We wandered.

And we wandered.

And we-OOP!

And we wandered.

And finally!

The drive unlocked, just around the corner from the Chiesa di San Zaccaria! Now all we had to was-

 

*PHWEEEP!*

 

Mos and Nakia vanished down the canals. Some friends they were.

 

‘Halt!’ yapped the security guard, ‘this is a restricted area!’

 

‘Oh leave him be,’ a woman emerged from the Carabinieri building behind me and gentled lowered the guard’s arm, ‘I’m sure he’s just a hapless tourist who wandered up the wrong street.’

 

‘But, he matches the description-’ the guard stammered.

 

‘I said leave him,’ steel stiffened the woman’s voice before quickly dissipating.

 

Everything about the authoritative woman was platinum. Her hair, her skin, her sweater, her longcoat, her boots, all platinum-coloured, like she popped down from a pedestal one afternoon to mingle amongst the mortals.

 

‘Now, you look a little lost, my friend,’ the platinum woman held me by the shoulders, ‘as an influential figure around these parts – Sabine Sabrinolova, security minister, those are my very expensive offices up there – I was wondering if I could be of assistance?’

 

‘Um…no assistance needed, ma’am,’ I tried as politely as I could to prise her fingers off my shoulder.

 

‘Oh well, I’ll let you be on your way, then. I’m sure your friends are worried about you,’ Sabine looked up at a Carabinieri who was rounding a corner. The Carabinieri shook his head. Sabine’s smile cracked, ‘wherever they may be.’

 

‘Thanks!’ I snuck out of Sabine’s grip, ‘I’ll let them know of your concern.’

 

‘You do that!’ Sabine sent me on my way with a slap on the behind. I’d’ve cried assault, except I counted myself lucky I was still alive. I wasn’t an idiot, I knew she’d let me go so I would lead her to the Ordo Nostra, so I had to throw her off the scent.

…which meant…

…a lot…

…of wandering…

…around.

 

I discovered the Ordo Nostra at a cafe just off the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Mos had grabbed a calzone.

 

‘You’re still alive?’ Mos’ sandwich paused halfway to his mouth.

 

‘Don’t look too surprised, will you?’ I collapsed in a chair, ‘ODESSA wanted me to be bait, I didn’t let them, so here I am. What did you find on the card?’

 

‘A summons,’ Nakia reported, her laptop open on the counter, ‘in three days, the great and the good of Vienna will gather at an opera to discuss “The Next Stage.” It doesn’t go into more detail than that.’

 

‘Where is the opera?’ I leaned forward.

 

‘Vienna,’ Nakia answered.

 

‘Hm…’ Mos pursed his lips, ‘I guess we’re going to Vienna.’