current mood: geeky
On May 15, we had Bonnie ("Xiang Wen," a.k.a. "Wu Xie Zhi" and "Dot"), Marc ("Anabel Windsor," a.k.a. "Abigail Wilson" and "Vicky"), Mike ("Vincenzo Calliente," of many aliases), and Torsten ("Qoqa Ramazanov," a.k.a. "Zoya Petrovna Sidorov"). Martin ("Zhang Zhu," a.k.a. "Harry") remains unavailable.
Time: Friday, March 16, 2012 (night).
Place: Auto-body shop somewhere in Vancouver.
Last Event: Rescuing Anabel from kidnappers.
With the bloody unpleasantness of a close-quarters fight to the death behind them, the Agents hasten to deal with the aftermath. The unanimous decision is to leave the scene quickly and flee the city – hopefully with everyone, ideally without the police too hot on the trail. This entails cleaning up the scene as efficiently as possible, procuring a vehicle, and hitting the road. Hamid, Jili, and Paul will have to use their own wits and wiles to get away from the authorities questioning them at the airport, as nobody involved in the altercation at the body shop wants to risk interacting with law-enforcement personnel. Anabel, in particular, has to stay out of sight. Thus, the team gets to work:
• Anabel searches for the SIM that her abductors removed from her phone. She finds this, and in the process examines the phones that her captors were carrying. These prove to be airport-kiosk cheapies, and a quick look reveals no information of value.
• Lev texts Hamid, Jili, and Paul, sending them a strong (but hopefully not terribly suspicious) hint that they should get moving.
• Qoqa patches up Klas as well as she can, given the rush. She focuses on stopping the bleeding from his neck wound. Fortunately, the injury doesn't look immediately life-threatening.
• Vinnie steals out into the shop's small front lot, finds a small bus partway through conversion to a touring van for some band, and gets it started and pointed toward the road.
• Wen grimly executes the three surviving enemies with a shiv to the brain.
• Zhang shows up on foot and does his best to "clean" the area while Qoqa is busy with Klas. He dumps gasoline on Klas' blood, wipes down the minivan stolen at the airport, and fetches Anabel's clothes from the kidnappers' van.
Despite all the noise and chaos, only one bystander bothers to take a look. This is perhaps thanks to a combination of hour and location (Friday night in a dingy strip of low-rent automotive businesses), or possibly because Anabel's abductors picked this place for its isolation. Regardless, the lone audience member is an unsavory-looking type who takes his leave at a run when he sees people dragging bodies around a shot-up garage. The Agents decide to ignore him, as he doesn't look any more interested in meeting the police than they are.
As soon as everybody is ready to get rolling – and Klas is stable enough that he can get going – the Agents pile into the waiting bus and Vinnie starts driving. Vinnie assumes that the police are almost certainly on the way, and so does his best to avoid anything that looks like a police car or flashing lights, or that sounds like sirens. He also takes care to avoid roads outfitted with traffic cameras.
During the drive, Jili messages Lev back, explaining that she, Hamid, and Paul managed to get out of questioning by begging off tired and leaving false contact info. Lev suggests that the three rent a car at the airport and get on the road. He promises to text them back once Vinnie has acquired another vehicle. Jili indicates that they'll get on it at once.
Vinnie is soon pulling up outside the quiet and poorly lit truck yard of an intermodal shipping company on the other side of town. His goal is to steal a vehicle that doesn't sport a colorful band logo. He gets out and sneaks over to the padlocked gate in the tall fence while Lev, Wen, and Zhang stand lookout; Qoqa remains in the bus, taking care of Anabel and Klas. It doesn't take Vinnie long to pick the lock and slip onto the property.
Opting for stealth over haste, Vinnie searches the area carefully until he finds a big rig parked in the shadows, out of sight of the watchman he sees walking rounds. He observes the guard for a couple of circuits, gets an idea of the man's pattern, and – when he's fairly certain that he'll be neither seen nor heard – darts over to his vehicle of choice. Moments later, he's rolling out the gate at low speed in a stolen transport truck.
The Agents standing watch spring into action. Zhang relocks the gate behind the truck, while Lev and Wen help Vinnie get the loading door open and extend the ramp. At this point, Vinnie realizes that the trailer is quite a bit larger than the little bus he stole. With careful driving, the latter could actually fit inside the former! This would block the bus' side exits, but as it's a converted school bus with a door at the rear, he could drive it in with everybody aboard and they could still get out the back way. Without further ado, Vinnie does exactly that.
