The evidence grew that a large fleet had assembled and was steaming toward the Vernian Sea. I was never much of an order-follower - I was clearly the despair of Headmistress in that regard - but I thought I could not simply sit on the sidelines and let others do all the work.
I finagled an old Cuthbert-class ironclad from Murakami Steamworks - the ship floated and her power plant produced steam, but the guns were in questionable condition. The ship needed refurbishment, but would suit my needs. I crossed my fingers that no gunplay would be needed tonight.
I steamed into the Vernian Sea under a moonless sky. I passed Doctor Obolensky's lair dangerously closely, but it seemed the superior alternative to attempting to sneak past the defensive line forming.
The dock was nearly deserted. I assumed that no one wanted to be caught in the crossfire, so merchants, shoppers, and townsfolk alike were either preparing for battle or staying safely out of the way. And then I saw the spy.
She did not have the appearance of a typical spy, but that made her disguise all the more cunning. Did she see me arrive in port? I could not say with certainty. Then she attempted to board the ship...I had no choice but to dispatch her with my sidearm. One shot to the back of the head - she never saw me coming - and all was quiet again. I hoped no one heard the report.
((The young lady did, in fact, climb onto the ship and attempt to board. She did not appear to speak English, which limited my ability to find out her interest in New Babbage. However, she was clearly not working hard to stay in theme...))