Railroad: a Psi-Kicks story by: GF Willmetts.

‘If this is Russia, why is it in Germany?’ Bianca White asked innocently.

The Psionics and Fey looked at each other, narrowing resisting raising their eyes to the sky.

‘History not your best subject at school, Bianca?’

‘I got confused with all the dates.’

‘After World War Two, Berlin was split between us, the Americans and the Soviet Union,’ Polly Kettle explained. ‘The Russians walled off their section from the rest and made it a communist state but without telling the residents until it happened.’

‘But the wall didn’t stop us getting in.’

‘You can get in with a visa for a visit or make it seem that way for people like us.’

‘Watch what you say from now, Bianca,’ Ludomere Shear added. ‘We don’t want to be taken for spies.’

Bianca White’s jaw dropped but nodded. She knew enough to obey orders. The way they looked at each other would mean they were spaking without speaking and as a Blank, she wouldn’t have been able to join them. Except she was also told none of them could spake. How could she tell the difference? All they did was look at each other whenever she spoke.

Polly had been here a couple days before calling them over looking for another Psionic thinking it might have been Sara Seeker. Her team choices had included her, the Lady Badger and the new Psionic, the energy-drainer Ludomere Shear. None of the real top guns like Mary or the Baroness. She nibbled at her food as they were grouped in a darkened restaurant.

Whichever side of the Berlin Wall they were on, it still looking foreboding in the early 1960s. A murky dose of the past except this past was today.

‘You lived through this the first time, didn’t you, Callane?’ Polly Kettle asked. ‘Are we in the past or still a figment of Max’s or his Pattern’s imagination?’

Callane Oberon ate from her dish of grubs. It seems the Fey even had a favoured restaurant even in East Berlin. Her darkened eyes, even in the subdued bistro, had an odd glint, like she could see clearly in the gloom.

‘We only came here for outstanding business. There was a rumour that the Soviets were killing your kind here or those from their own country that got here. Almost as though they were avoiding killing in the motherland.’

‘The Russians were killing Psionics before they matured. They were afraid. But that was in the 1950s. This is much later.’

‘Some escaped from Russia and got as far as here. Got caught in a honey trap or a way out.’ Callane stopped to chew some more grubs, signalling to the Maĩitre d Dominic for another bowl. ‘We wanted to keep our own presence away from them and moved on. Whoever it was was efficient. No bodies. Nothing at all. Even the Vampiri stepped back.’

‘The perfect honey trap.’ Ludomere added. ‘And you’re not afraid, Callane?’

The badger Fey shook her head, ‘We are better prepared this time in your selection, Miss Kettle.’

Polly sipped from her glass. ‘Whoever it is, the Pattern would be after him…or her. Without Harbinger, we don’t have a deadly Psionic to take on Max’s doppelganger. Certainly someone more powerful than the Baroness and she’s formidable. An unknown would be an advantage. It could also be a brainwashed Sara and we can’t afford not to check.’

‘Where do we start?’

‘Dominic says this is the hub of Berlin. Anyone who is anyone comes here to eat.’

‘Open secret for a Fey café?’

‘Best food. Best people stop here. Everyone passes through here. You’d seek them out here. Best place at the right time.’ Callane sniffed and paused.

‘You can smell Psionics?’

Callane smiled, showing her sharper fangs and gave a wink. ‘Woman just walked in.’

‘Bianca, play dumb.’


‘Don’t talk.’

The Blank nodded her head. Her secret. Important mission. Just your presence. A vital presents. Maybe it was a real present. Something to brighten her day after all this Pattern stuff.

Callane caught Dominic’s eye and pointed at the new customer before dipping her hand into the new pot for some more grubs. With a natural skill, the Maĩitre d’ caught the woman’s elbow and a couple words and she came willingly to them.

‘We can speak English, German, Russian and…’

‘Romany,’ added Callane.

‘Thank you, I learnt a long time ago that I could be understood in any language. I seem to be able to turn on the Broca centre of the brain.’

‘Then you know what you are and what we are. Mentally gifted.’

‘Sit down. I’m sure Dominic will find you something suitable to eat.’

The chair was already behind her and the woman found herself seated.

‘A steak dinner for the lady, Dominic. She looks famished.’

