A few nights later they were all gathered in the parlor of the house—except for Dr. Orange, who was on guard duty in the upstairs room. The phone rang.
Everyone looked at Jimmy. “Oh no,” he said. “I always answer the phone. Someone else get it.”
Ruby sighed and picked up the phone. “Hello?”
“Do I have the pleasure of speaking with Miss Ruby Fitzgibbons?” said a man with a husky voice and Mid-Atlantic accent.
“Perhaps. Depends on who’s calling.”
“This is Montgomery Donovan. Could you put Mr. Wright on? Or do you have an extension? I was hoping to speak to him—I have the utmost respect for him, and indeed what you are all doing.”
“James,” said Ruby, cupping the receiver with her hand, “Villainy is afoot.”
Jimmy sighed and took the phone. “James Wright.”
“Ah, Mr. Wright. I understand you’ve been paying visits to some of my colleagues.”
“I must say that I admire the panache you’ve exhibited on those occasions. Losing Savitree was a blow, but her methods had become unsound.”
“She brought on her own death.”
“I can’t disagree with you. And clearly Brooks was always going to be the dull augur in this toolbox.”
“Are you going to keep on making words or are you going to tell me what you want?”
“Well, I wished to speak to you as I anticipate you arriving one day on my doorstep. I thought it would behoove me to reach out to you before then. I have nothing but the greatest respect for your abilities and your methods. Your previous activities are not unknown to me, through the circles I move in.”
“It’s a small world.”
“Indeed. I thought I would make this call to give you an opportunity to talk…but primarily to distract you. Good bye, Mr. Wright.”
And on cue a smoke grenade crashed through the window and began filling the room with acrid vapor.
From the upstairs room, Dr. Orange saw two groups of people moving up from the shore and from the south, in the general direction of the boathouse. He picked up his rifle and sighted down it through the scope.
The group coming up from the beach were carrying rifles. Swinging his view around to the south, he saw that group seemed be carrying pistols, except for one man who had a Thompson carried in a tactical sling.
He swung the scope around again and looked at the Brightening Dawn. Someone had opened one of the access panels on the starboard engine. He could see the frayed ends of the ignition wires hanging limply on the wing.
Downstairs, Betty fished a shotgun out of the corner and threw Geronimo and Jimmy their pistols.
“Get to the lanaille!” shouted Jimmy, pushing everyone into the open breezeway between the two wings of the house. Smoke poured out behind them. Geronimo and Ruby stumbled out and tried to get to the opposite wall to take cover. Betty sprinted out and spun to face the beech, pulling back both hammers on the shotgun.
Jimmy stepped out and felt someone trip him. He landed against the hard concrete and rolled over. A woman dressed in black held a pistol on him. When she spoke, he recognized her by her voice as the woman who had broken into his office in Los Angeles.
“Mr. Wright, I’m arresting you for terrorism against the British Crown,” she said.
Geronimo fired a pistol shot at her. She ducked it, fired off a snapshot that Geronimo had to dance away from, and then swiveled the pistol back at Jimmy.
The reports of rifles came from the direction of the beach. Betty shrieked and fell to the ground, bleeding from her leg. Geronimo crawled through the shots to her side. Ruby grunted and ducked back against the wall.
[Actually, everyone but Jimmy took damage here, but nobody went negative so it was movie fight damage.]
Jimmy decided this was his chance and swept a kick at the woman’s legs, rolling to his side so he was no longer in weapons line of sight from her. She aimed a kick at his stomach and he grunted in pain.
From upstairs, Dr. Orange could see the riflemen crouched down behind the low stairs that led up from the beach. The other group was trying to sneak around the side of the house to catch everyone in the breezeway in a crossfire that would undoubtedly kill them all. He carefully aimed and put a round into the head of the man with the Thompson gun, dropping him. The other men flattened themselves against the wall of the house, not willing to move while a sniper had them in his sights.
As the woman set herself to aim another kick at Jimmy, Ruby fired off some shots at her. One of them winged the Englishwoman in the arm, which seemed to make her reconsider her tactical position. She slipped into the house and vanished in the whirling smoke.
“Somebody needs to provide a distraction so that everyone else can get to safety, fetch the spare wires from the tool shed so we can get out of here,” said Jimmy. “Cover me.”
He grabbed Betty’s shotgun and sprinted out of the lanaille towards the riflemen. From behind him he heard Geronimo firing his pistol rapidly, giving him some cover fire. Bullets whinged against the pavement of the walkway as Jimmy pounded down it. He sprang up and landed in the middle of them.
The riflemen stood up with their rifles clubbed. One swung at Jimmy’s head. He caught the stock of the rifle with the butt of his shotgun, flipped his gun over quickly, and give the other man both barrels in the face. He ducked under the swing of the second man, spun, and pulled out his .45. He emptied the pistol’s entire clip into the man’s guts. The final rifleman swung his rifle around, but Jimmy grabbed the barrel and shoved it away, causing the shot to fly harmlessly into the air.
“Think about it,” he growled.
“Don’t kill me,” said the man. He was Indian, and by his carriage Jimmy guessed he was ex-Indian Army.
He flipped the shotgun around again and bashed the stock into the man’s face. He crumpled to the ground.
[Geronimo has Firearms 8, and the cherry I give for that is that he always has “Ammo” 1 with any gun with a reasonable magazine. You can spend Ammo to get suppressive fire against a target, so Jimmy only had two men shoot at him. I let JP spend Athletics instead of health here, at 1-to-1; this was to simulate Jimmy’s great speed and Athleticism, but that was a bit unfair—my normal rule of thumb for things like this is 2-for-1 or even 3-for-1. After the fight I asked for a TN 7 Health check from JP to compensate for that mistake, under the theory that Jimmy had actually been winged. Better would have been to take NBA’s Athletics-to-Hit Threshold rule.]