Relief of Poona Mission - Part III

Relief of Poona Mission - Part III

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Leave me organ alone!After a few minutes of strange wood-breaking sounds, the group of Go-Go Poonas emerge from the church bearing Reverend Beaton's beloved organ on their shoulders.  No!  It cannot be!  Beaton is enraged - strange heathen hands touching his organ.  It is an outrage!

The Poonas shoulder the organ and run to the barricades, intending to pass the instrument over to their tribesmen on the other side.  A strange call is suddenly heard.  From behind a hut steps the Lord of the Jungle, who releases an arrow from his mighty bow.  Naturally it flies true and strikes dead one of the organ's bearers.  Just as mysteriously the Apeman silently disappears again.

The remaining carriers stumble, and the heavy instrument is dropped to the ground, crushing one of their number.  Beaton is now really furious!  It'll cost over a shilling to retune the bloody thing now.  Urged on by Beaton the last few defenders begin a fierce tug of war over the organ.  It hangs in the balance for a few crucial minutes, then the Poonan reinforcements manage to wrest the musical instrument from the Christians.  It gets thrown roughly over the wall, where the other Go-Go Poonans begin carrying it quickly towards the jungle.  Beaton weeps with true anguish.  The cost of replacing those pipes by gad!

Wading postiesMeanwhile the Royal Sympoopa nears the dock.  Inspired by their fearless and possibly slightly demented leader Major Ozmond Niles, the Posties begin howling for blood.  Literally.  The redcoats look nervously at them and unobtrusively sidle away from the Rifles.  With a mighty "Huzzah!" Major Niles plunges once more unto the river, distaining to wait for the boat to dock properly.  Like green coated lemmings the Major's command follows suit.  Aboard the ship the puzzled British regulars watch the mad Postal workers splash ashore.

A few misguided and outnumbered Poonas turn from assaulting the Pygmies to face the enraged Rifles.  A tactical error that Major Niles is quick to point out to them.  Not even breaking stride, he skewers one native and runs madly to the relief of the Mission.  Major General Percy Flunderton, hearing screams and splashes, merely sighs.  This sort of odd behavior is not unexpected, given the state of several mailed parcels that had arrived in somewhat battered condition.  Flunderton had suspected some of the marks were from teeth.  The redcoats waited until the ship had docked, then quickly and obediently doubletimed around the Posties.

Thin Red LineRounding the corner, a sudden shout arose from Flunderton's small force.  Flunderton assumed that they had spied the enemy.  Aha!  To impress the men with his aggressiveness, the Major General once again removed his pistol and fired several shots, some of which travelled in the general direction of the Poonas.  Had they not been out of pistol range, it was reasonably certain that a few might have even been hit.  Armed with longer ranged Martini-Henry rifles, his command also opened fire on the rapidly retreating Poona Organ Stealing Party.  To no avail.

Reverend's Beaton organ disappeared into the trackless depths of the African jungle.  A mixed success for the Europeans.  The Mission was relieved, but at what cost?  Also a mixed success for the Natives.  They made off with their objective, the pipe organ, but left behind an alarmingly large number of their brave warriors dead on the field.  Perhaps Flunderton shall organize a punitive flying column to rescue Beaton's Organ...

And off it goes...

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