Into the Fire Chapter 1 (part 2)
The Germanics certainly were taking their damned time, Mel James noted. It wasn’t like they didn’t get advanced notice as to where to meet. Hell, they had picked the rendezvous spot!
He crossed the room and poured himself another glass of whiskey. Either way, things would be over soon…the Germanics would have their information and he would have the credits needed to further his cause. Then the real work would start.
Democracy. What a joke! It was something concocted by the powerful to allow them to run roughshod over the weaker ones. However, that would change soon. Over the course of several years, he had connected with nearly a hundred people who felt the same way he did-and they were going to act.
The Germanic money would allow for them to fund and support a small organization; one who’s purpose would be to overthrow the Alliance government and replace it with something more equitable…and fair for the billions of lower class workers throughout the galaxy. So what if Fleet Personnel were killed if and when the Germanic High Fleet attacked! They stood as a representation of the unjustness of the Alliance and the obstacles that stood between economic justice and the people’s current misery.
James drank the whiskey in one fell swoop and it burned a trail down his throat. He poured another one and downed it as quickly too. The room’s computer spoke up, distracting him from the booze.
“You have visitors,”
About damned time, he thought.
The computer responded and three men in expensive suits entered the room. One of them he recognized as his contact at the embassy, the other two were strangers. Was something trying to pull a fast one?
James looked at the two blonde haired men and snorted. The two of them had State Security written on their foreheads. While the SS was known for its brutality and thoroughness in eradicating threats to the Fuhrer, originality wasn’t one of their strong suits.
“What’s up with the two SS goons?”
Major James Kaemper of the High Fleet’s Intelligence division looked at him with a slight smile. The SK officer, James noted, was slyer then the SS men, but still couldn’t hold a candle to what he knew of Claudio Reyes’ personnel in Alliance Fleet Intelligence.
“They’re our protection,” Kaemper said, “Because you have to know Reyes will try to stop you.”
“**** him,” James said, “I’ve got their systems so buggered they won’t learn what happened until we’re safely off planet.”
“Arrogance is unbecoming,” The SK agent said, “Because Intelligence is someone even we’re worried about.”
James waved a hand. “Trust me. They won’t be around. Do you have the money?”
Kaemper laid a briefcase on a table and opened it up. Stacked neatly within were millions of credits, enough for his people to build, finance and operate their clandestine army.
“Is that enough?”
James’ eyes lit up. “Oh, yes, it is indeed.”
“Do we have a deal?”
Kaemper turned to face the SS men and all hell broke loose.
The guests in the lobby looked up as the SWAT team entered the building. A couple of women gasped and their dates reached over to comfort them. For many couples, this was supposed to be an expensive night of romance and pleasure…not full of police with automatic rifles storming the courtyard.
For the woman sitting in the café, it was a more disturbing sight. Like her compatriot outside, she thought they had two hours to work on the James case. When the announcement came from Rover that they were outside, that sent her mind into overdrive. Who screwed the pooch this time and how badly?
Either way, she sighed, it was water under the bridge now. Falcon was the one who stood to lose the most in the change…not that Rover and she weren’t on the hook also. However, they weren’t the one on the roof with armed weapons either.
Twelve officers. An entire squad sent to capture one man. The woman nearly broke out in laughter. Did the police ever understand proper force levels? The comparison between what Reyes used and the civilian forces couldn’t be starker. Three Ops, and a transport with a crew of five, versus twelve fully armed SWAT team members in combat armor…if James didn’t know they were there before he would now!
<Falcon,> she sent through her neural link, <This is Snowcat; SWAT is in the building. They’re heading for the stairs.>
<What the hell? Jesus, this screws everything! Who the hell ****ed up the Intel this time?>
<Wish I knew,>
<You and me both,>
The woman couldn’t help but feel sorry for Falcon as she finished her coffee and paid the waiter. While everyone’s attention was on the SWAT team, she slipped across the lobby and out the front door.
Flashing lights greeted her as she emerged from the building. Damn, could there possibly be any more police around? One, two, three-no five cars!-of officers and support staff! Falcon was in a world of hurt that much was for certain.
