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Ben Zero (3) Nautilas by Peter Berridge

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Genre/Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Ben Zero (3) Nautilas by Peter Berridge
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Ebook Synopsis

Ben and his party are hiding inside a disused water tower at Yea station. Colonel Viljoen and his division are close by. Ben is being helped by a strange Chinese doctor from an inter dimensional medical facility called MARS. The doctor is assisted by an ex-steam engine driver who became a wizard but is now seeking redemption by aiding Ben and his party…

Download all books in the series by Peter Berridge on obooko:

Ben Zero (1) Cloudclipper by Peter Broquet Ben Zero (2) Spitfire by Peter Broquet Ben Zero (4) Terminus by Peter Broquet


The UFO Group arrived at Yea station in a  convoy of jeeps. The column screeched to a halt. Heavily armed troops wearing the "flying saucer" insignia of the UFO Group streamed out from the vehicles and swarmed into the rail yard. It would be an error to assume that these troops were weekend pretend soldiers. They were, in fact highly trained, tough, battle hardened and efficient. Once the troops were in position there was absolutely no prospect of any conventional escape method. A second group of soldiers began unloading a diesel powered rail/water vehicle. It was guided onto the track from a road conveyor. This special army transporter had been attached to the convoy in case there was a new need to chase a "ghost" train. Now the troops confidently expected to only use the vehicle as a prison, securely holding alien captives while they were shipped to Darwin base for “processing.”

The rail/water vehicle had now been placed in front of the steam engine, blocking any prospect of the train leaving on the single track line.

There was a clatter of blades as a UFO Division helicopter began circling overhead.

Colonel Viljoen spoke to the pilot via a throat microphone.

"Eagle One! Arm your weapons!" he snapped. 

"Wilco, weapons armed," came a voice over the radio.

Sergeant Sarah now detailed five men to search the station. Using a portable Crackerjack the team smashed down the door of the ticket office. The heavy old wooden door splintered under the impact, crumpling away, leaving only rusty hinges and an equally rusted lock on the facing side. The troops entered with guns cocked. They began searching the gloomy, dusty interior using powerful lamps. They found nothing except the contents of an old, worn Victoria Rail station masters desk. The desk  was covered in dust but contained a pile of yellowing posters. The posters advertised: "An exciting weekend rail trip to Geelong.”  Otherwise, there was no sign of anything in the booking office. The search team duly moved on, smashing a series of doors. But all the station buildings were also totally disused and failed to show any sign of alien fugitives.

Once building search was complete, Colonel Viljoen left his jeep and climbed into the carriage. He was accompanied by Sergeant Sarah and Lance Corporal Jenny. As the party entered the old Pullman they were warmly greeted by Dr Tung. "I am so pleased that you have come forward for a trip behind the innovative new High Performance Steam Engine Spitfire!" said the doctor. He was beaming with pleasure. "It is the steam engine which will revitalize steam! Other methods of propulsion will be junked! Steam will rule again! And, of course we will lay on a special demo trip to Healesville for you and your gallant troops. It will, of course, be absolutely free of charge! It was not at all necessary to break down the door of the ticket office! Tickets are not required by your guardians of our Mother Earth!"

He bowed his head as if in prayer.

"Search the whole train!" said Colonel Viljoen, ignoring the doctor. "Pull the whole thing apart if necessary. Find the damned alien spies!"

The troops began searching the carriage.

"Alien spies?" said Dr Tung. He appeared to be totally amazed by the idea, "I am certainly not an alien. spy! Who are you looking for? Has a convict escaped? We did see a furtive looking man at Yarra Glen selling cigarettes! I thought the fags were probably contraband! That man may well have been an escaped convict or even an alien!"

He paused as if thinking. "Or have you been sent because the Salvation Army have made a complaint? We did notintend to start testing on a Sunday/ I am normally in the Methodist church myself but last Sunday I simply could not wait! I had to begin testing the Tung Converter!"

 "We are definitely not from the Salvation Army!" snapped Colonel Viljoen. "We are the Australian Army, specifically the elite UFO Group! We are here to find out what you are carrying on this train! We'll find whatever you are hiding!"

The troops moved purposefully about the carriage. They searched every part of the interior, checking inside seat covers, under tables, inside the toilet, and closely scrutinizing every part of the floor and the ceiling. .

Finally, Driver Garret and Dr Tung were both expertly frisked. "Nothing inside the carriage, sir!" said Sgt Sarah, as the search was completed. "We'll check the underside of the coach and then the roof. Finally, we'll check the engine."

Driver Garret was now sweating and looked anxious. Colonel Viljoen immediately noticed.

"Why are you sweating?" said the Colonel. “Do you have something to hide? A secret that threatens our entire planet with disaster?”

Driver Garret looked miserable. Finally he nodded.

"Right!" said Colonel Viljoen. "Where are they?

Driver Garret felt in his pocket and drew out a pack of cigarettes. He showed them to the soldier.

"Woodbines?" said the Colonel. "What have they got to do with an alien invasion?"

"They were purchased duty free from that furtive man at Yarra Glen station," said Dr Tung, breaking in. "As I mentioned we suspected that the man was a criminal selling stolen fags. He may have been an alien! I warned Driver Garret that smoking was a disaster for the respiratory system! Yet he decided to smoke! As a result he now has a guilty conscience! He is worried about his health And now he is doubly worried that he will be arrested for buying contraband fags from an alien! So he is sweating!"

Driver Garret nodded miserably to confirm this analysis.

Colonel Viljoen sat down and faced Dr Tung.  "Very well, your associate is a foolish criminal who buys illegal Woodbines. Those fags were almost certainly stolen. But that is a relatively minor offence in law, although a major offence in terms of his lungs! But his choked, rotting, ruined lungs are not my concern! My interest is in the apprehension of alien spies!  Rotten aliens who intend to enslave the human race! Assisting such foul creatures is acapital crime! So I want to know this! How do you come to operate a peculiar train which has the ability to vanish," he said. "Crossing gates that operate when there is no train!"

Dr Tung looked offended. "Please do not call my train peculiar, Colonel! Such a description is an insult to a remarkable creation made by my brilliant engineering talents! In any case, there are no aliens on this train! The steam engine Spitfire is a British B1 sold to me by the Australian Steam Engine Preservation Society. It has been rebuilt by Driver Garret and myself. This engine embodies the Tung Convertor which has increased performance by an incredible factor! 500 miles from 22 logs of wood!"

 He was interrupted by a soldier who came in and saluted.

"No sign of anything in the station buildings, sir. The whole place was abandoned many years ago. We are now doing a sweep of the surrounding area." he said.

He saluted briskly and left the carriage.