From the Ashes: CATU Book 6 Ch. 21byJoeBarnosky©
2 Hours Ago...
SITTING IN A BLACK RANGE Rover in President's Park, Delgrious and Detective Angela Veris wait as the clock ticks down for their time to strike.
Positioned in various spots around the White House and within a five block radius sit squads of Sanguine Consortium soldiers. When the clock strikes zero, no amount of preparation or guard will be able to repel a strike on the President.
Angela strums her fingers against the outside of the Range Rover's door as she enjoys the cool breeze as it flutters in through the open window blowing her hair back and over the seat. "What's the chance of us having to get our hands dirty on this one?"
"Depends on whether or not Rururc or Imirur sense an attack on them as well as the President," Delgrious answers.
"You know, when Tancheres finds out we're betraying him, all hell is going to break loose," she says casually like it doesn't really matter.
"With Aurelia in our pocket, Tancheres doesn't stand a chance at touching us," he replies without even looking her way.
"Ah, now there is the real dilemma," Angela says pulling her hand in through the window as she shifts in her seat to fully face the Greater Demon. "Once Aurelia has what she wants, she won't need us anymore."
A smile creases Delgrious' face. "Then we promptly remove her from the equation."
Angela bursts out with laughter and when she doesn't get a reaction from the demon she states, "You're serious."
"I haven't survived all this time by playing games and if it takes the entire Sanguine Consortium to bring that bitch down then so be it."
"That probably won't make too many of our associates happy."
"Considering the majority of them are petty humans with their petty agendas, I'm not at all concerned. And with the use of the Chimera Project eternal life takes on an entirely new meaning," he answers her with a very wicked grin. A slight bit of shock crosses her face which causes the demon's grin to spread even further. "When my search for the power of the Shakti failed I had to find others means of power."
"I don't suppose Pierson just gave you the technology he used to resurrect you just for the hell of it," she says with a load of sarcasm.
"No, but loyalties do run deep."
The campaign against Tancheres and his small empire he had built quickly turned into a war. The Black List initially sent two sisters to set the stage followed by Natalya Rhinheart.
Tancheres' mistake then as it is now was in trusting in both demons and humans. He has always insisted unlike the rest of his Asura brethren that others have to be trusted and used in order to succeed. Perhaps on some degree he is right, but when you toss the Asura, demons and humans all into the mix it is all wrong.
Tancheres recruited Maltaus and me as his top two advisors and with his four horsemen his newly established empire was destined to flourish. As a pharaoh he was in the perfect position with the people already believing him a god, he'd pull the role off perfectly. The trouble was of course the trust issues of demons and humans.
Maltaus worked quickly to take advantage of the two sisters being Marids and recruited them to his cause leaving me with Natalya. Being naïve and young, she was the perfect apprentice. We had the Black List off our backs and nearly all of our eggs in our baskets. We decided to strike against Tancheres. For the Asura to rule over the Earth was an abomination that we refused to see happen.
Then unexpectedly Natalya uncharacteristically became the opportunist and caught the eye of Tancheres and positioned herself close to him. I soon found out from Maltaus he masterminded Natalya's newfound initiative. Part of his plan was for me to remain loyal while he took the fall, knowing we wouldn't kill Tancheres but merely dethrone him.
And that's when the Black List's campaign turned into Maltaus' war. The Horsemen were a force to be reckoned with and really the real worry of Tancheres' army. Humans for the most part of weak and easily destroyed, but what makes the Horsemen so powerful is they are both demon and Asura. They alone nearly devastated Maltaus' army until Natalya found a secret that she passed on to me.
I like many others believed the Horsemen to be heartless, even soulless bastards, incapable of any feelings other than death, destruction and immediate loyalty to Tancheres, but Rahkar had a lover. It wasn't long before I found her and endangered her life.
Rahkar was made to believe Tancheres had found out about the human girl and thus sought her death as punishment. I quickly stepped in to save her life and as repayment sought his loyalty in exchange for keeping her safe. Not long after Maltaus' army gained momentum and gained the upper hand in the war.
The four Horsemen fell and soon Tancheres' army and his empire. Of course trust and loyalty is a thin line and though I didn't fully grasp it with Tancheres I didn't with Maltaus either.
