Accession: CATU Book 5 Ch. 15-16byJoeBarnosky©
St. John's Shopping Centre
Once inside the window cleaner's hanging platform, Julie hits the release for the crank. The platform begins to slowly descend and doesn't catch any of the police's attention until it nearly reaches the ground.
Shouts for the agents to freeze and drop their weapons come at them and when neither agent complies the police begin shooting. Bullets ricochet off the metal of the platform leaving little options for the two agents.
"Well maybe this wasn't such a good idea," Julie says followed by a frown. She grabs the railing and leaps over it. The drop is only about fifteen feet and she lands then ducks into a roll that brings her up behind a parked car.
Spencer lets out a sigh and follows her lead. He rolls up next to Julie with his back against the car. Bullets from the officers pound madly at the hunk of metal and offer no chance for either of them to escape.
"No what now?" Spencer asks.
"Now?" Julie asks her face neutral. "Now we attempt to do the extreme and try to escape." She holsters one of her pistols and hands the other over to Spencer. "Here, you're probably going to need it."
He takes the gun. "If we get out of this alive I'll be surprised."
"Me too," she says with a wink. "You ready?" Kogarasu Maru is already drawn and Julie has a look of unwavering determination set on her face.
Spencer nods and as they are about to stand twelve armed and fully armored officers appear, six on each side of the car. One of them orders the two agents to hold and drop their weapons.
Spencer and Julie have no other option than to do just that.
London and Liverpool have been rocked by terrorist attacks in just the last couple of days, the reporter was saying as he stood in front of the Wolff Industries building. I'm standing in front of Wolff Industries, just one of the latest attacks in a long line of attacks.
New World Regime had taken credit for the attacks on Lucius Magnus, head of True Energy and the company's building. They have also claimed credit on the attack in Russia and this latest attack her in Liverpool which carried through the streets and ended at St. John's Shopping Centre where two suspects were taken into custody.
We are awaiting details and will report updates as we receive them. Meanwhile, True Group has yet to release a statement and it seems likely one will be issued to news stations soon. This is Edward Grimes, reporting live in Liverpool.
Typheryian clicks off the monitor and stands silently glaring at the blank scene for a good hard minute. He notices the presence of Rythern standing in the far corner, but ignores the younger demon hoping he would be stupid enough to interrupt him. Typheryian wouldn't mind ripping Rythern's life from his useless body.
After a while he spins around to face Rythern. I have an assignment for you.
"As you wish," he answers dropping to his knee and bowing his head.
Typheryian ignores the gesture. Our plans are moving at a faster rate and it is time to shed off some unnecessary and potentially dangerous weight.
Rythern doesn't know where this is going, but he doesn't dare interrupt. He can feel the anger fueling the elder Asura and knew not to push his luck with the demon. "What shall you have me do?" he asks smoothly.
Kill Natalya Rhinheart.
"As you wish," he answers as he rises.
And Rythern? Typheryian says as an afterthought. Rythern freezes in place, silent. Bring me that bitch's head back.
The moon sits full, high in the night sky casting a low glow across the docks and the ships wading in the water. The rhythmic sounds of water lapping against the ships and sea walls provide a soothing noise in the background of swing cranes and sounds of heavy machinery.
A large cargo ship with the name Suns' Horizon painted on its bow sits precariously as large cranes move metal cargo containers onto it. The entire section of the dock belongs exclusively to True Merchants Cargo with a full scale security detail provided by the Black Dragon.
Tonight, however, is special. Natalya limits the amount of soldiers normally present, slashing their numbers to well under a quarter. She has wanted to strike at the Ternion and she has finally found the perfect place to do it.
Officially, the orders to do so come from her other employer, Section 8. She hates to lose any of her men simply because it is so hard to find good, loyal help. But it is better to lose a handful for the greater goal she reasons.
