Out from the railway in the depth of the forest, Fenix knelt over one of the few operatives that looked to be conscious. He was starting to think that maybe he had been a bit too rough during his questioning. They had told him what he had already known. They had been tracking them since Tangier and were trying to steal but the goods for Diran.
“You’ll be left here until everyone else wakes up, okay?” He called. “When you do you might be able to work together to get the knife embedded in that tree, you see? With that, you’ll be able to get free. If one of you doesn’t wake up, well, you’ll just need to use your leg muscles a bit. Either way, we’re leaving you here in the hope that you don’t come after us. If you do, I won’t be so merciful next time.”
One of the covered heads lowered which he assumed was a nod.
He turned to Ryan and grinned. “Great. Ryan go tell the conductor to start the train up again. I want to hit Denzil before the end of the day.”
Ryan walked off and Fenix turned, eyeing up the prisoners.
“You know, this whole conflict was Diran’s fault. Linth agreed to do weapon experiments for so long as you reported on what you would be using them for, but the moles we had in Diran reported that this wasn’t the case.”He pointed at them. “You guys broke the deal and now we have to transport the tech they gave back to their creators. Trust me when I say that I’m about as happy about this game of capture the flag as you are.”
There was a whistle from the engine room and the train slowly began to pull away. Fenix ran toward the train and jumped onto the back as it was taking off. He walked down the side rail back toward the passenger compartments and slid the door shut. The town of Denzil was less than half an hour away by train so he decided to find Ryan rather than get comfortable.
Fenix was surprised the find the carriages nearer to the front empty. Ryan was in the dining car, looking disappointed that it was closed.
“You can get some food at the station in Denzil as soon as we arrive.”
Ryan nodded but his expression showed that more was on his mind than just food.
“We’ve been in the same unit for a month now, and yet you didn’t think it might have been prudent to let me know that the wind occasionally saves your life?”
Fenix raised an eyebrow. “Would you have believed me if I had told you?”
Ryan stopped and thought, trying to hold down a grin.
“Besides, it wasn’t really relevant until now. But now that you do know, what are your thoughts?”
Ryan found a seat to sit down in. “I’m too hungry to think.”
“You won’t be soon.”
The speed of the train allowed him to keep his word. It took less time than he had thought to get to Denzil. Despite the fact that they had been sitting down for most of the day, this didn’t stop Ryan from loading up on carbohydrates as soon as he reached the station cafe.
Fenix was sitting on the stairs leading down to the platform. He looked up and shook his head in amusement when seeing Ryan stuffing cup-a-noodles into his mouth.
“You know how in our mission parameters that once we were on the train, we weren’t supposed to be out of sight of it?” Fenix asked.
“It makes sense.” Ryan sat down next to him. “It’s our only quickfire route straight to the port.”
“Well, I’m out of bullets so I’m going to leave the keep-it-in-your-sights part to you for a little while.”
Fenix patted him on the shoulder. “Afraid not. Hold down the fort until I get back.”
Ryan’s groaning and complaining faded as he climbed the stairs and exited the station. The overcast clouds gave everything in the quaint town a dim light. The place was surrounded by the same woods they had dropped the operatives off in. The trucks transporting massive logs into the wood mills as well as the many furniture stores all told of what made up the town’s main trade.
A cold wind blew in from the south and he tucked his hands into his pockets. His eyes scanned the busy street until he found a hunting and gun store on the other side of the road. To get out of the cold, he jogged into the store. The doorbell rang and he shook as the air conditioning warmed him. Inside the walls were green with red “For Sale” signs pointing out collections of rifles in locked racks.
“Hello, good sir. Can I help you with anything?”
He walked over to the bearded man behind a desk, unholstered his gun and placed it on the counter. “Yeah, I’m looking for bullets for one of these.”
“An H eighteen, eh?” He turned and pulled a few packets down. “We have a hundred for fifty and two hundred for a hundred.”
Fenix eyed up the packs he slid over the counter, noticing the yellow and red D on the base.
“You get Diran products here?” he asked.
“Are you kidding? Diran fund most of this village.”
Fenix nodded, realizing why they were told not to go out of sight of the train.
“I’ll take the hundred.”
He passed a hundred dollar note and stuffed the larger case in his coat pocket before turning to leave.
“You in a hurry to shoot someone?” the gun salesman asked in a joke as Fenix went straight to the door.
Fenix smirked. “A few people.”
He left the hunting store and made a beeline straight back to the station. Picking up his pace, he moved into the station, passed the cafeteria, and padded down the steps to where Ryan sat, waiting for him.
“Has the conductor come back?”
“I was beginning to think he might come back before you did.” Ryan frowned. “Why? You look pent-up.”
“Don’t panic, but I think we might be in Diran run town, and that’s why we were told not to go near the train.”
Ryan shook his head. “You’re kidding.”
“I don’t think it matters. I only talked to a guy at the hunting store, and look at that, the conductors back.”
A balding man with his gut hanging over his pants walked out from the toilets and made his way over to the caboose.
“Alright, let’s just get on the train and wait for the departure.” He descended down onto the platform. “Call me paranoid but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Ryan nodded but couldn’t help but roll his eyes as he got up.
They moved in and found their seats. As Fenix sat down, he let out a sigh of relief. However, as he turned to look out the window, he saw a few people appear on the platform. By the time train’s whistle blew, those few people had become a crowd. He saw the bearded man among the crowd, pointing toward the train.
Fenix slouched in his seat and peered over the windowsill. One of the larger men moved from his sight, revealing a feminine figure wearing similar gear to the operatives that they had dropped in the forest. The train began to move. Although he turned to get a better look, as a gap separating the windows blocked his vision for an instant, she vanished from his view.
“What are you staring at?” Ryan asked.
“You didn’t see?” Fenix’s frowned but then shook his head. “No, it doesn’t matter.”