We make our way back out through the kitchen into the alley. I’m still practically dragging a stunned Alice by her shoulder.
“We…can’t go back to Alexandre’s,” finally regaining some of her senses.
“You’re right. Where can we go?”
“Corina’s. We have to go to Corina. Anywhere else is too dangerous.”
“Alright. Let’s go. We should take the long way though. Just in case.”
“You’re right. This way.”
We take off through the backstreets, all but running between the buildings. We’re lucky, these alleys have very little foot traffic. We avoid the main roads as much as possible. It’s still fairly early in the morning, so even the main drags have few people. It takes us about twenty minutes to make it to Corina’s camp. Once there, we slip into the church, hopefully unseen.
“Corina won’t be here until later. She’s works at a clinic across town.”
“What should we do until then?”
“Stay out of sight. I know some of the people here, but I don’t want anyone else involved in this.”
We spend the next few hours trying to figure out our next move. Alice is still pretty much in shock. I occupy a lot of the time poring over the documents I pulled from Philip’s desk. I go over and over them, trying to figure out who Philip’s contact may have been.
Most of the information in the packet is about the job. It’s a theft. No surprise there. Based on this intelligence, there’s a caravan coming into the city tonight. Phillip’s report indicates it’s not just food, but weapons and ammunition, blankets, rations. Everything the militia could want to stockpile.
Philip was right. This job was very important. If we had been able to do this job, Philip could have fed a camp like this one for months and given them a way to protect themselves if the militia ever did come knocking. Not to mention crippling the Picayune militia outright.
These people need this. They’re starving as is. The plan laid out in the file has two teams of three people each infiltrating the compound where the militia plans to store the new supplies before distributing them day after tomorrow. Tomorrow night is the only opportunity before the supply is gone again.
But that’s not all. There’s a set of initials that keeps recurring in the file. An inside man who has been feeding Philip information. I wonder if this person was Philip’s contact about our situation as well. Unfortunately, the file says that “CP” will be out of contact until tomorrow night. If I’m reading this right, CP is stationed as a guard at the compound, in the perfect position to provide tactical support.
“Alice, I think you should look at this.” My words pull her out of her thought. She stands up from her corner across the room and joins me in the mess of papers surrounding me. I clear a spot for her to sit next to me.
“What is it?”
“I think I may have found a lead. I’m not sure, but… look here… this CP. Whoever CP is, they were a crucial part of Philip’s plan. They work as a guard at some supply warehouse.”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Phi…” She hesitated a moment on his name. This is obviously really tough on her. “Didn’t Philip say that his contact’s information was in that file?”
“Yeah. He did. But he was delirious. I’ve been through all of this. I’ve read all of these documents multiple times. There are no names. Only initials. And the only one with any indication of how to contact them is this ‘CP’.”
“Okay…well let’s do that then. We wait ‘til tonight. We let Corina know we’re here, then we go find CP.”
“We can’t,” I shuffle through some of the papers and pull the one I need. “According to this, CP was supposed to go silent a few days ago until the job tomorrow night. Zero contact until they give the signal. The plan was for them to expect Philip’s team to be in position by then.”
“Well, that does complicate things, doesn’t it.” Alice picks up some of the papers, studying some of the plans and trying to find something I might have missed.
“Yep. I don’t think we are going to get around doing this for him. At least in some capacity. I suggest that we get to the point where we figure out CP’s identity, then we grab them, see what information we can get, and we get out.”
Now perusing the caravan inventory list, Alice half-whispers, “I… don’t know. I mean, look at all this. These supplies could help a lot of people.”
“I noticed that too. But I don’t know if we could pull it off. Philip’s plan requires six people plus CP. Right now, we have you and me. That’s it, and half our gear is still back in our room at Alexandre’s inn. This job took months of planning, and if the intel on this place is good, I don’t think we’ll be able to do it with less than four. It will be safer for us if we get CP and get out.”
“We can’t do that. Those people out there are starving.” Waving the inventory sheet in front of my face. “These rations can feed them for weeks, if not months. There are other resistance cells in the city just like Philip’s. These weapons can give them a fighting chance against the militia. And it was my friend’s dying wish that we do it. We should at least try.”
“Alright? What’s your plan? You don’t want anyone else involved. I don’t want anyone else involved. Which leaves just the two of us. And I don’t see how we can do this with just us.”
“Then let’s just…wait until Corina—“
“What does Corina have to do with this?”
“There’s more…Something I haven’t told you…Corina doesn’t just feed these people when she can. She’s not just their preacher or just a doctor. I didn’t want to tell you this before because I didn’t want to betray her trust.”
“Corina runs a resistance cell, doesn’t she?”
“Yeah, she does. And a pretty successful one at that.”
“I suspected as much.”
“I think she might be able to lend us some help. She knew Philip. I didn’t want to get her involved before. Philip liked to keep his cell separate. His missions were usually a bit riskier. He didn’t want to risk the others. It’s why I didn’t say anything to her last night. But with Philip and his cell… gone… Corina and her people are going to need those supplies more than ever.”
