In “The Stream,” Boyle and his team get jumped in Kathmandu by a crew who may work for the Chinese.
In “The Vault,” a special section of Canada’s Communications Security Establishment is monitoring Kathmandu, which has gone dark to all electronic and parapsychic traffic. Madison and Heather, two agents from the Vault, joined their international spec ops team in “Meet & Greet.” While on the trail of Boyle, the team is ambushed by a group of parapsyches able to break through the Kathmandu silence. The team foiled the ambush, but at the end of “Dirty Hands,” they were facing the business ends of more firearms. The team is faced with Alexander Scott and Rebecca Kim in ” . . . I Would’ve Backed a Cake,” but an agreement is reached. That makes everyone happy, until all the prisoners—and Dyck—are cut down in a hail of gunfire. By the end of “Thicker Than Water,” it looked like Dyck might make it out alive, but that was by no means assured. It also certainly seems like Scott knows something about Mads and the reasons for putting him on the team.
In “Mission Unlikely,” we learn that Boyle and his team have gone missing. Becca meets Alex in Monrovia in order to get him to come with her to Kathmandu to find Boyle. Off the record and off the reservation. Alex then goes to meet a contact in Burma in “The Russian.” Rudi the Russian agrees to supply both equipment and information for Alex’s forway into Nepal. Alex and Becca try to make contact with a prisoner in Kathmandu allegedly connected to Tangible Stream, but in “Target of Opportunity,” they find that someone is watching. That someone isn’t professional, and they capture him with ease. This doesn’t make them feel any better.
In “The Bedouin,” Kyle and Meredith from the Prospero Group contract the intelligence broker known as the Bedouin to get them a lead on what is happening in Kathmandu. The Bedouin returns to old haunts in “From Delhi With Indifference,” only to be ambushed by hit teams led by a man with a Nepalese name but an American accent. Rudi the Russian gets sent to Kathmandu to kill the Bedouin, but Boyle and “Cascade” emerge to save Rudi from “the Cat’s Reward.” Boyle, “Cascade,” and Rudi make an unannounced visit on the special ops team sent to hunt down Boyle’s team in “Switch of a Flick.” The visit was not entirely cordial, and left one team member, whom Boyle asserts is a mole, dead.
Now, Digs is left to pick up the pieces after a visit by Boyle and Rudi left Flick dead on the floor. A few unexpected guests don’t help Digs’ calm.
Fourteen: There’s A Mole, and Then There’s A Mole.
Digs had been in the shit before. He knew how to handle himself. He gathered up his gear, everything he needed, anything that could finger him or the team. He did it fast. Most of it was ready to go. Digs didn’t squat and he didn’t take up roots, he was always ready to move.
The body of the guy he had called Flick still lay where it had fallen. The blood kept coming. Digs did his best to avoid it, but that wasn’t so easy. Funny how he had taken Boyle at face value. Funny how easily he questioned Flick’s identity. But things were falling into place.
Not even an hour ago, Mads had made the call, had talked to someone in India through a very old and very clunky telephone scrambler. Apparently, he had found one back in Canada and had packed it with his kit. From what Mads had said after the call, their CIA briefer in India–Hitch–had been bogus. The whole mission could be bogus. It made what Boyle said resonate.
As much as he hated to admit it, Digs believed him. He hated to think that of the dead comrade on the floor, of the guy who had been on the team, but he had a gut feeling. Boyle had spoke true.
Digs had the scrambler in his hand and wondered about one more phone call. He had a number for a guy who could clear up the Flick dilemma–who might be able to set him straight on the others as well. Was this the time for that? Digs stowed the scrambler.
For a moment, Digs had the impulse to torch the body. Don’t leave anything. No clues meant a colder trail, and that suited Digs fine. Problem was, torching the body would torch the room. Torch the room, and you pretty much torch the building, maybe the neighbourhood. And fuck the trail. The opposition knew exactly where they were. The trail ended there.
Movement outside the door made Digs draw his Browning Hi-Power, the one he had retrieved from the hallway after a ten count. He had already fixed a suppressor on it, and now Digs crouched and moved to his left. That would be the right side of the first person through the door and might give him time to get that Mozambique Drill done.
After the four tap code Digs had set up with his contact, he heard Gurung’s voice. “Digs, we need to talk.”
“Come on in.” Digs remained ready, waiting for an assault through the door, ready for another betrayal.
The door opened slowly, carefully. Gurung poked his head in. The ex-Brigade of the Gurkhas, ex-private military contract, and present fixer didn’t seem fazed by the weapon trained on him. He smoothly slid into the room and closed the door behind him. His eyes moved to Flick’s body.