Polly took over the conversation, ‘You know what we are?’

‘Mentals. The same as myself although I don’t recognise what the blonde is. She doesn’t seem quite there.’

‘She appears to have a total shield keeping everything out.’

‘Someone who can’t be scanned. Not very talkative. Very unique.’

‘Her ability seems to keep everyone out.’

‘Do you have a name, child?’ Callane asked pointedly.

‘Sorry. Karine Lisbeta Parshkova.’

‘A Russian in East Germany.’

‘Not that unique. A lot easier to escape to the west from here. There’s supposed to be a,’ she whispered, ‘railroad of escape here. Are you after them, too?’

‘No. We heard it was in trouble and needed help.’

‘And your names?’

Polly introduced them all except Bianca. They had decided from the start not to disguise their own names. ‘Can’t get a word out of her.’

Dominic laid Karine’s place and a healthy meal which she quickly demolished.

‘That looks like you haven’t eaten in a while,’ Ludomere noted.

‘I keep to the smaller cuts. I don’t have that much money.’

‘I take it finding the railroad hasn’t been that easy and you’re still looking? I would have thought proof of your abilities would be picking up the right thoughts. That’s why we were looking for a telepath.’

‘Our powers tend to be subtle,’ Polly said. ‘I can distract.’

‘I make things fuzzy,’ Ludomere added.

Karine looked at Callane.

‘I play with animals.’

‘You all seem to be telling the truth but not.’

‘It’s a good safety measure if you get caught.’ Polly added. ‘You’re very astute. So what do you do?’

‘Perhaps I should also practice such caution.’

‘Unless you have an edge that can help us find this Psionic…Mental railroad. We figure our lady friend here needs to be hidden far more deeply than we can provide. I mean, someone who can’t be detected by people like us has to be unique and protected.’

‘But you saw her.’

‘We spotted the gap close up. That’s why we never let her out of our sight.’

‘Where do we start?’

‘Well, not at the wall. None of the…Mental people have come to the west, although we’re here to offer it as a haven.’

‘I would have to her as a companion.’

‘Imagine it. Someone who isn’t privy to your thoughts or you to theirs. Would be an asset. No one to second guess you.’

‘You sound like some kind of team.’

‘People like us are more effective together than working solo,’ Polly quickly added. ‘Now where haven’t you looked? Perhaps we would be better off starting there.’

As they left, Dominic handed Callane the bill who nodded before handed it back.

‘Complementary meal,’ was all she commented.

It was late night and as they walked, Polly continued to chat, ‘I can understand getting out of Russia, even as far as here, but to use it as a transit back East seems crazy. It’s not like you’d want to go to Outer Mongolia or Siberia. Far too cold.’

‘Maybe this railroad has some alternative plan?’ Karine offered.

‘It has to be a good one. Maybe he or she has found a utopia for Psi…Mental people.’

‘The East is a big place. Maybe somewhere in Asia.’

‘Need somewhere big here, too. Depending on how many people this railroad moves. Hush!’

In the poor street light, they found themselves suddenly surrounded by a gang. Knives flicked out. None of them said a word but were slowly moving in. The threat was obvious.

‘This never happened in the Harry Palmer films.’

‘You don’t seem afraid,’ Karine murmured.

‘They don’t seem to be the normal sort of thugs,’ Polly whispered back. ‘No threats for money or even rape…yet.’

Suddenly, each man was convulsing and dancing in a rigid way before collapsing to the ground.

‘I might have drained too much energy,’ Ludomere said.

Callane disarmed them and checked their pulses. ‘The dead don’t complain. More restraint in future please, Miss Shear.’

‘I wonder what they were protecting? There couldn’t be drugs. Steroids are state-run.’

‘You seem very quiet, Karine Lisbeta Parshkova?’ Callane asked innocently. ‘We wouldn’t have survived this long if we couldn’t protect ourselves.’

‘Such power could stop an army.’

‘I normally only stun,’ retorted Ludomere. We were outnumbered. Seemed better to go for the throat…throats than take chances.’

‘But they hadn’t attacked.’

‘Would you rather I waited until the middle of an attack?’

‘Ladies, lets debate this inside.’ They seem to have from this warehouse.’

Stepping inside the warehouse, the lights were dim, cowered by the crates.