In the shadows sits a group of four, spread out at equal distances from each other. All are poised and coiled to strike. The small DEP Six team slips through the docks quietly and eliminate almost all the Black Dragon soldiers. Those soldiers now sit in a similar fashion with either a knife wound through the heart or their throats slashed. The few that remain unmolested are stationed at either end of the Sun's Horizon.
The team's commander gives the signal. Each member of the team springs out from the shadows and with quick, successive bursts takes the remaining guards out. The team then diverts their attention to the workers.
In just thirty seconds the dock lay silent. The only sounds come from the lapping of the water on the Sun's Horizon's hull and the seawall.
The commander signals for the team to move onto the ship. The only thing left is the remaining crew and captain. With any luck nobody will get wind of the fallen silence. The only thing the team has to worry about is once the crew discovers their communications aren't being received they would run.
Thirty minutes after the initial assault, the crew is hunted down and killed and the ship searched and contained. The DEP Six team has the Sun's Horizon moving away from port with all its cargo bound for the preset rendezvous.
The vessel sails for the next few hours unmolested. The DEP Six team grows a little lax in the later part of the trip. They are running on shifts of two awake, two asleep. Currently the commander of the team sits at the bridge monitoring the readouts while the other patrols the deck.
The team thinks the mission a success. That is until the first wave of machine gun fire tears across the deck. The stream of bullets flies from the bow of a smaller vessel, a sloop. They rip through the body of the DEP Six soldier, cutting him in half before the sound of the gun reaches his ears.
Within seconds the commander of the team hits the alarms. Sirens and red, flashing lights pulsate across the cargo hauler. The commander flies from the bridge and begins to return fire upon the smaller vessel below. His efforts are weak and useless, proving ineffective.
From behind him a silhouette steps from the shadows. A hand bursts through the commander's chest with his heart pulled free and still beating in the hand that holds it. He looks down unbelieving. The hand turns and drops the heart letting it fall with a splat to the deck. The hand pulls back through and spins the man around to face his attacker.
He faces a woman with long, black hair and piercing eyes. He recognizes her almost instantly. His brain fights for a name as it is still trying to wrap around the idea his heart is longer part of his body. When he finds the name he unsuccessfully forms the words to say it instead mouthing them.
The Succubus reaches up, grabbing both sides of the man's head in a firm grasp and twists it free from his shoulders. The man's body falls back and over the railing slamming hard onto the deck below. Natalya laughs as she throws the head into the water.
From below two Black Dragon soldiers aim their carbines up in her direction and fire. A single burst from each weapon fly past each side of her head and slam into the heads of the two remaining DEP Six soldiers.
Brain matter splatters against the wall as their heads slam back. Their bodies follow and both lifeless bodies fall into a crumpled heap.
Natalya turns around and smiles. She places her finger to her mouth and licks the blood from it. She is satisfied with the outcome. Now it is time to make the shipment disappear.
With a Zodiac inflatable boat and outboard motor, Stone and Dupree fully geared up set out onto the open water toward the Cephalopoda. The agents have stealth on their side but with a full moon illuminating the water they may have lost the element. To compensate for this, Dupree suggested they meander through between other boats and then disappear. Stone liked the idea.
They spend a half hour longer than initially planned in order to shake any observers watching them and make their ploy seem more believable. Once the two agents are satisfied they have no onlookers and a ship blocking the view from the super yacht, they slip over the side and into the water.
Stone pulls out a knife he picked up from a surplus store in town before he had returned to their hotel and slashes the material.
"What the hell are you doing?" Dupree interrupts with a high pitched whisper.
"What it looks like," Stone answers with just a hint of irritation hinting at his voice. "We can't leave it floating around empty," he says a moment later. When Dupree doesn't say anything else he runs his knife the length of the boat. It quickly deflates and sinks. The weight of the outboard motor carries it down to the depths of the sea.
They make sure their breathing masks are secured and dip beneath the water. They swim the distance to the super yacht using the light that filters through surface of the water as their only means of a light source.
