Monday, October 31, 2016

Codename: UnSub, Chapter 3, Strange Relations

I'm not spoiling all that much. This is only about page 40. Kevin Anderson is trying to find this killer via the training, and ends up with access to communications with the other end of the planet.

This is the other end of the planet.

* * * *

Islamic Republic of France, January 30, 2094

When several large men are busy being beaten to death, they usually don't note that their attacker is 5'5”.

Afrim charged the woman linebacker-style. She sidestepped and cracked him in the back of the neck with the pommel of her tactical baton, cracking vertebra. Before he even hit the floor, his face hit her knee.

She turned to the rest of them, and glared. “Listen to me well, and listen to me good – all I want is your current merchandise, and I won't kill every—last—one of you. That's not unreasonable, is it?”

Kreshnik charged, only with a fire axe raised over his shoulder, with Fitore coming in with a crowbar. She burst in with her baton and flicked the baton at Kreshnik's knees, then dove, rolled, and cut Fitore's legs out from under him. She came to her feet and turned around to face them. Fitore got up, but Kreshnik was busy screaming from a shattered kneecap.

“Look,” she said simply, “I'm tired, cranky, and seriously under-f***ed. I haven't been on a successful date in months, and the last man who touched me is in freaking Siberia.”

Fitore grabbed Kreshnik's fire axe and dual-wielded it with the crowbar, and charged. She burst forward and rammed her left shoulder into the inside of the forearm with the crowbar, and it went flying. The baton came up and slammed against the other wrist, shattering it. Her knee came up into his balls. He fell over and she pivoted out of the way.

“I mean, it's not like I'm unattractive, am I?” she asked as she kicked Fitore in the ribs. “Men hit on me all the time.” Kick. “But you'd think at least one of them—” kick “—would be a nice guy, don't you think?” Kick. “The law of averages dictates it.”

The door burst in, and she whirled, smacking the first one through the door across the face with a resounding crack, opening up his face from the temple to the jaw. She kicked him in the stomach just to get him out of the way, then spun ramming the point of the baton into the next one. Jeton fell over as his breath escaped him. She raised the baton. “I don't think—” crack “—I'm being—” crack “—un—” crack “—f***ing—” crack “—reasonable about this. Do you?”

She flipped open the tactical visor of her helmet, and looked around with her crystal blue eyes, which stood out in contrast with her pale skin. She growled, flipped down her HUD visor and moved to the open door. She ducked her head back before the seven men could start shooting. She took a few steps back as the door and the wall exploded in a barrage of bullets.

Since Albanians tend to shoot on full automatic…She drew both of her guns and waited a moment for the magazines to empty, then wheeled around what was left of the door frame, both guns raised. She didn't stop as she came around, sighting from right to left. The HUD in her visor was lined up with her guns, and the icon flashed when she should shoot. Each gun fired only four times. They were not perfect head shots, or one-shot, one-kill; two bullets went into the eyes of one of them, and three bullets were throat shots. This was one part a matter of technology, and another part was the result of thousands of practiced head shots over the previous months—so many that she had had to have carpal tunnel fixed in both wrists, twice.

Her guns were raised as she closed with them, and delivered a coup de grace on the three who were shot in the throat.

She looked around once, looking at the crates. She wondered briefly what they needed so many crates for, until the door to the next room over was kicked in. She went into a dive behind the crates on her left as the bullets came in from the right, and hoped the crates were packed with something solid.

She considered her next move as her earpiece beeped. “Cortez to Mandy,” came the whip-sharp voice of Major Antonio Rohaz. “Are you busy?”

“This is Mandy,” she said in her soprano voice, “can I help you?”

“I have someone who wants to talk with you.”

Amanda Esmerelda Rohaz rolled her eyes. “Dad, I'm in the middle of something. Couldn't you take a message?”

“The last time you left me a message,” said a different voice, “you shot me in the chest. Twice. The second time.”

Mandy's world stopped, despite the crates being blasted to pieces around her. She didn't even notice flying splinters pass her face, or the clash of lead bullets meeting gold bars behind her.


“Bad time?” he asked wryly.

“N-no.” Mandy blinked twice and cleared her throat. “No, I'm fine. It's fine. A fine time.” She ejected both magazines, and fired off two blind shots over her shoulders—it was faster than working the action to clear the chamber. “You're with my da—darned CEO. Are you killing off his men again?”

