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Halloween fantasy (part 74)

 
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Bodil and Victor left Lieutenant Hawthorn’s office some minutes later. They walked through the maze of busy corridors in silence for a few seconds before Victor spoke.

“I think that went quite well.”

“Yes, I think it did.” Bodil glanced sideways. “Do you think we should have asked for more?”

Victor turned his head and smiled.

“Judging by the vein on his forehead, I think we got it just about right.”

Now far enough away from the lieutenant’s office, Victor and Bodil allowed themselves to laugh away the anxiety over how the meeting could have gone very wrong.

Victor rubbed his hands.

“Let’s tell Ellie and then go for a drink.”

Bodil looped an arm around his.

“How about we go for a drink, and then tell Ellie?”

So, a couple of drinks later, a meeting was called and the rest of the team was told of the results of Bodil Hill’s experience of contractual law… well, as far as it pertained to archaeological expeditions anyway.

There were a couple of concerns however.

“So,” Amy began, hoping she had misunderstood. “We’re all going to be going outside, but with just this one Ranger to protect us?”

Eyes turned to the professor, who turned to Victor. After glancing at Ellie, Victor folded his arms.

“Ranger Weis has proved himself to be a highly competent man to have around, and he is very familiar with the local tribes, something that is going to be really useful.”

Dr. Awolowo took up the floating doubt expressed by his assistant.

“But he is just one man.”

“Yes, but we will also have Goliath and all the protection that offers. We’ll be quite safe from anything the jungle can throw at us.”

The doctor picked up on the implication.

“The jungle, but I thought we were going south, following that live cable you found?”

Ellie stepped in.

“That was the plan, however the satellite imagery failed to pick up any discernible trace of the cable. So, in light of the new information Ranger Weis provided that supports your own evidence that the other location is Warwick Castle, Doctor. We don’t really have much choice but to pursue that lead at the moment.”

Though the logic was apparent, the anthropologist and his assistant didn’t look fully convinced over the safety of heading north without sufficient Ranger protection. Bodil added her two cents worth.

“And remember, the nice lieutenant is letting us all have Ranger armour and Ranger weapons so if anything nasty does show its head we can show it just how academics can fight.”

The image this produced in their minds elicited enough of a laugh to ease Amy’s and Harry Awolowo’s fears just to lift the apprehension that had been building around the table.

“Talking of which,” Ellie said, standing up. “I’ve arranged for a publicity photoshoot which will finish off with a shot of us all booted and spurred and ready to go. Before that, though, I want you all in your best bibs and tuckers for the individual shots.”

With the meeting apparently over, they trailed towards the door.

“Oh, and do remember team.” Ellie said, stopping in the doorway. “If they start asking questions just refer them to me.”

Prior to the final photo being taken everyone trooped into the musty smelling Ranger Quartermaster's store.

Of course, the Rangers' Quartermaster had nothing that came close to fitting Gregor. Which was fine by him as he sat on the bench and watched his compatriots trying to make the lumpy body armour sit comfortably over their ballistic weave body suits.

Gregor was pleased that Ranger Weis had been reassigned to them for their upcoming expedition into the lethal British countryside. Gregor liked the little man. He was funny. More importantly, he had demonstrated that he was good at his job and had earned the trust of him and the others. Gregor noted the professional ease the ranger snapped close the bindings of his armour. Weis may be a 'specialist', but he was also a combat veteran.

Gregor's gaze turned to Professor Hill. He still wasn't sure why Miss Ellie wanted her along on this. More than once he had overheard her and Miss Alicia arguing about the archaeologist. Maybe Miss Ellie was hoping that Professor Hill would not survive. The thought saddened him, but, sometimes such things were necessary. Right now, the professor was having trouble with her snap bindings and Gregor smiled to himself at his friend Victor's eagerness to offer his assistance. He just hoped Victor's interest in her would not get in the way of his job. Both Victor and the professor had, it seemed, decided to forgo wearing their ranger helmets, and both for the same reason. 'Helmet hair', however, was not something he had ever had to worry about himself.

Which brought him to his own job. With a sigh Gregor stood up. He walked over to the counter from where the uniforms had been given out. Picking up the last helmet in one ham-sized hand Gregor went over to Ellie and unceremoniously plonked it down on her head. Ellie started to protest, but Gregor was used to that. He fastened the strap under her chin, closing her mouth in the process.

"Don't even tell me because I don't care. The others can do what they like. YOU will wear your helmet."

Ellie started to mutter something about 'I pay your wages dammit'. But Gregor had already turned away towards the waiting cameras. So she made do with making faces at his back as she and the others followed on behind.

group 1

Weis, Victor, Ellie, Gregor, Bodil

group 2

Amy, Ellie, Dr. Owolowo, Cybil



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