‘This isn’t the right place,’ Karine said.

Callane sniffed the air. ‘Your scent was already here. You can stop lying, Karine Lisbeta Parshkova. We were waiting for you to meet us.’

‘We just haven’t figured out what you’ve been doing with the people you’re supposed to be rescuing.’


Polly, Ludomere and even Callane were suddenly rapt, immobile, starring into space. Bianca could only imitate them.

‘Like you, better to strike first. I learn my lessons quickly, comrades,’ Karine inspected them all. ‘I seem to have also hit this new one.’

The Russian Psionic was blindsided as Bianca suddenly hit her with her handbag and sank to the ground.

Their ace in the hole, even if Bianca couldn’t figure out what hole they were in until now. Standard Blank orders. Protect Psionics when down. The Russian slumped on her knees before finally keeling over.

‘Guys…I think I killed her.’

The two Psionics and Fey dropped to their knees.

‘Not you as well. Don’t die, guys.’

There was no reaction.


‘No need to shout, Bianca,’ Polly said slowly. ‘Just been zonked. Flash the lights in here. The Baroness…we need her in here.’

‘Light switch?’

‘Try by the door.’

‘Light…Ah! Shine a light. Shine off a light. I’ll do it twice more.’

It was a couple minutes before the door opened. Rather than Libertine Rush, two men, one after the other, were kicked in. Both stunned. Then in strode a very angry Baroness Samedi.

‘Das was ‘bout ta comin’ shootin’.’

Polly gave them a look over as she disarmed them, ‘Not with the team we stopped. They must be Karine’s handlers. Now how can they control such a powerful Psionic? She froze us with a thought.’

‘Maybe she has, like, a bomb on her?’ Bianca offered weakly.

‘That might not be so…good idea, Bianca.’ Seeing Callane and Ludomere on their feet, ‘We better do this simultaneously just in case. Clothes first. Look at buttons and stiffened hems. No sense leaving them with a c-pill. That’s cyanide, Bianca. You just keep a watch with the Baroness. Make sure we haven’t missed anyone.’

A selection of knives and a couple more guns were thrown into the centre from the handlers. Polly pocketed their codebooks. They looked like one-time onlys.

‘Maybe she’s an idealist,’ Ludomere offered.

Callane pulled open Karene’s shirt. ‘Surgery. Neck and shoulder.’

‘So have the handlers.’

‘I think we have to tread carefully here,’ Polly said getting up slowly. The other two ladies followed and all sat down on crates nearby.

‘Surgery that connects all three together. That’s quite sophisticated.’

‘She kills one of the handlers, she kills herself. That wouldn’t allow for accidental death so one acts as a spare with a means to stop that happening.’

‘Being alive might be enough for that.’

‘Tampering could have a similar effect on whatever they are using for batteries.’

‘Nothing in your cookbook, Auntie B?’ Polly asked the Fey.

‘I can keep them unconscious, Miss Kettle.’ Callane shook her head. ‘She packs a wallop.’


‘Yes. But so does Miss White with her handbag. She’ll be out for hours.’

‘She never came across a Blank before. At least we know the Soviets never had any or at least none they found.’

‘Short of getting them near an x-ray machine, we don’t have any idea what’s beneath the skin. Bomb, cyanide or both. It would have to be quick to stop her.’

‘Where’s Bianca?’

‘Ahs sends hers to brings das bodies nears. Keeps hers busys.’

‘We can’t operate. We’d never get it done simultaneously.’

‘It’s rather sophisticated for the 1960s’, Ludomere pondered again.

‘Needs will get anything done. I doubt if these implants need to be particularly large or powerful. A transponder. Power source. Poison. Blade…or both. The mechanism would be small really.’

‘No wonder she obeyed her orders. Kill one handler and she dies herself.’

‘We can’t leave her…or them here. We might as well leave her with a gun and hope she kills one of them and they all die.’

‘Or wes kills dems.’

‘Why don’t we just take them with us?’ Bianca asked coming back inside.

‘Not so good if those are bombs in their shoulders.’ Polly paused and gave a wide grin. ‘I have a plan.’


The two handlers woke up sitting on chairs facing a makeshift table, finding their legs tied to their chairs. In front of them were their guns with Polly Kettle reading one of their codebooks, sitting to one side. To the left of her, Karine Lisbeta Parshkova was slumped by the wall still unconscious.