They break the surface in just under twenty minutes. As they bob in the water Dupree keep a look out at the sides of the super yacht while Stone goes to work on the out hull. He pulls out a small box-device and places it on the hull.
"What are you doing?" Dupree asks as her curiosity gets the better of her.
"It's something our weapons development department came up with," he explains. "It will send a small charge into the controls for the door, temporarily short circuiting it."
"Then we slip in and it comes back online securing itself," she continues seeing where the explanation is going. "But won't they notice it?" she asks inquisitively.
"If their security is any good they will," he answers. "We'll be gone by the time they get here and slip by."
"Unless they have cameras we missed," she points out.
"There is that," he admits reluctantly. Then he turns his attention back to the small hand held device. He presses the single red button on it and the red light above flicks off and a green light comes on. "We have thirty seconds," he announces as the side hatch begins to open.
"Then let's not waste any time."
They slip over the pair of jet skis stationed on a rack inside. The entryway opens up into a small room just large enough for two people to stand in and allow for room for the jet skis when the hatch is closed.
Dupree cracks open the only door exiting the room and peers out. "All clear," she says dipping back into the room.
Stone nods and slips out into the corridor with her. The hatch closes behind them silently. The small, square device Stone attached to it releases the suction holding it in place and falls free to the water below.
In the corridor Dupree leads the way followed closely by her partner. The corridor ends with a water tight door with a port light window. Dupree peers through the small window and quickly ducks back down.
"What do we have?" Stone asks with a whisper.
"One guard," she returns. "What do you want to do?"
Before Stone can reply the wheel of the door begins to turn. The agents slide back against the wall trying to shrink their profiles and let the few shadows to wrap around them.
The guard steps in talking into a walkie talkie totally oblivious to the two agents. He puts away the device and walks past almost to the door before realizing something is out of place. By then it is too late and Stone is behind him with his left arm around the man's neck pulling it back then his knife is out pressed against the man's throat.
"How many of you are there?" he asks in the man's ear. He struggles against Stone's hard grip. The agent tightens his grip halting the man cold in his efforts. "I won't ask again, not unless you want to be eating, drinking and breathing through your throat."
"Twenty," he answers in a shaky voice. "There are twenty of us. We were expecting you."
"Expecting us huh? Anything else we need to know about?"
"You're not going to leave here alive," he says defiantly.
"With only twenty of you?" Stone says breathlessly. "You're mistaken."
The knife runs across his throat, spilling blood. The slice of the knife is so quick the guard doesn't realize his throat is cut until his body hits the deck and his breathing turns into raged breaths. Within moments the guard is no longer breathing and lying in a pool of blood.
"We better move fast," Dupree says as Stone ran his knife clean across his pant leg. "They are going to be waiting for a report."
"Then we don't have time for sneaking around do we?"
"Uh, I'm not so sure I want to hear what you have planned."
"Trust me," he says with a smirk. "Just be ready to move when you see my signal."
"Your signal?" she shouts unexpectantly and immediately wincing right after.
"Just be ready," he assures her and goes in the opposite direction.
Dupree manages to find a pretty well hidden place near the helicopter landing pad that gives her a good view of the bridge. She can see the demon they were introduced to as Baldur Flosadottir. She tries to keep her full attention on the mission but part of her mind ebbs to her partner. He is brash and sometime reckless. Things hadn't changed since the day they became partners, but throughout the years of being partnered with him, he always managed to surprise her with something new. And somehow he managed to stay alive, when she didn't have his back.
She has been sitting in wait for nearly a half hour now. She had decided to keep radio silence and Stone never reported in so she decided it was a safe thing to do. Their radio links consisted of an ear receiver surgically implanted in their ears and a throat mike that picked up the faintest of sound as it travel through their throats. As long as they used a low whisper the mike would pick it up and the enemy wouldn't hear. The problem was whether the signal could be picked up and as advanced as these demons seemed to be, it wasn't a risk Dupree wanted to take.