And there wasn’t a damn thing Rover or her could do about it.
Kate cursed loudly and spat on the roof. Someone had screwed up by the numbers this time-and she got left holding that bag!
“Falcon this is Charlie,” the transport commander’s voice came from the ear bud in her left ear. “We’re reading multiple heat signatures in the stairwells.”
“SWAT’s trying to crash our party,” Kate muttered as she reached into the bag and pulled out a length of synthetic rope.
“Do we need to abort the mission then?”
Kate pulled her Kimber out of the bag also. “Negative,” she said, “We’re just going to have to come up with a Plan C.”
<Plan C?> Rover asked through the neural link.
“I didn’t know there was one,” the commander said.
There wasn’t, Kate reflected with a snort. Reyes had wanted James taken alive if at all possible, but with SWAT’s early arrival, the admiral’s wishes went out the window. The best solution to the problem would be to eliminate the specialist and the information stored in his head.
“Oh there is,” Kate muttered, “It’s just not approved by the Old Man.”
<Are you thinking what I think you’re thinking?>
<You got a better idea, Snowcat?>
<You’re out of your ever loving mind, Falcon!>
The rope went around a piece of roof equipment easily. No one in the right mind, cybernetic or not, would contemplate what she decided. Launching oneself off the roof of a building, to eliminate a person before the police got their hands on him or her. Either she would go down in the history books as a hell of a Special Ops Agent or as the biggest fool…who the hell knew which one it would be!
She checked the Kimber one more time before chambering a round. <I wasn’t the last time I checked,> Kate shrugged, <But if you two can give me a better option, I’m willing to listen.>
The silence was deafening.
<I didn’t think so,> Kate fired back. <I’ll see you at the rendezvous site.>
<Good luck, Falcon,>
<Back at you, Snowcat,>
Kate killed the connection and clicked the line into her harness. Once it was secure, she ran across the roof and leapt into the night.
The sound was slight; nothing more then a thud, but it made Kaemper turn his head. A frown crossed the SK officer’s face. Could the authorities have caught up to them already? If they did, it wouldn’t matter to him because he had diplomatic immunity, as did the two SS men, but what would become of James and the information in his head?
“You two!” he snapped. “Check it out!”
James looked over at him, eyes wide. “What is it? The Police? Oh, God they couldn’t have caught up to us already? It’ll destroy everything!”
The two guards opened the door and slammed it shut as a hail of gunfire ripped into the walls. One of them cried out and went down, a hand over his stomach, blood pouring from the wound. The second reached into his suit and pulled out a sub machine gun. He clicked the safety off and started to back up towards Kaemper.
“SWAT,” he said to the SK officer. “An entire team…I count at least ten.”
“****, ****, ****!” James cried as he ran his hands through hair that was now sweaty. “This can’t be happening!”
“Calm yourself, James,” Kaepmer said, “I can claim your seeking asylum with my government and they can’t do anything to you.”
“Can you guarantee that?”
Kaemper snorted. “Of course I can’t! You forgot about Intelligence! Reyes wouldn’t stop at a subtle-or not so subtle-assassination either you know.”
The door burst open and the first officer came through, weapon at the ready. Following on his footsteps were the rest of the team and the SS man wisely dropped his weapon. The armed officers took up places around James as a man in plain clothes entered the room.
The man shook his head. “You’re one dumb son of a bitch, James,” he said, “You picked this hotel and this region. Did you think I’d be asleep at the switch or something?”
“Mister James is seeking asylum with my government,” Kaemper said. “Which you have to honor.”
“Honor a request from a bunch of scumbags who want to kill anyone who isn’t like them?” the man snorted, “I don’t think the Foreign Ministry will go for it.”
“We are a peaceful people,” Kaemper said, “And civilized-“
“Does being ‘peaceful and civilized’ mean one steals the secrets of a sovereign government?” a woman’s voice said before the roar of gunshots filled the air.
The glass on the outer windows shattered, and the wind started to buffet the SWAT team. Before the sound had time to die, more shots rang out. James’ head exploded in a combination of red, gray and circuitry.
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