“Well, I don’t know if that changes anything. But maybe with her help, it’s worth a shot. We’ll see what she says when she gets here.”
Alice and I spend the next few hours poring over the documents together, trying to figure out a new plan. One that requires the fewest resources possible to pull off. It took some reworking, but I think we came up with a suitable strategy.
Corina doesn’t show up until around sunset. When she finally does, we stealthily pull her into the side room we’ve been camped in all day. It doesn’t take long to explain the situation. Corina seems to take the news about Philip’s demise pretty well. It appears they weren’t that close.
And when I say we explain everything, I mean everything, from the beginning. I tell her about Rachel, Jason, Chris, everything that happened at that house a few days ago, all the info we gathered from the bounty card. Most importantly, we go through our altered plan to complete Philip’s operation.
“I don’t know. This is really short notice.” Corina mused. “I could get the people, but planning an op like this takes time. This is the first I’m hearing about this caravan.”
“The plan is all laid out. Everything is right here. Philip and his team were very thorough. Maps, layouts, guard schedules, even a ground plan for the storage facility. My guess is that most of this was provided by this CP character on the inside. Once we’re in, they’re supposed to help us get the supplies out of the compound and hidden. It’s honestly a great plan.”
“I see that, but we still need three more people, minimum. It’s going to take me at least until morning to get my people here. Getting them up to speed in time would be a challenge. This isn’t the kind of job where we could afford any mistakes. And with your additions to the plan, we’d compromise a major asset on the inside of the Picayune militia.”
“Steven and I are going in whether you help us or not.” I was surprised to hear Alice chime in so vehemently. “We have to talk to CP. Whoever CP is, they may have information or access to information that we need. If we have to go in alone, not only will CP be compromised anyway, but you also won’t get that stockpile of supplies. However, if we go in together, we can do both.”
“Please, Corina. We are asking for your help. You need those supplies. We’ve seen how low you are on food. If it’s as advertised, this cache could feed your people for quite some time.”
“Alright. Fine. I’ll send for my best. I’ll do everything in my power to make this happen. I’ll send a runner with the message to meet here by sunup tomorrow.” Corina sticks her head out the door and shouts to someone across the clearing. A moment later, I see her speak quietly with a young man, handing him a piece of paper before sending him on his way. “Well, in the meantime, we have mouths to feed. And if you’re going to be staying here tonight, you can help like last time.”
“I’ll go lend the others a hand.” Alice takes her leave from our little war room meeting, leaving Corina and myself alone.
Corina starts to follow her out, but I put my hand on her shoulder to get her attention. “I can’t help you tonight. There’s something I have to do. If I tell Alice, she’s going to want to come with me. She’s had a rough day. We couldn’t save Philip, and she’s taking it pretty hard. She’s going to need all the rest she can get before tomorrow. I plan to be back in a few hours. I just need you to cover for me with her.”
“Where are you planning on going?”
“I’m going back to the inn. Alexandre’s. Half our gear is still there, and I want to check it out. Warn Alexandre if I can, make sure we didn’t get tracked back there.”
“That’s crazy, you know? What happens if you were? Tracked, I mean.”
“Once I’m there, I’ll stay out of sight. Only one or two people would even recognize me there, and none of them have my real name.”
“And what if they’re there waiting for you? If you go alone, you will be very exposed. All you have is that knife of yours. If you go in there like that, and they’re there, what’s your plan? They are after you. Not her. As far as you’re aware, the only thing they know about her is that she’s traveling with you.”
“That’s why I’m going without her. If I get caught, they have no reason to come after Alice.”
“What is so important about that gear? What did you leave behind? Based on what you told me earlier, you only met Alexandre once. So, I doubt this is concern for him. What did you leave in that room?”
“Just…some supplies. Food.”
“That’s a huge load of horse crap, and we both know it. What is it?”
She’s not so surprisingly astute. “It’s…something that belonged to my mother. One of the last things I have of hers. I usually keep it in my pack, but I didn’t want it getting lost here in the city, so I tucked it away with our supplies back at the inn.”
“I see. You still shouldn’t do this alone. It’s not smart. What happens if you don’t come back? And I don’t mean captured. I mean dead. In case I wasn’t clear about that. What about your sister? Are you just going to leave her too?”
I’ll admit that one caught me off guard. “That’s not fair. And at any rate, I don’t plan on dying. I don’t plan on getting captured either. I’ll only be a few hours. By sunup at the latest. You’re just going to have to trust that I know what I’m doing. Please.”
“I’m not going to lie to Alice. If she asks where you went, I’m going to tell her. I’ll buy you some time, but when she notices you’re gone, that’s it.”
“Alright.” I crack a slight smile, relieved. “Deal. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
“You’d better be.”
About the Creator
Somehow, my most popular story is smut. I don't usually write smut. I did it once, and look what happened. Ugh.
Anyway, Hope you enjoy my work. I do pour my heart, soul, sweat and tears into it.
PS: Please read more than my smut story.I beg