Much to most of the party member’s relief, the Forum finally comes to an end, finishing with another large banquet. The following morning, everyone checks out of the hotel, reclaims their confiscated weapons and then head to the shuttle bay, where they board a shuttle back to Banfi Highport.
While on the shuttle, they see that Lyn is on the same flight. She gets out of her seat and comes to speak to them. She thanks them all once again for averting the potential disaster back at the start of the Forum. She apologizes for the fact that they didn’t get the thanks or glory that they really reserved, but she explains that it is Imperial Policy to try and keep all details of Ine Givar activity out of the media so as to starve them of the oxygen of publicity.
The party members spend much of the three hour trip back to the highport chatting with her. Apart from Autumn, who is staring at a man in the uniform of Marine Colonel.
“What’s up?” asks Jie.
“That man in the colonel’s uniform – that was the geek I smacked to create the diversion back in the bay,” she says.
Lyn glances over.
“I’m afraid that you must be mistaken,” Lyn replies. “That’s Colonel Sir Abel Spendabel of the 33rd Imperial Marines – I know him quite well – by sight at least. In fact he and I are heading to the same assignment. There’s a big society wedding on the diplomatic ‘roid of Gro’un tomorrow afternoon. The Subsector Admiral is marrying the daughter of the Sector Admiral. All the nobility and glitterati are going to be in attendance and so security has to be tight – especially after the near miss with the Ine Givar last week. They seem to be stepping up operations at the moment. The Colonel is Head of Security; I’m part of the detail babysitting the bride’s family.”
Autumn is unconvinced.
“It’s definitely him, I tell you.”
Wanting to check this out, Grim and Jie casually head over to chat with the Colonel to see if he really is who he says he is.
They are back some 15 minutes later.
“He’s definitely a real Marine Commander,” says Jie. “I spoke to him about some of the engagements that the 33rd were involved with that I know about and I couldn’t pick him up on anything. Sorry.”
Autumn shakes her head.
“Well maybe go and apologize for slapping him?” suggests Grim.
Autumn heads over and speaks to him. There is a look of confusion on her face as she returns.
“He said that he didn’t know what I was talking about,” she says. “But when I saw him close up, I’m even more sure it’s him.”
“Call it woman’s intuition, but there is definitely something weird going on here.”
The party members are even more confused now.
“Well Autumn is a real ‘people person’ with an eye for detail,” Will says to Lyn. “If she says that there’s something not quite right, I’m inclined to believe her.”
Lyn shakes her head.
“Well I’m going to follow him,” Autumn says dogmatically. “It would be great if you could join me as tailing people is not really forte and, after all, we’ve still got a couple of weeks to kill waiting for Max to get back. If you’ve got other plans though, I understand.”
“No, where you go, we go,” the others say, almost as one.
Lyn throws her hands up in resignation. “OK, OK, if you want to spend the next few days on a wild goose chase, I’m not going to stop you. Just make sure you’re discrete about it though or else he might think you’re Ine Givar too and take you all down.”
Everyone now has to return to their seats as the shuttle lands at Banfi. The party members accompany Lyn as they all follow the Colonel and his aide to the next terminal where they wait to catch the next shuttle to Gro’un. Fortunately there are still tickets available and so Autumn quickly buys some for all the party.
The shuttle flight is uneventful and the shuttle docks at the large arcology that is home for all of Glisten’s diplomatic community. The small downport there is a starcraft spotter’s wet dream as there seem to be ships from all over the ’Verse there – Aslan, Darrian, Zhodani, Vargr and Swordie to name just a few.
The party members go through security. They seem pretty lax here compared to the search they went through at The Grand Plaza, however, and so they are able to smuggle all their hidden weapons through. Lyn says her farewells and wishes them good luck – reminding them to stay out of trouble – and takes a cab to the private chapel where the wedding will be held the next day. The party members hang back for a while until they see the Colonel getting into a chauffeured grav/limo which whisks him and his aide away. Autumn quickly hails a couple of cabs and slips the drivers Cr 100 to follow the limo, discretely.
They follow the limo to the chapel, down the wide boulevards of Gro’un. It’s a beautiful place, spacious compared to the confined conditions of Glisten City. They watch the chapel from a safe distance. The Colonel spends a little over an hour in there before he returns to the grav/limo. It’s early evening now and the lights in the arcology have been dimmed to represent dusk.
