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The Adventures of Buzz and the British Bees


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#51 Carlisle Dave

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 07:45 AM

Buzz and the Deserter


Major Bumble banged his gavel on the table, flanked by two captains. Private Beegate got stiffly to his feet.

"Private Thomas Beegate - you have been charged under Military Law with abandoning your post without permission. How do you plead?"
"Not guilty on grounds of diminished responsibility," replied Beegate, tripping over the words that he'd obviously been prompted to say. Standing there in the makeshift courtroom, his uniform and face spotless, his demeanour calm, no one could have guessed at how he'd been just weeks ago. He looked around the room and spotted a captain he'd seen around a few times, who all spoke highly of - a Captain Buzz. He was sitting near the back of the room, his uniform and buttons brilliantly clean. Beegate turned back to where Major Bumble was talking.

"Very well Private. If you will take an oath on the Holy Beeble, we can begin hearing your testimony," said Bumble. He hated this part of the job. He was one of the few high ranking officers who had seen the hell of the battlefield. He'd served for decades but never seen anything like this war. It scared him to the bone - that bees could commit such a horror, to condemn their kin to such pain. Looking at Beegate he could hardly blame him for wanting to leave, he could even understand it. But he couldn't condone it. War was hell but it still had to be won. They took the Queen's shilling and did their duty. Beegate had turned his back on that and whilst Bumble was sympathetic he wasn't forgiving. He looked again at Beegate and couldn't see any difference between him and the bees who stood and fought. He wasn't like some of the men he'd seen tried - men who flinched at the slightest sound, men who couldn't remember their name, men who couldn't remember even how to walk, men who were just a shell.

Beegate finished his oath. Bumble waved his hand, prompting him to begin his testimony. Beegate cleared his throat and began. "We had just replaced a platoon of bees on the front line who had recently captured a Hun-y-bee trench and who had been tasked with connecting our old trench with our new one..."

---

"Go on. Go and get cleaned up,"

It was so quite that Beegate could hear what they were saying as they built the support trench. He leaned back against the wall of the trench and began running matches close to his fur, the sound of popping parasites giving him immense satisfaction. He'd been chatting for a few minutes with a couple of other bees. They'd been in France for a couple of months and been at the front on a couple of occasions. As yet they hadn't been involved in an attack - either aggressively or defensively. Beegate was known to be a bit of a troublemaker. Ever since he'd skipped out one day on basic training to go meet his girl he'd been in trouble with every officer he'd served under. Absent without leave, drinking on duty, poorly turned out, late to parade; he was a terrible soldier but very popular. He had a good sense of humour and laughed easily. He was laughing as the muffled thump of German artillery fire began.

At first he hadn't even noticed it, the sound had almost been natural to him despite him never having heard it before - however, to the veterans such a sound was enough to strike terror into their very soul. It was only after the first shell landed about twenty yards from the trench and the mud had rained down on himself and the other bees that he realised what was happening. Terrified he fell into the water at the bottom of the trench, rolling over as the feet of other bees trampled down on him as they rushed to their posts. He pushed himself up as another shell landed, this time much closer. He felt a great pain in his ears followed by ringing and muffling of all the sounds around him. He pushed past bees on his way to his post. A shell landed in the trench twenty or so yards ahead of him, tearing bees apart in a cloud of mud and blood. Their shrieks filled his deafened ears. He stood and peered out into No-Bee's Land. The artillery continued to rain down and then suddenly it stopped. Beegate let out a sigh of relief. Then he heard the whistles.

The rhythmic explosions of the machine gun firing drilled into his skull disorientating him. He could barely bring himself to look out into the smoke clouded land that lay ahead of him. The faint shadows grew slowly before Hun-y-bee's emerged, trying to stay alive. Their attack was so sudden, the trench so inadequately supplied that they stood a chance. One of them reached the trench where Beegate was, kicking him in the face as he entered. Beegate sprawled on the ground, the hulking great bee above him, stinger ready to plunge in. Beegate soiled himself in fright. However, the Hun-y-bee collapsed down in front of him, a whole in his thorax from a well placed shotgun blast from Lieutenant Jenkins. More of the Hun had made it to the trench and the noise, the smoke, the smell, the death filled everyone of Beegates pores. His head pounded, his hands shook, he could barely walk, barely see. He felt sick and pain shot through the whole of his body. He had no idea what he was doing, compelled by some unknown force to get away from this terrible place. He stumbled up out of the trench without thinking about it and headed away from the front line. No one seemed to notice him. He couldn't remember anything, just that he had had to leave. Shouts all around him but no one stopping him. Unable to breath. Tightness in his thorax. Black oblivion descended.

He awoke in a copse of trees, about half a mile from the front line, a rifle pointed at his body. The MP looked at him disgustedly. He looked and smelt awful. Beegate knew he was under arrest.

---

"That's what happened Sir," said Beegate.
"Council?" Bumble looked towards the bee chosen to represent Beegate.
"Sir, as my client has testified, he was not in clear control of his faculties at the time. Compelled by some unknown force he left the front, a fact he freely admits but he did not do so of his own volition. We therefore seek for him to be shown mercy and spared the death penalty."

Bumble nodded his head thoughtfully. He felt a tinge of remorse for Beegate but little more. Hadn't the other men experienced the same conditions and yet Beegate was the only one to react this way. Then there was his past history, a known trouble maker. Could his word be trusted? Obviously, merely taking the defendants word for the events wasn't going to allow justice to be served. He called the witness.

"Captain Buzz - if you would please take the stand," said Bumble, motioning to the stand.

#52 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 03:08 AM

Buzz Sets the Record Straight
Being the Second Part of Buzz and the Deserter


Buzz walked up to the stand from where he had been sitting. He had listened to Beegate's testimony with a sense, not of disbelief, but of pity. He couldn't know if Beegate believed what he had said but Buzz thought he probably did - he'd seen it before. Men, terrified at their first sight of combat and ashamed at their reaction to it built up a different version of events to what really happened, making them more horrible that they really were to justify the reaction. As Buzz walked past Beegate he noticed that he had a quiet look of confidence on his face, like there was no way that Buzz' testimony could differ from his own. Buzz felt sorry for Beegate, much in the same way that Major Bumble did. However, unlike the Major, Buzz didn't see Beegate's reaction as a crime, as a dereliction of duty - he saw it as an intensely human reaction.

"Captain Buzz," said Major Bumble as Buzz made it to the stand and swore his oath "You command the platoon that took the trench which we've heard came under attack from Hun-y-Bee forces. Is that correct?"
"Yes Sir," replied Buzz at attention.
"And you were busy connecting this trench with your old one on the day of the attack, isn't that right?"
"Yes Sir, that is correct,"
"Are you therefore able to verify the veracity of Private Beegate's testimony?"
"Yes Sir, I can,"
"Is it the truth?"
"No, Sir. I do not believe it is,"

Buzz cast a quick glance across at Beegate. The room they were in was large, part of the local HQ which was a requisitioned château. However, right now it seemed tiny, Beegate practically on top of Buzz, a looked of puzzled terror mixed with anger on his face. Buzz looked away - he had sworn an oath, an oath on the Beeble that taught that no bee should ever kill another bee. Yet this was an oath that could well result in the death of a bee.

"Very well Captain. If you would give your recollections of events," Bumble gestured to Buzz. Buzz took out a small notebook and coughed slightly.
"Certainly Sir. As you say I was busy commanding my men as the built a support trench between the new trench and our old one..."

---

Buzz stepped outside of his old quarters, the picture of Sarah safe in his pocket. He looked across the barren landscape and sighed, before trying to find somewhere to sit. He needed the fresh air and company, to try and drive the thoughts of Sarah from his mind - thoughts that brought nothing but regret, pain and sadness. However, he hadn't gone more than a few steps when he heard the distant thump of an artillery gun being fired. Immediately he hit the dirt and hugged the wall of the trench. He'd seen many veterans be very nonchalant about artillery fire - he'd seen a lot of dead veterans. He crawled on his hands and knees down what there was of the freshly dug trench. As he went he urged the men to stay down as he went.

He reached the end and looked up in time to see a shell land at one end of the front trench. He saw a soldier roll out of the trench only to be pushed back in by another. Buzz now knew this to be Beegate, pushed back in for his own safety. The artillery kept firing, joined now by a clatter of machine gun fire from the German trenches in the hope of catching anyone who was stupid enough to raise their heads. Buzz looked and as he did so he saw the same soldier who had been pushed back into the trench try to get out again. Once again he was pushed back in but this time he grabbed hold of the soldier pushing him, pulling him into the trench with him. Buzz heard a slight scream above the din of the artillery and machine gun, as the man Beegate pulled into the trench with him landed on a piece of metal that was jutting out of the trench. There was no way it was anything but an accident. At the time though, Buzz had no idea of what had happened. A shell landed nearby and he thrust his head back down to safety.

---

Buzz looked across at Beegate in the room. Beegate knew that Buzz wasn't lying but also couldn't believe what he was saying. He didn't think he'd lied to the court but had he? There was a sense of dread creeping over him, evident on his face. Buzz shifted uneasily in the stand. Major Bumble urged him to continue. Buzz had a small drink of water and continued from where he had left off.

---

His head was covered in dirt when he looked up again, just in time to see Beegate get out of the trench a third time. This time there was no one left to stop him. A sergeant in the trench yelled out "Get back here you bastard!" but Beegate chose to ignore him. The sergeant called out again "You f-ing coward! Get the f- back here or I'll kill you myself!" Beegate carried on, running with jerky leg movements. Buzz would have stopped him but that would have meant getting up and making himself a target. Another shell landed nearby, spraying mud everywhere. When Buzz looked up again Beegate had disappeared - Buzz assumed he had been killed by the shell.

After about half an hour or so the shelling stopped and an eerie silence descended. Buzz pulled himself up. The captain of the front trench was busy talking to his sergeant who was pointing in the direction that Beegate had headed. The captain nodded and the sergeant disappeared into the quarters. Buzz now realised he had gone to call the military police. However, at the time Buzz gave it no thought. They had a trench to build, some areas of which had been damaged in the attack. He gave the orders and the men got back to work.

---

Buzz was sitting at the back of the court once again, his testimony long since over. Beegate was back in the dock. Major Bumble looked him up and down.

"Private Thomas Beegate. We have heard today of your cowardice and how you deserted your post whilst under attack from the enemy. We deem that you were under no more stress than the next bee and hereby find you guilty of all charges. Given your poor, poor disciplinary record we see no option but to sentence you to death by firing squad,"

Beegate stood motionless, not uttering a word.

