Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Walking Death, Chapter 3

     Sam and Rachel met up prior to the meeting and made their way. Virtually everyone on the call out list was present. The meeting was to make plans for the recovery of a defecting Imperial scientist who was referred to only by the codename Knocker. Knocker would be arriving via a cargo ship and in a casket sized box. Sam shuddered to think about a passage of three weeks inside a coffin, and thought that the woman had to have ice water in her veins.

The plan was simple: two men would recover the box and transport it to a warehouse rented for the night from the Rinaldi Family. Once there, Spanner, a weird science specialist, and Sawbones, team medic, would awaken the scientist. Goodyear would be standing by to drive. Four others, not including the pick-up men, would be present as close security. All of this would be overseen by the masked Liberty, head of the New York City resistance. That he was in on this was too much of a risk so far as Sam was concerned, but Liberty made it clear that he would not remove himself from the plan.

Outside of the warehouse, Liberty had placed four lookouts, Rachel/Lamb among them. Sam was to be outside as well; ready as magical back up and to cover the escape should the Law come down.

Sam and Rachel took a position a couple of blocks away from the warehouse.

“I feel ridiculous,” said Rachel as she leaned into the passenger side of Sam’s car. She was wearing a low-cut top and old flapper dress purchased from a second-hand store.

“What? I’ve seen you wearing less than that during dance numbers.”

“At least those outfits had class. And they matched. These look like you just dug them up from random out of a charity bin.”

Sam decided to button his trap on that one. He did pull them out of a bin at the store.

“Hey, I had to work hard to find something that would class you down. Anything you might have had would have been too nice for a working girl in this neighborhood.”

“Well, I would have found something better.”

Rachel was had to remind herself to keep from stomping as she made her way up and down the street. She was running ways of getting back at Sam for this indignity. Not only was she passing up a night at Club Hades, but she was positively mortified that one of her sisters might spot her done up like this. The Lilliam were certainly not uptight when it came to sex as a business matter, but they definitely considered mere street walking beneath their station. Besides, cash was not the true medium of exchange in such matters.

She continued her walk up the street, back toward Sam to report nothing of interest. She even managed to put on a smile and a cant of the hip to the whistle of the shotgun man of a panel truck heading toward the docks. The whistler’s truck was the first of a half dozen traveling in convoy. Rachel stopped her strut and looked closer as the trucks traveled in convoy.

They were all commercial lorries, but something about the drivers bothered her. The passenger of the first truck made a smart whistle and got a punch in the shoulder from his driver. None of the others made any sign of having seen her. The last truck’s passenger did notice her, however. In a brief flash of eye contact, Rachel recognized the scarred face of the last passenger: Major Helmut Stein of the Imperial Anti-Resistance Forces.

Panic flashed before composure resettled over Rachel’s mind. She gave the major a wink, a twitch of the hip, and a lewd comment. Stein’s gaze slid right off of her. Rachel hoped that he had just brushed her off his mind like he would a speck of lint off of his normally perfect uniform. He had been wearing coveralls. She did the math as she hurried to Sam’s car: driver and passenger in each truck was twelve, plus unknown number in the back of each.

She had to get back to Sam immediately.

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