adversaries begin an inquiry, but they have little evidence to work with: a few footprints, a report by a sentry who saw two figures fighting an instant before the blast, and trail leading from the perimeter fence back to the harbor. The woman only speaks Korean -- a language they are unable to translate while Miss Perkins is away. Michaelson hypothesizes that the bomber arrived as a stowaway on one of the ships at anchor and sends Everett and the Flying Cloud to investigate their previous ports of call. Everett is unsure of Michaelson's motives, but has his own reasons for a search, for the cuff-link they found suggests there might be more survivors of the R-212. On the eve of their departure, Davies and Fleming almost have to pay for drinks, but are rescued by Iwamoto's unexpected skill at darts. In another part of town, Lieutenant Murdock encounters an alluring blond who seems unduly interested their mission, but is rescued by Pierre and Abercrombie. The lietenant thinks nothing of the incident, since that's the sort of thing he does.

Far to the west, Emily and Clarice have grown bored with life at Darwin's railway office. When the head of Scheduling offers them a chance to fly to Sydney on the R-67, they leap at the chance. Sydney proves to be everything Darwin isn't. Big, modern, and exciting, it's filled with things to distract two young shielas from the Northern Territory. Among these is Miss Perkins, Captain Michaelson's secretary from Cairns. Miss Perkins seems alarmed by Emily and Clarice's arrival. Brushing aside their questions, she bundles them back to the air station and warns them to leave town. As they're wondering how to accomplish this, they're offered a position as wireless operators aboard the Philadelphian, a private air vessel owned by an American railway magnate named Mister Cartwell. This promises to be even more exciting than Sydney, so they accept.

In his hidden lair, the Fat Man, leader of German nationalists, receives word of these developments. He is pleased that Michaelson and Everett are falling into his trap, but perplexed by the events in Sydney. Recalling their association with Captain Everett, he concludes that Emily and Clarice must be agents, and resolves to capture them.

Michaelson orders the Flying Cloud to the inappropriately-named Goodenough Island to investigate the movements of the Cordelia, one of the freighters on which the hypothetical bomber might have stowed away. On Goodenough, a suspiciously helpful pair of English surveyors informs Everett and his crew that a Japanese government air packet, the Shiratori Maru, visited the island around the same time as the freighter. By chance, they learn from another source that `two Englishmen' were seen in the company of the Fat Man's minions: a sea-captain named Ritter. Putting two and two together, Everett deduces that the two `surveyors' were actually agents planted in anticipation of their arrival and the Fat Man must be trying to send them after his Japanese adversaries. This means the Fat Man must have known the contents of their sealed orders from Cairns. The only person who could have leaked this information was Michaelson's aide, Phelps. It seems inconceivable that Michaelson could fail to know his aide has been turned, so Everett concludes the senior captain is using them all as pieces in one of his games. He sends a signal back to Cairns: “Message received and understood.”

Aboard the Philadelphian, Mister Cartwell tells Emily and Clarice that he has come to the Pacific in search of a semi-legendary creature know as a `squidbat'. “Squidbats!” exclaims Emily. “We used to have them in Darwin. Our aunts used to tell stories about them.” Mister Cartwell is delighted by this news, and orders his ship to Darwin, where one of Emily and Clarice's formidable aunts, Aunt Behema, takes the party in her fishing boat to investigate some sites on the coast. They don't find any squidbats, but the matron does scares off a vessel that ordered them to heave to.

Everett and his men return to Cairns and receive orders to proceed to Guadalcanal via Darwin to track the movements of the Shiratori Maru. They also acquire a stowaway: the Korean woman, Miss Kim. Everett senses Michaelson's hand in this development, but cannot guess the senior captain's purpose. Shortly after Everett's dparture, Miss Perkins arrives to report that the Fat Man's lieutenant, Sigmund, has escaped from his prison in Sydney. Michaelson shrugs this off, along with her accusation that he's using Emily and Clarice to draw out the Fat Man's agents.

