Brent had been working on the engine of his monoplane when the phone at the hangar started ringing.
“Jimmy, can you get that?” he yelled. When he didn’t hear an answer, he extricated himself from the engine housing and wiped off his hands walking to the phone.
“Hardcastle Flyers, what can I do you for?”
“Brent? It’s Jim Black. You know, from the old Alma Mater.”
“Bug-eyed Black?” blurted Brent before he could help himself. “How are you doing?”
“Er, I need your help, Brent. I’ve got something very important to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“Not over the phone… they might be listening. Meet me at Carol’s Diner tomorrow at noon.”
“Okay, I can…” began Brent before he heard the dial tone.
Sensing something important in the meeting, Brent put a call out to his friends to join him. “The Duchess is buying,” he assured each of them, except the Duchess herself, Amelia Valentine. Brent smiled to himself when he thought of Amelia. She was a hard one to get along with but she was jaw-droppingly beautiful and, well, he really liked her. Not that he’d be dumb enough to let on though.
Brent’s nephew, Jimmy, had come to the airfield to help out the next day, so he happily jumped into the side car of Brent’s motorcycle to head to the diner.
“Hey fly boy!” called out Carol through the hot plate window in the wall. Carol’s father, Mack Flannery, was Brent’s mechanic in the war. Brent had known Carol since she was only ten years old. She was twenty-five now and running the family diner.
“Carol, my angel!” he replied in a sing-song voice. “Hamburgers and fried potatoes for the crew if you please.”
Brent and Jimmy took their seats at their traditional table. Soon, others began to arrive. Doug, the investigator, was first, limping up the walk to the diner, wearing his ever-present trench coat. Like Brent, Doug had served in the Big One and they had a respect for each other.
Doc was next, dragging along his bulging backpack of inventions. He was a bit of a loon, but Brent’s behind had been saved more than once by Doc’s devices so he gave him a hearty greeting.
The German was next. His left arm was stuck into his coat pocket, concealing the fact that he did not have his left hand. Always said he’d left it on Kilamanjaro as a souvenir. The German wasn’t much in a fight, but he was a college man and knew all sorts of useful things. They called him the “Professor”.
Finally, Amelia arrived with a roar of her silver roadster. She got out laughing, always enjoying a hell-raising drive. She was wearing a white satin number that got Brent’s heart racing. ‘Must have some social event tonight or something,’ he mused bitterly. An event he’d never be invited to.
Carol busied the table delivering food and drinks and the gang caught up on event since they’d last been together a few months before. It was out of the corner of Brent’s eye that he spotted his friend Jim across the street.
“Hey, my buddy Jim’s here,” he said, standing up. Jim walked across the street with a friendly wave. And that’s when things went horribly wrong.
Brent saw the sedan take the corner almost on two wheels and come roaring down the street. Gun barrels stuck out the open windows from the dark interior. Jim Black turned at the last moment but was riddled with gunfire as the car sped past. He fell limp to the ground.
And then time moved again for Brent. He grabbed his flight jacket and the pistols he had hanging from a shoulder holster underneath. Running out of the diner, he fired shot after shot at the fleeing car, doing no more than scratch the paint.
Amelia was following closely with her own, pearl-handed Colts. She followed Brent’s lead and succeeded in smashing out the back window of the fleeing car. The others were pouring out of the diner.
“Come on!” she yelled as she ran for her roadster.
Brent stopped by his friend and saw he was dying. Black grabbed Brent’s shirt, pulling him close.
“Starkweather! Nazis!” he hissed and then fell back dead.
“Move it, Hardcastle!” barked Amelia from the roadster. He ran over and jumped into the car. Doug and Jimmy grabbed the running boards while the Professor rode in the small back seat. Doc was standing on the diner’s small lawn pulling metal things out of his backpack as Amelia hit the gas and the car shot forward.
Something had slowed down the gunmen’s car as it was only a couple car lengths ahead of them when they spotted it on Beacon Street. Amelia drove in her typical fashion, like a bat out of hell. Doug and Jimmy held on for dear life as she and the gunmen’s cars wove in and out of traffic, dodging the odd horse-cart or unwary pedestrian. She gained on them to start but then their car gave out a roar and it’s big engine moved them away again.
