Avalon 8.9 Metal Men, part 4 of 4

Baron Edgar stopped in the street where he had to shout to get everyone’s attention.  “My lord, Duke William.  My lord Roger de Montgomery.  I have a surprise for you.”

John was in front of the duke and did not move.  Lockhart and Decker stepped up to the two sides of the duke so he could not go around.  Decker had his rifle and Lockhart had his shotgun ready.  Duke William glanced at the two big men and decided to take the veiled warning seriously.  He would keep his distance and return the shout.

“Edgar.  You served well in bringing peace to Normandy.  What is it you want?”  He asked because his nobles always seemed to want something.

“Englebroad.  What is it you want?” Katie shouted.  She saw Baron Edgars face considerably brighten as he recognized who he was looking at.

“Ah!  The Travelers from Avalon.  Such good fortune,” he said, as Hubert and Bernard scooted up to the wagon and behind the oxen for as much cover as they could find.  They had crossbows, but they stopped near the limit of their range.  They knew the weapons the travelers carried had a much longer range.  “But you will have no time for that hated Gott-Druk to set his screens, unless he wants to slice through the buildings and people.”

“What are your intentions?” Lockhart yelled.

Baron Edgar positively grinned.  “My intention is to delete William and Roger de Montgomery so Normandy is thrown into chaos and England will never be invaded.  England will remain a squabbling, broken, one might say war-like tribal nation for centuries.  It will never become an empire and spread that cursed Western Christian Civilization around the world.  The Masters prefer that ignorance, superstition, and a decided lack of science continue in most of the world for the foreseeable future.  Killing you travelers will just be a bonus.”

The wagon shook so hard, it almost lost a wheel.  Something stepped from behind and came up alongside Edgar.  The doctor came with the thing, though he kept back.  The two guards that brought the wagon took one look at the thing and ran off screaming.  People stared.  It looked nearly human, but it had metal parts everywhere, which made it look more like a robot.

“Cyborg,” John said.

“Makes sense of Elder Stow’s mixed readings,” Lincoln mumbled.

Decker took a shot at the thing, but it appeared to have a personal shield and rejected the bullet.  Edgar pointed at the blacksmith shop and said something the others could not hear.  Katie shouted.

“Look Out.  Incoming.”

People ducked and got behind something, including the two from Brittany who evidently heard that phrase before.  William stood staring, so John tackled him.  The cyborg raised his hand and fired three bursts of flaming red laser-like power at the shop.  Gerald got fried.  The furnace blew up.  A wagon beside the entrance also blew up and sent splinters everywhere.  Boston got a splinter the size of her pinky finger driven into her thigh.  The others got pounded with wood and metal, but because of the armor they wore, or the thickened fairy weave, the shrapnel did not penetrate.

John got off William.  He had called his armor before he tackled his Duke.  Now he knelt behind a pole that held up the roof and watched, and William looked over his shoulder.

Edgar pointed again and this time, he spoke up.  “Destroy the shop and kill everyone in it.”  The cyborg lifted both arms, but it appeared he needed to build up his energy to make a massive blast at the shop.  By then, Elder Stow was ready.

Elder Stow, with Sukki and Tony, had gone unnoticed by the servants of the masters.  He pulled out the disc he used earlier on Sukki and Boston.  It did not take long to magnetize the disc, and he threw it, even as Baron Edgar pointed.  The disc bounced, but the magnet caught, and the disc raced to attach itself to the cyborg’s metal leg.  Elder Stow turned on the screens, and the cyborg looked down at its own leg, even as Edgar shouted.  The screens cut off Edgar’s right arm which plopped to the ground outside the circle of the screen.

The cyborg may have recognized something about the disc, though it hardly had time to analyze it.  It may have sensed the screens that sprang up around it, but it may have been too late to stop the discharge of its weapon.  Either that, or it may have set its weapon off assuming it would break through the screens, or maybe in an attempted suicide.  No telling how much the cyborg enhanced mind calculated in that short amount of time.  Neither John nor the travelers had any idea what the cyborg may have been feeling, or how it was being controlled, most likely against its will.

The red energy blast stayed inside the screens and perfectly outlined the globe.  The ground beneath the Cyborg’s feet churned and some stones exploded and became like magma.  The air inside the globe turned red.  No one could see inside, but it did not last long.  The red energy stopped at once and Elder Stow shook his screen device and shrugged.

Baron Edgar appeared to be no more than charred bones that collapsed to the ground in a crumpled heap.  The cyborg melted almost everywhere, and the flesh elements, including brains and other organs, burned completely to ash to blow away in the wind.

Hubert and Bernard stood with their mouths hanging open.  “Major,” Decker yelled, and shot Bernard.  Hubert started to run, so Decker shot him as well.  Katie had the scope on her rifle.  She spied the doctor down the street.  He turned away, hoping to get lost among the early risers, but Katie aimed, and shot the man.  He went down and she ran to him, to make sure he was dead.  “How many times do I have to kill this man?” she asked herself.