Mister Cartwell's party returns to Darwin, where Emily and Clarice are delighted to see that the Flying Cloud has arrived. Everett is concerned by the American's presence, particularly when he learns that Mister Cartwell intends to fly to Guadalcanal in the next step in his search for squidbats. Making the best of a perplexing situation, he suggest they travel together. They arrive to find numerous Japanese tourists taking what seems to be unusual interest in defense installations. They also find that someone is interested in them, as Aunt Behema stares down a trio of seamen who threaten Mister Cartwell, Abercrombie rescues Lieutenant Murdock from what might have been a trap, and Iwamoto strikes down two Germans who menaced Emily and Clarice. Back in Cairns, Michaelson receives Everett's report of these events with equanimity. At his hidden base, the Fat Man is reinforced in his belief that Emily and Clarice are agents. Far to the east, on Sarah's Island, the Governor -- now allied with the masters of the mysterious cruiser -- decides to enter the game.

On Guadalcanal, it's time to lift ship -- the Flying Cloud for Bougainville and the Philadelphian for Ponapai. As the airships depart, Emily catches Clarice gazing at the Flying Cloud with a wistful expression, but her companion denies any interest in the vessel's captain. On the Flying Cloud, Everett worries about the two women's safety, and decides to draw their enemies' attention away from them. Murdock has an encounter with Kim, who seems perturbed by Iwamoto's presence aboard the ship, but thinks nothing of the incident, since that's the sort of thing he does.

Mister Cartwell's party reaches Ponapai, where they explore the sunken city of Nan Madol, but fail to find any squidbats. Quite by accident Emily and Clarice foil another kidnapping attempt. Everett's visit to Bougainville is more productive. He confirms that the Fat Man is the one feeding them information about the Shiratori Maru, and learns that the German has some new ally known as `She Who Must Be Obeyed'.

As May draws to a close, the principle players -- Everett, Michaelson, the Fat Man, and the Governor -- all have just enough information to draw entirely the wrong conclusions about the course of their game. The Fat Man sends Sigmund on a disguised torpedo boat, the Todstalker, to pursue Clarice and Emily. The Japanese and the Governor watch Everett's progress to thwart his supposed plans. Meanwhile, Mister Cartwell continues his search for squidbats. This takes him as far afield as the Santa Cruz Islands -- in middle of the so-called `Squidbat Triangle' -- Pago Pago, and Guam. He also introduces Aunt Behema to an invention she finds delightful -- a handy little machine known as a `chainsaw'

By now the Fat Man, the Japanese nationalists, and the servants of She Who Must Be Obeyed have all concluded the Clarice and Emily are Michaelson's agents and make several attempt to capture the two women. Some of these are thwarted by accident, when the women arrive at an ambush too early or late, or Aunt Behema and Mister Cartwell stumble upon and dismantle some trap. More come to grief as the factions compete among themselves.

Everett and his crew continue to backtrack the Shiratori Maru's flight to Goodenough. When they reach the Philippines, they receive a distress call from the vessel, which has come under attack. They arrive to late to intervene, but are able to recover the single survivor, the ship's steward, Tsumura. He tells them that the liner was destroyed by what was obviously the mysterious cruiser.

Back in Australia, Miss Perkins investigates German nationalists' safe house in Bondi Beach and discovers their plot to take Clarice and Emily. When he learns of this, Michaelson decides its time to confronts Phelps. Phelps crumbles, and reveals that he's working for She Who Must Be Obeyed, who took over British Union of Fascist's network after their debacle in Rabaul. Michaelson decides it's time to take action and orders Miss Perkins to find and join Sigmund's torpedo boat as a spy.

Everett and his crew question Tsumura in an attempt to determine why the Japanese nationalists felt it necessary to destroy the Shiratori Maru. They learn that the vessel carried a team of biologists to the Philippines. From a friendly librarian, Pierre learns that these biologists were searching for some creature called a ‘squidbat', and mentioned the island of Goodnough. Everett returns to the island to investigate. The agents of She Who Must Be Obeyed try to capture the shore party but have reckoned with Abercrombie, who apprehends them with ease. Everett has just finished interrogating them when Michaelson arrives aboard the R-87, announces that he's taking over the investigation, and orders Everett back to Cairns.

With no alternative but to obey, Everett lifts ship for Australia. One they're underway, he discovers that Michaelson has stowed aboard. It seems the senior captain intends to set a trap for She Who Must be Obeyed using himself as bait. He's sent the R-87 to the Marshall Islands, making it seem as if he's on the vessel. With her superior speed, the Flying Cloud can arrive first, allowing her crew to ambush this mysterious adversary when she arrives.

