Across from me, my supervisor gave a shrug with one shoulder. The man was infuriatingly good at that, I had noticed, and I already hated it. I was still young, idealistic, and I believed deeply in the value of my work. To see someone else treat our mission so callously bothered me at some small level.
“She’s a liability,” my supervisor (I refused to think of him as my boss) said, as if this explained everything. “The girl’s come from nowhere, and she’s robbed nearly a dozen banks now. A couple in Louisiana, but she quickly headed north, and the last few she’s hit have all been in Indiana. So that’s where you’ll start.”
“She’s a bank robber?” I asked, returning my gaze back down to the sketches. They were just rough pencil and charcoal, but the artist had managed to capture a glint in her eyes, a determined set to her jaw, that spoke volumes about the girl’s strength of character.
“And almost a killer,” my supervisor added. “Girl carries a .45 – hell of a big gun for such a sweet little thing, but she knows how to use it. Nearly blew the leg off one of the local cops when he tried to corner her.”
I raised my eyebrows. The girl in the sketch didn’t look like a cold-blooded assassin. “Just trying to arrest her?” I said in doubtful tones.
My supervisor winced, as if he’d been hoping to avoid clarifying. “He might have decided to take a couple liberties with her,” he added. “Small town cops tend to be… unreliable.”
Nice way of phrasing it, I thought to myself. Better than saying that most of them are petty thugs with a power complex, not much better than the criminals they’re supposed to stop. But I know when to be diplomatic, so I held my tongue.
“Anyway,” the man picked up, leaving behind the embarrassment of small town police, “we’ve been asked to step in by the banks, and they’re sending you. Find this girl, put a stop to the robberies, and maybe see if you can recover any of the cash.”
“Capture is acceptable?” I asked, looking once more down at the girl’s picture. She didn’t look like someone that the banks desired so desperately to be dead that they’d hire us. The Organization did good work, but we didn’t come cheap.
My supervisor was shaking his head, however. “They want this to be an example,” he told me. “Put a bullet in her.”
I made sure that the man didn’t see my grimace as he stood up from my desk and walked away.
I knew, however, that despite my personal objections, the mission came first. I had been a Priest for nearly a decade now, and my training taught me to overlook personal feelings. Feelings, sentimentality, they were just distractions. I trusted my gut, my training, and my Colt. Whatever mistakes might have led this girl into a life of crime, they were already committed. And now, with a Priest after her, she didn’t get another chance.
The Organization already had a train ticket paid for and ready to carry me out west, towards Indiana. My packing consisted of grabbing my knapsack and slinging it over my shoulder, and then checking my weapons as I headed towards the door.
Priests traveled light. We carried just enough to do the job assigned to us.