The party members follow in their cabs once more. The limo takes the Colonel to a secluded part of the arcology and drops him off outside a moderately-sized house with a small garden. The Colonel waves the limo driver off and enters through the gate into his garden.
The party members start to discuss what they should do now as it looks unlikely that the Colonel is probably going to stay put for the rest of the evening. However, they are interrupted as a grav/van swoops down to land right in front of the Colonel’s house and the back doors open. Four dark-clad, masked figures emerge from the gardens of the house with the Colonel, a black sack now over his head. The party members all grab their weapons and start to run for the van, but they are too late – the figures have already bundled him into the van, which immediately takes off at great speed.
“Into the cabs again, everyone,” Autumn says.
“Follow that van!”
The taxi driver does as he is bid and follows the van at a safe distance. The journey is a short one, however because, ten minutes later, the van flies over the walls of a large house with extensive grounds.
Autumn tells the cabs to land just around the corner from the building and the party members all get out.
“I’ll stay with the cabs,” says Autumn.
The party members investigate the building. They see that it is surrounded by a 2m high wall made from smooth white marble.
“You stay here while I recon the outside of the building,” says Arvor.
He heads off, keeping to the shadows and returns some 20 minutes later.
“The sign on the gate says that it’s the Elixabethan Embassy,” he reports. “It seems remarkably well-guarded for the embassy of such an insignificant backwater planet. Looks like there are eight guards at the gate, all with ACRs.”
“Let me take a look inside,” says Taeva. “Arvor, you cover me.”
The party members head towards the rear of the building and, together boost Taeva up until she is able to peep over the wall. It looks promising inside – the garden is overgrown and there’s plenty of cover. With cat-like grace, she drops down off the wall and hides behind a tree. She sees that there are two sentries patrolling the grounds, following a pre-set pattern. For a mistress of stealth like Taeva, it is no trouble for her at all to make her way unseen through the undergrowth until she is at the building. She notices some stairs leading down and descends. At the bottom of the stairs is a locked metal door. The lock is pretty low-tech and so she decides to open it.
The door opens with a loud, rusty creak.
Taeva sees two guards sat on boxes staring back at her. The guards immediately start shouting, “INTRUDER!” at the top of their voices. Taeva silences one of them quickly with one of her throwing knives, but the door behind the guards open and more start to pour through into the room, readying their ACR’s.
“I NEED BACK UP!” Taeva shouts into her commo as she takes down a second guard with another knife before throwing herself on top of the advancing guards so they can’t use their rifles on her.
On top of the wall, Arvor drops down behind a tree. He sees that both sentries and four guards from the gate are all now starting to run for the cellar. He shoots at one of the sentries, but it only wounds her. Arvor advances towards her but, before he has chance to make a second shot, the sentry fires back and Arvor drops to the ground. Will rushes towards him to try and drag him to safely while Jie and Grim charge towards the cellar.
Back in the cellar, Taeva has one of the guards pinned to the ground while three others descend on her with knives drawn. They find it tough going to get through her armor, however, and she ends up getting just nicked by them. The nicks are going to add up at this rate though as there seems to be an infinite number of guards trying to find room to get at her.
More guards appear at the window and open fire. Bullets are pinging off Jie’s carapace as she gets down the cellar stairs. Grim is not so lucky, however and, like Arvor, he too is dropped by an ACR round.
Will was in the process of dragging Arvor to safely when he sees Grim fall too. Guards seem to be coming out from every direction now and the Medic realizes that the situation has become hopeless already. Leaving Arvor, he dashes towards the wall as the guards continue to rush towards him trying to get a bead on him. The first time that Will tries to scale the wall, he falls back. He leaps at it for a second time. This time his new implants make all the difference as he manages to grab the top of the wall and haul himself over as bullets ricochet off the marble mere inches from him.
Jie joins Taeva in the cellar where she sees Taeva struggling to keep four of the guards at bay. Jie tries to shut the door but it’s two against one and they push it over. Taeva rushes over to guard Jie’s back, with four guards hot on her heels. But then it would appear that someone has decided that they are quite happy with the two girls’ being shut in the cellar as they make a tactical retreat on both sides. Taeva takes one out as he tries to flee, but then there are two metallic clangs in succession as both doors are shut from the other side. Jie and Taeva are relieved by this change of strategy and start to secure the doors from their side.
The two remain panting for a while as they consider their options.