Before long, the big rig is on the road, with Vinnie riding up front and Anabel, Klas, Lev, Qoqa, Wen, and Zhang packed inside the bus within the trailer. Vinnie gets a message to Paul about where to meet him: an isolated corner behind an all-night doughnut shop. Neither group runs into any trouble reaching the rendezvous location. There, Vinnie lets everybody know that his destination is Winnipeg, and then Hamid joins him up front, while Jili and Paul pile in the back with the rest of the gang. After that, the Agents head east.
Throughout all this driving, waiting, and meeting, Qoqa aids the injured as well as the dim light and close quarters allow. She manages to suture Klas' neck wound, give Anabel a checkup, and treat Lev and Wen for minor injuries sustained during Vinnie's controlled crash and the ensuing battle. It looks as if everyone will recover quickly enough once the group manages to settle down and get some rest. And as far as Qoqa can tell, Anabel's psyche stood up to torture relatively well – at least in the short term.
Once the truck is safely out of the city and on the highway, Jili telephones Chaturvedi. She gives him a detailed update on the day's events. He seems shocked when he hears of the incident at the airport, but his words suggest that he knew that "Bruce" had dangerous enemies seeking him. Jili informs Chaturvedi that the group is making for Winnipeg, and that they'll need new cover identities at some point. The handler tells her that he'll see what he can do, and requests that the group keep a low profile on the road and procure new phones as soon as possible.
The haul to Winnipeg goes well. Hamid and Vinnie take turns driving – four hours on and four hours off – for a 24-hour stretch, stopping only for fuel and food. At the two-thirds mark, Vinnie pulls the truck off the road at an isolated corner to let his associates out. Then the group descends on a motel, their cover story being that they're a touring band with roadies. However, the desk clerk doesn't seem to care who they are, and looks at nothing but their cash. The Agents get five rooms, and the night passes without incident.
The morning of Sunday, March 18, the Agents eat a hearty breakfast, sneak back to the truck, and hit the road. Once again, Hamid and Vinnie drive in shifts throughout the day. Vinnie is behind the wheel when the group rolls into Winnipeg that evening. At this stage, the expense of diesel, lodgings, and food has just about depleted the team's ready supply of cash, and nobody wants to risk using the credit or debit cards associated with the false identities used to check in at Vancouver International. Thus, Vinnie's decides that it's time to sell the stolen vehicles.
While the rest of the crew remains with the truck, Vinnie locates and strolls into a downscale dive with a lot of motorcycles parked out front and the smell of weed hanging in the air. His natural talent for locating scumbags works its magic, and soon he's making a deal to sell the big rig to two of the place's denizens. They really aren't interested in the bus, but one of the lowlifes is a gambling man, and makes Vinnie a bet based on his odd description of the situation: Double or nothing on there really being a bus in the trailer, which sounds like bullshit to him. Vinnie accepts, and then walks the men outside and wins the bet. Whether or not the tough guys' original intent was to renege or simply jack the goods, they pay up when they see Vinnie's menacing associates lounging around the vehicle.
After that, it's time to get some rest. The Agents catch cabs across town and use a little of their wad of cash to check into another low-rent motel. Once again, the night passes uneventfully. The morning of March 19, Vinnie takes a short walk to fetch breakfast and a few cheap phones, and then rejoins the others. On reporting in to Chaturvedi, the group learns that the Company is a little tapped-out on false identities, and needs more time. Eventually, it's agreed that the whole team should catch a train to Ottawa and call in from there on March 21.
A visit to the train station reveals that it would be possible to procure five sleeping cabins for two on tonight's train for Toronto, and that this plus a transfer for the final few hours to Ottawa is within the group's budget. The Agents opt for this, as cabins ensure maximum privacy – and anyway, several members of the team could really use a chance to rest and recover. Thus, tickets are booked and the afternoon is used to pick up a few personal items, such as clean clothing, with the remaining cash.
That evening, the Agents board the train for Toronto and settle in for a long but hopefully relaxing train ride. Luckily, it seems that they've slipped past anybody who might be searching for them, because there are no suspicious-looking characters aboard and no tense identity challenges during the trip. Mostly, the crew simply rests, with Qoqa keeping an eye on everyone's health to ensure that wounds are healing. Early on Wednesday, March 21, the train pulls into Toronto, where the group transfers to the Ottawa train. That leg, too, goes well. By evening, the team is in Ottawa.