Once the rowdy French flying machine had finally passed overhead and she could hear again the White Nun, newly appointed Admiral Protector of this sector of the Britannic League, ran her eyes over her gathered forces........
It would not do to sigh aloud and upset the men, but the sight of the three walking machines lined up behind her troops did not inspire her with confidence. The blue machine at her right hand had been so much modified with agricultural parts and scrap iron that Ruston & Braithwaites would no longer recognise it as one of their own. And was that someone's jacket hanging from the steam pipe to the main receiver!
The Mk. 1 Armstrong-Vickers Semi-autonomous Combat Walking Machine. Now she knew where this mis-begotten prototype walker had ended up; - dumped on the Dinoreich garrison!
...... What idiot had thought that a steam powered war machine could be reliably commanded in battle by signals across the ether in Morse code. Oh sweet St. Rita pray for us!
The little British Ransome scout walker at the far end of the line couldn't be faulted really, except that it was small and lightly armed and looked frightfully ungainly on those great long legs it had.
'The men are ready for your inspection Ma'm,' said Lieutenant McDonald quietly beside her. That meant she'd been standing lost in her thoughts for too long again. McDonald was a good man, but he was too much a fidget at times.
'STANDTOATTENTIONYOULAZYBEGOTTENSONSOFBULEEEZEBUB...!!!!' roared Sergeant Thunder almost making her jump in surprise.
Not quite as many sets of heels as she would've liked clicked together and chests were thrust out threating to pelt her with uniform buttons as haphazard needlework was sorely tried.
Never in her life before had she seen such a motley collection of firearms, but beneath the patina of use they were clean and properly oiled. And the Marines' cutlasses were sharp and without any nicks or notches to the blades.
Still managing to hold in that rogue sigh that was trying to escape she said, 'They will do Mr McDonald.'
The White Nun was still trying to make up her mind if she needed to go to confession over telling a lie when Sergeant Thunder shattered the silence yet again.
Would it possible to teach him the joy of contemplative silence she wondered for a moment before dismissing the notion out of hand........