Anders's Angel:Heroes for Hire, Book 16(11)

By: Dale Mayer


“But no more so than many of the other treks we do,” Hannah said. “It’s probably more about the altitude on this one than anything.”

There wasn’t a whole lot Angelica could say to that. She hadn’t found this place hard to adapt to, but she knew lots of others who did. Still, it was nothing like the physical strain on their body that places like Mount Everest took. This hike was pretty easy comparatively.

She dove back into her research until one of her team piped up and said, “There might be a blue sky outside.”

Surprised, she looked up and saw a pocket of blue, but it disappeared quickly. “Well, if it’s starting to clear, we could always do a recon trip outside and see what it looks like.” She bounced to her feet.

“Don’t bother,” Hannah said. “It’s not that nice out. The blue sky is long gone.”

Angelica looked out the window as a flurry started. She groaned and sat back down again. “Well, I was hopeful there for a few minutes.”

“Stay hopeful,” Hannah said. “But nobody is going out there until the weather smartens up. Nobody gets lost out here on my watch.”

It was a bit of a running joke in that Hannah, who’d done dozens more trips than Angelica had herself, had yet to have an accident on any of her trips. Yet, Angelica had. She’d been out with students—and, in some cases, with scientists who knew better—but they’d gotten turned around in the snow, caught in whiteouts or hadn’t come prepared enough. Only two occasions included actual injuries, but they certainly weren’t anything she wanted to repeat.

“With any luck we’ll be out there tomorrow,” she said and entered more data.

*

“An extra day isn’t a problem,” Harrison said, now that the guides had left, leaving their recommendations and not budging, no matter what Anders and his crew said. “Especially considering we still don’t have our routes mapped out. If we can’t get up there, I doubt anybody else is going after her.”

“I know, but it’s frustrating,” Anders said. “I hate waiting.”

Dezi chuckled. “You’re all about action. And you don’t wait worth a damn.”

“I do, if I have to,” he said, “but most of the time I don’t have to. But we’re in full-fledged winter weather here, and that’s always unpredictable.” He sat back with ill grace. Because really he couldn’t do anything. They, at least, weren’t stuck up on the mountain with the weather turning shitty. He asked, “Did you hear back from Levi about the helicopter?”

“He’s approved the cost both ways if needed,” Dezi said. “But apparently helicopter pilots aren’t in favor of going up to that level. Search-and-rescue helicopters will go up but not really to the topmost section where she’s working. It’s a well-known area for high updrafts and severe air-flow currents.”

“Well, it’s only a two-day hike, so we should get up there and down in no time.” Anders glanced at Reyes. “I was hoping to at least get up to the first base camp today. And then wait out the storm. As soon as it clears, we could go out tomorrow to Angelica’s camp.”

Reyes grinned at him. “But the guides say no.”

Anders shoved his hands in his pockets and nodded. “I know. But I’d just as soon go without them.” He glanced at his jeans. “Maybe I’ll head into town and see if they’ve got better winter socks.”

“I’ll come with you,” Harrison said. He closed his laptop. “Do you two want anything in town?”

Reyes and Dezi shook their heads. “We’re good here. We were in town earlier yesterday before we came up.”

Harrison and Anders walked out and hopped into the rental truck. “Anything else you want to do while we’re in town?” Harrison asked with a sidelong look.

“I want to get a feel for what strangers are in the area, see if there’s been any suspicious activity. Just because we’re here now doesn’t mean we’re the first ones to arrive.”

“Good point,” Harrison said. He tapped the steering wheel with his thumb. “Her father just put out the alert yesterday morning.”