Raven’s Run 142

It was a flat, crude, and ugly automatic, with a five pointed star cast into the rubber handle. It looked like an early Browning, but the markings were not in English. I pulled the magazine and popped out a round. As I had suspected: 7.62 mm. – a metric way of saying .30 caliber. It was a Russian Tokarev. The fast little bullet would penetrate well but it didn’t have the stopping power of a .45, or even of a 9 mm. Back in West Berlin, when I was in the Army, I had shot one a few times and had not been impressed. It was clear that Susyn’s henchman had picked it up on the black market after arriving in Europe.

Worst of all, there were only three rounds. I emptied the magazine and dry fired it, then put it back together. I didn’t trust the safety, so I left the chamber empty. It would only take a second to rack the slide when I needed it.

If I got to Raven before Susyn or Alan.

I tried to put that out of my mind. I went back to my seat and stared at the barren lunar landscape of Norwegian mountains as the train strained its way upward. Soon Raven would be safe. There was no other way to look at it. Soon she would be safe. I set those lyrics to the silent music rattling around in my head, keeping time with the sound of the train. Safe. Soon. The alternative was unthinkable. 

*          *          *

The line from Oslo to Bergen runs over brutal, gray, granite mountains where heavy snow pack stays into July. Well toward the coast, Myrdal is a way station where a secondary line snakes its way precipitously down into a deep fjord to the village of Flam. The scenery on that descent is spectacular, and the run to the bottom is a favorite with knowledgeable tourists. Eric had said that Raven planned to take it, then go on to Bergen.

Myrdal itself was little more than a train station and restaurant. I showed Raven’s picture to the railway officials but hundreds of tourists pass through each day. They did not remember her. I checked my pack and picked up a map. The train down to Flam was powerful and short, with light excursion coaches. There was a trail down as well. Many tourists walked down, then rode the train back up. Few walked both ways.

If Raven had taken the train down and up, she was probably in Bergen already. Take the train down, walk down, go on to Bergen – hard choices. If Ed were here, or Will, or even if I had recruited Eric, then I could leave someone here to watch for her if we missed each other.

Then I cursed myself. I had money – Senator Cabral’s money – so there was no need to act alone. I scanned the faces on the platform and selected a likely looking couple. They were Danish, they spoke English, and they would be glad to earn a hundred American dollars for a couple of hours work. I peeled two fifty dollar traveler’s checks out of my stash and gave them one of the xerox pictures of Raven. I wrote a hurried note to Raven explaining the situation and telling her to stay in the station until I returned.

The little train was groaning and whistling as the conductor hurried the last passengers. It was already moving when I swung aboard. more tomorrow


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