“Aw crap, you got to learn to shower earlier, Shaun,” said Jenny as he opened the door.
“Georgie and… Tia, right?” he asked as the three women came in.
“We needed to see you,” said Jenny. “Right away. We really need you now.”
“God, please let this not be a dream.”
“Geez, I swear I should just shoot you! Get your f’n’ mind off of that and be professional.”
“He’s all id, isn’t he?” Tia asked.
“Can I get you two drinks?” Shaun asked Jenny and Tia. “I think I may have some mixers still, Georgie; you prefer cola or seltzer?”
“I can fix us stuff. Four seltzers okay?’
“Perfect,” said Jenny as Georgie went to Shaun’s kitchen.
“It’s that early, huh?” asked Shaun. “If this brings you out- Hey, where’s the rest of the crew?”
“Sleeping, finishing off a bad night,” said Jenny. “We were going home too, after being out on the lake, but then it came to us.”
“Going bigger. Bigger than the usual under-the-radar stuff we’ve been doing. Something bold.”
“Like what?” asked Shaun. “Going after the Plate Fleet?”
“The what?” asked Tia.
“Old pirate reference to the Spanish silver shipments from the New World,” said Jenny. “You find a lot of computer games about pirates making this one of the bigger missions. But that’s not why we drove out here this morning, to talk about games.”
Georgie came back with the drinks. Shaun took a look at his and asked, “Kind of heavy on the mixer, weren’t you?”
“Business first, okay?” Jenny reminded him. “Let’s focus here, on bigger things.”
“You make it sound like you’re going after some tankers. Which, with the pipelines out of Lethbridge going both ways seems unlikely.”
“Well, oil might be a great haul, but there’s other possibilities.”
“Such as?” Shaun asked as he tried not to make a face over his seltzer.
“Lakers,” said Tia. “There’s still a lot of trade on the lakes, lots of traffic that doesn’t go on the TransCan. It can be cheaper if there’s enough of it in a large enough unit, and there’s a lot of traffic these days that makes it easier to consider going over water from Thunder Bay.”
“So what about the canals and river around Michigan?”
“Since they enforced a DMZ over the Soo and dredged north of Sugar Island, it makes sense again to go that way. And one of the conditions of the peace was free access along the Detroit River, which gets a gunship escort as it goes along the border. And then they let them go through Erie on their own.”
Shaun looked Tia up and down in a way that didn’t make Jenny cringe too much. “And how do you know all this good intel?”
“Before I left to come here, there was a piece about commerce on the lakes that lit up the blogosphere locally. It got some general attention, but there were a few bits that were getting pushed down the search lists in the name of security I remember, like how when they get to Erie, a lot of tankers let down their guard because they think staying within sight of shore will keep them safe.”
“So they don’t have a lot of security, but they’re not being too stupid, I’m guessing.”
“Stupid, no,” said Tia, “but not exactly overly cautious. There was one bit I remember, where one captain noted how a lot of tankers just steam along without escorts once they clear Amherstburg and never see anything until they get to Port Colborne.”
“Why make a big point about that?”
“There was something about the piece being cited as to why they needed to push for the Simcoe Passage.”
“The what?” Jenny asked.
“Some people, they want to dig a set of canals to go through Lake Simcoe so that lakers could avoid Lake Erie altogether, go straight from Woodland Beach down straight to Toronto. There’s a lot of resistance to it on environmental grounds, but the war made it look like a real good idea.”
Shaun grabbed a pad and pulled up a map of Ontario. “Hmmm,” he said as he expanded the area around Lake Simcoe. “It looks like it’d take years to make any serious progress. And we’re talking Canada here, not China which could round up and force tens of thousands to pick up shovels in hours, so we’re talking maybe a couple of decades.”
“Hey, we’re not that bad,” said Tia.
“Yeah, good thing, too. If you were we’d have been occupied territory by you folks.”
Jenny rolled her eyes and waited for things to get ugly…
All content Copyright © 2012 James Ryan