Taeva assesses their situation. Setting two ACRs and all their ammo aside for her and Jie she places the shotgun and pistol cartridges into a pile and checks the construction of the cellar walls with one of the downed thug’s knives. The cellar is well-built – the building looks less than ten years old and is constructed from the same smooth, white marble as the walls surrounding the garden. They remember seeing this style of building before when they were on Elixabeth.
Taeva’s demolition training tells her that it would take an awful lot of plastique or an FGMP to get through these walls – a few ACR bullets are certainly going to fall far short of the task.
Jie knows Taeva well enough by now to realize what she’s thinking:
“We need to be cautious here,” she says. “At least two of our compainions are held hostage and hopefully Will should be alerting the authorities any minute now. These guys aren’t a random bunch of street punks – they are too well-organized, well-trained and well-equipped for that. They’re military or para-military. And if this is the case, they should abide by some code, i.e. ‘we won’t kill Grim and Arvor if the two women in the cellar play nice.’ I know that in your previous line of work, you probably didn’t come across that much. But in mine, I did.”
She pauses, considering her words carefully:
“When the time comes to surrender we should do it rather then risk the lives of our captured team members.”
“I understand where you’re coming from but this isn’t a military battlefield," Taeva replies. “It’s like this: if we surrender we place ourselves-and Arvor-and Grim (if they’re alive) completely in the hands of our enemies.”
“Our enemies are allies of the Ine Givar – who wouldn’t hesitate to set a busload of babies on fire if they had too.”
“The best thing for them is if we quietly dissappear. If we’re all at their ‘mercy’ we’ll do just that. Surrendering to them is the same as being dead. While we’re alive we’re a problem, and we have some power however limited. They need to worry about us. And I intend to make them worry.”
“At the moment Grim and Arvor are just weapons to them to get us to surrender. Once we do that they have us – and we all die. This isn’t a battlefield with military conventions or a duelling piste – its Live or Die. If you want to die Jie, there’s weapons lying about – do it now and save yourself a nasty death. I intend to Live, and I could do with your help. Can I rely on you or not?”
The two also check the contents of the room, seeing what furniture might be available for cover. The cellar is obviously a kitchen storeroom as it is half-filled with box of tinned food and food in jars.
“Well, if their plan is to starve us out, then we’re in for a long siege,” Jie says wryly.
They look for a medkit, but there is none in the room. They also look for any ducting that they might be able to shin up, but again there is none.
Taeva gets on her commo to find out what is happening with Will and Autumn.
Will runs as hard as he could into the streets. Dodging around the first corner he came too, he quickly calls Autumn and breathlessly brings her up to speed. He urges her to return immediately to the ship, touching base with Lyn on the way in case Will is pursued and captured.
“OK, I’m on it,” she says with determination. “Don’t worry about me. Look after yourself.”
She flicks off the commo and Will sees the cabs taking off from where they were parked. Unfortunately, just a few seconds later, he sees the grav/van that was parked in the grounds of the Embassy, the one that the Colonel was bundled into, shoot straight up vertically. It obviously sees the fleeing grav/cabs and dives off after them in pursuit.
Will throws himself into the garden of a darkened building and crawls into the undergrowth, panting as he waits to see if he was pursued. Nothing happens for several minutes though. He puts two and two together and realizes that the guards must have assumed that Will had taken the cab. He resigns himself to the fact that Autumn has accidentally become a sacrificial lamb that has allowed him to escape without being followed. For now at least, anyway.
Will calls Lyn and relates the situation.
Lyn can scarcely believe it.
“They’re in a facking embassy,” she says, overwhelmed by the bad news that Will has just dropped upon her. “Of all the facking places in Glisten to get caught, it has to be an embassy?”
“You do realize that the Imperium has absolutely no jurisdiction over the premises of an embassy belonging to a foreign power? You do realize there’s a huge pro-Forine/anti-Imperium element on Elixabeth that would love nothing more than to hear about the Imperium riding roughshod over diplomatic protocol and storming their embassy? For crying out loud!”
“What a mess. What a complete total mess.”
“I’m intending to circle the block as there’s no sign of pursuit and take up a secure position to observe the Elixabethan compound,” Will replies, ignoring Lyn’s rantings about diplomacy. “I’ll try and find a vantage point high enough to see over the walls and relay all I can to you.”
“OK, let me think what the hell I can do about this without wrecking both my career and the uneasy balance of power in the whole of District 268,” Lyn replies.
