We met at the same parking lot where we had taken down Fang and his crew. I explained my plan which was improved greatly by Damien’s input. Before I sent the, far too young, Sniper off ahead of us, I planned to give him my hand me down Barrett, except that he had his own. He and the Barrett amounted to our only heavy fire power.
“You do know they have to make a clearly threatening gesture, before you can fire that monster?” I asked.
“Yes Ma’am, but I also know that if I wait too long, you are likely going to be dead, That Miss Maxine is completely unacceptable on all levels,” he said. I could only nod my head. I didn’t trust myself to speak.
The sniper and Earl got a ten minute head start, then we all piled into the SUV. “Damien is this thing going to provide any protection at all,” I asked. Our plan was to use it as a ram. Then drive it quickly across the parking lot, in order to get someone into the building.
“Bullet proof polymer windshield and side windows. The same Kevlar panels in the doors. under the floor, and overhead that you had in Iraq,” he said.
“I hope it works better here,” I said.
“Me too,” he agreed.
The plan was for Damien to cut the power as soon as Earl and the sniper were in place. He was then going to drive the bullet resistant SUV through the gate and right up to the door. With a little luck he would be at the door before they could get an RPG in play. If not it would be up to my marine sniper buddy to neutralize the man with the RPG before he fired it.
“Show time,” Damien said over our private radio net. I heard the sound of Damien hitting the gate with the SUV while Abra was halfway up the fire escape stairs. The power was off so most likely the people inside had no idea, we were on the way up. At least I hoped they weren’t waiting for us to step into the doorway. If so, we were likely to get our bodies riddled with bullets.
The frontal attack was the faint and we were the kill team. The fact that the kill team was two women might have been an accident, but most any man, worth a damn, will tell you that we are the deadlier of the sexes. Damien had insisted that Abra rush up the stairs, while I covered her from the ground. Once she was on the metal landing she wedged the door closed so that there would be no surprises while I rushed to join her.
When we were both on the landing the wedge went over the side. I knocked the door handle off while Abra got the self contained metal hole saw ready. With it she cut a circle around the missing door handle mechanism and the dead bolt. We could only hope that the noise coming from the front would keep them from hearing our sawing. Explosives would have been nice, but we could not have safely been on the landing when they went boom. We would have had to climb the metal stairs while the bad guys had time to rush to the door and ambush us. It was a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, kind of thing. I was glad that we had the option.
Abra pulled the door open, and I rushed in with the shotgun at the ready. No one fired at us as we made our way to the open metal catwalk, which surrounded and connected the second floor rooms.
Looking out through the hallway opening, we saw that there were only two men firing and they were on our side of the building firing at the front doors of the building. They were laying down a withering fire while carefully avoiding exposing themselves to the Barrett.
Since we were on the same wall as the gunman, we did not have an angle. What I could do was crawl along the catwalk below the window level. When I got close enough, I could lob a stun grenade into the already broken window. It wasn’t a good option, but it was the only thing I could come up with.
I got on our radio net and spoke to the sniper. “Sweetie put a round where you think the guys are and I’ll give you corrections. When we get close you keep up the fire until Abby tells you to stop.”
“Okay Maxine,” he said. The murderous round came through the window on the front door side, then it traveled across the open space to the front wall of the back offices. It went in about ten feet to the left of the room.
“You want to come over about ten feet,” I said. His answer was another heavy .50 cal through the window almost center of the room and about belt high. “Elevate that about a foot and then fire a pattern about two feet on either side of that spot.”
The rounds began coming in. “Now Abra when I toss in that grenade you tell him to cease fire. Cause I’m going to stand up and go through the door hot. You got it?” I asked.
“Yes, but I should be the one to do it,” she said.
“You would have to be crazy to want to do this.” I smiled then added, “And I am.”
I quickly crawled to the spot under the window. I heard six round go over my head while I crawled. How far they were over my head I couldn’t tell. I tossed the grenade into the broken window, then looked away, and covered my ears.
“I sure as hell hopes this works,” I said as I stood and kicked the door. I’m so light in the ass I had to kick it twice, but it finally opened. I went in with the shotgun at the ready. Neither of the men was Ling Po. They both threw down their rifles and stretched out of the floor.
“Come on in but do it carefully we are missing Ling Po. He has got to be in here somewhere.,” I said.
“Max, he is on the first floor behind some boxes.” Lucas said from his spot in our office where he had watched it all on TV.
