We’ve gained a fifth member.
I’ll explain in a bit. Let me just recap what’s been going on some more. Ryan doesn’t want to rely on Silent Bob for defense anymore, so he’s been trying to learn some basic self-defense from me. I’m most familiar with a staff, so that’s what I’m teaching him. Besides, like I said in my very first post, a staff is a handy tool. As a result, I think that I may end up staying with Jenny, Ryan, and Silent Bob longer than I had originally planned.
As you’ve no doubt seen, I’ve let Jenny make a few posts. Part of me really doesn’t like it. Last post, she slipped up and said we were in Phoenix. I left it up since it’s not that big of a deal (Phoenix is a big city, and between Maggie and that proxy Bob beat up, they know we’re here anyway), but explained to her why she has to be careful. At the same time, I probably won’t stop her from posting if she wants to again. I know that for some of the people who blog, it’s an addiction or a compulsion. But for others, it’s cathartic to get your thoughts out there. It’s the only sort of therapy we get, knowing that, if we die, we’ll at least have left a few last words.
That said, I’m not sure I want her reading through my blog. I haven’t let her yet just because there hasn’t been time, and she didn’t really bother to. She was more concerned with showing me My Little Pony. After recent events, I certainly don’t want her reading it now.
We were on the move again, heading closer to the outskirts of Phoenix. A few blocks away, we heard shouting. I held up a hand to stop everyone and listened. The noise was getting closer, and really quickly. A man came running around a corner, pursued by two men, both wearing masks. Bob turned as he heard them, and his eyes widened. I reflexively threw my arm up to stop him. The two masked men stopped in their tracks as they saw him, swore, and turned and fled. Bob apparently has quite a reputation.
The man slowed as he saw Bob’s stare. He threw a glance over his shoulders and saw that he wasn’t being pursued anymore. “Hey, um…wow. Uh, thanks for that. For scaring off the, uh…muggers.”
“We know what they are,” I told him.
“You…you do? Oh! Well, thank god, then. That makes things a bit easier. Wow, what are the chances?”
“There are no coincidences,” I said. He looked at me a bit funny.
“Anyway, thanks,” he said. “Call me Dumas.” He was a charming-looking guy, mid to late twenties, probably, with short black hair and a trimmed mustache and goatee. “I really hate to ask, but…do you mind if I come with you for a bit? Safety in numbers and all?”
I looked at Jenny and Ryan, and the three of us talked it over quickly before deciding that it would be okay, at least for now.
So we spent the day together, doing what we could to throw them off our scent. Then we settled down for the night and took Dumas aside, away from Ryan, Jenny, and Bob.
“Your name sounds familiar somehow,” I told him.
“That’s…entirely possible.” He picked up on the tone in my voice and didn’t even try to cover.
“You do realize that I read Picking at Ruins, right? I kind of show up on the follower list. And Diana thought it would be a good idea to post this before you tried infiltrating us?”
He sighed. “Okay, yes, I’m a proxy. You caught me. No sense hiding it. But don’t worry. I’m not here for you guys. In fact, I’ve got very specific orders not to harm you. I’m just here to gather intel on that guy you call Silent Bob. That’s all. Look, I don’t want to fight at all.”
“I still think you should leave. You’re trying to hurt my friends.”
“I’m not trying to hurt anyone. I’m just following orders. Look, Kenny, you have to understand as well as anyone how dangerous that Bob guy is. Do you really want him around you? Around those kids?”
“…No. But trying to kill him or whatever it is you’re planning isn’t a good idea either.”
“We’re just trying to protect the kids.”
“Because you’re planning to convert them to your side. How can you do that to two fourteen-year-olds?”
He looked away. “Just…following orders,” he mumbled weakly.
“Why shouldn’t I just tell them what’s going on?”
“That…that would be very, very bad. I’m not supposed to compromise the mission. If you do, all five of us are dead. They won’t bother with the covert ops at all. I’m expendable, Kenny. I’m half a hostage.”
I thought for a while. “Fine. I don’t like it, but we don’t have much choice, do we?”
“Thanks for understanding, Kenny. Trust me, I hate this. I really wish that we weren’t on opposite sides of this whole thing.”
“You do realize that I’m going to be doing everything in my power to protect those kids, right?”
He didn’t answer.
So that’s the situation now. We’re traveling around with a proxy who’s gathering information on one of us, and I can’t blow his cover to the other three or else we all wind up dead.
I wonder how long this will all last.