Their video surveillance showed nothing, because we hiked in carrying everything we needed on our backs. The insertion team consisted of the marine sniper, the handsome blond, late twenties soldier, and me. I wanted to go into the building but Damien showed me the error in my thinking. I really did not want them to win by default. I didn’t want to just hand myself over to them.
The compromise was that I would stay outside the wire. I would be the perimeter guard. If there was trouble, I would keep the exit open till they returned or I died. The last was my order to myself. No matter what I did to ease it, the close to a mile hike from the abandoned service station to the almost abandoned chemical plant was pure hell on my still hurting leg.
I was out of breath and my leg ached with every beat of my heart. Even so I managed to find a position with a good view of the wire. I sat there with my Russian Sniper rifle. The rifle was a left over from the pirate skirmish.
The two operatives from Swamp Thing dug a hole under the wire to make it appear as though an animal had done it. Then they slipped inside the wire. Before we left my office, I made damn sure they knew everything that I knew about the inside of that compound.
Their objective was to find a broken window, surely there was at least one, then they were to insert the mice. Lucas and the mice would do the rest, They were inside the wire fifteen agonizing minutes. I was revved up to kill someone the whole time. My heart was beating so loud I knew that anyone passing my burrow would hear.
I left my position in the tall weeds only after the two Swamp Thing men were well away from the Chemical Plant. The quiet hike back to the cruiser was pure misery. I was humming music to myself in order to keep moving. I was just forcing the rhythm to keep my mind off the pain. In the back of my mind the words “Walk or die” played over and over.
I made absolutely sure we weren’t being followed, then I pulled into Helen’s commercial kitchen located beside her home. The two Swamp Thing operatives were treated to anything laying around. We ate while she and two younger women prepared the bags for her Sit Down.
“If you two young men are taking care of our Maxine, you are welcome here anytime,” Helen said. She was the absolute dictionary definition of southern charm.
“Ma’am, if everything you fix is this good, I want to marry you,” the sniper said.
“Now, we might have to fight about that,” the blond soldier said.
“No wonder you love what you do Max,” she said to me. “I could learn to love this kind of attention.”
“Trust me I don’t get treated like you do. But then I can’t cook like you either.” I said.
“Don’t let her kid you Ma’am. We love Max even if she can’t cook,” the sniper said.
“How could you not?” Helen asked. All the attention embarrassed me. I was speechless.
When we got back to the office, the three of us found an empty mattress pad on the floor inside my gun vault. The gun vault had been Ed’s storeroom. We piled up like puppies and went quickly to sleep. Even when the office came to life, we stayed asleep. The idea was not to sleep like the dead, but to sleep, so that lack of sleep didn’t make you dead.
I awoke several hours later to find that Lucas had run the mouse all over the plant. He had also saved the film for us to analyze together.The mouse wasn’t very speedy so he had edited the film. The mouse couldn’t climb as his real brothers and sisters could, so he had to sit on the ground floor of the plant with it’s camera pointed up. He sat like that until someone opened a door giving up a glimpse of the things inside that one upstairs rooms, then he moved on.
Since one shipment had arrived, we determined that nothing happened downstairs. The drugs were moved immediately up to the upstairs rooms for processing. It made perfect tactical sense. It gave them a lot of room to ambush those who might try to enter. The downside was they had no easy escape route. The Tong might not mind a fight to the death, but the local employees would want an escape route for sure.
I went back and found the two metal outside fire escapes on the blue prints. Those were the choke points for the Chinese. Since I did not think an assault was feasible, I had no idea whether that information would prove beneficial or not.
“Okay you have been watching and following these guys almost a day now. what do we know about the workings of the gang?” I asked.
Damien spoke for Swamp Thing. “You were right Ling Po, is the headman and it appears that Wang is his number two now. I have no idea how it worked before the raid.”
“Immaterial,” I said. “What are they doing for product now?”
“It appears that they still have it coming in at the airport. Whatever was in the pipeline before Smiley drew attention to them, evidently came through without interruption, so I guess Ling canceled the cancellation order.”
“Have you followed a pickup at the airport yet?” I asked.
“There have been two since we decided to follow them. Both times they take a small panel van and drive right to the international package pickup area. They load the large boxes into the van then they drive away,” Damien informed me.
“Okay so what goes out of the plant?” I asked.
“My guess is they package it in smaller bundles then deliver it.” Damien answered.
“Are the drivers Tong or locals from the drug trade.” I asked.
“Even after it is repackaged the merchandise has to be worth way more than they would trust to a round eyed drug dealer.” Damien added.
