Part 15: Session 013: Muscle
Internet's still not on at the house, but this update was small enough for me to sneak the images onto a 3.5" floppy and upload it at the library.
Session 013: Muscle
Day 11, 0944
With both care packages delivered, it was time to get paid. Since Artrigo was right there, I decided to pay my first visit to Caderas.
"Mr. Josa has his deliveries," I told the Interior Minister.
"Yes, yes, he called me earlier to say as much," said Mr. Caderas, dropping a fat envelope on the desk and gesturing at it. "You have my thanks, and the agreed-upon payment."
I picked up the envelope and put it away.
"While you are here, I have another task for you, if you will hear it."
I folded my arms. "Go on."
"The guerrilla cockroaches have eyes and ears within the protected cities, and much of my resources right now are devoted to sniffing these traitors out. My men recently made a sympathizer who relays information from Sagrada." He slid a black-and-white photograph across the desk to me.
"Gonsalo Terteira. He appears at night with sensitive papers stolen from the city hall. I suspect he is an employee there. At any rate, we cannot let on that we are tracking such men, and we certainly cannot have government troops engaging what appear to be random civilians in visible areas. If you were to intercept him, such misunderstandings could be avoided."
"So you want him dead?"
Caderas cleared his throat quietly. No matter the government, no matter the country, it's a politician's instinct to avoid words like "kill" and "dead." Mercs, however, cannot afford to carry such sensibilities, and watching men in suits squirm can be fun.
Caderas waggled a pen between his fingers, tapping it rhythmically on his blotter. "Prevent him from relaying messages, now and in the future. You are the muscle, see to it as you like. Do this and I will have more money for you."
I smiled a little. "Sagrada at night, city hall. Got it."
We headed to Sagrada that afternoon. Since we had to wait for nightfall there was no rush.
"A hit, huh?" asked ZeeToo from the back of the GAZ. "We gonna do it?"
"Dunno, I haven't thought that far ahead. But we have to pass through Sagrada anyway, so we might as well do something."
"In my experience, deliverymen tend to be nervous," said iamsmike. "We had a guy in collections back at the office who would always insist that there were two signatures present on any checks he had to give to his supervisor. He was afraid he'd get canned in the event of a bounce."
I nodded. It made sense. "So we'll have an insurance policy. iastudent, you're it. Make sure he doesn't run or pull a gun before we're done with him."
iastudent saluted by clapping his fist over his heart. "My knife will eagerly await the space between his ribs."
"We don't want to spook this guy, so the rest of you wait down the block. If something goes sour and he has friends, take care of them. Shouldn't be too hard, whatever happens. This isn't guerrilla home turf, after all."
Day 11, 2011
The streets of Sagrada were quiet, which is just how I liked them. The backup crew stopped a block south of city hall while iastudent and I continued on. There was a lone man at the foot of the steps. Before stepping out into the streetlights I confirmed his face with the photo the minister had given me.
We crossed the street. The man saw us, but didn't bolt. Perhaps he thought we were the contacts-it would make sense for the rebels to rotate their personnel often. I stopped in front of the man while iastudent continued past me, acting as though he were ascending the steps. Once he was past the mark, he stopped and turned, holding his knife at the ready.
"Mr. Terteira." I didn't ask, I stated. Asking a man's name gives him a chance to deny it. Stating a man's name forces him to respond to it.
The man tried to remain stony, but much like in poker, everybody has a tell. He narrowed his eyes just a little, and just for a moment, but it was enough. He'd responded to the name, and wondered how I knew it. He gave a furtive nod.
Mini-update decision time! We can shiv Gonsalo or warn him that the government is hot on his heels.