“I’m going to get along side it. Get ready!” she ordered Brent. Since her car was British, she was driving from the right side and Brent sat on the left. He holstered his Colt pistols and turned to get out through the window.
She got up next to the gunmen and Brent got out of her car. He grabbed the edge of the gunmen’s car and while caught between the two saw a newspaper stand coming right at him. Amelia swerved at the last second and Brent pulled himself up on to the gunmen’s roof, narrowly missing being struck by the stand. One of the gunmen opened up his Tommy Gun, sending bullets up through the car roof, grazing Brent.
Back at the diner, Doc got his jetpack working and took to the air, spotting the cars in the distance and quickly making up the distance between them. He pulled out a bloated rifle-like device and unleashed a stream of glowing electricity at the gunmen’s car, boiling off some paint and blowing off the rear license plate.
G-Penny: “I feel unimportant in this battle.”
Jeff, Joanna in unison: “You are.”
Amelia swerved up on the sidewalk until she saw a substantial looking fruit stand and jerked the wheel back to the left. Doug fell off the running board but landed on his feet and shot at the gunmen’s car, killing their driver.
“Lastwagen!!” screamed the Professor from the back seat. Amelia swerved in front of the gunmen’s car to avoid the truck. The other car’s new driver slammed on the brakes to avoid her and the truck slammed into his car’s side. Brent flew off the roof and through the canvas sides of the truck to land on the ground.
They were able to liberate two Tommy Guns from the wrecked car, although all the men inside were dead. They found the business card of Valerie Braveheart, ace reporter for the Boston Herald, as well as a note: “Help load trucks at Starkweather Labs 4 PM”.
They had a few hours before 4pm so the gang went over to the offices of the Herald to find Valerie. Doug had worked with her before on a couple cases so his mug was somewhat known at the newspaper. Valerie wasn’t there, but Doug got his way back to her desk, finding nothing new. He did learn that she’d been expected back at the offices before now and no one knew where she was.
Driving in the roadster and Doug’s sedan down to the warehouse district, they were able to locate the Starkweather Labs: a factory and warehouse of some sort protected by a high chain-link fence. Three trucks were inside at the loading docks being filled with crates by some burly men. They could also see a little coupe off to the side that Doug confirmed was Valerie’s.
Doug snuck inside and into a second floor office. Out the office windows he could see Valerie tied up in a chair being beaten and interrogated by a massive thug. Around the warehouse floor were various vats, each with strange bronze cannisters hung on their sides.
They decided to bluff their way in, sending the Professor first followed by Brent and Amelia. They were able to get past the goons to the interrogator. Sensing that the Professor didn’t know what to do next, Brent tried to get the drop on the interrogator by pulling his pistol. His best shot didn’t even stun the big man.
Big Dog: His head is plated in Bennies.
All hell broke loose with gunfire every which way. Brent, Amelia, and the Interrogator fought hard, exchanging knife slashes and pistol fire, precious seconds running away as they struggled.
An errant shot hit one of the cannisters, breaking it and releasing a swarm of Amazonian flesh-eating insects. Before they were done, two swarms were flying around the warehouse.
Outside, Doc and Jimmy did their best to disable the trucks before they could get away with whatever was in the crates. Doc used his gun to melt one truck’s tires while Jimmy used his pocket knife to puncture another. The dockworkers came out and grabbed Jimmy but he wriggled away. They got two out of three trucks immobilized but had to run while the workers loaded the crates on the third and drove away.
During all the fighting, the Professor got Valerie dragged away from direct harm and hustled out of the building.
Brent got knocked out near the end of the fight but was carried out by Amelia to safety before the warehouse exploded.
Valerie explained that Nazis kidnapped Doctor Starkweather. Jim Black was working for Starkweather and learned of the Nazis plot. He tried to get to Brent but the Nazis gunned him down. The truck is carrying cannisters of unknown contents in crates marked as ‘extremely dangerous’ and ‘fragile’. The truck is headed to the airfield while the Nazis are at Starkweather’s manor outside the city.
(Amelia 1W, Brent 2W, all get power points back to full)