Our visit to Stasis was brief to say the least. We shifted straight to normal time and with my assistance the others analysed their residual signals to locate an anomaly that could be the tracking devices.
Locating them didn’t take long, and within ten minutes we were shifting down and made the transition back to where we had just been in Alaska. A few minor surgeries later, and we once again made a transition back into Stasis to come up with a plan of action to put a stop to all of this.
Our natural starting point would normally have been around the CSNCD building, which I now assumed would be abandoned and under surveillance by Patrick. It was clear that he would have lost us in Alaska and he’d now try to second guess our actions the best he could.
It was critical that we found Alice first and called upon her resources. She had to be aware that as money and power driven as Patrick’s intentions were that he was not responsible for the possible social re-engineering that Patrick feared.
At this stage, I did not think that it would be prudent for us to make any form of contact with Patrick. It appeared that he was beyond reason on the matter and would sooner wipe us out of existence than work with us.
“Any thoughts on where we should start?” I asked the others, but directing the question more at Jennifer than anyone else.
“Well, before Patrick called me back to help track you down, I was following a few leads in Cambridge.”
“Was he aware of any of these leads?”
“I had yet to report back to him. He was generally the kind of person that wanted definable progress on a progress report. Leads to him weren’t important unless they led somewhere.”
In theory, we should have the upper hand. But, you can never leave anything to chance and the five of us could well find ourselves under-resourced should we fail to make contact with Alice. We had to utilise any contacts or risk being exposed. Crucial to this was the link mechanism. I had to ensure that we never had to rig up an impromptu power source again. We needed something a little more permanent.
We slipped back to reality to a secluded part of Cambridge along the Cam and started the short trek into the city. No money, no resources. The only piece of equipment was securely in my pocket.
“Where do we start?” I asked Jennifer.
“I was following up a few excessive bank transactions from one of her known associates, Richard Andrews. I found out that he’d rented out a few large properties around the city centre.”
“Okay, then I’d say that those would be a good place to start our search in the morning. Now, unless any of you have got some reliable and trustworthy contacts here, we need money.”
There were murmurs of agreement. I was about to carry on my ever expanding crime spree with some good old-fashioned pickpocketing. Naturally, I had never stooped as low as this before. Sadly, needs must. Darkness would help act as a cover for my actions.
With the others walking a short distance behind me, I started looking for targets. I had to undertake some prejudging of the potential targets. It would be no good if I came back with five wallets with a few pennies in and some credit cards that we could not use. I was looking for those more likely to be carrying a wallet full of money. And this was best done from a good vantage point near an ATM.
My first mark was a businessman who’d taken the maximum his card allowed him on two separate cards. Clearly, no one needed that much money for a normal night out. He was easy. Never even batted an eyelid at the drunken act I played as I staggered towards him, crashed into him and reached inside his jacket pocket in one swift movement removing his wallet.
He shoved me to one side as Emile arrived to help me up. The man didn’t even see me palm his wallet off to Emile. This pattern was repeated three more times around the city at different locations. By the end of the little spree, we had £1,500 and a collection of somewhat guilty consciences.
It was enough to line our pockets and secure some modest accommodation for the evening before our search for Alice began in earnest the following morning.
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