This reporter became caught in the thick of the action when en-route to covering Crown negotiations with tribal leaders near Mogadishu on board the pride of the Her Majesty’s Sky Navy, the HMES Hermes. Whist over the outer suburbs of Mogadishu, the Hermes began to vibrate unnervingly and a low bass noise could be heard. All of a sudden, the instruments on the Hermes failed and the craft plummeted from the air, crashing into a clearing inside the town itself.
We counted ourselves lucky that no one had been seriously hurt, but as the Hermes could not be refloated with the tools at hand, Captain Henderson sent a distress signal, hoping for aid. We saw little of the locals at first, the crash of the Hermes having frightened them into hiding. Soon, however, Lieutenant Samson noticed movement behind the buildings.
The first sign that something was wrong came when a group of armed men exited a nearby building and approached the Hermes; their leader was soon identified as Falafel, a known dissident.
Before Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, commander of the 24th South Wales Borderers Regiment, our seconded protection, could react, the bass vibration started once more and this intrepid reporter identified the source. On the roof of a nearby building, sat the eccentric and treasonous wheelchair-bound Professor Malcolm X with a crew of locals operating one of his feared Sonic Weapons, later revealed to be the Bedouin Sound Clash device. Fortunately, this time the fearsome device had no effect on the grounded Hermes. Reacting to this sudden show of force, Bromhead and the 24th leapt the railing of the Hermes to engage the local militia.
A noise sounded at the other end of the courtyard, behind the Hermes, as the dread Mutawa charged from a building, lead by the great British Traitor El-Laurance; they threw explosives at the Hermes, but the heathen weapons had no effect on sturdy British engineering.
At the same time, Falafel's militia opened fire on the 24th, sadly killing one man. In response to this, the 24th moved towards cover, hoping to regroup and allow the crew of the Hermes to escape.
In the distance we began to hear a familiar rumble, it seemed that help may have arrived, help in the form of the Prussian army.
My fellow British and I retreated to the area around the local Mosque with the 24th forming a defensive line to hold off the advancing militia and Mutawa, their fire dropping two crewmen of the Hermes as we fled. Then the air was filled with catastrophic sounds, the bass rumble of the Bedouin Sound Clash Device keeping us diving for cover and the crash as the Prussian Steam Tractor the Rammstien pushed through the walls of Mogadishu, spearheading the rescue effort.
As soon as the Rammstien pushed through what little rubble was left by its Disintegration Cannon, the Prussian Cuirassiers charged through the breach as the Rammstien's Maxim gun felled fully half the crew of the Bedouin Sound Clash Device.
Cheering at this sight, the British rallied and the 24th formed a firing line. Panicking, the coward El-Laurance turned his Mutawa towards the walls to fight the incoming Prussians. A glint of brass could be seen on the wall, as another sonic weapon, the Electric Camel Drum, repositioned to fire on the Cuirassiers, who now found themselves under attack by Prince Dastan of Persia, who began to carve a path through man and horse alike.
As the Prussian Sturmpioniers and Strahl Gepade Regiment began to flood the breach, Major Lothar Von Tannenbaum, the Prussian commander began to push the advantage of surprise. Although they took further losses in the charge, Hauptmann Leopold Rothe, leader of the Cuirassiers claims to have downed Prince Dastan, although no trace of a body was found afterwards. Meanwhile, one street over, the Rasmmstien gunned down the remaining crew of the Bedouin Sound Clash Device, removing that threat. In a turn-about of luck, the crew of the Electric Camel Drum found that they were too far out of range to fire effectively. This reporter and the surviving crew of the Hermes had managed to reach a nearby dock, but no boats could be found to escape the city on. For a moment I thought I spotted a famous face in the form of the Great Hunter, Alan Quartermain, but it was such a fleeting glance that I could not be certain.
The unstoppable Rammstien rumbled into the square, downing the lead Mutawa with its maxim gun, hot on its heels were the Prussian Sturmpioniers, clearing the walls and entering the town proper.
The 24th opened up at the local militia, downing four, but losing three of their own in the return fire. Enraged, the Mutawa threw their grenades at the approaching Rammstien, detonating on the hull but having no effect on the thick steel plating.
Professor Malcolm X dove for the controls of the Bedouin Sound Clash Device, but even the fruits of his warped genius were not enough to halt unstoppable Prussian engineering. Meanwhile, the Rammstien continued to butcher the Mutawa with machine-gun fire, although a lucky return shot from the heathens killed the brave turret gunner.
Worried about being in the open too long, Bromhead withdrew his remaining men, but not before Mutawa carbines felled another couple more in a lucky panic-fire as the heathens fled from the mighty Rammstien. El-Laurence had snuck to the roof of a nearby building in an attempt to rescue Professor Malcolm X, but the heroic crew of the Rammstien spotted them and gunned them down ending the traitors' threat to the Empire once and for all. With another burst from its maxim, the Rammstien reduced the Mutawa to its leader, Asneeze, who fled towards the nearby Mosque.
It was then that something extra-ordinary happened; the Jihad's Vizier brought forth from sealed bottles a great cloud of green smoke, from which charged a horde of ghostly Persian Warriors. Understandably, when faced with such an assault, the 24th beat a tactical retreat around the back of the Mosque towards the dock where Captain Henderson and the crew of the Hermes waited for relief.
Major Lothar Von Tannenbaum had became bogged in soft sand near the walls of the town, and in a panic for his safety amidst the Sonic Weapons, ghostly Persians and constant rifle-fire, he ordered a retreat. As the Rammstien backed up, the Prussian infantry and remaining Cuirassiers flooded back through the breach, leaving us confused and still marooned in hostile territory. Fortunately, at that moment, the ghostly Persian Jinn vanished into the air.
We began to follow the retreating Prussians through the wall breach, but the local forces were still on our heels; bravely, Colour Sergeant Bourne stepped forward and drew his sabre. Asneeze, screaming a challenge, charged at Bourne and the two duelled briefly before Bourne put an end to the screaming heathen.
However, just as things were looking up, the Vizier brought forth the fearsome Jinn once more, they charged into Bourne and cut the brave man down. By now, the Rammstien was the only visible Prussian presence left in Mogadishu, doing nothing more than keeping the few surviving locals cowering behind buildings. Despite this, the Jinn bore down on the crew of the Hermes, who stood their ground allowing this correspondent and the remaining Hermes Stokers to escape.
The battle continued after I had reached safety, what happened exactly we may never know, but as Captain Henderson and Lieutenant Samson never joined us, we have to assume the worst. Once we survivors had caught up with Lothar Von Tannenbaum and his men, we were taken back to Blighty on the next available Zepplin. The full effects of this disaster are yet to be felt; the Hermes was recovered, but several components had been stolen and it may be months before the ship is combat-ready again. It is clear now just how much of a threat lies to the East of the Empire, how long until armed forces are deployed to take care of this menace?
Sir Ridley Scott, Foreign Correspondent for the London Times,