Because he’d turned away, they could only hear one side of the conversation. The sergeant’s shoulders relaxed as he listened. “Andy Kaminski. OK …. Yeah …. You think it’s serious? …. You’d better go up then …. How long? …. Right …. Yeah ….. I’ll call for backup …. Should I get the chopper out? ….. No? Why not? ….. right. No sirens? Think we’re idiots?” He grunted. “Right.” He handed the phone back to Jason. “He wants to talk to you.”
Jason took the phone.
“Hi, Colin, it’s Jason. I’m a friend of Cody and Luigi.”
“Hi Jason. Look, I’ve spoken to Sergeant Kaminski.” The slight emphasis he gave to sergeant made it official. Jason waited patiently for the warning. It duly came. “Don’t get involved. We—the police—are trained for this, and you are not. And if you get in the way, or give him another hostage, you’ll make things worse.”
“All right,” agreed Jason placidly.
“Promise!” ordered Colin de Graves, his voice gruff.
“I promise not to get involved.”
“OK, then. We’ve got him. Your friends will be safe.” It would have helped if Colin had sounded more certain.
“Do you think he’s making for Mt Macedon?”
“I dunno. But I’m here, fifteen minutes away. I’m going up to the camping site.”
“You’ll hide your van, so he doesn’t see it?”
“I’m not a complete idiot, you know!” Colin’s asperity embarrassed Jason a little. But …. They were his friends. And he wasn’t going to make a mistake again which cost a friend his life. Never again.
“They’re my friends,” he said calmly but with steel in his voice. “Luigi was the first person I met here. And he matters to me.” Jason turned to look at Keith and Esmé, both listening intently. “He matters to us. And Cody …” he faltered, “… Cody’s suffered enough.”
Colin sighed. “I know. But would you try to guide the hand of the surgeon who operates on you?”
“Fair point. OK. We’ll trust you. Please …. Don’t …”
“We’ll do our very best,” promised Colin.
Jason handed the phone over to Keith.