|Subject: Whispered Identities - Chapter 227
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Date Posted: Monday, August 01, 08:04:34pm
In reply to:
's message, "Whispered Identities - Chapters 221 & forward" on Sunday, July 10, 08:59:36pm
Nikita peered from the cockpit window at the flickering lights of Bordeaux. She glanced at the pilot who spoke softly into the small jet’s microphone.
“Aeroport de Bordeaux...this is flight XRT259.....confirm landing strip, s’il vous plait....merci.”
The jet bounced roughly on the runway and taxied to a halt. The pilot shut down the engines and turned to Nikita.
“Sorry about the landing....I’m a tad out of practice....haven’t flown for Adrian in awhile.”
Nikita smiled while unbuckling her safety harness. “No problem, I’m glad you were available to help us. So....can you arrange to tuck the plane out of sight for a few days....I’ll contact you when we are in egress back to the airport. Please have the jet ready to take off immediately.”
“Yes....certainly. Ahhhh....look, Adrian didn’t give me a lot of details on what you and your men are doing but if I know Adrian....it’s something dangerous. So....take care.”
“Thanks....I will.” Nikita grabbed her gear from behind the cockpit seat and joined the men who were already de-planing. James Reilly, the agent from Center, was motioning Nikita towards a black van parked in the shadows of the freight terminal. The van’s lights blinked twice. The team darted towards the van and jumped inside; it was a tight fit with four of Dalton’s men and four Center agents plus Nikita. Nikita jumped in beside the driver and peered at his face.
“You have the necessary intel regarding our destination?”
“Yes ma’am....I used to work for Adrian Maxwell when she was at Interpol....now I freelance....you can trust me.”
Nikita sighed. “I hope so....what’s your name?”
“Raymond Rice....people call me Ray....you must be Nikita Jones....I’ve heard about you.”
“Really? Well, if we had more time....you could explain what you’ve heard...but for now...take us to the safe house.”
The driver nodded and pulled the van onto a disused access road. Once he had reached the main highway, Rice gunned the vehicle and streaked into the night. After entering Bordeaux, the driver steered the van into the city center; pulling up to an rundown building, he jumped out and opened a decaying wooden gate. Returning to the van, he pulled the vehicle into a tiny courtyard, while one of the agents pulled the rotting gate closed. Rice leapt from the van and motioned for the team to follow him. Reilly looked at Nikita and shook his head.
“Let me take two men and check out the site....not that I don’t trust this chap but.....”
“Go....we need to take all precautions regarding freelance contacts....confirm on channel two.”
Reilly pointed at two of his men to follow Rice into the building. Within minutes, Nikita heard Reilly’s voice on her transceiver. “Good....okay everybody inside,” she replied.
The operatives, including Nikita scooped up their gear and made their way into the building. A dank, unused odor permeated the building. Raymond Rice was busy lighting hand lanterns as the team entered a large room on the second floor, housing old sofas and one large table. Nikita tossed her gear onto the floor and walked to the window overlooking the courtyard. The lights of Bordeaux glowed; Nikita motioned Rice to the window.
“What’s that dark area in the middle of town?”
The public garden...the Parc de Riviere....I...I believe you have a meet there.”
“You know that? What else has Adrian told you?”
“Not much....just that you wish to meet Perignon at the Gallerie de Paris....it’s next to the public garden.”
“That’s it....I can set up the meeting with Perignon....the rest is up to you.”
“How do you know Perignon?” questioned Nikita. Reilly wandered over to the window, watching Rice intently.
“I work for him at the gallery....but ....well, Adrian offered a very generous sum of money to organize a set of photographs of him with a prostitute and....I need money.”
“What kind of work do you do for Perignon,” questioned Reilly.
“I’m his driver...his chauffeur.”
Reilly looked at Nikita and motioned for Rice to leave them. “Can we really trust this bloke? I hate dealing with freelancers....even if Adrian knows him.”
“I’m afraid we don’t have any other options....we need to persuade Perignon to tell us where the Briochette estate is....otherwise we’ll be spending days trying to locate the place. I will however, contact Adrian to confirm her reliance on using this man.”
“I’m going to keep a close watch on him but for now....I’ll get the team settled in....we have enough food and gear to stay put for a week...if we stretch it. Hope this dump has a loo....if not I’ll designate a place.....oh, want me to find you some private....another room that isn’t infested with rats,” he grinned.
“Thanks, I’m fine here....that corner looks good....maybe have some food issued....and tell the men, no smoking....this place could go up in a minute.”
“Right....oh, Nikita....good working with you again.”
“Likewise Reilly....ahhh...James. I’m going to set up a mini comm on the table, so perhaps we can move the table over to the side of the room....then we can set up the computer and communication modules.”
“Certainly.....hey, Jenkins and you two men....clean that table off and move it over to the right of the room.”
Once Nikita and Reilly had organized the computer and communication devices, Nikita pulled up an old wooden chair and began tapping in codes on the computer. She put on a small head-set. Within a few minutes, Michael’s image appeared on the screen. Nikita smiled to herself.
[i]He looks tired....bet he isn’t taking his damn medication either.[/i]
Michael...we’re set up at the safe house...such as it is....everything’s a go for the morning and contacting Perignon. One thing though.....” she glanced across the room to where Rice sat on the floor, sipping a bottle of water and munching on a piece of french bread. “.....could you have Adrian confirm the reliability of her man in Bordeaux...Raymond Rice. He picked us up at the airport and brought us here....but....I feel as does Reilly, we need to take care using outside help.”
“What are your suspicions....has he shown some signs of betrayal?”
“None...just being cautious. Where is Adrian now?”
“Sleeping I presume....I’ll have her woken, and talk to you.”
“No...no don’t bother....just have her contact me early in the morning....to confirm the reliability of this man Rice.”
“How are you feeling Michael....you look tired. You should get some sleep too...and don’t forget your medication.”
A small smile crept across Michael’s face as he turned and stroked his chin. “I’m okay Nikita...but thank you for asking....not all team leaders are worried about tactical operative’s health.”
Nikita leaned into the computer screen and gently touched the image of Michael. “This team leader offers the complete service,” she whispered. “I....I miss you....and when I return....you better be in shape for our.....well, you know......”
Michael raised his hand and reached out to his computer screen and Nikita’s face. She did likewise - touching her screen and his hand.
“I miss you Nikita....be safe....and get some sleep now.”
“That’s not going to be easy now... thinking about you....goodnight Michael.”
His image dissolved slowly from the screen; Nikita sat biting her lip.
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