"You will be executed tomorrow at dawn and stripped of all rank. May God have mercy on your soul. Court dismissed,"

#53 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 08:58 AM

Buzz and the Firing Squad
Being the Final Part of Buzz and the Deserter


The sun rose slowly. Despite the time of the year it was a cold morning, dew sparkling in the bright, fresh light of dawn. The courtyard was flanked on three sides by crumbling stone walls, their integrity compromised by the tangled ivy crawling up and through them. A gnarled and twisted orange tree grew in a corner, few leaves on it, the mud around it crumbly and dry. In two of the walls were old, thick wooden doors that led into the château, whilst an archway granted access to the lush, green garden beyond. It was against one of the pillars of this arch that Buzz leant, looking across the garden at the rising sun. He hadn't seen anything so beautiful since he couldn't remember when.

The firing squad he was commanding were crunching on the gravel in the courtyard, sharing cigarettes and nervous chitchat. Stripy, Steven and a host of the replacements made up the squad and none of them did so through choice. Buzz had objected to being asked to command the squad, as he felt that giving the testimony that resulted in the guilty verdict was enough - he didn't want his words to condemn Beegate twice: once was more than enough. The rifles were lined up against a wall. They were unloaded and would remain so until Beegate had made his peace. The chaplain flicked through his Holy Bible, his pretence that he was finding a suitable passage used to hide his nerves and nausea at what was about to happen. He had seen men die of course, had performed the unction of the sick hundreds of times, but he had never seen someone die so traumatically. He considered asking for a cigarette to try and calm his nerves but decided not to.

The door handle rattled as from inside Beegate was brought out. He wore his uniform trousers and a brilliant white vest. He looked pale but calm, someone at peace with what was about to happen to them. There was no preamble, he walked straight to the far wall and stood, arms by his side, eyes closed and chest heaving as he took deep breaths to calm him. The men stubbed out their cigarettes and watched him impassively, all thankful it wasn't them. The chaplain walked over and began muttering to Beegate, trying to make the sacrament personal and private. Buzz looked away from the garden and walked into the courtyard. There were five men, five rifles and in his pocket Buzz carried five bullets - four live, one blank. He walked over to the rifles and began loading them. When he was done he motioned to the men, who walked over and picked them up, each one convincing themselves that they had the empty one.

The chaplain finished speaking to Beegate and retreated to behind the men. He stood, hands folded over his groin, clutching the Bible. Buzz ordered the men into a row which the duly formed. Looking between them and Beegate he wasn't sure who was more terrified. Buzz felt nothing inside. He knew this had to be done by someone but he didn't see why he had to be the one to do it - hadn't they already sieved out every last ounce of humanity from his body? Buzz wrapped the blindfold around Beegate's head.

A chill wind blew. "Any last words Private?" Buzz asked. Beegate remained silent and still. The sun shone through the arch, illuminating the courtyard and giving it heavenly glow. "Ready," Buzz ordered. The men levelled their rifles. Steven had gone particularly pale. Beegate shifted slightly - a simple movement or a movement of regret? A physical manifestation of everything he was feeling? Buzz didn't know, didn't care. "Take aim!" he cried. The men tensed as did Beegate. "Fire!"

The five rifles exploded at the same time, Beegate's body slumping at almost the same instant, pin pricks of crimson appearing on the white vest before spreading rapidly across it. His limbs were at a funny angle compared to his body. He was dead. The sound of the rifles had awoken the house and movements were heard from within. Buzz kept his hands down by his sides so the men couldn't see how much they were shaking. The men laughed and joked nervously, speaking much to loudly to try and hide their nerves. The chaplain had made a hasty retreat so no-one would see him be sick. Buzz walked back to the arch and looked out across the garden hoping for another glimpse of the beauty. However, he saw now in the clear light of day that garden was dying, a shadow of its former glory. For Buzz at that moment, after what he had just done, it was like looking into a mirror.

The End


I promise the next episode will be a return to the Boy's Own style adventures of the earlier stories.

#54 Carlisle Dave

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 08:10 AM

Buzz and the Major Bumble Fumble


It was late one night and Buzz was relaxing in his digs, lying on his bed reading a cheap novella that he'd borrowed from one of the men. Jenkins sat at the table writing a letter home. They were back on the front but things had been relatively quiet. Stripey strolled in and sat down at the table with Jenkins and took a swig from Jenkins' hip flask that was on the table. He grinned at Jenkins before looking across at Buzz.

"Good book Captain?" he asked. Buzz turned the page and replied without looking up.
"Yes Sergeant. For a shocker it's not bad,"
"What's it about?"
"Some chap being chased by German spies," said Buzz, not taking his eyes from the page.

Stripey started talking to Jenkins, his curiosity in the book satisfied. Things were peaceful for a few more moments until outside they heard a soldier issue a challenge to someone - the someone turned out to be a runner with a message for Buzz. He entered the digs and saluted. Buzz stood up and put his Last Will and Testament in the book to mark its place.

"At ease, Private," he said accepting the salute. "What is it?"
"Message for you Sir, you've to proceed to Divisional HQ to see Colonel Crouton urgently,"
"Thank you," said Buzz picking up his helmet and kit "Dismissed," The private walked out of the door and went to see if he could scrounge any cigarettes from any of the men. "See if you can find Beesly would you Stripes?"
"Yes, Sir," said Stripey getting up and heading out into the trench as Buzz did his laces up.
"Want me to come?" asked Jenkins, looking up from his letter.
"No, stay here. I'm leaving you in charge," replied Buzz as Beesly turned up. "Ah Steven - get your kit. We're going to HQ," Steven nodded and rushed back out, returning in next to no time. Together he and Buzz set out.

---

Buzz knew something important must have happened when Captain Belmarsh merely pointed to the door when he arrived. Buzz hadn't know him not make Buzz wait or at least pass some contemptuous comment. Buzz walked up and knocked on the door, handing his kit to Steven who went with it to sit in the corner. No sooner had Buzz' fist rapped on the thick wooden door than it was pulled open by Colonel Crouton himself. He urged Buzz into the room, quickly closing the door behind him.

"Good to see you Captain," he said
"Thank you Sir. It's always a pleasure," replied Buzz standing to attention.
"At ease Captain - I'm sure it is a pleasure but I can tell you it is with no pleasure that I've asked you here. We have a problem,"
"Sir?"
"Remember when you were last here?"

Buzz recalled it quite clearly. It had been shortly after the incident with Beegate. Now that the new trench had proper links to the rest of the network, the commanders were looking to press on to seize the advantage. They had been considering a number of options, with on in particular a popular choice. Just to the south east of where Buzz was currently stationed was a town, which had both a crossroads and a river running by it. It would make a perfect staging post for a new push but it was unfortunately part of the German line and heavily defended on all sides but one. The river side was poorly defended, the Hun-y-bees deciding that it would be impossible for the British to get a sizeable force across the river without them noticing and with a couple of machine guns they would be sitting ducks. However, Major Bumble had proposed that a small force could easily get across the river unnoticed and from there could, with care, catch the Hun-y-bee's sleeping and if not take the town themselves, then they'd provide a distraction for long enough to get enough men across to do so. It was a good plan - a subtle plan in a war of brute force. There was one drawback though - no-one knew much about the lay out of the town, nor exactly how many men the Germans had there. Buzz had raised this point at the last meeting and Major Bumble had nodded and explained that he had already spotted that potential pitfall and had plans to get the information required.

"Yes Sir," replied Buzz "Major Bumble was going to get the information about the town we intended to take,"
"That's right Captain, and the fool actually went himself to get the information and has gone and got himself captured by the enemy,"
"But... how..." Buzz began - Major Bumble had been renowned for his ability to get such information.
"We don't know how he came to be captured, but we fear the worse," replied Crouton. Buzz nodded. The worst meant a spy.
"The bad news doesn't end there. We're pretty sure that Bumble will have had his information book on him - a book in which he keeps all the intelligence he gathers. Pretty dangerous to carry it on a mission but he says you never know when it might come in handy. Then there's the fact that the Germans have reinforced the town, in particular the banks of the river,"
"That is bad Sir," said Buzz, waiting to learn his part in all this.
"Captain, I'll cut to the chase. We want you and a dozen or so of your men to go behind the lines and rescue Major Bumble, make sure his book doesn't fall into the hands of the enemy and bring him back alive,"
"Sir, if he's been captured then surely the book will..."
"No, I think you're underestimating Major Bumble. I would put money on him having hidden the book somewhere to make sure it doesn't fall into the enemy hands,"
"Yes, Sir. I'll begin..." began Buzz but Crouton interrupted him again - Buzz had never seen him so flustered.
"You'll being tonight! Choose your men and head out. Good luck Captain. Dismissed,"

Buzz was slightly stunned but saluted and left.

---

Back in the trench, Buzz had got Jenkins to get the men he wanted together. Now he, Jenkins, Stripey, Steven, Henderson and Harry Thorpe were in the officers digs, with nothing but the bare essentials. Buzz had a map of the surrounding area on the table and had just explained the situation. It had just turned midnight, meaning they had about six hours of darkness remaining. Buzz gathered up the map. "Right, let's do this."

#55 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 07:34 AM

Buzz Starts Silently!
Being the Second Part of Buzz and the Major Bumble Fumble


The town was half a mile to the South East, a distance Buzz and the others covered easily. The night was incredibly bright, with a pale, full moon hanging motionless in the sky, wisps of cloud drifting across it slowly. Whilst it meant the they would be easier to spot that if the night had been totally dark, it also made it easier to spot the Hun-y-bees and see what they were doing. As they approached the town, one or two streams of light pouring up into the night sky could be seen and the impending date with the enemy that they indicated made each man think different thoughts.

Buzz wondered if this mission too was blown by a spy, Jenkins wondered whether or not to start making notches on the other side of the handle of his shotgun for each Hun-y-bee he killed as the side he was currently marking was pretty full, whilst Steven wondered if he would make it back in one piece this time. Stripey on the other hand was concentrating on doing his duty, Henderson however was hoping he could do something heroic and finally Harry Thorpe was just thankful that they would soon be at their destination.

As they got closer they slowed down, so as to make less noise. They moved in single file, Stripey in the lead, Jenkins covering the rear. Stripey held up a hand and they stopped. They were now behind a hedge, adjacent to the river. They had decided that they would slip across, hopefully unnoticed, in two groups - one crossing, the other covering. Jenkins was going to lead Stripey and Steven across once Buzz, Henderson and Thorpe had made it across. Buzz whispered "Good luck," to everyone before slipping through the hedge and into the water with a minimum of noise. Henderson and Thorpe followed him through, whilst the three remaining bees, stood up and rested their weapons on the top of the hedge.

The river was calm and looked like a black mirror, reflecting the other side of the bank and the moon in the sky. Buzz and his party's entrance had caused a few minor ripples but other than this the water was flat. Buzz made it across with a minimum of fuss as did Henderson but Thorpe appeared to be struggling. Half way out he had slowed almost to a halt and was starting to splash slightly. Quietly Buzz slipped back out into the river just as a couple of lights came on the other side of the bank, in two riverside houses which no doubt housed the machine guns that would cut down anyone crossing in seconds. Buzz put his hand under Thorpe's chin and began dragging him to the bank. They had just made it when a window in the house opened.