Hanging up from that conversation, Will then calls Baron Harkhoose and explains the situation, apologizing that the crew will be delayed in meeting up with him as planned.
“Oh crikey, old chap, you have got yourself into a bit of a pickle there,” the Baron says. “I’m not really sure what I can do to help. I’m still at The Grand Plaza and so it would take me a long time to get over there. It all sounds rather politically sensitive as well. Not sure how a mere Baron like me has really got the clout to get over the diplomatic problems.”
Realizing that the Baron is going to be of no use, he calls Max.
He hears female giggling over the line and Max’s voice saying, “Bleedin’ ‘ell, Nurse Kirby, you didn’t tell me you were a snake charmer. Look what you’ve done to me anaconda!”
“Hello? Ah Will, how’s the Zhodani Terraforming Guru of Glisten getting along there, me ole matey?”
Will quickly fills in Max with the current situation.
“Fackin’ ’ell!” he exclaims. “Can’t bleedin’ leave you lot alone for ten minutes wivvout you gettin’ yourself in a mess, can I?”
Will requests help in learning all that can be learned about the embassy and the kidnapped Colonel.
“I’ll see what I can do, mate,” he replies. “But there’s only so much I can do while I am still bedbound.”
Will clicks off the commo and ducks under cover as he sees the grav/van returning to the embassy. With or without Autumn, it’s impossible to tell.
Once the grav/van has landed, he gets out from his hiding place and, as stealthily as he can, heads back towards the embassy. He doesn’t get very far, however, before he hears footsteps coming towards him. He immediately returns to the undergrowth he was hiding in a couple of minutes earlier.
Grim and Arvor come to at the same time, groaning from their wounds. They realize that their wrists have been cuffed behind them and they are missing their armor, weapons and everything else that they brought in with them.
Through blurry vision they see someone standing up and starting to leave the room.
“They’re OK now, Captain,” the voice says. “I can see to ours now.”
The person disappears through a metal door which is locked securely behind him.
The pair of them look around and their eyes rest on the familiar face of Autumn.
“Jeez,” she says with a sigh and a roll of the eyes. “Sometimes I really hate it when I’m right.”
They look around some more. There are two other people in the room, both of them bound as they are. One of them is the Colonel – or is he just some geeky Planetologist guy? It’s very hard to tell right now because he is dressed in just his underwear.
Close by him is a middle-aged, elegant-looking woman who is remarkably attractive for her age, although she is currently looking very upset and sorry for herself.
Grim glances over at Arvor and says quietly, “Well Ollie, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into…”
Meanwhile, Jie and Taeva are pacing around the cellar. Nothing has happened now for the past half hour and they are wondering what to do next.
Then they hear a voice.
“Your comrades have received medical attention and are in a stable condition,” the voice says in a matter-of-fact tone. “I know that four of my men are in the cellar with you and they are also injured. I would therefore ask that you allow them to be cared for. If one of you has medical equipment and can take care of them, we can leave a medical kit in front of the door. If not, I can send our medic in unarmed to take care of the wounds of my men and both of you on the understanding that he is allowed to leave once care has been given.”
“We will take 2 medikits and we will do your men," Taeva replies. "We will have the sealed medic packages pushed in on a plank or tray – no bags.”
“Very well,” the voice replies. “Give us five minutes. We will knock on the door when the medikit is outside the door.”
Taeva wonders if it will be possible to use any of the food tins and shotgun ammo to make primitive grenades. She counts up all of the shotgun bullets that they have at their disposal. She figures out that, if she disassembled them all and packed everything into a plastic drinks bottle, it would be roughly equivalent to one standard frag grenade – if she can come up with a way of getting it to detonate upon impact.
While waiting for the door to open, the two girls dampen some cloths using some of the bottled water in the store room and tie it around their faces in case the hostage-takers are planning on trying to toss a gas grenade in there.
Five minutes later and there is a knock on the door. Jie stands round the corner with an ACR poised in case of a trap. Taeva opens the door just the faintest crack and slips a knife through the opening, using it as a crude mirror to see what is outside. The medical materials are laid on a tray right in front of the door. She flashes the knife around and manages to see that there are at least three rebels in the corridor and stairwell with ACRs trained on the door – maybe more – it’s hard to tell with such a crude mirror.
