CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SEVENTY
“I can tell you what I told the team,” Alex said. “And, you should know that we voted on it. The entire team chose to take on this project. Every single vote a ‘yes.’”
“Fair enough,” Ben said. “Let’s start there.”
“I told them that there were three reasons to take this job,” Alex said. “The first is personal. We all know and love Sandy. We would help her in any way we possibly can.”
Ben grunted and nodded his head.
“I am concerned that the rise in white nationalism in Poland,” Alex said. “Sites like this are protected by people not knowing they are there. That’s bound to end. The site survived the Nazi. It would be awful if it was looted by this new brand of Nazi. The families deserve more than that.”
“There are still more than a hundred thousand missing works of art that were stolen from Jewish people by the Nazis,” Alex said. “According to the journal, as well as the records Sandy and Bernie have found so far, this tunnel is bound to be full of it.”
“Is that number three?” Ben asked.
“Still two,” Alex said. She paused for a moment. “The third and most obvious reason is that the money is good. Sandy was one thing, but now Nadia is pitching in. There’s a lot of money on the table. They are going to hire someone. It may as well be us.”
“What will you use the money for?” Ben asked.
“Body armor,” Alex said with a nod. “Recent changes to our budget have cut our body armor budget in half. The fee from this job will more than support new body armor.”
“Body armor,” Ben said softly. “How plush.”
“Depending on what we find, we may get a finder’s fee or two,” Alex said. “We’ll use those to repair some of our off gear.”
“Makes sense,” Ben said.
“The Fey budget’s been slashed,” Alex said. “We need to make up the difference or stop our cushy lifestyle.”
Ben grinned at her. They fell silent. Ben got up from his seat to refill their glasses with cognac.
“What’s your reason?” Ben asked when he sat back down.
“I think it’s cool, in an Indiana Jones kind of way,” Alex said. “We get to enter this mine. No one has been inside since it was sealed and the owner shipped to a concentration camp. We get to right a true wrong. Bring justice to some people as well as ease the mind of a dear friend who happens to be injured right now.”
Ben looked away from her for a moment before nodded.
“Relieve some of your guilt,” Ben said.
Alex sighed, “Honestly, I have so much guilt that this thing does little more than nudge it a bit.”
“You shouldn’t,” Ben said.
She took a breath to speak but he continued.
“I understand. You’ve been asked to do difficult things in horrible circumstances,” Ben said. “You feel guilty because you’re not a psychopath.”
“Maybe not a very good psychopath,” Alex said with a grin.
“You forget that I’ve seen your tests,” Ben said.
“I will accept your answer to all of this under on condition,” Ben said.
“Oh yeah?” Alex asked. “What’s that?”
“That you take me with you,” Ben said. He gestured to himself. “I am an original Indiana Jones.”
“Bernie said the same thing,” Alex said of Seth O’Malley’s father.
“He taught me,” Ben said with a laugh.
“You are welcome to come,” Alex said. “It should be fun. Honestly, it’s a great training exercise for the team. We’ve mixed it up so that the people at home haven’t worked that side of things and some of our weaker members get field time.”
“In an Indiana Jones kind of way,” Ben said.
“Exactly,” Alex said with a laugh.
She smiled at him, and he grinned back. They finished their cognac in silence.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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