It's a new year, isn't it?
Sorry; when you're trying to do things across different centuries, time gets a little bit wibbly-wobbly. Adam does his best to keep me straight (ha!) but I have my own priorities, y'know?
Anyways, we're into the final book in the first volume, and this is me reaching out to friends when I need help. Of course I did!
What are friends for but to bail your ass out of a crack when needed?
No, I'd rather you didn't answer that.
Chapter 10: Shadows of The Night
“This is dumb.”
“I’m open to better ideas.”
“We’re never going to get across the border.”
“You let me take care of that, okay?”
The debate was taking place in the Bugatti between Montana and Cass. The three had crammed into her again, with a very nervous Mac driving. Two other transports, driven by Stone and Sanzari, followed behind. The entire force had been packed up by midnight and were on their way west across the Texas scrub towards the Sonoran border.
“And since when did you become the experienced agent?”
“Since we’re headed for my home turf,” answered Cass. It had been her decision to load up and move out, even without a solid plan. Waiting in the hotel was too much for her to take, not when Ken might need her.
“You know that anyone with a brain’ll be looking for you there,” rejoined Montana.
“That’s what I’m counting on.”
“Huh? That makes no sense!”
“Exactly. So far, every time we’ve done something that is logical and sensible we’ve gotten screwed.”
Montana made a face. “Okay, you’d better explain this to me.”
Cass sighed. “We ran to Vegas on a hunch, and got away without a hitch, right?”
“Yeah, well, except that tail you had.”
“But they were just at the tube port; they didn’t know where we were going.”
“I’ll buy that, okay.”
“Then, we go to ground in Ken’s place in the PRM. Sensible, right?”
“Yup. Exactly what you’re supposed to do.”
“And what happens? We’re attacked again and barely make it out!”
Montana’s face went thoughtful. “Hmm...”
“Then we run again, down to New Orleans, and what happens?”
“I think I see. You get screwed over again.”
“Right! So, if the sensible thing is to sit in place and plan...”
“Then sure as hell something will go wrong. It feels a little bit like whistling in the dark, but I’ll go along with it. For now.” Montana’s expression changed. “What’s next?”
“Back to LA and my personal lab. Last place on earth they’d expect me to go, and from there I’ll have access to all sorts of information – I’ll bet Mac will appreciate that, won’t you Mac?”
They could almost see Mac’s face redden from embarrassment at being caught listening. “Did you say something?” she tried to bluff, failing miserably.
After a quick laugh, the mood sobered again. “Mac, did you dig up Evans before we had to pack out?” inquired Cass.
“Oh! Yes, I think so, I mean he wasn’t easy to find, not the real him if you know what I mean, there were certainly plenty of dummies piled up on his accounts but I was able to get through them all I think, he’s pretty good but not the best, there was this one guy, I don’t remember his name, but I was ordered to crack his IDs and figure out -”
“Watch the road!”
The car wobbled as Mac’s attention was returned to the traffic around them.
“Can’t we use the automatics?” said Montana. “I’m not sure I like the idea of Mac driving.”
“No automatic systems in this part of Texas, at least nothing I would trust. I’m in no shape to drive. Besides, as you keep telling me, we need to plan. So we’re planning.” Cass turned to face the front. “Mac? Without turning around, can you tell me the comm code you found?”
“Oh sure, it’s actually not numeric, so I remembered it easily, I guess that’s why he chose it, easier to remember a word or letters than numbers -”
“Yeah? Okay. Hotel Alpha Lima Echo Sierra Tango Oscar Romeo Mike.”
Mac’s shoulders raised and settled back in a shrug that didn’t quite distract her from driving. “That’s what I found.”
“Whatever works, I guess.” Cass held out her hand. “I need your comm, Cris.”
“Where’s yours?” she asked, digging in a pocket.
“The goons at HLC took everything off of me except my clothes. I’m sure that they’re in a filing cabinet somewhere.”
Montana handed over the comm. “Or trashed.”
“I hope not. They even took my ring; if it’s trash, then they’re really going to regret it.”
Cass punched in the code.
“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.”
Cass disconnected. “Dammit.”
“It’s after midnight, and didn’t you say he’s an old man? He’s probably asleep. Call back and leave a message this time.”
“Point.” She re-punched the code, got the recording again. “Dick, it’s Cass, I’m in trouble and need your help, comm me back when you get this.” Hanging up again, she said, “Mind if I hold onto this?”
“Naah, it’s disposable. I always carry a few.”