Algy And The Rescue Flight: Chapter 9. A Meeting With Von Stalhein

By Sopwith

Disclaimer: I do not own, or claim to own, any of the Biggles series characters used in this work. This fan fiction was written for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered part of the official storyline.

Von Stalhein’s face paled as his eye fell on Biggles and Ginger. Two quick strides and he was in front of them.

It was Biggles who spoke first; the German seemed to be at a loss for words. “Well, well, Von Stalhein,” he murmured. “You do turn up in the oddest places.”

“I could almost say the same of you and your young friend,” replied the German stiffly.

“Don’t say that,” said Biggles in a reproachful tone of voice. “You’ll make me think you’re not pleased to see me. And after all the trouble I took to get here, too.”

Von Stalhein was clearly not in the mood for banter. “I know why you are here,” he snapped. For a minute Biggles’ heart nearly stopped, wondering if the German had somehow managed to capture Algy, but Von Stalhein’s next words were a welcome relief. “Where are Lacey and Lissie?”

“I really have no idea,” replied Biggles truthfully. “And really, Von Stalhein, you should know me well enough by now to know that even if I did know where they were, I would hardly be likely to tell you about it.”

“Where are the papers?”

“What papers?”

“I would appreciate it if you did not waste my time playing games,” said the German curtly. “Give me the papers you were asked to deliver.”

Biggles guessed that the papers being referred to were the ones that Algy had delivered. It seemed that despite the raid they were still at large after all. “I’m sure it will be an easy matter to ascertain that I don’t have whatever papers you’re talking about,” he said coolly. “Really, Von Stalhein. Why would I waste my time lying to you?”

“You may not have them on your person, but I have no doubt that you know where they are.”

Biggles gave a weary sigh. “For the last time, Von Stalhein, I don’t have your papers, and I never did.”

Von Stalhein’s eyes narrowed. “We’ll see about that,” he said. “The commander has given orders that all of you will be shot at dawn. Should you—miraculously—remember where the papers are during the night, you might be able to postpone your meeting with the firing squad.”

“This is outrageous!” protested Biggles, but to no avail. The German gestured to two of the guards, who came forward and marched Biggles and Ginger out of the room, down a long corridor, and into a small cell.

The door clanged shut behind them and they heard the key turn in the lock.

Ginger slumped moodily into a corner. “And here we are again,” he muttered. “What were the papers he was after, do you think?”

“Probably the ones Algy has,” replied Biggles. “Well, we’re in a fine mess, and no mistake. We can’t possibly tell Von Stalhein where his precious papers are, as we don’t have the faintest idea ourselves. We can’t even bluff him into thinking that we know where they are, since we don’t know the first thing about them.”

“So what do we do?”

“I don’t know.”

The words hung heavily in the air and seemed to echo off the walls. Ginger put his face in his hands, trying to think. Biggles paced over to the barred window and lit a cigarette, tapping the ashes out on the windowsill as he too struggled to come up with some sort of plan.

Outside, an owl hooted, a cold hollow sound in the dark empty night.

&&&

Having bade his new friends goodbye, Bertie was left alone in the dark to stare at the Lancaster in front of him. Was there some way to get it? It seemed unlikely that Biggles and the others would be able to get home if not, not to mention the fact that Bertie himself would be stuck on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.

There was an opening in the fence quite close to him, but this was guarded by at least four guards. In fact, there seemed to be guards milling about everywhere.

“Anyone would think there was a bally war on,” muttered Bertie to himself, taking his monocle out of his eye and polishing it absent-mindedly on his sleeve. He glanced at his watch as he did so, and was horrified to see how much time had passed. Biggles and the others were no doubt growing anxious at his non-appearance.

“Dash it, if those blighters weren’t about it should be easy enough to toddle up and fly the jolly thing away,” he growled, glaring at the guards through his once again monocled eye.

Right on cue, an almighty crash sounded at the opposite end of the fenced in enclosure, so loud that Bertie very nearly jumped out of his skin with fright. “Oh, I say!” he murmured. “What’s going on now?”

His first, quite natural, reaction to the bang was, of course, to try and find out what had caused it. As a matter of detail, he had actually begun to run towards the opposite end of the enclosure when the thought struck him that the Lancaster would no doubt have been left unguarded, as the guards had all run off to investigate the source of the crash.

Accordingly, he turned and hurried back to the bomber, panting as he ran.

But wait! What was this?

There was a man ahead of him, also running towards the bomber. Could it be that he was planning to steal it as well?

Bertie reached into his pocket and took a firm grip on his automatic. No doubt the man ahead had his own reasons for wanting to steal the Lancaster, but that couldn’t be helped. Biggles and the others needed the bomber to get home, and if that meant fighting to get hold of the machine, well, so be it.

Bertie yowled like a cat, leapt forward, and landed squarely on top of the man in front of him.

&&&

Ginger stared miserably through the barred window at the half moon outside. “What are we going to do?” he asked, for what must have been the fourth or fifth time in as many minutes. “Bertie’s due at the landing place. He’ll be wondering why we’re not there.”

“He’ll know not to land if he doesn’t see any signals.” Biggles lit another cigarette.

A silence fell in the little cell.

Outside, an owl hooted again, several times in quick succession.

“That owl seems to be uncommonly agitated about something,” observed Ginger, absently, as he went through his pockets looking for something that might help them.

“Probably seen a mouse or something.”

Another silence.

More hooting.

“That hooting’s starting to get on my nerves,” said Biggles, after a few seconds. “What’s there for it to be so excited about, anyway? And that’s just from one. I’ve a good mind to find a rock or something and chuck it at the thing to show it what I think of it.”

There was another brief silence, in which the hooting continued.

“It almost sounds like some sort of signal,” said Ginger. “Sounds a bit like Morse, don’t you think? That’s S…O…and another S. There it goes again. S. O. S.”

Biggles’ face changed. He took a step closer to the barred window and listened intently. “By Jove, lad!” he muttered. “You could be right. It does sound like an SOS, repeated over and over. I wonder who’s doing it?”

“Couldn’t be anything to do with us, could it?” asked Ginger, half-hopefully.

“Only one way to find out.” Cupping his hands around his mouth, Biggles returned the hooting with some of his own: S. O. S.

The reply came back immediately.

“That’s an A,” said Ginger. “L…G…”

“Algy,” concluded Biggles, unable to keep the smile from spreading across his face. “Well, well, well. I wonder how he knew we were here. Not that it matters. No doubt he’ll tell us when he sees us. Better send something back so he knows for certain it’s us.” Cupping his hands around his mouth once more, he sent out a series of hoots: O-K-O-K.

They waited for an answer, but no more hoots came from outside.

“Is he still there, d’you think?” queried Ginger, after a minute.

“I don’t know. He’s probably gone off to plan his next move.”

“And what d’you think that’ll be?”

Biggles smiled grimly. “Knowing Algy, something crazy.”

And as if by magic, a loud crash resounded through the night.


4 comments

  1. Ahhh. Algy is about to do something crazy. That is deeply satisfying. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Algy is always doing something crazy. :)

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  3. Looking forward to the next bit, Soppy. Was it Algy Bertie leapt on?

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  4. Well...we'll see, won't we :)

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© The Algy Chronicles
Maira Gall