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Mage:Session 29

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Session 29 : Road Trip

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Half a mile from the rendezvous with the smugglers, Ingram's asked us to stop, got out and went off with an entrenching tool and the bag of money. Whilst he went to bury the money, Oliver opened a briefcase to reveal a satellite phone. He hands Jacqueline a credit card sized card with phone numbers and code words. "Memorise this please. Then pass it alone to each of your friends. It can be destroyed by burning or at a pinch you can chew it up and swallow it."

Ingram returns and gives us instructions for the rendezvous. We are to drop the two of them, stay in the van, turn it around for rapid departure and be alert. The meeting point is well up a mountain pass, up a twisty little mountain road, which the little van can only climb slowly. The road switch backs repeatedly and there is little cover, then after one awkward turn, there is a lorry facing us and half a dozen armed men. There is no choice but to stop. Ingrams and Oliver step out, go forward and greet the smugglars. There is no room to turn the van around without backing up too much.

The smugglars are armed with AK47s and the lorry is piled high with something. The thugs block the way. Their leader emerges from the lorry. He appears generally scruffy but has the most magnificant mustache ever and radiates an impression of power. There is a long discussion in Spanish, which gets heated then calms down. Cavendish is taken around to the back of the truck to examine the goods. They are gone for ten minutes then they return. Another discussion in Spanish, which gets very alarmed and excited then calms down again. Finally, Ingrams returns to the van whilst Cavendish gets in the back of the lorry.

"We've got the weapons, Cavendish is their hostage until we turn over the money." Ingrams announces. We turn the van around and drive back to where we stopped previously. The smuggler's lorry follows very closely, the thugs hanging onto the netting over the cargo in the back.

Out of the bag come three AR15 SCAR variants and four Glock 23s. Imgrams hands each of us one of the pistols and three magazines for each. One AR15 is passed to Jacqueline, the other two are for our two bodyguards. Ingrams comments that these weapons must have come from an American special forces drop.

At the burial point, Ingrams takes Barnie and goes off to get the money. The lorry stops very close behind and thugs descend. Check around for cover outside of the van, but there is almost none down slope and about 50ft down there is the next loop of the road. Ingrams and Barnie return with the money, pass it over to their chief, who examines the contents of the bag and accepts it, waving Cavendish to rejoin us. We get to drive off without any trouble.

We spend the rest of the day driving down the highway to the jungle. This is a well graded gravel track, about one car wide where the van can maintain a speed of about 30 to 40 mph. Abrams reckons we should reach the village about 7pm then we can decide whether to continue by road or boat. The journey is enlivened by regular encounters with trucks going in the opposite direction. These encounters get very exciting when the road is edging along with a cliff on the drop side. About 1pm we stop for lunch and about 4pm we reach the level of the jungle. At 6 night falls and an hour later we roll into the village we are going stop at outnight.

The place has one main street, buildings of wood and stone built but seem insubstantial. The locals are all dressed up and promenading. There is a couple of bars, we enter one, faintly there is the sound of generators, almost drown out by the football on the television. The innkeeper arranges tables, takes orders and a short while later the food arrives. It is heavy on the carbs, so it quite filling. After a few hours, we turn in.

The following morning is another early start (5am again), breakfast is a hearty soup of sweetcorn and potato). Abram had been asking round the village about the German village and received a lot of useful information. It seems that they've gotten into the fair trade shade grown coffee trade. There is good money to be had in that coffee. The Germans are not very outgoing when they come to trade at this village. In the past five years, they have been making a push to improve their shade grown coffee business. They are even trading gold for the machinary that they need. The gold is in the form of ingots with crosses and eagles on them. Jacqueline wonders whether the development of their business is a planned economic drive or just them reacting to chance opportunity.


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