The airmen deploy on Bikini, sending the Flying Cloud off for a much-needed resupply. But it seems they've been outsmarted, for no sooner is the airship gone when She Who Must Be Obeyed appears to take them prisoner. She turns out to be Baroness Warfield, their old nemesis, and Everett's one-time fiancé. Unfortunately for her, Michaelson has anticipated that she's anticipate his plans, and they are rescued by Miss Perkins and Michaelson's' allies in German Naval Intelligence, who the senior captain called here for just this eventuality. During the resulting confusion, Lady Warfield manages to escape aboard her yacht.

Miss Perkins informs them Mister Cartwell's ship has been taken by Sigmund and his men, who flew it to Ujelang. Everett and Michaelson plan a rescue, using the torpedo boat the Germans were kind enough to leave behind. Once they are aboard, Michaelson confronts Miss Kim and reveals that he has always know she was working for the German nationalists against the Japanese. He tells her she no longer has the luxury of remaining neutral in the larger conflict between the Admiralty and the nationalists. Faced with this ultimatum, she agrees to help them with the German codes

En route to Ujelang, Everett and Michaelson are attacked by MacKiernan and the Flying Cloud, on their way back from resupply, who believe the Todstalker to be hostile. After this misunderstanding is resolved, airmen realize they're in a good position to capture the Fat Man's people. If Michaelson takes the torpedo boat to hold the entrances to the lagoon while the Flying Cloud stops the Philadelphian from lifting ship, the Germans will be trapped on the island. Unbeknown to them, the Japanese have learned that a Wolesely class ship has left Goodenough. They've also learned that a fueler has been sent to a rendezvous between there and the Marshalls. They mistaken;y conclude that Michaelson is on his way to Ujelang and resolve to destroy him for once and for all.

Michaelson reaches Ujelang aboard the Todstalker to discover that Lady Warfield has preceded him on her yacht. This changes the details, but not the substance of their plan. He leads a party ashore, disguised in uniforms Sigmund's people left behind on the vessel, to hijack Lady Warfield's yacht. He leaves Murdock, Miss Perkins, and Miss Kim aboard the torpedo boat. After the party is gone, Miss Kim subdues her companions, sets them adrift on raft, and contacts the Germans.

On Ujelang, Mister Cartwell and his party are being held prisoner along with the Japanese biologists. The biologists inform Mister Cartwell that the explosion site and the area downwind seem to be unhealthy, as if they've been contaminated by some lingering toxin. They also show him some of the strange animals that have appeared in the aftermath of the blast. These aren't exactly squids, and they aren't exactly bats, but `squidbat' seems as good a name as any.

The Germans have taken quarters on the airship. Since it's the only way off the island, their captives are trapped. Mister Cartwell notes that if someone can trigger the `automatic mooring release' he invented, tables will be turned, and Germans will drift away on airship they don't know how to operate, leaving their erstwhile captives free. Aunt Behema volunteers for this mission. She has no trouble subduing the guards, but she is surprised by Lady Warfield. The baroness considers taking her aboard, but decides she is too heavy for the airship, and orders her back to the island.

Michaelson has taken Lady Warfield's yacht with the help of uniforms Sigmund's people left behind. As they leave the wharf, they are alarmed to see a launch filled of Germans pull alongside the Todstalker and take possession of the vessel. A one-sided naval action begins. In an unarmed yacht, facing a warship with three times their speed, the airmen's chances seem slim, but the Flying Cloud shows up in the nick of time, and disables the torpedo boat.

It seems they're safe. Then the tables turn once again, as the mysterious cruiser appears, catching the Flying Cloud by surprise. As Everett is preparing for an action he cannot hope to win, a nearby station transmits a message. GERMANS ON WOLSELEY IM SORRY MURDOCK. The cruiser turns in response and sets off in pursuit of the Philadelphian. Soon both vessels are over the horizon.

After they're sure their enemies are gone, the crew of the Flying Cloud recover Michaelson and Mister Cartwell's parties, liberate the Japanese biologists, and take the Fat man's people prisoner. By process of elimination, they deduce that it must have been Miss Kim who sent the message. It seems she wasn't a traitor after all. But the Korean woman's motives remain a mystery, for she vanished during the battle.

Mister Cartwell doesn't seem displeased by this outcome. He may have lost an airship, but the vessel was insured, and he has found his squidbats. More important, he and Aunt Behema have found each other. Recognizing kindred spirits, they will depart for America, and a life that is unlikely to be mundane.

Cruiser pursuing the Philadelphian

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