The Morvalant Tragedy

Monty Phorde esquire

From the annals of the Bathway branch of the Society of Extraordinary Chaps (SOEC)

Five of our members heard of the giant ant invasion of Morvalant over the wireless and immediately reported to the club premises Lew Gazeks Hut. We had Colonel Hilpfer-Heroh, Cammy Troosers, Sterling Chappe, young Cole Black and my rather ancient self.   Apart from the natural call of duty when Morvalant was not too far away, the Bathway branch are always attracted to adventurous action. We gathered such weapons and equipment as we thought might be needed. These included four pistols, Col’s golf club satellite phone and heat detector, the Colonel’s riot gun and my Father’s trusty Bren gun.   Then we all fitted into my car and sped off at a rate of knots. En route we discussed just what we hoped to achieve. The wireless report had given little detail. First must be to rescue any people hiding from the invaders. Second since we had four explosive charges and a stick of dynamite, would be to block any of the holes from which the monsters were emerging. Since none of us smoked we would need to find some matches or a lighter for the dynamite. 
 Alas my British Leyland vehicle was not up to such haste and boiled over when we were just short of the Morvalant settlement. We therefore walked northwards along the road leading into the village looking for any signs of the monster ants. There was an unpleasant powerful smell, but we soon realised that that came from the pig farm on our right. I sent Sterling Chappe to check out Rene’s Café on our left. And also to obtain some matches, since it was he who carried the stick of dynamite. None of we healthy Brits smoked. In the distance we saw a giant green ant as big as a man, beyond the crossroads. A couple of bursts from my Bren stopped him, or probably her, come to think of it.
Cole Black used his heat detector to check out the Lawyer’s office on the corner but it was empty. Colonel Hilpfer-Heroh commandeered an open backed 4X4 pickup truck. Once he got it started, Cammy, Cole and I piled in. Cole contacted the local Sheriff’s Office and told them that we were coming there. To do so we had to turn left at the crossroads. Behind us we could see some re-enactment fellows in American Civil War uniforms fighting some giant black ants.

However ahead of us were a stream of similar ones coming towards us. They were as big as two people! The colonel tried to run them down and definitely crunched up one and my Bren got another two. We reached the square and saw some children on the roof of a shop firing at ants towards the station. Seeing the ants coming in single file from between the Sheriff’s Office and the Churchyard, we realised that if we followed them back we should locate their lair. With the pick-up and gunfire we destroyed five more until sighting their ant hole. The Colonel and Cammy shot two more that emerged from the hole as I threw a demolition charge into it. The hole soon looked to be sufficiently blocked to keep them from coming out for a while, so we drove onto the West Road turning back towards the square. We were flagged down by a student, Miss Henrietta Karut ,who emerged from a terraced house on the left. We stopped to pick her up. We hoped to confer with the Sheriff and find Sterling Chappe but also to find the hole the ants near the Station were coming from.

   Meanwhile Sterling Chappe had broken into Rene’s Café finding it empty but managing to loot half a dozen boxes of matches and a spare pistol. (Standard requirement in Omyoh State Café’s.) He then went to the Library next door. Hiding in it were the Librarian Walter Storey, and two youths Tom Daly and James Simons. Sterling escorted them into the Sheriff’s Office which as he said would be strong and secure enough to resist the attacking ants.   

As we turned to go that way I spotted a green ant on the road in front of the Aral Petrol station (Gas station to our American friends.) I was just about to give it burst when it keeled over from missiles coming from behind the buildings. We turned into the road to the railway (railroad) station and there was a mass of ants ahead. They were in two streams, one coming from the left and the other returning back, carrying sacks of sugar, stolen from a wooden warehouse. “That is what the ants are after!” exclaimed the Colonel, “Perhaps we should blow that store up to stop them?”

 “Burn it! There is a can of gasoline here in the back.” said Cole Black.

I could see that the ants were carrying the sacks out of a large loading window in the side of the warehouse. “Yes Cole, if you pour the petrol in through the window I will set it on fire with a demolition charge! The rest of you give us covering fire.”

So when the pickup stopped Cole and I jumped out and went to the window. He emptied his can into the place whilst I set the demolition timer and chucked it onto a pile of sugar sacks. Alas, then the ants attacked us. I crushed one but Cole’s golf club got knocked out of his hand and he was bitten. He was still fighting though when, mindful of the blast about to come I ran across the road hurdling the fence on the other side. There was a whumpf from the warehouse and smoke and flames sprouted from it. I tried to shoot the ant holding Cole but with no effect. 

Behind I to my dismay I saw a mass of ants attacking the pickup. More ants were coming from another hole near the signal box.  For some reason our gunfire now seemed to be having little effect. My comrades in the pickup were being overwhelmed! I fired again at the ant carrying a now inert Cole away and again my shots had no effect. Perhaps these were tougher soldier ants? Perforce I retired up to the railway station Office. Looking behind I could see ants carrying of the bodies of my dead comrades towards their hole to the east. I had expended both my demolition charges and was running short of ammunition for my pistol. I found the Stationmaster in the office and escorted him to safety by crossing the railway lines and heading north.

   The Bathway branch of the SOEC will take a long time to recover from the loss of my four comrades but must do so in time. Their efforts have led to an influx of new members to the Society with adventurous intentions. Our Head Office is paying for a plaque to be set up in the clubhouse commemorating their heroism. The people of Morvalant are erecting a memorial to all those who lost their lives during the giant ant incursion and quite rightly so.



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