‘Я могу свободно говорить по-русски, но для моих партнеров мы будем говорить по-английски?’

That got their attention. She continued, ‘Если бы я хотел получить информацию, я бы заставил вас встать на ноги и поиграть в пирожки с пирожными. Встретить меня на полпути. Английский, да?’

The two Russian handlers looked at each other and then at their guns and the unconscious Psionic on the floor.

‘What do you want?’

‘Good. You can speak English. Oh, just the answers to a couple questions. Technical ones really. Nothing to do with your real job. Please don’t get up. You can’t anyway but I wouldn’t move your arms neither.’

They still eyed her as she put the codebook down. ‘One-page codebooks are so dull. We like your set-up of deadly implants so if we killed you or both, the bomb in Ms Parshkova will also detonate. Presumably, one of you is a failsafe to the other in case of accidental death. All you need is a car accident for one and all your…good work is gone. I’m surprised she doesn’t hate you enough to just step in front of a car and kill you both…unless you have some other edge?’

She paused and watched both of their faces, letting it all sink in.

‘I presume you have some sort of system sorted out to recharge your batteries. You have some early inductor fields, long before they were officially created in the late 1970s or it would be such a bore opening the scars to change them all the time. So no silly games here. I imagine also you have reliefs at some point or you would be driven mad with the pressure of keeping this psi… умственные способности mental case under control or imagining she could kill you if you let your guard down. Even Russian stoicism has its limits. Well, unless you were taken from your families when young or were orphans and trained that way. But who trains for someone who can immobilise with a thought? We didn’t look for the scar but I wouldn’t be surprised that there’s one under her hair so you can stun her when you rushed. Shame you didn’t know we had already taken care of her.’

Polly watched the stunned look on their faces. ‘No doubt she was stopping low grade Russian Mentals. We from the West are more powerful and you would be wise to keep away from us. We’re here just to put an end to this particular railroad of hope that your Mentals think will save their lives…’

‘Wait. We don’t kill them?’

‘You ship them to Siberia? Our intelligence reports say there are no Mentals left in the USSR. You have orders to kill all because you fear their…our power. Get them when their defence is down and what better way than a march off from freedom?’

‘You think you are smart…’

‘Enough, Yuri. She is making lucky guesses. These Mentals are also smart.’

‘Does General Rurik know of this?’


‘’Too early. Never mind. Well, you better get on with it. We obviously can’t stop break the chain between you both and Ms Parshkova so you might as well obey your last orders and terminate yourselves. Would she be upset if she knew the people she thought she was helping were being killed…or imprisoned?’

Polly got up from the table and stepped back. ‘No sense me getting caught in the blast. Better one Mental than all of us.’

The Russians looked at each other and the guns. Without hesitation, they picked them up, under their chins and fired.



‘Oh, did I forget to put a bullet back in one of the guns for one of you? I only needed one of you alive. I don’t need a failsafe. Who wants the bullet?’

Polly didn’t wait for a reply and went outside where the others were watching.

‘Interesting. They aimed at their heads than hearts. I think we can rule them out carrying bombs but concerned their brains could be scanned. Can you keep an eye on them please, Bianca? You, too, Ludomere.’

She waited until the Blank had gone inside, handbag at the ready. ‘A missing colony of Psionics. A Max dream or his Pattern-clone.’

‘We worry about the present, Miss Kettle,’ Callane said sagely.

‘A fool-proof bomb or poison,’ Ludomere added. ‘It’s a deadly trap.’

‘Dazelights soons. Weas do’s sumthin’ soons or we’s leaves tamorrow.’

‘Well, we can’t leave them here. We have no idea how many Psionics they’ve caught and moved…or had killed. Better they weren’t here at all. Close this railroad now. Can we get them through the checkpoint?’

‘It would be easier if we hadn’t come in legally. It would put people at risk in a week if we hadn’t returned.’

‘We could always come back that way.’


‘Don’t you people have a mind control Psionic?’

‘I’d rather not get the booster rooster involved. It’ll get too complicated if she boosts us and the Russian. Imagine what she could do with enhanced abilities? Any remedies you can offer, Auntie B? I presume Dominic can arrange the right papers.’

