Father Tuck felt as though he had been bearing the brunt of the turmoil taking place all throughout the Thompson-Nicola District. Each day, the office at Sacred Heart as well as his own cell phone, was inundated with calls from parishioners as well as members of the city’s other Christian denominations. Tuck frequently received requests to pray for those imprisoned, sick and missing. In addition, he was always counselling people.
The veteran priest had always believed he would be called to a life of serving others. Although it was a life he enjoyed immensely, it was starting to burn him out. Tuck was aware that Nicole Clare had been sent to reside at the home of Frank Carragher. He knew exactly what the power-mad administrator’s true intentions were. Tuck was hanging on to the hope that Nicole would convince Carragher that she was genuinely in love with him. Gaining Carragher’s complete trust would be a vital step in bringing his little fiefdom crashing to the ground.
Tuck had spent the past few days visiting and sometimes praying with the detainees. As of yet, he had not been permitted to meet with any of the children. Tuck was in the midst of cleaning chalices when Robert Hunt and Marty Smith walked into the church.
“Good afternoon gentlemen,” Tuck said.
“Father, is there someplace quiet we can talk?” Smith asked.
“Yes there is. Follow me.”
Hunt and Smith followed Tuck through the church vestry, down a flight of steps into the basement.
They proceeded down a small corridor, at the end of which was a heavy wooden door. Tuck fished some keys out of his pocket and opened it. The room, located at the back of the church, was being used for storage. Even if federal agents had placed bugs inside of the church, this one particular place was tucked away and therefore easy to overlook. The three men sat down on some old chairs.
“I assume you’ve figured out by now that we successfully carried out our first mission,” Smith stated.
Tuck was still reeling from the horrible images he and thousands of others had been forced to watch on television.
“This is a very complicated matter,” Tuck said solemnly. “While the Lord does condone the use of violence, we cannot allow any more innocent blood to be shed. It was inevitable that this would happen. Charles O’Brien grew up in this church. Bill and Maria Sherran have been members of Sacred Heart since moving to Kamloops in 1987. Satan is alive and well in this world and it is our duty to stop him.”
“I echo your sentiments,” Hunt said. “We are slowly trying to bring more people into the fold. Is there any new intel to report from the jail?”
“They’ve found a replacement for Ron Storey.”
“That quickly?! Who is it?” Hunt asked curiously.
“Oh Christ!” Smith grumbled. He quickly remembered where he was. “Sorry Father.”
“You are forgiven my son,” Tuck said to him.
“She’s every bit as heartless,” Hunt said. “My source inside the prison has told me she’s very hard on her own guards.”
“That wouldn’t surprise me,” Tuck replied. “Are you aware that she pitches for the other team as well?”
“That’s obvious,” Smith said.
Brian Vance did not expect his ‘discreet’ show of defiance to go unnoticed by the all-pervading eyes of his superiors. The young paratrooper stood ramrod straight, his muscled frame trembling under the penetrating glare of Captain Sean Wynne. Vance had been summoned into the administration offices of the British Army, which were located within the Kamloops Airport. Sergeant-Major Kempling looked on as Wynne went up one side of Vance and down the other.
“Private Vance, do you have any fucking idea how much money Her Majesty’s government spends on training each and every member of one of our nation’s most storied and renowned regiments?” Wynne kept his eyes inches from Vance’s face. “What the hell possessed you to fuck up so badly out there?”
If Vance explained to his superior officer the true reason for his actions, he would be in a world of pain and suffering. In all likelihood, he’d be charged with high treason and sedition and could quite possibly find himself in front of a firing squad.
“I don’t know, Sir…I just tensed up. I’m sorry.”
“You never say you’re sorry! That’s the biggest sign of weakness and I will not tolerate any weakness or cowardice amongst my troops. Perhaps you’re becoming softer. Feeling sympathy for the fine, upstanding citizens of this city?” Wynne said sarcastically.
Vance stared straight ahead.
“Because if that’s the case, I will personally make sure that you get buried so deep you will never see the light of day again.”
At that moment, Mullen entered the office. Wynne turned to him.
“Sir,” he said as he addressed the base commander.
“Private Vance, is this true? Did you, shall we say, freeze up?” Mullen asked him.
“Yes, Sir. I can’t explain what happened.”
Mullen studied his face. It was a sincere one.
“Hmm…this would not be the first time such an incident has happened during the long history of the British Army.”
“You made a poor judgment call the other day. Unfortunately, in this line of work, such a severe lack of judgment can cost the lives of others. Private Vance, for the next week, I am confining you to barracks. You will clean, wash clothes, I might even get you to work in our offices a bit. In seven days’ time, hopefully you will have learned your lesson as you will be returned to active duty. Dismissed.”
Vance saluted the two officers before leaving the office.