Barron landed in a tree. With the help of some sturdy branches he reached the ground with relatively few bruises. He opened the flashlight on his smartphone and headed in the direction where Perv landed. Soon enough he found him. Some phone calls back later the team was together again. Huddled in a circle they discussed their options.
‘Steal a plane?
– ‘First place they’ll be looking for us will be nearby airports. Perhaps some distant airport, but that will cost too much time.’
‘Head for the US embassy?’
Hans shook his head. ‘That’ll be the second place they’ll look for us. They’ll stop us before we enter the place and even if we succeed there’s no telling how long they’ll keep us there. We need someone we can trust, someone well-connected.’
The men were silent for a moment.
‘Okay’, Perv sighed. ‘Perhaps I know someone. He’s not exactly low-profile, but he is well-connected and they won’t expect us visiting him. He lives in London. Judging from our position it’ll be a few hours by foot. We’ll see if we can get a car.’
They nodded. Perv turned to Mike. ‘Can you arrange a car?’ ‘Maybe’, came the answer. ‘Has to fit 6 men.’
– ‘Great. Let’s move on before the dogs or whatever are on our tail.’
With as little light as possible they navigated through the woods, avoiding roads. Sometimes they’d stand completely still when they’d hear a sound too close for comfort, as when they heard a helicopter in the distance, but overall the men kept the tempo high.
After an hour Barron was exhausted. They paused near a creek for some rest and water. As Hans, Mike and Jack did some stretching, Barron caught some breath. Perv sat next to him. ‘You holding in there?’
– ‘yeah, I think so.’
‘Good. There’s something I need to talk to you about. The plan was, I escort you all the way to Saudi Arabia, but the plan did not include us being shot down. I don’t know what will happen next. Worst case scenario and I am taken out, you should not be a sitting duck.’
Barron listened intently as Perv continued.
‘Look, there’s three things in the world you need to survive: money, a passport and a phone. Phones you can buy anywhere. As for the other two…’ Perv held out a passport and a wad of money. ‘Here you go.’
Barron took the passport and opened it. In it was his face, but it went with quite a different name: Ashton Bucksley from Oakland, California. ‘I can’t take this!’
– ‘you can and you will. I’ve had strict orders to give it to you in case of an emergency. Take the money as well. Better to use cash only from here on. It’s a hundred 50 euro bills. Should be more than enough to get you to Saudi Arabia and back.’
Barron sighed. ‘Let’s just hope it doesn’t get to that.’
Perv agreed. Barron let himself fall backwards and gazed up to the stars. Something about the sound of rippling water gave Barron a serene feeling, even if the circumstances were far from that.
‘I’ve been wondering to ask you. Why do you do it?’
– ‘Do what?’
‘This. Helping me out. Are you with some kind of agency?’
Perv laughed. ‘Hell no. I am a free man. And as a free man, I enjoy the finer things of life. Finer things which are, quite unfortunately, under attack. So I must fight.’
– ‘You don’t have to.’
‘Of course I do! For thousands of years men have fought! It is a most noble and virtuous pursuit. Besides, I am needed.’
– ‘By whom?’
‘Well right now by you. But others as well. We must unite and cooperate, but many are stubborn. Through superior aesthetics, I will help teach our people submission, then cooperation, then victory! Do you understand?’
– ‘…I think I do.’
‘Good.’ Perv smiled. ‘Now if you’ll excuse me, it is handsome Thursday. I have some business to take care off.’ And with that he turned to his phone.
The men continued their journey. After another hour the forests made way for meadows. They passed some farms. When Mike spotted an exposed car near one of them, he signaled the others to wait in a ditch next to a road. 20 minutes later a dark green Land Rover stopped on the road next to them. Mike opened the front door: ‘you guys need a lift?’ The men chuckled silently. Barron was very impressed, but as he got in he had to ask whether they could return the car later on. Mike raised his eyebrows. ‘If the situation permits it, sure.’
He put down his foot on the gas pedal and they sped towards Perv’s connection in South-East London.