Part 8

by CM Towns

   Araminta was in her room holding her sword, “Feels weird to think that,” she said to herself while examining the blade. She swung it a few times before finding the sheath on the bottom bunk of her bunkbeds. The sheath was a gift from Jessie who felt it would be better than having to pull it from her teleportation gates, which had a secondary function as an inter-dimensional storage facility.
   Araminta reflected on the past few months with the Guard. Less on the action and adventure and rather on the quiet, day to day activities. The room-the same one she first awoke in-now felt like her room. She had started filling up the bookcase with books, putting posters on walls, decorating with pictures of the team and even a couple of stuffed animals on the top bunk. Araminta had a number of stuffed animals back before she became a hunted runaway but now with a place to call her own she could start collecting again. Araminta also had a closet and dresser filled with clothes-ones that were not stolen but rather acquired through legal means. This took Araminta’s eyes over to her luggage. One bag was about four days of comfortable clothes and certain necessities. The other bag contained a pair of her uniform, one pair of boots and three masks.
   Araminta’s mind shifted to the new case. She was use to getting nervous before the teams adventures but having spent a few minutes online looking up details about the Daga Cartel, Mexico’s Cartel wars and Juarez she had a much more grave sinking feeling. Araminta now felt that she should have voiced her approval of Jessie’s plan to stick together. Of course she always preferred sticking together. Or in the very least keeping close to one of the more powerful or well trained members of the team.

   A buzz at the door made Araminta’s head swing around. She looked at the time before moved to answer. Once the door slid open she saw Sally standing there. Araminta invited her in and Sally took a look around.
   “You ready?” Sally asked.
   “Packed, yes. Ready? No.”
   “Its okay to be scared.”
   “It’s hard to believe that when you’re so calm. At least most of the time,” Araminta said.
   “What is troubling you the most?”
   “I looked up our enemies.”
   “Did not like what you read? It is troubling but we are equipped for this mission. We are simply looking to damage key enemy sites and retrieve information to pass along to the proper people,” Sally told her.
   “You don’t think we should have stayed together?” questioned Araminta as she sat on her bed.
   Sally sat next to her and answered, “We are stronger together but an organization like this is like a animal we have back home called a Ujikole. You shoot it or cut it and more, smaller Ujikole grow. The only way to get rid of it is to burn it to ash. That is a tricky scenario with these Cartels so it is best to leave scars and remind your enemy of their place.”
   “You sound ruthless. Anyone ever told you that?”
   “Jessie has, on occasion.”
   “How is she doing? She seemed to rush out in a hurry. Did her and Elijah get to-you know-talk? Jessie seemed annoyed that he sided with Antoine and you. It’s sort of early in their relationship for trouble,” Araminta spoke.
   “Jessie has been at this job for a long time. She believes she knows best and having come up against these people before, its hard to be argued with. Do not worry, she’ll be fine. The road bump with Elijah will be nothing,” Sally assured Araminta.
   “Did she already leave?”
   “Yes. She packed quick and Antoine gave her a new tablet-a G-tablet as he started calling it.”
   “G-tablet?” Araminta chuckled about.
   “I guess Antoine and Tesla decided that the equipment being provided should have designations. G-phones are our personal cells, G-books are our laptops, and the new G-tablet. Only got a few of those,” Sally explained.
   “How does Tesla manufacture those? It’s not his business.”
   “The laptops were manufactured at a limited number for his employees and friends. The ones we received were personally modified. Or, modified by drones. The cells are all from another company that were opened, hacked, moded, repainted and given to the team. The tablets are first run. He’s explaining it away as wanting his team, at his business, to have top of the line equipment.
   “He has been doing this for a while. I’m starting to believe Antoine had suspected an eventual team of sorts and Tesla put equipment aside for that reason. A very prescient person,” Sally explained.
   “And cute?” smirked Araminta.
   “I am not-” Sally stopped herself. “Please, can we be serious?”
   “Just messing with you,” Araminta admitted.
   “Are there any other questions you need answering?”
   “Where are we going?”
   “Sinaloa. It is, by my estimations, their current seat of power. While their leader has a lavish villa in Jalisco as well as seats of power in Mexico City, Juarez and in other areas-Sinaloa is a perfect location. Its near small islands, it is connected to the state of Chihuahua which is on the border of the US and allows shipping to the Baja states. From there they can use man made submarines to ship illegal narcotics into California. It was also once the seat for another Cartel,” Sally said.
   “You have done your homework.”
   “I have,” Sally agreed. “First time Jessie and myself went in we had less knowledge than we do now. I have made sure not to make that mistake again.”
   “Why did you guys get involved?”
   “The easy answer is that Jessie is Mexican. I guess being gifted with those abilities and hearing of the troubles she felt she needed to do something,” Sally said.
   “Oh… So Elijah is flying us in, we drop with the van-”
   “It is like a family van that has been armored and geared with weapons.”
   “Okay, we drop in, drive into this Sinaloa, find a place to stay and then?”
   “We burn down operations, deliver criminals beaten to the proper authorities, we get word on major locations, we hit Montalvo where it hurts,” Sally reiterated before getting up and saying, “We should be going.”
   “What about Wolf? He shouldn’t be here alone for a long period of time,” Araminta said.
   “I’ll speak with Antoine. Him and Elijah will take care of Wolf.”
   “Good,” Araminta said standing up.
   “You feel any better about this case?”
   “Absolutely not! But I want to kick some behind. Plus I am with two super powerful people. Plus Franks pretty good,” she said.
   “He is. We ship out in a fifteen minutes,” Sally said before exiting Araminta’s room.

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