“Well, that’s unpleasant,” he said. “Are you ready to move?”
Digs didn’t lower his weapon. “You don’t seem surprised.”
“I heard there was a mole.” Gurung stood near the door, his gaze now on Digs. “I had my suspicions.” Gurung shook his head. “You didn’t do that.”
“I didn’t do that.” Digs lowered his weapon. He listened to his gut, listened to his instinct. He was doing that a lot. “But you know who did.”
Gurung didn’t smile, but Digs thought he could hear relief in his voice. “Yes, I do. I told them where to find Flick.”
Digs gestured to the body with his weapon. “Apparently, that’s not Flick.”
Gurung nodded. “Apparently.”
“And he wasn’t the only mole.” The venom laced the words without a conscious decision by Digs.
Gurung took a deep, slow breath before answering. “There’s a mole, and then there’s a mole.”
“You’d be the former?”
“If you didn’t think so, I’d already have a bullet in the head.”
Digs holstered the Browning. “I was planning to put two in the chest, one in the head.”
“Best to be sure, yeah.” Gurung didn’t move from his place near the door. “I don’t want to push my luck, but you’ve got to go.”
“I know a place.” Gurung had a hand on the door knob. “That is, if you want it. If you don’t, then believe me, I’m gone and you won’t see me again.”
Digs had only a moment to think about it before the phone rang. It startled him. Of all the sounds he expected to hear, the ringing of the old rotary-dial phone hadn’t been anywhere on the list. He stared at it as it rang again.
“Answer it,” Gurung said.
Digs glanced at him then back at the phone. It rang. He picked it up.
“Sergeant Everson, I’ve got eyes on.” The voice on the other end was female, and sounded British. “You’ve got opposition coming up the stairs. I’d say less than a minute to contact. Don’t go out into the hallway.”
Digs met Gurung’s eyes. “Ambush.”
“Looks like it.” Whoever she was, she sounded confident and competent. “Out through the window. I haven’t spotted any opposition in the alley. Anyone materializes, I’ll put them down.”
“You’re our overwatch?” Digs asked.
The sound of a soft chuckle came over the line. “You got it.”
Gurung walked to the table and held his hand out for the phone. He had a Browning in his hand. It looked older and better used than Digs’ weapon. Digs gave him the receiver.
“Willow?” Gurung asked of the voice on the phone. Digs, of course, could not hear the reply. Gurung gestured to the window with his Browning, then hung up the phone.
Digs had his gear ready. He nodded to the phone. “How’d she call us?”
“Same device Flick used with the laptop,” Gurung said. “The bad guys have something that can cut through the silence.”
Sliding the window up, Digs glanced out at the alley. Nothing. Totally clear. A two story fall in full kit? He had done worse. The sound of rushing feet in the hallway motivated him to make the jump. He hit the ground and rolled, as though landing from a parachute jump. He got out of the way, as he expected Gurung to follow him.
He heard gunfire. A lot of it. The window blew in, shards of glass falling.
The window blew in. Fire from outside the room. Willow?
Gurung made it out. He had a torn sleeve and blood on his left bicep. It didn’t slow him down. He broke into a run. Digs followed suit. They rushed to the back of the tenement, then stopped. Gurung checked both directions, and then back the way they had come.
“Willow will keep their heads down, but not for too long.” Gurung holstered his weapon. “I have a place.”
“Go.” Digs adjusted his ruck, watching the window they had exited. Any moment now, someone was going to stick their head out and eyeball them.
They didn’t run. Too many faces, too many people. They already stood out. Even with all the foreigners filling up the Kat, the back alleys and bad neighbourhoods remained the domain of the locals. The poor locals. Digs didn’t exactly blend.
“You get tagged?” Digs asked.
“Grazed.” Gurung didn’t seem bothered.
“Where we going?” Digs studiously ignored the people around him, the people watching him.
“I have friends who should already be talking to your friends,” Gurung said. “We’ve got a safe house that is actually safe.”
“Yeah, let’s not put too much faith in that right now, right?”
Gurung nodded grimly. “Right enough.”
“These friends of yours, they play nice, right?”
“Very nice.” Gurung gestured to a beat-up Japanese sedan that even from a distance. “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.”
Digs raised an eyebrow. “I think you and Madman will get along quite well.”
Gurung grinned, getting behind the wheel of the sedan. “You recognized the quote.”
“I should have shot you.”
Mundus Novit: Dark Horizons continues with “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner!”