by Captain W. E. Johns



XVI.                        A TIGHT CORNER  (Pages 188 - 204)


The gate has been left open by George in his haste to report the position to his bosses.  Biggles and Tug run down to the power house and find another Stellar employee there who Tugs refers to as "Stephen" (however in the rest of the chapter he is then referred to as Stephan!).  There is violent hammering coming from the floating part of the power house.  Tug tells Stephan that he is Mr. White's pilot and White wants to talk to the guy in the float, so Stephan is to haul it in and make it fast.  This the mechanic does.  By now, black and white men are running down the path from the lodge and this raises Stephan's suspicions.  Biggles pulls and gun and gives a warning.  Stephan tries to run for it and go for his own gun.  Biggles shoots him and he fails into the lake and is immediately taken by the crocodiles.  "You've had it, chum," breathed Tug, still staring at the spot.  "But you certainly asked for it".  Ginger gets out of the hole he has made in the window whilst Tugs holds off the advancing natives.  Biggles gets the shock of his life when Bertie follows him out.  So does Tug; they thought he was dead.  Ginger quickly updates Biggles on the situation.  Biggles doesn't want to be trapped in the power-house.  He tells Ginger to sabotage the machinery.  Biggles knows the only way to get away is via Tug's aircraft.  He decides they need to retreat though the gap in the fence made by the tree.  Bertie is left behind for ten minutes to fire shots to cover their escape.  When Bertie joins them, they get half way to their objective before they are seen by two natives who raise the alarm.  On page 199 Doctor is spelt as "Doctro" when we are told "a dozen or more blacks appeared, urged on by Doctro Dorov, from behind the hanger".  Kreeze then appears, with White, Robinson and George the mechanic.  Kreeze wants to talk but Biggles only offer is "Put down your guns and I'll take you to Cairo for a fair trial".  Natives are sent behind them to outflank them and Biggles plans a final charge for the plan when they hear the distant drone of an aircraft.  Two R.A.F. Bombays arrrive.  The planes land and Egyptian police lead by Major Grattan get out.  Grattan has received a signal from the Foreign Office with orders to "mop this place up".  Biggles and his men leave the Egyptian police to it whilst they get refreshments and cleaned up.