Quip arrived at the restaurant to see Jacques already seated in a corner with not only a good view of the room but also of the entrance. He smiled and realized how predictable his friend Bruno was as he strolled to the table.
Quip extended his hand, “Bruno, my friend, how are you?”
Bruno shook hands as he partially rose. “Fine, my friend. So glad we could finally align our schedules. Please sit. Let’s order and spend some time catching up.”
As if on cue the waiter appeared and took their beverage orders as well as listed the specials of the day. They each selected one of the specials. To these two men, food was necessary and enjoyed, but not worth wasting time over selecting.
“Quip, how is your brother and the rest of the family? I almost feel guilty not touching base to see how you, since um … well, you know.”
“Things have been busy and actually fairly good, Bruno. Yes, there are changes but isn’t that part of life? I am working hard on some technology inroads and even expanding efforts to secure new clients. You know me; I enjoy tweaking technology and solving problems. And you, Bruno, what has your brow wrinkled and caused the extra stress lines? Has some bad guy stolen your favorite parking place at the office?”
Bruno chuckled, “You always lighten things up! I am never at the office, so how would I know who parks where. As long as I don’t get a ticket, I am doing ok.”
They chatted back and forth like the old friends they were, updating on current events. Their lunch arrived and they continued the friendly banter. After the plates were removed and coffee was served, Bruno became serious, which immediately alerted Quip.
“One of the reasons I wanted to see you was of course to catch up, which we do far too infrequently, my friend. The other reason is that I was hoping you might help me a bit. It is somewhat personal.”
“Of course I can be your best man, but I had no idea you were even dating,” offered Quip without missing a beat, knowing it would lighten his friend’s serious expression. “Oh, thank heavens, it’s not that,” he added as he saw Bruno shake his head. “Tell me all then so I can cease my wild guesses.”
“An old friend I worked with for years on and off headed up the Paris office. He was recently involved in an event and killed. Two suspects recently showed up on the Interpol Watch List with high probability of being involved in the incident. The problem is they have vanished, but even without being there or questioning these men, I feel compelled to help at least bring them in for thorough questioning. With the ongoing problem with Taliban related groups and violence in Europe and the United States, I and my team always keep an eye out. However, with Pierre Renaud now a casualty, I want to do more.”
Quip recognized the conviction in his friend’s voice as well as the determination in his eyes. He mentally reviewed the recent Watch List that ICABOD had absorbed a week or so ago. As a matter of standard process, he had added uploading of the list to leverage the facial recognition element of ICABOD. With all the data sources ICABOD was tasked to use, it was always possible that he could offer locational information on any of the wanted suspects from Interpol lists to the FBI Most Wanted. ICABOD had them all.
“I am sorry to hear about your colleague, Bruno. It is always a blow when one of the good guys get taken down. I will of course keep an ear to the ground and even put out a few feelers if you think that might be useful. Can you perhaps provide me a bit of detail on Pierre Renaud and the suspects you feel are culpable?”
“Quip, I can and will as soon as I return to my office. Is the secure drop-box you provided me long ago still available and secure? If not, I can bring it by Wolfgang’s house tonight on my way home.”
“It is still available to you, my friend, though Wolfgang would enjoy seeing you, I’m sure.”
“Ok. If it looks like I will get home at a reasonable hour, I will take it by and say hello. Otherwise, I will call you and let you know if I am going to use the drop-box. Thank you, Quip.”
“No problem, my friend, I am happy to try to help. I do need to get back to work, however we need to do this again soon,” Quip responded as he signaled the waiter for the check.
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