"Easy Money" - Part Twenty-Two

Then a figure stepped up next to Jade. Tall, well-built, with close-cropped silver hair. Earbud radio in his right ear. Drooped eyelids, as if half-asleep.

But the eyes.

Piercing blue. And shark eye blank.

On either side of him were two more uniformed guards with HK MP5s held at the low-ready position, stocks pulled against their shoulders, the barrels pointed down at a forty-five degree angle.


Jade turned her head slightly toward the figure. "See, Burns?" she said. "Told you she'd be here."

I felt my jaw tighten.

So. The son of a bitch himself.

Burns looked at me. "You'll want to put your guns down."

I didn't move.

Burns inclined his head toward me.

The guards stepped forward and the MP5 barrels popped up, level with my head.

The corners of Burns's mouth gave a small twitch. "Your guns. Down. Now."

I set them on the floor.

"Now take two steps back," said Burns.

I did.

"Want me to dance next?" I said.

He gave me a humorless smile. "You have something that belongs to me."

"Do I?"

"Wrong answer. You need to give me the right answer. Her life"--he motioned with his head toward Mouse--"depends on it."

"Okay," I said. "I have it in my jacket pocket."

Burns nodded.

I reached in, took the hardcase out of the inside pocket, and held it up.

"Show me," said Burns.

I popped the lid and showed him the disk.

"Good," he said. "Now put it on the floor and slide it toward me."

I closed the lid, set the case on the floor, and shoved it toward him with the toe of my boot. It spun and slid across the tiled floor and stopped against the edge of his shoe.

He bent down and picked it up then touched his earbud. "Gibson. I have the item. I need a confirmation."

A moment later, a short Korean in a white lab coat--Gibson--came past the two guards and stood next to Burns. Burns handed him the hardcase. Gibson opened it, took the disk out, then produced a portable terminal and inserted the disk into a slot.

Light flickered from the terminal's screen, illuminating Gibson's face. He tapped the keys and studied the resulting output then turned to Burns. "Confirm."

"Good. Tell Mr. Armstrong that we've completed the retrieval."

Gibson nodded, turned, and went back down the hallway.

Burns fixed me with a long look. "Thank you."

I gave him a one-fingered salute.

A smirk crawled across his face. Then he glanced down at the Twins and his brow furrowed.

"Recognize them, don't you," I said.

He frowned.

"Revell told me. Everything. You fucking sell-out."

Burns looked up at me and his eyes were slitted. "He got what was coming to him."

"Killing her was part of the plan, too?"

I saw his jaw clench, the muscles flexing and tightening. His nostrils flared.

"You got what you wanted, Burns," Jade said.

Burns's face relaxed somewhat and he turned toward her.

"I want them," Jade said, indicating me and Mouse. "Like we agreed." She grinned at me. "We've got other biz to discuss."

"Very well," said Burns. "Like we agreed."

Jade shoved Mouse toward me, still keeping her pistol trained on us. "And the payment," she said. "You promised payment, too."

"I did," said Burns. "And I'm a man of my word."

Jade turned toward Burns and held her free hand out.

Burns reached into his suit jacket pocket, pulled out a handgun, shoved it into Jade's chest and fired three times.

She jerked backwards and slumped against the wall. Her pistol clattered to the floor.

"Holy fuck!" said Mouse.

Burns put the gun away and turned back to us. "Kill them."

The lights went out.

Emergency lights flickered on.

Subvocal. And the world went to slo-mo.

Burns looked up, mouth opening to exclaim something.

Never heard it.

Two secmen, also looking, distracted.

I moved, lunged forward, keeping low, reached for the Twins on the floor, scooped them up and raised them, slid to my knees, sighted, squeezed, felt them buck in my hands.

Burns went saucer-eyed as the first round slammed into his midsection. He jerked. Jerked again. And again. And again. His legs buckled under him and he fell back.

Pivoted right, saw the secman bring his weapon back in line. The Twins coughed twice and two rounds punched through his helmet. He dropped.

Scanned left, saw Mouse slice the other secman's neck. He brought hands up to his throat and blood streamed from between his fingers. He dropped to his knees and pitched face first to the floor.

I shot a glance back at Burns, at his body on the floor.

That's for you, Murphy.

I turned to Mouse.

"Go," I said.

She nodded.

We bounced.

And ran right into Jake.

* * *

He skidded to a stop in the middle of the corridor, a Colt-Springfield M4-A battle rifle held tight to his chest, barrel pointed down at a forty-five degree angle, a crooked grin on his face.

"Clear," he said and jerked a thumb back up the corridor.

I looked.

Several bodies lay sprawled on the floor.

"Nice," I said. "Mikey?"

"Upstairs. Making sure we've got a way out."

"Better not keep him waiting," said Mouse.

* * *

We exited the elevator on the garage level to the chatter of small arms fire, stayed low, and ducked behind a nearby support pillar.

At the entrance, the gates had come down. The gray sedan I drove in sat parked in the middle of the entry lane, just past the guard shack. Mikey sat with his back against the sedan's rear left wheel, a battle rifle on his lap, while bullets raked the other side of the car. Glass shards rained down around him.

He spotted us and waved.

"Is he fucking serious?" said Mouse.

"Yup," Jake said.

I hefted the Twins. "We should give him a hand. Gotta be at least six of them behind the gate--"

Jake shook his head. "Just watch."

Mikey cocked his head, listening for something. Then he yanked out a spent magazine, pulled another from the front pouch of his tactical vest, slapped it into place, and yanked the charging handle. He got into a low crouch, brought the rifle to his shoulder, pivoted toward the entrance, and placed the barrel on edge of the trunk.

The gunfire from the other side of the gate stopped suddenly.

And Mikey opened up, sweeping the gate with rolling bursts of fire.

A few moments later, it was done.

"Nice," said Mouse.

(to be continued...)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Continuity error: Lists the sedan as gray here, but in the chapter she drove it in, it's listed as blue.