by Captain W. E. Johns



XVII.                       REUNION  (Pages 217 – 226)


“In as few words as possible Ginger described his own adventures, and explained how Algy, Briny, and the Flight-Sergeant came to be where they were.  He then told him about Roy”.  Biggles wonders why Roy didn’t warn him, if he saw “the Huns coming”. Ginger asks if he knew if Biggles was there?  Biggles realises that he didn’t, because Roy was asleep when he came back.  Biggles says their first job is to destroy their depot.  Their supplies must not fall into enemy hands.  Only then can they think about escape.  They reach Briny and Roy and find Roy sitting up and conscious and able to walk.  The entire party reaches the buttress of rock that damned the water in the lake and climb up.  Leaving Briny and Roy at the top of the rock to keep guard, Biggles and Ginger swim over.  At the ledge they see the snow has stopped.  A hail brings Algy and his rope to the top of the cliff and they both climb up.  Biggles tells Algy what has happened at the depot.  Algy reports that the Flight-Sergeant had found a piece of solder in the petrol lead and taken it out, so the aircraft should be all right now.  Biggles examines the top of the rock.  “The maximum run over the smooth part of the rock was not more than a hundred yards; and that was not the worst.  At the end of it, fluted columns of weather-worn rock rose vertically some ten or twelve feet in the air, which meant that a machine taking off, failing to get that amount of height, would collide with an obstruction that would smash it to pieces”.  “It might just be done,” decided Biggles at last.  Algy asks who is going to go.  Biggles says “you are”.  The German code-book has to get back to England.  Algy says he doesn’t have enough fuel.  Biggles says if he can get to North Sea, he should be able to spot a British ship and ditch there.  “Why don’t you go yourself?” asks Algy.  “Because I’ve got something else to do here.  You’ve got your orders – don’t argue” replies Biggles.  Biggles asks if Algy still has the machine gun in the back of the aircraft.  The answer is yes, so Biggles goes to get it.  He then finds the time-bomb Algy put on the back seat.  Biggles is pleased.  He can use this to blow up the rock holding the water in the cave.  Algy and Ginger are cautious, Biggles can’t know which way the explosion will blow. It could destroy the entire island.  Biggles says their orders are to destroy their base if they have to abandon it.  Biggles and Ginger climb up the huge rock that overhangs the entrance to the base.  Looking down they see Von Stalhein’s boat, the drifter and a figure that looks like Von Stalhein standing on the bridge.  Biggles fires at him with the machine gun but misses.  In the distance they see two German destroyers approaching.  Biggles orders Ginger to remain at the top of the rock whilst he sets the time-bomb by the lake in the cave.  If the destroyers come into the cove, Ginger is to hold his arms above his head and Biggles will take that as the signal to blow the charge.  Biggles asks Algy to wait for the results of the explosion before taking off, so he can report to Raymond that they wrecked the base.  Algy says he will fly back in a flying-boat if he can get the code-books home, “So hang on, if you can, on the off-chance”.  Biggles smiled as he squeezed Algy’s hand.  “Do you best, old lad” he said.  Biggles then picked up the time-bomb and walked towards the cliff.