“That is-” Duke started to say.“I said that word is banned from this conversation.” Hans sipped at the liquid in his glass and glanced over at Honora who appeared to be deep in thought. “You’re awfully quiet.”
Honora lifted her glass and smiled. “To brilliant ideas and even more brilliant friends.”“What?” Duke and Hans spoke in unison as Honora took a sip of her drink.
“It’s brilliant, this plan. It’s bold and daring and no one will ever suspect a thing. I mean, yes, it’s difficult to pull off, but that shouldn’t stop you. It’s not like any of us were able to think of anything better at all.” Honora took another sip of her drink and leaned back in her chair.“You’re right about that, but it’s not going to be even close to easy. It pretty much amounts to suicide. If we get caught or anyone suspects a thing than it’s all over for us.” Hans stared into his glance not willing to meet their eyes. “In fact, death could be a blessing if we’re caught. We could be banished to one of the penal colonies. I’ve seen those places. Death is better.”
“She is right and if this is the only way to do it, then we need to do exactly what you said and banish the word impossible from our vocabulary. We’ll figure this out or die trying. I’m not in any rush to end up in a penal colony either.” Duke filled his glass to the rim and took a large sip.“So success or death is our new motto?” Hans looked at Duke with surprise. This was the last thing that he had expected from him.
“Sure, if we’re going to do this than we can’t go by half measures. It’s all in or nothing. And you can stop looking at me like that.” Duke said. “I know I may not trust or believe that alien monstrosity that we found, but you do and I do believe that people need to know the truth. So, yeah, success or death.”“Catchy motto.” Honora said and then placed her drink on the table. “Let’s get to work then. What do we need to know to make this work?”
“Well the message here just contains the most basic things we need to know like what the plan is and when we need to have it done, but there is a lot we don’t know. Like how to get into a secure facility, where to find the shipment that we need and what, if any, special equipment we might need to be able to hide out for this length of time.” Hans ran a hand through his hair.“Maybe it’s time to call in that huge favour we’re owed?” Duke asked.
“Well, we didn’t need to disappear yet, but we may still need that favour if things go wrong.” Hans sighed. “Then again, the favour might not cost that much. Plus, I have all these new luxury items to trade in so that might help a bit.”“I’ll set up the meeting with Chimmey.” Duke said. “Besides, I think he’ll be happy to have some repeat business since he did seem quite impressed with you.”
“Tomorrow night. At the hangar again, we don’t have any night flights going out that night so there won’t be any staff in.” Hans finished his drink and smiled honestly for the first time since he had decoded the message. “I guess for the rest we’ll just have to wing it.”“You don’t have to sound so happy about that.” Duke grumbled, but he was smiling too. This was their best shot, probably their only shot at getting to Earth undetected and there was nothing left to add to this conversation. Duke finished off his drink and headed out with Honora.
*****Hans once again was careful to make sure that everything was ready for their elicit meeting. This time, he made sure Alice was not recording at all. This was one conversation he wanted to make sure never got out. He had all the good that Alfie had sent him in a box ready to go. He stood in the middle of the empty of hangar for Chimmey and Duke to arrive.
“Hans. So good to see you.” Chimmey waved as he walked over to where Hans was waiting for them. Duke took a little longer as he stopped to make sure that the door was locked behind them.“Hi Chimmey. Duke explain anything of what we need to you?” Hans glanced over at Duke who gave him a terse shake of his head.
“Not a word. He was very vague about why you wanted to see me, but he did say that you had some product for me.” Chimmey glanced at the box and then back up at Hans.“A few luxury items from Earth. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a market for them since they’re hard to come by this far away.” Hans gave the box a nudge with his foot and Chimmey knelt down for a closer look.
“I can definitely handle this for you, but considering that I am the one owing you right now it makes me worried about what you might be about to ask of me.” Chimmey stood up and glanced at Hans through narrowed eyes. “Very worried because you look very serious.”“We need to get into the AFSF base with no one knowing better. We only need to get in – not out.” Hans shared a glance with Duke before looking at Chimmey expectantly.
“Just in? You aren’t planning on coming out?” Chimmey shook his head hard. “No, don’t tell me I’m thinking it would be best if I just don’t know. In or out, doesn’t matter that is a very hard thing to pull off.”“I know, but can you get a coded passcard or something that will give us access to the facility? We need maybe an hour.” Hans held his breath as Chimmey gave the request some thought.
“I’m thinking I will be a very rich man because what you are asking for sounds like a fancy way to commit suicide, but I know a way we can get you in there. It won’t come cheap, but that isn’t a problem.” Chimmey pulled out a small notepad and handed it over to Hans. “Sale of the plane went very well for all of us. This is your share.”Hans looked at a number was pleasantly surprised. “That’s’ more than you thought it would get. I think we’re in pretty good stead here for you to pull off a miracle, but there is still a chance that we may need to disappear eventually. Don’t forget that.”
“I haven’t forgotten. If you like I can make some headway on that as well for at cost.” Chimmey tilted his head. “Being prepared may come in handy for you.”“I think that might be a very wise idea. There would be three of us who would need to disappear. Duke, myself and a girl as well.” Hans said. “Now, about getting into the AFSF compound? We need to do this tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” Chimmey nearly yelled out. He cleared his throat and lowered his voice. “That is asking a lot. Normally something like that could take days. I have contacts, but-”“No one else will know about this. I don’t care how much you trust your contacts, but no one else can know. Am I clear on this?” Hans took step closer to the diminutive criminal. Hans wasn’t tall, but he still towered over Chimmey who took an instinctive step back.
“Very clear.” Chimmey straightened out his suit. “I will have someone drop off a package tomorrow evening.”“Send a courier no later than 1400h tomorrow. That is when we need it by.” Hans took a step back to where he had been standing before.
“You aren’t making this easy at all, but I can get you a passcard. It might not stand up to a more thorough check, but it ought to get you in the front gate at least.” Chimmey frowned, clearly unhappy with the request.“And uniforms, we need two-” Hans started saying, but Duke interrupted him this time.
“Three uniforms.” Duke glared at Hans who returned the look.“Fine, three.” Hans told Chimmey. “One for myself, one for Duke there and something for a girl that is about your size.”
“Uniforms are easy enough. That passcard is the hardest part, but I’ll get it done for you. I’ll send a courier tomorrow before 1400h. This is going to cost you.” Chimmey shook his head again. “You are crazy, but I still like doing business with you. Just remember, you get in there and get caught – you don’t know me.”