From the Ashes: CATU Book 6 Ch. 12byJoeBarnosky©
RATMMAS LEANS TO THE SIDE MOVING only his torso letting Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi fall harmlessly past. His massive right hand in the form of a fist crashes down behind Errios' skull knocking her to the ground.
"Is that all you got little one?" he asks mocking her.
Errios pushing up from the ground and wipes blood from her mouth with her free hand. Oh you're gonna pay for that one mother fucker.
She spins around throwing her sword evenly at the horseman's feet. He jumps easily anticipating the attack and delivers a kick to Errios' mouth sending her reeling across the asphalt. When the Succubus finally grinds to a halt she lies there momentarily before slowly getting up.
She spits out blood, letting the remainder trickle from her mouth as she lets out a low growl at her opponent. Face me Tancheres instead of hiding behind your puppet. She yells at Pierson.
"I would gladly oblige you my dear, but you are beneath me unless you were to prove yourself and so far I haven't seen that," he answers her with a mocking smile.
I'll make that smile permanent when I cut it off your face. She threatens.
"Big words that I doubt will come true," Pierson laughs. "Finish this Ratmmas and be sure to give our audience a good show."
Ratmmas nods and says, "As you wish Master."
Errios smiles. The smile is quickly stolen as Ratmmas drives his elbow into the Succubus' stomach. Errios clenches her teeth against the pain setting as it sets in. The horseman leans in close to her ear and whispers, "Your mocking smile is not befitting of you."
He turns and grabs Errios up by the throat lifting her up high into the air. The Succubus tightens her grip on her sword in a vain attempt at an attack at the horseman, but is quickly halted when he reaches out to grab her wrist in a tight hold. Errios struggles against the tight hold, clawing at the hand at her throat with her free hand and the one at her wrist. Both grips are like iron vises that tighten with every movement.
"You're vain attempts are useless," Ratmmas mocks. "I do wonder the feeling of hearing you plead for your life."
Then...you'll just...have to wonder. Errios struggles to say.
The horseman laughs and uses his strength to twists the Succubus' arm around almost to the point of it snapping forcing the point of her blade in on her, then with a ruff thrust he forces the sword deep into her abdomen. Errios loses her grip on the sword and tries to cry out in pain but her scream is cut off by Ratmmas' iron grip collapsing tighter on her throat.
"I guess you aren't one that begs for mercy are you?" Ratmmas asks. "Really, it's a shame." He then takes the sword and rips it outward, shredding her abdomen open. Black blood spurts forth from the wound as her body shudders.
Ratmmas shakes his head and looks toward Pierson. "Finish this," the Colonel orders.
The horseman lets Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi fall to the ground with a clatter. He takes Errios' near lifeless body, lifting her high into the air then slams her into the ground cracking the asphalt beneath her body with the impact. He stands hovering over her, smirking at her. "I truly hope for someone worthy of a battle."
He lifts his booted foot above her face ready to crash it down upon her face when the Succubus' right hand suddenly shifts grabbing the hilt of Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. As Ratmmas notices the subtle movement Errios rolls from beneath the attack allowing the horseman's attack to pass harmlessly and sink into the ground.
With the horseman's foot caught momentarily off guard Errios limps up to her feet turning to face and attack her now defenseless attacker. As she drives the blade down at the horseman's neck with a killing strike three rounds tear into her chest sending her back and forcing her sword to sail across Ratmmas' back instead, dealing a large ghastly wound in its wake.
Pierson calmly stalks forward firing round after round at Errios as she narrowly rolls out of the way, each bullet hitting asphalt and sending pieces ricocheting in various directions. The Succubus manages to roll to her knees once the Colonel's gun clicks dry, but the man doesn't back down.
The sound of an empty clip clatters to the ground behind Errios as she struggles to flee from the man. Her fight with Ratmmas has left her is no state to fight and now with Mythril somehow pumping in her body she now definitely in no condition to fight. Luckily for her, Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, the ancient sword has left Ratmmas in a similar state.
"There is no sense in running," Pierson taunts the Succubus as he slides in another clip. "These new bullets developed by the Black List are wonderful little toys. That feeling of helplessness you feel are the little pieces of synthetic Mythril flowing through your body. Now just lie still and take it like a bitch and it will all be over with."