“Abra come watch these guys, while I round up Ling Po.” I said. I was careful not to say while I kill that chink son of a bitch.
Damien stand pat. Make sure nobody gets out the exits.” I said. “Just in case he gets away from me.”
I knew where he was more or less. There was only one place with enough boxes to hide behind. It was in a corner of the first floor under the overhead offices. I checked the load of the shotgun as I went down the stairs.
“Max he has a pistol, I can see him. He is about twenty feet ahead on the left of you.” Lucas said.
“Lucas turn off the feed, and do it now,” I said quietly. I counted to five to give him time to do it then I emptied the shotgun into the cardboard boxes. I heard screams as Ling Po crashed into the boxes causing them to fall over. I knew that it wasn’t the sporting thing to do, but I knew he had something equally dishonorable in mind for me. I put the final round into his face.
“Come on in Guys, Ling isn’t going to be running.” I said into our radio net.
I used my burn phone to call Jen. “Jen honey, this is Maxine. Have you had any fun today?” I asked.
“Not yet, what you got in mind?” she asked.
“Meet me at the police station and let’s see if you can get me out from under an international massacre charge.” I said.
“Damn one thing for sure girl, you are never boring. I’m on the way. Which building are you in?”
“I don’t know yet, the cops haven’t even shown up,” I said with a laugh.
“Then don’t even say hello to those pricks till I get there,” she demanded.
“Anybody I can call for you, before I toss this thing?” I asked Damien as he walked up.
“Nobody, who don’t already know where we are,” He said.
I walked to the front of the building and threw the phone into a the back of a pickup truck with lawnmowers on the back. He was most likely a landscaper on the way to cut some commercial building’s lawn.
“What are you going to tell the cops?” Damian asked.
Instead of answering him, I made three more calls. First I called the DEA number I had been given when I left North Georgia. “Hey this is Maxine Stone, I got a tip for you about international drug importers. Call the Aster PD.” I hung up.
“Message machine,” I said when I looked to Damien. Then I dialed Anya’s cell phone number. “Anna, you need to get someone to Aster there is a Major, Major International drug bust going on right this minute.” I said before I hung up.
“Answering machine again?” Damien asked.
“No, I just don’t like her very much.” I said.
I dialed the number Lucas had given me for the CIA operative. The one who gave him the Robomouse. “This is Maxine Stone, You might want to come to Aster to spring your mice,” I said and hung up.
“So you don’t like him either?” Damien asked.
“No, call forwarding,” I said.
It took the cops another ten minutes to show up and then it was with everybody who wasn’t at the NAPA store. “Too bad we are all tied up, we could probably rob ten banks today without seeing a cop,” Damien commented.
“Your people going to hold together?” I asked. Damien just smiled. “Good,” was my only reply.
We put the weapons away before the cops showed up. All we had were two live Chinks. They were being held by the not quite middle aged man, whose name I never learned. If I heard it, the name didn’t register with me.
There were five of us good guys standing in the parking lot of the chemical plant. Earl and the former marine sniper stood across the street watching what ensued. Nobody ever approached them, so they finally just wandered off. I assume they got in Earl’s car and drove back to the office.
It looked a lot like one of those speed dating things in the parking lot. You know where guys run from one table to another trying to score points with about a dozen chicks. The patrolmen were assigned to keep us apart, then detectives and lab types tried to run between us to find out what had happened.
They had found the two bodies inside the plant, but none of us was talking. It was the same simple statement from us all, “I have a lawyer on the way to the station, I will talk when he/she arrives.”
Jen had advised me to be cooperative, but to remember everything the cops said and did.
Once we arrived at the station the true confusion began. The local cops were trying to interview us with the lawyers all saying don’t answer that, when the FBI swooped in and tried to take over. We all sat back and watched the turf fight ratchet up. They were still in the name calling stage when the DEA people arrived with their own take on who had jurisdiction. Finally Homeland security bounced in and demanded everyone just shut the fuck up.
I sat in an interrogation room drinking free, but awful, coffee just imagining what was happening outside the door. When it finally opened Jen walked in laughing her ass off. “Only you could manage this. It’s like being backstage on opening night of the three ring circus,” she said. “By the time they get through carving this up, we will all be too old for court.”
“So what are you doing?” I asked.
“Why, I’m looking for someone to sue of course,” she replied with a roar of laughter.