January 14th, 1885
I wish to report a favourable engagement of her majesties forces in North Africa. Acting on intelligence that the evil mastermind Malcolm X and his ally the traitorous El Lawrence had established a base of operations in the slaver town of Beni Saf in Algeria and were working on some new invention that could be used as a weapon to possibly threaten Cairo, it was decided that a punitive raid should be attempted to disrupt their plans and if possible destroy this new device. I have included observation photographs taken during the battle
A raiding force under the command of Captain Henderson RN OC HMES Hermes was organised on short notice. HMES Hermes fresh from repairs after the recent zambesi incident spearheaded the force which included a detachment of the 17th Unicycle lancers, A naval landing party under command of Lt Samson, A platoon of the Queen's Own Skywalkers and a detachment of the 1st Royal Impervious Regiment.
Surgeon Major GS Robertson commanded the ground forces. A last minute request from the adventurer Allan Quartermain and Ms Mina Harker to join the expedition was granted by Henderson.
The plan was to travel inland from Cairo and rendevous south of the town and attack from inland thereby achieving surprise. The objective was to secure or destroy the device and inflict heavy damage on enemy forces present before withdrawing.
An initial reconnoiter prior to the engagement revealed a startling revelation. A light Aeronef bearing the French ensign was in the town and indicated that Malcolm X may be supported by the French Government.
A revised battle plan had the Hermes engage the French vessel while gound forces made for the dock area.
Our attempt at a surprise attack was a failure, for as soon as the Hermes approached, the French vessel moved to engage while mobs of arab troops rushed out from the buildings to engage the ground forces and man artillery pieces stationed on the roofs. Such was the preparedness of the enemy that we suspect that an agent may be operating in our Cairo office.
The opening shots of the battle were made by the Aeronef. The Hermes achieved an early success damaging the French vessel's propulsion system. The French commander attempted to close with the Hermes and the french crew attempted to grapple as the two vessels passed each other.
The French failed to grapple the Hermes and the gunner manning the port Nordenfelt machine gun raked the French deck killing several crew members. Surprisingly the enemy vessel was crewed by a bevy of french beauties. Despite the heat of battle some of the Hermes crew were dissapointed they didn't get to "grapple" with the enemy.
The ground attack began with a rapid strike from the skywalker platoon that leapt into the town landing on the roof of a building and pouring a volley of fire down into the enemy ranks.
The 17th lancers charged into the town and engaged an enemy unit. Despite some inital success 17th lancers were destroyed but the enemy unit was also destroyed as an effective fighting force.
The destruction of the lancers proved to be the start of a dangerous period in the battle for our forces.
The Skywalkers were then set upon by the fantastical djinn warriors which had caused such carnage in the Zambesi disaster. These warriors appeared from no where and would be killed only to reappear. These ghost like creatures however proved deadly as the skywalkers were killed to a man. Only Lt Pelham managed to escape by launching into the air to catch a ride on the Hermes as it passed overhead.
Major Robertson moved into the town spearheaded by the Impervious suits. The naval landing party moved up in support. The leading impervious suits were attacked by the light steam charger that had been captured by the enemy at the Zambesi and by the remaining djinn warriors.
With the rapid loss of the lancers, skywalkers and half the impervious force the battle hung in the balance.
Captain Henderson decided he needed to take the docks himself and moved to take the drastic step of landing the Hermes at the dock moving through fire from the defendind arab sonic cannons.
Further surprises awaited Henderson and the crew of the Hermes as they scrambled from the deck to attack the docks. The strange device was apparently being made ready for transportation. The process was being supervised by the evil mastermind Malcolm X and amazingly Professor Heronimous Pratt and the famed Charles Darwin! Both scientists seemed to be under the mind control of a Martian!
It was thought that all Martians had died after their failed invasion attempt but this alien seemed healthy and dangerously in alliance with X. Perhaps alien technology is at work in the device.
Henderson and Quartermain scared off Malcolm X and began work on destroying the device. Lt Pelham engaged in battle with El Lawrence. Ms Harker no shrinking violet also engaged El Lawerence.
Quartermain and Henderson were able to destroy the device but Lt Pelham fell to El Lawrence. Ms Harker bravely faced the traitor alone and severely wounded the traitor. With the mysterious djinn reappearing to attack the docks the Hermes crew beat a quick retreat and took to the air. Sadly we do not have any further knowledge on the whereabouts of Darwin or Professor Pratt.
With their mission accomplished the Hermes and the remnants of our ground forces withdrew. Despite some heavy casualties our forces have managed to affect a serious rebuff to the enemy.
However the prescence of the French and Martians raises yet more questions. With the added aggression from the rebels under the command of the Mad Madhi. I urgently request a reenforcement of our Cairo garrison to counter this threat.
I remain your obedient servant,
Sir Evelyn Baring