Errios struggling with every breath pushes out every distraction until she finally reaches what she had been crawling for. She grabs a hold of the manhole cover and using the last bit of her strength, rolls to her back and swings the cover around to use as a shield catching each of the bullets Pierson fires at her. The momentum of the action sends her over the edge and into the darkness below where her body is then swept away with the current.
Shock of unexpectedness flashes over Pierson's faces and he rushes over to the opening and peers in. "Fuck!" he says to himself. He fires the remainder of the guns clips into the darkness and then turns back toward Ratmmas who is by now just slowly picking himself up off the asphalt. "Next time I give you orders," he reprimands the horseman, "I expect them to be carried out effectively. Now let's get going. We've got a few lose ends to clean up in this piss ass country."
Ratmmas nods and steps in behind the Colonel as a Black Lexus LX11 pulls up on the street five hundred feet away. The wound on his back begins to seal up leaving behind no sign or scar that it was ever there.
"WOULD ANY OF YOU LIKE TO explain what the fuck just went down, down there?" Raven Cassidy asks looking away from her pair of binoculars.
The STRT members sat at the top of a building overlooking square giving the team a perfect view of the entire complex. Since they were given orders to lie low and not noticeably get involved, none of the team members moved to help any of the innocent people below even though each member fought the urge to do so.
"From the looks of it, Chaos," remarks Stone. "And it looks like Section 8 did our job for us."
"You know Grines isn't going to let that one pass," Dupree says looking over at Stone.
"Yeah I know," he says looking back at her. "We'll follow after Errios to confirm if she's dead or not. You two try and follow after Pierson, but stay at a distance. The last thing we want is to be caught here when we're not supposed to be here."
THE TEAM SLIPS DOWN FROM THE building splitting off in opposite direction with Cassidy and Greyson heading off in the direction of Colonel Pierson and Stone and Dupree toward the nearest sewer entrance.
Both agents drop into the darkness of the sewer splashing water noisily. Instantly lights attached to their HK416 assault rifles flash on illuminating the tunnel walls.
"Ugh, the smell here is terrible," Dupree says making a sour face.
Stone flashes her a smirk. "It could be worse. It could be New York."
Dupree laughs at the remark. "Thank God for that. Which way do we go?"
"I'm guess from the flow of the water to the east here," Stone says flashing the light toward the ground. "Any chance of getting a signal and a map of the system?"
"Let me check." His partner pulls out a PDA from a pouch and after a few moments she says, "The systems pools to a central hub before empting out into the river."
"So chances are we may or may not find her before her body hits the river," he comments.
"Then I guess we need to get moving then."
"Ladies first," Stone says smiling.
THE BLACK LEXUS LX11 CARRYING COLONEL Pierson and Ratmmas comes to a halt two miles away. Hidden in an alley the engine turns off and the door opens with Ratmmas as the first to step out followed closely by Pierson. The massively built warrior looks around the empty lot, "It doesn't appear that he has made it here yet master."
"I hope the coward hasn't chickened out," Pierson sighs. "I really would have to have you hunt him down. I really fucking hate this country as it is."
"Yes master," Ratmmas says folding his massive arms across his chest as he leans against the wall.
Down the alley way and out of sight Cassidy and Greyson pull up to the curb in their Silver Audi Q5 rental. "Satellite imaging shows the Lexus pulled into the alley up here on the left. It looks like it a blind alley so it's gonna be difficult to slip in and out unnoticed," Cassidy says looking up from the laptop in her lap.
"We're gonna have to make due," Greyson says looking forward through the windshield to the opening of the alley. "What do you suppose they are waiting for?"
"Beats the hell out of me," she answers setting the laptop in the back seat and replacing it with a small bag. Unzipping it reveals a large pocket of guns.
Greyson looks over to Cassidy's lap and says, "Let's keep it light. We don't need to start a fight here."
"You're still not sure these guys are the bad guys are you?"
"I'm still not comfortable on believing our own guys are the bad guys no," he answers. "But we're here to do a job and I'm not into being hung out to dry if I can avoid it."
"Yeah I know what you mean," she says solemnly. "So what do you want? The MP5 or --"
"I got this baby right here," Greyson says pulling out an IMI Desert Eagle from his holster.
