Remember those chickens I mentioned?
Here is the next part of the serialized tale from our role play group "The Messdeck".
You can start from the beginning here.
Previously, Lt Cmdr Maxwell MacDonald-Smythe (Max), and his crew aboard the aged HMAS Doris, had arrived at the remote manor of their shipmate Doctor Christine Pearse. The good doctor, in addition to her duties as Ships Doctor aboard the experimental airship the HMAS Velvet Brush, is also the Duchess of Argylle.
The journey north in the old Doris in the dead of winter was icy cold, so Max and the crew are happy indeed to spend the evening enjoying the hospitality of the good Doctor.
What follows is a slightly edited transcript of the role playing we did for our visit to the Manor at Davaar.
Miss BB overhearing Max's comment about counting chickens says, "There's chickens? I don't see any chickens?" then turning to Christine she asks, "Doctor, are you sure that all those rats and things are gone gone gone?"
Iveta smiles, "If need be, we can find some books for the rats."
Christine sips her tea and nods. "Yes, we've not seen a trace of them. The tunnels have been sealed off and with the improvements and upgrades to the Manor, I think it's safe to say that the rats are gone."
BB smiles back at Iveta and pats her bag on her lap. "Oh, I brought my book. I sure did."
Cpl Cooke moves to meat pie #3. "I have my jamming equipment with me too if it is needed."
Sgt Fraser looks to Cooke and laughs. "Slow down lad or you won't be able to get back on board!"
Max looks around the parlour and says, "Ma'am, it seems everything got put back together pretty well, it were a shame we had to make such a mess."
"Ah Commander, that's what happens when you are set upon by villains. I have to say, it was a blessing in disguise really. Much needed improvements were able to be made during the repairs, so it wasn't such a bad thing after all I suppose."
"Glad to hear it Ma'am." Max stretches his bad leg and says, "Oooh it is lovely and warm in here."
Fraser looks up from a sandwich. "Sorry about the front gate Ma'am, did they ever manage to get it fixed?"
"So much has happened since then..." Christine is momentarily lost in thought and then comes back to the room at Fraser's question. "Oh, yes, the gate has been fixed with some new technology. It's quite impressive, if you want to go out and take a look later, feel free."
Fraser nods. "Thank you Ma'am, I will do a walk around later when Cooke and I do our ship check."
Miss BB reaching for another slice of steaming meat pie says, "Doctor, you know what we did? We went to a Parasol Duel. It was wonderful. They had all kinds of outfits and parasols. Did you ever go?"
Christine raises her eyebrows, "Parasol dueling? My word! I've not been to London since before Christmas, so I'm afraid I'm terribly out of step with the new fashions. Might I assume that you've participated?"
"Oh I wanted to. But Madame wouldn't let me. She said I needed training. Hmmm. There was lots and lots of ladies."
Iveta winks at BB. "In time I think you'll be quite a natural."
Christine smiles at BB and says, "I would imagine so. Very sensible sport, parasol dueling. Combines fashion and defense nicely."
"And you have the best parasols, anyway." says Iveta, grinning at Miss BB.
"Oh I hope so. It is just ever such a wonderful thing to see." says BB as she starts in on her meat pie.
Max says, "It is quite the thing now Ma'am, the clerk at the Officer's hostel his mum is a judge. Heard all about it, seems fascinating. I'm going to read up on it in me spare time."
"And when we were there, I saw a Lady who we knew, and when I yelled, she just kept walking like she didn't even hear me. But I yelled real loud." says BB.
Fraser takes out a small pipe. "I heard that even Private Mitchell was looking into it."
Looking at her half empty tea cup Miss BB whispers to Iveta, "Just tea. no medicine yet."
Overhearing, Christine smiles and says, "If you think your tea might need some fortification in order to thaw the marrow of your bones, that could be arranged."
Iveta turning to the Doctor says "The small parasols are what intrigue me most. They are held in twin holsters at the hips. Fascinating!"
"Oh? There are different classes of parasol? How very interesting! What is the reasoning behind that?"
*Cooke moves on to the pastries.*
Iveta says, "The small ones were used for, something called street dueling I think."
Miss BB nods. "Ya, street duels are the best thing ever. You can even do them at pokooor games."
Fraser raises an eyebrow and chuckles. "Street duels? Yep Mitchell is going to love that."
"Oh my!" says Christine. "That sounds so very wild west! How exciting! The Metropolitan Police have turned a blind eye to this? I'm surprised Parliament hasn't passed a bill outlawing this new sport. They'll think that such behaviour will cause the women to think they should vote next." she says grinning broadly.
"Oh, they don't let you poke anyones eye out. So the police just watch." says BB.
Iveta says, "I'm interested in studying the craft, myself. Who knows? It may prove useful sometime."
Miss BB looks thoughtful and then nods. "Vote? yes we should vote. That is a great idea."
Carefully pouring another cup of tea for Iveta, Christine says, "Well, I must say, that any sort of self defense a lady can have is a good one. Especially one that uses such a lovely accessory as a parasol."
Fraser pipes up, "Wait. There's no contact I thought."
"No" says Miss BB, "They say it is too dangerous. Can you imagine that? Bah. Sometimes though, you can show your ankles."
Christine nearly chokes on her tea, trying not to laugh. "Good gracious!"
Cooke looks up from a pastry and says to Fraser "Mitchell won't like that."
"Mitchell has nice ankles." says Miss BB.
Max chokes on his tea. "Er sorry, wrong pipe."
Christine laughs. "And how would you know Miss BB?"
"Bubble bath room." says BB, "That's all I will say."
Watkins looks over at Simpson who is blushing and grins at him "Eer Simpson steady on."
Christine smothers a laugh and tries to compose her face, eyes twinkling.
Iveta grins. "I'm sure the British don't know what to do with me, as I show mine all the time. I think it's a perfect way to disguise a warrior's skill, even if they have to wear dresses."
Miss BB carefully puts a spare meat pie in her bag.
Fraser chokes again and nudges Cooke. Who, trying not to laugh, goes back to eating.
The crew and their hostess continue in their pleasantries enjoying the warmth, good food and companionship.
While out in the cloakroom, by the great front doors, several tiny metal insects crawl from under the bands of the crew's hats. They unfold wings and begin to rise. Spreading far to the outer walls of the vast foyer, they keep near the edges of paneling joins and tapestries, all but invisible against the dark wood, with only the rarest, briefest glints of light on metal to betray their whereabouts. They spread room to room, seeking the sound of human voices, sending their tiny beacon signals to the cloaked airship hovering not far away in the grey icy winter skies.
 Private Camile Mitchell is the only female member of the Royal Marine detachment aboard the HMAS Velvet Brush.