Everyone froze, Buzz and Thorpe half in and half out of the water. On the other bank Stripey cocked his rifle. A Hun-y-bee peered out at the river, its perfectly flat surface now brimming with ripples. He looked closely at it, before beginning to peer around. Thorpe and Buzz were sure to be spotted when suddenly a couple of birds started squawking and took off. This seemed to satisfy the Hun-y-bee who swore to himself and closed the window. Next to him Stripey heard footsteps and saw Jenkins coming towards him from where the birds had flown. Jenkins gave him a wink as Buzz gave them the signal to start crossing. They all slipped quietly through the hedge and into the water.

However, they had no sooner done so than the door of the house from which the Hun-y-bee had been looking at the river opened. Taking his time came the same Hun-y-bee. Stripey, Jenkins and Steven were helpless in the water. Buzz waved at them as discreetly as possible, telling them to get underwater. The three of them took a big, deep breath and submerged. Buzz drew his service revolver and was about to move when a hand on his shoulder stopped him. He turned to see Henderson.

"Leave this to me, Cap'in!" he said with a smile, flipping a knife up in the air and catching it again. He stalked off silently as the Hun-y-bee made it to the bank, not ten yards from Buzz' position. He was peering out at the river convinced he could see bubbles but he couldn't be sure and didn't want to wake up the town unless he really was. Underwater, Steven was really struggling for breath. His injuries meant his lungs were quite as strong as the others and try as he might he couldn't prevent himself from surfacing with a gasp.

This gasp was echoed by the Hun-y-bee in shock at seeing Steven emerge and then again as he tried to get air into his lungs only to find he couldn't. Henderson had sneaked up behind him and just as Steven emerged he had struck with his knife. With a gurgle the Hun-y-bee slumped to the floor. Henderson grabbed him and pulled his body against the wall of the house, out of the sight of the road and the windows of the house. He wouldn't remain unseen for very long but by the time he was found the squad should be long gone.

Henderson rejoined Buzz and Harry Thorpe just as Steven, Jenkins and Stripey made it to the bank, Steven spluttering slightly. Stripey quietly made his way up to the road, leaving the others alone.

"Sorry, Captain," he said, clearly ashamed.
"Don't worry about it," replied Buzz quietly "Good work Private,"
"Ta, Boss," replied Henderson, cleaning his knife in the river.
"What now?" asked Jenkins.
"We need to find out where they're holding Major Bumble," said Buzz as Stripey slid back down the bank to rejoin the group.
"I reckon that the Major is in the large building on the far side of the square" he said quietly.

On hearing this Jenkins quickly went up to the road and had a look before coming back down. He grabbed a stick and started drawing on the wet, muddy ground.

"It's like this," he said, drawing the road as a straight line, with houses flanking it on the far side except for a large gap, where the road gave out onto a large square, at the far side of which stood the surprisingly grandiose town hall, well guarded and reinforced. "I was only up there for a second so it's not perfect, but I think the guards are here..." he indicated them with an x "...here and here,"

Buzz looked at the impromptu map and frowned. Ideally he'd like to get into the town hall without being noticed. In an ideal world he wanted to get to Major Bumble with out an alarm being raised and doing that was going to prove difficult with the guards placed as they were. Jenkins saw the look on his face and frowned too. "The problem to my mind Captain will be getting to the square. Once we've done that there's enough cover for us to be able to take out the guards guarding the actual town hall quite easily,"

They sat for a few seconds completely stumped as to how they were going to be able to do the mission as they wanted. The answer came from the most unexpected of sources - Harry Thorpe. "What about this here sewer pipe," he said pointing at a large pipe, hidden from the other bank by some dense bushes. It seemed to run straight under the square and though they didn't know whether or not there was a grate in the square it was worth a go. Patting Thorpe on the back, Buzz leapt up and headed for the pipe, the others joining him, their hearts pounding as they slipped quietly underneath the enemy.

#56 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 09:37 AM

Buzz Creates a Ruckus!
Being the Third Part of Buzz and the Major Bumble Fumble


They moved as quietly as the could threw the sewer pipe, their boots clanking on the metal but the sewage in the pipe prevented them taking them off. The stench was horrific.

"What have they been eating?" whispered Henderson but Buzz held up a hand telling him to be quiet, as they arrived at the grate in the centre of the square. They all crouched around and stared up, some of the moonlight flitting in through the gaps in the grate. The sound of Hun-y-bee boots could be heard stomping around above. Buzz looked at all of them. Without waiting to be asked Henderson stood up and lifted the grate up, drawing his knife as he did so. His hind legs disappeared just before Buzz could grab him and pull him down.

"You know," whispered Jenkins "He seems a little to eager to use that knife,"

The square was a pale blue in the moonlight. Henderson lay on his front, looking around as quickly and as thoroughly as he could. Guards stood by the entrance to the town hall and other than that there were just two patrolling the square, one on either side. Henderson rolled as quickly as he could until he hit one of the large, concrete flower boxes that ran in a broken square around the centre of the square. He got up onto his legs and crouched low. Looking back he saw Stripey looking up at him out of the grate. Henderson waved him down before creeping around the side of the flower box, just as a guard went past. With surprising and brutal speed Henderson moved, grabbing the guard across the face and sticking the knife into the back of his neck, severing the brain stem and causing him to fall to the ground, Henderson taking his weight.

Henderson looked around - no one had seen him. Keeping low he moved around the flower boxes, avoiding the front of the town hall. As he sneaked up on the other patrolling guard his foot fell on a trowel, left by a careless gardener. His footsteps were light so the noise it created wasn't enough to alert the guards by the door. However, it was enough to alert the guard that Henderson had been sneaking up on who immediately span around and started to point his gun towards Henderson, who leapt forward with his knife aimed squarely at the Hun-y-bee's face.

They struggled with each other, fell over the flower bed. Henderson ended up underneath the Hun-y-bee and found the knife falling from his hand. The Hun-y-bee was just about to grab it from him when he collapsed with a bang onto Henderson, blood pouring from his face. Henderson recoiled from the remains of the Hun-y-bees head, spotting Jenkins and his smoking shotgun just as the two remaining guards opened fire and an alarm sounded. Jenkins winked at him.

"A knife's a nice thing, old boy," he said, crouching below a flower box for cover, "but sometimes it's necessary to just create a bit of a ruckus."

By now the other British bees were placed behind cover, returning the guards fire. Buzz waved his hand forward and Stripey took up the order, leaping over the concrete block and running as fast as he could, firing from the hip at the guards, under covering fire from his comrades. Stripey fired off two quick shots, taking one of the guards down before hitting the floor, doing a forward somersault, bringing him up against the flower box in front of the town hall. He rose, firing again straight into the one remaining guard, sending him flying back against the doors, causing them to smash open.

"We're in!" cried Buzz, storming forward with the others. As they did so Stripey threw in a grenade, which exploded resulting in muffled screams and a lot of smoke. They streamed inside, moving quickly but safely, dealing with any guards that presented themselves. In the narrow corridors of the hall, Jenkins' shotgun found many targets, whilst Harry Thorpe's hands proved equally as deadly. For Buzz, Jenkins and Stripey it was like saving Steven all over again. For Steven it was exhilarating, the first time he'd been involved in such a mission. With each step he felt more and more like a man and less like the failure he'd felt like in the past.

As they cleared one room a voice familiar to Buzz called out. Major Bumble was hidden away on the second floor. Harry Thorpe leant his considerable weight to opening the lock door, which couldn't resist. Thorpe fell into the room, Buzz moving quickly behind him.

"Major," he nodded.
"Buzz!" grinned Major Bumble. "Glad you came, I don't think I could have held out much longer," Buzz looked him up and down, taking in the blood stains and the singed fur.
"Your book Sir?" asked Buzz, thinking of the mission.
"Not important! Sounds like you got them on the run and from the looks of things," said Bumble, looking out his window "the whole town is in a bit of a flap. You've got them on the run son! Don't let them get away!" Bumble grinned at Buzz, who tossed his pistol over to Bumble. They all hit the floor as a hail of machine gun bullets destroyed the window and fizzed into the room - the Hun-y-bees had turned their guns from the river back on the town.
"Only with your help Sir," he said, before they all headed out of the room. Steven and Henderson headed upstairs, to the tower of the building with a view to trying to get reinforcements whilst everyone else headed down to take the town.

#57 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 08:03 PM

Buzz Makes A Breakthrough!
Being the Final Part of Buzz and the Major Bumble Fumble


What had been a quiet, peaceful village lit by blueish moonlight only twenty minutes before was now a battlefield, lit by muzzle flash and fire. Buzz, Bumble and everyone apart from Steven and Henderson ran downstairs to the entrance to the town hall. Peering out of the broken door they saw the rest of the garrison approaching. Thankfully the classical architecture gave them plenty of cover. Jenkins and Thorpe slipped outside and positioned themselves behind pillars on either side of the door. Thorpe had picked up a machine gun that had been stationed at one of the windows inside and was now firing from the hip with it, something that would have been impossible for a man of lesser stature. The Hun-y-bee's dove for what cover they could find before returning fire, chipping stone and plaster work.

"Okay Major?" called Buzz above the noise. Major Bumble turned and grinned at him.
"I haven't felt this alive in years!" he cried, loosing a few rounds from his pistol before ducking inside as a raking line of fire fell across the door. A grenade bobbled its way inside, Buzz calmly reaching down and throwing it back the way it had come. It exploded between themselves and the Hun-y-bee's over a large flower pot, sending mud flying in the air. More Hun-y-bee's were arriving every minute and begun flanking the square.

---

Meanwhile, Steven and Henderson had run into trouble trying to get to the clock tower of the town hall. It was reached by a spiral staircase, at the top of which were a couple of men. It was a position that they could defend against a whole army if they so needed to. Steven and Henderson looked at each other completely baffled as to what to do. They desperately didn't want to let Buzz down but equally they knew running up there would be suicide. The two Germans at the top fired off a couple of rounds causing stone chips to fall on their heads. As though they had knocked some sense into him, Steven had a sudden brainwave. In the time he'd spent as a prisoner he'd picked up a few words of German - not much but enough he hoped for his little plan to walk. He put a finger to his lips and winked at Henderson before taking a grenade from his belt.

---

Things had taken a turn for the worse in the square. By sheer weight of numbers the enemy was beginning to overpower Buzz and company. They had filed themselves around most of the perimeter which meant the amount of cover available was severely limited. Harry Thorpe was pinned against his pillar and Jenkins had fallen back into the building. The Hun-y-bee's were slowly but steadily advancing on their positions and things looked bleak. That was until the windows of the clock tower exploded in a muffled fireball and rifle fire started reigning down on the Hun-y-bee's.

