When she was finished, she handed the picture across to him, “There, I’d say that’s pretty close.”
“This is good. I’ll send this to my men immediately.” Which he did.
“We’re getting somewhere, aren’t we?”
“These are some pretty solid clues and even if the photo of this man doesn’t pan out, the boots should.”
“It’s a slight overkill isn’t it, becoming that angry when they couldn’t even be sure they were in the shot?”
“It’s an interesting question.”
“The other peculiar shot is the picture of those boots. Just your typical hiking boots why take a picture of them? I have a strange feeling it’s important even if I don’t know why,” then after a pause continued, “I can tell you they are expensive backpacking boots, built for heavy loads, gnarly terrain, high cut to stabilize ankles to carry a lot of weight or for long treks. They appear to be full-grain leather with a rubber bumper to protect from impacts and not well broken in, but enough that whoever is wearing them came prepared.”
“Excellent observations, June.”
“This region, terrain if you will, would require this type of boot because of the mud and muck. I suspect they have good grips on the bottoms and because they’re leather, they would hold up under the circumstances. Like yours and mine.”
While June was delighted and optimistic at what she hoped was a turning point, Nigel wasn’t nearly as confident. He didn’t believe in coincidence and it would certainly be a stroke of luck if he was one of the men involved. Obtaining more information on the man’s identity might indicate whether he was involved and possibly shed light on what this was about and whether he or they could be reasoned with. June was an intelligent woman, but he doubted she was prepared for what could come next. If he could talk him (them) down, the situation could be resolved quickly quietly and easily. If not, more drastic measures would be implemented; measures she’d never encountered before.
If they were forced into a confrontational situation, the results of excessive force might be required to extricate the two men. If it came to it, he’d have his men strong-arm her out of the area for her protection and to ensure she didn’t become an additional hostage. Although he’d take every precaution to ensure Roland and Jackson’s safety, he couldn’t guarantee the response of the abductors.
As a result of their finds, he’d sent his men up ahead and they’d intersect on the far side of the caves. The caves would give them breathing space and a secure base in which to hide and perhaps work out their next steps.
He’d scanned the map which indicated that most of the caves faced the same direction and according to the locals, several were large and went deep into the mountainside. That meant the element of surprise and stealth were lost to Nigel and his men limiting his responses not to mention the possibility they could become sitting ducks themselves.
It would be easier if he could create a diversion or a distraction going in to situate his men safely giving them some protection, but he knew that was unlikely. He’d draw up detailed plans that would be implemented and carried out to the letter before entering the war zone. It was the best he could do under the circumstances and he hoped it would be enough to safeguard his men.