We were in a rear garage bay at the back end of the house that Murphy had hardened and converted into an armory. Along two walls were floor racks with battle rifles and shotguns and wall pegs with submachineguns and pistols. On the wall to our right stood a workbench with a reloading press and a line of ammo cans marked with various calibers. Above the workbench were shelves packed with boxes of ammo and assorted tools and supplies.
Donovan stepped inside room and gawked at the hardware. "Forget being prepared," she said. "You're ready for the end of the world."
I grinned, walked over to one of the racks and pulled out a Benelli M5 semi-auto shotgun. "This one is for you," I said. I gave her a quick refresher then handed it over.
"Shells?" she said.
I grabbed a bandolier of shells from a wall hook and gave that to her, then gestured to the workbench. "Should be more boxes of shells over there."
I pulled out another M4 rifle from the rack, then went to the workbench.
We grabbed some ammo cans of 7.62mm, 9mm, .45-caliber, and 12-gauge. Donovan slung the Benelli over her shoulder by its strap. I slung the M4 over mine, then grabbed a black hardcase with four sets of throat mics from beneath the workbench.
"Ready?" I said.
"What's going to happen now?" she said.
"We'll talk about that in the living room."
"Will Danny and I be okay?"
"You will," I said. "I promise you."
* * *
Jake slammed a magazine home, racked the charging handle of his M4, thumbed the safety on, and set it down in front of him on the metal table. "What's our next move?" he said.
We were back in the dining room checking weapons and loading spare magazines. Donovan and I were seated at the dining table loading spare magazines. Mouse was arranging her blades in various sheaths under her trenchcoat
I finished loading another spare magazine for the Twins, set that next to the five others, and looked up and inclined my head at Donovan. "First thing, they need to disappear."
Donovan sucked air and looked at me with saucer-eyes. "What?"
"Easy," said Jake. "She means we get you and Danny new identities."
"That's gonna cost," said Mouse.
"We still have reserves," I said.
Mouse looked at Jake. "That means we'll be eating kibble."
"I can pay," Donovan said. "I have a little money."
"It's gonna be expensive," I said.
Jake said, "They start at two million, depending on who you go to."
Donovan made a sound halfway between a muffled yelp and a subdued shriek. "Two million credits?"
"Each," said Jake.
"Don't worry," I said. "We'll take care of it."
"Are you sure?" Donovan said.
"What about these mooks?" said Mouse. "I don't get the feeling they're going away until they get what they want."
"We make them come to us," I said. "And we control the fight."
"I know you have the safe room," said Donovan. "But you want them to lay siege to the house?"
"The Shack's more than just the safe room," I said. "We're a fortress."
Donovan gave me a skeptical look.
I said, "We've got one acre of property surrounded by an electrified fence topped with razor wire. The house? Sitting in the middle of a clearing. Fortified. Armored walls. Bullet resistant glass on all the windows. Steel security doors made to look like regular front doors. So unless they use artillery on us, we should be able to hold out. Plus,"--I gestured at the array of weapons on the two tables--"we can fire back."
"And that private road off the highway is the only way onto the property," said Mouse. "There's a mile of road before they reach the gates. Anybody turning off the highway trips a sensor that registers up here. We'll have plenty of warning."
"And if they don't come in by the road?" said Donovan.
"We have shoulder-fired surface-to-air missles," I said.
"What about food?"
"In the basement. Water, too. Enough for four people to live on for a month."
"My god," said Donovan. "You could hold off a small army with everything in this house."
"That's the point," I said. "The Shack was meant to protect clients. That means you and Danny."
Donovan nodded. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," I said, then pulled out my cellphone and dialed Specs.
"What's doin, Kat?" he said.
"I need to make some people disappear," I said. "Full package."
"Two." I gave him the info on Donovan and Danny.
"Lemme make some calls," he said. "Ten minutes."
"There's a time crunch."
A short pause. "How much of a crunch?"
"People are trying to grab them."
"Gotcha. I'll see what I can do."
"Thanks." I hung up.
Donovan turned toward the foyer and adjoining hallway. Danny was in the family room at the far end. She got up from the chair. "I'm going to check on Danny."
"We'll be here," I said.
She went turned the corner and disappeared down the hallway.
And I suddenly remembered something.
(to be continued...)