---

"Schießen Sie nicht. Halten Sie Ihr Feuer." cried Steven before running as fast as he could, repeating the sentence as he ascended. His accent was terrible but it was enough to surprise the Hun who stopped firing for just long enough for Steven to get into a position to throw two grenades into their little Hun-y-bee nest. No sooner than he had let fly with the grenades than he fell backwards down the stairs deliberately, rounding the spiral of the staircase just as the grenades exploded sending dust and blood everywhere. Henderson leapt over Steven and in two ticks was in the clock tower, Steven there only a few seconds later. Both looked out into the square and saw the situation. Both reacted instantly opening fire on the Hun-y-bee's with their rifles. Less than a minute later Harry Thorpe appeared with his machine gun, having been freed from his pinned position by Steven and Henderson's actions. He set it up quickly at a window and opened fire, massacring the Hun-y-bee's below. Meanwhile Steven fired the flare gun Buzz had given him to signal for reinforcements.

---

Even with the machine gun fire from the clock tower things were still far from certain down in the square. The Hun-y-bee's had managed to find cover and were now giving as good as they got. Buzz turned just in time to see Major Bumble thrown backwards, a cloud of blood hanging briefly in the air where he had once been. He hit the marble floor of the town hall entrance, sliding as he landed. Buzz leapt from where he was and skidded down next to the Major, who looked up and smiled. Buzz looked down and saw the wound - hit in the left shoulder. Bumble was lucky - a few inches to one side and he'd have been a goner. Buzz was about to say something when he was interrupted by the sound of whistles and a sudden cheer. Buzz turned and saw British bee's pouring into the square, routing the Hun-y-bee's in terror.

"We did it Sir!" he squealed with delight.
"No son," said Bumble "You did it - you and your boys,"

Buzz glowed with honour. In a war of loss, they'd somehow achieved a victory, albeit a small one, but a victory none the less. However, it was tainted. Tainted by the fact that they'd been pushed into attacking the village so soon, pushed by the capture of Major Bumble, pushed by a leak of intelligence, possibly pushed by a spy. But at that moment no one thought of that. They just swelled with pride at a hard fought victory.

The End



#58 Josh

Josh

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 12:18 PM

Hoorah!
George Alagiaaaaaaargh: I lost my pecker in the siege :(

#59 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 11:49 PM

Buzz and the Bootleggers!



Winter had taken a firm grip over the land. It had started off wet but had descended now into bitter cold. Shards of frozen mud jutted out precariously from the walls of the trenches, bee's hands froze to their weapons if they didn't wear their tiny mittens and there was never any water to shave or even wash in. Buzz trudged through the supply trench, hunched in as small a ball as he could create, trying to keep the warmth in. Every few steps he'd turn his ankle on the uneven ground but such minor worries didn't concern Buzz. The concern that loomed large in his mind was the fact that they'd been off the front for almost two weeks now. Having taken the village they'd been given some well earned rest, working from the nearby town and in the supply trench. This morning Buzz had taken a couple of letters to the parents of a couple of his men to the post office. The letters had expressed his condolences to the families that their sons had died serving Queen and Hive. In fact they'd died when the truck they had drunkenly stolen had hit a tree but Buzz didn't think that was important.

Delivering the mail is something that Steven would normally have done for Buzz, but Buzz had seen much less of him since they'd made it back. He'd been spending more and more of his time in the town, with his girl. Buzz didn't mind too much - the sights that Steven had seen at his tender age were more than he should have seen in his life time and Buzz couldn't begrudge him his happiness. Since he'd heard about Sarah he'd mellowed a bit with regards the men and women, the birds and the bees. Steven was young, he was foolish and in love and Buzz wouldn't come between him and happiness - at least not whilst they were stood down. As he walked back into his dugout Buzz for the first time realised that whilst he had always seen Steven as a kid, he was in fact only a few years younger than himself - yet when the life-expectancy of a bee on the front was a matter of weeks those years seemed like decades.

The dugout was snug and toasty. Jenkins had lit a fire, and whilst smoke hung heavily around the ceiling, the overall effect was one that instantly relaxed Buzz and made him content. Jenkins looked up from his magazine as Buzz walked in.

"Roll on Spring!" said Buzz, clapping his hands together before intoning a "Brrrrrrrrrrr!"
"Roll on Christmas and the end of this damned mess!" said Jenkins with a wink. It should have been over a couple of Christmases ago already.
"Roll on Christmas," agreed Buzz, slumping down in a chair before grabbing a blanket from his bed and wrapping himself in it.
"Before you get too comfy Sir," said Jenkins reaching to the shelf behind him "HQ have sent a couple of telegrams - they want you up there tout suit.

Buzz sighed. At first he'd been honoured to be called to see Command - now it was just becoming a nuisance. He'd joined up to serve Queen and Hive, not be some lapdog to the local bigwig. He threw the blanket untidily back onto the bed and heaved himself out of the chair. As he did so Steven popped his head in through the door, his face aglow with the cold and happiness. He glanced from Buzz to Jenkins, spotted the half-read telegrams on the table and knew instantly what was happening. He reached into the dug out and grabbed Buzz' pack for him. Together they set off in the bitterly cold, refreshing air.

---

Belmarsh leant back on his chair and looked at the ground. It was a hard life, he thought happily, pushing paper around a desk whilst the Colonel pushed men to their death. He looked up as Buzz and Steven walked in, dropping his chair back to the ground. He smiled a knowing smile at Buzz and pointed the way in, before leaning back and soaking up the warmth of the large fire that crackled nearby, supping at a large mug of hot coco. Buzz tried his best to ignore him, rapping on the large wooden door and being called inside. Steven took up his usual post on a chair nearby. As he entered Buzz wondered what Steven and Belmarsh talked about whilst he was inside. He realised that the more pertinent question was probably whether or not Steven and Belmarsh talked at all - Buzz couldn't imagine Belmarsh taking to a lowly private.

Colonel Crouton stood up as Buzz walked in and beamed a great big smile at him. Buzz saluted back, a smile creeping onto his face despite his annoyance at being called once again. Crouton waved Buzz' hand down and sat back in his chair. Looking around Buzz noticed Major Bumble trying to light his pipe in the corner. He looked up, saw Buzz and waved. Buzz half saluted, half waved back. Colonel Crouton beckoned him into a chair and proceeded to make small talk for a few minutes. Buzz was polite, answering each question but ultimately he wanted to skip to the point.

"Anyway, I'll skip to the point," said Crouton, reaching into a drawer of his desk and pulling out a bottle of single-malt whiskey and a box containing two-hundred cartons of cigarettes. Buzz raised a quizzical eyebrow. "You may well be quizzical Captain," continued Crouton "But your eyebrow will no doubt climb off your face when you inspect them further." He tossed the carton across, Buzz catching it easily. Buzz looked at it closely before turning to the bottle which the Colonel had slid across. He looked at Colonel Crouton.
"But these are Hun-y-bee markings! Where did..."
"From a Private Hummings, who in turn got them from someone else who got them from someone else who got them from someone else," chipped in Major Bumble, coming closer sucking on his pipe. "We also found these on a couple of Hun-y-bee prisoners we took." He tossed Buzz a packet of cigarettes and a couple of chocolate bars.
"British?" said Buzz perplexed.
"Exactly," replied Bumble, sitting down. "We've got a black-market operation running somewhere in this region,"

Buzz remained quiet. He knew perfectly well that the black-market was operating in the region - hadn't he and Jenkins enjoyed an awfully nice supper the other week off ration?

"Now normally, we don't investigate these things," said Crouton "If we catch the buggers red handed, all well and good but we don't go out of our way to hunt them down. After all, men need their titbits."
"However," said Bumble taking over "What you have in your hands is proof that someone out there is selling to both sides and we draw the line at that - terrible security and terribly unpatriotic,"
"Yes, these curs need to be stopped. If they aren't who knows what could happen. Besides given our worries about... about the leak... we need to tighten up any route that they might have for meeting with their controllers," Crouton said, Buzz taking "the leak" to refer to the spy. Everything seemed to be coming back to the spy at the moment Buzz thought but he understood their concerns. A black-market operation would be the perfect cover via which to conceal espionage.
"What we want..." began Bumble.
"...is for me to put a stop to it?" finished Buzz.
"Exactly!" beamed Crouton "Knew you'd be up for it. Bumble thought this would be right up your alley. Most of the stuff we've recovered has come from within a ten mile radius of a small town about forty miles up the line from here. They shouldn't know you up there, so it'll be perfect. We want you and a few of your men to pose as a rival black-market firm, trying to muscle in. If there's one thing that'll bring them out into the open then it's competition."
"Where will we get the goods to sell Sir?" asked Buzz. He didn't really want the mission but it would keep them off the front line for awhile longer and anything that gave Buzz that chance he'd seize with both hands.
"Don't worry about that Captain," said the Colonel "We've more than enough booty to supply you - all carefully monitored mind you and all proceeds straight back into army coffers. We'll be sending someone to look after it all, so don't worry about the maths or anything like that,"
"Who exactly will you be sending?" asked Buzz. An idea had struck him to make things slightly more enjoyable.
"Oh we haven't decided yet,"
"Can I make a suggestion?" asked Buzz a wicked grin on his face.

---

Belmarsh leant back onto two chair legs again. Steven sat in the corner, staring intently at his hands. He leapt up when the door swung open and Buzz strode out. Steven followed Buzz as he made for the exit. Belmarsh took his hands from the desk and balanced precariously, put them behind his head.
"Have fun Captain," he said snidely. Buzz turned and smiled a deadly smile.
"Oh I will," he said "And I don't know why you're sitting there - you're coming with us!"

Belmarshes eyes widened in amazement at the news. He lost his balance on the chair and fell to the floor with a crash. Steven and Buzz both suppressed laughter as they turned and left, leaving Belmarsh to run to Crouton to find out that Buzz was in fact, telling the truth.

#60 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 11:53 PM

Buzz On the Black Market
Being the Second Part of Buzz and the Bootleggers


Captain Belmarsh snivelled, his head hanging low, raising only when the truck hit a bump or a pothole. The others sat in silence, more concerned than they had been in a long time. The rain outside poured steadily, drumming an ominous tattoo on the canvas roof of the truck. Cold, wet and hungry the bees were disconsolate. Buzz watched his breath emerging from his spiracles and sighed. It was supposed to have been a break from the horrors of war, a fun little game of undercover but it had turned sour and now things looked bleak. Belmarsh let out a painful sob as his head hit one of the metal struts supporting the canvas. From the front of the truck one of their captors turned.

"Pipe down you miserable lot!" he snarled "We're almost there - once we are you'll have something to cry about,"

Belmarsh snivelled some more, tears streaking down his muddied and bloodied face. Looking at him Buzz felt a mixture of sympathy and revulsion. He didn't like Belmarsh, didn't like what he stood for, didn't like his cushy job but at the same time, he was here because of Buzz and ultimately he was a bee just like Buzz. Buzz reached out a hand and patted Belmarsh's knee. Unlike the rest of the bees he wasn't schooled in action, in the constant knowledge that your number was up. If they were all going to get through this then he needed support.

"Don't worry Frank," whispered Buzz "We're get through this,"

Belmarsh looked up, a slight flicker of hope in his eyes. However, the flicker was just that - a flicker. It fizzled out as the truck lurched to a halt.

