Barely had Monti finished his tale when my forkful of tender Kobe steak took on a life of its own. With a sparking flash of light and a sudden desire to force its way into my mouth, the common utensil became a weapon, stabbing my tongue. Glancing over at Monti, I see him already slumped over, face down on his plate, his blood mixing with the juices from his steak. Instinctively, I dive for the floor. I un-holstered my backup piece from its home on my ankle, I generally don’t carry my regular weapon when I dine. Before I can retaliate and or defend my life, I’m rendered unconscious by a nearby table landing on my head as its occupants run for cover from the blizzard of flying lead.
“The bullet meant to kill you actually saved your life”, a white lab-coated thirty something man tells me. I awake warm and comfortable and well rested. I would have assumed I had died and gone to heaven, except people in my profession usually don’t end up there, and the light I awake to is just a penlight checking my pupil reaction. Instead, my haven is a private room in a Swiss hospital.
Fortunately my Survival Insurance broker also handles medical; that is why I’m in a private room and not bleeding out on the street. The Swiss are very proficient in patching the body and draining the wallet; I will leave here several hundred franc poorer. As I await my release papers, a local police inspector gives me a rundown of what the hotel’s security cameras caught.
“Lucky for you”, the inspector begins, “The assailants were using Uzi Sub-machine guns”. How is that lucky? The 9 millimetre round should have punched a hole through the fork and taken the back of my head off. Inspector Ásbjörn continued, “They were using a new, German made, Uzi rifle, modified for full auto. Chambering only the .22LR round, the gun doesn’t have quite the same punch as the original Israel Military Industries version. As the narcotics start to wear off, my brain starts churning; they must have thought an Uzi is an Uzi; amateurs. Other than the considerably lower cost of ammo, the only reason to use a calibre of this sort is because of limited local availability, hmmm.
Ásbjörn continues, “After the mêlée, the balaclava wearing gun persons…”, Gun-persons? I interrupt, the inspector holds his hand up, “… the gun-persons picked their way through the sparsely populated restaurant, to your table. Satisfied that both you and your companion were dead, the gun-persons left, boarding a waiting van and disappeared into the night. We don’t have anything else”, the constable concludes. “Gun-persons?”, I repeat. “We at the station are assuming the assailants are female judging from their petite stature”.
Released from the hospital and relieved of all but a few francs of walking around money, I decide to poke around a bit. Gunter, a local gunsmith with ties to some rather nefarious groups, is my first stop. Since I didn’t have enough cash to purchase information, I figured I’d just have to “press my case” to get what I needed from Gunter. It wasn’t necessary. A slight man of about sixty years on this planet, Gunter’s thick horn rimed glasses mask his well known, remarkable, marksmanship. Recognising me, he greets me like an old friend.
“The Alpine Underground has been very active lately”, Gunter begins as he pours hot cocoa. “Bi-directional arms transactions, more than usual. And something else”. Blowing on his drink to cool it, the gunsmith carries on, “Information. The Alpine Underground has been asking questions about the intelligence community, particularly about ongoing operations”. Gunter takes a sip of his brew. Seeing it is safe to drink the beverage, I too taste the concoction, it is delicious.
Gunter revealed he supplied the Alpine Underground the Uzi rifles. On short notice, they demanded the weapons to be modified for full auto. Gunter was suitably embarrassed by the shoddy workmanship on the modifications, Inspector Ásbjörn mentioned several of the guns left behind were jammed, with half full clips. “They didn’t want any ammunition”, Gunter offered, “they said they have all they need from their P.R.C. suppliers”. In exchange for the name of the Alpine Underground front man, I agree to purchase a SIG556 Classic. Fortunately, Gunter takes Mastercharge.