Sam handed over the comms unit and Kare waited for a moment before there was a cautious answer. “Simone?”
“Yes, who is this?” came the reply, calm and unruffled as ever.
“Is the line secure?”
“It’s Colonel Kare,” he told her.
“You’re alive, then,” she said. “That’s good, we were worried. I was worried, Sir.”
“Alive, and not too bad, all thing’s considered. It’s nice to hear you are too. Do you recognise my authority?”
“Sonly has sent a very clear message, Sir. Yours is the commanding authority in Abendau.”
“How many troops (
do you have available)?”
“I have twenty in the palace, seventy in the city and thirty of these are military.” [I am confused by this part of the conversation. He asks how many “troops” she has, which I would assume is a reference to Soldiers. Then she says she has, I think, 90 “troops” total, but only 30 are “military”. I don’t clearly understand what she said. Perhaps “I have twenty agents in the palace, and seventy in the city. Thirty of my agents in the city are military.”]
“Good. Can you
report to our leader I aim to take the port
this evening.” [‘confirm’ implies that he is
checking the orders he has received, I think ‘report’ would be better since I
think he wants her to just tell their leadership that he is attacking.]
“Once I secure the port, she can bring her troops in [how about “...bring the main assault force in.”] I land at five this evening; they will be expecting a prison convoy. [who is ‘they’?] Have your people at the port, waiting.”
“Do you need anything further from us, Sir?”
“No,” said Kare. “I know the
layout of the port well. I’ll make contact once we’re in.” [recommend ‘layout’ since there are all kinds of ‘planning’
occurring and ‘plans’ being carried out]
He put the comms unit down.
“How do you know the port?” asked Sam.
“We were planning an assault on Abendau just before I was taken,” said Kare. “I’m basing this attack on those plans, and they were viable, both General Rjala and I agreed. In fact, with the
force’, ‘assault battalion’, anything other than ‘army’ please. She is not bringing an army]
Sonly’s bringing, if I can get them in, it’ll be a bigger force than I planned
it with, initially.”
Sam stood up. “I’m getting some food; do you want any?”
“No,” said Kare, “I’ve eaten more today than I have in months. Breakfast and lunch, Sam. I don’t want to get carried away with dinner as well.”
Kare watched the doctor walk away, and thought how lucky he’d been to have Sam join them. He decided to keep Sam very close this evening; he didn’t want him getting himself killed.
Lichio and Silom returned at half past four.
“Well?” Kare asked.
“We’ve got your hundred,” said Silom. “Of that, about half of them are useful, the others are, at best, keen.” [see earlier comments about the mess I believe this would be.]
The clear green eyes switched to Lichio.
“I managed to find one pilot in the Banned group, but you’ll have to be co pilot [finding a pilot amongst the slaves wouldn’t be too beyond believability either. Finding an individual with a useful skill to work with sounds reasonable, it is the coordination of large numbers of human beings on the fly that I think is impossible]. As instructed, you me, and the Doc aren’t allocated.” [I don’t remember those instructions.]
“We’ve got their arsenal,” said Kare, “and I need weaponry distributed. Lichio, you sort that out, Silom you make sure everyone knows how to use them. Oh, and show Sam, too, make sure he knows how not to shoot himself, at least. Or me,” he added, remembering his decision to keep the doctor close. [Exactly! Multiply Doc Prentice by 100.]
Sam handed over the comms unit and Kare waited for a moment before it was answered.
“Yes, who is this?” came the reply, calm and unruffled as ever. He smiled at the familiar voice. He hadn’t given the spies up, but he’d come so, so, close, his mother’s mind worming into his. That day– the lashings, the shocks; oh gods, the shocks– had faded into a red circle of horror but he still remembered how he’d been on the verge of saying their names and only their faces– faces he’d chosen, trained and placed– had stopped him.
“Is the line secure?”
“It’s Colonel Varnon,” he told her.
“You’re alive, then,” she said. “That’s good, we were worried. I was worried, sir.”
Kare smiled at her lack of emotion, knowing the small statement said more than any inflection might have done. “Alive, and not too bad, all things considered. Do you recognise my authority?”
“Sonly has sent a very clear message, sir. Yours is the commanding authority in Abendau.”
“How many agents do you have available?” Kare asked, and hoped his relief didn’t show in his voice. Up until now he hadn’t been sure, not completely, that Sonly would back him.
“I have twenty in the palace, ten in the city and five of those are military.”
“Good. Can you report back that I aim to take the port this evening?”
“Once I secure the port, Sonly can bring her assault force in. I land at five-thirty this evening; the port will be expecting a prison convoy. Have your people at the back door to the port, waiting.”
“Do you need anything further from us, sir?”
As he put the comms unit down, Sam placed a bowl in front of him. He frowned. “More food?”
Sam shrugged. “It’s nothing much. Porridge.”
Kare lifted the spoon and then set it down again. “I’ve eaten breakfast and lunch, Sam. I don’t want to get carried away with dinner as well.”
Sam crossed his arms. “Eat. I’m the doctor, and I say you need it. Now eat.”
Later, Kare looked at the drawings of the port and palace in front of him. They were drawn from memory, but he was pleased by how much he recalled. The two seats opposite were pulled out from the table and he looked up to see Lichio and Silom.
“Well?” Kare asked.
“I managed to find one pilot,” Lichio said. “The only other with any flying experience is you; you’ll have to co-pilot.”