"Okay," said a familiar voice, which at present made rage swell within Buzz "We're here,"

---

Two weeks earlier, Buzz and his hand picked squad had arrived in a small French market town. Aside from Belmarsh, Buzz had picked the usual faces. If asked Buzz would no doubt have said that he picked the best men for the situation, Harry Thorpe for muscle, Henderson for obvious reasons and so on, but the truth was that deep down Buzz would much rather his friends lived than bees he didn't know. This had never been a concious thought in Buzz' mind but if it had been it would have probably repulsed him. Still, here in the town were Jenkins, Stripey, Steven, Harry Thorpe, Henderson, Belmarsh and, of course, Buzz. They had with them a truck load of high valuable, highly illegal food, drink, cigarettes and bits and bobs. Henderson, who had gone on a day in advance, greeted them in the town square.

"Alright, Boss," he said with a rakish smile, looking up at Buzz in the army truck.
"Good morning, Private," replied Buzz from the front of their truck. "Any luck finding digs?"
"You betcha! Got the perfect place for us, big and central," he replied before winking at Buzz.
"Well, you better show us it hadn't you," said Buzz with a smile. He liked seeing his men happy.
"Alright skip!" said Henderson leaping onto the running board of the truck, giving directions to Belmarsh who was driving. Belmarsh shook his head, his face like thunder.
"Private! Remember you're addressing a senior officer. I'm am not "Chief"! I am not "Boss"! I am Captain Belmarsh and if you don't want to find yourself up on a charge then I suggest you try to remember that!" Buzz rolled his eyes.
"Whilst we're here," he said, looking straight ahead "We won't hold to the formality of rank. Remember we need to pass ourselves off as bootleggers, so no-one is going to be put on a charge for calling someone "Chief","

Henderson grinned. "You hear that Chief? Next left!" he said joyously to Belmarsh, who merely snarled and seethed silently.

---

They had operated for a week, pretty much without incident. They had an occasional drunk giving them hassle or a couple of random soldiers trying to play a fast one but by and large things were quiet and when they weren't the mere (if such a word can be used to ever describe him) presence of Harry Thorpe seemed to scare off most trouble. The trouble was that whilst business was brisk, they had so far had no competition. Steven and Jenkins, whose jobs it was to 'advertise' the business, reported that they hadn't encountered anyone else doing the same, hadn't been pressurised into stopping, hadn't even seen any other black market goods in the town apart from their own. Buzz was slightly concerned. Whilst he appreciated that most of the illict produce had been picked up within a relatively small radius surrounding the town, he did wonder if it was in fact the source of the other racketeers. However, his concerns were allayed, mid-afternoon in the second week of their operation.

It was Stripey who noticed them first, as he should have done being the watchman for the operation. He kept his eyes open for the MPs and shady characters, quickly acting so they shut up shop before anyone could do anything. Of course, a couple of bribes here and there to the most regular MPs they saw hadn't gone a miss either. He was sucking on a cigarette (one of his own ration it so happened) when he spotted the two British bees standing in the shadows, pointing at Henderson and the bottles of scotch in his hands. He was quickly offloading the bottles to a small group of petty-officers, fresh supply being passed to him by Harry Thorpe from inside the old church hall that Henderson had found for the group, each bottle carefully noted by Belmarsh and his clipboard.

The two bees were eyeing the group intently, pointing and shaking their heads. Stripey couldn't quite make out their features but he knew they weren't MPs and they weren't about to try and rush Henderson just from their manner. He coughed slightly and Buzz, who had been reading a tattered newspaper next to him, looked up. Stripey nodded in the direction of the two bees. Buzz peered at them and nodded. Just as he did so the two men stepped out from the shadows. One was clean shaven, with narrow untrustworthy eyes, too thin by half. The other was unremarkable apart from a thin pencil moustache. They walked over to Henderson in a threatening fashion. They looked him up and down and at the bottles of scotch in his hands.

"I don't know what you think you're doing," said the one with the pencil moustache "But there's only one outfit in this town, and you arent' it," He pushed Henderson in the chest.
"You won't get any more warnings," said the other one, knocking a bottle of whiskey from Henderson's hand. The crashing of the bottle caught the attention of Harry Thorpe who came strolling out of the hall, his large arms swinging menacingly. The two bees took a step back.
"Now, now gents," said Henderson cheerfully, "There's no need to get hasty. How about a bottle of malt to calm things down? Town's big enough for two of us," Buzz watched all this from where he sat. Henderson winked at the two men and Buzz thought he caught the faintest flicker of a knowing smile on the lips of the bee with the pencil moustache, but he couldn't be sure. The two bees knocked the bottle that Henderson had proffered to the floor.
"We're be back," they snarled before stalking off. Buzz taped Stripey on the shoulder. Without saying a word Stripey began to follow the two bees. However, they clearly had expected to be followed and were much more adept at finding their way through the back streets than he was. After about five minutes Stripey returned shaking his head. Inwardly Buzz cursed but ultimately, despite losing them, they had made a breakthrough. It was only a matter of time now.

---

They heard no more from the other outfit over the next few days. Business continued at its steady pace and they were making quite a bit of money for the army. It struck Buzz that the army could have done this on a regular basis as a way to provide more equipment, more weapons and whatnot. Of course, the downside was that the goods were illegal. Still, beggars can't be choosers Buzz thought, and they certainly were begging for more equipment and ammo.

Buzz and the men were in the hall, the outside doors locked, and were busy counting the days taken and putting unsold produce away in boxes. They stored all their wares up on the second floor in a locked room, whilst they themselves slept downstairs. This had been Captain Belmarsh's decision, one that was deeply unpopular. Whilst it did mean that should anyone break in, they would have to get past everyone to get to the goods, it also meant they had to sleep with rats crawling across the floor. In many ways, Buzz regretted bringing Belmarsh along. He had gone out of his way to be officious and unfriendly, none of the men liked him or included him in anything they did (partly because they didn't like him, partly because they didn't want to end up on a charge) and he had so far proved to be the one cloud on what had been a relatively sunny two weeks - sunny at least from Buzz point of view. The weather had been bitterly cold and today it had started to rain heavily. Buzz carefully placed the days takings in a safe and as he swung the door shut there was a large bang from the main door.

This bang was closely followed by the sound of an engine revving, fading slightly before powering forward resulting in another bang. The doors of the hall buckled and with the third ram exploded inwards. In the drivers cab of the truck that had just broken them down Buzz recognized the two bees who had tried to strong arm them earlier. However, he didn't have long to look at them as within a matter of seconds half a dozen other bees had filled the room, all armed with rifles which now pointed at Buzz and his bees. Their own rifles were neatly stacked against one wall. Buzz reached down slowly to where his service revolver hung but his hand froze as he felt cold steel against his neck.

"I wouldn't Captain," said Henderson, digging the knife in slightly.
"Private?" Buzz said bewildered "What..."
"Ha! You thought I was just a tobacconists son? Nah Boss, I've been running with these boys from day one. How do you think our trench got its stuff? Where d'you think that slap up meal you and Lieutenant had recently came from?"
"But..." stammered Buzz
"No buts. Couldn't believe my luck when you put me on this detail. Fact you sent me up a day in advance was also a true blessing. Met up with the boys and hatched a plan we did. Sell your stuff and then keeps the money for ourselves. 100% profit. I..."
"Private. Enough," said another of the bootleggers. "You lot - get in the truck," he motioned to Buzz' bees.

Following jerks of rifles, the bees trudged into the back of the truck. Buzz had no idea why they hadn't already been killed. It would have been very easy to make it look like a botched robbery. He breathed deeply as the knife was removed from his throat and went to join his men. Henderson trotted behind him, overtaking him. He caught up to Belmarsh and with the buff of a nearby rifle hit him squarely in the temple. Belmarsh sprawled on the floor. Henderson and the others laughed uproariously, calling Belmarsh all manner of obscene things. Buzz picked up the Captain and helped him into the back of the truck.

---

"Okay," said Henderson, making rage swell within Buzz "We're here,"

#61 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 07:22 PM

Buzz and the Risky Buzziness
Being the Third Part of Buzz and the Bootleggers


The bees climbed down from the back of the truck, their joints stiff with the cold and damp. Belmarsh practically fell out of the back and had to be hoisted up by Harry Thorpe and Jenkins to keep their feet. As he descended Buzz had a quick look around, his view illuminated by the smouldering lanterns carried by their captors and the occasional flashes of lightening that punctuated the sentences of the storm.

They were at the end of a snaking driveway that led back to tall, wrought-iron gates sent into an impressively large, and thick, hedge. The gates were ornately designed, the iron curving in almost a sensuous fashion. They were standing in the centre of a large, oval expanse of this drive, the ground covered in gravel. Along one side rose a large château, its window shutters closed and only the faint hint of smoke rising from the chimney giving any hint of occupancy. That and the large number of bees that were milling around the place, German and British together as if there wasn't even a war on. The drive way gave out on to a large lawn which must have been magnificent in summer. At the moment though it was just a boggy mess, like so much of the surrounding area. Trees were dotted around here and there, their branches bare serving only to supply ominous silhouettes to the surrounding area.

Henderson came round to the back of the truck from the front. He smirked when he saw Belmarsh, a look that disgusted Buzz. However, despite prodding from Stripey and a knowing look from Jenkins, Buzz remained passive. He knew that the men with him wanted to fight, wanted to show these traitors what for and in terms of escaping, doing so was probably their best chance. However, Buzz hadn't lost sight of their mission and from that point of view things were progressing, admittedly not well, but progressing none the less.

"Right," said Henderson "You lot - inside!" He pointed to the doors of the château. The men guarding the prisoners jabbed their rifle butts into the backs of the bees in that direction to, causing them to stumble forward. Realising that Buzz didn't mean to do anything, Stripey and Jenkins both looked crestfallen and trudged disconsolately towards the door.

---

They were led into an opulent entrance hall, lushly carpeted and soothingly warm. Portraits and battle-scenes hung upon the walls, each flanked either side by candelabra from which poured the light that illuminated the room. Mahogany furniture was here and there with tasteful ornaments adorning it. In the centre of the hall way rose a large staircase which swept upwards to either side of the room, giving out on to a landing that encircled three of the rooms towering walls. Looking up Buzz thought he saw someone in the shadows but it was too dark to tell and his attention was almost immediately drawn to the man coming down the stairs. The group of them were pushed forward, Steven tripping on the heel of Jenkins in front of him and tumbling down to the floor. One of their captors kicked Steven in the face with all his might. From up above Buzz again was sure that someone was watching them, this time because of a gasp he was sure he had heard. Or was it just wind through a keyhole? He couldn't be sure.

"Now, now!" said the man coming down the stairs in heavily accented English, the accent being French "There is no need for this, we are all bees after all,"
"They had moved into our turf Comte," said Henderson "At the armies request no less, with a view to getting to you and stopping our business,"

At this the Comte merely shrugged. He walked over to a small table and picked up a silver cigarette case, taking a cigarette from inside and lighting it.