Decker went out to check on Hubert and Bernard.  Alexis and Lincoln checked on Boston.  Alexis sent Lincoln to borrow Eder Stows device that could extract the thorn without further injuring Boston’s leg.  John and William walked out to meet Elder Stow, Tony, and Sukki who hovered over the bones of Baron Edgar and the remains of the cyborg.  Roger de Montgomery, Sir Guy, and the Brits, Sir Richard and Sir Hugh came behind.

“Remarkable body armor,” William said about the cyborg.

John looked at him.  “I would have guessed you would go for the weapon.”

“No,” William said, sounding certain.  “A weapon is only good if you know how to use it, and only as good as the man using it.  That takes special skill and knowledge.  But armor is something a man does not have to make for himself, and good armor makes sure that good man can use that good weapon.”

“There is logic in that,” Roger said as he came up.

“Yes, but sadly this armor is something we cannot make in our best foundry, much less in a simple blacksmith shop.  I do know a little about metal and what can be worked,” John said as Elder Stow interrupted him.

“A-ha.  Here it is.”  He had made a fairy weave glove because the cyborg metal would take a while to cool.  He used a stick, which caught fire, but extracted his disc from what was left of the cyborg’s leg.  “Dead as one of your doornails.  I can do that a bit over a dozen times and then I will be out of discs.”

“Hope you don’t have to do that again,” John said.

“So.”  William moved on to the next subject.  “Tell me abut Edgar.  He did support me in my early days.”

“He wanted to be sure you became the ruler of Normandy so when he killed you it would throw everything into chaos,” John said.

“And these people?” Roger asked.

“Connected,” John answered.  “Complicated and hard to believe.”

Lockhart spoke.  “Our home is a thousand years in the future,” he said.  “Edgar or Engle, or whatever name he is using, has another life in the future as well and he is not a good person there, either.  Our job is to help clean out time and make sure the bad guys don’t win.”

Lincoln got Elder Stow’s attention, saying Boston had a splinter in her leg that long.  He showed with his hands.

“Boston,” Sukki said, and ran to the shop, turning on a little speed.  Elder Stow, Lincoln, and Tony walked there.

Scripture tells us sometimes we entertain angels unaware,” John said.  “Well, I think sometimes we entertain demons unaware as well.  You never know.”

###

John de Belleme, alias Ernulf de Hesdin rode north with Richard and two dozen men of Brittany and two dozen Normans sent by William.  They would stop at Edgar’s place.  John felt sure the cyborg crashed somewhere around that spot.

William agreed to sail up the coast with his Normans, any others who might join him from Brittany, and any men the King of France might send and meet John and the men of Flanders at St. Valery sur Somme.  He hoped a contingent of men from the Holy Roman Empire might join them.  The emperor agreed to the plan.  No telling how it was explained to the man.  The Pope was being a stickler, but William imagined the Pope would come around when he succeeded.

That gave John the whole month of August to find the crashed ship and deal with whatever else needed to be delt with in Edgar’s place.

Hugh kept the three hundred, and when the ships arrived, he loaded them for the trip to St. Valery so the ships could be sent back to be used again.  Hugh imagined wherever they landed across the channel on the English shore, they would need the ships to shuttle supplies from the continent.

Meanwhile, an elder Knight by the name of Alan led the travelers into Brittany and used their trip to try and drum up support for William’s invasion of England.  It was not easy.  The Angles, Saxons and Brits were trading partners, but Brittany was more invested in Cornwall, Wales, and Ireland, so it was not impossible, and some gathered for the fight.

Alan was apparently an old friend of John’s father, Oliver.  Alan’s son, Flaad, was part of the John, Richard, and Hugh circle of friends, and he shared some stories about John, a few of which the travelers did not necessarily need to know.

Finally, when the travelers found the time gate and prepared to go through, Lincoln complained about their alien encounter.  “We just got rid of Apes and Flesh Eaters, and we get thrust into cyborgs and genetically altered people.”

Katie explained.  She and Lockhart talked to John before he rode off and he tried to explain the basics for them.  “Their world got invaded, but they were sort of like us with many nations.  They needed help defending their planet, but two different nations came up with two different solutions.  One altered their own genes to produce super smart super soldiers.  The other made men into cyborgs.  Both easily threw the invaders off their planet, but now they are fighting each other.  They have about killed their own planet, and with the space technology they garnered from their invaders, they are spreading their fight into nearby space.”

“Great,” Lincoln said in his sarcastic best voice.  “I can’t wait to meet some super soldiers.”

“Ha!” Boston laughed her fake laugh and rubbed her leg where she had been wounded.”

“Come on,” Sukki called to Boston, and they moved into the next time zone.

************************

MONDAY

Another 4-part episode with posts on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

The travelers find themselves in Feudal Japan at the beginning of the age of the Samurai and the Shogun, and they run into some of those alien super soldiers Lincoln is worried about.  Until then,  Happy Reading.

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