"Ties That Bind" - Part Eight

"Seriously?" said Mouse.
   
"Seriously," I said.
   
We were back in our shared flat above the Red Dog Bar.
   
I finished reloading magazines for the Twins and tucked them into the ammo pouches on my gear belt. The last two magazines I slid into each of the pistols, racked the slides, and holstered them.
   
"We've still got a contract with Rachel," I said. "Unfinished."
   
"Well, yeah..." said Mouse.
   
"Plus, we've already seen their security," I said. "Which is crap."
   
"Don't say it's gonna be cake," said Mouse. "You know it's never cake. Besides, how do you know Rachel's even gonna be at the house."
   
"I'm playing a hunch," I said.
   
"Your hunches blow monkey balls," said Mouse.
   
"But they're never wrong."
   
"Don't get a big head."

*   *   *
   
I checked on Joshua in the Red Dog's back office.
   
He was finally upright and sitting on the couch nursing a steaming mug.
   
Revell, standing nearby, said, "Is hot cocoa."
   
"He gonna live?" I said.
   
Revell grinned. "Da. Maybe slight concussion. Nothing more."
   
I turned to Joshua. "We need to talk."
   
He sipped the cocoa, then nodded.
   
"I will be in bar," Revell said and left the office.
   
After the door closed, I perched on the edge of the office desk and said, "Tell me about the Alliance cell in the city."

*   *   *
   
An hour and a half later, after getting a loaner from Specs and leaving Joshua at the Red Dog under Revell's watchful eye, we were headed back to the Hills.
   
"Please tell me," said Mouse, "you had enough time to think up a plan."
   
"I did," I said.
   
"And?"
   
I told her.
   
When I finished she said, "Just like that?"
   
"Yeah," I said.
   
"And you think it'll work."
   
"Monkey ball-blowing hunch."
   
She gave a small chuckle. "Wiz," she said.

*   *   *
   
We had been standing for about five minutes in the huge marble-tiled foyer of the Jeffries mansion. Double-doors with ornate handles flanked us on either side. Ahead and to our left, a staircase wound up along one wall and lead to the floor above. Directly above, a crystal chandelier. Directly in front, a simple door.
   
The muscle who had answered the front door stood off to one side and faced us at an angle, the same blank expression on his face.
   
"You could smile once in a while," Mouse said to him. "I'm sure it's allowed."
   
"Don't pester the man," I said. "He's just doing his job."
   
"He could at least do it with a little personality."
   
"Hush."
   
"And where's Jeffries? You'd think he'd hurry up. I mean, he's got guests waiting."
   
"It's a delaying tactic."
   
"It's rude."
   
A few seconds later, the door directly in front of us opened and Jeffries emerged accompanied by another muscle, this one in a dark gray double-breasted suit.
   
"About damn time," said Mouse. "You could've at least offered us something to drink while we waited."
   
Jeffries put both hands in his front pants pockets and looked at us for a moment. Then he said: "I thought I was perfectly clear on the phone. This is no longer your affair. Stay out of it or I will inform the police."
   
"We heard you just fine," I said. "But my partner and I still have a contract to fulfill."
   
He frowned. "Your part was done. Our contract is completed."
   
"Our contract isn't with you, Mr. Jeffries. It's with your daughter."
   
"What the hell are you talking about?" he said and started toward us.
   
I held up a hand and he stopped in mid-step. "I wouldn't come any closer," I said.
   
"Why?" said Jeffries. "Are you going to shoot me?" He gestured to his muscle and grinned. "My men will gun you down where you stand."
   
"You're in the way of us fulfilling our contract," I said. "We can't have that."
   
"What contract?" he said. "What did my stupid daughter do this time?"
   
"We're giving you a great opportunity to cooperate with us," I said.
   
"Cooperate?" said Jeffries, wide-eyed, his voice going up a few octaves. "Do you two know who I am?  And do you have any idea what I can do to you?"
   
"I have a phone in my pocket, Mr. Jeffries," I said. "If I don't make a call to a waiting party in five minutes, news agencies will find out about a child you fathered with the daughter of an Alliance official. They'll also find out about a group of Alliance operatives you've allowed to gain entry to Bay City with the purpose of infiltrating the CFS and taking down its government."
   
A mixture of emotions flashed across Jeffries's face. Then he sneered. "You're bluffing."

(to be continued...)

"Ties That Bind"
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 9

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