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Old 05-10-2017, 10:46 PM   #232
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)


McCord spent some hours sleeping that morning, from necessity. McCord had been awake for over twenty-four hours before finally going to his bed around dawn, sleep was not something he could put off any longer. He finally went to sleep still making his plans, and when he awakened, slightly past noon, he was still cogitating. Already, he had some idea of what he intended to do, and Henry McCord was a man of action, when he decided to do something, he usually proceeded to do that thing, promptly and efficiently.

Still, this matter called for caution. If 'Davis' was not loyal, that meant that the man who had overseen much of his hidden activity for many years could have been undercutting his employer. McCord knew he dared not assume that any of the men immediately around him would side with him against Davis, if matters reached that point.

On the other hand, McCord had never been so trusting that he ran everything through the intermediation of any one man. McCord had some employees that he could call upon for 'forceful' action who had no connection to Davis, or so McCord hoped and believed. A few phone calls early that afternoon brought some of those men heading toward Harrystown.

A few more phone calls to various old friends, acquaintances, and people who either feared McCord or owed him favors put some additional players into the game, the first of them arrived in Harrystown on the morning train the following day. It was then that McCord informed Davis, and the other men he already had in place in Harrystown, that he had changed his plans, and meant to begin moving out the artifacts in the cache immediately.

This was not his initial intention, he had been hoping to work out a cover story and means for transporting the rare items in safe secrecy, his plan had been to start moving the contents of the collection in another few days. Now, though, McCord had multiple reasons for setting aside his usual caution and moving quickly.

One of those reasons was precisely to gauge the reaction of 'Davis' to his intentions, and in this he was not disappointed.

It would have been too much to say that 'Davis' seemed to be startled. In all the years that McCord had known Davis, never once could he recall the man ever appearing startled, surprised (except in an unemotional way), or shocked. Still, Davis argued against hurry, and his arguments were all superficially convincing enough, until examined more closely.

In fact, it was apparent to McCord that Davis was stalling for time, trying to delay recovering the artifacts from the trove. Other than the risk of discovery, though, there was really no good reason to wait, and several reasons to move quickly. Now that McCord was thinking clearly, he could see that Davis, for whatever reason, simply did not want to move the contents just yet, but at the same time did not want to admit this reluctance.

McCord had no idea what Davis gained from such delay, but he had no intention of waiting to find out, either. Now that he had some men with him about who loyalty he could be reasonably confident, McCord felt it wiser to move quickly, even with the concomitant risk of discovery.

Making it a point to always have some of his 'own' men in the party, along with the employees Davis had arranged to hire, McCord began organizing an effort to start moving items out that very night, beginning as soon as the sun had set. They would move the most valuable or convenient artifacts out through the tunnel and load them onto a small boat moored on the edge of the river, near the chosen cave entrance, and work through the night. Guards and scouts would be posted against interference from any of the other known and unknown groups working secretly in Harrystown, and McCord intended to be very careful to make that Davis himself was always with McCord and some of the 'new' men he had brought in as insurance.

That very evening, in what for them was tearing haste, the removal project was begun. While the watchmen and guards covered all approaches to the cave entrance, and more guards watched the tunnel entrance within the cave, items began to come down the tunnel and then out through the caves. Small artifacts of various sorts, ancient writings on sheets of thin metal or mysterious 'paper' that did not decompose, objects of less comprehensible nature, all passed down the tunnel from man to man, and out to the boat.

All the while, Davis worked with the rest of the group, if still protesting that this was dangerous and a needless risk. McCord concealed his thoughts, and waited to see if there was some specific item that was motivating Davis.

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