‘Just walk them out?’

‘Why not? I doubt if anyone’s looking for them. Will you need photograph…?’

Callane Oberon had already gone.

‘Apparently not. Any thoughts, Baroness? You’ve been quiet.’

‘Youse wants mes ta goes bak wit’ youse?’

‘Sounds like you’re still muddled by the Max or his Pattern make-over.’

‘Mades mes sos…’



‘You’re a long-lived survivor. If we can get to that Pattern, you can complete your original mission. You did well tonight. You gave a surprising edge. We also found we were facing Russians not Pattern.’

‘Youse assumes des dis didnts knows deys guns was empties.’

‘A hidden town in Outer Mongolia of Psionics controlled by the Pattern. I hope not. Let’s go back as a team or at least spread out over Charlie. Do you think you can control those handlers to walk if they carry Karene?’

Libertine winced. ‘Ahs bes betters lookin’ fer snipers.’

‘Maybe we ought to drive across.’

‘Ahs donts understan’ whys ahs n’der comes across youse befores?’

‘Psionics work better alone or in pairs. Sharing is a problem with too many. I didn’t pick any sharers for this team. I’m a team person, so it was always thought wiser to keep me away from the others…except in an emergency. Can’t see anything being a bigger emergency but now.’


Callane returned within half an hour.

‘No photos?’ Polly said, inspecting the passports. ‘You sure these will get them over the checkpoint?’

‘You have not seen Fey pheromones?’

‘I…I’ve heard of. Irresistible to men.’

‘I do the talking at the checkpoint, Miss Kettle.’

‘Fluent German?’

‚Wie ein Eingeborener. Ich reise viel, fraulein Kettle.‘

‘Looks like this might be the easiest part.’

‘You have an uncanny knack for trusting your team, Miss Kettle.’

‘I trust my team’s abilities, Auntie B.’


The two cars drove up to Checkpoint Charlie. The Russian guards looked suspiciously as Callane Oberon jumped out of the first car. Now wearing a heavy military trenchcoated and cap, she showed a warrant card and took a salute.

‘Your commanding officer?’

They returned the salute. ‘We were not expecting a convoy this time of night.’

‘We aren’t a convoy. Late party returning to the British. They say they got lost. Too much schnapps.’ She gave a curt smile. ‘Check their identification papers and send them through. They are an inconvenience. Let the British sober them up.’


Callane strode closer to the first guard and then looked at the second. ‘Would you like to see my authority again? Get rid of them. I said let the British worry about drunks.’

They opened the barrier and the car sped through. The papers forgotten.

A man strode out of the guardroom. Non-military dress but clearly highly ranked.

‘Major Frau Obersteen, is that you? I haven’t seen you in a year. Still practicing your English?’

Callane exchanged a salute. ‘Work keeps me busy. I thought you would have been promoted by now.’

The man shook his head. ‘I am deemed important and this is an important checkpoint.’ He shrugged and changed tone, ‘Are you defecting?’

‘No. Some escaped prisoners. Not ours. The British.’ She handed over the papers. The man barely looked at them but poked a torch through the window and looked at the three people asleep on the back sleep.


‘Unconscious. They didn’t want to go back.’

‘You always were efficient, Major.’

‘I also have to stay over in the sector for a couple days. You know I can’t tell you why.’

Suddenly his eyes gazed slightly. ‘Still in the…service.’

‘Just be a memory for now.’

‘Just be a memory for now.’

The man signed the paperwork and waved at the guards, who raised the barrier and they were through.

‘You knew that man, Auntie B?’ Polly asked.

‘If this is a faked reality, Max knows a lot about Fey arrangements.’

‘Let’s hope the British lines are as good.’

‘The others got through.’

Likewise, they had little problem and made directly to the airport.


They arrived back in London shortly after dawn. The charter flight taxied to one of hangers at Heathrow where three cars were waiting.

‘There’s a lot to be said for being in this part of the century,’ Polly murmured. ‘Less interest in getting us directly through customs.’

Karene and her two handlers were still unconscious, although now with a proper anaesthetic and put in the back of the main car with Kick McKinley waiting as driver.

‘You know where to take them.’

‘Yes, Polly.’

The car drove off.

‘Better look around for Kick.’