"Of course the army wants to stop us," he said "We're stealing from them after all. Now, who amongst these bees is in charge," he asked, scanning them intently. Henderson pushed Buzz forward.
"This one Comte, the High-Commands favourite, their little lapdog!" he said, performing a mock salute in the process. The Comte sighed.
"Captain," he said "I would like to have a word with you," Buzz looked uneasy. "Rest assured, your men will not be harmed any further than they already have been. Now if you will follow me into my study,"

Buzz looked at the rest of the men and shrugged. He started to follow the Comte. Belmarsh stretched out towards him, as if begging him not to leave, but Buzz ignored him. He followed the Comte into his study.

---

The study was warm and toasty. A raging fire blazed in a large fireplace and even the fire-guard did little to diminish the strength of it. Buzz gazed around in some wonder at the room, a room where the walls were bookcases. Two comfortable chairs sat in the middle of the room, a small wooden table between them and it was into one of these chairs that the Comte beckoned Buzz. He sat down and looked the Comte straight in the face. He was an old man, his eyes moist and with a creamy ring around the edge of the iris. His face was wrinkled but remarkably well defined, chiselled almost and the small, well kept moustache on his lip gave him a debonair appearance. He was the sort of man that Buzz imagined retired politicians look like.

"Brandy?" the Comte asked Buzz.
"No," replied Buzz flatly.
"Don't worry, this is my own. It's not black market,"
"My answer is still no," said Buzz "What do you want to talk to me about?"
"I have a proposition for you," he said "We have your products, we have your money, we have your weapons and more to the point - we have you," He gestured with his hands as if to say 'Such is life' before continuing, "Why not join us? We could use smart men like you and your operation from what I hear was pretty good,"
"Join you? Traitors?"
"Traitors? Men who don't want to fight each other? Men who have no reason to fight each other? Myself, this war would have ruined me. The great thing about the aristocracy is that we always find a way to survive, to keep ourselves as we are. These men - they're clever. They know that German, British, French - deep down we're all bees. What's wrong with making a bit of money and avoiding dying for some other man's morals?"

Buzz had no real answer to that. He could have talked about duty and about protecting the hive but he knew such things would be lost on the Comte.

"I think I'd like to return to my men," he said, standing up.
"Very well," replied the Comte, pulling a velvet rope that was suspended from the ceiling. Outside the room a bell rang. Henderson entered.
"Yes Comte?" he asked.
"The Captain and his men. Tie them up and leave them in the basement. I'm sure the rats will enjoy them,"

Henderson nodded as he grabbed Buzz' arm. Buzz paused for a moment. He considered joining the Comte, saving his men from almost certain death, at least for a little while. The men's lives weren't worth some claptrap about duty and honour, no life was; at least not in Buzz' mind at that moment. The sight of Steven's bloodied face, him still lying on the floor, convinced Buzz. He turned to tell the Comte he'd changed his mind but when he did the Comte had gone. Henderson pulled him through the door.

#62 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 10:00 PM

Buzz and the Break-Out!
Being the Final Part of Buzz and the Bootleggers


Buzz was pulled through the door by Henderson quite roughly. He tripped over his own feet and fell to the floor. Looking ahead he could see Steven at the same level as he was, see the blood dripping from his nose, see the terror in his eyes. Henderson reached down and tried to pull Buzz up but Buzz refused, letting all his weight hang down. Henderson growled in annoyance, reached into his pocket and socked Buzz one over the head with a cosh. There was a split second of intense pain at the back of Buzz' head and then darkness.

---

The throbbing pain screaming throughout his head was the first thing that Buzz was aware of. His mouth was dry and along with the pain his head felt quite woozy. The floor beneath him, carpeted when he was last concious, was now stone and very cold. He moved his joints slowly, each one stiff and slightly sore. He opened his eyes to a vague darkness, illuminated by a single lamp hung from a wall, in a little alcove under some shelves which held numerous large barrels. Slowly but sure Buzz began to push himself up.

"Cap'in!" cried a familiar voice. Buzz felt hands underneath his arms pulling him up. He turned around and looked at Stripey.
"Thanks, Sargent," Buzz rasped, his mouth so dry. "Where are we? What happened?"

Buzz looked around the room whilst he spoke. All his men were here - Jenkins, Stripey, Steven, Harry Thorpe and Belmarsh (who at that moment was cowering in a corner, his face swollen and purple) - and they all seemed glad that Buzz had come around. The room was reasonably large, though much of the space was taken up with barrels and crates; some bearing Hun-y-bee insignias, some British. Off from one of the corners of the room ran a short corridor, at the end of which was a short flight of stone steps. At the top of these a thick, solid oak door stood, with metal rivets jutting out at regular intervals. It was bitterly cold in the room and Buzz could see why - a small grating near the ceiling, looking out on to the ground outside.

"Well," said Jenkins, pushing himself up onto a crate, "the Comte sent us down here. Don't know why they didn't just kill us straight away but they seemed to be in a bit of a flap about something."
"I thought I heard them mention something about Major Bumble and you going missing Cap'in," chipped in Stripey.
"Could be they're worried that if you don't report in, the army's going to come looking," explained Jenkins.
"Okay, but where are we? Some sort of cellar I assume?" asked Buzz, walking over to below the grate, trying to peer out.
"Oh rather!" said Jenkins "This is one of the store rooms for their nefarious produce! I assume they needed somewhere that you wouldn't be able to break out of Sir,"

A wry smile flashed across Buzz' face for a brief second. He walked over to Belmarsh, put a hand on his shoulder and pulled him upright. Buzz winced slightly as he looked at his fellow Captain's face.

"They gave him quite a going over," said Stripey "Henderson in particular,"
"It'll be all right Frank," said Buzz patting the shoulder gently. Even this gentle action caused Belmash to wince in pain.
"Have you had a look at the door?" asked Buzz, already knowing the answer
"Oh yes," said Jenkins "Locked tight,"

Buzz frowned and sat down on a barrel. He needed time. He needed to think. Unfortunately time was something he probably didn't have much of. So you better use it wisely, he thought to himself.

---

Stripey had begun to pace the room. Steven sat looking pale and resigned on a nearby crate. Buzz was sitting as he had been for a while, hand on chin pondering what to do next. Things were looking increasingly bleak with every passing second. Then with no warning whatsoever there was a click as the lock on the door turned. Everyone looked up, expecting someone to come in but no-one did. Faintly they all heard the sound of receding footsteps. Everyone jumped up with the exception of Belmarsh. Out of the corner of his eye, through the grate in the wall, Buzz was sure he saw some feet rush past and there was something different about the feet that at first Buzz couldn't quite put his finger on. Unfortunately Buzz didn't have time to think about the difference, or indeed who their mystery saviour was. He raced up to the stairs and pushed the door open slightly. Outside the château was a hive of activity. Lots of soldiers, British and German were busy carrying crates and barrels outside. No-one noticed Buzz' head poking through the door.

He ducked back inside and raced down to his men. His mind was thinking about their escape but at the same time, it was also thinking about his mission - to foil these bootleggers. He walked over to a barrel and gave it a firm kick. There was a dull thud but not much else. He kicked it again and this time a crack appeared, a golden brown liquid trickling from within. Buzz tasted it.

"Whisky!" he said "Just as I thought!" He walked over to a crate and put his elbow through the side, causing sugar to stream down. He smiled. He knew what they had to do - they may not have had any weapons but that wasn't going to stop them! "Men!" he said firmly, going across to where the lantern hung "Take off your jackets!"

The men, without asking a question, did so. Only Belmarsh didn't and Buzz didn't seem particularly bothered about that. He took the lantern off the wall and picked Belmarsh up under the shoulder with his free hand. Belmarsh swayed slightly but his feet held. Jenkins collected all the jackets and, following instructions from Buzz Stripey broke up one of the empty crates that was in the room. They'd closed the door and so the sounds were muffled. Even had anyone heard them, they would have just assumed it was the dead men trying to bash the door down. Buzz gathered it all together, tearing up a couple of the jackets and laying them with the wood around the room, splashing some with the whisky. Everyone edged towards the door. Buzz held the lantern high above his head and smashed it down onto the edge of a barrel, the oil inside spilling out and catching fire. The fire quickly took hold of the rags and the broken wood. Buzz didn't need to see any more. He and the rest of the bees made for the door, spilling out into the corridor.

Everyone was so surprised to see them that at first they didn't do anything. This gave Buzz and his men the split second they needed. Jenkins and Stripey had already knocked two of the bootleggers unconcious and grabbed their weapons. Belmarsh wasn't fit for much and was just tagging along behind Buzz. Harry Thorpe had grabbed a nearby sword attached to a suit of armour and was advancing down the corridor towards the main entrance, a terrifying vision of strength and power. The bootleggers didn't even fire their weapons at first. Some turned and fled; others just stared open mouthed. Buzz and the team followed in Harry's wake, Jenkins and Stripey picking off men here and there, Harry Thorpe slicing a few more with the sword. They had just made it to the entrance hall when the barrels and crates of whisky and sugar began to explode. The explosions rocked the men on their feet. From upstairs came the angered cry of the Comte who appeared at the top of the stairs. The door leading to the cellar had been blown off its hinges and even now an inferno was engulfing the way Buzz had come. Other barrels within the cellar continued to explode, sending columns of fire up and into the main château, enveloping bees; their terrible screams the melody to the rhythm of the explosions.

"Buzz!" screamed the Comte, before a particularly large explosion which made the whole building shake sent him sprawling backwards. Buzz didn't wait for the Comte to get back up. He and the men rushed outside, the bootleggers now just running for their lives. Harry Thorpe pulled one bee off the truck in which they had arrived. He climbed into the drivers seat and started the engine. Buzz helped the men around to the back. Buzz was about to get in himself when a hand pulled him back.

"Not so fast," said Henderson, his knife gleaming in the fire and moonlight. The rain had long since passed, leaving a gloriously clear night. The tug had brought Buzz to the floor and now he could do nothing but look up as Henderson raised the knife, ready to plunge it into Buzz' head. However, he never got the chance. From inside the truck came an almighty scream and out came flying Captain Belmarsh, straight into Henderson, sending them both sprawling. Belmarsh within a second was back up and on top of Henderson. He started punching his face with all his might, beating the living breath out of the private. Even above the explosions and panicked cries Buzz could hear the bones breaking. He got to his feet and pulled at Belmarsh, bring the almost rabid form back towards the truck. He pulled Belmarsh in, whose knuckles were swollen, cut and covered in blood. Harry Thorpe did a U-turn and began to drive away. Jenkins pushed past Buzz to look back at the mess they had created.

