Always have a backup plan!
Always, always, always!
And it has to be a plan nobody else knows about. The more people who know, the more likely it is to be compromised.
Someone once said, three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.
So I always have a backup.
The only issue is getting in touch with them...
Chapter 9: Missundaztood
Laura’s bike sped down the pavement for about twenty minutes before Kendra figured out how she was going to extricate herself.
She tapped Laura’s shoulder.
“NEXT EXIT!” she shouted. Kortum nodded.
A few short minutes later they were stopped at a parking lot.
“Thanks for the ride,” said Kendra, climbing off the bike and taking the helmet off. She noticed Laura’s eyes widen as her hair sprang loose, then settled back into its usual order. Damn. Wrong thing to do.
“This isn’t Pasadena,” is all Kortum said, though her disappointment was evident.
“I know,” said Kendra. “But it’s close enough, and you said it was out of your way. I’ll be fine from here.”
“It’s really not a problem...” Kortum began, but Kendra shook her head.
“No, I wouldn’t dream of it.” Oh, hell. She placed her hands on Laura’s cheeks, looked her in the eyes, then kissed her forehead. “Next time. I promise. Do you have your comm?”
Wordless, Laura handed it over. Kendra punched in a number.
“Call me tomorrow, after work.” Then she turned and walked off.
“You gave her what number?” hooted Evans.
“It was all I could think of!” insisted Kendra.
“The front desk of the Luxor. Girl, your sense of irony is just fine, ain’t it?” His voice dropped the levity. “But you’se in trouble; you never call me otherwise.”
“Big time, Dick.”
“Where are you?”
“Damn, girl, you’re in the wrong country!”
Kendra laughed. “No, in the Confederacy.”
“Oh, that’s a little better. Still the wrong damn country. How did you end up there?”
“Short version? I was stupid.”
“You gonna tell me the long version?”
“I need your help.”
“I knew that.” Evans sighed. “What do you need?”
“Money and ID.”
“The usual, then.”
“Doesn’t have to be much, and doesn’t have to last long – just long enough for me to get back across the border.”
“Uh-huh.” She could hear Evans rummaging. “You’se going to need squeeze to get out of there, you know.”
“Duh, Dick. I wasn’t born yesterday.”
“No, but you sure act like it, sometimes. Where’s that pretty little wife of yours, anyway?”
“That’s part of the long version, Dick.”
She could hear the frown. “You didn’t already split, did you? Best not have.”
“No! Not in the slightest. We’re just separated – and not voluntarily.”
“If I find out you haven’t been telling me the truth, girl, we’re going to go a few rounds. I might be older than you, but I know more dirty tricks.”
That brought a welcome smile to Kendra’s face. “Agreed,” she willingly answered.
“Okay. Where are you?”
She gave him her location and heard him tapping away.
“Right. You’ve got fifty thousand Bruins heading your way now; there’s a cash drop I’ve used before.” He described it. “You’ll have to ID yourself to get the money, and they’re going to take a tithe of it for their fee.”
“That could be a problem; I told you, I don’t have an ID.”
“They’re used to that, that’s why the fee’s so high. Just tell them your name – go ahead with your real name. Then they’ll ask for a pass phrase. I chose “tomorrow never dies”. Got it?”
““Tomorrow never dies.” Got it. Thanks, Dick. I promise you, I’ll tell you the tale over drinks. You, me, and Cass.”
Minutes later she was walking out of a seedy-looking pawn shop, forty-five thousand Bruins in cash, minus the cost of a few bits of hardware, in her bag. Next door was a drop box center, and she rented a box for a week. An extra hundred got the paperwork and ID requirements overlooked by the willing clerk.
She rang Evans again, gave him the address.
“I’ll get it out tonight, you’ll have it in the morning. For now, you should hole up.”
“That’s the plan.”
“You owe me a tale.”
“As soon as we can, promise.” She hung up and went looking for a place to lay her head for the night.
The boarding house she eventually found was a wreck, but the old woman running it didn’t even ask for ID, just five hundred Bruins. Kendra eventually argued her down to two hundred, then paid an extra twenty for clean sheets. “Bathroom at the end of the hall, an” if you want the comm it’s ten Bruins a minute.”
“Thanks.” She didn’t mention the scrubbed link she’d picked up from the pawn shop.
The dim light of the dying glow panels didn’t improve her opinion of the room. “Clean sheets maybe. Clean mattress? Not even close!” she muttered as she swept the walls for listening devices.
“Wonder how much they charge per hour?” she asked, discovering a vid set-up behind a garish painting. A quick adjustment and the circuit was out of commission, at least for the night. Then, and only then, did she pull out the link and enter Cass’s comm code.
Bzzzzt. Bzzzzt. Bzzzzt. Bzz-
“We’re sorry, but the subscriber you are trying to reach is not available now. If you would like to leave a message you can do so at the tone.” The canned voice stopped, then there was a beep.
“Cass, it’s Ken, I’m okay, I’m on my way back, don’t worry, and I love you.” She disconnected.
Wonder what she’s doing? Hope Mac is taking good care of her...