Side Mission: Hit and Miss, part 2
- Location: Hotel la Perouse
Who: Lester, Ripley, and Lucet
Time: 6:15 p.m. - Sunday
Ripley's contact, Pierre had done exactly what she told him to do...a
little too well. She and Trent Lester found themselves standing in a
hotel room, for which they were registered as Monsieur and Madame Smith.
The room had a single desk, with Internet access plug-ins, a single
bathroom and a single dresser, which was fine because neither had many
cltohes in their overnight bags.
"Cozy," said Ripley. "I'm going to call my contact at the French
Ambassador to the UN's office."
"Okay," said Trent as he headed to the televison. "I'll see if there is
anything on the news."
Ripley watched Lester put on the television and switch to CFII, France's
answer to international TV news channels like CNN and BBC, before she
pulled out her satellite phone and began pressing *7 on her
speed dial. Sylvie wasn't just her French contact, but a good
long-distance friend as well. Of course, Sylvie lived in Paris and
Ripley was in Nice, but beggars and choosers, she reminded herself. She
and Lester needed all the help they could get.
"Bureau de Sylvie Lucet, Secrétaire Français," answered someone in
French. "Comment peux-je vous aider?"
"Merci, Sylvie, S'il vous plaît?" asked Ripley as she sat down on the
bed, the only one in the room.
"Âllo? C'est Sylvie," the Frenchwoman said as she answered her phone.
She had just picked up her café crème when her assistant had
passed along the call.
"Sylvie, it's Wilma," Ripley said relieved. "Hold on, I'm hooking the
phone up to the laptop so we can have a sort of speaker phone."
Ripley moved to the tiny desk and began doing as she sai dshe was. She
hooked up the satellite phone then stepped back. "Sylvie, can you hear
us?" she asked.
"Bah ouais. We, Wilma? Qui est là?" Sylvie asked.
Trent sighed inexaggeration as the news played out in front of him. It
was actually a mgazine peice about how a large number of young French
citizens between the ages of 20 and 30 were going to London of all
places to find their fortune. As in America, the main headlines scrolled
across the bottom of the screen, however it appeared to be mostly
national and international news. Pherhaps one house wasn't big
enough news - yet.
"In English, Sylvie," Ripley said glancing over to Lester, not sure if
he spoke the language as she did, but of course, she spoke it badly.
"We have a guest. Trent Lester, may I introduce Sylvie Lucet of the
French Ambassador's cabinet."
"Bonjor Mandemoiselle." Trent said, leaving the TV playing on some
yuppie french girl talking about her cheese shop in Soho.
"But of course. My apologies, Monsieur Lester. What has inspired this
call, Wilma?" Sylvie was intriegued and added a few cubes of sugar to
her coffee while she waited for the American woman to explain. Calls
from Wilma usually livened up otherwise dull days.
"We've gotten ourselves into a pickle, Sylvie. Let me explain," said
Ripley then, in as brief a detail as she could, she related the
explosion at Dr. Eve Jonet's chalet. "We need help, Sylvie, not only
with the police investigation, but with our own."
"I will do what I can, but you know that, when I am discreet,
myabilities are limited," Sylvie reminded her.
"Oui, I know," Ripley said with a sigh. "I have a contact on the police
force here in Nice who is also helping us gain access to things like the
autopsy reports, but what I need from you is a cover,
something in the way of diplomatic immunity. It won't be hard to trace
who rented the car that poor Warrick the dead driver was working for.
And about a dozen home owners probably saw Lester and I outside of Dr.
Trent listened to the two women, looking from the laptop, back to
Ripley. He decided to let Ripley handle things, lest he ruin the contact
with his trademark wit.
"Ah, oui, je te comprende," she muttered to herself. "C'est un peu
difficile mais..." The Frenchwoman pulled herself out of her thoughts
and began speaking to Ripley again. "Send to me what cover you are
using currently for your hôtel reservations and other such things and
I will do what I can. Come to the fête, pardon me, the party at the
Consulate in Paris tomorrow. I will have what documents I can manage
for you then."
Ripley frowned as she glanced back at Lester. In all the excitement and
the chase, she had forgotten that the Englishman was a civilian in all
this. Hmm, he hadn't even signed a contract or anything, and wasn't
likely going to do it now.
She shook her thoughts back to the the matter at hand and refocused on
"As always, the less I know, the better," Sylvie said wryly. "Oh, Wilma,
ma cherie, this will be a formal evening, you know, several
international ambassadors will be there. Try to blend in?"
"Who blends better than me?" Ripley asked coyly. "Until tomorrow,
"À plus tard," Sylvie said and hung up.
As soon as she was off the line, Ripley began disconnecting the
satellite phone. "It occurs to me, Trent that this has all been terribly
unfair to you," she said as she pulled the phone away. She stood up and
faced him. "I'm sorry. But I can't in good conscience ask you to
participate further in this situation. I will meet Sylvie and get to the
bottom of this. First thing tomorrow morning, I'll contact some of the
people I know in the field and we'll get you on a plane back to the UK.
This, Mr. Lester, is where our paths must diverge."
- Location: Hotel la Perouse
Who: Lester and Ripley
Time: 6:30 p.m. - Sunday
Lester shook his head. He couldn't walk away, not now. As a kid he
may start to read a hundred books at once, but as soon as he finished
page one, he had to finish the end of the book to.
"No, there isn't going to be any diverging. Aside from the rather
worrying idea that Jonet and I might be on the same list twice -
yours and her killer's, there is also the matter of the job. Since
Jonet is no longer a candidate, does that mean I get the job?"
Ripley was surprised at the Englishmen, who had just seen more death
and destruction in a day than most agents saw in a year. "You still
want it?" she asked him surprised.
He raised an eyebrow. "What is that delightful American expression I
heard on one of those wrestling shows." He paused for a moment then
snapped his finger. "Ah yes, 'this ain't my first barbeque.'. I've
been in some tricky spots before this. Remind me to tell you about
how Hong Kong almost made Iraq look like a package holiday in
Ripley gave Lester an eye roll before moving away from him. She moved
to the front of the hotel room where their bags were. "This isn't a
barbeque," she began but the image of Jonet's charred remains made
her shiver. "This is dangerous work and its on a global level.
However, if you think you can handle it, then I am clearly out of
options. I want the best, and I'll take you if I can have you."
"In that case, October 1st." He said.
Ripley frowned and turned to face him with a small black briefcase in
her hand. She had just removed it from the suitcase. "What is October
1st?" she asked coming back over towards the bed, where Lester was
"My birthday... for the office calendar." he said with a grin
Rolling her eyes and trying to ignore him, Ripley opened the
briefcase, and then removed the false layer to reveal a secret
compartment in the bottom of the suitcase that had currency for
different areas of the world, including Europe. She pulled out nearly
1000 Euros. "If you're on board, we need to buy some clothes. I can't
take you to the ball looking like Tom Baker just stepped out of the
public call box. You're going to have to look a little less bookish
and a little more dapper. Think James Bond."
Ripley smiled as she took the money and folded it into her
purse. "Now come on, we have to make this trip before our pictures
are splashed across the news," she said heading for the door.
"In my defense, I'm not wearing a scarf." he said as he followed her
out of the door. "Besides, I can do dapper... its just comfier this
way. "But since you're the boss..."
"And don't forget it," Ripley said as she held open the door for
JP by the Brit and the Boss