"Alright, suit yourself," she says smiling. "Shall we?"
Greyson nods and they exit the vehicle. He looks over the hood and says to her, "Don't forget to lock up."
Cassidy laughs briefly. "Yes dear."
They rush over to the mouth of the alley and take one quick look around the crowded street before peering down the darkened alley. The path is littered with dumpsters and trash cans reminding Cassidy of the many alleys in her home town Detroit. The two agents slip into the shadows passing from barricade to barricade and shadow to shadow and are about half down the alley when a pair of lights suddenly flash at the mouth of the alley.
Greyson throws a hand signal at Cassidy before diving into a pile of trash bags disguising himself as best as he could so quickly. Cassidy follows suit on the opposite side huddling in the corner of a dumpster in an attempt to make herself look as small as possible.
A moment later a Citroën C6 whizzes past then hits the brakes screeching to a halt seconds later at the end of the alley. Greyson and Cassidy are on their feet within seconds slipping the remainder of the way as fast as they can without stealing any attention to themselves.
The French Prime Minister jumps from the driver's side and rushes over to open the door for President Valois who stumbles out and almost falls if not caught by the horseman, Ratmmas. Valois looks up with relief from his sweat filled face. "Th-thank..." his face instantly goes pale and his hands begin to shake.
"Let the fool go," Pierson orders the horseman who quickly obeys and steps back.
Valois with the grip of support gone falls backward against the car and onto the ground. The Prime Minister moves the replace Ratmmas and aid the President to his feet. "These are the American help you brokered a deal with?" he asks.
"Just give them the briefcase Léon," Valois says through panicked breaths.
"Yes listen to your boss Léon and hand over our payment," Pierson mocks.
The Prime Minister casts the Colonel a glare of pure animosity. "Fucking Americans," he says with his thick French accent. "You think you can just come over bully anyone around and get what you want."
Pierson just nods slightly and smiles and the smaller man leaves the French President's side and walks around to the back of the car.
"What's going on?" Cassidy asks Greyson as they peer through a pair of Steiner binoculars.
"Looks like an exchange. Maybe a payment of some kind."
"What the hell would this guy need money for? Was the whole thing staged?" Cassidy asks dropping the binoculars. She looks at Greyson incredulously. "You better get your ass on board if you still think this guy is on our side."
Greyson pulls away his pair of binoculars. "Oh you better believe whatever the fuck is going on here it ain't right. This guy is crooked as shit."
"So do we sit tight or bust this guy's ass then?"
"I don't know how you Detroit detectives did things but the CIA should have taught you something girl and right now we ain't got shit on this guy yet."
Cassidy just smiles. "I don't know what the CIA taught you, but I'm all about shooting first and asking questions later."
Greyson was about to burst out laughing and had to forcibly catch himself. "I think I'm gonna like you girl."
The trunk of the car pops open and the Prime Minister reaches in and pulls out a black brief case still cursing to himself the entire time. He steps out from around the back side of the car and looks over at Valois. "What are we giving the Americans, government secrets? This is too small for money," he says accusingly.
"It is nothing of importance to us Léon," Valois explains. "They are looking for more terrorist in our country that we have harbored for many years right under our noses."
The Prime Minister stops short. "This entire fiasco wasn't even cleared with Parliament nor were any plans or dealing with the Americans."
Valois takes to standing a little taller suddenly forgetting his earlier fear in place of courage at the thought of being a hero in the eyes of his country's people. "Fuck what Parliament would have to say about this Léon," he says taking a step toward the man. "The Black List is just another right wing terrorist group behind the NWR and I will not let this country take the rap for housing those bastards all this time."
"The Black List?" Léon asks curiously. "They're not terrorists."
"Of course they are," Valois argues. "Now hand over the brief case and we can be on the way."
"Is there a problem here?" Pierson asks interrupting the apparent argument between the two men.
Valois quickly looks to the Colonel then to the Horseman and back. Sweat starts to trickle down his face and suddenly his collar begins to feel just a little too tight around his neck. "No, no. Léon is just having a little misunderstanding and feeling a little out of the loop."