She extends a hand with the knife still in it and starts to flick the medical supplies into the room one by one. Although she is expecting a hail of bullets to come at her, none come. It takes her a couple of minutes, but she manages to collect all of the medical equipment before Jie slams the door shut again and locks it securely behind her.
Jie starts to tend to the wounded with the medical supplies after ensuring that they are all well secured.
Taeva calls out to the rebels.
“We want proof of life that our friends and the Colonel are still alive,” Taeva shouts through the door.
There is no immediate response, however.
A couple of minutes later, the door to the cell where Grim, Arvor and Autumn are being held opens. There are three rebels at the door. Two of them have ACRs trained on Grim and Arvor. The other is carrying Arvor’s commo unit:
“Speak to your friend and tell her your situation,” the rebel says. “And no tricks or else you will regret it.”
“The three of us are alive, but helpless," Arvor says into the commo. "We have received medical attention.”
The guard immediately switches off the commo, then files out of the door. One of the guards locks the door securely behind him.
“Arvor! Arvor, wake up!” whispers Grim urgently to his friend who appears to be drifting in and out from the pain killers. Or perhaps it’s his calm demeanor under fire and his exceedingly low blood pressure. Either way, Grim whispers again, rousing Arvor.
“Arvor, buddy, we need a distraction for the guards! I’ve got an idea! I had chili rellenos for breakfast chased down by a beer, do you think you can reach your lighter…?”
Meanwhile, Will watches the street carefully, ferns shielding him from view. He tries hard not to breathe. He turns his commo off in case they’re tracking signals.
Some five minutes later a couple of guards pass. They peer into the garden but he is well-hidden and they don’t spot him. He waits another ten minutes. The guards pass by again, obviously heading back into the embassy.
Once he’s satisfied that he hasn’t been discovered, he flicks the commo back on:
“You have one missed call.”
He checks the number. It’s Lyn. He calls her back.
“Thank God,” she says. “I thought that you’d been taken as well. What’s going on now?”
Will fills her in on the fact that he has not yet been able to get back to the embassy.
“Goddammit Will, you’re a Planetologist, not a spy. Although I can’t arrange a platoon of marines to storm the embassy, I can arrange to keep a watch on them from a distance without causing a major shitstorm.”
“Better to meet up to discuss what we can do next. Three blocks north of the embassy is the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Meet me in the Teppanyaki Restaurant as soon as you can. I’ll be there in about 20 minutes. Be careful.”
She flicks off the commo.
“Well, at least it looks like she’s trying to help,” Will thought as he checked the street before heading away from the embassy. “She probably wants to hire a bunch of mercenaries to bust them out. InterSol having to be rescued by armed thugs. What have we come to?”
Jie begins to rip the lids off of specifically shaped cans and dump the contents into a corner, she then with a sharp knife or cutlass nicks flaps and slots on them and forcibly puts them together, bending sharpened metal tabs as need be with her poly-ceramic protected thumb. Using her knowledge of military ordnance (Heavy Weapons-field artillery + 0) and brute strength she makes a close facsimile of a common battlefield High Explosive/Fragmentation grenade. She fills it up with just enough weight to feel as if it held high grade Plastiqe. As she eyes the wounded rebels to ensure that they are still passed out, Jie cracks open some shot gun shells and mixes in some fruit syrup to make a grey metallic paint and begins to coat the fake bomb . She thinks:
“We don’t have a Dragon Ball-X15 grenade, but those bastards don’t know that!”
Now for a more difficult problem.
“Taeva, your words stir fire in my blood. There is nothing I want to do more than kill all these Ine Givar scum. With my bare hands if need be. And you know I’d follow you to the very gates of Hell to drink gasoline and piss in the Devils eye, but damn it, woman, this is bigger than us. We’re not up against local thugs trying to get a reputation, these fools have at least para-military training, in large numbers and armed to the teeth. We under estimated them once and we almost paid for our stupidity with our lives.”
Jie ties up the four groggy prisoners back to back, each facing away from each other. She makes sure to not harm her recent dressings and cauterizations yet she is very rough with the men. Some of them begin to stir. She looks back at Taeva.
“We stall. We figure out what’s going on and where everyone is. We give Will time to assess the outside fortifications and Grim and Arvor time to gain strength. And when the opportunity comes for all of us to get out of here – we run. They care for their wounded enough not to kill Our wounded unless they are forced to. And that’s where my only fear is. You’ve got the Blood Berserker in you Taeva, I saw it while you were being beat down by overwhelming odds. You won’t give up a fight and your enemies will regret coming within arm’s reach, but when the bastard who is in control of this place asks for our surrender, we will surrender.” Jie looks Taeva right in the eye.