He saw the Comte rush out of the château, along with a few of the hardier bootleggers. Jenkins cockily waved goodbye to them. The smile on his face though soon disappeared as the bullet threw him backwards onto the floor of the truck. Buzz froze, stunned for a second, doing nothing but looking at the bloody mess where Jenkin's face had once been. They were under a hail of gunfire now. They smashed through the ornate gates and out onto the open road. The men guarding the gates opened fire themselves, most of the shots going astray as Harry Thorpe sped the truck down the country road away from the château. However, one shot hit one of the tires, causing the truck to jerk to one side suddenly. Harry corrected and managed to keep the truck on road. They rounded a corner, rounded another. Behind them there was just an orange glow in the sky, masked by trees, to indicate what they had done. Then suddenly the bees in the back of the truck moved one way, the truck moved another as the shot tyre burst, throwing the truck into a ditch. Harry Thorpe was propelled through the windscreen as the truck began to slowly flip over, before coming to a rest.

They didn't know it, they weren't concious enough to know it, but in their haste, they had taken a wrong turn at the very start of their escape. They were now a good couple of miles behind enemy lines, with few weapons, no food, no idea of which way was safety and perhaps more importantly, with no hope of rescue. Buzz and his British bees were trapped.

To be continued...



#63 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 10:01 PM

The next story will be the last Buzz story I'm going to do.

#64 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 05:24 PM

Buzz and the Spy!



The wheels of the truck span freely in the cold air, throwing off a constant spray around themselves. The engine purred but, otherwise, everything else at the crash site was eerily silent. In the distance, the excited cries of the Hun-y-bees could be heard, as could the roar of their vehicle engines and yet none of this seemed able to break the silence. It was as though, when the truck came to a sudden stop so did the whole area, almost in shock; the truck should not have been there, should have passed straight through. Yet here it was, lying upturned and spanning a ditch, the cab crumpled somewhat against a tree.

Buzz began to regain his senses quite quickly. He did not think he had been knocked out but could only remember the crash in the very vaguest of terms. He remembered the chase, the tire exploding and then everything proceeding like a slide show. At first he lay with his eyes closed, breathing in the stench of petrol and listening to the steady drum of the rain against the metal underbelly of the truck. There was a note of impatience to this drum, almost as if the rain were bored of waiting for him to get up. He opened his eyes and looked around in the gloom.

He had been lucky: he had been thrown clear of the wreckage. Up front, he could just about make out Harry Thorpe's body, crushed between the tree and cab. Buzz knew from just one look that there was no way he could be alive. Looking further back he struggled to make anything out clearly. The back of the truck was covered in a taut tarpaulin cover and this, despite a tear here or there, prevented him from seeing inside. No one seemed to be emerging from the rear, which concerned him slightly. Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement. Turning to look, he saw Stripey on all fours, trying to push his way up to standing. He too had been thrown clear and appeared to be without injury. As he watched Stripey gradually get to his feet, he heard sounds that distinctly sounded like someone was still alive in the back of the truck. He heard shuffling for a few seconds, shuffling and then a scream of agony. Buzz pushed himself up onto his feet, and as he did so the sound of the enemy's engines approaching ever closer.

Unsteadily at first but then, as he felt his feet and legs become stronger, with more confidence Buzz hurried around to the back of the up turned truck. Jenkins' body lay in a crumpled heap near the back, thrown violently forward in the impact. On what used to be the roof lay Captain Belmarsh and Buzz could see straightaway that it was he who had screamed. Even from a distance Buzz could see the leg, the sudden right angle halfway down it, the bottom half limp and immobile. Steven stood over him, mercifully and miraculously unharmed. He glanced over his shoulder as he sensed Buzz' presence.

"It's bad Sir," he said, turning back to Belmarsh, referring to Belmarsh's leg. He laid his hand on Belmarsh's shoulder and tried to give him a reassuring rub.
"We need to get him out of here," said Buzz stepping into the truck. "They'll be here soon and after what we've done, I don't think they're going to be treating us with any great kindness." Buzz went round both Steven and Belmarsh and squatted down opposite Steven. Stripey poked his head round the corner and frowned before entering.
"Need a hand Captain?" he asked, and from his tone you wouldn't have thought there was anything wrong. This was one of the things he'd always liked about Stripey - it didn't matter how bad things got, how harassed or overwrought he was, Stripey always sounded cheerful. He came and hunched down by Belmarsh's legs, Buzz noticing that he took great care to avoid looking at Jenkins. Despite their differences, their different upbringings, the two had become firm friends, two people who would normally have never become even acquittance's, thrust together into friendship by this terrible war.
"Okay, on my count," said Buzz "One, two, three!" he counted slowly. On three the three of them lifted Belmarsh up and began to carry him out of the truck, his broken leg swinging freely. As they moved him he let out a great cry but they didn't have to worry about him giving away their position. As they carried him out into the rain, the first of the Hun-y-bee's pursuing them arrived, their vehicle screeching to a halt.

Buzz and Steven seemed to have a pretty good hold on Belmarsh and so with a quick wink Stripey let go of his legs, which fell and trailed along the ground. He turned, pulling Jenkins' shotgun from his webbing where he had been holding it since he'd first seen it lying on the ground. Walking slowly towards the vehicle he began to fire steadily, not aiming for any particular person or object. The Hun-y-bees dove for cover as their transport became riddled with holes and as the glass in its windows, windscreen and mirrors shattered, sharp shards falling everywhere. Buzz and Steven meanwhile half carried and half dragged Belmarsh towards the treeline. Stripey, having emptied the contents of the shotgun and having bought the bees a bit more time, turned around and hurried over to join his two comrades. However, no sooner had Stripey's fire let up than the Hun-y-bees were back firing at the trio. As bullets began to whistle overhead, instinct took over. Buzz, Steven and Stripey all dropped to the ground, Belmarsh collapsing in a heap with them and uttering a horrific yelp of pain.

With every passing moment it seemed that more and more Hun-y-bees were arriving. Lying just in front of the treeline they were sitting ducks. Bullets rifled themselves into the ground around them with a hiss and a dull thunk. Buzz and Steven grabbed Belmarsh and began to pull him towards the trees whilst Stripey returned fire as best he could with his rifle. It was painfully slow going, not least for Belmarsh who felt pain like he'd never known run through his body with each tug. Whilst they were still ten yards at least from the tree line he attempted to wriggle himself free from Buzz and Stevens' clutches.
"Let go!" he cried "Leave me here! I'm only slowing you down!"
"No," replied Buzz with a hint of desperation in his voice "Leave no bee behind!"
"You're going to get killed if you don't leave me!"
"He's right Captain," chipped in Stripey before loosing off a few more shots. Buzz paused for a split second, knowing that they were both right. Part of him wondered if the only reason he'd protested was because it was the right thing to do. But thoughts like that could wait for a safer time. He let go of Belmarsh as did Steven. The three of them: Buzz, Stripey and Steven, all leapt to their feet and began to run in a zig-zag fashion to the trees. There were no guarantees that they would find safety in the forest but it was certain they'd die if they stayed where they were. At least the Hun couldn't bring any vehicles into the forest. Belmarsh rested his head back, allowing the cold, wet mud to ooze around it. All around him people were running, ignoring him. No one gave him a second thought, other than Buzz who couldn't shake the sense of guilt. However, the thing first on Buzz' mind was survival. He and his two fellow soldiers tore deeper into the forest.

#65 Carlisle Dave

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 02:28 AM

Buzz on the Run!
Being the Second Part of Buzz and the Spy


They continued to run, their spiracles working overtime as they sprinted through the forest. The rain was bringing the scent of the forest alive. Buzz found it somewhat invigorating; the bitter smells of the greenery, the dull musty smell of rotting wood. The soft, boggy forest floor crumpled and squelched beneath their feet, with twigs and bracken snapping, bending and whipping as they ran past and through. The pursuing Hun-y-bees had stopped firing for the most part, concentrating on keeping up with Buzz, Steven and Stripey. As he glanced occasionally around over his shoulders, Buzz saw them tearing through the undergrowth in a big line that spread out as far as the limited field of view allowed him to see.

It quickly became clear to Buzz that there was no way they could outrun the Hun-y-bees. They weren't just about to give up and stop pursuing the British bees just because they kept running. However, Buzz also knew that there was no way they could hold them off by force. The trees would provide cover that was certain, but the forest was so expansive and they were so few that the Hun could easily outflank them and come from the rear. Looking around he noticed that Steven had already begun to flag, his health having never quite been the same since he was so badly wounded. They needed to do something. They couldn't keep running, they couldn't fight, they just had to somehow lose their pursuers. The trouble was how to go about that but Buzz hadn't survived such a terrible war for so long without learning how to think on his feet.

Without slowing his pace, he veered towards Stripey. It was clear that Steven couldn't keep the pace up for much longer so they needed to act and they couldn't rely on some slip from the Hun-y-bees to provide them with a chance. Running along side Stripey, Buzz laid out his plan. It was risky, relied on so many ifs that in any other situation he would have laughed it out of the room. But this was their situation and it was better than nothing. Stripey nodded in acknowledgement as Buzz laid out what they had to do. He winked at Buzz as Buzz finished and smiled. Buzz dove off to inform Steven of what was happening, just as they came to a large tree that had been uprooted from the ground. Where it had once stood there was just a great gouge in the earth, with the trees routes over hanging it and bracken and ferns shielding it largely from view at any distance other than very close up. It was perfect for what Buzz had in mind, an unlooked for bonus. As Buzz ran across to Steven, Stripey turned, dropped to one knee and began raking the forest behind them with gun fire.

The Hun-y-bees took up cover behind the trees. Those out of Stripey's field of fire began closing in. Buzz quickly pushed Steven down into the hole where the great tree had once stood. He then joined Stripey in firing off a few rounds, in his case at some of the bees that were trying to outflank them. Steven meanwhile had his orders and he crawled as close as he could to the base of the fallen tree. When he was in position he nodded at Buzz, who motioned to Stripey. The two of them began to fall back, leaving Steven up against the tree. The Hun-y-bees quickly sprang from their cover and began pursuing Buzz and Stripey. Buzz was relying on them not being aware of exactly how many bees they were up against - spread out so thinly along the forest, surely there was a chance that they'd only seen one or two of them at any one time. This is one of the ifs that Buzz' plan relied on and it seemed that it was working.

As Buzz and Stripey began to run, firing occasional pot shots over their shoulder, the Hun-y-bees tried to catch them. Their brief pause had resulted in their number becoming more concentrated over a small area making them a better target. None of them even paused to consider that someone may be hiding in the shadows of the fallen tree and they ran past Steven without a glance. Once they were just past him, Steven sprang out from his hiding place and opened fire, firing a few pot shots from his rifle. Confused the Hun-y-Bees froze where they were or threw themselves to the ground. Having heard Steven's shots Buzz and Stripey had turned and joined in with a few shots of their own. Then came the grenades. Stripey threw a couple in quick succession, taking out several of the Hun-y-bees, as did Buzz with similar results. In a matter of seconds they had thinned the enemy numbers considerably and those Hun-y-bees that remained were huddled for cuddle in the undergrowth. Steven ran over to Buzz and Stripey and they continued on their way through the forest. They were still running but now they had pretty much lost their pursuers. Now there was less urgency and after half an hour or so of brisk jogging, they settled down into a walk.