"What happened to the Rahkar's human lover?"
Delgrious' toothy grin returns as he answers her. "I murdered her after I of course had my way with her. Don't get me wrong," he says with a shrug. "Most humans are useless creatures, but they do serve useful at times."
"I wonder what Rahkar would do if he ever found out?" Angela says almost seductively as she purposely turns back around to look back out the window.
Delgrious' grin quickly changes. "Retribution no doubt, but my retribution is far greater than his could ever be," he says with a threatening tone.
Angela begins drumming her finger along the outside of the door once more. "I'm not that stupid to betray you, especially with all the enemies and bridges I'm burning, I'm going to need someone on my side."
1 Hour Ago...
THE STRONG VIBRATION AND STEADY HUM of the facility brings Rolan Brish out of his deep sleep. Leisurely he opens his eyes and rolls over in the bed before his mind comes fully awake. Quickly his eyes fly wide open and he shoots up out of the bed and nearly falls out in the process.
"Fuck!" he says aloud as he scans the room waiting for his eyes to fully adjust and focus. When they finally do they settle on the naked form of Ehiel as she stands at the doorway. "What time is it?"
"Long past the time you were supposed to be awake," she says casually.
"I heard what you said," he interrupts with anger rising in his voice. "Why the fuck did you let me sleep this long?"
Ehiel looks at him with deep black eyes. "I didn't feel a need to. Errios has her assignment under control and it is best for you to stay out of her way."
By now Rolan is on his feet searching the room for his clothing, breathing hard and not bothering to hide the anger seething out.
"What are you doing?" Ehiel asks innocently.
"What do you think?" he says stopping long enough to throw an angry glare at her. "I'm getting to the control center and taking over my mission and fulfilling it."
"The mission has changed."
Rolan stops. His eyes harden and he clenches his fists tight around his shirt. "I've been played like a fool."
"On the contrary," Ehiel says still not moving from the doorway. "Natalya instructed me to ensure you were distracted because she knew you'd only follow a change of orders if it came directly from her mouth."
"And how do I know this isn't some kind of ploy still?"
"You don't," she answers simply.
"Fine," Rolan says throwing the shirt to the floor hard. He turns around and sits down hard onto the edge of the bed. "What am I missing out on?"
"A coup d'état against Tancheres without any risk to Natalya if it doesn't go well," Ehiel explains.
Rolan throws his hands into the air. "That's a good one. Just how the hell does she plan to do that one?" He shakes his head and laughs to himself. "I'll give Natalya my life if she asks for it, but what she plans is suicide. Tancheres is just far too powerful than she is. If I understand correctly, so are you."
"Just because someone is stronger doesn't mean they always will win," Ehiel points out. "It's the smarter fighter that comes out on top."
"Fine." He holds up his hands gesturing for her to stop. "I'm not going to sit this out so what is my part?"
"Natalya didn't figure so," Ehiel says finally breaking her façade with a smile. "Errios is targeting Washington D.C. instead of Tancheres' original planned target. Natalya wants to eliminate his pawns he has placed in the American government and her rival Delgrious all in one shot while cutting the head off the most powerful nation in the world at the same time."
"That's a pretty bold move. And how is Errios going to be explained away when Tancheres comes here wanting answers?"
"Errios has her orders from Natalya which she'll follow to the T. She wants revenge for Tancheres betraying her and the New World Regime the moment he no longer needed them."
"The perfect motivation anybody needs," Rolan states. "And I'm guessing you're not here really here to protect me, but to protect the plan should Errios decide to save her own ass."
"Natalya sent me here for that, but I was truthful when I said I was here to keep you protected," Ehiel says with enough conviction that Rolan didn't sense a lie. "For whatever reason, she has taken a liking to you."
"Then let's hope we survive this coup so that I can enjoy the spoils afterward."
A silence fills the air for a few seconds then Ehiel looks up toward the ceiling as if seeing something Rolan can't and says, "Get dressed. Our company is arriving."
She shifts her gaze quickly down toward him. "Not yet. He'll be here shortly. We have the two CATU agents he has sent to personally deal with when he does arrive."