“We need to target those pick up and delivery vehicles. If we can cripple them, then we can grab the drugs and the drivers. What do you think their reaction will be to the loss off an incoming shipment?”
“If they knew who did it, there would be a massive response. There would have to be, in order to satisfy their bosses back home.” he said. “Those guys don’t take failure lightly.
“So, if we were to take down the next shipment from the airport and neutralize the thugs making that pickup, we get my 20% reduction in forces and get them walking into the lions den?” I asked.
“They may not attack us here, but they will have to attack us. These days it might be a massive car bomb.” he said.
“I’m not sure that is an acceptable plan,” I admitted.
“I think it is just as risky as assaulting their building.” Damien said.
“The worst thing we can do is to do nothing. That being the case let’s hijack the next airport shipment, but let’s not do it ourselves,” I suggested.
“Who do you plan to call in,” Damien asked.
“Well we might need a favor from the local cops, so let’s toss them the bone,” I suggested. We made our plan, then we waited.
“He is pulling into the airport,” Abra said. Since it left the old chemical plant. she had been following the small panel van. Yes it was the one which the chinks used for the pick up and delivery of drugs, . We had waited not so patiently for two days for the next pickup.
“Hang with him, we are on the way,” I said into the cell phone as we walked to the cruiser parked outside the walls. Even though we were in a hurry, we took the time to run the mirrors under the car. It was clean, as it should have been, since we kept a video eye on it at all times.
We made it to the big bright blue NAPA auto parts building just past the busiest intersection on the road to the airport. “Abra, let me know when he is near the big blue NAPA building on your right.” I said into the phone.
It took them a little longer than I expected. I waited until the white drug van was close to the stop light, just in front of the NAPA store, then nodded for Damien to kill the engine. Immediately the drug van began to coast. I could imagine the panic in the truck’s cab.
“Not to worry guys there is more coming,” I thought aloud.
“What?” Damien asked.
“Nothing,” I said to him.
I switched from my fancy phone to the burn phone before I said, “Detective Dawson please.”
Then a few minutes later. “Dawson there is a white van out on 68 dead in the road blocking traffic, and it also has a surprise cargo. Bring plenty of heroine test kits. This is an anonymous tip.” then I hung up. Damien and I stayed to watch the patrol car arrive. The chinks tried to run away on foot, which gave them probable cause to check out the cargo. It is a beautiful thing, when a plan works even better than you expect, I thought.
“Hello,” I said into my real cell phone.
“Max the chemical plant just emptied out they are on their way to you.”
I didn’t even answer. Instead I called Dawson’s cell phone. “Dawson get some extra firepower out to the drug bust. The bad guys are headed out to rescue their people. This is Maxine. We will try to hold them off till you get some people here.” I said it quickly into the burn phone.
The NAPA parking lot sat on a hill above the road. Which is why I chose it as the site to stop the car. My guess was that the chinks would go for the drugs and the people below us. Damien and I had clear lanes of fire, if they did. We both knew from the images on the screens in my office, exactly who Ling Po and Wang were. They were the targets for us. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Something no one could have expected.
Dawson must have gotten on the radio to the cops on site. They had the two men in custody and were trying to clear the scene, so that they could leave with them. They just couldn’t get the tangle of cars out of the way fast enough.
The Chinese parked their van and rushed toward the officers with there guns drawn. My first shot took out the windshield of the van. I didn’t want to lose track of it during the excitement.
“How many do you count?” I asked Damien. He had kept the men in sight while I switched my attention to the van.
“They have six men in the field. One of them just fired,” he shouted to me.
“I turned the Russian automatic on them. I shot two of them immediately. Damien got two as well. The Chinese turned their attention toward the more immediate threat. That threat was Damien and me. The pistols and the Chinese ak47 knockoffs threw a lot of lead, which wasn’t very accurate but still penned us down. Since the cops were almost on us, Damien and I got back in the cruiser. We left in a big hurry.
Into my good phone I almost shouted. “Was Ling Po in that van?” I didn’t think he would have been. I had to be sure.
“RoboRat says he is still at the plant. He and tthree others are there guarding home base.” Earl said.
“Get the Swamp Thing people headed that way. It’s time we visited the forbidden city,” I said with a giggle.
“You love this shit doen’t you?” Earl asked.
“I never deny that. Now shut the fuck up and get the people headed that way.” I said.
“We are on our way,” he said.
“You can’t film this,” I said.
“I can film it, I can edit it, and I can shoot that damn heavy ass shotgun you gave me.” he demanded.