‘You think the Pattern replaced him?’ Ludomere asked.

‘He never called me Polly in his life.’

‘And not kill him?’

‘That’s one thing they haven’t done yet.’

The team spread out and found the real Kick McKinley slumped over in the locker room. Stunned but not unconscious.

‘Always said he had a strong head.’

‘Does he know…?’

‘Polly shook her head. ‘He just knows you’re another team I run from time to time. He’s loyal to a T.’

Kick groaned and looked up. ‘Did I do OK, Pol? Not being too rough. They still blindsided me.’

‘You’re got a hard head, Kick.’

He looked around. A small lady with darkened eyes and large dog teeth. A black with long wavy hair. A brown haired lady. Then there was Polly, smiling. That made him happy.

‘Your lady team?’

‘The switch went to plan.’

‘I thought we were going to offer two plans but the Pat…these people want what we want. Saves doing a massive switch in London. Get yourself a coffee, Kick, and then head home.’

‘Sure, Pol.’

After McKinley left, Polly continued. ‘Let some work out how to solve the bombs if they spot it. We might even be lucky and they take them to wherever Max is imprisoned. That’s what would have happened if we’d done the substitution.’

‘A bit harsh with the Russian, aren’t you?’ asked Ludomere.

Polly pinched her nose. ‘We’ve no idea how willingly she ended up helping her handlers. If those six outside the warehouse waylaid a lot of them, she might not have known but you would have thought she would be at least suspicious. She could have at least taken the chance and killed her handlers. Even so, there is a possibility that the Russians didn’t kill all their Psionics that we ought to check when things get back to normal reality. It might just have been something Sara told Max and he imagined into reality.’

They all paused on that thought.

‘Is that it?’ Bianca asked.

‘For now. Divide up and meet up later at the inn. No sense going in as a team. I’ll join you there.’

Polly waited until they all went before looking around. Any other Pattern wouldn’t have waited around for them all to arrive.

There was a slow hand clap as Sheena Ramone walked out of the shadows, pulling a brown wig off her head. ‘You seem disappointed, PollyPut.’

‘I was hoping you might have been able to do a substitution.’

‘They were already waiting, dontchaknow? They stunned your mate and went into the woodwork. Better to watch than ruin your plan.’

‘They knew we were coming? Have they managed to get someone inside?’

‘Maybe not from inside. Flight traffic. Only one plane from Berlin. More people going out than in. Hardly discrete, dontchaknow?’

‘They’re getting faster.’

‘It worked. Plan B instead of Plan A. Hardly a failure, PollyPut. Either keeps them away or attacks them. A result waiting to happen and off our backs. About time we went on the offensive, dontchaknow?’

‘She’d never come across a Blank before. Something else to look for in Russia after all this is over.’

‘This is a Max fantasy reality?’

‘Callane seems to think otherwise. Too many details she remembers. We still don’t know just how powerful Max is in his own playground or how secure the Pattern are still keeping him.’

‘Or what Sara told him.’

Polly shrugged. ‘I’ll take any edge right now. At least it wasn’t a brainwashed Sara in Berlin. At least we are now on the offensive.’

‘Anything else need doing?’

‘Can you remove that block you put in my head. I miss spaking.’

‘Come to the booster rooster.’


© Psi-Kicks, Polly Kettle, Callane Oberon,

Ludomere Spear, Libertine Rush, Bianca White

© GF Willmetts 2020

all rights reserved

ask before borrowing

For the translations:-

Russian: Я могу свободно говорить по-русски, но для моих партнеров мы будем говорить по-английски?

English: ‘I can speak fluent Russian but for my partners, shall we speak in English?’


Russian: Если бы я хотел получить информацию, я бы заставил вас встать на ноги и поиграть в пирожки с пирожными. Встретить меня на полпути. Английский, да?

English: ‘If I wanted information, I would have had you st’rung up by your feet and play patty-cake with your heads. Meet me half-way. English, yes?


Russian: умственные способности

English: Mentals


German: ,Wie ein Eingeborener. Ich reise viel, Miss Kettle. ‚

English: ‘Like a native. I travel a lot, Miss Kettle.’

One thought on “Railroad: a Psi-Kicks story by: GF Willmetts.

  • love your psi-kick series


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