"Showdown" - Part Eight

I woke up to someone shaking my shoulder, blinked, and saw Mouse leaning over me.

"Under half an hour to touchdown," said Mouse.

I nodded and straightened in my seat.

Through the front viewport lay an expanse of black dotted with a million pinpricks of light.

"Nice nap?" said Sam, throwing a quick look into the cabin, his features bathed in the green glow of the console lights.

"Yeah," I said feeling cotton-mouthed. "Any water?"

"Here," said Mouse and handed me a bottle.

I took a long pull.

"Not much longer," said Sam. "I'll start our descent in a few."

Optic clock.


Local time. Switched when we crossed time zones.

"So how are we playing this?" said Mouse.

I looked at the printouts again to refresh my thoughts, then grabbed the map.

"We can hit the house from the north side," I said. "Come in low across Long Island Sound. Looks like the property butts up to the water. Sam?"

"Yeah?" Sam said.

"We'll have you drop us on the beach there, then find someplace nearby to wait."

"Map?" he said.

I got out of my seat, stretching my legs a bit, and brought the map into the pilot's compartment.

He gave it a studied look.

"Works for me," he said and went back to his controls.

I turned back into the main cabin and looked at Mouse. "Then we take the house."

* * *

"Five minutes," Sam called out.

Mouse and I stood near the cabin door, hands on the back of nearby seats to keep our balance.

"Ready?" I said to Mouse.

She nodded. "You?"

I nodded, popped to thermal, and looked out the front viewport.

A long strip of beach punctuated by pale glowing islands of light from houses loomed in the near distance.

And quickly got closer.

I focused on the comforting weight of the Twins in the shoulder rig under my jacket.

It was time to end this.

* * *

The aerodyne swept in low over the water, swung over the beach, and touched down.

"Go," said Sam.

I shoved the cabin door open and Mouse and I dropped to the sand.

A moment later, the aerodyne floated up, banked slightly, closing the door, and swung away from the beach.

Ahead of us, thirty meters away, the beach ended at a line of trees extending at least twenty-five meters left to right and bordered at the end by the start of wrought iron fencing. Beyond the trees lay a wide open lawn and then a two-story house that seemed to spread out in all directions.

I motioned to Mouse and jogged across the sand to the treeline, keeping low.

No contact.


As we crossed the treeline onto grass, I drew the Twins and heard Mouse's wakizashis sing out from her back scabbards.

I dropped to one knee and took a moment to eye the layout. Mouse did the same.

There was no cover between our position and house. The house itself was a rough semi-circle with the two wings at angles to the main house in the center. Regularly spaced floodlamps aimed at the sides of the house bathed it in a warm glow and my optic filters kept me from going blind at the lights.

Mouse tapped my shoulder and gestured with her head.

To our right, twenty-five meters away, three-meter tall wrought iron fencing ran the perimeter of the property. Irregularly space stands of bushes ran parallel to the fenceline. Halfway around, an ancient oak sat between the fence and the back of the main house where I could see a patio and a circle of lawn chairs and umbrellas.


I nodded at Mouse and we made our way to the fenceline, leapfrogged along the bushes, to the tree, and finally to the back patio where we ducked behind a large brick grill.

And then we heard voices coming from the house.

Peered around the edge of the grill.

A pair of muscle, big and burly in badly-fitting dark suits, stepped out onto the patio and walked in our direction, still in conversation. They'd be at the grill in under ten seconds.

They hadn't turned on the back patio lights.

Chromed. Optics at the least.

Ducked back around, turned to Mouse, and held up two fingers.

She gave me a feral grin and mouthed: "Mine."

I nodded.

She pivoted on her heel, went to the other edge of the grill and peered out.

I let out a long, slow breath, the Twins at ready.

Heard Mouse move off in a flap of leather.

Sub-vocal, and the world slid into slo-mo.

Stepped forward, rising from my crouch and pivoting, the Twins swinging around, tracking.

The two muscle came into view.

So did Mouse, moving a full two seconds ahead of me.

The muscle were slow, slower than me, and much slower than Mouse and paid for it. They had just registered Mouse when she danced into them, wakizashis whirling, blood geysering from their falling bodies. They hit the ground with meaty thumps, one after the other, and Mouse skipped aside as she finished.

Security with optics only? And no boost?

What the--?

A fingersnap.

Looked up, saw Mouse signaling to me.


I gave her a quick nod, then indicated the back door.


We ducked inside into a sitting room adjoining a huge kitchen, no lights on, Mouse in the lead.

A figure stepped around the corner from the kitchen and went saucer-eyed at the sight of us.

Another muscle.

He barely cleared his weapon from a hip holster when Mouse leaped forward, slashing.

A severed hand flew sideways and landed on a nearby bookshelf, splashing blood across a series of framed photographs. Another twirl of blades and the muscle crumpled, blood fountaining from a slashed neck down the man's front.

Into the kitchen, Mouse still in the lead.


Still another with no boost?

Felt a knot in my gut.

(to be continued...)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 9

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