(Start with Chapter 1)
I yanked out the scrambler, wiped the phone and smashed all four I'd collected on the ground, then drifted back out into pedestrian traffic. We'd guessed that Neha was in a black house, but now I had a good guess that it would be owned by one of two politicians. It wasn't a lot, but it was way more than British Intelligence had sent us in with. I typed awkwardly as I walked, swiping on my daisy chain. The text I sent out would appear local. They probably already knew about the divisions in the local government- but maybe not how deeply they ran.
"Going to see Yuddh Mein Pyaar or Khoya Hua Ladaka, today, or tomorrow. Want me to pick you up and got a showing time you'd like?"
If they could, Intelligence would go through the most recent transmissions and try to find out which blackhouse she was kept at and where it was. It was a long shot, but people talked. They'd let me know who to ask questions about, now that I had it down to two, or send back a set of possible, coded addresses. I was betting on the first, although the second would be amazing.
I was Special Forces. We don't get amazed. Ricky picked up his rucksack a couple blocks down and we split up, drifting in a lazy spiral towards the meet up.
The streets in Nagpur had the usual mix of rural and high city traffic. It was that odd sort of place that kept some of its original architecture, which leaned wearily against newer, more western office style buildings and complexes. The alleys and older buildings were spotted with peeling adobe, revealing a weathered whitewash beneath- a plastered New York City. Graffiti grew more prevalent as I drifted outward from one of the city centres. Wiring ran down the alleys, along old school metal piping. I hadn't spotted anyone following us yet.
I hit the rural straightaway that led to our second Bunker Down spot, and slid to the left of the sidewalk, my head cocked. Something was off. After a moment, I shrugged the feeling away- I wasn't going to loiter outside of our building, whether or not there were many people around. I was tan for a Brit, but my buzz cut made me stand out, despite my Indian-wear. That and the rucksack- dyed a dark tan for the trip to blend better.
I gave the building a quick once over. Marky had found a shady spot, where he was barely visible, idly thumbing his phone. I snorted, porn, probably- he was a randy bugger. Still he blent in well. The little cottage was maybe two bedrooms big, hard to tell from the outside. It was shaded by the odd, leaning trees found in India, hard to notice it from the sky, and harder to see us coming and going. A low brick and plaster wall blocked in the yard- if you stared hard enough you could see the street on the far side, which had even less pedestrian traffic than this one.
I set my head to a slow nod and crossed over, checking left, right despite my reflexes. The building wasn't falling down, but it had seen better days. Hopefully the inside had a bit more spit and polish.
(Continue to Part 8)