Picking Up The Pieces PT3

On the road, riding in a beat-up looking '83 Toyota Corolla… somevhere in Morrocco.

The car vas almost too cramped for the 4 of them, and Said vas not hezitant in moaning about it at least 3 times an hour, ever since there last stop-over at a small diner. The stench of gasoline in the cabin didnt help, and lack of air-con made the mummy stink a bit.

“When I sayed I wuld be there if you need me, this is not vhat I had in mind… I think I vas more comfortable in that SUV we used to catch the train, back then.” - the mummy grumped.

“I think its fun! Three of us… sorry… FOUR of us this time, like the Magnificent Se-- eh, Four! Riding into action!” - Nassir vas his usual happy-go-lucky self, fidding vith his AK as usual in a co-driver seat.

One of the Marya commandos, a very tanned, scarred, wiry woman, vith them sayed nothing, but gave a big thumbs-up+grin. Hardass to the core, the guerilas wer used to riding in anything, and didnt complain about sh*t unless it vas literaly eating them alive.

As for Lori, she just shrugged.

“You offered. I took you up on it. Besydes… just becauze I’m off the grid vith the Templars, dont mean I’ve suddenly gone stupid. You shut off your phone, right?” - she glanced at the mummy.

“YES, yes I have, for the 3rd time… thogh I think your going over-board with paranoia.” - exasperated.

Lorianne smirked, adjusting a wide hat she had on her head, as she swerved the wheel sligtly, to take a exit off to the right.

“You can go over-board on alot of things, Said. But paranoia? Spend as much time as I have, insyde the guts of a secret society, and you learn the value of diskretion and how evrything and evryone can be traced. And before you bring it up… the Kingdom is diferent. You guys operate with-in boundarys of legal businesses. You dont get your hands dirty on your own. You keep distance. Your covers are always secure. Me… lets just say this meeting vith Sonnac is like a open-invitation to the Iluminati or the Dragon to send there own little excurzions out, to crash the party. Geting there hands on a top enemy agent, plus a high-ranking Templar like Sonnac, that wuld be a big win for either of them.” - She growled, losing her smirk.

“Thats why we’r using this POS car, a good old paper map, and NO phones. No GPS, no electronics, no parking sensors, no onboard computer, no HUD, no nothing. Nothing for any hacker worth half his salt culd hack-in and locate us aniwhere on Earth vith his eyes closed. And also why we’r not going thru Agartha. Minus the fact I culdnt bring Nassir or our frend here thru, any passage thru Agartha wuld be monitored by the Big Three.”

She culd ‘feel’ Said’s… suprised, evaluative, impressed… gaze, like a heat-ray on skin. She chuckled.

“Oh dont give me that look. Just because I’m a bruiser dont mean I cant think. I know full wel how vulnerable we are right now. And I know how many people on Earth wuld like nothing better then to get there hands on me. AND I’m still not dis-counting that Sonnac could be feeding me a line agen.”

“Is that why you given him the wrong meeting point?” - Nassir asked seriously, putting 2 and 2 together, on the convoluted directions Lori has provided to the number Sonnac told her to contact him on.

“In part. And it’s not… wrong… not exacly. It’s his first step. He’ll get there, realyze I’m not there, then he’ll do one of 3 things. One: Contact me immediatly and accuze me of ulterior motive - and that’ll be a dead-give-away that he had a trap planned. Becauze I know him wel enough to know hes not the type to jump to concluzions. So if he doez THAT, I’ll know that I ruined his plan, vhatever it may be.”

“Two: He’ll assume I vas intercepted and captured. He wil not contact me, and expoze himself, but he wil try a trace on my phone. He’ll realyze it’s shut off, since he’ll get no return signal, then he’ll go back, and try agen sometime later. If he does that - we’re back to Square 1. I’ll know hes honest, but not determined enough to meet me.”

“Three: He’ll make a detailed search of the area, and find the clue I want him to find.”

Nassir nodded, with a devious smirk.

“The Templar Cross medalion you left there insyde the bookcase, and that note insyde? How do you figure he’ll even look there, tho? It’s a big library, I’m sure he’ll have other things on his mind then going thru old books about Solomon Island.” - dubiusly.

Lori pursed her lips, as she cracked her left knuckles, finger-by-finger, absently.

“I know the man, Nassir. I know how he thinks. It vas the first assignment he sent me on, clipping the wings of a rogue sorcerer - didnt kuite pan out like we wanted - and he’s very big on simbolism. Ever since the place was nuked, after the vhole fiasco there, and USA goverment ineptitude, I culd tell he took it almost… personaly. He told me once, how he wished he culd go back in time, and corect the mistake of sending me there. And when we talked two days ago… I culd tell he also wished to corect his mistakes vith me. So… seting up our ‘meeting place’ in a library, with a specific section on Solomon Island… I’m sure the simbolism wont be lost on him. He’ll look around… unless I’m seriously off-point on my reading of him. But no… no, he’ll look around. I can feel it. And then he’ll find it, if he looks carefuly enough.” - she murmured, almost to herself.

Said shooked his head.

“I have played on some wild hunches, in my centurys… but this… I dont know, Lorianne.”

She shruged agen.

“Nor do I. But, one of benefits of having a Bee insyde me… my hunches tend to be more accurate then most. And I learned to trust them.”

Said nodded, a litle annoyed.

“Fine. Assuming he picks up the 1st bread-crumb you left for him, why are we here in the midle of no-where, heading for some pissant village in Morrocco? Whats the name agen… ?” - he pauzed…

“Tamgrout.” - Nassir provided, making Said look at him in suprise.

“Good vith places.” - the man just shrugged, cleaning his AK.

“Tamgrout, right. So, whats the signifcance of it?” - the mummy pressed.

Lori waved her hand with a dreamy smile, flexing in the driver’s seat, holding the wheel by just 2 fingers at the bottom, as the old car continued its straigt-line drive across the dusty, half-paved road.

“No reazon. I just feel like sight-seeing a bit. And I feel like leading who-ever might be on our tail, on a litle sight-seeing tour across the a$$-end of nowhere in Morrocco. Tamgrout is just the first step. And I also feel like testing how far Sonnac wil go to actualy meet me. How determined he is to make things right. And how much we can muddy the waters for any Big Three party-crashers who may or may not come calling. I have a few more bread-crumbs to drop, aniway.”

She grinned at Said.

“Besydes, with how old you are, I’d think patience might be one of your virtues? Guess not.” - teazing.

The mummy just given her a bland look, then shaked his head with a eye-roll, as Nassir burst out laughing.

“And test how long this piece of junk wil keep going before overheating, eh?” - clapping Lori on the sholder.

“That too.”

// PT 4 soon //


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