“No Jie: You’re wrong. I’m no berserker I’m a realist. Putting ourselves entirely in the hands of these people is Death. This is closer to my world than yours. Surrender gives them everything they want. And then we die. Stop thinking about military and tribal honour. It is completely irrelevent.”
“I do agree that stalling is the best tactic for now. Surrender is a Fool’s option in these circumstances however. I’m aware that this situation is due to my mistake. But committing suicide doesn’t help”. Taeva looks Jie straight back in the eye.
Jie turns away and kicks one of the guards.
“Hey, ass-face, you awake?” Jie holds up the fake bomb in front of the man’s face just long enough that he can identify it’s shape. “This here is what we in the Marines call a Dragon Ball-X15. This will turn anyone in a 9 meter radius to shredded meat when it goes off. You recognize it?” Jie moves the fake around so to blur its flaws. The groggy soldier nods yes in recognition.
“Good, because now it’s your new best friend.” Jie says as she places it between the tied up prisoners, each one able to feel the hard, cold steel on their backs. Jie steps back with a cord in her hand that is attached to the ‘grenade’. She then looks back to Taeva.
“I believe we are ready to start negotiations.”
Will cautiously emerges from the undergrowth and peers over the garden fence. The road looks empty and so, trying to remember how Taeva would do it, he slinks through the shadows as he slowly starts to make his way to the Ritz-Carlton.
There are a few scares along the way as he hears grav/vehicles approaching, but they all turn out to be other residents of the area returning home. It is still with great relief when he sees the towering form of the Ritz-Carlton ahead of him and enough people in the vicinity that he doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb.
Brushing himself down and removing bits of twig and leaves from his hair, he enters the hotel, trying to look as nonchalant and unpanicked as he can manage. It is with great relief that he sees a nervous-looking Lyn pacing around in front of the restaurant.
“Thank heavens you made it,” she says, obviously as relieved to see Will as he her.
“I got us a room,” Lyn says.
“A room?” Will replies. “But we hardly know one another. Don’t you think we should take things a little slower? Maybe dinner and a holomovie first?”
Lyn is unamused. “We need to talk in private.”
Lyn turns on her heels and leads Will into the elevator, which shoots them up to the 49th floor in a matter of second. They then head into a small, but very nicely decorated suite.
They sit around a dining table.
“What a complete and utter clusterfuck,” she repeats pointlessly, as if Will hadn’t figured this out already.
“I’ve had time to think of our options,” she continues. “Unfortunately, they are pretty limited. There simply cannot be any direct Imperial intervention on Elixabethan sovereign territory, whether or not the lives of your colleagues and the Colonel are at stake. The ramifications are just too severe.”
“What I can arrange, however, is to put a surveillance team on the job so that we at least get a little intel – a little intel of what’s going on outside the building at least. There’s a surveillance team with spy-drones on their way to the embassy now which will be able to beam us live pictures of the environment at least.”
“But neither any of the team members nor the drones are able to cross over the boundary wall. The drones should get good views from high up though even if they can’t enter Elixabethan airspace.”
“So, if I can’t get any Imperial forces involved, the only solution is to get someone else to help out – private individuals acting on their own initiative with no direct links to the Imperium – some hired guns.”
“Mercs?” Will asks.
“Mercs,” Lyn confirms.
“It’s going to be tough to find many who can get here in time,” she continues. “The cream will already be on assignment or won’t be prepared to head over here at such short notice. We’ll just have to see who we can rustle up in time.”
Lyn flicks open her commo and starts dialling.
“Hi, it’s Fiona here.”
“Yes, long time no speak. So how are you?”
“That’s great. I’m fine too. Anyway, as you’ve probably guessed, this is not a social call. There’s a job available if you’re interested.”
“Sometime in the next few hours. Before dawn.”
“Oh, that’s a shame.”
“Yes, I know it’s short notice. Do you know anyone else who might be interested?”
“That’s great. If you can have a phone around and see who you can rustle up, I’d really appreciate it.”
“The money? Don’t worry about that – the money will be good.”
She flashes a look at Will – a look that says that her expense account isn’t going to cover the tab.
“Thanks again. Hopefully you will be free next time there’s a job available.”
She moves on to the next number on her contact list and tries again.