“You could just say that he's your father, you know,” Kevin told her. “When you held my acquaintance Kyle at gunpoint last year, he knew who you were. You should have seen the look on my face when he asked me why the daughter of the mercenary CEO had held him at gunpoint. I think Kyle even smiled. Which, let me tell you, isn't a pretty sight.”

Mandy reloaded her guns with fresh magazines, a different load of bullets. “I know. I've been there, done that. I may still have the scars.” She worked the action to load each chamber with the new cartridges. “You know I was in San Francisco?”

“Yeah. And Father Jack told me about your assistance in getting them into the city.”

Mandy blinked. The last time I trust a priest to not mention operational details. “That was nice of him.”

“Next time you want a priest to keep something quiet, start with ‘bless me father for I have sinned.’”

Mandy growled. “But we didn’t. Trust me, it would have been far more interesting if we had.” She checked the HUD on her visor, and pinpointed the exact position for the shooters on her motion tracker. She aimed over her shoulder, heard the locked-on tone in her other ear, and fired. The chlorine-isotope high explosive round exploded in a 6-foot diameter ball of white-hot fire, completely disintegrating one gunman, burned a second one right down the center, and took the arm and the gun of a third.

”I’m sure you could find something,” Kevin said in that sardonic tone of his. It gave her a warm feeling all over. She could even see the half-smile that came with it.

“Me? A sinner?” Mandy said playfully. “I’m too busy to commit any interesting sins,” she said as she locked on and fired another bullet.

“Good to hear you’re keeping yourself occupied. Just don’t work yourself too hard.”

“Heh. Of course not.” Mandy popped up and fired three more rounds, and dropped down before she could be blinded by the balls of fire. “I make certain to take off every once in a while.”

“Sounds nice. You were right, I should have been in the private sector,” Kevin said. “So, you’re on vacation at the moment? Taking one of those well-deserved breaks?”

“Oh, I’m not doing much.” Mandy thought for a moment. The last burst she fired was the last one she heard. She looked for a moment on her motion sensors, and saw nothing. She turned her head, and looked in infrared. No one moved. Unfortunately, everything was kinda glowing. She scanned on multiple other wavelengths, but there was nothing. “It’s been rather quiet lately.”

“Really? Major Rohaz has been telling me about all sorts of missions you’ve been on lately. It sounded so exciting, and enough for a book for every week of your life. I couldn’t even imagine where you could find the time.”

Damn it, dad, can’t you ever keep your mouth shut? Mandy thought. She stood and looked around. Everyone was dead. “Oh, you know me. I’m in and I’m out in a few hours. Then it’s beers and dancing all around.”

“Uh huh,” Kevin replied, obviously doubting. “Well, if you ever want to have a long weekend sometime, I’m sure I can get you some good drinks here. And I can make sure they’re chemically inoffensive. If they’re not, I’ll kill the bartender myself.”

Mandy laughed. “I’m sure.” She took a few more steps, and listened for approaching footsteps. It seemed like she had killed everybody in the building with a gun. “You don’t want to ask why I didn’t…say hello? I was right there.”

Kevin didn’t say anything for a moment. “Nah. It was a good call.”

Mandy let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding, and started to stride forward. “Thank you. And thank you for not saying anything in front of my father.”

“Not a problem. I fully understand.”

“As far as coming by … If you think it wouldn’t be a problem?”

“Nah. Not at all. I’ll be happy to clear my calendar sometime when I’m not tracking some kind of serial killer wannabe.”

Mandy blinked, thought of asking, but thought better of it. She swapped out her ammunition loads again and moved through the next door.

She had found the makeshift pens.

“Listen, could I call you back?” Mandy said. “Something just came up.”

“Understood. See you around.”

There was a distinct click, and the other side signed off. She took off her helmet, letting her raven black hair fall to her shoulder blades. She thought that might be a little bit more reassuring to all of the women in cages.

“Does anyone here speak English?” Mandy called out. “I’d really rather not mangle my French any more than I have to.”

Mandy heard a noise to her left. She swung her gun arm up at a door. It creaked open, and a bald man wandered out, looking down at his fly. The ear buds he wore blared so loud, Mandy could hear it from where she stood, twenty feet away from him. When he finally got it zipped, he looked up, and down the barrel of her gun.

Mandy smiled, and tapped her ear. He got the hint, and slowly took out his ear buds.

Parlez vous forty-five caliber?” she asked.

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