"Oh I'm feeling more than out of the loop Mr. President," he says as he pulls out a SP 2022 pistol and points it at Pierson. "I'm sorry you American pig but I must ask you to get in your vehicle and leave my country before I put a bullet in your fucking skull."
Ratmmas is about to move but is settled when Pierson holds up is hand to settle him.
"What the fuck are you doing Léon?" Valois asks nearly jumping out of his skin.
"Correcting a mistake and saving your ass sir."
"Go ahead and shoot me Léon," Pierson taunts the man. "But do not think you will make it out of this alley alive."
A drop of sweat trickles down the Prime Minister's temple and he takes a split second to look down to Ratmmas. It is all the opportunity Pierson needs. With rapid speed he has a Glock pulled and fired.
The bullet strikes the Prime Minister between the eyes, dropping him flat to the ground. Cassidy begins to leap up from behind their cover and is barely stopped by Greyson and kept from blowing their cover in the moment. "Hold tight damn it," he says.
"What the fuck for?" she counters.
"We've got the French President still over there, alive."
"Fuck him, he's just as fucking part of it as they are," Cassidy argues.
"There's something fishy going on here Raven, but that jackass ain't deserving the same fate as his friend there."
"Fuck, fuck fuck," she says as she settles back down.
"What's going on?" Valois begins shouting.
Pierson ignores the man and walks over and picks up the brief case opening it up as soon as he has it. He riffles through the pages quickly stopping once he sees something that catches his eye. "Château de Chambord. Clever Sternigan, very clever." He turns to Valois. "Are you certain that this information is accurate?"
Valois stops is shouts and looks at the man unbelieving. Breathing hard, he cannot believe the turn of events and the calmness of the man standing before him. It was just unbelievable. "This is not what we agreed upon," he said instead. "I called you here and I have given you what you—"
Valois quickly found himself up in the air, held up by a strong arm. "You are lucky to be alive right now little man and if you would like to remain that way I suggest you answer me," Pierson threatens. The Colonel's piercing gaze cuts right through the man sending a chill through him. Uncontrollably a pool of urine starts to form beneath the man as e visibly shakes with fear. "I do not have time to wait for your answer," he says pointing the Glock at him.
Valois stumbles to find his voice, "Ye...yes, yes. It's all there. Every record I could find."
"Then you did a good job Mr. President and I thank you for your country's hospitality." He drops his hand and Valois visibly relaxes.
From behind their cover Cassidy and Greyson both get the feeling it isn't over. "Fuck this," Cassidy says as she starts to go over the barrier of trash cans.
"I couldn't agree with you more."
Pierson raises his hand up and fires a round into Valois' head just as the first trash can hits the ground behind him. He spins around in time to see Cassidy firing at him and he uses the momentum of his turn to dive to the ground and return fire. The bullets sail harmlessly past him smashing into the wall as his slams into her chest sending her back over the cans.
Greyson's target was Ratmmas, but by the time he could make any impact on the Horseman it was already too late for Valois. Pierson's expert marksmanship splattered the man's brains all over the alleyway giving Ratmmas plenty of time to become a moving target. Greyson stops short and takes a firing stance taking precision shots, each shot hits its mark but none slow the horseman.
Within seconds Ratmmas is on top of Greyson and he finds his gun knocked from his hand and a giant fist slammed into his gut as he is lifted up and over the trash cans to follow the path of his partner.
THROUGH THE DARK, DANK WATERS STONE and Dupree sludge forward following the flow of the current to the central hub with the tunnel opening up with a fifteen foot drop to the bottom. They slide to the edge and peer over, the water pouring down in a waterfall effect masking their presence.
Just below sits a set of three jet skis. Sitting on the center jet ski is the terrorist leader Errios in her human form flanked by two fully armed soldiers.
Dupree looks over to Stone and says, "What the hell do you think they are doing?"
"Obviously they're not in a hurry to get out of here," he says with a smirk. "Especially after that beating she took."
"Well I say we finish that beating," she says smiling.
"I'll take the right," Stone says returning the smile.
"And I got the guy on the left."
They lift their HK416 assault rifles taking aim at their respective targets leaving Errios free of harm for the moment. Just above their heads something shifts silently and slowly drops. As Dupree drops a bead on her target and pulls the trigger two hands reach down and wrap around her torso and lift her into the air.