The New Year’s Eve Ball behind us, the Silver Shields set to work figuring out what Mr. Lies would do next. On a personal note so all of you readers will know both Tequila and I despise long engagements so the date is February 14th, 2015 for our nuptials and we are not going to be as elaborate as Vodka’s and Sherry’s. Something simple under the oak tree. In the meantime we both had a job to do and I had sent her out to look into something. Now before anyone talks about me risking my future blushing bride on a dangerous mission, I would like to remind everyone she was doing this kind of stuff long before we met. Her expertise is getting into places that others can’t and absorbing information from multiple directions and getting that back to others. She gets attention to be sure having a near perfect figure, but no one expects that the little barmaid Tequila is up to anything.
I still was sitting in the basement base biting my finger nails and pacing despite telling myself all this. If I didn’t need some fresh information on one particular place I wouldn’t have done it. I simply had not heard from the side of the river away from the pub near the ocean for some time. During the war we had taken both sides of the mouth of the river bridge. The problem was that almost immediately once Mr. Lies pulled out upriver on that same side we began to fear he might take that side of the river completely. It was our bridgehead to take him from land without having to cross the river or a bridge. Oddly, nothing seemed to happen and there was nothing happening for a long time and then poof silence with no explanation. No reports from our agents and no nothing at all. For three days we had nothing and so I sent in Tequila.
It was about five hours later that she opened the door to the basement and walked in. My heart leapt but she was all business. Her report was grim. Mr. Lies now controlled all the far side of the river and from her estimation had done so for quite some time.
“I think he took over slowly. Converting our people and learning our network. I found some of our people still doing what we sent them to do but they had puncture marks in their necks so they were doing it for the other side.” Tequila was grim when she said the last part.
“Damn, how do we fight that?” I inquired.
“Not the first time we have faced this. Actually we have an advantage on this side as we have the Nexus and it is in our control. Vampires don’t like to cross running water as it weakens their power. They can recover however if they get a coffin across and sleep in it. That’s what we need to watch for.”
“No way to really stop that as there are a lot of entrances to the city. Their thralls could do it anywhere.”
“Yeah, we know that but it means we can watch the abandoned places on this side of the river to see if there is activity. If we see any we investigate. We can also watch the bridges but we need to consider the far side of the river completely compromised.”
“Yeah, we also need to institute a regular check system for neck bites. Speaking of which, Tequila.”
Tequila bared her neck and arms for inspection. No bite marks.
“Question, can vampires bite anywhere and infect a person?”
“Yes actually. You have the right idea but we will have to set up a regular inspection system where people get naked to be inspected. Girls with girls, guys with guys. There are enough couples for cross inspection. Also Silver Shield policy on this is in the event of any suspicion a Shield must completely disrobe immediately. Refusal means forced inspection at gunpoint.”
“OK! Safety first I guess.”
I went over to the map.
“I am going to have to ask the pirates to move their ships to cover the river and both bridges now. Not sure how much help we will get their though in the winter. River is almost frozen over completely and the pirates are doing their jobs as corporate lawyers and mid-level bureaucrats.”
“Honestly boss, raw force is not going to help much in this next round. They could actually withdrawn back to port. No, Mr. Lies over played his hand last time and played it too impatiently and he will not make the same mistake. This time he will have traitors, infiltrators and spies everywhere before he strikes. He want victory to be quick and silent this time and the downside of the other bank of the river was just him testing his tactics. Our job is to make sure he never gets any farther.”
“Are still going to call me boss after were married?”
Tequila grinned, “Absolutely. Get back to the subject. We need to be far more watchful than last time.”
I kept my next thoughts to myself. The only people who knew about my secret spy in the center of Mr. Lies’ camp were me and Colonel Gin and I planned to keep it that way. Her code name was Shrike and so far she had reported in twice. Once to tell us that she was inside and the other to set up various modes and avenues of communication. I figured we would hear from here when she had something important.
“What about the spy or spies in our midst, my dear?”
“If there are any they are very good at it. We only know there are some because of how the War went. I will keep my eyes open.”
“Well, nothing to do now but watch and wait some more.”
I kissed her and want back upstairs to serve some theology and clear my head by drinking some myself. This was probably going to get worse before it got better.
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