They walked for two days through the forest, taking shelter in the leaves and forest floor debris at the slightest suspicious sound. They used up what rations they had, though they found water in the many streams that coursed through the forest. Buzz had of course studied maps of the town they'd been stationed in and the surrounding areas and he had a good idea of which chateau they had been taken to, but their wild escape had thrown his bearings completely off and he had no idea where they were. They wandered aimlessly, hoping to find something to show them where they were (preferably something that showed they were behind their own lines or somewhere neutral.) Eventually they found something. The forest began to thin and as they approached its edge another chateau, much like the one they had been in previously rose from the horizon. It's grim, gothic stonework gave them a sense of foreboding. They couldn't see any evidence that it might belong to the Hun-y-bees and with no food and with no other alternative they began to approach it.

#66 Carlisle Dave

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:14 AM

Buzz and the Spy
Being the Third Part of Buzz and the Spy


Buzz, Stripey and Steven approached the chateau with caution, keeping to the low hedge rows and long grass of the surrounding fields. Visibility was poor given the torrential rain that had deluged the area but they weren't taking any chances. Originally nothing more that just an imposing stone edifice of towering walls and striking towers, a mere outline against the horizon, as they approached they began to see the chateau in more detail. They were approaching from the side, a side on which the main building ended in a cylindrical tower that spiralled up into the low hanging cloud. The stone work was old and falling away, the wooden shutters that shielded the windows were rotting and everywhere paint peeled. They could see little of the front of the chateau but there were no signs of life, no signs of Hun-y-bee occupation, no signs that the chateau was in anyway occupied other than a thin plume of smoke appearing from a chimney somewhere towards the opposite end of the building.

They reached the edge of the field closest to the building, squatting down against the fence that gave the field its boundaries. Stripey tapped Buzz on the shoulder to get his attention and then pointed to the top of the tower that stood directly in front of them which was now visible, no longer obscured by the cloud and rain. From the tower there rose several radio antennae and masts with a complicated tangle of wiring going from the masts into the wall at the top of the tower. Buzz frowned - this was not the sort of thing that your average French chateau was equipped with. It may be nothing - an old headquarters, long since abandoned. Then again, it might not be. He nodded slightly before whispering to Stripey and Steven to be on their guard. They both nodded in return, looking completely focused. Without another word, Buzz leapt over the fence, closely followed by his comrades and went up to the door of the chateau.

This he found to be unlocked and was surprised to be hit by a wave of heat as he gently pushed open the door. One thing was immediately clear - the chateau wasn't empty; there was someone here and that person might not take kindly to three British bees barging into their home. Buzz drew his pistol from its holster. He hoped it wouldn't come to violence but they were in a desperate situation. Whilst the sight of the radio equipment on the roof had initially alarmed him he now wondered if it didn't afford them their best chance of rescue. Assuming it still worked they could radio for help at the very least. That was the priority now for Buzz. He didn't care who may live here and wasn't about to go looking for them. His intention was to get to the radio and get in contact with headquarters and try to get some form of assistance and get there as quietly as possible. Once help was on the way, then they could concern themselves with whoever lived here. He motioned for Stripey and Steven to be silent and entered the entrance hall.

The thick, luxuriant carpet which was such a contrast to the dilapidated state of the houses exterior muffled their footsteps. The entrance hall was narrow and ran the width of the house, rooms feeding off from the far side, large windows on the other, shuttered against the weather. It was well lit and warm and filled with old wooden furniture. There was no sign of anyone at all as Buzz looked down the corridor both ways. In the direction they had come from stood a solid wooden door, no doubt leading into the tower and it was for this that Buzz headed. He moved quickly but quietly, pistol drawn and held out in front of him. Stripey and Steven followed, Steven in the middle, Stripey covering the rear. They were about half way to the tower when one of the doors opened. Buzz quickly pulled open a door they happened to be passing and within a second all three of them were inside, Buzz pulling the door shut but leaving it slightly ajar. He peered out and watched as an elderly bee walked past in a dressing gown. He heard a door further down the corridor open and shut and was about to leave when he felt Steven's hand on his shoulder. He turned and stood open mouthed at what lay before him, having not given the room a second glance as they'd entered.

Before them, covering all the walls were military maps, reconnaissance photos, lists and lists and endless lists. Photos of trench systems, supply depots, fortified positions were scattered across the large, varnished wooden table that sat in the centre of the room. The maps showed, as Buzz walked around taking them in, the entire British frontline in the area, along with troop numbers, changeover dates, machine gun placements and much more besides. Looking on one of the sideboards Buzz noticed details of secret missions that he knew had recently taken place and which had been abject failures. He picked up the top one - it was the details of his mission to try and capture the bootleggers, written out in a neat script in perfect French. He looked around stunned, Stripey and Steven wandering around gazing dumbstruck. They were so taken aback by the room that none of them had noticed the old bee that Buzz had seen earlier enter the room, a pistol in his hand.

"I think you should drop your weapons," he said in English though with a heavy German accent "Otherwise your captain dies,"

"Do what he says," said Buzz, dropping his pistol having looked down the barrel of the German bees.

"Very sensible, though ultimately futile - I will inevitably have to kill you all anyway. I can't let word of what you've seen fall into the wrong ears," said the bee, moving to collect the weapons that now lay on the floor, starting with Buzz' pistol.

"So you're the cowardly spy who's been worming around?" asked Buzz as the man turned towards Stripey and Steven.

"Oh no, not I" said the bee, "I'm General Breeckow, head of intelligence for this area. Do you really think I spend my time out in the field? No, I have agents who do that for me. I merely collate and claim the glory," He bent down and picked up Steven's rifle. "As you can see we've been very busy, very successful - you English are so trusting, you make this almost too easy. You call me a worm? Do you call your own Major Bumble a worm too? For he is..."

Breeckow was cut off mid sentence as he bent down to pick up the shotgun that rested at Stripey's feet. Seeing his chance Stripey brought his knee up into the General's face, sending him sprawling onto the floor. Within seconds Stripey had pulled a pistol from his waistband and was pointing it at the General.

"Wait!" cried Buzz reaching out a hand to try and stop Stripey firing just a shot rang out. Stripey was flung backwards as the bullet tore into his body. Buzz and Steven turned to the door. The bottom dropped out of Buzz' stomach; whether because of Stripey being shot, or the cry of painful anguish from Steven, or because of who stood before them. Standing there, in nothing but a small dressing gown stood the girl from the bakery; Steven's girl; the girl with the smoking gun in her hand; the girl; the spy.

#67 Carlisle Dave

Carlisle Dave

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 09:38 PM

Bye Bye Buzz
Being the Final Part of The Adventures of Buzz and the British Bees


Buzz couldn't believe what was happening. He took in the scene around him. Stripey let out a pained groan as he lay on the floor, blood seeping into the plush, deep red carpet. In front of him, the General had pushed himself up onto one elbow and was looking towards the door in a daze. Steven stood stock still dumbfounded, his rifle hanging limply at his side. Buzz watched as one of his closest friend deflated in front of him. His shoulders slump, the air seemed to go out of his lungs, the light out of his eyes and a single word out of his lips.

"No..."

It was a word of disbelief, a word that refused to accept the facts that were staring it straight in the face. It was the only word for the situation. Buzz saw the tears begin to form in Steven's eyes as the smoke rose from the barrel of his girl's gun. Looking at her Buzz saw nothing but hatred; no compassion, no comprehension of the heart she had just broken. She licked her lips slightly, her eyes flickering around the room, wondering where the next threat was coming from. Slowly she walked into the room, the dressing gown falling open, revealing a cotton nightdress. She walked over to the General and pull him up, putting her hand under his shoulder, all the while keeping the gun fixed on Buzz. Little more than ten seconds had passed since the shot had rung out.

"So you're the spy then," said Buzz. It was a stupid thing to say, a statement of the obvious, but in the situation he couldn't think of anything more to say.
"If that's what you want to call me," she replied in perfect English "Are you really so surprised?"

Buzz shrugged. Was he surprised? Had this happened months ago, before he had run into the bakery and found her there, found her little shrine to Steven then maybe he would have been. Yet thinking about it, wasn't it more surprising having found that shrine? Never mind how she could do this to Britain and her own country: how could she do this to Steven.

"What about him?" asked Buzz, gesturing with his pistol towards Steven. "What about that shrine you had, those candles?"

She looked at Buzz perplexed, wrinkling up her face and raising an eyebrow. "What shrine? What candles? What, you mean those candles that I had along the wall when you burst in that day?" She laughed scornfully. "They weren't for him! They were for my mother, my German mother, God rest her soul." By this time, the General had recovered enough and the two of them stood pointing their guns at Buzz, Steven and Stripey whom they had moved up against on of the walls. "You really think I could ever love such a snivelling drip like... like... that..."

As she spoke the last sentence she struggled with the words. To Buzz it almost sounded like she was saying them to try and convince herself. However, Buzz didn't have any time to ask any questions. There was a sudden, horrible wail from Steven, a blur of a raising rifle and single gun shot. Steven slumped to the ground dead, the rifle falling from his hands. The General smirked through the smoke from his Luger. Buzz knew then, knew from the look in the eyes of the girl that Steven hadn't just been a means to an end. The look of horror and pain he saw told the whole story. She didn't even move as Stripey flung himself at the General, sending him sprawling on the floor, the gun in his hand flying up into the air. As the two of them tussled on the ground (with Stripey's natural advantage of strength and age negated by his wound) Buzz moved in and gently removed the gun from the hand of the girl.

"I never meant... I never..." she mumbled. Buzz ignored her and turned to find the General on top of Stripey. Buzz put the gun against his head and the General froze. Never in the whole war had Buzz ever wanted to pull the trigger as much as he did now. He felt his hand tense with wrath.

"Captain!" cried Stripey "Don't do..."

His protestations were cut off by the General slumping onto him, unconscious from the blow Buzz had delivered. Calmly Buzz gave Stripey his shotgun before leading the girl out of the room, leaving the General to Stripey. They left Steven alone. Buzz didn't think he could take moving him. In a war in which he had seen hundreds of his comrades and friends die this was the one death that meant more than any other. This was the tragedy of war, the personification of the horror that Buzz faced every day. He couldn't live with it any more.

---

November 12th, 1918

Buzz stood. Waiting, waiting, waiting. It felt like he had been here for hours. Minutes were the truth. Surely she must be late he thought. He was early. A photo, folded in his hand; a photo never looked at; a photo to keep memories in check when memories were the only thing he had. Memories he did not need any more. There she was. Sarah. No photo, no memory could do justice to that beauty. She saw him as he saw her. Running, arms out, arms around, two hearts beating against each other. Tears and kisses. Memories and photographs thrown away. Love regained.

The End