Entry 26 – On the Sea Again
About half an hour later, I found myself outside discussing the briefing results with Espinoza. Over the last couple of weeks we really grew close, so much so that we started calling each other by our first names without causing an annoyance (something she and Ferguson had still been working on).
"This is stupid."
That seemed to be the motto of the entire trip despite its initial successes. The word of Irish repercussions weighed heavy on my mind still.
"Yep," she grinned. "But it's the only way."
The plan was as follows. The ship would pass through Gibraltar to the Mediterranean Sea... without us. We'd disembark (with our vehicles and supplies) on the northern coast of Spain and would take the long way around, passing through the country (hopefully) unnoticed until we reached Barcelona. There, the ship would pick us up again and deliver us to our (again, hopefully) final destination. All this was to be done to avoid a mandatory and thorough inspection at the port of Gibraltar and the anti-trafficking patrols operating in the southern Mediterranean.
Passing through a country unnoticed is quite a feat for a column of armored vehicles and some supply trucks (which had to be repainted again in order not to raise any suspicions). In fact, in the USA, this would have been quite impossible. But this was Europe and some of its parts weren't in best shape.
For years now, Spain's been wracked by strife bordering on civil war. Someone famous once said that the difference between order and anarchy are roughly nine meals. The reality is, of course, far more complex than that but the cold hard truth is that a diverse society collapses onto itself as soon as the stakes are raised. Humans are tribal creatures and tribes consist of families, not strangers assuming mantles at their convenience. This bond is old as humanity itself and it is widely assumed it cannot be broken. Some things are simply embedded too deeply within us.
During the recent years, the collapse of Spain has accelerated with the government effectively only in control of large cities and the military paralyzed by the same ethnic conflict that's been ruining the once great nation. Lucky for us, I thought, as this basically allowed us to pass without problems – as long as we wouldn't become a problem ourselves, which we were determined not to. To prevent any misunderstandings and give us a safety net to fall back on, we loaded pretty much all the supplies we could spare in (and on top of) our vehicles. The sailors left on the ship would have some lean days ahead of them but everyone understood the importance of the mission and, more importantly, was paid enough to suffer a little hardship on the way.
As for us, Espinoza seemed to actually enjoy the situation. Not that she'd admit it but once I heard her mention it to Jim:
"At least you'll learn now how to properly survive. Actual foraging would be a nice bonus, how are your vermin hunting skills?"
"Good," replied Jim and that was the end of it.