Swanson continued to unpack the long case on his hotel bed, setting out an increasing array of elaborate telescopic sights and mounting brackets.

MacCauley held out a slip of paper. “This is your target,” he said.

“You’re sure it’s accurate?” Swanson didn’t look up,continuing his assembly. Metal clicked against metal, tubes locking solidly into frames.

“This is where Young left them, precisely. I got it from my cousin who works as a secretary at the AWC.”

“Excellent.” Swanson handed over the briefcase of cash he’d prepared earlier. “Check it if you want, it’s all there in Aussie hundreds.”

MacCauley handed over the paper, which Swanson greedily read. It was a latitude and longitude, as well as a grainy image of a small parrot amid some desert grass.

“Now we’ll see who has the best life list at the ornithologist club,” he said, hefting his telescope. “The critically endangered night parrot is about to be mine.”

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