The next morning, he was told to be ready for VIPs.
Barry wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do, but he decided to smarten up the courier office a little. One was out with a broken leg, but the other three couriers who were assigned to his office had made themselves scarce. Apparently he was supposed to simply stand by for any sudden errands. There was an airstrip just about a kilometer away across the flat scrubby plain. Whoever it was, they were coming by aircraft, because there was unusual activity around the hangers and the miniature tower staffed by military flight controllers. Barry stood outside with quite a few other staffers. Sure enough, he heard the sound of a turboprop as it circled the airfield once, then went out far over the low hills and turned around to approach and land. It was a private craft, but not one of the corporate planes. Those were all Learjets.
He caught sight of the newest bus on the base rolling toward the plane where it had turned and taxied to a stop. This was about as fancy as it got out here on the edge of the big city where the company and the military shared their theater headquarters. Because this installation as down near the coast, it was often a good bit warmer than most of the pipeline route. Right now the digging was moving across some higher elevations and Barry always had to carry a coat to put on as he left the lowlands.
Eventually he got bored watching the activity on the airfield and went back into the courier’s office. He figured they would take the VIPs to the hotel closer to town and maybe he was needed for some silly fetch-it stuff that was demanded but unanticipated. He was wrong. The sound of the bus outside the building came as a surprise. He went out into the hall and stood peeking through a window between the blinds.
It was quite an entourage. There was a big, handsome older guy in expensive stylish clothes, with two trophy babes, one on either side. There were three older gals wearing smart suits and looking somewhat dignified. Last came some guy who looked a little rumpled and nerdy, slender and just average height. He was carrying a backpack and a briefcase and trying to keep up. Just for fun Barry help up his cell phone and snapped a shot of this group as the boss met them outside the door. They were ushered in with some ceremony as Barry ducked back inside his office.
Reviewing the photo, he guessed that the last guy was someone’s assistant. Snatches of conversation drifted to his ears. It was Mister This and Missus That. It dragged on for awhile, then he heard his boss’s voice approaching his door. “We have a courier on standby to handle that.” Then the door swung open.
Here it comes, Barry thought.
“Barry, we have an urgent dispatch. Our guests would like you to deliver some disks.” He literally pulled Barry to his feet and dragged him out the door. Pointing to the frumpy guy, he told Barry, “This gentleman will give you the details.”
As Barry strode to where the man stood, he didn’t have to feign interest because he was genuinely curious.
The man seemed almost unsure of himself, but fished out of the backpack a bundle of DVDs in paper envelopes. As the boss led the entourage off into the other parts of the building, the fellow spoke with a rather soft and tired voice. “There’s a list on top of bundle with unit names. I was told you already knew where to find them. I’m afraid it will be long day for you, sir. There are eight of them.” He was almost apologetic.
“Oh, no problem, sir. We’re just like any other mail service; nothing can stop us from making that delivery.” He smiled. “Anything else I can do for you?”
“No, I’m sure that’s a tall order already. Thank you so much.”
Barry turned and headed straight out the door. As his eyes perused the list, something in the back of his mind made him shudder. It wasn’t the job that bothered him but the man. There was something really very wrong with that guy. Barry puzzled over it as he strode to the garage, donned his gear and rolled out the bike. So this was the run she was talking about. He was not going to make it back today, so he grabbed his overnight bag. He always kept it packed and ready.
He fired up the bike’s generator and reviewed the list. Double-checking the locations on the GPS display, he laid out a route in his mind. For the most part, they would be delivered in the order as listed. The last one was going to be the hardest to reach, though. It was out in the hills away from any highways, the leading edge of the pipeline construction.
Once he cleared the gate, he wasted no time heading straight out across the open country.