The Space Between
weren't the right people for the job, but they, and others
like them, were the only people.
    Kim climbed slowly to her feet. She was
probably more right than most. She'd been in the army. She had
training, even if it was a couple of years out of date. She should
be helping, not standing around like some stunned tourist. She'd
felt nothing but disdain for Douglas earlier, but he was doing his
best to prove her wrong.
    "Shit." Kim didn't like being proven wrong.
Deep breath. There were injured people scattered amongst the tents
behind her, but relatively few. Most were already being seen to.
She glanced at Johnno wondering when someone would come to help
him. Swallowing, she set off across the field and tried to order
her thoughts. There would be burns. There would be panicking
friends and relatives. There would be people with good intentions
who should not be left in charge of a Band-Aid and a box of
aspirin. She dragged up memories from the army that she hadn't used
for years.
    But Kim was only halfway to the edge of the
field when somebody tugged on her sleeve. She turned to see Keeble
and Meledrin.
    "Will help us now?" Meledrin asked. "These
creature attack my people as well."
    "What?"
    “ [I don't think we're going
anywhere yet, woman.]”
    Keeble was pointing again. Kim followed his
finger out to where another bat was heading towards them.
    "Damn it." Kim almost fell to her knees
again. She'd thought the main danger was past. She looked in the
direction the jet had gone. It was probably halfway to London by
now. For a moment she was caught. She'd been on a mission to help
the injured and was suddenly loath to abort that plan. But if
nobody did anything about the bat then the help would be
short-lived and possibly painful.
    So, she would wave her sword at the dragons.
She would tilt at the windmills. "Damn it." Kim raced back the way
she'd come. She was crying once more.
    "Boydie?" she called. It came out as hardly
more than a squeak. She cleared her throat. "Boydie, get those
cannon loaded." The skinny man was sitting on the ground tying a
makeshift bandage around his leg.
    "What?" But he saw for himself. "We don't
have time."
    He was probably right but Kim pointed at the
mass of injured people on the other side of the field. "They're the
ones who don't have time."
    "But..."
    Kim crouched down and finished tying the
bandage. Her hands were shaking. "Come on. Get moving." She looked
around. "Cannoneers," she shouted, "let's go."
    Keeble had already opened the chest and was
poking amongst the contents. Kim wasn't sure if that was a great
idea but let him keep going. It proved to be the right decision.
Boydie saw what was going on and scrambled to his feet.
    "Get out of there," he said, shooing the
little man away.
    "If you aren't going to do it," Kim said
with a smile, "then someone has to."
    Boydie sighed and, in a surprisingly loud
voice, called to his companions. He set to work straight away while
the others gathered about him, shuffling their feet and watching
the sky nervously. It seemed they would stand there all day or, at
least, right up to the time when they got a bomb dropped on their
heads.
    "Harry, don't just stand there," Kim said.
She had to clear her throat again.
    The big man looked at her
as if to say, Well, what else am I
supposed to do?
    "We need the cannons adjusted." Kim said it
as if she knew what she was doing. The second bat was coming in
from a different angle, slightly higher. "We need them spun to the
right."
    Harry kept standing for a moment, watching
the bat, then shrugged and looked around. "You heard the lady,
lads." He and another man went to the cannon next to Boydie and
started to heave on the ropes while Kim sighted along the
barrel.
    "That'll do it." Highly technical stuff. An
exact science. Kim wondered if she was going crazy. Her mouth was
so dry she could hardly swallow.
    Two more men had already started shifting
the next cannon. Kim followed Harry to the one that had just been
loaded.

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