Twenty-Seven

July 13th, 2024 0853 Goa, India
The Goan Market was busy with people going about their daily lives. The smells of the spices and the colors of India were a jarring contrast from the stark, sterile and vaguely metallic-smelling confines of a supersonic aircraft.
Posing as sightseers was the simple choice, since the marketplace provided the most direct access to the fortress. Daniel and Gideon walked through the market with their heads on a swivel but they could not help finding themselves wanting to indulge in the fascinating world they found themselves in. As they walked through the bustling marketplace, vendors shouted for the men's attention. The duo politely declined any invitations to purchase whatever the owners were trying to sell. They walked through the market till they found a spot between two wooden stalls where they could not be seen yet had an excellent vantage point on the castle.
Markus had provided monoculars of a design Daniel had never encountered. The device could send high-resolution three-dimensional scans back to the Norseman and had the ability to analyze the electromagnetic spectrum. A kaleidoscope of information streamed over the view, highlighting unusual findings. An advanced machine learning algorithm provided instant interpretation and tracked targets.
Gideon stood lookout as Daniel whispered his observations.
"Sophisticated antiaircraft system. A lot of guards, mostly locals, but I see a few foreign mercs, too."
As Daniel zoomed in, he saw several patrols armed with AK-12 assault rifles, AR-12 shotguns and even a couple sporting Dragunov sniper rifles. Several guards on the nearest tower were fiddling with a high-tech missile battery while another gestured for them to move faster, impatiently waving his arms in circles.
Reyes appeared behind them. Wearing cheap sunglasses, lipstick and eyeshadow she had changed her appearance to approximate an unremarkable Italian, playing the part of a career office woman on vacation rather than someone trained to kill people. "Some of the local merchants are pretty excited. The word is there's a wedding there tonight." She announced.
"Then that's our ticket in," Gideon said.
Before Gideon could finish explaining the plan to the Daniel, Markus interrupted impatiently via radio: "Good. That will be plan B."
There was a pause until Daniel broke the silence. "Plan B?" he asked incredulously.
"Loki and I have cooked up something," Markus explained. "Locke, Reyes, get what you need to infiltrate, then lay low till evening."
Daniel and Reyes regarded each other for a moment with a mixture of curiosity, suspicion and maybe just a bit of sexual tension.
Gideon followed orders. "Copy. Caro returning to base." Clasping his friend's hand in their usual salutation, he said, "Good luck, Daniel." He leaned in and whispered, "I've got your back. After all, we've come too far to fail now." The enormous man turned and headed back to the dock.

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One of India's enormous colonial fortresses is appropriated by a billionaire native son for a private retreat. Enjoy Chapter 28.
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   8mo ago