But a half hour has gone by in total silence except for the boot falls and radio check-ins of the patrolling guards. Dupree worries something may have happened to Stone and with daylight only a few hours away she would have to act fast to plan and act out an attack and/or rescue. Otherwise, once the sun breaks over the horizon and she is still sitting where she is and twiddling her thumbs, she would be dead meat.
She reaches up to press on the throat mike and hesitates, pulling away slightly. Her feelings are mixed with the worry of putting him in danger or waiting too long and it turn out she would be too late to rescue him. Finally she pushes the thoughts from her mind and presses the area where the mike sat. She opens her mouth and before she can speak, the deck of the massive super yacht explodes.
The first is followed by a second then a third and fourth and eventually stops after about twelve. They are massive explosions but rather smaller, more focused ones. Five of the patrolling guards are caught in the blasts. Their bodies now lay strewn on the deck, one is thrown overboard.
Dupree first looks up to the bridge to see Baldur frantically shouting at some unseen person or persons. She allows a small smile to creep onto her face. Baldur is probably pissed his fancy toy is damaged, she reasons. Then her attention is stolen when Stone comes running from somewhere below deck firing his C.T.A.R. 21 into a group of three guards. None of the guards have a chance.
Shouts come from the opposite direction and Dupree looks to see another group of five men running around the corner full blast. Stone turns away from them and dives over the side. Dupree is bringing her own carbine up but the sight of him diving over sends a shock through her. By the time she recovers it is too late to do anything. Another group of men are coming from the same direction as the first in a similar fashion.
Once they pass, she slips out from her hiding spot and runs straight for the set of stairs in front of her. From where she sat the stairs appeared to take a path all the way to the deck level the bridge sat on.
The water is cold when it hits his face. Luckily, the wetsuit protected the rest of his body from the cold temperature. For an instant he reflects back to how the water felt when him and Dupree first entered the water and can't quite remember it feeling that cold.
He quickly forgets about the thought and resets his focus on holding his breath. Any minute now divers would be jumping in and with any luck they would be most of what is left of the crew. He hates to leave Dupree alone with Oriatis, but she is a big girl and can handle herself.
He let go of his gun, it is useless underwater. He still has his P226 strapped to his leg in case he needs it once he gets out of the water. So he draws out the knife he had bought in town. The light seeping through the surface glints briefly off the blade as he runs it right to left and then back to the right. He is ready so long as his lungs hold out.
Divers hit the water fourteen seconds later.
Dupree takes the stairs quickly and silently while staying as much in the shadows as they allowed. More guards run past her at the bottom of the stairs but none seem to notice her. As she gets closer to the bridge she hears voices. Judging from the different tones she guesses there are two guards accompanying Baldur.
Dupree slides the carbine around to her back and pulls out the P226. She slides up to the side of the door and listens for a few seconds. Once she feels she knows the location of each of them in the room, she steps out into the opening.
Baldur's guards are slow compared their boss. In three seconds flat the guards have a bullet hole in their foreheads and in the process of falling to the ground when she swings the pistol around at Baldur.
The demon is no longer there. Dupree has a brief second to ponder his disappearance before an elbow slams into the back of her head. Stars flash before her eyes and she stumbles forward into the electronics board. If not for the board she would have fallen to the floor, instead she springs off it and around.
As her pistol comes around Baldur blocks her at the wrist hitting with enough force to jar her grip lose. The P226 flies from her hand and bounces off the wall and slides off somewhere out of sight. His other hand shoots out at her throat. She attempts to throw a hand up for a block unsuccessfully. His speed is fast than hers and all she is able to do is grab at the hand that grips tight on her throat.
Baldur growls and lifts the small human into the air. Right before her eyes he changes from his human form into his true form. His clothing disappears and a strange chitinous like skin covers his entire body. His mouth disappears beneath a mask of the same substance. Dupree has seen what demons looked like but this is nothing like what she has seen before.