The bridge that never was
Sojiro and Reiko looked upon the dining room, splattered with the blood of Amrj and his cooking lady. Sojiro tucked the bundle of letters and the coffer of rupees under his arm as the pair began to douse the furniture with lamp oil.
Both were blinded by the growing flames licking up the outside walls. The world around was pitch black. A voice came from the far end of the garden. It was the gardener. Sojiro drew his katana, but got stopped cold by Reiko’s objection. The gardener would live, no more lives would be snuffed tonight.
Sojiro lead Reiko eastward on their way to a bridge across the Gange. Their plan was to find their way back to Calcutta now that the execution had been carried. On the way, they dodged a group of soldiers, russian infantry, patrolling north away from Delhi. They shifted to a less traveled road and reached the bank of the river.
The bridge wasn’t where Sojiro thought. They chased a ghost of a structure further south which took them very close to Delhi. Unfortunately, while attempting to dodge a small group of russian scouts, Reiko stumbled and drew the soldier to them. She played dumb, but for naught. The soldiers got highly excited by the katana and Sojiro’s colt revolver.
Reiko and Sojiro were brought to the Red Fort and led into one of the main ground compound. They locked the door behind them, leaving Reiko to wonder about the how all these soldiers got to Delhi in the first place.
Devasheesh, Lt. Elwood and Gubdan realized that in this open terrain, it would be impossible for the lancers to escape from the scrutiny of scouting airships. They decided to leave the main road and seek a large enough farm under the canopy of trees where the horses could be concealed. They commandeered one farm and paid the owner to leave for the nearest town. They settled into a large farm, splitting over three homes and a large barn.
Devasheesh interrogated the Russian agent kidnapped from England House. The Russian broke only under torture and let out that they were preparing for a much larger scale invasion. He admitted that the events of the day had been precipitated somehow by other events, that the airships used a technology called VORONOD. That this technology involves small engines, similar to steam engines, that produce a volatile lighter-than-air gas. Under pressure, he estimated the numbers of Russian soldiers to about 1000 men.
Gubdan left to seek tools in the village while Lt. Elwood sent more messenger to pass on the new intel to Calcutta. Devasheesh rounded up a few artillery soldiers and took the 3-pounder into a field some 1000 yd afield. They could hear the buzz of a small engine skimming the top of the trees back and forth. With great luck, an airship flew almost overhead. The gun and the jezail rifle hit the lumbering target. A rapid gas leak could be heard until…
A gigantic fireball appeared in the sky and flared for over 200 ft upward as the heavy carriage of the airship shattered and plummeted to the ground. For a brief moment, it was daylight enough for Devasheesh to see the Lancers scatter in terror. He stood fast, fascinated by the sight of the Russian soldiers free-falling to their death beyond a large hedge. Devasheesh harnessed the horse to the 3-pounder and headed back to the farm in the safety of a dark moonless night.
The explosion attracted more Russians on foot to scour the area. Luckily, the scouts only had close calls and didn’t find the Lancers. It was clear, however, that when daylight would come that the fancy cavalry horses would stick out like a sore thumb. They decided to refit the 3-pounder’s carriage so that it could be trained skyward. The wheel were broken in sections, thus eliminating mobility. They setup the gun in a brush near the farm, expecting the battle to take place in the morning.
Feeding fools with tidings
Genevieve was taken into the Shah’s main compound which had been damaged during the shelling. The Russians were reasonably courteous: she waited for a hour in an antechamber of the palace. The Russian civilian named Akim entered, accompanied by a high-ranking Navy officer and two guards. The officer pulled a chair close to her location and engaged her in a conversation. He didn’t take the woman seriously and was somewhat patronizing. Gene took advantage of this situation and played dumb. She fed him all sorts of misinformations, in particular, overstating the EITC forces and their state of readiness. The officer was smug and satisfied to have broken Gene so easily, thanked her and made arrangements so that she could return to her accommodation and be reunited with her wounded husband.
Later in the night, an explosion rocked the Red Fort. It came from afar, but was powerful enough to move the curtain of her room. Down on the grounds, the Russians sounded an alarm and started small engines in the airships. There wasn’t that many Russian left around to scramble, Gene observed. She took her chance and peeked outside of her room. The hallway was empty. As they left the room, another door opened and from it came out Reiko and Sojiro. They briefly greeted and headed for the cellar.
Gene led them to the compound where the Europeans were kept. The place had been deserted when the Russians invaded and apparently, the Russians didn’t find the underground location yet. Dr. Hendsby reported that everyone was ready to make a run for the escape. Gene delegated to Nathan the task to open the march.
The Great Escape
The underground level of the Red Fort had been abandoned by the Shah’s men a few hours ago. The 70 or so Europeans meandered in the dark until they reaches a service door. The door was lockable from the inside, but had been left unlocked in the scramble.
Nathan and Sojiro bursted out of the fort into a side street of Delhi. There, they found two surprised Russians soldiers guarding the knobless door (from the outside). A scuffle ensued as more English rushed out of the door and engaged the soldiers. Gene directed the flow to her best ability while Reiko pulled her lady gun and attempted to get one of the Russian to surrender. The attempt was in vain and she had to shoot him. The low caliber shot didn’t have the intended effect, but by then the English were in full rout and couldn’t be contained anymore.
The European fled into the dark streets of a wartime blackout. A 16 y.o. girl was reported shot dead by Russians from a guard tower during the flight. The fugitives made it to Dr. Hendsby in short order. They all amassed inside to hide from the impending search. Hiding was as reckless than it looks since Delhi was bathing in chaos and the night was moonless and shrouded in a blanket of doom weighing on anyone fouling the ground with their feet.
Note: Maritje didn’t do much this session. To shake things up, Sophie will be playing Lt. Elwood in the next session.