Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Atlantic Bridge – 9 –

vascodegama (Prologue(Atlantic Bridge 8 )

Ambialet, The Monastery, that same night

“Have you posted the lookouts, Henri?” asked Dryden, a well-built thirty year old, a senior  member of L de L, who had lived in Ambialet all his life.
He’d had the chance to go to University, but had opted to stay in the town, even when his parents moved away. It still left a bitter taste in his mouth. He had thought they were being disloyal. But his bitterness now was left only for himself.
“Certainment” replied Henri, waking Dryden from his thoughts. “I think we should rotate them every twelve hours for the foreseeable future, n’est pas?”
“I think that would be wise, Henri. If it’s coming, it’s coming soon. Those murderous dogs are most keen when they have the scent of blood,” Dryden almost spat the last words out.
“Calm yourself, mon ami it is cold clinical calculation that will overcome these fundamentalistes, not black-hearted rage.”  Henri knew the man’s pain ran deep, knew it was rage that fuelled him, but he worried that Dryden would get himself killed because of it. He had promoted him to the council of eleven in the hope that the increased responsibility, the faith shown in him, would temper the undeniable steel the young man possessed. It had worked, to a point. But there were times, such as now, thought Henri, when you could almost reach out and touch the blackness within him.
Henri turned as he heard footsteps in the outer hall..
A woman, around thirty-five came running in, breathless.
“Marie-Christine! Bonsoir!” exclaimed Henri, embracing her. “Has the message been delivered?”
“Yes, Henri,” replied Marie-Christine, the only woman on the council. “We can expect our friends in Lagrasse to join us within the week. They firstly have to ensure that the Abbey there is secured from prying eyes. They are bringing much firepower, but they need to hide their larger cache of weapons in the Berlioz tomb in the cemeterie.”
Naturellement,” replied  Henri, though I worry about their use of the cemeterie – so many have been desecrated by these fanatics.”
“Pah!” scoffed Marie-Christine, “Not just by the fanatics, the local Maire requisitioned my family’s tomb for re-use to generate more income for the Catholic church, when it had been a Concession in Perpetuity, all these religions are as bad as each other!”
Mais Oui,” sighed Henri, “but in this century at least, there’s only one that I know of that removes parts of the body as punishment. Bon,” he clapped his hands together for emphasis; “ so we have the help from Lagrasse. In the event of un grande catastrophe, we must get word to our friend in Duihac, in case we need to retreat to Peyrepertuse.”
“Peyrepertuse?” spluttered Marie-Christine, “surely such a move is a little excessive?”
“You think so?” responded Henri “If all is lost here, Peyrepertuse is the only place we can safely regroup without fear of recrimination. Short of an air strike, we could hold out there indefinitely.”
Marie-Christine considered this. She always found a delicious irony in the fact that Lumiere de Libertes network was spread across the old Cathar country. The Cathars, a people who retreated into their spectacular mountain top fortresses to escape religious oppression. Over seven hundred years, and though the names have changed, the struggle was the same, she mused.
She nodded her assent, lost in her own thoughts.

The Gorge du Tarn

Vann and Percy were busy securing nylon ropes at the edge of the sharp precipice that dropped away down to the river, which looked like a ribbon of quicksilver when the moon appeared from behind the clouds, casting its pale glow across its surface.
“Okay, one at a time, signal when you’re at the bottom with a sharp tug,” Said Ben.
Swiftly, silently, the team made the descent. When Tobias and Thompson, as the last two had reached the banks of the river, they simultaneously activated their remotes, which caused small explosive bolts to detonate from their grappling hooks, freeing them from the top of the precipice. They quickly stowed them, and began preparing the inflatables for the trip downriver.
Ben was still pondering the fate of Corporal Clarke. He hoped to God he’d made it. Clarke was a tough soldier, he’d served in the Second Korean war in 2058, and Simmons had picked him for his expertise in covert operations. His loss was a serious blow to the mission. Moreover, it went against the grain to abandon one of your own, not knowing his fate. Ben tried not to dwell on it, and set about delegating two four man crews for the inflatables.
They loaded the weaponry aboard, the new Heckler & Koch Firebrands, the latest in lightweight composite machine pistols, and the Crayfish, cutting edge directional sticky bombs. They’d allowed for the boats to sit extremely low in the water, but being two men light, they rode a little higher, which at least would make navigation of the river at little easier. Every cloud, thought Tobias, grimly.
The sleek black inflatables pushed out into the strong current, as the men silently slipped their oars into the water. Not a word passed between them as they disappeared downriver into the night, each man alone with his thoughts.

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 10)

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February 1, 2009 - Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, writing | , , ,

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